Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Incurable Optimist

Location: Home
Watching: USMNT international friendly vs. Germany
Reading: Always Looking Up by Michael J. Fox
Progress: Cisco ICND1
Video Game: Bioshock Infinite

My medication isn't work like it's supposed to and I've been dealing with a lot of deaths and injuries lately.  So I've been going through a bunch of emotions.  The somewhat ironic thing is that in the time that all of these horrible things have happened, I was reading the book Always Looking Up by Michael J. Fox. It is subtitled the Adventures of the Incurable Optimist.  So luckily I have for the most part been dealing with it well.  I have great friends who have helped me with the not so great times.

I keep keeping frustrated.  In this book MJF's wife is there to support him every step of the way.  Truly demonstrating "through good times and in bad."  I am jealous to not have something like that in my life, but luckily I have 2 things that take its place.  Great friends who are extremely helpful and always there to listen and a renewed love for running.  Running was a stress release unlike no other and something that I've definitely taken for granted.  It's times like these when I have to shut it down until we get this disease under control that I truly miss it.  When I am able to run again, I have to start training and have to get back to my goal of running a sub 20 5K.  If you told me in high school that one of my goals would be to sub 7 miles I'd laugh at you and tell you that you made a typo.  Right now it's an extremely daunting task.  I had thought about setting the goal at sub 8, but screw it.  I know I have to run sub 9 before I can run sub 8, but sub 8 is not my goal.  Sub 7 is. 

Right now it's mostly a mental issue, but I am being optimistic and realizing that if I actually start getting in shape and eating right and taking care of myself that it will help me not only accomplish this goal, but will ultimately allow me to be in better health to fight this disease.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Location: Woodbridge Public Library
Listening to: The Fray
Reading: Ender's Game by O.Scott Card
Certification: Cisco ICND1 Module 1 Lesson 5
Video Game: Bioshock Infinite

First of all, it's Mother's Day and my brother and I took my mom and grandma out to breakfast at the Reo Diner in Woodbridge.  I will always be a Jersey boy and there is nothing better than diner food for breakfast. 

For the past few weeks my head has been a mess.  I just have so much stuff on my mind and I just needed to take a deep breathe and figure out.  There's a really good part of the movie "The Art of Getting By," when Sally says, "You think too much."  That's my problem I think to much.  I blame my brain for never taking a break and not being able to focus on one thing because it wants to do a million things at once. 

I've been watching a lot of artsy/emo movies.  I don't know what the actual genre is called, but the movies are "It's Kind of a Funny Story," "The Art of Getting By," and last night I saw "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" for the first time.  This morning I watched it again.  I really liked it. 

Yesterday I was in the library and listened to all of the Dave Matthews playing with Tim Reynolds albums that I have on my ipod.  It got me remembering high school and college and how many DMB shows I went to. They were so much fun. 

I was taken back to a night that I haven't thought of in a long time, a DMB concert at Citifield.  I was thinking wow that was the best night of my life.  Looking back it was an awesome night, but I won't say the best night of my life.  I don't think I've had that night yet.  Also I had so many awesome nights that were just my friends and I hanging around, figuring out life. 

The picture above is from that night at Citifield.  My friend Adam on the left was cool enough to get us a suite for the show.  The guy on the right is Jon from one of my favorite bands.  He is legitimately one of the nicest guys on the planet.  I've hung out with him a few times and he's really cool.  The point of this story is I've been feeling really down about things recently.  Remembering that night made me smile.  It was one of those nights that I remember every detail of every second of that night.  I remember talking with Jon about music, baseball, and life while we were tailgating.  I remember it was so hot and we had the air conditioned suite.  So we went in early and I remember everyone was waiting in the suite and Jon and I saw in the seats over looking CitiField.  We were just silent and taking it in when I broke the silence and asked him what it's like to play in front of this many people and if he likes that better than playing a small basement show.  The answer was long and complex and awesome.  Fast forward to midway through the show and I was just sitting there taking it all in and Jon came over and said, "Can I sit here? I have a bottle of Jack."  So we just sat there and talked and drank out of the bottle of Jack.  (Note: Partying like a rockstar is no joke.  I definitely did some fake swigs from that bottle of Jack.)  This one girl in our suite kept looking our way and I said "You're going to sleep with her aren't you?"  He said, "Why?  Are you into her?"  I told him no.  He said, "You know you could if you wanted to.  You just have to go talk to her."  We talked a little more and he basically told me I was cool and passed the bottle of Jack to me and got up and went to talk to her.

Back to "The Perks of Being a Wallflower."  There are so many great quotes from that movie.  I can't wait to read the book.  It's 2nd on my list.  I have to read Catcher in the Rye first, which is also in that movie.  The DMB concert story is relevant because it reminded me of this part of the movie. 

Patrick: Hey, everyone! Every body! Everyone, raise your glasses to Charlie.
Charlie: What did I do?
Patrick: You didn't do anything. We just want to toast to our new friend. You see things and you understand. You're a wallflower.
[Charlie gets embarrassed]
Patrick: What is it? What's wrong?
Charlie: I didn't think anyone noticed me.
Patrick: Well we didn't think there was anyone cool left to meet! So come on everyone. To Charlie!

It's nice when I am noticed for how great I am and appreciated.  It's even better when you don't expect it.  I try really hard not to be noticed and to fly under the radar and really hard to be cool and noticed at the same time if that makes any sense.

There is also a major character flaw that I have that I need to fix.  It's mostly because I'm terrified of opening up to anyone.  I'm working on it.  “It's just that I don't want to be somebody's crush. If somebody likes me, I want them to like the real me, not what they think I am. And I don't want them to carry it around inside. I want them to show me, so I can feel it too.” is the quote from Wallflower.  In "The Art of Getting By," there is a scene where George tells Sally that he thought she was being unfair, but he realized that it was actually him who was being unfair for not telling her how he really felt about her.  Like I said, I'm working on it.   It was pretty great to realize that though.  Part of the mess in my head is all these feelings that I internalize that I just expect people to be able to read my mind like book and figure it out.  I have to stop being disappointed in other people not realizing how I feel if I don't externalize it.  That's not going to be easy but I'll work on it. 

Some other really great quotes from "The Perks of Being a Wallflower":

I feel infinite.

Dear Friend, I'm sorry I haven't written in awhile, but I've been trying hard to not be a loser.

My life is officially an after school special.

Charlie: So, you're not scared of me?
Sam: No.
Charlie: So, we can be friends again?
Sam: Of course!
[She hugs him]
Sam: C'mon. Lets go be psychos together!

Charlie: Why do nice people choose the wrong people to date?
Bill: Are we talking about anyone specific?
[Charlie nods]
Bill: We accept the love we think we deserve.
Charlie: Can we make them know they deserve more?
Bill: We can try.

You can't just sit there and put everybody's lives ahead of yours and think it counts as love.

So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how could that be.

My doctor said we can't choose where we come from but we can choose where we go from there. I know it's not all the answers but it was enough to start putting these pieces together.

Welcome to the island of misfit toys.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Boston Thoughts

Location: Woodbridge Public Library
Listening to: Taking Back Sunday
Reading: Ender's Game by O.Scott Card
Study Progress: Cisco ICND1 Module 1 Lesson 3
Video Game: BioShock Infinite

Whenever there is tragedy my brain goes into over drive.  I first want to say that my prayers are with all of the victims and their families.  I think one thing that was overlooked, which is now being discussed is those that were injured.  I don't think I realized what being injured by an IED truly means.  I love sports, an injury by an athlete is something that you rehab back from and try to come back from better than before in a physical sense.  The injuries from the Boston Marathon aren't these types of injuries.  People (including children) have lost limbs.  Even though they will recover and I'm sure will have amazing lives, some of them will have to make drastic life changes.

I saw this great meme that said "You just pissed off a lot of people who run faster than you and never give up."  I hate that when I'm sad or depressed it takes something like this to make me realize that life is great and there is always someone who is worse off than me.  That having been said, I love running.  It has taught me to never give up.  It might be the only true thing I can honestly say I love.  It has taught me so much, including that you can accomplish so much more than what you realize.  When you think that you've reached your limit, you can actually go beyond it.  The other thing is you are in control of your destiny.  Running is so amazing because its fundamentals parallel those in so many aspects of life and I'm always finding a new way to relate it to life.  The most recent one is that I have to take care of myself.  No one is going to make me get better.  I help many people get better, but they do the work.  I have to start doing the work.  I'm starting a 4 week training plan tomorrow.  It'll be me at the beginning and me at the end.  Along the way, there might be people who run with me, and help me along the way, but at the end of the day it'll be me alone smiling.  Then about 2 seconds later I'll be content, but trying to figure out how I can do better next time. The hardest thing to deal with in my own life is that I'm always trying to improve myself so I don't appreciate that every day I learn something new or am better in some way.  I'm always looking ahead.  Sometimes I have to stop, take a deep breathe and look at where I was and where I am right now in this moment.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Morning Person

Location: Home
Listening to: Silence
Reading: Ender's Game by O.Scott Card Study
Progress: Cisco ICND1 Module 2 Lesson 1, Labs : 3/20
Video Game: Mass Effect 1

I finally accomplished one of my goals this morning.  I woke up and did a work out at 6 am.  It has taken many days of trying to wake up early and not being able to do it.  Yesterday I was up at 6:45, today I was actually up at 5:50 and decided not to go back to sleep.  It sounds easy, but the only time I ever was a morning person was in Ireland when I spent thousands of dollars on that trip and wasn't going to miss a single thing.  I expected to wake up this morning sore from yesterdays workout but I wasn't.  It makes me think I should increase the number of reps, but I'm going to stick with what I have scheduled.  As a coach when I write a training schedule for other people, the first 2 weeks the athlete always laughs and me and says I can do these workouts in my sleep.  I always say prove it.  It's easy to do one of them, but to work out for 2 weeks in a row and stick to a schedule is easy to see on paper, but with life's obstacles it is always more difficult. 

I start coaching again on in 2 weeks.  I'm not in the shape I was hoping to be at this point, but I'm feeling good that I'll be able to get to a decent level of fitness by that date if I stick to my 2 week plan. 

I'm very excited for my next Cisco Certification class which starts tomorrow.  I am disappointed in myself for not having sat for the first exam yet, but I am very happy with the work I've put in the last 2 weeks.  I really enjoy this stuff and hope to sit for that exam in 3 weeks and pass it on the first try.  That would put me on pace to hopefully take the next one shortly after that and be CCNA certified by mid-May.  I thought about pushing this class back, but I'm glad I'm going to get everything out of the way before coaching starts. 

I haven't decided if I'm going to start a running blog or maybe a website to post the cool things I find and learn along the way with running and training, but here's something I saw the other day that I liked.

13 Things I Hate About Running

I love running, but as much as I love my sport, there are some days when I lack motivation and I would prefer to complain. Here are some reasons I HATE running sometimes:

1. Nasty feet: Ugly toenails that are black and 3D-shaped, blisters, calluses or just no toenail at all.

2. When I try to snot rocket and it goes down my face or on my shoe.

3. Chafing: armpits, groin....etc.

4. When I pass a man and he tries to race me.

5. Running in really windy conditions so it feels like you're standing still.

6. Tan lines that look like you're still wearing shorts and a sports bra. (This makes wearing a cute sundress or bikini almost impossible.)

7. Doing laundry every couple days because I run twice a day.

8. Running when all I want to do is eat and sleep and stay snuggled under a nice comfy blanket.

9. Being hungry all the time.

10. Getting out of bed in the morning and walking like an old granny because I'm so stiff.

11. GI distress when there are no bathrooms!

12. Getting back into shape, when every run feels like a death march.

13. Feeling like I'm missing out on family vacations because I have to train.

Personally #11 is the thing I hate the most about running.  I never know if it's my Crohn's disease acting up or something I ate or just having discomfort from a run.  Then I start to stress about what it can be so that just makes it worse.  That's another reason I didn't increase the reps today.  Slow and steady until my body adjusts to the current workload and then I'll increase it more.

Ok, time to start my day at 7:15 am.  I hopefully will be a lot more productive when I become a morning person.

Monday, February 18, 2013


Location: Home
Watching: "Girls"
Reading: Ender's Game by O.Scott Card Study
Progress: Cisco ICND1 Module 1 Lesson 5
Video Game: Mass Effect 1

I've been feeling very lonely recently.  It really sucks liking someone who doesn't like you back.  I just have to stick to my plan of getting healthy, getting better at my job, and saving up to buy a house. 

"She's like a carnival game, you know.  It all seems so simple and then you can't get the ring on the bottle because it's f****** rigged. so you try and try and try until you drive yourself nuts and then finally when you walk away you realize you didn't even want the crappy prize to begin with."
- Adam Sackler

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Location: Woodbridge Public Library
Listening to: People and Things by Andrew McMahon
Reading: Ender's Game by O.Scott Card Study
Progress: Cisco ICND1 Module 1 Lesson 5
Video Game: Mass Effect 1

I'm back. I don't know if anyone will ever read this, but it's very therapeutic to get my thoughts and feelings out. So that's what I'm going to do.

I'm really proud of myself for finally waking up early. Not as early as I'd like, but at least I didn't stay in bed until mid-afternoon. I've slowly been trying to go to bed earlier each night so I could wake up at 6am to start working out before work. I started keeping a health journal a few weeks ago so I can easily track things like weight and sleep schedules. I wish I could say I stuck to my plan of going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night and waking up 15 minutes earlier, but I haven't. Last night I was up late, but I decided to suck it up and wake up early.

I was up at my usual weekday time of 7:45am, but I actually got out of bed and did a workout. I really want to start cross training for a triathlon. I joined the YMCA this week and I really want to do this the right way. This morning's workout was a good reminder that I NEED to do this the right way. I did 2 sets of exercises that used to be so easy I would get bored. I'm out of shape. It's nothing to be ashamed of. I'll get back. The short term goal is to be in good enough shape to coach in mid-March. I'd like to be able to finish my first road race in years, the Colonia 5K on April 13th.

The main reason I started blogging again is in December I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. The odd thing was I wasn't upset by this diagnosis. I knew there was something wrong with me so it was a relief to know that a.) I wasn't crazy and b.) it wasn't cancer. I absolutely can handle this disease. It's annoying and inconvenient at times, but manageable. That doesn't mean I don't have panic attacks and feel like this thing is going to put me in the hospital some day. Yesterday I tried opening up to a friend of mine and I stopped. I watched the movie "Friends with Benefits" the other day and Justin Timberlake's character says he doesn't like the look on people's faces when they look at his dad, who has Alzheimer's. I don't like that look on people's faces when I see them look at me with that look. I recently realized that I'm completely comfortable talking about this disease to a certain extent, but I will be looking at the floor when I'm talking about it. Every day is a challenge. I have to live every day though so I do. One of my favorite metaphors is of course something from Jack's Mannequin. It will be my first tattoo when I figure out how to make it look cool enough to permanently be on my body and how to make it not an album title tattoed on my arm. I'm a Glass Passenger. This disease has made me somewhat fragile, but I refuse to be a glass figurine on display somewhere. I'm a passenger on this great journey called life.

I recently realized that years ago when I start this blog that I was smarter than I realized. By including the book I'm reading, what I'm studying, and what video game I'm playing is actually helping me accomplish short term goals which ultimately will lead to long term goals.

I really enjoy my life most days. I enjoy the work I do and the people I work with. I took this job as a tech in Woodbridge Township's IS department as a temporary job. The pay wasn't what I wanted, but the benefits are amazing. I also have been able to live at home and actually save money. It turns out that I really enjoy the work that I do. I also really enjoy how much more there is to learn. I love math and always will, but I realized that it wasn't I didn't enjoy studying or that I was too lazy to do the work. I felt like I was doing a jigsaw puzzle without knowing what the picture was. I have no doubt I would have completed the puzzle and seen the picture, but I was having trouble seeing it. I'm currently studying for my first Cisco Certification, Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT). It's not easy, but it's made easier because I can see the practical use at my current job and I can see where it can take me.

This job also allows me time to do things for me. Saving money for my house, becoming politically active, tutoring math, reading, coaching, studying, playing video games, learning how to play chess, learning how to playing guitar. All of these are things I'd like to accomplish. I found it extremely helpful to write down my goals. Seeing my short term goals and how they will help me achieve dreams makes them easier to accomplish. It also helps make them seem less overwhelming and helps keep me on target.

My short term goals are:
Get CCENT certified
Get back in shape
Maintain a healthy weight
Save money
Buy Saucony Virrata sneakers
Beat Mass Effect 1
Watch Breaking Bad
Finish Ender's Game
Be able to beat the computer at chess
Build up calluses to be able to play guitar Help council and senators/assemblymen get elected/re-elected

My mid term goals are:
Get CCNA certified
Run a 5K
Buy a Macbook Pro with Retina Display
Beat Mass Effect 2
Read Game of Thrones
Learn intermediate chess techniques
Commit guitar chords to memory
Complete and frame NY Giants Puzzle

My long term goals are:
Get A+ certified
Get Network+ certified
Get MCSA/MCSE certified
Complete a triathalon
Buy a house
Learn advanced chess techniques
Learn to play the piano

"If it's just a song to keep us in the universe
When the wars are waging
I will be strong
There's no chance we can lose this fight
With the love that I'm facing
With a note so long
When the morning comes we'll know the truth
The sun will forever keep rising."
- Andrew McMahon "Keep Rising"

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Find Your Strong!!

I started getting back in shape and started running again. It's a lot harder than when I was in high school. It's annoying to have to do the little things such as do core workouts and lift weights and strengthen different muscles and ease back into it so I don't hurt myself again. I'll get back though.

I saw an interview with Steve Nash from the Phoenix Suns. He was asked how he still is able to play at such a high level at 38 years old. The point he made was always stay active. His point was as long as your active, your organs stay active, and overall you feel better. It is so much easier to suck it up and stay active than it is to get back into shape after being lazy. I'm learning that the hard way. I'll get back though.

2 friends remind me of this. Both are college teammates of mine and Boston Marathon qualifiers. One is a doctor friend of who ran marathons when he was in med school and still runs at a competitive level. The other is a mother of 3 who won her most recent marathon and is one of the faces of Saucony's "FIND YOUR STRONG" campaign.

They have the 2 most important and time consuming jobs on this earth: doctor and mother. If they can find time to not only stay fit, but to excel at such a high level, why can't I? I'll get back. I'll find my strong.