Archive for September, 2010

Miami Metrorail Tips

September 29, 2010

Quick companion piece to my Department of Motor Vehicles Tips post.

I wanted to bust you some Miami Metrorail 411. Even though I almost got blown up last week when a bomb-laden hostage went into The Bank of America on U.S. 1 and my train unknowingly breezed by.

1) Ladies, please put your makeup on at home. I wince when I see you using eye pencil and fear I’m going to hear a loud shriek followed by a pool of blood.  Please take an extra 15 at home with all sharp makeup objects. Blush and other non-lethal types are fine with me although some might disagree.  You need your eyes to read stuff like this.

2) Don’t count on the Wi-Fi. Metrorail Wi-Fi brings me back to the AOL days when speeds were 14.4kbit/sec and sounded like this. My best Googling tells me that there are only 20 wi-fi cars in service out of 22 miles of service.  Seriously, please offer it or don’t.

3) Deal with the hot. Deal with the cold. Actually some of my funnier Miami Metrorail moments is seeing when the mercury drops below 50 degrees.  I caught this pic (at left) on my phone going up the escalator last winter.

4) If you can figure it out, use the Metrorail. What could be an hour commute for me has been about 8:33 and I’ve been doing it for five+ years.  I take a car off the road, am helping the environment.  I’ve never been in a car accident on the Metrorail. And sometimes I just look down and laugh as I show a Porsche 911 who’s boss.

So, do you use Metrorail? Like it? Hate it? Wish you cold use it? Chime in!   ~Mike

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What would you do with a loose billion?

September 24, 2010

Thanks to the new Forbes 400 list, we’ve got billionaire on the brain.

Congrats to the 26 Florida billionaires who made the cut.  Florida ranked fourth in billionaireitis and California was #1 with 83 billionaires. In Florida Micky Arison came in at #1. Maybe that’s why he always looks so tan and studly. With 26 billionaires and that kind of cash floating all around Florida, it’s amazing that the most expensive home on the market is just $60 million (pictured left).

So, how big a number is a billion? Fasten your seatbelt.

A billion is a thousand million. If you wanted to count to a billion, it would take 31 years, 251 days, 7 hours and 39 seconds (if you counted one per second). A billion seconds ago, it was 1958. A billion dollars is 266 small U-Haul boxes jammed end-to-end and floor to ceiling in crisp $100 dollar bills. So you think a billionaire has a “ton” of money?  Well, a ton of $100 bills is about only, $90,800,000. Chump change. Most commercial jets fly about 7 miles high.  If you took crisp, new $1,000 bills, it would soar 63 miles high.

So, what would a billion dollars buy if you wanted be change the world?  According to The World Land Trust website and a little of my bad math, a billion would get you 12. 3 million acres of rainforest.  And in time, a cure for “tons” of diseases and reduce carbon offsets and stuff like that. That’s what I would consider.

Pretend just for a second that you had a loose billion and wanted to change the world. What would you do with it? ~Mike

Department of Motor Vehicles Tips

September 21, 2010

You know you dread it.  You’d rather have an anaesthetic-free root canal.

So here are some tips to help get you through renewing that driver’s license in Florida. Please note that the requirements vary from state to state and country to country so check with your own DMV and good luck with that.

1) Have your junk in order. In Florida that means you need:

-Primary I.D. in the form of:  Certified US birth certificate. Don’t even try with one issued by a hospital.  They will look at you like you were not born on this planet. Bring a valid US Passport or Passport Card.  Or you can bring the Form-N-500 or Form N-570. I know you have that handy.

-Proof of Social Security Number.  This could be a Social Security card, any SSA-1099, any 1009 (not handwritten) and a W-2 or a pay check/stub.  Wouldn’t you love to see LeBron go in with his pay stub?

-Two “proofs” of residential address. In this category, you have 22 choices. With 21 other options, I wonder how many people show up with their Transients – Sexual Offender/Predator/Career Offender: – FDLE Registration form completed by local sheriff’s department. But fair is fair.

2) Make an appointment. “I got there at 6:00 a.m. and there were already 30 people camped out there” said Emily Taffel-Schaper who recently renewed her license and could not get an appointment until December. “People who were there at 6:oo a.m. were still there at 5:00 p.m,” she said.

My opinion: make two appointments–one for now and one for 8 years from now.  Our licenses are only good for 8 years.  So by the time you get your first appointment, you should be up for renewal already.

3. Try to make your appointment right after you take a vacation. One last bit of advice. Before you go to DMV, make sure you take a nice long vacation. Then at least you’ll have a fairly decent picture for those 8 years.

Now the fun begins. What are your experiences at your DMV? Good? Bad? Stories to share? How about trying to call them? It’s your turn and drive safely. ~Mike

Smile!

September 16, 2010

After all the intense but important 9/11 stuff, I ‘d like to share something with you on the lighter side.  Way lighter. I’ve made a slide show for you of our beautiful children from all around this great nation.

They were all kind enough to give me 1/60th of a second of their time.

So here’s to fake farts under the arm…

And I’d like to thank all the little people who made this possible.

http://vimeo.com/83463054

F.A.Q.

Q: Should I watch this in HD on full screen?  A: Yup

Q: Should I comment and say which pic’s my favorite? A: Sure.

Q: What should I do if my video lags? A: Let it load and chill out!

~Mike

It’s 9/12, now what?

September 12, 2010

A magical thing happened yesterday. As I saw it, human glue officially became stronger than human hate.

I wrote what I thought was a good post titled “Where were you on 9/11?” and instantly the comments shined brighter than the post itself. It stopped becoming my post and became our post. The response was global. Comments came from Australia. Bolivia. Poland. Romania.Germany. Montana. South Africa. Alaska. Spain. Someone said they were on the rocket launchpad at Cape Canaveral, FL. And someone wrote one sentence: “i was in new york in the twin towers…” (sic). And on and on.

I kept a pretty cool head while skimming the 500 plus published comments so far (I promise I will read them all). I kept my cool. Except two times. 1) When my brother (at left) shared his thoughts and 2) when my beautiful niece (right) shared hers. For those who didn’t read my original post, my brother is a fireman 19 miles outside of New York City and worked at Ground Zero. Grab a tissue and read what he had to say. Do an Edit > Find: Matthew LaMonica on yesterday’s post.

While the post was popular, I refuse to take a victory lap on the 9/11 issue. It’s not that kind of occasion.

There was one thing that left me uneasy–maybe more uneasy than I’ve ever been about this whole thing. On October 11, 2001, I welcomed my incredible baby boy into this newly changed world just 30 days after this all happened. Initial reports are good and he recently won “friendliest camper of the summer” award.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the men and women in our armed forces who let me safely tuck my son in at night. And especially those who never made it back alive. I’m usually a funnier guy than all this, but this is tough stuff. We can pull each other’s finger, yuk it up and have a good laugh together sometime soon.

For now I hope that anyone who read the 9/11 post from yesterday (or this one) will tell a friend and continue to share their memories.  Because I will guarantee you, you all knew where were that day. You all have unique story to share.

Where were you on 9/11?  And what are you doing to keep the spotlight burning? Peace be with you all. ~Mike

In case you missed the original post and comments, you can view it here:

https://mikelamonica.wordpress.com/2010/09/10/where-we-you-on-911/

~ML

Where were you on 9/11?

September 10, 2010

We all knew where we were that morning.

I happened to be in Upstate New York when my phone rang.  Before I could even say hello I heard, “a plane just hit the World Trade Center.” I didn’t have TV at my little farmhouse in Woodstock, NY so I ran to my neighbor’s house.  Then the second plane hit and, in an instant, in my mind, I said, “they got us.”

That started a strange series of events.  In my tiny town, there were Army vehicles at the end of my sleepy road keeping all vehicles away from the Ashokan Reservoir fearing that someone may be attempting to contaminate New York City’s water supply. We were essentially quarantined. The image above shows how remote an area I was in.

An hour later my phone rang.

It was an elderly woman who I did not know asking if I was OK.  This was not a day for disputes; it was a day for compassion.  So I just assured her that I was in fact OK.  I stayed on the phone with her a bit and learned that she was actually trying to check in on Michael Lomanaco who was Chef/Director for Windows on The World, the restaurant located atop the North Tower of the World Trade Center. So I guess he also had a home in Woodstock, NY.  Michael Lomonaco wasn’t in the North Tower at the time, but everyone present in the restaurant when American Airlines Flight 11 hit either perished from the plane’s impact, smoke inhalation, or died in the when the tower collapsed 102 minutes later.

My brother was a fireman in a town 19 miles outside of New York and he wanted to help. It took almost a week for his ladder company to get clearance to go.  When he arrived, he said people were lined up as they marched to the sight cheering them as if they won the World Series.  He spent a day at the site, but got an unspoken message from the New York City crew that they “wanted to dig out their own.” He understood and in the most uncomfortable of ways, so did I.

And about two weeks later, I learned that I lost a little league buddy and a high school friend on that day.

I am not one to give big props to celebs, but George Clooney’s acceptance speech at the Emmy’s rang true to me. And that was “to help find a way to keep the spotlight burning on these heart-breaking situations that continue to be heartbreaking long after the cameras go away.” To me, it was a fresh turn of phrase on, “We will never forget.”

Where were you on 9/11?

And what are you doing to keep the spotlight burning? ~Mike

A low tech party.

September 6, 2010

It’s been a while, but yesterday I went to a low tech, non-Twitter party.  A kids birthday party. About 50 or 60 people.  Bounce house.  Two Pinatas. Big food. It was a lot of fun, but when I got home, I thought about it. Not an iPhone in the place. Nary an iPad. No one was face timing or comparing devices. No bump apps. I’m imagining no one there has ever cranked out a Tweet let alone an RT. About as close as I got was one young girl who obviously had unlimited texting as you can see in the background in the picture below. But I did manage to take a couple of snapshots I think we all should try to do it more often. I found it refreshing. What do you think? ~Mike

SM kills sixº of separation

September 4, 2010

The idea that we are six degrees separated from anyone on earth is dead. This popular Trivia game centered around the Actor Kevin Bacon. It refers to the idea that everyone is at most six steps away from any other person on earth.  But that was before the internet and before you met me.

So what’s your Kevin Bacon number? It’s two, because I met Kevin Bacon  while filming He Said, She Said. So anyone who reads this and the thread comments has a Kevin Bacon number of 3.

Basically I think that the new six  degrees of separation is three degrees of separation.  So let’s find out…

Here is a short list of people I’ve met.  Put some you’ve met in the comments.  By the end of this, we should have three degrees of separation.

-Kevin Bacon

-George Steinbrenner

-Jennifer Aniston

-Ringo Starr

-Owen Wilson

-Tom Cruise,

-O.J Simpson

-Gloria Estefan

-Phil Knight

-Lee Iacocca

-Leona Helmsley

-David Ogilvy

-Jerry DellaFemina

-David Lee Roth

Again, put people you’ve met in the comments section.  Let’s take this old myth out and we’ll set up a new Wiki entry. Thanks for retweeting this and spreading the word.  That’s how this will work…~Mike