4/16/08: Virginia – COMPLETED (with complications)

Four days after returning from Massachusetts, I left New Jersey en route to Virginia for a work related assignment with a client.  Although the trip’s intention was not for fun, I made sure to enjoy the experience of traveling to a new state.  The drive to Virginia was great but the drive back was long and rough because of the traffic associated with the Pope’s appearance in the Washington DC area.
The worst part of the trip was when I stopped to refuel at an Exxon gas station.  I got out of the car, lifted the fuel hose to stick it into my gas tank and a few ounces of gas residue dripped onto my pants.  I started smelling like a pyromaniac and the “sweet savor” of 93 octane fuel embedded itself into my slacks.

As my last precautionary measure to avoid any other hiccups in the drive back home, I went to use the public bathroom in the Exxon.  As soon as I entered the bathroom my eyes began to water from the strong stench that smelled like a mix of excretion, train smoke, and vinegar. After I left the bathroom, the smell was still stuck in my nose and I kept having weird flashbacks of the nightmare-riffic bathroom.  The combination of the bathroom’s smell and the smell of my gas-pants made me want to vomit, and I had to live with it for 6 hours.

When I got home, I passed out in my room until 10am the next day.  I didn’t get the smell out of my nose until yesterday–13 days later.

I weathered the storm

Ferocious Weather Conditions

The drive back to NJ from MA was ferocious and weather conditions made it tough to drive. As soon as I got on the highway, raindrops the size of 8lb newborn babies started falling from the sky. As if this wasn’t bad enough, the sun turned on its high-beams and focused its light directly on my windshield. Nevertheless, I got home safe and successfully completed my 1st mission to Boston, MA.

So I redesigned..

After spending long hours in Panera bread over the last week and a half, I finally redesigned. Go look around!

The Boston Fellow

I met a young man in Boston who was 2 years old but had the mental capability of someone twice his age. Introducing my greatest friend’s (Erika’s) godson. When I pulled out my camera to take a picture of him, he stuck his arm out and said “iwaa-takea-pikta,” which Erika quickly translated into “he said that he wants to take a picture.”

I liked his pro-activeness!

Before handing him the camera, I insisted on taking my pictures of him. First he showed me his happy face….


…then he showed me his “angry face” (which was the exact same expression as the happy face, except he squeezed his hands closed really tightly to properly communicate the angriness)

Cutest Kid Ever

Then I handed him the camera to take his own pictures, which came out a lot better than the ones I took…

Avaughn's Picture 1 Avaughn's Picture 2


Car with an Identity Crisis

The Smart Car

A few weeks ago, I managed to convince myself that it would be greatly beneficial for me to get a Smart Car for making short trips and running errands. After a bit of research I found out that Boston had a Smart car dealership, so I paid the “Smarties” a visit.

It became painfully obvious that I’d never seen a Smart car in-person because as soon as I saw the car parked outside of the showroom, I began hysterically laughing. All current and future Smart car owners, please stop misleading the public into thinking that the Smart car is actually a car–it is more like a 4-wheel Vespa with a roof.

After looking at the three happy-looking cars on the showroom floor, I decided that I would spring for the top-of-the-line Smart “Passion” coupe with the optional in-dash GPS. I summoned a salesman and asked to take the toy out for a drive around the town. After getting some information from me we were on our way.

A few initial observations:

  • The “Smart” is not an appropriate name for this toy. It should be named “The Confusing Car” because I’m STILL confused about how a 6ft man could comfortably fit into a 6ft long car without falling out of the back tailgate
  • I couldn’t figure out where the engine was or if it even had an engine. My guess is that there are 30 heroin-injected rats on a conveyer belt powering the car’s 4 bicycle wheels
  • The Smart doesn’t feel at all; however, I couldn’t help but feel dopey while driving it

I pulled out of the dealership’s parking lot and floored the accelerator, hoping to produce a roaring engine sound to scare the Mercedes drivers who were on the side of me, but instead I heard the car emit a noise that was akin to what I’d imagine a dying worm to sound like. I was disappointed already, but the test drive wasn’t over.

At 20 mph I felt like the back bicycle-esque wheel would fall off, leaving me to toss the car into my back pocket and walk back to the dealership. I felt unsafe and I needed to get out of the death trap.

When the test drive was over, I basically told the salesman that if I purchased the car my mother would disown me, my father would ban me from ever admitting that we were related, my friends would suddenly stop answering my calls and all I’d be left with is the fun-sized “smart car.” Unfortunately all of these things are not worth the sacrifice to gain a car that is smaller than my cell phone’s battery.

No thanks.

4/12/08 – Boston, MA – COMPLETED

On Saturday morning at 6:30 am, I left the house with my GPS, two cell phones and an umbrella on hand and I drove north. I was driving to Boston, Massachusetts and had a ton of motivation to keep me entertained throughout the four hour drive.

I had an aggressive itinerary in place, which included:

  • visiting the Smart Car dealership to place an order for the smart car that I wanted so badly
  • visiting The Johnny Cupcakes Store, a wonderful example of a self-made, self-driven multi-millionaire who achieved success through his own uniqueness
  • visiting Bodega–undoubtedly the best and most exclusive sneaker store on the East Coast, known only to sneakerheads like myself
  • and, most importantly, dropping in for a surprise birthday visit to my friend Erika six days before her birthday. I’m random like that.

Overall, I would consider the trip to be a huge success and a great kickoff to my Great Exploration plan. Over the next few days I will be covering the lessons-learned, things discovered, and random points of entertainment that I experienced during this trip.

…and for the record, I was disappointed to find out that the sweeping stereotypes were wrong and not everyone spoke with the widely-fabled “BAWSTON” accent.

The Great Exploration

The United States is a huge place and I haven’t seen enough of it since I’ve been in school all of my life. I live in a beautiful little town with a little over 10,000 people, but there is so much more out there in this world. That is why I am starting my newest endeavor:

My goal is to venture out of my small town in New Jersey and see the rest of the world, starting with the United States. As I travel, I will admire the scenery of the various states, collect and understand the habits and customs of non-jersey folks, pick up some friends on the way, and hopefully pick up some ideas for future endeavours. My ultimate goal in life is to build a conglomerate into an empire, in which I will preside as the King/Emperor and should bring me one step closer to my destiny.

My adventure has already begun, but there is so much more ground to cover…

The Corporate Naptime Experiment

This weekend I finished my second book of my 2008 book collection titled, The Ten Faces of Innovation. The book had a lot of great suggestions, but one idea seemed a little far-fetched and I am planning on putting it to the test.

The author, Tom Kelley, suggests the following:

  • “Some of the most prolific and creative people in history have been day-time nappers”
  • “With a good nap in the middle of the day, perhaps you could get two peaks, like having two mornings in the same day”
  • “Naps can have a tremendous restorative effect”
  • “One Harvard study showed that a mid-day nap reduced ‘information overload'”
  • “Twenty minutes…seems to be an optimum amount of napping time to awake refreshed without feeling groggy”
  • “Sometimes the best thing you can do for your performance at a critical meeting or presentation is to sleep on it”

Beginning today, March 31st and ending Friday April 4th, I will begin taking 20 minute naps during my work lunchtime hour to observe its effect on my after-lunchtime performance. I will return with a full debrief when the experiment concludes. Hopefully the mid-day nap will make me into the young-buff-trim heart throb superstar that I desired to be when I was in the third grade.

Cratered again!

Exactly 6 days after having my wheel welded and straightened back to normal, I hit another pothole on the highway, leaving the wheel more bent than before in the EXACT SAME SPOT. Thanks to the great people at my wheel shop, I have a new rim being rushed to me this week at a discounted price.

I need to begin thinking of creative ways to immortalize this problematic wheel forever–maybe a coffee table or a chair?