Aviously

Because, aviously…

Here are some of the movies I’m looking forward to this fall, which seems to start slower and have more once November/December rolls around.

  • 9/14 – A Simple Favor – Paul Feig (Director of Ghostbusters (2016) and The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale) directs this comedic thriller, starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively
  • 9/28 – Smallfoot – An abominable snowman (Channing Tatum) discovers humans, or “smallfoot”, in this odd musical with James Corden and Zendaya
  • 10/5 – A Star is Born – Bradley Cooper makes his directorial debut, alongside the acting of Lady Gaga
  • 11/9 – The Girl in the Spider’s Web – The first book of the reboot is being turned into a movie, as Claire Foy (The Crown) takes over the iconic role of Lisbeth Salander
  • 11/16 – Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – The second movie in the Harry Potter spin-off (after Where To Find Themis sure to see all sorts of new creatures
  • 11/21 – Ralph Breaks the Internet – Couldn’t wait to shut up and drive after the first one, and this sequel looks to be just as electric as they visit The Internet!!
  • 11/21 – Robin Hood – Taron Egerton (Kingsman), Ben Mendelsohn (Bloodline), and Jamie Foxx star in a classic remake
  • 12/14 – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – This animated Spidey snuck into the movie world, as we focused on Tom Holland in the Marvel version, but this movie looks solid
  • 12/19 – Mary Poppins Returns – 54 years since she last showed up on the screen, and 25 years after the first one took place, Emily Blunt takes the role of Mary, and Lin-Manuel Miranda co-stars
  • 12/21 – Bumblebee – Transformers’ Bumblee and Hailee Steinfeld, both in the same movie…need I say more?

Recently I had to deal with an abandoned car, and had another instance of NYC and the NYPD just ignoring the problems in front of them, since it was easier to make believe it didn’t exist.

Someone parked an out-of-state car on my block, with its bumper thrown in the back seat, and left it there for four weeks.

It was parked shortly after alternate side parking restrictions, on a Thursday afternoon, and a week later it picked up its first ticket, as it was improperly parked during that time.

12 days after it was initially parked, on Tuesday afternoon, I filed it with 3-1-1 as abandoned, and within 2-hours the NYPD had updated it with:

The Police Department responded to the complaint and determined that police action was not necessary.

Really? Okay, cool.

Two days later, as that Thursday restrictions rolled around again, the NYPD traffic enforcers came around gave the car a ticket, placing it on top of the one from the week before…on a vehicle already listed as “abandoned”.

So I reached out and Tweeted to the 66th Precinct and my local councilman, saying:

This is ridiculous. 66th Precinct just added another ticket to this car for alternate street parking (on top of the other ones already on there), but don’t think it’s an issue?!

And the 66 responded saying:

Great, Friday, July 27th should be the end of this vehicle taking up a parking space, and preventing the street from getting cleaned.

Except it wasn’t…as no one showed up to look at it. And despite follow-up tweets from me on Monday and Tuesday, nothing changed.

As I came home on Thursday, the third one that it was illegally parked on, I saw a traffic enforcement agent putting a third ticket on it, on top of the other two that were starting to shrivel up from sitting in the sun.

I got out of the car and walked over to the agent, who surprisingly didn’t speak English. As I tried to have a conversation with him about the vehicle, asking him “What do I have to do to get this car towed”, he just walked away repeating the line “I’m just doing my job”, ignoring what I was saying and just wanting to get on with his day.
The real question is, why is he able to put a ticket on a car that already has two for the same violation, and not be obligated to call it in for a removal?

After he left I walked down the block, where a car from a different precinct was pulled over, and asked them for advice. They told me to call the 66 and ask for a Tow.

So I called the 66 directly and spoke to someone at the switchboard, who said they would send someone out to take a look.

Before the end of the hour a cruiser had pulled up, and shortly after a tow truck showed up and removed the car.
Seriously, that’s all it took in the end.

But it’s a little sad that in the summer months, when traffic is down in the area, it still takes weeks to get a reported abandoned vehicle, with tickets piling up, off the streets.

Google Trips is the perfect companion for your next trip, whether you know what you are going to be doing or just need some ideas.

The app is simple enough, add your location and dates, and the app starts to take care of the rest.

Once you have a location in place, there are a few things that pop up, and auto-populate, to help you out, some of them include:

  • Reservations – One of the cool parts of Google (which many find creepy, but I love) is that Google Trips will import things from your emails, such as hotel and plane reservations, and if it doesn’t pull it in, you can manually place the information yourself
  • Things To Do – This tab includes Top Spots, tailored spots just For You, Local Favorites, Landmarks, Kid Friendly, and many other “things to do”
  • Saved Places – When you place that little Star on a location in Google Maps and save it off, it’ll show up in this folder
  • Day Plans – This tab will group together items that are in a nearby area, and actually map out a walking path for you to hit them all up
  • Food & Drink – An overview of local cuisine, specialties, and nightlife, as well as some of the Top Spots, sorted by cuisine and costs
  • Getting Around – This is one of the cooler sections, especially in a foreign locale, with information on the airports, public transportation, taxis, walking, biking, and driving, With driving it’ll give you tips such as when traffic will be heavier, where and when you can park on the streets, and any odd restrictions that the city may have
  • Need To Know – These are the essentials that you need to know when going somewhere. Who do you call in case of emergency (911, 112, etc.), what hospitals are available to you, and if you need healthcare? What is the sales tax like, where are the best places to shop, what currency can you use, and how much is standard tips?
    And in a modern day twist, where can you find WiFi, or more importantly: Free WiFi hotspots.

The app is available on Android and iOS, and for more of everything that I just said, check out their shiny website!!

Heartbreak is unavoidable, and loneliness is brutal. I’ve learned that the key to being happy is to tell your truth and be OK without all the answers. This is my story. This is Simply Complicated.

The opening monologue paints the picture for this YouTube Red documentary into the life of Demi Lovato.

As her recent struggles have played out, now is a good time to view the 2017 film, and look into everything she has been through and struggled with.

Her battles with bipolar disorder and being manic, plus her constant on-again/off-again addictions to drugs, drinking, coke, as well as an eating disorder.

To only complicate matters was her love-at-first-sight with actor Wilmer Valderrama, who is 12+ years her senior, who she dated for 6 years before they went their own ways, but still remain close friends, as we’ve seen in recent weeks.

This documentary is an interesting watch, as you see how she faced thoughts of suicide from an extremely young age, and how at the drop of a dime she can snap (which has led to her punching one of her long-time friends in the face).

There are a few more things to focus on, such as her American Idol performance while hungover, and getting rid of her phone while living in a sober apartment, but ultimately, you should give this a watch and see for yourself.

One of my more popular travel posts, and the one that is most open and revealing, is my cost breakdowns of my trips, so that you can see if you can do it, or try parts of it.

Here are previous editions from Niagara, Virginia, and San Diego.

Below are Attractions, Hotels, and Gas Costs + Tolls


ATTRACTIONS

Cooperstown, Baseball Hall of Fame = $23

Lake Placid Bobsled Run = $9

Lake Placid Olympic Center = Free

Whiteface Mountain = $12

Montreal Olympic Stadium Tour = $24.70

Montreal Clocktower = Free

Vermont Teddy Bear Factory = $4

Rock of Ages Quarry = $4

Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour = $4

Springfield Museums = $16.50

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame = $24

TOTAL COST OF ATTRACTIONS = $121.20


HOTELS

Best Western, Saranac Lake – Booked via Best Western = $98.90

Best Western, Montreal – Booked via Best Western, Two Nights = $308.39

La Quinta Inn & Suites, Springfield – Booked via Priceline = $87.97

TOTAL COST OF HOTELS = $495.26


GAS AND TOLLS

Gas Costs = $114.23 covering 1114 Miles…which comes down to about 10 cents a mile! (Or 30MPG at $3/Gallon)

When I went to Niagara, I spent a lot of time on the NY Thruway, and going thru Staten Island…these ran the tolls up.

This time, 3 out of my 5 tolls were in NYC, equalling 90% of the cost.

Hugh L. Carey Tunnel = 5.76 * 2 = $11.52

RFK Bridge = $5.76

NYS Thruway, Harriman Toll Plaza = $1.19

NYS Thruway, Amsterdam = $0.95

TOTAL COST OF GAS AND TOLLS = $133.65


TOTAL COSTS

Attractions — $121.20
Hotels — $495.26
Gas and Tolls = $133.65
TOTAL = $750.11

Finally learning what a Quarry is? PRICELESS

Two hardcore board-gamers meet at a bar trivia night, and over time fall in love and got married.

Now Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) host game nights at their house, inviting over some of their friends: Kevin (Lamorne Morris, New Girl) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury); Ryan (Billy Magnussen) and an array of blond dates; and not their next door neighbor Gary (Jesse Plemons).

Now Max’s super successful brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler, Bloodline) is in town, and he’s the Mark Wahlberg to Max’s Donnie, and he wants to host Game Night, with a special twist: A murder mystery.

Ryan brings along Sarah (Sharon Hogan, Catastrophe), to add to our usual cast of characters, and they set off on an epic adventure, as this murder mystery seems all too real.

With gunshots and fights, Risk and Charades, plus bad guys named “The Bulgarian” (Michael C. Hall) and “Marlon Freeman” (Danny Huston), this movie wasn’t anything like I expected (although maybe I should’ve watched the trailer first?) and was very enjoyable, getting and 8 out of 10.

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass is a great place to learn the history of the game, and all the players that turned it into the game it is today.

This three-story building has a different focus on each level, as you start from the top floor and work your way down:

  • Third Floor: Take a lap around as you follow the history of the game from the beginning until today, as the ceiling has the pictures of all the Hall of Famers, and there is an assortment of memorabilia, from rings to basketballs, and keys to the city.
  • Second Floor: Jerseys, sneakers, basketballs, and trophies. From every team and every era. Sections on the NBA and MAAC, and areas devoted to The Media and Coaches. This also starts the parts that are great for kids. Import yourself into NBA Jam, practice your jumps and see how high you can grab a rebound…see if you can palm a basketball or just shoot arcade-style hoops. And the really cool part? Try your hand at being a member of the media. Sit behind the “Sports desk” and give the highlights from the game, or slide into the radio booth and give your own take on some of the most famous calls in basketball history.
  • First Floor: Center Court, a rack of basketballs and an open court to shoot around on. Along one wall are all the different styles of hoops thru the years, so you can try your luck on the old-fashioned literal basket. There’s also a row of hoops, at different heights, to see how high you are able to dunk.

What’s that? Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks want to give you free drinks for your birthday? Who would say no to that?

But it’s not just them that want to give you free stuff, it’s tens of companies, and there’s one company that will put it all together and remind you who to take advantage of to get these deals.

The company is called Huledet, which is Hebrew for “birth”, and by signing up on Huledet.com you’ll get an email on the first of your special month, with a list of online offers, and some local ones to cash in on.

  • Free magazine subscriptions
  • Free Beef Jerky
  • Discounts to Basic Outfitters, Fanchest, Grow & Behold
  • Deals 16 Handles / Burger Bistro / New York Comedy Club / Peapod
  • Free slice of pizza at Bravo Pizza

Not every deal will be good for everyone, but Happy Birthday regardless!!

The fifth museum at the Springfield Museums is the Dr. Seuss Museum, and it may be the centerpiece of it all, as they all surround the National Memorial Sculpture Garden.
In case you missed them, the first four were the Science Museum, the Springfield History Museum, the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, and the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts.

Let’s split this into two parts, the Museum and the Garden.


Dr. Seuss Museum

This museum is great for kids and super cool for adults.

The ground floor is meant for kids, as they have characters from all sorts of Seuss books, from Horton to The Cat in the Hat, and Yertle the Turtle to Things 1 & 2.

When you head upstairs you get to experience the life of Theodor Seuss Geisel. They have his study and desk, as well as sketches that he made, and a family tree. Other things include his stuffed animal, which he kept with him his whole life, and his Hollywood Walk of Fame Star.
They also have notes and cards that he sent to relatives for birthdays and other occasions.

This is a fun place to relive your youth and discover new Seussian adventures, as I did with the book “You’re Only Old Once”, which turned out to be an adult book for those visiting the Doctors and popping pills.


Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden

In the middle of this grouping of museums is a nice lawn, dotted with sculptures of all sizes to commemorate Dr. Seuss. A tall Yertle statue to a tiny little Lorax are the side notes to the two larger pieces.

Horton Court includes Horton and a bunch of other smaller creatures, all next to “The Storyteller”, which has Dr. Seuss and The Cat in the Hat sitting there writing a book, and a giant copy of “Oh The Places You’ll Go”.

Rachel (Kristen Bell) is a very busy woman, so much so that her phone is always on hand, even during her wedding ceremony to Owen (Jon Foster), which proves to be too much for him, and they split up at the alter.

The next day she gets black-out drunk while reconnecting with her long unseen father Harry (Kelsey Grammer), and before she knows it she’s waking up on her honeymoon cruise with him.

On board, while trying to stay away from her father, who suddenly seems to care and be overbearing, she meets Jeff (Seth Rogen), a single guy who’s getting over a divorce.

She also spends some quality time getting to know her dad, from honeymoon questions to hanging out at a watering hole, and singing karaoke to hearing endless stories about someone named Gabe.

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift, which is why we call it the present.

Other great cast members include her boss (Brett Gelman, Love), and the other couples on board, and help make this movie fun, funny, and enjoyable, as it gets an 8.5 out of 10.

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