Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On the Bench

Current Location: Long Island City, NY.

I'm on the bench - and I haven't been here in about a year or so. Most consultants would tell you that bench time is wonderful and relaxing. I'd say that, although relaxing, it's a little boring. Perhaps that is a product of my lifestyle - while most people are on the bench at their home and will normally choose to do whatever internal work they are assigned in their residence where everything reverts back to normal, I am placed in a slightly unnatural setting. Monday morning I woke up and did not have to hop on a plane or a train (although I still rose at 6AM) - felt odd. My relaxation transcends to more of a non-existence; day to day activities take longer and seem to just roll by, as if I were standing in the ocean and am letting the waves hit me rather than surfing them back to shore.

I won't say I dislike it - there is an element of recharge regardless of where I am. I can say, however, that I have become custom to traveling and adapting back to it without a home has derailed me a bit.

That being said, I spent my final week in Atlanta wrapping up my project and spending some time outside. The team and I went out to dinner last Monday night and had some of the most fantastic cakes imaginable (luckily for you, there are pictures so you don't have to imagine). Tuesday evening was spent in centennial park finishing "The Average American Male" and watching stray kittens frolic in the bushes. Wednesday I headed to a coworkers home for dinner and met his newly rescued Weimaraner named "Austin". I flew out Thursday night up to Boston (almost on time) and headed to Lexie and Chris's for the night. Friday was spent meeting with some Boston work folk, having my annual review (promotion received), sake bombing and karaoke in the evening for a friend moving out of Boston and then realizing that a pair of friends are neighbors with Lexie and Chris. Saturday was spent at Ian's with old project friends and Sunday I hopped on a train back to NY to catch Mad Men and eat stuffed peppers with Kruse and LeRoy.

Something to note: I will be attending TWO pig roasts in two consecutive weekends - how awesome is that?

Currently watching: Unbreakable (specifically the scene where he lifts a bunch of weight and asks the kid "How much did you put on" to which the kid replies "All of it". Perfect follow up to watching the M. Knight episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia).
Currently Reading: Lord Jim (picked up at the $2 book man in Harvard Sq).
Currently looking forward to: Baltimore this weekend
Notable people: Shelly Rosenblum, Rachel's mom and nephew (see pictures), Kate (Brian's Fiance), Austin (Brian's Dog).

Monday, August 23, 2010

Can someone explain airline seating to me?

Current location: Atlanta (Marriott Marquis downtown) - last week here.

Weekend was splendid - ran into lots of my fraternity brothers in NYC and hung out with a few Accenture folk as well. Highlight - Kayaking with pops in Stamford. We kayaked out to the usual Island in the Stamford harbor during low tide and witnessed snails swarming a dead crab. Have you ever seen a pile of ants on a dropped chip in the middle of the street? Or even attacking a dead worm after a summer rainstorm? Almost identical except in slow motion!

Still - I have never seen snails move so fast.

Two items to bring up:
1. How do airlines assign seats? Sometimes I think I have it figured out and then all of a sudden I can't print the boarding pass to my phone, have no seat assignment and am walking up to the gate at slightly late to the agent just starting to call my name.
2. What are people thinking when they need to put a carry-on in the over-head compartments but all of the compartments are closed? Don't they realize that they got on late and there isn't any space for it? Let me answer this - No, they don't. They think if the complain and stand in the aisle as long as possible and stare up at the ceiling of the plane, ignoring the attendants, some luggage god will shine down on them, open one of the compartments, evaporate a current bag (of course, right above their assigned seat which was random) and make space for their over sized POS that will inevitably hit someone else in the head when they try to remove it post-flight. The only thing more annoying yet entertaining than this is an overworked/aggravated flight attendant who has to deal with people like this and just starts to scream for no reason.

That was my morning.

Currently Reading: The Average American Male - A Novel.
Notable people met: Benny (Accenture Newbie), Man with No Front Teeth on Friday night (picture will come soon), Joe Lawless (finally).

Friday, August 20, 2010


Current Location: LIC, NY

Been 10 days - apologies. But an eventful 10 days to say the least - hence the lack of upkeep on the blog.

The theme of the last two weeks has been: work! We've been closing out our project in Atlanta so my dedication has swayed to the "work side" of the work/life balance. Still, the usual travel has occurred - Boston last weekend and this weekend is NYC.

Boston: First, travel delays seem to follow me every week to the ATL airport. Last Thursday I ran out of my clients building - leaving a meeting - to catch a plane - I had about an hour until my flight was supposed to embark. I entered a cab, told the cabby my perdicament and he got me there with 30 minutes to spare. I walk in, look for my flight on the departure monitors - Three flights were heading to Boston that evening but only two displayed, and mine was not one of them! I then recieve a phone call from delta informing me of the newly declared 2 hour delay to Boston! Apparently it was due to weather in the north with our plane - coming from DC - was delayed initially. I sat down next to a fellow heading to Philly (The passengers to Philly actually got on their plane and then were asked to debark due to the weather) who decided to be chatty. Although grumpy due to the delay, I entertained the conversation and he proceeded to tell me how his friend was just informed that he had a year left to live. Moral of the story - 2 hour delays aren't so bad.

The 2 hours, however, slowly turned into 3 - Delta decided to bring in a new plane from the hangar and had to clean it. Now, usually I am one to defend the airline attendants - I know that its an inconvenience to the patrons to be delayed, but it's not the employees fault - there are standard operating procedures that they follow and like all of us, they are running a business. My gripe can be conveyed by switching loyalty, but rarely will I ever expel discontent verbally. This, however, seems silly to me - the manager knew that our plane was not going to be able to take us, so they should have brought the new plane in an hour earlier. However, if this delay did not occur, I would not have been able to see a man who looked like he was 45 kiss a girl who could have been 23. It seemed possible that they were father and daughter, so I initially let it slide. Curious me, however, decided to talk to them a bit and I quickly found out a few facts: 1) She was in college 2) She was headed to Boston for a family reunion and 3) (said by the 45 year old) "Her father loves to have us over - this is my second time going up but this time I don't need to bring my golf clubs which makes the travel a heck of a lot easier"... wtf?

After all of this (and the whole time I felt bad for my sister who would have to be woken from her sleep on a thursday night because I was so delayed) we step onto the plane. I find my seat (middle seat again - really getting shafted on Delta lately) and start talking to the man in the aisle. Quick description - he looked and sounded like the depiction of michael jackson from the simpsons. We start discussing the delay and the captain comes on. Everyone knows, as a rule, that the captain never speaks over the PA until the plane is about to take off - so I knew a delay was coming. "Hey folks - Good news is that we got you the plane to get to Boston. However, I hate to be the one to have to tell you this, but the flight crew just timed out. There is another crew coming from Tampa, but it's going to be at least an hour"...wow. So MJ and I kept talking - turns out he is a millionaire who has developed 4 platforms for accounting departments at law firms all over the world who started out as a musician in Connecticut church. Crazy. I got to Lexie's at 1AM - what a trip.

Boston was a great weekend - Lexie and Chris' new home is beautiful in Harvard Sq (there are a few pictures that will be uploaded soon). I spent Friday night initially at a happy hour at Grill 23, then with a few friends in Brookline setting off fireworks and drinking. The next day I headed to Mattapoisset (essentially the Cape) for an old client celebration party and saw my old team. Activities spanned from Tubing to Bocci and finally met a friend's husband (who I would eventually see at 5 AM in Logan two days later). My old supervisor's Chocolate lab came along for the ride (see pictures) and he has grown a ton in the past year! Sunday was spent watching TV, reading Brokeback Mountain (great book but definitely surprising since I hadn't seen the movie), furniture shopping with Lex and Chris (never again), comsuming fuddruckers for the first time (definitely again - thanks Chris!), watching Inception (fantastic - edge of my seat), and closing the night out with an episode of Mad Men. The flight to Atlanta was on time as usual and ran into Kim Rziemen (Lexie's friend) and Brian (husband of my ex-colleague).

Atlanta this week was all work and no play, but definitely worth it in the end. The flight out, somehow, was only 30 minutes delayed! What's more is that I ran into a friend who went to my highscool, college and now works for a competitor sitting two seats away. We talked for a solid 30 minutes, then I transitioned my attention towards a Belgian girl next to me that works in the "Deco" department of perfume bottles - I always wondered how perfume companies come to the decision on a hot pink colored container with two twists in the glass that make it look like a runover swan - and it still comes out beautiful.

Bill was there to pick me up last night - great feeling to see a familiar face when you land. If anyone needs a ride in NYC - let me know and I'll pass along his information.

I've also decided to try and add a new element to my posts - notable people that I've met since the last post. Here is my first attempt - I wonder if this will be neat to look back on in the future?

Currently listening to: Jeff Buckley
Currently Reading: Metamorphisis - Kafka.
Recently met people whose names I remember: Brian Cline, Hossain (new member of the genzyme team), the Marstons, Matt (Walker's friend who creeped out some of my friends at a party in Boston), Carine Schulte (airplane companion).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Trials of Miles, Miles of Trials

Current Location: Sheraton Hotel next to the safeway house, Atlanta, GA. (wtf)
Past weekend location: Long Island City, NY

It's been a week - work has been a bit hectic and the weekend was a combination of too much fun and too laid back to write in the blog. Here is the weekend recap:

Flew in from Atlanta on thursday night. I had a bet with a friend that I would take off within 45 min of the scheduled time (I took the under) and to my dismay we were delayed 2 hours, once again. I am starting to understand why people dislike flying out of ATL. Good news is that Bill (my new driver) was tracking my flight for me and was there to pick me up when I got in.

Celebrated on Friday with a friend who is leaving my firm, then saturday had an afternoon, evening and night bbq with Mark and a few others (leaving me in tip top shape by midnight), promptly passing out and sleeping in until noon. Sunday entailed more bbq, sending a few friends off (who used Bill to get to LGA =) ) and then reading along the water. Flew out in the AM to Atlanta on a 7AM flight with no hitches, got into work and have had quite an intense week.

More important things: finally picked up "Once a Runner" by James Parker after I did some intervals on saturday (knee is still bothering me and I partially regretted the last 5 quarters on the mile cool down through stuy-town). Fantastic book - just finished it and can see why so many people claim that this is the best running book ever written. Highly recommended to anyone who has flirted with running; a must read for anyone who can put a heartfelt definition to the title of this post.

Boston is coming up this weekend - excited to return for the first time without and apartment. Lexie and Chris just moved into their new home in Harvard square and I'm excited to see it.

Currently watching: Mad men was the last thing on TV that I watched.
Currently reading: Just finished "Once a Runner".
Currently thinking about: 3 things - deliverables for tomorrow, where my next vacation should be after labor day and how my heart raced while i read the last 40 pages of the book.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pictures and Notes

Current Location: Atlanta, GA

Loaded some new pictures from the past couple of days - mainly of Leroy, his pal Brodie and some bits and pieces of Wallmania.

I've been swamped at work over the past few days, so I apologize for the lack of updates. Here are a few notes from the past couple of days:

1. I've decided to try and put on 10 lbs in 2 weeks - it was a constant comment from family that I was looking slimmer (probably from all of the running I've been doing lately). Coincidentally, my right knee has been bothering me. So, I figure I stop running, put on some weight, lift a little and see how it feels in two weeks.

2. Getting up early to work is not as productive on this project as it has been on others. I am not sure why.

3. Concierge Lounges are a key factor to my happiness (and weight gaining potential) while on the road.

4. It is possible to make it from Long Island City to the gate of your plane on a monday morning before 6 AM within 19 minutes. It helps when you have a driver. It does not help to assume you have a 7 AM flight and wait to check in to that flight in the morning, only to realize that you have a 6AM flight.

5. Fairlie Poplar in Atlanta is a top 10 lunch street when looking for fast, cheap and delicious food. Comparable location: All of Penn's campus food trucks.

Currently Reading: Process Flows, Gap Analysis, Issue Logs (blech)
Currently Surprised about: Wyclef running for president of Haiti?
Important Birthday: Jeff Lyvers and Barack Obama (the former being infinitely more important).

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Weekend locations: Long Island City, East Village NYC and Stamford, CT.

Spent the weekend back in the greater NYC area again except this time for the entire weekend. Had a few factors that played into that decision but a big one was a party that my uncle was throwing for both an engagement and a high school graduation ( two different cousins). Turns out that it served as a reunion of sorts - 5 of the 7 Wallman siblings were making the trip ( 3 live in Stamford, the others from Philly and California), as well as Grandma - the lone matriarch. As frail as she seems, she can still hold her own in the shade eating ice cream cake with basketballs on it beneath a tree. Also - found some validation for the pink silly bracelet that I've been wearing - one of my cousins ( the one who is engaged now) wears a pink one as well. Once we both realized that we were wearing one, we whipped them off our wrists and untangled them to see which was cooler - I think his giraffe beat my dinosaur...

The rest of the weekend was spent exploring long island city with some friends and uncovering a fantastic Cuban restaurant called "Blend". I've always been taught that a Latin place has gotten something right if the serve a good Mofongo. It was tight. The Ropa Vieja and Pernil were also highlights for me, but our party of five left exceptionally satiated, happy and sleepy, all for different meal reasons. I think last night's sleep was the best night's in a while.

On a slightly different note - I need to make a shout out to my friend's new tv. It's a 46" samsung led and is about an inch thick. Damn sexy.

Atlanta tomorrow... trying out my new driver Bill in the morning. I'll also be posting a few more pictures from this past weekend and of the Wallmans for anyone who wants a glimpse into Wallmania.

Currently riding: metro north.
Planning on watching: Mad Men. Maybe Joan's curves look even bigger on the 46".