The Quality in Shuttles Drops Off Rapidly When You Move from “Space” to “Airport”

I’m in the taxi line at LaGuardia. It’s so long I can’t even see the taxis. My ride home was a theoretical concept at this point.

As the snaking line shrinks in size, LGA representatives bark at us to go somewhere else to catch an Uber. My phone being dead, this does me no good. My best hope at this point is for one of them to say, “Giant ass carrier pigeons are taking people for rides back,” or to just wait it out.

The massive pigeon never came. I was there for the long haul.

I get to the end of the line only to realize I’m being put into an….airport shuttle? Which is taking me somewhere else to catch a taxi. I mean, I hope it is. I asked no one. It could’ve been taking me to enlist in a cult and all I would have said while barely looking up from my phone would be, “Yeah whatever, hey do they take card?”

The shuttle drives us to another line to wait in to catch taxis. I thought this was amazing because airport shuttles are bad enough to ride. This one somehow made that experience worse: it took us from one shitty form of transportation to an even shittier one. I was afraid the taxi was going to drop me off saying, “This should get you the rest of the way,” as I load onto an old-school push cart with a hobo on it.

The amount of drop off in shuttle quality from the two different type of shuttles is pretty astounding.

Space: takes us to explore the outer depths of the unknown.

Airport: takes us to the C terminal, making us kick ourselves for not getting there a half hour earlier.

Space: its crew, the astronauts, gave our country a generation’s worth of heroes.

Airport: Makes you late for your connection while you think, “Shit. Guess I’ll have time to get Chick-Fil-A now that I”m not making this.”

Space: People everywhere, even as the program has been retired, want to ride it.

Airport: People everywhere, even as they realize it’s the only way to get to their plane, want to not ride it and would rather just not take their trip.

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There’s No Way the Squirrel Outside My House is Getting Inside

There is one squirrel in my neighborhood, and it wants to break into my house.

A note of warning: I have a bad history with squirrels.

I don’t know how that one time the squirrel got into my apartment. Maybe there was a hole in the wall I couldn’t see. Maybe he picked the lock. Maybe it teleported from an alternate universe where squirrels have mastered interdimensional travel and teleportation and we humans are climbing trees naked looking for nature nuts.

Whatever happened, he got in. It rocked me so much that not only did I write a blog about it (linked above), I based an episode of my web series on the experience.

So believe me when I say that this new threat? This squirrel in my neighborhood, outside my front door?

Yeah…it’s not getting in this time.

Before we move on, here’s how I know it’s trying to get in: every morning when I get home from the gym around 7:30, it’s in the little garden area outside my front door. It looks at me and squeaks, in what I can only assume is an adversarial gesture meant to elicit food donations.

It’s not yelling at me for nothing. It’s not like it’s got some squirrel world conspiracy theories rattling around it’s pea-size brain it needs to get out.

“What’s that you say? Those two trees in the park coming down was an inside job? Yeah, we know, Squirrel. The park is taking those down to build a jungle gym. No need to create an intricate, hour-long YouTube video over this.”

I’ve only noticed the thing recently, and I’m pretty sure it thinks it can get inside for food. I mean I don’t know what kind of logic a squirrel would use, or if they use it, but I feel like, “These people may have one kind of nut in their living quarters” is a solid bet for this thing. He’s wrong on our count, but I’m sure the upstair neighbors have almonds or cashews or something like that.

Last time this happened to me, I wasn’t prepared. I am this time. Here’s my strategy to keeping this beast out of my apartment:

Direct, Unblinking Eye Contact: I’ll alpha the shit out of this little bastard. Every day when I get home and it’s hopping around looking for an in, I’ll just stare right at it. This is straight out of prison rules. I won’t avert my gaze and prove it’s the dominant animal here. I’m the king. And if you come for the king’s Ritz Crackers, you best not miss.

Running Into My House Like, Really Fast: Not the most alpha maneuver, but this one uses common sense.

Enlist the Neighborhood Cats to Eat It: The enemy of my enemy is my friend. I may not like the feral cats stalking my neighborhood, but they don’t try to invite themselves over. If I can break them off with an extra meal and take care of one of my problems, that’s a win-win. Plus I feel like that may buy some goodwill with them in the future. Why I would need a stray cat’s goodwill, I have no idea. But I’m sure I can think up something.

Set a Home Alone Like Trap Using a Bunch of Acorns and a Blow Torch: I’m not a “cruelty to animals” guy. I wouldn’t want to burn the critter. However, comically torching its head ot make it bald ala Joe Pesci in Home Alone while teaching it to never come back again? THAT I can do.

That’s the extent of my strategy. I’m not sure if I’m planning to use one, or a combination of all four in concert with each other, but what I am sure of is that no squirrel will ever get inside my apartment. Unless it teleports from another squirrel-superior dimension, in which case, maybe it could tell me when I die or something cool like that.

Be Like the Crockpot

Think about the last meal you ate out of a crockpot.

If you’re having trouble, I’ll spoil the surprise for you: it was delicious.

It’s the most underrated kitchen appliance. No meal you associate with it can possibly turn out bad.

Pot roast?

Heaven.

Soup?

Makes Progresso look like an amateur.

Chili?

Doesn’t matter if it’s over nachos, rice, or straight into my hands, it’s amazing.

You could put the remnants of a compost heap in a slow cooker for eight hours and it probably wouldn’t even turn out bad. Throw it over some mashed potatoes, you’ve got an eco-friendly Sunday dinner.

And not only does it taste good, it creates multiple meals you can save up. If there’s ever an apocalypse, with only enough energy left over to fuel one thing in your house, you’d use the slow cooker. “Well, zombies may have overtaken the neighborhood, but at least I’ll have enough beef bouringnon to last the rest of this decade.”

Which brings me to the only drawback of the slow cooker…

It’s…umm…slow.

Every other cooking device is designed for speed. Not the crockpot. The crockpot is always going to take it’s sweet ass time. While the microwave is busting it’s ass trying to get you your leftovers heated up in record time, the crockpot’s picking it’s teeth saying, “Nah…you’ll wait.”

There’s a bigger lesson there. They say good things come to those who wait, and nowhere is that more prevalent than when you make a meal out of a crockpot.

Think about what you use the slow cooker for compared to what you use the other, quicker devices for:

Crockpot: glazed pork ribs with white beans.

Microwave: last night’s pizza.

Crockpot: a hearty beef and vegetable-based stew that tastes like Sunday dinners back home.

Microwave: Marie Callender’s ice-block beef stroganoff.

Crockpot: Korean barbeque, with a side of perfectly spiced cabbage and pickles.

Microwave: a Hot Pocket.

They’re like a food time capsule: they give you a glimpse into what you were hungry for 8 hours ago in the past, before you left for work. It’s the only appliance where you start your task looking one way and might be unrecognizable by the end. If I ever started a slow cooker recipe website, I’d include blog posts on it like “How to Trim the Long, White Beard You Grew While You Were Waiting for the Chorizo to Finish Up.” Or maybe, “Now That You’re Enjoying the Dinner You Started Cooking 15 Years Ago, Here’s How to Manage that Pesky Osteoperosis.”

And you better be DAMN SURE you want whatever it is you’re preparing to cook, because the entire house is going to smell like that for weeks. “Well, I BETTER like this pot roast, because every shirt I own is going to smell like one for the next two weeks.”

There’s no way around it, the slow cooker is an inconvenient device. But by delaying gratification, the crockpot forces you to wait for quality. That’s something all of us could apply in our every day lives.

The crockpot is cocky. It KNOWS it’s value, and it KNOWS it’s going to take you a long ass time to make whatever it is you’re using it to make. It doesn’t care. Forget freezer burned chicken nuggets that take less than two minutes to make. Commit to a plan, damn it! The fruits you bear on the other side of it when you start a meal in one century and finish it in the other are great.

That’s why if I have the choice, in all parts of my life, I’m trying to be like the crockpot.

This is Your Moment, Feral Cats

I have something like 18 alley cats in my neighborhood.

I’m not sure of the exacty number as it always seems to be growing.

I don’t like cats, but as far as cats go, these are good cats. I don’t bother them. They don’t bother me.

Yesterday I walked past a dead mouse on the street. Sad, but I wasn’t going to move it.

I walked outside about an hour after my initial encounter with the deceased rodent. It was still there.

If ever someone needed a Bill Belichick in their life to drop a “Do your job” on them, it was my neighborhood’s cats.

What is this, your off day? You taking PTO? I see you literally begging every human who walks by for food. You’ve conned that poor woman at the end of the block into scooping tuna out her window onto the street. Thanks for that smell, by the way.

A dead mouse on the street is the feral cat Super Bowl. It’s what they train their whole lives for.

Someone on this block – not me as like I said, I hate cats – needs to hire the cat version of Tony Robbins to come in and pump these guys up.

If You’re Going to Haunt Me, At Least Be Helpful

There’s a hand truck in front of my building. It’s been there for two nights. No idea where it came from and no one has claimed it.

The likely explanation? It’s garbage.

My explanation? Much more fun. Here’s what I like to think happened:

My apartment is haunted. Whatever spirit resides here wants me out.

Sounds scary, right?

But it’s not. You see, this apparition doesn’t just want me out…it’s bringing me moving equipment to help the transition.

You’ve got to appreciate a ghost who gives you the tools you need to make their desired reality come alive. By next week I’m expecting a stack of Home Depot boxes. Maybe a Post-It with the words “Take Your Time” written in spooky lettering.

And finally, the piece de reistance: a spectral U-Haul hovering above my bed at night, with yet another note reading, “Seriously, get out. I’ve given you plenty of notice. Don’t cost me the deposit for this Ghost U-Haul, or as we ghosts call it, the Undead-Haul.”

Why I Wake Up Early Every Day (But Not Too Early)

I like getting a jump start to my day. I work out, I write jokes, I get alert before the start of business hours so I can take care of what I need to take care of before anyone can bother me.

But it is possible to wake up TOO early.

Take Mark Wahlberg. He wakes up every morning at 2:30 a.m.

That’s not early in the morning. That’s late from the day before.

That’s so early that even your alarm isn’t up then. Try to set it on your phone. It will most likekly come right back with, “What’s this for? Early flight? You need a reminder for when half hour last call is? I can’t just set an alarm for that time, buddy. I need a valid excuse. That’s an insane time to want this service I offer. Tell you what, I’ll set it for 5:30 and I’ll see you then.”

I’m almost positive that’s what your iPhone would tell you.

I get that it’s different for someone who’s rich and famous. He has a private gym he can work out in. But a normal person? You can’t go the gym at 2:30 in the morning. You’ll be on the streets with either the people still out from the night before or the other psychopaths up this early. Bad combo.

2:30 a.m. are prime burgling hours. In fact, it’s actually RUDE to the burglars out there, working hard to make a dishonest living. Imagine power-walking past some poor joker picking the lock on someone’s back door. “Do you mind? I’m trying to make a living over here!’

Finally, let’s say you want to get up at 2:30 a.m. to do work. Assuming you’re not working with people overseas, do you really want to communicate with people who are ALSO emailing you at 2:30 in the morning?

That’s the “text from a jilted lover” time frame for communication.

If I get an email at 2:30 in the morning, I don’t care how many spreadsheets or documents are in it for my review. I’m going to assume you’re mad about a bad date or something.

A Word on Why Egg Whites Suck

Egg whites are bullshit.

Do they have less calories than whole eggs? Yes.

But it’s like an egg without the flavor. Without the character.

Compared to regular eggs, egg whites feel like an egg that didn’t take a gap year to travel abroad and find itself.

If there was a party with all the breakfast foods, who’s the last one you’d want to be stuck in a corner talking to? Who would be the one prattling on about how much protein they have, checking their pulse every few seconds, probably talking about getting a quick jog in?

Undoubtedly: egg whites.

Egg whites are what you order to make everyone else at brunch feel guilty. “Yeah, I’ll have the healther version of what all these pigs are getting? Can I also get a crown that says, ‘Healthiest Boy in the Land’ on the front of it?”

The true sign you know egg whites suck: buy a carton of egg whites some time. You’ll notice that on the side of it, there are a list of ways you can use egg whites.

You know a food sucks when the box has to convince you to eat it.

The brand name of it may as well be, “Egg Whites: Before You Put Us Down, Hear Us Out!”

Think about it. Ice cream doesn’t have to do that. It doesn’t need a side hustle. You’ve never seen an ice cream container that says, “Breyer’s French Vanilla: PERFECT if you have a bruise and you need the swelling to go down.”