Monday, December 20, 2004

Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Winter finally hit NYC last night. Overnight, the temperatures dropped nearly 30 degrees and we even got our first snowfall of the season. It was more of a dusting than a full blown storm, but that didn't stop the people driving in this morning from acting as if it was the second ice age. The highway departments of nearly every town seemed to ignore the week-long weather forecasts that warned of snow and were apparently surprised to awaken this morning to see that funny white stuff on the ground. Mobilizing with their usual vim and vigor, they began working at the beginning of rush hour thereby ensuring long delays and, I'm certain, more overtime pay for themselves. Of course, there were only about two inches of snow on the ground, so we should have been able to drive through it reasonably quickly. However, many of my fellow drivers seemed to be channeling their 80 year old grandparents and so they drove 3 miles per hour with their noses pressed against the windshield. I swear that I saw a kid on a tricycle pass me as I drove down the Long Island Expressway. Its times like these that I wish I owned a tank so that I could simply roll over the idiots in front of me and get to where I'm going.

I know, I know. It's wrong of me to think that way. Part of the joy of life is the journey. I should simply relax and enjoy the trip without worrying about what time I get there. You see, the problem with that kind of logic is that it's stupid. I don't mind the journey as long as I am moving, but its hard to love sitting in traffic sucking on carbon monoxide fumes while trapped between two morons. On my right, the driver was picking his nose and thoughtfully examining each nugget that he dug out. Look away, you say? I tried but I couldn't. It was like watching a train wreck. As nauseating as it is, you can't seem to tear your eyes away from the spectacle. On the other side of me, the driver seemed to be warming up for her American Idol audition, blasting her radio and singing so loudly and off key that my windows threatened to shatter.

After all of this, I finally got to the train station to begin the second leg of my journey only to watch in dismay as the train pulled off just as I pulled into the parking lot. Now the LIRR has difficulty getting the trains to run on time on beautiful days, but somehow they always get it right on the worst days of the year...or so I thought. As walked up to look at the schedule to see when the next train was coming, I noticed that the departing train had stopped just past the platform, thereby ensuring that nobody else could get on, even though they weren't able to proceed any further. I half expected to see the conductors looking out the back window and laughing at those of us left behind to freeze before giving us the finger and mooning us.

Fortunately, the train eventually moved on and the next train arrived only about 20 minutes later. The forced bonding that took place in the barely heated waiting room was more than I could stomach after my annoying drive over, and so I stood quietly as my fellow commuters shared stories about their hellish commutes, the train they normally took, and how being late was going to throw off their day. See how lucky you are? I saved my commute story for the blog. Anyway, all of this camaraderie quickly vanished as the next train arrived at the station and people began fighting to get on as if it were the last chopper out of Saigon.

So much for the holiday spirit. Hopefully Santa wasn't watching.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Ski Follies

In an effort to stay in shape during the winter, I went skiing this weekend for the first time in almost 20 years. The air was crisp and cold and the mountain was beautiful and not too crowded. In all, it was the perfect opportunity to make a fool of myself. Believe me, I took full advantage of it.

Excited by the upcoming challenge, I put on my boots, strapped on my skis, and headed for the lift. I sat next to my friend and tried not to vomit as she swung the lift chair back and forth, amused by my rising panic. At the top of the hill, I positioned my skis, slid off the chair gracefully, and promptly fell on my ass. As if this weren't bad enough, before I could rise, I was plowed into by the person behind me, a 250+ pound guy who was as inept as me. "Great," I thought, "I'm going to be crushed to death by novice skiers before I even get down the mountain." The people who worked the lift must have seen how hopeless we were, and quickly came over to untangle us and move us out of harm's way.

Standing at the top of the hill, I adjusted my gloves, pulled down my hat, and prepared to charge down the mountain. Images of me gliding gracefully filled my head. Sadly, those images are a close as I would come to doing so. I pushed off and started to gain momentum only to realize that my legs and feet were operating as if independent from my body. As I looked down (never a good idea, by the way), I watched in horror as my skis began to cross and I mentally prepared for the first of many falls.

I don't know how I did it, since I was moving at an almost imperceptible speed, but I actually tumbled. I was later told that it was like watching a slow motion replay of an Olympic racer crashing, except that I was far more uncoordinated. "Who the hell decided that it would be fun to slide down a mountain with two sticks attached to your feet?," I mumbled as I limped down the hill to retrieve my skis. I briefly pondered going back to the lift for a ride down, but I thought it would be far more comfortable to do so in the ambulance that I was certain I'd eventually need, so I kept going. Remarkably, I was able to get to the bottom in one piece thanks to my new found ability to "snow plow" when I felt that I was going to fast - which was usually any time I went above 5 miles per hour.

As the day wore on, I slowly got better. By the end, I was able to keep my skis generally pointed in the direction I wanted to go and even build up some speed. I moved on to a more challenging run, and I actually felt pretty good. I was cruising along and I got into a semblance of a tuck in an effort to keep from being pushed back by the wind whipping at my face. I imagined myself as a downhill racer and even managed a small turn or two. My confidence began to soar. Just then, a five year old child with no poles came zooming by me as if I were standing still and I knew that it was time to call it a day. This was underscored when I reached the bottom of the run, turned to glide over to where my friend was standing, and skied directly into one of the poles supporting the lift.

I can't wait to go back....

Line of the weekend:
The powder was a few feet deep in most places. However, at some points it was only about about 4-5 inches deep, which meant that there was little cushion if one were to fall there. Of course, I chose one of these places for one of my many tumbles. Seeing the lack of snow and watching me wince in pain, my friend slid up, shook her head sadly. and said "It's just like I always say, five inches isn't nearly enough."

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Christmas in NYC

It's Christmas time here in Manhattan and the tourists abound. The tree is up at Rockefeller Center up and crowds are flocking to see it. People are lined up to see the Macy's and Sak's widow displays. Cartier has it's traditional big bow around the building. The Empire State Building is lit with holiday-themed lights. No doubt about it, it's a joyous time of year. Of course, when you've seen it as many times as most New Yorkers have, you tend to become a little jaded about the tourist attractions and you find yourself more enamored of the little things that tend to slip below people's radars. Here are this year's top five, along with a bonus entry.

Starbuck's Cups
The festive red, white, and green holiday Starbuck's cups that sit atop every overflowing garbage can and line the streets.

On a side note, as you know Starbuck's is very concerned about the environment. Do you ever wonder if their definition of recycling is paying people go around to collect the cups so that they can re-use them? I'll try not to think about that the next time I order a grande no water chai latte.

Holiday Exercise
Working off the extra pounds put on by eating holiday treats by running to obstacle course of shopping bags added to the already crushing mass of bodies as you fight to get into or out of the subway car before the doors close.

Greeting Tourists
The cheery greeting of "F***ing tourists" that reverberates around Fifth Avenue as people who are desperately trying to get to work are forced to dodge tourists who insist on stopping to point out every bow, tree, wreath, light, and window display.

By the way folks, the things in the middle of the street aren't holiday decorations, they're traffic lights.

Adorable Tourists
The annual contest to see who can come up with the most annoying holiday exchange. This year's front runner, overheard in Rockefeller Center:

Dad: "Look at the giant tree!"
Mom: "Hey Timmy, do you think that would fit in our living room?"
Timmy: "I don't know Mom, but Santa would have to bring a lot of presents to fit under a tree that big."
Awwww......how adorable. Can you please go back to Kansas now?

By the way, last year's winner, overheard at 9:30 p.m., was "Wow, this really is the city that never sleeps."

Diversity Santas
The amazing ethnic and gender diversity of the Santas that are strategically placed on benches around the city. Wait a minute....those are homeless people?

Bonus Item - Bootleg Shopping
Doing all of your shopping without ever going indoors. I sure hope Grandma likes the bootleg copies of "Blade: Trinity" and "Jay-Z / Linkin Park Mash Up" that I just picked up for her.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

HR Seminars

I recently attended a breakfast seminar on the scintillating topic of "Building the Case for Selection Systems." Who said the the world of HR management isn't glamorous and exciting? I really need a career change...

As you can imagine, males represent a significant minority of the HR workforce. Straight, single men are even more rare. Consequently, HR events are often akin to singles bars, but with the male/female ratios reversed. Having gone to quite a number of these things, I've come to recognize how the single women in the audience approach the process.

Step One: The room scan
It all begins with the basic scan of the room. Which table does she want to sit at? Where are the most attractive people grouped? If the room is relatively empty, they sometimes find it best to stand and sip coffee as they gaze thoughtfully out the window at the view of Central Park while waiting for people to arrive.

Step Two: Ring check
Before sitting down, they check the men for wedding rings.

Step Three: The greeting
Oddly enough"come to these often?" is the preferred introductory line. Trailing just behind that, in a close second, is "I really shouldn't be eating these pastries, but I'm going to the gym later so....ha, ha, ha." Thus letting you know that she worries about her figure and is dedicated to remaining in shape.

Step Four: Vaguely probing questions
These generally begin with business type questions "Where do you work?"(ummm...the company name is on my name tag, kiddo) "What kind of company is that?" (a law firm) "What do you do there?" (as little as possible...mostly blogging and IMing), before veering into personal inquiries with a subtle emphasis on uncovering sexual orientation "tip offs." (i.e. I was with my nephew this weekend. He's so adorable. Do you have any children?") Additionally, they check you out more closely. Is he a little too fashionable and well groomed? Are those Prada shoes he's wearing? The last thing she wants to do is make friends with another gay HR guy.

Step Five: Keeping the Momentum Alive
As the presentation begins, the banter continues. Sly comments are whispered and notes are written and passed back and forth.

Step Six: Good-Bye
At the end of the presentation comes the ritual business card exchange and the elevator ride down to the lobby during which the small talk becomes awkward and almost post coital in nature, most of it of the "let's keep in touch" variety.

Step Seven: Follow-Up
Within 24 hours, she sends a breezy e-mail along the lines of this "Hi! I had a lot of fun talking to you. Maybe we can get together for lunch or drinks soon to talk about the seminar, and how you are planning to address the issue discussed at your firm. Let me know!"

See? The life of an HR guy isn't always all that bad.

Addendum: A few friends have called to ask about this, so I want to stress that this is fictional. This didn't happen to me, it's just what I've seen happen with others at these events. Need more evidence? Well, I said they sit at the table with the most attractive people. Obviously, that leaves me out.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Rest in Peace, Bob

I was thinking about my friend Bob last night. It's been nearly a year since he passed away and I still find my mind wandering back to him from time to time. One day he was so young and full of life and suddenly the next day he was gone. Thinking about him always makes me realize just how fragile life is and how we should be grateful for each moment that we have.

But then I remembered how Bob struggled as we held him under the water and how it seemed to take an hour for him to stop thrashing about and I smiled and thought that maybe life isn't so fragile after all.

Good old Bob. Still teaching lessons even after he's gone.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Junk Mail

I rarely look into the bulk mail folder in my e-mailbox, but I was bored this morning so I thought I'd take a peek. Now I'm hooked. If these mailings are to believed - and who am I to doubt the honesty of the many kind people who took time out of their schedules to send them to me - the good life is just around the corner for me.

There are messages that promise to let me "wow the girls" by increasing the size of my penis. Once that's done, I can use a variety of pills and creams to enhance my ability to both obtain and maintain my new, improved erection and to make sex last longer. If I don't have someone to impress with this newfound vitality, I can meet someone using one of the many singles dating services they were nice enough to inform me about. If that doesn't work out, I can choose from a seemingly infinite number of porn sites containing - in no specific order - teens of the horny, wet, virgin and/or barely legal variety, mature moms, real babes doing unreal acts (whatever those are), group sex, animal sex, bondage...the list goes on and on. I can also watch the ongoing battle between Christy, Misty, Ebony, and Amanda, each of whom claim to be the hottest porn star on the net. Access to these sites requires a credit card, which is no problem as I am apparently qualified to receive a number of cards at "the lowest monthly rate." If I'm approved (and why wouldn't I be?), they'll even throw in a free Nokia 6016i. I don't know what that is, but suddenly I want one. In order to get in shape for all of this sexual activity, I can lose unwanted pounds by simply taking a pill or, if that's too difficult, drinking a liquid that promises to melt the pounds away.

As I will surely need a larger living space for me and my enhanced penis, I can buy a new house for mere pennies using their exclusive foreclosure listings. Should I need some money to fix up the place, I can refinance it at unbelievably low rates. I won't need the money to travel, though, as I can take free vacations to Florida, the Bahamas or Jamaica just by contacting the friendly representatives that are standing by waiting for my call. I'm not sure I'm going anywhere right away, though, so if you are one of the representatives waiting for my call, you can take the rest of the day off.

Sadly, there are no free trips to Nigeria. That's a shame as I seem to be the sole surviving heir to several wealthy businessmen that have recently passed away leaving millions of dollars unclaimed. That reminds me, give me a minute while I send them my back account and routing number so that they can wire the funds to me directly..........................

Okay, I'm back. As I sit around my new house and plan my vacation, I can entertain myself by listening the the free iPod mini that I'll receive simply for taking ten minutes to complete a marketing survey. If I want to get out of the house for a while, I can go on a shopping spree with one of the $500 gift cards that I'll receive just for completing all of the offer requirements. I don't know what they are, but I'm fairly easily bought off.

I can't believe I've been blind to the world of possibilities that spam mailers have laid at my doorstep. I've never felt so popular in my life.

Monday, December 06, 2004

99 Cent Dreams

There is a store in my old neighborhood called "99 Cent Dreams." Every time I saw it, I would think "99 cent dreams? Is that the best you can really do?" I mean, if you are going to dream, why not dream big? Then again, maybe it takes a while for people to work up to that. Eventually, they buy a Lotto ticket and look back fondly on the old days. I can see it now. Grandpa sitting on his rocking chair with his grandchildren crowded around him. He holds up the ticket and says "I used to have only 99 cent dreams, but I've worked hard and now I can dream of winning millions." The children would smile lovingly at him, wheel him out into the sun so that he would be warm, and then ask their parents if that's what they meant when they told them about grandpa's dementia.

I thought of this because I was in a 99 cent store on Friday night. Now I know what you are thinking. "Joe, you have so damn much money. Why do you waste your time in 99 cent stores?" It's just my way of keeping in touch with my roots. You see, during the Great Depression, a drought forced my family and I to abandon our claim in the dust bowl of Oklahoma. We piled our belongings into our battered automobile and headed for California where we, and the other "Okies," lived a nomadic existence and longed only to find a place to rest and settle. Oh, wait, that was The Grapes of Wrath. Sorry...

Anyway, as I started to say, I was with someone who wanted to pick up a few Christmas decorations, so we stopped into 99 cent store. After wandering the aisles for a few moments, we went to the register to pay for the merchandise. As we waited, two clerks from the store conducted a heated conversation. Apparently, both were upset that the person who had been manning the register left without informing them. The woman who took over as cashier as particularly vexed. Of course, her indignance at this lapse in customer service was somewhat undermined by the fact that she continued to ignore the customers on line while she complained. As she vented, she switched back and forth between English and Spanish. "Ah," I thought, "she's probably switching to Spanish because she doesn't want the customers to hear her complaining about her co-worker." About a second later, I realized that I was probably the only one there who didn't understand Spanish, and so I felt like an ass for even thinking that.

On an unrelated note, has anyone else noticed how much smaller Dunkin Donuts have become? At the same time, Munchkins have remained the same size. For those of you who don't know, Munchkins are the snacks they make using the dough punched out of the center of the doughnut. This means that the size of the hole has remained the same, even though the doughnuts have shrunken. I watched someone eat one in about two seconds the other day. At first, I thought the person must have been starving, but then I ate one and realized that it only took about two bites to finish it.

Okay, time to get to work.

Little Annoyances

As the law requires, we have automatic doors in our bathrooms here at work. While the door can be, and generally are, opened manually, the buttons for the automatic doors are in place so that people with disabilities can easily access the facilities. Unfortunately, they are also sometimes used by people who would rather not touch the doors after washing their hands. That was the case today. There were two women conversing outside of the men's room when I entered. I walked into the restroom and proceeded straight ahead to the urinal. As I stood there doing my business, the guy leaving the room hit the button for the first door, and then for the second, leaving both doors wide open for about five seconds and offering the women a clear view of me standing there. As I walked out, one of them said, "Thanks for the show, Joe," before both of them broke into giggles.

Coming back from Duane Reade a few minutes ago, I noticed a woman trying to hail a cab in the rain. All of the cabs were occupied, as you could easily tell by looking to see that the lights on top of the cabs were dark. As the cabs pulled up to the light, she would look in the window and smile at the driver in the apparent hope that he would be horny enough to toss out his fare and offer her a ride.

While I'm on the subject of Duane Reade, let me say this. I recognize that space is at a premium here in Manhattan and that you have to make the most of what you have, but there is a limit to how much merchandise you should have in the store. It's the holiday season and an effort to sell stuffed animals, they have stuffed them into any available space in the store. They are hanging from the ceiling, tied to railing, stuffed in corners...they're everywhere I tell you. It looks like they are holding teddy bear nation hostage.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Employee Relations

I had to deal with an employee relations issue this morning. For those of you who don't work in HR, employee relations issues are the worst. These can range from a simple disciplinary action issue, such as lateness, to the more time consuming sexual harassment cases. Most of the time, however, they are annoying little "he said, she said" squabbles that just bore the shit out of you.

Employee: "Jane was promoted over me, and I feel like I'm just as good as her. It's not fair. Can you explain?"

Me: "Why yes, I can. While you are in my office three times a week whining about every f***ing thing that comes to mind, Jane is at her desk. No doubt you are just as talented as her, but the key to her success is that she actually works!"
Most HR professionals will tell you that you can tell when someone is new to HR when they tell you that they love employee relations. No, you don't. And you aren't impressing any of us by pretending to. It would be like me telling you that I love to get my penis caught in mouse traps. Well, perhaps that's a bad example as I actually quite enjoy getting my penis caught in mousetraps, but that's an entirely different story.

Anyway, as I listened to the issue, my mind kept wandering off. A dip into my thoughts at the time would have revaled items like: What am I going to eat for lunch? Oh, look, the sun is coming out. I hope somebody IMs me soon. Is that a stain on her shirt? Wow, she has a mustache.

As a result, I must have missed about 80% of the things she said. To cover my ass, as I usually do, I asked my standard closing question. "I'm more than happy to listen to the things you've brought to my attention, but what, if any, action would you like me to take?" I've found that people prefer hearing that rather than the more honest statement which would be along the lines of "Please don't take the fact that I'm looking at you, nodding, and making occasional encouraging noises to mean that I'm interested in anything that you are saying. It's just something that I've learned to do to be polite."

In the end, all she wanted to do was talk. I felt like saying "Don't we have an entire employee assistance program designed to listen to this shit? Why are you in my office bothering me?"

And so there went another hour of my life and a billion brain cells that I'll never get back.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Fear of Heights

Ok, I admit it. I'm afraid of heights. It doesn't strike all of the time. For example, when I'm rock climbing, I rarely think about it. Now that I think about it, the burning pain in my arms and legs as I try to force my pathetically out of shape body up the side of a wall probably goes a long way towards freeing my mind.

Over the years, I've tried to conquer my fear by facing it directly. I'd volunteer to fix my parents roof, or I'd go to the Empire State Building and force myself to look down. Sometimes I was successful, and others would leave me paralyzed with fear and wondering how I was going to extract myself from my situation. What may have appeared to be my quiet contemplation of nature as I sat with my legs dangling over a cliff was really me thinking "I wonder how embarrassing would it be to ask that eighty year old woman in the walker to come over and hold my hand as I get up and walk away from the edge?"

A few years ago, I was on a business trip to Atlanta. It was one of my first trips (long before I realized just how much business trips suck) and I was excited to get out and have some fun. I had seen enough movies to know these journeys were all about anonymous sex with strangers that you meet in hotel bars and, goddamit, I was gonna get me some of that.

Anxious to begin, I dropped my suitcase on the bed and proceeded directly to the lobby bar. Sadly, the sole customers were two nearly toothless old men. Now a smart person would have seen this, cruised through the lobby and out into the street and found the closest bar where he would immediately start drinking and fraternizing with the locals. Those of you who know me realize that I'm not a smart person, so you're already ahead of the game here.

Instead, I stood in the lobby, feeling lost and desperately wanting to hold a drink in my hand and try to look cool. This was long before I realized that in order for me to look cool everyone else had to be drinking, preferably to the point where their judgment was not only impaired, but nearly obliterated. Sensing defeat five minutes into the night, I began to trudge back toward the elevators, when I came across a sign for the Sun Dial Bar, located 75 stories up and offering a panoramic view Atlanta. "Ah, that must be where they hide all of the women," I thought, as I pressed the button for the elevator that would take me to my destiny.

I clambered into the empty elevator car, and started humming to myself as it began it's ascent. I didn't realize two things at the time. First, it was an express elevator. Second, it was a glass enclosed elevator that offers magnificient views of the city. I confidently pressed the button and reacted in shock as I left the concrete cocoon in the lobby to begin the ride up. The lights dimmed and a tape of soothing music began to play. A narrators voice came over the speaker, telling my just how lucky I was to be taking this ride, and describing the beautiful sights that I'd see on the ride up - somehow assuming I that I'd remain conscious for the entire time.

Thinking to myself "I can get through this," I bravely turned towards the glass and held on to the brass railing with all of my strength. I was okay for the first twenty stories or so, but then things began to careen out of control. I swear I could hear the narrator saying "You are now 30 stories up. If the elevator were to crash, you would plummet to your death in approximately 10 seconds. From the look on your terror stricken face, I'd imagine that you'd scream like a bitch the entire way down."

Squeezing my eyes shut, I slowly turned back to face the elevator doors, stepping as close to them as possible in order to limit my peripheral vision. That's me. Always thinking in a time of crisis. Breathing a sigh of relief, I opened my eyes. Big mistake. The elevator doors were so highly polished that they clearly reflected the scene behind me. Meanwhile, the sadistic narrator kept telling me exactly how high up I was. I would have ripped out the damn speaker if I didn't worry that it would ruin the structural integrity of the elevator, or cause a massive short circuit that would bring about my demise.

After what seemed like an hour, I finally reached the 75th floor, whereupon my knees, which had been locked in fear, promptly gave out causing me to collapse onto the carpet of the Sun Dial Bar/restaurant. I climbed shakily to my feet, stumbled over to the bar and promptly ordered the biggest drink they had. The remainder of the evening was spent in a near catatonic state. I stared like a zombie at the lights twinkling far, far (far, far, far, far) below as sipped my drink and contentedly drooled on myself.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Rain Joke

It's pouring out there today. Coupled with the hurricane force gusts, it made for an interesting commute to the doctor this morning before heading to work. It also reminded me of one of my favorite stupid jokes of all time.

"It's raining cats and dogs....I just stepped in a poodle. "

The train lurched on the subway ride over this morning, causing a woman to stumble forward and bury her face in the armpit of the man standing next to her. Is there any way to gracefully disentangle yourself from something like that? She did the best she could. First, she looked around as if someone had pushed her. When that failed, she checked to see if anyone had placed something in her path that caused her to lose her balance. Eventually, she realized that she just had to suck it up and look foolish solely on her own merit.

In other news, CNN's top story is that Bush praised Canada today. Must be a very slow news day.


Tuesday, November 30, 2004

What Did We Miss?

Okay, I'm back. Didn't think I'd miss writing so much, but it is somewhat addicting.

Let's see. What did we miss? Ummm....nothing much as it turns out.

Got a last minute invite to the free U2 show under the Brooklyn Bridge last week to celebrate the release of their new CD. I haven't picked it up yet, but the show was great.

Also had a quick stay in the hospital late last week. Turns out that they believe I had a minor heart attack. I'd always hoped to get the first one out of the way before I turned 40, so that's just another thing to cross off my list. I tell ya, I'm like some sort of prodigy.

Otherwise, I wallowed in self-pity for a while before regaining my composure. Don't worry, I'm over it now.

While I was gone, what appears to be the biggest news story of the year broke. All three major networks gave in substantial time on the morning programs, even going so far as to each have a journalist from the publication that broke the story on their program. There were pictures, interviews, timelines, the works. I tell you, it was broadcast journalism at it's finest. Was it the ongoing unrest in the Ukraine? Tom Ridge's resignation? No. It was bigger that even that. Julia Roberts had twins! The hard hitting magazine that worked tirelessly to break the news? People. Subscribe today. You don't want to miss the next big breaking story.

Good to be back.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

whatsinsidejoe

When I created this blog, I used "whatsinsidejoe" as the address because I planned to use it as an on-line journal. I just wanted to have a place to capture my thoughts and feelings, a place to tell stories about the things I've seen and done, and a place where I could sometimes work things out for myself by writing about them. I never expected anyone to read it, but much to my surprise, a few people have.

The past two years have been tumultuous for me. At times, I've been happier than I ever dreamed possible. Other times have been among the most excruciatingly painful and depressing experiences of my life. For the past six months or so, its been much more of the latter. I've ridden a rollercoaster of emotions and I'm completely drained as a result.

I say all of this because I'm going to take a break from blogging for a while. I have no desire to chronicle my attempts to put my life back together, and the truth is that right now the answer to whatsinsidejoe is "nothing but an empty, lonely feeling."

I'll be back when I have something to say.

Take care of yourselves and Happy Holidays.



Posted by JoePhoto

Friday, November 19, 2004

Come to Jesus Meeting

Earlier this week, I met with the headhunter who placed me at my current firm. This guy, who we will call 'B' recently closed the agency he founded, and he stopped by to tell me about his new business venture and to meet my director, who we will call 'C'. (How creative am I with these clever code names?)

A few minutes into the meeting, B began to tell us about his life. Somewhere along the path, the narrative took a strange detour. Before we knew it, B was telling us about how he had suffered from manic episodes from his early teens through is mid-twenties and that he had spent the better part of that time in and out of psychiatric institutions. He told us about the time he walked across a four lane highway with his eyes closed because Jesus told him to do it. Then about the time he was driving a car and hit a telephone pole going over 100 mph, which nearly split the car in two before crashing down on the roof of the vehicle, crushing it. Apparently, it took the police quite a while to cut him out of the wreck but he emerged without a scratch. He claimed to have a number of stories of that nature, which apparently reinforced in his mind the favored status he enjoys in God's eyes as a result of his faith. He then veered off into his religious studies, claiming to be an expert in Catholicism, Buddhism, Taoism, Sufism, and about seven other -isms that I lost track of. He also told us that he's a martial arts expert whose knowledge is rivaled by only about four or five other people in the world. The last claim was difficult to believe when you consider that it came from a man that stood about 5'7 , weighed about 200 lbs, and carried a big pot belly.

Now I hadn't spoken to B for a few weeks, which was rare in that he tends to call me about once a week. He explained that absence as well. It turns out that a few weeks ago he found himself surrounded by police in a nearby park. Later, he discovered that his wife had called the police claiming to be in fear of her life because B thought that he was Jesus Christ and might possibly use his martial arts expertise to harm her and their daughter. Now, I don't recall reading anything about Jesus being a martial arts expert, nor do I think that any of His followers needed to fear their safety, at least as far as He was concerned, so clearly B was more of a Jesus for the new millennium. Anyway, they brought him to a local psychiatric hospital and had him committed for a period of six weeks. According to B, this was done not because he was insane, but because the admitting doctor had a crush on B's wife. You can't make this stuff up. After six weeks, B gained his release, evaded his wife, who was waiting in the lobby, went home, snuck his car out to the garage and has been on the run from her ever since.

Now I'm lucky enough to have this guy in my office, and C and I are exchanging nervous glances because (1) this story is endless - at this point he's been speaking non-stop for about 45 minutes - and (2) B is slowly unzipping his backpack and reaching inside. As we waited with baited breath, he pulled out a mission statement for his new venture that he wrote while he was in the hospital, and hands it to C. Taking the paper, C tells B that he will glance at it very quickly, but that he is late for another meeting. Later, C tells me that the statement started out fairly coherent, but that it quickly descended into gibberish. As C walks out the door, I stand up and tell B that I, too, am late for another meeting.

As we walk down the hall to the elevator, B turns to me and says "I hope I didn't blow your whole paradigm of me." To which I reply, "No B, I know you. I'm not a judgmental kind of guy, and I respect the things you were telling us." B frowns at me and says "What do you mean you're not judgmental? What is that supposed to mean?" Now I'm getting even more nervous, and I say "Well, maybe judgmental wasn't the right word. What I meant to say is that the things you told me didn't change my opinion of you one way or another." This statement is true, but only because I've always felt that B was a little insane. Because I'm concerned about what B might do next, I feel the need to escort him all the way down to the lobby, which means that I have to endure several more minutes of painful small talk as we wait for the elevator, and that I have to ride alone with him down to the lobby. Finally, we get downstairs and say goodbye.

When I came back upstairs, I quickly called security and asked that B be banned from the building. Next, I asked the switchboard forward any calls that B makes to any of our staff directly to my voice mail. As I'm doing this, I see his number pop up on my call ID, but I let the call go to voice mail. When I play the message, I hear B telling me "Joe, I was thinking about why you and C appeared so uncomfortable in our meeting." Gee, did we really appear uncomfortable? Do you think it could it be because you were SCARING THE HELL OUT OF US? "And," he continues, "I thought I should add this disclaimer. I'm not Jesus Christ. I just thought that I needed to tell you guys that. Anyway, have a nice day and be well."

I need to get out of NY soon. Between B and the number of people I've had to fire over the past few years, it's only a matter of time before I wind up shot.

Blast from the Past

I was on the subway last night on my way to failing miserably in my attempt to surprise a friend who has been a little down lately by bringing her dinner and some of her favorite snacks, when a guy tapped me on the shoulder and said "Joe?" I hate it when that happens as I am horrible at remembering names, and even worse at remembering faces that I haven't seen in years. It took a few minutes to realize who it was, but it turned out to be the little brother of one of my best friends from when I was growing up. Seeing him was great and it brought back a flood of memories.

Through junior high and high school, I hung out with the same group of friends all day every day. On the guys side, there were me, Nicky, Phil, and Chico. The girls consisted of Barbara, Christine, and Gina. It was like our own mini soap opera. Chico was by far the best looking of the guys, and so he dated all three of the girls at one point or another. In fact, Gina left Phil to date Chico, leading to some tense moments for quite a while. I dated Christine for a while, and saw Barbara on and off. Nicky was completely asexual, not even going out on his first date until about four years after graduation. Others would drift in and out of our clique, but nobody stuck for all that long. Chico's parents worked, so his house was the place we hung out at most of the time. We would play sports in the back yard when we were younger, and would use the bedrooms for the more intimate moments as we grew older. They were the closest friends I ever had, and probably still know more about me than nearly anyone else in the world. After high school, we drifted apart as each of us went off to pursue our dreams. I understand that Gina is married now with two children. She's a successful dentist, who lives in Virginia. John works at the office building next to mine, and so I'm sure we'll see each other from time to time.

Still, it was nice to think back on the good times we had growing up. I wouldn't trade those days for anything else.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Pain, Pain Go Away

Another day, another series of pains. Sigh...I should probably go to the doctor about this, but I don't think I will. I'm so tired of going in only to find out that they can't find anything. I also don't want to wind up in the hospital again. The events during and after my last trip to the hospital left me with some bad memories, and it's tough to think about going back in for any reason. Besides, even though there is clearly something wrong, I've been through every test imaginable and they can't pinpoint the problem. If it were serious, I'm sure I'd be feeling much worse, so its no big deal. I'm sure it will go away on its own.

Today has been the day for criers. I've never seen so many people break down in my office in one day. Usually, I have to ask a woman out to see so many tears, and even then they are tears of laughter. They must have put something in the water here this morning. More likely, people are feeling the pressure that comes with the annual performance reviews. Most of the folks who have stopped in are low to average performers, and they are nervous about the feedback they'll receive. The fact is, they should be. If they were half as focused on doing their job as they are on trying to tell me what the people around them are doing wrong in an effort to make themselves look better, they would have nothing to worry about. When I got into HR, it was because I wanted to help people. I still do, and its what keeps me going. However, there are times when this job will make you hate people.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Awkward Moments

Okay. Help me out here. I'm eating well, exercising regularly (at least until about two weeks ago when I began to slack off), and I'm at the pretty ideal weight for my height. However, I'm plagued by increasingly frequent short, stabbing pains in my chest every day. What do you suppose is causing them?

Its particularly embarrassing when the pain hits while I'm in the midst of speaking. A little while ago, I was in an interview and I said "So tell me a little bit more about your experience with.. ugh." The "ugh" of course, is when the pain hit. I winced and continued on, but I thought the person I was interviewing was going to jump across the desk and start performing CPR. That would have been awkward. I mean, you'd almost have to give them the job after they do something like that, wouldn't you? Then I'd always have to worry about those awkward moments in the men's room when I'd realize that I'm standing at the urinal next to the man who gave me mouth-to-mouth. Ugh....

Pashmina Wars Update

The pashimna wars continue on 52nd street. The vendor who had the blowout a few weeks ago was, indeed, making room for new stock as he has expanded into selling scarves and cashmere gloves. Meanwhile, the other vendor has learned the value of good advertising. He now has a sign saying "Brooches $5. Best Buy. Buy Now" and he has also expanded his product line. In addition to $5 pashminas, he sells more elegant embroidered pashminas for $8 each or 2 for $15. I love to watch the free market economy at work.

This morning a homeless man grabbed me and asked me for $5 to help the homeless. My first thought was "$5? wow, inflation has hit everywhere." I wanted to give him money, but I wasn't sure how that would help all of the homeless, and not just him. Instead, I dropped a few dollars in one of the many United Homeless Organization (UHO) jugs that have sprung up around town over the past few years. I'm not even sure if they are a legitimate organization, but their rickety folding tables, used water cooler jugs, and the scruffy people they hire to shout at passerby lend them an aura of credibility that I find reassuring. Their pitches seem to be largely self-authored. For example, the LL Cool J look alike that sits at 45th and 6th encourages people to donate with an endless stream of banter. "Just one single penny, one nickel, one dime can help feed the homeless," he shouts, "Won't you find it in your heart to help feed the homeless?" By the end of his shift, he sounds frustrated and I'm always waiting for him to crack and start saying things like "Its just a motherf***** dime you cheap bastards." For my money, the single most annoying worker I've ever seen whined the following verse over and over. "Does anyone care?.....Does anyone care?....Does anyone care......(long pause, big finish)....Out there?" It stayed in your head for days and made you not only not want to donate, but to actually consider taking money out of the jar just for having to listen to her.

All jokes aside, it's getting cold out there, so do what you can to help the homeless in your area.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Train in Vain

What is it about riding the train that makes people abandon all common courtesy? Each day I take the long commute in from Long Island, and transfer to the subway for my trip into the office. Soon, I'll be down to riding one train directly from Brooklyn, and I'm looking forward to the shorter commute. In the meantime, however, I spend most of my ride in watching people. For example, there is one guy who gets on the train in Hicksville. He's about 5'4 and has one of those faces that you hate for no reason at all. In fact, I'd bet that he spent a lot of time in school getting beat up and having his lunch money stolen. Every morning, he lines up at the door and bulls his way past everyone, knocking aside anyone who dares get in the way of him and a seat. The train isn't all that crowded, so there really isn't any rush, but he does it anyway. As soon as he sits down, he takes off his jacket, makes in into a pillow, curls up in the fetal position and falls asleep. As the train rolls into Penn Station, he leaps up in order to be among the first standing at the door, and runs up the stairs. I used to think he was in a hurry to get to work, but now I think he's afraid because he seems to have annoyed most of the people in the car. In fact, for the past few weeks, I've watched the animosity build between him and another guy who he regularly pushes past. It's going to get ugly really soon. Otherwise, the train is filled with people who think of it as an extension of their living room. They spread there belongings around in a desperate attempt to keep anyone from sitting next to them. They clip their nails, hold loud phone conversations, throw their trash on the floor and do a million other things they would never think of doing in any other public place. A few weeks ago, I was treated to the sight of a woman giving herself a pedicure in the seat next to me. Needless to say, I couldn't eat for the rest of the day.

The subway isn't much better. Everyone crowds by the doors leaving the middle of the train relatively empty. Rather than moving further into the car, and losing their precious door space, people just move an inch or two at each stop, forcing people to squeeze in. This morning, as we approached my stop, there was a guy sitting in the seat in front of me. (Before you ask, the answer is yes, I was one of the people crowding the door. I didn't say I don't do it, I just said it annoys me that others do the same thing.) As the train slowed to a stop, he started to stand up, jockeying for position as if we were fighting for a rebound at a pickup basketball game. Generally, I would step back and let him go, but I'm not in the best mood today. Instead, I stayed in place, forcing him to wait to stand up. Rather than doing so, he began to contort his body so that he would be able to maneuver out of the door as soon as it opened. This left him in the awkward position of crouching while facing the seat, with his feet spread sideways and his torso leaning against the arm rest. The only thing holding him up was the press of bodies around him. If we all took one half step back, he would have fallen and likely been trampled by the crowd rushing to be first up the escalator. I just don't understand.

Anyway, rough night last night. Lots of bad memories came flooding back from the dark recesses of my subconscious. I think I'll do some work to try to distract myself.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Monday Morning

After spending time this weekend enjoying nature, the last place I want to be is cooped up in my office facing another week of hell. My boss is flying out from SF for a visit, and that always adds to the stress levels. On the bright side, I have my blog and IM to get me through the days. In addition, the weather is supposed to be beautiful this week, so remember to get out and enjoy it. I'll be back later with more Monday thoughts. Stay tuned!


Posted by JoePhoto

Friday, November 12, 2004

Modern Bride - New Jersey

I was wandering through Penn Station a few nights ago, when I saw a magazine called Modern Bride - New Jersey. Like many New Yorkers, I have an anti-New Jersey bias. As a result, I spent most of the train ride imagining what the table of contents must look like.

Cover Story
Married by the refineries glow - and 15 other romantic NJ weddings

Q&A
Is "Born to Run" an appropriate wedding song? If this is the Garden State, why do all of the flowers die? How do I get toxic odors out of my dress? and more!

Beauty
Running late for your wedding? We'll show you how to get big hair in 15 minutes or less!

The Reception
Tequila - the new Champagne
Bon Jovi CDs - The perfect wedding favor

Honeymoon Destinations
Basking in Belmar
Unwind in Wildwood
Enchantment at Exit 37...off the turnpike
Hoboken Honeymoon - view Manhattan from your sidewalk

Special Insert
How to keep your wedding night video off of the internet

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Things that Irritate Me at Work

  • Mentee (as in "I'm her mentor, and she's my mentee")
  • Irregardless - there is no such word
  • Any noun used as a verb (i.e. clubbing, gamplanning)
  • Hearing a.m. and in the morning used together (i.e. 3 a.m. in the morning)
  • Inane elevator chatter such as: "How was your weekend?" "Too short" "ha ha ha" or "Banker's hours?" when it's said to anyone leaving before 7 p.m.
  • Any weather related discussion that begins with "Hot / Cold / Wet enough for you?"
  • People who answer a question with a rise in their voice as if asking another question. ("What is your name?" "Jane Smith?")
  • Urgent voice mail messages that begin with "This really isn't urgent, but..."
  • People who call you and when you don't answer the phone, come to your office and say "I know you are in the middle of something but..."
  • People who leave a voice mail, see you a minute later, and say "Thanks for not returning my call"

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Gangsta

Here's my niece, Jasmine. She's only a few months old, but she's already flashing gang signs (see the right hand), and dressing the part.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

From Soaring to Sore

Haven't posted in a few days as it's been pretty busy. I can't believe how much is going on here at work. Every time I begin to work on one thing, someone turns and asks me for something else. I've never felt so pressured and stressed in my life, and I just wish I could go somewhere to take my mind off of things and to be able to relax and be at peace, even for just a few hours. As it stands, when things get really bad the only thing that gets me through the day is looking forward to the phone conversations that I've been having with a friend just before I go to sleep every night. We don't talk about anything special, but I feel almost human again by the time we say goodnight.

In other news, I'm still trying to overcome the soreness that came with my very first rock-climbing fall. I've heard it said that a million things go through your mind when you are in some type of accident. For me, the only thought was "shit, I hope the rope holds." The drop wasn't all that far, maybe 20 feet at most, but it seemed to take forever. I guess the sudden stop at the end of the line was preferable to the stop that would have occurred on the ground had there been no safety rope, but I still feel as if I've been in a train wreck. It's amazing that I can feel so stiff and sore and yet have no visible injuries. It was my first attempt at a more challenging climb, and my foot slipped as I stretched to reach for my next hand hold. It happened in an instant, and before I knew it, I was flying through the air. I jerked to a stop, both annoyed at myself, and a little embarrassed, and less than thrilled at the thought of having to re-climb a stretch that I had struggled with. Fortunately, I made it through without any further issues. The soreness is beginning to abate, too, thanks handfuls of Advil taken at regular intervals. There's no way I'm prepared to tackle El Cap in the spring, but I'm still going to work hard in an effort to be ready in time.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Rainy Day Musings

I was just getting some coffee and I ran into a co-worker. I asked her what she is doing in the office so late. "Baby needs a new pair of shoes," she replied "and I don't mean my daughter."

What is it with women and shoes? Every woman I know has at least 50 pairs of shoes, and is always plotting to buy more. They check out shoes on other women, look in the window of every shoe store they pass, scan web sites, and peruse catalogs. It seems to be a never ending search. I think the nearest thing I have to that type of obsession is Home Depot. Then again, I've never stopped a guy to say, "Hey, great hammer you have there. Where did you get it?" Ummm...well that sounds a little homoerotic, but you get the point.

Anyway, it's a gray, dreary day here in NYC. I'm came to work feeling pretty mellow and content this morning, but things blew up a little later in the day. Now I feel mentally and emotionally drained. I wish I could crawl into bed and fall asleep holding someone that I love. Nobody to do that with, though.

With that in mind, today's entry is going to be mercifully brief. Rather than my amateurish attempts at writing, I thought I'd share a passage that I read in a book called "On the Light Plain" by J. Robert Lennon.

"Still it kept on as it was, without relief. From time to time they met. His head filled up with speeches and ultimatums but he hadn't the courage to speak his mind. He believed now that she loved him, believed that he had no need for her to say so. Nonetheless he told her that he loved her, however much he pleaded with himself not to, and her responses, passionate and sometimes violent but never spoken, left him longing for the covenant of words...Regularly, he took himself off to lonely places to let the emotion spill out of him."

I know the feeling.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Bad Relationship

I accidently left my cell phone charging on my desk when I left the office last night. I didn't realize my error until I went to make a call from the train and it wasn't there, then I felt naked without it which, of course, ties in nicely with today's story.

I was walking to Penn Station last night when I came upon what appeared to be a typical NYC traffic jam. Several cars were trapped in the intersection and the drivers were angrily honking their horns in the apparent hope that doing so would cause the cars in front of them to magically disappear.

As I crossed the street, I noticed that the intersection was not blocked due to traffic, but because a stretch Navigator and a UPS truck were stopped up next to each other on the corner. In a scene reminiscent of Bourbon Street, a woman was leaning out the window of the Navigator. She had pulled up her shirt and pulled down her bra in order to expose her breasts to the UPS driver. As she did so, she told him to pull over to the curb so that she could get in the truck and ride with him.

In most parts of the country, such a scene would have attracted a crowd, but it barely merited a glance from the jaded New Yorkers walking by. As if this weren't surreal enough, a man's hand appeared from inside of the limo, and attempted to pull down the woman's shirt to cover her breasts. She pushed the hand away in annoyance and told the UPS guy "Don't worry about my boyfriend, he's just mad because I like you better."

Now I've been in some bad relationships before, but how horrible do things have to get for your girl to be exposing herself to the UPS guy while you're out on a date?

I'm not sure my problems will ever measure up.

Post-Election Thoughts

A friend of mine asked last week if she should trick or treat in the office on Friday or if she should wait until Monday, but isn't trick or treating after Halloween really just begging for candy?

In a burst of giddiness brought on by voting for the first time, Stacy claims that the name of every person who voted against George Bush should be read aloud on television the next time we're attacked by terrorists. Apparently, she also walked around humming "God Bless America" throughout the day yesterday. Such is the power of democracy in action.

While the race for President remains too close to call, my understanding is that the loser won't go away empty handed. Instead, he'll receive a year's supply of Turtle Wax, a case of Rice-A-Roni "the San Francisco Treat" and the home game of "Who Wants to Be the President?"


Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election Day

After a boys night out at the Meadowlands to watch Jets destroy the Dolphins, I got up early today and jogged before heading over to the polls to do my civic duty (I said duty...lol).

I like to vote early in the day so that I can smugly hold it over any of my co-workers who haven't voted yet. "Did you vote this morning?" I ask. When then say "No," I smirk, snort derisively, and walk away shaking my head. Another favorite of mine involves the NY Times. You walk up to someone and say "Hey, did you see the article about (insert subject) in the Times this morning?" When they say no, you shake your head sadly and say "It figures."

Anyway, I'm off on a mad hunt for a big enough caffeine fix to get me through the day. Meanwhile, here are a few election day factoids for you to ponder.

  • Since the Washington Redskins began playing, the results of their last home game before the election have correctly predicted the winner of the Presidential election. If they win, the incumbent wins, and if they lose, the challenger wins. They lost at home on Sunday.
  • The New York Yankees have not won a World Series while a Republican was President since the Eisenhower administration.
  • The national election takes up about 25% of the standing President's time.
  • A presidential candidate can win the popular vote but not the presidency because of the way the Electoral College is set up, but only four presidents have been elected with fewer popular votes than their opponents: Adams (1824) , Hayes (1876), Harrison (1888), and Bush (2000).

Okay, that's enough for now. Chose or Lose! Vote or die! Ummm...don't forget to vote. Sorry, ran out of slogans there.

By the way, what the hell is with "Vote or Die?" Does that mean you have to vote or P. Diddy will kill you?

One last thought for any of you who live in Florida. Whatever you do, please, please, please read the ballot VERY carefully this time before voting.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Now I See Their Point

Okay, a few more people have asked me if I'm feeling sick today. I'm starting to get a complex. Here's how I look. Hmmmm...perhaps they have a point.



Anyway, I was wandering outside during lunch today when I thought of yet another reason to love autumn. When you are walking in the sun, it's nice and warm but if you start to get too hot, you can simply duck down a shady side street and the temperature is about ten degrees cooler.

It's not much, but I'm all about being happy with the little things in life.

Running Away

This weekend, I took a walk in the woods. I was alone with my thoughts - not a pleasant place to be these days - when I suddenly felt an overwhelming urge to run. I began jogging at a light pace, but I soon found myself sprinting as quickly as my legs would carry me. Spurred on by the frustration and pain I've felt over the past few months, I ran as far and as fast as I could, ignoring the twigs grabbing at my clothes and the burning in my legs and lungs. I stumbled over an exposed root in the ground, and I fell to my knees, gasping for breath. I stayed there on the ground for a while, my breath ragged in my chest and my heartbeat thumping in my ears, and I thought about God.

I'm not a religious person but, like many others, I am spiritual. It hasn't always been this way. When I was younger, my faith was so strong that I even considered becoming a priest. At some point, though, I felt as if God had turned His back on me, and I began to draw away from my faith. I've tried to be a good person, to give more than I receive, to not ask for much, to forgive others when they hurt me, and to make the people who are important to me as happy as possible. Meanwhile, everyone that is important to me seems to turn on me, to hurt me, or to go out of their way to show me that I don't matter to them. I could never understand why this happened. If I lived a good life - the life of kindness, love, forgiveness, and sharing that we are supposed to live - why did I always wind up getting hurt, and why could I never have the things that made me happy?

Because of this crisis in faith, I stopped going to church and I rarely prayed. I remained mindful of the numerous blessings in my life, and I made it a point to thank God for them on a daily basis, but that has been the extent of our relationship for quite a while now.

The Friday before Labor Day, I found myself in a church for the first time in recent memory. A friend of mine - along with many of the people important to her - was going through a rough time and so I went to St. Patrick's Cathedral to light some candles and say a few prayers for her and her loved ones. I had hoped to spend that weekend with her, but she was out to dinner with her family and her sister's boyfriend that night, and she had other plans for the remainder of weekend, so perhaps this was also a way to be close to her. I lit candles for her Mom and her Dad, for her brother and sisters, for a close friend of hers who was struggling, for her Aunt who had passed away a few months ago, for her newborn nephew, and a few for her as well. After I did this, I sat in the church and prayed with a fervor that I thought I had lost. Even if God were not there for me, I hoped He would take care of the people for whom I prayed.

Last week, someone told me a lot of things about myself that were pretty hard to hear. For a long time, I tried to do whatever I could to care for her and please her but no matter what I tried, it always seemed to be the wrong or to fall short of her expectations in some way. Rather than making her happy, I was more often than not a source of annoyance to her. My desire to make her happy, and my hopes of rekindling our relationship, burned so brightly that I was blinded to the way she truly felt about me - and the effect I had on her - until she told me everything that she felt in an angry outburst. Think for a moment about the worst things you think about yourself - the thoughts that plague you with doubt and uncertainty and insecurity. Now imagine hearing them from the person who's opinion of you matters more than anything in the world. Seeing myself through her eyes and hearing what she truly thinks of me was one of the most painful moments of my life.

As I thought about that, I realized that perhaps the reason this happened to me is to show me how God felt when I turned away from Him. What if God has a plan for me that I simply don't understand? Have I ignored to His kindness towards me and love for me because I was blinded by the anger and frustration that I felt towards Him? God has forgiven me for so many transgressions in my life, yet I cannot not bring myself to forgive Him for allowing me to suffer. I wondered if the emptiness that I feel inside at having lost someone important to me is similar to what He feels whenever one of us turns away from Him.

I don't know what this all means in terms of my own spirituality. I doubt very much that I will once again become a regular church goer as I have far too many problems with organized religion than I care to list, but I think that I may have taken the first step in rebuilding my relationship with God. Not to worry, my faith is private and I don't care to preach, but I thought I'd share my epiphany with anyone who cares to read it.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Happy Halloween

Spent part of today wandering around and looking at the children dressed up in their Halloween costumes. They were, as always, absolutely adorable. It was also cute to see their parents joining in the fun by wearing costumes of their own.

Anyway, I hope you all had a great Halloween, that the ghosts and goblins didn't get you, and that you didn't eat too much candy.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Friday Night

Coming to the end of a long week. Usually, this is the time that I would reach out to the person I love and ask her to come out with me. Having dinner, talking about the day, laughing, holding hands, and sharing a few kisses and hugs, would go a long way towards putting the work week behind me and helping me focus on the things that are truly important. Later, I would hold her as we watched an old black and white movie on TV before falling asleep in each other's arms. Of course, there is nobody to do that with, so I'll have to improvise. I have some tentative plans for the night, but nothing that really excites me.

Oh, by the way, have a Happy Halloween!

Choose or Lose

Returning from lunch a little while ago, I noticed a street vendor advertising a "$5 Pashmina Blowout." I guess he has to sell his stock quickly make room on his table for the winter fashion line. He also made it a point to say that they were "real pashminas," subtly implying that the merchandise of pashmina vendor across the street - who was also selling them for $5 - was either imitation or inferior. He had a crowd at his table, and the other vendor had nobody, thus proving once again that the good advertising can be the critical difference between success and failure in the fashion industry.

Anyway, election day is just around the corner and the race is still very tight. One day Bush is winning, the next it's Kerry, and the next day it's too close to call. The only constant is that most people don't even know that Nader is running this time. Slate.com has a good article about called A Consumers Guide to Polls that explains the various polls and any bias they may have.

For what it's worth, here is how I see things shaping up. If the Democrats had a candidate that people could get really excited about, they would be running away with the election. They don't, so this election has come down to Bush vs. Not Bush, as opposed to Bush vs. Kerry. Consequently, I think the Democrats are going to have a hard time getting people out to vote, which doesn't bode well for Kerry. Bush supporters, on the other hand, fervently believe in their candidate and will do everything they can to ensure that his supporters get to the polls on Tuesday.

That's not to say that Bush doesn't have issues as well. His poll numbers are abysmal for an incumbent, and from what I've read, many of the undecided voters will make up their mind while they are actually in the voting booth. The latest news about the missing munitions in Iraq, along with the ongoing probe of the bidding process that awarded Halliburton the Iraq contracts are popping up at exactly the wrong time. Bush and his supporters are also in the troublesome position of defending the man who started a largely unpopular war, and who is heading up a relatively bad economy. More often than not, they point to his strength and willingness to stand by his decisions as evidence that he is, indeed, presidential material. Sure, but what if the decisions are wrong? For my money, they also seem to lean a little too heavily on patriotism as an excuse to re-elect the President. Disagreeing with the current administration - whether during a war or not - isn't unpatriotic. The freedom to do so is one of the cornerstones of our society. Besides, weren't the Republicans the ones who, a few years ago, spent billions of dollars trying to undermine Clinton? From what I recall, the argument at that time was that bringing the misdeeds of our leader to light was the most patriotic thing one could do. My how times have changed.

So what it comes down to is a choice between the lesser of two evils. So who am I voting for? I think I'll decide in the booth.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Office Space

What a day at work. Over the past few weeks, I've been able to concentrate again, so I'm making a lot of headway into the piles of work that engulf my desk. With any luck, by this time next week, I'll be able to get to my chair without using a shovel. In a little while, I'm off for some hard earned drinks. As you probably know, alcohol kills brain cells, and so tonight I am going to attempt to target the ones that hold some particularly painful memories. Before I can do that, there are the obligatory phone calls to return before I can enjoy myself. I have to admit that voice mail is one of my favorite inventions of all time. Don't want to talk to someone? Just wait until you know they aren't around and leave a voice mail. I think I've perfected that technique when it comes to the various employment agencies that contact me throughout the day. The key is to answer all of their questions in your response, and then ask them to leave any information that they have for you on your voice mail. Even better is the fact that I've convinced several that the only way to contact me is via e-mail. I wonder if I should begin to worry about the anti-social tendencies that I seem to be developing. Fortunately, I only use them on a small, yet persistent and annoying, sub-set of the people I have to deal with at work.

Right now, I'm just chillin in my office listening to music with the door closed. Before I got into HR, I didn't realize that there was so much paperwork to be done. I also didn't realize that this is the type of job that will make you hate people sometimes. I don't really mean that, of course, but there are some days in which people simply complain non-stop. Others try to use me as their therapist, and I have to cut those discussions off too quickly. It's not that I don't care....well, actually, it is.

I don't think I can do this job for more than another few months. Its just too draining. Besides, I'm taking stock of my life at the moment, and I think it's time to break away from the east coast and strike out for new and exciting places. I think I'd like to take a few months off and travel for a while. I don't imagine that I'll plan much of the trip - I almost never do - but I think I'll simply follow my heart and see where it leads me. I never got the opportunity to go away to college. I was too busy working two jobs and helping my parents out of debt while I went to school at night. By the time I got my associate's degree, I was in my mid-twenties. I got married shortly afterwards, not so much out of a deep and unabiding love for my ex-wife, but more because I wanted to help her out of an abusive relationship in which she was entangled, and to give her hope that she could have a good life. The marriage was a mistake, but it took me about eight years to realize that, and another two years to finally extract myself from her and my stepchildren.

That's all in the past now, though, and it's time for a new beginning. For the first time in my life, I'm excited about the things my future holds. I'm doing things I've always wanted to do, and I can already feel myself turning into the person I've always wanted to be. It's either that, or I'm going through an early mid-life crisis.

Okay, I'm off to the gym and to the bar. Or at least one of the two...

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Airport Security

Every few weeks I take the shuttle from LaGuardia to DC for a visit to our office there. Like many others, I tend to cut it pretty close, and often have to hustle to get to the plane before they close the door. Last week, was one of those times. While I waited on the security line at Regan National, I watched as the man in front of me became increasingly agitated. The slower we moved, the more he sighed, fidgeted, and cursed under his breath. When his turn arrived, he hurled his shoes, jacket, and briefcase onto the belt to be scanned, and proceeded to walk through the metal detector. Something set off the detector, and so he was sent off to the side to be scanned with the wand. Of course, this only frustrated him more.

I went through security with no problem, grabbed my stuff, and got on the plane. A few minutes later - and just before they closed the door - the man who had been in front of me arrived on the plane. He was out of breath from running to the plane, and he was carrying his shoes, jacket, and briefcase in his hand. As he plopped into the seat across the aisle from me, he cursed airport security one last time, threw his belongings under the seat next to him, closed his eyes, and fell asleep for the majority of the trip. After an uneventful ride, we landed in NY. As we were taxiing to the gate, I heard him curse loudly. It turned out that he was putting on his shoes, and had just realized that he had grabbed the wrong pair at security.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Tuesday Thoughts

A few weeks ago, I was speaking with a friend about my blog. He asked why I post my thoughts publicly rather than just keeping a journal. I told him that I do both, but that the blog are my thoughts, scrubbed and modified for public consumption. After thinking for a moment, he replied that blogging seems kind of masturbatory to him. I'm not exactly sure what he meant, and I thought it best to change the subject pretty quickly. However, if he's right, does this make me an exhibitionist? Are the people that read this blog considered voyeurs?

Anyway, Halloween is just around the corner. A friend of mine considers this to be her favorite holiday, though I would put it second on my list behind Christmas. She makes it difficut to keep from getting caught up in her excitement - she's unbearably adorable even in ordinary times, and especially so when she is excited about something - and so I find myself giving her little Halloween gifts nearly every time I see her. Prior to meeting her, the only reason I looked forward to this holiday was to see the vampire movies that seem to spring up on every channel at this time of year. Ever since I was young, the thought of being Count Dracula has been kind of a turn-on for me. It must be something about having a woman completely in your control and filling her with passion and desire to be taken by you. Even now, I think that kissing a woman's neck is one of the sexiest things in the world. Mmmmmm..... Oh, sorry, I got lost there for a minute. It's okay. I'm back now. If you need me, I'll be standing under the ice-cold waterfall at the park trying to cool down.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Still Ill

Question of the Day
A disturbingly high number of people have asked me if I'm feeling ill today. I feel fine, so I'm not sure how to answer. The only thing that leaps to mind is "No. Unfortunately, this is how I look every day."

Random fashion tip for guys
There are certain times when it is not advisable to wear flat front pants.

Editor's Reply
Someone commented on an earlier blog entry and asked why I don't "hook up and have a baby with the woman I went shopping with this weekend." I responded in the comments section, but I feel obligated to reply in a more public forum to clear up any misconceptions that might arise in the minds of the approximately zero people who will read this.

First, we are just friends, and that's all either of us want to be.

Second, I don't want to have children for the sake of having children, I want to have them with someone I care about and want to spend my life with.

Third, and most importantly, I already know who that person is, and I am hopelessly in love with her. Even though times are tough right now, I have no desire to be with anyone other than her. However, she needs some time and space to work through some concerns she has, and prefers to spend her time either by herself or dong things with her friends. I spend most of the week trying to recapture her heart but rather than sit alone every weekend waiting for a call from her that won't come, I've been keeping myself occupied so that I don't think about her constantly.

I'd apprecaite it if you would refrain from commenting on how pathetic I am. Thanks. lol

Hike


This is where I'd rather be today. Tell me again. Why do I have to work for a living?

A Walk to Remember

I really need to start taking three day weekends as Monday mornings are even more painful than usual these days. When I was married, I liked to come to work. My weekends tended to be boring and full of disagreements and the office was refuge. After my ex-wife and I split, I volunteered to take care of my stepchildren. Sadly, this resulted in me being tied to the house each weekend, and it left me no time to enjoy myself and spend time with the people I truly wanted to be with. Since my ex-wife started taking care of her son again, I've found myself with a lot of free time, so over the past few weekends I've been keeping busy and enjoying the fact that for the first time in years I don't have to worry about being home to care for the kids. I'm still not doing the things I truly want to be doing, but at least it keeps me from sitting at home feeling sorry for myself, and wishing that I had been able to change things just a little more quickly.

Anyway, Friday night was spent relaxing and lounge hopping. Is that even the correct phrase? It doesn't sound laid back enough. I think it should be something more like "lounge tripping" or "lounging." Anyway, we started at the Kat Walk in midtown and steadily worked our way downtown making several stops along the way, including a cool place called Fuelray, before landing on the inviting velvet couches - and seeing some interesting things - in the back lounge of a place called the Fat Black Pussycat.

Otherwise, it was another fall weekend spend outdoors. . The weather was a little cold and damp, so we decided to forgo our climb and went hiking instead. It could not have been any more beautiful or tranquil. The fall colors were in full bloom, and the dried leaves crunched under our feet as we tramped through the trails. We met some nice people along the way, and shared part of the walk with them before we branched out on a more challenging part of the trail. The hike should have taken a few hours, but it took us a lot longer because we kept stopping to explore side trails, or to sit and talk and just enjoy the quiet and solitude of the woods. At the top of the hill, we sat with our legs dangling over the ledge as we ate lunch and admired the breathtaking panorama and the palette of colors spread before us.

Afterwards, we sat at a picnic bench to rest and talk for a while before the long ride home. During one of these conversations, we began to sketch out tentative plans to climb El Cap in Yosemite Park at some point next year. From what I hear, it's a grueling three to four day climb, and I'm not sure I'm anywhere near experienced enough to even think about attempting it. The fact that two climbers died in a freak snowstorm last week gives me even more cause for concern. That said, the thought of accomplishing a climb like that is appealing, and I'm going use it as motivation to practice climbing and to continue to get in shape. Between that climb and my plans to go to jump school and diving school in the spring, I'm beginning to wonder if I have some sort of death wish. More likely, this is just a function of me doing all of the things that I would have loved to do over the past ten years, but couldn't because I was busy taking care of my ex-wife and her children. I don't feel as if I have to make up for lost time, but I do want to enjoy the rest of my life and to see and do as much as possible. Its been a pretty rough few months, but thinking about being in the woods helps me to fight off the work-week stress. When I look at the pictures I took, I remember that anything that happens in the office isn't really important, and that sometimes getting away to take your mind off of things is the best form of therapy.

I also went furniture shopping this weekend. I'm moving to a new apartment in a few weeks, and I'm getting rid of all of my old furniture in an effort to completely close the book on my past. Because I don't trust my own taste - I often buy things only to wonder later what the hell I was thinking when I did - I took along a friend to offer advice and counsel and to provide a reality check against impulse purchases. She had her three year old niece in tow and seemingly every sales person who approached us felt obligated to comment on how cute "our daughter" was and to ask annoyingly intrusive questions about her before proceeding to bore us with stories about their children. More amusing was the fact that the male salespeople would ask about my "wife" or my "girlfriend" in an attempt to determine if we were together. When they found we were just friends, they would invariably spend the rest of the time talking to her and vainly trying to impress her by showing how good they were with her niece before giving her their business cards and thoughtfully writing their cell phone numbers on the back in case she had any questions for them. At least this left me alone to shop without worrying about them trying to force me to buy things I'm not sure I want.

It makes me incredibly sad to think about the fact that the odds are stacked squarely against me fathering any children. I love children and I always imagined that by this point in my life I would have two or three of my own. To fill the void, I like to spend time with my ever growing cadre of nieces and nephews. Because of this, I am pretty comfortable with kids. When people bring their children to work, they tend to gravitate towards my office and spend time in here playing with the toys I have, and telling me about themselves. Of course, you can't spend too much time with them as there is always work to be done (although I do tend to avoid a lot of it by IMing and Blogging every day) Besides, there is a fine line between being viewed as a nice guy who is good with children, and being the creepy guy who likes children just a little too much.

My little sister had a baby recently, which means that I'm the only member of my family who doesn't have children of his own. This leads to the inevitable question at every family gathering - "You are so good with children. When are you going to have some of your own?" I used to answer with "Don't be silly, men can't have babies," but now I simply reply "Looks like never." Fortunately, they tend to stop asking after they hear that.

Friday, October 22, 2004

The Drawbacks of Fitness

I feel pretty good these days. I've lost the weight that was dragging me down a few months ago. My clothes fit better. I have more energy. I'm actually able to keep up with everyone when we go rock climbing, biking, and hiking. I'm able to work out longer and harder than before, and I can see my body starting to change for the better. In short, I feel about ten years younger than I did a few months ago. Of course, the down side is that I'm also about a hundred times hornier than I was before. Consequently, my "little friend" as I referred to him a few weeks ago, is like a newborn baby...up all night and constantly demanding to be fed. On the bright side, he's does function well as an alarm clock, beating me in the chest every morning and telling me to get my ass out of bed and do something that will take our minds off of sex. Jogging generally does the trick as it's tough to think of anything else when you are worried about passing out before you get back home. Sadly, its only a temporary fix. In fact, it's gotten so bad that the other day, I saw a dog in heat attach itself to someone's leg and start pumping frantically and I thought to myself, "you know, that's not such a bad idea."

According to the Kinsey Institute's FAQ, "54% of men think about sex every day or several times a day, 43% a few times per month or a few times per week, and 4% less than once a month." After reading this, my first question was "can you define several?," closely followed by "who the hell are the 4% that think about it less than once a month?" Those poor bastards. My best estimate is that I currently think about sex every eight seconds or so. This is clearly an issue, particularly at work. I'll be in the midst of a mind-numbing task, such as reviewing resumes, when my mind wanders off. Before you know it, I'll have scanned ten or twelve resumes and have no idea what I've read because I was busy fantasizing. It's a good thing I can close my office door as it isn't good practice for the HR manager to have an obvious bulge in his pants when someone comes in to discuss an issue.

The nights are the worst. My mind wanders off to a fantasy, and before I know it I can't think of anything else. I try to adjust myself to so as to gain a little comfort, but that only seems to exacerbate the problem. I turn on the TV, thinking that will take my mind off of things but, as is the case with late night/early morning TV, there is seemingly nothing on but soft-porn movies and Three's Company re-runs. (okay, perhaps I see these and find myself unable to change the channel, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.) I generally settle on Three's Company thinking it to be the safer option. Before long, however, I catch myself thinking, "Man, I could do some damage to Chrissy right now," or "I never noticed before, but Janet is looking pretty good in that tight sweater of hers." Geez, it gets so bad at times that I think "You know, I'd even try to tap Mrs. Roper if she were here right now."

Frustrated, I change the channel and land on an infomercial for the handy Orek Excel vacuum. Apparently, the suction is so great that it can pick up a bowling ball. Amazing! On a side note, did you know that there are a fair number of men each year who sustain penile injuries when using a vacuum cleaner in search of sexual excitement? Apparently, the injuries range from penile fracture to loss of the organ. Regardless, all I can think right now is "yeah, that's right. suck that bowling ball....mmmmmmm." You have no idea how long and torturous these nights are.

Earlier, I received a call from some friends of mine that are trying frantically to arrange a last- minute weekend trip to Miami. They've asked me to come along, saying that a weekend of relaxing on the beach and drinking all night is just what I need to reduce the stress I'm feeling. I fear it would only make things worse. I keep imagining having to keep running into the water in an attempt to hide my little friend's excitement from the world since he has a mind of his own these days and tends to pop up at inopportune times. It's like going through puberty again.

So why am I holding out? Well, first, I'm not a one-night stand kind of guy. Too many diseases and things out there to take a chance. Besides, there are some things in life that will always be worth waiting for, and I've found someone that's worth the wait for me....if the wait doesn't kill me first, that is.

Okay, I'm off to find a bucket of ice to dump down my pants.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Rejected

Yesterday, an applicant for a job here asked me to dinner. Now I'm not sure if you are aware of this, but as a general rule, it isn't considered good form to ask the HR Manager on a date as it tends to impact his view of your business judgment. I had to admire her nerve, though, even as I questioned her lack of taste.

With one notable exception, I'd always been fairly confident when it came to meeting women. There was only one woman who made me so nervous that it was difficult to speak with her. Even after I worked up the courage to ask her out - this after a week of running around like a teenager asking people to gauge her level of interest in me and making excuses to walk by her desk at every opportunity because I found her so beautiful that she left me weak at the knees - I was shocked when she said yes.

Normally, however, getting a date turned out to be a byproduct of casual conversation as opposed to an overt attempt to meet someone. The main challenge was always determining the level of interest of the woman with whom I was speaking. Was she just being polite and friendly, or was she really interested? Once the conversation was initiated, it was fairly easy to ask for a date. Even if she declined the invitation, I reasoned, the odds against seeing her again were astronomical given the number of people in NYC. Besides, being shot down often made for an amusing story. For example, one night I was on the LIRR riding home. There was one seat left, and it was next to an exceptionally attractive woman. I had recently become separated from the woman who is now my ex-wife, and hadn't asked anyone out for a while, but this seemed like the perfect opportunity. In general, between the clack of the wheels as they roll over the track, the loudspeaker announcements, the conversations that take place between friends, and the constant cell phone chatter, the train ride is fairly noisy. On this ride, however, it was eerily silent. I kept hoping that either the noise level would pick up or that the seats around us would empty so that I could talk to her out of earshot of others. Meanwhile, she stared out the window lost in her own thoughts. Time was running out as the train neared my station. I can't remember what I said, but I broke the ice with her and we wound up speaking for a few minutes before my stop. As I gathered my jacket and bag, I turned to ask her for her phone number. She spoke first, saying "Can I give you something?" I smiled and said, "Sure." She dug through her bag and I waited for her to hand me a business card or a piece of paper with her phone number. She looked me in the eye, smiled, and said "It's about Jesus" as she handed me an inspirational pamphlet. Never in the history of mankind has something designed to lift the spirits done so much to crush them instead.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Weekend in New England

Friday Night - Stuck in the office late working on the budget, I leave at about 7 p.m. I meet with some friends to watch the Yankee - Red Sox game only to find that it's been rained out. I'm not feeling all that well, and so this isn't all that disappointing as the cancellation will allow me to get home early and get some sleep in preparation for tomorrow's climb. Lots of drinks later, getting home early turns out to mean early Saturday morning, and I crawl into bed just before sunrise. There is just enough time to get 2-3 hours of sleep.

Saturday Morning - Turns out that - contrary to the advice I received last night - the alcohol didn't kill whatever virus I'm carrying. In fact, it only seems to have made it angrier. Then again, maybe it's just a hangover. I swear that my body actually creaks as I roll out of bed and prepare for the weekend. I get dressed, pack a bag, and head out. We drive up to Massachusetts for a climb. Just what I needed, a four hour car ride so that my body can be stiff in addition to weak. Why am I hanging out with people who are 10+ years younger than me? I just can't rebound like I used to. Several cups of coffee and a red bull later, I think I'm over-stimulated. The crash later should be interesting.

Saturday Afternoon - We hike through the mud and climb. The autumn leaves are past their peak up here, but the view is still spectacular from the top. We sit in quiet admiration for a while before we hike back down. Back at the base, the reason for the trip to MA is revealed. As a belated birthday present for me, we have tickets to see the New England Patriots play my Seattle Seahawks on Sunday afternoon. I haven't been to a Seattle game in at least 20 years, so I'm excited as well as touched by the gesture.

Saturday Evening - The hotel has overbooked due to the Yanks - Red Sox series, so we are bounced to the Harvard Club where we are given rooms for the night. We dump our stuff and head out to Lansdowne Street to soak up the pre-game atmosphere. As the second inning begins, my friend disappears to use the restroom and comes back with tickets to the game that she obtained at near face value! Even better, it turns out the they aren't counterfeit. What a weekend this is turning out to be. We head into Fenway and to join the rest of Red Sox Nation (RSN) just as Boston mounts a furious - but ultimately futile - comeback. I feel like I'm watching a softball game as the Yanks rock every pitcher sent out to face them. Fenway is eerily silent in the late innings as the reality of being down 3 games to none sinks in. That said, I have to admit that Sox fans are much more good natured than Yanks fans about people rooting for the opposition. A few good natured taunts are directed at my friends they cheer for the Yanks, but mostly people are pretty nice.

Saturday Night - Back to Lansdowne for more drinks. Most are purchased by depressed Sox fans hoping that buying a drink for my friend will win her affection and allow them to take something good out of the night. Being the kind hearted person she is, she shares her good fortune with us, thus allowing us to drink for free - and further breaking the hearts of the men at the bar.

Sunday Morning - Awakened to the cries of "WAKE UP SLUG" as I am dragged out of bed and forced to work out. We begin with a jog, and I feel pretty good....for the first 100 yards or so. Then the familiar warning signs kick in. My legs feel like lead and my chest feels a little tight, but I keep going knowing that I've run through this successfully before. About two miles later, my friend stops, grabs my arm and asks if I am ok. I say I'm fine, but the worried look on her face tells me that I may not be doing as well as I think. Sure enough, a quick check of my pulse shows me at over 280 bpm, well above my peak heart rate, and I"m having trouble catching my breath. We wait until my heartbeat slows back to normal before heading to the gym. No sympathy shown there. Urged to make amends with my body for the abuse I've heaped on it all weekend, I lift more weights than I have in years. Its amazing that I can even lift my arms to type this morning.

Sunday Afternoon - Head over to Gillette stadium to tailgate before the game. Still nauseous from the workout - and excited about the upcoming game - I can barely eat. We head into the stadium where everyone in the immediate vicinity is informed that I'm a 'Hawks fan. This leads to quite a bit of abuse being heaped upon me as the Pats jump out to an early lead. Seattle storms back, and I can see the people around me watching to see if I'll taunt them the way they did me. Being outnumbered nearly 65,000 - 1 leads me to realize that discretion is, indeed, the better part of valor and so I keep my mouth shut. Good thing, too, as the Pats pull away in the end to win 30-20.

Sunday Evening - Back to NY. Stop for dinner and then stay to watch game four of the Yanks-Sox series. Yanks go up 2-0 early and 4-3 later and all you can hear is the cheers of Yankee fans. Question: Why do Yankee fans always refer to the team as "we"? If they are actually part of the team, shouldn't they be at the game? Tense moment and my phone rings. Who the hell could be calling now? Oh, just a text message. I quickly reply and get back to the game. The Sox pull even in the bottom of the 9th and win it in the 11th. By now, its after 1 a.m. and I need to begin the long journey home so that I can get up for work in the morning. Thank god for Starbucks...

Monday Morning - Sleepy, achy, and have a desk full of work. Big cup of Starbucks doesn't seem to be helping. Oh well, only four more days until the weekend....