October 12, 2011 - 12:00 pm - (NJ)

Hello Everybody!  That is if there is anybody still out there in “Internet-land” checking my website since I finished my journey.  But, if you are here’s the update I promised in my last post.  I know it’s taken a little longer than I had written it would be, but the rigors of real life stepped in so here we are.  My bad.

What I’ve Been Doing???
Right after my year long trip ended I was so happy to not have to write or take pictures of everything I did everyday.  It was a relief and I was just happy enough to do nothing.  Seriously, losing that responsibility felt great. 🙂  But soon after that, I had to figure out what I was gonna do with my life and that’s a big question.

WFAN “Fan Phenom” Challenge II
Just as I was trying to figure out what my next step would be, I got a phone call from 660 AM “The Fan” telling me I made it to the next round of their competition to find the next radio host for their station.  They told me I was 1 of 50 remaining and my next audition would be in a two weeks or so. (From there they will cut from 50 to 5.  After that, from 5 to the winner!)

Woo Hoo!  I’m 1 in 50 for a job I really want and would enjoy!  I know it’s still only a 2% chance but in this job market... I’ll take it!  So, once I got that information, I put all my all efforts into catching up on the local sports teams and learning everything there is to know about each franchise (owners, GM’s, championship years, etc...).

So, for each day leading up to my next audition (I didn’t know the exact date yet but I knew it would be soon), I watched sports, read sports, and lived all sports.  I did this because I figured my biggest weakness would be not knowing enough information.  I do know a lot about sports but not every detail like some of the guys left in the competition will.  This lasted for a little over two weeks.

F.Y.I. - During the time after my trip until this audition which turned out to be on July 27 (I think), I really didn’t do anything else.  I didn’t look for another job, I didn’t research in depth on how to get this year long journey into a book or movie, I didn’t do anything except put all my efforts into winning this contest!

The Next Audition Arrives...
This is tough to write because I can’t even believe what happened, but here it is.  Plain and simple... I did as bad as I possibly could have.  Even if I went there trying to give the worst audition possible, I couldn’t have done any worse than I did.  Comparatively, I made William Hung look like a rock star.  It was that awful!

I could get into all the painful details but instead I’ll just sum it up simply.  Basically what I did was take my biggest strength and completely eliminate it while screwing up everything else along the way.

Which means... instead of using my personality (my biggest strength I think), I tried to memorize a 2 minute script I wrote and lost every advantage I might have had during the process.  Not to mention, I forgot my script just a few seconds into the 2 minutes they gave you and just stood there like a deer in head lights trying to remember what I wrote.  Ahhh!

Yes, it was that bad.  It was definitely the worst moment I have every had entertainment wise and I left embarrassed.  I have never done that before.  I have always felt like I at least did my thing and whatever happens, happens.  But this time... I didn’t even show up.  So frustrating!

Like I said, there is more I could write but the bottom line is, I didn’t get a call back and I knew it before I even I finished my audition.  Hind sight is 20/20 and I now know what I should have done.  I should have just been myself and enjoyed the moment while talking sports freely.  It’s a mistake I will never make again.  Still... Damn! :

Trying To Find A Job
Once I left the audition, I knew what was next... REAL LIFE!  The problem... I was mentally whipped from a year long journey that didn’t end up the way I dreamed. (I had hoped before it ended it would have already had a life of it’s own and finding a book deal would be easier than most would think.)  So, now I have to find a real job because I have no money and my bills are piling up.   Sounds like America as whole right now, huh?  Ahhh!

When It Rains... It Pours!
Just as I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I woke up on August 22 to a knock on my door from a neighbor telling me that my car was totaled.  What?!  Unfortunately, this wasn’t a prank and when I walked to the street to check out the Rooster mobile, there was another car sitting on top of it.  Ahhhh!  This sucks!

From what I was told, here’s what happened.  An older lady was driving down the street toward my car (head on direction) when out of nowhere and without breaking she swerved directly into the front of my car (essentially driving on top of my mine).  The reasoning for the accident... she was driving with her dog on her lap and wasn’t looking at the road.  Really!  Ahhh!  The lady was OK but both cars weren’t.

The reason this is so terrible is because that car is only thing I own.  I have nothing else. Also, although I have insurance on it and so did the lady who hit me, the money I will get will never be as much as the car was actually worth to me.  I say this because my car (2002 Nissan Altima) had 88,000 miles on it and was in perfect running condition, so it will be real tough to find a comparable car for the insurance money I receive.  Not to mention, all the memories I have in the Rooster Mobile.

Catching A Break
Just when I thought I was screwed all across the board, I got a little lucky.  Let me tell you how.  After negotiating with the insurance company on a fair price for my car for a few weeks, we settled on roughly $8500.  Now, that’s nice, but that wouldn’t be where I got lucky because that’s what my car was worth.

Where I got lucky was that I (my Dad) found a new car that was in perfect condition at 1/3 the price.  Yep!  Woo Hoo! (I wound up with a 1999 Acura TL that had only 78,000 miles on it.)  Hey, the sun even shines on a dogs ass some days. 😉

So, the accident turned out to be blessing in disguise because not only did I now have a better car than I previously had, but I also had about $6000 extra to my name. Cha-ching!  So, with my new found money, I paid my bills and even had some left over for me.  Woo hoo!  Crisis averted.  I now had a little more time to figure things out again. 🙂

Cool Things Happen Sometimes
Although the past few months haven’t been to exciting in my life, there has been a few cool things that have happened.  There are two things I will tell you about which involve the media somehow and both of them included me (without my knowledge) in a small way.

HBO Special: Derek Jeter 3K
The first thing that happened was that I noticed that I was in “Derek Jeter 3K” which aired on HBO over the summer.  (“Derek Jeter 3K” was a documentary where HBO followed Jeter in the weeks leading up to him hitting his 3000th hit, an all time Yankee record.)

Anyway, as I was watching the one hour documentary, they (HBO) show Jeter while he was playing for the Trenton Thunder (Yankee’s Triple A team) when he was rehabbing his injured calf. (Right: One of the pics I took. Left: A shot of me in Derek Jeter 3K)

Well... I was at that game and while I was taking a picture of Jeter’s name on the line-up  card in the hallway for my website, HBO was video taping me taking a picture of the line-up card as well.  You can’t see my face but you can clearly tell it’s me as I’m wearing my signature Jeter jersey and Rooster hat that I had worn all year long.  Pretty cool! 🙂

I’m In A National Magazine?!
The Jeter thing was cool but I knew I was there and hey... somebody had to be in the documentary for a half second. 😉  But what I’m about to tell you now was really wild and completely unexpected.

Here we go.  Sometime in early September I got a call from a friend of mine telling me my picture was in that month’s issue of GQ (the Mark Sanchez issue).  “What?!”  I said to him because that made no sense and asked him if he was lying to me.  He said he wasn’t and told me to go get the issue.

Huh, I had nothing to do with Sanchez ever.  I’ve never been to a USC game, a Jets game (he played in) or anything involving Sanchez.  Double huh...  So why is there a picture of me in GQ.  I had to go find out, so I went and paid the $6 for the issue.

Well... after looking through the magazine there was a picture of me in there except it had nothing to do with Sanchez and the picture was of me 18 years ago.

F.Y.I. - It was a picture of me from when I was at West Virginia University, the one that was in the WVU 1993 yearbook from the WVU vs Miami game.  I showed you that picture when I was in Morgantown for their spring game this past year because I saw that they were still selling it at the stadium.  Funny how things work out.

Anyway, now I’m really confused.  How did they get that picture and why is it in the September issue of GQ?  I still don’t know how they got that picture but after reading the article I know why they used it.

The article was about college football and the journalist writing the piece was discussing finding a new college football team to route for.  His final choice was WVU so he, I guess, found that picture of me to use for his story.  Wild, huh?  My picture was actually bigger than the one of Lou Holtz that was also in the article. 🙂

Writing A Book Proposal
After receiving the check from my insurance company for the Rooster mobile, I paid off all my bills and went out to find a job again.  But, after unsuccessfully looking for weeks, I decided to end my search and completely focus my energy on writing my book about this journey.

So, that’s where I’m at, writing a book proposal with assistance from the University I graduated from in 2010. (By assistance I mean, helping me find a publisher, helping with ideas, format, etc...)  So far it’s going well but if anybody has an idea for the name of the book... let me know as I’m still searching for the perfect fit. 🙂

F.Y.I. - There are two titles I currently like, here they are: “Get Off Your Ass & Live” (48 States, 52 Cities, In 52 Weeks) or “Should I Eat or Buy Gas?” (Traveling The USA For A Year On $2000).

A Year Long Summation Post
I was hoping to write a year long summation post which would encompassed everything I did throughout the year, but so far I have had not had enough time to go through each and every post so I could total everything properly. (Some things are sports events, mascots, charity organizations, poker win/loss totals, concerts, festivals, and so much more... It’s an endless list I want to compile.)

So, hopefully someday before the year ends (2011), I will find the time to gather all that information and post it all neatly for you to read.

Other than that, I still want to send a THANK YOU out to everybody who helped me out during my year long adventure.  Without all the great people I met or knew before, I would have never had the greatest year of my life, one I will never forget!  THANK YOU ALL!

On another note, it’s crazy to think about, but last year today, I was almost all the way across the country living in Montana with a bunch of cool people I had just met.  It was an awesome year! 🙂

Thanks for reading!

The Original Plan

If you have come this far then you’re interested in what’s going on. O.K., here it goes. I’m going to travel the entire continental United States in one year, staying in a minimum of 52 different cities in 52 weeks (at least one week in each state). I will do so by driving my car, a 2002 Nisson Altima 2.5SL, a gift I just got for graduating college... And my parents thought I would grow up, stop dreaming, and finally get a job now that I have a degree. HA!

Anyway, I will start my journey leaving from New Jersey, where I live and travel through the northern US on my way to Seattle , WA. From there I will head south through Cali and back around the Southern and middle US on my way to Miami. Then, I will travel north hitting all the remaining states on the east coast ending in my home state of New Jersey.

I am not rich, I do not have a trust fund, I’m not even your average American financially. I’m poor. So how am I going to travel for a year across the United States?

I plan on hitting as many poker establishments as I can, whether it be at casinos, poker parlors, or even home games to try earn enough money to make it to the next city and beyond. I will be starting my journey with what I can fit in my car and a $2000 bankroll. We’ll see what happens...

In each of the 48 Continental United States I will try and accomplish these goals:

  • Find a place to stay
  • Locate a casino or poker game
  • Find a job if I lost in the casino
  • Do some charity work for the homeless/hungry in the city I am staying. (For I too may become homeless and hungry somewhere down the trip.)
  • Find a free week gym membership - (to lose weight and get in shape!)
  • See each cities biggest attraction
  • Attend a sporting event in each city (Pro, College, or H.S.)
  • Find a date for Saturday night

Wish me luck... I’ll need it! If anybody has a question feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer it.

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