Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

New Video: Making a Timelapse With Procreate And Why I Hate Digital Art

I’m calling him “Truth Seeker”. Anyway, I’ve been using the Procreate app very sporadically since I first downloaded it a few months ago….until now! The past couple of weeks I’ve been using it a lot more and am starting to see that I finally “get” it. Let me explain. Obviously, I get how a drawing app works, but you know when you use something for the first time there is a bit of a learning curve and the only way to understand the thing is to spend time with it? Well, I finally reached a point where I’ve spent enough time with Procreate that I feel a lot more comfortable with it now. I’ve seen and used a lot of the features it offers and there is no doubt why it’s become the industry standard for drawing apps. Even my 6 year old loves it.

He sort of gets it too. Admittedly, the app has so many features and ways to customize brushes and whatnot that I will never be an expert with it, but if a 6 year old can have fun and be creative with it you know you have something awesome on your hands. I sat with him and showed him a few things like how to pick/change colors, brushes, and brush size. He didn’t quite get the idea of using layers, which makes perfect sense because when you’re 6 and used to working with markers and paper there are no layers. You just draw your thing and you color it in. Done.

If you have a minute please check out this video.

If you know me, you should know how uncomfortable I am talking to the camera, but I’d like to go a little deeper about my hang-up with digital art. When you’ve done something one way for 30 years it can be a bit of a challenge to change your ways. At a very young age I stopped drawing with pencils and only used ballpoint pens. It probably has something to do with commitment issues because using a pencil means you can erase what you don’t like. In other words, there is no commitment with a pencil. With a pen I forced myself to deal with whatever I put down on paper. If I drew a face and one eye was bigger than the other eye I had to deal with that imperfection. If I accidentally smeared the ink I would have to turn that smudge into something and work it into the drawing somehow. I’ve always loved this type of inventing and letting chance play a role in the creative process. Digital drawing throws all of that out the window because it’s so easy to erase or undo your last step. Just in the past week I’ve started to get over this hang up of mine and am trying really hard to think of erasing as a tool instead of a hindrance. Using the “undo” option as a benefit as opposed to seeing it as a handicap.

This probably seems obvious, but painting with a brush on a wood panel is different than using an apple pencil on the glass surface of an iPad. Even though I know they are different my problem is that I’ve been thinking of drawing apps this whole time as synonymous with painting. Sort of like how driving one car is practically the same exact experience as driving a different car. You might have to adjust the seat and mirrors, but the steering wheel works the same. The reality is that making digital art on an iPad is wildly different than painting on a wood panel or a canvas. Instead of throwing the two in the same category and thinking of them as being synonymous I should have been thinking that the two are synonymous with creating, not painting. Now that I’ve come to this realization it’s getting easier for me to embrace and enjoy making digital art. It’s a totally different beast and needs to be treated as such. Why am I talking about this? Because making art, whether digital or physical should always be fun. It can and should be challenging at times because that means you’re making progress, but it’s not supposed to make you frustrated or mad and that’s what drawing on the iPad was doing to me. It was making me mad, which is crazy because I love creating and making things. What it comes down to is this. I was using a hacksaw to do the job of a hammer. I was putting a band aid on my elbow when I had a skinned knee. I was boiling an egg when…oh, I don’t know, but you get the picture.

I’m not sure if you’ve had this or a similar hang-up, but the lesson here is something I got from watching Big Hero 6 last night. “Look for a new angle.” If it worked for Hiro it can work for me. Thanks, Tadashi.

Thanks for reading!
– Jeff

P.S. – Spoiler alert, but Tadashi should totally not have been killed. Freaking Disney!

* * * * * * * * * * * *
I know that was a lot, but if you’re not sick of me yet…
Follow on IG: @jeffclaassen
Subscribe to my channel, or at least watch some of my videos.

Spring Break 2018: Ostriches, Tramps, And Other Exotic Creatures

Spring break has come and gone, but the memories will last forever.

Is that the cheesiest line to start a blog post with, or what? Ok, let me wipe the throw up off my face and brush my teeth. Yes, that sentence made me vomit. Anyway…

It’s a bit overdue to post about something that happened over a month ago, but that’s just my life. Before we dive into the Spring Break shenanigans I have to show you a couple of things. First:

Elliott wanted to draw a little boy so I made a very quick drawing of a little boy and Elliott colored it. That’s right, it’s a collab. Limited edition prints coming soon! Just kidding.

Second, Elliott drew the coolest freaking leprechaun I’ve ever seen.

Limited edition prints coming soon!
Again, just kidding.
But maybe…

And now, I’ll tell you all about the crazy Spring Break debauchery that went down. You’re not going to believe it, but Elliott and I went to Fort Lauderdale to party and pick up some beach betties. And we’ve got the photo to prove it!

After a couple of days in “The Fort”, as we call it, we couldn’t get out of there fast enough. If you’ve ever been there you know what I’m talking about. Two days is too many. So, we went where everybody else goes when they’ve partied too hard…SOLVANG!

We fed the ostriches and a couple emus. Nobody quite knows exactly what an emu is, but we didn’t discriminate. We made sure to feed the emu whatever we found on the bottom of our feeding dish. You know, just like you would any other second class citizen. Did you know you can now ride the ostriches at Ostrichland? Here’s Elliott taking Ozzie The Ostrich for a little joyride around the farm.

(Sidenote: It’s taken me 4 days to get to this point in the blog. I don’t even know what I’m talking about anymore, but let’s continue. Shall we?)

You can count on us to sniff out the coolest playground in town and I’ve got to tell you, Solvang did not disappoint.

This photo is literally just a fraction of what Pirate Park has to offer. It’s not actually called Pirate Park, but I don’t have the time to google “cool park in Solvang” to find out its real name.

Ok, we need to backtrack a little bit. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times. As parents, Coral and I never look forward to breaks. Thanksgiving breaks, Christmas breaks, Spring breaks, Summer breaks and all of those 3-4 day weekends that are scattered throughout the school year. For some people, particularly the kids, I’m sure they are great. For us, we twiddle our thumbs and wonder what the hell we’re supposed to do with these damn kids all day. Well, this past Spring break I actually thought of something. I decided to take Elliott on a little out of town adventure for a couple of days.

I love trampolines.

That sentence will seem less random in a minute. When I was a kid I had a trampoline. I’m not very good on them, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve that make me feel like a rockstar. A few years ago these trampoline parks started sprouting up. A trampoline park is basically a warehouse full of trampolines that are all lined up together and you can jump from one to another to another to another to another until your face smashes into someones knee while they’re going up and you’re falling down. Nose bleeding fun for the whole family! They are basically a dream come true to the 15 year old that still lingers somewhere within my psyche. I’ve been wanting to check out one of these parks since the second I heard about them a few years ago. My plan was to hunt one down and take Elliott there for our daddy-son getaway. It wasn’t totally selfish. Ok, sure, it was a little selfish, but he loves trampolines too. Did you not see the video? Like and subscribe? 😜

But really, like and subscribe. Or don’t. But you should. Well, wouldn’t you know it, some genius opened one in Santa Maria, which is only 1 hour away from where we live. Discovering the one hour away trampoline park was exactly the catalyst we needed to set the rest of our adventure in motion.

The plan went something like this. Leave Paso Robles, tramp park in Santa Maria, feed ostriches and stay the night in Buellton, wake up the next day and go to Santa Barbara zoo (which neither of us have ever been to).

All this trampoline talk and the only photo I have is of Elliott climbing a wall at the trampoline park without a single trampoline in sight. But here’s the thing. I did take some video and one of these days (if we’re lucky) I will edit it and upload it to my channel for your voyeuristic viewing pleasure. Stay tuned, but don’t hold your breath. Oh, here’s an idea. How about I post a screenshot from the video?

Great idea! Here it is.

I typed way too much about trampolines. The idea was to post photos with captions and I failed big time at that, so I’ll keep it minimal on the words from here on out. Don’t worry, it’s almost over. Look, I’m bored too. I can only sit at SLO Do Co surrounded by 19 year olds for so long. Also, it’s currently 10:50pm on a Wednesday night and I’m 35 minutes from home and still have real work to get done before the night is over. I’m doing this for you. That’s right, because you NEED to know all about my Spring break that happened 56 days ago. What was it I said about keeping the words at a minimum? Ok, here we go!

Elliott’s main goal at the zoo was to see the elephants.

Goal accomplished.

We also saw this amazingly impressive staghorn.

We waited so long to get this picture. This gorilla sat with its back to us for an insane amount of time. You’d think it would be more concerned with the humans getting good photo ops, but no, not this gorilla. It’s just going to act like it has nothing better to do all day while trapped in a zoo wishing it could be back in the Congo where it belongs.


You know what, that park in Solvang is called Sunny Fields Park. Turns out I do have the time. Ughhh…

Speaking of time, it is time to wrap this thing up because, let’s face it, this post has outstayed its welcome. Trust me though, I totally spared you. Things missing from this post:
– The Easter Egg Hunt and other Easter activities.
– I didn’t mention how Elloitt may have had just as much fun on the escalator in the Santa Maria mall as he did in the trampoline park.
– Hotel room tour photos.
– Continental breakfast photos at The Marriott.
– A plethora of other things that I can’t even remember.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. Even if you skipped all the words and just looked at the photos I still appreciate that you checked it out when you could have been watching trick shot videos on YouTube instead. Speaking of YouTube, I really did take a lot of video of our Spring Break adventure. I’m going to edit it and will try my best to upload before Spring Break 2019.

See ya!
– Jeff

* * * * * * * *

You can’t possibly still want more of me, but who knows…maybe you’re crazy. If so, check me out on:
– Instagram: @jeffclaassen
– Snapchat: kidding, I don’t snapchat.

SLO Adventure: We Hiked Madonna Mountain

We finally hiked Madonna Mountain. I can see the hardcore locals cringing now, but I grew up in SLO and I know that’s not the real name. It just happens to be what (almost) everybody calls it. Should I even mention the giant M on the side of the mountain? Maybe it’s stating the obvious and the M simply stands for “mountain”.

You say, “I’m hiking Cerro San Luis Obispo” and people will undoubtedly ask you what that is. And if you say something like, “Oh yeah, me and the kids are hiking one of the Nine Sisters today.” then you can expect a drop in from Child Protective Services because no parent should be taking their kids to a brothel even if Nine Sisters offers a buy one get one free deal. So, let’s keep it easy and just call it Madonna Mountain. Anyway, it was Elliott’s first time hiking it.

Is it really a “hike”? We were both in jeans and I was wearing the type of shoes you might wear to church or a business casual luncheon. In no way are they ideal for hiking, so let’s be honest and simply say we walked up a hill. And it’s a beautiful hill, but if I am going to go truly hiking then backpacks, canteens, bug spray, and a Swiss army knife should be involved and the fancy leather Clark’s will be left at home.

Elliott had been talking about hiking for weeks and was incredibly excited to go. He doesn’t remember it, but he actually sort of hiked it before. Or, at least, attempted to. Well, it’s more like he was carried up the hill and did no actual walking on his own. It was around Christmas and I wanted the whole family to hike up at night so we could sit under the Christmas lights on the top of the mountain. He was strapped to my chest in a front pack and we didn’t even make it halfway because somebody in our group wimped out. I won’t say any names (Coral), but we all turned around, walked back to the car, and returned home. Defeated.

This time was different. It was just Elliott and I and no front pack. If you think I’m strapping a 6 year old kid to my chest and walking up a mountain then you’ve gobbled down one too many space cakes. Growing up in a neighborhood near the base of Cerro San Luis gave me the opportunity to hike/walk up it a million times. It was basically right in my backyard and somehow I had never once walked by the giant M until a couple of weeks ago when I was with Elliott.

(Sidenote: It does not stand for mountain. I’d tell you what it stands for, but you can wikipedia that shit.)

Even then, we only discovered it by accident because I took a wrong turn. I know, how could I take a wrong turn when just a minute ago I claimed the entire mountain as my backyard. Well, as a youngster I always started the hike/walk from what I guess could be referred to as the north side of the mountain. Perhaps the locals call it the Foothill side. For this particular adventure we started from the parking lot on the Marsh Street onramp.

Here’s Elliott at the tippy tip top. We made it to the summit just before sunset, which was pretty awesome.

In case these photos weren’t enough I made a video of our hiking adventure. Check it out!

If you’re planning on watching the sunset from the top of this or any mountain, be sure to take flashlights. We did not take any and it was totally pitch black for at least half the walk down. It made it somewhat exciting, but maybe not the type of exciting you’re looking for.

Thanks for reading and watching!
– Jeff

* * * * *

If you’re not totally sick of me yet I encourage you to:
– check out the other videos on my YouTube channel.
– Follow me on the IG.
– and next time you eat a donut, think of me.

Pink Mocha Cupcake Breakfast

On my way to work this morning I stopped by the downtown gas station to pick up the world’s healthiest breakfast, a Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino and a pack of cigs. And by “cigs” I mean a pack of Hostess Cupcakes. I know, I know…you’re impressed with the healthy food options at our gas station. It’s like “farm-to-table”, but with a twist of “shit you should not be putting in your body”. What can I say, this town is a treasure. Speaking of treasure, this is what I walked out of the gas station with.

Not exactly what I planned on, but why not toss some fancy Rosé into the mix with your gross “coffee” and awful “cupcakes”? I have been a long time fan of the Chronic Cellars artwork, but this is my first ever purchase. Of course, I’ve also heard plenty of good things about the wines. And you probably didn’t realize how fancy I am, but I’ve also met Josh a few times. He’s the winemaker and one of the Beckett Brothers that created Chronic Cellars back in 2004. Anyway, I’ve been trying to hunt down this Pink Pedals Rosé for a few weeks. Despite living 3.5 miles away from the Chronic tasting room I’ve been trying to find it at local grocery stores. Going straight to the source is always my first choice, but my work hours conflict with their tasting room hours. I see their other wines in the stores and figured it would be no problem finding the bottle I wanted, but have yet to come across the elusive Pink Pedals. Until now…

So, I was at the gas station and a lady in line before me was buying a bottle and I was like, “What the…? They sell that here?” This place is about one minute away from my shop. It’s like Pink Pedals has been laughing in my face this whole time. Well, I’ve got you now, Pink Pedals!

If I seem a little more talkative and animated (or we’re closed early, but you see me asleep and drooling on the counter) at work tonight you know why.

Rosé all day,

Oh yeah, check out Joe’s artwork on IG: @jkalionzes. He’s freakin’ awesome.

Scrumptious Steve: The Best Goodwill Find Ever

No, a card of smoking angels is not the best Goodwill find ever. It’s the message inside that’s the prize. But before we get to that let me tell you how I came across this. I’ve been making little paintings on old record sleeve inserts. Stuff like painting a face over an ad for a Dean Martin album. They’re all small and I’ve been getting frames for them at Goodwill. So, when I bought this smoking angels card I had no idea it was even a card. It was just a picture in a frame that I needed. When it came time to frame my little painting I removed the beer guzzling angels from the frame and what do you know…it was a card. Naturally, I opened it and that’s when I realized I was holding the best Goodwill find ever in my hands. And now, it is my great honor to share it with all of you…my two loyal readers. Enjoy!

My first thought when I read this was, “Steve, you dirty little devil! What on Earth did you do to receive such an amazing little note? I want to be thought of as a scrumptious man. Teach me!” But that was my first thought and when I thought about it more I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to these two. Admittedly, I can’t make out the girl’s name. Why is it the only thing written in cursive? Isn’t cursive obsolete at this point? I suppose that’s a whole other story that I’ll ignore for now. I’m guessing Steve must have thought pretty highly of T (we’ll just call her that for now) since he framed the card. But what happened? How many decadent dates were there? Did Steve become less scrumptious over time? Did they live happily ever after? If not, will T ever find another man as amazing as Steve? Why would Steve donate this to the Goodwill? Or maybe in a fit of rage T donated it because Steve’s scrumptiousness evolved into assholeness and she couldn’t stand the fact that there was written proof that once there was a time when she loved Steve. Sadly, only Steve and T know the truth. I sincerely hope the two of them are still sharing decadent nights together and that maybe they’ve had a baby or two.

As for you, loyal reader, get out there and share a decadent night with your own scrumptious Steve or Samantha or whoever. Just make sure it’s decadent and delicious. Then, after you’ve had your fun donate all the evidence to your local Goodwill.

See ya!
– Jeff

Twisted And Glazed: New Donut Shop In Paso Robles

I could not be happier with the fact that there is a new donut shop in my little town. Some might say, “do we need a fourth donut shop in this town?” And my response is this, “Yes. Yes, we do.” And here’s why. I love donuts. So much, in fact, that my business card reads, “painter. donut eater”. No joke. Here, I’ll show you.

Of course, I do have to admit that four is a bit excessive, but the reason I say we need a new donut shop is because the other three aren’t doing it right.

I’ve lived in Paso Robles since the summer of 2013 and have been tolerating the donuts this town has to offer the entire time. In a way, donuts are like pizza. They are both round and it’s pretty hard to find one that I don’t like. That being said, I still haven’t LOVED any donuts I’ve come across in this town. It got to the point where to satisfy my morning sweet tooth I started going to the little Mexican Market down the street to get concha’s, which are those deliciously tasty sweet breads most people simply refer to as “Mexican Bread”.

They were pretty satisfying and I can’t think of a time where I ever came across a concha I didn’t like. But, alas, it still wasn’t a donut. When that phased out I really digressed and found myself at a local gas station buying Hostess Cupcake’s before going to work. Talk about a low point.

And then…

Twisted And Glazed opens their door and hits the scene with these!

You’re looking at an animal cracker donut and a S’mores donut. That’s right, a mutha fucking S’mores donut!

This is a not another food or restaurant review blog, so I’ll just end this by saying I’m extremely happy that there is FINALLY a good donut shop in town.

And a quick shout out, of course. You can find Twisted And Glazed on
Instagram: @twistedandglazed

But, what you really need, is to shove one of these fuckers donuts in your face and you can do that at:
541 Spring St in Paso Robles, CA.

Happy eating!
– Jeff

* Donut photos by @slomygosh

So Many CCS Envelopes

(One of several CCS envelopes I’ve drawn on.)

Working at CCS was awesome. I worked there from the Spring of 1996 to the Summer of 2000. In that time I literally made 100’s of drawings. If I had to try to make an accurate count of how many drawings I made in those four years I’d say it was close to 1500, at least, and there is no way I could have logged in that much time drawing if it wasn’t for my job at CCS. It got to the point where I would bring a giant portfolio to work that could hold 18″ x 24″ pads of paper. I would pull up an empty chair next to my desk, lay the giant pad of paper on it and work on BIG drawings. Sometimes I would even bring in a set of watercolors and make little paintings at work. The only way to get good at something is to do it a lot. And the term “a lot” is actually a huge understatement. To get good at something, and I mean really good, you have to do it more than a lot. It has to be an obsessive compulsion. You have to work at it several hours a day and working at CCS gave me that opportunity. I also played countless games of chess, read a ton of books and made a lot of friends that I’m still friends with 16 years later. I have a small stack of these envelopes and I always love rediscovering them from time to time. They bring back a lot of good memories and remind me that opportunities can come out of really unexpected places. I did not know about the 10,000 hour rule back in those days and although I was obsessed with filling up sketchbook upon sketchbook I did not realize at the time what a great position I was in. I was totally logging in my 10,000 hours and I was lucky enough to be getting paid to do it. My job wasn’t to sit at a desk and draw all day. My job was to sell skateboards and help customers. (At the time, CCS was considered the largest mail order skateboard company on the planet.) The general rule was that as long as you answered the phone and sold as many Tom Penny Mushroom skateboards as you could, you were pretty much allowed to do whatever you wanted in between phone calls. So, in a way, I was getting paid to draw. The point is this. You might be in the middle of a great opportunity right now that you should be taking advantage of because you never know the impact it could have on you later in life. Four years after leaving CCS I opened my art gallery and selling my artwork has been my main source of income since then. If I hadn’t had the good fortune to work at a place where I could make 1,500+ drawings who knows where I’d be right now. I don’t know where I’d be, but one thing I’m certain of is that I’d be 1,500 pieces of art behind where I am now. And let me tell you, that is A LOT of practice I would have missed out on. I’m going to end with this. If there’s something you want to be good at, don’t waste your time not practicing it. Turn off Netflix, put your phone on airplane mode and get lost in the thing. Get really lost in it. It’s the only way you’ll ever find yourself.

First World iPhone Problems

First off, carrying a phone in your pocket is such an incredibly ridiculous luxury that’s become so commonplace we totally forget how silly the concept is. To make a complaint about a luxury that is so removed from the list of things we need to survive is totally asinine. With that said, let me be a foolish baboon and complain about this iPhone situation.

I have an iPhone 4s. It’s great, but I was totally fine with my 4…until I dropped it. The iPhone 4 was my first smart phone and my mom gave me her old 4s when my phone shattered to bits. Thanks, mom! When the 6 came out I thought it was way too big for my liking and the 6 Plus made me laugh out loud when I finally saw one in person. I know a lot of people love their 6 Plus and that’s great. It’s just not for me and I’ll tell you why. I carry so much shit in my pockets that Coral and my sister are both convinced I should carry a man purse like Zach Galifianakis in The Hangover. So…

you can imagine my delight when I found out about the new 4″ iPhone SE. It’s like Apple read my mind, which is amazing. And here’s where my complaint comes in. I was looking at the specs and came across this list of included apps.

That’s a lot of apps and you can’t delete them, which makes me so mad. There are 33 of them. On a 4″ phone that would take up two whole home screens worth of stuff. I know you can put all the apps you don’t use in their own cozy little folder, but if I mentioned that it would totally invalidate my argument and why would I want to do that. I’m trying to make a point here! So, out of the 33 apps that you get whether you want them or not I know I would only use 19 of them, which is being generous because a couple of those I would only use because they are on there. I would never be all, “I NEED A VOICE MEMO APP!” Not to mention, I need a health and stocks app as much as I need a pickle growing out of my forehead.

The thing that really gets my goat about this BS is that these phones aren’t cheap and to be forced to deal with so many superfluous apps taking up valuable screen and storage space is, for lack of a better term, messed up. For a company who’s design philosophy includes the “what can we remove” concept it’s just mind boggling that they’d put so much crap on a product.

End rant. Thank you for listening and let’s hope I don’t suffer a fiery demise for wasting so much time on something that doesn’t matter.

Did you see that SNL skit about the iPhone design flaws?


Coral Totally Took The Wind Out Of My Sails

For some reason I was home alone on Saturday morning, which doesn’t happen often. I think I even slept in a little, which happens even less. These two things made for the beginning of a great day. It got even better when Coral texted that she was coming to pick me up. That sounds weird considering we live together, but it was exciting because normally when one of us comes home that is exactly what we do. We park the car and go in the house. This idea of getting picked up seemed so spontaneous. Romantic even. Visions of hot cocoa and chocolate chip croissants filled my head. Where could she be taking me, I wondered. Feeling like an excited little boy on his way to the candy store I grabbed my backpack and camera as I ran out the door. Whatever cute adventure she had in mind I wanted to document it.

This photo was taken in May 2015 and has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but since I’m writing about Coral I should really have a photo of her. Anyway…

I get in the car full of excitement and as she begins backing out of the driveway I ask where we’re going. She very naturally says, “Oh, we need to put gas in the car and I need you to pump the fuel because I don’t want to.”

I’ve been walking around in a lifeless zombie like state ever since. With a single solitary tear running down the side of my face.

NYC Travelogue Day One: Dance Club In The Sky, Thai Food, Citi Bike And A Selfie With Elmo

I’ve been home from my NYC trip for ten days. That means I’ve been home longer than I was gone and I am finally getting around to editing my photos. I have a lot of video too that I would love to make a little movie out of, but I cringe at the thought of video editing. Let’s get started, shall we? Day one is mostly a travel day, but I sort of had a pre-travel night. I hit the road for Los Angeles around 8pm the night before my flight. My good friends, Justin and Cassidy, let me park my car at their house while I was gone and Justin even woke up at 5:30 in the morning to drive me to the airport. That’s a friend, people. With a boarding time of 7am I avoided an insane line at security. I’m not one that travels regularly, but I’ve heard people can be in these lines for over an hour or more and I got through in about 12 minutes.

Unfortunately, I was “randomly selected” for an anal cavity search. Just kidding, but a TSA dude did “randomly select” me to rub a cloth on my hand that he then took to his little booth and held under a light. I’m sure that my wearing dark glasses and a hoodie probably had nothing to do with it. I must have passed because I was able to avoid all unwanted searches of any of my body parts. Thanks, TSA!

This digital boarding pass made me feel super fancy, as if I’m the only bloke on the planet with an iPhone. For some reason airport personnel are not allowed to touch your phone, so I had to wave my phone under the little laser to get scanned, which means I did half of their job for them and didn’t even get paid for it. I would have gladly accepted a free upgrade to first class. Hint hint, Virgin America. When it came to booking a flight my first thought was Jet Blue. No good reason why except that I had flown with them once before and it was fine, but then I came across Virgin and thought it would be awesome to fly in something that looked like a nightclub.

And I was right, it was awesome. There were pole dancers and midgets doing magic tricks. It was amazing. Slightly less amazing was the in-air internet.

I have now since learned that if you “buy before you fly” you can get the 24 hour pass for $16, which is way better, but I’m not totally sure I can justify that since you can’t stream Netflix with the service. On the other hand, is not being on the internet for five or six hours really something to be concerned about? I was totally happy to sit back in my leather seat, relax and read without any interruptions. When you have a four year old reading a book is utterly impossible during the hours they are awake. I guess this is a good time to mention that this was a solo trip. Yes, Coral stayed home and took care of three kids while I went gallivanting around the big city. She’s awesome. Thanks, honey! She also got me this New York themed book to read on the plane.

I guess free meals on planes are a thing of the past.

This Chicken Sandwich looked pretty tasty, but I saved my $9. Also, $4 for Chex Mix…yikes. On the plus side, I was able to drink all the ginger ale I wanted for free, which was great. I’m a sucker for ginger.

Tracking the flight is always fun. There was a bunch of stuff you could do on the touchscreen, like rent movies, listen to music and even join a chatroom with other passengers. I started a chat and nobody responded for the entire flight, so as much fun as it sounded I remained alone and friendless in the sky. Here are a couple of mandatory “look at me, I’m in a plane and you’re not!” photos.

It’s always nice to land without exploding.

I did not make any plans on how to get from JFK to my hotel, so once I got off the plane I had to wing it. I trusted that the city would take care of me and it did. There is a plethora of options that don’t require any pre-booking. Subway, taxi, Uber and my personal favorite, helicopter. Yeah, for about $1000 you can catch a helicopter into Manhattan. How baller is that? Once I walked out of the airport I saw a sign for a shuttle that was only $16. Like I said, I don’t travel much, so the idea of a shuttle hadn’t even crossed my mind. When I saw Uber was going to cost something in the $60+ range I couldn’t get on that shuttle fast enough. Thanks for the awesome deal, GoAir Link! I ended up using them to get back to the airport too and that was cool because they came right to my hotel. For the drive into the city they have set drop off spots, which worked fine for me because my only luggage was a backpack. I hopped off the shuttle, found a Citi Bike and rode to my hotel.

I found this cool artsy “boutique” hotel called The Pod. They have two places in New York. Pod 39 and Pod 51. I stayed at Pod 51 and it was great.

Hotel room selfie.

Next time I go to New York though, I’d like to stay somewhere in the West Village or Chelsea area. I kept finding myself in those neighborhoods so it would be cool to not have to bike 30+ blocks to get there. The hotel was awesome though. Super clean, free wi-fi, awesome little lobby/lounge area (with a foosball table) and even an outside patio that proved to be a great escape from the craziness of the city. Since I opted out of the $9 chicken sandwich on the plane I was sufficiently starving by the time I checked into The Pod and was so stoked to find a Thai restaurant just a few doors away called Sukhumvit 51.

Check out that Thai iced tea! It comes in a fancy ceramic mug! Fanciness and exclamation points aside I do not like drinking out of straws so, although the ceramic mug was a nice touch, it wasn’t for me. The food and Thai tea were incredibly delicious. I had the Pad See Ew with beef and loved it so much that I ate there two more times before I left town. The plan was that it would also be my last NYC meal, but I got sidetracked and missed out. And when I say “sidetracked” what I mean is that I fell asleep and woke up after they closed on my last night.

Anyway, after dinner and unpacking and all that stuff I ventured out. There was a Citi Bike station two blocks from The Pod and I had already signed up for a 7 day pass, so I chose bike riding as my main mode of transportation. Here’s the deal with Citi-Bike. A 7 day pass is $25. The bikes are available 24 hours a day. Every time you get a bike from a station it’s yours for 30 minutes. If you go over the time limit you get charged a couple bucks, but with 330 locations it’s usually pretty easy to return your bike to a station within the 30 minute time frame. There were plenty of times I would park a bike and then just unlock it again and keep cruising. The system makes you wait 2 minutes before you can take another bike, so you have to sit and wait, but it’s not that big a deal since people watching is so much fun. So, I biked around with no destination in mind and ended up in Times Square, where I saw one of the creepiest things that has ever creeped.

When I saw Elmo I knew Elliott (my 4 year old) would love this, which I’m sure is something Elmo hears all the time when he poses with tourists. He might hear it all the time, but since he didn’t appear to speak English he may not know what we’re saying.

Eventually, I made it back to The Pod where I took an extremely long shower and passed out.

Pumpkin Spice Pumpkin Spice Pumpkin Spice Is Oh So Nice

Seriously, this pumpkin thing has gotten out of control. If this overabundance of pumpkin spice everything is a precursor to the madness of what this year’s Black Friday will bring than, as a society, we are up pumpkin spice creek…without a paddle. Or a latte.

On the other hand, let’s just eat (pumpkin spice), drink (pumpkin spice) and be merry! If you shop at Trader Joe’s it is extremely easy to hop on the PS bandwagon. Personally, I don’t do the grocery shopping for my house because my contribution is to sit in the car and read instead of scrutinizing the price of everything that gets put in the shopping cart. It works out better for all parties involved. However, I do help unload the grocery bags once they’re in our kitchen and here are some of the seasonal items I noticed. Despite Coral and I making fun of the pumpkin spice craze she couldn’t seem to get enough of it.

I’ve never heard her say, “If you can’t beat em’, join em'”, but some things can go unspoken and there is that phrase about actions speaking louder than words. After I took that photo and put all the items back in the pantry I noticed we also had a box of pumpkin waffles in the freezer and in the fridge I found their cousin, a bag of pumpkin bagels. I contemplated redoing the photo, but talked myself out of it because I have bigger pumpkins to fry. I’ll pretend that joke works here. Anyway, Trader Joe’s isn’t the only one shoving delicious pumpkin flavored goods down our throats. Just loook at what the fine folks over at Durex have concocted.

Besides Durex there is a whole slew of companies pumpkin spicing up your life this season. Jamba Juice has their Pumpkin Smash smoothie. Starbucks is pumping out more Pumpkin Spice Latte’s than you can shake a stick at. Or throw a gourd at. Either way, it’s a lot of freakin’ latte’s. If you’re looking to get your pumpkin spice fix here are some things you can try out.



Still prefer the good ole’ fashioned chocolate kisses. Everybody does.

As if boxed wine wasn’t good enough already.

You know, after eating all of these goodies and washing them down with your box wine you’re going to need to brush those teeth and freshen up your gross pumpkin breath. What better way than with Pumpkin Spice Crest?

As if toothpaste wasn’t enough and if nobody poked a needle through your pumpkin spice condom then you might find yourself, if you’re a woman, picking up these the next time your “time” comes around.

Yeah, those are just wrong, but don’t fret because if the thought of the pumpkin spice tampon makes you sick to your stomach, we’ve got you covered.

Seriously, this could go on and on, but I should probably stop or else I’ll be writing and google image searching until the cows come home. Or at least until the Gingerbread Latte hits Starbucks this winter.

And yes, I’m totally sporting the pumpkin spice self tanner all month.

– Jeff

P.S. – There probably is a pumpkin spice self tanner out there for all the weirdos that want to walk around looking like Oompa Loompa’s.

P.P.S – Everything you find on the internet is real!!! Including this donation link, which will afford me all the Pumpkin Smash Smoothies I need to sooth this sore throat.

P.P.P.S. – I can’t believe it! Coral finally found a photo of me with my high school punk band from back in the day.

Headphones, A Funky Homo Sapien And Breaking The Law

This morning I noticed a guy driving alone while wearing headphones. Of course, I’ve seen this dozens of times, but today it triggered the “is that really necessary” response in my brain. I’ll be honest, I love headphones as much as the next guy. Probably not as much as Del The Funky Homosapien, who has not been seen in public not wearing headphones since 1981*.

The thing is, aren’t the car speakers good enough? Also, you are alone. There are literally no distractions to keep you from your music or podcast or whatever you are listening to. Not to mention the fact that it is illegal to drive with headphones on. As a quick little aside: isn’t it awesome to literally have access to knowledge at our fingertips…and then not use it? Case in point, I don’t know if it’s illegal to drive with headphones on and I refuse to dedicate any of my precious time to find out. I mean, all it would take is a quick search on google. Anyway, let’s just say it is illegal to prove my point. What is my point? I don’t even know, but all of this headphone talk is leading me down the path to memory lane.

It was probably 1996 when I bought my first real pair of headphones. At the time they were THE headphones and even now I believe they are highly sought after. I’m talking about the Sony MDR-V600’s.

They were pretty much standard issue to every DJ that ever touched a vinyl record. Dropping $109 on a set of headphones seemed quite frivolous. Remember, this is 1996 I’m talking about. Nowadays you have teenagers walking around wearing $400 Dr. Dre Beats connected to a $300+ iPhone, which is absolutely crazy.

If the late 80’s saw dudes getting mugged/killed for a pair of Air Jordan’s it’s a miracle we don’t find ourselves zig zagging through piles of teenage corpses while walking down any sidewalk in America.

Those Sony MDR-V600’s treated me well. $109 is not so bad considering they lasted 18 years. They travelled with me across the country and even as far as Paris. They were strapped to my head when I lost my virginity. Just kidding, but wouldn’t that be hilarious if I was all, “look lady, I NEED music while this is happening.” They were with me, hugging my ears ever so lovingly, during 100’s of painting sessions and let me experience music the way music should be experienced. Well, that could be argued. Music should be experienced live, but through headphones is a close second. Yes, some of the padding in the ears was fully exposed and falling out (my 4 year old is at fault for that), but the true demise of the headphones happened when I dropped my ipad and the plug broke off inside the headphone jack. Please, hang your head in a moment of silence.

Ok, this was not intended to be a farewell to the headphones that were with me for more than half my life. I just wanted to make a little comment about how silly and dangerous it is to drive alone wearing headphones. I mean, afterall, it is illegal for a reason. Oh yeah, I also wanted to make what I thought was a funny reference about Del The Funky Homosapien. All this other stuff just sort of happened.

Speaking of other stuff…
This blog (me) is now accepting donations. We’ll say it’s to keep this blog alive, but between you and me it’s because I want one of these.

– Jeff

*Sadly, a google search for Del showed me that he actually has ventured out in public not wearing headphones. When I found out my heart broke a little bit.

Related Posts with Thumbnails