Balloon God

So did you hear about the Priest in South America that tied hundreds of helium balloons to himself and he floated so high into the sky that they couldn’t find him?  His plan was to tie a couple hundred balloons to him and to break the world record for distance traveled by helium inflated balloons.  He thought this would raise awareness of his church and the good work they are doing.  A couple of days have gone by and they can’t find him anywhere, even though he had a cell phone and GPS unit in his possession. 

I would have loved to been there when he realized this was a bad idea.  It didn’t occur to him that it was a bad idea during the planning stages, the thought of him crashing to his death did not come to mind when he was having hundreds of balloons tied to him, he left the ground soaring into the sky with his thumbs up and a smile on his face.  At some point, something really went awry, he ended up taking off so fast that people were unable to keep up with him.  Then he called from his cell phone a couple hours later and he was way off track and a lot further than he had planned (in addition, the winds carried him in the wrong direction…over the ocean).  It is estimated that he went 16,000 feet into the sky.  I bet he still wasn’t concerned, he’s probably thinking, they’re balloons, big beautiful brightly colored balloons, this is the happiest day of my life. 

What happened next is anybody’s guess, maybe lightning zapped his balloons, maybe some of the balloons were poorly tied, maybe the strength of the wind ripped the balloons off the strings that held them.  But at some point, he must have been scared for his life.  Since he was a priest, I bet he tried to make serious conversation with God.  Like, “Dear God, I am 16,000′ in the air and my brightly colored balloons are malfunctioning and I could really use your help in landing my lawn chair.” 

I wonder what God thinks about this or if he answered back.  Search parties are being called off, so I hope somebody is listening. 

Green Light

Our application has been accepted to move into Doylestown.  After 3 years in New Jersey, I’m finally coming home! 

 

Let’s take a quick look at my previous commutes:

Frenchtown to Parsippany, 48 miles each way (1 hour)

Frenchtown to Horsham is about 28 miles each way (45 minutes)

Doylestown to Horsham is about 10 miles each way (15 minutes)

 

Moving to Doylestown will save me 30 minutes each way!  Let’s think about how freaking awesome that is going to be:

 

30 minutes x 2 (to and from Horsham) = 1 Hour

1 Hour of more time with my family x 5 (5 weekdays) = 5 hours a week

50 weeks (we’ll subtract two weeks for vacations and holidays) x 5 hours = 250 hours of more free time a year!

 

That’s about 10 and a half days that I won’t be spending in the car!  Let me say that again, 10 and a half days that I won’t be spending in a Honda!  And these numbers are based off my shorter commute from Frenchtown to Horsham.

 

Our apartment will be close to the center of town and we’ll have a big pool in our complex too.  Winston loves swimming, I can see him in there every day of the summer.  We’ll be close to friends and family, and most importantly, softball!  I might even play in another league on a weeknight (probably not though, my wife might draw the line there!).  If it’s not softball, I’d love to do a trivia night or something. 

 

Frenchtown was perfect for my time working in Jersey.  Neat stores, cool restaurants, and some interesting people.  The river always made for a fun afternoon or romantic evening.  Let’s look back at the top ten moments in Frenchtown.  I will only post one today, I will post more as we get closer to moving out:

 

10.  Attending a “Beach Party” at the Masonic Lodge.  Through the Lion’s Club, Jaclyn and I were invited to a beach party at the Masonic Lodge.  We secured a baby sitter and prepared for wild beach themed shenanigans.  I had seen shows about the Masons and had concluded that they secretly run the US government, I couldn’t believe that we were being offered the chance to see the inside of a Masonic Lodge.  We opened the large wooden doors, and stepped inside.  No one greeted us at the door so we walked deeper into the sanctuary.  We entered a big empty room with a couple of fold out tables, an old transistor radio playing music so softly that it was barely audible, and about six elderly couples mulling around an inflatable palm tree.  Jaclyn and I were too far into the room to turn back.  The elderly Masons looked at us as if we were trying to rob the place.  I quickly explained that I was a member of the Lions Club and we had received an invitation to attend.  They all greeted us and we were handed some paper plates and instructed to help ourselves to some home cooking.  We got sucked into 3 hours of conversation about the Masons, one guy’s love of the Boy Scouts, and we even got a tour of the place.  The tour was quite fascinating, there was a big room with hundreds of chairs, a podium, all kinds of ritualistic garb, and creepy paintings of George Washington and the unfinished temple (Jaclyn swears that she saw the eyes in the George Washington’s painting follow us as we walked across the room).  All in all, it was a pretty lame night, but comparable to a trip to gravity hill when you’re a teenager.     

Flying Home

On Friday, I was flying home from Atlanta and happened to be seated next to two Servicemen (both were long time members of the Army Reserve).  The one guy had been to Afghanistan 4 times!  The other guy was in the original Iraq War, then after he fulfilled his obligation, he left the Army and went to work in a factory.  He hated working in the factory, it was a stupid job with little room for personal development, so he decided to rejoin the Army. 

 

These two guys were flying home from a two week training exercise they had in Georgia.  They were friendly, funny, and they told a couple stories about places they’ve been.  No crazy stories about war, just funny stories, ironic stories, like a time when he was getting off a helicopter in Afghanistan and he was running into his base, another soldier was running from the base into the helicopter and they recognized each other, they were in the same boot camp 12 years ago in the Southern United States.  They shook hands, yelled hello, and kept running in opposite directions.  He thought it was funny that he hadn’t seen the guy for 12 years and then he runs into him in a desert thousands of miles from home. 

 

When I think about being a Serviceman in a time of war, it seems horribly scary.  I guess that’s why I am against this war, I just know I would hate to fight in it myself.  These guys saw it as a job, a responsibility, a day in the life.  They really impressed me and they made me think, “This is what these guys do, this is what they are best at, and this is what they actually want to be doing.”  Is it what I want to do?  Hell no.  But with elections fast approaching, I’m hearing everyone’s opinion on what to do about this war and I’d be most interesting in hearing the opinion of our Servicemen.  I didn’t ask, I didn’t want to offend anyone, but I am truly interesting in knowing what they think.  Are we making progress?  Are we helping more people than we’re pissing off?  I could care less if we are winning or losing, I just want to know if we’re helping anything. 

 

When the plane landed, they made an announcement that we were traveling with some Servicemen and everyone cheered and clapped.  These guys have a tough job and sometimes, their alternatives suck even more (the job at the factory), and it’s nice to see them get a little recognition, but I worry that it’s not nearly enough.  After meeting these guys, I just hope that our next president makes it a priority to provide our veterans with opportunities for higher education, job training, and the support they need to live a quality life in this country.  It’s the least we could offer since most of us would be scared as hell to walk a mile in their shoes.   

 

On a similar note, there will be a walk/run to honor a CB East graduate, Colby Umbrell who died on May 3rd 2007 in Iraq.  The event takes place on May 3rd, 2008 at Central Park in Doylestown; you can either run the 5k or walk a mile.  Registration starts at 7AM next Saturday, the event starts closer to 8:30AM.  I played football with the guy, he was a couple years younger, but he was a good guy with a great heart and it would be wonderful if everyone could show up to honor him and his family.  Jaclyn, Winston and I will be attending the walk.

 

Here’s a website with more details:

Shad Festival 2008

I recommend that everyone try to go to the Shad Festival on the weekend of April 26 & 27th in Lambertville, NJ.  Parking can be tough, but I’ve always had luck on the outskirts of town near the CVS.  Here’s 10 reasons to go:

1.  Shad Fest typically has some of the nicest weather of the entire year, it’s usually a beautiful warm Spring day with a gentle breeze that circulates the aroma of kettle corn, charcoal grills, and daffodils. 

2.  Many top restaurants in the area create street side grills and cook up some excellent food.  Lots of great art, crafts, and weird junk to buy.  Street vendors line the streets offering everything under the sun.  Not to mention, Lambertville is great for window shopping on it’s own.  Not to be too weird, but their’s a cool place called The Mix Gallery that sells vintage purses and furniture, it’s a cool place to take your babe-a-licious lady.

3.  Get your drink on!  There’s a wine tasting from 2-5 on Saturday and Sunday at Wonderful World of Wines on 8 South Union Street.  There’s a beer garden outside at the Lambertville Station.  The River Horse Brewery usually has a mini-concert going on, complete with dozens of kegs, and great grilled food, I think you pay a flat rate and you’re good to go for the entire day.

4.    Rubber Ducky Race.  By a rubber duck at The Missing Piece for $5 and if your duck wins the race, you could win $500.  Proceeds benefit local school.  The actual race takes place on Sunday at 5PM, but you don’t have to be there to win.

5.  Watch them catch a shad.  There’s a little row boat that takes off from Lewis Island and he drags a net way out to the middle of the river, he rows back with a net full of fish, some are huge and interesting.  How to get to Lewis Island:  cross into Lambertville from New Hope, take the immediate left turn, about 300 yards down the street you’ll see a parking lot for some condos on the river, cut through the parking lot, go over a dinky pedestrian bridge, and you’re on the island.  Last year they were scheduled to row out around 1PM on both days. 

6.  For the adventurous…eat some shad!  Shad are basically a huge herring, ther’re a oily dark meat kind of fish, but people older than dirt seem to love them.  If you’re out of your freaking mind, try some shad roe.  That’s right, people cook up the eggs of the shad and eat them, it’s like a poor, poor, poor man’s caviar.  I might try it and blog about it, but it’s Fear Factor worthy!

7.  Free Stuff!  Last year they gave out some free samples of yogurt, drinks, and the Geico Gekko himself showed up to hand out free stuff and give discounts on car insurance. 

8.  Great bands are playing at almost all the restaurants, nurse a Corona and listen to a set of live music.

9.  Walk across the bridge go into New Hope and try the beer sampler at Triumph.  I think you get 6 small glasses of beer for $6.

10.  I’ll be there, we can hang out!

Hotlanta

It’s 6:28AM and I’m in the Philadelphia Airport,
Terminal A, overlooking a parked plane. 
I don’t have wireless at the moment, so I won’t be able to post this
until I am safely on the ground in Atlanta. 

 

The first thing I want to get off my chest is over the
weekend, I bought some new clothing to spiff up my work attire.  I bought some shirts that claimed to be
wrinkle free, well, they are wrinkle free, but they still have the creases from
when they were folded at the store.  I
will have to change shirts when I land, I need to make a decent first
impression on the team I am meeting today. 

 

I would have ironed them last night, but I got back from
work close to 9PM.  It was a crazy day in
Horsham where we had to get a ton done before we went down to Hotlanta. 

 

We’ve made some progress on the residential situation.  We’re looking to move into the Regency Woods
apartment complex in Doylestown, it’s right behind the Acme.  Jay Matthews and I checked them out several
years ago, but I ended up working too far away. 
It’s not a done deal yet, but it’s looking like we’ll be in there by the
beginning of June. 

 

The new job is going well. 
It’s still the first week and for the first 3 days I will be in 3
different locations (home, Horsham, Atlanta).  I will be coming home from Atlanta on Friday night.  The good news is that I am really embedded at
my client’s location and I am pretty sure we are off to a good start, we have
similar backgrounds and I think we’ll work together well. 

 

I have 3 recent dialogues that I want to share:

 

1.

The Edman and I
discussing my first day of work:

Me:  I won’t be in
Horsham today, I will be working from home.

Edman:  That’s cool,
but what the hell do you do on your first day at work at home?

 

2. 

Me and Security Guard
at the place in Horsham where I work:

Me:  I am dropping off
the papers you needed so I can get a security badge to enter and exit the
building.

Security Guard: 
Thanks very much.

Me:  Wow, is that a
real gun in your holster?

Security Guard:  Sure
is, and it’s loaded too.

Me:  Holy smokes, you
don’t mess around here do you?

Security Guard:  Nope,
we take security pretty seriously.

Me:  Okay, is there
anything else we need to do for my badge?

Security Guard:  Yeah,
I have to take you back to the office…to shoot you.

Me:  Hahaha…I hope you
mean with a camera.

 

3.

Me and neighbor at
4AM this morning.  He’s stretching and
preparing for a morning run.

Me:  Don’t tell me you
do this everyday.

Neighbor:  Just about.

Me:  Good for you man,
that’s just crazy.

 

Quick note on my destination.  I am actually heading to the northern part of
Atlanta, called
Buckhead.  It’s been referred to as the Beverly Hills of the
South because it has tons of shopping. 
I’ve been there before several years ago, but we went there for the
nightlife.  The place was packed with
bars and a lot of them were over the top. 
One place we went was called Lulu’s Baitshop, it served a $10 drink that
came in a bucket completed with a 8” rubber alligator.  We had an absolute blast in this town.  I talked with some of the employees down in
Buckhead and they said they’ve cleaned it up a little and shut down a number of
bars, including Lulu’s. 

 

Quick note about the blog. 
Every once and awhile I check the statistics to see how many people are
checking in (or how many times people are checking the site).  On average, Droppin’ Some Deem receives about
200 hits a week.  Last week, it was up to
300.  I investigated and found out that
over the weekend, 100 people clicked onto my Call of Duty 4 review from a
couple months ago.  Moral of the story,
if you want to have a hit blog, write about video games.

Feeling A Little Sick

Winston was getting a bath right before his bedtime and the thought of slipping out the door for work tomorrow morning while he was waking up made me sick to my stomach.  He’s been so much fun to hang out with for the past month, we’ve been going to the park, taking long walks, and frequenting the local eateries (most notably the pizzeria on the corner).  I guess the hardest part is that I can’t really explain to him why I won’t be here tomorrow.  I told him anyways, but he just laughed and drooled, I think he’ll be fine. 

For the first time in months, I heard a new song that I really enjoyed.   It’s called, “Frankie’s Gun!” by the Felice Brothers.  It sounds like Bob Dylan, but with more collaborative beats and harmonies, and the lyrics are closer to Springsteen than Dylan.   Listen to it, you’ll tap your foot.  I listened to several other songs on iTunes (just the 30 second samples) and I thought “Frankie’s Gun!” was the only one worth buying, but you can be the judge. 

We lost our game this Sunday, but the bar-b-que was quite a success.  Thanks to all who brought fabulous foods, beverages, and the foresight to bring along trash and recycling bags. 

I’ll be pretty busy the next couple days with the new job, but I’ll let you know how its going as soon as possible.

Friday

1.  Softball bar-b-que this Sunday after our 12:45 game at Schaefer Field (Let’s hope the weather cooperates)
2.  Start work on Monday, Xbox 360 scheduled to be delivered on Monday, I guess the Lord wanted me to make a sacrifice to get the job I wanted.
3.  Midget Micheal Jackson

Famous Midget Dancer – dedicated to Laurie Fellman