The album that inspired the title of my blog. To listen to the entire album Click Here
Friday, October 16, 2009
The album that inspired the title of my blog. To listen to the entire album Click Here
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I found out yesterday that one of my former co-workers at Up with People, Hector Ramirez, died in Germany. I'm not positive the details of his death, I only know that it was from an accidental fall apparently.
I've only known Hector since June, 2007, but he left a lasting impact on me. He was one of the Education coordinators for Up with People's Cast B 2007. He was full of life, passion and energy. We really bonded at the Up with People reunion in Tucson, Arizona in July of 2007. I remember enjoying a few drinks with Hector and talking about life and the exciting things that we would do with our futures.
My last interaction with Hector was a few months ago while I was in Australia. Hector needed some help with his application to Doctors Without Borders, so I helped edit his application. I was more than happy to help someone I considered a true friend. I know he would have done the same for me if I asked him for a favor.
So Hector, wherever you are, you are already missed by hundreds of people that you touched in your 30 short years here on earth. My thoughts and prayers go out to your family and friends. I'll never forget you.
Also, the same day I heard the news about Hector, a well known family man in my home town, Steven Krause, died in a car accident. I grew up playing street hockey with his children.
Another man died that day as well. He was a former co-worker of my fathers. Hearing about the deaths of three amazing men on the same day was hard to take.
On Tuesday morning, I woke up and checked my facebook news feed and noticed that a former co-worker on Carnival Cruise Lines was playing in his band in Northampton, Mass., only about an hours drive from my house. I wrote him back right away and let him know I was interested in going to the show.
Joe set me up with a few tickets. I didn't have any friends to bring so I asked my parents to come along. You know you're getting older when you finally ask your parents to go out to a bar with you for company.
Joe and I met on the Carnival Glory in the Fall of 2004. We watched the American League Championship Series together. If you don't recall, that was the series where the Boston Red Sox came back to beat the New York Yankees in seven games after being down 3-0.
Joe plays piano in a band called Bonerama. It features three trombones in the front, as well as a guitar, bass, drums and piano. Joe is probably the most talented in the whole band. My parents and I were also impressed with the lead singer. He could belt it out.
One of my favorite parts about the traveling I've done in the last ten years is the fact that I get to meet people randomly that I haven't seen in years. Like Joe for example, I haven't spoken to in person for five years, yet when we met on Tuesday night, we talked just like it'd been a couple of weeks.
Full of uncertainties
I've been applying to random jobs lately. Luckily for three weeks I was employed by a vending company but they only needed temporary help. I've applied to be a sales representative for a up and coming drink called Vita Coco. They will not be making their decision until December or January.
So the search continues. I am going to try and give waitering another go. So far I haven't heard from anyone.
I've even thought of returning to the cruise ship life lately. In the 28 months since I've left ships, I once in awhile go through phases where I think I want to go back to the ships. Then I shake the thoughts out of my head after a couple days. But recently I had a day where I watched a movie that took place on a cruise ship (Boat Trip), watched a documentary on cruise ship life (The Norwegian Pearl was featured), and talked to my best friends from ships, Craig Johnson, aka Sexy Craig. All these ship references in one day had me really wanting to return.
So you never know. I still speak very highly of my experience with the cruise industry. I can definitely see myself returning.
Overall, Good, if not Great
I've been seeing a lot of family lately. Mostly my parents and brother. But I've also had the opportunity to go lunch with my grandpa a lot lately. He is 88. He still has his wits about him and makes me laugh. While I was in Australia, I really missed my family. And more than I used to, I appreciate seeing them everyday. Over the past 10 years I've always felt that I was in a hurry to get somewhere else as soon as I arrived in Keene. But since returning, that feeling has faded. I still have dreams and aspirations that involve leaving New England, but as long as I'm here and get to see people I love everyday, I'm not in such a hurry.
I've been able to connect with some friends over the past month from Up with People and also my childhood. I am lucky to have met some amazing people in this life. The fact that I get to see or talk to them nearly every day is a blessing.
So that's a little update on things in my world. Thanks for checking in.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Sometimes I wonder how we take Starbucks seriously. Sure their products taste fine, but I often wonder how their utterly foolish use of language is so easily overlooked. Perhaps nobody cares and maybe people enjoy using funny language to order a coffee, but I just want to make sure you are aware of the everyday farce known as Starbucks.
First of all, I have to get this monkey off my back. Let’s talk about Tall vs. Grande for a few minutes. (Editors note: There was no Venti size at the Carroll College Starbucks at the time) A Tall is a small and a Grande is a large. Are we agreed on this? After three years, I think I finally understand. But how can a Tall represent a small? I remember when I was about four years old watching Sesame Street. Grover taught me about NEAR and FAR. The Count taught me how to count. I also remember Big Bird and Slimey teaching me about big and little.
Here’s the point: Tall will always be synonymous with Large. Always. Grande, obviously a French word for large or grand makes sense. It really does. But if a large is a Grande, then shouldn’t a small be Petite? It doesn’t make sense that both sizes are named after words meaning “big.”
Next up, the ridiculous descriptions of various flavors of coffee starting with Light Note Blend, which is described as “Smooth and round with a straight forward, delicate flavor and a crisp clean finish”….garbage.
Can anyone tell me what a straight forward drink is like? Is Starbucks telling me that their coffee is bullshit free and they’re gonna hit me with the flavor straightforward? And how can it be delicate if it’s straight forward? Delicate to me would mean the coffee is holding back. I don’t like my coffee holding back. And I don’t know what a crisp clean finish is. How do they know how my coffee will be when I finish it? Maybe it’s cold and has been sitting out for two hours. Well then, it’s not too crisp and clean is it my friend?
How about a Colombia Nariño Supremo? With a name like that, I could be getting chili. But I’ll look at the description to make sure I’m not mistaken. “Full bodied with satisfying walnut overtones" …hmm. I have never heard of a full bodied coffee. I have some friends and family who are definitely full bodied, but have never seen a coffee that was. And what is a walnut overtone? Sounds like musical peanuts to me. It should say, “Tastes like walnuts.” That doesn’t confuse me. Straight up and to the point.
One more just to drive the point home. Sumatra coffee is described as “Spicy and intense with herbal aromas." Okay, enough. I don’t need an intense coffee. I just need something to get my day started. Spices and coffee don’t go together. And if I wanted herbal aromas, I would have ordered a tea. Sumatra coffee sucks.
Another complaint is that I participate more in ordering my drink than I do in a whole semester of classes. Ordering a coffee isn’t so bad. I only have to answer about six questions. But get one of those crap-achino drinks and you’re done for. How many shots of espresso? Points or cash? Whipped cream? Tall or Grande? What flavor? Leave room for cream? I feel as if I deserve a letter grade along with my latte.
One more Starbucks bash for you. In the last week of January, the coffee machines broke. No coffee for a whole day. None. And I still am not over it. If I’m correct, the name of the franchise is Starbucks Coffee. The product that started it all wasn’t being served. I can’t believe that it couldn’t be fixed within an hour or two. There are Starbucks representatives all over this great nation. The fact is they let me down. I had to go buy a $10 Dole instead.
So next time you’re in the coffee shop, take a look around. Order a small or regular coffee and see their reaction. Whatever you do, don’t take it too seriously.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
September was a great month. It has been only five weeks since I returned home from Oz. I managed to squeeze a lot of fun into that time. Here are some of the highlights:
I went down to Norton, Massachusetts to see my friend Ken Macie who is the Assistant Superintendent at TPC Boston. The course was hosting the Deutche Bank Championship which is a PGA Tour tournament and was the second of four tournaments that comprise the Fed Ex Cup.
It was a great weekend visiting with the Macie family and also seeing Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and a slew of other PGA Tour players in person for the first time. One thing they never show on TV is the players' wives. They should more often. Brian Gay's wife was unreal. I mean pretty much store bought if you know what I mean.
A couple weekends later, I traveled down to Medway, Massachussetts to visit three of my Up with People cast mates. I met up with Carrie, Carissa from NH and Jesse from NY. I hadn't seen Carrie in 9 years, Carissa in 7 and who knows how long for Jesse. We had a great afternoon of talking about old times on the road. Carissa and Carrie both are moms now and Jesse is a drummer in a few bands based out of Boston.
September also had me rediscovering my golf game. I went golfing twice, once at Bretwood in Keene and another time at the Brattleboro Country Club in Vermont. My dad and I also hit a few buckets of balls. What a great sport. Frustrating, but great.
Being home is great. I may have mentioned that in my last post, but being home and seeing family everyday has been one of the best aspects of my return. In the five weeks I've been home, I have spent quality time with lots of family. About ten of the Wattersons had a big get together last weekend to help stack my grandma's wood pile. It was a lot of fun and great to see family even if it was in the rain.
Finally, I managed to work for three weeks for Monadnock Vending in Keene. It was hard, physical labor that involved working several 7pm-7am shifts. I helped another guy work on vending machines and learned a lot about the trade. One aspect I loved was going into factories around the area. I was in paper factories, food warehouses, gun factories, etc. It was exciting to see where some of these products were made.
So that was September. I have some ideas for upcoming stories so check back in. I have had a couple job interviews that I'm waiting to hear back from so you may be reading about that soon as well.
Friday, September 18, 2009
August 27, 2009
The final 10 days of my Australia trip were fun. I initially thought they would be grueling because all I would be thinking about was going home. But, they proved to be relaxing.
I was pretty hurting on cash and knew I’d have to get creative with meals for 10 days. Thank goodness I am a master of the grilled cheese. I bought some incredibly cheap bread and cheese, and some apples, and had grilled cheese sandwiches and apples for most of my meals for a week. One might think that’s awful, but I don’t think you understand how much I enjoy grilled cheese sandwiches. It was heavenly.
The rest of that week I listened to a lot of Red Sox games on the internet and slowly packed a little every day.
On my final Saturday night, I went to an ice hockey game with the York Brothers, as well as a few of the guys we play hockey with. It was great to see some ice hockey even if it was pretty awful. It featured the Sydney Bears vs. the Canberra Knights. Mike and Curt have a couple friends I’d met a couple of times on the Canberra team.
The Knights and the Bears were the league’s worst two teams. They were telling me this was Australia’s best hockey league, but I honestly think I could have contributed out there. I’m sure the top teams have some solid players. I think there are a lot of European and Canadian players on the better teams, so there has to be talent. But on this occasion, it looked like men’s league.
The next day, Curt York had his final soccer match of the year. He was playing in the championship game, which in Australia is called the Grand Finale. It’s hard to explain but I’ll try.
Where I live, there are tons of soccer leagues. Or rather, levels. So each town has their own team, for example, Curt plays for Lilli Pilli (Yeah the name of an actual suburb) and Lilli Pilli has around 16 teams. Curt was telling me it is the largest football organization in the Southern Hemisphere.
Anyway, if your team has success in the league it is in, then the next season the team moves up a level. So Curt’s team was playing in the Level 6 Grand Finale, and if they won, would move up to Level 5 next season.
It was a gorgeous day for a soccer game. I think it hit 75 degrees and was sunny all day. I walked a good three or four miles to the game, underestimating the walk. So I missed the first 15 minutes or so. When I arrived, Lilli Pilli was up 1-0.
Right before the end of the half, a Lilli Pilli player and a Miranda player collided while attacking the ball and the Lilli Pilli player broke his leg! It just sounded bad. I didn’t have a great look at it, but I heard it. The ambulance took forever to get there, and the game ended up being stopped for 90 minutes while they took the poor guy off to the hospital. (Or as that sentence would read in Australia….”…ended up being stopped for 90 minutes while they took the poor guy to hospital.” They don’t use THE when referring to the hospital)
In the second half, Miranda scored on a penalty kick and seemed to have the momentum for the remainder of the game. Neither team could score until the second overtime, Lilli Pilli got a breakaway and capitalized. They won 2-1. It was an exciting finish.
It was good to say goodbye to Curt’s parents and a couple other friends I’d met along the way.
On my final night in the Shire, Curt and his girlfriend Paivi, Mike, Eoin and his girlfriend Steph, Bryce and Mick took me out to dinner to say farewell. I was really touched by this. I wasn’t expecting anything really. I chose a Mexican restaurant that I had wanted to try for a few months because I didn’t have Mexican food my entire stay in Australia. It was okay, a little overpriced. In Australia they don’t give out free nachos and salsa. But I had a beef enchilada. It tasted great.
It was sad saying goodbye to all of them, but goodbyes are sad. In the morning I got up early and said goodbye to my roommate Steve. Jeff then brought me to the airport where I had to wait six hours for my flight.
And that was the end of the post. I should have documented the rest of the trip because it was fairly eventful. Here is what I remember from that flight home...
Written on September 17, 2009
My flight home from Sydney consisted of three flights: Sydney to Fiji, Fiji to Los Angeles, and Los Angeles to Boston. The flight from Sydney to Fiji is the one I will always remember. I was in the aisle seat, with an Australian guy sitting next to me and a British woman who was about 20, sitting in the window seat.
Prior to takeoff, we talked about our travel habits and if we liked to sleep or move around. The woman seemed nice and I felt it would be a smooth ride having her there.
Let's fast forward to the middle of the night. It's dark, I'm sound asleep, just like most of the rest of the plane is when I awake to the sound of someone vomiting. Is it the guy next to me? Nope. But it is the nice British 20 something woman next to him. What a nightmare. Can you imagine that this plane has probably 400 or more passengers and the woman in MY ROW throws up! What are the odds?!
It was a long night of cleaning up for that young lady. I was so turned off that I didn't help her much. I don't think I should feel guilty about that. The Australian guy who was sitting next to me was pretty horrified but did a decent job at helping her out at first. Eventually he and I just went and stood by the bathrooms for what seemed a good half hour. Luckily for him, there was one empty seat left on the plane so he was able to sit there. I, on the other hand, had to sit there all night.
At this point, I took advantage of the "Free booze on international flights" policy and ordered a couple of Jim Beam and Cokes. I watched a couple movies to distract me. Honestly there wasn't much smell so it wasn't unbearable, but the sick British woman now was sitting right next to me because here seat was just a mess.
The rest of the night I stayed awake making sure she didn't deliver a repeat performance. A couple times I thought sure she was going to lose it again. My attitude was a tad on the annoyed side. This woman had told me she was on one of the beginning legs of an around the world trip. I guess as someone who considers himself to be the lowest of the low maintenance travel companions, I can't understand why some people travel when it is such a hassle to get from point A to point B.
The rest of the flights went smoothly. LAX was great to spend eight or nine hours in. The first thing I had was a Burger King Coffee, then several Bud Lights. I made it home about 36 hours after I left Sydney.
Look forward to more blog posts coming soon!
Saturday, September 12, 2009
In my mind, I kept it up there to show people just how misunderstanding and miscommunication leads to hurt feelings and anger. I wish that the people who were making the comments could have personally emailed each other and discovered that they probably were both on the same side. They were all Americans. They were all attacked on 9/11. Why were they fighting with each other? I hope some people learned a lesson from it.
I guess that's a good transition into my facebook rules. Some of you have thought of these. You may have heard some of them from someone else, but these are some things that drive me crazy about facebook. I do love checking my facebook everyday, but these are things I could do without.
If you are going to write more than 20 words to someone, please put it in an email. The personal wall posts are - well personal. Keep it that way. I wonder if some people post that kind of stuff on other people's wall, so other people will know what they are chatting about. Or maybe they like that other people can see who they are contacting. It could be an ego thing.
Relationship updates. Since I created my facebook page in 2006, I have never updated my relationship status. Honestly I've only been in one relationship that would have been suitable for me to change it. But I think most people get annoyed by those friends who change their relationship status more than five times a year. It's a lot like "too much of a good thing is a bad for you." I would never write these people saying congrats on their new relationship because I would have to do it again in six weeks. Again, I think it has to do with insecurities. Some people want to be in a relationship so bad and let people know about it when they do. Trust me people, being single is great. Great on the wallet too.
I'm going to leave facebook for one paragraph while I'm thinking of this next one. Here's a good one for twitter. If you're not famous and you have nothing interesting to say, please don't tweet 25 times a day. You fill up my page and keep me from seeing funny people's tweets like Kevin Smith, Dane Cook, Shaq, Bill Simmons and Penn Jillette. I was talking with my brother about how tweets should be interesting or clever. I guess you going to the grocery store is just not interesting.
Back to facebook. Photo albums with more than 60 photos are too big. I used to like the 60 photo limit. It made facebook stalking so much faster! Just kidding. But 120 pics in one album? Too many. What I do is weed out the crappy photos and keep my albums between 40 and 60 photos. You don't have to put every photo from the digital camera on there. Be selective, weed out the junk.
Also, people love pictures with people in them. Your landscape photos or pictures of flowers are boring. I am guilty of having one album of a day where I walked through a park. It is my most boring photo album.
I've heard some people complain about mothers putting up their child's photo as their profile pic instead of them. I really don't have a problem with this one. If you think your kid is amazing and you want it to be your profile pic, I have no problems there. I find that most people who put their kids on there do not like having their picture taken.
Learn how to post pictures that aren't the size of a thumb tack.
Don't use the F word in your status updates. It is trashy.
Also, going back to the first one, don't be rude on my wall. I have family, former teachers, co workers who are my facebook friends and will have to read it.
Please stop sending me "Mafia Wars" requests. Or any facebook game. I will never join. The only one I join is NCAA March Madness.
I'm not a fan of "Becoming a Fan" of...I will become a fan of my friend's businesses or if a friend asks me to become a fan of something, but most of the time, I don't like looking at that box on the right side of my facebook page. I've seen Become a fan of God, Jesus, and most recently, Worshipping God. Because I don't become a fan of these does not mean I am not a fan. I'm a fan of the Boston Red Sox, but not on the interweb.
Here's one you've heard before: I wish facebook would stop suggesting friends to me. Maybe once or twice I have appreciated who they suggest, but most of the time, NOPE!
If we've never hung out before, weren't in the same class, and probably never will get together, how come you're requesting me as a friend? Does that make sense to you?
Oh here's one that I have strong feelings about. When you request me as a friend, and I accept and say a nice hello, and then you never write back....what was the point of the friend request? I'm still waiting to hear from a couple of you.
Wow, I went on a rant there! (Calm down...Calm down)
Some of my friends have told me they do a yearly "pruning" of their friends. I need to get into this. What would your rules be for that? I would say if you haven't spoken or emailed for three years, off you go! I think I'm being nice there. The reason I don't delete friends is because I never know where I'm going to be down the road. Maybe I'll be in Virginia or Texas or New York and I have a random facebook friend I can look up. Actually, now that I think of it, I put this plan into play in Australia and a handful of my Aussie "friends" did not respond to my request to get together... Yep, I'm all for the pruning!
A couple more for you...
Several times in my facebook "career," some female "friends" have deleted me as their friend due to them being in a relasionship, then requested me again, once things were smooth with their boyfriends. Ladies, if you are deleting male friends from your facebook out of fear of the boyfriend, it is not a healthy relationship.
Don't take it personal if I miss your birthday on facebook. Somedays I don't check the birthday list. And sometimes there are six people with a birthday that day! I guess it's just luck of the draw. I think for every person I've ever wished a happy birthday to on facebook, I've included the phrase, "Hope it's a great one." So that's all you're missing if I forget to wish you a happy birthday this year.
Finally, I have no problem with older generations being on facebook. Good for them!
Feel free to leave your comments at the bottom with ones I forgot. I hope facebook doesn't delete my account for making fun of them a little. Imagine if facebook facebook-stalked me!
Finally I have to say I still do enjoy facebook. It is somewhat addictive but I'm not to the point of needing help yet. Have a good day.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Maurice "Rocket" Richard
My news in New Hampshire is provided by channel 9
Baseball has nine innings. People compare dramatic or stressful situations to "the bottom of the ninth."
When you have good luck, some might say you have 9 lives. It's also a very popular cat food.
And there's actually a potion named after 9. Trust me, it works.
New Hampshire, my home state, is the ninth official state.
"Two, four, NINER, five, six seven..."
There are nine Supreme Court Justices
Nine Inch Nails, the band
Thanks for enjoying the number nine with me for a few minutes. Til next time...
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
It dawned on me as I was writing this that in all my travels, be it the college years, Up with People or cruising with Carnival, I've never been away from home for this long. I can feel it in my heart that it's time to go home, at least for a little while.
A friend of mine sent me this quote, that I believe in the next few weeks, I will discover the true meaning of...
"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time." - T.S. Eliot
So goodbye Australia, you've been good to me. Keene, NH, here I come...
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The Calypso. I made sure not to venture towards "The Highway"
The Remarkables had many trails...
Many that weren't on the map. The advanced skiers did the hiking. I tried to stay on my skis all day.
This is the view I liked, when my skis weren't buried in snow or in the air.
Most of our group would split up for the day, so it left me taking a lot of my own photos as you can tell! It was so peaceful being out there by myself.
I believe this was taken on skiing day two at Remarkables. It was the advanced hill I stumbled upon. It was challenging getting down, but I made it and went back to try it again later on in the trip.
This is the only photo from day three of skiing at Coronet Peak. It was hard to see. That's Lockey on the right. I was exhausted after two and a half hours of pushing myself to the limit.
Another stop on the way back to Christchurch of a beautiful view
The very classy Emirates airlines. The meal was amazing also.
Shrimp cocktail on a plane. You should have seen what first class looked like
A very large stuffed and animated kiwi bird
Thanks, hope you enjoyed! Check back in again soon...