Category Archives: Personal

A Reading Story

There is a dream I’ve had several times since my daughter was born.

At least twice, I’ve walked in a to a bookstore in a mall. Kind of like a Waldenbooks (for those who remember) but with better lighting and a more kid-friendly layout. I’ve walked in to a section that holds books for pre-teens – books children around age 10 might read if books were something that excited them.

Each time I’m looking for this specific book. It had a name like “Back to…” or “Return to…” or “Last of…” – I can’t quite remember the title. When I tell the staff who work there – usually in their late teens to early 20s, they get excited. It’s an older book that most children growing up today haven’t read, but if you love books, especially fantasy adventures, it’s one you simply must have read.

In another, related dream, I was back on an old main street in a town I used to live in or visit frequently, perhaps to see a semi-close relative when I was a child myself. A girl I used to play with around my age still lives there, and she still has an old copy of the book, with pages that long ago turned brown. Still, it was exciting to see the book and open it up, to read a few of the words on the first page that launched a great adventure.

I’m not someone who attaches a lot of significance to meaning in dreams. However, I can say without a doubt that these are a set of dreams that contain strong emotions, of nostalgia, perhaps, but also of a love of books, of adventure, and of ideas. Emotions that perhaps I hope my daughter will have and that I will have been able to pass on to her.

601 West Camplain Road

I stumbled on a story earlier today about a rundown building in Manville at 601 West Camplain Road.  The decline and outcome of this building is sad to see, given the fact that this building is a part of my family’s history.

My grandfather at one point owned it and operated a store out of it.  My parents used to talk about it as it was a part of their youth and it was a place that holds meaning for them.  Eventually, it was converted to an apartment building.

After my grandmother died in the early 1990s, my grandfather eventually met Lucy and re-married. By the time he died around 2004 or 2005, Lucy was set to receive the inheritance.  Control passed to her, and the building passed out of my family’s hands.

 

 

Long Time

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything except my Twitter collection here.  Frankly, pursuing my MBA plus my full time job and trying to make time for a personal life has ruled out much in the way of posting.  Because of that, it actually took me over a month to even figure out what my site was offline.  Sad, I know.

The other challenge as I get older has been to try to determine where to draw lines about what to post.  What personal information am I willing to share with an anonymous audience, and which information do I prefer to keep private?  How do I maintain an online presence while also keeping private other information.  Over the past few years, I’ve shifted further to the share less category.  With some “free” time for reflection coming up, though, perhaps it is time to reconsider those lines again.

Cutting Cable

Well, Comcast just got around to raising the rate for us.  So we’ve decided that now is the time to cut the cable.  Here’s our plan in 8 easy steps.

1.  Get TiVo Premiere

2.  Get a new antenna

3.  Sign up for Hulu Plus

4.  Make sure Netflix streaming is configured

5.  Set up Espn3

6.  Set up Comedy Central

7.  Get the ORB BR

8.  Cancel Comcast

2010 In Review – Books, Movies and Shows

2010 was another year filled with books and movies.  Below are incomplete lists that I read this year, since I did not keep an accurate count.

Books

The book count seems lower than it really is.  I’ll do better next year, I promise.

  • The Lost City of Z
  • The Good Book
  • In Her Shoes
  • On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System
  • Bonjour Laziness: Why Hard Work Doesn’t Pay
  • The Martian Chronicles
  • Fahrenheit 451
  • The Towers of Midnight (WoT Book 13)
  • Marked for Death: Dying for the Story in the World’s Most Dangerous Places
  • Berlin Noir: March Violets; The Pale Criminal; A German Requiem
  • Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America

Movies

  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Up in the Air
  • Shall We Dance?
  • Iron Man
  • Australia
  • Star Trek
  • Four Christmases
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • October Sky
  • Iron Man 2
  • Secreteriat
  • Outsourced
  • The Iron Giant
  • Monsoon Wedding

Live Shows

Per CB, this seemed to be enough to warrant its own category this year.

  • Flamenco – to get back in the spirit of Spain for an evening
  • The Foreigner – how often does the KKK make an appearance on stage?
  • Brad & Colin from the Whose Line Is It Anyway? show – just like the show, without Drew Carey
  • Memphis – One of the best musicals either of us had seen in awhile
  • Tchaikovsky @ the Mann Music Center – outdoors at the Mann in the summer, with fireworks
  • Fiddler on the Roof – Not a bad showing at the Walnut
  • Barenaked Ladies – Not the same as they once were
  • Pirates of Penzance – The Sydney Opera house
  • Jersey Boys – This was the only time I’ve ever seen the ushers actually throw someone out

2010 In Review – The Recap

What a crazy 2010!  We welcomed 2010 quietly, after a whirlwind December 2009 that involved three out-of-state trips between CB & I and our first married Christmas.  The house was still in a state, with CB & I still needing time to sort out all of the generous gifts from the wedding PLUS both of our stuff.

Thankfully, MLK weekend gave us a chance.  Over three days we moved out of and back in to the kitchen, emptying every cupboard, cabinet and drawer, picking and choosing what to keep and what we would find another home for.  We finally were able to get rid of the last set of boxes in the dining room and take back our house.

January also served as the jumping off point for my MBA application process, with a GMAT prep class at the end of the month at Drexel.  February brought the GMATs, a visit to Drexel, and Internet searches.  CB took a cake decorating class with her sister, ensuring a beautiful, yummy cake would show up right around my birthday.  The MBA apps wrapped up in March and the waiting began.

To celebrate the MBA apps finishing up, CB & I went off to DC for a long weekend.  Biking around the capital, they revisited the site of their engagement at the FDR memorial.  They also stopped in to see CB’s brother, and their family friend Didi.

In April, I took a new position in the company, landing in the R&D IT division.  The next three months were filled with work-transition items, the second Emerging Leaders residency, and a flurry of “new project” work.  Thankfully, though, Memorial Day weekend came, and with it a chance for some time away.

CB took off to Alaska for an adventure with her friend Janet, fulfilling a long-held promise once Janet finally finished her PhD program.  Myself, not wanting to be left home alone, found a nearly-deserted island off the coast of Panama to sneak away to for a few days for some remote R&R.

Returning home, we were now just days away from our one year anniversary.  Not wanting to let the occasion pass uncelebrated, we snuck off to NYC for the night.  After a great Cuban dinner, we went up the Empire State building, then saw Memphis the next afternoon.  And just like June 13th a year earlier, it poured rain in the afternoon.

June, July and August were hot in Philly as usual, so it was time to shift gears.  Instead of trying to “get things done” around the house, CB & I spent our time running around having fun.  From concerts to shows to dinners and dancing, we had plenty of fun.

The MBA acceptance letters also came back, and we knew it was just a matter of time before I would be tied up for two years getting my masters.  To celebrate, we quickly planned a two week trip to Australia for Labor Day weekend.  Despite some setbacks at work and having no time to plan, we did a whirlwind tour of Melbourne, Cairns, and Sydney.  We saw penguins, kangaroos, wallabies, and birds galore, along with the Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef, and wine country outside Melbourne.

Two weeks after we landed I was off to the week-long kickoff session at Babson in Boston!  From October until mid-December, I was in school and life was go-go-go!  Despite some sad moments in the Fall, we slid in to the end of the year, with Thanksgiving at Cioci Deb’s and Uncle Burt’s in Sparta, Christmas Eve with CB’s family, and Christmas Day with both sides.  Sure, we may have been decorating the tree again on Christmas Eve, but it was still a great holiday with our family.

Now, with 2010 in the books, we are thankful for all the great moments and we look forward to seeing what 2011 will bring us.

Happy New Year!

A Year of Verizon

I’ve tweeted a fair bit about my troubles with Verizon and Verizon Wireless.  With the latest snafu, I thought I’d recap our year of troubles.

January 2009 – Wife and I decide to combine to a family plan and order new phones.  Her phone is lost in the shipping process and takes an extra five days to arrive.

February 2009 – Wife receives a bill from Verizon Wireless after she paid her final account balance for an additional sum of money.  When asked, Verizon Wireless cannot explain what the charges are for and “override” them in their system.

February 2009 – Wife’s new phone dies.  Replacement is sent.

March 2009 – Verizon Wireless credits us $50 on our bill for no reason.  When called about it, they offer no explanation and say not to worry about it.  A week later (after our auto payment runs), they receive the charge and turn off our account.

Summer 2009 – Squirrels chew through landline.  After complaining about static on the phone, the line is replaced.

Summer 2009 – We move to a “double-play” Internet and phone service option.  I call with two questions – are we eligible for the signup “reward” and can someone set up our line for Internet voicemail.  Two hours and nine transfers later, someone says they can, in fact, set up the voicemail.

February 2010 – Phone line is dead (no phone and Internet) for 6 days during the first of the two February blizzards in Philly.

February 2010 – After fixing the line, service is now disrupted every time it rains.  Phone quality degrades and Internet service is unstable.

Podcast Recommendations

Having recently moved, my commute has now increased from an easy 25 minutes to about 65 – 70 on a day without too much traffic.  With the increase in commuting time, my iPod is now getting a workout, but my music library can’t keep up.  So I’m looking for Podcast recommendations.

Currently I listen to NPR’s On the Media regularly and BBC Radio4’s In Our Time (sometimes).  However, those alone aren’t enough to cover the whole ride.  Can anyone recommend any morning news programs (e.g. NPR Morning Edition) and any interesting music podcasts for the ride home?

Exit 30

PennDot, those lovable scamps who come up with such great ideas as the highway to nowhere around Doylestown, are overhauling our local 95 interchange.  This delightful project, destined to cause hours of delays, kicked off last month with some demolition work.

The latest great news came earlier this week, when an already cramped two lane road was reduced to one lane.  CB told me that on the first day traffic backed up 10 miles during the evening commute.

Yay, PennDot!