Tuesday, June 28, 2011

On The Road Again

I have been lazy. I agree. Some things came up, but it's no excuse...

Stay tuned to updates soon enough though. I recently returned from the Caribbean and have plenty of new pictures from the adventure. Furthermore, the next five weekends should be adventurous:
2nd Annual Pig Roast 7/2
NYC for the 4th.
Milwaukee - 7/11
NYC 7/15
Boston(?) 7/22
Chicago 7/29


Friday, December 31, 2010

Holiday Recap and Pictures

Current Location: Long Island City, NY.

I have gotten some complaints from nearly 20% of my readers (albeit that is only 3 or 4 people) concerning my lack of attention to "Weekend to Weekend"; the name "Month to Month" would seem to be more appropriate! I have found some time during the holidays, however, to add an additional installment regarding my Holiday experience. As a forewarning, I will confess that, like many of my previous posts, the majority of the content will revolve around travel. There is, interestingly, another layer to this post involving a small friend, appropriately named "Kid Rock", that brought a small smile to many of us. To discover those smiles, take a look at the newly added album entitled "2010 Holidays in VT, PR and Tortola".

My parents have recently taken accustom to spending Christmas in Puerto Rico with my grandparents without much concern or question to where I will be spending the holiday; it has been voiced to me that it is desired that I spend the holiday with them in PR, but I don't have to. Unfortunately, my birthday falls on one of the worst possible days of the year ever - December 26 - it is one of the most forgotten days of the year, lost in the wake of hangovers, high hopes and proud or disappointed children receiving the gifts they requested or just tube socks. Needless to say, it's a tough day for me. In an effort to have a decent celebration, I decided to head to Tortola on Christmas day to visit Elliot and a few others that I have befriended through past visits from all over the world, particularly Zimbabwe and Canada.

And so, upon arrival on Christmas, Elliot and I celebrated with many of his African friends, eating and drinking until the night ended. My birthday morning greeted me with Rooster calls and coffee, followed by a relaxing breakfast in the West End. The adventure for the day was to ferry to Virgin Gorda and enjoy the Baths with Brian, Kerry, Steven, Sarah and their daughter Kelly. The trip was exquisite, yet my description and diction will pale in comparison to the pictures in the album.

The following day was spent at Lambert Beach with overwhelming surf and sun during the day, and a small "present" delivered, or left, in the afternoon. While discussing politics, books and overpopulation over beers, Elliot and I were visited by the local herd of goats - about 20 in all - standing outside of his home. One mother was standing closest to the stairs and bleating uncontrollably; Elliot and I were slightly confused by found it amusing initially when we settled on the decision that the goat was merely confused. Their passing came and we followed suit, gearing up to head out for some food. On our walk down the stairs, we heard a higher pitched bleating that could have been mistaken for a Rooster or Hen, and when we investigated, we found a small baby goat, umbilical cord still attached, struggling to get through the alley way that it's mother had traversed a few minutes earlier. Elliot collected the little thing and we attempted to reunite it with it's mother across the road. To our discontent, the mother ran from us and her child, leaving the parental duties to two young men who were lucky enough to have had a good deal of experience with livestock. We placed the goat under the stairs, went for dinner and brought back some Goats milk and a bottle. The kid was waiting patiently for our return and latched on to the nipple of the bottle quickly, making suckling noises of happiness and wagging it's tail uncontrollably.

The next morning came and we decided that we were not fit parents for a kid, especially with my departure looming in the evening. Brian, also quite handy with Animals and a friend to the local shelter, helped me deliver the kid to its new home. During the journey, Brian, although he had warned us not to name the kid in order to prevent any ties from being made, dubbed the kid "Kid Rock" - The puns are plenty although I don't believe they are intentional. The shelter accepted Kid Rock, and my brief parenting stint came to an end.

This entire time, I was completely unaware of the poor status that the northeast airports were in and only until Lunch was I informed - Tortola has a completely different phone service set up and I am essentially removed from the world (usually a great thing). I headed to Brian's and checked into my flight from San Juan to JFK - still on time and projected to be on time. I was to catch a 5:55 flight from Tortola to San Juan and I should have had plenty of time to make the next flight.

Now, some quick back story to properly pose the pending predicament that I was soon to encounter. I had booked two separate return flights - JFK ->SJU and SJU->Tortola because I was staying in Puerto Rico for a few days and it's cheaper. I also booked the flights on different airlines - Delta for the SJU-->JFK return leg and American Eagle for the Tortola -->SJU leg. Knowing that the flights from Tortola are generally delayed due to the Islands disregard of punctuality, I booked a 5:55 flight to get in at 6:30 and left the 7:10 flight as a back up. My flight to JFK was scheduled to leave at 8:10 - if my first flight was canceled, the 7:10 flight should get me there with just enough time to catch the JFK flight.

I am sitting in the airport in Tortola at 5:30 when the incoming flight from SJU lands - this is our aircraft to take back to SJU. I also notice that there are only 7 people near me for a plane that can hold upwards of 40 people. 6:00 rolls around and the attendant tells us, in a very relaxed manner, that our plane had been grounded and is canceled due to electrical problems (although they were currently refueling it as he delivered this message). I tell him that I have a flight to catch to JFK, and he responds with a laugh, saying that all flights to JFK are cancelled and I shouldn't worry about making it. He then puts me on the 7:10 flight and looks up my delta flight to JFK which still projects it to be On Time. He reassures me that the flight will be canceled and I have nothing to worry about. Seeing as though there are no other flights out of Tortola, I hope that the 7:10 flight get's me in on time and wait patiently. I have no cell phone reception and there isn't a Delta counter in Tortola, so I have no way of communicating to SJU.

Naturally, the 7:10 flight is delayed by 30 minutes and I arrive in San Juan at 8:11, hoping that the plane is delayed. I run through customs in record time (4 minutes) and see an agent, ask her where the nearest delta counter is and she directs me to the next terminal. Running, I enter the terminal at 8:15 (it's a small airport) and arrive at the Delta service counter, which is, of course, completely unmanned and unoccupied - the last flight out of SJU on Delta was mine to JFK and it had left, 2 minutes prior to schedule. No one from Delta was in the airport, American wouldn't help me with tickets since they honored their contract to get me to SJU, and I am left to call my grandmother to pick me up. The only flight to get to JFK from SJU that day were two Delta flights - where many people were disturbed that their flights were canceled on December 28th, I was mad that mine was not.

I ended up finding a 1-stop flight to Philadelphia for the next night (sitting in the very back of the plane) connecting in Charlotte. My second leg was delayed but I got into Philly at 12:30 AM on Dec 30th. I spent the night in a Westin (thank you Starwood Points) and took a train in the morning to NYC (thank you Amtrak points). It was an eventful trip, to say the least.

Currently Reading: Just finished "Freedom" by Jonathan Franzen. Ask me about it!
Currently Watching: The Wire.
Notable People Met: Steven, Sarah, Kelly, James, Noku, Kid Rock, and many other friends from Tortola.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Back to Boston

Current Location: Amtrak Acela Express - en route to Boston

Quick update: I've been staffed on a project in Cambridge and am pumped to head back up to the homeland! Should be a good time, but I think I need to find an apartment to sublet while I am here. This week, however, I will be staying with Lex and Chris in Harvard Sq. Can't wait to get back on the river for a nice Autumn run.

Past weekend was fun, spent in NYC and Stamford. I am excited that the Phils are progressing well in the playoffs and both of my football fantasy teams won this past weekend (monster weeks from Forte, Harvin and the Bears D). I spent Sunday afternoon and Monday in Stamford with my parents where the weather ranked in the tpo 10 Autumn weather experiences.

Elaboration to take place on Thursday's train ride home.

Currently watching: Teen Mom finale tonight? Anyone?
Currently Reading: at least Lord Jim is back in the suitcase.
Currently looking forward to: Old friends in Boston, Being on a new project, Lexie and Chris

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ask for the Ticket

Current Location: Accenture Office - New York City

This week wraps up my stint as a New Joiner instructor - while my 19 students will soon depart, I don't think they leave without learning a little more than just the prescribed curriculum. Aside from a slew of "other" Accenture information that my co-instructor and I covered, we were able to convince our CEO to drop by for a pep talk.

The visit came about from a common encounter with an uncommon man: one of my male students walked back into our room from the bathroom and asked me if our CEO was in the office. I responded that I didn't know, but asked why he was asking. His response was "I ran into him in the bathroom - does he look like this?" and showed me a picture of him. I laughed, said yes, and shot Bill Green an email depicting this encounter - two hours later he stepped into our classroom.

Now, this may not seem that extraordinary to most people - most would assume a CEO address to a new class could be considered commonplace. My retort simply lies in the sheer size of our company - Accenture currently employs 204,000 people. Based in 2009 census estimates, that would place us at the 104th largest city in the United States. Now, this has no bearing on how powerful or important our CEO is - I am just driving home the point that our new joiner group consists of 19 people out of 204,000 - a mere .093% of our population. To have a direct address from the CEO, let alone to have the CEO in that office on that day, is quite lucky, regardless of what he has to say.

What is more interesting is that this is not the first time that this has happened - in fact, when was in this class and had first joined, the same CEO came and spoke to my start group (which consisted of 4 people). Bill Green happened to be in our home office that day and my instructor decided to email him requesting his presence for 30 minutes or so. He shot an email back saying that he would be in the room in a few minutes and Bill sat down and spoke to us for 30 minutes that day. What our small group conversed about wasn't anything out of the ordinary or even inspiring - we spoke about New England sports and politics. But the act of the conversation said something more - it was a true testament to Stewardship - a core value that Accenture takes pride in. Bill reiterated this point yesterday to my group of students after responding to my request via email once I had learned that he was in the office; although it only lasted for 15 minutes, I can be sure that the memory of being treated with respect and with pride from the top official in a behemoth of a company will live on with the students throughout their Accenture lifetime.

I received a piece of advice from Paul Greenberg about 7 years ago while at Penn when trying to raise money for our water projects in Honduras and Cameroon that has resonated loudly ever since: "Sometimes you just have to ask for the ticket". At the time, this meant "Throw away your pride and tact and just ask me for money; I'll give it to you and so will Doug Glanville sitting right next to you because this group of students are doing something great, something that I can't do even with millions of dollars". That meaning slowly began to break down to its inherent idea as I started to gain world experience. It may be simple, but sometimes you've just got to ask.

A few more notes about my weekend: Highlights: Spending part of Friday night at Click and drinking beers, Saturday's beautiful run in Central Park and the Iowa Game, Sunday's Bears' game (although the Bears got crushed).

Check out the new pictures, especially a few old ones from an album housed at my old home!

Currently reading: Still nothing. Need a book.
Great Quote: "Soon you'll have the badge and the gun and you'll have to go out there and have fun" - Bill Green discussing future responsibilities with New Joiners.
Recent People met: Matt and Alex (friends of Kruse), Chris and Will (Mark's Coworkers).

Thursday, September 30, 2010

New Joiners

Current Location: Accenture Office in NYC

Still unstaffed (although that may be changing momentarily) and am teaching new hires at work. It's interesting having 19 minds that are new to Accenture to impress my corporate view on and at the same time foster their entry into the working world. I was exactly the same a few years ago, and it's enlightening to see how much I have changed.

Training will last another week, and then I should be off to another project. I checked into a hotel a few days ago and had been at a serious point of withdrawal. I'm not sure if it was more of being back in a hotel room or just having a room of my own and not staying at Kruse's or Stamford. I have a feeling it's more of the former - I have become quite a laid back traveler and seem to make myself a home wherever I am. I can't, however, speak for the people who take me in...I suppose some relationships wear down due to over exposure. In the past 4 months, I have seen both ends of the spectrum - under and over exposure during a specific amount of time with friends, and I have realized that a balance is definitely necessary no matter how difficult it is to maintain. I just hope that my living situation doesn't obstruct my desire to uphold the balance.

I've done quite a few things in the past couple of days in NYC too: Met up with Gary last Saturday who is always great to see, ran over to the 5th ave mile with him on Sunday and watched Solomon Lalou beat Bernard Lagat, then proceed to shake their hands at the finish line, saw the Pats take down the Bills (not as convincingly as I would have liked), then ate some of the finest cookies known to man (Kruse's - seriously amazing) and wrapped up the weekend with a little premier of Eastbound and Down (which was also a little disappointing, but I am glad Kenny Powers and the gang has returned - anyone notice Pedro as his neighbor?).

Well, I'll be sure to update when I know my next assignment, and until then, I will be living it up in NYC. Running has been pretty low key sadly; I think the long runs took a lot out of my legs and I need to rebuild to get back there.

Currently Reading: Nothing - damn shame too. The reading phase has passed I think, but I'll try to get back into it.
Currently looking forward to: Watching It's Always Sunny and the League tonight with fraternity brothers and attending the Bears vs. Giants Game on sunday night.
Notable people that I have met: New Joiner Class (19), Atiq Joardel (NJO co trainer), Monique and Fran (NYO VIPs), Tom Lehmann, Jennifer Craig, Patty Paulette.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Been a while...

Current Location: Stamford CT

It's been a while since I've posted and I'm sure the reason is lack of travel - I have been bouncing between Stamford and NYC each day for a little less than a month. I am between projects and working on proposals/training new joiners and will be doing so until the middle of October.

Needless to say, not nearly as exciting as my usual life - hence a lack of information on this post.

Ran 20 miles last weekend followed by a wedding with Kruse - I think we knew beforehand that a 20 miler prior to wedding-level partying is a bad idea, but the thought was reinforced on Saturday.

Sad news today: Jai Day's mother has gone missing in the Philippines. If anyone knows anything about Carole Day, please let us know. Here is a link to a facebook page with information: Carole Day

Currently reading: SDF training guides.
Currently looking forward to: Dinner on Friday night, Beer fest on saturday (hopefully) followed by a quasi Wallmania segment in Stamford, then getting back into a hotel on Monday morning in NYC.
Notable People: Giles from HBS, Julie and Rems (wedding),

Monday, September 13, 2010


Current location: metro north headed to Stamford (on phone so apologies for typos).

Past weekend was a good one- spent the entire time in NYC with a few of my buds. Started it off on Thursday night with the opening NFL game, then Friday was the mets - phils game with mark, kruse and erick ( who was in town for the weekend). The phils won and we got free Mets blankets that we ultimately handed off to LeRoy. Saturday introduced me to Opal and Iowa football followed by a stint at sutton place and ending with a hard food coma at kruse's which was not in the plan. Sunday was filled with football (pats looked good!) and a 16 Miler.

16 is the longest I have ever run and it's a completely different monster. I have hit 12 before and have felt tires at the end - the legs were sore and used to moving so the cool down was shocking, but my body could handle it. Each step was delicate but the legs still hand gusto and could fulfill their duty of carrying me. 16 was different. First, I ran with kruse who is used to this mileage. Second, I've only just gotten back to running each day hitting a total of 20 in the 5 days prior. Third, it was a constant drizzle and drab for the first 8, then it picked up to a rain for the next 5, then back down to barely anything for the last three. Usually I love running in those conditions, but after 8 your shirt sticks to you like an extra layer of skin and your shoes weigh an Extra 2 lbs, making each step a bit foreign.

We pulled up at 9.5 to have a drink of water and take in some calories, then continued on. I've been alternating between treadmill and outside running lately, so the freedom and the company made the first half fly by as fast as a 3 miler. At 13 I felt great aside from the poor conditions and the extra weight - I was even talking to myself about throwing 10 more on at the end to hit a full marathon. We had been hitting 8 minute miles or so the entire time, trying to keep an 830 pace because kruse has to pace the Chicago marathon in a few weeks to 4:00. I'd say a majority of the time was spent below 8:00 but we did out best to relax.

Then it hit me - a wrong step and a twinge in the hamstring. A cramp was right around the corner and we were about 2 miles from the finish. I've never cramped during a distance run - only after a tough workout or in a soccer game. I slowed quickly and kruse knew what was up - we slogged in the last mile and a half delicately do as not to trigger the demon. At one point we had to stop because of pedestrians clogging the sidewalk and the restart was painful. My legs didn't know what was going on - they wanted to buckle but I think they understood that we were 5 blocks away and determined to see it through.

The final stop was interesting - not as painful, more just unusual. Kruse and I were soaked standing underneath grand central - the endorphins were kicking in but it didn't really take away any pain. Kruse pulled out two of my soggy dollars and I bought a bottle of water- the vendor looked at me like I was crazy and was disgusted by my audacity to hand him wet currency, but that thought didn't come until after I took in the cold water. My knees started to lock up around the patellas, something not unfamiliar and generally not dangerous. Other than that, walking was tough but I was happy to hop on the subway. Aside from some small pains and allergies, kruse was fine.

Our route started at grand central, went down the east river, around the seaport to battery park, up the west side highway to 85th, then zig sagged back to grand central. Before running this, I thought if I were to ever jump into a marathon against kruse, my sheer competitiveness coupled with my current fitness would hold me long enough to finish close to her... Now I know that stepping up to these godly distances and churning out strong miles requires more discipline that I'm used to.

Currently looking forward to: finding out my next project.
Notable people met: Ryan Dewey, a few of mark's colleagues, bartender at opal who required my presence at the next Iowa game.