Friday, May 26, 2006

It Is Just As Natural As Breathing

Sharkey and I celebrated our 6th year wedding anniversary last month. It's a bit late to be writing about that since it is May 26th, but as we were out and about tonight I was in one of my reflective moods. See, one of Sharkey's friend's marriage is ending after 8 years and we were talking about it in the car. It just made me think about how impossible that seems to me. Divorce. I just could not picture my life without Sharkey. She is totally my soul mate. She is definitely my best friend. She gives me her perspective on things I never even think of. Sure it may get annoying that it seems she's right about 96% of the time, and I'm constantly doing the deer in the headlights blinking because I never thought about "that," but I do appreciate the different perspective. We totally complement each other, maybe because neither of us takes ourselves so seriously, and more often than not when something happens we react pretty similarly and are thinking the same thing. I can honestly say I'm a better person because of having her in my life. And she may have 10,000 reasons why she loves me, but my list is pretty long as well, trust me.

Marrying her was one of the easiest and most natural things I have ever done in my life. It was just as natural as breathing. And even with all the stuff we've been through with breast cancer and all, I would still do it all over again without any hesitation. I never had any doubts about it from the first date, to when we were up at the altar, to now as I type this post and she is curled up watching the Dog Whisperer. I still remember our wedding day. I went downstairs because one of the bridesmaids told me Sharkey wanted to see me as soon as I walked into the church. I figured there was some last minute detail she wanted to go over with me. Did I forget the wedding license (nope it's in my tux pocket)? Did I forget the check for the country club (nope that's next to the license in the side tux pocket)? Did I forget her ring (JP fumbles through pockets frantically, oh yeah there's the ring)? So I arrived at the children's classroom downstairs where Sharkey was and there she was in her wedding gown and veil. Now mind you I had never seen her in the wedding gear until then. She turned and looked and me and said, "Well, what do you think?" I just cried when I saw her. She was absolutely stunning. This action in turn made Sharkey start to cry too. We stopped after about a minute or so and she retouched her makeup and the rest is history. Sure we laughed during the wedding vows in front of all our family and friends, but who doesn't right? =)

The Worst...

I came across this really interesting article from PC World, "The 25 Worst Tech Products of all Time." Being the technogeek I am I had to scan the list of things to see how many I either own or had owned at one time. Topping the list is no surprise:

Now this comes as no surprise to me at all. I freakin' hate AOL. In my opinion it is a virus masquerading as an internet service provider. Now when I first went online like everyone else, I did use AOL. Seemed like a good thing at the time, but it spiraled out of control. See, AOL once installed, works it's way through your entire computer. It changes sounds, changes your browser, embeds all this nifty AOL proprietary crap software on your machine, updates itself whenever it wants to, and is near impossible to uninstall. They also had really piss poor technical support and their billing service department really sucked the big one. I can remember canceling my service and still getting billed from them for 3 months after. I can remember going round and round with their billing support saying, "No I cancelled it 3 months ago and I've been using Earthlink ever since you jerkstore!!!" In the end they offered me 3 months of service for free and that's when I hung up the phone.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Star Wars...Aftermath of the Death Star Destruction

A friend of mine sent me this link to a clip:

Star Wars: Death Star Aftermath

I keep watching it and watching it. It is hilarious!!! Well, it is if you've seen the Star Wars movies. Sure I'm a geek. I like Star Wars and Anime... yeah.... yeah... I know most of you do not get it... But this is GREAT STUFF!!

It ranks up there with one of my souvenirs from Disney World, Jedi Mickey!!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Meet me at DQ

I grew up in New Jersey. South Jersey to be specific. Now when you think of New Jersey, you probably do not think of it as the Garden State as it is officially called. You probably think of Atlantic City, big corporations, organized crime, and medical waste. Well South Jersey is the "Garden" of the Garden State. It has rolling farms, is pretty much undeveloped and hasn't changed all that much in the past 30 years. Case in point, there's no Dairy Queen. I never grew up with a Dairy Queen. I had Carvell and Richmond's ice cream growing up. I sort of think both of those places were local companies, sort of like Tastykake. I never had Dairy Queen in fact until I started dating Sharkey. Man what I was missing!!!!

So now that we live in Pennsylvania, there are DQ's all over the place!! My standard order is a medium vanilla cone. That's what I've gotten for the past couple of years anyway. I do get a peanut buster parfait every now and then to be spontaneous, but I have to admit, that's a bit too much peanut for me. I've in fact hit the peanut buster quota for this year. But the past two trips to the DQ I've tried something different, the Banana Cream Pie Blizzard. It is soft serve with bananas, pie chips, some banana powder, and it gets topped off with whipped cream. It is inexplicably WONDERFUL!!! I strongly suggest you try it out if it even sounds remotely good to you. You will not be sorry. Hum.... I think the DQ is open for another hour.... See YA!!!!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Do you Anime? I do

Anime is short for Japanese Animation. You've probably seen it and thought, "Those are cartoons." Well, yes they are like cartoons, but Anime is a bit different. It's not Bugs Bunny, Fred Flintstone, or Woody Woodpecker. It has a plot and it is not all slapstick. Good Anime has certain characteristics. And believe me, there is bad Anime too. Typically there are a few distinctive things that good Anime has:

1. Giant Robots
2. Robots that turn into something
3. Big swords
4. Over expressive characters
5. Really well developed backgrounds and depth of motion
6. Huge guns
7. Characters that actually get killed

My first Anime I ever watched was Star Blazers. In Japan the title of the show was, "Space Battle Cruiser Yamato." It was awesome. The plot of the show was that Earth was under attack by this race of aliens who wanted to colonize the Earth, so they dropped radiation bombs on the Earth to make it inhabitable. The Earth's last hope was a team called the Star Force who traveled the galaxy in a retrofitted battleship in search of a planet called Iscandar who offered Earth a machine to remove the radiation.

Sure it sounds nerdy, but there was character development, there were trials and struggles you got to see the Star Force go though, some characters were killed, and there was some really cool animation. Especially the "WAVE MOTION GUN" the big hole you see in the front of the ship above was a huge cannon that could be fired.

The second best Anime I have seen is Robotech. Robotech was called Macross in Japan. Robotech was also a great big Anime soap opera. A huge alien batte fortress crashed into Earth and we Earthlings are able to decipher the technology and rebuild the fortress to claim our place in the universe. Of course just at the time the fortress was launched, the aliens who the ship originally belonged to want it back. It was a pretty cool plot line, and it had planes that transformed to giant robots:

So what's JP's current Anime? Quite simple Inuyasha. Inuyasha is an Anime that is set in Feudal Japan. Inuyasha is the main character and is a 1/2 demon and 1/2 human. He travels around with his group looking for sacred jewel shards. Inuyasha carries a sword that transforms into a huge fang and is able to throw blasts of energy at his opponents, which are mostly full demons. His group consists of Kagome, a girl who can sense the sacred jewel shards, Miroku, a Buddhist monk that carries a sacred staff and has a wind tunnel in his hand capable of sucking up objects and opponents to a void, and Sango, a demon slaying girl who wields a huge boomerang.

So this is what JP does in his free time besides golf. Now I don't dress up like characters, I do not attend the big Anime conventions, but I'll pick up a t-shirt here and there, grab DVD's and I do have some Anime figures in my office. Sharkey just accepts it, and every so often mocks me by saying in her ditzy voice, "Inuyasha!! Inuyasha!!"

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Loose Strings in the Tapestry

You know reading Kranki's post tonight really made me think. It made me think and appreciate the turns that life takes. See, I took some detours in life. Take college for example. I switched my major 2x. I started as a Pharmacy major, switched to Engineering, and then ended up with a mathematics degree. As a result, it extended my 4 year program to 10 years. I went to my first college (yes I said first college) for 5 years, then took a year off and then finished my Bachelor's degree 4 years later working full time as a QC person at a juice plant and going to school part time. I credit my extended education to a maturity issue. Actually a lack of maturity issue. Yes, as childish as JP is now, he was even more immature when he was younger. I'd ditch class, skip exams (yes I said skip exams), skip finals (yes I said skip finals) and did lots, and lots, and lots of really stupid things.

My year break from school accomplished a few things. It made me think about the decisions I had made and how I was reaping what I had sowed. I learned responsibility. I learned humility. I learned how to talk to any person regardless of education, race, or gender. I learned that when you make any decision, you also have to be willing to accept the results or consequences of those actions. I learned when you start something, you must finish it. I learned life was about following through, keeping your word and integrity no matter what. I grew up. Now I do not recommend the route I took to anyone. It is not for everyone. But that being said, it was the right path for me. Because of my personality and how I grew up and basically because how I'm wired, there would have been no other way for me to learn those valuable lessons. It made me the JP I am today. And if one of those uncomfortable, uncertain stings in my life's tapestry were removed, things would have turned out way different.

So because I took my extended route, some really good things happened. I graduated from college summa cum laude with a Bachelor's degree in Applied Mathematics. I picked up golf from my father and I was able to spend more time with him and really got to know him for who he was. I still think of him when I golf today. But most importantly, because of my path, I accepted a job on the Main Line in PA and someone by the name of Sharkey walked into my office one day. So the 10 years of college and all the times of uncertainty were well worth it for her if nothing else.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Who Cooks?

When Sharkey and I were married, we made a household rule. Whoever does not cook, cleans up the kitchen. Well, being the anti-cleaning person that I am, where I love to clean so very much, I do pretty much all the cooking. And it's not because Sharkey can only make cereal and toast. Well OK, so she does make a lot of cereal and toast, but that's not totally why. =) I do enjoy it. I try to make a lot of different things and I try to do a lot of new things, time permitting. I'm also seasonal in what I make. In winter as everyone knows you do comfort foods like beef stroganoff, chili, and baked orzo and cheese. In the summer time, you do more Asian Chicken salads, seared tuna, grilling Mexican chicken sandwiches, and more colorful things like kabobs. I am also into the food presentation. So I try to arrange things and have some fun with what I make. I also try to go back to the "homeland" once in a while and make Japanese dishes. So you probably think all Japanese can make sushi. That is totally not true. However, JP can do sushi. I've done the California rolls, the nigiri with tuna and salmon and the maki rolls. I have the tools too. The super sharp knives, the bamboo rolling mats, sushi plates, chopstick holders, and fortunately for me Wegman's has a really decent Japanese, YES JAPANESE, not just "Asian" section of their store!!

One time I was at Wegmans, I was approached by this woman who was going to make a traditional Japanese dinner for her boyfriend. So she proceeded to ask me all these questions for about 1/2 an hour about what ingredients to use, how to do what, what's the secret to this, etc. I was happy to help. The funnier part was that this lady was what we Japanese people call a "hagojin" or in modern English a "whitey." It is interesting how much things have changed. No longer are we the sandal wearing goldfish tending people. We have technology, automobiles, and culinary respect!! Not bad for the "quiet American" people.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Golf, golf, golf...

So is it bad to publish 2 posts in one day? Is there some BLOG rule against that? Will I have to give back my decoder ring? Well, too bad, cause' I'm doin' it!

So golf season has started. Sharkey is a golf widow again. Golf can be down right maddening though. You practice, work on the swing, short game, putting, and the boomstick. So last year I was shooting around 86. So far, I've posted 96, 107, 88, and 98. ARRRRRGGGGGHHHH!!!!!Things definitely are not right in JP land!

My game is interesting. I'm about 5' 8" which makes me average height, but I can crush the ball off the tee, about 230 yards with my 5 wood and about 270 with my driver. I can hit the woods pretty well and I'm pretty accurate. On 9 holes I average hitting 5-6 fairways off the tee. That's great right? Well it really hasn't been. Because my swing has been so not dependable with my irons, so I typically hit the ball off the fairway, over the green, in the trees, in the sand, or short of the green. It's quite frustrating after having a great 1st shot. I have been cranking my ass!!!! If you've ever seen the Robin Williams HBO special, he does an excellent bit on golf. And the funniest part is, it is totally true!!!!

Robin Williams Golf
Watch it now on StupidVideos!

But tonight I feel like I made a big turn. If you play golf you know that things do not always work the way they do for the guys you see on TV. You realize that those guys are the real deal and how much of a hacker you really are. But then if you are really blessed, you have those moments that you feel everything clicking. I think I made the turn with my irons tonight. When things go well, you know it. You can sense it. You feel it down to your core. Everything is working and there is no doubt in your mind where that ball is going to go. You have confidence and you feel that you can do no wrong. That's how I feel tonight. I'm in zen golf mode. I'm playing tomorrow and I'm really hoping for good things. It comes down to that I'm back on plane I can feel the club head through my swing and I can make that ball fly!!!!

My Kingdom for a cell phone

Did you ever misplace something? I'm sure you have. Car keys are common. Eye glasses can get lost. Sunglasses can turn up various places you do not ever remember placing them. Then there is the cell phone. My cell has gone AWOL. I've tried to retrace my steps, I've walked through what I was doing over and over again, and nothing, nada, blank, zip... It is gone. I have to admit, it is not the end of the world, but for some reason, I feel so stupid for misplacing it. I really like my phone. It is a Motorola ROKR.

It is a phone, it can send e-mail, surf the net, play games, has an MP3 player built into it, and it takes pictures. What more can a technogeek like myself ask for?

So Sharkey has tried to make me feel better. "Honey, it is OK, we can get you anther one." But I just cannot let this go. I think of what a waste it is to have to buy another one. I think of how this makes me feel like I was 5 years old again and I lost yet another pair of mittens. I think of how there are so many things I should focus on more. But I have to just accept it.


On another note, anyone start to build their basement bird flu germ free sanctuary? Maybe I shouldn't have messed with that bird's nest in my grill. That just may come back to bite me!!!!