A Peculiar guy named Geremy

CategoryGeneral

I Think I Rented a Stolen Car…

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I just returned from a four day adventure in Los Angeles with my compadre Jordan and it started in the most riveting (bad) way.  

I travel a lot, so I’ve got the logistics planning down to a tee:  1) Book the flight using a deal from Secret Flying or Google Flights, 2) Reserve a place to stay from AirBnb or Trip Advisor, and 3) Book a rental car from CarRentalSavers or Costco Travel.  This model has worked perfectly for the hundreds of times that I’ve traveled, but this time I wanted to have a more riveting (good) experience, so I took a different route with the rental car.

I heard about a car rental service called Turo, which was described as “the AirBnb for cars.” I gave it a try because the traditional car rental companies at LAX airport charged upwards of $350 for an Isetta-sized car.  I browsed the listings on Turo and saw a beautiful Infiniti Q60 for just $30 a day, so I decided to go for it.  I should have known that I was in for a riveting (bad) experience when the vehicle’s owner didn’t have a chin in his profile photo.

The flight to LA went swimmingly, except for the part when the pilot wanted to create a more riveting (bad) experience, so he SLAMMED the jet onto the tarmac upon landing, but that okay.  The Uber ride to the car lot also went perfectly because the Uber driver didn’t try to sell us his mixtape or try to convert us to Scientology.  But then when we went to the pick up the car from the lot where it was held, the attendant seemed to be very confused about the car’s existence. 

I told the attendant that I was there for the white Infiniti Q60 and he said “what Q60?”  I showed him the confirmation screen, gave him the confirmation number and I even showed him the picture of the chin-less car owner.  He said “hmmm…. let me look around.”  This is when things got riveting (bad).  

Attendant: “We don’t have that car.”
Me: “Where’d it go?”  
Attendant: “I don’t know.  I’ve never seen it.”  

I immediately called the chin-less man and said “where can I find the Infiniti Q60 that I rented?”
Chin-less: “Someone stole my password?”  
Me: “I don’t know… where is the car?”  
Chin-less: “My password.”
Me: “Password to what?”  
Chin-less: “Let me speak to the Turo boy.”  

I assumed that he was talking about the parking lot attendant, so I handed my phone over and they spoke for about 3 minutes. Then the “turo boy” hung up and told me “someone stole his password.”  
Me: “What does his password have to do with the car?”  
Turo Boy: “I don’t know. Stolen?”
What does that even mean?!?!
 
Me: “Where’s the car?”
Turo Boy: “I don’t know, but [the chin-less man] said that he will find another car and bring it to you at 1:30.”  

No way…I don’t want him to find me another stolen car… I want him to find this car….and his chin.

Instead of causing a riveting (bad) situation for everyone around me, I gently took an Uber to the Budget Car Rental counter and gently rented a compact car for more than twice the price of the stolen car.  When we walked to the parking lot, we found a gentle, bright red VW Beetle with a smile on its little face, eager to join us on our journey.  To make this riveting (bad) situation better, I noticed that this little gentle Beetle had “Turbo” written on the back.  A gentle car with the punch of a turbo!!!  It reminded me of myself in 7th grade when I was known as the quiet kid but still “accidentally” punched Sharif in the mouth when he threw me on the ground and hurt my back.

I was annoyed at this riveting (bad) situation, but then we went to In-N-Out and had a riveting (good) burger that immediately dissolved any ounce of upsettedness in my body. That’s when I was able to put things into perspective and realize that God was probably saving me from another disastrous situation with the car since my last run-in with a white Infiniti Q60 ended with me abandoning the car.

I really enjoyed turbo-ing around the town with the Beetle, and I especially liked the fact that I didn’t have to worry about driving around a stolen Infiniti from a shady, chin-less man who can’t keep track of his passwords.

Note: The profile photo that the man used was a photoshopped photo of himself and he doesn’t actually lack a chin. However, I don’t know how I looked at his profile photo and thought “YES! That’s the trustworthy chin-less face that I’d like to rent a car from!”

Diet to the Extreme

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When I was a teenager, I ate everything and didn’t gain a pound. When I was in my 20’s, I ate everything and gained a few pounds, but then I would play for 15 minutes all of the added weight would magically disappear.

But when I turned 30, I’d eat a slice of lettuce with a drop of French dressing and as soon as it made contact with my tastebuds, I would immediately gain 45 lbs. Even if I worked out every single day for the rest of the month, I’d lose two of the 45 pounds and then the remaining weight would stay with me forever in the weirdest places, like my elbows.  Turning 30 was a trap!  Don’t turn 30…skip it.

A few weeks ago, my sister suggested that we diet for a month and I agreed because I’m a supportive brother and I want her to share with me if she ever won the Mega Millions jackpot. So 14 days ago we started a strict eating plan based on the keto diet.  With the diet, you’re instructed to limit your carbs and calories so your body can destroy your fat like how Godzilla destroyed that train that one time.

I thought that I’d be so weak that I wouldn’t have energy to blink, but I was surprised when the opposite happened.  I find myself feeling full all day with 1/4 of the food that I usually eat and the best part is that a few wonderful people have volunteered to help me prepare meals.  One of those wonderful people is my mom who has apparently become an expert at making delicious keto meals.

During the last batch of meal prep, my mom created the meals (pictured above) which consist of cauliflower rice, salmon with peppers, spinach, zucchini, curry chicken, broccoli, curry shrimp, and mushrooms.  Do you remember the first time you played in snow?  Or do you remember receiving your first tax return check?  Her meals taste like that…like happiness!

A few months ago, my dad did the same diet and he lost so much weight that people thought that he was my older, more stately brother, but despite its results I remained a skeptic. Now that I’m 14 days into the process, I can’t believe that I didn’t try it earlier.  I’ve committed to remaining on the diet for another 10 days and then I’m going to spend a week binge-eating like a king. I am going to fly across the country to get the best cheeseburger and then I’m going to eat it and regret nothing. If I happen to gain 100 lbs from binge eating during that week, it’s fine because my friend Keto’s has my back!

If you want to track my eating adventures in 14 days, follow me on Instagram and watch my stories.  They’ll consist of lots and lots and lots [and lots] of food. 

I can’t Believe Judy’s Gone!

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In 1969, I was negative sixteen years old and Eddy Howell released a hit song that began with the lyrics, “when you told me she was going, I couldn’t believe she was the one!  But I listened without knowing!  Oh yes, she’s already gone.  I can’t believe Judy’s Gone!”  Little did Eddy know, those lyrics would later reflect what happened to Big Booty/Bluety Judy, my [former] electric car known for her curves.

Judy and I started our car/human relationship when I picked her up a year ago on March 24th and I made sure to treat her like the special gal that she was. I got her new 22” AG Luxury Wheels so she can look pretty as she drove down the street, I tinted her windows so she could have some privacy, and I had new aluminum sport pedals installed so she would feel comfortable, but what did she do in return???  She failed me!  Time after time during our brief 10 month relationship, Judith showed me that she wasn’t in this for the long-haul and she continued to punish me.

Here’s the list of issues that I faced within the first two months of owning her: Doors wouldn’t close, displays froze, wouldn’t charge, rattle noises, broken camera, messed-up tires, broken air conditioner, loose body panels, rear windows and lights wouldn’t work, loud clunking noises when I raced people accelerated hard, and sometimes the motor would let out a high pitched noise that sounded like Mariah Carey when she sang “Emotions,” two minutes and forty six seconds into the song.  

I’ve owned Teslas since 2013 and had enough experience with their vehicles to know that this wasn’t typical.  This was an isolated case of Judith trying to repay my good deeds with not-so-good issues. She was playing with my emotions!  I give to charity!  I pay my taxes on time!  I floss regularly…not only before a dentist appointment! I didn’t deserve this!!  

Tesla repeatedly tried to fix the issues but could not come up with permanent fixes.  This left me with a problematic Judith who reminded me of one of those kids that you see on the show “Scared Straight” who came from a good family but made some bad decisions.  I couldn’t find an inmate named “Carlos the Killa” to scream into Judith’s grill to scare her into working right, so I had to take the next best option— I filed a case to have her classified as a lemon.  After a few weeks of negotiating, Tesla and I settled the case where Tesla gave me a full refund for the vehicle, and I had to return the car to them within three weeks.  

Now, Judy’s gone and I’m waiting to decide what my next car purchase will be.  I loved my Model S, but am not in love with the updated design.  I loved the Model X more than any car that I’ve ever owned, but I wouldn’t want to encounter the same issues again.  I want a 2009 Mercedes SL63, but a two seater convertible isn’t a great idea for me right now. So now we wait…

During the ten months of ownership, Judith was fun and I kinda miss her in the same way that you kinda miss your crazy ex who made your life a nightmare when you were together so you had to file a restraining order on them.

I miss you, Judith.  Come back.  Never mind.  Don’t.  You’re crazy.  Crazy in an exciting, “I hope you don’t kill me” kinda way. 

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!

A Peculiar guy named Geremy