Monday, March 06, 2006

habits

Establishing new habits is difficult. Especially for me. I always find that I struggle to maintain consitency with different area's of my life. Specifically in this case, blogging. I like to start things, but then I run into a dry patch, and fall into a nine month blogging "hole."

This relates to a much broader more important aspect of my life that lacks. I've been thinking a lot lately about the concept of excellence in work and in life. Excellence means finishing strong. I usually start the first "quarter" of something well, but come the fourth quarter I'm on the bench needing an oxygen mask. Why is it so hard to finish well?

Friday, March 03, 2006

quiet

quietly I will make another entrance through the back door of the blogging theater that gets bigger everyday. No mass e-mail campaigns attempting bring myself traffic. No "comment pasting" on all of my friends sites letting them know I'm back up and running. Because I may not be. This may be my last post for another 6 months. But ever so quietly, I am blogging again...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The countdown begins...



I've sent this out as an e-mail to quite a few people, and since I haven't blogged in awhile, I thought I'd post this in case there are some that might have missed it or something...

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always had a love hate
relationship with countdowns. As a kid I loved
counting down to Christmas and my birthday, even
through the sheer agony of watching the days on the
calendar drag by. I remember especially Christmas
night tossing and turning not being able to stand
those last 8 or so hours until I could jump out of
bed, run in to my parent’s bedroom and jump on the
bed, “It’s Christmas, wake up, wake up! It’s time to
open presents!” Now I’m a bit older, and I’ve found
that in some ways, those days of counting down will
never end. I’m 22, and I’ve reached another countdown
stage, and I’m back to being a kid again. I can’t
sleep; I toss and turn thinking about…

… getting married to my soon to be bride!

Yes Stephanie and I are officially engaged!!!!!!!!!!!
The big question was popped on August 31st 2005,
around 11:13 in the morning. I finished up an
internship with Nike the end of July, and one day
while sitting at work I thought, “Hmm, what am I going
to do for the next month? Oh, I know, I’ll go back to
the states, see my family, earn some money, and maybe
buy a ring!” And to make a long story short, that’s
exactly what I did (though there is more to it than
that), I went home for three weeks, spent time with my
family, worked in the heat, and bought a ring
(pictures below). I flew out of Kansas City on August
30, and walked onto the plane knowing that the next
person that I would see would be Stephanie and that
when I did, I would ask her to marry me. Needless to
say, it was a LOONGG flight, and the combination of
nervousness, butterflies, and airplane food made it
longer. But I eventually made it, got my bags, walked
out the door prepared to ask her as soon as I saw her.
But as I got closer, it just wasn’t right, too many
people, and too little walkway space for other
passengers to get by. “Oh well, I can ask her at
home.” I thought. (Ok, in reality I got a bit
nervous)--- We had to catch a train to get back home,
which we missed. So I said, let’s get something to
drink. On the way to get someone a coffee fix (no
names will be mentioned who that is). We walked passed
a familiar bench that the two of us always end up
sitting on when one of us flies back to the States.
I asked if we could sit down a second. I set my bag
down, and asked if she wanted to see an x-ray of an
injury that I recently had. While she held that up to
the light examining it, I had gotten on one knee to
“look through my bag” and when she looked down I
opened up the little black box, and got to ask the
words she’s been waiting so long to hear, “Stephanie,
will you marry me?” The next few hours are a blur of
catching up, reading letters to each other, some
“don’t ever leave me agains,” and some kisses for good
measure. All that to say that;

We are ecstatic to announce that we are engaged!

Monday, July 25, 2005

feeling the burn

After the most successful week of blogging I've ever had (a record three posts), I'm feeling the pinch to continue the upward trend. alas I don't feel like I have anything to write. I have noticed though, that I have great difficulty blogging about anything while at work, which is when I have any time to sit down and write for a good chunk of time. The reason for the difficulty is that I struggle to switch from working, to doing anything other than just that. I work in Hilversum, which is about a 30 minute train ride from my home in Amsterdam, or an hour from door to door. So when I get up in the morning and get ready for work, I have that 60 minute time of relaxing, reading or just generally gearing up for the day, and by the time I arrive at my desk, I'm ready to go. I come in, do my hours, have what they call a lunch break at Nike (that's a blogworthy experience I'll talk about sometime), and then head home. But before I reach home, and back to the homelife, I have that hour to unwind, reset my mind, and gear up for whatever I happen to be doing that night. But I really struggle to push out anything creative here at work, probably because I'm at the bottom of a very large machine doing menial tasks that involve ctrl + c and ctrl + v over and over again. Not quite the creative environment for expounding on how I've come up with an idea for a way to create an Ipod IV that inserts a Starbucks mocha drug of choice right into your veins while blogging on the run ( sorry... couldn't resist).

I will continue to push through, and eventually I will come up with a theme for my spot in space, and maybe if I'm lucky, I'll be a must read.

Monday, July 18, 2005

In need of less substance.

My last two posts have been blog novel length, and I've decided that today's post will be in essence, nothing. Helemal niks. I'm not sure if its a good idea drown my small, but loyal readers in more "Violent" or "Racist" posts that are more than 1500 words for a little while. So a few more real life updates.

1 More hour until I'm done with work

2 pairs of shoes bought for other people today at Nike (50% employee discount brings people out of the woodwork.

3 weeks in a row that it has been an American tourist walking on the bike path on the way to football.

4 warm mushy pieces of cheese left in my pack from lunch. (I think I'm going to throw them out now)

5 shoarma or kebabs I've had for dinner in the last two weeks.

6 weeks until school starts

7 days until my last monday morning having to wake up early to get to work. (I have vacation through august while I get a new work permit, then I start again in September.

8 bottles of water that I have drank/drunk/gulped/downed, at work today.

9 times 3-1 =26, number of unanswered e-mails in my inbox.

9 1/2 Number of blog worthy events, ideas, thoughts I have by tomorrow.

10 years before I try and do another post with lists on it....

Friday, July 15, 2005

A confrontation of epic proportions

In what will be a decidedly personal heart revealing soul searching post… I have decided to describe some events that transpired in the evening before last.

Before I do though, I would like to say that I acted in a completely cowardly manner, but that I would act the same way if put in the same circumstances again, and I refuse to apologize for my behavior.

I am not above personal phobia’s. Everyone has some sort of death grip, cold sweat inducing, heart stopping phobia. It could be spiders, bugs, snakes. Or hair in the shower drain, a flat Pepsi, or even worse a flat beer. We’re strange creatures. That is my one “qualification” for reading this post, you’ve gotta have some sort of phobia.

The other night I got back from a lovely evening hanging out with some friends, eating some Salmon drinking a bit of wine, and enjoying a generally heavenly Amsterdam Wednesday night. I got home, posted the incredibly well written work of non-fiction that you may or may not have just read. Sent a few e-mails and then headed off to be around 11:130, needing a good nights sleep for work the next day. Really though I needed a good sleep because I “have” to play a 5 a side indoor football/soccer match on my lunch break that I wanted to be rested for (yes, have I mentioned I love my job working at Nike?). I drifted off pretty quickly, but must have not fallen into the normal trancelike wouldn’t hear a semi-truck driving through my room state that is normal for me, because I started drifting into consciousness around 1 o ‘clock to a very curious sound…

If you’ve read any of my other blogs (which is highly unlikely) you’ll know that in Amsterdam, everyone has a rodent problem. My apartment is directly above a great Spanish tapas bar and we get the occasional mouse. Or sometimes the occasional mice family complete with aunts, uncles, and 3rd cousins named Louigi, as was the case last summer. In what is a now fabled 2-3 week period we caught somewhere around 25 mice, sometimes catching 2 or 3 a day. We changed around food storage methods, completely disinfected our apartment of all mouse (mice?) traces, and haven’t had a problem since, except for the odd visitor. I think everyone in this city has mice; I’d even venture to guess that the mice population is greater than the human population in Amsterdam. But generally you don’t seen them and an unspoken “we’ll only show our face when you’re not around” policy has been reached between our ambassadors except for a few of the rogue terrorist mice that are sometimes seen.

The scratching sound continued until I was fully awake and I began to process the fact that there was completely well intentioned mouse that was following the terms of the international peace accord, but had got “stuck” in my room, and was not trying to escape, unsuccessfully, through the crack in the door. When the ramifications of this settled into my groggy brain, I shot up in bed to listen a bit more intently to see if what my ears had heard could be true. OH the horror, it was. I cannot stand mice, as evidenced by the cold sweat that I had broken into once I discovered that I was in the presence of a mouse. How to this problem of a mouse in my room? I share a room with someone and therefore the screaming option wasn’t going to work, neither was the stand with both feet on the desk and turn on the light and hope the mouse flees to some far of corner of world where I never see/hear it again. I’m stuck in my bed, in the dark, with nothing between me and a giant Jonas eating mouse but a pair of grungy boxer shorts. I have no shot-gun, no mouse incinerator, and worst of all I forgot to fall a sleep with my shoes on so I’m in my bare feet. I decide that my best bet is to stand up on my bed, stretch as far as I can, open the door for the little furry blue collar worker, and hope that he finds that little corner of the world that I think he’d do just fine in. I open the door, and see nothing, so I gently step from my bed onto the bedside table, and then jump from there out into the hall where there is a bit of light, and that I’m certain that my little toes are safe. I then go into the living room and put on my shoes, grab my phone with its little night light, set a few mouse traps in the hallway for my friend, tiptoe back into my room, and climb into bed clad in boxers and Nike Shox and sit there in a cold sweat jumping at every noise that I hear for the next hour.

Its now around 2:30 or so. I’m a bit tired now so I lie down, and try to fall asleep. I begin to drift, but the whole sweating thing starts again as I hear noises on the other side of the room coming from my roommate’s desk/bed direction. I decide that my best bet for keeping the giant, rabid, drooling beast from eating me is to make noise. For the next hour, every five minutes, I move around on my bed, making sure to move the sheets a lot, slowly moving the chair next to my bed, scratching it on the floor, and just generally make as much quiet noise as I can, careful not to wake my roommate, but keep the mouse away from sprinting across the room, jumping onto my bed and attacking my face leaving me with stitches on 7 different places on my face and chest.

Its now 3:30. and I’m tired again. I lay down to drop and sleep, and right before I’m starting to drift I hear a heart warming SNAP of the mouse trap. I guess my quiet noise plan worked, and the little terrorist fled into the hallway to seek relief and sustenance in my peanut butter laden death trap. Unfortunately though, from the squeals and flopping taking place, it sounds like the mouse wasn’t just a blue collar worker, but was maybe a member of a giant mouse government think-tank, because he was smart enough to not get his head in the way of the deathtrap, and its come down on some other appendage, which little Einstein is now trying to get free of.

For another hour or so every five minutes or so I can hear rapid shakes of the trap, banging against doors, and the sound of the trap actually leaving the apartment floor, and then crashing down again as the mouse jumps into the air trying to free itself of its weight. Around 4:30 or so I begin to follow asleep again because the noise has become less frequent, and I think Einstein has traveled to the other end of the hall and has enlisted the aid of several other well represented mouse nations (and cousin Louigi) in a campaign to free itself from the tyranny and terror of my mouse trap. Just as I’m drifting off at around 5 o’clock, the noise gets louder, and it sounds like the mouse summit has decided that the best solution to the terror problem is a face to face confrontation out side my door, because I now hear the trap literally slamming, over and over again, against my bedroom door. Now I’m a smart guy as well, and I decide that the best way to counter act the measures that this mouse has taken is to put my fingers in my ears, my head under the pillow, and turn a deaf ear to the slamming protest that is taking place outside my door. I’ve decided that my best option is to hope that the nation of England that lies sleeping in the next bed will hear the protest and take care of the problem. England is a pretty good sleeper though, because I lay with my fingers plugged in my ears for at least 15 minutes, possibly 20, but finally England wakes up, bails me out and opens the door. I’m pretending to be asleep, but have taken my fingers out of my ears to hear the negotiations between the two sovereign nations of England and Moustistein. Apparently both parties were surprised to see each other, as the open door is quickly slammed shut by England, and Moustistein goes scurrying down the hall, dragging my weapon of terror behind it, for an emergency committee meeting with the other sovereign mouse nations (and cousin Louigi).

England decides to act quickly, and I hear the rustling of clothes and shoes as its armada is readied. The hallway door opens and the final meeting of juggernauts of our modern apartment society is set, one that will be fatal for one of the nations involved. Or at least I hope it will be so I can fall asleep and not have to listen to the noises anymore, its almost 6 o’clock dang it, and I have an important football game in the morning! A few seconds later I hear several slams of justice, lots of mousetrap flopping, mixed in with broom and dust pan sweeping sounds… and incredibly from the dust pan… MORE mousetrap flopping. I guess this one has a large will to live. At that point the mouse is taken care of, England has saved me again (and I’m sure has more details on the fatal confrontation), and I can sleep in peace.

All that to say.

I have a phobia for mice.

Don’t laugh.

What’s yours?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

beware of of racists fietsers

I successfully made the transition to blogspot from xanga, but maintained my flawless record at being a horrendous blogger. I struggle with what to do with this thing. Coming up with a theme or point and taking the time to post a bunch of words for other people to read isn't easy. Lately I've been reading (what I think) are some fantastic blogs, and its inspired me to think about what I should do here. So far the best stuff I can come up with though is rip off in a jonasesque form of the other blogs that I've been reading. and that would be a travesty. So I will continue to mull over my few options (what I did at work today, what I did at home today, what I saw today, etc) and continue to post at a once per U2 tour pace.

I promised a few people that I found the event that was going to get me back into blogging, and so here goes.

Each sunday I, along with my skinny but has an english accent so that's cute, roommate dutifully get up and head to the biggest field in Amsterdam to play some football. There is a happening that takes place each sunday that has continually made me laugh throughout the week. For the past two months or so, this certain "happening" has not ceased to happen, at the same time, at the same place, each Sunday. First some background....

I know that I have no grounds for being a racist in this manner, because God knows I spent the first year being one, and in most respects still am one... but I cannot STAND some of the tourists that make it into the city that I now call home. Living here for three years now, I have developed a knack at not only picking out the tourists from the non-tourists, but also, where they are from. The Americans are usually a bit bigger than everybody else, and dress in shorts and tennis shoes (like what I'm wearing now, shame on me...), the English are loud, a bit obnoxious and seem to always travel in packs celebrating in typical english fashion some friends stagdoo (bachelor party). The spanish are a bit darker, and wear bigger sunglasses than everyone else. the italians are equally dark, but much hairier (body hair and otherwise)... The tourist description may be for another post. For our purposes today we are talking about the generic tourist. The can be seen all over the place. Stepping out into traffic with out looking, stepping out into the bike path without looking (an equally dangerous offense), walking around gazing dazedly at the sky, buildings, shops, and everywhere but where they may be happen to be walking, and what form of potentially fatal form of transportation, public or otherwise, maybe bearing down on them.

On my way to play football I go by a certain stretch of road that I will admit is a bit tricky. All non main streets in Amsterdam are one way streets. On each "street" you will usually find a side walk, meant for people that are on foot. These paths are marked by generic grey concrete. These are also marked by a curb so that cars know not to travel on the side walk. Next to each sidewalk is the street, which is not intended for people who are on foot. ever. period. (unless you live here and have a 6th sense for these things... like me). This street is divided into two sections, on for cars, and one for bikes. The bike path is important for us in this post. The bike path is marked by red brinks and has a very confusing sign that shows what the given path is for. I've been told that it is a bike, but I can't be for sure. But I am told that when you see a bike on the ground, you shouldn't be walking on given stretch of red concrete. if you are, you are on the bikesuper highway and are in very grave danger.

On this particular stretch of street, there is a side walk, then the street for cars, and on the other side is a very narrow bike path, and then a sparkling clean sewage filled canal. Dangerous. Each Sunday I travel down this stretch of Amsterdam. And each Sunday I run across a tourist who is doing the glazed over staring at the shops, birds, canal thing again, and is completely unaware of my rapid approach from behind.

the last few Sundays I have been on the lookout ahead of time to make sure I am doing my part at saving our tourists friends life. if I like ahead enough, it saves me the hassle of trying not accidentally kill someone on my bike when they step out onto the path a half second before I run over them. But I also look ahead to see what unfortunate soul it will be that will wander on to my turf and cause me to test the strength of the brakes on my bike. This Sunday I was a few hundred yards away from the said stretch of street, and saw 4 large (americans) people approaching the bike path. As I approached them from behind, I decided to just swerve and avoid the pepper in the eyes irritation of screeching to a halt and narrowly avoiding a bath in Jeroen's shoarma leftovers in the canal next to the bike path. As I drew level with our heroes, I glanced to my right to get a look at the tourists, and discoved, to my horror, that they are getting smarter. The older one, had stopped everyone who was behind him, who then had proceeded to fan out, now ENTIRELY blocking the bike path (putting all of them in great dangerous from several hundred other equally racist amsterdamins like myself), and gaze at what the oldest one was pointing at on the ground. All the while looking around wondering if this sign on the ground could be true. Could it be...?


it was a bike. there was a sign of a bike on the ground. or what appears to resemble a bike. A bike that could signify almost possible certain death coming from behind in the form of me. I wonder if they'll ever know the narrow escape from death that they had...