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Science After Hours: The Nerd Olympics

Friday night after work I attended an event at The Franklin Institute here in the phine (fine) city of Philadelphia.  It was nearly one of the best nights of my life.  I really did just have SO much fun.  Or, as they say here in Philadelphia... That jawn was the jawn.

In that sentence the first jawn indicates what was the jawn... "That jawn" was The Nerd Olympics.  The second jawn indicates what the jawn was.  So "The jawn" is substituted for cool.  That event was cool.  But if you're in Philly you just say jawn was the jawn and people know what you mean.

So for example if you want sauce and fried onions on your cheesesteak... you say... put some jawn on that jawn... they know what you mean.

{The Arrival}

I left work at 5, made a pit stop at home to eat a quick meal I had prepared the night before and to feed my cats/give them their nightly meds.  I changed out of my work getup and fired up the engine on my 2012 Honda Fit.  The service indicator light also fired up, it did that yesterday morning on my way to work.  I plan to take my car to the dealer for service on Monday as I'll be off from work in exchange for working today (Saturday).  It needs a few things... Oil change, tire rotation, inspection, emissions, the LED light for the rear defroster won't come on with the night time lights, and finally, there's an airbag recall.  So, I'll be there bright and early Monday morning to fix what I can have fixed/serviced and schedule a follow up for the rest that needs to be done.  It's weird because I've been driving the car for years thinking my airbag is PERFECTLY safe... Turns out it's not.  It could deploy incorrectly and cause more harm than good in an accident.  Scary stuff!  So, that needs to be fixed ASAP.

I parked my car at one of my two usual spots for the area of the city that the Franklin Institute is in.  If you don't mind walking a mile each way--which is only about 15 to 20 minutes really, so it's not bad--you can park in one of two little sweet spots for the whole night without paying an astronomical amount of money for a parking garage.  Spot number one is by the Eastern State Penitentiary.  The entire circumference is a giant parking lot really.  There's usuauly a spot there somewhere.  The other is anywhere on Sedgley Drive off of Kelly Drive.  From there it's a hop skip and a jump away to the Art Museum.  And about a mile to the Franklin Institute.  I parked there last night.  The walk from my car to the Franklin Institute was about a mile, or 20 minutes.  The walk back is well lit and there are nice wide pathways to walk on, so you don't have to run in and out of traffic.

I was instructed in my email to use the main entrance off 20th street.  When I arrived there were many others also streaming in off the street.  We were instructed to have our ID and tickets ready.  I had my ID out and my ticket loaded up on my phone so that I could expedite the process as I was anxious to get inside!

The giant stone steps led me and others up into the main entrance of the building, exactly how I remember it from when I went on a class trip as a little kid.

Once inside things got crazy.  There were booths setup with experiments and shows.  It was a bit like a science fair.  Or at least the science fairs you see in the movies.  The little welcome table held the official ceremonial torch.

I decided, like many others, to head to the drinks stand first.  It's like a wedding.  We're just programmed to go right for the bar.

It's a 20/30 somethings thing I think.

{Step one, get booze}

Got my beer.

I went back over to the welcome table and picked out my team... History.  Why the History team you ask?  It just seemed like a cool team to join.  The teams were really all made up.  Like there are no scores or points.  It's a bit like Who's Line Is It Anyways... There's no real score.  So it was just something for fun... Kind of like an ice breaker.  You walk around and if you see someone else with your team... You say hello.  You had an instant connection.

Associations are strange like that.  That's like... any organization that you belong to or might have belonged to.  If you cross paths with someone that is in the same organization as you were... But you're with a lot of people that are NOT.... You instantly bond.

Let's say you were in another country and you found someone that went to your college... They even were in your same residence hall.

Instantly you feel warm fuzzes for each other.  It's like...

"YES... WAY!"
"NO WAY!!!!!!"

You went to the same summer camp as kids maybe... Or you went to the same... anything as kids.  Sharing something in the past together is almost like you're family it seems.

Or they worked with you in the past.  For some reason we like associations with things.  Maybe it builds trust?  You're one of me.  You're in my club.  I imagine any sociology department at any college probably has a class on it as part of their curriculum.

Back to the teams... The choices were


I thought, well I'm not big on Sci-Fi.  I don't really watch Dr. Who or Star Trek or Star Wars.  I know enough to get pop culture references but that's about it.

I don't watch sports.

I'm not a video game player... And I'm not much of a D and D type player either.

Fantasy maybe... I'm writing fiction and I also like to read fantasy books... So that was a close second.

I did enjoy almost every History class that I've ever taken.  And I love to know the history of things, buildings.  I love old art and buildings and old antique things... I love to know about the people of the past.  I love to know where objects came from and their lifelines and all that stuff...

I'm certainly no history buff... But I think it's important to know the past and to know how things got the way they did.

Keep perspective.  If there is no history.... The Franklin Institute is just a name.  Who is Franklin?  Why was it named that in the first place?

That's most of Philly.  There's a rich history in Philadelphia.

History shows growth.  It shows development.  If you listen to early recordings of a rock star versus new ones... Can you tell improvement?  If you read old writing... over new.  Is it significantly different?

Compare and contrast.  Is your work doing things better than they have in the past?  History is there.  I look at logs and ticket history at my job to see what work has been done on something and what things have been tried to resolve the issue so as not to repeat those actions.

Where did you come from?  Where are you going?  History!

After choosing my team I took a photo with the torch.  I then downloaded the Scavify app from the app store and signed up for an account.  I used their special code word to find the scavenger hunt.  I only ended up getting about a half dozen things on the list.  It was still fun though!  I had 55 points when it finished as opposed to the leader with 155.

It was cool though, you could see who had how many points in real time.  You could also see things like the photos that people had to take... For example you had to take a picture with the giant heart, and a selfie with Ben Franklin.  Some of the stuff was pretty hilarious.

Real time social media is definitely the future of things.  Real time use of social media but in things where people are also physically AT the space where the event is taking place.

I'm actually surprised that Facebook hasn't made a feature where you can see who is around you.  Like see people you know, you might know, and people you have no mutual friends with that are currently also at the same event as you are.

I feel like it won't be long until Facebook implements some sort of feature like that.  Facebook IRL (in real life).  See who's around you.

I started my Scavify scavenger hunt while in line waiting to check out a science-y thing.  In line... Online.  I answered a couple of questions that were just general trivia.

They had all kinds of booths.  Virtual reality.  An old theremin.  I had to ask the person operating the theremin what year the first one was built as part of the scavenger hunt.  Rockets that launched after combining chemicals together.  There were of course all the standard Franklin Institute exhibits.  They had special shows.  I missed some of the stuff.  There was just TOO much to do.  WAY too much to do.  But it was fun.

I bought a second beer from an upstairs smaller little bar.  They actually had a number of different places to purchase drinks.  They even accepted credit card.  So, I could get cashback on my purchase.  Take the couple of penny's I got from my cashback on the beer I bought and invest that into a penny stock.

Or not a penny stock since I don't invest in anything that doesn't pay dividends.  But I'll add it to my other dividends to eventually invest in a new stock to add to my growing stock portfolio.

I walked around and talked to different people randomly.  Some had on full costumes.  Super hero costumes.  A girl had on box of Nerds.  SO many witty things.  Someone screamed at me... DROSOPHILA!  And I screamed back.  YOOOOO!!!!!

In every twist and turn of the way there were small booths to stop at.  One had a create your own comic thing.  Another had a sensory experience of the 5 senses.  Another was a dance thing.

There was a giant robot that I ran into... Or... as I learned, it's a Dalek.  From Dr. Who.  I took an Instagram with it.

I made my way down to see a cover band in the Fels Planetarium after finding out the name of the pendulum.  I never knew it had a name.

The cover band was hilarious.  They actually weren't a cover band... They took the themes to various science fiction movies and super hero movies and added their own words.  It was pretty funny stuff.

{Silence please!  We're at the disco.}

From there I found the silent disco.  This was BY FAR my favorite thing.  The silent disco was, probably, the most popular thing there.  By the end of the night EVERYONE had ended up there.  It was in the train room.  People were dancing all over the place.

With the headphones on you could hear what everyone else on that channel could hear.  With the headphones off... You were standing in a room full of people dancing... To no music.

In addition there were multiple channels to choose from.  If you didn't like the song playing... Flip the switch.  The headphones changed color to indicate who was listening to what.

So if you saw Green, you danced with a Green eared person.  If you saw a Blue eared person... You knew they were listening to that channel.

And then if you were on Blue and everyone started freaking out on Green.  You switched over to find out what song they were going bananas about.

There was a third Red channel but it was only silence.  Who knows... maybe they had it playing in a frequency that is outside the human hearing spectrum.  It IS a science museum after all.  I wouldn't put it past them.

It was super cool because if you wanted to talk to someone, you just took the headphones off.  You didn't have to yell into their ear over the loud club music.


Then you both just give an awkward thumbs up.

In the silent disco you can just take off the headphones...

"Look at that person over there."
"Wait where..."
"Jeans and yellow shirt.  Look at what they--"
"Ohhhhh haha yeah.  I saw that earlier."
"That jawn is classic."
"That jawn is the jawn."
"Yeah it is."

And the two of them high five and put their headphones back on and keep on dancing.

You got me feeling hella good so let's just keep on dancing.

And the people you're talking about can't hear you talking about them, which could be good or bad.  It definitely adds to it.  Then you take your headphones off and you're like...

"What did you guys say!  TELL ME!!!!"

And they just put their head phones back and laughing.

The headphones cover the ears too so you're totally in the world of the music that is playing.

When it ended everyone complained unanimously with the same exclamation.


I found out that the organization is called Silent Philly.  I'm going to check out more events from them and go to more silent discos.  One of my biggest issues with traditional DJ and speaker setups, is that I usually put ear plugs in because it's just too damn loud.

With a silent disco... You control the volume.  You put the headphones on and take them off to talk to people.  There's no yelling in ears.  It's just like a room full of people when you take the headphones off.

When you have the headphones on... It's like you're in the groove because everyone is hearing the same song at the same time.  So you can dance together.

Well... Once the music cut off everyone was told to head for the exit.

{The Exit}

And that concluded my Evening Program for the week.

As I was leaving, I was talking and walking with a girl... But she had to go right and I had to go left.  She didn't hesitate... She just kept on her way.  I guess if she had hesitated I probably would have maybe asked for her number or something like that.  But it was just... "It was nice chatting!  I'm this way.  Have a safe drive home."

And off she went.

And off I went.

The outside of the event reminded me a little of this thing at summer camp where I got the Evening Program term from called Traffic Circle.

The way Traffic Circle works is... mostly an administrative thing.  But it has a camp culture significance to it.  What happens is after EP... half the counselors that are on duty stay inside to do this break down thing... And the other half go outside to watch the campers for 15 minutes in... The traffic circle in front of the lodge.

Why can't the kids just go back to the cabin?  Because half the counselors are off for the night.  Every night they alternate.  Since half the counselors of the ones that ARE on duty are inside cleaning up... that doesn't leave a counselor for every cabin.  Or enough of them.  Can't have campers alone in the cabin without supervision.

For example... If you have 2 counselors in a cabin.  And 1 is off the for the night and not on camp property... that leaves 1 counselor for the cabin.  If that one is in the half that is assigned to break things down...

That leaves no counselor for the kids in that cabin.

Thus, traffic circle.

Well... The outside of the Franklin Institute kind of looked like that.  All the 20 and 30 somethings standing around... waiting for their Ubers to show up.

I walked back to my car at a nice leisurely pace to enjoy the fresh air.  I also munched on a Cliff Bar as I walked the mile back to my car.  As soon as I got home... I was asleep and dreaming of the next Science After Hours event almost as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Well there ya go!  Here's a few photos from the event that I snapped on my Instagram account...

Scavenger hunting! #scienceafterhours #getnerdyphl A photo posted by Kenny (@kennywest82) on

Starwars/Startrek cover band! #scienceafterhours #getnerdyphl A photo posted by Kenny (@kennywest82) on

Silent disco!!!!!

A photo posted by Kenny (@kennywest82) on

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Evening Program: The Nerd Olympics! (Science Shirt)

"Wait... What's tomorrow night's EP???  Does anyone know???" is what you're saying to yourself right now isn't it?  Well... I'll tell you what it is!

Tomorrow night's scheduled Evening Program is... Drumroll please...

The Nerd Olympics!  It's apparently part of the closing to the Philly Science Festival (  Here's a quick little blurb about the Nerd Olympics from Philly Fun Guide...

I'm pretty excited.  I'll be sure to post a full report of the night's events.

In the blurb it says... "Dress in your nerdiest apparel and join the celebration of nerd nations as the Science Festival brings you our closing night party, The Nerd Olympics. ".  As such, I'm interpreting that as a chance to wear my nerdy science shirt drosophila melanogaster.  Yep.  I love this shirt.  It dates back to the days when I used to record my friends and their bands just for fun.  Good times.  I got this shirt and many others from a friend of mine.  Her mom was throwing them out because they were unwanted extras as part of some sort of shirt print run that she did for a something or another science thing.  You know, I'm not entirely sure why the shirts were made.  Either way, I ended up with about a half dozen of these... I can't find the other five though!  It makes me sad.  Hopefully one day I'll discover their mysterious whereabouts.

One of the shirts had the opening lines to a bunch of famous classic books.  Another had some elements and molecules on it.  Another had parts of various common trees labeled.  Not all of them were science related, I think some were english and then some psychology ones, like Freud and what not.  But all of them were super nerdy.

I can't wait till tomorrow night!  Until then... Here's an Instagram selfie of me wearing the shirt... Or as I'm calling it, a science selfie...


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How Do You Take Your Morning Coffee?

Morning coffee is my jam lately.  I even look forward to it the night before when I drift off to sleep.  It gets me excited about the next day and next morning.  When I wake up, I think about how much I'll enjoy that first sip.  How do I take my coffee you ask?  I'll tell you!

There are lots of different variables that one can tweak in order to enjoy a cup of coffee... So many different variables to change actually.  Obviously one can change the type of coffee, or how strong it is, or maybe the container you drink out of, and even the physical space that you are in while consuming the coffee just to name a few.

Generally my morning coffee works in the following way...

  1. I start with one of four different alternating coffees.  Right now my coffees "on tap"... Or rather, on press... French Press, that is... are A) New England Coffee's Blueberry Cobbler flavor B) New England Coffee's Wake Me Up blend C) Gevalia Kaffe's Majestic Roast and D)  Lavazza's Perfetto espresso roast.  Apparently Lavazza is Italy's favorite coffee... It says so on the bag at least.  I mean, I like it, so even if that's just a marketing thing... I'm sold.  I think it's some pretty good coffee!
  2. Preparation: I use a French Press.  However, I actually add a coffee filter around the press part as an extra filter because I like to press finer grinds that would normally leave lots of extra small pieces of grounds at the bottom of a mug after the pour.  It's kind of the best of both worlds.  I get that French Press taste with a very flavorful fine grind... But without the grit in the bottom.
  3. Container: After letting it steep for a good five to ten minutes I pour the coffee into my 16 ounce size Klean Kanteen coffee container.  It keeps it nice and hot.
  4. Consumption: I sit at my desk and work while sipping away.  A coffee buzz is an excellent way to boost productivity and mood in a 9-5 office setting.  Or, any workplace workspace setting.  Or... If you're just sitting at home on a weekend reading your morning away.  It's great anywhere.  It's also good in a coffee shop.  Or... I suppose the space doesn't matter.  Just drink up!

SO there you go.  Now you know my usual way each day to consume coffee.  What's your favorite way to consume coffee?  Do you like a mug?  Do you French Press?  Or maybe you use a K-Cup or drip brew method.  Do you like to sip slowly out of an insulated container... Or do you make a mug as soon as you wake, or just before work and drink it up before dashing out the door for the morning commute?  Or maybe you just like to take it iced instead.  Or do you skip the home brew entirely and have a favorite coffee shop or morning convenience store that you frequent with your giant big gulp refill mug?

Whatever the method of brew, remember it's your unique way just for you... to enjoy that cup of coffee that is bound to brighten up your day!

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I kind of didn't vote today.  I was going to.  But... I don't know, I just wasn't feeling it when I left work.  I went to yoga instead.  Call me crazy... But... I guess I... It's stupid really.  It's SOOO stupid.

But... Alright... So... I started reading my analytics again.  And there's been hits from this one recurring user.

So... I worked on this one blog post ALL Sunday, and Sunday during the day I saw a hit from this person.   And I was like NOOOOOOO... I didn't have the post done in time.

So... I worked on finishing it.  I put my Instagram snapshots in and wrote it super long so that there would be a nice good long blog to read.

Come Monday morning there was still no post.  I thought ok that's ok.  Oh well.  Again, it's stupid because who cares if she still reads it!  I mean... She has a boyfriend anyways.  So who cares.  It's over. I lost.  He won.  She won... She's got a boy and a great job and we don't even speak anymore anyways.

But... I just... I don't know... I like that you read it I guess.  Part of me just... wants to write you stupid little funny blogs for you to read and laugh at over your morning coffee or at night before you go to sleep.

And then I see dots that you've read it.  And then... You go about your day working and living... and probably texting little "I love you's" to your boyfriend.  Who cares.

I just liked that you read it.  Honestly... You're the only reader anyways.  There's a stray Google search result every now and then.  There's web crawler bots...

There's a friend if I link to it on Facebook.  But no one else actively reads it.

It's just you.  You and your 10 or 15 hits month... That's it.  Your hits on my blog posts... from 2010 onward...

And my only goal that I told myself over and over again was to just blog normal things.  Just write stupid funny things.  Don't blog ABOUT her.  Don't scare her away.  And then when you don't read it for a few days... I get nervous.  I scared you away.

I probably scared you away.  You'll never read it again.  And then I have a sinking feeling in my chest.  I feel sad.  And just when I feel like I'll never see a hit...

There's a hit.

But by that time I've gone on some stupid rant of some sort and I feel dumb.

Who knows... maybe you read it for the stupid rants instead of nice pretty little funny posts like I want.

And my thing is... I know you have a life.  I know you have family, and friends... and obviously job... and your boyfriend.

And this is why it's stupid.  Because I'm not even one of those things that you spend time on... I'm not a friend.  We don't even talk.  I'm not in your life at all.

It's just... those dots.  When I see those little hits... I don't know.  I know you're there reading what I'm writing.

It's just... You're still there in some way.  And you kind of give me purpose to write.  You give me... something to think about to look forward to.  Because no one else gives a crap.  No one else reads it.

It's just YOU.  No one else seems to pay attention.  When I would post a new song... No one else in my family or friends would know for weeks that I posted it...

But your hit would be the first.

I saw a hit from you on Sunday.  I finished my blog hoping maybe you'd read it... Monday... another blog.  No hit.  Tuesday...

Still no Plantation, Florida hit.

Maybe you just are having a busy week.  Or maybe you lost interest.  Maybe you just finally said... Enough is enough... and you finally stopped.  My biggest fear in the world...

You finally decided to delete the bookmark and stop reading it.  Sigh.  This is so silly though... I guess.  It's just... I don't know why it means the world to me.  But it does...

I write blogs.  You read them.  I don't know.  You're there following my progress.  You're seeing what I'm up to.  Even though you have a completely different new life... and there isn't a reason for you to even read it...

But you still read it...

I wish we could just say... here's the deal.  You read my blog... I write blogs... that are funny, silly.  Make your day brighter.  I don't mention you.

I just make blogs... and you read them.

I see your hits... and know you're still there between your family, friends, work, boyfriend... TV shows... Cats... Whatever...

Between all that, you still take a peek.

And we just agree to leave it at that.

I guess I'll just keep blogging.  I'll just keep checking my analytics for hits.

See... This is what happens when a boy falls in love with a girl.  He settles for wishing that she'd just read his blog from afar.... Even though he KNOWS there's never any hope of seeing her again.  Knowing her again.  Hearing her voice.  He knows she's even with someone new...

It's this silly?  It's so silly.  But... I can't just... stop.  Sigh.

Anyways... Oh yeah... I didn't vote.  I needed people around me, without a blog hit I just felt sad... So instead, I went to yoga.  And then I went to trivia.

But I just checked the results and Hillary is winning that crap anyways.... So it doesn't matter if I voted or not.  I know... Everyone is all about feeling the bern.  But as my one coworker put it... Hilly is the most qualified for the job.

From a hiring perspective... If I were to hire someone as president... I'd hire Hilary.

Besides the last time we had a woman in the oval office it.... Oh... Wait... We've never had a woman in the oval office.  Have we?

MY point exactly.

Also if you look up statistics on women managed companies versus men as CEO...


I'll just leave this right here....

My point exactly.

Anyways maybe there will be another Plantation, FL hit.  Maybe there won't.  Heck... Maybe it's not actually you.  I don't know... But maybe there will be a hit and you'll get all caught up on your leisure blog reading in between your other life things...

And if the hits keep coming... Then I'll stop worry about you abandoning your blog reading... and write silly blogs for your amusement.  And if they stop coming... Then they stop coming.  And I'll know that you probably just have so much better things to do in your life than read my silly little blog.  Which is fine... It's all so silly anyways... me sitting there checking my analytics once or twice or three times a day to see if you read my latest post.

And if they do stop... I'll probably just keep blogging.  Maybe not as often.  But... I'll try to keep it going without my fanbase of 1.

But... a little piece of my heart has you still there... knowing that you still know what I'm up to.

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Working For The Weekend

So, I used to view my weekend time as kind of... "I'll catch up on things over the weekend."

I feel as though that's changing.  I feel like the weekend is more of a let loose and have fun time.  I'd like to also work more on music related projects over the weekend.  Some weekends I'm going to plan lots of events... I've been really into lots of events lately.  I'm not sure if I'm just feeling the whole spring is here vibe that everyone seems to be sharing... Or I don't know.  But I feel more on the go and energized lately.  Other weekends... I won't plan much of anything and I'll just get more down to business with music recording, or trying to push through and finally finish this book of mine that I'm writing.

So, like today for example... I got up, got ready for work, made a french pressed cup of coffee for my insulated 16 ounce Klean Kanteen coffee and tea container and then went off to work.  Lately I've switched to coffee in the morning... I used to do black tea... Then green tea... Then coffee after work.  Before that it was mostly green tea.

I've been playing around with the order of those drinks.  I find that coffee, especially a nice fancy french pressed roast that I can sip through the morning, really boosts my emotions and work productivity.  I've been at the same job for 10 years... Obviously that has its ups and downs.  It's complicated.  I mostly stayed because of my mom and to be able to help her out.  While her stuff is still nearing the tail end of still being in the works as far as her estate and the trusts and such... Once all that is settled... and then perhaps after another year or so... We'll see where I'm at in life.  I might decide to get super serious about music and books.  I might decide to get super serious about the IT world and try to hop jobs to a company with more upwards mobility and opportunities.  I'm not sure yet.  Yes, it's a little stagnant with working the same job for a long period of time without any real upward mobility.  I mean, I've been there 10 years... but I do a lot more now than when I first started.  My tasks have definitely evolved over the years to more advanced and complex things... Mostly because I just start doing it when no one else does... So I just kind of take the initiative and say... Eh, I'll just do it...

Here's the thing...

A) I like the job.  The people are nice.  It's not too hard or stressful.

B) I have my own investments.  And those will continue to increase... Especially once I've got more money from the trust and my mom's estate.  I'll put that all into a solid mix of dividend income producing long term stocks, bonds, ETFs and other growth and income investments.  So that effectively gives me a raise on top of my base salary at work.

C) Some people live to work... I work to live.  I use my salary for base bills.  It's not my dream job.  Sure, I enjoy it... But my passions are music and books.  While I do have some income starting to come in from music in recent years... It's not enough to just go do that full time.  One day I hope to start an entire media company and make music, write books, and work on movies full time, even do some venture capitalist type start up stuff maybe too.  For now the IT gig at the college is low key enough that I can pursue my passions... And I can live relatively stress free and go out on the town and have fun.

Basically I'm in a unique position where I can live a higher standard of living than my paycheck because I'm standing on the backs of giants.  And I realize that.  I am very thankful every day that I've been given what I have been given.

So, back to the coffee... I know is that a morning cup of coffee has done wonders for my mood and work productivity.  After that runs out I move to green tea, then black tea and cocoa nibs to keep me going until bed.  Then I switch off the caffeine and hit up the herbal teas.

Now on the weekends I'm more about trying out craft beers and various wines.  The weekends... they're for that.  So here's where I'm kind of starting to change my life outlook/lifestyle.  Previously in my life I really used to kind kind of meander through my week and push everything to do over the weekend.  But, I'm starting to realize that weekends are sometimes tough to get going in the morning.  So why fight inertia?  If my natural tendency is to just let loose come weekend...

Heck, it's not just MY natural tendency... It's a whole culture thing in this world we live in.  The weekend is for unwinding.  For socializing for beer and wine and friends and conversations.  And the week is for getting work done.  For focusing on the tasks at hand and pushing through so that you can just have some fun over the weekend.

So instead... My week days are more recently more of a GO GO GO from dawn to dusk.  I do house chores, clean inside, yard work outside... I take care of administrative things like bills and emails to the attorneys and such.

I went after work to grab more dry and wet food for the cats after work and then on to yoga right after.  Then I did some yard work with the last bit of sun.

Then I cleaned the turtle tank and made dinner.  Packed my lunch for tomorrow, did some dishes...

That will be my Monday through Thursday.  Come Friday... I'll just make it a goal to do fun things and go out.  I love to figure out ways to do more with less.  I love efficiency... just better ways to do things around the house and in life and at work.

My week days are filled with work, coffee, tea, yoga... runs... House work and yard work.  Practicing music.  Bills... Administrative emails related to my mom's estate and the trusts.  Etc. etc.  Cat things, changing litter, and making sure they have food and water and such.

Practicing music for my upcoming show, and hopefully more other shows... and working on recording music and the book...

I'm kind of adopting the slogan of something like...

Week days are for... GO GO GO!  And weekends are for SLOW SLOW SLOW.

People change as they age and make their way through life.  I feel like I'm sort of turning a corner where I'm changing from a slow paced leisurely walk to more of a jog... I'd like to work my way up to a much faster paced run.  I feel like I want to be the one in charge of my life going forward and really fill it jam packed with a lot of things.

It's strange... Ever since my mom passed it's been kind of like, I was helping her steer... And when she passed.... "Here... Take the wheel!"

And I'm like "What?  Wait... But... How does this work... Wait... Hmm whoa... I got this."

I probably shouldn't admit this... Because I'm fairly certain it was illegal at the time... But the statue of limitations have long since passed... Since it was in the 80s that this happened... So... I'll tell it anyway... My mom used to take us out as little kids in our family Dodge van.  We had this huge van that we'd use to travel across the country.  When we were little kids in California she'd take us out around the neighborhood and let us take turns sitting on her lap while she drove around and we would pretend to steer.  Every now and then she'd let us steer entirely only for a few seconds... Then she'd take the wheel again.

When your parent leaves for good... It's like they are no longer there to take the wheel back.  That's it. It's just you and the car.  And when you look in that review mirror you see them siting in the back seat waving at you.  Or just smiling.  They don't comment on anything.  They don't say a word.  They just sit there smiling and looking at you.  But it's all up to you.  It's scary at first... But now it's kind of becoming old hat.  I guess everything is scary at first.  But eventually... The hat gets old and worn and you wear it like it's always been on your head.

Every day I'm feeling more and more like... I got this.  I used to dread giving the cats Curio her little green pill and Fluff her white pill.  I'd do it anyways but I was terrible at it... And I always knew it was only for a few days or a week or two while my mom was in the hospital... And then my mom would be back home and well enough to take over again... Now, we're a team.  It's cake.

Before I only stepped in when she was weak or sick... But now it's all me.

And... I feel like I'm starting to really grow into it.

I used to be like... Blah... I don't want to do this stuff.  I just want to bang on my drum all day.  And while I still would just like to bang on my drum all day...

I've realized there's never going to be a.... One day I won't have to deal with this and I'll just be able to make music or whatever...

Nope.  There's always going to be life and administrative things to handle.  You just have to get better at time management and finding time to balance the stuff you love with the things in life that need to be taken care of.

Life... Handle that... Will ya?

Yo... I got this!  No prob.  This stuff is cake.


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PIFA Street Fair and Chinese Lantern Festival

Yesterday and last night I hit up two events in the city that I found on  I meant to get to the first event, the street fair, early and stay all day but it was raining in the morning when I woke up.  Instead I choose to snag a few more hours of Saturday morning slumber.  I'm glad I did, even the couple hours I spent at the fair, were more than enough.  I couldn't imagine being there longer than maybe 2 hours.  3 at most.

I'm also glad I decided to take the train in.  I have taken the train a number of other times from when I used to live over in Wayne.  So I knew the basic gist of it all and where to go and what to do.  The only thing I wasn't exactly sure of was parking... Over in Wayne I lived close enough to the station to simply walk from my apartment to the station.  But my house here isn't quite close enough to walk... In a worst case scenario situation, I could, but I'd rather not since some of the roads don't actually have sidewalks and it could be dangerous.  In all pedestrian versus vehicle situations, vehicles always win.  It's a good 2 mile walk I'd say.  Not terrible, but... If I can park for the day for free... Why not just drive over there?

I did, and it was fine.  Parking at most of the SEPTA stations is free on weekends... Actually I think all of them are free day parking on weekends and then most allow you to park over night.  I imagine it's probably similar for other cities.  So, if I find myself a regular cat sitter, theoretically I could park on a Friday night... Train it into the city and Bolt bus or Mega bus it up to NYC then I could come back Sunday afternoon.

I just looked it up and the walk to the station is 2 miles or 40 minutes according to Google maps.  Also the daily overnight parking is only about a buck I think anyway.  So... even if I wanted to go for a three day overnight trip somewhere... I could park and pay a buck in addition to the weekend.  Or I could just suck it up and walk the 2 miles.  I mean... If I'm going on a week vacation with luggage or something?  I might just call a cab.  Or ask a friend to drive me over.  Or just Uber it to the airport entirely.

Or just airport park.  And take the shuttle to the airport.  It's not like I don't have options.  I'm definitely going to be traveling more in the future.  I mean, I like traveling.. It's a mixed bag.  I hate to pack.  And coming back is always like hard to get into the groove of life again.  Financially speaking, even with being fairly loose with my budget last month and kind of splurging a couple times on some food and drink and what not with friends... I still came in 100 bucks under budget.  My next thing is to chop some of the Comcast services that I'm paying for but not using, and to eventually cancel my mom's cell phone.  That will free up another 150 bucks a month.  On top of that... well... There's going to be estate and trust money eventually.  Although I do need a new fridge, and washer and dryer.  And I'd like to buy a new iPhone, perhaps a drum set.  It's not like I REALLY have to worry about budgeting.  The amount of money I'll eventually be receiving in addition to the money I've saved on my own from work that I have invested in my own portfolio... I don't know why I'm even bothering to budget.  I guess it's just in my blood.  My mom was a saver and so was my grandfather... so I'm a saver.  There's a reason why there's money to pass down in the first place.  I don't really like to blow tons of cash on crazy things.  I like to make lists and be cautious and make sure that my cashflows out are equal to my cashflows in.  I prefer to always have a budget surplus actually.  Then I reinvest the excess cash for future unknown expenses.

But I'll definitely start traveling more in the future as my free cash starts to increase... Just have to find a reliable cat sitter to take care of these little kitty ones.  Then once all the estate and trust stuff is set and I have my money invested... I'll use income to travel.  I'm not going to touch principle.  So I will only use my income and interest and capital gains from investments to travel.  That's the plan.  For now... I go to local events and stick to my budget.


So, I took the afternoon train.  It was a nice ride in.  It's actually much quicker than I thought.  I'm going to take the train into the city more often during the spring/summer/fall months... Winter months... Maybe.  Sitting outside on the platform in the cold... It's just not as pleasant as the other times of the year.  But on a nice day... Definitely.  Oh, by the way, PIFA stands for Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, in case you were curious.

PIFA 2016 street fair on Broad Street! #Philly #Arts

A photo posted by Kenny (@kennywest82) on


The fair was a short walk from Suburban Station.  I walked through love park and enjoyed the sights and sounds.  My first experience was a grassy lawn and a funky statue behind a stage.  A show was due to start soon but instead of waiting around for that, I decided to continue on my way.  There were various food vendors... Lots of other things to buy... Jewelry and shirts and many other knick-nacks aplenty.  The usual stuff at a fair.  I browsed and leisured my way down the street.  It was strange to experience Broad Street in this fashion.  I've walked up and down Broad Street at various points in my life and various times of day.  To see it closed off with only foot traffic available and lined with ferris wheels and merry-go-rounds and other attractions such as the zip line near the end of the street... It was strange, but wonderful.   In my head I imagined this might be how future cities are if we ever get flying drone cars and personal transportation no longer happens in the street.  Instead people fly drone cars overhead and we ride bikes and walk below.  Maybe not.  But it's fun to imagine the world in a different way than it is now.  


I brushed by people.  Funky artsy city folk... trendy families with babies all dressed like they belong in Back to the Future II... couples in love... elderly people... groups of unenthused teens... obvious tourists... fair officials and city employees.  I walked along a ferris wheel and merry-go-round.  Eventually I came to a giant sandbox with pianos in it.  The pianos appeared to be reclaimed from lost attic spaces... Aged, used, victims of time and decay... Each piano painted two-tone obnoxious 80s neon coloring.  People playing the pianos, kids playing in the sand.  I feel like the idea was for people to "play".  Old and young.  Playing together as one.  Which was almost exactly what I saw happening.

Leaving that brought me into a jungle... Or enchanted forest of sorts.  There was a waterfall, and ponds with lily pads.  In addition to the waterfall and ponds, pine needles cover the street and various trees lined the sides so that you felt as though you were in a forest.  They had cute little tables and chairs painted various shades of neon pop coloring.

Selfie takers were coming out of the woodwork everywhere.

There were more vendor booths and tents.  A beer garden, which I stopped in on the way back and enjoyed a Yards Brawler, one of my favorite beers due to it's pleasant mellow taste, cheaper price, and lower alcohol content.

There was another park this time just grass covering the street and some fountains for people to toss coins in, a marching band played nearby.  Finally a zip line spanned almost a full city block.

I watched several people have a go, but decided against it myself as I had done this in a previous time in my life more times than I cared to count at summer camp.  It's a novelty.  Once you've done it... You've done it.  It doesn't get better with time... And besides, it was 20 bucks PER go.  I went hundreds of times at camp for free.  And if I wanted to... I could go again over and over this June when I'm up there.  And save my 20 bucks.

I decided on an iced coffee from Starbucks at the end of the street.  The thing about street fairs is... The food is super pricey.  I secretly had granola bars packed and other little munchy items.  12 bucks for a gyro?  Don't get me wrong... I LOVE gyros.  But... I'd rather make my own at home you know?  Every now and then I will splurge.  But mostly I just will buy a drink or a small snack.  On my way back through the fair to make my way to the Chinese Lantern Festival I did grab a soft pretzel to sop up the beer I'd had, and a bottle of water.  I got soaked a few bucks for that.  Well worth it though.  I headed up to Franklin Square from Broad Street to hit up the lantern festival.


Chinese Lantern Festival!

A photo posted by Kenny (@kennywest82) on


 I was under the impression that if I had arrived BEFORE six... I could stay in the park and avoid the $17 dollar admission fee.  This was not the case.  I feel as though the wording on the site was a little tricky.  It said that the park was free during the day and then cost money after 6pm.  It did not say that if you stayed you could avoid the ticket cost.  So, I just assumed... And when you assume... You make an ass of u and me.  My first boss told me that when he hired me.  

When I got to the park, about 5 minutes before 5.... There was already a line.  As well the man at the ticket booth confirmed that they made everyone leave the park around 5:30 and blocked the entrances.  So, I could have stayed at the street fair until 7 when it ended.  Oh well.  Could-a-shuda-wooda...   My life is filled with those.  That's why I'm here at this very moment and not there.  Wherever there is.  

Well I waited in line for about twenty minutes.  Not too bad.  I bought a ticket and went right for the rest room.  The thing about the city is... You never know where you might find your next bathroom.  This is why my next business venture is going to be paid bathroom clubs on every corner.  I'm telling you... It's a billion dollar industry.  BILLION!  Every city in the world.  You know where they are with a friendly little app, and you can report back to headquarters when one isn't sparkling clean and we'll dispatch someone to clean it right away from our 24 hour team of professional bathroom attendants.   Pay per use through the app, or save money and pay monthly.  Because port-a-potties and bar bathrooms?  We ALL know... trust me... WE ALL KNOW the state of those things.  It's always the same. ALWAYS.  Gross.  

"You don't HAVE to use the bathroom club bathrooms... but once you do... We think you'll never go back to normal bathrooms."   That's my made up slogan for my made up company.  

After my bathroom experience, which was exactly how you'd expect it to be... I walked around for a few. Then I found the beer garden and enjoyed a Tiger beer.  It's a popular beer in China apparently.  After the beer I walked around more as it was starting to get dark.  It was interesting to watch the sun set and see the lanterns take on a glow as opposed to the sunlit scene when I first arrived.  The change was relaxing.  Just being hugged in the low glow warmth as the sun set.  It was comforting and fun and relaxing to be there with people that had also been standing in line with you.  To walk around in this enclosed space and see the same people over and over again.  

As the sun finally tucked itself into bed, the lantern lights illuminated the entire park.  A plethora of shapes and sizes and colors.  Eye candy reds and oranges and yellows and greens and blues.  They all popped with luminosity (I know, that's not a real way to use that word... But I like the way it sounds... Even if it's not grammatical correct).  Photos were snapped left and right.  


I'm sure all the social media networks were blowing up... Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat... I know I had some likes from people that don't even follow me... they just found the hashtag.

I decided to grab another little something to eat from the food area.  I went for a hot dog.  It was only a couple bucks.  I wasn't about to pay another 10 bucks for a burger and fries.  Plus I still had my one snack in my pocket for the train ride home.

I looked at the time and decided I wouldn't make it in time to get the train I had planned on, so I went to the beer garden and had a second beer while I waited on the train.  I chatted with a few random people.  Someone told me about the dancing panda... I had missed this.  I said "where is the dancing panda?"  They said... "He's breakdancing!  Go check it out.".  So I did.

It's hard to tell but this panda is breakdancing. Go panda! It's your birthday!

A photo posted by Kenny (@kennywest82) on

The later it got the more it was mostly 20s and 30s somethings.  Families with kids dominated early on.  The trendy city dwellers eventually over took the place.  Hipsters left and right.  After my second beer I purchased another bottle of water to take with me on the train...


I had one last look at the giant dragon next to the beer garden and went on my way.

And here is one more from last night... The dazzling dragon next to the dragon beer garden.

A photo posted by Kenny (@kennywest82) on

The train ride back home was quiet.  I snacked on the train platform (and rehydrated with a bottle of water which is always a good idea after a beer) instead of eating on the train itself.  Three beers in one day is... Whew.  I don't know how people do it without snacks and water and breaks between the drinks!  I guess I'm getting old.  I enjoy trying new brews though.  I'm all about having a nice craft brew with friends, or while checking out an event.  It's relaxing just to sip and savor the taste.  I think I'm becoming a bit of a beer snob though.  But I'm not above just have a Yuengling, or a Sam Adams or something like that.  I just prefer if I'm going to have a  beer, or pay 5 or 6 bucks for the beer that it be something more crafty in nature.

It was a fine day.  My car was right where I'd left it after I got off the train.  When I got home I decided to work on my book some.  I fed the cats and did a couple things around the house before going to bed.

There's something about taking the train into the city on a weekend that really just, removes you from your normal world and gives you a different perspective on life.  I enjoy taking the train.  I actually talked to one girl on the train coming back who was super cool.  The ice breaker was... When the ticket guy asked her which station she needed to purchase a ticket to she said... "Rolling rock, sorry, rolling hills, sorry... North Hills.  Sorry, it's been a long day.".  I laughed and she turned red in the face.  Then we started chatting.  She works in the city on the weekends.  She had to get off one stop before mine.  You know how travel conversation works... You're just to the point of becoming friends... Maybe even exchanging phone numbers or friend up on social media... And they get taken in a different direction because it's their stop.  "Oh no!  This is my stop!"  She said... distracted by our conversation.  "It was nice chatting."  I said.  And with that she went off into the night.  Kind of like life... As soon as you get accustom to people, or places... Next stop is yours, or theirs... and then someone else gets on.  Or maybe it's late at night and no one else gets on... It's just people getting off and fewer and fewer people remain.

Well... anyways.  That was my day.  Today is boring chores and errands, house work, yard work.  Next weekend is Baconfest at the Chaddsford Winery though!  Exciting.  And next Friday night I think I'll head down to the Art Museum for Art After 5.

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Severe Cat Allergy Alert Shirt

I feel like I should wear a shirt to any future dates or singles event that declares I have 4 cats.

To preface this blog post I want to say, as I sit typing this, I have one cat purring away on my bed nearby, and one cat on my lap.  There are two other cats roaming the house somewhere.

Tonight, I went to a wine tasting for singles event at Washington Crossing Vineyards.  It wasn't bad.  I had some fun.  Personally I would make a few small changes to the format if I were in charge.  I know, I'm being critical... But I feel as though it could have been run a little better... Although, what do you want for 10 bucks?  I had wine, and cheese (and crackers), and I got to mingle with two cool people.

What would I change?  Well, personally I would have come up with a system that forced people to introduce each other to one another.  Some kind of ice breaker questions at each table.  Maybe funny name tags.  Like have markers and craft supplies so that each person could create their own name interesting/funny/unique name tag.

Instead they just had tables.  No one knew each other, except for some people that had come with friends or coworkers or siblings or what have you as their wing peoples ... SO the ice breaking process was tough.

Then the guy simply came around with the wines and started pouring them and telling you what they were.  Which was fine.  I mean, it worked.  I just think if maybe first they waited for everyone to arrive, then gave out glasses.  Maybe have a game where we don't pick our own glasses... Maybe the glasses are on the table and we have to pick someone else to give a glass to.  Then we have to go get the glass and give it to that person and ask them their name and tell them our name and say one thing that we like, or a hobby or something.  Then that person is required to pick a glass for someone else...

I mean there are SOOOO many ways to ice break.  Just to hand out glasses when you check in and say "The event is out on the patio".  Then have a bunch of people standing around not knowing what's going on holding glasses not really talking to one another... It's just not ideal.

Anyways, I'm a social animal... My many years at summer camp, and working at the college... And playing open mics... as well as simply attending parties and social gatherings in general... Etc. etc. have kind of taught me how to just approach people.

I decided to sit with two girls that seemed like we might have more in common than the rest of the crowd.  I made a quick judgement and went with it.

Anyways we started chatting.  It was fun.  I learned that the one girl was there with a friend/coworker.   One of them was engaged and showed me her ring.  It was very nice.  She met her soon to be husband in middle school.  I said that's cheating on the dating scene because she had never dated.  She just... Met him and they basically hit it off super young and that was it.  She's like I know... and she acknowledged that she got lucky.  I said hey.. Congrats.  that's awesome.  She said thank you.

The other girl and I chatted... Since she's the single one.  We actually found out that we both went to the same college.  IUP connection.  So that was cool.  So we wine tasted... Myself, the engaged friend, and her... in addition to the tasting we chatted.  There were cheese squares available and crackers.

As the sun had set, they moved us inside.  However, there was a band playing and it was quite loud.  So we left about 30 minutes prior to the event end.  The three of us went to a nearby tavern where we had some more drinks and ordered food.

After a little while more of chatting about our shared love of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, I finally mentioned my cats.  That's when she said that she's deathly allergic to cats and even allergy pills won't save her from certain doom.

It's one of this deal breaker things.  I just couldn't ever give up these cats.  There's just no way.  It would be too hard.  They were the most important thing to my mom... and they are a piece of her that I couldn't willingly let go of.  I know that one day the cats will eventually pass naturally because cats only live so long... But until that day comes.  I feel as though when it comes to dating... Cats will have to be part and parcel... that we're a package deal.

Well... soon after that the three of us decided to call it a night.  SO here I am.  I just had some peanut butter swirl with mini peanut butter cups ice cream and I'm about ready for bed.  All in all it was a nice night.  I wouldn't mind checking out other _______ for singles events to see how those are run. But... For now... I have no other singles events on my radar.  My next event is to head to the PIFA street fair tomorrow followed by the Chinese Lantern Festival.

Sunday I have no plans as of yet.  So who knows.  I may stay in and work on things around the house and try to record some music and such.  Or maybe something will pop up that I have no idea even exists at the moment.

That's the way of the world... The future has a way of bringing things into your life that you couldn't even dream ever existed until suddenly there they are.

Maybe Sunday just spend some of my day finding a website that makes custom shirts and get a "Severe Cat Allergy Alert" shirt made.

That way I can show up at any dating function with the shirt on...

"Warning... Before you date me... Just know that I own 4 cats!  You have been warned."

I don't have many deal breakers... but just like Madonna was all about keeping the baby in her one song... I'm keeping these cats.

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Memory Songs

In the last few days the song Kyrie came up on my iPad while I was driving around in my Honda Fit.  Mind you, I have about 15 thousand songs on my iPad.  So it's not often that a song will come up.  Actually, according to iTunes I have 38.4 days worth of music if I let it play 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

So you can imagine sometimes it can be a while before I hear the same song twice on shuffle.  Sometimes I'll get the same song again and again.  I usually don't let shuffle play all the way through from song 1 to the very last song.  Usually I'll like an album or something and then I'll put that one album on shuffle.  That clears the previous shuffling.  Then I have to shuffle it again if I want to have my entire library shuffle.  So, I'll listen to an album, then go back to shuffle again, which is how I get the same songs over and over again.

Every day I'm shuffling (my iPad playlist).

Okay, so... Sometimes the same songs will come up again and again early on in the shuffle.  I don't know if this is just chance, or perhaps some kind of algorithm created by Apple to try and guess the songs I like based on previous play count or something like that?  That's entirely possible.  I'm not personally familiar with the programing code/engine the drives the Apple music app on the iOS devices.

Well... This song Kyrie came up.  Every time it comes up, I usually tend to hit repeat.  Then I hit repeat again.  I have a handful of songs that just kind of grab my attention like that.  I don't know why each one does?  They just do.  It's strange.  Well... some of the songs I know why I listen to them over and over again.  But that's a long story for each song.  Each one has it's own unique little history behind why it's significant to me.  It's kind of like... People you meet.  Or places you go.  Most of life is like a shuffle playlist.  You talk to someone, they walk into your life, and walk out... Without much of a thought.  The next person comes into your life and they are there just like the next song comes on shuffle... Then someone new... And maybe someone from a long time ago comes back up on shuffle.  Every now and then you get a person on repeat.  And it's just like listening to the same song over and over again.  Or same album.  They are there on repeat.

Places too... Sometimes you go to one place, then somewhere new.  Each place is the same as a 4 minute pop song on shuffle.  Then on to the next and by the time you hit the another new place... You don't much give the previous place a thought...

Some places stick though.  Some places you like.  And you go back again and again.  I have my favorite places to write.  I also just have places that I enjoy to go to over and over again.  Everyone has that I'm sure though.  For example, for my mom this was Maine.  She loved Maine.  She loved camp.  So, now I go over and over again too.  For my Grandparents this was France.  A small town in wine country.  My grandmother loved it there.  Quiet, on a river.  I can't remember the name of the town but my sister might remember.  I'm sure my Aunt knows as well.  They traveled all over, but for my grandmom, it was that small town in France that she loved.

Some places, some people, some things... Some songs.  You just come back to again and again.

Well I put Kyrie on repeat when it came up.  Not on purpose but... I hit play for a second time when it finished.  Then I hit play for a third time... And a fourth.  It's ultra catchy.  I tried to figure out why I dig it so much.  I like the lyrics.  I like the production style.  Those cheesy 80s riffs and synths.  I love 80s music.  It's so fantastic.  I just love the melodies.  I think the 80s were awesome.  Then again, I was born in the 80s so I'm biased.  80s in Southern California.  Those are my earliest memories.  So maybe this song just reminds me of being a little kid in Southern California.

Who knows.  I suppose that's like some places or people you meet.  You never quite know.  And it's not like you start out to put them on repeat.  It's just when you get to the end of the song... You hit back for one more play.  Just like as soon as you leave someone's presence you start to think about them.  You start to miss them.

Then others you just don't give them much thought once they are no longer standing in front of you.  Or you miss a place that you traveled to as soon as you leave.  You immediately want to go back.  You don't set out to find places you love.  Or people you love.  Or songs you love.  They sneak up on you.  You just want one more listen.  And before you know it, it's on repeat.

But I was thinking about every time I've heard this Kyrie song.  And every time I've heard other songs.  You hear some songs through your whole life.  From the first time you hear them, each time, is a slightly different memory.  It's like walking around a tall or historical building... from different perspectives it looks slightly different.  It's always been there and you've seen it every time you pass it.  Each time you look up at that tall building... You just get a different feel.  You're in a different place maybe, or it's just a different time of the day.

Or the moon.  Or stars.  Every time you look up.  Maybe you remember a long time ago as a kid star watching and seeing the same night sky.  It's different now though.

Having multiple memories of songs makes the song more complex.  Each time you hear it you're reminded of a previous memory, but you also make a new one.  The song takes on a different meaning, but also has another layer of a previous meaning, a previous time, place, different group of friends.  Different time period as well.  Maybe a different lover comes to mind.

Some songs are meaningless.  The song plays, you feel nothing but perhaps just enjoy the beat, and the song ends.  Some songs are super emotionally charged.  They remind you of someone or some place or perhaps some event that took place.

Each person has a different memory of a song too.  So someone might have a special great memory for one song and feel happy, while someone else might feel sad at that same song. A song could come on and remind that person of a different time in their life.  It could remind them of a new memory or an old memory.  It could remind them of one memorable or eventful night they were out somewhere.  The people they were with.  The place they were at.  The song that was playing.  The smells at that moment.  The season they were in.

I know every time I hear that Parent Trap song... Let's get together... Yeah Yeah Yeah... I think of the million times that my mom watched The Parent Trap because it was on some channel or another and she'd sing along and clap.  But I know that movie and song reminded her of her parents, and of camp when she was younger.

There are some songs that I've been listening to since I can remember and Kyrie is one of them.  Every time I hear it, I sort of think back in my life all the times that I heard it.  Rent "Seasons of Love" is like that.  That one joined my life in middle school.  I still remember writing foolish love letters to this girl I had a crush on while listening to that Original Broadway Cast Recording in late middle school/early high school... this girl Laura.  Oh, I had such a crush on her.  If I met her now though?  Oh gosh.  She's NOT my type at all now-a-days.  Or who knows, I'm sure she's different now than she was when I knew her.  So maybe she is my type.  But I have no feelings for her now-a-days.  It's funny though, because I was bonkers over her in middle school.  Of course she did nothing but make fun of me ALL the time from day one.  We had several classes together.  I wrote a couple love letters to her one summer, maybe 2 or 3... She never responded to them.  I felt embarrassed.  Of course then I returned home to find out we had class together.  She sat on the opposite side of the class as me.  This was maybe, 6th grade I think.

Of course one of her friends a couple years later became pretty good friends with me and told me that she also read those letters because Laura had shown them to all of her friends before tearing them up and her and her friends had read them laughing at me... Etc. etc.

It was like 6 girls all sitting around laughing at the letters reading them out loud in her room.  Then she ripped them up and threw them in the trash.

I actually became really close friends with that one girl that said she kind of liked the letters I wrote.  I often think about her... Sadly she passed away in 12th grade.  I remember me and her IM chatted on AIM for hours the night before.  It was really a big shock to come into school the next morning to find out that she passed away in the middle of the night.   I was just like... I JUST talked to her last night!

But, music was there... It's always there in the happy times and the best of times... And in the worst of times and the darkest of times.  We make memories that remind us of people, of places, of events and times in our lives.  And just like in real life, when it comes up on shuffle we can relive that moment even if for a short few minutes.  And we always have the option to click back and repeat it, or let something else shuffle to something new.  Shuffle, repeat, shuffle, repeat.  Old memories, new memories.  On shuffle, on repeat.


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Cat Instructions

My annual trek to Maine draws nearer and nearer.  I'm half excited, but also kind of anxious about my cats and their care.  My mom always had very specific and particular care instructions for her cats.  And the cats have kind of grown accustom to how things are.  Yes, they are probably spoiled.  But in defense of that, they were super important to my mom.  She used to refer to the cats as her "babies".  She loved them and always worried sick each time she was in the hospital.

So, on her behalf, I now worry about them.  Usually I'm not away from home for that long of a time period.  At most I'll be gone some part of the day, or evening.  But I always make sure they are fed and have fresh water.  It's tough to leave them in the care of someone else.  I've done it before.  A couple years ago when my mom had her hip replacement we had someone come to the house and tend to the cats while I was in Maine.  I'm starting the process of finding a pet sitter, or various pet sitters that can take turns.  If anyone knows a cat lover out there that wants the job of a house/pet sitter for a couple weeks in June, let me know!  These are very particular but friendly cats.  The steps/instructions are somewhat more than just making sure they have water and dry food, but... They aren't TOO bad.

Actually, I'll go over them now.  Why not?

Okay, so here's my pet care list.


Now, there are four cats.

Curio - She's smaller than her sisters, but not as small as Faith.  She's a gray/striped black cat with some white around her neck and feet.  She'll stick her paw out at you like she's going to shake your hand and then meow.  She just wants to be pet.  That's her... "Please pet me now" move.  Sometimes she poops outside of the litter box if it's not changed often enough to her standards.  She's a cat with some class and attitude.  A little bit of cat classitude if you will.

Misty - She's the biggest of the pack/colony.  She's a big old ball of white fluff.  Her big eyes will look at you with longing and you'll just melt with a big old awwww.  She does this double meow thing where when she wants to sit on your lap or wants you to pet her... She'll say "meow meow" really quick.  I'm almost positive she's saying "night night".  My mom used to carry her upstairs when she would go to bed.  My mom would find Misty wherever she was downstairs and she'd say "Come on Misty.  Want to go night night?"  And then the cat would go "meow meow" back at her, and my mom would pick her up and take her upstairs.  The other cats would follow and they would all sleep on her bed.  Now they sleep on mine instead.  Misty has this funny quirky personality where she kind of the clumsy lovable type.  Sometimes she just falls over and then just starts purring and stretches out.

Fluff - Marshmallow Fluff to be formal about it, is Misty's biological sister.  Though all these cats are sisters, Misty and Fluff are actually from the same litter.  She's a slightly smaller version of her sister, but almost as much fluff... Hence the name.  She's a bit of a princess.  Sometimes she'll come up to you to be pet, but when you go to pet her, she'll walk away.  "Touch me!  Don't touch me.  Touch me!  Don't touch me."  She likes to be pet very slowly and very daintily.  If you don't do it right, she'll walk away.  Then she'll come back again and be like, "Okay... Are you ready to try this again and pet me exactly the way I prefer to be pet?  Or do I have to walk away on you again?"  This is also the same cat that paws at my face each morning after my alarm clock goes off, to get me to wake up when I snooze my alarm instead of getting up.

Faith - This is the baby of the group.  She's about two years old I believe.  The others are closer to thirteen or fourteen.  She gives the other cats a run for their money.  This is why my mom adopted her.  She wanted to have a young spry one to chase the other ones around and keep them fit.  And she certainly does!  She's almost a bully sometimes and I have to break it up.  She's a bit of a chewer too...  I'm not certain if maybe she's teething or something?  She just will try and chew on random things.  And you have to say... "No Faith.  Faith!  No more."  And she'll say... Faith No More!  I like that band.  And she'll continue her misbehavin'.  But all in all she's a good cat.  Careful though, she's a licker!  She licks EVERYTHING.  And everyone.  I don't know why she does this.  Sometimes she'll be on my lap and just start trying to lick my hands as I type.  A rambunctious little licker.

Now finally there's the turtle.

Squirt -  This little fellow is a Red Eared Slider.  My college girlfriend bought me him off another resident on her hall as a gift.  Apparently the other resident won him at a fair but didn't want to keep it.  Squirt was supposed to stay the same size, that's what the fair game booth attendant told the other resident when she won him and so that's what my girlfriend at the time told me.  Nope.  He's like... Ten times bigger now.  He's about fifteen years old now.  Which is crazy.  But also neat.  He just swims around in his tank and sometimes he goes up on the rock and basks in the sunlight.

Okay, that brings me to the care part.


FIRST OFF, there is always water.  The cats have three watering bowls.  Number one is in the kitchen right beside the dry food.  Number two is out on the living room coffee table with the light on it.  That's a smaller bowl mostly for Misty because she likes to drink out of that little bowl.  The third is upstairs in the master bedroom which is where my mom's room was, but I've moved a couple things around and it's mostly kind of just a guest room now.  I'm still in the process of cleaning out her dressers and closet.  I'll get to it eventually when I feel ready.  It's like I'll disconnect her cell when I feel ready to do that as well.  I'm still paying the monthly bill and it just sits on my desk in my room.  I guess maybe I just keep thinking that one night I might just want to text her so bad and I don't want to text or call some random person that gets the number after it's disconnected and have to explain myself.

Okay, so that's the cat water.

Now... what I usually do is I have dry food down at all times.  It's al little complicated because I mix three different types.  It seems to be working out.  Maybe you're not supposed to mix, but my mom had been the one to care for them so as far as the cats diet, I haven't made any changes.  If anyone has any suggestions I'm all ears.

So all four cats have constant dry food.  I buy all the dry and wet food from the Pet Valu store down the street.  All of the food I feed the cats is Performatrin brand Ultra cat food which is the Pet Valu brand.

The dry food is a mix of: Lamb and brown rice, potato and salmon, and healthy weight.

I combine about a third of each one of those dry foods and mix that in a small plastic container then I pour the shaken mix into the bigger bowl.  The cats usually come running and they will take turns having a few nibbles each.

Next is the wet food.  Now, there are two different types.  Curio and Fluff get the ocean whitefish flavor. They won't eat any other flavor.  So, I say hey, if you like it and that's your thing... You can have it.

Misty is supposed to be trying to lose some weight.  So she gets the turkey flavor which is weight control food.

For the wet food amounts, they each get an eighth of a can in the morning and an eighth in the evening.  Usually breakfast is served when I wake up before work, and dinner is served when I get home.  Sometimes I go to yoga after work, or on a run or something like that, so they won't get fed until later.  They don't seem to mind and they still assemble in the kitchen as soon as I walk in the door.

Faith gets no wet food.  She's always been only dry food.  I asked the vet and they said it's okay not to give her wet food.  She's stolen a bite or two out of the other cats bowls though.  But that's fine.  She doesn't seem to beg or anything.  She just kind of will eat it out of curiosity it seems.

Oh!  This brings me to how they get fed their wet food.  SO what I do is I setup the bowls, after washing them, on the counter and put the food in all three.  I make sure to wash the bowls well so as to remove any little bits of old food still stuck to them.  Then I put down all three bowls at the same time.  Now Misty always finishes first.  She just wolfs it down.  Then she'll wait for the other two to finish.  Sometimes Fluff or Curio will walk away without finishing all of their food.  Misty then licks each bowl clean.  Then she'll go nibble dry food too.  Sometimes I pick the dry food up for a little while.  My mom used to do this.

Now, Fluff will sometimes puke so she needs cat lax.  This is due to cat hair getting stuck.  I try to keep both the big white cats groomed.  I think what happens is they lick one another and of course groom themselves and the cat hair builds up.  Then... you know the drill, it's time to clean up puke.  Usually a small dab of cat lax on her fur is good and then she'll lick it off.  Fluff definitely seems to have the most issues related to the cat hair puke thing.  I try to catch her AFTER she's done eating.  Otherwise it's a game of chase through the house.  Eventually she gets tired.  She's actually missing half a lung that was removed because of a benign tumor.  But she still can out run in the short sprint category.


Litter is a hot mess.  I try to keep it tidy but... It's a never ending battle.  Curio poops outside of the box fairly often.  I change and scoop.

What I do is I have four boxes.  Three of them are downstairs.  One upstairs.  The upstairs box is taken downstairs and fully emptied into a double bagged kitchen size trash bag inside a bucket.  After two changing the trash bag is taken out of the bucket and tied off and placed in the big trashcan outside.  I generally do a litter change every two to three days.  The empty litter box is then placed in the downstairs row at the far left and the boxes are rotated right.  The far right box goes upstairs.  The previously upstairs, now far left box gets brand new litter.  All boxes are scooped into the trash bag lined bucket.

Now the meds are kind of tricky.  Curio and Fluff are the only two to get meds.  Curio gets a green round pill every night with dinner.  It's metronidazole.  It's for her inflamed bowels.  She used to have runny poop.  SO she gets the green pill med every night.  I addition to that Curio also gets a small half of a white pill every other night.  That's Prednisone.  Both are for her poop.  I know, kind of gross.  But hey... it works.

Fluff gets a tiny little Prednisone pill half too.  Now, each one gets half a pill of that every other day.

I give them the pill right as they are eating, let them start to eat, then you have to gently pull them away from the food, tilt their head way back, and put the pill in the back of the throat.  They will swallow it immediately.  Then you can let them get back to eating.  They usually take the pills better that way because they want to get back to eating their wet food.

The vet has taken them down from higher doses.  He's trying to take them down more until he takes them off it entirely.  I think the meds were supposed to be a temporary thing but because of my mom's health issues and all the constant hospital visits things were miscommunicated or vet appointments were missed and they stayed on them longer than anticipated.

For now, that's the med situation.


Finally, turtle gets ten pellets in the morning of turtle food and ten in the evening.  It's just turtle food.  The brand isn't a big deal.  I just buy whatever the Pet Valu place has.  I turn the light off at night and on in the morning.  Turtle water usually needs to be topped off every few days.  I keep the water just below the top of the rock.  I change the water usually weekly and the filter every other week.


Per my mom's instructions via text each time my mom would go into the hospital and I'd be in charge of caring for the cats... "Make sure to give the kitties extra love and kisses and pet them lots for me and tell my babies that I miss them and I'll be home soon."

So these are my instructions to the person that I get to cat sit/turtle sit for me while I'm in Maine,

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Change O’ Plans

My original plan for this Friday was to head to down to Art After 5.  I've had a change of plans... I was browsing local wine events...

When I found a singles wine tasting.  Actually, truth be told, I found this event a few years ago but never actually went to it!  So, I'm going to buy my ticket tonight and give it a go.  I'm sure it will be a lot of fun.  I really want to find more singles events.  I wish someone would make a singles events website.  Actually, I wonder if that already exists?  Maybe it does.  I'll Google that after I finish blogging this blog.

Okay so the event is up at Washington Crossing Vineyards.  It's the Wine Tasting for Singles event on this page...

They have it every month.  I'm thinking maybe I'll go again in another month or two or three if I like it.

I'm really just looking to find more friends at this point in my life.  A singles event will be another good place to meet and mix and mingle with other people to make friends with.  I feel kind of like, I've tried to find love for so long and failed... That I'm just sort of taking a break from the search.  I need a breather from it all.  The dating scene and the dating site scene is just kind of... A mood killer at this point.  I do all these other things that make me happy and then dating just bums me out.  So... The answer?  Stop dating.  I just want to talk to people and have a glass of wine or a beer.  I just want to hob nob and be social.  Make new friends, and mix and mingle and socialize.

I'm going to try dating again maybe in another 6 months or a year.  But for the next 6 months to a year... I'll just kind of go out and socialize and have fun.  On of my friends just invited me to a murder mystery dinner as well, which should be a good time.  And I'm going to  a couple of different festivals in the next two months.  Then I'll be off to camp again (I need to find a cat sitter/house sitter for the time I'll be in Maine).

I'm just kind of going to more just work and have fun for at least the Spring, Summer and Fall.  Just enjoy the seasons.  And enjoy the company of current friends and try to make new ones.  I'm not giving up one dating and that whole dating scene thing and finding that one love that I spend the rest of my life with.  I just need a break.

I'll give dating another try after my social scene thing winds down in the Fall.  There are so many good events though Spring, Summer, and into the Fall.  I'm just going to enjoy all that the Philadelphia area has to offer for a single 33 year old guy that lives alone with 4 cats.

It'll be nice to hang out with and talk to other singles over some wine.  I feel like everyone I know these days is all paired off... So it's hard to relate to them.  They don't quite understand me, I don't quite understand them.  It's hard to explain.  But when you're single... It's just different from when you're with someone.  You know?  I don't know.  I can't explain it.  Being single around people that aren't single is just... It's not the same as being around other single people.

So, for now... I'm just going to go out and have fun and enjoy life.


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