Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Hot Shots & Hot Girls

Last night Rick and I drove up to L.G. after having dinne with Mike at the Sushi Thai Garden to meet up with Josh, Dave Long andHot_shots_with_friends_32206_009
Jeremy Byers for some drinks.  By the time Rick and I got to Byers' apartment he was 3 sheets to the wind.. haha.. We had a few beers there then headed downtown to Hot Shots for the night.  Pitchers closed down last fall and was bought out to become the Hot Shots sports bar.  They added flat screen tv's on the wall, different food offerings and the smallest hip hop dance floor I've ever Hot_shots_with_friends_32206_008
seen.  They've also hired the hottest bar back girls I've seen anywhere in this area to simply walk around and look beautiful and occassionally dance on the bar and stage.... Pretty nice job.  I met three that night, Susie, Lindsay and Ashley.  I ended up talking to Ashley a bit about her  fondness for embalming dead bodies...(pictured next to me) haha.  She seemed to be interested in the dead guy I now have built into my knee.  AprilHot_shots_with_friends_32206_004
showed up around midnight and Megan Baxter dropped in after that.  At one point some hipster doofus sitting at the bar wearing a beanie was putting his hands all over a few girls that Dave Long knew.  Now I don't stand for this Hot_shots_with_friends_32206_018
behavior from anyone so I walked right up to him and said, "listen.. you better watch yourself because I'm watching you and so are my 6 friends behind me".  10 minutes later he quietly left much to the happiness of the girls he was physically harassing.  After a few more Guiness' (my current favorite choice for beer) I took off to take Rick home so he could get to work on time the next day.  Great night and a fun time with all my buddies. 


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Heading to Oregon

I recieved word today from Oregon State finally.  Until today I had only known I was accepted academically to Oregon State but I did not know about any research assistantships.  Well today I finally heard from my graduate advisor Professor Anne Trehu that funding has come in and she can offer me nearly 1800 a month for a research assistantship with her.  My tuition is also covered while attending school there for my PhD.  I will be heading out there later this summer to start my research with her on earthquakes off the Pacific Northwest Coast.  The school is located in Corvalis, OR.  It is a small college town of 49,000 people, 19,000 of which are OSU students.  I'm very excited.  Oregon... here I come!


Sunday, March 19, 2006

Into the mountains to find myself

    Over the past few days I've had something very serious to deal with and I've had a hard time so I decided it was time for me to head to the mountains to clear my head.  When I hike it allows me time by myself to contemplate my position in life and to think about the events that happen in my life.  I feel like when I'm in the mountains I can reason better and see things more clearly.  Although my body is overworked and pushed to it's physical limits I'm always left with a mind at ease. 
    I decided to try to climb Mt. Abraham just above Sugarbush ski resort and then climb the Lincoln ridge over to Mt. Ellen.  I wasn't sure what the conditions would be on my hike so I decided to pack all the necessary essentials for a hard core winter trip.  I packed extra shells, extra fleece, crampons, snowshoes, my ski boots, and my Salomon Pocket Rocket Skis strapped to the outside of my bag.  All packed my trusty Mountainsmith Bugaboo bag weighed about 40lbs give or take 5.  I ate pizza for some carbs and went to bed around 1:30am. 
    I woke up at 8am this morning and was out of the house by 8:45.  Driving through Rutland and onto Route 100 towards Sugarbush I ran into flurries which soon turned into snow.  I got to Sugarbush at 11am, parked and began my hike up the ski slopes.  On the way up I had a mixture of "Hey, you know there are chairlifts buddy" and "Awesome, way to earn your turns bro".   After climbing for just 30 minutes with the pack I felt like I would never make it.  My legs were burning, I was out of breath and the pack was so heavy it was cutting off a nerve on my left shoulder making my arm and part of my left leg go numb.  I took off my hat and gloves and continued on through the blowing snow up the slope.  My legs gradually adjusted and my shoulder strap finally found a comfortable position on my left shoulder.  I stopped briefly for about 10 minutes at Allyn's Lodge Waffle House 3/4 of the way up the mountain to catch my breath.  Since I was climbing the whole time in long underwear and shorts when I returned outside for my bag I promptly started to freeze.
    Gradually I regained my warm and found myself climbing a switchback ski trail called Allyn'sCimg2837 Traverse to the top of Lincoln Peak.  I stashed my ski boots and skis in the brush to lighten my pack for my traverse over the ridge to Mt. Abrahams exposed summit.  Just before I left Lincoln Peak
the sun broke through and provided theCimg2842 only clear shot of the Lincoln Ridge towards Mt. Ellen that I would see the entire day.  It was an easy traverse with my snowshoes with minimal elevation gain or
loss over Little Abe to Mt. Abraham.  I stopped briefly for a few quick photos of myself on the summit for documentation then booked it back to Lincoln Peak.   Just before I got to Lincoln again I ate a turkey sandwich I had picked up on my drive in the morning and pounded a bottle of powerade.  It was the first food I'd had since a small bowl of cherios at 8am.  It was now 2pm.
    I followed the trail down Lincoln Peak into the woods which became a disaster... because my skis were strapped to the side of my bag they stood about 2.5 feet higher than my head... This was a big problem because in winter the tree branches that are usually 4 feet above your head on a trail are now head level due to the 5 ft of snowpack under your feet.  This meant that negotiating the trail was impossible with my skis on my bag because they kept getting caught on branches and knocking large quantities of snow down my neck and back.  So I decided to take them off and carry them by hand.  The trail was very icy at first and I fell and crawled about 30 yards before I was able to maintain footing on my snowshoes again.  Then the trail popped onto the ski slope unexpectadly.  This confused me as I thought I had lost my way somehow but after 10 minutes of nearly considering just heading down I found the Long Trail heading into the woods again.  The trail from here over to Castlerock Peak was packed down by skiers so it was easier but I was also carring heavy downhill skis in one hand so it was extremely streneous.  I could see where skiers had veered off the trail to hit cliff zones and duck into the trees... I'm definitely going to sugarbush someday skiing to hit that area myself! 
    Finally I got to Castlerock Peak where I hid my skis once again.  I decided to not bother taking my ski boots out of my bag... kind of as an extra challenge for myself while heading to Mt. Ellen.  Mt. Ellen was a challenge.  As soon as the Long trail entered the woods from the ski trail I could see Cimg2838
that no one had been there before me for a very long time (see pic on left - that is the trail).  As a mountaineer it is not wise to go off into the woods in winter breaking trail by yourself.  The only reason I knew it was safe was because I was on a very accessible ridge line between two popular ski resorts where rescue wasCimg2847
very possible and fast, also my cellphone had reception up there.  So I decided to push on breaking trail the entire way through 7"-14" snow and drifts on the ridge.  After passing over Cutts Peak I was teased by about 6 false summits, a semi-broken snowshoe (thankfully I was able to tie up or I would have been screwed) and my ipod running out of batteries before finally reaching Mt. Ellen.  I could see the ski trails of the other half of Sugarbush but was too exhausted to check them out.  It was 4:15 and I was running out of daylight so I quickly took some picks then turned around.
    I made it back to Castlerock peak at about 4:50pm and had the worst, most painful time getting my now frozen solid ski boots onto my feet.   Thankfully I was able to find a bench near a closed and locked warming hut to get some leverage.  The plastic on them was so frozen stiff that I thought I would break my ankles before getting my feet into them.  Finally after a lot of grunting and yelling ICimg2850 had them on.  I packed my plastic mountaineering boots into my bag, strapped my snowshoes onto the bag and forced my frozen hands into my now ice solid gloves.  They must have closed down Castlerock peak for atleast a week or so because the trails off it had about a foot and half of fresh
powder... Literally the best powder run I'd had all season - and I had definitely earned every turn.  I wish that my legs weren't so dead tired because the snow was fluffy and amazing.  I had nearly two feet of fresh, untracked powder for most of the way down the entire mountain. 
    When I got to the base it was 5:20pm, nearly an hour after everyone had left the mountain.  I briskly walked towards my truck dreaming of the warm ride home only to find my doors locked and the battery dead because I had left the headlights on all day... bummer.  After changing into my sneakers I easily flagged down an SUV (with a really cute young girl in - unfortunate because I was smelly and unshaven). 
    They gave me a quick jump in under 5 minutes and I was off.  My knees throbbed for an entire hour in the truck.  Not a good sign especially since I had ski'd downhill instead of walked down... Maybe the end of my hiking days is approaching quicker than I thought.  Maybe I'm meant to go to R.I. and learn to surf and do water sports more kind on my knees... something to ponder.  I stopped for gas and picked up a bag of sweedish fish to please my gut for the ride home. 
    For a little bit I had though I bit off more than I could chew on the hike, but as always I was able to focus my mind and commit my body to more pain and physical exersion than I could think it would take.  My endurance once again proved itself and I was able to accomplish a trek with a 40lb pack that most others would think impossible.  7 mountains, each over 3900 feet, in 6 hours, while breaking trail on snowshoes through a foot of snow by myself for 9 miles over two ski areas.  If I can push my body to accomplish something as grand as this I know I can also push my mind to accomplish any challenge thrown at me.  This day left me refreshed and feeling better about everything that is happening my life right now.  The mountains are my therapy, my religion, and my love.  Even when I can't climb them anymore I will always respect them and appreciate them for the important role they have played in my life. 


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Olive Garden and Wings

    Met my parents at the Olive Garden tonight (I friggin' love that place).  I had a chicken pasta dish with cream sauce that was amazing.  My dad had ravioli which I was suprised to see him eat (he's very picky).  I went back home with my parents and, once again, helped my mom unload photos from the exilim camera I gave her to the computer.  I think she finally understands now that the pictures can't magically get from the camera to the computer without some effort.  I also showed my mom how to use Itunes a little bit more which I gave her along with all the top 100 songs for every year since 1950.  She loves it.
    At 10pm I drove to Dango's in Glens Falls to have cheap wings with Jon Hughes, Lyndi and herCimg2832 friend Jamie.  I had a couple Newcastles and a Guiness.  It was  good time and I seemed to be on a rare roll with the jokes.  I love Dango's.  It's an Irish bar in Upstate NY completely devoted to the Boston Red Sox.  There were bagpipes playing there until about midnight which annoyed the girls but I love it.  A guy Lyndi met the night before showed up with his scary ass tatoo of satan or
whatever and sat next to Lyndi with his buddy.  It was a little awkward because I don't think Lyndi really liked him... and he drank Coors Light which Jon and I made fun of before noticing he had ordered one...whoops.. haha.  It was a good time and good to see Jonny again and his colorful tatoo that he's been working on... check it out...


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Sushi and Loathing in Vegas


Mike gave me a call tonight and asked if I wanted to pick up some Sushi with him.  -- I love raw seafood, but I usually don't like it with rice wrapped around it.  I prefer Sashimi which is just the raw fish.  I think I could easily catch a salmon in a fresh Alaskan River and just take a bite out of it with no problem... I could probably live on seafood the rest of my life --- So I agreed :)
    We ended up going to the Sushi Thai Garden on Phila Street which was packed so we just decided to sit down and eat.  For an appetizer I got raw alaskan king crab and smoked salmon and then I got Pad Thai for the entree.  I love Pad Thai and have taken to trying it at every thai place I go to just like I try the New England Clam Chowder at every seafood place I go to.  Everything was delicious.  Mike got steamed soy beans with salt which I had never eaten before.  They were awesome... too bad crappy tofu is made from them.. nasty.  It was fun little date Mike and I had... haha.
    After dinner we came back to my place and met up with Rick to watch Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.  Everytime I see that movie it cracks me up... I don't think I would have survived the 60's or even the 70's for that matter if I had been alive then... just too crazy of a time to handle Jonny Danger.....


Monday, March 13, 2006



Got an email today from Nicolette confirming what I had thought.. not interested in me.  Oh well, I'm still not sure what I did to mess it up, but atleast we had a good time together when she came up here and I certainly had a great time visiting her.  I'm not devastated because I didn't know her that long.  I still have Sarah who I have a lot of fun with but even that is not meant to last because I'm leaving so soon.   Oh well, I guess life is just a big tease for me.


Sunday, March 12, 2006

Night with Mike and Sarah


Last night I hung out with Sarah again.  She met up with me around 5pm at my apartment and after a few beers we went for dinner at O'Callaghans downtown.  We had a bottle of red wine and I had the Sambuca Chicken which was delicious.   We ended up talking for nearly two hours... not theCimg2693Cimg2694
kind of awkward talking that sometimes happens on dates, this was
passionate interesting conversation.   I found that she and I think so
much alike on so many different subjects.  We talked about psychics, the future, dreams, religion
, etc and I found myself captivated by everything she said.  After dinner we walked downtown to Gaffneys where we saw a couple of her friends and then to Desperate Annies to meet up with Mike.  After a few drinks there we went back to Gaffneys with Mike and his two very drunk, yet very funny friends.  After a couple more drinks Sarah and I headed back to my place for the night.  Sarah had to leave this morning to help her dad put up shelves in her apartment.  I can't wait to see her again. 
    Sarah is terrific and I find myself really falling for her but I know that I shouldn't because I'm going to be moving away soon and it wouldn't be fair to either of us.  But it just seems so right between us.... Why do I finally meet someone that I really get along with and am very comfortable with right when I'm leaving... Not fair.


Saturday, March 11, 2006

Bartending Final and Fire on the Mountain

    Last night was my bartending final.  I spent the entire day at my parents studying all the drinks, and all the different name brand liqours.  There were about 75 different brands of liqour I had to know the color, taste, and location for.  I made up ridiculous sentences to remember all theCimg2661
names... For example... Here is the sentence I made up to memorize all the bourbons : "My Old Grandad J.D. Harper shot a Marked Turkey with Old Fitzgerald Dickel in the Comfortably Sweet Canadian Yukon"  In that sentece the liqours are Old Grand Dad, Jack Daniels, Jim Bean, I.W. Harper, Old Fitzgerald, George Dickle, Makers Mark, Wild Turkey, Southern Comfort, and Yukon Jack (only one from Canada).  For Gin I came up with "Lt. Gordon Dropped Boodles of Tangy Beef Bombs over London" which of course includes Beefeater, Tangueray, Bombay Saffire, Boodles (all of those from London) and Gordons (U.S.).  Needless to say I did well on the test and I only missed one drink on the pouring section. 
    After the test I got a call from Megan Baxter inviting me to go to Fire on the Mountain with Cimg2664
them.  I called up Sarah who thought it was a great idea.  Unfortunately, MeganCimg2669 fell asleep and after stopping at Sarahs for her to get warm clothes we made it to West Mountain just as the fireworks were ending.  We had a few quick drinks
there and then made our way to Judd's in Lake George which I hadn't been to in over 5 months.  We met up with Brian, Jonny Howland, Dave Long, Tyler Frank, and Kevin Chuddick.  We even got Jess and Josh to come out with us that night so we all had a great Cimg2684
time.  Everyone really loved meeting Sarah... and I found myself really starting to like her as well.  She is so personable and friendly and beautiful as well.  I haven'tCimg2685
heard a thing all week from Nicolette so I guess that was the end of that...  I don't expect anything to come of Sarah and I because I'm leaving so soon for Graduate School but I think we both have a fun time together and enjoy each other's company while I am still here.  So Sarah and I took off back to her place for the night after saying goodbye to everyone. 
    My life has been such a rollercoaster since returning from my graduate school tour across the country.  I have met several wonderful girls and have been accepted to two graduate schools.  It's still very difficult though because I know that I'm moving and I don't want a long distance relationship so I have to be careful not to get too attached to Sarah.... and yet I have such a wondeful time with her everytime I see her...  I still have no clue what happened with Nicolette and I but it's too bad because it may have been a relationship I would have tried to make work if I end up going to school in Rhode Island just a couple hours from her. 


Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Hangin' with Sarah

Hung out with Sarah tonight at her place on Meadowbrook road after visiting my parents for dinner.  She has a beautiful apartment there with a cute cat named Buster.  We went to cool beans where we saw my friend Shannon (Mike Kaidas' girlfriend) and got some tea before renting Wedding Crashers and watching it at her place.  That movie is hilarious everytime I watch it.   Sarah is a wonderful person and a great time to hang out with.  I knew she had to work the next morning so I took off before it got to late so she could get some rest.


Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Where did Nicolette Go?

Well, it's been a couple days now and I haven't heard that much from Nicolette.  Before I went to visit her we had talked nearly everyday but now she seems very different.  I guess I must have messed up somehow when I was there.... I had a really good time but I guess I was pretty quiet during all the religious stuff we did on Sunday that I wasn't used to.  I think she's a great person, but I guess I'm not what she is looking for.


Sunday, March 5, 2006

Weekend with Nicolette in CT


  On friday I drove down with Adrian to visit Nicolette for the weekend.  I had only met her 24 hours but was very excited to see her again.  Adrian dropped me off at Horsefeathers in his hometown of Tarrytown (Sleepy Hollow) (yes, the famous Sleepy Hollow) so I could meet Nicolette, Carolyn and her boyfriend Evans for dinner.  The two girls were a little tipsy when I got there so I ordered a large Newcastle and a burger because I was starving.  Evans showed up 30 minutes later and we all stuffed ourselves.  Adrian suggested I get the New England Clam chowder and as he said, it definitely was one of the best I've ever had.  I'm a conneseur of New England Clam Chowda.. I have to have it wherever I go.  haha.  Adrian met up with us after dinner and we went to J.P. Doyles first for a couple drinks and then made our way to the Setback Inn for beers and Pool.  I ordered a rum and coke and it was $5!  I guess I'm used to Upstate NY prices.   Carolyn and Evans took  off before we got to  the Set Back Inn.  Adrian  and I played pool in the back where I ran the table at first until he had a miracle comback and beat me with one ball left on the table!  It was about 2am at that point so Nicolette and I went back to her place.
    In the morning we woke up and her roomate Liz gave us some of the "Chicken A La Liz King" which was honestly some of the best food I've ever eaten.  We then spent the day walking around Greewich and visiting friends of hers.  We ended up watching "Walk the Line" at her friends in the afternoon before meeting Carolyn and Evans for dinner at the Sundown Saloon on Greenwich Ave.  I had pulled BBQ pork which was fantastic - and of course my now favorite beer - Newcastle Brown Ale.  After dinner we went to visit Nicolettes old roomates and then went back to her place to chill out and have some wine.  Liz had left two diferent chocolate cakes for us to try so that she could give the best ones to her friend who was going through some hard times.  Well.... there were 4 of us, and the boys picked the plain chocolate while the girls picked the coffee bean chocolate... so I doubt if our Tie helped Liz out at all... although I'm sure Nicolettes vote probably counted twice :).   
    Sunday morning I went to church with Nicolette.  Her church service is held in a middle school auditorium because they don't have a building built yet, and because the congregation has grown from about 200 5 years ago to almost 700 today.  It was wonderful going to a service without the contraints and rigidness of a church.  The stage had 3 giant screens on which pictures and video could be displayed while the paster walked around with a microphone.  There was also a live band right in front of the stage which was absolutely amazing.  Professional musicians!  They even played a clip from Lord of the Rings to emphasize the pastor's serman.  For the first time in a long time I felt really comfortable in a church environment.  I even sat behind Kathy Lee Gifford and got to shake her hand and meet her during the service.  After church was a little awkward for me because I didn't know anyone but everyone I was introduced to seemed like a genuinely wonderful person. 
    After church we headed out to lunch with a couple of her friends to the Putnam Restaurant on Greenwich Ave.  I wasn't that hungry so I just had a bowl of "chicken soup with sphagetti" as the waitress called it (chicken noodle).   I really hit it off with Taylor and I hope to sometime hang out with again.  He reminded me a lot of my buddy Ned Bair from Bowdoin.   After lunch Nicolette and I went back to her place for a quick nap where I tried to hold a pillow in front of her to block the sun from hitting her eyes.  We then went and met up with her sister and a friend to go to the Rob Mathis concert a town over at the First Methodist Church.  Rob is a world renound composer and has worked with Dave Letterman and many others composing music for movies, famous musicians etc.  He's also a really nice funny guy who plays in Nicolette's church band.  The concert was amazing and his music was wonderful.  It hit me kind of hard because a couple of his slower songs about his grandfather dying reminded me of my fathers illness so I got a little teary trying to hide it from Nicolette.  I was also very quiet absorbing it all because I hadn't been around that much religion for a very long time.  I hope I didn't offend Nicolette by my silence.  Rob had a full band playing with him including the guitarist for the Dave Letterman Band. 
    After the concert we stopped briefly at Nicolettes and had more of Liz's delicious A La King before driving to meet Adrian again in Sleepy Hollow at his parents place.  We were introduced to his parents and after saying goodbye Adrian and I headed home... at 65mph the whole way! hahaha.  I didn't say anything because I was in no rush... but 65mph... haha.  I didn't have a camera the whole weekend so there are no pictures but I had a really wonderful time and it got me thinking about my own faith and beliefs.  I hope Nicolette will be able to make it up here for St. Patty's day with those beautiful green eyes of hers. 


Thursday, March 2, 2006

Suprise from Nicolette

Got a suprise package from Nicolette today with some sweedish fish (my weakness and pleased my stomach), a burned CD of rockin music (pleased my ears), and a card thanking me for the great weekend we had (pleased my heart).  She seemed to nail all the right things with that package to me!  I was especially hungry after studying new drinks for my class tonight and was excited to see my favorite food as I opened the box on the way to my class.  Some may say I have a "stage 5 clinger" but I think she is super sweet and can't wait to see her this weekend!


Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Still no power...

   Just heard today that finally... a week and a half after the storm that hit the area, power has been restored to everyone.  Bob Jones, a family friend on the East side of Lake George was without power the whole time!  Thankfully he had a fireplace and was able to keep warm during the frigid weather.  This was the worst storm to hit the area since the ice storm of 1999.  A lot of trees are down around the area and a lot of homes and cars were destroyed.  One state worker lost his life in Saratoga when a tree came down on his truck as he was driving down the road around the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC).  From what we've heard on the news Saratoga Springs was hit the hardest.