Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Not a Creature was Stirring, not Even a Mouse


Here we are again in December with my annual holiday letter for 2009. I hope this finds you well.

You’ll note that this edition has less ‘stirring’ than I typically report out. I just reflected on the year and realized I didn’t travel internationally once! Not even Canada! I guess I am falling down on the job. I do have a few minor updates to share.

In July, after 8 and a half years in lower Manhattan, I moved to Brooklyn. The borough of Kings has fewer tourists, fewer NYU students and more parks. I do a lot more biking now and I’m closer to most of my friends. (I do miss 29 occasionally, especially my pigeon watching efforts.) I’m still only 20 minutes from midtown by subway, but the vibe is much more local. It was a tough decision for me and so far I’m pleased with it.

Another difficult choice I made in July was to leave Accenture after 11 years. For all my colleagues still there, “Go on! Be a Tiger!” I realized I had no interest at all in the partner track and it started to feel to me that the part where you do good work is over and the part where you focus on sales was going to take over my life.

In some ways, the change is barely noticeable. I’m working for Perfect Sense Digital now, a tiny boutique internet consultancy. My client for them is Scripps Networks in Knoxville, Tennessee (FoodNetwork.com, HGTV, etc.). So I’m still a contractor working for a remote client, traveling back and forth each week. The actual work is pretty much identical to work I would have done on a project for Accenture.

In other ways, it’s a big change. The company has about 40 people, not 140,000, so I’m not on any task forces, saleable units, communities of interest or other total wastes of time. I’ve also decided to work Monday-Wednesday, which works for PSD, and for my client. Working 3 days a week is much better than working 5. (On that point I’m uncharacteristically resolved.)

In my spare days, I’ve started doing the things I always wanted to do if I had a bit more time. I’m coaching the Beacon High School Girls Ultimate Team. I’m really enjoying coaching because the girls get so much better every single practice. I start with them at 6:30 AM on Thursday morning and they are always enthusiastic at that hour, which is something of a miracle for 14-18 year-olds.

I’ve also spent a fair bit of time this year walking dogs and socializing cats at a Brooklyn Animal Shelter, Animal Care and Control. Please spay and neuter your pets! Please never buy puppies from farms and breeders that exacerbate the problem. Trust me, there are plenty of good dogs around, and if you ever need one, I will help you get one. Walking a great dog on his or her last day at the shelter has been one of the more bittersweet experiences of the year.

In November, I had a wonderful time visiting my entire extended family in Louisville, Kentucky for Thanksgiving. It was great to see all my cousins, aunts and uncles. In addition to the traditional over-eating, we took group trips to historic Churchill Downs (I won!) and the Louisville Slugger Bat Factory and Museum. I also attended my first ever college football game (UK vs. UT) with 70,000 of my closest allies. Special thanks to my cousins Matt & David who kept me housed, fed and flush with activities.


Ultimate-wise, this year was a bit strange. My beloved club team, Ambush, folded and I decided to try my hand at co-ed. I played for Zojirushi, which was full of nice people, but co-ed ultimate is really not for me, so it was a tough season.

This June I went hiking in Zion National Park in Utah. One of the hikes we did was 14 miles down a cold river with a current and steep rock walls on either side! In the river! I was scared and cold but the scenery was amazing. The highlight of that trip was seeing a pair of reintroduced condors.






My family is all doing well. My parents are still in Maryland and once again hosted most of one of my ultimate teams for a tournament in August. The ‘Ark’ seems to grow larger every day. There are 2 horses, 2 mini-horses, 2 cats and now 3 dogs in the Kelly Maryland compound. Do plan to shower there if you are hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Thanks to all of you who continue to ask about my niece Lindy. She is doing just great (happy, healthy, in first grade) and pretty much about to take over the world. I suggest you get used to the idea. Resistance is futile. She lives with her parents and older sister in Raleigh and all are doing well.

I am sure you all have causes that are important to you in your lives. I’ll just remind you that Pediatric Cancer Research is very near and dear to my heart and recommend Alex’s Lemonade Stand as a great charity to consider. A more tactical (and less costly) approach is to be a platelet donor. If you’re eligible to give blood, you can do it. It takes about an hour and 20 minutes and is just as easy as giving blood but helps cancer patients more than you can imagine.

What will 2010 hold? The crystal ball is a little hazy (try again later), but I expect to continue coaching girls ultimate and perhaps captain a (relaxed) women’s club team of my own. There is also a possible trip to Rwanda on the horizon. Please let me know if you will be in NYC as I’d love to see you.

As always, those of you seeking more frequent updates should bookmark my blog: courtneyspondence.blogspot.com. Best wishes for 2010 and for Peace on Earth.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Decemberists

Hi there.

Just a few quick notes. First, it's almost time for me to draft this year's holiday letter. To make sure you're caught up you might want to review last year's edition.

Last weekend I went to Chattanooga to see Paige and Marc. I had a blast. I had the chance to meet Sawyer for the first time and I spent a lot of time playing with Olivia. She is a shark at memory and I am working on Paige and Marc to let me take her to Vegas. We went to the Chattanooga Aquarium which has a great Jelly Fish exhibit. We also went to an ugly sweater Christmas party. That was a blast, though I was unprepared. Sunday we had some great brunch and I got on the road. It was great to see them and I am amazed how big the kids are.

A note on driving in Tennessee. NO ONE uses turn signals here for changing lanes or turning. Ever. It is very strange. I read it as a last holdout of Confederate separatism. "I don't have to tell anybody my business about if I am going to change lanes or turn. That is between me and the lane."

I'm scheduled to donate platelets again tomorrow. I'm working in NYC next week, which is great. I'm off to my sister's in Raleigh to wait for Santa with Kate and Lindy.

The Eagles beat the giants again. David and Goliath. I very much enjoyed the game but our defense could use a boost. We can clinch a playoff spot this weekend at home against the Niners.

Allen is a Sixer. Back where it all began. I'm getting tickets to a Sixer's game at the garden in March. I just hope he is well enough to play.

I recently finished reading City Behind a Fence about the work at Oak Ridge to create the nuclear material for the bombs dropped on Japan in WWII. I never really considered the herculean effort that went into creating those. I had pictured a few scientists squirreling away. There were 80,000 people that worked in Oak Ridge in construction, in the reactors and in all the other normal facets of a town (school teachers, security, retail) all for the single focus of creating this weapon. It's an amazing story of taking the land and creating a huge operative town-base in no time. I was so impressed with the speed and direction of the effort. I just don't believe that if we needed to send 80,000 people to work in the creation of solar farms in Arizona and Utah to save us from Global Warming and oil dependence, that we could ever get it done, let alone in 4 years.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Extended Family

At the Louisville Slugger Museum
Out to Lunch at Lynn's Paradise Cafe
At Churchill Downs, picking a winner in the 5th

Thanksgiving was great. I went to Louisville, Kentucky to see all my aunts, uncles, and cousins. We had a lot of fun. I went to Churchill Downs for some racing and to the Louisville Slugger Museum. Much good food was eaten and fun was had by all. Special Thanks to Matt, Mary, Claire, Gracie and Elise for putting me up.

I also went to my first college football game and saw the UK vs. UT game with 70,000 or so other people. We did a lot of tailgating, cheering and though the game didn't go our way in the end, it did go to overtime and I had a lot of fun.

My parents got another rescue dog. She is a cute baby golden and they are calling her Penny Too. Current score: Humans 2, Varmints: 9. I'll keep you posted on the uprising as it develops.

Please check out my friend Danielle's amazing website Toomuchtodo.org. This year especially nonprofits are really suffering with cut budgets, reduced donations and increased need. Danielle has researched and identified 40 really great causes. The site highlights organizations where the rubber really hits the road and people are doing meaningful work for change. In Danielle's words, "Throughout the site you will find statistics on the overall issues and needs here in the United States. I have tried to match the areas of need with organizations that are committed to fighting the issues that our communities are facing everyday. " My favorite so far is an organization to help homeless veterans in the New England area, but I'm certain that if you check the site you'll find at least one organization you can throw your support behind.

Shorts: I'm off to Knoxville for work. Coaching Beacon is still going well. I saw Almodovar's Broken Embraces and found it indulgent and navel-gazing. Eagles win big today and are still in the playoff hunt. I went to this great play(?): Dutch AV.

Be well.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I guess we just can't have nice things

I've been a bit slack about posting photo's lately. Here's a few I've been meaning to share:

I recently did 8 flights in 3 days. I think I mentioned that. It was hell, but I did see the Eagles plane:

I went to a roller derby with Sussman. It was tons of fun. She thinks she would be good at this but I think she is waaaay to tiny and would get beat down. It was pretty rough.


This one isn't from Halloween or anything. This is just the type of thing you see near Union Square. Of course. It's also not a protest or anything. That sign was all gibberish.


Do you also have the sense of humor of a 12 year old boy? If so, you might also enjoy this:
http://www.thespoiler.co.uk/index.php/sporno (Thanks Sipper)

Do you also hate the dancing mucous commercials? Why? Why do we need this?


I am so excited for Mara, who is leaving soon for this program:
http://www.agahozo-shalom.org/blog/2009/10/24/success-at-asyv/
Sounds like such a dream. I would love to work for a year in an orphanage in Rwanda. Maybe I could convert to Judaism to apply... They would probably see through that. I'm going to try to get to Africa next year while Mara is over there (after she has a chance to get settled.) I know she is going to make a huge impact in those children's lives.

Padamosh last weekend was lots of fun, the bits of it I can recall. Next weekend we'll celebrate Kalb's 40th in Little Russia, Salsa dance with Chip & Jen and coach the Beacon Girls in a round-robin in the Bronx. Look out!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fall on Me

Ok. So it’s been a while. What can I tell you?

I was shocked recently when I was told that my blog was hopelessly out of date. I had no idea there were still any readers. Keri, this one’s for you.

The past 6 weeks or so has been a blur of regional jets. I’m mostly between NYC and Knoxville, TN but it’s hard to do that directly, so I’ve had my fair share of time in Charlotte, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Cleveland and once even Detriot. I’m trying to limit myself to one Cinnabon per flight. I’m working on an endorsement deal there, so I’ll keep you posted as my fame expands and eventually precludes my interaction with the common folk. Just remember you knew me when…

Speaking of Cinnabon, I’m mildly addicted to this web site This is Why You’re Fat . I’m thinking of submitting a recipe where I make a layer cake out of Cinnabons, heavy cream, and butter. I’m not sure but I think the purpose of the website is to remind the rest of the world why they still hate us now that Obama is President. Can you imagine seeing these photos in Malawi? It is a purposeful, willful abandonment of those people we all practice.

It’s only been about 5 months since my trip to Zion national park in Utah. Take a look at the photos of the trip through the narrows and also a 2 day hike in the back country. I am pretty much recovered from the mountain exposure.

Book Review: I just read Alex Stewart: Portrait of a Pioneer . It is pretty much just a loving devotion about an old mountain man who could do a lot of things none of us still can, like make butter churns and buckets and build his own house and deal with snake bites. It’s pretty amazing how much better at stuff it seems everyone was back then. I need to check three different DIY websites before I try to hang a picture on the wall. Pretty much everyone living on this mountain in Tennessee could build a house, build everything in the house (furniture, kitchen items), hunt, gather forest edibles and raise crops. None of them really went to school, but when was the last time you used trigonometry or debated the tension between liberty and nationalism. I think if you teleported the members of subway car I was in this morning (Q to 57th street) back to 1920s Tennessee everyone in there would be dead within the week. Conversely, if you brought those mountain people to the present they would probably hunt us, skin us, and use our ‘tallow’ to make candles and waterproof their shoes, and that would be a considerable improvement in our contribution to the human race.

Ultimate: Regionals occurred in Devens, MA. Zojirushi lost all our games and finished 16th, clearing my schedule to be a spectator all day Sunday. I had a pretty good time. This means ultimate is over, except for the fun winter tournaments (like PadaMosh this weekend) Turkey Bowl and all the others that basically take us to the start of the spring season.

In the ‘off season’ I’m coaching the Beacon High School girls team. The girls are amazingly dedicated, meeting to practice from 6:30-7:30 am each day and also after school. The girls have great spirit and a long way to go. I coached them at their first Beacon Tourney for the season: KitKat outside of Philiadelphia. We had and lost 3 games, but the third was the closest, so I think we learned something. Hopefully they will all be much more motivated about doing sprints to get in shape and working on throwing and catching. Our game is a hard one if you can’t throw and catch.

Did I already show you this link? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erRqDpMDFFo&feature=related This is what real ultimate looks like. The girls don’t look like this, yet, but I’m working on it.

I got a flu shot. Later, I got the flu. Maybe it was H1N1. I don’t know. I seem to have survived. It was pretty bad. I cured it by taking a bunch of flights. I’m like Johnny Appleseed for H1N1. H1N1 Mary?

I’m all worked up about two articles I read recently that refer to being short: This one and this one. I’m thinking about applying for disability due to my short stature status. People of short stature are 1/5 less likely to graduate from college! At 5’3” I qualify. I don’t know how I did it. We’re also just as likely as the morbidly obese to die early. I never really realized how much I have to overcome. Go me. Every day I stand up is a victory.

I had a few people over to the apartment for brunch and a Bloody Mary competition. It was a lot of fun. I vanquished all challengers in a Bloody Mary Off. My secret: the more horseradish, the better. I recommend a 1:1:1 ratio of tomato to vodka to horseradish.

The Eagles game last weekend was great. I watched with Jesse as the Eagles ran up points on the Giants. Take that Eli face! (I am really glad baseball is finally over.)

I went to a reading last night for this book, Mildred Burke : Queen of the Ring. Amazing story of a woman wrestling in the 1940s. This wrestling wasn’t even fake yet. Look forward to this review. (She was of short stature too, so the story is all the more amazing.)

I went for a good run today in Prospect Park. (+7). It was really nice out. All the leaves are still changing and the park is gorgeous.

Up and coming: This weekend I’m off to Padamosh. Next week I’ll go see Art Brut. I have an appointment coming up to donate platelets. I’m helping to plan a UPA coaching clinic in NYC. I’m off to Louisville for Thanksgiving to see all my Aunts Uncles and Cousins. It'll be great.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Little to Report

Fall is coming. I went to the US open 3 times and saw both Klijsters and Del Potro but not in the finals. I went to a Jets preseason game; it seems Sanchez may be the real deal (but I look fwd to this post being thrown back in my face after he starts acting like a rookie QB). New job is going pretty well. Zojirushi sectionals was rained out last weekend, but is on again now for this weekend. Despair was great and very suspenseful and as soon as it ended I started it over again because the beginning is packed with all these clues that doesn't really make sense until you read then end. This is a good review, so I won't bother. I am glad football season has finally started and that is about all I have to report.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Oh yeah, I quit my job...

After 11 years, I am finally done with Accenture. It was pretty amazing how almost everyone in my life universally said, “Thank God! That was horrible. What were you doing?” I couldn’t believe how adamant and consistent the response was, even with today’s job market. (There was just one exception.)

I have a new job that is part time. It’s basically the same work, and not that glamorous, but the important thing is it’s only Mon-Weds and on Thursday I’ll be at the animal shelter, on Friday I’ll be coaching high school ultimate. I’m excited about doing other things, and willing to do the same old stuff for 3 days a week if it let’s me do stuff I like the other 4.


The good news is my first client is in Knoxville, TN. Knoxville is gorgeous. There is a river that winds though the town and there are all these gorgeous old homes and store fronts. The people all seem strangely, frighteningly friendly, like they are about to sell you something, but they never do. There’s no direct flight and that will be a PAIN, but so far so good.


The huge find for this week is that the new iPhone podcast software allows you to listen to the podcasts at double time. That’s twice as many slate daily podcasts for me. Emily Bazelon is so much more tolerable when she is talking twice as fast.


Zojirushi, my coed ultimate team this year, went to the White Mountain Open in Vermont//New Hampshire which was a very enlightening experience. We have a lot to work on. Next weekend is the Chesapeake Open down in Maryland. That should be big challenge. I’ll get to see my parents and all the varmints, which will be nice.


I’m reading Nabokov’s Despair which is making me identify with the protagonist way too much. But I should have a review for you on that sometime soon so stay tuned.


I went to see Animal Collective, at the Prospect Park Bandshell, courtesy of Stephen, who had to go out of town unexpectedly for a bachelor party. As pictured below, they went with a nautical theme and the huge shark moved back and forth in the waves.



I’ll leave you with this you tube saga (from Tatiana)which I found pretty amusing.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My Girl










"The morning sun when its in your face really shows your age, But that dont worry me none in my eyes you're everything."


She was a good dog and we all miss her.

Iron Like a Lion

Zion National Park in Utah was great. Beautiful. I totally recommend a visit. Jesse and I were there (and Vegas) June 12-21. I have been meaning to write this up for a while. A lot is going on. (The careful reader will note the foreshadowing)

Zion was not too crowded. We saw a pair of introduced condors, which was a highlight for me. By-and-large the two day hikes we did were pleasant and not too strenuous.

However, we did one two day trip called ‘The Narrows’ which requires 14 miles hiking down the middle of the Virgin River. When we did it the water temperature was 59 degrees which is colder than it sounds after the 4th hour submerged up to your waste. The river has a bit of a current and the riverbed is covered with slippery rocks about the size of thanksgiving turkeys, so every step is a turned ankle waiting to happen. I fell a couple of times and got wet down to my bones. My recollection of the trip is of being cold and wet and grouchy, but Jesse tells me it was beautiful and reminds me that we were passed by a troupe of boy scouts, so how bad could it have been. (I’ll post pictures soon that support his version of the story.)

I live in Fort Greene, Brooklyn now. The move was a bit of a pain, as they always are, but I survived. The new hood is great. I’m about a mile from Prospect Park and I run, bike and play disc in the park pretty regularly. Getting to practice is quick and easy for once. I live above a stop on the C, which I can feel gently rock my bed as trains pull in and out of the station if I listen carefully enough. The neighborhood has lots of bars and restaurants and I am very happy to finally be in Brooklyn where most of my friends live.

I went to see the Staten Island Yankees with Patricia for the 4th of July. That was pretty awesome. We rode the Staten Island ferry to the game and watched the fireworks from the ferry on the way back.

My fellow founding gastronaut Benji Pauker was on my favorite show, the Jon Stewart show. Check him out: (He’s the smart American at the end.)
http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=231547&title=jason-jones-behind-the-veil


I read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close . It was pretty good and reminded a bit of the The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The book has some quirky affectations with pictures and edited pages and even a section in numeric code, but if you look past all that the story moves along at a good clip.

I went to see Wilco on July 13 at Coney Island. I love the new album. However, something about a title album at this stage seems odd. Even a title track. It’s like he’s painted himself into the painting. The show was the largest I’d ever seen and the band played for over two hours with lots of stuff from YHF, Summerteeth and of course the new album.

The Mets are KILLING me. I am done with them. The Wimbledon Gentleman’s championship was amazing. I’m going to the US Open in a few weeks. NFL training camps are underway: Go Eagles!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Goldfish Carry Disease!

There were no pets allowed in the freshman dorms at Georgetown and a certain DOPS student guard I worked with used to periodically proclaim the title above.

That’s what first ran through my mind when I saw this photo in the Bodega nearest to my apartment:



I like to think that the sandwiches are labeled with which disease they carry. Here’s a pastrami and H1N1 on Rye. Here’s a BL (hepatitis) C.

I turned 33. Thanks for everyone who sent e-mails or someecards. 33 is terrible. I didn’t think anything could be worse than 32, but this is. When you’re 33 pretty much the next thing you have to look forward to is retirement, and that’s 32 years away.

Speaking of old age, I got cut from Bent, which wasn’t too much of a surprise. That team is going to be very strong and I wish them luck in the season.

Now, I’m thinking I might try to play coed. Last weekend at the Mixed Easterns in Devens, MA I played with Zojirushi
who I’m now trying out for. We had a lot of fun and the team did really well, finishing 9th after being seeded 20th.

In other Ultimate news, ESPN is right on about the UPA being fools:
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=buckheit/090529

I don’t know what I’ll do when the NBA and NHL finals are over. This is the most depressing sports time of the year. Wimbledon?

I saw Art Brut last week with Stephen. They were great except for the idiots in front of me who seemed really bored. If you ware bored, leave! We’re going to see the Decemberists tonight. I hope they don’t play too much from the new album, as I don’t love it, but they probably will.

I hope you are having a good summer. I had a great time at Oak Island seeing how big Kate and Lindy have grown and riding on Robbie’s new boat.

I’m off to Zion National Park in Utah for a week of hiking. I’m a bit nervous about the sleeping in a tent and the lack of sports talk radio but I expect to come back with some great photos.

There is still a great deal of ambiguity about where I might work next, which as you can imagine is becoming somewhat tiring for me.

Has anyone made it yet, that could use a personal assistant?

And finally, on the left here, you can see that our poll has closed. It seems I have 13 readers, 5 of whom are Internet stalkers and 5 of whom plan to excel in the next impromptu round of Courtney Kelly Trivia. Good luck! The integrity of the poll continues to be indicted by the fact that none of you are fessing up to being my mother. I'll see if I can come up with another poll question. Don't hold your breath.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pants Optional

I’m not sure what went terribly, terribly wrong, but suddenly NYC is pants optional. Every third person is running around the city in these leggings from American Apparel as if they were pants. They are not.
http://store.americanapparel.net/rsac306.html#i You should try pants!

I went to White River Junction, Vermont last weekend with the girls from Bent
as a try out to play in the White Mountain Open. We lost to Godiva in pool play and Brute Squad in semis but other than that we won all our games. I had an absolute blast. Vermont was beautiful (as always) and all of the women on Bent are so great to play with. We went to the Harpoon brewery for dinner Saturday night after 4 hard fought games.

Here’s a couple pics Deirdre snapped of me playing on Saturday:

I’m also trying out for a coed team called Crafty/Zojirushi. Stay tuned for the exciting outcome.

In other ultimate news, the New York Times just broke this story:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/30/fashion/30fitness.html
Tucker summed the article up pretty well: “Ultimate is a sport and girls can play it.”

Mainstream media continues to report on my life. The folks at Today ran another segment on the AC&C, where I volunteer on weekends. Yay! Watch it here:
http://allday.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/05/19/1937215.aspx

Thanks to Jordan for this (
http://awkwardfamilyphotos.com/) which makes me laugh every day.

Also Stephen for this the best of the Keyboard Cats:
http://videogum.com/archives/vlogging/dad-yells-at-son-for-crying-on_069712.html

The NBA is looking pretty good these days. Go Chauncey!

Finally, take a look at this summer tragedy I witnessed earlier today:

Happy Memorial Day! I’m off to see Lynn and her girls at Oak Island.

No news on my next work destination. Could be back to Minneapolis, Florida, in NYC or Bangalore. I’ll let you know.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

If you love something, set it free...

There’s nothing I love more than my apartment, 29, and that’s why I’m moving out. I spend 4 days a week in a Westin any way, so it make sense to save a little money on rent and since I spend all my time in Brooklyn (practice in Prospect Park, the animal shelter, watching Jesse’s cable) I spend the 3 days I am in NYC getting back and forth to Brooklyn, so this will save me some time as well. I will miss 29, that is for sure, but I tend to think that change is good, and this will be change. I’ll keep you posted.

Deirdre
is at the vet. She was not put together properly after I got back from Melbourne and I didn’t use her all winter and when I took her down the chain just fell off, so she’s down the street at the bike hospital. Send flowers or grease.

It is 87 degrees today in NYC. So much for spring.

Last Friday, Jesse and I went to see the new Mets’ ballpark Citifield. The Mets won (over the lowly nationals) and the new ballpark is nice. My favorite part is the Jackie Robinson rotunda. This is the field from the left field stands where we sat:


Saturday I did this SNERTZ workout with Keri and Ali. It is almost impossible.

Then I went to the animal shelter. Uneventful.

I am so excited!!! Kimberly
informed me that the first season of The State will be out on DVD on July 14. Sign up to be notified when it goes on sale. My excitement caused me to look up some old favorites, like the Schwam family.

Sunday, Keri took me on a tour of Brooklyn’s best Pizza places, with Drew and Adam in tow:
(I missed the first stop.) I went to:

  • Franny's (295 Flatbush Ave) - *****
  • Di Fara Pizza (1424 Ave J) - *****
  • L&B Spumoni Gardens (2785 26th St) - ***

I am still full, but it was fun.

This pic is from Di Fara’s where we waited 90 minutes for a pie at 3:30 PM in the afternoon:


This weekend is the first of the Bent
tryouts. There are 60 or so women interested so this should be pretty great. I haven’t been this psyched since the training camp for Australian National Team try-outs. I love try-outs because you are bound to learn something new.

Speaking of Australian Disc, congrats to my sisters and teammates from Sporting Team Box Athletico United for making the finals at nationals an nearly getting over on those boring school marms from Wildcard. There’s no shame in second place and I know you will get them next year. It was a great tourney for Victorian ultimate with Honey making semis (yeah, Mama!) and my favorite boys from the Heads of State finishing third, due in some part to hot D from Mikey Stout.


How amazing is this Bulls/Celtic series? This could be the best series until the finals. Every game is a game winning last second shot or overtime. Great Basketball.

I owe you a book review. I finished Roth’s Exit Ghost. It's a painfully detailed look into the implications of aging, of losing your faculties and losing control of yourself and of your legacy, which might have been just an illusion anyway, but a comforting one nonetheless. The book is a quick read and I enjoyed Roth's take on the post 9-11 hysteria in NYC. I struggled with the crux of the main character's struggle. Aging is just such a sick joke, getting more broken and more useless every day, forever. I honestly don't know why anyone over 27 gets out of bed. I'm just trying to stay distracted by sports and entertainment. I hate being 32, but this book was a reminder that it will be getting worse, a lot worse. It's very well written and I enjoyed the characters Roth introduced, but it's hard to recommend unless you are pretty comfortable with your place in this world.


I’m presently reading Faulkner’s Light in August and I love it. I love the descriptions. I am deeply involved in the story and the characters. It is great.


Looking out a ways, I’m going to see my Brother-in-law’s new boat on Oak Island for Memorial day, and then hiking in Zion for a few days in June, and then back to Oak Island in July to see all the cousins.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Break's Over. Get Back to Work.

Well, spring break is over. It was great, but it really only served to remind me how great New York is and how much I wish I lived there full time.

Keri and I went to the Bronx Zoo (I liked African Painted Dogs the best and resisted the perfectly
understandable urge to jump in with the Polar Bears ) and to see the Younger Than Jesus exhibit at the New Museum, as well as a sweet Alife sale.

Jesse and I went to see the Felice Brothers at Webster hall. They were pretty rawkin'. Check them out. Their brand new CD is out now.

I also spent a couple days down near Dewey Beach, DE and that was really fun.

Please check out
www.eatlowcarbon.org which is a pretty cool web app and serves as a good guide for how one can cut back and make meaningful changes in our diets. Compare sushi to steak. It’s pretty amazing how significant the difference is, and according to this Fruit Monday is holding up, but much better if you eat local, seasonal fruit than greenhouse grown fruit or fruit that is flown all over the world.

I am back in Minneapolis. At least it has stopped snowing here. This weekend I'm going to the new Citifield to see the Mets, cross-training, and getting my beer on while I watch NBA games. I am advocating the name change from the Cavaliers to the Labrons. Any objections?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spring Break

Hi. I am on spring break. I am taking a few days off in NYC. I was going nuts. I had tons of errands to do and mail to open and stuff like that and I am never home and I took some vacation days to get through it all.



So far I've worked out every day, unpacked my suitcase, done laundry, gotten a haircut, filed all my 2008 mail and made a mid-week visit to the animal shelter. This is my dream vacation.



Speaking of the shelter. The very place where I volunteer was on TV on the Today Show. Check it out:




There is a guy that they show at the 40 second mark or so that I work near pretty regularly.


Just today, he saved my skin when I lost control of a 50 pound Pitt. None of them want to get back in their cage. I can understand this. I wouldn't either. I had been walking this dog, Bingo for 20 minutes. He was great out of the cage, great walking around on his leash, when it was time for me to put him back in he freaked out and started biting my jeans and took hold of the leash. The worst thing that can happen is if a dog gets loose. (They wreak havoc and mess with other dogs or people and maybe cats). I lost my cool and quickly shut his cage to control the situation and get myself away from the dog. However, now I have an angry freaking out Pitt with his leash on (chocking hazard) in his cage thrashing around. I had to come find Larry and he saved the day by deftly showing Bingo another leash for a bait and switch and reneging on the trade after my leash had been extracted. It was a skilled move and not one I could have executed. He's a pro.

There were so many adorable dogs today. There was a 10 month old beautiful yellow lab baby girl that is so sweet and won't even walk on her leash, she just flops on her back and shows you her belly and wiggles.


Here's two pictures of my favorite animals today:

The dog is Frankie, a chow/lab mix. He is such a sweet dog, walks great on a leash, very friendly. He is on his 8th day and I am worried for him.



I know you are all on the edge of your seat for this one: Shit Mountain Update is that there are now two baby squabs (a hatched swan is a cygnet, a hatched pigeon is a squab) on the upper right nest of the duplex. The lower nest still holds the pigeon corpse I've been watching decompose for months now. It's a matter of time before someone moves in right on top of Bernie.





Here's another pic of my namesake: Courtney Kelly the baby girl Jack who lives with my Aunt Vicky:


She is a real character.

Fruit Monday persists. I was surprised there were no comments, but you, dear reader are lazy. Let me know if you give it a try, or if you think it is dumb. Whatever.


This weekend I'm off to Delaware for a coed tournament. Should be fun(ish). Next week I am back to Minneapolis, looks like at least through June. Boo.

I am reading Philip Roth's Exit Ghost. A review of that should be coming up soon. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Will the Real Courtney Kelly Please Sit Down? Good Girl.

As mentioned previously, my dear aunt Vicki has recently acquired a new baby girl Jack Russell Puppy and I have been informed that she has been named Courtney Kelly. She is clearly the more charming of the two and CKs and fetches much faster than I do. It is a matter of time before she is a better project manager. I think she is just adorable and I am quite smitten with her. See?
You’ll remember my Aunt Vicki from being the sole preserver of my sanity when I toured around Victoria, Australia with my parents, me driving the 5 of us down the left side of the Great ocean Road in a Minivan. John takes great pictures and I suspect I may have him to thank for the sweet one above.

Let’s take a moment (with only 72 days remaining in our poll) to note according to the current tally that 50% of you, dear readers, are Internet stalkers. None of you, however, are my mother, which is quite curious and quite frankly casts doubt on the validity of the entire poll.


Let’s also take a quick status check on some of the promises and declarations I’ve made here on ‘Spondence for 2009:
  • My commitment to review a book a month is ahead of schedule but significantly stymied with my current assignment. Look for the next review soon.
  • The month off drinking was pretty easy. Maybe I should do that again soon. July?

  • The 100 push-up project ended because it was taking up a lot of time and I couldn’t remember why I had ever wanted to be able to do 100 consecutive push-ups, except to prove some kind of point I had forgotten. 2 out of 3 isn’t terrible.

Next up, is an idea I’m still working through: Fruit Monday. For the last few Mondays I’ve been eating only raw fruit with no preparation or preservatives. The thinking isn’t gelled yet, but it has to do with how much I admire people I’ve known like Hussey and Emily who commit to being vegetarian. I do think being a vegetarian is the only ethical choice, if you care about the carbon load of your food or about how animals are treated on factory farms. I also know that eating meat leads to heart disease and obesity. I probably wouldn’t be willing to shoot deer for venison. Unfortunately I love steak. And buffalo chicken wings. And probably most of all Tuna sushi. Bacon is in there somewhere too.

So the idea of Fruit Monday, is not to leap into eating ethically or healthily all the time, but for just 1 day a week, for my food to have a lower than usual carbon load (local produce is best if possible) for it to be low cruelty, for it to be fresh and nutrient rich with no preparation or preservative. I’ve generally found so far that on Fruit Mondays I don’t get as tired as I usually during the day and I have a bit more energy than usual. I know it’s the only day a week when I get my recommended 5 servings of fruit and vegetables.

You might point out that I’m still eating unethically and unhealthily 6 days a week, but at least I’m, putting my toe in the pool here, and so far this seems like something I can actually stick to without feeling cheated. You might point out that I could have vegetables or grains. First off then it wouldn't be Fruit Monday and furthermore I need very clear bright lines and if I could have carrots, then the slippery slope to potatoes, to pizza combos to lobster would be sled right now. Fruit is simple enough to keep me focused. (Tomatoes are in). I let you know how this goes.

Want to give it a try? If you do, I want to hear about it. I think you know I'm not a dietitian. I hope this doesn't make you sick. I realize this is only 1/7th of the time, so for me to make any meaningful difference I need to keep this up for a good long while. The goal is a sustainable life change I can keep up. We'll see.

In other news, since my last post, NYC ultimate is starting to heat up for spring and I’ve already had an obligatory ankle roll. I’ve been scrimmaging with some of the women from the new team, Bent and it seems pretty cool. I’ll let you know how tryouts go. I’m off to Fools Fest in Virginia with the gals from Flash Taco as well, so that should be a good time.

I’ve been back to the animal shelter a few more times as well. The last time I was there some genius in a white Mercedes SUV rolled in to ‘drop off’ a dog. She was an adorable white Pitt puppy, maybe 8 months old. Very sweet and obedient. Sit. Roll over. The whole deal. He just ‘dropped her off.’ I hope his SUV gets Repossessed. I also walked a stray Pitt that was all ribs and spine and was as sweet as he could be. It was heart breaking. I do think a couple agreed to adopt a cat while I was there, so that was nice. I will try to remember to take some pictures while I am there next weekend.

Have you given blood lately? Accenture actually had a blood drive a work a few Fridays back, which was great. I was a bit sluggish at the first Bent scrimmage as a result, but I think a lot of us were just getting into shape anyway, so hopefully that will not be too big a factor. Giving blood is free and a huge way to give to people in need. You should probably open a new tab and click this link and make an appointment right now. RIGHT NOW.


I nagged Jesse until he finally got renters insurance. Don't think I won't nag you.

I am just back from a week in St. Charles, Illinois for ‘training’. I will not color outside of the lines any more and the accidents are pretty much under control as well. Actually, it was a week of client sales simulations and I guess I like my simulated work as much as I like my actual work. It was a long week. By pure chance, I did happen to run into a colleague who had been faculty with me at back in August, Patrick Warburton who has an unnatural attachment to Andy Murray.


As for my bracket, I have 11 of the sweet 16, which is not great, but has me in 5th place out of 12 in my pool. If UNC wins out I should finish up 3rd or 4th which is still just losing in the winner takes all format. Go Cards! The Big East is looking great, BTW. Mercifully the GU season is final over, with another lost lead late in the second half to Baylor in round one of the NIT. We’ll see if there is still a team next year or if they just dissolve the program. Maybe they will form a touring checkers team.

Of course you know my buddy Chip . His baby brother Michael is actually in Melbourne these days and playing disc with my favorite open team, the Heads of State. Do check out his blog of events which reminds me a lot of my first few months there so far (minus detailed recounts of dramatic layouts.)

Okay. Gotta run. It snowed in Minneapolis today. This weekend. Chip's wife Jen will be in town. I have dinner with Danielle planned. Saturday is another Bent Scrimmage and then off to the Animal Shelter. After that I'm scheduled at a W - Bachelor Party: White Castle, Whiskey and Wii. I CAN'T WAIT. Sunday is a hat tournament for Ultimate for Peace. I am prematurely exhausted.


Oh yeah, LSF was a pajama party. It was nuts. See?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

March Lion

Sorry it’s been a while. It’s been mostly work anyway, so you haven’t missed much. It is negative 2 today in Minneapolis. And snowing.

I got a chance to see the CEO speak last week. He was a piece of work. He blamed the current economic troubles on the Obama administration and the fact that they have done nothing to instill confidence in the market (over the last 50 days). He said his adopted Korean daughter should be good at math because of her genes (and shouldn’t waste time on subjects like sociology.) He asked if females in the workplace prefer to be called ladies, women or girls. He is steering the ship that I am riding on.

The past few weekends I have been volunteering at an animal shelter in Brooklyn. The animals are great but the people are a nightmare (the public, not the staff). I walk dogs that spend 23 hours a day in their cages. The shelter is under-funded, so the animals get food and water, but very limited socialization opportunities. Most of the dogs are pit bulls or pit mixes and they are so sweet. When I walk past their cages with the leash they all get up and wiggle and whine to tell me that they want to go for a walk and I can only take one at a time. Most of the dogs are great, but have not really been properly trained to walk on a leash and they are so excited from being stressed and pent up all the time that most of the dogs pull a good deal. My arms were quite sore the last time I left there.

I also help the public identify which cats are available for adoption and help them to try and find a match. People show up in this place with 2 or 3 children that they don’t watch and ask me where the little kittens are. Meanwhile the kids are sticking their fingers in the cages and rattling the cages and I have to try to explain that all the tiny kittens will grow up to be big cats just like the many available adult cats quite soon. Then potential adopters ask me questions like, “Why isn’t this cat more friendly?”Um. Well, it could be that her owner abandoned her, and she had to fend for herself in the streets until an animal control officer caught her and brought her to this place with 50 pit bulls that bark night and day and she is scared and lonely. That could be it. Or another favorite, “Can I see that cat hunkered down in the back of his cage, hissing? Will you pick him up for me?” Usually followed again, by “Where are the baby kittens?” I try to stay positive and my goal is to help with one adoption each time I volunteer.

The Hoyas are done for the year. I’m not as excited as usual for March Madness this year. Pitt looks pretty good. As does the perennial threat UNC.

I’m off to “Chicago” to have the key in my back wound for a week next week. I wish Amy & Simon were there, instead of Fiji so I could stop by and see them. Maybe I should stop by and see them in Fiji instead.

I am told I have a new namesake and that my beloved Aunt Vicki named her new Jack Russell puppy Courtney Kelly after me. She is MUCH cuter than me. I am working on some pics of her for you.

I’m going to see Les Savy Fav again on Friday and scrimmaging with the gals from Bent on Saturday.

The first weekend in April, Flash Taco is going to Fools Fest again and that should be a fun time. I think we are going to be secret service agents. I am looking fwd to playing in a suit and dark glasses I’ll try to grab some digi-snaps for you.

Happy Ides of March

Friday, February 27, 2009

Arbeit Uber Alles

Sorry for the long gaps. All I do is work and fly back and forth so I don't have much time to post and not much to say.

I did get to volunteer at an animal shelter in Brooklyn. That was pretty cool.

Congrats to my Cousin Madison for making the Honor Roll, my Niece Kate for posting more beautiful art on the web and my Niece Lindy for loosing a tooth.

I got to see my parents and all their animals recently and as always that was an adventure. Everyone seems to be doing fine.

Take care.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Suffering

Hey. I've been planning to read An End to Suffering by Pankaj Mishra for years. It came to me recommended highly and I moved a borrowed hard cover copy to Australia and back. When the loner insisted I return it (unread) after 3 years, I protested, but relented and ordered my own copy from BN.com. Motivated by the long flight to Minneapolis and the guilt of a task long procrastinated, I finally started in on this book.


I hate to go all Jean Teasdale on you, but finishing this book was an End to Suffering in it's own right. I know this will be perceived by some as close-minded and evidence of my lacking cognitive skills, or an open mind but it would be difficult to fake liking this book.

To be fair, as a disclaimer, I read this book in a series 20 minutes stints over a number of weeks from the time I board a plane until the time when electronic devices are allowed, and it has been pointed out to me that this may not be the most peaceful manner in which to contemplate the role of the Buddha in the modern world.

The first 150 or so pages are Mishra switching haphazardly between the history of Western Academic pursuit of Buddhism and his own wanderings as a young man infused with a heaping portion of self-importance. (Look, I don't miss the irony (hypocrisy?) of the last sentence being blogged about in my once upon a time semi-travel blog that is essentially now only an open-journal, but I readily acknowledge that this blog is only interesting, if at all, to people who personally know me, and I have no intention of having the blog bound and published by Picador.)


There is a tolerable stretch in the middle where Mishra summarizes the teachings of the Buddha. I find the part about life being filled with suffering pretty compelling. The bit about reducing the suffering by extinguishing desire seems about as probable to me as my working on my game enough that they draft me into the NBA, but I guess it's an admirable goal. There is an interesting summary of the core tenants of the Buddha's teachings and how he is reported to have arrived at these realizations.


Then around page 214 Misrha drifts back into travelogue, mentioning every detail of his trips around India and around the world to London and the US, intertwined with the journeys of the Buddha. This 'I travel, the Buddha travels' structure seems pompous and arrogant. Furthermore, Mishra's need for completion is his own enemy (or mine?). Buddha reportedly lived to around 80 (in a time when most died around 30) so he wandered around India a lot, receiving free alms meals from people, gathering converts and teaching lessons. 80 years worth of wandering around and it doesn't seem much was left out, and I'm left struggling to choose the most significant happenings.

Then there's all the Nietzsche. Mishar seems to think that throughout time, the most effective critic of the teachings of the Buddha was Nietzsche, so that if these criticisms can be countered all will be embraced. I've never bought in to Nietzsche well enough to need the dragon slain, so these sections tire me.

The book then makes its ties into 9-11 a bit awkwardly, seemingly to include the element of current political significance an editor might ask an author to wedge into a book to help with sales. The book ends up weakly. I read and reread the last 4 pages trying to take some significance out of them. Perhaps it is that all we truly have is our own state of mind in the present, and that this, anyone can have regardless of social status or political power, but I remain unconvinced that the mental proficiency required for this can actually be achieved by many.


So, maybe I just couldn't receive the message, or the level of argument was too academic, but in general I found each new page of Mishra's writing to be a painful chore and I would not recommend this to anyone with less than a serious interest in the topic. Fin.

In other news. Lots of work. Taxes. Running intervals. Bad hamstrings.

I went to see Wendy and Lucy which was beautiful and sad.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Breath

So, on the plane back from Minneapolis I read Breath, by Tim Winton. You can read the first 26 pages here. It is one of the best books I have read recently. Bikash lent it to me and that was a good sign, cos he's pretty clued in. It was fun reading Australian dialogue because I had forgotten all the crazy made up words they use, and I was pretty psyched I could understand most of it.

It's a short novel. And mostly a teen drama. Winton is a master at building up the suspense. The only thing I'll say is that he likely builds the suspense up a bit too much, as I expected a lot more than what did actually happen, but hey, you can't always get what you want.

Cross training intervals, push ups, burpies, 7 min abs and ACL prevention at East River on Sunday mornings with Keri. Fun.

Ok, I have to get back to the land of Microsoft Office.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Julie Andrews Post

Favorite Hotel Chain: Westin
Favorite Restaurant: Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar
Favorite NBA Player: Allen Iverson
Favorite Drink: Maker's Mark
Favorite Bar: Blue & Gold
Favorite Movies: The Royal Tenenbaums, City of God
Favorite TV Shows: Arrested Development, The Wire
Favorite Author: Vonnegut
Favorite Bands: Wilco, Sufjan Stevens
Favorite Candy: Reese's Cup (original, frozen)
Favorite LE: Nike Pigeon Dunk
Favorite Podcast/Radio Show: This American Life
Favorite Device: Leroy (My iPhone)
Favorite thing in the entire world: Brunch

2 More Book Reviews

I read Naked Pictures of Famous People. There are few people in this entire planet I love more than Jon Stewart, but this book is not good or funny. I guess maybe he deserves to cash in and make a little coin, or maybe he is funny on his show because the writers around him are funny, but I struggled to find anything in this book even smile worthy, let alone funny. Do not read.

My sister recommended (and gave me) Ha Jin's Waiting. Well, I read it. I am still not sure if I 'liked' it. I guess it is not really a book you are supposed to enjoy. I read it all pretty quickly and the novel held my attention. I was curious what would happen to the characters. The book is a sad story that keeps getting sadder with almost no bright spots. I guess what I took away from the story was that life in Communist China was hard, people are basically mean to each other and even if you do finally get what you think you want it will probably not make you any happier. I would recommend this book to someone who was too happy and looking for something to depress them a little.

In other news, I ran some more interval workouts (my hamstring is still my enemy). The Hoyas seems to suck all the sudden. Work seems more terrible than usual, but I guess I always say that.

War McCormick & Schmick's 9:30 snack happy hour at the Westin, which is by far the best thing going in my life these days.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I am "famous" on the internet!

Remember back in October when I had Jury Duty?

I snapped a pic and sent it in to one of my favorite blogs, The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks and the pic was recently posted. Check it out! I am participating in the internets.

This week of work in Minneapolis was just as much fun as usual and also featured a day when it was -21 Degrees Fahrenheit. I thought my eyeballs might freeze.

I am super pyched about the Eagles game tomorrow. Go Akers! Go Westbrook!

I saw WALL-E recently. I loved it. Proably the best movie of the year. Anyone who does not love this is now my enemy. I wish people were more like WALL-E.

Stay warm!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Meatwad: Samurai Lincoln


Hey. Saturday night I went to see La Boheme at the Lincoln Center. It was set in Paris, but those poor artists were singing in Italian. I was most impressed with the Chandeliers. Thanks to Keri for getting the tickets.


I finished the Elegance of the Hedgehog. I didn't love it. But I got through it. I'm going to try to read a book a month for 2009, which might not seem like much, but is more than usual for me so I think it counts as a stretch goal. Currently I'm reading Waiting bu Ha Jin, which Lynn sent me in the mail and is quite good so far, though a bit sad.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

TPS Report


  • 31 Days - 100% complete - No Problemo, no big deal

  • 100 Push ups - 19% complete; brutal; killer; at risk

  • Minneapolis - 2 degrees Fahrenheit

  • Westin - 9 stays from Gold status for 2009 (boo)

  • Westin Happy Hour: $2 Cheese burgers & Chicken Sandwiches!

  • Kiva: Issue resolved. Back up and functioning with new loans, so check back if you checked when they were fully funded

  • Eagles - 4 pt dawgs to the Gnats this Sunday, first hurdle to Super Bowl

  • Leroy (my iPhone) - still 100% rad and totally worth it, get Lux Touch App (Risk)

  • 2009 - yellow status so far...