Monday, March 31, 2008

Nights like these

What does one do, when the words won't come, the spirit won't rest, and the body won't sleep?

Looks like for me, it's having an open blog window sitting on my desktop all night long, pace mentally and physically, and I don't.

Happy Monday.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I love Germans... and other various happenings

It's 3:30am and in the past week I've had enough meat and beer to kill a small elephant. Seriously, I'm not trying to stereotype an entire culture, but the 5 Germans that I've spent time with this past week really do live on beer, bread, meat, and cheese. Like, woah. Just this weekend, we've gone through almost 7 or 8 pounds of London Broil steak, and 4 cases of beer(not counting what we had out at bars). If you're thinking, "wow, that sounds really excessive" you're right. It is excessive, but lucky for my body 2 have left already, 2 leave tomorrow, and that leaves only one German here until the middle of April.

Besides the 'blitzkreig' on my digestive system, it's been such a blast having them here. M has been home on spring break, Surfer just got back from a stay in costa rica(for surfing), and since almost all the Germans have been friends of GC's he's been around all the time too. The cool thing about that, is that all 4 of us took an extensive amount of German in high school (personally, German 1,2,3,4,and AP, as well as a 201 and 301 in college, while both M, Surfer, and GC have spent a minimum of 6 months in Germany at one time or another in addition to the classes in school) So we'll be sitting around talking, or huddling by a bonfire to keep warm(like tonight) and spend 70% of the conversation all speaking in German. I've used my German more in the last two weeks then I have in the last two years combined and the improvement I can hear in myself is quite refreshing. I know that I've lost sooooo much having not spoken it often, but it's also coming back much quicker than I expected.

In other, non-German related news... the Intranet I have been developing since November finally went live on Thursday!!! It's still a bit sparse and a little rough, but it's up for testing and the scores of suggestions that I hope to get for content. It wasn't without it's glitches though. So, one of the things my boss's boss (the one who assigned me this project) wanted was a way for the counselors to all communicate with each other and have an interactive calendar for events they want to let other counselors know about. So I did my research and found an module for the PHPBB2.0.23 bulletin board/forum program. Great, it does everything we wanted and we couldn't ask for more. Well, I get the message Thursday freaking morning, that the servers we're hosting the Intranet on, are not allowed to have the language PHP installed on them. That forum, is made entirely in PHP. About 20 minutes later, I have a 4 page sheet on my desk outlining all the languages and programs that are either preferred, accepted, or denied. Would this not have been helpful for me to have oh... say... back in NOVEMBER!!!! I told boss's boss that he can forget about his counselor communication method for the foreseeable future until I find something else that will work. Luckily for me, he's also a geek like myself and knew exactly how stupid it was for them to refuse to install PHP and didn't blame me for it in any way.

After work on Thurs my boss, MJ, and I all went out for a few drinks to celebrate MJ's birthday. It was a lot of fun even just the 3 of us. We all get along really well, both in a professional and personal environment. I'm sure though, that we looked like quite the odd gathering, a man almost in his 50's with kids starting college, a woman in her 30's with a guide dog, and a 24 year old just getting started. Personally, I think my boss just wanted to hear stories of MJ and I when we were in college so he had an idea what his daughters were actually doing while they were away at school, especially since I've spent weekends parting at the school his eldest now goes to.

Saturday(technically today), I'm taking my mother to see a play of Macbeth staring Patrick Stewart(Captain Jean Luc Piccard/ Professor X) in Brooklyn. It will be my second time going and I'm so very excited.... again. The first time was utterly amazing, and I look forward to any more nuisances that I can pick up on this time around.

Sunday we'll undoubted do our traditional hunt for plastic, money filled easter eggs. We've done it every year as long as I can remember, and I still find it amazing that my father can hide those eggs in the same room for 10 years and my brother and I still usually have trouble finding the last few. After dinner then I head back to Philly, just about for good. I've got monthly train passes for April from Philly, basketball and indoor soccer leagues(kickball was canceled much to my dismay) start in just under 3 weeks, and I'd like to actually spend some time living in my apartment and city. Wednesday E and I are headed to a 76ers game and at some point the last German and GC are coming in to hang out and see the bars... I mean... sights :-)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Night To Remember...

Tonight, I learned a lot of things. I learned that there's a reason that I'm not someone who can just talk to people at bars and walk home with numbers... or more. That's just not me, and that's alright. Tonight, I finally became ok with that. 97% of the female population at bars, really just aren't my type of person. And that's alright. I don't know if anyone knows how good it finally feels for me to feel that way.

I learned that there's a reason that I learned German in school. I spent the night talking half in German and half in English and found myself very comfortable in both. That means a lot to me. It means that the 7 years that I spent studying it in school weren't for nothing. That there are over 100 million more people in the world that I can communicate with in addition to those who speak English, and that's absolutely awesome.

I learned that the first and only individuals who were female whom I talked with at a bar and actually hung out with after the bar closed, were German. That just trying to speak their language was so much more than the average person and that made a difference. I was encouraged to speak as much German as I could, even as broken and random as it was. Anything was so much better than nothing.

I learned that I was a good kisser. Yes, that's all that happened and frankly, that's all that was appropriate to happen. I'm not your average guy who brings people home to whatever, that's unquestionably not me. Maybe it's the most superficial of the things that I learned, but it makes a difference to me. It's one thing to think that I'm good, but it's quite another to be told quite certainly that (at least according to her opinion) I certainly am, and that one day "I will have a lucky girlfriend who will enjoy my kissing good". I think that made me feel the best about myself that I've felt in a long time.

I was told that one day I'm going to find a good girl, someone who will appreciate how nice I am and that it will mean a lot for her to be with me. Now, anyone who knows me, knows that this is my deepest wish. If I want nothing else in this world, that's what I want. Someone who's with me for me, and truly loves me, and my optimism and sensitive completes our relationship. Someone who I can build a friendship, and relationship, and life with; someone with whom I can share an unconditional love that transcends any obstacle. Call me a hopeless romantic, I don't care. That's what I want and I won't settle for anything less.

I realized tonight that I've still been on the path of finding myself since I've been un-engaged. Yes, for those of you who didn't know, I was engaged for almost 2 years and I've been spending the last 2 years dealing with that relationship and finding myself. I've been learning and growing for a while now, but can't remember a jump in understanding like this ever before. I'm so glad that we went to Fedo tonight and met everyone we met. The were like emissary's to me and there wasn't a more perfect time for them to fall into my life.

I learned, that for as much as an optimist in though that I am, I now know that everything is going to work out for the best. I feel completely reassured that I will find "her" whomever or wherever she may be. I feel a weight off of my spirit and I'm can't wait to let it soar and find what it may.... I don't care how cliche it sounds, sometimes we just feel something that can't be explained in any other way than using one, and oh well. I'm closer to being at peace than I have in a long long time....

The shadows fade into the light
I am by your side,
Where love will find you.
What about now?
What about today?
What if you're making me
All I was meant to be?
What if our love
Never went away...

Daughtry"What About Now"

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Are pictures worth a thousand words?

Here’s how it works:

1. Go to
2. Type in your answer to the question in the “search” box
3. Use only the first page
4. Copy the html and paste for the answer. (For Wordpress [not sure about other hosts] you’ll have to click on the Code tab and paste, not Visual.)


1. What is your relationship status?

the one

2. Who is your celebrity crush?

3. Who is your favorite band?

Bryan Adams

4. What is your favorite movie?

Hot Fuzz

5. What kind of pet do you have?


6. Where do you live?


7. Where do you work?

8. What do you look like?


9. What do you want most in life?


10. What do you drive?


11. What is your favorite tv show?


12. Describe yourself:


13. What is your name?

14. What’s your favorite candy?


Monday, March 10, 2008

Smooth Move (this is a stolen title)

So the title of this post is stolen. I stole it. I did that because it fits so absolutely perfectly to the ending of my day at work I couldn't not steal it. I'll take this moment to beg the writer's forgiveness for taking the title and even link back to her post just like if I were citing a source in a paper I was writing. Now, with that taken care of...

So today at work, the main event of the day, was moving the contents of my cubicle across the office to the my new cubicle. I think I like the new one much better than the old one I had. First, it's bigger... and when it comes to cubicle space, bigger is most definitely better. Second, it's part of a office wide reorganization to group units together, so now instead of getting 20 phone calls from a team member, she is within talking distance of me so she can just ask me whatever she needs. The second part of this second reason is now that I'm over so close to her, chances are I'll be getting a large, black, four-legged visitor walking over to my cubicle to say hello to me multiple times a day. I love my job :-)

So, I move all the big boxes of hanging file folders and desk organizers and miscellaneous Battlestar Galactica merchandise I've brought in to the new spot with no problems. I go back to bring boxes of paper that I use to print up copies of my report and I don't know if I was just tired and forgot to loosen my pants, or if they were defective to begin with, or what, but I kneel down and as I pick up the first case of paper, I hear a gigantic rip. As loud and as comical sounding a rip as you'd hear in any half hour sitcom on television. I almost thought it was fake, until I felt a draft...

Yes, that's right, it doesn't just happen on tv and in the movies, I split the ass seam of my pants right down the middle. I wasn't quite sure what to do that moment, since I still had the box of paper in my arms, so I looked out both directions of the cubicle, and then just walked over when no one was coming. No one had needle and thread for me to attempt some sort of re-seaming by hand on it (yes, I sew) nor saftey pins, so from 2pm until I left the office today, I had the arms of my jacket tied around my waist, coving the foot long hole exposing my boxers to my colleagues.

I was actually much less embarrassed than I would have though that I'd be in that situation, probably as a result of reading the original "smooth move" and remembering my own advice. Yeah, it felt a little awkward walking around making sure my coat was tied around my waist, but other than that... I think more people were confused by the amused smile I had on my face than anything else. So yes, that was my "smooth move" today and why I had to absolutely steal that title for this post. And just to prove it to anyone who thinks I'm telling a tall tale:

Rock around the clock...

Sun 10am: Wake up in Chicago to spend the last time of day with Actress before Surfer and I head back east.

Sun 12pm: We put in Office Space to watch for the first time. I thought it was ok, but thought the plot was super weak and couldn't relate at all. I actually love my job and love working in cubicles more than I ever expected to!

Sun 3pm: Get to airport and bid Chicago farewell.

Sun 4:30pm:
Run into same Relationship Girl from Philly that we met on the flight here (what are the odds we all picked the same flights). If I didn't explain this before, I'll clarify later.

Sun 8pm: Back in Philly safely, got Surfer's luggage, and took taxi back to my apartment

Sun 9pm: I get the key that E left for me after he finished installing our new door, that actually closes and locks now! It'll be nice to feel safe in my own apartment again. Took out the garbage and showed Surfer my finally repaired car which he was mighty impressed with

Sun 10:30pm: Spend time at Surfer's house talking with his parents and helping him pack for Costa Rica which he was leaving for tomorrow

Sun 11:30pm: Finally decide that I'm going to drive Surfer and his friends to the airport in GW's truck once he gets back from NYC but after we drop Surfer's sister's car off to get fixed.

Monday 12:30am: Drop Surfer's sister's car off to get fixed. Narrowly avoid 3rd major accident by not getting hit by idiot who decided to run the red light when I was making a left turn on green. Unanimous decision to officially name my car "Lazarus" or "Laz" for short as a result of it's death and resurrection experiences. Finally, after 133,476 miles my car has an official name. I'm happy.

Mon 1am: Go over to GW's apartment to pick up his truck. Hang out with a random German and GW's little sis for a while.

Mon 1:30am: Back to Surfer's house where he makes pancakes for us to eat cause we didn't get dinner really and were still kinda hungry from the day's events. Realize at this point there will be no sleep tonight.

Mon 2:30am: Leave Surfer's house all packed, get gas for GW's truck, a Red Bull (the big 12oz) for me, and go to his friend's house to pick everyone else up.

Mon 3:45am: Pick the 4 of them up, load 11 surf boards and 5 bags into the bed of GW's truck and head to Newark Airport

Mon 4:45am: Get to Newark, drop Surfer and friends off safely and I head back to GW's with his truck since he needs it for work at 6:30am

Mon 6am: Drop keys and a $20 off at GW's place. The genius he is locked the front door, so I had to break into the back sliding door to leave the keys and money inside.

Mon 6:30am Get back to my parents house to change, get what I need for work, and write this post, because blogging is starting to become a minor obsession... and I like it.

PRESENT TIME: Finishing this post, making lunch, and getting ready to go to the train

For those of you keeping score, that's correct, I will have gotten exactly 0 hours sleep for work today! Luckily my main task for today is moving the contents of my cubicle across the office to be closer to the rest of my Executive Services Unit people. This means that I will now have a large black lab randomly wandering over into my cubicle during the day to say hi when he feels like it.... and that's made of awesomeness. I'd like to take this moment to once again thank my father's genetic history that allows me to do these crazy things to help out my friends. I'm really really glad that it's something I'm capable of doing.

And now, I'm off to work! Have a good day everyone!!!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Pre, during, and post weekend updates.

My day started at 5am today… after going to sleep at 2am (my own damn fault, but the pilot episode of New Amsterdam showed real promise for the rest of the series). I power-walked it all the way to the train station from my apartment (which is not easy to do that early in the morning) and made it on the train with 2 minutes to spare. For the first 5 station stops I think I seriously just contemplated what was going on in my head when I decided to move to Philadelphia. If E had said Hoboken, well now, that would have made an infinite amount more sense for me… but he didn’t, and I’m in Philly.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen when it’s Actress, E and I starting in August. If the 3 bedroom units aren’t available at the complex we’re at now, my time in Philly may be drastically shortened simply due to the cost of commuting to Newark. If I didn’t mention yet, that’s the plan starting in August. Actress is moving from Chicago to Philly to live with E and I which I think I’m excited about. At the very least it means that Surfer will be around more since they’ve got a ‘thing’ going on, and it’d be cool to have him around more. I love her to death and she’s one of my best friends, but if there’s one thing the apartment won’t be anymore, it is quiet :-P I don’t mind saying it here, cause it’s something I’ve said to her before, and she knows well. I try not to say anything I wouldn’t say to that person directly. Unless it’s one of those “I like you but I don’t know/doubt that you like me” situations… but that’s understandable.

The sun didn’t come up until I was already in Trenton, or get through the morning fog until I got to Newark. The ride from Trenton to Newark was a load of fun though. Two women and 4 little girls were all taking a trip to NYC, and the one woman was as talkative to strangers as my father is. So we chatted the entire ride. I explained to her how the trains work (they were from Delaware), talked about jobs, kids, teaching, and the progression from childhood through adolescence. It was exactly the positive experience in the morning that made up for having the off-peak train ticket, when I thought I had the peak ticket, which forced me to give the conductor my last dollar bill, and fish out 5 quarters, 4 dimes, and 2 nickels to complete the rest of my fare. I think he thought I was being an ass by giving him change, but that was seriously the only money I had with me… today’s pay day thankfully.

Tonight I leave for Chicago for Actress’s birthday! No, if you’re wondering, I really didn’t have the money to afford this plane ticket but fortunately and unfortunately it was bought before I realized the predicament that I was in. I’ll be paying for nothing but train tickets, gasoline, and bills for the next two months at least. Oh well, on the positive side, maybe they’ll be a financial incentive to start working out more and eating a bit less to get in ‘summer shape’ a little earlier this year. I’m starting to feel optimistic about even that. My car is finally back, fully repaired and running flawlessly so I can go rock climbing again and E and I are going to be joining a city indoor soccer and kickball (yes, an adult kickball league) starting the end of this month. I’ve missed organized sports.

Somehow that last paragraph went from Chicago to kickball… anyway.

Post Script:

I’m fully convinced that the copier on the second floor, not only has a personality of it’s own, it spites me for coming down only to print out more copies of my report, and is developing the means with which to strike back at me. I think it might be Skynet… details to follow if today isn’t Judgment Day.

Post Post Script (on Sunday at 3:31AM) Everything written above was from work on Friday when I was actually being productive in the office as well as writing a blog. I can't do much else when the copier is churning out 50 more coppies of my report... Apparently other people in the office liked it so much when the walked by my cubicle and saw it that they wanted some to give out to the trainings and things they're hosing in the coming weeks. That's on top of the 150 we're sending to every NJ state senator, state assemblyman, and county freeholder.

Right now I'm in Chicago and it's been overall a good time. Yes, I had the tendency to get in my usual overanalyzing mood, but other than that it's all good. After our plane got delayed 5 hours and we finally got to Chicago, we went to sleep. Saturday we went to the top of the Sears Tower, out to Giordano's for stuffed pizza for lunch, dropped Actress's sister off at the bus station to head back to school, then went out to dinner at a place aptly named "Stuff Yer Face", and then finished the night out at the Chicago Brauhaus which was the most kick ass bar I've ever been to. Nothing but true German beers on the menu, polka music (or polka renditions of familiar songs), and lots of musicians and waitresses and friends who spoke German! It felt really good to use it again... and to drink liter glasses of "ausgezeichnete Deutsches Bier"!!! *roughly translated, "awesome German beer" Now, it's time to sleep, because once again I decided to travel on the weekend where Daylight Savings Time changes (I think this is like 3 out of the last 4 times, no joke) and then we're cooking breakfast in the morning! Plane leaves for home at 4:25pm on Sunday and then work on Monday!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Adventures in time travel...

Dear Zeke,
Hi. This is your future self, about 10 years from now. I just wanted to write to you and tell you that there's no need to worry. In the future, you've got all the answers to all the questions you're asking yourself, you're fit and in the shape you want to be, and are comfortable with where you are in life. You're married to a great girl, having a grand old time watching your daughter grow up (who's now entering kindergarten by the way), and just started finishing the basement of the house you bought a few years back. All your close friends from high school are well within driving distance and you still get together regularly with them.

Sound too good to be true? Ding ding ding... Zeke, tell yourself what you've won!! Well, for one, reassurance that your sarcastic wit is as sharp as ever, that's for sure. Alright, sorry... I had to pull that prank on you because you know that's exactly what you wanted to hear, and you'd never actually believe it if it were told to you. Sure, some of it's accurate, but I'll leave that up to you to figure out which part.

Anyway, on to the point of this letter, since it really wasn't that easy to send back in time to you. I think Wil WheatonQ sums it up best when he said, "Your 20s are about gathering information and experience, and your 30s are about putting it to use." I know it's hard, and confusing, and most days you don't really know what you want or where you're going, but just keep on pushing through it. As ‘glass half full’ as this sounds, it really will pay off for you later, in that “it’s about the journey not the destination” kind of way.

You're going to spend countless hours driving aimlessly trying to make sense of things you can't even put a name to. You'll find scores of introspective songs to pass the miles to while you're trying to let your mind straighten itself out. Even if it doesn't seem like it's really helping then, it does. Don't underestimate the benefit of walking away and taking that personal time, it'll be the greatest help to your sanity besides maybe DS. Yes, you're still close friends with her, and the stuff you've been through together makes these current issues you're in the middle of look like the minor annoyance having to stop for gas when you’re already late to work.

I know that right now, you don’t have a clue about what type of girl you’re looking for and that it’s really bothering you. The confusion of not knowing what the hell you want and overanalyzing why you do or don’t want a particular quality is rather frustrating. Trust me, I know… I’ve been there. Unfortunately though, I don’t have a silver bullet for you on this. It’s not enough to tell you all the qualities of the woman I married, or rather, you will marry, because you’d just look at the list I give you and start overanalyzing it. But, I guess that’s about the only advice I can give you. Make a list. List what you like in your female friends, list what attracts you physically or mentally to someone, write about it; the process of working through it will be infinitely more valuable to you than just getting handed the answer, and infinitely quicker than betting on random chance that you’ll just happen to find her. Just know that you will find her. Maybe not in the way you expected, or where you expected, but she’s out there.

For a long while, longer than you’re comfortable with, your budget is going to be tight. That’s what happens when 20-somethings are starting out, and you’re not immune to that either. As tight as it may be though, keep finding ways to travel and make those random trips. Go to Chicago, Portland, and Los Angeles. Make those random, “Are you insane?” trips out to visit people you’ve never met in person before, or to see old friends for their birthday. Those will be memories and experiences that will go a long way in shaping who you become. You will meet some amazing people that you never expected to change your life, and others who you expected to, but ultimately left you unfulfilled. It’s alright, at the very least they’ll all make great characters in your future books.

So this is my, “Your 20’s really aren’t so bad… seriously” pep talk, because I know that’s exactly what you’ve been needing to hear right now. The reassurance that you will figure it all out, you will overcome these obstacles and you won’t completely f*** up your life. In a way, that’s probably all that anyone really wants. To be reassured that the path they’re on is the right one, or at least, just not the wrong one. You’ll figure out some of your problems, you’ll realize some aren’t as important as you thought, you’ll find new problems to over think and obsess over, but in the end you’ll still get up each morning and go to sleep each night.

Now go heed my advice, be reassured about life, and don’t make me have to write another one of these. It wasn’t easy or cheap re-wiring my quantum computer to send this back in time.


Saturday, March 01, 2008

Portland, a pictorial summary of my trip...