Thursday, March 29, 2007

Happy Anniversary

It's been two years since the day that we agreed that were willing to take our relationship to the next level. In that time there has been weddings, meeting one another's families, frequent trips from New York to Boston, and oh so much love.

She is the only woman I've ever loved, the one I opened my heart to--the one who thawed my frozen heart. She is the one that has dealt with me in my highs and in my lows and vice versa.

We've learned to function as a unit while still not losing ourselves. So many differences yet so many similarities. There's such an underlying tension when you've felt love and refuse to let it go. You'd rather battle it out all day over email or over the phone than to carry resentment against the one you love. My mother always says don't go to sleep angry. You never know if that person is going to wake up the next day and you'll never forgive yourself. Those are very wise words. That's what makes a relationship work, surfing the highs and lows. Realizing that when your loved one hurts so do you, no matter who is to blame.

I've learned a lot through the course of these two years and I'm happy that the work that we've put into this so far has made us both better people.

It's no surprise we've made it two years, no surprise at all. There's so much love and the willingness to work through our problems--as rare as they are--what more can you ask for?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


I know I'm the king of long posts lately. However, I'm pretty sleepy today. So, the cool business-oriented post that I planned on writing will have to wait until tomorrow.

I've been accepted to the Babson MBA program. I'm extremely excited as it was the only program that I applied to--as it seemed the perfect fit for me. I'll start in the Fall.

Boy in the last two weeks things have really been falling in line for me. Thank you, Jesus!

Now I have to get some wheels.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Impromptu Post

So there's nothing that I particularly want to discuss. I just know that I need to write, and that is what I'm doing.

Just Is

Head held low, brows furrowed, he takes in the world.
No name necessary. He just is.

Nobody gives him an afterthought,
he just looks like a man with time to waste.

He's an anomaly in this big city of dreams--both wasted and realized.
He finds time to meditate, narcotic-free, amidst the hustle and bustle.

Those without this luxury part him like the Red Sea,
letting their scorn and dirty looks hover in the polluted air.

Doesn't matter to him. He's just decided to run for office.
His only platform: Manipulate time, don't let it manipulate you.

He's high on something he wishes he could pass on the left-hand side.
Yet, he knows nobody would give him the time of day.

So he's just a nameless man,
a preacher without a pulpit,
and a man without a place to be.

He just is.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Infidel, Introduction

I like to watch Real Time with Bill Maher every once in awhile. About a month ago I caught a show where a young woman knocked my socks off with her poignant perspective on the United States and its policies. Her views were unfiltered, reasonable, and expressed with a soft yet powerful style. Her name is Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

I hadn't heard of Ayaan before viewing the broadcast. Few people have ever made the impression on me that she had. I went around asking about her. Al knew about her. Some of my coworkers had viewed the broadcast as well and talked about how refreshing it was to hear her perspective.

I picked up her book Infidel yesterday. I'm hooked already. This book is engaging to me, because my father is Muslim. I really would like to know what he thinks about what Ali speaks about. She seems, based on the introduction and the first 40 pages, not to question Islam, but the way that it has been intrepreted to make women submissive.

Anyway, I'm going to update you on whatever I find interesting during my time reading Infidel, which could also be titled Kafir.

I've already come across Ali being taught to fight for herself no matter what, feminism and Islam (modern vs. fundamentalist approaches--through woman's eyes), genital mutilation, and women being ostracized for being raped--the shame that this brings on their family.

Learn More About Ayaan

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Tales from the Land of Terrible Support Services

Lets first start by saying that my aunt purchased a Gateway computer back in 2000. Our house computer also is a Gateway. It was purchased around the same time. Ours is a tower and has never had any problems. It has Windows 98 and functions fine for what we use it for, to surf the web or to type up a Word document.

My aunt's computer came with that horrible operating system, Windows ME--don't even get me started. Anyway it didn't come with a floppy drive--which was strange for computers from that time period, not so strange now--as who really uses floppy drives now anyway--besides those still caught in yester years?

Okay so now that we have covered all of the background info, lets get into the meat and potatoes. Well my aunt's modem is on the fritz. This diagnosis was made by AOL and I believe seconded by Gateway. She called up and spoke with a Gateway tech who ordered the modem for her.

So I go over on Friday to install the modem. This was after she'd told me that she didn't see how the modem would fit. Now mind you this was supposed to be a quick installation of the modem and then I was supposed to go out to dinner with my mom, my aunt, and my cousin Tyanna. Well you can guess that didn't happen.

I look at the PCI modem and then at the mini-tower and say it doesn't fit. There are three grooves to the Modem and 2 in the slot. So my aunt calls Gateway. She was heated. Lets just say that she was a tad bit hostile with the rep, due to her frustration with them sending the wrong part. The rep would put her on hold, talk to tech support, come back and give some ridiculous diagnosis.

So I'm starting to get annoyed. I tell the rep that I'm a network administrator and the part doesn't fit. So guess what, please hold. Did you figure that out? LOL. Well she comes back and says my supervisor said all modem's are the same size. At that point I'd taken over operations as my aunt and this rep were verbal jousting. We knew we were getting the run-around.

We asked to speak to the supervisor. Never happened. I wanted to talk to the man who was speaking out of his ass. Oh I forgot to mention that my aunt said send me the correct part and lets get this over with from the very get go. The rep told her that she would be billed for the new part and she would get a credit 7-10 days later. My aunt lost it. She was like wait--I paid for a part--you sent me the wrong one--and now you want me to pay for a new part and wait for a credit--please check on that. So I'm assuming the supervisor is an idiot anyway. He wouldn't take the call, as he was on a 28 minute call. However, he seemed to have time to give a tech diagnosis about something he had not the foggiest idea about.

So anyway I digress. We are still on hold, it's over an hour at this point. The rep comes back on the phone and says she has the same diagnosis from two other techs. Now I'm irritated. This has gone on far too long. My aunt was really pissed off, so I took over, as she was now shouting--as dinner was backed up severely already.

I tell the rep listen, are they even looking at the model of the computer? This modem would fit in just about any computer. I have installed quite a few modems. It doesn't fit. It's too big for the slot and it has three grooves. I then said my diagnosis is based on the older model of this machine and the fact that she has an internal modem it is more likely that you'd have to replace the entire motherboard to correct the issue.

Boy you could really tell that she was listening at this point. She puts us back on hold. When she comes back she says hold on they are taking a look at the picture for the motherboard now. Guess what, oh yes, the IT person--being me--was correct. We are sorry the particular modem that she would need is no longer available based on the model of the machine...and the fact that a new PCI modem would not fit in her machine...LOL...don't you like the fact that they spit back my diagnosis at me.

My aunt is like miss lets wrap this up. We have plans. So she says we'd need an external modem. I then say to her can you just charge her the difference. The rep says yes. Voila--modem order is processed--after some difficulty with the rep putting in the credit card number correctly.

After the whole deal is over I say to the young lady I feel sorry for you. Your boss let you be the sacrificial lamb. The techs were lazy and should have looked at the model and taken the call instead of leaving you in the line of fire. She said to me you are absolutely right, I'm not technical. She told me based on their procedures and the order she had to take the call. Clearly there is a change in policies needed. She mentioned something about returning the part and I cut her off and say she has 10 business days to return it. She says yes. I tell her that I have to return parts all the time. I thank her and tell her to have a great weekend.

Phew--and then we finally went out for dinner, LOL.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

March Madness

Okay so if you don't know already I'm an insane sports fanatic! I love football, basketball, tennis, swimming, track and field, gymnastics, get the point.

I grew up playing baseball, basketball, and football. I ran track when I was younger. In my dreams I'm the number one tennis player in the world. In reality I'm number 2 in my cubicle, 2 of 2, though I plan to do something about that this year. I've played just about any sport that you can imagine, not necessarily well, but I've played nevertheless.

March Madness is the most incredible sporting event that I've ever seen. It's completely unpredictable, no matter what Bracketology program or expert commentators tell you otherwise. You throw a bunch of big name schools in with some mid-majors. You let the tournament committee give seedings (which usually don't mean much)--and you hope and prey that some no-name school doesn't slay your Goliath--if you back one of the traditional powers.

This year I just knew that I wasn't going to get into it. Syracuse didn't make it, a source of contention amongst many analysts--and more importantly me. Whatever. They are playing in that other post-season tournament, the NIT. Who cares who wins the NIT. Does winning the NIT set you up to be a top ten pick in the NCAA tournament? Not likely.

Anyway I've been watching a lot of games over the course of the last couple of days. There haven't been as much upsets as there normally is. However, there have been a lot of competitive games--including number one Ohio State being taken to overtime by rival Xavier--coming back from being down 10 in regulation.

These kids play for the love of the game. Most of them won't go on to be a pro. What does that matter? If they can hit a three to win the game, block a shot, grab a rebound--anything that can contribute to a victory--including playing to the point of fatigue--they'll do it. Some superstars are using the opportunity to get more exposure--to move up in the draft--but most of them would sacrifice anything to get to the Final Four--or to win a championship. It's all about the team. See young men on the sidelines that normally are incapable of showing emotions crying--or hugging each other. It's a world in of itself.

These kids play for the love of the game, not for a paycheck. Perhaps that's why the NBA Finals can't compare. You have millionaires competing for diamond rings--and bigger contracts. Some sprain pinky toes and refuse to play. Others are cancers that eat away at their teams--and do a disservice to the game.

Pure enthusiasm=NCAA March Madness

If I won the lottery I'd take the opportunity to go to the NCAA Final Four over the NBA Finals any day. I'm sure most basketball enthusiasts would agree.

Back to the Madness. Lets go Big East, lets go!

Friday, March 16, 2007

A Surprise Visit

So yesterday I'm walking over to talk to Katrina and low and behold I see Kim, T, and Lily in the MIS office. Now I was really surprised. 1. T is like a fort. He can hold a secret like no other. 2. It was a bit rainy so even if I had expected to see Lily I would have still been shocked.

Now Lily is my god-daughter. Now T and I live a substantial distance away by NJ Transit. Like it takes 3 hours to get out there from my house (and wait for the bus). This is both ways. If I go on the weekend when MTA is particularly unreliable, due to track work and maintenance, there's no telling how long of a trip it could be.

Now that I have my license, and hopefully soon will have a car (I have a monogrammed key chain with my initials on it J.C.T.--compliments of the lovely Allison)--the trip would be about an hour (ceteris paribus).

Anyway I love babies. They generally love me too. How long has it been since my last visit. Well Lily was just about a month old. So it's been nearly four months. It's been far too long. I haven't seen Kim in that time either.

So it was a real nice surprise to see them in the office. I got to play with Lily, to catch up with Kim, and to see two parents that truly adore their daughter.

Well not only was I treated to this visit I was also invited out to dinner, which I accepted. I had a mango mojito, which was amazing, and roasted duck--with roasted pears, and potatoes. Now the food took a long time to come out, but it was certainly worth it. I had a fabulous time. I even Salsa danced with Lily, chair-style. I was even allowed to pay, as this meal besides being a get together--was a celebration of me getting my license (which you know by now was the bane of my existence).

So I'm ending the week on a high, despite the carnage winter storm that is buffeting the east coast as we speak. There's a couple of inches of slush outside. We are only supposed to get about 4-8 inches. Kind of strange following 60+ weather the last few days. Those poor folks in upstate New York and Jersey are slated to get a foot. I know Al is supposed to get hefty accumulations up in Mass. too.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Tears of Joy

I've heard of people shedding tears of joy, I've even seen it. Today was the first time that I ever experienced it. My license has avoided me like the plague. The situation was so ridiculous that I had to renew my permit a few years ago.

What's the deal? How frustrating is it when you know you had the tools to pass, but your nerves sabotage you? Today I truly exercised those demons. I had a terrible time sleeping, only managed to get three hours--from 3:30 to 6:30.

My aunt took me to the road test site, but we practiced parallel parking beforehand, my Achilles heal in the past. I decided that I was going to ensure that I didn't hit the curb by parking perfect but maybe a few more inches outside of that 1 foot suggested distance from the curb. I figured they'd just take a few points off.

I was incredible today. I used commentary driving--and it worked for me. I took Visine because my eyes were bloodshot red from the lack of sleep. I am glad they didn't take me for a ganga smoker, LOL.

It's taken so long, but the triumph was worth it. I'm more proud of myself for not giving up more than anything. I thanked Jesus over and over again, especially for hearing my prayers not to let my nerves have an outcome.

How good was it? No points off--just some warnings!

I got home and called Al and afterwards the tears flowed. I think it was a combination of the lack of sleep and the enthusiasm!

Now lets hope Babson sends me an acceptance letter soon. That and that I can get a great vehicle for 20K and that I remain a humble and cautious driver.

Excalibur 1, Nerves 0

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Recuperation Saturday

I had such a great night out last night. I finished up a few things at work dealing with Daylight Savings Time and our email server. Next up was checking out Zodiac. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised, perhaps because I had low expectations for the film to start with. So I figured we'd be finished with the movie by 9 and then I would have time to run to Borders to pickup my book club book--The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom (which I've read previously).

Well the movie let out at about 9:45. I swore Borders was closed. I saw the lights on and couldn't believe that fate shined on me--as we needed to use the bathroom--so I got to relieve myself and picked up the book.

You see I was supposed to be at a party in Astoria by 10. Well that certainly didn't happen. I was probably getting on the train around 10. I'm not particularly comfortable taking trains in Queens, especially on the weekend--with all of the service changes.

So the plan was to be at the party at 10--to stay a couple of hours and then to try to get home by 1ish.

Well I got a bit lost on the train, not terribly--but enough to delay my arrival to the party until 11. I had to back track on the train. I asked someone how to get back to the R. They told me to go back to Manhattan. I knew that wasn't right.

When I got to Queens Plaza, which I knew the R stopped at I asked someone. They told me that you can't directly connect. You have to go downstairs and catch it. So I get off in the middle of some dreary area in search of the R, with my hopstop directions in tow.

I asked someone who said oh yeah it's right over there. Of course it wasn't, but my intuition kicked in and navigated me to the train. I made it to 46th Street and walked the wrong way--by a block--and then turned back around.

Finally, I made it to the party. I had some great drinks. So much fun. There were so many stories--mediation that stopped a possible massacre. It was an all around good time.

So that whole me leaving at 12 deal--didn't happen. It was more like 2:30. Well to make a long story short--I took 2 trains--got off at 14th street and then had to walk over to Union Square (due to the trains I need to go to Brooklyn only running on the east side--something the conductors failed to mention). I just missed the 4, so I went and caught the two. It's now about 4ish. I finally grab a cab, get something to eat and I'm home just before 5.

So today has consisted of me sleeping, going out parallel parking, and now updating my blog. I'm still thoroughly exhausted! At least I wasn't hungover. A few beers and car bombs sat pretty good with my system. Go figure!

Now it's off to watching the NCAA tournament championships before March Madness begins.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Okay--so I've been lazy as of late. I haven't felt like writing. I haven't felt like blogging. I haven't felt up to much.

There's no particular reason for this apathy towards doing something constructive. It is just one of those situations that is. So whatever funk I was in--I've officially exercised it.

I just wrote a story, that I'll present to you. I enjoyed writing it. While I don't think it's the best story I've ever written--it was the most writing I've done in over a month. Perhaps it will get me back on my quest to write my two unfinished novels:

Inspiration by Education
By Excalibur
March 8th, 2007

Too much too soon thought Eric. He twirled his finger around in that way that signaled for his students to wrap it up. Teaching this creative writing class was a bit more difficult than he’d anticipated it to be.

“Lets hope you brought out your A game this time. The first assignment was more than uninspiring, especially from a group of would be writers.” He thought most of them needed such a nasty reminder to show them that what had been cherished as tremendous in their prep schools and honors classes was merely rubbish at the undergraduate level.

The blue books were handed to him. Few of his students managed to show him eye contact, although he was trying his best to give them an encouraging smile. Perhaps part of the problem was on his end. He was this twenty-five year old guy—that looked younger than some of his students. He laughed and joked with them the first few classes. He shared some insights: “Challenge yourselves as writer—most of you have written from experience—but how much experience do you have at your age? If you need to mimic a writer’s style that you love until you develop a voice—a style of your own then do it. That doesn’t mean that I expect for you to rip off Hemingway or Joyce. Great writers are great because they take chances. If there is one bit of wisdom that I can impart to you—that would be it. Take risks; don’t be afraid to be slammed by your peers. At the very least I promise you that those risk takers will leave this class with more of an idea where their future stands than those of you that will be safe writers—despite my advice.”

That was all his first class entailed, that and a syllabus that seemed to excite most of the students. Perhaps they thought this would be an easy A. In his mind it was. Those who took the true risks would be rewarded. The students that lent themselves to criticism, perhaps even ridicule would be the ones that showed themselves worthy of being published.

Who was he to put so much pressure on them—you might think. He’s Eric Peters, basically nobody. However, his pseudonym Jason Thames had penned two New York Times bestselling thrillers. He was a black man, average looking, average height, and average weight. He had a nice smile and a type of roughness to his personality that he could turn on when people underestimated his normally reserved personality.

He wasn’t a nobody. He was a teacher. His job was to get these students to reach, to step out of their comfort zones. He could tell that some of them had the ability.

He held up his hand to stop anyone from exiting the room. “How do you think you all did?”

Again there was a lack of eye contact. He picked up the stack of blue books.

“Okay how about we make a deal. There are club hours following this class. I’m wiling to rip up these papers. We can start all over again. That way those of you that handed in drivel—will have had the opportunity to flush out your ideas.”

He looked around and saw all of the nodding heads.

“Okay I need you all to sit back into your seats.”

He knew that he’d shocked them all. “I’m going to rip up these books…how many of you know that to be a great writer that you have to be wiling to start all over again…to literally pick up the pieces?”

A hells yeah erupted from the back of the classroom.

“Better yet come up here and take your books.”

They came up one by one—thinking he had absolutely lost his mind. Most of them couldn’t imagine what was coming next.

“Rip them up—rip them into tiny pieces…and when you think about the two hours that you spent writing—I want you to be angry—or those of you that know that you didn’t do your best you should feel relieved…whatever the emotion or emotions that you’re feeling—use it! Reach down deep and pull out something that will prove to me you belong in this class—that you’re worthy of being published.”

He left the empty stacks of blue books on the desk and grabbed his jacket. “Bring the stories over to my office in the next two hours…if not you can keep them…don’t forget to clean up after yourselves either.”

He pumped his fist, then waved goodbye, before leaving his shell-shocked students to finish their second assignment. Today he felt like a teacher. He hoped he’d created writers and that the tree gods wouldn’t be too angry about the utter disrespect for their fallen disciples.