"Camina chi pantofuli finu a quannu non hai i scarpi." - Sicilian proverb
"I've learned a lot about life from shutting my mouth and opening my eyes" - Nate Skiles
"Statistics prove that you can prove anything with statistics" - unknown
Check out what's happening in OB News | Here are some quick links:
I love Philadelphia.
I love my wife a whole lot.
I am employed by the Philadelphia Zoo.
I went to Brazil for 9 days in November of 2001.
I was the captain of the Philadelphia Zoo Softball Team for 11 years.
I am a Purdue University Graduate (SLA 1996, BA Psychology).
I also attended DeKalb High School (Waterloo, IN 1988-92).
Read all the Purdue news at The Purdue Exponent Online.
At Purdue, I was a DJ at WILY Radio 90.1 for 4 years.
[and Music Director for 1 year.]
I am employed by the Philadelphia Zoo as a primate keeper (and have been since January of 2000). I take care of all kinds of primates - including Sumatran orangutans, western lowland gorillas, white-handed gibbons, Francois langurs, common squirrel monkeys, red-capped mangabeys, white-faced saki, spider monkeys (black-faced, brown), Bolivian gray titis, lemurs (Coquerel's sifaka, mongoose, ring-tailed, black & white ruffed, blue-eyed black, aye-aye), Geoffroy's marmosets and tamarins (golden lion & pied). No diggity. And throw in some Rodrigues fruit bats, Malagasy giant jumping rats, giant elephant shrews, prehensile-tailed porcupine, pancake tortoise, two-toed sloth & naked mole rats in there, too. [Not by myself or anything, and not all at the same time. I rotate to different areas within our two primate buildings, the Rare Animal 'Conservation Center' (which is mostly monkeys but has some non-primates) and the Primate Reserve (where more monkeys and all of the apes are). I'm what we call a "relief keeper".] I also used to help take care of : spectacled langurs (really miss them!), douc langurs (RIP), black and white colobus (miss 'em!), pygmy marmosets (miss 'em!), Goeldi's monkeys, golden-headed lion tamarin, grey bamboo lemurs, lorises (slender, pygmy slow), Egyptian fruit bats, Matschie's tree kangaroos (RIP, Thomas & Spanky), parma wallabies, red panda, red kangaroos (for one day), tree shrews (northern, common, lesser), acouchi, short-beaked echidna, dwarf mongoose, squirrels (Prevost's, black & white) and nine-banded armadillos. No more birds!!! I am a former member of the Philadelphia Zoo chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK). I am a full-fledged union member, AFSCME Local 752. Watch out, my wife's on the Executive Board, and also the former secretary/treasurer AND former VP. Support your local shop!
I zookeep, therefore I am. Photo by Erin Price, 6/02.
I sorta not recently attended
as a Graduate Student in the Animal Behavior Program.
I attempted to obtain a Master's Degree from 8/97-8/99... and I definitely didn't (and have no plans to) finish.
I did all the course work, but the thesis kicked my ass. And I think Satan may actually live there.
I worked at the Ft. Wayne Children's Zoo as a primate keeper sort of seasonally for four years, 5/94-8/97.
A Little Basic 411 For Ya...
I was born in Bryan, OH on June 28th, 1974 at 9:49 a.m. and weighed in at a paltry 5 pounds and 10 ounces, measuring 19 inches long. I lived in Montpelier, OH from age 0-2. I lived in Auburn, IN from age 2 until... October of '99. I attended Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN from age 18-21. I lived at home (Auburn) from 22-23. I was in grad school at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA - from 23-25... and moved back home in late August '99 (which then changed to Ft. Wayne on Oct 1, 1999), but only for a few months. I moved to Norristown, PA (just NW of Philadelphia) on January 7th, 2000 and lived there until the fire on March 29, 2001. I then moved into Philadelphia with a former girlfriend in the Wissahickon neighborhood of northwest Philly (21st ward/4th council district, which also includes Roxborough and Manayunk). On February 1st, 2002 I moved just down the road (4 blocks away), by myself. I lived on Rock Street (no joke) for 4 years until I bought a house with my fiance and moved to the 'burbs in late February of '06. Drexel Hill, PA to be exact - part of Upper Darby township in Delaware County. I married my lovely wife Stephanie on September 30, 2006 at Valley Green Inn in Philly. Hell yeah. I have a too-cool-for-school step-son from her first marriage named Tristan Alexander (born 4/1/02). Our first (and last!) child together, a beautiful boy named Stone Christopher, was born on September 27, 2010 at 9:56 AM. We all moved over to Havertown, PA (just across Township Line Road!) in 2013 and eventually to a big, awesome house of our own in July of 2014. I'm 44 years old. CRAP.
Photo by George Lucas
On The Name...
OB. Yep, that's my name. Well, nickname. Technically, it started out as Obi-Wan Kenobi, but that was a bit long. Back in the old days when I was a hardcore all-star athlete, I was on a little league baseball team. (We won the title when I was 10! GO INTERIORS!) This team had two people with the same first name, and I happened to be one of them. And, since I was the younger of the two, it seemed only fair that the elder should retain the prized actual name and the lesser would get the new sometimes-embarrassing-although-crowd-pleasing nickname. That would be me, the lesser.
Actually, I don't think it was quite that big of a deal. It just turned out Star Wars buff Dari West started calling me "Obi-Wan" (or "Obie One" for those of you who can't read Jedi.) It was probably just his little way of saying, hey, cool name (he based it on my last name), or maybe he was just saying, you're a dork, let's call you a stupid name. Whatever, it stuck.
So, ever since then, over 30 years now, I've been called Obi-Wan, obie, obe, etc... I shortened it to OB, for reasons that may or may not be discussed later.
Random OB likes and dislikes and other assorted crap: I love to grocery shop. I often laugh so hard, I cry. I hate ketchup, mustard, mayo, pickles, onions, tomatoes, and just about anything else that goes on a hamburger, except cheese. I love cheese. Chedder, american, parmesan, mozzarella, provolone, feta, ricota, hell even smoked gouda! - whatever, just not swiss or brie. I love noodles. I vomit anything that ends with -salad (tuna, chicken, potato, pasta). Barbecue sauce is also vomit-inducing. I eat a lot of potatoes. I won't admit how much of a sweet tooth I actually have - I can consume mass quantities of jellybeans, jujyfruits, mike & ikes and basically anything chewy & fruity. And chocolate-covered caramel. Or anything apple-cinnamon. Believe it or not, I have never in my life asked a woman "can I buy you a drink?". I brush my teeth with hot water. (do you wash your hands/hair/body/dishes in cold?) I love flannel boxer shorts and pajama pants. I despise Wal-Mart. I like to cook. My blood used to be 99% Kickin' Kiwi-Lime Kool-Aid (when I could find it) and I have many good friends who sent me the good powder [especially since it was discontinued in 1998! For the love of God!! I was blessed with 50 packets for Christmas '00 - thanks Jen! - I'm so sad to say that I had about 20 or so left that were lost in the fire, but then Jen found 10 more and sent them for Christmas '01! Michelle found one in a random house that she was pet-sitting at and ganked it for me in summer of '02, and I thought that was possibly the last known packet of Kickin' Kiwi-Lime known to man. I drank the last glass in early October 2002... then, Becky Wolf of the beloved Team Zoo softball team found two packets in her parents' cupboard and gave them to me!! This was September 2003, 5 years after they stopped making the stuff. Kinda scary, but hot damn it tasted good, and lasted all of about 10 days. I drank the last glass (ever?) on 9/14/03.] Little Debbies are great. Monkeys and The Monkees both kick ass. I used to hate to drive (until I got Nellie). I have never purchased a lottery ticket. I am a dog person, but I owned a cat (and a guinea pig and some gerbils). I'm not usually into irony. (RIP Carter. I miss you, little buddy). And sadly, I have yet to actually own a dog. Someday I will own a frisbee dog. It is my goal in life to de-evolve into a Squirrel Monkey. OK, just kidding. I meant Spider Monkey. I like Dave Matthews Band quite a bit (34 concerts so far, though I've softened on them in recent years due to ticket prices and the irreplaceable loss of LeRoi). Do you know what DMB means? I consider myself fairly soft-spoken. I bite my fingernails - though not as much lately. I pace around a lot and pee when I get nervous. I hold grudges. I was a Real World/Road Rules Psycho-Junkie (tm) when I had cable. I applied for The Real World - San Francisco and still have the rejection letter. I had 178 out of 180 Seinfeld episodes on tape (lost in the fire - I was working on the regroup and got to about 160 but stopped when they released the DVDs). I used to have a complete set of Doogie Howser (seasons 1-3) episodes on tape. I still had "a few" until the fire. My wife bought me some seasons on DVD. I tend to be more attracted to brunettes : my current top 5 - Rachel McAdams, Natalie Imbruglia, Minka Kelly, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Alba (not necessarily in that order). My first real job was a paper route when I was 12. Jobs I have held : paperboy, babysitter (full time for 3 months straight one summer), cook at Ponderosa Steakhouse, food service lackey for the dorm at Purdue, glass factory end-line doofus, zookeeper, custodian, warehouse picker & packer, secret shopper, survey taker, authorized Kodak digital representative (for 4 hours), zookeeper again. I *used to be* a Michael Jackson freak - complete with trading cards, a doll, jigsaw puzzle, sequined socks and glove. I secretly used to obsess over Muppets Tonight and Boy Meets World - unfortunately, neither are currently shown on (free) TV in my area. Fried chicken rules (KFC original recipe... oh hell yeah). I don't like to shave. Family is the shit. (Although I didn't necessarily mean mine...) I had a bad episode with microwave caramel corn back in '89 or so (um, ate the whole bowl and puked 8 times), and didn't eat caramel corn for the next 15 years. I used to loathe roller coasters and for the first 19 years of my life, I was deathly afraid of them... then on one fateful day in '93, I actually began to enjoy them (and now I love 'em), and I even have proof that I rode the Magnum at Cedar Point. My favorite color is usually blue. Or green. Dark green. I cannot remember the last time I willingly ate a vegetable. If it's green and it's not Jello or Kool-Aid, I ain't eatin' it. But I do like lettuce in a plain salad a lot these days. I eat a lot of fruit, though. I'm not fond of inconsiderate people and those who don't know they are. My favorite accent is Canadian. I used to watch DeGrassi Junior High (oooh, Caitlin). My eyeglasses embarass me - I haven't worn them in public since '89. I am massively far-sighted (severe hyperopia) and I also have strabismus (cross-eyed condition) - I had corrective eye-muscle surgery when I was weeks away from turning age 4, and then again in January 2004 - the correction "wore off" and had to be corrected again. Luckily my case isn't severe. I have "combination skin". I generally hate seafood of all kinds. I thoroughly enjoy sneezing. I have been a loyal Zest and Pert Plus user since I was old enough to ask for them by name - I am zestfully clean as I wash and go. I attended "gifted and talented" classes from grade 5 through grade 8 (the first year or two was fun but the last two were pure torture). It was called "USA" - Unique Student Activities. I took the SAT's in 8th grade, too. I have taken one sip of coffee in my entire life, and that was around 1984 - it will never happen again (thanks, sis). Second-hand smoke (or first-hand, for that matter) from any smokable product bothers me unlike anything else in this world. I'm a pretty good juggler (only 3 at a time, though). I like to keep things on the down low. I can keep a secret. I have a very hard time standing still. I have owned four other cars in my life prior to the current kickass car I own, and they were: Nellie the Neon (March '00-August '06), a '79 Plymouth Horizon named Helen (July '91-May '92, R.I.P.), an '82 Datsun 310GX named Daisy (May '92-June '94) and an '84 (original year!) Pontiac Fiero named Fannie (June '94-March '00). Besides Nellie, only one of those had a working radio (Daisy) - and they also loved to break down on me or get hit by large animals. I learned how to drive in an '89 Ford Tempo [thanks, Coach Karp (RIP)] and I was forced to learn how to drive stick in my mom's (later to be my) '84 Fiero, by my mom. I have attended tapings of the TV shows Last Call with Carson Daly and the Jenny Jones show. I love to crack my knuckles. I'm a night person (I'm Gladys Knight) and amateur insomniac. Pittsburgh Steelers rule all. I was called to the principal's office once in high school, for something silly that was proved I didn't do. I have ice-skated once in my life. I have never skiied. I'm afraid of heights (sometimes) and deep, dark water but I can climb the shit out of just about anything. I don't like going over big bridges. I love it when girls wear those scrunchies in their hair. I'm a sucker for a pony tail. I'm hopelessly romantic, given the right inspiration. The kiss is God's gift to humankind. I love to scare the shit out of people, and I really love it when people scare the shit out of me. I love surprises. I love to surprise. I don't much like to fly, and up until the age of 22, I had only been on two major flights (to and from Mexico in '89). Since then I've flown to Denver, Houston, Chicago, Ft. Wayne, Phoenix, California!, Florida, Dominican Republic and BRAZIL, all round-trip. Blah. Cabin pressure really sucks. I have a tickle fetish. Bonobos are probably my favorite animal. I donated plasma for cash for basically 3 years straight while at Purdue (how do you think I got all those CD's?). I have O-Negative type blood (universal donor!) and I donate blood now regularly. I love the Red Cross. My body-fat percentage is (was) 13.8, which is one percentage point away from being "excellent" for my age and body type. I cannot stand getting blamed for something I didn't do. I consider myself a fairly creative person, and I've actually written over 180 songs or so (mostly lyrical, about 50 are both music and lyrics). They're on this website somewhere... and here's some super-old poetry of mine, too. I enjoy language. Whether or not I'm any good at writing is up for debate, but I at least enjoy it. I also love telling stories, and I have some doozies. I am now officially an award-winning storyteller. I have competed for the title of "Best Storyteller in Philadelphia" 3 times (and lost 3 times, but once got voted "Best Content", or basically 2nd place). Egomaniacs suck. Hypocrites suck worse. Fake people suck pretty bad, too. I get my car's oil changed regularly. I saw every single episode of ER. If it's possible, I think 24 was better than anything and is probably my favorite of all time. Yes, I know - I (used to) watch entirely too much television (and I don't even have cable TV!) And I probably spend way too much time online, as well. I've made some great net-friends over the years, though. I once passed a Dodge Viper on an interstate at 6 a.m. on a Sunday, going well over 100 mph (don't tell my mom). I don't often get sick but lately I tend to be chronically slightly ill - apparently I have chronic nasal drip. And since late 2006 I've had some kind of nasty acid reflux/esophagus problem that won't go away (tried at least 7 different meds and still working on it). Music is my life. I go crazy if I'm not being musically creative in some way, shape, or form. I cannot not buy CD's. I procrastinate. A lot. I am an enormous Natalie Imbruglia fan. I suffer from chronic back & neck pain (currently not getting regular chiropractic treatment, thanks to rising health care costs). I have no tolerance for racism. I am apathetically apolitical, but generally liberal leaning towards progressive. I vote (registered as independent). I am not particularly spiritual and very non-religious, but not necessarily anti-religion. Just don't preach to me. Words I hold sacred : trust, loyalty, humility. I love my friends, and severely dislike the ones who only pretend to be (hate is a strong word). I am a strong believer in revenge. I hold grudges.
Things I am most proud of : My severely beautiful, amazingly amazing WIFE! We own a house. My astoundingly, amazingly adorable awesome (and sometimes super stubborn) baby boy. My super cool/too-cool/sweet sometimes/15-year-old man of a step-son. I went to 38 concerts in 2014, 53 in 2013, 42 in 2012, 48 in 2011, 41 in 2010, 47 in 2009, 46 in 2008, 42 in 2007, 37 in 2006, 57 in 2005, 57 more in 2004, 54 in 2003 and 40 in 2001. I do not own a single Madonna album. My sense of humor. I had never in my life personally paid for a haircut until January of 2000. I survived ANBE 670 (B-, baby!). I have walked the streets of New York City (Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan and Queens). I played four softball games in Veterans Stadium (RIP), complete with nine put-outs, nine hits (one HR), five RBI, five runs scored and TWO turf-rashed shins. I have competed for the title of "Best Storyteller in Philadelphia" three times (including one runner-up "Best Content" award), which means I have won 3 monthly Story Slams. I have never been arrested. I had over 1100 Kool-Aid Points (lost in the fire) which got back up to 500 by January '04. I am silly in love with a fantastic woman. I actually have rhythm. I can change my own flat tire. I haven't called out sick at work since 2001 (sort of). I have never been drunk or high. I know the difference between a monkey and an ape. I am listed in the University of Wisconsin's Interational Directory of Primatologists. I own a record player. I drove to DC and didn't get lost. I have now seen ALL FOUR Monkees play live - though not at the same time. RIP DAVY! I own (and have actually worn) a suit and can tie a tie when I have enough time. I have never seen the movie Titanic. I can cook. Some of my rap lyrics. Most of my guitar songs. My three CDs of original music. My DMB live tape/CD/video collection (lost in the fire). This website (FYI, first launched in fall '96). The other website that I created that was *almost* the official website for The Roots. So far, I don't have any kind of a fat gut. Purdue. My Purdue degree. While at Purdue, I was inducted into Psi Chi, the National Honor Society of Psychology and received academic Semester Honors twice. Never have I owned a cell phone, pager, beeper, palm pilot, PDA, or any handheld wireless device of any kind. I do not have a personal Facebook account. Having ZERO credit card debt - once again! Paying off my student loans - FINALLY (2014). My laid-back-ness and soft-spoken-ness. My friends.
Things I am not proud of : My addiction to cheese. I killed a rabbit with my car once. I got distracted and rear-ended a dude. Some of my rap lyrics. My stubbornness, laziness and procrastination-ness. My varsity tennis win-loss percentage. My finicky appetite. I did not have renter's insurance at the time of the fire. Two words : back hair. Two more words : shoulder hair. The way I slur and mumble my words sometimes when I talk. My complete abhorrence of public speaking. I've sold things on eBay. I like Shania Twain's music. I can be unforgiving and self-righteous. I've never been to a regular season NFL game. My incomplete Master's degree. My unwillingness to acknowledge the breadth of my sweet tooth.
I don't drink alcohol. I don't smoke. I don't do any drugs. And yes, I'm 44. And yes, I have a life. I have consumed alcohol before, but not since the summer of '91. Been awhile, huh? Believe me, it's not that big of a deal, so don't go nutty. Actually, I purchased an alcoholic beverage for the first time in my life on 8/13/99 (whoa, Friday the 13th!) Relax, it was a favor for my dad. I purchased a second (and my first [and last] drink bought for a girl, ever!) on August 30, 2002. And even that was sort of unintentional. I have purchased many alcoholic beverages for my lovely wife since then, you should know.
put your mouse on me!
Photos by me
I don't like hair, either. Well, at least mine, when it gets long. From about '92 until around '00, if it was warm outside my head was either clean shaven or pretty damn closely cropped (though I usually would let it grow out in winter). Since then, I enjoy having an inch or so on the top year-round, as long as I don't let it get too shaggy. My wife seems to like it better that way, too.
I live and breathe music. I even created a blog to spout off about it - check out Bands That Are Awesome. I listen to a lot of different kinds - I love a lot of jam-type bands with horns (DMB, Everything, Domestic Problems, Damon Castillo Band, Townhall) and acoustic-based rock (Matt Duke, Neil Finn/Crowded House, Dog's Eye View/Peter Stuart, Granian, Stargazer Lily, John Mayer) and "alternative" rock (Pearl Jam, Living Colour, Counting Crows, Live, Eve 6, Weezer, Alien Ant Farm). I [used to] do a whole lot of tape trading (mostly DMB) of live shows from these kinds of bands. Live music is better than almost anything. I like a lot of Hip-Hop [there used to be a hip-hop website I founded dedicated to The Roots - they even gave me a shout out (albeit with a typo) in their album Things Fall Apart!] - though I'm not into the rap nearly as much as I used to be. I even used to create my own hip-hop music and went so far as to send out demos to record labels. At one point I actually thought I could get signed. Hah! But hey - I rapped on Talk Soup! I also love a lot of straight up rock & roll and even some metal (I grew up a metal-head). I like R&B, Classical, Funk, 80's, Jazz; just about anything except country, and I'll actually admit (very reluctantly) that there are a few country songs I enjoy. I'll happily admit that I like a good, cheesy pop song once in a while, too. Ever since the dawn of email, I've been on music/band/genre mailing lists and the total is probably somewhere over 30 different discussion lists, not counting the umpteen hundred other "announcement-only" lists that I still get updates from. I even founded a Dog's Eye View discussion list myself, Hydrants, but that crashed pretty hard. Coolist sucks. I still belong to a handful of mailing lists, but they're mostly monkey related; who's got that kinda time these days? All the good ones are gone anyway, and web-based forums are all the rage and way too much drama for me.
I really love to go out and support local and independent bands, and lots of times they put on better shows than "bigger" bands. Local (or semi-local) bands you need to check out : Matt Duke, Stargazer Lily, Townhall (RIP), Ike, The Jane Anchor (RIP?), Fooling April, Jealousy Curve (RIP), Andrew Lipke, Mutlu, Brave The Day (RIP), The Brakes, Hoots & Hellmouth, Funky Butter (RIP), The Fractals, The Veltz Family (RIP) and Kill The Alarm. Other indie acts like Damon Castillo, Mieka Pauley, Soulcracker (RIP), The Alternate Routes, The Massacoustics, Erin McKeown, Regan, Bluestring (RIP), The Argument (RIP) and Domestic Problems also deserve your immediate attention. And oh yeah, Natalie Imbruglia kicks serious tail. What, I already mentioned that?
Photo by one lucky son of a b!tch
Basically, if it's got a good beat, I can groove to it. :-) And speaking of beats, I kinda also play drums a little, myself. Check out the band I was in, The Dillys. We used to jam! I have been playing since I was around 11, but I've never owned a "real" set. I used to have one of those JC Penny Catalog plastic specials until I blew out the entire set of skins. Someday (soon!) I will own a kit with non-polyester heads! I currently own a pair of congas, plus a tambourine and a shaker, and I even owned some bongos, too (lost in the fire) and a djembe (broken). I'm severely into rhythm, so that's one reason why I play drums and listen to hip-hop. I'm a beat junkie. I'm also somewhat of a hack guitarist. In the spring of '98 I picked up my first (acoustic) guitar. Shortly thereafter, I began writing some original pieces. I love writing stories in song and have had some fun struggling to find music to fit them. And since I've gotten a little better at playing, it's sometimes been the other way around. I play in a fake band of which I am the founding and only current member and we're called HUGE down HERE. I picked up an electric axe in late 2000 and we've been messing around with that, too. We officially released our first album Breaking The Ice on March 23, 2004 - almost 6 years to the day after I bought my first guitar. Our second record Simple And Bitter came out May 17th of 2005. We released our full-on, rocked-out, kick-ass 3rd record on December 18, 2007 and it's called Leave An Impression. We're very slowly (but actually) working on the follow-up, which should (hopefully?) be finished by the end of 2018! BRING IT ON!
Just to realize how mental I am, you can see a list of every CD I used to and currently own (currently 2250+, 811 before the fire [in fact, there are still over 400 that I haven't "re-purchased" - so I've owned a total of over 2,700 different CDs in my lifetime!]) and also check out my running list of concerts I've attended - 850+ in my life thus far including 51 Stargazer Lily shows, 44 Matt Duke shows, 34 Dave Matthews Band shows, 26 Kill The Alarm/Granian shows, 20 Townhall (RIP) shows, 19 Will Hoge shows, 19 Ari Hest shows, 18 Fooling April shows, 15 John Faye/Ike shows, 14 Alternate Routes shows, 13 Mike Doughty shows, 12 Gabe Dixon (Band) shows, 11 Eve 6 shows, 11 Rachael Yamagata shows & 10 School of Rock shows, plus one-offs by legends like Prince (RIP!!!!!), Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, The Police, John Fogerty, Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac, John Mellencamp, Van Halen, The Monkees (+!), Hall & Oates, George Clinton, Styx, Foreigner, Motley Crue, Bryan Adams, Public Enemy, Phil Collins. A combined total of over 800 different bands with some random reviews and (now, more and more) pictures. Rock rock rock.
I was born a small-town boy, but a large chunk of my heart is in the big city. Philly is kinda big, eh? [5th largest City in the US]. I hardly used to travel, but over the past 20 years or so I've been to some cool spots (mostly musically related). Check 'em:
Indianapolis (not that impressed - been there too many times)
Chicago (dig it, dig it, dig it, but traffic is SHIT)
Mexico City (don't need to go back)
Acapulco (would love to go back)
Houston (eh... the weather's nice!)
Washington, D.C. (confusing and daunting, but cool)
New York City [Brooklyn, Manhattan, Bronx, and Queens - awwww yeah.]
Pittsburgh (hilly! but enjoy it very much - go Steelers!)
Gettysburg, PA (history is groovy)
Denver (didn't see much, too dry and brown)
Hampton/Norfolk, VA (ok. nice place for a concert)
Roanoke, Virginia Beach, Charlottesville, VA (see above)
Daytona Beach, Sarasota, Fort Myers, FL (it's warm there)
Detroit (not too shabby, a bit dirty)
Cleveland (nice zoo, family nearby, RnR hall!)
Cincinnati (cool, nice amusement park)
Toronto (liked it, very much so)
Niagara Falls (cool but freaky)
Beaufort, NC (outer banks, baby!)
Philadelphia, PA (I enjoy this town. I live there now.)
Columbus, OH (great zoo, got friends & relatives there)
Boston (not bad, Fenway kicks ass, hard as hell to find people though!)
Baltimore (dig the harbor, nice ballpark)
Miami (wasn't there long, cool Zoo)
Key Largo (sweet reef snorkeling, cool lizards)
Rio de Janeiro (smells a lot, big crazy place)
Atlantic City (yay. rah.)
Phoenix, AZ (sweet, great hiking, severely infested with palm trees)
Sedona, AZ (gorgeous. nice place for a wedding. and getting engaged.)
Orlando, FL (eek. mice.)
San Diego, CA (warm)
Los Angeles, CA (warmer)
Oakland & Berkeley, CA (dangerous)
San Francisco, CA (windy as fuck)
San Juan, Peurto Rico (airport only!)
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (quite lovely, nice people, great place to get naked)
Places (domestically) I still want to visit : Atlanta, Seattle...
States I have set foot in  : IN, OH, MI, IL, PA, KY, TN, GA, FL, NC, WV, VA, MD, DE, NY, NJ, MA, TX, CO, RI, CT, AZ, SC, CA... plus Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Brazil & Dominican Republic.
And just for the hell of it, the college campuses I have visited (at one point or another) : Purdue University, Bucknell University, University of Notre Dame, Indiana University, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Columbia University, Bloomsburg University, Penn State University, Duke University (Marine Lab), George Washington University, Ball State University, Butler University, Indiana-Purdue University (Fort Wayne), Bowling Green University, University of Toledo, University of Pittsburgh, Ohio State University, Smith College, Gettysburg College, University of Pennsylvania, University of Delaware, Bucks County Community College, Delaware Valley College, Franklin & Marshall College, Philadelphia University, Drexel University, St. Joseph's University (PA), Bryn Mawr College, Boston University, Arizona State University, Penn State Brandywine, Temple University, University of California-Berkeley, OBERLIN COLLEGE!, Haverford College, West Chester University, Rutgers University, Duke University (main campus), University of North Carolina, um...
I used to work at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo as a primate keeper (four summers, one winter.) I worked with several types of primates (mainly Sumatran orangutans but also agile gibbons, white-handed gibbons, siamangs and spectacled langurs) as well as other animals (binturongs, Prevost's squirrels, flying-fox fruit bats and multiple bird species). The animals were great but lots of other things there were not. I have been to the following zoos: Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, Indianapolis Zoo, Toledo Zoo, Columbus Zoo, Pittsburgh Zoo, Philadelphia Zoo, Franklin Park Zoo (Boston), National Zoo (Washington, DC), Columbia Park Zoo (Lafayette, IN), Brookfield Zoo (Chicago), Elmwood Park Zoo (Norristown, PA), Trexler Game Preserve (Allentown, PA), Phoenix Zoo, Bronx Zoo, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Cape May County Zoo, Zoo Miami, Sea World Ohio and the New Jersey State Aquarium - plus probably more I don't remember from my childhood. Philly is up there, Columbus was great, but Bronx has everyone beat... and the zoo in Lafayette is (or at least was) a joke.
And since it's becoming sort of a nice little list... the Major League Baseball parks I have been to, sort of in order : Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs), Exhibition Stadium (Toronto Blue Jays), Veterans Stadium (Philadelphia Phillies), Yankee Stadium (New York Yankees), Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles), Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia Phillies), Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox), Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles Dodgers), Oakland Colliseum (Oakland A's), AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants), Angel Stadium (Los Angeles Angels), Petco Park (San Diego Padres)... [12 total]
For some reason, I seem to have had more than my fair share of police officer interventions. I've never been arrested, but I've had a zillion "run-ins" with police. Virtually all of them were due to sheer stupidity on their part, except when I was ticketed for speeding. I've compiled a list of some of my cop stories (mostly from years and years ago), so check them out. Some of them are pretty funny. Or scary. Or both. Some small-town cops are real jerks.
I love to play basketball, and I usually play point (or try to). I don't really have a reliable jump shot, and I love to pass and "create". I've played in a couple leagues and tournaments, and even almost won something a couple times! I played intramurals at Purdue (I was a team captain one year) and we did a little damage. One of my biggest regrets is that I didn't play league basketball as a kid. I never really enjoyed it that much until late high school (after I finally grew), so I sucked for the most part. My first time playing with a referee was when I was 17. I played virtually every day at Purdue (I lived across the street from the gym) and that's where I actually became sorta good. Competition is tough over at the Co-Rec! I didn't really play much at all since I moved out of Indiana, and I missed it terribly. I finally somewhat recently [December of 2010] found a regular, weekly pick-up game at a local church that I played in semi-often, much to my delight. It took me some time to fit my way in to the way those guys played, and re-find some skills, but I very much enjoyed it and played as often as I could as my schedule allowed. Made some good friends there, too. Then it kind of grew way too big and then imploded and no longer exists. In the rubble, I accidentally found a group of guys who play in a 40 & Over "gentlemen's league" that is run by an Adult School, and that's been great fun. I'm the young whipper snapper of that group! Started in with them in February of 2016. I played tennis in high school (I played all four years but lettered my senior year only) and my coach was a dick and made it not fun, so I didn't play much right after HS. Now I hit around when I can and have finally found a few guys around town I can play matches with, hallelujah! I'm what they call a "baseliner" or "counter-puncher" - that just means I don't really like being up at the net, despite my height. Oh, and I have great trouble with the serve... Along with softball, those are the only three sports I play regularly, not counting sloppy zookeeper volleyball, semi-not-often bowling (205 high game!), football-tossing, frisbee-throwing and the occasional ping pong attack! I'm very good at ping pong. I have no idea why. When I was little, I did other sports... little league baseball (5 years), flag football (4 years), soccer (for about 2 minutes). I ran road races, cross country and track when I was real little up through Middle School (I got a nice pile of ribbons and plaques), but then I started to slow down. My brother was an all-state runner and I tried to follow in his footsteps, but it didn't happen. I used to be the kid who always won the race around the school in gym class. I was quick as hell, and some kids even started calling me "Comet". Sadly, I'm completely serious.
Making the catch at the warning track in Veterans Stadium, 8/7/03.
Photo by Bob Williams.
I've been playing competitive slow-pitch softball since 2000. Currently, I play for the Primiano Architecture aka F.U.BAR men's softball team (and have been since Spring 2016) captained by Mike McDermott in the Lower Bucks Softball League (Bronze North Division, formerly Silver) which hosts both spring and (shorter) fall seasons. We are a Class D ASA team. It's different than what I was used to, but I've adjusted. Although, I did strike out in my very first at-bat (technically).
I took a break from softball for the first spring/summer since 1999 in 2018, but came back for the Fall 2018 season... and after a super slow start (3-for-10), I had a killer 3rd weekend with 5 RBI including 2 home runs and the game-winning, walk-off RBI in our only game - 2nd one rained out. The next week? 6-for-6 with a 2-run triple. Currently batting .578 (26-for-45) with 19 singles, 1 double, 4 triples, 2 HR, 16 RBI (1 GWRBI) & 18 runs, plus 11 catches in the outfield (2 nice) plus 2 assists on tags at 2B from RF. Team record : 17-1, division champs! After a long, poor Spring 2017 season (personally speaking), I opted out of fall ball, but subbed in when needed [4 games, 8-for-14, .571]. I only batted .461, going 35-for-76 with 27 singles, 3 doubles, 4 triples and one homer. Racking up 20 RBI and scoring 20 runs, making 29 catches in the outfield (5 or 6 of them fancy). I threw out one guy at 2nd on a tag and assisted on an assist to nail a runner at the plate, and also made a great throw to home way ahead of one runner whom we got out in a rundown after he turned around to go back to third. Batted slightly better than last spring but worlds behind my fall pace, and that even included the Spring pre-season tournament where I was a hot 6-for-8. Bleh. Team record : 10-12, lost 1st round playoffs (.500 regular season). Fall of 2016 was better than my spring debut - I batted .639 (23-for-36) with 16 singles, 5 doubles and 2 home runs, plus 15 RBI and 8 runs, and 19 catches in the outfield. Team Record : 5-7 - just missed the playoffs. Finished 4th in a late fall open tournament. | In the Spring '16 season, I batted a paltry (and embarrassing) .426 (20-for-47) with 15 singles, 3 doubles, 2 triples, 14 RBI and 6 runs scored (and 4 walks), plus 30 catches (one sliding, one diving, several running) and 2 assists (threw two guys out at 2nd; one tag, one force) in the outfield; 17 starts in 18 games played. Team record : 8-14, lost in 1st round of playoffs (2 games to 1). ~ For 11 seasons I captained the Philly Zoo's softball team (and played for 15, total). I made the horribly sad and difficult decision to step down in 2016. I played in the outfield and usually led-off at the plate and somehow, in 2005 I became the team captain. My last year as captain (2015) was a rough year. We lost some key people, struggled to hit the ball across the board and gave up a lot of runs, and I personally had my worst year since our first year in the league (2001). I batted .586, going 34-for-58, only had TWO extra-base hits (both triples) and ONE RBI all season long & scored 17 runs. Ugh. Caught 51 fly balls, though. And made 5 forces @ 2B from the OF and threw one guy out at 3rd. And even had a put-out at 2B covering the bag. Team record: 3-11, 9th place. 2014 was strange in so many ways. We started using wooden bats. We had walks. We started using a weird, weighted scheduled based on last year's regular season standings. We only have 13 games (again). Everybody makes the playoffs. We have a couple new players, too (not that strange, and they're good!) Despite most people having trouble adjusting to wood bats and having lower batting averages, I somehow managed to hit a career-high - for the 2nd straight season. I batted .831! Damn. Also set a career-high in on-base percentage. Went 49-for-59 (hitting into only 10 outs ALL year in 14 games), with 38 singles, 6 doubles, 3 triples and 2 HR. 24 RBI with 25 runs. Slugged at 1.136% with an OBP of .847. Had a continuous hit streak of 23 over games 8 through 13. One game-winning RBI and one game-winning run scored. Helped turn 1 double play. Threw out 4 runners at 2nd from the outfield on force outs. Threw out 2 runners at 3rd on tags. Caught about 38 fly balls. Team finished in 4th place with an above-.500 record (7-6) for only the 2nd time ever in 14 years, but lost in our first playoff game (in the 2nd round, 1st round bye!). We'll take it. 2013 was a pretty good year, more or less. Our season expanded to 18(!) games, and we came the closest to .500 we've been for some time. I also had a career high batting average : .785! I went 62-for-79 (including 16-straight-hits at one point) with 39 singles, 14 doubles, 4 triples, 5 home runs, 29 RBI, 47 runs scored and slugged at 1.253%! I caught about 53 fly balls, completed a double play to 2B after a catch, forced 3 runners out at 2B & 2 at 3B from the OF and nailed one sumbitch @ 3B on a tag. And even played SS for a whole damn game (made a buncha outs!). We narrowly missed the playoffs with a record of 8-10 (7th place out of 10). Back in 2012 I batted .759 (44-for-58) with 30 singles, 9 doubles, 1 triple & 4 HR (including 1 grand slam), slugging at 1.155%. I racked up 25 RBI & 32 runs scored, plus 32 catches in the outfield and 4 force outs at 2nd base from the outfield. Team record = 5-9 and we made the playoffs for the first time since 2005! (got killed, though) 2011 got off to a great (and quite interesting) start - we were 2-1 for the first time in 6 years and I was leading the team with 3 home runs. It ended up not so great, with a couple of heart-wrenching losses, team record = 3-11. I ended up batting .758 (47-for-62) with 32 singles, 7 doubles, 4 triples & 4 HR (including 1 grand slam), slugging at 1.194%. 18 RBI (including one game-winner) and 28 runs scored. AB, H, 1B & OB were all career-highs in 11 seasons of league play. I made some good catches - approximately 36 of 'em. 2010 ended up about the same as the year before, with only 2 total wins (over the same team), but we played much better as a team, losing 4 games by less than 3 runs. I batted .774 after an even better start, went 41-for-53 with 29 singles, 9 doubles, 2 triples and 1 homer, scoring 29 runs with 12 RBI, slugging at 1.075%. Team record: 2-12, 7th place. I made about 39 catches in the outfield. 2009 was rather rough, but I batted .727 (40-for-55) with 27 singles, 12 doubles, 1 triple (no home runs?!), racking up 8 RBI and scoring 22 runs with a slugging percentage of .982%. I made 12 catches in the outfield and tagged out one person myself. Team record : 2-12, 7th place. The season before that, I batted .776 (38-for-49) with 25 singles, 5 doubles, 3 triple & 5 home runs (including 1 grand slam) while slugging 1.306%(!!), with 18 RBI and 31 runs scored (including one game-winner). I threw out one runner at home plate from left field, two runners at 2nd base (from right-center & center field) - all on tags - and forced out another runner at 2nd from left field; with 22 catches made in the outfield. Team record : 5-9. Back in 2007, I batted .737, 42-for-57 with 25 singles, 7 doubles, 6 triples and 4 home runs (including two grand slams) - 25 RBI and 34 runs scored (including 3 game-winning runs); 36 catches in the outfield (one spectacular catch to end a game), 3 force outs at 2nd from the outfield, 1 force out at 3rd from left field & 1 double play from left field to 1st base (pick off, baby). Team record : 5-9, 5th place (includes 1 forfeit). Way back in 2006, I batted .694, 34-for-49 with 18 singles, 11 doubles, 3 triples, 2 home runs, 23 RBI, 27 runs scored, including 40 catches in the outfield (one knee-sliding), one force out at FIRST base from a shallow hit to center (by a slow runner), one double play at 2nd off a non-tagging runner on a fly ball, one force out at 2nd from shallow left-center, and a one-hopper straight to the plate from left field that caught a baserunner at the plate before he could turn his triple into a home run; also, only a couple serious errors. Team Record : 4-10, 5th place (including 4 losses by 1 run). In 2005, I batted .745 (41 of 55; 13-straight hits at one point) with 19 singles, 10 doubles, 7 triples and 5 home runs, 26 RBI and 36 runs scored (with 1 game-winner), also including 33 catches in the outfield and 1 guy thrown out at the plate from left field, 1 guy at 2nd from left & 1 guy at 3rd from center field (all tags), and 2 force outs at 2nd from left & 1 force each at 1st and 2nd from right... and a few really wild throws; our regular season record ws 8-6 (1 win by forfeit) - making the playoffs for the first time ever with a 3rd place finish! We lost in the playoffs 10-9, leaving the tying run on 3rd in the last inning. Hell of a year. The 2004 season is long over. I ended up 35-for-50, batting .700 with 24 singles, 3 doubles, 2 triples, 6 home runs (team leader), 21 RBI & 20 runs scored - with hitting streaks of 7 straight and 9 straight hits, getting the game-winning RBI in game 8 vs. Franklin with a 3-run homer, plus 35 catches in the outfield (at least 5 sliding), throwing out a runner at home on the fly from left field, getting tag assists at 2nd base from CF, 3rd base from LF and force outs at 1st from CF, 2nd from LF and at 3rd from LF; Team Record : 4-9, sixth place. The 2003 season is years gone. I finished 40-for-53 (batting .755 with an on-base% of .755 also) with 23 singles, 9 doubles, 4 triples, 4 home runs, 22 runs scored and 26 RBI (including both of the game 3 & 4 winners) - I also had a 7-straight-hits streak over 3 games; 35 defensive put-outs in the OF, 1 tag assist at 3rd from LF & 2 force assists from CF at 2nd, just a few horrendous errors and 1 bases-loaded choke. Team record : 6-9 (5-9 league, 5th place). Our last (exhibition) game was played in Veterans Stadium, home of the Phillies. We beat the Daily News in extra innings, coming from behind 4 runs down to win by 1, scoring 5 runs and finishing with 6 straight hits with 2 outs in the bottom of the 8th! I went 3-4 with 2 singles, a triple, 2 runs scored and caught 3 balls in left field. The 2002 season is way over and the team record ended up a solid 4-8 in our league, 4-9 overall. I went 39-for-56 (batting .696, including 7 in a row in two different stretches), 25 singles, 8 doubles, 4 triples, 2 home runs, 14 RBI, 21 runs scored, on-base% of .714, 112 total bases traveled and 38 defensive put-outs in the outfield, plus two assists (ok, and a few errors). Our last game was an exhibition game vs. Daily News at Veterans Stadium! Unfortunately, we lost big time. I went 2-4 with a single, double and 1 run scored. ~ The 2001 season is long gone (our first in a real league), and I ended up : 19 for 34 (.556), 9 singles, 6 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs, 11 RBI, 12 runs scored, 28 put outs (25 unassisted and including one assist at home plate from left field), more than several errors, 11 starts, 11 games played and an on-base% of .588. Team record : 1-10 (0-10 league). In our eleventh game at Veterans Stadium, we actually won; I led off and went 3 for 4 with a double, triple, home run, 4 RBI, 2 runs scored and 3 put-outs. My unofficial stats for the haphazard 2000 season (my first since little league when I was like 12!) : 10 games played (9 starts), 31 for 48 (.646), 1 home run, 1 triple, 11 doubles, 18 singles, 23 RBI, 24 runs scored, 30 put-outs (largely unassisted), and more than a few errors. Our second game was played in Veterans Stadium, home of the Phillies. Team record : 7-5-1.
Hitting a double in Vet Stadium, 9/4/02. The ball is circled.
Photo by Chris Nagle.
I don't really watch a lot of movies, but the ones I like I've seen a million times. I can recite Ferris Beuller's Day Off and The 'Burbs word for word (I've probably seen Ferris at least 50 times and The 'Burbs maybe around 40). My other favorites include: Wet Hot American Summer, Sideways, American Pie (1&2), Karate Kid (I&II), The Goonies, A Christmas Story, The Secret of My Success, La Bamba, Out On A Limb, That Thing You Do!, Signs, School of Rock, Die Hard With a Vengance, Independence Day, Rumble In The Bronx, Shanghai Noon, Bend It Like Beckham, Say Anything, How I Got Into College, Crimson Tide, Arachnophobia, the Star Wars Trilogy(s), Cats & Dogs, Speed, Dude Where's My Car, Finding Nemo, A Bug's Life, all the Toy Stories...
Star Wars Stats: I saw Revenge Of The Sith - Episode III, three times and it's pretty damn good. I saw Star Wars : Attack Of The Clones four times in the theater. Since it was Episode II, I saw it twice on opening day (and a total of four times on three screens in three theaters in two states). I actually liked The Phantom Menace (Episode I). I saw it six times on four screens in three theaters in two states (before I bought the video... and the DVD). hehe. Did you know I killed a Sith Lord? Oh yeah. Sliced him right in half. Unfortunately, The Phantom Menace is the only video of mine that survived the fire (had it with me at the time). Of course, now I own DVDs (including all of the Star Wars episodes...).
I'm no name-dropper, but here's my strange and funny list of semi-famous people I've met or spoken to, ever-so-briefly as it may have been : Carter Beauford (Dave Matthews Band), Peter Tork (Yes! I met a Monkee!), Gene Keady (former Purdue Basketball coach), Ahmir Thompson, Tariq Trotter, Kamal Grey & Malik B (all of The Roots), Max, Tony & Jon (Eve 6), Michael Showalter (The State, Stella), Mike Doughty (singer, Soul Coughing), Dan Lavery (Tonic), Dryden Mitchell & Terry Corso (Alien Ant Farm), Craig Honeycutt, Nate Brown & Steve Van Dam (Everything), Peter Stuart (Dog's Eye View), Dia Frampton, Gabe Dixon, Butterfly Boucher, Will Hoge, Jon McLaughlin, Teitur (singer), Dave Barnes (singer), Tim Warren (The Alternate Routes), Ari Hest (singer), David Ryan Harris (singer), Ralph Harris (comedian/actor), Carel van Shaik, Ian Singleton & Allison Jolly (internationally known primatologists, if you're into that sort of thing), Mike Allstot (NFL) & Glenn Robinson (NBA) - both Purdue students when I was there, Jim Colletto (former Purdue football coach), George Anastasia (reporter and author)... And Erin McCarley (singer), Erin McKeown (singer), Tiffany Taylor & Joy Behrman (Playboy models) and David Wain (The State, Stella) have all sent me e-mails. Juliette Lewis looked right at me while doing her pre-show stretches offstage when I saw her band play, I was in the same room as Jeff Corwin at the zoo one time, I was at an Apple Store in NYC when Al Franken walked right by Steph and I, and I once peed in the urinal right next to Bruce Cutler (the lawyer who defended mob boss John Gotti). I have Peter Tork & Ralph Harris & Eve 6 & Neil Finn & Kenny Wayne Shepherd & Liam Finn & Teitur & Tariq Trotter & Dia Frampton & Ari Hest & Erin McCarley & Erin McKeown & Peter Stuart & Rachael Yamagata & David Ryan Harris & Lenka & Marc Broussard & Will Hoge & Jon McLaughlin & The Alternate Routes/MrNorth/The Argument/Domestic Problems/Everything/Granian/The Veltz Family (all bands)'s autographs [all on CD booklets or setlists or postcards or ticket stubs].
I actually own three guitars (and a bass!). Sick, isn't it?
I have officially been playing for over 20 years. I'm rockin' sh!t just like this :
I am Huge Down Here.
Photo by yours truly
Check out my love line.