Mary Louise Geranium

Playing Russian Roulette flying Standby – Sometimes it may taste like Lead Sandwich

What is the old saying, you ride her until she bucks you or you don’t ride her at all. (I am talking about riding a horse you sick fuckers) That is what happened to me on my last leg of my 3rd international trip in the past 60 days. That my friends is a good damn run if I don’t say so myself. Let me explain.

To get to Geranium over in Neuchatel Switzerland it goes down like this;

  • Subway from Brooklyn to Penn Station
  • New Jersey Transit to Newark International Airport Train Station
  • Air Train to Terminal C
  • United Flight from EWR to GVA (That is Geneva for you non airport people)
  • SBB CFF FFS Train from Geneva to Neuchatel
  • Walk down a ridiculously steep hill that you will now worry about on your return trip into town.
  • Boom you are there. Total Travel Time – 10 hours give or take

So my return was a little tricky. The flight from GVA to EWR was at an hour that would have made me get up at an ungodly hour on Sunday and the SBB CFF FFS Train was running local so it would have been worse. I found a GVA to Washington Dulles that wasn’t bad and the commuting flight from IAD to EWR was still open. There was another direct flight from GVA to JFK but it was fairly booked so that was my back up plan if I couldn’t get on the Washington DC flight.

So the return trip looked like this;

  • Bus up ridiculously steep hill from town to Neuchatel train station
  • SBB CFF FFS Train from Neuchatel to Geneva
  • United Flight from GVA to IAD
  • Clear Customs walk to the gate for IAD to EWR flight.
  • Find out that you are in position #20 and there are only 8 available seats. TRANSLATION – YO ASS AIN’T GETTING ON THIS FLIGHT
  • Find that there are only 2 remaining flights from IAD to EWR/LGA and they look fairly full.
  • Uber from IAD to Union Station to take Amtrak.
  • Amtrak from Union Station to Penn Station
  • Find out that original flight is now delayed 55 minutes due to weather
  • Arrive Penn Station at roughly the same time I would have if I actually got a seat on that booked flight.
  • Subway to Nevins Street
  • Hug and Kiss Maya! Total Travel Time – 19.5 hours and out train ticket ($200.00) and Uber Pool to Train station ($40.00)

Folks that is a win in my book! I told my former Domestic Work Wife that you have to get creative when traveling. Not only do you have to find additional flights and where hidden cities are you may have to rely on back up cities and train back in. We are talking seeing the Matrix kind of shit here folks.

Shout out to the hardest working people in the airline industry. No I am not talking about the pilots or the STB’s. I am talking about the flight attendants and anyone in HR. You are the real MVP!
Couldn’t get a seat up front but I got the next best thing. 3 seats in the bulkhead.
Neuchatel’s Train Station
Coming in Hot to Geneva
As Homer says on occasion “DOH! You better have plan B ready for the return trip Carbunkle!”
Oh look its Caterpillar Dealership
This flight was thankfully wide ass open! I guess not a lot of bankers want to go to Washington these days. Now I bet the flight from Russia to IAD is always packed.
Yo Holmes, Can you turn on the air a little bit more. It is 87 and I am getting ripe back here!
When you are almost to Philly and you get this notification. I chose wisely and am only out $250.00

Long Story Short – be flexible and always have a plan for back up. It was great seeing Geranium even if it was a short trip. I got to see Neuchatel. We went over to Lausanne on Saturday and met up with some of her work peeps who are Ex-Pats here for at least 3 months. Oh and we drank some beer! Thankfully Geranium returns this Thursday!

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“The Sure Thing” – No I am not talking about the 1985 John Cusack Movie

Incidentally did you know that this movie was one of the only few movies that John Cusack didn’t also work with his sister Joan? What you think that all I do is sprinkle the word “Fuck” and take half ass selfies? I have another side of me. I just can’t see it because I am too fucking fat.

Regarding the title of this worthless dribble I am referring to the the weather. I was on the phone with someone from the home office in Memphis yesterday. There were some issues with some Double Decker bus tickets that I sold last month and I was trying to get it handled. While we were waiting for her computer to finish the report we were talking about the weather. She said that it was raining in Memphis yesterday and I said of course it is raining. It is Memphis in May and it always rains during Memphis in May.

The person from the home office laughed and didn’t realize I used to live in Memphis. I told her that there are 3 times in Memphis when you could predict the weather;

  • The Hottest day of the year – Dead Elvis Week.
  • The Coldest day of the year – The Liberty Bowl Game
  • 100% Rain on a certain day – Any Memphis in May Event Day

Now I would like to add a 4th Sure Thing to that list;

  • Want to know when it will rain in New York – Just wait till Friday! It always rains in New York on Friday!

Enough words, here are some pictures from the past 2 weeks that have been in my iFoam.

So good to see Joyce a couple weeks back! I didn’t hear of any flooding at the Yale Club! We need to go back to Cozumel!
Meh.Com gave me a shout out and is now reading this worthless dribble
Speaking of BBQ Fest!
Go Netflix this movie. It is great! I saw it on one of my many flights.
Sunday was a nice day at La Playa
We may have drank some Gin Tonics here on Sunday
LVD – They sell Corn Dogs in Spain!
No that isn’t a urine sample. It is Lemoncello!
That damn Picasso sure didn’t paint much inside the frame did he?
The Shit you see in Barcelona!
Narrow Streets with little signage. It can drive one a tad crazy but that is why you drink wine
OTB we found your boat!
I don’t think that RAB reads this worthless dribble but who knew Picasso was a fan of Nuggets

Have a good week I am going to try to get over this sinus infection that I got from flying to the EU last weekend so I can do it all over again next weekend!

Barcelona – The food and Drink an Ashley B picture post

As I previously mentioned HERE we were really blown away by how great Barcelona was on our long weekend trip. What really shocked both of us was how good all the food was. From simple cut fruit cup in the market to tapas at one of the celebrated tapas restaurants we never really encountered a bad meal there.

First of all one needs to visit La Boqueria on Las Ramblas. Don’t worry Cay-Kee, I have a list ready for you. Same for you Tay-Tay, I got you boo. No seriously La Boqueria is a 500 stall open air market that offers pretty much any type of food that you can find in Spain. We figured that if anyone who lives in Barcelona that they would shop for at least one or a lot of your weekly meals. The food was that good.

Ok enough with the words. Let me Ashley B’s the crap out of this post with some pictures. Oh and if you are a fan of Gin Tonic’s or cheap good red wine then you need to put Barcelona on your list. Enough Said!

No disrespect to The Rendezvous but this is a helluva Meat and Cheese Plate
Gin Tonics with all kinds of botanicals
Some of the best Paella we have ever had!
Want some Ham Carbunkle and Geranium? Is the Pope Catholic?
Sadly they wouldn’t let me put that in my carry on bag
It was like eating a gum drop
Peppers as big as your hand
Shit I forgot to take a picture of the food at Cal Pep
Why yes I will have a fancy drink
This is my kind of ice cream cone!
Yeah, it was a good trip

Like I said, you need to put Barcelona on your short list if you like good food and drink.

Carbunkle Trumpet and Mary Louise Take on Barcelona – And that town ROCKS!

When Geranium was in the planning stages of being based in Switzerland, we decided that I would try to make 2 trips over to see her. With it not being the tourist season yet the chances for me to fly stand-by would be better than average. The plan was for me to come during Mother’s Day weekend; possibly to Spain and we would see what the schedule will allow. That changed two Thursdays ago when she texted me saying she would be in Barcelona over Cinco de Mayo weekend. Carbunkle was booking some stand-by flights with a weeks lead time.

I flew in to Barcelona Thursday night on the Red Eye and arrived about an hour late due to rain in Newark. Sadly, it was raining like a cow pissing on a flat rock in Barcelona and did so pretty much all day. I get to the hotel and was able to get into the room where I could take a shower and a little cat nap while I waited on Geranium. Because of the quickness of this trip I really didn’t have much time to do any research on the town but thankfully one of my peers did a semester in Barcelona so she got me the hook up.

So with little to no knowledge of Barcelona, no real impressions or idea of what to expect I went into this trip with an Anthony Bourdain outlook. As I was heading back to the airport yesterday early morning the cab driver asked what I thought of his fair city. I got to be honest with you 10 readers. Barcelona FUCKING ROCKS! Would I have put this on my short list of cities to visit? Nope! Would I think that the food scene here is comparable to New York and much cheaper? Nope! Did I expect that I would find the narrow ass streets and old-world charm neat? Nope!

Seriously, if you have never thought about a trip to Spain and to spend some time in Barcelona you are missing out! More to come on this.

This is Aldi’s in Barcelona, They allow dogs to be inside the store near the front door.
Narrow ass streets that are not very well marked can make one crazy. But when we get crazy we go find wine.
The Catherdral…..in the freaking rain
Cab into the city. Love the balconies
Fucking Gate Lice!

More on this trip in the next posts.

We Made it to Friday and we didn’t have to kill anyone….Yet!

This is what Trevor, front desk concierge, and I say each Friday while I am taking Monkey Head Maya out for her morning pee in the park. This week was a fun one. I survived circling the sun 49 trips and am now gearing up for a helluva 50th! Geranium and I went for drinks with some of my clients and tonight we are going to meet the Hot Tub “Wet Bandit” who is in town. Saturday is up in the air and Sunday we are going to see Lightbulb and the Asian Fireman.

Here are some pics from the past couple of weeks. I know I have been remiss on posting this but I have been busy.

Hey Country – You recall this building? The Former Flat Hotel!
I think it is a requirement if you are going to have a dive bar you have to have Christmas Tree Lighting.
This Joint reminded me of The Subway Inn on 2nd Avenue.
We will be back in Hudson to have a proper drink here again!
Goodbye Old Couch, we had to part with it to make room for some other stuff.
Glad to know the Fyre Festival dude (who I believe is still in prison) is running another scam.
I am a bad New Yorker if I didn’t at least post one pic from the St. Patrick Day Post Band Party.
Thanks to Stone, Vivian and Della for a great weekend upstate.
First Outside Cigar I was able to smoke.
She is a little shit but she is our little shit!

Have a good weekend!

How Far Is It From…..

Looks like New York City is going to be a favorite destination for a bunch of our friends from Memphis and from all parts of the world. We love it and hope that our schedules mesh so we can spend some time catching up. One question that we get a lot from our friends is “How far is it from where you live?”

If you look at the greater part of Manhattan north of 14th Street it resembles a rectangle. The streets are mapped out in a grid and it is pretty easy to give directions; instead of saying “1300 First Avenue” you can say “1st Avenue between 71st and 72nd.” When we lived in the UES we found that it was a bitch getting cross town. However, when going North and South it was pretty easy. To give you good way to put the city into quadrants; 5th Avenue is the East/West Line and 59th Street is North/South Line. People would ask us all the time where should they get a hotel. We found that even though it was chaos 24/7 around Times Square it was the best starting place because of it being centrally located in Manhattan. The Surrey and The Mark hotels are very nice hotels but being tucked up by 77th and Madison Avenue makes it hard getting downtown or around the city. Same goes with the Upper West Side. (Sorry UWS Holly)

When we were looking for places to live we found that Downtown Brooklyn was a really good option for a number of reasons. For starters it is 2 subway stops from Manhattan. Add to that we have over 13 different subway lines to pick and choose from to get into the city. This really helps when lines are down on the weekend. We looked briefly at Long Island City over in Queens to live but ruled that out when looking at subway options. The L line was slated (at the time we were apartment looking) to be shut down and the 7 train always has issues so that was ruled out.

When saying that having 13 different subway lines to pick and choose from is a big deal let me explain further. If I want to get to the West Side of Time Square or Penn Station I would take the 2/3 from Nevins Street. If I wanted to get to the East Side of Manhattan and say Grand Central I would take the 4/5 also from Nevins. If I was going to the West Village I might take the A/C from Hoyt & Schermerhorn. And If I was going to say a certain cigar joint in the UES I would take the Q from DeKalb. (Confused Yet?) Let me tell you about a little secret that a lot of New Yorkers use on a regular basis. Google Maps is your best friend. To say that I use that app more than anything is an understatement. It can give you quickest the subway routes and if MTA has their act together it can give you a pretty good spot on schedule.

Now with anything there are always exceptions, and even Google Maps can fail you from time to time. If it is the weekend they will take down lines and or stations for maintenance. Sometimes Google gets that news but in the case of yesterday when there were electrical fires because of the snow and ice. This can create some anxiety if you are not used to the subway but the uniformed agents on hand are always helpful to give suggestions. Hell even fellow New Yorkers are happy to give you advice. It is almost a game with some people in giving the best suggestions. Trust me.

That being said here are some aprox travel times from our joint in Crime-Free Downtown Brooklyn direct to various spots in the city;

  • Downtown Brooklyn to Grand Central – 28 minutes via the 4/5
  • Downtown Brooklyn to Times Square – 30 minutes via Q or the 2/3
  • Downtown Brooklyn to Cigar Inn in the UES – 34 minutes via the Q
  • Downtown Brooklyn to 9/11 Memorial – 20 min via the 4/5
  • Downtown Brooklyn to Empire State Building – 25 min via the B or Q
  • Downtown Brooklyn to Red Rooster in Harlem – 44 min via the 2/3
  • Downtown Brooklyn to Maya’s Dog Groomer – 39 minutes via 4/5
  • Downtown Brooklyn to Yankee Stadium – 47 minutes via the 4
  • Downtown Brooklyn to Mary Louise’s Office in Summit NJ – 1hr 22 min via the 2/3 to Penn Station then NJ Transit to Summit NJ (I suspect she goes to Japan to avoid this commute)

Not that I don’t love Taxi’s or Uber/Lyft but you will pay more and 99.9% of the times be delayed due to traffic depending on the time of the day.

The Red Dot at the bottom is our pad. Getting into lower Manhattan is a breeze and taking express trains can cut a normal 45 min car ride in half.
Of course when your 2 of your main arteries are shut down it makes for an interesting travel day. I guess you could say that 240 was shut down that day.

So who is coming to see us?

Happy Anniversary Papua New Guinea Mike & Claire! Also Pictures of the week.

Right out of the gate I would like to wish my good friends PNG Mike and his lovely (and saint of a) wife Claire a happy Anniversary! PNG Mike and Claire were married 6 years ago and we were there to witness the event and had a blast! I look back on 6 years ago and think about the ton of stuff that has happened between that beautiful March 1st day and now and WOW. Cancer, Move to NYC, Rolls Royce, British American Tabaco, Reflexology Barn – life is changing after you get >40 and it isn’t all that bad.

One of the most ironic events that comes to my mind is that on the morning of the wedding we had “Kegs n Eggs” with the boys. There were about 20 of us at the table and I was seated across from Claire’s Uncle. He and I were exchanging pleasantries and he asked what my thoughts of England were so far. I told him that I was a little worried that BBC1 was excited that it was going to ‘almost’ get into double digits on the Celsius scale. (Almost 47 degrees for you Fahrenheit people) 6 years later we are living in NYC and we are supposed to get a snowstorm and the temp won’t get above 1C tomorrow. In all seriousness, Happy Anniversary guys.

We have had a long week and are glad that Mary Louise is coming back today. Right before the snowstorm and crappy cold weather. Anyway here are some pics from that great weekend 6 years ago and some from this week in Manhattan/Brooklyn.

I guess one has to stretch the Hamstrings before getting on the 4/5
6 Years Ago at Kegs N Eggs – No lies were being told here. Not at all!
This could be a problem
Love the Trainers (Chuck Taylor’s) for the wedding. Oh and Claire’s dress was nice too!
Some of our friends have asked when we are going to Belize this year. Some “guy” we know is going to celebrate 50 trips around the sun during this time.
I see this sign (a block from the apartment on State Street) and miss NOLA.
Shout out to all my NOLA Friends this weekend.
Yo Taco Girl! I Saw this and made me laugh!
That is the most hair PNG has had in a while! Again thank you for having us to your party and Happy Anniversary!

Have a good weekend!

Mary Louise Needs to Bring Her Ass Home!

The Dog and I are starting to get on each others nerves. Seriously, she has been gone since last Tuesday and we are missing her. The Seamless Delivery dude and I know each other on a first name basis. The good news is that I have watched pretty much every episode of “M*A*S*H*” and “Two and a Half Men” (She hates those shows) but the DVD is getting full of her midget and Dr. Pimple Popper shows.

Mary Louise requested me to get her a hair appointment. I guess it is kinda hard to book stuff when you are 14 hours away.
Oh No PETA offending sushi this time Geranium?
The Dog and I play a rousing game of “Did you just fart?”

And for those of you wondering when @Maya_in_NYC Instagram will be posting again. She gets in Friday afternoon from her flight from Toyko!