Sunday, June 7, 2009

New Blog

New blog site-

Only one post up there that explains the change. This blog will be left up for the time being but hoping to shift everything over to the new page.

As always and hopefully for the future, thanks for reading...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Jeff vs. The Hurdle

The events that transpired this morning may just have given me the opening scene to the movie about my life. Here's how it would go in script form:


"Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who is playing in the background of this scene. (If you don't know the song, here's the YouTube link you can play in the background as you read below)

Very early morning. Sun is bright at a low angle as it has recently risen. Temperature is brisk outside. Dew is still on the grass. Camera pans down to a group of 20 people spread out at the far end of the track. They're warming up for their upcoming boot camp exercise class.

Ok, let's get started

Individual/small group shots of the various people working out are shown. Most are in distress, having a look on their face of "Why is she doing this to us?" Some are troopers and fighting through the pain. Random comments and groans are thrown about the crowd.

JEFF (V.O. (voiceover))
I am not a morning person. Will never claim to be. Sure, at 6 AM, there have been moments of alertness over my 30 years of being on this earth. But after jumping jacks, running planks, bleacher climbs, and endless squats, alertness, clarity, and well, just about every ability related to my mind goes out the window.

JEFF is still not seen as the camera continues to pan through the increasing pain. The WORKOUT TRAINER demonstrates with ease the different exercises she wants the group to do. The WORKOUT TRAINER only counts in two sets of 10 as if she's enjoying the fact that once she gets to 10, she starts over again at 1. Also along the way, the WORKOUT TRAINER is very supportive giving good comments to the group and individuals.

We've all been there. You're barely awake but there's still an enjoyment in the air. The sky holds some broken, sweeping clouds. Birds are chirping in the distance...

Camera pans to WORKOUT TRAINER in the middle of the voiceover.

WORKOUT TRAINER (in the background but still audible)
Sidesteps around the track!

WORKOUT TRAINER demonstrates three of four sidesteps

WORKOUT TRAINER (in the background)
Watch out for the hurdles!

The workout group staggers out onto the track. The camera starts a large pan into the group.

JEFF (Continuing V.O.)
... you know, one of those moments where you look up at the sky and think, 'This is a beautiful day."

The group continues their side steps. Some get ahead of others. The camera gets closer to the group. It slowly starts at the back and pans through different people's faces.

You know, I probably shouldn't have put that much thought into the sky or the birds or the clouds. Especially at 6 in the morning. Should have paid more attention to reality...

Camera centers in on JEFF who doesn't look too winded, sidestepping along with ease.

Camera steps back to see JEFF suddenly sidestep onto the crossbar at the bottom end of a hurdle. He looks down, not fully aware of what's happening. His feet start to get caught up. With full force, his body starts to fall into the hurdle as it falls towards the ground.

Writer/Director note- make sure that the song is exactly at 7:46 for this next part.

Camera freezes on JEFF's face midway through his tumbling towards the earth. It's a face of surprise with signs of angst.

Hi, my name is Jeff, and this is my life.

JEFF continues to not exactly know what is happening. His feet become tangled. His body twists towards the direction his force is moving. He puts his hands up to try and stop the fall. They do a fairly good job of absorbing the impact. But his face smacks flat into the track with his mouth literally becoming one with the track gravel. His head bounces off the track.

JEFF puts his hands underneath him and pushes himself off the ground. Other workout people start to come to help.

One random event after another. I swear there have about 100 random incidents in my life where, if there were a home video camera on me, I'd win that $100,000 on America's Funniest Home Videos. You've just witness number 101.

JEFF continues to get up, checking for blood near his lip and nose. He also checks the fake front tooth he has to make sure it wasn't broken. It's fine. Some of the workout group assure him he's not bleeding.

The things that go through my head I also wish could be recorded. Take for example that the only thing I was thinking as my head ricocheted off the ground was, "Wow, that track is pretty spongy. I barely even felt that faceplant".

JEFF continues to dust the red gravel off his hands and knees. His face not only becomes red from embarrassment but also from the red gravel he picked up as makeup as he made out with the ground.

JEFF (smiling)
I'm ok. Just a little scratched up.

JEFF continues to sidestep on.

Oh, and as you'll learn, I've had a ton of great jobs. From wearing a Tiger costume to docking boats and pumping out their, wait, knowing my life, this is a PG rated movie. I bring this up because I've just picked up another job, removing the hurdles from the track before workout class.


Much more editing that needs to happen but it's a first draft on what was an interesting morning:-)

Thanks for reading...

Chris and Stacy's Graduation

4 years of Law School. To me it seems like yesterday that the family was sitting on the Loyola Marymount lawn watching him graduate from undergrad. But here we are, 4 years later, and Chris is officially a lawyer.

But let's not forget the Kobe to his Shaq, the Joe Torre to his Derek Jeter, the Jim Halpern to his Michael Scott, the Oprah to his Rachel Ray... Congrats to Stacy for graduating too! Also, a big thank you for her help in supporting/coaching my brother through these past four years!

This year though,there was an added bonus. Each year, two students are chosen to give the student reflection speech at graduation, one from the day section, and the other from the night section. This year, Chris's speech was selected from the evening section to address the graduates.

No words really to say other than it was a hell of a speech. Video below with a brief glimpse of the after party with Chris and Stacy's friends and family.

End of Another Year in Residence Life

A big thank you to the students that I was able to work with this year in the apartment area. Special thanks to the Community Advocates who are graduate students living and working with me in the apartment area.

Each year in May, there is a large banquet to celebrate the accomplishments of the staff and to award those who have worked hard to connect and enhance student life. In addition to these awards and acknowledgments, there is also a "Res Life by the Numbers" in which funny and sentimental numbers are provided on the work all the staff did. This year myself and the great Matt Colaprete stepped up to the mike and did our best. Below is the video taken by Uche Okereke, one of the CAs in the apartment area.

Thanks again to the students and staff for a great year!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Brief List Of Things To Say Before I Die

I think a lot of us have those moments we remember when we've said the perfect thing at the perfect time. Whether it was helping out a friend or taking a stand on something, the right phrase can create a lasting memory.

Now, I'm not talking movie lines or pick-up lines (I'm good at one of those...), I talking about those statements that the world seems to just stop for. It's a moment when there's a dramatic pause where the person who hears it takes a brief moment to let it marinate in their mind before reacting.

Don't know when I might be able to break these out but I'm hoping that, at some point, I can say these without flinching or second guessing it's use:
  • "Now if you'll excuse me, I have a plane to catch"- Who says that nowadays? Everything in our lives is so planned out that we can't just interrupt a meeting or event to say this line. Usually what gets said is, "Hey, can we make this quick, I've got to get somewhere." I picture saying this line after successfully handling a heated debate, putting on my suit jacket, and walking out the door. Problem is that my next line would probably be, "Now where the heck did I put my suitcase..."
  • "No, that's ok. I'm going to pay cash"- I'm hoping in the future that I can walk onto a car lot, pick out a nice convertible, listen to the salesperson give their speeches about the features. Then, as they break into the financing discussion, I can politely put up my hand to stop him/her, dramatic beat as he/she thinks, "Who the heck does this guy think he is?", and I give them the line that will change their thinking to, "Jackpot".
  • "You're going to need to push me out of this thing"- I was chatting the other day with someone who's been skydiving. I told him I could never do it. Kinda true. I don't think my legs could get up from the side of the plane, walk over to the door, and take the leap. I'd really have to have the tandem guy/girl carry me like a baby over to the door. Or maybe I can get knocked out somehow only to have them give me an epi-pen (not in the heart!) right as I'm standing in the door.
  • "I think a pool would look nice back here"- My grandparents had a pool in their backyard. It was home to birthday parties, graduation parties, huge 4th of July parties, and epic battles involving a beach ball and someone jumping off the diving board (going to be the subject of a whole other blog post). Granted, we were only there for the fun times, so I imagine there was a lot of other times where it was a big frustration to them. But I have always wanted to be looking inside a new home, starring out from a back glass door, with my arm around my wife, and saying this line. Which would be even cooler if after we both looked at each other, we turn to the realtor, and in unison, say, "We'll take it!" (ok, it's cheesy, but it's my cheesy)
  • "I have all the time in the world"- Just to make someone's day to know that they have my full attention no matter how long they need it.
There's probably more but this is what was in my head as I'm trying to get to sleep tonight. Let me know if you think of any other ones.

Thanks for reading....

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

"Because I said so..."

She'll probably kill me for starting off her birthday post with that statement but, Mom, give it a few minutes. It'll all come full circle in a second.

"Because I said so" seemed to be her favorite term when I was growing up. I vowed many times, as I was stomping up the stairs, that I would never, ever, use that phrase with my kids. Well, lo and behold, I actually broke it out today in dealing with a few students on campus. "Because I said so" was a mantra that I could never buy into. I kept thinking, "Who the heck does she think she is?" (STOMP) "Why does she think she's so smart?" (STOMP) I honestly just pounded my foot against the floor instinctively.

So, to the topic at hand, your birthday. I have some birthday thoughts using that favorite statement of yours...
  • Because I said so, my mom is a darn good cook. Cookies, cakes, dinners, lunches, picnics, parties, etc. All egg free, nut free affairs. Covered many times before but, because I said so, she's a darn good cook.
  • Because I said so, my mom is a darn good nurse. ER was one of those shows that connected with a lot of people. For me and my family, it gave us one more insight to my mom as she grew through her 20s and 30s. As an ER nurse herself, I remember turning to her to see her face during some of the episodes we would watch as kids. The stories she would tell about her friends, about the doctors, and about some of the patients were priceless. One story I remembered as I called her during the series finale was that she was involved in a historic surgery. Serving as a nurse during the first artificial heart transplant, she was in and around the room as medical history was unfolding.
  • Because I said so, my mom is a good driver. I have no idea where we were coming back from but my friend Joe was in the car with my brother, my sister, my mom and I. I was ticked about something that day and Joe and Chris knew it. Seizing the opportunity, they didn't just sit around and let the opportunity pass by... nooooo... they grabbed it by the horns and rode it right on through. I then say something stupid and my mom starts in on me. As I sat there, very politely, hands crossed like a good little angel... yea who am I kidding, I was spewing out words with the arms flailing, being all sorts of dramatic in the middle seat of the van. But then those magic words came out of my mouth, "That's it. Pull the car over. I'm getting out and walking." A little setting background for you. Wynantskill is at the top of a hill, ney, a mountain, that begins in Troy where this is taking place. About 15 minutes away from my house, I blurt out these words not even thinking she'll stop the car. BBRRRRRRUUUUUTTTTTTT. Car stops. Without even a beat, her head turns around, and I think it was Joe who slides open the van door right on cue. My bluff had been called. My drama level went from "Melting Wicked Witch of the West" crazy to jaw dropping silence. To be honest, I think that was the turning point of realizing, this woman doesn't mess around. Sure there were some incidents after this but, I don't know if she ever knew the impact that driving moment of clarity had on me.
  • Because I said so, my mom is a darn good mom. It's true in many ways that I wouldn't be here without her. When people ask about how I found out about my allergies, I tell them the story and include that on the way to the hospital, I had to be thrown in the air in order to get me to breathe (it's apparently a baby's instinctive reaction to take a breath at the top of the throw). If I had been born to any other person, would I still be here? Those late nights of breathing treatments where I dug my teeth into the mouth piece as I could barely breathe from asthma, angry that she was making me do those, she stuck by me and rubbed my back at 3am while saying, "Take deep breaths." Because I said so, I think I don't have major asthma and allergy issues because she was a darn good mom in staying strong through some tough times.
Because I said so, I hope she had a Happy Birthday today. Thanks Mom for all the support you not only give me but the entire family.


Thanks for reading...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ode to Seasonal Allergies

French horn bellows from the orchestra... Violin tuning... Flutes and clarinets play a run.... and the drum section does a wicked solo that amazes the crowd (ok, so maybe that last part would never happen...)

Tap, tap, tap from the conductor that gathers the attention of everyone. He/She raises their hand and the instruments come to a ready position.

The Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel begins to play. (For those who might not know this classic, here's a reminder)

Hello seasonal allergies my old friend
It seems that we have met again
The pollen outside is just starting
The grass that once was yellow is now greening
And the sunflowers that are slowing growing in the grass
Soon will change
To the bane of my existence

In restless weather, my nose alone
cannot avoid the yellow storm
Neath the buds of the treetops
I turned my car to supermarket
Where my body and my cart dashed right to Kleenex aisle
Split the family
That blocked my Puffs without lotion

And let's not forget my aching head
Ten pounds of pressure, maybe more
Nose spray doesn't do the trick
Nose spray kinda makes me sick
It's the ache that Tylenol just won't cure
twice a year
In the spring and in the fall

Oh and I hear about that Neti-Pot
People left and right talk about it a lot
fill the pot with warm salt water
then one end goes in which ever nostril
Let me stop you right there because that just isn't natural
I could drown
from this contraption that's really a torture device

And then people thought I was crying
actually no they called it sobbing
all that pollen made all these tears?
Itching them was not helping
and the doctor said "Don't itch them cause you'll only make them worse"
what's he know
about the bane of my existence

Thanks for reading...

Monday, April 13, 2009

It's Been a While

No excuses for not posting other than not much to report. Things continue to go well with the family. My Dad is back to work. My Mom is diligently solving the world's problems. Chris is graduating in a few weeks from law school (and the lucky punk not only played Trump National but also picked the winner of the Masters Tourney). And Amy is still having fun out in Boston. No complaints.

But one update to pass along. Starting in Junior High, acting became a big part of my life. I did a few shows a year both at whatever school I was attending and in community theater. As life has continued to change recently, I found myself getting back into somethings that I sacrificed.

One day I hopped on Craigslist and ended up in the actors wanted section. As I looked through, a lot of jobs were asking for a headshot. I'm still at the point, and probably will be for many many years to come, when I think to myself, "Hmmm... Maybe I should go back to a cheaper hobby?" Headshots are expensive. So for a while, I put the thought in the back of my head.

Fast forward about a month and I'm sitting in a club meeting for a group I advise. At the end, I randomly pipe up with, "Anyone know of someone who takes headshots?" The only thing heard in the room was the "whoosh" of everyone's head as they turn towards a woman in the room who laughs, dramatic beat, then says, "Um, yea. Me?". Come to find out, she needs someone to model for her for a class project. So we agree that she takes the headshots, I'll do what's needed for the pictures she needs.

Now, side story, yes, the face did turn red (about a 2 on the Red-Face-O-Meter) as I said, "But you know, there's just some stuff I won't do...". To which she turned red and said, "No! It's not that type of project." Laughter, laughter, laughter, and Jeff's face getting even redder (bump it up to a 6)...

Below are some of the outtakes from the headshots and from the pictures for her project. Thanks to Katie Gio for her awesome photo taking abilities.

Thanks for reading...

Friday, March 13, 2009

At my brother's request...

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the future top lawyers of America.