Thursday, September 25, 2008


So, it's official. My inherited caseload is so massively screwed up that I can't even start on any one new, let alone do what I need to for existing clients because what's on the computer end and what's in the physical file end aren't even close. There are unquestionably over a hundred individuals that I need to track down, close from my services, transfer to co-workers, transfer to other agencies, or worst of all, make up their info to get them off of my grid (my list) because there so far out of our system we have no contact info for them. So, until further notice, my work hours just became 8am to 6pm every day. As much of a pain in the royal behind this is going to be, I am really happy that I can build up 15+ hours of 'comp time'. Comp time basically means that I can just add it to any random day whenever I feel like it to make it add up to a full day. Example, I visit clients till noon, write on my time sheet I used comp time to fill up the rest of my required hours for the day, and then go rafting for the rest of the day on the river that happens to be close to the client I just went to see. We can store up to 60 hours and then the Powers That Be take it away from us with no reimbursement. Which, when thought about is reasonable enough considering with my 35 hour work week it's continual, self replenishing vacation time. And that doesn't count in our actual vacation, sick, or administrative time given to us. I've got two words for that: sweet deal.

I met with the financial planner guy who one of my employee's I hired seasonally last year gave my name too. After doing some research on the company he represents, I came to the quick conclusion that if I went out looking for someone in his field rather than him finding me, I would have most definitely chosen his company. He's a part of Northwestern Mutual has an unbelievably impressive and stable history in personal wealth management and life insurance. If they could maintain all of their workforce and even grow a little bit during the Great Depression of the 1920's, then whatever economic crisis we're going through now also shouldn't be a problem. Since I have a feeling that I will end up investing/starting some financial relationship with him, I'm going to use the name Tony for whenever I talk about him. No, not Chris's Tony but rather because of Tony Soprano. It entertains me greatly to nickname him for the most famous, fictitious, Jersey mobster and to think that he's in charge of my future financial stability. I'm easily amused...

Yesterday (because I passed out at 6:30 until my alarm this morning and didn't get to write or anything else for that matter), after job shadowing my counterpart in the southern part of the state I met Dzia to hang out for a bit. I hadn't seen her since she came up on a rainy Saturday three weekends back attempting to wash our cars together. Were I not a bit under the weather and the weather a bit warmer than it was we might have washed them anyway, but ultimately decided Starbucks was a better plan. Anyway, we met on the River and did all the fun cliche things that a boy and a girl do, talked, laughed, skipped rocks, joked around, went for a walk, etcetera etcetera. It was nice to see her and I did have a really good time. I really do believe that when she and I had our 'go round' the first time we just met a bit too early in each of our lives, and now, while we've got better timing in that respect, we just gotta not go too fast and we just might end up with something... or, at least there's the possibility of it. Just the fact that she entertained and seemed enthused at the idea of coming to Vegas with myself and a few friends is a significant step from whence I last knew her.

My Internet is actually out as I'm typing this, so if it doesn't come back up before I'm ready to head to sleep, which is quite soon, I have every intention of back dating this post to the proper day and time. Now if only there were a way to transfer this to my Kindle and I could post it from there...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Headaches, weddings, and then some...

Today, was the first day in nearly a week and a half where I haven't had a splitting migraine like headache just about exactly 4 hours after I woke up. It's nice, really nice to be pain free like that, but at the same time after having it been so consistent there's still a little fear in the back of my head that this is only a tease. I'm not sure quite when that irrational fear crept up on me, but if I'm sick for more than a week I don't really enjoy the places that my thoughts go to. Intense feelings of inevitability; that I'm never going to get better and I'm only going to get worse. Unrealistic and ridiculous, I know, but that doesn't prevent them from coming. Maybe it was from watching my uncle degrade in the months leading up to his death, maybe just the amount of times I've been sick, or just one too many episodes of House.

In other news, I finally e-mailed myself home a bunch quotes and sayings that I had collected while I was at work that I wanted to add to my Commonplace Book. So far it consists mostly quotes and the definition of what it is taped on the inside cover lest I ever forget. If I had a color printer I feel like it might fill up faster, but then again, not having one just means maybe I can coerce myself into drawing or constructing something artistic rather than easy.

I went to a wedding on Saturday for a friend of mine who I knew from high school. We were definitely friends then and had managed, more or less, to keep in semi consistent contact throughout the college years but I'll admit, I was kinda surprised when I got the invite. Anyway, it was a beautiful, hi tech, 'contemporary christian' wedding as it gets. (Interestingly enough, he found the exact same evangelical christian group on his college campus that I found on mine, which could have been enough of a connection...) Except for the headache I still had at that point, exacerbated by the flashing lights and loud dance music, that is. I found out that I had a hidden boccie ball talent I never knew about. He also had up a video camera where guests could step out of the reception and leave a message, personal, crazy, or a mildly inebriated mix of both. We did a group crazy one from high school, but I did go back and leave him a personal, dare I say even religiously inspirational, message to him and his new bride. It was probably one of the first times in the past year I've referred to anything remotely christian/religious.

My uncle came up in conversation again tonight. It's strange how from June-Sept his memory always seems to resurface just a little more than it would have any other time of the year. It's like there's still an indent in the fabric of life where he's missing from. Anyway, his first name was one of the pen-names I used in college when I was writing poetry I didn't want to have to explain to the fellowship. I sent the link to said poem to Dzia, whom I've had the greatest resurgence of a relationship with since we talked early last month, and she asked me to explain the name that I used. So I did, and I of course thought of my uncle, and then something hit me that I never quite thought of before. I was thinking about how much else I wish he could teach me, guitar, music, painting, drawing... when I realized he taught me something infinitely more valuable. Infinitely more personal. In that last day I spent with him, he taught me how to die.

As morbid as that may sound it gives me as much greater level of peace and contentment in the ongoing process of dealing with him being gone. Up until now, I think I felt a more significant touch of jealousy toward my cousins than I was aware of. They had learned music and art from him while I just got to see him on holidays and think on memories of watching in awe rather than being taught to participate with. (There was one time, only one, that I can ever remember participating musically with him to such a point where he looked at me and smiled, and took notice. Him, my cousins, and I broke out in Rufus Wainwright's Hallelujah for a reason now lost to time) That day I spent with him, watching the Yankees, talking about life and relationships, eating a whole pint of Strawberry Hagen Daaz.... all in the face of an inevitable amount of just days left... Maybe what I learned that day can't be accurately passed on in words, but to be able to breath just a little bit easier when the memory of him stirs this time next year will make all the difference.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A rough week

For whatever reason I just can't seem to shake whatever germ army I have floating around in my bloodstream. It's definitely a German or Swiss germ army though... very intense and very precise. At 9am every morning I've felt the headache come on, by 10am it's near migraine or migraine status, beats hard until about 4 or 5pm, and then retreats for the evening and quietly lingers not causing any pain, but reminding me it's still there. It's probably from just having been sick so many times growing up, but I don't do well with long, consistent illnesses like that. They tend to bring my ordinarily optimistic demeanor to a very abrupt dark pessimism. I've been getting by this time because even with the headaches still here, I can definitely feel the cough, sore throat, achy rest of the sickness has just about cleared up.

I'm unrealistically hoping that tomorrow(Saturday) will be my first really good day, because I'm going to be at a wedding and spending the night at a hotel. I'm about 3/4 excited and 1/4 nervous for tomorrow. I'm not in the wedding, or doing photography/video for it (which I do if anyone's getting married and looking for a photographer/videographer ;-) but it's a good friend of mine from high school, and a girl he met from his fellowship up at his school. A chapter of the exact same fellowship that was at my school. Considering the amount of contact I've wanted to keep in with that time in my life (about nil) and the fact that I'm going to be around more of them and more of their music and beliefs and conversations and 'traditions' if you will, than I have been in the last year at least, probably closer to two. Frankly, I dont' think that his wedding is the time or place to get into any of it, my current thoughts or simple lack thereof, so I'll say what I need to say and do what I need to do to pass and should someone be sensitive enough to see through it, then I'll call it fate and see where it leads. Might as well start discussing the elephant in the room....

Caught up on the TV shows I've been missing not having regular tv channels/DVR. In a short recap: Knight Rider, as much as I want to love it will probably be the earliest canceled show of the season, and rightfully so; Terminator, was fantastic as expected. The season premire had me bowing to Bear McCreary's musical genious for the whole first act, and by the last act my jaw was on the floor with the reveal of Shirley Manson's character; Prison Break, continues to add depth to already deep characters and totally earns the increase in viewrship it's been steadilly getting; Bones, continues to just feel real, dealing with interpersonal issues in a realistic manner. David Boreanaz is more amazing with each episode and as much as I didn't like him at first, Sweets is growing on me. Still a few shows I'm missing, but I can only watch so much tv for so long...

Reading however, ever since I got the Amazon Kindle, has been steadilly increasing to the point of taking time away from sleeping again. I imagine it'll simmer down eventually, but it's nice to want to read and have so many things to read again. All the paperback Star Trek series and other little books that I felt were a waste of space reading once and then storing, but wanting to have and not just take out from the library are now becoming mine. I can attach notes to lines or concepts in them I like and have all those notes magically appear in one file, it's delicious. A full post/review on the Kindle is still in the pipeline... just not sure where.

So here's to a hopefully better coming week. If I can just get through work productively, a few scheduled meetings passibly, and not be in pain/sick for the coming festival where I'll be rendevouxing with a few people I'm very interested in seeing again I'll be a very happy individual.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Penicillin is my friend

So, to combat Sinus Infection of Doom, the doctor, of course, gave me medicine. By far, this isn't the first time this has happened. I spent every other week in the pediatrician's office when I was growing up with some ear or throat, or tonsil, or sinus infection of some kind or another. Back then, before the prevalence of antibiotic resistant germs, it was prescription after prescription of bubble gum flavored penicillin. We had barely just finished the one that was just in the fridge before the new one was there for whatever was ailing me next. Sometimes I seriously think that I owe more thanks to science and the pharmaceutical companies for bringing and keeping me in this world than I do my parents. Before I digress into the "How I came into this world" story....

This antibiotic, Avelox, which they prescribed me the other day is apparently some newer class of antibiotic designed to kick the crap out of penicillin resistant germs. That's fine, so I can see if we can add something else that actually works to the list of drugs I can take to fight infections. Apparently, my fragile little body is not capable of handling that newer and stronger class of drug because woah side effects. The first day it was just headache and dizziness. Today however, full on migrane, upset stomach, dizziness, nausea... you get the picture. Needless to say, the doctor thought it prudent to have me stop taking that and prescribe something new. And by new I mean old, tried and true, penicillin derived Augmentin.

This got me thinking, and knocking on wood real hard, but what if penicillin ever stopped working for me. The last two not-penicillin based drugs didn't go so well, at all. Logically there must be hundreds of other drugs out there in various strengths and forms but still... it's kind of a scary thought when it's probably inevitable that one day I'll catch a bug that it won't work on. Then what? I know I've never had the immune system of Superman, but I found myself contemplating whether I need to slow down life a bit and start living a bit more in moderation. Maybe just because I can function on 4 hours sleep doesn't mean that I should. Maybe a more static routine is a better thing for at least my health. Could it be that at 24 I need to start thinking about slowing down my life?!?! Growing up, I always pictured my 20's and 30's as wild and crazy times filled with parties, trips, vacations, countless nights spent at the bar or club... Maybe at the end of my 30's or 40's once I've got a wife and kids and bills and a house and stuff could I start to slow things down a bit. I've never been the party pooper. I've always been the last one up to squeeze all the life and experience out of any given moment but maybe I don't need to do that every time. Maybe the summer program will run itself just fine if I don't work 14+ hours a day for a month straight. Maybe giving some time to moderation now will give back more time in longevity. Maybe.... maybe I'm just overreacting.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Letters, vol. 2 (at least)

Dear Sinus Headache of Doom,
It's been fun. No really, I mean it. But seriously now, you're just about at the point where you've overstayed your welcome. Tonight's the last night you can stay but after that I fully expect for you to have your bags packed and for you to move on. We both know that you'll be back again someday.

Best of luck,
Zeke and Tylenol Sinus

Dear New Job,
I think we're going to get along just fine. I know that you were abused and neglected by at least the previous two people in my position and that we've got a lot of work to get you up to snuff, but we can do it. We can fill the over 50 physical files that were never started and make sure that those students don't fall through the cracks, or at least that no one else does. Yes, it's also been quite an adjustment for me moving down a floor and having to establish relationships with a whole new set of co-workers, but you've rewarded me thus far with a new boss equally as awesome as my old one and a cubicle the size of Texas. I mean, c'mon... I've got a window and enough space to set up a Twister mat and not roll over it when I'm working at my computer. Not that I'm suggesting we get in an office sized game of Twister, but you know... We could.

Keep up the awesome,
Satisfied employee Zeke

Dear Summer Program 2009,
I know that programs 2006-2008 owned my life for the month of July but I'm putting my foot down right now: I will not accept more of the same. We are going to have little deadlines starting in March so that there's no craziness leading up to July, and by Jove I will find or make out of legos competent assistant(s) to my position who I can delegate tasks to and be sure they'll get done to my satisfaction. I will have days off, I will not completely disappear from those I care about in my life, and I will sacrifice what it takes to see to that happening.

Director Zeke

Dear Room,
You look only moderately better than Galveston, TX does right now. There is a method and order to my chaos with all the things I've thrown about and it will be better soon. Ever since moving back out of Philly it's been difficult to re-adjust to having everything from clothes to toasters in my room because it's the only place for *my* stuff. If E does change jobs, hopefully you'll be cleaned out for good within the next year or so. Pretty soon you'll forget about the piles of stuff on my bay window.... and floor... and desk... and in it's place will be a new desk, a finished window and an uncluttered floor.


Dear John Mayer,
I may not be able to stand the rest of your catalog of music, but you hit it out of the park with "Stay".

Just because it's on repeat,

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I'm mobile

This is a test post from my new Amazon Kindle. If you're into reading, new technology, and just plain cool stuff this device is for you. Full review is forthcoming.