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Mark V and the City
 
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Mark's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, February 1st, 2007
3:17 pm
These Endless Days Are Finally Ending In A Blaze
Buffy, Birthdays and Brand Planning

Work Life
Situation Assessment is over! Thank God. I've spend the last two and half months working late, working at home, working on weekends, and just being consumed by work all around. The presentations were last Thursday and mine went really well. The brand teams were really blown away as were my research clients. I got a lot of excellent feedback, mostly people telling me that "this" should be my career - public speaking and presentations. Not to bathe in self-love, but this is the part of the job that I enjoy the most: presenting my findings and taking the difficult, boring analytics and turning into an interesting story that people can follow. I like it because the data is important and necessary, but often it is overlooked if there isn't a solid flow within a deck and if I have the opportunity to speak, I can accentuate on the charts and the typed bullet points with my own talking points. I also get to inject some humor, which is always necessary to break up some of the monotony of data points. The entire day was really good. Ryan gave a very focused presentation of Oreo and CA and remembered pretty much all the talking points I coached him on. [I did all the scanner data work for his two decks.] Uzma was terrific as always and Justine's presentation on new products [which I contributed to in a minor way] was a great showcase of how well our companies integrate. The consumer panels were really interesting to say the least and I think we should do them more often. Now that the big presentations are over, it's back to business as usual, which means a more manageable schedule. Still, I am helping out on some Snack Nuts work and doing all the new product datbase work for Cereal since the Kwokster is under-staffed due to the birth of Baby Bakker.

Birthday Madness

Birthday 1: Dinner with Mom, Dad, Sandi, and Grandma.
Relatively uneventful. My parents' anniversary is Jan 13th and my birthday is the 17th. What fun. (No, my mom was not 9 months pregnant with me when she got married; I just turned 26 while my parents just celebrated their 28th anniversary.) We went out to TGI Friday's for dinner, which was fun and had lots of cake.

Birthday 2: Le Flor with Jason.
Despite the fact that my birthday was a Wednesday (the lamest day of the week), I had a really nice one. I made it a point to leave work on time so Jason and I could go to Le Flor for dinner. We had a nice relaxing night and I didn't do any work from home. Jason got me a Panthers Football T-Shirt since Friday Night Lights has become one of my favorite shows.

Birthday 3: Buffy The Vampire Slayer "Once More With Feeling" at the IFC Theatre
Tracy surprised me with the coolest birthday gift ever! She got us tickets to see the Buffy musical episode at the IFC Theatre. It was a sing-along event that takes place all over the country now. It's kind of like a light Rocky Horror Picture show where there's a script of things to do throughout the episode. There was even a live cast of people dressed like the characters who acted out the scenes and sang along. It was so bizarre and awesome. Since the episode is only 45 minutes, they filled out the rest of the time by showing clips of Buffy's birthday episodes. January 19th is the birthday of the character Buffy, which is why the screening was happening then. And to celebrate the birthday, everyone got a party hat and a goodie bag. After clips from the birthday episodes, there was Buffy-oke where people were asked to come to the front to perform a scene. I sure didn't volunteer, but the people who did were really good. The whole experience was a blast - We sang all the ridiculous songs and I took a ton of pictures. Definitely a great night.

Birthday 4: Jason's Birthday & The Urge
Jason's birthday was a nice relaxing day. It was very cold outside so we decided not to leave the apartment all day. We played lots of Wii (Zelda, Mario, Tennis) and I gave him his gift - a photo album of everything we had done over the past year, which he really liked. We weren't really supposed to get each other gifts since we bought the complete series of Six Feet Under at the start of the month but I had to get him something. Since Jason's birthday is so close to mine, we bascially celebrate together so we got all of our friends together at The Urge, one of the better gay bars in the city, and had a nice time hanging out with everyone. We bascially took over the back of the place and hung out there from 10:30pm to 2:30am. We had about 30 people circulate through, which was a little overwhelming. There were definitely people there I didn't talk to enough. Some fun highlights: The go-go boys, peeing in the trough, Brian accidentally cruising that guy, Daniela drunk, and Fry biting Brian when was playing Wii Boxing. "Right in the love handle!" LOL.

Birthday 5: Company with Jason, Ben and Ari
So on top of Six Feet Under, Jason and I wanted to see a play and since it is Ben's birthday the first week of February, we decided to all go together. We met Ben and Ari for dinner at Joshua Tree bar. The service was terrible (and the waiter was as dumb as he was cute) but the food was really good. The show, Company, was really good but a little sloppy. All the actors play their own instruments so there's no orchestra, just like the recent revival of Sweeney Todd that Jason and I saw in Dec'05. It didn't work as well here because Sondheim music is SO difficult to sing and play. There was also a lot of walking around the set. To top it off, the lead guy, Raul Espasa or something or other, who Jason really likes, wasn't there so the understudy performed. He was really good but Jason was a little disappointed. After the show, Ari had to run off to hockey, so Ben, Jason and I had dessert at some coffee place and then headed home. Overall a very fun night.

Now that all the madness is ending, I'm trying to relax a bit more and of course get back into shape. I need to go to the gym SO badly. I just have to do 3-4 days a week and start drinking protein shakes again. And I need to sleep more.
Monday, January 8th, 2007
7:47 pm
Year End Analysis
Looking back on 2006 and into 2007

The last year was pretty incredible. Lots of ups and downs, lots of concerts, broadway shows, some really exciting trips, and a big new group of friends. A lot has changed since 2005 - at home, at work, with Jason, and within my wider social circle. After a great game of Life over the weekend with Jason and Tracy, I'm inspired to rack up assets and see how good 2006 was to me.

Finances & Assets
1) I had some good income this year due to a promotion and a merit raise
2) I paid down a good chunk of my student loans
3) I've contributed a bunch of money into my 401k
4) Savings account is steady
5) My car is good, though depreciating in value due to excessive mileage

Work Life
1) I got a Promotion!
2) Lots of Reward & Recognition bonuses/acknowledgements
3) Great year end evaluation
4) Working under-staffed without a manager has made me highly visible
5) Good cross-sector committee project with upper management above day-to-day work

Love Life
Jason and I tested our relationship a bit this year. I made some dumb choices earlier in the summer. He got all reclusive as school started. Overall, we're the better for it and I love him even more. He's definitely the best thing that ever happened to me.

Social Scene
We met a lot of new friends this year! We met Ben Tanner in January and he has become a really great friend. We've also become really close with the Columbia kids this year and had so many misadventures. I've also been very fortunate to maintain lots of other friendships with friends I've known longer such as Tracy, Adriana and Rob. My coworkers and I have also had a lot of crazy nights out together and I'm fortunate that I can call all of my team members close friends. On top of it all, a bunch of my fraternity brothers just moved to NYC so I've been hanging out with them a bunch.

Extraciriculars
We've seen a lot of concerts this year:
Madonna (twice), Nine Inch Nails, Imogen Heap (twice), Franz Ferdinand with Death Cab for Cutie, Kelly Clarkson, Depeche Mode with Dragonette and Scissor Sisters.
We also saw a lot of Broadway shows:
Dog Sees God, Avenue Q, Barefoot in the Park, Three Penny Opera, Three Days of Rain, Wicked, and Spring Awakening. WOW!
We also saw Kathy Griffin do standup comedy.

Health & Fitness
Between driving to work, sitting at a desk all day and watching TV all night, I have become pretty lethargic, though still skinny. I definitely need to gain back all the muscle I lost since college. Starting February 1st (when all the madness at work will be over) I am going to get back to 3-4 days a week at the gym and drinking protein shakes again.

Political Activism
I've become so on top of things in the news. I was never all that interested in politics until my very lifestyle was attacked over the past two years. Now I'm super vocal and I read lots of blogs on the issues so I can always have intelligent conversations with people about what's going on in the world. It's nice to also have friends who care about this stuff and not just what I watched on TV last night.

Into 2007... Some goals:

1) Get into shape; Add 10 lbs on muscle
2) Keep improving the relationship with my parents and Jason
3) Look for a rotation/promotion by the end of 2007
4) Spend more time with my close friends; care less about the dead weight
5) Travel to somewhere beyond Pittsburgh
Thursday, November 16th, 2006
3:51 am
Imogen Heap at Webstor Hall
Immi's concert at Webstor Hall Sunday night was truly amazing. She is such a gifted performer and exceeded all my expectations. The show worked incredibly well because of the way she mixed her performance styles. Immi played piano solo, did one song a capella, incorporated live loops and samples, and used a full band for several songs. This mix kept the audience guessing. Immi's decision to use a headset mic was also very smart as it allowed her to have her hands free for piano playing, dancing, running around the stage and everything in between. It was great to see her really work the stage this time around.

Immi had excellent stage presence and didn't seem nervous at all. When I saw her at Avalon in NYC in January (almost a year ago) she was pretty flustered. She had just taped her performance for David Letterman and had to deal with all new equipment. She had issues with her vocoder on Hide and Seek and she kept forgetting her microphone at the back piano when she returned to the keboard at the front of the stage. While that show had numerous technical difficulties, this show at Webstor Hall was pretty much error free. At the same time, though, the show is not a detached spectacle a la Madonna or Janet Jackson. This was an intimate performance where every song Immi played I believed she was singing it just for me.

I don't remember the set list exactly but I will try to comment on specifics from each song using the list above. Immi opened the show with "I Am In Love With You" which was a terrific choice. This rendition was pretty faithful to the album version. The real shock value comes from seeing Immi walk on her stage in that gorgeous red dress wearing a key-tar. Very 80's new wave and so weird and cool. Next was her a capella version of Just For Now. This is what I really love about Immi's shows - the way she changes her songs and makes them new again for the audience. The arrangement was similar to the iTunes live version with looped live vocals and clapping. On Let Go, Immi played the piano solo. From that performance along, it's easy to see that she is a piano prodigy. Immi also played her older song Come Here Boy solo on the piano. She told the audience that her first album was finally rereleased and the company did a great job with it, albeit six year too late. LOL.

Immi was very funny throughout the performance, sometimes inadvertanly, as she spoke into the mic between songs. At one point she said she was single and looking for someone to date. Then she corrected herself and said she wasn't interested in dating anyone but she was just looking for sex. She then said that comment is why she shouldn't have gotten one of those microphones. There were a lot of those hilariously dry moments throughout the show including when she told an audience member that you wouldn't think she's so pretty first thing in the morning without all the hair and makeup. I was cracking up the entire time when she was introducing the electronic band, especially how she explained that the choir effect on Hide and Seek creates an army of Mini-Me's. Anyway, back to the show...

Immi used her openers Kid Beyond, who did beat boxes, and Levi Weaver plus a drummer in her band during several songs. Headlock was the best of these with each musician contributing just the right element to the song. Headlock really got the crowd going, as did Goodnight and Go. The full-band version of G&G was really terrific with Immi's terrific piano playing not being overshadowed by the rest of the band. It was perfection. Loose Ends, also full-band, was surprisingly aggressive and powerful. The two most aggressive songs of the night, though, were easily The Walk and Daylight Robbery. The Walk sounded so full and rich with the whole band and really got the crowd going. I was in an especially energetic area and the girls in front of me were going nuts during The Walk. Daylight Robbery was also terrific. I find it amazing that the song can be recreated so faithfully on stage. It's my boyfriend's favorite song so he (and again the girls in front of us) were ecstatic. The only song where the full-band effect didn't work was on Closing In. The drums were way too loud and it overpowered Immi's piano playing. I think that song would have been a perfect choice to do solo.

Other highlights include Immi's terrific rendition of Clear The Area. It was a stripped down version without the background vocal piece. You could hear in the crowd some of the more devout fans singing the harmonies ("Waaaay back doooown," "Please clear the area," etc). Hide and Seek was a surreal moment in time. The entire club was dead silent and you could have heard a pin drop. Truly astonishing. Finally, the last song, The Moment I Said It, was the perfect way to end the show - just Immi and the piano and us.

Overall, I was really impressed with the concert. I also noticed this time around the audience was more engaged. People weren't screaming for Frou Frou songs. They wanted to hear tracks from Speak for Yourself. I also noticed a suprisingly large number of gay people in the audience. I'm gay and I met Immi the day before her Avalon gig in January at a gay bar in Chelsea but I dind't think she had a big gay fan base. At this show, though, there were definitely a lot more lesbian couples in the audience, some were even dressed kind of like her. I may have to write The Advocate and suggest they feature her in their Big Gay Following section.

This concert should definitely be recorded and rereleased as a live CD or DVD. Everything about the show was great and at least a live package would hold us over until the next album.
Wednesday, November 8th, 2006
2:47 am
Tales from the Burgh
12:40am Monday. Still in the Burgh and trying to wrap my head around this place and this time. It's all so different and yet inherently the same. The chapter is doing really well - lots of members, many success stories, happy people, drunken madness, lots of girls, lots of friends, and a feeling that things will only get better. It's nice to come back and see them prospering.

I wish as Alumni President I could do more to help out and be involved. What was given to me from the previous Exec Board was a hot mess - poor finances, no communication, no plan for the future. Between me, Lou, and Ben Kay [one of my personal heroes] we really turned things around on the Alumni end. We send out regular emails, usually bi-weekly, we communicate frequently with the chapter, we started fundraising, albiet after some drama with PNC, and we are building a better relationship with the Undergrads. I felt SO welcome coming back. People were actually excited to see Alumni and cared about what we want to achieve. I like to think I helped create the better image of Alumni within our house but I know we can make it even better. So begin the next steps...

First I need to get back home, get back to work, kiss the boyfriend, then the kittens, and prepare for inevitable emotional fallout.

Leaving here is always SO hard. Spending 4 of the most important years of my life here definitely shaped me into the person I am today. Coming back then always reminds me of the crazy times I had the people I shared those times with. I was at PHI Friday at 8pm and I thought about the sheer number of drinks I must have ordered at the bar, the number of stories we all swapped with each other, the number of nights I got dragged back to KDR or had to drag someone back to their apartment or to Zeta or to Sig Tau. ZETA! Zeta doesn't even exist anymore - it's Alphi Chi. It's just so bizarre to see those letters missing. I had so many fun nights in that house and it's just strange to see different letters there. DTD doesn't exits anymore either. Now where am I supposed to pee?

Even though I was primarily here to see Chris and Mel, there were so many people that I got to see that made the extra special - friends, brothers, new KDR's, people I didn't expect would come. But then I started thinking about all the brothers who missed out. There weren't many people from my year. I was the only one from my Pledge Class. And then all the people that weren't KDRs that I was close with and wondering WTF some of those people are up to now. Where is my PHI Crew right now? It's like 1am on a Monday - at least one of them is drunk somewhere.

And what happens when I come back and I literally know no one. Quite a few friends/brothers are living in the Burgh still and I even know a couple of the actives but eventually we'll have to start planning as an Alumni group so we can see each other. Already I heard from one of our Founders that some people couldn't make it because they have kids. I know I'll never have kids. And in a lot of ways my college friends are my family so I hope that even if people do get married and start families they will still make the time to come back here once a year to act like children all again. That's all I'm asking for.

Anyway, it's late for an old man like myself. Sleep is beckoning. See you kids sometime soon.
Tuesday, October 10th, 2006
7:43 pm
Too Busy to Post An Entry
Work, School, and Television - Oh My

Life has been busy. There have been some major developments at work over the past few months. Kraft finally rotated a new person into the Director position on Cookies research and Nielsen finally hired a replacement for Steve so staffing is okay. Tim, however, quit two weeks ago, leaving the manager position on Cereal open. Plus Cheryl leaves for maternity leave in Decemeber so the team is stretched. I expect more shakeups in the next few weeks.

Jason is really busy with work and school. He's doing up to 20 hours a week at Flat Iron (working from home of course) and he's reading and writing like a maniac. He really enjoys being back in school. His favorite is his Creative Wirting class. It's nice to see him writing again because he's so good at it.

While Jason is busy with school, my sister also became a college freshman at Stevens Institute of Technology. I've gone to visit her three times already since it's so close to home. She has a really nice group of friends and she really enjoys it there. She's on the bolwing team and already traveled to her first match last week on the west side of Connecticut. The drive would have been 3 hours so I'm going to go to a closer match. Sandi said the work is a little challenging, especially the math, but she loves it all. Her plan is to focus on aerospace engineering and work for NASA. Way more impressive than cookies.

Last weekend Jason and I had dinner with Mom and Dad. It was a really nice night and we're planning on doing it monthly now. I'm glad I'm finally able to start integrating Jason and the family. He still won't be coming to Christmas or anything but he doesn't want to anyway. Could you imagine how awkward that would be? Grandma would be way too intrusive. I love Grandma but she's a little wacky sometimes. Last weekend, though, she was VERY much on the ball. We were talking about the election coming up and she was really excited to vote for Elliot Spitzer. He's the Democratic candidate for governor. Grandma is a military widow and Republican but she likes Spitzer a lot and has swung kind of anti-Republican because of Bush and all the other assholes in power. If she can change some of her views at 83, then maybe there's some hope for all the super-religious wingnuts out there in the middle of the country. Mom likes Elliot Spitzer too and of course I love the man now that he came forward and said he would make gay marriage legal in New York State. It's about time we got a strong Democrat in power. I just hope the rest of the country votes correctly next month. We really need a big wave of Blue to sweep the country.

Other than getting way too wrapped up in politics lately, I've been drowning in excellent television. We are really in a TV Golden Age right now. Check out my lineup:

Sunday: The Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad, Desperate Housewives, Brothers & Sisters
Monday: Prison Break, How I Met Your Mother, The Class, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Heroes, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Tuesday: Friday Night Lights, Six Degrees
Wednesday: Bones, Justice, Lost, The Nine, Project Runway
Thursday: My Name Is Earl, The Office, Ugly Betty
Friday: Whatever is on the DVR that we couldn't get to

Thanks God for DVR! Seriously, I have never experienced such good television. If you have limited hours in your week, check out these three new shows:

Brothers & Sisters - Sally Field is the mother of 5 grown-up kids who all live in LA. The dad dies in the opening episode and with his death numerous secreats are revealed including that he was having an affair and that he was embezzling money from the family business. Two of the kids work at the company (one as President) and must figure out what to do. The major theme of the show is emotional distance despite entanglement. Everyone sees each other all the time and they share secrets with each other but there is some resentment on all ends. Calista Flockhart, who I'm not really a fan of, is excellent as the Republican daughter. She is on a politics show as the Red representative and starts an affair with the Democrat. There's also the requisite gay brother who is a lawyer and unlucky in love, the older brother who was passed up by the oldest sister (Brenda from Six Feet Under) to be President of the company, and the youngest son who is an Iraqi vet with some serious damage including a drug problem. I highly recommend if for nothing more than to see Sally Field cry in that Sally Field kind of way that only she can do.

Heroes - Not an X-Men light. It's action-packed, well-written, smart, multi-layered and it keeps you guessing. I am intrigued and I want more more more.

Ugly Betty - The funniest new show on TV by far. America Ferrara is awesome as Betty and the supporting characters are great too. It's like a tele-novela so it's an hour long and it mixes fantastical elements into the show.

Lastly, I will be traveling to Pittsburgh for the 20th Anniversary of the refounding of the Tau Chapter of KDR. I'm very excited to see all my brothers and other friends in the Burgh. I'll be flying out that Thursday night and staying through Monday so it's a nice, long trip. It'll be a totally different feel this time since it's the fall and really there are hardly any undergrads left that I know. Still I'm very excited.

Wow - what an update. Hope to be doing this more often than bi-monthly.
Sunday, July 23rd, 2006
12:30 pm
Blacked Out
And cable-less
 
The Blackout
Yesterday was an annoying day to be someone living in Astoria or Woodside. Because of the tremendous heat, several power lines essentially blew up causing power outages in parts of southeastern Queens including where I live. Tuesday night we experienced some sporatic brown-outs but I didn't think much of it. Then Wednesday morning when I woke up most of our power was out. I left work work anxious that we would lose it all and of course we did. By the time I got home the power had been out all day. We couldn't turn on the lights or the TV or anything. We threw away pretty much everything in the refrigerator and decided to leave the apartment to escape the boredom. Margie was having a Project Runway party at her place so we hung out there with all the Columbia peeps. Fun times despite the circumstances. Fortunately we got our power back around 1am so we were able to turn on the air conditioning. 
 
Kellye Visits
Aside from the blackout, things have been going well latley. Knock on wood. Jason's friend Kellye was in town last weekend so we wandered around the city with her. We went to 1984 at Pyramid (which was actually a disappointing night), saw the Tony-Winning Best Play "The History Boys" (which was fantastic and very smart), had amazing Indian food at Taj (love that place!), had drinks with Kellye's coworkers who were all super nice (they were in town for a business trip at NBC all week), had the best brunch ever at Sushi Samba, and of course got cupcakes at Magnolia. Wow what a weekend.
 
Kelly Clarkson
That same week we had the Kelly Clarkson concert at Jones Beach. I went with Jason and Sandi and had a good time despite the hurricane-like conditions. Kelly wasn't as good as she was in December and her opening band Rooney was atrocious. Overall it was kind of disappointing, mostly because the sound quality was bad and we were very far from the stage.
 
Madonna
Unlike the Kelly Clarkson debacle, the Madonna show did not disappoint. Madge put on an incredible performance that exceeded my very high expectations. The set list was 90% new stuff - 10 songs off Confessions - plus a couple of older hits. The choreography was amazing, her voice sounded great, the costumes were fantastic, and the energy at MSG (especially on the second night) was unbelievable. No one can put on a show like Madonna. I definitely got my $200 worth.
 
Sandi's Graduation
I can't believe my sister graduated high school! She's leaving for college in ONE MONTH! It's all so exciting. Of course I'm super proud of her but sad that she'll be so far away. (Ok, Newark NJ is actually really close but still it will be different.) I'm trying to spend a lot of time with her before she leaves but she's crazy busy with her friends and working at the movie theatre. Wasn't high school such a simpler time?
 
Ben and Margie's Wedding
All I can say is WOW. Ben and Margie's wedding was gorgeous in every way. The location was extraordinary (the South Street Sea Port), the speeches were beautiful (albeit a little "too real"), the music was great, the food was delicious, and of course it was so much fun seeing all my brothers. After the ceremony and reception we all ended up at a bar around the corner and drank and hung out for like five hours. It was ridiculous. Margie's friends are all crazy and that's why we love them. I think I have more incriminating dirty pictures from the wedding than I do nice ones. Meanwhile there were 10 KDR's there - a pretty impressive number. It was great seeing Mel and Chris especially. They actually stayed with me and Jason for a couple of days and we took a day off work to hang out around the city. Such fun times.

So I've decided I want to be a full time student again. Grad school sounds like so much fun. But I love my job too much to leave. And Jason becomes a student again SO soon. I think I really just want to live like a grad student - drink all night, sleep all day, so an occasional homework assignment. If only that life were sustainable in the long term. I guess for now I'll be a 9-5 stiff and just party hard on the weekends. Anyone want to join me?
Sunday, June 11th, 2006
10:29 am
Two Year Anniversary
And a wrap-up of the month of May

Oh man I've been bad about updating my journal. Work is kicking my ass - we have our quarterly business review so I've been working late and building PPT slides like there's no tomorrow. Work is going really well, though. My promotion was official as of the first week of May. Yay for more money!

The past few weeks a lot of crazy stuff has gone on. Friday we saw Three Days of Rain with Julia Roberts, Paul Rudd, and Bradley Cooper. The show was pretty good but Julia was mediocre. Paul and Bradley were amazing... and amazingly hot in person. We got both their autographs and some great up close pictures. Yummy.

Earlier in the week we saw Kathy Griffin, who was unbelievably funny and inappropriate. I highly recommend seeing her standup routine the next time she visits your town. She is so smart and irreverant and incredibly shocking.

In other news, my sister had her PROM last week. OMG she's going to be graduated soon. I can't deal with the fact that she's 18 and going off to college. I'm so excited for her and so proud - she's going to Stevens Institute of Technology - and of course I'm super nervous.

Jim was in town last week. We hit up the Museum of Natural History because we're all a bunch of nerds. There's a great exhibit on Evolution for all you idiots out there who don't believe in it. I swear I read in Blender some stupid Disney artist thought evolution was "silly." She, of course, was home schooled and was like "You mean they're teaching evolution in schools now?" Yeah, for the better part of the century. I hate religious zealouts. They really are poorly educated and backwards. I love when stereotypes play out for real.

After the meseum, we got the whole crew together at the Urge. This is our new favorite bar. The music wasn't too loud, the crowd was cute and friendly, the bar tenders were so flirty, the go go boys were hot, and the drinks were good. Overall, fun times. We'll definitely going back there again.

A few weeks ago was Ben's bachelor party in Montreal. The trip ended up being super fun. We had ten people up there and played paintball at 1am, toured the historic district of Montreal, went to the Planetarium, played way too much Super Smash Bros, put up with perpetual rain the entire trip, and of course drank. While I wasn't at the strip club (gag me) from what I understand what happens in Montreal stays in Montreal or something like that. Ben's friends are fun and they're all super geniuses. It was a nice change of pace to have super intellectual conversations the whole time.

Also last month was saw Depeche Mode at Jones Beach. It was about 30 degrees out there and I was close to a hypothermic death by the concert's end. Still the music was great and Jason bought the live album from that night. Very cool.

The onslaught of concerts is coming up soon - Nine Inch Nails next week, then Madonna (twice!!!), Kelly Clarkson, and Fiona Apple. Oh the madness.
Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006
1:56 pm
Carnival Victories
And the sugar-rush style crash thereafter

Carnival was such an exhilirating experience. We won 2nd Place in Booth and the Best of Show of course. The house was overall happy with their trophies, though Buggy was a sore subject. The Alumni raised a good chunk of change and people told me I was doing a good job. That's always nice to hear.

It was great seeing the crew, especially Josh, Mel, Lou, Chris, Kristen, Ben L, Raz, MJ, Aman, Jim, and all the PHI girls. It was a weird Carnival is some ways. We didn't spend that much time at the house since we know fewer people now. I noticed also that my other close alumni friends are all a year older than me (and Josh graduated a year before me) so they didn't really know any undergrads at all. That created a weird tension since the seniors this year (who were freshmen when I was a senior) are all pretty good friends of mine so I felt pulled in two different directions.

This was also the first really gay Carnival too. Jim took us out with his whole group of friends to all the bars in Pittsburgh. It was a really fun time. I got to meet his friend Chris, who hopefully will be coming to NYC in June with Jim.

No Carnival would be complete though without the requisite tits and tears. Jason and I had it out Thursday night. It started as a fight at PHI and lasted back to the hotel room and for a while afterwards. It's all good now but at the time I was worried I would be leaving Pittsburgh single. Yikes.

Ben's fiance Margie had a nervous breakdown of her own. I'm still not 100% sure why she was so hysterical but it had something to do with feeling old and out of place and not being able to understand how Ben and I could still be connected to KDR despite being so much older. It still doesn't make sense to me, probably because she's female and few things the crazy women in my life do make sense. She's fine now but she and Jason are banned from all future Carnivals.

Coming back from the Burgh always makes me very nostalgic and sad. The 4 years I spent at CMU were some of the best years of my life. Despite being closeted and overworked and living like a poor college frat boy, every day there was magical somehow. I sort of wish I had done grad school right away and kept the college life going a bit more. I envy all our Columbia peeps. They have it so sweet - grad school in New York City. Oh man I'd be in heaven. Coming back to reality, grad school is not really an option at the moment. Maybe in a few years. I love my job a lot and I get paid pretty well and there's good opportunities for advancement here so I'm happy. I do miss my friends a lot, though, and I still think we could all pull off a big house together in NYC. Thankfully I'll get to see a good chunk of them at Ben's wedding. That weekend is going to be crazy. So many close friends will be in town. I can't wait!

This summer is going to be a weird transition for me. My social life is going to shift considerably. A bunch of my fraternity brothers are moving to NYC including Raz, Matt Yeager and Tyler. Recently other people moved here and I didn't really know about it (Hammy, Eric Lam) but I feel like this summer will be a good time to get back to hanging out with all these guys. Philippe will also be moving to CT this May so he'll be in NYC more often. Hopefully I'll get to see him more and meet more of his friends.

Then in the fall things are going to change a lot. Jason got accepted into CUNY City College. I'm so proud of him! Going back to school will be really great for him. The sad part is that he won't be around as much starting since he'll be busy with school full time and working part time. I'm going to have to really learn how to cook. LOL. Thankfully I'll have my brothers around and all the new friends I've made over the last year so it won't get too lonely.

Meanwhile work is boring, hence the long entry. A bunch of my coworkers and I went to Atlantic City this weekend and had a blast. We need more fun things like that. For now I'm waiting on some decisions to be made by the client before I can do more work. Ah the waiting game.

Next entry: A recap on the concert/show schedule I have planned for the summer and other dates of interest.
Saturday, April 22nd, 2006
9:52 am
Carnivale!
The most wonderful time of the year

Accomplishments so far:
Seeing lots of alums
Not vomitting
Closing down the PNC account
Not losing my boyfriend (that was a close one)

Oh man there's too much to talk about as always. We'll see how the Alumni meeting goes.

Buggy bit the big one (the Brokeback reference must be correct as it all ended in tragedy and disbelief) but hopefully Booth will be triumphant.

10am. I'm on roughly 3 hours of sleep and today will be the craziest day at all. I may need another vacation day to recover.
Tuesday, April 11th, 2006
3:14 pm
I Have Madonna Tickets
And Life Is Good

April is flying by. Work is out of control as usual. I've had a lot of stuff go really well with work over the past few weeks. I had the best training ever on Influencing and Consulting skills where we learned how to exceed client expectations and resolve conflict with win-win solutions. It sounds gay but it wasn't. I also got great feedback on my clients on what I'm doing well and what I need to improve upon. I was also on two cross functional committees that got me lots of exposure with oen of our directors who is awesome to work with. He and his boss were actually on site to see us last week so I got all sorts of face time with him and got pulled into a couple of small followup projects. All revolve around new products, which is still my area of expertise. I love this company so much and I can totally see staying with them for 5 years, even though the drive home was miserable yesterday.

In other news, April has been an especially gay month. We had a Boys Night Out two weeks after Margie's birthday which was so much fun. I think Jason and I have finally developed a close group of gay friends. We saw Three Penny Opera with Alan Cumming, Cyndi Lauper, Ana Gasteyer, and Nellie McKay. It was a great show and I got to meet everyone afterwards. Cyndi even signed her Body Acoustic CD for me! Just last weekend Jason and I saw Ben and Margie. They are such great friends and I am going to miss them so much when they leave for CA. We had pizza for dinner and then got wasted on wine at their apartment before going to Roadhouse, the diviest bar ever. Margie and I stayed out until near closing (like 3:30am) with all her Columbia friends. Those guys are all a blast. I was sick as hell the next day and spent all of Saturday lounging around Ben and Margie's hanging out and periodically throwing up.

Ben and I were supposed to open a new bank account for KDR at Commerce but we couldn't because of paperwork issues. Instead I deposited the donation checks into our PNC account. The plan now is to close that awful account when I get down to Carnival and take that money (along with new donations) and open a mutual fund. We are smart people. Speaking of Carnival, I have a LIST of things to accomplish. I am seriously bringing a clipboard. My days are filling up already and I'm scared 4 days won't be enough to see everyone and do everything I want to do. I really need a week down there so I can have a relaxing trip.

Meanwhile the madness doesn't end. The Franz Ferdinand/Death Cab for Cutie concert is Thursday. I'm having another Boys Night Out Friday; Saturday we're getting together with Adam and Kristen. Sunday is Easter. Monday and Tuesday I will be swamped at work. Then Wednesday we leave for the Burgh. Then the week after is the trip to Atlantic City. Thank goodnes for Income Tax refunds. LOL.

I also spent mucho dinero on two Madonna shows at MSG. One $170 seat and one $70 seat so we could see her twice. I know we're crazy but you only live once. And if you're looking for more great music, try to see Lourds in concert. That girl fucking rocked my world last week. Tracy and I caught her show at CBGB and got the new album. All I can say is "WOW."

OK back to the grind. Nothing is going right today. Technology is my nemesis.
Monday, March 13th, 2006
1:02 pm
A Blizzard, A Birthday, and a Power Ranger Gone Gay
Another Month Flies By

I can't believe we're almost in the middle of march. A lot happened in February. We had a HUGE blizzard - 27 inches of snow in Queens. I was trapped at home for like 3 days straight. It was a little insane. Jason is planning to leave his job sometime soon. He's so unhappy there. I really want him to find something he's going to enjoy doing. Work has been crazy for me. After Situation Assessment ended, we've had tons of followups to deal with. I'm working on a big Newtons analysis that examines the long term decline of the brand. Fun times all around.

For Valentines Day, Jason and I saw Avenue Q, which was so funny. I recommend it highly. I didn't watch the Superbowl because I had Ben T's birthday party that night. Interesting connection... Ben T knows Will so he was there. Another guy, Peter, who used to play for the Ramblers Soccer Team, also knew Will. It's a small, queer world after all. I ended up talking for quite a while with Peter, who was planning an event at Pieces for the Ramblers. There was an auction where you could bid on yummy soccer players. Jason, Roxanne and I went and had a blast. I was worried Roxanne wouldn't have a good time because it was a sketchy gay bar but it was the most fun I've ever had there.

Speaking of Roxanne, she was in town for a few days to hang out since her spring break plans fell through. We had a blast roaming around the city. We went to the South Street Seaport, the WTC, Times Square, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and out to the bars on 2nd Ave. We also had dinner with my sister so the girls could talk about engineering stuff. The trip went by really fast.

Speaking of visitors, Alex Shulman was in town two weeks ago. He stayed with me for the weekend and we got together with Ashish and Felix. It was Tracy's birthday that Saturday so we all went out to Central Bar for some drinking and dancing and he got to meet some of the friends. I'm hoping to make a trip up to Boston this summer with a few of my brothers to see Alex for his birthday.

The weekend between was another extravaganza of events. Margie and Ben had their engagement party on Saturday, which was so much fun. Margie's friends are so funny. It was great to see Shaun and Christina again. We actually all exchanged emails and phone numbers so we can keep in touch. We also met another cool guy named Wade who's also gay. He ended up coming to our Oscar party.

Finally, getting to the Oscars - the party was fucking awesome. All the gays were there - Vinny, David, Ben, Ben's friend Michael, Philippe and Wade. The broadcast was boring as hell but we all had a great time drinking and talking trash about the nominees. We were all pissed that Brokeback Mountain didn't win Best Picture. It should have and all the press the next day was about how crazy the upset was. Everyone's comparing it to when Shakespeare in Love beat out Saving Private Ryan. That madness aside, it was a great evening. Everyone stayed really late, though, so I was dead the next day.

It always figures that when you're tired and cranky and want to go home, there's no end in site. At the end of the work day I came out to my car and found that my tire had gone flat. I'm not sure what happened. I must have run over a nail or something and it must have drained slowly all day. I had to have my parents call AAA and wait for the tow truck to change my tire. Two of my coworkers helped jack my car and get the lug nuts off but we couldn't get the bolts off. The tow truck guy arrived about an hour after I made the call to AAA and had the donut on in under 5 minutes. They had a 4-way lug wrench, which was much better at getting off the bolts.

So there I was in East Hanover NJ at about 7pm getting ready to drive 50 miles over two bridges to my parents house on a donut. Never a dull moment. I met my dad at BJ's so I could buy a new tire. I ended up buying 4 new ones since all the treading on my tires was fucked. An expensive night but thankfully it all worked out okay and I got 4 new tires with a 60,000 mile warranty and free tire rotating and balancing for life. Awesome. At least there's a silver lining.

Anyway, if anyone wants to be blown away with crazy news, check this out: Go to www.pinkisthenewblog.com. The title up top should read Mighty Morphin Porno Ranger. Everyone out there knows I'm a Power Rangers fanatic, especially the first 4 seasons. The original Red Ranger Jason, Austin St John, apparently hasn't had much luck as an actor so he's become a personal trainer and now... a gay-for-pay porn actor. He's in a few movies on www.seancody.com under the name Brock. His body is incredible. Too bad he's a little... well, little. LOL. Poor Jason. I may join for a month just for those videos. LOL. This is why I love being gay.

Current Mood: amused
Tuesday, January 31st, 2006
11:57 am
Situation Assessment Is Over!
But the madness of February is only beginning

The past few weeks have been unbelivably busy. Situation Assessment at Kraft was more intense than it should have been. Nielsen completely exceeded expectations and blew everyone away, though. My presentations went really well. All the clients told me how great I was when I presented. I was told that I had great knowledge of the material and a really commanding presence in front of the room. I'm now being referred to as the "rock star" of the team since apparently I love the spotlight.

To celebrate the end of Situation Assessment, we had a big night out with all the Nielsen people on Friday. There's nothing quite like getting drunk with your coworkers. Everyone is really smart and professional on the job but then they all turn out to be a bunch of freaks in real life. Case in point: Kwok giving Alka a lap dance. I have a theory about sexually repressed nerds and how they're actually much better in bed than athletes. While I'm not attracted to anyone on my team, I find myself much more interested in the CMU engineer types than the Pitt football player types. Jason thinks I'm crazy but let's face it, nerds are better because they're more mysterious and there's all sorts of potential to do dirty things with them. All my friends are nerds. And all of them are dirty.

Back to SA, the night out Friday was funtastic, though I left a little earlier than most. I had a big day Saturday. I had to wake up early to get my new car insurance take care of. Now that I'm 25, I have my own insurance, which is exciting, if not economically draining. My rate isn't that bad but it's still money spent. Later that evening, Jason and I trekked into Jersey city for a party at David's. He had over me, Jason, Vinny and Bryan for a nice chill evening of hanging out. It was actually billed a Chinese New Year party so we ordered Chinese food. He and Vinny have definitely become our core, quality gay friends.

VNU Vinny started his new job at Claritas and apparently everyone there is gay. We're going to try to get together one night in the city after work so I can meet the coworkers. The quest for more gay friends continues. Speaking of gay friends, I don't think anything will be developing with Will and Andres, the two guys Jason and I were making out with at the bar the night we met Imogen Heap. They totally flaked out on our birthday outing. Ben, however, the other Imogen fan, is having a birthday party Sunday at XES so we're going to that. Everyone else I know will be watching the Superbowl. We'll be pounding drinks and watching boys dance in underwear. Score.

February is going to be a crazier month than intended. We have Ben T's birthday on the 5th, we're seeing Avenue Q on the 12th, my cousin Erica's engagement is the 18th, and we're supposed to get together with Ben and Margie the weekend of the 25th but now Alex Shulman is coming into town for a visit. Oh the madness.
Thursday, January 5th, 2006
2:15 pm
Ringing In The New Year
Good-bye 2005, Hello 2006

Trying to sum up a year is difficult – and of course all the stuff that just happened is fresh in mind meaning that all the madness of early last year has faded away. It’s like leaving HS and all you can remember is senior year, the last 25%.

Anyway, it’s been quite a year for me. I started with Nielsen in November of ’04 and my first full year here has been incredible. This job is everything I hoped it would be and more. I hope everyone out there finds a job they look forward to doing every morning.

Family life has had its ups and downs. I thought I was making some progress with integrating Jason into the family but in fact I didn’t. At Thanksgiving and Christmas I found myself caught up in my old web of lies to explain to Grandma why I wasn’t with the family for Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve and why I went to see them so late on Christmas day. (The lie: Lots of friends have their families out of state and that’s why I spent time with them. Lame.) One of my resolutions is to force the issue with my parents and make sure they come to dinner with Jason and me.

Keeping up with friends has proven more difficult this year as my job has me a lot busier than city government. I hardly ever post to LJ anymore and I aborted the mass emails a long while ago. I still think I’m better than most of the people I know about initiating contact but it’s definitely a resolution of mine to do a better job at keeping up with the people that really matter.

In KDR-land, the Alumni Board is functioning as well as it can. I’m keeping in contact with the chapter and emailing the Alumni and staying on top of things. Fundraising is a whole other headache but at least the ball is rolling, however slowly that may be. Still, the “job” is one I enjoy and I’m glad I’m getting positive feedback from people.

In Gay-land, I’m really trying to build a core group of gay friends – ones who actually live in the state. So far, so good. VNU Vinny, who just started at Claritas, has quickly become a good friend and through him Jason and I have met a couple of other really cool guys. It’ll be nice to have some other guys to hit the bars with and not have to worry about dragging my female friends around. Also, if Jason wants to stay in, I’ll have people to party with.

Speaking of friends, there have been a lot of engagements/marriages this year – Sylvia and Ethan, Ben and Margie, my cousin Erica and her boyfriend Shawn, and my cousin Gina. Happy times. I wonder if there’s a pretty ring in my future…

Anyway, things are going really well with Jason, probably because we don’t have to deal with the stress of possible marriage anytime soon. LOL. While we have some key differences, which are only exasperated by the fact that we live together, we get along better than ever. There’s definitely long term potential here. All my friends who know him also say he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I definitely agree. Because of him, I’ve grown up a lot. Some of that is a product of moving out of my parents’ house while the rest is realizing how to have an adult relationship. It takes work and mostly it requires listening, something I’ve improved in greatly and will continue to work on in 2006.

I’ve also changed in some small ways – like my tastes in music. I never thought I would be a Nine Inch Nails fan but he got me hooked up some really great musicians. We balance each other very well so he’ll take me to Depeche Mode or Duran Duran and I’ll take him to Lourds or Eric Himan. Overall, we have a good amount of dissimilar interests but enough of an overlap to do a lot of fun stuff together. I saw more concerts and shows this year than probably ever other year of my life combined. I’m seriously always busy.

Being “busy” was often an excuse of mine to avoid dealing with real problems. My social life was my way of getting out of the house and sort of validated my existence since my last job didn’t. I’m actually very happy now (with work and my relationship and friends) so I don’t need to fill my time with crap. The plan for ’06 is going to be similar to Kraft’s big corporate restructuring: Simplification. Fewer, bigger, better. I’m going to do less, but make what I do bigger and better.

Like most people, I have a list of resolutions. Near the top is get back into shape. I’ve been going to gym at least 3 days a week pretty consistently since Jason and I joined. I would love to be able to do 4 days but by the time I get home from work I am too tired on some nights. And our weekends are disappearing by the minute. I swear I’m going to hibernate all of February.

It’s been a great year personally but as I look at the future of the country, I have serious doubts about where we’re headed. I don’t trust the Republicans in our government, especially as they continue to try to take away my rights. I also doubt that the Democrats will pull together big victories in the ’06 Congress elections unless everyone wakes up from their stupidity. Having visited Knoxville, TN and by reading about all about the ignorance throughout the Red States, I fear that the country is in the hands of manipulative maniacs who can easily control the weak of mind through the rhetoric of good Christian values. There’s no reasoning with God-fearing farmers, there’s only strong conviction in a poorly translated ancient text that tells them what decisions to make. I guess if I were uneducated, I would let someone tell me what to do all the time too without asking why. Fortunately I know enough to question and I hope everyone else realizes it too. That’s my real wish for 2006.
Friday, December 16th, 2005
2:53 pm
Brokeback Mountain
It could be like, just like this, always

Brokeback Mountain was seriously the best movie I've seen in years. It is SO heart wrenching. It's such a sad story - it's torturous for every character - but even though I left the theatre devastated, I want to see it again. All of the actors are at the top of their game. Heath Ledger has already won several Best Actor awards and has a Golden Globe nomination. I would say he's Oscar-bound and definitely deserves it. Jake is terrific and has the best lines (and delivery) in the movie. He longs for so much more than Heath will offer and you can feel his pain. He plays the too sweet, too naive for his own good softie all too well. Michelle Williams, who has had much acclaim in other movies, is certain for a Best Supporting Actress nomination. She steals every scene she's in with her devastation and pain. The audience can almost feel as bad for Michelle as they do for Jake and Heath.

Aside from the incredible pain that is constant throughout the movie, there are a lot of really sweet, touching moments between Jake and Heath. They make their love really believable, despite the fact that they both have wives and children elsewhere. Everytime they meet up, you think there's a chance that they'll finally run off to be together. I won't spoil the ending, but let's juts say it's not a happy one. It never can be for us queers.

Anyway, the real point of this post is to tell all of my straight friends out there that they should see this movie. It's seriously the best gay themed movie ever and is very accessible to all audiences. The themes are universal, the acting is great, and while there is some hot man on man action, it's not so overdone that it would scare away straight guys. In fact, straight guys should be the core audience of the film. My belief is that Heath's character is straight but loves Jake's character, who is gay. Yes that may complicate things but their relationship is so much like a best friend relationship that almost anyone can identify with it.

So go see it! It's guaranteed a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars. Isn't that endorsement enough?
Sunday, November 20th, 2005
10:53 pm
Only Two Days til Knoxville
Meeting my boyfriend's Southern baptist family for Thanksgiving

November has been a crazy month to say the least. There is no time for anything anymore. Here are the highlights:

-Nine Inch Nails live at MSG
Holy fuck Trent Reznor is amazingly talented and SO HOT. I would let him do whatever he wanted to me.

-Cheryl's Party
My coworker Cheryl threw a party at her house which a bunch of us went to. It was a blast to get hammered with my friends from work. I love my team and can easily see staying at this job a LONG time.

-Work
Speaking of work, there are MASSIVE shakeups at Kraft. My Nielsen team is actually getting people to better service the organization, but Kraft let a lot of people go, though very few from Biscuit marketing. All my clients are still on the business though Dan is moving to Cereal. Steve from CT is coming to our office and will need people under him; Tim will have an expanded role in New Products; my Year End eval is coming up and should feed into a promotion with a nice raise. Good times. Also at work - we had our Thanksgiving pot luck Friday. I made my famous cheesecake and everyone loved it!

-Adriana's birthday
We now have had two disastrous birthdays in a row. It was fun, don't get me wrong, but there was DRAMA. One of her friends didn't show up and had a LAME excuse why. Then on the cab ride home she threw up in the cab. Dealing with the driver - that was fun times. I can't even fathem what could go wrong at mine.

-Eric Himan at Starlight Lounge
Eric is great. The show was funtastic. I picked up the Live CD, which was recorded at 4 shows, two of which I was at. At this show I met a guy who works in radio. He approached me and struck up a conversation. I mentioned early on that I have a boyfriend and we both chatted about how it's impossible for gay men to make friends with each other. He gave me his card so we could hang out as friends and I emailed him but I haven't heard back. Jason (and several of my friends) think I'm nieve. Was Patrick interested in hooking up and not just being friends? Are all gay men that way?

-Alanis Morisette at Roseland Ballroom
What an awesome show! Two hours of all the hits to celebrate the release of "The Collection" - her career retorspective. And speaking of CD's you have to get...

-Madonna, Confessions On A Dancefloor
What an awesome album! Madge is back with an all-dance record that is sure to be a HUGE hit. It's #1 everywhere and Hung Up, the first single, is storming the charts. Love it love it love it! Everyone needs to buy this album now. Other great albums to get...

-Cyndi Lauper, The Body Acoustic
Cyndi reworks her hits and a few new songs in an all acoustic album that sounds like a live recording.

-Alanis Morissette, The Collection
All the hits, some of her personal favorites, and her soundtrack cuts on one disc.

-Jamie Cullum, Catching Tales
So talented, so underrated in the US.

-Andy Bell, Electric Blue
A feel good dance album to shake your ass to.

On to DVD's:

-Buffy The Vampire Slayer: The Chosen Collecion
All seven seasons of Buffy in one uber-collection. It's going to make for a great winter project.

Meanwhile, it's late and Adult Swim is making my brain melt. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Current Mood: chipper
Sunday, October 30th, 2005
4:57 pm
I'm A Modern, Cool Nerd
Modern, Cool Nerd
78 % Nerd, 52% Geek, 21% Dork
For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.
You scored better than half in Nerd and Geek, earning you the title of: Modern, Cool Nerd.

Nerds didn't use to be cool, but in the 90's that all changed. It used to be that, if you were a computer expert, you had to wear plaid or a pocket protector or suspenders or something that announced to the world that you couldn't quite fit in. Not anymore. Now, the intelligent and geeky have eked out for themselves a modicum of respect at the very least, and "geek is chic." The Modern, Cool Nerd is intelligent, knowledgable and always the person to call in a crisis (needing computer advice/an arcane bit of trivia knowledge). They are the one you want as your lifeline in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (or the one up there, winning the million bucks)!

Congratulations!


Also, you might want to check out some of my other tests if you're interested in any of the following:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Professional Wrestling

Love & Sexuality

America/Politics

Thanks Again! -- THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST




My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:


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You scored higher than 91% on nerdiness

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You scored higher than 76% on geekosity

free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 22% on dork points
Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test
Thursday, October 13th, 2005
5:26 pm
Working From Home
And preparing for another crazy weekend

Today has been very relaxing. I worked from home today because of the extreme flooding everywhere. Yesterday it took me 3 and half hours to drive home because of flooding over the Triboro Bridge and all around Woodside. What a nightmare. So today I decided to avoid all that crap and just work from home. It was a fun day. I did all the stuff I needed to do and watched some crappy daytime TV in the background.

This week has been maddening. U2 was Monday night. They put on an amazing show! It was over 2 hours of great music. We were right behind the stage. It felt like Bono was right in front of me. The next morning was my presentation at Kraft on Oreo Double Stuf PB. It went really well and the brand team loved it. I have some small followups to do, but they should be done by next week.

Yesterday Lorraine, Rob's mom, had her knee surgery. I'm going to visit her on Saturday before I go out with Mel and Chris. It'll be nice to see them. It feels like forever since we hung out. Tomorrow night Jason and I are going out with "VNU Vinny" for drinks at XES. Jason sent him his resume so hopefully something will come of it. I think Vinny has the potential to become a good gay friend, which I'm lacking in the NYC area. Then Sunday is Kelly Clarkson, which has now been moved to the Theatre at Madison Square Garden. That should be an awesome show.

Anyway, the work day is over. Only one more day in this perpetually long week. TGIT.
Sunday, October 2nd, 2005
10:38 pm
Gay Football and Oreo Double Stuf Peanut Butter
And my rising star at Nielsen

September was a crazy fucking month - but when is that not the case? Work has been great. I gave a Best Demonstrated Practice (BDP) presentation on Scorecards two weeks ago. Scorecards are our evaluation process for new products. The team LOVED it. I always knew I was a good public speaker but I didn't realize that it was one of my better strengths. The best part is that I got to present on Thursday to the entire ACN-Kraft team from both offices (Paramus and Wilton) including our directors and our VP. The whole point of the day, which was off-site at the VNU headquarters in Manhattan, was for the One VNU committe to present on our sister companies' capabilities and to come up with integration ideas for Kraft. My presentation was on Nielsen Music and while it was only 20 minutes, I got to talk about the cool stuff that Soundscan and Broadcast Data Systems do and exercise my insane energy for a room of 50. Everyone loved my presentation and said that it was smart, full of energy, and very funny. I wish I had it on video to show everyone.

After the presentations, we had a scavenger hunt across Manhattan, which my team won! We actually got a day off work for winning! Then we had lunch at Carmines on the Upper West Side, which was amazing. There was an open bar and lots of food and wine. Afterwards, we all went to Zanzibar in midtown and drank on the company tab all night. Jason came by to meet my coworkers including my boss and all my teammembers. They all loved him of course. It was so much fun to hang out with my coworkers because they're all so cool. Everyone got drunk, which was hilarious to see. We were all tired as hell the next day at work and of course we had tone of work to do. I'm working feverishly on my Oreo Double Stuf Peanut Butter Scorecard, which I'll be presenting to the brand team on Friday. The Oreo brand team is huge so it's an exciting opportunity for me.

In other VNU news, last night I was out with Jason to meet Liya, Arden and a group of their friends at a bar in the East Village. While there we met a guy named Vinny who works for IMS, a small VNU company at the 770 Broadway building, which was where I presented on Thursday. Small world, huh? We talked about all sorts of stupid stuff, including how Desperate Houswives is gay football. Everyone watches on Sunday and then spends all day Monday doing the play by play with each other. God I love being gay.

Meanwhile Saturday is my housewarming party. I'm so excited to finally have all my friends over. In the meanwhile, I'm watching WAY too much television. Can anyone else keep up this schedule: Desperate Housewives, Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad, Rome, Prison Break, Bones, Lost, and Will and Grace. At least I'm working out 5 days a week so I don't feel completely sedintary. Now that summer's gone, I'll be spending less time outdoors but I have more free time so hopefully I can make the most of it. I'm excited for fall, though this summer was great and I'm going to miss it.

Current Mood: optimistic
Wednesday, September 7th, 2005
3:36 pm
Weddings, Funerals, New Beginnings and the End of Summer
Sylvia’s Wedding in Pittsurgh through Labor Day in NYC

Sylvia’s wedding was the 19th so Jason and I drove down to Pittsburgh for a very short three-day vacation. It was great to see everyone again. It’s weird how time moves – it feels like just yesterday I was hanging out with them at PHI and yet it seems like an eternity since we’ve all hung out like that. I miss those days. There are still no takers for my big Real World house in NY though.

The Pittsburgh trip was non-stop madness. We left at 6am and got in around 1pm. It wasn’t a bad drive at all. We had lunch with Josh and then hung out with Roxanne and Derrick. Then we checked into the hotel and quickly drove off to the Andy Warhol Museum. The new exhibit was John Waters, the crazy director of Pink Flamingos. Andy and John are two of Jason’s heroes so he was thrilled. I loved the exhibit too and of course I took a ton of pictures. The coolest part was that when we were spending away our life savings in the gift shop the guy behind the counter was totally flirting with us and talking about how John Waters had visited the museum quite a bit. (Jason got an autographed copy of the book.) Among the celebrities who had been there were John and Nick from Duran Duran. The guy got them to autograph by where they were mentioned in the Andy Warhol diaries so of course I took a picture of that. Oh the randomness.

After the museum we had dinner at Fuel and Fuddle and then met the gang for drinks at PHI. Derrick and Josh pretty much spent the whole night drinking with us. Derrick was even trying to arrange a threesome with us and his fraternity brother Chris who had been in Peru all summer and needed some action. Oh the hilariousness. I had a great time catching up with everyone. Mel, Roxanne and Courtney came by after the girls were done with their bridal shower/bachelorette party madness. We all got trickity trashed and basically turned PHI into the gayest dance party in Pittsburgh.

The next day was the wedding and while I had good intentions of getting up early to swing by KDR and see people that pretty much fell off the radar as other things had to get done. We grabbed lunch with Josh and Roxanne, made a trip to the liquor store, got dressed and then headed off to Phipps Conservatory. It was a thousand degrees outside but the ceremony was beautiful and short so the heat wasn’t too much to bear.

The reception was at the top of Mount Washington. The view was beautiful, until the crazy storm swept by. Scary. It was so great to see everyone at the wedding and catch up with them. Our table was by far the coolest – me, Jason, Mel, Chris, Josh, Roxanne, Kristen and Neesha. Courtney swung by for a while and we joked that she must have done something terrible to Sylvia to end up at the table was at. LOL. I took a ton of pictures of course. There was a lot to photograph – everyone dressed up in nice clothes, the beautiful tea ceremony, Sylvia’s two gorgeous dresses, people trying to slow dance, and of course the wedding cake!!! The food was great and while the reception was over 5 hours no one really wanted to leave. Once we finally did, I invited most of the wedding back to my hotel room for the Official After Party. At one point we had about 25 people there, with at least 10 people sitting on the bed since we didn’t have a love seat.

The after party was hilarious times. We were exchanging stories about our undergrad madness – the KDR parties, PHI madness, the traffic cones! Our group is crazy and incestuous by I love them all. It was nice to make some new friends too. I reconnected with Jim, who I only knew vaguely from Sig Tau. He, Jason and I got along really well. It’s great to have so many friends and while I wish we could all get that house in NYC, having people in different locations is a lot of fun. Jason and I really want to go to San Francisco next summer to visit Josh. London and Amsterdam is now on the calendar for Summer 2007.

Sunday morning was very sad. I had to leave Pittsburgh (again!) and make the drive back to adulthood. The trip was way too short. It’s good that I got home when I did, though, as family commitments took over that week. I found out Monday morning on my way to work that my cousin Danny needed to get in touch with my parents and that it was important. Yikes. His mom has been really sick so of course I thought the worst. When I finally got Danny on the phone later that morning he told me that his dad had died very suddenly. His dad, my Uncle Al, my dad’s best friend, the coolest guy you’ll ever meet, had died. I was flabbergasted. My parents were still in Hawaii so I called them with the terrible news. They were coming back Wednesday, which was just in time for the wake.

I was stunned and confused all through work, wondering why Uncle Al was gone. I had to keep in together though since I knew my dad was going to be devastated. The night of the wake I went to my parents’ house. My Uncle Stu picked them up at the airport and then we all drove out to Long Island. I’ve never seen a wake like this. There was a line outside that was over 100 people long. We had to have my cousins come outside to get us to skip the line. Uncle Al was a Nassau County Detective Sgt. and was on the force for over 30 years so he had a TON of friends. He was also big into philanthropy and community service so he was extremely well known around town. Everyone there was in shock and seemed inconsolable. My dad was even more of a wreck than I thought he’d be. We stayed for most of the three hours but decided to leave because the line outside was still big so we knew we wouldn’t be able to spend time with the family afterwards.

The next morning was the funeral and it was an all-day event. The procession from the church to the funeral home was over 100 cars. There was a big police escort and they completely stopped traffic for 5 exits on the Long Island Expressway. It was like nothing I had ever seen. The dinner afterward was equally sad as people recounted hilarious stories about Uncle Al but for the most part everyone was just devastated. We got back to my parents’ house around 6pm and then I had my final night of my summer bowling league. By 11pm I was finally back at my apartment exhausted and still kind of in shock. I don’t know how my cousins are dealing with all this. I know Aunt Susan and Lauren came over during Labor Day weekend to see Mom and actually spent the night. Aunt Susan is still sick but at least Danny and Gina still live at home and can help take care of her.

While Mom was busy with guests over Labor Day, I was playing matchmaker. Two friends came into town and hit it off really well. Yay for love. Well, okay it’s not “love” yet but it’s definitely “like” with lots of similar interests and definitely some action. I’m happy to finally have some quality gay friends to really be myself around. The weekend was awesome – we walked around the West Village, hung out at Chelsea Piers, went clubbing at Splash, visited the Intrepid, went to the big Toys R Us in Times Square, played Trivial Pursuit, drank some beer, played with Legos, and watched some How’d They Do That on the Science channel. Overall it was one of the best weekends ever, especially since I proved to Philippe that the pronunciation is CinnabOn.

Can you hear me?
Are you near me?
Can we pretend to leave and then
We'll meet again
When both our cars collide?

What's the worst that I can say?
Things are better if I stay
So long and goodnight
So long and goodnight
And if you carry on this way
Things are better if I stay
So long and goodnight
So long and goodnight
-My Chemical Romance, “Helena”


Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
Wake me up when September ends
-Green Day
Monday, July 18th, 2005
4:38 pm
Of Wisom and Teeth
Tripping on Vicadin and eating pudding

I got my wisdom tooth pulled Saturday - yes, just one. The other three never existed thanks to Evolution. The procedure was really quick. Novacaine is bizarre and smelling the "burning" of the tooth as they drill it is nauseating. The doc breaks the tooth in half and pulls out each half separately. When I saw the size of the thing, I almost fell over. Teeth are bigger than you think because the root is long. But Wisdom Teeth are FUCKING HUGE. It looks like a monkey's tooth. Take that you Creationist bastards.

Saturday and Sunday were trippy. I spent the majority of Saturday passed out from the Vicadin. I couldn’t eat or do anything. Jason was great and took care of me. He even got me to actually swallow pills – namely my Amoxicillin, which the dentist wouldn’t give me in liquid form. I watched WAY too much TV but the rest was nice.

Sunday my parents came by to visit. GASP! I was amazed that they really wanted to come by – Mom had mentioned very recently how she didn’t even want to hear about Jason. But now she wanted to visit us. The tooth provided a good excuse I guess. The visit went really well. Mom and Dad stayed for about two hours and made small talk with me and Jason. It was nice. I’m still pissed at the things Mom said and how crazy she’s been but I have to choose my battles so I’m just going to let most of it slide since she seems to be making progress. There’s no reason to rock the boat.

I took off from work today. I’m all swollen and still in some pain. I was able to use the time to accomplish some personal projects, some even quasi-work related (my Scorecard BDP), relax, and update the LJ…

Some stuff to write about:

1. Gay Pride was AMAZING. Jason, Philippe and I went clubbing at Heaven Saturday night and got wasted. Logan was there with Andrew and his Ho Train. It was really loud so we couldn’t talk much but everyone had a great time dancing and drinking and drinking and drinking. Bad things happened. But it was fun. The next day I was hung over as hell for the parade. I vomited multiple times before leaving and then several more times in public. Lowest moment of my life. The parade was fun, though.

2. Washington, DC. Jason and I went to DC to visit Roxanne for 4th of July. We had such a blast. Monument hopping, visiting museums, almost dying of dehydration. “My internal organs are shaking!” Seeing Roxanne and meeting her boyfriend was so much fun. They make such a cute couple.

3. Daniela and Raz’s birthdays were awesome. We went to B Bar in the East Village where I got to hang out with the Queens Crew: Annette, Adriana, Daniela, Christie, but no Vinnie. I wonder if I’ll ever see him again. We had a fun time dancing and catching up. Later Raz, Felix and few of his friends came out to celebrate Raz’s 21st. He’s working in NYC this summer on Wall Street doing trading. It was good to see him. On the way home, Annette and Adriana reiterated that fact that Jason has calmed me and made me less of a spazz. I’ve definitely changed for the better. I’m happier than I’ve ever been and they all said it shows. Even Erica, who I finally spoke to on the phone for the first time in months, said she could feel a difference.

4. KDR Alumni stuff. It’s coming along. Slowly but surely. Fundraising begins soon.

Interrupted by the Phone: Grandma calls. My answering machine (I’m screening my calls) is rude. Jason says “Leave us a message and MAYBE we’ll call you back.” It’s supposed to be funny. I took Vicadin and Grandma thinks I’ll become addicted. Grandma also bought two loaves of whole wheat bread. Should she freeze a loaf for me? Oh the madness. Have any of the girls been by to visit? Then she insinuates that I’m sleeping with one of them. The madness never ends. See you Thursday.

Jason realizes why I am the way I am.

Current Mood: bouncy
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