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28 September 07   TODAY Fame

Within one week at work and I'm already on television.

Now I know that it's not just because I'm devastatingly handsome or charming, although that obviously helps, but it's mostly due to the fact that I work in the center of NBC operations and it's just inevitable that I'd end up on the star-making side of the cameras. So do you want to hear a story? A story about how I'm back on TV after a nearly 20 year absence???? Well, then, you've come to the right place, my friends!

But wait, you ask, what's this business about 20-year-absences?? Well, when Bob Saget was still hosting America's Funniest Home Videos in one of its beginning seasons, I was a member of the studio audience there because my junior high school was doing a fundraising event and one of them was being a studio audience member. Anyways, long story short, I ended up being one of the people they had a closeup of laughing their asses off to a stupid home video. And I wasn't just in a crowd shot - this one was all me. So now flash-forward from 1990 to 2007.....zipzizpzizpzpzpzizpzipzizpzzip (that's the sound of flash forwarding).

I head in to work and to finish up my first week at NBC. It was Friday, and things were already going well, as I had noticed that crowds seemed lighter on the commute to work - the ferry wasn't AS crowded, and the NY Transit bus into town wasn't blocked by ridiculous traffic (the UN thing must be over). So I got to work in a very respectable 45 minutes or so and headed on up to the 2nd floor where I can go all by myself now since I have an NBC badge. I head up there to my boss' office and one of the guys from yesterday at Englewood Cliffs was there and he asked if I had seen Bruce Springsteen performing outside. I suddenly remembered that on Friday's the Today show puts on concerts during the warmer months - and I then also remembered that this had been discussed a few days ago too. Just totally forgot. Mike tells me that there was going to be an encore performance though around 9:30 and no sooner had he said that did the crowd start cheering again and the music started blasting. Now get this: while the second floor doesn't have much of a skyscraper view, it does have one ridiculously cool advantage: we can climb out a window onto a balcony-esque area that overlooks the Rockefeller Center plaza area, including the Today show external set, and this is where the Bruce Springsteen concert was set up. So sweet - a free show and amazing seats overlooking the crowd and the band. Even better - while we really couldn't see clearly the band, the Today show had put up a giant jumbotron screen projecting the Today show feed so more people could see it. Anyways, it was awesome to get to see and hear it all, and while this was all going, we noticed a camera crane below us that was filming crowd shots. We were above it, so we could just see that it was pointed down at crowds, who were all too cognizant of where it was pointing and kept screaming everytime it aimed at them, whether it was on or not. Anyways, after the end of his last song, there was just lots of cheering and crowd reaction shots. Then Mike noticed that the crane camera had angled up and pointed at us! Now...this was interesting. Were we going to be on camera? And broadcast? I then started thinking that perhaps the camera angles that way when it's done so I paid not much more attention. Finally, the concert was truly over and then people started clapping like crazy. So did I as well as another person up there of the 5 of us who were still up on the balcony.

All of a sudden, Mike tells me - "Look, we're on screen!" and I look over to the jumbotron and NO SHIT, we were on screen!!!! I start waving like a madman. It was a rush, and then we were cut back to Bruce Springsteen. I then thought, well, this probably wasn't aired but then commercials started airing on the jumbotron and it got me to thinking, perhaps this IS airing. Knowing it was too late for me to do anything in my time zone, I quickly thought, my friends in Colorado Springs! But then I couldn't remember any body but the MSG's front office #, so I call Heather and tell her she has to record the Third hour of TODAY. I guess she then passed that news on to others throughout the Mountain, and then the rest of the day happened. Finally tonight, I found out that Jeff Crepeau had recorded it and was just now reviewing it - and sure enough, me and the Balcony crew were on it!!! So he's going to try to figure out how to get it off his DVR and then if the file is decently sized, I'll post it here. So Pete Locke, you told me to be on the TODAY show, and by golly, in my first week here, I did it!!!

What a week this has been!

In almost boring news (compared to my movie and TV experiences this week), I'm starting to get a better picture of what I'll be doing, or specifically, some of the projects I'm going to be starting out on. It looks like I'll be working on the affiliate relations aspect of things for one...meaning that I am going to be working on making sure that that office (which manages NBC's relations with its over 200 affiliates throughout the country) gets the data it actually wants and needs in a format that is helpful, so I'll be working on databases and systems to make sure that stuff gets done according to their wishes. My second project is then working on helping streamline and improve the Media Library system (Barbara Green, I know you're smiling somewhere in Cheyenne Mountain). Basically, every piece of media, whether it's the commercials, promo spots, graphics/overlays, and the shows themselves, are identified and catalogued. Unfortunately it's not the best organization right now and we're looking into making it a completely digital process (as opposed to getting tapes of the items and then digitizing them). So these are two pretty good projects that I'll be working on while I'm also getting spun up on everything else that goes into putting the feed together and out. One day I WILL be an awesome OnAir Systems guy!!!!

Overall, a good week but I'm glad it's over though - it was tiring!!!

Okay, before I leave, here are some pics I took on Wednesday from my ferry ride home and then some pictures taken tonight of Manhattan from my shoreline. There really is nothing like seeing Manhattan at night. I can't wait to actually be there soon at night.

26 Sep 2007 - Ferry Ride Home

A view of the ferry terminal at 79th St on Manhattan
Looking over the ferry's crewdeck
There's the ferry dock we just left
And there's me!

And then the pictures from tonight. The first three were taken with my Night Scene mode, and while it's a clearer picture without the use of a tripod, it really doesn't allow much light at you, so the effect is definitely more subdued than what I remember seeing. So i like taking pictures in manual mode but with a high ISO setting and no flash. Unfortunately, I never bring a tripod so my results usually aren't quite the best. But some of the remainder after the first three aren't too bad and they better represent what Manhattan looks and feels like at night from Jersey!

28 Sep 2007 - Manhattan at night, from Jersey

There's Midtown Manhattan - ain't it beautiful?
Nearly Full Moon too
A bit closer on the Midtown area, especially Times Square
Without the night mode, everything's a lot brighter on Manhattan - which is more what it looks like
Moon over Midtown
Stepping back to include the lampposts where I was taking the pictures from
Even more


26 September 07   I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here

I had my true first-day of work here, and while it was overwhelming, I'm also totally psyched to be there.

I was truly at work today. I went around and saw a ton of the things that I'll eventually become an expert on but have only a bit of knowledge about now. I realized where we fit in the NBC network wheel and basically we're the ones who maintain and manage the system that ensures that NBC's entire broadcast schedule, 24/7, goes on the air without a hitch, from the placement of commercials to show overruns. If the system we take care of breaks, NBC doesn't have a show on the air. Kinda awesome, but also kinda scary. Because if I or the group fucks up, then you'll know about it. But after one day there, it was pretty damn cool. I don't have a true office or a desk yet, but that's hopefully going to be remedied soon. I will be getting a Nextel blackberry though (joy...) so work can reach me at any time....

On the way to work today, I made some friends. Well, they're not really friends, but I talked to people on the bus after getting off the ferry in Manhattan. They were nice, especially Lisa with the Cowboy Hat. She totally had the New York accent going on (I LOVE that - everyone around here has it - I keep developing mine because seriously, the more you're around it, the easier and more likely you are to use it) and was really funny and gave me advice about Manhattan living. She told me about the various transportation routes and other sage advice: don't eat cooked stuff from street vendors; you'll learn the hard way otherwise. We ended up chatting on the bus because traffic was RIDICULOUS slow on 50th Street going east, mainly because of the whole UN thing going on. Eventually walked the rest of the blocks, and even after we parted ways when I started walking down 6th Avenue to enter 30 Rock but via 49th Street, I start hearing my name being shouted out and it's Lisa - she comes down to me and points out to me a quicker door into 30 Rock and sure enough, it worked. Lisa rules.

So that was my first true day at work. It was cool. I like my boss. I met a ton of my co-workers, but it was the firehose treatment so I really do not remember names but as time goes on, I'm sure I'll learn who is who. Tomorrow (Thursday) I head up to the Englewood Cliffs facility to visit the CNBC folks there and more of our system facilities. This will be a drive then, and my trusty GPS will guide the way. I get to drive under the George Washington Bridge!

Jumping back to Monday - that was my Orientation Day. It didn't start out very good though, except for the actual commute, which turned out to be pretty easy by just walking to Port Imperial ferry from my place, taking the Ferry across the Hudson, then jumping on the free NY Waterway bus down 50th street. I got there about a half hour early (about 8:30am) so I walked over to where the Today show was filming, which is right where I work. Sweet. I got to see a little bit of it, but then it was about 15 minutes till, so I went in to the visitor's counter to check in, but alas, my name wasn't there, nor was Marta Barnes. And for the next 45 minutes, I was calling all the numbers I had and no one was picking up. Turns out the HR people didn't put my name on the visitor's log nor on the Orientation listing, so I was basically crashing this party. Eventually my boss picked up though, and escorted me up. Orientation was cool, and provided a great way to meet others who were just entering the company; it also provided me great warm fuzzies in that I've joined an awesome company in GE. I can see myself being under the GE umbrella for a long time, especially in the entertainment division, as there's so many places to go within NBC Universal. Oh yeah, also got a cool tour around the studios, including the Saturday Night Live and Conan O'Brien studios. Sweet. And to top of this pretty easy day, after Orientation while walking to the bus stop, there was filming going on for the upcoming Sex and the City movie, which was filming a scene at Christie's Auction House, which is right across 49th street from 30 Rock. I ended up seeing Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristen Davis and Cynthia Nixon filming a sidewalk strolling scene right there. It was pretty cool.

During the orientation though, I started to stress as I started receiving word that my movers were going to be coming in the morning and then found out that the building I'm in requires you to coordinate your moves with them, reserving certain blocks of time (with the only one available on Tuesday being from 3-6!), insurance paperwork, etc.! WTF? Then I hadn't confirmed my storage unit yet, and every time I called them, the woman who answered kept saying she'd call me back and when she did, my cell phone kept cutting out because T-Mobile coverage sucks deep in the bowels of 30 Rock. As I found out today, Nextel cornered 30 Rock's market by installing repeaters, etc inside the building. So after orientation ended a little early, I made my calls and got the moving thing straightened out.

So on Tuesday, I stayed home to prepare for the movers. I first drove down to where the U-Haul Storage facility was in Jersey City. Ugh. It was a nightmarish drive and I started realizing how the hell am I going to tell a truckdriver how to get here? So I drove back up to my neck of the woods and went past it, as Shelly had told me there was a few shopping centers up in the Edgewater area, which is a few miles up from West New York. As I drove up, I saw a few more storage unit places up there and realized that would be a LOT more convenient for me and the movers if it was actually nearby. Then I saw the awesome stuff: a shopping center with a Barnes & Noble, an Old Navy, a Bed Bath & Beyond, a McDs, and get this: a motherfuckin' OUTBACK!!!!! All on the riverfront so it's effin' awesome. This truly is a great stretch of Jersey. After a quick McDs lunch, I went to one of those storage unit places, got a unit there (bit more expensive, but for me, the location is worth it), and cancelled the U-Haul one. And then a few hours later (and quite a few Project Runway reruns later), the movers began to move my stuff, first to the storage unit (I have a LOT of crap still, even after selling a lot of stuff) and finally here, where I finally have all my stuff again! Amazingly, everything JUST fit. Almost perfectly. If the room had been any smaller or bigger, it would have looked weird, but it just works. I'll take pics shortly.

So that's about it. My roommate is cool, the job seems pretty awesome (i have a lot yet to learn still but I'm good with that), I have my bed back!!!, and I'm in New York. As the ferry was leaving Manhattan this evening, the sun was setting and I was pretty content. That's when I took the picture on the front page. There's still a lot I want to accomplish, I'd love to have some friends, etc, but right now, this has been a great start.

Oh yeah, I realized my old OLD pal from Elementary school, Warren, lives and works out here too. I contacted him on Facebook and it looks like we'll get a chance to do dinner - perhaps that'll be a way into a social circle out here? Anyways... I rambled on a LOT more than I expected. Typical.


23 September 07   I Have Arrived

The weeks of do-nothing and laziness are over. I start work at NBC tomorrow....

So after Cleveland, I trudged on, first to Philadelphia (Pennsylvania is a long state, let me tell you), and then after that to Atlantic City, where I really am glad I got a chance to go gamble and play some craps before starting my new job. I have no idea when I'd get a chance to gamble again (which sounds totally dramatic but it's not), so it was nice to have a quick stop to do so. But before I get into the Philadelphia and Atlantic City stories, I think I'll work backwards this time and first put up the pictures of my new digs and the sunset views of Manhattan as experienced from my neighborhood on my first day here. Still can't believe I'm starting tomorrow. Anyways, my drive out here was very safe and I avoided speeding tickets the entire way. Yay me. It probably helped I was never going more than 10mph over the speed limit the entire time, even in those states with 65mph speed limits (you know who you are, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey!!!).

Here are the pics from my new hood. Enjoy.

23 Sep 2007 - West New York (NJ) Pics

The 'Garden State' parkway to North Jersey from Atlantic City
Here's the place! This is the view upon entering
That's the kitchen
That's the door to my bathroom
My VERY spacious bathroom - no sarcasm in this; I have no idea what to do with all the dancefloor space
That's the door to my bedroom
Looking to my bedroom from the bathroom; That's just a window - no balcony to go out on.
This is the corridor outside the apartment; very much like a hotel
The entrance to the building - how chic
This is the building as seen from the south-east
Looking east towards Manhattan from that same spot I was it in the pic to the left
There she be: Manhattan!
Here are some captions to help you non-New Yorkers out. 30 Rock is where I'll be working. Not the Moon.
A little outcropping where the path continues on
That path heads south along the shore - this will be a great place to go running!
Looking back from the path towards Jersey. My building is around the corner of this one you see here on the right.
Bright reflection while looking south on the Hudson River
Some abandoned pier or something... but that's the Upper West Side of Manhattan there
Looking towards Midtown
Just wanted to add the sunset sky in this pic
And now more of the Hudson
To give you an idea of where my building is and how close it is to the Hudson river. I'm standing on the shoreline.
Actually, when I turn around, this is the view.
And there's where I live from the outside. Not that entire thing, obviously. But one day.

But before I was in Manhattan, I got to have two very cool days! At the beginning and for most of those two days, I was with the illustrious Jenny Robinson in Philadelphia! Cue the fanfare music! It was a lot of fun and it began pretty much as soon as I arrived on Friday night (also coinciding with me having to drive in Philly rush hour traffic on a Friday afternoon - not what I'd call fun). We first got some dinner at an authentic and very non-touristy Philly 'restaurant' called Steve's where I got myself some pretty damn good Philly Cheese Steak. But really, what made it awesome were the true Philly natives who were also there. Seriously - the accents, the body hair, the high-tops, the hairstyles, the clothes.... it was flippin' awesome. Remember that Jack in the Box commercial where Jack sends a very mild-mannered guy out to Philly to do research on the PCSs and comes back as Mr. Philly wearing high-tops, high hair, and a Philly accent, going "Heyyyy Jackyyyyyy!". No lie, that's exactly how it was here too. Awesome. Then we went back downtown to where my hotel was (which was literally in the center of everything - very cool place to be if you have the opportunity to stay in Philly: Holiday Inn Historic District) and walked along South Street, which reminded me mostly of Melrose Avenue in LA. After that, we said our goodnights and I crashed.

The next morning, I woke up and it was freakin' raining, which was not cool. But fortunately, that didn't last all damn day and we then met up and started a full day of sightseeing. First we grabbed some breakfast at this high-falutin' cafe where Jenny made some waiter drop his tray of cups and glasses. She really did. It was all her fault. After that we walked over to the damn Liberty Bell! How awesome was that? We then got our free timed tickets for the Independence Hall (in hindsight, not sure how worth it this was, but still, I can say I was where both the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed and adopted) which weren't for a few hours so we then squeezed in a full circuit of the Big Bus Tour of Philadelphia (much like what there is in London and other big cities). As you'll see in the pics, this was again a great way to get an idea of the entire city and if you have time, it allows you to plan out other things to see. I didn't have that time this visit, but I definitely know I'd like to go back and see a lot more of Philadelphia.

It was also great just to see Jenny again! She is definitely one of those friends in which it seems like no time passes when you see them again after a long separation in between. Still as snarky as ever, and I think I've refreshed her 'so to speak'ness so maybe it'll catch on at her work. Here's hoping. WTF Joe!!!????

21-22 Sep 2007 - Philadelphia

Pennsylvania welcomes ME
As does the suckass rush hour traffic of Philadelphia on a Friday
There is the city o' Philly
Total paparazzi shot of Jenny
The total-Philly site of my authentic cheese steak experience
Spooky cemetery in the middle of the city
South Street from the pier part of it
Demon Jenny
Spooky Sixth Senseish type of street
Jenny the next day
After breakfast
Taking a pic looking towards the Independence hall area
There's Independence Hall surrounded by all the rest of Philly
And me
Marines were there doing something on camera.
IH again
Me and the Liberty Bell
Cool way to locate it with Independence Hall behind it
The place where you get your IH tickets - it has a lot of other cool things in there too, including WTF Joe
Standard Jenny
'Normal' Jenny
Pointing while waiting for the bus to go
There's our Big Bus tour guide
The Philadelphia U.S. Mint, for you coin collectors out there
The Betsy Ross House - or is it?
Looking towards downtown Philly
This is City Hall, the biggest in the country. William Penn's statue is atop the tower.
Skyscrapers and City Hall
Approaching the Museum of Art which also has...
....the Rocky Steps!!!
From the Museum Of Art is a boulevard that leads directly back to City hall. Kinda like Philly's Champs Elysees
Philadelphia in my head
Once more with feeling
Jenny and the Case of the Blustery Knotted Hair
The Big Bus takes you everywhere. See how far we are from the city now.
At the zoo, you can go up in a tethered hot air balloon for an allegedly awesome view.
Being on the top of the bus is potentially lethal. The trees are quite low.
Evidenced by Jenny's duck-and-cover
Philly, its highways and its railways
The Franklin Institute
Currently home to the King Tut exhibit (but it does NOT have the famous mask there - WTF Joe?)
Further along the 'Champs Elysees' and here's a nice fountain
There's City Hall
Finally sunnier! And here's one of the oldest hospitals - they used to do surgery in the sunroom on top because it was before electricity.
The Benjamin Franklin Suspension Bridge
Independence hall again now that it was time to go inside
In both this room and the next lots of historical stuff happened
Truly. Our guide was one of the worst ever though.
Me and the Tower
Tower and pretty sky
Jenny loves her pictures.
Driving on Ben Franklin bridge
Welcome to Atlantic City... always turned on???? WTF Joe? Howza 'bout a STS?
My Atlantic City hotel - the Trump Marina Casino Hotel - very nice!

Okay, I'm seriously tired now but it was all worth it! I had to get these pictures up now or I'd probably take forever to do so once work starts. It was definitely an amazing adventure driving across this country of ours - it was a part of it that I really wasn't familiar with so it was cool to see a bunch of new stuff, even if it did all look the same after awhile - corn fields, corn fields, corn fields.... then trees trees trees.... finally Philly and Atlantic City and of course Manhattan and North Jersey broke all that monotony up!

Here's hoping for a good first day tomorrow!


20 September 07   Greetings from Cleveland!

This is Night #3 of my cross-country journey!

I totally lied about not putting up pictures as you'll see below. I realized I'd not get to these in a long time if I don't do them tonight. So if you checked this site out earlier well, my bad.

The drive across has been fairly uneventful. Uneventful because there is absolutely nothing to see between Colorado and Ohio. Truly. There's absolutely nothing but flatlands and corn fields and then occasionally a little river or something is crossed. And lots of ridiculous truckers. Lots. But I'm here safely so I can't complain.

Not much to report on though so this'll be a relatively short post. I did get to hang out with Jeremy yesterday and that was a lot of fun. In Joliet, Illinois, Harrah's has a pretty cool casino and I actually mean that. They have really upscale restaurants and a their casino, while small, at least has craps and other games you don't see at places like Indian casinos. What I was shocked about was that the casino had $10 Minimums!!!! WTF?! This is Illinois! But anyways, it was awesome to be able to talk with Jeremy and just realize how much I've missed having him around. I'm trying my best now to convince him how cool New York would be. I think that's a possibility in a year or so. How much fun would that be?

So today is boring day in Cleveland and tomorrow I'll finally get to see the infamous Jenny Jennertons in Philadelphia. I must be ready for anything. She's insane. In a good way, but still.

And then after that, it's Atlantic City time and you KNOW I'll be getting my gambling on.

And for those who are looking for the massive amount of pictures that do exist, I'm sorry but I haven't gotten to them just yet. Patience, patience. Such a liar, I am!

14 Sep 2007 - Dinner at AI

Gotta love TeppanYaki style Japanese food
Erin, Eric and KD
Me and KD
Jeff is REALLY hungry

One of the Hobie Farewell events was the group having a bbq at Susan's house and then fun afterwards. Originally I thought I'd pop for a limo and kind of recreate what my 30th birthday was like, but then I began to think, nah, why do that again? So the night became all about rollerskating and pimping... uh, I mean rollerskating and bowling. It was awesome.

15 Sep 2007 - Bowling Goodness

Lauren and Tom ready for hearty family fun
The smallest and cutest dog ever: Linda
Bowling alley nirvana - it was Rock'n Bowl Night
Tom fixin to bowl
Jeff, Susan, and Eric
Look at me - I'm a winner... at least that first game
KD and Erin right before making out... okay, just kidding
Weird white glow on these pics - feels kinda retro film camera-ish
Continuing the retro vibe
Me and KD
Tom is NOT amused
Loren knocks em dead
The crowd goes... indifferent
Me rocking the first game
Eric and KD
Patented Pointing Shot
KD, demure-like
Erin, not so demure-like
Eric, the possible winner of game 2 (not sure who actually won)
Hobie, indifferent
Big smile Erin
Eric Gone Wild
Erin turned demonic
I didn't pop the collar - I was made to do it
The popped collars was catching on like fire
High Five!
Groovin' to the beat

It wasn't all fun and games though. The last two days I was in the Springs involved a LOT of cleaning up of the house. In fact, it took two days for me and Susan to get it done. And without Susan's help, I'd probably still be there. She totally rocks and I am totally unworthy of her awesomeness. Below are some pictures from cleaning fun. Don't be dissuaded by the pics of me sitting on my ass. It was a total random shot that does NOT illustrate how hard I was working!

16 Sep 2007 - Cleaning House

My kitchen slash office slash before Susan rocked it
My dining room slash bedroom slash office
Living room empty but not carpet cleaned... yet
Don't let Susan's expression fool you - she was LOVING this
I'm totally a critical part of the process
Here's me using the Rug Doctor
I could totally be a sticker on the side of that damn thing

So my last night in town, my friends and I went to my ultimate favorite place to eat: Outback. I was sad to realize that this was it. As I've already written earlier, it is tough to leave such great friends. So what better way to make yourself feel better than to take lots of fun pictures!?

17 Sep 2007 - Last Night at the Outback

This rainstorm left a gateway rainbow behind - little did I know I'd catch up to the storm the next day
Eric and KD
Last total group shot
Jeff just doesn't know what KD will say next
Same as Eric
Melissa returned!
KD and Melissa
Susan and her new hair length - I like it
Me and my mentee, Melissa
Once again
Erin and Me
Me and Jeff
Me and Susan
Me and Eric
Me headlocked by KD
We should totally own a bank or something
Me and KD (notice my facial hair - it's starting to drive me crazy so I think I'm going to be shaving it soon)
Me messing with Erin - notice her smiling face
Now she's composed again

And finally, here are some pics from my drive so far to Cleveland. I'm retarded though, and didn't bring my camera when me and Jeremy hung out. So stupid. So all you get are scenery shots. Enjoy.

18 - 20 Sep 2007 - Colorado Springs to Cleveland

What my view is while driving - dice, GPS, and abso-fucking-lutely NOTHING to see out the window
Welcome to Nebraska - let the boring scenery continue unabated
Except for this weird bridge thing - I think I remember seeing this in the movie About Schmidt
That storm that hit Colorado on Monday - I caught up to it on Tuesday
And it was a doozy - it rained for the last 2 hours I was driving to Omaha
The next day, I was driving through Iowa's wondrous scenery
The view didn't change much except I added a cup of hot chocolate to it
Wow, Iowa wasn't exactly stimulating scenery
An Iowa rest sop
Catching my fat ass in the reflection - healthy snacks include Peanut Butter M&Ms and a Diet Pepsi
Mississippi River approaches
Approaching I-680's bridge over the Mississippi River
The Mississippi River - crossing this meant I'm on the East Side
Welcome to Illinois
Kinda cool abandoned barn picture taken while driving at 75mph
And then after Joliet's stop, I was on the road again - here's Indiana
And Ohio
And a pic of a Magnum - was I stalking Jeff way the hell out here?



17 September 07   Farewell to Colorado Springs

This has definitely ended up as one of the hardest days I've had.

Why? Because I'm inflicting on myself the thing that the military gets perverse joy doing to you: leaving a place you've come to call home. I freely admit there have been a ridiculous amount of going-away events for my departure, but each one made it clearer to me that I'm leaving. Tonight was the last event, and it was dinner at Outback, appropriately. Jeff, Susan, KD, Eric, Erin & Melissa all came out (to make sure I left?) to say goodbye, and it was a really good time. Lots of funny pictures that I don't have the time or energy to download right now. Perhaps when I'm bored to tears in Omaha tomorrow night I'll do that. Anyways, I really am tired of having to say goodbye to family which these amazing group of friends have become. I don't know why I am doing this to myself. I probably could have stayed here and found a job. But... then I'd miss out an this opportunity in New York, and that's where my schizophrenia kicks in. I know what I want yet I also know what I want. I want both. And the only child part of me can't reconcile that I can't have both. So I chose. And it's a hard choice. A sad choice. A choice that requires me to leave my first house, a great part of the country, and the best group of friends I've had in a long time - and this is no disrespect to any of the other groups that I still have. It's just that here, there were people in my same situation and who could go out and drink and I didn't have to kind of worry about hanging out with. It was just easy and awesome and I don't know if I'll find that again. I know that for a few months, it will be tough. Hopefully having a roommate will help, but eventually I'll have to find a circle... or hope to.

Anyways, I leave Tuesday morning for my first stop in the Omaha area. It'll be a long drive but it'll be the longest and then it's over.

And oh yeah, my stuff is all gone now. Crazy. Liberating. I'm leaving. I.... am.... so..... fucking..... scared.

13 September 07   Committed Now

The movers have taken my stuff - no backing out now!

I'm really moving to New York! WTF!?

Anyways, I'm back from New York and after a bit of drama and stress, I do have a place to live as well in West New York, New Jersey. Yes, it's kind of hard to say that and not confuse people, but basically I will live in a city called West New York which is in New Jersey yet right across the Hudson River from Manhattan. The place is really cool and the roommate seems like she'll be pretty easy to share an apartment with. I'll put pics up of the place once I have some. The features of the building are very awesome: an A&P grocery store on the first floor of the building, as well as a Starbucks, a Ben & Jerry's, and an extensive wine, liquor and beer shop. Excellent.

So obviously I headed out to NYC for 3 days last week. The flights turned out to be quite uneventful, which was refreshing. Perhaps it was because I was on American Airlines and NOWHERE near Chicago O'Hare Intl Airport or United Airlines.....? I'm just saying.

It was a fairly hectic trip though, with lots to do from the moment I landed. I saw three apartments that first evening and they went from pretty much worst to best in terms of quality and desirability. Really, only the first one was one in which I really knew immediately I had no desire to live there. But the last two were pretty cool - especially the last one. Basically for the view alone the last one was awesome, but the apartment itself was also quite incredible. But flash forward a few days and that last one, which had the dynamic view of Manhattan from Hoboken, was the one I did NOT get. It came down to not hearing back from the guy when he said he'd get back to me, and I felt like I needed to make a decision as I told the person (Shelly) whose apartment I liked second-best (and which I saw on the following evening) I would get back to her asap. Long convoluted story short, I am now living with Shelly in a place right by the river.

But there is more, especially in the way of pictures. Lots of pictures. First up are my pics from my 3-day trip to the greater New York City area. Enjoy!

5 Sep 2007 - 1st Day of NYC Househunting Trip

View of Manhattan from my room
This is the harbor right next to my hotel - not a bad view!
Another view of the harbor
Here's the light rail that runs through the Hoboken area to get to the PATH trains into New York City
And this is the Port Imperial Ferry terminal complex I'll probably be using to go to work
This is that fantastic view of Manhattan. Truly jaw-dropping; this pic doesn't do it justice.

So on that first day, I took a cab from Newark Intl and got to my pretty nice room at the Sheraton Suites in Lincoln Harbor. As you can see above, it's right on the river and my room had a pretty cool view if you looked to the right - there's the damn Empire State Building! I did take other pictures that day of the apartments I looked at, but basically there's no need to see them here, except for the picture of the view of Manhattan from the uber-swank place I didn't get.

In the next section below, you'll see my plethora of pics from my day of finally getting to sightsee Manhattan. If you recall, I didn't get a chance at all to visit the city during the final interview because of all the ridiculous flight delays and weather nonsense. And because I didn't have to see my next apartment until about 7pm, I pretty much had all day to kill. And boy did I. My first action was to jump on the Ferry that had a pickup right outside my hotel, which was a VERY nice perk to where I was staying.

6 Sep 2007 - 2nd Day begins at the Lincoln Harbor Ferry Terminal

The view from the ferry pickup
Here's my hotel
And there's the gangway to the ferry
On the ferry and looking towards Manhattan
Looking north on the Hudson River towards the George Washington Bridge
Looking towards the city of West New York, my future residence

After taking the quick ferry across the Hudson river, it drops you off at the Pier 79 complex Ferry Terminal. What is then really cool is you then can get on free New York River transport buses that go to fairly popular street destinations (34th St, 42nd St, 49th St, etc) which is part of your fare. Nice. I'll be able to use the 49th St one for sure when I start commuting to work! Anyways, I jumped on the 42nd St bus that morning because I figured I'd then get to the subway station on 42nd Street and head to Ground Zero. It didn't dawn on me that 42nd St goes right to Times Square, so when we started being surrounded by ridiculous amounts of neon and tourist stuff, the lightbulb went on and I was like, "Hey, let's go see Times Square". And you'll notice that I become a plural entity when talking to myself. So I jumped off the bus at Times Square and let my jaw drop just a little because really, Times Square doesn't disappoint. It's a canyon of beautiful skyscrapers covered in neon advertising. You can see ABC's studios, MTV's studios, all these crazy over-the-top versions of megastores, tons of tourists - everything you have ever imagined Times Square to be.... it is. Now I just can't wait to go back and see it at night! One revelation I had: I had no idea there was actually TWO giant panels of neon advertisements in Times Square, but it makes sense since the intersection is a diagonal street crossing a typical north-south/east-west intersection. So one faces south and one faces north and there's tons of ridiculous traffic everywhere.

So I definitely got enveloped in the excitement and took lots of pictures and went to yet another Virgin Megastore. Let's see... that means I've now been to the following cities' VMs: Los Angeles (Sunset Strip and Burbank locs), New York City (Times Square), London, Paris, and Frankfurt. Cool. I'm such a world traveler. Yes, be jealous.

6 Sep 2007 - Times Square

I don't know what it is, but it's big and exciting
Just about to peek around the corner to see the eponymous Times Square
A fanciful and neon-covered 42nd Street Subway station
Ah, there it is.
And right in the middle of it all: a recruiting station
Looking back at the first big neon panel
Looking forward/north again
A clearer view of the north end of Times Square
Right in the middle of it all. MTV studios is to the left; ABC is to the right.
Looking again at the south end of Times Square
Hey, it's Me!
Had to p oint. My pointing entertained multiple tourists this trip.
There's a good view of MTV studios
South end of Times Square, with what looks like the Ghost Busters or Daily Planet building on the right
The Virgin Megastore
And the theater where I'll be on Nov 17th! Thanks guys!
Looking up at the MTV studios (the 2nd floor)

After the excitement of Times Square, I got back on track to what I originally wanted to see first, which was Ground Zero. So I got myself a Metrocard for the subway and successfully navigated my way down to the south part of Manhattan where Ground Zero is. Very much unlike how my Dad and I traveled the length of Manhattan many many years ago - which was all walking back then. Anyways, I did get to see what is 'left' of Ground Zero. I say it that way because there's really nothing to see at the moment - it's a humongous construction site for the Freedom Tower that will eventually be 1776 feet tall. Right now they're still building all the foundation stuff and subway tunnels that will traverse through there. There's a small area where you can peek through fencing to see the efforts and above it is a list of names of those firefighters, policemen, and medics who died trying to help that day. You can also try to sign up for a guided memorial tour of the area but it apparently fills up fast, and I did not take it. Maybe in a little while once I'm living there.

Also in that area is the area known as Wall Street. So after getting a little bit turned around at first (with no real landmarks to go off of like mountains or the water, which you can't see at that location, it's kind of tricky to get oriented accurately) I did indeed find the legendary Wall Street and also the New York Stock Exchange. Unfortunately you can't go inside the NYSE anymore, as I totally would have done that. But alas, security concerns override tourist curiousity. Didn't stop me from taking pictures though!

On a side note, here's a link to a site that has a comprehensive amount of pictures of New York and specifically the World Trade Center, both before, during and after 9/11.

6 Sep 2007 - Ground Zero & Wall Street

The walls that greet you upon emerging from the WTC subway station
Before you'd have seen nothing but WTC skyscraper right here
Here's a view into what is happening at the site
Looking a little up to imagine that the towers used to be here
Another view inside
Looking down in to where I'm assuming the trains are going to go
A look at the wall of names of heroes
The church that heads up Wall Street
And here is Wall Street - appropriately named, don't you think?
Getting closer to the Stock Exchange
My 'clever' shot of the NYSE title and the Wall St street sign
And there's the front of the NYSE with a humongous US flag

After that little jaunt around downtown, I hopped back on the subway and headed north to Midtown, so that I could go see my future place of employment: 30 Rock! Basically Midtown is the most expensive part of Manhattan and also has some of the most expensive and famous hotels and shops there, including the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Radio City Music Hall. Of course, 30 Rockefeller Center is also there. I ended up in a subway stop that was a bit away from the actual Rockefeller Center plaza, so I started following signs that led me through corridors underneath the streets, which was a bit surreal as I was the ONLY one down there. Anyways, I finally ended up at the Rockefeller Center shops in the sublevel to the main plaza, and while walking through there I saw the entrance for the 'Top of the Rock' Observation deck on top of the 30 Rockefeller center building. I hadn't planned on doing that, but it was a beautiful day and I really had nothing planned except for taking a river cruise. So I paid my money and up I went to the top which lies at 67 floors up. And wow, what a view! It really is one of those million-dollar views because you can see all the city PLUS the Empire State Building. That's what you're lacking when you go to the top of the Empire State Building - actually seeing the building. So I would have to argue that with the WTC towers gone, the Top of the Rock is probably the best public view in Manhattan. As is evidenced by the photos below. There's lots, so pace yourself.

Anyways, after spending a while up there, I then headed back down and wandered the plaza a bit, reveling in the fact that this was going to be my place of employment in a few short weeks! CRAZY. I stumbled into the lobby I had been in a month prior when here for the final interview and it brought back those memories full-force. It really is a cool building though, and very Art Deco.

6 Sep 2007 - 30 Rock & the Top of the Rock Observation Deck

The weird and EMPTY surreal underground passage to Rockefeller Center
Radio City Music Hall from the Top of the Rock entry foyer
Apparently Fashion Week was going on
This is looking up through the ceiling of the elevator up to the Top of the Rock
It's a trick - when you first go in, it looks like a normal elevator. But once the doors close, the lights go out and the ceiling turns clear showing you the blue elevator shaft
Ah, the top. Here's a look north towards Central Park
And Northeast over towards the CitiGroup building
Me and Central Park
Better view of the CitiGroup building
And there's the Empire State Building
Me at the lower level of viewing and the ESB - note that there are THREE levels, with the topmost having no glass
Me and the ESB again, with pointage
The ESB and the Statue of Liberty WAY in the distant background
'Artistic' zoom-in
Turned my widescreen option on its head to see the ESB and some foreground
What a cool building
There's the Chrysler Building hiding behind the MetLife (formerly PanAm) building
Looking down in to the urban concrete jungle
You can see another big skyscraper is getting built on the right
Trying to pick out the Brooklyn Bridge
Here's the second level observation deck
There I go getting artsy again with my photography
Looking down from the top level to tourists on the second level
Arches and ESB
A compass to orient yourself
You can just see the streets below
ESB again
A nice German guy took my picture and I took his - fair trade
Pointing, again. I told you I entertained many tourists this trip with my pointing.
Couldn't stop taking ESB pics. These aren't even all of them. I actually didn't post them all.
The Art Deco stylings of the deck. The top level is up there.
Back down on the ground. This is in the lobby of 30 Rock.
That's the walkway to the elevators - I went that way for my interviews back in August and will go that way to work every day.
Right outside the doors they had set up a Nintendo WiiSports Tennis match to coincide with the U.S. Open
The crowded walkway in front of the entrance to 30 Rock.
There's NBC Studios and where the Today show is filmed just a block down.
Speeding subway I took after 30 Rock (which is on 49th St) to get to 42nd Street.
42nd Street and one of the most neon-y McDs you'll see outside of Vegas.

I knew I wanted to get in a boat cruise of Manhattan in before concluding my day's adventure. I knew there was both a 2-hour and a 3-hour cruise, either of which would be fine with me as I was getting tired and I just wanted to get off my feet. So I took the subway from the Rock Center/49th St station to 42nd Street, then walked about 8 blocks east to the Circle Line pier where all the tours begin. That was a long 8 blocks though to walk, as I have now personally experienced that crossing avenues (the north/south lines in Manhattan) means much longer blocks than crossing streets (the east/west lines in Manhattan). So by the time I got to the Circle Line pier, I was very ready to do nothing but sit and ride on a boat. I ended up getting on the 2-hour tour which is a semi-circular tour of Manhattan; the 3-hour tour actually takes you completely around the island without repeating anything. I'd like to actually do that one day!

Anyways, the weather was beautiful for this. You depart from the pier which is about midway up the west side of the island, and then you cruise south on the river seeing the sights of Midtown, Greenwich Village, Hoboken, Jersey City, and then Downtown (the area around Ground Zero). But the real highlight is right after that, as you cruise right up to Ellis Island and Liberty Island, where the Statue of Liberty stands. The Statue of Liberty is quite an incredible sight. It's not as big as I imagined it to be, but don't let that make you think it's small. It's still amazing to observe and I can't wait to actually go and actually get on the island. After heading that far south, you then head up the East River to go underneath the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queensboro Bridges, getting a different vantage of Downtown and Midtown as well as Brooklyn and a little bit of Queens. Once you hit the Bellevue Medical center area, the boat turns around and retraces its steps. I was pretty much done at that point and just enjoyed the rest of the cruise.

Below are my many pics from the cruise. Once again, I had to edit myself so these are not all of them, but these are all pretty good though.

6 Sep 2007 - Circle Line Boat Tour (includes Statue of Liberty & Brooklyn Bridge)

View from the tour boat as we awaited departure
A look back towards MidTown and 30 Rock (the building with the white ball on top of it)
There's a look towards the ESB and Chelsea
That's the ESB and in the foreground on the right is the Ferry Terminal to points in New Jersey
Looking towards New Jersey and my hotel, which is just to the left of that long building in the water
Looking south towards downtown (where the WTC used to be)
Greenwich Village and where Friends would be if they existed
Another downtown shot
Now pretty far south of Manhattan and looking back at it
There's Ellis Island
And there's the Statue of Liberty
Rounding the corner
It really is a beautiful structure
And there she is in all her glory
REALLY far from Manhattan when you're right by the Statue of Liberty
Looking at the perspective of the Statue to Manhattan
The Verrazano Narrows bridge south of Manhattan
Manhattan's fairly unremarkable downtown skyline without the WTC
The Brooklyn Bridge
Getting closer
Almost under it
Now past it
Downtown behind the Brooklyn Bridge
This is the Manhattan Bridge with downtown behind it
Queensboro Bridge (I think)
Looking south back at the bridges and downtown
Viewing the Midtown and Upper East Side
From Empire State Building to the CitiGroup building
The United Nations building and the Trump International Tower (the black monolith structure)

And those are my New York Pics. After the end of my circle line boat tour, I walked a block to the Ferry Terminal, crossed back over to Lincoln Harbor, and then hung out in my room for a bit. Around 6, I went over to visit the last apartment I had planned to see during this trip, and it was this one that I am now eventually going to live in. It's a really sweet place and I really am looking forward to being there.

Alright, I have a few more pics from a recent dinner at Chili's with my friends out here. There's quite a few Hobie Farewell Tour events going on my last few days, which will be fun but only serve to hasten things along. I am going to actually drive out of the Springs on Tuesday morning, for better or for worse. My itinerary looks like this:

- 1st Stop: Omaha area
- 2nd Stop: Joliet, Illinois area and visit Jeremy
- 3rd Stop: Cleveland
- 4th Stop: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and visit Jenny
- 5th Stop: Atlantic City and gamble
- 6th and Final: West New York, New Jersey

And that adventure begins in just a few days!!!!!! YIKES.

10 September 2007 - Dinner at Chili's

A poorly executed self-shot of 'all' of us
Jeff and Susan
Eric getting felt up by KD
A super close up of me
I don't remember being that drunk - I'm pretty sure I wasn't
Susan smiles
Maybe I was that drunk?

That catches me up on pics for the time being. I knew I needed to get this done before I left and especially because I have a lot of little things to still get done before leaving. Here's hoping I get a renter!!!!


2 September 07   Panic Attack (No more countdown...weird)

So I woke up this morning completely stressed about all the stuff I have to do in the next 3 weeks. COMPLETELY stressed.

It's kind of hard to go back to sleep once you realize you've committed yourself (I guess I could end the sentence there...but I won't) to upheaving your life for something cool and crazy. And that realization slapped me in the face like someone I just called a whore. (by the way, WHORE is a fun word to say - you can say it with such different inflections - fun for all ages!) I began to list all the things I still have to do in the next three weeks, and I'm going to clue you into my mental processes and then you will be a full-fledged member of the Hobie-Neurotic Club:

- Have to do shittons of laundry (yes, I know, everyone has to do this, but I HATE laundry... at least I don't have to go down to a river and beat my clothes against rocks... so I'll quit my whining)

- Mow the damn grass (I also have to sharpen the blades of the mower since I haven't ever and I have no idea how to do it or with what.... yes, I actually dwelled on this this morning)

- Get a key made for my property manager (which led me into my whole panicky spiral of doom because I am still kinda scared about this damn house and wishing it would sell but it's not so now I have to rent it and I don't want a psycho renting it and destroying it and hoping that the property manager is good and knowing that she is but still hoping that I'm not being too optimistic and not even knowing where the hell you go to get a key made - yes, I'm insane)

- Thinking about my upcoming househunting trip to New Jersey (and hoping that all the rooms I'm interested in don't get rented while I'm flying out there and wondering what the hell would I do if that IS the case because then I'd have to like knock on doors and windows and figure out the next step in getting a place to live and what if I end up in the streets with a laptop and a Nintendo DS and that's it? - again, this spiral of doom thingy knows no bounds and makes everything a great rosey shade of INSANE)

- Hoping I can sell most if not all the items I want to sell (but what if they don't sell and nobody wants these things and I have to ship them out to New Jersey and then I have to pay for storage after a month and what if costs like $500/month I can't afford that!)

- My Dad and Pat are leaving Colorado Springs on Tuesday morning (when am I going to see them again? When am I going to see my Mom and Harv again? I don't think I even can begin to plan a trip right now during these next 3 weeks as there's just NO TIME (as Jack Bauer of 24 would say) and who knows what the holidays are going to be like and once again my folks are going to be disappointed/mad....)

- What if I can't do the job at NBC? (and I find out I'm retarded and can't spell or go to the bathroom or don't know how to dress anymore and mix patterns and colors and belts and shoes and get lost on the subway and end up in Maine and have no clue how to get back to my apartment because I don't even know the address yet....)

- Wondering if anyone cares about what I wrote last week or at all ever or if they think I'm foolish for just up and leaving Colorado Springs (why ruin a good thing? I've got a great house and a great circle of friends.... but at this point in my life (and also during the panic attack) I realized that I HAVE to do this all because it's such an amazing opportunity and really, it's been a goal of mine to come to New York City)

..... so basically I let the spiral of doom take me down its path and once I got to the end of it, I realized that none of these things are insurmountable. Sure, they're scary, and maybe expensive, but I've got the AF VSP money and if that gets burned up in the process of me following my dreams, well, so be it. I'll have a great job that will allow me to probably avoid actually burning my VSP money so honestly, everything will get resolved. Each of these situations has a clear set of steps I need to take and I'll take them.

So I got out of bed, took a shower, and began my day knocking off little steps of each task as I could do it. And I think by the time I end up in my car ready to drive out of Colorado Springs for good towards New York, I'll be ready.

Anyways, here's a pic of me and Dad and Pat from a few days back when we were at Joe's Crab Shack. They're leaving shortly for Albuquerque and eventually California. Happy Trails and Safe Driving, guys!

And in other news, I went with KD to see the movie Stardust last night. Fantastic! A great fairy tale type movie and it was very much like the Princess Bride, although not quite as fanciful as that one. But highly entertaining and lots of great actors, especially Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert DeNiro, Claire Danes and Charlie Cox. All very charismatic in their roles and the story was always gripping. Good times.

Oh yeah, I'm a CIVILIAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

...and unemployed. For 3 weeks or so, at least. It's a weird feeling - I have pretty much had a job nonstop since around Thanksgiving of my Junior year in High School, which was in 1992. Yowza.

Peace out, bitches.