Author Archives: iheartccs

Respecting the Help

Maybe You Get Bad Customer Service Because You’re a Bad Customer

That’s right, who needs a job that badly?

In first world countries the demands of customer service representatives are as high as the hopes of a senior on graduation day.  We’re not seen as people, just ciphers who are always supposed to respond to the orders of clients.  Seriously, I don’t know where people learn to be so spoiled and abusive.  So many crazy people love to exploit companies every day left and right.  Look at all the complaints when it comes to restaurants, airlines, and retail stores.  It is true that there should be standards when it comes to a customer’s experience.  But really, half the time the extent of what people expect is disproportionate to what they are purchasing.

Who do you think you are?
You are the victim, you are negative and it’s everyone else’s fault.  You lose all reason and make sure that your picky attitude ruins our day.  After all we are living in Sue.S.A. bringing your lawyers when things don’t go 100% your way.  You are entitled to go off the deep end and being abusive over the smallest things.  It’s not like you have any other choices where to get products and services.  Way to be mature.

Anthem for our customer service reps
We are the ones working at minimum wage, trying to make ends meet.  We are the laborers taking everyone’s crap day in and day out.  Working menial tasks and seen as less than those who deign to give us their money.  Introverts who want only to get what you want in time and move on, but are instead being tied down to the b.s. of all these bougie “problems”. Seriously sick of it; damages my calm how petty and cheap people are.

My philosophy
Have some patience.  If you don’t like a company then try to review where your expectations went wrong and give them another chance.  Overall be polite.  Even if service is lame, try to show some class and manners.  I get it, you have issues in your life and it’s easy to take it out on someone waiting on you.  Sometimes I wonder, are you seriously unaware of how crazy you sound right now?

I am very forgiving when it comes to waiters and staff since I started to pay my own way, and my tolerance has increased since I have been in the game.  I would like to ask everyone, think twice before demanding a specific performance based on what you’re paying and the reality of the situation.  Because the way things are going, all customer service reps will be robots with a permanent smile on the screen.  Their responses will be automated with possible scenarios because the pay and the mistreatment of those who are stuck in service positions is definitely not worth it.  

Service with a Smile: The True Cost of Faking It

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Farewell, The Vampire Diaries

As much as the series was about monsters and mayhem and love triangles, as much as Elena was important to the show, at its heart it was always a story about two brothers who were tragically, permanently tied to each other via a series of both horrible and wonderful events.
– Carrie Raisler, AV Club

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****spoilers all around!!!!****

This is a show that delivers and blows away expectations constantly throughout its 8 seasons.   Quite a departure from the original novel series, which had its issues from murky to bland to straight up random fantasy realms, TVD made its own intense world and we are privileged to be a part of it.

It’s not only the exceptional show that gets to me.  I’ve relished the brilliant recaps of Price Peterson and the wry comments from the fans through all the outstanding ups and abysmal downs (season 4 and 7 big time).  All this made me glad I’m alive; although a part of me died during every summer hiatus for years until my attentions were engaged as a Sheerio.

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Elena
Foolish and judgmental.  She would be such a pill if she weren’t such a foxy doppelganger.  You could make a drinking game out of all the times people die because of her idiotic decisions.  Which man would you choose, the one who lets you make your own decisions risking your life or the one who will protect you no matter what?  Both.  It’s okay to choose both.

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Stefan
(Mr Passive with the hero hair)
The broody, noble Angel type to Damon’s snarky and immoral Spike.  He is called a “pure” soul?! What a load.  He is usually a gentleman who respects the wishes of others and can say the right words to work out issues. He can be a bore but there are times he can be cool and violent when someone he loves is in danger.

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Damon
(Dashing, gorgeous, irresistible)
I don’t normally do bad guys but hot damn, this is the reason I started watching this show.  Like Tony Stark or Domyoji he is one rich hot jerk who changed for the one they love. He can be amazingly sweet and loyal to those he cares about.  He was most intriguing in the first few seasons when he was an unpredictable threat, therefore the wild card in getting things done.  His reckless temper would get him into bad situations when outnumbered or facing a more powerful being.  He always mocks everyone and gives hilarious nicknames.  When he turns on the charm it is nearly impossible to resist.

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Compelling Features to Love:

  • Captivating soundtrack
  • Witty one liners
  • Glorious action (stabbing, throttling, shooting guns/ crossbows, etc.)
  • Horror themes
  • Magical artifacts
  • Fast burn plot with twists and turns and loads of murder schemes
  • Lots of fan awareness and appreciation
  • Epic bromances & romances
  • Mythology
  • All the gorgeous cinematography, sets, outfits, and hairstyles
  • Turning humanity switch off/on
  • Large elaborate events
  • Period flashbacks
  • Smoking hot actors

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Wham moments
– Damon and Elena’s near touch dance Miss Mystic Falls pageant
– Elena breaking down about becoming a vampire during her hike with Stefan
– Stefan closing his eyes as Elena gets taken away for the ritual
– Damon getting his groove on at the 60’s dance
– Stefan protesting at dances then after some cajoling displaying incredible moves
– Stefan bonding with Matt over cars during a double date
– Stefan threatening John in the hospital
– Damon compelling Elena to forget his love confession
– Bonnie demonstrating the power of a hundred witches to Jeremy
– Stefan’s silent emo phone call to Elena on her birthday
– Damon pushes Elena in the water while tracking werewolves
– Elena and Damon’s extremely hot first kiss
– Tyler with glitter on his hands helping Caroline with homecoming saying out of anyone he is sired to her
– A dying Damon failing to make amends with Elena and allowing her time he doesn’t have
– All the times the gang gets together to plan a murder
– Damon tells Stefan he will be there for him
– Damon playing piano
– Alaric and Damon at the bar with bourbon
– Any time Elijah makes an entrance and rips out hearts
– Caroline making fun of Stefan’s it’s Tuesday face.
– Katherine being pleasantly surprised by Stefan’s confession
– Katherine sentimentality looking at the moon and reflects telling Stefan they’ll be united as she kisses him in 1864
– Damon spurning Katherine when she tries to seduce him in favor of reading a journal
– Damon and Rebekah exchanging looks in the grill after hooking up.
– Katherine cheerfully throwing wolfsbane grenades at the hybrids while saying kaboom
– Damon showing up in Elena’s house invading her space and her trusting him fast asleep as he lies in bed with her
– Damon winking at Elijah at the dinner party.
– Bonnie and Jeremy’s first kiss.
– Damon tries destroying Elijah’s body with a flamethrower in the basement for fun
– Katherine’s impersonations
– Damon and Bonnie holding hands and time in the prison world (hi Ms. Cuddles!)
– Damon shoving Elena off the ledge into the water and walking into the lake reprimanding her
– Caroline singing Eternal Flame for Matt
– John’s letter to Elena and giving up his life for her
– Bonnie being a badass witch
– Klaus’ entrance to save Caroline at graduation
– Kai’s quirky psychotic return and ultimate fate
– Jo’s twins, surprisingly cute
– Damon’s reading New Moon and 50 Shades
– Hell’s bell
– All cameos of season 8

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Killer lines
She’s selling it.  He’s buying it. She’s giving him the sex smile. 
Sometimes there is honor in revenge.
I know you said to kill her with kindness but can’t I just kill her?
When people see good they expect good.  And I don’t want to live up to anyone’s expectations.
He’s your first love.  I intend to be your last.  However long it takes.
It’s Mystic Falls.  Nothing bad ever happens here.
It’s okay to love them both.  I did.
Why do you look like someone just shot a panda bear?
Don’t mistake the fact that we haven’t set you on fire in your sleep as trust.
Damon challenges her surprises her. He makes her question her beliefs.
You want a love that consumes you.  You want passion and adventure and even a little danger.
Damon is either the best thing for her or the worst.
Katherine, there are six other bedrooms in this house.  Go find one.
Have I lost you forever?
We’re at irreparable odds.
I’m not sad, I’m freaking hungry!
Everyone needs to stop kissing me!
It’s always going to be Stefan.
Didn’t you find it weird that you made a friend so fast?  Have you met you?
Our life is one big proverbial coin toss.
Is it so wrong for me to want you both?
That thing where you pretend you’re dating but not.
I’m just having a moment.
Elijah’s one scary dude.  But with nice hair.
Got to run.  Got a murder to plan.  Busy day.
You want doppelganger blood? I’ve got doppelgangers coming out of my ears!

Silas owes me a fuse box
You’re Katherine Pierce.  Suck it up.
Time to strap on the hero hair.
Uh oh. Elena’s human again. Am I sensing another brother swap?
See, Stefan? Even the bear knew.
This is pointless. Pointless with pumpkin pie.
Hope hurts. I don’t want to hurt anymore.
Not every victim needs a monologue. 
Slowest. Murder. Ever.
Two vampires are better than one. It’s basic math.
If you’re reading this it means I’m dead. Which sucks.
You’re the one who did this to him. So unimpossible it. Fast.
I’m leaving. Because I’d rather let you down once than let you down for the rest of your life.
 We’re going up against a mind reader who is also a pyromaniac. But I’m sure it’ll all be fine.
That’s for me to know and for you to dot, dot, dot. 

Hello, brother.

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TVD, for almost a decade, you’ve throttled me and stabbed my heart with vervain.  Thank you for all the amazing backstories and high body count.  I will love this beautiful story forever.

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Mornings in Manhattan

” ‘So many people,’ she thinks, ‘each one with their own story, each following their own singular line of fate.’ ” 

– Blood and Beauty

In my suburban desert opinion, all big cities are the same.  Tall buildings, heavy population, and an endless jumble of concrete streets to negotiate.  I visit such places wanting to be surprised and delighted which usually works out well.  It makes my life seem so small in comparison, but I suppose seeing what’s out there and picking up ideas on the way is a form of growth.  I prepared myself for dense masses rushing to and fro on every street, but luckily it being a weekend I experienced a very slow version of the city.

Central Park (Upper East Side)
This was probably the highlight of my trip.  It is a free destination and nature always appeals to me so long as it’s tamed rather than wild and potentially dangerous. Countless films such as Home Alone 2, Enchanted, and You’ve Got Mail featured scenes from this sheltered green sanctuary.  I couldn’t imagine it in the fall or winter but I’m sure it’s all lovely no matter what the season.  The zoo area is especially charming with its brick exteriors that suit the surrounding trees.  My cousin said the reason we don’t see brick buildings in the West Coast is due to our earthquakes which would crumble them apart.

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Guggenheim Museum
I’ve been wanting to see this place for years.  My heart lifted seeing the iconic white building as I was walking alongside Central Park.  The spiral is closed, they told me when I made my way in.  They were working on renovations so for a reduced rate one could walk in to see a portion of their exhibits.

Before that day I didn’t give much thought to how the works at placed, just figured someone hangs it and makes sure it’s level.  But I see now it is actually a big production with angle specialists, photographers, and other directors who double check placement and other expert details to ensure the right positioning.  They had plenty of modern art such as Kandinskys and Picassos which didn’t disappoint.

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Bloomingdale’s
Fancy shops, whoop de doo.  Straight to the 7th floor where they I found a dessert and smoothie restaurant called 40 Carrots.  After miles of walking the cool tartness was good to my soul.

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Dean and Deluca
In a rush to get some last minute souvenirs I rushed down to this infamous gourmet shop.  They have a deli with all kinds of vegan offerings and a other hoity toity selections for those that are into that kind of thing.

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My bag of pretty gifts in tow, I made my way to JFK (traffic is gold, my female cabbie said) and had an easy go for the return flight. I’ll miss the selection of gluten free items and being driven around like a celebrity. I’m grateful to have had this chance to spend time with the family, and that no one was injured, plus I unexpectedly hit everything on my list (not an easy task, my stay being only 36 hours, effectively making this almost a layover trip).

During my time here I reveled in clear skies and overcast weather, the same dry and chilly gloom I’m used to in dearest California. It only started drizzling when my plane was taking off.  Don’t cry for me, New York.  I’m coming home.

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Side note: Jet Blue is aces!  Compared to my first flight, where I was given a single serving of cranapple mix since cranberry is unavailable or offensive, I got 2 beverage services (with entire cans of straight cranberry juice), a bag of chips, and a hot towel!  They also have a “marketplace” where you help yourself to more snacks.

– My cousin likes to cut the plastic 6 pack rings to save the ocean (awwww)
– Natives are polite and service is courteous, same as back home (weekends only?)
– I did not encounter any classic NY accents, maybe it’s just from older generations


A Taste of New York

If there’s one thing you can’t fault this city for, it’s food. Their extensive variety puts even the abundant SoCal selections to shame. Not only that, but it’s practically a gluten free paradise which thrilled me to no end.  About every corner in Manhattan you can find Halal carts, but only a few of them actually are worth visiting, according to my guide.  That didn’t stop me from sniffing the grilled kabobs like a curious hound when hiking through the city.

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Shake Shack (DoBro)
My first official meal in the city and frankly the best one.  There are multiple locations but I headed to the one near the apartment. There was hardly a line at 11:30 when they’ve just opened but I knew later in the day a sea of customers would descend.  It’s a nondescript building, very clean and modern looking with black and green motif.
I didn’t expect much after hearing everyone rave about its greatness, but my philosophy is that when you have a name you should make it count.  Therefore, the shakes should knock my socks off.  They feature frozen custard (their own recipe made daily on the premises) and use it as a base to their shakes; I chose the flavor of the week which was red velvet.  The problem I have with shakes and dessert in general is the excessive amount of sugar, but here they’re light on sweetness, smooth and rich in flavor at the same time.  My verdict?  Instant love with this blissful concoction that took me to the moon and back.  I would only make the cup slightly more artistic since it is their signature item and for what you pay, should be a visual marvel, not a humble minimum.
Their other items were pretty great I have to admit.  Even if I prefer skinny fries their crinkle cut ones were definitely crunchy and cooked to perfection.  Their patty is made from Angus beef, seasoned with a crispy charred exterior.  I didn’t have a lot of the bun because of my intolerance but they’re toasted of the standard diner variety.
I feel like a traitor to my state preferring it over In-N-Out but I can’t fight this feeling anymore, I’m so gone for them. I would say though that it’s hardly comparable since they’re probably more than triple the price of my local legend.  Yes, I will be back to partake in your shakes, and since one recently opened up on my coastline, it will be soon.

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Il Buco (SoHo)
Our birthday celebration took us to this authentic Italian spot in the ever so hipsterlicious neighborhood where you may find all the artsy Ho Hey bohemian type shops and population.  The homey atmosphere and European waiters took me back to Venice.  Our server explained the menu changes daily depending on what the chef found at the market that morning.  Also there are no changes allowed since the ingredients are chosen to harmonize in a particular way.  I liked that control freak aspect, it makes sense in a non corporate setting.  I wished I could partake of all the fresh handmade pasta but alas.
Side note: they don’t carry soda (!)

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NoGlu (Manhattan)
A Parisienne chef crossed the ocean to bring America the gift of an entirely gluten free bakery.  With bakeries I learned there’s a tricky aspect I call game of timing.  If you walk in first thing when they open, which is what I did, they don’t have everything on their menu ready since the baker works on making things fresh throughout the day.  Should you try to visit later on, you risk missing out on popular items that will sell out as soon as they’re available.  I was dying to try their chocolate tart but since it was too early, settled for other items instead.

Brioche: incorrectly named muffins (brioche is supposed to be a rich fluffy yeast bread), I loved the blackberry ones, the dough was slightly sweet and the almonds on top were a nice touch; the chocolate one was dry and tasteless

Blackberry tart: berries were fine, a vanilla bean base and a dry gritty crust was not very pleasant, I think they should go for a traditional pate sucree which would be more tender

It was a priority for me to visit this shop but next time I’ll skip it and explore the 20 other bakeries on the same street that offer gluten free items.

Side note: Is it just me or are places opening later and later, like why would bakeries open anytime after 8am? All customers want to eat their bread before they go to work or school, do they not want to wake up for more profit?  Makes no sense!!!! <end rant>

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Pio Bagel (DoBro)
Somehow I forgot that New York is famous for their bagels (I knew about the pizza, but missed my chance, grr).  This building is across the street from where I was staying and I didn’t consider going in until I saw a sign saying they carry gluten free ones.  Hold the phone!  The morning of my departure, I stopped in first thing. I appreciate these kinds of places since they’re tasked with feeding people on the way to work, in a sense, fueling America one morning at a time.
I went with the classic bagel with cream cheese.  And guess what, it tasted like the normal chewy bagel, unbelievable.  I took another one in sandwich form so I could later devour it on the plane.  I noticed they were generous with their meat and wrapped the whole thing twice with butcher paper – now that’s quality. I long to have one again, bagels will haunt my dreams for a while.

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made with love and sorcery

 


Straight Into Brooklyn

Go to New York City, they said.
It’ll be fun, they said.

On a sad gray Friday the 13th I drove to LAX and stood in the nauseating security line before boarding a plane.

Destination: New York City to see my cousin for his birthday.

After determining an engine problem my flight 415 deplaned and took over another aircraft originally destined for Las Vegas (sorry folks, but it only takes an hour, the casinos will still be there).  They were very organized and efficient in transferring us so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, ie canceling the flight altogether.

Close to landing, I looked out the window and was in awe of the glittering splendor of gold and silver lights strewn over expanses of homes and rivers.  “Welcome to New York,” said the flight attendant, which made me laugh.

I found myself alone at JFK 3am EST where a line of cab drivers heckled the arrivals exit hungry for passengers.  I was told to take the New Golden Horse Car Service, a Chinese company to fetch her royal highness for a better fee than a standard taxi.  I called and someone picked me up to head over to DoBro (downtown Brooklyn), up 34 floors and made it to the apartment to be greeted by the resident dog Koa, a noble character with more dignity than I could hope to possess.

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After an intense hugging session with Koa, I crashed on the couch next to the NYC skyline
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My work schedule trained me to wake before the dawn.  I could easily see everything from this window that looks upon the Manhattan skyline (Chrysler, Empire State Building, Freedom, Brooklyn Bridge, etc.) but I guess it’s time to go meet the famed metropolis up close.

Waiting for everyone else in my family to rise, I went out with my cousin to walk Koa, going through this swanky entrance on Bridge Street

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Then we made our way to the Myrtle Promenade

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After a yummy lunch, we were off to the screechy lurchy subway!


Love Notion #8: The Doll or the Dragon

Oh, I think I found myself a cheerleader/
she is always right there when I need her

– Cheerleader

Compared to women and their extensive lists of dealmakers/breakers, men have simple tastes.  From talking to guys in my life I gather this is a general outline of their ideal mate:

  • Makes me feel like I’m their hero
  • Encourages my hobbies
  • Motivates me to be the best man possible
  • Respects and believes in me
  • Doesn’t try to change me
  • Always sweet and loyal even when I fail

So a female version of Baymax, basically.

Sometimes I feel the pressure of performing the docile role given in Gone Girl. She’s every man’s dream: hot and understanding, “She doesn’t mind, she’s the coolest” – the definitive compliment because he is getting his way in whatever he wants. She enjoys sports, burping, video games, drinking, and junk food. When he is forgetful or inconsiderate there is no penalty, she just smiles and moves on. They’re not pretending to be the woman they want to be, they’re pretending to be the woman a man wants them to be.

Are all the above fair and realistic traits to ask for when considering a significant other? I comprehend these attributes conceptually but practicing them has been unsuccessful. It seems we have to compete to be like Samantha from the film Her, an operation system personality who loves without judgment. Of course I rebel at endorsement of easy going behavior, being contrary to the core, but others may not be so immune. Apparently image issues aren’t enough, women have to try to run a Stepford act to lure in a boyfriend as well.

So what is the type men try to avoid?

  • Opinionated and demanding
  • Criticizes decisions
  • Sensitive and amplifies situations out of proportion
  • Gets drunk on jealousy
  • Complains about everything
  • Acts like something is wrong but says it’s “nothing”
  • Plays mind games
  • Nags and brings up past grievances

The message is clear: chill = gold, crazy = fail. All the men in my tree tell me they steer miles away from women who possess these exciting features. Regrettably I have most of them in abundance and despair of becoming the former type that is so desirable.
Not that I would conform to popular standards for their own sake, but a lady who practices mercy, sees the good in everything, and never raises her voice – even if all that sounds so vanilla – is meritable.  I fail to give credit and assume the worst, acting as judge/ jury/ executioner. It doesn’t help that I forget guys have feelings since I’m so busy denying my emotions every day I inevitably fail to acknowledge them from others, which won’t serve in the long run.

I’m not quite sure which path to follow, but think there should be a fair balance of being one who is supportive and challenging at the same time. It’s a long unnatural road for me to restrain my cynical Daria voice. The best I have managed was to try setting aside my preferences and expectations.  That means everyone starts with 0 points and if something is done well, then it’s a pleasant surprise.  If things don’t work out, nothing is lost.  This immature strategy turns my regard into something conditional and any given situation is a test (but not for birthdays or anniversaries, sod those).

The way I see it, I’ll end up with someone who isn’t easily hurt by authoritative strength and enjoys bickering every day or find a peaceful drink of water who can handle the raging fires of my heart. Either way, I know that life is too short to pretend that I’m anything other than a moody hater so cheers to the brave soul who can tangle with a shrew like me. After all, even the psycho girls need love too.

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Many thanks to the inspirational post I Wasn’t Treating My Husband Fairly And It Wasn’t Fair


Profile: Anthony Bourdain

 

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A man of the world best known for his shows No Reservations, Layover, and recently Parts Unknown. He is living the dream – traveling and eating with all expenses paid.

Hotness factor
He has a certain rockstar quality. Tall and dressed usually in a button up shirt and jeans, he strolls foreign streets with swagger.  He’ll rough it camping with the locals and will dive into any exotic dish.  Ultra confident and adventurous, no wonder men and women alike swoon for him.

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Food Fan
Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one’s life.

As a chef he appreciates food on a deeper level than most, knowing what it takes to create a dish and hold a restaurant together.  He encourages viewers to leave their jobs and families in pursuit of incredible eats, an offer we all are keen to take watching him enjoy his meals. It’s made clear numerous times his number one love = sausage.

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Avoid the Obvious
Skip the Eiffel Tower.  Boo, London Eye.  Colosseum, nah.  Since the audience doesn’t want to see the same common landmarks, he’s got to mix it up a little.  On the occasions he has less than 48 hours he prefers to go to less crowded areas and hit local pubs so he can play and drink at leisure.

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Sarcasm
Tony hails from the kitchens of New York so you have to expect a crusty edge.  I love how he mocks guide books (apparently not rock n roll enough for him).  I guess he thinks he’s the final authority when journeying around the world.

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Nightmare List
What ruffles Tony’s chill?  A bar spontaneously bursting into song of course!  He was definitely not feeling London that night.  Also, mimes are just wrong in his book.

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Hipster Hatin’
His disdain of tights wearing preppies in fedoras swarming in hot spots is legendary.  Just say no to wheat bread and tahini.

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On California
Try as he may to fight it, he is all about the Inn N Out life, yo.  Between the beaches and opulent hotels and cruising in style, he knows he can get used to this.  And yes, our weather is absolutely glorious, thanks for noticing!

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Global Bridges
A white male shows us he is unafraid to enter ethnic restaurants and rough it in remote areas.  In this way he is our key to places to see and people to connect with.  We realize there is so much out there we are missing out on if only we take the first step.

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Thanks Tony, for showing folks like me how to hit the roads less traveled!

*dedicated to JSJ*