Salt Lake to East Bay, CA.

I woke up bright and early (Salt Lake City Time) and got myself mentally and physically prepared to make this last 10 hour trek.

Mentally – Created a playlist full of motivational, high energy songs including but not limited to Young Jeezy, Ke$ha, and the mixtape Weezy.

Physically – Acquired a large amount of Monster energy drinks.

Equipped with these performance enhancers, I was able to grind these hours out. Here were my thoughts:

  1. The western side of Utah along Interstate 80 are flat. This was the complete opposite of the lands of Utah entering SLC from the west. The salt covered lands looked like snow covered New Jersey.
  2. Some lady tried to get a ride to me at a Utah gas station. Her and her “boyfriend” were “stranded” outside of Salt Lake City. She ignored the fact that I told her I’m going in the opposite direction. “Their” car had run out of gas and she had walked the 15 miles to the station for help. Now I don’t like calling people liars, but I immediately began to expose her story rather quickly. First off, it was 7:30 in the morning. A fifteen mile walk would’ve meant she would have been walking to this station for hours. She had a cell phone, but said help would’ve taken hours. So would’ve walking. I offered her money to pay for a tank of gas, to which she declined. A full tank of gas for myself later, and I was on my merry way. Nice try lady. I’m not trying to die.
  3. Nevada is humongous. The scenery was pretty cool, but there were no civilians until I reached Reno, all of the way near the border of California. Reno basically looked like an Atlantic City that only possesses the bad parts of Atlantic City. No stopping there.
  4. Eastern California closely resembled a greener Nevada, full of steep inclines. I passed Lake Tahoe and can only imagine the winter fun that exists there. Sacramento seemed like a country town, full of farms and open fields, but I didn’t go through their downtown.
  5. At this point, merely an hour or so away, I was on my last legs. I looked back at Zoe and she was lacking energy as well. I arrived to meet my new home and I couldn’t have been happier. So far so good. Now I just need to get all A’s.
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Part 3: Denver to Salt Lake

I had been “looking forward” to this part of the trip since I planned it, because compared to the other days, this trip would “only” be about 7 and a half hours. The drive took me through Wyoming, right into downtown Salt Lake City. Here were my thoughts:

  1. Wyoming was actually quite beautiful. Empty, but beautiful.
  2. Utah was awesome to drive into. Definitely scary as some of the hills were a little, “Hmmm, I don’t think this is actually safe for cars)
  3. I landed rather quickly and decided to walk around downtown in search of a barbershop to get a hair cut. I used Yelp and Google to land at Ray’s Barber Shop which ended up being a solid move. My barber was mortified, but at the end of the day, he did an OK job.
  4. I debated actually going out for the night, but decided against it as I didn’t want to estimate the 10 hours I had left for tomorrow. Ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
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Part 2: (IL to CO)

Another early morning, and another long drive. Princeton, Illinois to Denver, Colorado was the mission. When I planned this trip, this day stood out to me as the most daunting, and so it was no surprise that I passed out almost immediately upon my arrival to the Econo Lodge (Econo for life!). Anyways, here were my notes from day 2:

  1. Las Vegas set the over/under at 1.5 for the amount of times I would be pulled over on this trip. While ripping through Iowa, I was clocked going a whopping 79 in a 70. As Zoe barked frantically at the Iowa State Trooper, I visualized me spending the night in jail rather than the Denver Econo. Fortunately, I feel like this fella simply wanted to talk to someone not from Iowa. I sat in the front seat of his cruiser – his office – and my warning was printed out. We talked about wrestling, my career goals, and Chris Christie. Fun times.
  2. Nebraska sucks. Omaha and Lincoln look like they could be cool, but due to the fact that they are within 40 miles of each other on one side of Nebraska, not much can be said about the rest of the state. Corn country felt long.
  3. When I got into Colorado, I was expecting winds and turns. Mountains. Perhaps a few farms filled with marijuana. Instead Colorado looked like Nebraska, with a couple of hills.
  4. At least Denver resembles an actual city and there were first-world eating establishments. Happy to sit with way too much pizza, it was satisfying watching the Heat lose knowing I’d only have to drive 7-8 hours to Salt Lake City.

25 hours of driving down. 17 hours to go.

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Destination: California (Part 1 – NJ to IL)

Bright and early this morning, I departed for California, planning to stop somewhere near Chicago, Denver, and Salt Lake City en route to my new home in the Bay Area. Safely in Illinois, here goes a quick list of thoughts, facts, and opinions from yours truly about the trip thus far.

  1. I actually shed a tear this morning as I said farewell to my parents. It’s weird because the tears came from no place of sadness. I pride myself on keeping a healthy sized chip on my shoulder but in this case, everyone has been so supportive of me. Humbling.
  2. I wanted to soak in as much NYC radio before the service got weak and I would have to switch to the iPhone. I didn’t even get out of Jersey before Charlemagne the God’s voice grew choppy.
  3. So basically Western New Jersey, North and Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois (sans Chicago) all look the same along Route 80. Hoping for some better scenery in the coming days, otherwise the whole “America the Beautiful” thing is a damn lie.
  4. Zoe is making every effort possible to get as much hair as possible everywhere. She can’t be stopped.
  5. I’m riding Econo Lodge’s until the wheels fall off. Pet friendly, and inexpensive. Never mind the fact that the room smells and feels like some race-worn running shorts.
  6. This hotel is in Princeton, Illinois. Doing a quick search because I couldn’t help it, I came to learn that the town is named after my (Jersey’s) Princeton. The three founders of the Illinois version put a name idea in a hat and Princeton won. One of the founders was a Princeton grad and Jersey badass.
  7. I went to Wendy’s and got my usual Baconator Jr. without cheese. As always, I asked to have lettuce and tomato put onto the sandwich since for whatever reason Wendy’s master chefs decided that bread, meat, meat, mayo, and ketchup was enough. When I asked, the manager looked at me confused and preceded to name the typical ingredients, as if I don’t know more about Wendy’s than her (tuh!). I’m sure Dave Thomas is happy with her ability to stick to the guide, but I need 2 to 3 gallons of water to quench my thirst from eating the driest burger of my entire life.
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I’VE LEARNED THAT YOU CAN TELL A LOT ABOUT A PERSON BY THE WAY (S)HE HANDLES THESE THREE THINGS: A RAINY DAY, LOST LUGGAGE, AND TANGLED CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTS

-Maya Angelou

Rainy Days. Great for naps and feeling like a bad ass after running.

Lost Luggage. ::shrugs:: Everything important is in my book bag.

Tangled Christmas Tree Lights. The ultimate Rubik’s Cube. Let’s Get It.

Rest in Peace.

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Bubbles.

In sports, both professional and amateur, there exist the type of players who use skills separate from athletic abilities to gain any edge they can, whether real or imaginary. In the basketball world, such legendary names that fulfilled this role include Dennis “The Worm” Rodman and Metta World Peace. Hell, there was a recent ESPN 30 for 30 Documentary that gave intense insight into the back-to-back World Champion “Bad Boys” Detroit Pistons.

The Pistons, with help from Rodman, used just as many non basketball tactics as the typical ones (shooting, passing, rebounding, etc.) to gain an edge.

Insert Lance Stephenson.

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During last night’s sudden death game (for the Indiana Pacers), Lance-a-Make-Him-Dance resorted to blowing into the ear/face of LeBron James in an attempt to get under his skin. It can be debated whether or not his immature tactics worked, but at the end of the day, Indy survived, forcing a Game 6 back in Miami.

After the game and today, Blowgate was a major topic of conversation. For example:

Unnamed Typically Logical Human Being: “What the hell was up with that guy blowing into LeBron’s face. That’s sick. Probably one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen in a game. Totally unnecessary.”

(Clip plays on Sportscenter showing Dennis Rodman grapple/face-to-face grind with Antonio Davis)

Dennis Rodman AP

Me: “Compared to that doe?”

Unnamed Typically Logical Human Being: “What? Rodman? That’s just playing hard, being aggressive. You gotta do whatever it takes to win the game!”

Me: “Oh.”

(pause)

Me: “So you’re cool with a dude grappling with another after the whistle blows, then purposely engaging in a front-to-front sexual grind with an opposing plan just to mess with him, over Lance blowing in LeBron’s ear?”

Unnamed Typically Logical Human Being: “Yeah man, blowing in an ear? That’s crazy.”

So what you have here is the case of, if Lance had blown into any player’s ear on the planet besides LeBron James, then this wouldn’t have been a story. And that’s fine, but the Lance slander was a bit eye-opening to me.

Rant over. What do I know?

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I Have No Clue What I’m Doing.

The title really says it all. Grad Schooling is boggling my mind and it hasn’t even started yet.

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Burb Pope.

Today, my school took a field trip to Washington, D.C. I stress the day aspect of that because traveling to the District and back in one day from New Jersey can’t be considered wise. But there I was at 6 a.m. boarding a coach bus (whose air conditioning malfunctioned) headed south.

More important than my attendance book or any other teacher paraphernalia, all I cared about were my headphones. Considering we spent roughly eight of the twelve total hours of this trip traveling, those earbuds saved my life.

I’ve been so far behind on music that I’ve only judged a lot of artists based on word of mouth or radio play; hardly the ideal situation. So today I ran back the albums of A$AP Ferg aka the Hood Pope and Schoolboy Q. I can’t really speak on the albums yet as collective units, but I will say I like them. Since the Hood Pope is taken, I feel like the ‘Burb Pope is ready for the taking, not by me of course, but none other than @jblaze23.

…Oh, and I’m taking off tomorrow. Definitely beginning to feel sick. Definitely.

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Almost.

With each passing day, I get closer and closer to the move. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that all that consumes my mind right now are the next 14 months. I literally have no idea what to expect, so I guess that’s what excites me.

Regardless, I think it is paramount that I remain true to myself. To aid in this effort, the following items will be packed for my ride out west:

  1. Fresh Prince of Bel Air (ALL SEASONS, obviously)
  2. A baseball glove.
  3. An infinite amount of black socks.
  4. All clothing with ties to Jersey, Philly, and/or Brooklyn (I plan on being that guy who talks about how the tri-state area is more important than anything that exists out west)>
  5. My dog.

These are the essentials.

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3rd and 10th.

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So we get the 3rd and 10th picks? I’ll take it. It pretty much guarantees us Jabari Parker (Duke...noooooo!) or Andrew Wiggins in addition to another great player. So yeah. Cool.

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