Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I've never been someone with a lot of friends. I'm have tons of acquaintances, but until very recently, I'm not sure I'd have ever said I have a lot of friends. I've always had a few select ones with whom I'm very close and would do anything for me -- as I would for them.

(Incidentally, recently I've started to gain more people I call friends, and it's all the same group of people and we all met through variants of an online community. And I'm very lucky that I know these people, because they're all the exact type of loyal personality I consider myself to be...)

I was explaining my social situation to someone -- that there are a lot of people I know, but a select few I call 'friends' rather than 'friendly with'. I said that these friends would do anything for me if I ever asked, and I'd never ask...and then I realized something...

These friends have done everything for me, and I never asked. These are the people that kept me company at my darkest, that checked on me as things slowly got better -- or worse, that have no problem with me calling just to say 'hi' and tell the same stupid story I'd told 6 times that day (and had rehearsed to near-perfection in the mere time it took for them to pick up the phone while it was ringing), that put up with my way-too-long-to-have-such-little-content voicemails, that swear under their breath (or above it) when they walk by my ex-girlfriend, and that -- above all else -- care for me as much as I care for them...

All without asking.

And since it's never said enough and there doesn't need to be a specific reason to say it:
Thank you all.

Now all of you go out and thank your friends; they don't need to be thanked, but it's still nice to hear.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

One final run-through

Today marked the unofficial beginning to my 17th -- and likely final -- summer at camp. (I say unofficial because orientation starts Tuesday, though I went in today to start setting up the archery range, and will be in tomorrow for CPR recertification and then Monday to finish setting up the range.)

I keep saying that I hope this is my last summer, not because I want it to end or because I'm actually ready to, gasp, grow up, but because my second semester next year, I will be in school about 4 hours a week, and if I can't find a job then, it does not bode well and I'll likely have to leave New York -- which I'm not ready to do.

as for camp itself, it's time. In my 17 years -- or just the 5 as a counselor -- I've seen a lot of staff move on and a lot of things change in the camp, and the fact that I have not changed in 4 years (same exact job, same age group, and this year is the third year with the same person with me with the 11-year-olds), all points to time for me to move on.

In addition, the camp director whom I most related to, Keith, has, himself, moved on from his camp life. Incidentally, I had lunch with him a few weeks ago, and sitting and talking with him about his life at age 22 made me realize that we are even more alike that I ever had realized. Him moving on, in a way, helped pave the way for my mindset to allow me to leave.

Also, much like last year, this year is going to be hard to start. I can always turn it on when the kids are there, but with the staff, I sometimes struggle. I'm a social mis-fit -- not an outcast, I just don't fit in -- and the two counselors who forced me to have a social life last year are gone. Orientation has gotten increasingly cliquey -- and I am the anti-clique; I'm a roamer. The people I was close with when we were both campers have all but cast me aside for the "cool" clique. The major player in the cool clique -- whom I've known for 17 years now, since we started at camp together in 1992 -- barely says 'hi' to me.

For all these reasons and more, I'm ready to move on.

But before I do, it's time for me to go out with a bang.

Summer 17 is going to be my best for no other reason than I want it to be. And that's a promise.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Anything is possible

Sometimes it takes a 6'11" millionaire to remind us of one simple truth: Anything is possible.

The first interview after the Boston Celtics won the NBA title for the first time since 1986 was probably the most moving sports moment I've seen in my life -- and I was in tears when the Sox won in 2004.

Kevin Garnett, the Boston Celtics 6'11" Forward, 2008 all-star and defensive player of the year, and now NBA champion, was approached by the ESPN side-line reporter. She listed his resume (11-time all-star, MVP, defensive player of the year) and then said, "And now NBA Champion. What does that feel like?)

He looked down, silently, visibly fighting back tears, and then he said, "Anything is possible" followed by tilting his head back and screaming at the top of his lungs -- in a way that anyone who has ever seen KG play would expect out of him -- "ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!"

And then tears.

And another question and another answer that I didn't particularly pay attention to.

And these are the moments that show the greater meanings in sports. While I constantly herald baseball as being more than just a game, it really is all sports, and it's nice to have my roots in a place connected to such moments like this.

Both in the game and out of the game, anything is, in fact, possible.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Salt Air

I woke up around 6:15 this morning, opened my window, and was overwhelmed by the smell of the Cape Cod salt air -- a smell that ranges from a small hint to an overwhelming aura -- comforting in all forms -- depending on the humidity and wind direction.

It had rained last night, and when I opened my window, the sun was just starting to heat up the water left on surfaces. The smell made it very easy to fall back asleep, and more importantly than that, meant it was no longer raining and today would be another spectacular day.

Today is opening day for my local Cape Cod Baseball League team, the Brewster Whitecaps. I'm going to go with my recorder, maybe my camera, and a clipboard. I may or may not start interviewing people, and I'm definitely going to get environmental sounds. Regardless of how I approach tonights baseball game, I'm going to love it.

There is no purer form of baseball than amateurs -- especially ones who have a legit shot to impress scouts and make it to the bigs, fulfilling what I'm sure is a life-long dream.

And to get to go out for this dream while swimming in salty air...if that's not perfection, what is?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Thoughts while Painting

In the camp newsletter, the director has a column (for lack of a better word) entitled "Thoughts while riding" that the things (usually camp-related) that go through his head while riding his bike, training for the Pan-Mass Challenge.

I, right now, am in Chicago, paining my sister's apartment...

So, I now give you:
Thoughts while painting (aside from "This is hard" and "why did I volunteer for this?")

-I like Chicago, but I miss New York. There's a magic about New York that has nothing to do with architecture and everything to do with energy. It's like New York City is a fantastically beautiful glass and New Yorkers are the Cran-Grape filling it. It isn't for everyone, but man do I love it. (As I take a sip from the glass sitting next to me...)

-I'm both excited and scared of where I'll be exactly 12 months from now. Hopefully, I'll be packing up my apartment in New York, not to come home, but to move into a new New York apartment of my own in whose rent is low enough that I can foresee being there long term.

-Season 3 of "The Muppet Show" came out on DVD two weeks ago. I'm beyond psyched to buy it.

-If I find a girl as excited about "The Muppet Show" as I am (and she isn't psychotic), I need to hold on to her.

-I hope that when I buy a place of my own, I can either afford to hire a painter or I marry a girl with a brother willing to paint for/with me. (My brother certainly wouldn't, and my brother-in-law...well...I don't think he's the handiwork type...)

-Speaking of weddings: I made a pledge as I was getting over the last stages of my depression in December that I wanted almost everything from my pre-college life to be erased and forgotten. I was in a bad place and I'm not sure how fully I meant it, but I seem to have since subconsciously selected what I want to keep and kept it, and everything else seems to be fading fast, and I seem to care little to hold on.

-The computer I'm using right now does not have spellcheck on its web browser. Mine does, and I worry right now that I'm making mistakes up the wazoo.

-I'm about 3 weeks away from the start of my 17th summer at camp. It still amazes me that when I started, I was a 6-year-old in velcro sneakers and bar-mitzvah sunglasses who could barely do anything successfully, and now I'm a 22-year-old entering my 4th year in charge of archery HELPING those little 6-year-olds make memories of hitting the target their first time. (I remember my first time! I don't remember the counselor who helped me, but that's not important to me.)

-More than that, I love helping the 13-17 year-olds (males, mostly), a group that is typically hard to get through to, help the 6-year-olds, because even more exciting to me than the joy of the first target hit is the joy of the jaded adolescent male in the success of his protege, the 6-year-old.

-I have no problems with time-zones, but I keep forgetting that I'm not in my normal's strange.

-On that note, I'm going to try to go to sleep soon.

Monday, June 2, 2008


I've been out of New York City for 2 weeks exactly. I've spent the lion's share on Cape Cod, and one thing has struck me as I try to shift my bedtime to the 1 am it will be by the time camp starts. Birds. Lots of 'em.

I'm constantly amazed at how many chirps there are and the different times of day they all chirp. The exact symphony of wildlife is different every hour of the day -- from as early as 3 am until as late as 9 PM.

Being in New York City, I forget how much I love birds. In New York, it's just pigeons -- which, after a run-in my last week there, have now hit me twice in my 4 years of living in the city. (Once across the face, and once just a brush on the hair.) But outside of New York, the birds are beautiful. They sing rather than coo. They glide rather than sputter. They are powerful and majestic and not dirty and bothersome.

Perhaps my favorite bird is the hawk that visits the archery range at camp. He (she? I know nothing of the species to distinguish) tends to visit after I've sent the kids and other counselors to lunch while I clean up and return my clipboard to its lunch-time resting spot where I will pick it up an hour later. He walks around and watches me watch him.

It's nice to be a part of nature again. (And yet, I miss the city.)

And now, the symphony of birds from a 4:30 PM walk.