Sunday, January 24, 2010

Midnight train to Jersey

The doors to the subway train open and a waft of 8 day unwashed vagina attacks my nostrils. My eyes immediately dart around the train to identify where the smell is coming from and sitting in the corner is a small black man whose skin has begun to whiten from lack of hygiene and a life of riding subway cars to keep warm. My watch shows 1:02 a.m. and I have spent the last hour and a half in the underground labyrinth that is the New York Subway System.

I spent a lovely evening with a beautiful redhead named Lola. Saying that makes it sound tawdry which just goes to show you how quickly you jump to conclusions. It is the night before I leave New Jersey and I rode into the city via the Path train into the World Trade Center hole and boarded the E train to 42nd street for my date. Being in Jersey gave me the opportunity to hook back up with Lola after our brief meeting in Dallas.

We took in dinner at Etc. Etcetera and, thoroughly stuffed, made our way to see “Mary Poppins” on Broadway. In between renditions of “Step in Time”, “Spoonful of sugar” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (how impressive is it that my spell check has that as a word and corrected my spelling?) Lola and I made friends with a Brazilian who was taking in the show. I think we picked the perfect Broadway to see too. If you were in the audience and looked up to see kids enjoying themselves, “ooohing” and “aahhing” as Mary flies across the stage you would have been looking at us. We jumped with surprise, sang with the songs, and bobbed our heads up and down in time with the music. No two 20 something’s could have been happier.

After the show we headed to the bus terminal and as we went inside discovered a bar that was housed within serving drinks to travelers as they waited for their bus. As we sipped our beer in wait of Lola’s chariot, we were serenaded with karaoke as small white guys sang songs better suited to large black men or sopranos. You sure hit that high note, Mr. Blanco.

I saw Lola off and began my travel back to Jersey City. Knowing the trains ran off hours I anticipated a wait but was confident that I would be able to make it back to my hotel. I rode the E train in so I planned on backtracking on it and getting back to the World Trade Center. As I stood in the tunnel at 42nd street station I learned what Purgatory must be like.

I will start by saying I had 40 blocks to travel. The train ride to Times Square took about 15 minutes. I stood waiting for the E train and was disappointed time and time again. As I leaned over the tracks to watch for the small light at the end of the tunnel to grow brighter, the A on the train kept dashing my hopes. After 30 minutes on the platform I began to worry that the train would never come. Using the map I planned an alternate route and jumped on an A train to 33rd where I knew of a Path Train that ran from the City to Jersey.

I scrambled around Penn Station in a panic. My phone said the Path train stopped at 11:00 but I couldn’t find it out until I had exited the signal blocking tunnels. Stuck on 33rd, I rushed back to the Subway and decided I would just ride the A and get as close to WTC as I could and walk. It was past midnight by this point and exhaustion was setting in along with a mild need to urinate. I jumped on the A train but only rode it one stop when I decided to jump off and double check the map to make sure that I was heading the right way. At this point the voice of God, or maybe it was just an intercom, at that point I starting to get delirious, said,

“All E bound trains are being serviced off of the F line. Please ride the F train to Commerce for service to World Trade Center.”

I had just spent over an hour waiting for a train that didn’t exist. At this point I held back tears and went down a level to wait for the train that I hoped would bring salvation. I turned my phone on to record my thoughts.

“It’s just after 1 o’clock in the morning; I am now waiting for the F train on West 4th street. This marks an hour and a half in the subway with about a mile and a half covered.”

As I rode the F train with the human embodiment of rotten eggs, I prayed that I would make it home. My urgency at needing to pee was building but there was not a chance in hell I was stepping foot in a Subway bathroom. I made it to the WTC at 1:30 a.m. and the only real bit of luck I had appeared. I had arrived just in time to get on the Path train that would take me home. My second recording held more hope that the first.

“It’s 1:33 in the morning and I am on the Path train to New Jersey. It took me 30 minutes to get to the WTC so I could get onto this train and I lucked out to find it the first time. I was afraid if I didn’t it would have been another hour and I would have cried.”

As my feet screamed in protest I rode the train into Jersey City. I had entered the Path train in Jersey City near the office I was at. However my hotel was a good 10 block from the office and I got the great idea that I would just ride the Path to the station near my hotel, thinking it would save me about 8 blocks. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The train I was on dropped off on a different station than the one near my hotel but this didn’t become apparent until I had exited the train, popped out topside, and found nothing looked familiar.

I pulled out my phone and with the use of Google Maps, located my hotel and started the 12 blocks towards it. My urge to pee went from a want to an absolute need and I was forced to stop between two parked cars in a dimly lit street and urinate. My fingers were so cold that I thought I might recoil at the touch and we myself but in this one thing I was fortunate.

I arrived at my hotel at 2 a.m. and finished packing before collapsing into bed and embracing sweet exhaustion.

That is all,


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Looking for the Jersey Devil

I am sitting in the lobby of a DoubleTree hotel in New Jersey tonight. It is raining outside and the 'blip' of my Skype just went off telling me my wife responded to me. I am officially an employee of my parent company and on my first travel assignment. I have come to the state of New Jersey to get some training on a specific computer system before I get cracking on things and this entire week I get to hole up in an office complex overlooking the Hudson River.

Being new to traveling for work, it didn't occur to me that weather could be a problem so when the plane landed and I saw rain hitting the windows, I realized I was not prepared for that. I stopped in one of the airport shops before going to baggage claim and only saw "I love New York" umbrellas and I had no interest in being seen as a tourist so I passed. My hotel was next to a mall so I ran over and got one before it closed and I think I have learned my lesson.

Now, most of you are probably thinking, Newt is in Jersey? That is near Lola Lakely! and you would be right. In fact, my dear friend Lola and I are already planning on seeing each other and have tickets to see Mary Poppins on Thursday so that will be a post to come.

I am looking forward to this week and all the fun that travel offers. Why, just for dinner I was able to sample some of the local fare by taking in a quaint little restaurant. You may have heard of it. It was called Chili's.

So far I have to say Jersey doesn't seem to bad but I am staying in an urban area and it seems just like any other city. Maybe in the light of day I will walk outside and see what everyone is talking about. We will see.

That is all,


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Womanizing the blogosphere

It is slowly becoming apparent that the blog world is predominately female. When I started blogging I was in my own little world where me and my friends all blogged and had a little click. In the last year that click has grown exponentially and this is when it came to my attention that blogging is like volleyball, men play it but it is overrun by ladies.

I have considered that the blogosphere might be more even then I think but haven't been able to prove it. For every male blogger I find, there seem to be ten women ones. So, I did an experiment. Using the "Next Blog" button at the top of the screen I hit it 10 times and here is what came up.

Blog one was a mother writing about her kid.
Two was about an English woman writing about the trials and tribulations of having MS.
Blog three was about Merideth Boyd and her husbands photography business.
Quatro involved articles about prostate cancer.
Blog five focused on a child with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.
Six was in a different language but it looked girly.
Seven is about the life of a teacher named Joye.
Eight was the first one I found written by a man and it is all about asexuality.
Nine has something to do with Photoshop and Wikipedia. Not sure what though but it was written by a woman.
And the final blog was by someone named Kate.

So, in total there were 7 that were written by woman, 1 by a man, 1 for health purposes that are male related so probably also by men, and the final one needed translation.

So I have to ask, "Where my bros at?" I actually read a few blogs by men but there are not frequented with as many posts as women. Is it because there are stay at home moms that write? Or single women that like to discuss going out? Or does having a family make woman want to write about their adventures? I don't know.

I have seen a subculture of blogs that are just written for families to keep up with what is going on with their kin. My parents have been known to keep up with me using this blog so I understand how helpful that can be. But where are the male bloggers? And can anyone recommend some.

That is all,


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Eye Spy

Friday was an eye opening day. I finally did something I have been wanting to do for years and splurged to get Lasik. We arrived at the doctor at 7:40 and were out by 8:20 and I could see better.

For those interested, the surgery was quick, about 5 minutes per eye. They start by holding your eye lids open, using a laser they cut a flap in your cornea which they then lift, and then use a different laser to reshape your inner cornea to adjust the way light refracts off of it. It was painless and the only thing I would warn about is that it can get slightly confining while the surgery is happening.

It is an odd sensation for you to know your eye is open yet not be able to see. When the flap is cut, your eye looses vision and at that point things start to feel a little weird. After the flap is made, you are swung around to the corrective laser and are told to focus on a red light. There is about 20 seconds of noise as the laser does its work and then the flap is closed and you are done. One of the oddest things is that you can actually smell your eye getting burned. It smells like lightly of burnt hair and plastic. Really weird.

I slept most of Friday and have been putting drops in my eyes for the last couple of days but I can see almost 20/20. My eyes are still healing so I am not sure what exactly will be the end result so I my require some touch up if things don't even out exactly. But, the ability to go to sleep and see when I wake up is something I don't even have words for. I haven't been able to do that since the 4th grade. It is amazing.

That is all,


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Her Name was Lola!

Oh My God!!!! Star Sighting. Tuesday night something magical happened. I met Lola Lakely.

Living in Dallas gives me a lot of opportunities. One of those is that I am in a hub city that offers a lot of options for companies that need to have corporate functions. It is really common for people to fly in staff to come to meetings and that is how I met the real life Lola.

She arrived in Dallas on Tuesday night and Diana and I went to her hotel and had drinks and we all got to know one another. I was pretty nervous about the whole thing. Earlier in the day she told me she didn't know what I looked like so I sent her a picture via my camera phone. When she told me she was on her way down, butterflies were moving around. Should I hug her? Would she meet my expectations? Would it be awkward?

Well, no worries were to be had because not only did Lola hug both me and Diana, she is also exactly as I imagined her and cuter than I thought she would be.

It is a weird sensation meeting someone that you almost know. With blogging there is a point where you consistently read about someone to the point where you consider them a friend and yet you haven't really met that person so it almost isn't real. More than once during the night we looked at each other and said, "This is so crazy."

I don't think I got the whole Lola Lakely experience because the night ended with no one drunk, no crazy stories, and a relatively small bar tab but all of her work people were out and about and it was a Tuesday. The most awesome thing about it is I get to see her again in two weeks when I go to New Jersey for work. To go from never meeting to seeing each other twice in a month is a pretty crazy turn of events.

That is all,


Friday, January 01, 2010

TBWCYL Day 365 - Newt Year, New You

At last, at last it has come to an end,
One year has ended, another begins.
I finished the journey of tasks to be done,
It seemed never ending, but we are on the last one.
A Party, a party to finish it all,
To celebrate my new self, the dropping of a ball.

We rang in the New Year with a party of close friends last night and thus the final task is complete. I completed(mostly) my 364 tasks in my amphibiously glorious fashion and to celebrate the accomplishment, my final task was to throw a New Year, New You party. We drank champagne, ate finger foods, lit a fire, and had sparklers and roman candles for the front yard as we welcomed in the year of the Tiger(2010).

And with this I come to a close on the experiment that was This Book Will Change Your Life. My first post on this can be read here but I decided to look back on it and see what I really wanted to do with this thing.

"I am going to do my damnedest to finish this experiment": That was apparent and easily my proudest part of the entire trip.

"you should see at least one new blog a day chronicling what the hell this book is telling me to do": In total there are now 372 different posts about this project so that seems to have been done. I might not have been daily but I covered every day.

"adding crazy shit into your life...and I am going to do it.": Mission accomplished

One unsaid thing that I set out to do was to entertain more people than I originally was. I was a lazy blogger at the time of this experiment and thought this would be a good way to force me into a habit of writing. I won't say I always wrote well, I never had perfect spelling, and my grammar could always use some work but I got into a routine of writing something almost everyday.

And I made friends, wonderful friends from all across the globe. I can't even begin to say how awesome that part of this was. It was something wholly unexpected and amazing to be able to say and I hope that part doesn't go away when I slow my blogging down. I especially want to think Kate, who hasn't been around lately but toward the beginning of this really promoted me when she didn't have to and got me integrated into what has come to be a community of people.

There was no way I could have guessed how difficult this would actually be. I kept it secret from my coworkers, I put myself in ridiculous situations, and I challenged myself to be and do things I would never have thought possible.

I think the biggest question I get from friends is, "Did it change your life?" The short answer is "Yes" but the all encompassing answer is more of a "sort of". No, I normally wouldn't have given myself an enema or eat unfamiliar foods but I never doubted I could do those things if I needed to.

I think the things that changed me the most were the ones that affected the world around me. The adventures in losing senses were eye opening, not talking showed me that when people think you are deaf they go out of their way to help and giving a homeless guy a $20 makes you just a little bit less cynical about the world. The biggest thing is the achievement of doing something that seems impossible one day at a time.

I won't be doing a sequel to this book, though there is more than one. I don't think it would be fair to me or my wife to put either of us through this again. I do want to continue with some recurring things and I am working on ideas for those but the daily thing is done for now. I am going to revel in my first day of task-free bliss and say...

That is all,