“You see this completey vacant space filled with nothingness? We’ve got 27 days to make it into something!” This was the gist of the challenge that my dad gave me last month as we stood in a brand new, uninhabited building in Trinidad.
Trinidad isn’t just the country responsible for my birth, me eating oysters that resemble pigs eyeballs, and a woman serenading me with Beyonce’s greatest hits at 6:13am, it’s also the country where my dad decided to start a church. My dad is a pastor of a church in America and in January he started an international location in Trinidad. After a few months of holding church services in a conference center, he decided to move the services into a better commercial space that would allow for more room for growth. But this was easier said than done, since we had to mold this vacant void of nothingness into a church, and I was responsible for leading the charge.
In the beginning of April, my dad and I walked around the space and he shared his vision as we bounced ideas off each other about how to pull-off a trial run for the first service. The goal was to use temporary walls as a test before building permanent walls, while still maintaining a pleasant appearance. After 20 minutes of discussions, taking measurements and snapping pictures, I left and went directly to the airport to return to America and get to work.
I had just over three weeks to select a sound system and a dual LCD projection system, design print banners, produce marketing videos, produce radio broadcasts, order band instruments, make a plan for transporting everything into Trinidad without damaging it, and set everything up in the halls without any delays. Since I wouldn’t be able to step foot into the space for another three weeks, it was important to use Photoshop to visualize what things would look like, and tweak it accordingly before returning to Trinidad. There was a lot of pressure, but as Martin Luther King Jr says, “the pressure’s on, but guess who ain’t gonna crack?” Actually, it was Jay-Z…I always get MLK and Sean Carter confused.
I started by working on the layout of the 4,000 sqft room. We decided on a heavy, suede-like fabric to separate three areas: the lobby, the sanctuary, and the office. It was important to make the renderings as close to reality as possible so I could fix any issues before they arose. This resulted in me making many tiny tweaks to the subtle details of the room to make sure that everything worked visually and technically. Imagine spending five hours finding the perfect drop ceiling clamps that matched the color of the crossbars and could hold 35 lbs of weight without bringing down the ceiling in the process. That was my super exciting job!
I rendered each design from multiple angles to make sure that everything looked good regardless of where you stood in the room. Here are some examples of the renderings of the modifications. Use the slider to see the before/after comparisons:
After everything looked fine visually, I sent the banners to be printed and moved onto the sound system. My goal for the sound system was for it to be portable enough for traveling, yet powerful enough to be heard three countries away. The result was four powerful speakers controlled by a mixing board that was controlled by an iPad via a wifi connection, along with four wireless microphones and over 1,000 feet of cable to connect everything together.
The same amount of detail was put into setting up two LCD projectors, a drum kit, a piano, a bass guitar, and an acoustic guitar. There were a lot of moving parts to this operation and it was my job to make sure that everything went as flawlessly as possible. This was incredibly challenging to manage, but as John F. Kennedy says, “difficult takes a day…impossible takes a week!” Oh wait, no…that was Jay-Z again.
Then on Monday night I boarded a red-eye flight to Trinidad with equipment stuffed into two 90 pound suitcases and two 50 pound suitcases. Thankfully, the people at the airport didn’t assume that I was trafficking drugs or fake Gucci handbags when I stumbled around with almost 300 lbs of stuff. The next four days in Trinidad resulted in long hours of nonstop work as the space slowly evolved into a church. I led a team of amazing people as the room was cleaned, equipment was set up, fixtures were mounted, and problems were resolved— all in Trinidad’s 700 degree hot sun.
All of the efforts paid-off when most things happened without incident during the night of the service. The actual room matched the renders very closely, the sound system performed wonderfully, the LCD projectors showed clearly, and everything went well. I had no energy remaining after the service, was slightly delirious from the lack of sleep, and was accidentally almost permanently locked in a bathroom stall, but besides these things, the seemingly impossible task became possible when we pulled it off!
Five hours after the service, I checked out of the hotel and drove to the airport to return to the United States. Despite being energy deprived, I was proud to see that one of the most intense undertakings of my life was successful and the only lasting casualties were these three annoying mosquito bites on my calves.
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!”
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.
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.
On this week’s Geremy’s Peculiar week:
- Shortest Episode Ever
- It was my car’s birthday
- A pipe needed to be changed
- A pretty lady took me to a party
New Geremy’s Peculiar Week videos every Monday.
On this week’s Geremy’s Peculiar week:
- Updates are shared
- Pets are purchased
- Pets are lost
- The Peculiar Lab V2???
New Geremy’s Peculiar Week videos every Monday.
On this week’s Geremy’s Peculiar week:
- My sister talks about the time that she died and resurrected
- I receive random gifts
- Peculiar PPL Glassware
- Dude, where’s my oil?!
New Geremy’s Peculiar Week videos every Monday.
Geremy’s Peculiar Week launches in 2017 with weekly episodes every single Monday. This should be interesting!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!!