Alex in Transit(ion)

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…and we’re back!

After the demise of my computer on Friday (RIP Toshiba. We had a good 4 years together. I’m really going to miss your stickers), the only “computers” I’ve had access to were my: 

1. Work computer and I’m pretty limited as to what I can do on that.  

2. My Droid Razr. That poor thing. It’s been running so slow since I’ve been using it as a computer when it’s really supposed to be a phone. And an accessory to cure your boredom. I’ve been playing a lot of Angry Birds lately. 

But yay! I have new laptop! It’s a Dell XPS 15z. I’ll let y’all know how it performs. So far, I’m really impressed with how sturdy and fast it is. And I’m not going to lie, it kind of makes me want to use it on a job assignment. 

I tried hard to blog but there’s only so much you can do with a touchscreen keyboard on your phone without getting really frustrated at auto correct. I tried writing my thoughts down but while I was ice skating at Empire State Plaza this weekend (more to come on that in a later post), I ended up falling and my left arm took the hit. It’s not broken, but it’s really bruised. Since I write with my left hand, writing hasn’t been easy and I have a lot of pain in my wrist and elbow. Even though things are hard right now, I’m very blessed to have my friends and my roommates in my life. My friend took me grocery shopping since I can’t carry things right now. My roommate washed my hair last night, which was great, because I found out on Monday morning that it is a pain to wash your hair with one hand. I hope I can find a way to pay them back.

Other than that- the GRE is over and I’m filling out graduate school applications. I’m so happy that this test is over with for so many reasons, including the fact that I didn’t have time to cook for myself while I was studying for it, so I ate out a lot. Last night, I got back to cooking and it felt wonderful. You can count on another chapter in the Worst Food Blogger Ever series coming up soon. There’s been other great things that have been happening and you know, even if they don’t turn out the way I want to, I still believe in this (and forgive me if this is the umpteenth time you’re seeing this quote posted here): 

All I ask of you is one thing: please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism — it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard, and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.

– Conan O’Brien


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Resolutions? I have a few.

1. Re-learn Italian and French. I was getting good at Italian but then the real world came my way and it was easier to speak English to my father than in Italian. The truth is my grandparents aren’t getting younger and I will be damned if I am not able to have a full conversation with them in their native language. As for French, I learned it in high school and I loved it, but it is also something that I have lost. I want to gain it back again.

2. Learn Spanish. The truth is, it’s a language that I should know. 

3. Learn how to follow the stock market and with that said, read more books about economics and its principles. I never took a formal economics course in college and its something that I regret. Also, it’s something my father is very passionate about and it would be good to be able to be on his level and have a few nice conversations. 

4. Save up money for a new bike and do the Erie Canal trail from Albany to Buffalo. I’ve never been to Buffalo before and this would be a great way to see it. Haha, as for getting back, I’ll figure that out. 

5. Go back to Potsdam for a weekend. It’s something that’s been long overdue and there’s been a lot of people I’ve been dying to see. 

6. Get more involved in city youth programs. I was in the library the other day and unfortunately, the library faced some severe budget cuts and has to reduce its hours. The library is a youth hangout and a lot of kids don’t know what to do when the library closes early. Even though this is a setback to the community, this shows us that we need to give kids something to do around the city. I’m hoping to get back involved in Bike Rescue, so I can learn about bike maintenance, and most importantly, teach kids good skills. 

7. Read more. 

8. Try to be with my family more. 

9. Get back into my faith. I’m not going to become a bible thumper but when I was down in Virginia, I had a realization that life is truly a gift and I can’t accept the fact that we were all randomly placed here. There’s been some instances in my life that I truly believe were not acts of coincidence. I do believe there is a God. I feel that something is drawing me back to the church and I need to follow that urge to see if that’s where my answers are. I don’t know if I can return to being a practicing Catholic because there’s a lot I disagree with the church and its views regarding divorce, marriage, homosexuality, pro-life issues, and evolution. I feel this is something I need to do and honestly, it’s probably one of the bravest things I’ve ever done. I never thought it would be so hard to write “I believe there is a God” for everyone to see. Tomorrow, I’m going to Christmas mass with my best friend. It’s the first time I ever made the conscious decision to go to church. 

10. Learn more about cars. 

Here’s to 2012.

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Who ever comes up with these Ryan Gosling campaign memes is a genius who probably won every election they ever worked on. 

campaignsick:

Between The Sheets. Love this. I was trying to come up with a good sheet pun last night. Thanks, Stacey!

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the reason why the opera is in me.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes it’s hard to follow your own song? Not going to lie, it’s 15 days out until the GRE and I’m very nervous. I have a lot of anxiety about the math section. So far, I have been doing extraordinarily well on the verbal. But the math…is humbling. 

I never thought I’d be so serious about this but I think I’m really going to have to shut myself down for a couple weeks until the test. This test means a lot to me because even though 2012 looks to be a very exciting year, I still want the security of knowing I will be going to school and defer a semester if I needed to.

I realized it on my bike ride that as much as I love Albany- the bike trails, the summers, Thacher, the Hudson, the Mohawk, easy access to the upper Catskills, kayaking, the people, the shop owners who know your name, Alive at 5, EQX- professionally, it’s not cutting it because I don’t have my Masters and I’m so tired of feeling limited because I don’t have it. 

For example, I want experience in…

– Grant writing. There are so many jobs that desire that. I want the skills and experience

– writing press releases

– GIS (but that’s a given, seeing that I will be studying Environmental Policy)

I also want to live in DC and have a nice paycheck while doing something I love. Be able to take public transit or ride my bike to work. Take trips to Montreal. Maybe live there. Go to the Pacific Northwest and just get lost in the beauty. I could live there too. And most importantly, smile a lot and make my family proud. God, we’ve been through so much this year with my brother’s cancer, I really want us to explore and have some new memories together.

This is a haphazard post but I think I sorted some things out. Bring it on GRE. I’m going back to school.


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Steve Jobs.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been looking at life from a different lens. The weird thing about it is that it happened around the time Steve Jobs died. Even though I’ve had two very close family members pass away, I received an A in a class about the Philosophy of Life and Death, for some reason or another, it didn’t hit me until Steve Jobs died that one day it’s all going to be over.

Yes. I realize that sentence is bleak, morbid, and something that no one ever wants to think about. For so much of my life, and a lot of it has a lot to do with what I do for a living because I’m constantly on the go and pushing myself to the limit, I thought I was invincible. I’ve always appreciated my life but I feel until Steve Jobs died (I know. that’s so weird), I woke up every morning and took it for granted because I thought that life was always going to be here. And it’s not. 

So after coming to that realization that one day, I’m going to die and so will every person, insect, and animal I come in contact with, you’d think I would have the most depressing look on life, right?

Actually, no. When confronted with my own mortality, I noticed that I started to change as a person. I speak sweeter. I take every moment with the people in my life and just make sure that I treat people well. I haven’t smoked a cigarette since September 14th and I have no plans to ever again. And I have realized that the things I used to get mad, nervous, or anxious about…seem silly now. Sure, disappointment and conflict are inevitable but I really try to look towards the positive now and if I can make a situation better, I will. Life is so precious and truly a gift. 

When I came back to Albany, I started having people say that I’ve changed. A colleague said I seem more zen now and a family member said that whatever I changed looks good on me. None of them knew the real reason behind my new attitude. The reason I’m coming out with it is because maybe it will inspire others. 

Thank you, Steve Jobs, teaching me to live it better. 

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

-Steve Jobs


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Home’s face, how it ages when you’re away

Hi Albany. We haven’t seen each other for a while. I woke up in my bedroom for the first time in months. The weird thing is, I’ve had the apartment since May, and all of my decorations were just sitting on my dresser. I don’t know why, but I never felt the need to hang them up but as soon as I got in the door, I immediately started hammering away and put all of my pictures, posters, and pennants up. (say that three times fast)

Looking back, even though it hasn’t been two weeks since my assignment was completed, I’m glad to say that if I could do it all over again, I absolutely would. That whole thing, “why don’t I just drop and leave everything and go to work in Virginia?” was one of the best decisions I made all year. There is a lot I miss and it has reinforced the notion, it’s not where you are- I was living and working in a county that is every regional planner’s worst nightmare realized- but it’s who you’re with. I found out that yes Virginia (no pun intended), it is entirely possible to have fun in a bar located within a strip mall. In fact, other than the fact they didn’t have Magic Hat or Spaten, it probably is one of the best bars I’ve been to. I’ve always been a fan of frequenting the places where everyone knows your name and I think Glory Days’ Broadlands location ranks up there with DeJohn’s and the City Beer Hall. 

I don’t know what this post really is supposed to be about. The only sentence I can write is that I think we should follow our passions and let the people who care about you know that you care about them as often as possible. Right before I left Virginia, I made sure a good friend knew that without meeting him, so many beautiful things in my life wouldn’t have happened and I’m thankful to call him my friend. If there is someone like that in your life, please let them know. 

Let’s rave on.