Back from Jamaica!

I'll be making a series of posts, but the first one is about scuba diving. Enjoy!

I was a bit nervous about it. Heading to the pool for the training, I was like I'm gonna drown. But they make you swim 8 laps around the pool without touching the side or bottom, and that pretty much got rid of the nervous feeling and made me exhausted instead :) Then you watch a video that teaches you some of the things that you will need to do. After that they suit you up, put you in the pool, then you try breathing underwater. That was crazy!

Of course, there are about 10 tricks that you need to know to stay alive while 40 feet below. The guy, Pablo, a Jamaican, taught you three of the ones that we'll need for a short, 30 minute excursion underwater. They were how to clear your mask if it gets filled with water, how to put your mouth piece back in if it gets knocked out or you lose it, and the last was how to equalize your pressure in your ears so you can go down 40 feet and feel perfectly comfortable. Then in the pool, they teach you this and Pablo watches each person as they do it at least twice perfectly. After that, Pablo made us swim from the shallow end to the deep end in a circle as long as we wanted, and practice equalizing our pressure. I swam in the pool for about 10-15 minutes, practicing these different techniques.

When we went on the dive, I was nervous again. They put an anchor in the water, you grab onto the rope and head down slowly, equalizing as you go, every 3-4 feet or so. It was very slow. You get down there, then go into what's called a "scuba chain", locking arms with everyone. This was uncomfortable since you're just kneeing there waiting for everyone, and when you're not moving, the bubbles you blow out just go in your face and you can't see anything. Then we went off to the reefs. So many colorful fishes and the water was beautiful. The one guy was taking pictures, and we managed to get one with the three of us that went down there. Overall it was an incredible time and I can't wait to do it again :D

I'll be posting that picture as soon as I get it from Zatko. In the meantime, check out the images as they get uploaded from the people that went. We have a Flikr group called "Zatko Wedding".

The Wedding Party

28 next month, Mom still cuts my hair

I know, it's pathetic, but when all I do is get it buzzed, there's no reason to pay anyone to do it, especially when my Mom spent all that money on the equipment, and has been cutting hair for years! I would still have her cut it if I was looking for a particular style, back when that sort of thing was important to me. Luckily, I worked at a job that basically had a mirror for an elevator, so I'd be looking at myself on the way up, and thinking "Man, I look ridiculous with longer hair..." A day I will never regret.

So, Philly, this afternoon, gets a mild dusting of snow, probably like 2 inches. Worse, though, is afterwards, it starts to rain, but it's still only 29 degrees Fahrenheit. Mom calls and asks if I'd like to have dinner over there. Pork chops, yummy. I check the fridge, and quickly respond with "I'm hellathere."

I'm driving over, and of course none of the roads are in any kind of shape to be driving on. I head down this one hill and I felt like I might as well have been riding on top of the car in mittens and a scarf, hoping my brother doesn't white wash me when I get to the bottom. Like in the old days of sledding at the elementary school, or the even older days on Llanerch Country Club where a little bit of momentum would drop you into the water hazard in the middle of the 8th fairway. The final road to the house off of the main road consists of 3 stop signs right before inclines on back roads. I'm sure any cops would realize why I didn't even give a slight pause as I zipped past all of them.

We eat, Mom cuts my hair (I look fantastic, BTW), and after two hours and an old Country Crock container full of leftovers from the OTHER night (I actually have no idea when it's from, but it looks delicious), I head out to my car to go home. I should have spent at least some time to clear my wiper blades from ice. I had them so clear for the ride over that they'd allow for full visibility with a single go. When I got in my car and the heated seats started kicking in, I just figured I could get home fine with the limited amount of traffic that should be out on the street.

Turns out I was right... barely any cars were on the road. But that didn't mean that I could see at all. With each wiper motion, the road became a distorted image, and my windshield, a kaleidoscope. One with less colors, mainly black and white, and instead of amazement, fear. The tricky part was pulling into my alley against traffic. There were 3 cars (or rather, blobs of white on a black background) back to back that I had to wait for to pass me before I could pull in. If there was a car behind them with their headlights off, pure disaster would surely follow. That wasn't the case. I made it home safe and didn't even have to change my pants.

Miracles and the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Observe exhibits A and B:





Immediately I thought "Stupid forwards..." right?

I got that email from my Dad at 1:17 PM as indicated by Gmail. Within the hour (2pm), I got a call from my recruiter, Audrea, that I got the job. I called my Dad and told him that I got it, and he asked "Did you get my email?" I said "Oh yeah, but I didn't send it to anyone..." And he said "I know, I did, and something good happened to me within the hour. You called telling me you got the job."

How about that?! Don't worry, I still won't forward them. It didn't work because of sending it to 2342352 people. The question is, of course, are you the type of person that sees things as coincidence, or do you believe in miracles? Sorry, that was blatant theft from the movie "Signs". I'm definitely not saying that there isn't a higher power at work here (in fact, there most definitely was!). Just that I don't believe in forwards! They're the same source of "Send this to as many people as you can, and Bill Gates will send you a check for a bazillion dollars."

Also, there was this little joke going around between my recruiters (Laura and Audrea) and I. One time I had eaten only toast for two days straight, so I emailed saying

"I probably need to find something soon, since I am now in a "save money" mode, and have been living on toast for 2 days!"

They had vowed to find me a job :) Every once in a while, the joke would be replenished with new material. Hilarity ensued. I won, no lie, $1.65 on the nickel slots in Atlantic City and bragged that I splurged and got jelly! Livin' it up, indeed. So, they promised me a treat if I get the job (other than, of course, getting the job). While filling out the papers, I had a delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich on wheat bread! It was gourmet. Thank you Laura and Audrea!

If you need a job, definitely email me and I'll direct you to them. Their company is called "JCPW", short for, obviously, "Jason Connell's Personal Workforce". Their website is ehcmi.com, which has a different name, but it'll be changed soon. I got lost driving to their office because I couldn't find it under the new name, then realized that they probably didn't update the directory at the entrance to the parking lot yet. They gotta get on that.

I report to work on Monday. Finally!

I'm gonna be one bada#% mother f@#%er!

Right now, I'm addicted to the pain and stiffness the morning after a good workout. I'm not really doing a professional workout, like, I'm only doing situps and pushups for the past few weeks. But the idea is to just lose some weight, not necessarily sculpt anything right now. Although, I can feel that I'm a lot stronger, more windful, less stressed, and more healthy in general.

After a few more weeks of pushing my limit and pain every day, I think I'll be a badass motherf@#%er. Today, even, some guy came to turn our electricity off (we're two days late... PECO are a bunch of bastards), and I popped my head out the window and he was still there. I said "Hey, we paid this morning." I told him how much. He said "Alright, let me call and see if it's ok that I turn it back on." So I went down there with two gigantic guns. He looked at me, held back some tears, and said "I'll turn it back on, we won't tell them." This guy was a big dude too. He feared my presence. He figured I could probably power an entire city with kinetic energy from one of my fists.

Ok, maybe I'm not that strong yet :P He was a nice guy too, so that might have something to do with it. Also, probably because I begged him to turn it back on and not whoop my ass. Plus my coffee would get cold. He saved us money. So thank you nice Mr. PECO worker. So, if you try that stunt again, when I'm strong enough, I'll remember this and only whoop your ass a little.

I'm f#@%ing bored

That's when I know it's time to get back to work. I've been jobless for just over two months now. Let's review what I've been doing during the days.

For the first 3 weeks or so, I was heavy into programming.

For the next 4 weeks or so, I played video games mainly.

For the last week, I've been playing my guitar a lot, looking for a job, emailing people, planning parties 3 months in advance, emailing again just to make sure they read my first email, actually leaving messages on myspace for people, planning on getting my car inspected since it has 3 days before it's due, playing my guitar more, reveling at the size of my blisters on my fingers since I haven't played that hard in months, avoiding video games and programming like it was my job, dreading another day of the same thing. I need to f@#%@ing work, and not just for the money. Why did I wake up so early? Do I only need 5 hours of sleep now? That would rock, sleeping sucks. I should write more software.

Oh, and this is the worst, as it had been stricken from my mind as soon as I thought of it and I needed hypnosis to bring it back... I considered doing Pilates (no idea of that spelling). That's the exercise thing. I'll stick to my situps and pushups, thanks, it's already working wonders. That and living on toast helps. I don't have a scale, but I've lost about a half of an inch from my cheeks. At least I think that's from working out, it could be the fact that I don't smile lately since I'm bored to tears, so my face just looks thinner. Plus I shaved my head. It looks awesome, ask anyone. I'll take a picture though, since I could probably submit only a headshot to Playboy and they'd put it in as the centerfold, g@#damn it I'm beautiful. HAHA I kill me. Anyway, keep an eye out for fabricat... err... fabulous tales of gainful employment, and hopefully a happy Episode Two to my dream last night. Feel free to psychoanalyze that one.

[Update] Here's a new picture of me, notice how f@%#ing bored I am



I also uploaded some other pictures lying around on my digital camera, like this one, which happens to be bad-ASS



There's no "photoshopping", since I can't afford that program, only ones like The GIMP, which is like PhotoShop, but requires much less money than the entire GNP of a small country.

Also, this one, which proves that I got a hole in one on Tiger Woods 06 for the PSP.



It was the 8th hole, I believe. However, this picture is no longer that important since I made another hole in one and saved the replay! I f@#%ing rock at that game. You can view video of my second hole in one by visiting Downloads and searching for downloads under the label "psp".

Here's a couple of pictures of the kids:





[Update #2] Truth be told, may it be a bit disturbing, my Mom came over for a short visit (she came bearing gifts!!! I got new socks!!!), and she said I'm a hottie. Now it's official, ladies. Of course, she thought the gorilla that is my Dad was attractive about 40 years ago, so I may be reading more into that than I should...

July w00t!

I always love July because of no special reason... other than June afternoons make me sleepy. You got me, I'm just quoting a Cracker song, kinda. But they do make me sleepy.

"Hey June, why'd you have to come, why'd you have to come around, so soon? I wasn't ready for all this nature. The terrible green green grass, and afternoons that make me sleepy."

I miss my iPod. Well, I have it in my glove compartment, but I don't have a tape adapter anymore. I mean, I have two, but neither work. I experimented with one because it was making too much noise and always got popped out by my car's tape deck complaining about "Clean Tape" or something. Like, WTF, there is no tape. It's just reading off of the metal thing at the top. And now it's missing all of its insides... and the tape deck pops it out immediately, saying "Check Tape". I wish it would just play it. It's the only thing I hate about my car. I have a CD player too, but I depend on my iPod.

When I don't listen to music that I love for a long time, I get very angry. You should see me, I'm always pissed off. My neighbor's six year old daughter asked me to play catch and I'm like "What for?!! Catch sucks. You just throw it back and forth, accomplishing nothing... don't ever ask me anything ever again." :D I'm kidding, I told her I'd play, and we did... but you could imagine if I could possibly get that angry.

I almost ran over a guy on a bike the other day. It almost wasn't my fault. A car was in front of me turning left, and they went, and I was checking left and moved up. I stopped. And I noticed that I had to move quick in order to make it before this huge line of cars coming would delay my arrival time by at least 2 minutes, and I just can't wait that long. So I was still looking left. I started going, and looked, and this bike was right in front of me, so I gunned it right and JUST missed his back tire!! He saw it, and was all angry and yelled "JERKOFF!!" I'm like, dude, did I hit you? No. I missed him by an inch or so, but close only counts in horseshoes and grenades, so he should have just not said anything, or he should have said "Woah, nice driving dude!" Of course, I was out of it, hung over... it was on my way back from watching the food channel over Billy's all day after drinking all night at the Dave concert. So, it wasn't exactly my fault because he should have noticed my head only looking left :D Jerkoff.

Tonight, I went to happy hour at the Boathouse in Malvern. It was my last appearance with the company I worked for. I turned down the full time position they offered me because I would be miserable working in the technology with which I would be working. Some people from work were there, including Hitomi, who I worked with at a previous job. That job together was hell, but everyone there was awesome. Most of the people on my MySpace friends list were from that job. It was awesome. We'd drink every f@#$ing Friday! And A LOT! Sometimes, we couldn't wait til Friday night, so we'd head out at lunch, and some other times we couldn't wait until Friday at all! Anyway, we were party animals. So, the new coworkers were a new experience for me. It was my last day there and the first time I'd hung out with any of them. They weren't party animals. Oh well.

Hitomi and I went to Ruby Tuesdays afterwards. That was funny. We go in there and she's freezing, so I give her my shirt. Then, we order coffee. We order soup (brocoli and cheese) and an appetizer, like a four way sampler which has chicken, mozzarella sticks, some other thing and some more chicken. On top of that I ordered a burger with fries. After the soup and appetizer, I was done. The waiter brought out my burger and I was like "I can't even take a bite of this, can I have a box to take it home in?!" The only thing that was eaten off that plate was a pickle that Hitomi swiped from me. It looks delicious though :)

Not much else going on... I'll be down the shore in Lewes Delaware (there's a photo album from last year's trip in my photos section) from Sunday to Tuesday. Hell, I could stay down for a few weeks if I wanted to, but I have to find a job soon... that sucks. I wanted to possibly take a trip. Just head out across the country with my laptop, my guitar, and my digital camera. I have some extra money in my cushion of my car, so I could do it. I should.

I have 'arm syndrome'

It's sorta like "carpal tunnel syndrome" only it doesn't happen in the carpal area. It's in my freaking forearm. But it's from the same sort of hazard... (no not that you pervert)... creating awesome software. At least in my case. I never got carpal tunnel from programming stuff that sucks. Like, I never got it programming a "Hello, World" program. And I never got it from writing a paper in college, the only time, besides this website, that I ever used the English language in my life. Nope, I don't talk in English either. It's English-ish. Not like I have a second language, but I really don't even have a first.

Hell

I have learned what my hell will be if I were to go there. And my mode of transportation to get there. It won't be a handbasket.

Hell will be watching people work on computers. It will be a room full of computers and people who don't know anything about keyboard shortcuts, can't type, always use the mouse, and move their head to follow the mouse cursor instead of following it with just their eyes. (That's why God created EYE SOCKETS people!). (I'm not talking just of Ctrl+X, Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V here. Some people refuse to use Alt+Tab, or Ctrl+Shift style [Ctrl+Shift+right arrow, or left arrow]. Shift pageup... not to mention some people don't even know that Page Up exists!) There are many, many ways to be faster in multiple operating systems, but most people don't use them, or don't know them, or find that they don't want to be fast because they get paid for eight hours of work so they might as well charge 4 hours for "Maneuvering around a computer's User Interface".

I will get to hell by following someone down a seemingly never ending hill in my car, they will be in their car, and they will be braking the whole time to stay under the 35 MPH speed limit. Of course it will either be a double solid yellow line one lane road, or it will be a passable road but with never ending traffic in the oncoming lane. Also, when it's not going down the hill, they will put on the brakes with nobody in front of them for at least 13 car lengths, only going 34 MPH, because the car in front of them put on their brakes.

Golf and other Important News

Looking at only the first half of my life, you would not expect me to be completely opposite for the second half of my life. Up until 14, I was playing sports, from baseball, basketball, football, street hockey, and some "Kill the Man" or some other "whole street" game that we came up with growing up on my street with kids in almost every house. I was active. I played video games back then too, so they're not really the cause for my reversal in activeness. Here is the cause: I am too competitive for team games.

Those little kid leagues where the coach will play every kid for the same amount of time were the only leagues I was in. There was no competition, it was only fun. However, having a huge competitive yearning, these weren't enough for me. I can't just go out and make myself better unless I'm competing. I love competing, and I love winning. Practicing is boring, but scrimmaging was awesome. My big sport growing up was soccer. I loved that, because our practices were scrimmages, mainly. We'd have some standard drills but they would just lead up to a 6 on 6 or something. During one year of soccer, I scored a few goals, and I scored in the All-Star game... as a HALF-BACK (or Mid-Fielder). It's usually the "strikers" that score.

So, practicing is not fun because there's no competition. I guess you have to make a little game out of it in order to make it fun, but I wasn't that creative. So, when I got to high school, I decided to give up on those sports because I wasn't interested in making myself better, and I didn't play anyways. Luckily, in 6th grade, I was introduced to a little game where the competition is built in, with no one else out there. Golf.

My love affair with golf really started, though, in 8th grade, when I had a paper route. Our local course, Kara Kung in Philadelphia, was $8 for a junior (under 17) to walk. So every time I went out collecting for the paper, I'd come back and stash $8 lumps in a sock in my drawer. Then I'd count it up and say "I can go golfing 12 times!!" On top of that, I'd watch golf all the time, my Dad subscribed me to Golf Illustrated, and I read tons of books. But I never practiced.

"You never practiced golf?!?! You must suck!" I do. But I love it. You can go out on a golf course and compete all by yourself. Because you're competing with yourself, and you're competing with the course. You can think back, "Last time I played this hole, I got a 6..." So your realistic immediate goal is a 5, but really you'd want a 1 :P It's just an incredible game.

But it's one of those games where you find that you haven't played in almost 3 months, or a year, sometimes when you think back. Time flies between rounds of golf.

Anyway, Zatko and I decide to go golfing on Saturday. I hadn't played since last summer, probably 7 months. I'm a bit rusty. And the first thing to go when you have a long lapse like that between rounds is your short game. You no longer have any idea how a ball off of a quarter swing pitching wedge placed in front of your back foot will react. Or how firm you have to hit it, or any putt that you come across. It's like you're retarded. However, the long game, I almost never lose. That's more like riding a bike than riding a bike to me. My first two shots were a drive into the fairway, and then a 7 iron onto the green. I three putted.

This is my best shot of the day. This dog-leg right... pretty steep right turn with trees hugging the whole fairway, and a driver will surely find its way into the back trees, and the trees on the right are high enough that it's a pretty bad call to try to get over them with a middle to long iron. I hit 4 iron and it hugs the right side. It's looking like path... indeed, it does that exaggeratedly high bounce off the cart path and gives me a few extra yards. I find my ball out there, but now it's a tough shot. It's about a foot off the right of the path, meaning I'll be standing on the cart path hitting this shot. I got about 115 yards to go, but yet another dilemma. The pin is directly over the middle of this huge bunker (sand trap for non golfers), situated right in front of the green. I'm like, "Well, better to try and fail then to lay up and not even guarantee a safe shot then..." So I take out my club, take my few very boring practice swings, and let it rip. The arch is beautiful. It's heading right at it. The lack of grip on my shoes made me slip a bit on the cart path, so I end up facing the fairway, where Zatko is standing. I didn't take my eye off the ball though. It starts its descension. It looks like God hit this ball, it's still dead on. I say to myself "Get over, you f@#%@er." I see it hit the ground... The impact of the landing made sand splash up. I'm like "F@#%@". But then I see it bounce. It hit the very top of the sand trap, the lip, where the happened to be sand, but it wasn't part of the sand trap! I look over at Zatko... he saw the whole thing. I put my arms up in victory and yell "I AM THE GREATEST GOLFER IN THE WORLD!!!" I got to the green and I had about a 12 foot putt ahead of me... or a 17 footer, a 4 footer and a one footer... but I managed to make that one, sealing my only birdie of the day.

Man it was fun. That kind of stuff, for a weekend golfer, is a rare occurrence. It makes it worth it though.

Zatko always walks the course, which I have no objections to. With my lack of activity in the last 6 years (I would go skiing and stuff, and in college there were a lot of hills and drinking games), it's good to walk the course every time. However, the first time out with golf shoes is a lesson in pain. By the third hole, I felt as if someone placed razor blades in the back of my shoes, and at the same time, used a salt / lemonjuice / gasoline mixture in them and set them on fire. However, I don't regret walking at all, even with my complete inability to move faster than 4 inches a second today. To ease some of the pain, I'd kick the ground pretty hard, shoving my toes into the one inch space at the front of the golf shoes, meanwhile slicing the sides of my toes, giving me about 4 seconds of relief before they slid back into place, bringing on the salted flaming razors with a twist of lemon sensation again. Luckily, we went back to the car after 9 and got my regular shoes. After that, I was fine. As you can imagine, my toes hurt today.

And I had so many three putts, that Zatko and I were taking an equal number of shots at me. We coined the term "A hard three-putt". That's one where anyone, ANYONE, who has even dreamt about one day playing golf should make in two putts or less. An easy three-putt is one with lots of twists and turns, or just great distance, or both. They're easy to three putt. I would say I three putted about 14 holes that day. And I ended up with a 90. 45 front, 45 back. Yes, 42 shots could have easily been 28. A 90 could have easily been a 76. Well, most likely not, since I always screw up at the end. I'm not sure exactly how many holes I three putted, so I'm not sure that I could have shot a 76. But just for a "for instance"... this one hole, par 3, over a lake of stagnant, malaria carrying mosquito filled water, I made it right on in one. I three putted. It's brutal.

So, if I am going to practice anything, it's going to be my putting, and it's going to be at Putt-Putt.

But, onto the other news!!

Jim and Kate had a Boy!!! Seamus Michael!!! I'll be posting pictures as soon as Kate's giganormous email makes its way from Japan. Congratulations Jim and Kate!!! I can't wait to see pictures :)

Greatest Game of NHL 2k6 EVER!!

Yesterday, I had a half day because I had to be home for the cable guy to give us digital cable (which is pretty cool). I pulled into the local Wawa to get some lunch at like 1:50, just in time to get home and wait. Well, I start moving out of the parking lot, and sitting on the curb at the Wawa is Beaner. He said "My guitar's at your house." I drove him to our house, and his guitar was at our house. I thought he wanted to stop by and pick it up, and it was inside, but it turned out he went there first, waited for me to come home, couldn't get in the house, left his guitar out front, and went to Wawa. But, as I said before when my pillows got here, we live in a trustworthy neighborhood.

So, we sit there, eat our sandwiches and wait for the cable guy. After the cable was set up, we played "Monkey in the Middle" out front with our neighbor's six year old daughter. I won. ;-) After all that was over, Bean spoke words that he will regret forever. "Wanna play some hockey?"

This means, of course, NHL 2k6 on my PlayStation 2.

The first two games were pretty close. They were both tied going into the third period, where I would score one or two to secure the win. Then there was this thing on the NFL network, which we now get since we signed up for digital cable. It was hilarious. It was about the Vet (Veteran's Stadium in Philly, where the Eagles and Phillies used to play), about the 700 Level, fights, drinking, municipal court on location, etc. Hilarious. The next game, the infamous best game ever, was paused and waiting for the Eagles' show to be over, patiently awaiting the glory that was to come.

Los Angeles Kings (my team) vs. the Atlanta Thrashers. It starts out in my favor, 1-0 with a Jeremy Roenick goal. Bean ties it up shortly after. Then goes up 2-1. Then 3-1. Next, 4-1! Seeing a pattern? Bean's scoring tidal wave finally ends at 5-1. Each time he scored, past the 1-1 tie, I said "That's ok, I never lose." Every time. It was an opening for trash talk and bragging rights for the rest of the week :) If I lost, Bean wouldn't stop about it, and if I win, well, I would be posting it on my website :)

Third period, 5-1 Thrashers/Bean. 9 minutes to go. Something happens out front of Bean's net after I shoot the puck... the red light goes on. Bean put it in his net for me!! Thanks! 5-2. Another goal with 6 minutes to go. 5-3. Another one with 3 minutes, 5-4! Keep in mind, a 20 minute period is played over the real time of 5 minutes (for non mathematical wizards out there, 4 game minutes goes by in 1 real life minute). It's coming down to the wire. 3 minutes left, fighting off chances, pressure is building, two minutes left, getting some chances of my own, generally an all out brawl, Bean and I are as tense as can be, one minute left, Pavol Demitra gets the puck, moves in, shoots, the goalie goes down in the butterfly, it hits his pad, bounces once, twice, towards the net, and in as slow motion as you can possibly make something without stopping it, squirts across the goal line!!!! 46 seconds left, TIE GAME!!! The greatest comeback in HISTORY!!!

Overtime. Bean can't lose this game because, well, that would just blow. Five minutes into the 20 minute OT (we don't like shootouts), JR gets the puck again, fakes the shot, turns towards the boards, sees a cutting left winger and hits him in front of the net for the win. Bean loses. I rock.

Greatest game EVER! :P