Saturday, December 19, 2009

New Mexico Bowl

Wyoming is on ESPN right now. They finished 6-6 this season and were lucky to get a bowl game. They are playing Fresno State, who is favored by 14-17 points, but nonetheless, the Cowboys are up 7-0 in the 1st. Wyoming isn't on national television all that much, so, I thought it was worth blogging about.
I promise more blogs in 2010. College applications are still taking up a lot of time even though my essay is done. I sent the first two complete apps out last week. Eight more to go. I hope to get some more in the mail before Kate and I leave for New Mexico on Tuesday. We will be there through Christmas. We can't wait to relax, spend time with my parents, and to see their new home.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 07, 2009

The End

If I am blogging it means I am done with my grad school writing sample.
The music is blaring. I'm dancing from room to room.

I can't remember the last time I had such a good excuse to party.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Reason Enough

It's the fourth weekend we are on the road for swim meets. I am more than ready for Thanksgiving break, but before that we have a home meet next week.
My first MFA application deadline is in a month and two days. That's really hitting home this week. There is much work to be done and now not that much time to get it done.

I miss having the time to blog about anything, but I don't want to self-publish the rest of my life.

That's reason enough.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Power of the Business Card

Perks of aging, that’s something you don’t hear all that often, but finally you’ve been able to think of one. When one ages, one might get a business card. You mostly fill your wallet with them and don’t use them all that much, but when you were at a Chipotle a few weeks ago you saw the fish bowl from which a Chipotle employee pulls one business card a month. The person listed on the card gets ten free burritos. So, you threw a card in, this being the first time you’ve actually used the business card. Those times you’ve “used” your card to hide them in your coworker’s office don’t count. This time does. It fell into the pile, sliding up against another card. You think there is no chance of it being picked out of the bowl. You think someone else is going to win because you just got your first business card, one thousand of them to be exact, and this is the first time you put one in the fish bowl. You feel like you just wasted one card and, even though you have 999 left, you feel bad about wasting the card.

Weeks later, when you are sitting in your office by the phone no one ever calls, it rings. Only Chipotle has this number. You pick up and you are told you won ten free burritos at Chipotle. You are ecstatic. You call your wife. You march over to your coworkers’ offices and demand they share in your happy day by taking one of the ten free burritos you’ve just won off of your hands. You write down their orders. You write down yours. There are five burritos left to order. You order five more for yourself. There is room in your fridge. And, there will be room in your stomach.

You set a date and time. Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 11:30am. You will stop by and pick up your ten free burritos. You will drop one off at your wife’s work. You will drive to campus and carry in the box of burritos, feeling like Santa Clause.

It will be a good lunch hour.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Chlorine and Books

It's November already. Wow. Time has been flying by. I find myself so busy sometimes. This is odd. Not the finding myself, but the busyness. I'm accustomed to copious amounts of free time, but I haven't had much of that lately. Swim meets. Travel time on a coach. Swim practice. Husbanding, as in being a husband, not managing economically. Some grad school research. And a lot of wondering where all the time went because I haven't been using as much of it, at least as of late, to write, read, and put out a blog a day, or even a blog every other day.

I get scared sometimes that I am going to get so busy that I'll forget to do all the things I want to do. I'll snap out of it and it will be January or February and I'll have forgotten to send anything to the schools I want to attend next year. This is a little nightmare I have. I will not allow it to happen, but as I inch closer to deadlines I am prone to imagine worst case scenarios, like losing my mind before I get to sanely pursue writing in the best way I know how.

Something about writing...As soon as I stop writing to read through what I've written so far, I lose my train of thought. Whatever flow I had is now gone and I should retire. I just did that (read through what I had so far) right before I started this paragraph and what I read I didn't like and that put me in a bad mood about writing, but, admittedly, I was in a bad mood about writing before I even sat down to write this blog so I don't exactly know why I am writing it except for the fact that I haven't spoken to many people lately and I know that this is a way that you stay current on what I'm doing with my life and I know this is a run-on sentence now, but I don't care, I'm giving my blog and its readers a bit of an update. Tonight, screw the elements of style, the ap stylebook, and modern american usage. Screw them so much I can't even capitalize the names of books and italicize them.

So, on with the update. Swim season is busy right now. I've been out of town the last two weekends due to competitions in Iowa (last week) and Ohio and Michigan (this week). We beat a conference rival on Friday. Everyone had relatively poor times, but we outraced our opponent and they didn't take us seriously and we gave them a wakeup call. Last year, they came to our place and beat us up. It was better, not just good, to return the favor. We got to our hotel at 11pm. A catered dinner was waiting for us in the lobby. Yesterday, we were in Ypsilanti and I don't care if I spelled that correctly or not. You might want to know that's in Michigan, if you didn't know that already. I was told it is the ghetto of Ann Arbor. It didn't look like a ghetto, but it did look glaringly familiar like any Midwestern town, which is to say it was ugly. We lost the meet yesterday, but that one wasn't as important.

I remember a few months ago I was going to write about every classic I read as a part of my resolution for this year. Yes, how did that go? The writing part has gone horribly wrong. I can't remember the last time I blogged about the most recent classic. I realized that it wasn't important to be writing about that and that I needed to finish a draft of my writing sample. So, I finished a draft of my writing sample, but I have kept on reading. Although not exactly on my 11th classic now, as it is the 11th month of the year. I might be on my 9th or 10th. Let me count them...

1. The Grapes of Wrath
2. Meditations
3. The Fountainhead
4. The Razor's Edge
5. A Tale of Two Cities
6. The Iliad
7. On The Road
8. A Farewell To Arms
9. The Picture of Dorian Gray (Recently started and will finish.)
10. The Brothers Karamazov (Started, but as yet unfinished and after having honestly asked myself if I thought I was going to finish it before Dec. 31, I answered "No.")

So, if all goes according to plan, I will have read at least 12 classics of varying length and difficulty by the end of the year. This list may or may not include The Brothers, but that's okay with me as I am still confident on finishing 12 by year's end and I feel I have tackled some longer works, namely The Iliad and The Fountainhead, to feel a little pride that I didn't just pick a selection of, at the very least, thinner classics such as Dorian Gray (which has been made into a movie scheduled for release in the coming annum). Thankfully, I have read more than the books listed above in 2009, but the classics have gobbled up thousands of pages that would have been read in many more books than the eight I have completed so far. I do have fairly extensive thoughts on most of the books I've read this year and even though they have not come out in blog form, I have them written down and saved on my computer.

I've completely lost motivation to write anything else, but I feel I've summarized (in very little detail) two things in my life which I haven't written about on the blog in a very long time (my job as a swim coach and what I've been reading). Goodbye.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Quote of the Day

From a Newsweek interview with Maurice Sendak, creator of Where The Wild Things Are:
[Newsweek:] What do you say to parents who think the Wild Things film may be too scary?

Sendak: I would tell them to go to hell. That's a question I will not tolerate.
You go, Maurice.

NYC - Day 3 - Part 3

I didn't know the location of Apple's NYC flagship store. We just sort of stumbled upon it walking up 5th Avenue. I am glad we did. It's design is as beautiful as its machines. This is the entrance. You walk into the glass box, take a frosted-glass spiral staircase down and you are in the store, a giant one room basement filled with mostly tourists checking their email on computers and iPhones and Europeans buying all the Apple products they can get their hands on before flying home.

The aforementioned frosted-glass spiral staircase, which, by the way, was creepy to walk down because the steps are transparent.

At the bottom of the store, looking up at, I believe, one of Trump's Towers.

Next door to the Apple store is FAO Schwarz. We had to go in. I was here, once before, when the guards outside were my same height. They ran away as I approached, I could have easily carried Chewie here out of the store with me, they were so afraid, but we just opted for a picture and checked out.

In the Subway, waiting for a train to Rockefeller Plaza.

You might know this as the statue right in front of the ice rink at 30 Rock that you occasionally see in movies or parting shots of national newscasts. I used to know it that way, but now it's something real, a statue lit up during all hours of the night with pillars of water surrounding it. I know the buildings which surround it. I know the noise it makes and that the height of the water changes every few minutes. I enjoy this about traveling. There are places, famous works of art, streets, buildings, etc. that have been simulated so much in movies, books, pictures, articles, and paintings that you forget they actually exist somewhere outside all the simulation and artifice. When you come face to face with them it is refreshing and real. For me, this stirs the soul more than the best written descriptions or images ever could.

Anyhow, in the warmer months, it overlooks diners at a couple different restaurants. We would eat at one of them on our last night there. It was good but overpriced, even for NYC standards.

I've written on this blog about my dislike of the Today Show, but just thought I would put a picture up. This studio is so small. They make it look so much bigger on television.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

NYC - Day 3 - Part 2

Day 3 is going to be in at least three parts. I can't believe the walking we did this day. I probably snapped 200+ pics on this day.

From the Brooklyn Bridge we went to Grand Central Terminal, which, Wikipedia says is incorrectly and popularly referred to as a station and not a terminal. Anyway, I don't care all that much. We spent our trip calling it Grand Central. The main terminal is staggering in size and has probably been photographed millions of times, but I couldn't resist. I do wish I had taken advantage of the natural lighting, but we were on the whirlwind tour. In the picture above, Kate pauses by the stairs right after walking into the building.

Main terminal and flag.

Widescreen shot of the terminal and flag.

This is the lighting I am talking about. I like this shot just because it was the only one I got of the floor, but I should have taken a lot more.

An office building, near Bryant Park, which slopes outward as it reaches the street.

The Chrysler Building as we walk toward the nearest subway station.

On that aforementioned walk by Bryant Park, some print on the opened back doors of a truck caught my eye. I live in Oak Creek, WI, technically. I call it the OC. It's not a big suburb. With a population of 32,000, one would not expect many companies outside of Wisconsin, let alone in NYC, to call upon a business located in the OC. But while we were in NYC, someone did. It looked like the library was throwing some sort of event and this company in the OC was in charge of planning or tents or catering. I don't know. I just had to take a picture.

New Belgium, not Budweiser

Overheard in a bar in Wausau, Wisconsin.

Customer: Do you know who brews Fat Tire? Is it Budweiser?

Bartender: Some company in Colorado.

Me: New Belgium Brewing.

(Customer gives me a funny look, perhaps somewhat appreciative of my response and maybe surprised at my eavesdropping.)

Kate (to me in a whisper): That’s sacrilege.

Bryce: I know. Budweiser, are you kidding me?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Getting to the frontier

Hulking masses of metal in the sky

You fly by every day

Sometimes I spot the gray letters on your side

I can read them from the ground

F-R-O-N-T-I-E-R, I used to live on the frontier

I’ve been stuck in Middle America

A day closer to middle-aged

I’m in the midst of committing

More years of my middle ages

To writing meaningful pages

The Shins and Starbucks

I just settled down into my regular writing table at the coffee shop and what tune comes on? “Phantom Limb” by The Shins. I am instantly sent back in time. I’m wearing a green apron. I’m closing up the store with Jarrod. We just kicked the last customers out and we’ve put on The Shins’ Wincing The Night Away. Our jobs are monotonous. We are bored. But we make the most of it. The Shins help our cause.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Reminding me of 9/11

So I am meandering through a security line at the airport recently. I am bored and to pass some of the time I read signs, even if they aren’t at all applicable to my travel. Traveling with kids? No. Traveling with gels and lotions? No. Traveling disabled? No, but I am freakishly tall, but you guys don't consider that a disability...jackasses. I read on.

I eventually come to a poster profiling the featured TSA employee at this specific airport or whatever…it’s not explained. You know the people though, they suspect everyone and think you are making a bomb out of everything and they are dressed like mall cops. Anyway, the employee featured on the poster is describing how he once screened a burn victim from the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon. I’m thinking this is odd. Here I am, about to get on a plane, and there is a poster reminding me of 9/11 and I get this image of this poor bloke working at the Pentagon on a beautiful day in September and he gets knocked upside the head with a jumbo jet and burning fuel. I just don’t think it’s great to give me, or anyone else, this image. We are all aware that people joined TSA because of 9/11. You don’t need to share that with me. I don’t need to be thinking about that dark day when you are patting me down or when I am stepping onto an airplane.

There are words better left unsaid. And there are words better left off a TSA employee of the month poster. Tell us about your hobbies instead. There’s no need to talk about a day everyone remembers like yesterday.

Just a thought.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Scroll Down

I've been working on another NYC post. I started a few days ago and I just published today so scroll down for it.

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Nobel

There is a lot of buzz out there this morning on Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize. As expected, there is a lot of criticism from the right. They ask, "What has Obama accomplished?" My first answer to that question, "Well, not that much considering all of the Right's stalling and lying about what health care reform means for this country."
But, honestly, I think the Nobel for Obama is way too early. If Obama is able to accomplish what he wants to accomplish, he would certainly be a worthy recipient of this prize. However, he hasn't even been in office a year. The decision to give the prize to Obama obviously has something to do with how different some of Obama's policies are from the previous administration. We can be happy about that, but it wouldn't have been so easy for the right-wing nutters to make fun of this if the Norwegian Nobel Committee waited a little longer.

Nevertheless, there are some witty responses from the left out there. My current favorite:

Monday, October 05, 2009


In Wisconsin, tonight's game is bigger than the Super Bowl.
And right as I typed this Favre threw a TD pass. I'm not even a Packer fan, but man, that guy is Judas.

NYC - Day 3 - Part 1

The first thing we happened to do this day is wander down to Times Square to look at the TKTS offerings. TKTS was closed, so we headed off for the rest of the day, but when we were walking through Times Square we saw Dr. Oz interviewing people for his show. We stopped. Kate took a picture. We carried on. But I thought the picture was pretty good. Oz wears scrubs all the time, even while interviewing people in public. So weird.

A water fountain in City Hall Park. I am pretty sure I am not making up the location. It was right near Brooklyn Bridge.

The walk across the Brooklyn Bridge was hot and slow (because of the flood of tourists on Labor Day), but it was worth it. The views from the bridge are incredible. I probably took close to seventy pictures when we were on the bridge. Don't worry, I've tried to pare that down a bit.

Lower Manhattan, shooting toward the WTC site.

We got another touristy couple to take our picture. They did a damn fine job.

From the bridge, looking to Midtown with the ESB, Metlife, and Chrysler building all visible.

Again, from the bridge, looking toward the Statue of Liberty.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Chicago's Loss

A few quick things about the news of Chicago losing its bid to host the 2016 games.
1. According to the cable news networks, we can now confidently say that the apocalypse is upon us because of Chicago's loss.

2. I just don't know how President Obama will get on, or how one could consider him a successful leader due to his failed, last minute pitch for Chicago. Clearly, his will be a lame-duck presidency for the next three and a half years, roughly.

3. The truth of and impact from Chicago's loss didn't quite reach me until I could hear the Reverend Jesse Jackson lament for the City of Chicago and all Americans. Now, it has really hit home. Thanks, Jesse.

I Took The Challenge

During the last couple of days, you may have seen a Starbucks commercial on TV, which advertises the new Starbucks instant coffee called VIA. The commercial encourages people to come in and take the Starbucks VIA Taste Challenge.

I did exactly that today. I was handed a cup of Pike Place (Starbucks daily brew) and a cup of VIA Columbian (instant coffee). I was not told which cup was which. The challenge is to correctly guess which coffee is instant and which coffee was made today, just moments after being ground. After a moment of looking at the coffee, smelling it, and tasting it, I made my guess and I was correct. I was handed a coupon for a dollar off a pack of VIA coffee and a free tall, brewed coffee for my next visit. These coupons were given to each customer, whether they guessed correctly or not.

Starbucks’ idea of having a taste challenge is a good one. It brings people in, gets the new product out there, but I think there is a flaw in the test I took. Let me explain.

First of all, I knew which cup held the Pike Place when I looked down into the cup. Pike Place was the nearly transparent coffee of the two. Nevertheless, I smelled and tasted both cups, noticing right away that the VIA Columbian was darker, stronger, and more embodying of a fresh-brewed coffee than the Pike Place Roast.

My point being, is it necessarily a good thing that Starbucks has created an instant coffee that can easily rival and, perhaps, beat their everyday fresh roast in a taste challenge? If I were Starbucks, someone guessing that the Pike Place was the instant coffee, which happened several times while I was sitting in the store this morning, would insult me. It is a bit of a catch-22, the VIA does a fair job at hiding its instant-brewiness. That’s something the Bucks can be prideful about. However, it tastes better than the stuff you pay $2 for at your local Starbucks, which, I think, doesn’t bode well for the daily brew at the Bucks.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

NYC - Day 2 - Part 2 - ESB

The following pictures are all from the Empire State Building, which was essentially the activity for the last part of day two in NYC. Before I go on, there is something you need to know about the ESB. It sucks. Truly. Yes, the view is great, but you can go to the top of the Rockefeller (30 Rock) and be at the 55th floor for the same price and it'll take you about a quarter of the time. You won't be in the tallest building in all of Manhattan, but you'll get your view, your pictures, and all without the clusterfuck.

During the entire ESB experience I was trying to think of an appropriate word to use. Clusterfuck was, by far, the most accurate word that came to mind.

At the ESB I paid $20 bucks. I tried to use my UWM ID, but the worker handed it back to me and said it doesn't work if I am faculty. Anyways, with general admission I didn't even get a map. I had to pay for a map ($8) at the second line I got into. The first line was just for the airport-like security. After I bought my ticket and got a map, I got in another line. Finally, I think I am going to the observation deck, which isn't as high as you would guess (86th floor). I step on an elevator and when I step off I am on the 80th floor. What happened to that whole observation deck thing? The windows are frosted over on the 80th floor. No one can enjoy the view. Instead of enjoying the view, I am ushered into another line, which looks like it will take an hour to get through.

Kate and I went to the ESB right before sunset, thinking we had plenty of time to make it to the top by dusk. Wrong. We were stuck in a line on the 80th floor and it was already getting dark out. However, I am tall, and the windows were only frosted up to about 6'5" off the ground. I could get a pretty good look if I stood on my tip-toes, thus, I was able to get the first two pictures in this set.

Okay, so we are still stuck on the 80th floor, milling about in this never-ending line. Gosh, this sucks, I am thinking. Why did we do this? What an awful design to this place. The funny thing is, the way the ESB handles visitors and moves people along up to the observation deck was just renovated. Apparently, millions of dollars were spent trying to improve this zoo. Whoever was in charge of the redesign needs to be fired or pay their money back.

After we stood in that line for 20 minutes or so, an employee opened a door and announced that the line was moving so slowly that we could, if we wanted to, take the stairs to the 86th floor. Kate and I bolted for the stairs. The climb up was a good little workout and we probably cut off 20 minutes of waiting. Once at the top, we were miserable, but I was determined to get what I came for, a ton of pictures. We made it around the perimeter of the deck in about thirty minutes. We were shoulder to shoulder the entire time, nudging and gently pushing our way to prime viewing spots. This was the worst part about it, not the waiting, not having to pay eight bucks for a map, but finally getting to the top after well over an hour and realizing that the top is just as messed up as any other floor we were on between here and the street. There is no organization, obedience, or politeness whatsoever.

I can't say, don't go to the ESB when you are in NYC, but don't go on a weekend or holiday and don't hope to make it up there in any good amount of time. Kate and I are savvy travelers. We see the sights, but we don't get sucked into the really touristy crap. However, with the ESB, there is no way to be savvy. You're just going to have to deal with it if you want to get to the top.

A view of the Statue of Liberty from the 80th floor. I was holding my camera above my head and just shooting above the frosted windows, hoping I would get something decent.

Again, from the 80th floor. The Flatiron Building is in the foreground, center of picture. Also, the little green patch at the bottom of the picture is Washington Square where Kate and I dined the day before at the Shake Shack.

I can't tell you the names of the buildings on the left and right of this shot, but I like their glowing tops. My eyes and my camera were drawn to them.

The Chrysler Building is, in my mind, a much better looking building than the one I was in when I took this picture. It is beautiful, especially at night. It has a strong mystique and it made me think a lot about Howard Roark of The Fountainhead.

Views of the bridges over the East River.

Shooting northwest. You can see the glow of Times Square in the lower left, right between those two black monoliths.

Looking directly north toward 30 Rock and Central Park.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Ah, a Saturday night spent working on the writing sample. I feel like I am in grad school already.

I can't believe it has been almost two weeks since I posted on this blog. I promise, once this thing (that's what I call my paper because it is a jumbled mess) is done, I will return to posts about New York and our other, more recent vacation, a trip to Door County last weekend. One picture from that trip is below.

Monday, September 14, 2009

NYC - Day 2 - Part 1

I thought I was going to split the NYC blogs up by day. That won't be happening. It is just impossible to put everything we did in one day in one blog. I am now blogging in partial days.

One of the more bucolic images from Central Park. Our hotel was just two blocks away. The thing that surprised me most about Central Park was how much of the city noises (honking, buses, sirens) are muffled by the encircling trees and country. I felt like I was in a national forest far away from any metropolitan area. What a place to go for a run too.

Looking southwest from Central Park. Off to the far right is the tower housing CNN's NY headquarters. The Essex House hotel is clearly visible as well.

Another Central Park shot. Kate took this picture. Not much to write, except that I thought it was one of the best shots of the whole trip in terms of lighting, contrast, balance, and whatnot.

The Conservatory Pond at Central Park (right off 5th Avenue). We got stopped by some British ladies on holiday and we took their picture.

The famous Katz's Delicatessen, as featured in the movie When Harry Met Sally. This is the diner where Sally proved to Harry how easy it is for her to fake an orgasm. If you look closely at the ceiling on the left side in the background, there is a circular sign pointing to the spot where Sally sat. The sign reads, "Where Harry Met Sally...Hope You Have What She Had!" Katz's is insanely busy on weekends and holidays. But the lines move pretty quickly. There are lots of choices, but I went with pastrami on rye, the most popular, probably. The sandwich makers give you some slices of the meat as soon as you order. The meat was great, Katz's is worth experiencing if you are a foodie tourist, but it is certainly overhyped. It's historical. It's famous. However, the pastrami didn't blow me away as it should have. It was delicious, but not set apart from the pastrami I had at the Grand Lux Cafe (think upscale Cheesecake Factory, same owners, slightly different menu) in Chicago a few weeks before this.

Me biting into the aforementioned pastrami on rye.

We did not go to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. There just aren't enough hours in five days to do everything we wanted to do. Plus, a trip to those two different islands wasn't at the top of any of our lists, but seeing them from the water was, so we took the Staten Island Ferry, which is free, and the ride provided us with great views of Lady Liberty. It was a great view of Manhattan as well. If you are ever in NYC and want to get out on the water and get some great views, but you want to do all that for free, check out the ferry.

On the way back to Manhattan we saw another cruise ship. We had seen the first one on Saturday. This one wasn't nearly as big and was quite ugly, as evidenced by the primary color palette painted on the ship.

I did mean to frame these people in the shot. This was at the very front of the ferry when we were heading back to Manhattan. This day, Sunday, was the closest it ever got to raining, but it never did that day. The weather was beautiful while we were there.

Part 2 coming soon.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

This Could Be Interesting

Wyoming v. (2) Texas in Laramie, Wyoming. Today. 1:30 MST, on Versus. Check your local listings.

Friday, September 11, 2009

NYC - Day 1

Over the next few days or weeks I will be posting some pictures from our whirlwind tour of NYC in 5 days. We took about 530 pictures. We fell in love with New York. A lot of people do. We aren't set apart that way, but with these pictures and words I have attempted to take a little piece of New York home with us. I hope, with 500+ pictures and many words to come, I have done and will do just that.

Naturally, half of the trip revolved around eateries. The first stop after checking into our hotel in the Upper East Side was the Shake Shack, supposedly New York's best cheeseburger. The Shake Shack is notorious for its lines. Of course, this was a Saturday, so we just had to deal with it. We stood in line for 55 minutes. You can see the curve of the line in the picture above. The wait was worth it. We took action shots of us biting into the burger, not ashamed of our touristy behavior at all.

The Shake Shack is in Madison Square, a beautiful area that has a little dog park in it. There are lots of benches, shade, and respite to be had here.

The Empire State Building looms over Madison Square.

The Flatiron Building on Madison Square. I can't believe how skinny the northern tip of this building is. We just stumbled across it. That happened a lot in our five days there. There are so many iconic parks, buildings, stores, hotels, etc. that you just happen upon them while you are heading somewhere else. This stretches the day out so much you can have lunch at 3:30 and dinner at 10.

Ground Zero. A lot more thoughts here, but what struck me about these pictures is how little has been done in eight years. Construction has truly begun on the new buildings to be put in there, but there is still quite a hole. The place is surrounded by fence, most of which cannot be seen through. On the most crowded street corners near the WTC site, are people preaching that 9/11 was a cover up. They yell. They quietly stand and hand out pamphlets to any interested passersby, who, oftentimes, unsuspectingly take them and discover later on that the information proposes that 9/11 was an inside job. I took several pictures of this scene and I will probably put them up in a later post.

The maze of construction at Ground Zero. The site, no matter how cynical one can be about the way parts of it have been made into a tourist site or another place for locals to sell their NYC caps and shirts, will be sobering to the visitor at some point or another. More about this later, but overall, the whole experience shuts you up and shows you beautiful and grotesque things about our existence.

We walked from Ground Zero to the Hudson (not far at all). I am facing Jersey. Not too long after this a huge cruise ship went down the Hudson. I have pictures of that, but I couldn't post all 100+ pictures from this day.

Yes, we went. We went to Times Square. I was thinking this night, "Gosh, New Yorkers must avoid this place like the plague." It was good to walk through. As you can see, that took some time. But after the walk, Times Square really settles in as just a huge testament to capitalism and crappy restaurants (Olive Garden, Ruby Tuesday, McDonald's, Red Lobster). I know I am forgetting a lot here, but you get the point.

A reminder, you should be able to click on each picture to see a larger version of it.

Not the same thing

I don’t watch any of the cable news morning shows, but occasionally, when I am not in front of my computer at that morning hour, I will scan all three networks to see what they are talking about. Obviously, this morning, the talk is about the 8th anniversary of the September 11th attacks and Joe Wilson, the guy that yelled at the President, “You lie” in the middle of his address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night. On Morning Joe, Joe was, as far as I can tell, comparing Wilson’s shout in the middle of a presidential address to Hillary Clinton criticizing General Petraeus and choosing to not denounce an ad taken out by a left-wing group in the NY Times that called him a liar. Now, Clinton’s decision to ignore that ad and denounce it as an irresponsible and false accusation was unfortunate, but tell me again how that is on par with shouting down President Obama in the middle of a speech? Clearly, I am confused.

Friday, September 04, 2009

To New York

Kate and I are off to NYC tomorrow. She hasn't been there since 2001. I haven't been there since I was 7. The last time I was there, it was the trip to FAO Schwarz and the Statue of Liberty that were the biggest hits with me. We hope to see a lot while we are there, but we were most concerned, naturally, about where we were going to eat. We've had those places picked out for a while now. I'll save that blog for after the trip.

I am just finishing up packing and decided not to bring with me any of the books I am currently reading. You can't just read a page here and there of The Brothers Karamazov. And I am too close to finishing the other two to bring them on this trip. In addition to that, I always end up bringing way too many books on vacation anyway. The truth is, I don't read all that much on vacation. I like looking up, not looking down at the page while I am in a new land. However, it is sacrilege to go on any sort of trip without a book, so I am bringing along a Bill Bryson book. I've never read Neither Here Nor There and Bryson already made me laugh by the quote he opens the book with. It is from A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell:
William James describes a man who got the experience from laughing-gas; whenever he was under its influence, he knew the secret of the universe, but when he came to, he had forgotten it. At last, with immense effort, he wrote down the secret before the vision had faded. When completely recovered, he rushed to see what he had written. It was "A smell of petroleum prevails throughout."

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Down for the count

Oh Snap! Gmail is down and I can't procrastinate my writing in my usual manner.
What to do? What to do?

I'll write a blog about it.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Million Miles...

Donald Miller's new book, A Million Miles In A Thousand Years, will be shipping out in a few days and in bookstores in a couple of weeks. You can read the first 30 pages at his blog.

I have enjoyed all of Miller's books, but from the reviews I have read, A Million Miles is the follow up book that people expected after the massive success of Blue Like Jazz. You can visit Don's blog to read the book and check out a synopsis. There are ways to get a free book. More about that at his blog as well, but I encourage you--if you are going to read A Million Miles--to buy the book. Support a writer.

Friday, August 28, 2009


When I was applying to be a freelance writer for The Onion I thought I wasn’t going to tell anyone about my application so I wouldn’t have to field questions later on about the success of the application, etc. I didn’t hold to that plan. I ended up telling quite a few people about my application because I felt good about it. After spending a week coming up with all sorts of ideas I thought I had developed a strong list of story ideas and a strong script. I submitted the requested materials and waited.

I got the official rejection letter, or rather, rejection email, about a month ago. I just thought I’d share that here. Some of you have been asking about my application. Others, I know, have just assumed that it wasn’t a success because I would have found out by now and had it been a success I probably would have immediately shared that on this blog.

So, they didn’t like me this time around, but I already contacted them letting them know I am interested in re-applying, which is recognized as a good thing to do because of the competitive nature of the position. They will email me when they are again accepting submissions for freelance writers.

I’ll be waiting.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Few Pics

A random couple at the Signature Room on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Center.

I have so many pictures of the Bean, but it was nice to get a shot of it without a bunch of people crowded up against it. There was a lightning advisory while we were there.

Not a good picture, but this is the tower formerly known as the Sears Tower and now known as the Willis Tower and affectionally referred to as the Big Willy.