A Peculiar guy named Geremy

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Passion Shows!

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Have you ever met someone who was passionate about fruit? So passionate that they treated each piece as if they’re a brain surgeon and successfully slicing fruit was a life or death situation?

During my trip to California last month, I witnessed three inspiring examples of extreme passion: 1) A Burger Joint, 2) A Doctor of Fruit Preparation, and 3) A Massive Museum.

In-N-Out
DELICIOUS In-N-Out

When I landed in Los Angeles, the first and most crucial task was to go to In-N-Out burger and max-out on my daily allotted calories. In-N-Out is a fast food restaurant chain that specializes in a simple menu (burgers, fries, and drinks) prepared with great quality. The only problem that I’ve found is that they haven’t opened a restaurant on the East Coast (please fix this, In-N-Out). Not only is the price ridiculously low for the quality of meal received, but they know how to make an amazing burger, especially compared to the terrible excuses for burgers that I’ve become used to in New Jersey.

I went to In-N-Out nearly every day while in California and each time it was filled with people. Their burger tasted like they took a calf, raised it to be an upstanding citizen of the farm, then sent it to a good university so it can be filled with the hope of a bright future, then humanely killed it so it can be assembled into the finest burger for Geremy’s consumption. Not only was the food great, but every worker seemed like it was their life’s dream to grow up to be an In-N-Out burger technician. In-N-Out was amazing and I was inspired by their passion for burgers.

Joe Mendez’s Fruit Stand
Joe Mendez's Fruit Stand

To balance-out the millions of calories eaten at In-N-Out, I found a stand to buy fruit. This was when I discovered Joe Mendez—a man who cut fruit as if he is an international champion at the game Fruit Ninja. Joe always had a long line at his fruit stand, but when it was finally my turn I realized what all the hype was about.

I was new to the fruit stand scene, so I ordered something simple: “Give me a medium sack of fruit.” I didn’t know if he heard me because he didn’t look at me at all. In fact, Joe never looked at anything besides his fruit ever. Even when he went to his van to get more fruit, he continued to stare at his fruit. This man loves fruits! Since I didn’t use the typical fruit-ordering vernacular, I stood out as a fruit stand newbie and he probably recognized this.

He heard my vague request and immediately went to town. He arranged a symphony of fruits for my “sack” and he sliced them with a level of care and determination that led me to believe that he was a surgeon in a past life. While he was assembling my fruit, he handed me a few slices of mango to eat while waiting. The amazing thing was that even when he handed me the mango, he never stopped chopping the other fruits with his two hands…I think he had a third arm that came out of his back and handed me the mangoes. I don’t know.

Delicious Fruit from Joe Mendez

Before he handed me the bag, he squeezed 3 limes in the bag and poured some red dust on my fruit. I was almost outraged. I thought, “I didn’t ask for red dust and lime!!” Right as I was about to ask him to wash the fairy dust and sour juice from my fruits, he handed the bag to me and said, “Five dollars.” Five dollars for a sack of fruits?!?! This is the deal of the century! I gave him the money and walked back to the car, only slightly annoyed by the two unwanted additions to my otherwise perfect bag of fruits. As soon as I sat in the car, I tasted the first piece of fruit and OHMYGOODNESSITWASAMAZING!

The juxtaposition between the tart taste of the lime juice and red glitter powder with the sweet fruit made my tastebuds quiver with excitement. I don’t curse, but this bag of fruits made me want to use a few expletives. Joe was a wizard of his craft and he knew how to chop a glorious bag of fruits. For comparison, fruits from another stand were purchased and it couldn’t even come near the excellency of Joe’s fruit creations.

Getty Museum
The Getty Villa

Since my stomach remained delighted by the food offerings in LA, I needed to go somewhere that my mind could be delighted as well. I visited the Getty Museum and the Getty Villa, which were both created by a ridiculously rich man named J. Paul Getty who worked in the oil industry but was passionate about art. He loved art so much that he would invite his friends over to see his art, but then his collection grew so large that he bought a separate estate just for it. That estate is the amazing Getty Villa, which can be visited for free…thanks Paul!

Eventually, the massive 64 acre didn’t have enough space for the collection, so a second 110 acre location was opened—complete with waterfalls and a monorail. This second location, the Getty Museum, was also free for the public to visit and is one of the best museums in the United States, if not the world. I visited these two sites and the passion shows in every corner of both estates…lots and lots of passion!

The Getty Museum

This was the second time that I visited the museum. The first visit can be seen in this video clip at the 4 minute 12 second mark.

When I thought back on these three places that inspired me, I realized a few common trends:

Passion Shows – When someone is really passionate about something, you can see it in their work.
Passion Energizes – When I visited all three places, the people working there were filled with energy. It was obvious that they loved with they did and they did what they loved.
Passion Attracts – There were no shortage of people at Joe’s stand, at In-N-Out or at the Getty Museum, even though I didn’t see a single advertisement anywhere for them. Customers and visitors were naturally drawn to these places because of passion and a job well done.
Consistency – Each place consistently delivered excellent results. This made me want to visit more and more.
Focus – They focused on what they did best: Fruit, Burgers, and Art. They didn’t try to be all things to all people.
Not motivated by money – These three experiences were the three most underpriced things that I encountered during my visit. The weren’t motivated by money, but by their passion.

The two biggest lessons that I learned were that I need to have an unwavering pursuit of my passions, and I need to book another trip to LA ASAP!!

View the other photos from my trip to California here.

Chock Full o’Peculiar

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The worst possible way to work on three important things is to focus on all three at the same time. But apparently I’m a glutton for punishment and I chose to work on the Peculiar PPL logo, shirt design, and website overhaul at the same time. Today is the magical day that I can finally check-off all three items from my to-do list as I release all three to the public. Allow me to tell you the excruciating details about each project.

The Peculiar PPL Logo

The New Peculiar PPL Logomark

From the beginning, I’ve always wanted a Peculiar PPL “mark” in addition to a logo, but I didn’t want to rush and create a subpar design. Now that the brand is on the cusp of exponential growth, I wanted the branding to grow as well. I wanted a fresh perspective, so I enlisted the help of artists who came up with a number of different concepts. Here are a few of the logo concepts that I didn’t make the cut:

Logo Concepts

Logo Concepts

Logo Concepts

Logo Concepts

Logo Concepts

Logo Concepts

Logo Concepts

Logo Concepts

In the end, the logo that I went with was one that depicted a Peculiar hand reaching for a star, and the entire logo is in the shape of a P, for Peculiar. This logo reflects every aspect of the brand with one image. Each person is reaching for their individual “star” and Peculiar PPL exists to inspire and enable Peculiar PPL to do so. Here’s a mock-up of how the logos would work together in the future, when we have a nice, swanky Peculiar PPL boutique.

The Peculiar Shirt
For this design, I enlisted the help of a very talented artist from Spain. I wanted a design that said “Peculiar” in a simple, elegant way without being too distracting or ornamental. Here are a couple iterations of the drafts that we worked on:

Peculiar PPL Concepts

Peculiar PPL Concepts

In the end, I selected the image for the newest shirt, and got it in both cranberry and black. Then I ordered hem tags for each shirt in order to compliment the design with the Peculiar PPL logo. Here’s the finished product, that you can order on PeculiarPPL.com

Black I Am Peculiar shirt

The Website

With the website, I had three goals in mind:
1. Simple
2. Mobile Friendly
3. Informative product pages

After working on the site for three months, I was almost ready to launch when I felt like bride who is having second thoughts on the night before her wedding. The design didn’t seem as good as it had the potential to be, so I trashed the entire thing and started working on a new version. Then, when I was ready to launch the second time, I had the idea to put invisible models on each t-shirt product page, and each video took hours to create and implement. Then the three weeks leading up to the launch had so many tiny hiccups that required late nights and lots of technical support. Somehow I was able to pull it off and launch a user-friendly site with secure, encrypted account management and checkout pages, even though I’m not a web designer by any means.

The end result is a website that will serve as the foundation for many new additions in the future. I’m confident that the website is solid and scaleable enough to grow as the brand grows, and I’m looking forward to hearing feedback from people who use the site to make purchases.

Now that these things are finished, I’ve got so many other Peculiar PPL related things to launch. Since I’ll be making all announcements on www.PeculiarPPL.com and on the associated social networks (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram), follow the brand there to see what is coming next in the wonderful Peculiar world.

I quit my full time job to focus on this full-time, so if you want to help support the growth of the brand (and my business endeavors), feel free to purchase a product or ten from www.PeculiarPPL.com. I’ll love you for it.

Happy Birthday to G!

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August 3rd marked the 24th anniversary of my existence on this world. While I didn’t pay much attention to my birthday, the important people in my life saw it as an opportunity to give me lots and lots of stuff.

A few notable gifts that I must point out:

1) Birthday Cake, Geremy Edition
Birthday Cake!

White/Coconut cake with butter creme frosting. Decorated with my huge “G-Head” logo and 24’s in my favorite color. This cake was as huge as a wedding cake and tasted absolutely delicious.

2) Necktie, Geremy Edition
G-Head Tie

G-Head logo tiled on a tie. I plan on wearing this tie to my wedding!!

3) Roland “One Man Band” Synthesizer
Roland Juno Di Synthesizer
With this synthesizer, I can add batteries and plug in a USB memory stick, a microphone and a speaker and BAM I’ve got a one man traveling band! Everyone is invited to my shows!!

Thanks to all who made my birthday feel extra-special. Now that I’m 24 years old, I plan on coming up with a greater plan to make this year the greatest year ever. Maybe this might be the year that I finally get the opportunity to purchase a zebra!

My Mini Camera Crew

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Flip Mino HD Camera

A series of interesting day-to-day experiences and run-ins have confirmed what I always knew–I need a reality show to capture my life on video. I realized that a 24hr television crew might be a little expensive to have on payroll, so I began searching for cheaper alternatives and found the Flip Mino HD camera.

The camera is smaller than my cell phone, so it is portable and light enough to be at my side during all of my adventures. Now I am fully prepared to capture footage of any unbelievable phenomenon that I witness, like an African water buffalo whistling dixie on the highway, or mysterious people trying to pounce on me.

Miss Sterious on the Prowl

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A week ago I was violated in a weird kind of way and I am finally comfortable enough to write about it.

It was a great Friday–the sun was out, birds were chirping and Geremy was happy, but he needed a Dunkin Donuts’ iced caramel latte with extra caramel to make him happier. When I entered Dunkin Donuts it was apparent that I was not the only person desiring an iced latte because the store had a long line of other people with a latte on their agenda.

I quietly stood in line and waited for my turn to place an order when I was hugged from behind by a mysterious person–let’s call her Miss Sterious. While Miss Serious embraced me, she loudly whispered into my right ear, “you look really nice in that pink shirt!” I responded, “thank you” and stepped forward to release myself from the uncomfortable touch of the unfamiliar woman. She continued by saying “…my husband refuses to wear pink shirts because those men follow him around.” I turned to fully look at the person who I was speaking to when I realized that Sterious is a middle-aged woman with a big smile and (I kid you not) TWO visible teeth. I smiled and stepped further forward while I thought “pleeeease hurry up!”

“Next person in line!”

I stepped forward, placed my order, and stepped to the side as they began to build my drink. Terious continued speaking with her outdoor voice, “…my husband walked into the Century 21 Department store and the men followed him around because of his pink shirt *laughs HEARTILY*. HE CAME HOME AND RIPPED OFF THE SHIRT! HE SAID, ‘BABE, I’M NOT WEARIN THAT THING NO MO’ *more hearty laughs*.” Seconds later, my drink was ready and I quickly walked away to escape from the conversation-trap of Miss Sterious.

I wouldn’t be surprised if she appeared at my house in the near future, wearing a pink shirt and laughing heartily as she screams “PUT THAT SWEET PINK SHIRT BACK ON!”

I have officially retired the pink shirt!

A Peculiar guy named Geremy