April 21, 2004
I grew a beard (or as much as it can be on my face) for a little while. I don't really remember how long, though - maybe 6-7 weeks? I just wanted to see what would happen. It wasn't really planned. And as you can see it didn't exactly fill in completely. I took the top 2 pictures about 2 minutes before I started to shave it off on April 12, 2004 and then took silly pictures of the cut in process. I was in Ft. Wayne, IN at the time - yes, I actually was with relatives on a holiday!! I went home for Easter; the first holiday I've been at a family dinner since Xmas '01. It was great fun, eating way too much of my grandmother's cooking, playing dominoes with all the old folks, chilling in the humongous lazy-boy chairs. A few key cousins/aunts/uncles weren't there, but it was all gravy, otherwise. Softball season starts in exactly one week. I couldn't be more happy, but I would have liked some more batting practice. I bought yet another guitar (but now have an extra one I'm selling if you're interested!) and it's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen or heard. Her name is Tess.
Public Service Announcement: For those who know me, if you say you're going to do something, FUCKING DO IT. Or at least tell me why you can't or won't or don't want to - preferrably around the time of said scheduled event. It's getting old.
March 23, 2004
Hey, long time no... whatever. So much to say, so let's get to it. The ankle is ok, I was on crutches for two weeks and in the boot for two more, but continued physical therapy for 4 more weeks after that and stayed on light duty at work until January 30. It still hurts. I think it's slowly getting better but the past two months have seen minimal improvement at best. The doc told me once I hit 90% the last 10 would probably take another couple of months on top of that. Well, we're there now and it still annoys me. Then the other day someone told me "it'll probably bother you for the rest of your life" - don't tell me that one month before softball starts. Come on! Ah well. I bought an ankle brace so we'll see how it goes... it only hurts when I run hard or jump on it, but I notice it at other times, too. Great. In the middle of finishing up therapy, I had that superfun eye surgery done. I was pretty funked up from the happy juice right after it was done - they had to wheel me out to the car. I had a kick-ass babysitter, though. And I made it through without hurling. I had eye drops with antibiotics and steroids in 'em for about 4 weeks. It looked pretty gnarly for the first 10 days or so but it cleared up... except for the corner where I got sliced. A couple weeks after the drops ran out it started getting irritated and reddened up a bit. Hmmm. I have a follow-up appointment in a couple days. Before all that jazz... I ended up not having a chance at getting any time off for Christmas, so I spent it here, low-key. I got invited over somewhere for dinner, which I thought was a great idea, but it turned out to not be. Long story. My mom had some time so she actually drove out here - by herself - and hung out in town for a couple days the week after Christmas. It was cool to have her around and we ate out for every meal and went to the aquarium and the new National Constitution Center and a couple other places. She loved Eastern State Penitentiary (we only drove by). My New Year's was low-key, too. A few friends and fireworks over the river. In mid-December I got to show an Aussie around town for a couple days; my friend Matt from near Adelaide was rolling across the country (L.A.->Seattle->Houston->Philly) on his way to NY and eventually London. I got a bonus at work in early February (for not calling in sick once during 2003 - yep, I'm good like that) and I bought a phat digital camera, so there will be pictures galore all over the site from here on in... in fact there are quite a few already, but you have to find them yourself. In the span of 5 days in mid-February I got to hang out with my man Jay from Brooklyn (hadn't seen since late August), Michelle from the Fort (hadn't seen since early August) and even Stan the Man (hadn't seen since March). It's been relatively quiet on the concert front lately, but I did catch an AMAZING Teitur show (you gotta give him a listen), plus a solid Barenaked Ladies show last month and a great Townhall show, too. Should be an even nicer rest of 2004, though - I already have tickets for Incubus, Damien Rice, Erin McKeown, Mike Doughty, Train (at the North Star!), and PRINCE. Yes, Prince. That's gonna be fun. The big news is that I finally finished the album I've been working on for almost 2 years, now. If you didn't know, I play guitar and write songs. Whether or not I do either of those well is up for discussion, but I love doing it and I'm psyched to have something only slightly embarassing to show for it. I play in a fake band of which I am the founding and only current member. It's a big inside joke (the name of my "record label" is O-Yo Records for crying out loud), but I'm just not all that particularly comfortable being the focal point or center of attention. It's really just me and a couple of guitars. Anyway, the CD rocks and you should check it out. It was officially "released" today. And since that's finally done, I'm all set to work on digitizing all those old OB rap tapes from the mid-90's. Word up.
December 5, 2003
On Sunday, November 30th at around 8:15 in the AM, I tore the anterior talo-fibular ligament in my left ankle. That's a severe sprain for you folks who haven't spoken to my doctor. Speaking of, Dr. Axelrod (not making that up) graded it at least a level 2 and maybe a level 3, which is a complete tear. It's nasty. The details of how it came to be torn aren't important, but suffice to say that size 13 feet, high velocity and concrete staircases don't mix. Luckily it happened at work, so my care and rehabilitation are completely gratis. But I'm also on crutches for at least 2 weeks and they completely suck. But I can drive and I can still play guitar - I'm good. And of course, now it's snowing in Philadelphia so that should add ease to my impeded travels. Frankly I was hoping I might have broken it, as I've never broken a bone - and it might have knocked me out of work completely for a month or more and I might actually get to see people I'm related to on a winter holiday. I missed Thanksgiving for the second year in a row and if it weren't for this sprain, I'd be missing Christmas again as well. But now there is a small possibility I could be in Indiana on Santa's Day, though I'm not holding anyone's breath. I've been going in to work since the sprain (haven't missed any time) and sitting around watching recently birthed monkeys gain their footing (2 squirrel monkeys born in November that I was the first human to see and thus get to name) and ongoing lemur intros (one fight and much missing hair so far). It's fun. Not really. I don't like feeling helpless. But I don't really mind not picking up poo for a few weeks, either. Initially, it was splinted with plaster at the ER, but the occupational doc (the afore mentioned Axelrod) took that right off and gave me a removable/walking splint/boot. The ankle's starting to turn a nice variety of colors. I get physical therapy 3X a week (from cute PT student Gabriella) and get re-evaluated at the end of every week by the doc. I've already attended 3 concerts with the boot and luckily had a seat at all 3. The 3rd was incidentally the 50th of 2003 that I've seen. Hot damn, that's a lot of rock. (I actually did skip a planned Jane Anchor show on the day of the sprain). Recent additions to the rocklist : Living Colour, Rachael Yamagata, Granian (2x), Travis, Stargazer Lily (2x), Brave The Day (2x, and my 200th show ever), Maroon5, Ari Hest, Jeffrey Gaines, The Mavericks, Townhall, The Jane Anchor, The Black Keys and - Dave Tamkin, Bluestring & Twin-A, three kickass artists I'd never heard of until I saw them do opening sets. Great stuff. Upcoming : Eve6, Erin McKeown, Brave The Day again and maybe Townhall on NYE. Prior to shredding my ligament, I was having a productive autumn... and making real progress. I even got about half of my Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving. Oh - I was able to eat some turkey on turkey day, as my supernice friend/neighbor/co-worker Wendy took pity on me and filled me up with 2 platefuls of good eats. :-) I even did some massive cleaning/organizing around the house. I bought a new filing cabinet for my files (genius) and also hung some stuff on the wall. The place hasn't been this neat since I moved in. I even used CarpetFresh. In late October, I got re-checked by the doctor who's going to cut my eye muscles up and rearrange them (see November 2002 news item below) and it looks like I'll be scheduling that surgery for January. If ya didn't know (and most of you don't), I have a condition called strabismus that I had surgery for in 1978, and the condition has worsened in the past few years. My case is not particularly severe but it's a royal pain in my eye (and head and neck). Here's a quote for you : "Strabismus surgery involves making a small incision in the tissue covering the eye which allows the ophthalmologist access to the underlying eye muscles. The eyeball is never removed from the socket during this kind of eye surgery." Yay! Hey, a few weeks ago my man Stan even finished his tour of duty in Alaska in the United States Armed Forces and moved to Long Island, NY! I might even get to see him more than once every 3 years. OK, stop reading.
October 13, 2003
Columbus Day is for suckers who think he actually did anything besides get lost, steal gold, encourage slavery and begin a genocide. And he NEVER set foot in North America! By the way, his Italian-born name was Cristoforo Colombo, not the anglocized version you know it as.
September 16, 2003
So how was your summer? Flew by, eh? Yep. Mine, too. Splendid highlights abound: I recently received TWO packets of Kiwi-Lime Kool-Aid from fellow zooworker and softball teamer Becky Wolf, who apparently regularly keeps 5-year-old powder packets in her cupboard. Well, God bless her and her parents for never throwing anything away. And for not drinking it. That was the first time in nearly a year that I've had any of the celebrated liquid candy... it lasted all of about 10 days. I drank the last glass (again, possibly the last ever) on September 14, 2003. A moment of silence, please. Thank you. In August, I attended two weddings, one in Michigan (my cousin Mike) and one in Brooklyn (my man Jay). Both were nice, though I will admit Jay's was quite pleasant... outside, great day, short, sweet, to the point, not too over the top. And I am not kidding when I tell you Jay's reception was catered by the Miss USA 2000 1st runner-up. Her name's Bridget. Whilst in NY, I even walked over the Brooklyn Bridge (built 1860s) in its entirety, which was a real thrill. Mike's wedding was a great event in that it was the first time all of my cousins were in the same place for the first time in a few years. The Original 5 were all born within 6 years in the early 70's, and we're tight. In late August, I also spent a short time at the Mid-Autumn Festival held annually in Chinatown in Philly, with traditional and modern Chinese dance & song performances and kung-fu demonstrations. Culture is good. July and the first week of August were mostly dedicated to Team Zoo softball. We keep steadily improving, but we still finished out of the play-offs with a record of 5-9. Five of those games were decided by 1 run, with TZ winning 3 of them. Exciting, yes, but unfortunately we lost the last 2, which probably would have put us into the post-season. I had a personally great year, leading the team in loads of categories (including batting .755) but I also personally lost the last regular season game by letting 2 fly balls get over my head in the last inning that scored 5 runs for the opposition. We had led by 4. We ended our season with an exhibition game in Veterans Stadium that we won in exhilirating fashion by coming from behind twice and beating the Daily News in extra innings, again by just 1 run. Nice way to close down The Vet. Check out the picture below. I've been continuing my record-setting pace for concerts this year, as well. Currently I'm at 35, with 6 or 7 more scheduled through October. Shows that I've rocked since my last update : Townhall, Maceo Parker, Charlie Hunter, The Massacoustics, Eve6, Alien Ant Farm, Erin McKeown, Granian, Jeffrey Gaines, Lollapalooza, Stargazer Lily, and more. On the docket : Travis, Maroon5, Granian, Ari Hest, The Black Keys, Brave The Day. There are a few new pictures around, like here, here, here, and here. I even played tennis for the first time in two years a couple weeks ago. Wonders never cease. Buh-bye.
Yeah, that's me. Nice catch. 8/7/03 | Photo by Bob Williams.
July 8, 2003
I've witnessed two fairly interesting things recently. The evening of May 15, after returning home from an Ike concert with my friend Desiree, we caught the tail end of a lunar eclipse in the parking lot of my apartment. That was severely cool, to see the moon slowly slide into the shadow of the earth. I've never witnessed any kind of eclipse or other major celestial event. Then, on June 8th I saw a small portion of the USPRO Cycling Championships, which is held annually in Philly. It's the longest, largest and "biggest" cycling race in the country, the Indy 500 for cyclists - Lance Armstrong is a previous champion. Something like a half-million people come to watch. I've never seen it in person but the course goes right through my neighborhood, about two blocks from my house, and follows along Kelly Drive which is how I get to work and where I sometimes also ride my bike. I was working that day, but I walked down to Kelly Drive from the zoo on my lunch break to see the leaders and the pack race by. It was pretty exciting to be about 10 feet away from hundreds of racers who were inches from each other and going 30 miles an hour. I also recently purchased upholstered furniture for my living room (mini-couch) and a new plush computer/desk chair, complete with simulated leather. I can now fall asleep accidentally in comfort. Latest concerts : Pearl Jam (again), Suzanne Vega, The Black Keys... July itenirary : Jeffrey Gaines, Eve6, Alien Ant Farm, Granian, Stargazer Lily, Lollapalooza. Team Zoo is in position to make a playoff run... we're 4-6 and currently in 6th place, but 3 of our last 4 games are against teams we've already beaten. If we can win those, we'll probably finish 7-7 and that's probably good enough for 4th place. At the very end of this month, I travel to Indiana/Ohio/Michigan to attend a cousin's wedding and visit the fam for a few days. Oh yeah, I turned 29 the other day. Yikes. It's July in Philadelphia. And it's effin' hot.
May 25, 2003
Lotsa photos added... here, here, here, here and here. Good luck figuring out which ones are fresh. Still more to come.
May 5, 2003
Team Zoo 2003 is in full effect. Unfortunately, our first game was postponed due to rain. Thank God for spring - winter hit its peak in mid-February with a 20-inch bombing of snow on Philly. I had the day off and didn't step foot outside until about 52 hours later to dig out my car (my tires were not visible). I had to hoof it to the hardware store down the street first, to buy a shovel. I was hoping someone in my building would sport one that I could borrow, but no one was out - of course, two minutes after I got back with mine, the dude who lives below me poked his head out the door and asked to borrow it when I was done. Sure, pal. I took a trip down to Gettysburg, PA in April to hang out with my sister Lisa and niece Tayla. It was loads of fun. They were on their way to DC via Ohio on a school trip (2 buses, 80 14 year-olds and 12 adults, ouch), and I got to crash their battlefield tour in the G-burg (and get free lunch!) I hadn't seen them since Heather's funeral, and it was well worth the couple hours drive. I even saw Stan for the first time since 1999 in March! He was taking some leave and hanging out on the east coast with his sister in MD and another friend in NY and made it to Philly for a couple days. We ate cheesesteaks, visited the cave, and giggled our asses off reminiscing about being 17 and stupid. He says he's getting out of the Army a little early, later this year. I've seen a plethora of *great* shows since late January, including : Neil Finn (wow), Townhall & Granian & Ike CD release shows, Tonic, Stargazer Lily, a Stella comedy show, Better Than Ezra for free(!) up at DVC, The Jane Anchor, and just a week ago - Pearl Jam at the Spectrum which felt like a religious experience. Damn. Upcoming this month : Suzanne Vega, Stephen Kellogg & Granian, Ike, Daniel Lanois, The Black Keys, Townhall. Work sucks, I've been slightly ill for awhile now, but TWO WEEKS AGO I PAID OFF MY CAR! Hallelujah.
March 19, 2003
Fuck war. And its mongers.
January 29, 2003
It's been a rather uneventful last couple of months, hence the slow motion on my part with the news/updates. I got sick for a little while, I went nowhere for the holidays, and it snowed. The folks did visit for one half of one day (yep, they drove 600 miles here, stayed for 18 hours [only 10 of those awake] and drove 600 miles back) just after Christmas, and that was pleasantly interesting. I took them to see the cave and we ate at Buca di Beppo. Thanksgiving was yummy, too - my work pal Maria (orang keeper and recent culinary arts school grad) invited me over and the food was better than orgasmic. Well, almost. I went up to Brooklyn and hung out with my pal Jay for a couple days in mid-Jan (including 4 hours at a karaoke bar) - always a pleasure. He got engaged on New Year's! My lease is up in 2 days but my landlord has yet to mention it. I'm just gonna keep payin' my rent and act stupid, lest they actually want to raise it. Let's hope that doesn't backfire. My days off have changed yet again (3rd different weekend since October) to Mon/Tues, the best of what I was offered, which wasn't much. I'm in the middle of taking half of January and February off from work. Of the 58 days in those two months, I'm only working 30 of them (including 23 out of 40 off, in one stretch). I need rest like a mofo and some time to rock. Of course, I'm always rocking. I saw Peter Stuart for the first time in a long time in November, plus Vanessa Carlton, Maroon5, Flickerstick, Ari Hest, old faves Stargazer Lily and new faves Ike during the latter part of last year. So far this year, I've seen a kick-ass Townhall show in early January and have tickets to Neil Finn in a couple days. I'm severely excited for that one. I've been all up on his musical jock lately. Townhall's new studio album drops on 2/15 (of course, I'll be at the CD release show). And oh yeah, I was in NYC the other day to attend a taping of Last Call with Carson Daly. I was in the front row just to the left, and Tonic was the music guest. It airs on Thursday, February 6 - so look for the tall geeky dude in the blue striped shirt when they do the audience pan shots. And I almost accidentally ended up in the Conan O'Brien show instead. I also gave someone a Christmas card that I probably shouldn't have. So much for that.
And a moment of silence, please... Natalie Imbruglia is now engaged. To not me.
November 9, 2002
Holy crap! What happened to summer? It seems like it was just June... well, it was the last time I actually wrote anything here. It was spring, and now it's fall. Here's a not-so-quick month-by-month recap of the highlights:
June - summer finally began, the latter half of this month saw me turn 28, our softball team was in the middle of a seven-game losing streak, I worked a lot of OT, I started seeing a chiropractor again, I found Kelpius' Cave about 3 blocks from my front door, and I was on TV (talking about the orangutans on the local ABC station).
July - saw some good shows (DMB twice, Jimmy Eat World, Stargazer Lily), my cousin Stacy and her boyfriend visited for the 4th and we had a blast hanging out around town, hiking in the park and at a Phillies game, it was *way* too fuckin' hot, we won a couple big softball games, worked some more OT, started actually and really recording songs for my band's upcoming album, and saw the chiropractor nine times. Nine times? Nine times. I don't remember seeing the chiropractor nine times. That's probably because you didn't see the chiropractor. You were skipping the appointments. Wake up and smell the coffee, Mrs. Beuller.
August - caught Stargazer Lily a couple times, it was really effin' hot, went out on a couple dates with a girl I *don't* work with - one of those to an actual club where I actually danced and purchased an alcoholic beverage (for her), visited the chiropractor 8 times, did some more recording, worked a LOT of OT, saw my brother for the first time in 2 years, went to Dorney Amusement Park and the NJ State Aquarium, and finished the softball regular season a solid 4-8 (we didn't make the playoffs).
September - played a softball game at Veterans Stadium and in the league "All-Star" game (in which I made one hell of an over-the-head catch), it finally cooled off, continued to rock and record, saw an eye specialist about having eye surgery again, made a great 11 day visit to Indiana/Ohio with a quick 3-day jaunt over to Illinois as well, saw a Purdue home football game (first time on campus in 2 years and we won!), saw Erin in Chicago (twice in the same year?!) and my first Ari Hest concert, caught up with over a dozen relatives, and drove around 2200 miles.
October - sadly, my sister Heather passed away after fighting through months of complications from a bone marrow transplant she had for a rare blood disease (she was only 35), went back home on a plane thanks to my bro's frequent flyer miles and attended the viewing and funeral in which I was also a pallbearer, went to Atlantic City, saw one of the funniest comedy shows ever when Stella came to Philly (starring four members of The State), celebrated the release of Stargazer Lily's kick-ass new CD, and served 3 days of Jury Duty as Juror #12 in an aggravated assualt case in which some dude got shot : Not Guilty.
November - has started off horribly, I lost my days off and went back to Wed-Thurs, work sucks in general, it looks like I'll be by myself on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I shook hands with the devil himself (the girl of my dreams introduced me to her boyfriend). I did vote, though. That's always fun.
There, that oughta do it. Welcome back.
June 14, 2002
Happy Flag Day. Many stories to tell from OBville... in late May I visited the ol' hometown and attended my 10-Year High School Reunion. That was... interesting to say the least. Not as many old friends of mine showed up, but a few did and it was great to catch up. It was also quite funny to see how many guys had lost their hair by 28. A lot of it was just pure BS, though - I didn't exactly enjoy high school. I'm glad I went, but I dunno if I'll be hitting the next one. Unfortunately, the day after I returned to Philly I woke up feeling rather sick. I haven't had a cold since October of last year, and it was only my 3rd in the last 2 1/2 years or so. It didn't go away after a few days and a few hits of Nyquil, as my colds usually do. So after 2 1/2 full weeks of being ill (and symptoms ranging from sore throat and cough to wicked headaches and the illest bright yellow nose goo) I finally broke down and hit the doctor - yep, I had a sinus infection. My first ever! woo! Got some righteous antibiotics though, so now I'm all drugged up and hope to kick it by next week. I played a couple softball games while ill... strangely enough the first day I was sick was a gameday, and I had one of my finest games of the year. I went 3-4, had a single, double, triple, 3 RBI and caught 6 balls in left field (turned a double play by picking a guy off of 3rd, and even caught one while sliding down to one knee). Sadly, we lost... and the next week's game, too - our first official losing streak of the season. We'll bounce back, though. We've got a few critical games coming up, and we need to get back up into playoff position. Currently we're in 5th place. Just a few days ago, Erin Price - one of my best Purdue pals - was passing through Philly on her way to Chicago from New Hampshire (no kidding!), so she stopped by here for an extended weekend. It was fantastic to see her and hang out again - I hadn't seen her in over 2 years. She's also quite an accomplished amateur photographer, and she took several cool photos. So I corraled them all over the site - here, here, and I created a new section of the Pics page dedicated to Original Philly Photos. I love this city and have long planned/wanted to go out and shoot some pictures of the great landscape of Philadelphia. Erin beat me to it, or at least started the seeds... so check out her pics, they're great. I'll get some up there soon. Erin and I even biked up into the Wissahickon Valley, a fantastic area of this city and right next door to my house. Oh yeah - I bought a bicycle! I haven't owned one since '95, so it was about time. I just want to be able to schmooze with all the hotties on Kelly Drive once in awhile. It's a Huffy, baby. Check it. Photo by Erin Price.
Yeah it's cheap, and that pose is severely cheesy... but hey, I now own two modes of transportation. I've been on a creative high as of late, and doing a lot of rocking. Keep an eye on that. Oh, I saw Star Wars : Episode II - Attack of the Clones twice on opening day and one other time thus far. Love it! It's intense... the battle scenes were amazing, though the ending isn't quite as focused as The Phantom Menace, which I really enjoyed. Episode III is going to be CRAZY. Would you believe I haven't seen a SINGLE concert since May 10th? True. The end of June and July will be better, though. You watch. I'm out.
May 12, 2002
Well, well. May-hem is here. Clones Attack in a mere 4 days! (I already bought my tickets for two showings). Team Zoo 2002 is back in full effect, and we even have won a game already! I'm currently batting .778 with 5 runs and 3 RBI. I've been seeing a lot of Stargazer Lily shows lately, and not just for the fantastic music. There may or may not be more news about that later. In 13 days, I go back home for my 10-year high school reunion. Pray for me. Stan the man just sent me all of the OB hip-hop tape albums from the mid-90's, and I'll soon start to transfer them onto my computer and then burn CD copies of all of them. Whether or not you care, that's actually very, very cool. I now also have more memory for this site, so expect some OB soundclips to resurface (and Dillys, too). I recently purchased my third guitar (how sick is that) and it's so pretty - her name is Olivia. Massive HdH recordings can now begin and will continue indefinitely, and for now I've put up a new, full-length, ear-splitting song with vocals for your listening pleasure. Don't say I didn't warn you. If you dig it, let me know. If not, pretend it isn't me. I even got a new pair of eyeglasses for the first time in 15 years. Wow.
April 14, 2002
All of the Brazil pictures are up and available for your perusal. Dig in. Also, a few extra pictures added here, here, and here.
March 29, 2002
March 22, 2002
My apartment is still coming along, I'm still writing songs, and the big site-news is that I did a boatload of picture-scanning the other day, and you are the beneficiary. All of the pictures are up from the visit Sheri and I made to Ground Zero in October of last year. That was a trip. The images are a bit haunting. Also now online are pictures that begin a collection of the Philly Zoo primates that I get to work with. More photos will come for that in the future, no doubt. I've also got a couple new pics over here and here. The full plethora of Brazil photos are scanned but still being edited and will be online very soon. Be sure to check out the Journal that was mentioned below if you haven't already, and then come back to see the pictures to get the full blast of Brazil-ness. Finally, a Stargazer Lily show coming up this week, too. That's about it for now... it's spring again, and I love being single.
March 1, 2002
Merry March, everybody. I finally finished the much anticipated (I can dream) Jungle Journal that I took whilst hanging out with the monkeys in Brazil. It's right here. Check it.
February 25, 2002
Feliz February, y'all. Many changes recently in OB-ville. On February 1st, I moved out of Sheri's house and into my new apartment right down the street. It's literally about 4 blocks away because I like this neighborhood quite a bit. It's not a bad little place, though my neighbors are loud as hell (and the walls are paper thin). And there's plenty of 30 year-old gunk in the kitchen under the 4 layers of shelf-liners I pulled up in the cabinets. I even bought a bed and a TV, but I had to sleep on the floor for a week because of a problem with the bed delivery. And it basically took me about 12 hours to completely move myself in because I did it mostly by myself (thanks for the help Dave) and sorta in spurts here and there (everything I had was in small boxes and bags). But I'm here and getting along well and fine (and if you have an extra couch or dresser or DVD player, let me know). I'm rather enjoying my independence again. I took a nice little trip and finished up a 10-day vacation with a couple John Mayer concerts (rocked) and a free hocky game (Philly Phantoms, but they sucked). I won the tickets at the zoo's holiday party in December, and Dave, Vicki & Pete came with. Congrats to Dave on his new job in the birdhouse at the zoo, by the way. Stargazer Lily are finally playing shows again, and I hope to catch a couple soon along with their hotly anticipated upcoming CD. Granian put up some pics of recent Living Room Shows, including mine, and I ganked them for my site as well. They're right here, and as soon as I get the ones I took developed, they'll be up there, too. Sheri and I have even had lunch since I moved out. Imagine that. Recently I've been lucky to get back in touch with a handful of my friends, and I'm incredibly greatful for that. Did I ever mention I like to write songs? I've been doing some of that lately. And that new Incubus record, which I just finally got, really kicks ass. Ciao.
January 17, 2002
I hope this finds you enjoying the beginning of a new year. Let's also assume your holiday celebrations were happy and safe, ok? Cool. A lot has happened since the last 'update'. I went back home for a Christmas visit with my folks and got to hang with most of my Curry Cousins and see all the Grandfolks. I also was able to chill with Mike D. who was visiting from Phoenix, and spend some quality time with the lovely Michelle. Unfortunately, Stan and I never got the hook-up. It was a nice few days and the weather cooperated fully on the drives to and fro. Then, on December 30, Sheri and I more or less broke-up for the second and final time. It was a long-time coming, and very much mutual. I shortly found an apartment for myself, just down the street (literally about 4 blocks) because I really like this neighborhood. It's on Rock Street, and I'm not making that up. I move in on February 1st. My New Year's Eve was musical, as I went to see local band Townhall with my man Dave and his friend Dan. A good funk was had by all. While in Indiana, my band even pulled out their first-ever completely live vocal performance (for Michelle) and worked on some slammin' new material. Oh, and yesterday I finally got a haircut - my first since the Brazil-head-shave. Stay warm, y'all.
December 24, 2001
Happy Christmas Eve to y'all. A few interesting things to report in the past month and a half. For Thanksgiving (since I missed last year), I drove home on Wednesday (600 miles) and drove back on Friday (600 more miles). The best part was, I didn't tell my folks I was coming. I just showed up. The funny part was, I was staying at my Grandma's so the parents didn't even find out until they arrived for dinner. Classic mother reaction. I got more of a glare than I got "happy to see you". Heh. It was cool, though, and great to see my cousins and aunts and uncles and hang with the Grandfolks. The drive wasn't even too bad. Then... a couple weeks later, I had a rock band play in my living room. Granian (a fantastic independent and up & coming local Jersey band) played about an 80 minute acoustic set in the middle of my living room on December 12th. We had a few people over and it was a fabulous time, even though the band was two hours late. And I pretty much got to handpick the setlist. Aww yeah. I will have some pictures up as soon as I can. Got it all on video, too. I also got the Brazil pictures back and they turned out pretty nice. I'll put some of those up when I get a chance, and I'm in the middle of transcribing the entire Jungle Journal I took, so you can read all about the insanity. Tomorrow morning, after I put in a two-hour shift at the zoo, I'm leaving to drive home for Christmas. I won't get there 'til late Christmas night but I'll at least be around and get to see most of the fam (Christmas at the Curry's actually got postponed until Saturday, so I get to see them afterall, for an hour or two before I drive back). Plus good friends like Michelle, Mike and maybe even Stan! I'm lucky I got some time off - I get 3 full days home and I drive back on Saturday and go back to work on Sunday. And of course, we're still rocking and recording, little by litte.
November 9, 2001
Hi. I'm back. Wow, that was nuts. I was in and around Rio de Janeiro for about 9 days. Why? To hang out with monkeys, of course. Basically, it goes like this. My boss Andy has a PhD. He started an ecology study on golden lion tamarins in the 80's while in school and continues to return to Brazil twice a year to further his work in the field. There is a biological reserve near Casimiro de Abreu in the state of Rio de Janeiro, just a short drive northeast of the city itself. The park has a large assortment of animals, including a few species of primates (brown howler monkeys, tufted brown capuchins, and golden lion tamarins - and also common marmosets at another site nearby). The tamarins are one of the most endangered primates in the world, and this park has the highest concentration of them anywhere in Brazil. A few years back, Andy began taking down a lucky primate keeper to help assist in his ecology study. Due to some strange circumstances, I actually got to jump ahead of my place in line and was asked to go this time. I said oh hell yeah.
So we flew down and got to work. It's a pretty simplistic idea... we set live traps for monkeys, lure them in with bananas, and catch them. Once we have them, they get a light dose of ketamine to knock them out for a little while. We take basic measurements - length, weight, blood & hair samples, feces if available, check teeth & limbs, give identifying tatoos and dye marks if needed, attach radio collars to track them and let them back into the forest ASAP. There is a team of 5 field guys who track and monitor several groups every week. They take copious amounts of behavioral data and Andy combines that with the specific details of the trapping process, and in the end we get a much better idea of what these guys do and what they need to do what they do. Simultaneously, as we learn more about them, various plans are in place to help ensure their best chances for long-term viability. There are two other small parks nearby that have large tamarin populations and public campaigns are hoping to build corridors of forest to connect all three together. Most of that land is privately owned farms, and so far the response has been good. Time will tell.
Just like the old days, I shaved my head the night before I left - for low-jungle-maintenance. My time there was wet, wild & weird, and I only got lost in the forest once. I kept a relatively detailed journal, which I am going to transcribe in its entirety on this page sometime soon. Plus a whole boatload of pictures. You'll get all the gory details. Hang on. Until then, I will tell you what I saw : three kinds of primates (and heard another), a snake, a frog, many bats, many more birds (vultures, egrets, hummingbirds, etc.), several lizards, way too many bugs (mosquitoes, dragonflys, butterflies, spiders, biting flies), an armadillo shell, and a zillion kinds of plants and trees (including pineapple, papaya, mango, jackfruit and avacado trees growing in the yard of the fieldhouse on the reserve). Things seen while I wasn't around - a live armadillo, a tortoise, a prehensile tailed porcupine, and an agouti. I spent a lot of time hiking trails to bait traps, set traps, retreive traps, and release monkeys. I spent more time hanging out at trap sites to wait for monkeys to trap, or to guard against other monkeys from robbing the traps or harassing the monkeys that were in the traps at the time. I got up at around 5:15 every morning. I spent approximately 21 hours in airplanes. The first few days were very bright and sunny, and warm. The last few were very wet and relatively cold. We caught over 40 monkeys representing 11 family groups, one of Andy's most successful and efficient trips. I did lose a trail once, and spent about 3 hours lost in the middle of the forest. A very lucky coincidental finding of a road allowed me to live to tell about it. I thought up a few song ideas. And I ate a lot of rice and beans.
And hey, my website turned 5 years old while I was gone. Happy Birthday, page.
October 24, 2001
It's wednesday, I'm going to Brazil for 9 days and I leave on sunday.
Tell ya all about it when I get back.
October 6, 2001
Just a couple things - Sheri and I went up to New York City on Thursday. She really wanted to go and see things, and I felt some kind of need to go and pay my respects to those who lost their lives. Also, it gave me a chance to meet up with Jay, my old college roommate whom I haven't seen since last September. That's one of the advantages of Philly - it's close to everything over here. So we went up, parked the truck on 7th Ave and walked down to Ground Zero. Three weeks later, you can still smell it. The smell of burnt. It's the same smell that came out of the rubble of my apartment building after it burned down. And depending on the wind, you can smell it from several blocks away. Of course, everything is blocked off, and there are plenty of cops and military personel around to watch over everything, but by and large - most New Yorkers have gone on with their lives. Sure, there were plenty of people around with cameras and things, and Sheri took some shots - who wouldn't? It just felt like most people were protesting the terrorists by moving on. All the while, there still seemed to be a bit of a somber mood on the city. I dunno, we were only there for a few hours. Smoke still rises from portions of the rubble as small fires continue to burn. There were a handful of shops down near the center where the dust and debris from the collapse continues to hang and cling, as if acting as some kind of memorial or pause in time. We saw a Levi's jeans shop that has been untouched since the attack, with inches of dust literally covering every piece of clothing in the store. The doors must have been wide open when the towers came down. We also walked by the firehouse of companies Engine 24 and Ladder 5. They lost several men. We paid our respects at their memorial, set up outside the firehouse, filled with candles, letters from all over the world and pictures of their fallen brothers. That's something you just don't forget. I was glad to also get to spend a little time and catch up with Jay, who besides living in New York and dealing with all that has happened, is doing relatively very well. Unfortunately, I got Sheri and I lost downtown and we ended up walking an extra mile or so getting back to the truck. Sorry, babe. And, the next day I woke up sick with some kind of nasty cold/body ache and still have it! I haven't been sick in awhile and it sucks. Sick - don't get it! One cool thing... on the 1st of October, we started recording some more Huge Down Here stuff, and even might keep some of it! We still don't have all the equipment we'll need to finish, but we're rocking. Sooner or later.
September 14, 2001
It's amazing what can happen in one day. My sister-in-law Jo came to visit her mom in Jersey over the past weekend, and came to see me at the zoo on Monday. She was to leave on a plane back to Houston on Tuesday morning. She took off from Philadelphia International about 20 mintues before the first hijacked plane hit the World Trade Center. Thankfully, she is fine - they diverted her plane to land quickly in North Carolina. My man Jay (former college roommate) who works in midtown Manhattan is ok, too - he wasn't very close to the towers, but you never know where someone might be at any given time. It took him a couple days to get ahold of me, but he did. Thankfully. I was getting pretty freaked out while it took time and the phone lines to open for them to get back to me. And those are the only two people I know, that I know were ever close to being in harm's way that day... imagine being one of the thousands of people missing loved ones and friends and family. It's scary what can happen in one day. Go give some money to the red cross. Believe me, they do wonderful things. By the way, it was way cool hanging out with Jo.
Just last week, on the 5th - Sheri and I went up to New York to see the US Open quarterfinals. We both are tennis fans and wanted to witness a grand slam, and it was a pretty cool trip. The actual tennis we saw was just ok, but being there was very nice. It's a great place. I remember driving up on the BQE, looking over the river and Sheri saying "look, there's the World Trade Center..." Wow. Anyway, we took some pictures there, and you can check them out here. In fact, we finally finished that roll so I could scan the rest of my pictures, too. So, I put some more Team Zoo softball shots up, mostly from the Vet game (see below, the August 4 news update). On September 6th, our league held its annual "All-Star" game, and I was voted to represent our team along with Ken, Amy & Todd. Todd didn't show, though, so Sheri got to play in his place! We did fairly well. Ken hit a 3 run home run, and I went 3-for-3 with a double, two singles and an RBI. Both of us made some nice catches in the outfield. The game was called after 5 innings on account of darkness, and the score was aptly tied at 10 each. I also put up some photos of my new electric guitar, Shasta. You can check those out on the HUGE down HERE page. Incidentally, the recording that began a couple weeks ago (see the last news update) has been postponed again... but will be beginning soon. We gots a new mic now. I also finally finished uploading all of the pictures I took of the remains of the apartment fire. I'm glad to be finally done with those, but wanted to make sure I had everything up. Upcoming concerts : John Mayer, Weezer, Tenacious D. Sweet. Speaking of sweet, there's also a few new pics of me and my baby. See ya.
September 1, 2001
Yesterday, official album session work began for HUGE down HERE's forthcoming debut CD. We've got about 20 songs or so to choose from, though most likely not that many will be recorded. Strangely, I think we've nailed down the album cover and title (without any songs on tape!) already. It's silly. Aren't we all? If you didn't already hear, Joey Merlino and all of his six co-defendants were convicted of being mobsters; however, all of them got off on every single serious charge (murder, drugs) brought against them. Probably none will get more than 10 years in jail. It seems like this trial was just the first in a series that the government will try to get some serious time for these wiseguys. I hear Joey is being arraigned on a single charge of murder (of Joseph Sodano) - incidentally, one of the charges he was acquitted of (well, "not proven to be guilty of") in the recent trial. We'll see... Former Philly mob boss "Lil" Nicky Scarfo stood trial several times in the 80's before being convicted to life in prison. Just this past Thursday, we caught Stargazer Lily's last Dave & Buster's gig of the summer, complete with some guest musicians, an extra long set and free taco buffet bar! The Porno Song was first debuted a few weeks ago and quite frankly, is the best song ever. "You press rewind, I'll press stop... so we don't miss the money shot." Their new album is almost finished and hopefully will be out by the end of the year. Lastly, my man Mike D from way back in my Auburn, IN high school days came to Philly for a visit yesterday. We got to hang out, eat some cheesesteaks, catch some sights and just shoot the bull for the first time since Christmas '99. Kinda tough to pay up the Purdue-IU bets when you live in Philly and he lives in Phoenix. Next time, Steak n' Shake!
August 4, 2001
OB in right field, getting his warning track on!
Last week, on Tuesday the 31st of July, our beloved Team Zoo took the field on Veterans Stadium (home of the Phillies & Eagles) and kicked some Philadelphia Daily News tail in a spirited game of softball. Teammate Ken Pelletier was the only one man enough to hit one over the wall, but I also managed an inside the park home-run, plus a triple and a double, for a total of 4 RBI and 2 runs scored. In the field, I caught three fly balls including a spectacular flat-on-my-backside tipped-then-caught kinda thing. Final score : 15-6. Aww yeah.
July 15, 2001
The official launch of exit ob is upon us... let me know what you think. I also put up the pics of the fire and have a few more on the way. I redesigned a little bit of the site, including this new "news" page, which is separate now from the "bio". I hope you don't get too confused. Stay with me. Peace.
July 7, 2001
I finally was recently able to procure another personal computer (helped by a little leniancy from my cute roommate) and this means 4 things : you should definitely check out the website I have created and update for the Philly Zoo's softball team (Go TEAM ZOO). Call me anal-stat-boy. You should also know I have a handful of new pictures all over this place, including some here and here (not to mention all the ones not of me on the softball site) - and look forward to more pics coming soon (including some intimate Chris & Sheri shots and several photos of the remains of the apartment fire). Also know that I will be working on a new front-page design for my general site and abandoning the "Amazing Page" moniker that is long overdue to be mercifully wiped out. Lastly, I have another recording studio set up on the computer (and also another new electric guitar courtesy of my lovely girlfriend) and have begun initial work on the album that I had begun prior to the fire. We're just in the demo stages right now, but it's coming along. Check out the progress on my band's section of the site. Rock.
Also of note, I have seen Stargazer Lily (a fantastic local band) play practically every Thursday since 5/31 at Dave & Buster's in Philly - for free (no cover!). I even got a birthday shout out from Susan (the lead singer) on my birthday. They'll be playing every week "all summer" so feel free to catch them while you can before they go nationwide. And for all you other twisted people, I attended the very last day of trial testimony in the federal RICO racketeering trial of reputed Philly Mafia Boss "Skinny Joey" Merlino and 6 other codefendants, including reputed underboss Steve Mazzone and consigliere (#3 man or "counselor") George Borgesi. Over the course of the trial (which began in March) I have attended a total of 11 or 12 days of testimony, including two former admitted Capos (or "captains") of the family, Ron Previte and Pete "The Crumb" Caprio, one former admitted soldier, Gaetano "Tommy Horsehead" Scafidi (all cooperating government witnesses), and one defendant, accused mob soldier John "Johnny Chang" Ciancaglini. Unfortunately, I missed all testimony of former admitted Mob Boss Ralph Natale. Closing arguments start on the 9th and then the jury will deliberate. Often, the best show is in the audience - I've literally rubbed elbows (while waiting in line!) with reputed acting-boss "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and accused hitman Michael Lancelotti, as well as every possible defendant's relative or associate. Crazy shit, man... we'll see how it turns out.
Photo courtesy of NBC10 News. (No, I didn't ask).
May 25, 2001
On this glorious day in the year 2001, Sheri and I celebrate one year together. Happy anniversary, honey.
April 27, 2001
Well, it's been about a month since the fire... things with Sheri in her house have so far been great. I have very gradually begun to re-claim, re-gain, or re-buy some of the things that I lost. Unfortunately, I still have brain farts once in awhile and forget that I don't have any of the stuff I used to have. I've been in a bit of a continual funk ever since, more noticeable at certain times than others. One ironic thing is that I had a small pile of pictures in my bag that I have wanted to scan in and put on this site since around September. So I finally did. They are in various places: here, here, here, here, here, and here. On an interesting side note, I attended the trial of Philadelphia Mafia Boss Joey Merlino for two days this past week. And I plan to go back for more. Fascinating stuff, man. I also have some plans in mind for a new site design for this website. Here's a taste...
Photo by Jena Markey
March 29, 2001
My apartment building was completely destroyed by a fire that happened while I was out of the state. Amazingly, no one was seriously hurt.
At One Time Used To Be Recent Big News: (3/15/00)
I just bought a new car! Well, new to me. I traded in Fannie (an ORIGINAL year '84 Pontiac Fiero) and pulled in a 1996 Plymouth Neon named Nellie. She's red, unfortunately. (I basically had no choice. It was either that or no car. I could afford no other Neon on the lot!) Got a killer tape deck, though. She runs sweet as kool-aid.
Pull up to my bumper, baby.
Photo by Erin Price
Really Big But Not Recent Anymore News: I have been hired by the Philadelphia Zoo as a primate keeper! I started on January 12th, 2000. It rocks. aww yeah. I take care of all kinds of primates - including Sumatran orangutans, western lowland gorillas, white-handed gibbons, langurs (spectacled, douc), common squirrel monkeys, black and white colobus, red-capped mangabeys, white-faced saki, brown-headed spider monkeys, lemurs (Coquerel's sifaka, mongoose, ringtailed, black and white ruffed, blue-eyed black, bamboo), marmosets (Geoffrey's, pygmy) and tamarins (bicolored, golden lion, golden-headed lion). And throw in some tree kangaroos, fruit bats (Rodrigues, Egyptian), Malagasy giant jumping rats, dwarf mongoose, and 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 has some non-primates, and Primate Reserve, where all the apes are. I'm what we call a "relief keeper".] I also used to take care of : lorises (slender, pygmy slow), acouchi, nine-banded armadillo, black & white squirrels and a Prevost's squirrel. And I'm also a full-fledged union member, AFSCME Local 752. Support your local shop!