Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What am I going to do in 2011...

I've never been big on the idea of resolutions. I understand people who make them and do their best to keep them and even those who make them and never, ever come close to keeping them. It's really tough if you think about. Here you have a goal that you need to keep in mind every day for 365 (366 in 2012) days. Sure, not all require undivided attention for that full year but what about when the year is over? And why must we try to better ourselves only at the beginning of the year?


The most common resolution has to be losing weight. This one I understand but when you think about it, how sad is it that so many people have the feeling they need to lose weight? I think that may say a lot about our country but that's another blog for another time. Quitting something seems to be big especially when it comes to smoking. There's another one people shouldn't wait till a new year to try. How bout you just quit when you think of it. Again, I am not against resolutions. Some people need them and that's fine but I feel like you add a lot of pressure to succeed and if unforeseen things come up and change that, you shouldn't feel bad.


So instead of a resolution, I come up with lists of things I'd like to try and do in the new year. Notice how I said try? I know half the things on my list won't happen but I put I out there. A lot of the time items from the year before that I didn't do will make it on the next years list. If I don't happen to get these done, so what? So below is a selection of a few of the items I put on my "2011 To Do List". Again, don't hold me to all of them because chances are I won't get to do half of them.




Those who know me know I love to travel and since last year included trips to London, DC, Key West and more, it's going to be tough to top. As of now the only trip somewhat confirmed is another trip to Key West in April with the same boys as last years but with our female companions as well. If Key West is the only place I travel this year, I will actually count it as a success. That's how much fun you have in Key West. With that said though, there are a few places I'd like to try and visit. Chicago and San Francisco are two big ones that I'd like to make it to for a long weekend. Chicago is somewhere Meg and I have both never been but desperately want to go to. I want some traditional deep dish, Chicago style pizza. San Fran is somewhere I have never been but am dying to visit and if I get a chance I want to try and get to Canton, OH to visit the Football Hall of Fame. Also, I've been to Philly a few times but there are some things I haven't seen so a weekend trip there would be fun and there is a possibility of seeing the Colts play in New Orleans.




I love cooking and I really love baking as many of you know. I am hoping to cook more this year and try to make tougher recipes. Of course cupcakes are our big thing so we are going to try and make a new cupcake every month. We got some great design books from our friends Mike and Heather at burgersutra.blogspot.com that have some awesome decorating ideas. Look for a cupcake blog to spring up soon!! I am also going to try and do one eating contest, a la Man vs. Food at some point. I keep talking about it and never do it. This is the year.




Like everyone else I am also hoping to lose weight this year and I plan on doing it by not only eating healthy (minus the eating contest) but by running more. I want to try and run at least 3 5k's this year as well as do one triathlon. My friends Mike and Dee and I are planning on one in the late summer which means I have to start swimming come spring as well as get a bike. I also want to try and play more sports, maybe even in a league of some sort. Softball or soccer maybe. I'm going to try and join a golf league as well to improve my game from horrible to just bad.




Well I want to finish my MBA this year and it looks like I should barring any unforeseen roadblock. I could use this as my resolution since I know it will get done, therefore giving me a successful resolution. On top of that I want to try and read about 5-7 books not related to class. Recently I went on a binge and got a books on scotch and cigars in hopes of learning more about two of my favorite things, the George Bush book  because I loved the Bill Clinton memoirs and want to learn as much as I can about past presidents and "Dirty, Sexy Politics" by Meghan McCain. I want to try and read more historical books and maybe more biographies as well as just learn as much as I can about random stuff.




Some random things I want to try and do this year:


Go to a Red Sox game

Go to a football game (pro/college)

Visit the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum (I read a book about the heist that took place here so now I want to see it.

Donate blood



Now again, I may not do all these this but a list is a good start. If I keep writing and you keep reading then you'll get to see which ones I actually do. What are some of your things to do this year?

Friday, January 7, 2011


On New Years I was discussing with Meg (my girlfriend) and our friend Heather about how much people seem to always hate the year they had. Facebook was littered with updates such as "Good Riddance 2010" and "I am so done with 2010. Next year better be good" and "Fuck 2010. Bring in the new year". You get the idea. My point was that I don't think people really think about the year they had. They simply just talk about the next year being better in hopes that some life changing even will occur and mark that year into their memory forever. When I started to think about 2010, I realized that I had a lot of really great things happen and I must say that if I were to rank my favorite years, 2010 would probably be near the top.

In January I started up grad school going for my MBA. This was a big step since it had been 3 years since I was in school and still really had no idea what I wanted to do with my life (still not quite sure). While it was tough to get started back into it, once it got going, it got a little easier.

A low point of the year came in February when my beloved Colts dropped the ball against New Orleans in the Super Bowl. I know the majority of you reading this are Pats fans and were happy when this happened but imagine how you felt in 2007 when the Giants knocked off the Pats. That's exactly how I felt.

March brought me a "spring break" and for the first time ever I actually went somewhere for it! Meg and I went to London and had pretty much the best time ever. We stayed with her good friend Mollie who lives, works and studies in London. She took great care of us and showed us around to a lot of cool places that you wont find in a travel guide. We also saw the big tourist attractions such as Kensington Palace, Big Ben and the cathedral. One of the highlights for me was going to the Globe Theatre. I'm a big Shakespeare fan so seeing that as well as some of his writings at the London Museum gave me chills. While I wasn't a huge fan of the beer (warm!), by the last two nights I had been turned on to London Pride by Megs friend Drew, also working in England. I still enjoy a London Pride when I can get one here at a bar.

Right before I left for London, I quit my old job. For those who don't know I was a manager for Givovanni's at their Manchester and Nashua stores for a long time and with the MBA in the works I figured it was a good time to get out. The only logical next step in that business was to start my own restaurant and I didn't want to do that so I went the temp route and got a job in Woburn in an accounts payable department. Nice people, easy work and got me some experience.

April also brought another trip as Meg and I went to DC with our friends Mike and Heather for a nice long weekend. Their friends Matt and Erin lived there and Matt, a chef, took us out to a lot of great places to eat. We did the general tourist attractions as well, seeing the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial as well as the war memorials. A highlight of the weekend was food related (big surprise) when Meg and I , both feeling pretty buzzed if not drunk, went to a place called Jumbo Slice that I had seen on TV. They served 16 inch slices of pizza and I need to try it. So instead of being a normal person and ordering one slice, I took two. I mean I had a craving for roni and sausage. Anyway, I only ate one but damn was it good.

May is always a good month because its my birth month. How can you go wrong? More traveling happened as I went to Key West with my buddies Jeremy, Joe and Derek. Needless to say it was a shitshow most of the time. I got hammered till 6 am, got on a boat the next day and also vomited in its bathroom. I think what really encapsulates the trip was leaving a voicemail for Derek at 5:30 am telling him I was out on the street looking for a party. I was gone but damn, it was a good trip.

June brought the beginning of summer and wedding season. 2010 only had two weddings for us compared to the year before where it seemed like a dozen. Diana's wedding was a blast in June and was by far one of the best weddings I've been to (not just saying that because she is reading this). Any wedding gets a big up from me when you have an after party after the reception.

Summer was summer. In July I did my first 5K as I talked about in an earlier blog. I started enjoying more cigars which while the lady may not care for, nothing beats sitting out on the deck with a good cigar, a good book and a good beer.

August was pretty boring really. A wedding in western Mass for one of Megs friends. I must say though, my dance moves at that one was some of my best not too mention open bar with Shock Top on tap.

September meant the beginning of football season which is pretty much the greatest sport there is. As with millions of others I participate in fantasy football and yes, it's a bad addiction but its fun and sometimes, very lucrative.

October was a little boring. I started on a permanent basis at my temp job. It's not the greatest job but for now it works Halloween was a good time as I went as "GTL" from Jersey Shore. For those who don't know, GTL stands for Gym, Tan, Laundry, the three vital things to do each day according to the guidos on Jersey Shore. My favorite costume was my friend Brian going as Ray Finkle, porno mustache and all.

November was great. Mid month Meg and I with our friends Mike and Heather went to Indianapolis to see the Colts play the Bengals. The weekend was awesome. Indy was a great city to walk around in and everyone was incredibly nice. We found a great cupcake shop as well as some great bars. The game was great too. We had a nice brunch before where we got huge beers and bloody marys. The stadium was huge and clean. It was a great trip and one I hope to make once a year. Obviously a big plus to November is Thanksgiving. I went to NY with Meg and her family and had a great time even though I was hungover the morning of on the drive there. Like many others I attended the LHS 10 year reunion where I unexpectedly had a great time. The next night my sisters and I had a surprise 40 year anniversary party for my parents. It was a busy four days.

And then there was December. This was an okay month. I think everyone enjoys the holidays but the time flies by so quick with everyone being so busy that before you know it the year is over.

So there it is. Tony's 2010 in a nutshell. 2011? I'll let you know in the next blog what the year holds. And yes, I know, I don't blog as much but I promise to make 2011 a good blog year so make sure you check back. It'll be funny, insightful and probably a little annoying but I promise, it will be entertaining.

Monday, August 2, 2010


308. That is what the scale was saying. It was February 28th, 2008. I had never been exactly a toothpick but I do remember a time when I was a bit more in shape. It was the early years of high school. After playing sports throughout my young years, high school came, I got “cool” and started wanting to be a skateboarding/rock playing/film maker which apparently meant no real exercise or activity. I began losing my girlish figure around then but was far from the final dip. Somewhere along the line while living in Boston, New Hampshire, Malden and then back to New Hampshire, I had lost my metabolism and filled that void with junk food and booze. They really did go well together.

My job definitely contributed to the increase in my waist size. I would leave there at night with free food meaning whole small pizzas, calzones, pasta dishes. I’d then wash most of that down with soda or beer or soda mixed with booze! Unfortunately, I did no real activity. During that time I did the whole “diet” thing. Trying dieting while working 12 hour shifts at a pizza place. Plenty of salads each day followed by...calzone? I had no self control in many aspects of my life and thus the weight was adding up.

2008 I had three of my closest friends getting married and I was in all of their weddings. For those who know me well, I thoroughly enjoy weddings and I thoroughly enjoy dressing up. Here were a few opportunities to wear a tux, which while others may be annoyed by that fact, I was excited. Unfortunately, the tux can only make you look so good when you weigh over 300 pounds.

So that February I decided to finally do it. To really, really diet. I started that February day and two weeks later was down 20 pounds. So far so good. Over the next few weeks I kept on it. I cut out junk food, cut down on beer. I would run and bike. By the first wedding in May I was down 44 pounds. July was another 10. With it being summer I cheated here and there. Obviously at weddings I ate and drank but didn’t get crazy.

Fall came and I let off a little, gaining a little bit back but when 2009 came upon us I started back up and started running. I made a goal to run a 5k by the end of the year. That time came and went and I did not quite make it. So I made it a goal again this year. I would run at least one if not more. When spring time came, I started running more to try and gain some endurance. In my head I equated the goal of losing weight with running a 5K. I think I felt that by finishing one it was almost like a final goodbye to that old lazy Tony. I was putting all that baggage I had behind me once and for all. I no longer felt the need to make the fat jokes before other people did or pretend to think people meant I was funny when they said I reminded them of Kevin James (who I am definitely more funny than).

I tried not being too nervous before the run. I had been running this distance for a while now so I just had to deal with new terrain. I was running with my girlfriend and friends and while I knew it was going to be a fun run, I knew that over the 25-30 minutes I figured it would take me, I would finally be achieving something I never really thought I would. It may sound silly or cheesy cause its not like its a marathon I ran but when I think back to the 208 lbs version of me who drank, smoked and whose only physical activity was walking from my car, a 5k really means something. I see it as a stepping stone. I feel like if I keep doing 5k’s that I wont let myself slip back to what I was. Perhaps a 5k will turn into a 10k or a half marathon or even a sprint triathlon.

Over this time period my father who had also had issues with his weight had lap band surgery. He had tried everything he could over the years but his knees hurt cause of the weight which meant he couldn’t exercise and it just kept getting worse. He had the surgery around the end of 2008 and has lost around 100 lbs. It was great to have someone going through exactly what I was. We’d tell each other about when we had to buy new clothes cause all our stuff was too big. I’d see him doing more work and walking when he golfed. I began to see the change in his face and attitude. He had this rejuvenated spirit like he was 20 years younger and I suppose he probably saw that in me. Here I was wanting to play sports and be active again. Getting excited to get dressed up in a suit. Laughing at the simple things like tightening my watch on my much thinner wrist. It was really a blessing to have had and still have someone to go through it with.

This blog may have gone in a different direction than you may have thought but it was a story I figured I’d share. I know people would see my facebook updates about running and people would comment on newer pictures of me and to those who have complimented me, I really do thank you. I don’t want you to think I wrote this blog in order to get pats on the back and praise. As much as I do appreciate it when someone says I’m looking better, the only real opinion that matters is mine and for the last two years I’ve been able to boost that opinion of myself more than I thought. Thankfully I have had friends and family to push me and with the future holding more goals I hope to reach, I’ll still need their support.

I guess if this blog is really about anything in particular it’s about how if you really do want something, you really can get it. It’s cheesy, it’s corny, it’s simple and it’s true. The minute I crossed that finish line at 23:43, I couldn’t really believe I had done it. The last two years rushed through my mind. I wasn’t sure if I had pushed too hard and was about to have a heart attack (what a fitting and ironic ending that would have been to this story), so I sat down. I took a few minutes. I sat there and caught my breath. I thought back to that day in February 2008. I didn’t smoke anymore. I was 83 lbs lighter. I had just finished my first race. I let it soak in and after seeing everyone else finish, I started to think again. Not about the race. Not about the past. Instead I through about the next 5k. And the one after that. And the one after that.

May 2007

June 2010

July 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Man vs. Food

Some of you may know that I am quite a big fan of the show “Man vs. Food”. The host Adam Richman can be kind of goofy and some of the small videos in between segments are a bit silly but when it comes down to, the food looks delicious and for the most part, the challenges look fun.

So here is my list of 15 of my favorite foods, restaurants and challenges that MvF has done over the past few years. I hope to one day try all of them but thats a lot of traveling and a lot of food. Alas, here is my list starting with my favorite type: Pizza



Pie in the Sky

The biggest pizza I have every seen. This thing weighs 11 pounds and is 30 inches. It is covered with roni, beef, sausage and more and you need a partner to finish it. Over 400 people have tried to finish it and only six have done it. Who’s with me?


Randy's Wooster Street Pizza Shop

This pizza is 4 pizza doughs that is filled with meats, cheeses and veggies and weighs over 10 pounds. Its like a giant calzone.


Beau Jo's

This pizza is a like a giant bread bowl of goodness. It's pretty much just a pizza crust bowl filled with sauce, cheese, veggies, meats. Everything.



The Vortex Bar & Grill

This place had a huge variety of odd burgers to try including a favorite of mine: A cheeseburger held together by 2 grilled cheese sandwiches.


5-8 Club and Matt's Club

This is a classic in Minneapolis so much that two places are known for it. The 5-8 Club and Matt's Club both serve different versions of this burger. Essentially its a burger but instead of the cheese on top, the cheese is inside the burger. Its a nice little twist and it looks delicious.


Lindy's on 4th

Theres nothing that really seperates this burger from others except the fact that it is 12 patties stacked on top of each other and held together by a skewer. It's called the OMG burger and I would love to ETSOOI (Eat The Shit Out Of It).



Melt Bar & Grilled

This place specializes in various gourmet grilled cheeses. They have all kinds including Tuna Melt, Peanut Butter and Banana and this monster of a challenge. It has 14 different types of cheeses including such cheeses as feta, blue cheese, gouda and others. It weighs in at 5 pounds and also comes with fries and cole slaw. Tell me that doesn't look awesome.


Tony Luke's

Tony Luke's has become the preeminent steak and cheese place in Philly after taking over for Pats and Gino's (neither of which I care for). They are popular enough to have a place inside Citizens Bank Park where the Phillies play. Here you can take the Tony Luke's challenge that is 2 and half pounds of beef, a pound of cheese, fried onions on a 20 inch roll. Yikes.


Kat'z Deli

This place is a classic in NYC having been around since 1888. They serve everything from corned beef, knishes, hot dogs, roast beef and my favorite, pastrami. Having gone there last year, I would love to go once a year. I ordered the pastrami, below, and it was the best I've ever had. It melts in your mouth and is stacked quite a few inches high. Completely worth the wait in line.



Alice Cooperstown

Alice Cooper opened this place in Phoenix and is actually parters with the Big Unit, Randy Johnson. Together, the created a hot dog affectionately called, The Big Unit. This is a one pound, 22 inch hot dog on a french baguette, yes a baguette. You can have it topped with chili, cheese, beer sauerkraut and more.



This was on one of the first episodes I ever saw of MvF. I fell in love right away. This is called the Big Badass Burrito. It is loaded with everything from beef, beans and rice to guac, cheese and salsa. It weighs in at 6 pounds and if you finish it in an hour, you get to ride the NASCAR roller coaster for free, for life. I would suggest not going on it as soon as you finish eating.


Pappy's Smokehouse

St. Louis is known for its BBQ and this place looks like it doesn't disappoint. The thing I liked the most is that their challenge resembles one that I wish to do in Portsmouth at Muddy River. Pappy's challenge includes 6 pounds of meat including pulled pork, beef, chicken, ribs and four sides. Check back later this summer to see details on my challenge in Portsmouth.



Broken Yolk Cafe

Not a lot of good things come from Jersey but I would be wiling to travel there to try and eat this breakfast challenge. This is a 12 egg omelet filled with chili. That is my selling point. I loooove chili so if some eggs are holding the chili goodness, so be it. Oh yeah and on top of that you need to eat a mound of home fries and two biscuits. Those biscuits will really kill ya.


San Francisco Creamery

What's all this food without some delicious dessert? And whats a better dessert than ice cream. Here we have the Kitchen Sink. Imagine eating a 2 gallon sundae that included 8 softball sized scoops of ice cream, all your choice, 8 servings of whipped cream and 8 different toppings like sprinkles and cherries. If you eat this entire thing, you get free ice cream for a year.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Some good headlines...

I figured I’d take this time to try and get this blog going. A lot going on and as usual, I have my own opinions on a few things.

Lets start with my buddy Mel Gibson. Wow. Amazing right? You just don’t expect this shit to come out of peoples mouths. There are so many things to say I just don’t know where to start. Well why not start at the racial remarks. Here’s the thing. If this guy hadn’t used two racial slurs during his ranting and raving, would people be as upset? Would she have even released the tapes at all? That brings up the question of why she recorded the conversations. I suppose some will say its to have proof of his rage and anger but that really wont do much but embarrass him like it has. I am in no way defending this douche, but lets remember that this is Hollywood and gold diggers are out there. And again, I am not defending the guy in anyway, I am simply saying this is f’ed on so many levels.

Another quick point I think should be pointed out was just yesterday Switzerland said it would not extradite Roman Polanski to the US and that he would be released as a free man. Now lets review. Mel Gibson is a racist. Plain and simple. Roman Polanski is a rapist. Plain and simple. Mel Gibson will most likely never make a film again because he decided to open up his trap and show his true colors. Hollywood fawns over and fights to work with Roman Polanski, a man who raped a 13 year old girl. Oh wait, he drugged her first too. Lets weigh this out. Racist or rapist. Hmm. Again, not defending Mel Gibson but I wish Hollywood would treat them at least the same and shun both.

While we are on the race issue and while discussing douche bags, one of my favorite douche bags of all, the “Reverend” Jesse Jackson decided to jump into the news this week. Why do you ask? Well because theirs a chance to stir up racial tensions that weren’t there. After the Lebron James debacle, the Cavs owner Dan Gilbert spoke out strongly against the “King” in which he pretty much called him out for quitting, for screwing over Cleveland (a team that picked him and Lebron had no choice to go to 7 years ago) and pretty much calling him a dick head. I thought the letter was a little much since really, the Cavs would be shit still if it weren’t for James. No one was itching to get season tickets before he showed up but thats another rant. My issue is when Jackson comes out and starts saying Gilbert put Lebron in harms way and spoke like a “slave owner”.


I mean, fucking really?

Pardon my language but I don’t understand how this man still has people listening to him and is still able to get in the news. I don’t think anyone would even think about it being a racial issue until this jackass opens his mouth. He creates drama where there is none. He is never held accountable when he is wrong and lets remember how much of a hypocrite the good “Reverend” is. He preaches family values and then as a child out of wedlock. Thumbs up my friend. I think one of the smartest things Obama did when running for president was separating himself from Jackson and super DB Al Sharpton. Sorry if this blog swayed a bit towards the race issues but hey, it got me writing again.

I promise the next one will be a bit more lighthearted.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wiffle Ball Spring Training Day 2

So with the day off today, we held our second and final spring training game. I was at home which put the Honey Brewers up first. If you remember from the first game, it was a high scoring affair with me working on new pitches. This time I was settling in.
Top of the 1st I got him to pop up before giving up a single and then retiring him with another pop fly out.

Bottom of the 1st I had my ups. I started with a hit but then struck out. With one out I was patient and held out for two walks to load the bases. With a full count I was hit by a pitch which drove in a run. He had some control issues and proceeded to walk two more in and then hit me again to bring the run total to 4 before striking me out. After 1 inning, 4-0 Blue Moons.
Top of the 2nd I worked quick again. Two batters up, two down. A pop fly with two strikes and then a strike out.

Bottom of the 2nd was a quick one for him as well. He struck me out before I hit a scorching single followed by another strike out to end the inning.  After 2 innings, 4-0 Blue Moons.

Top of the 3rd I felt a little stiffness in my arm that had been there since Monday. After not playing for months I knew I had to work up some more strength. It started out nice with a strikeout to begin the inning. I then gave up two singles, one of which I should have caught and then walked one to load the bases on a full count. He was beginning to be more patient and take more pitches which led to another full count walk and his first run. I fought back knowing a homer would erase me lead and a double would close the gap. I worked two of the new pitches setting up a third straight full count and then tossed some heat high and down the middle for strike 3. I held the lead. 

Bottom of the 3rd went quick again for him as he was starting to settle down in his pitching. He got me on  three straight strikes before I cracked a single on a full count. After working it to another full count, he sat me down swinging. After 3 innings 4-1 Blue Moons.

Thats how it ended. 4-1 Blue Moons. We didn't want to play a full 6 innings with our regular season opener coming on Saturday morning. My pitches felt good and although I got a few hits, I need to start sending some extra base hits out there to compliment my pitching or its gonna be a waste. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wiffle Ball Spring Training Day 1

So I had yesterday morning off as I do most Monday mornings. After spending my weekend doing yard work and cleaning up my wiffle ball field, it was time to start playing. As I mentioned in a previous post, my brother-in-law Jon and I take our wiffle ball pretty serious so we had to break into the season with some rough spring training. It wasnt an official game, as the field was not completely ready yet. Now to keep you all on the same page (cause I'm sure you all care to know and remember) his team is the Hudson Honey Brewers and I am the Londonderry Blue Moons.

He won the coin toss to hold the first spring training game at his field but since its not ready yet, we had to play on mine with him as the home team which meant I had first ups. Now I went into this game realizing I had not thrown a ball in game situation since last fall. I knew that I was going to get roughed up big time but that was okay because I was trying to work out my pitches. So I believe I walked twice and then struck out twice to start the game. We have only two outs per half inning as opposed to three.

So I come up to pitch. Now my nastiest pitch is the slider. It comes right at you and then suddenly swings in for a strike. He knows this pitch well but once its fine tuned, its tough to hit. I was also trying out two new pitches including a cutter and sinker. At first I was just tossing some over trying to get loose. I had some early control issues which resulted in a few walks. I also missed a couple of ground ball scorchers that caught me a bit off guard. I also left a few over the plate which led to the first home run of spring training, a line drive 3-run shot. When the season starts though, the fence will be up and that hit would only be considered a double.

The first inning ended and he was up 13-0. These scores are pretty normal. Double digits are very common. I got up to bat and his pitching was way off. I waited around and took a few walks, getting me 3 runs. In the bottom of the second after getting a feel for my pitches, he left 2 stranded and I got out of the inning giving up one hit, a walk and no runs. Top of the 3rd and I was patient again. Got some wood going and scored 4 to bring it to 13-7. In the bottom of the 3rd I was still working on the cutter and that got me in trouble, giving up another 3 runs. 

We wrapped it up then. 3 innings was a good start and was enough for a spring training game. 16-7 Honey Brewers. We play our second and last spring training game on Wednesday on my home field with the Blue Moons as the home team. Now that I got my pitches going it should be a better outing. I hope to work all the kinks out in time for opening day which may come this Saturday morning. As for throwing about a 80-90 wiffle ball pitches my arm is a bit tight but not too sore. Im not too much of a wuss.