Recent Developments


February 17, 2003 November 3, 2002 November 13, 2001 December 29, 2000 November 29, 1999
January 1, 2003 August 29, 2002 November 9, 2001  July 15, 2000 June 15, 1999
June 17, 2002 June 3, 2001 June 14, 1999
February 16, 2002 May 10, 2001 February 14, 1999
March 16, 2001 August 19, 1998

February 17, 2003

    Well, it's a blizzard out there today!!  Snow is coming down in droves and it has to be big because that's all the news is talking about today...ALL day.  Anyway, I'm home today trying to stay nice and warm, sipping hot chocolate and eating some Ben & Jerry's Vanilla for a Change Ice Cream (okay, so maybe I'm trying to just maintain a nice equilibrium).   Being a bum and vegging out in front of the TV watching old Six Feet Under Episodes is really fun and relaxing.  It also is President's Day, a day I happen to fortunately have off, so I didn't have to trek into work.  Yay!  But tomorrow is another day.   Other than being the beginning of a 4 day work week, it's also the release of Dar William's new CD, The Beauty of the Rain!  There's a concert and a CD-signing, which I hope will still be happening with all this snow.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.  Anyway, there should be a couple of new pictures up soon, which is part of what I've been working on today.  The new digital camera that I got as a Holiday present for myself takes great pictures that can be posted almost immediately after some's like magic.  Being snowed in can be really fun and make you go la-la-la!

January 1, 2003

    Happy New Year!!!  Here is hoping that this year is filled with peace and good wishes to all around the world, cause gosh darn it we definitely need it after all the crap that happened in 2002.  I'm in the process of making some updates here and there to the site.  There are new pictures of Bailey up and I'm working slowly but surely on getting other pictures up (hmm...I wonder if I'm reaching my limit on my account with all these new pictures...I should check on this).  I will write more in the next couple of days with updates on my new job, remembering the good stuff that I'm thankful for that happened in 2002, and other random ramblings (so you're safe until then!).

November 3, 2002

    Well, the days are now getting shorter and the weather is finally getting colder, too cold perhaps.  There have been a couple of things of great significance that has happened since the end of August, one was the aforementioned beach wedding in Florida, which I will discuss now.  First of all, Clearwater Beach is beautiful, as far as beaches goes.  The weather was pleasantly warm and not too humid when I was down there in mid-October, making for some enjoyable time basking in the sun and swimming in the Gulf of Mexico.  My travel partner and long-time friend, Jeanne and I headed down there a couple of days before the wedding day and spent some time exploring Tampa afterwards.  We ate lots of random food, including grouper and yummy stone crab claws (well I ate the crab claws, as Jeanne is allergic to crab).  We managed to go to an ugly Tampa Bay Lightning game at the hockey arena formerly known as The Ice Palace.  They were playing the Atlanta Thrashers and the final score was 8-5 Tampa.  With this game,  I have now been to more NHL hockey venues than I have been to MLB ballparks, which is kind of sad, considering I actually follow baseball more than I do hockey (except of course for Cornell Hockey).  Anyway, the wedding, which was the main point of me writing this part of the update, was beautiful.  Lauren and John Matzke were married on the beach at about 5PM-ish, which was followed by a spectacular beach/ocean sunset during the cocktail hour.  It was lovely, just lovely, but now I have to get used to using a different last name for another one of my friends.  Anyway, I have a bunch of pictures of the wedding and the various exploits of our travels, which I plan to post soon. 

    Speaking of pictures, I hope to have a page with a bunch of scenic and random photos taken by me (or with me in them) up by the end of the year (or at some time frame is very, very relaxed). I'll keep you posted of when that will go live.

     The other main news that has happened in my life is that I have been offered a position with another agency!  Even better, I accepted the job offer and will be starting my new position on December 2nd.  I will be working for Lenox Hill Neighborhood House as a program coordinator for their expanded caregiver support program, known as Project STAR (Support, Training, Advocacy, and Respite).  I will still be in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, a mere one train stop less than my current commute.  But the position offers something in line with why  I wanted to go into a Masters program in Social Work in the first place and is filled with new challenges and responsibilities.  My hope is that I will be able to develop and run innovative programs for caregivers of older adults.  I'm somewhat nervous about how I will do at this position, as it requires some skills that I haven't really developed yet, but I am very excited to be able to work in this program and for this agency and am going to give it my best.  I am saddened to leave current position with the Burden Center and I will miss my clients and co-workers.  And now, I'm in a frenzy to get everything wrapped up as much as possible in the next few weeks before I officially leave.  The Burden Center is a great agency, but alas, it was time to move on from working almost exclusively on a direct service level to the next step up of being able to develop and administer a program.  We shall see.

August 29th, 2002

    Another summer has come and is almost gone.  It's been a pretty laid back summer for the most part, though there were those annoying stretches of Hazy, Hot, and Humid weather, which made making home visits quite unbearable at times.  My highlight of the summer had to be my journey to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in Hillsdale, NY at the end of July.  I rode up with my friend, fellow folk music maven, and fellow social worker Sharon G., who graciously offered me and my camping equipment a ride up the Taconic Parkway and into Long Hill Farm, where the Folk Festival took place.  Once there, I met up with my other Dar-Listers at Camp Dar.  Even though Dar Williams was not there, her fans had a presence.  I met some people that I have previously chatted with in person for the first time and even saw people that I didn't know were people that I have chatted with until after the fest (Hi Sheila!).  Anyway, it was three days and three nights of wonderful folk music and contra dancing.  It was fun camping and I even got used to sleeping on a 30 degree slope in the evening, except that my camp pillow kept rolling down to the front of my tent.  I definitely broadened my exposure to various folk artists while having a rip, roaring time meeting people who were so kind to me, soaking in the beauty of the rain, munching on some really good festival food (those cold sesame noodles with hot peanut sauce...yum!) and being awed by the breathtaking views of the Berkshires that framed the festival grounds.  I caravanned home with Sharon and my other good Dar-List friend, Suzi, chatting on those cool little Motorola FRS Radios (I like toys!).  If you want to see some of the pics of the festival, check out my Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Pictures Page.

    In other news, my nephew is now almost 11 months old and will reach his first birthday on October 8th.  I have some new pictures of him that I have taken over the last couple of months and will post them as soon as I have the time to organize my photos and also my life (like the latter will ever happen).  My next little vacation will be in the middle of October for a wedding in Clearwater Beach, Florida.  My friend Lauren is getting married a great guy, John.  I'm so happy for the both of them.  They will wed on the beach and since I'm wearing sandals, I think I'm going to have to get a pedicure, as I don't want my currently ugly toenails showing.  Sigh, the things I do for people.   But alas, there also will be a vacation surrounding the ceremony and it should be nice despite my feelings about the state of Florida.  Yup, I always said that the only thing that would get me to step foot in Florida would be a friend's wedding, as I'm not a fan of hot weather and beaches, but alas, who knows?  My mind might change and I'll be pleasantly surprised. I also hope to be able to travel somewhere after the new year, but then again, I should be saving my money for that day when I finally decide that I want to move out of my parents' apartment.  However, if anyone out there would like to make a donation to the "Send Chris on Vacation Fund" or the "Loan Reduction Fund", please e-mail me and I'll tell you where to send the check!  Take care for now all.

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June 17th, 2002

    So, two days ago I  reached the last year of my mid-20s by turning 26.  I also have been working at my current job for over a year, which is quite strange, given that I have not really been in a steady job ever in my life.  Well, I guess these two things meant that I have grown up.  So, what did I end up doing for my birthday?  I have a pottery painting party at Our Name is Mud.  What can I say?  I will always have some sort of inner creative child in me, which I think is definitely needed in everyone in this world.  Well, since my February entry, there have been lots of new pictures of Bailey with more to come.  I beat his parents at putting up a website to flaunt this cute little kid. . But then again, they've been taking care of a new baby for the past 8 1/2 months, so I guess it's understandable.   Anyway, despite being at my job for only a year, I feel like I've been there for 5 years...which I'm not sure if that's a good or bad feeling.  My job is going well, but I do look forward to vacations.  My last one was a short jaunt in April to Richmond, VA to see my friend Jenny and to catch a Dar Williams concert.  My next trip will be the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival at the end of July for 3 days of camping, dancing, and folk music.  It should be a fun (and funky in more than one way) time. 

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February 16, 2002

    Well another year has gone by and my website is neglected in the pursuit of other things happening in my semi-busy life.  Nothing really major to report except that I've taken some new pictures of Bailey in the last couple of months which I hope to scan and post up on the site soon.  He's as cute as ever and so big now (about 13 lbs. last time I saw him).  His favorite position is being held by his underarms and bounced up and down.  It's tiring, but he likes it oh so much.  Also, I've been playing with my SLR camera and have some pictures of various NYC scenes that really came out half-way decent that I thought I would share with the few people who happen to stop by to visit my page.  Other than that, work has been keeping me pretty busy along with trying to maintain some form of a social life.  But alas, it seems a fair amount of my after work evenings are spent plopping in front of my bed, watching television, or mindlessly surfing the internet. So, I've decided that I should take advantage of these productive spurts that I have on occasion like I have today and do things like update my web page, tidy up my room, organize my recent pictures into albums, and maybe even reorganize my CD collection.  Or I'll just lose my motivation and just stay like a vegetable all day.  Oh well.  Enough of me rambling for now.  Happy President's Day and any other holidays that may appear before I next update this site.

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November 13, 2001

    UPDATE:  I just posted pictures of Bailey and they can be found at the appropriately titled Pictures of Bailey Page here.     

   Anyway, as I said in my previous update, a fair amount has happened since June 2001.  Most important is that I am now officially an uncle!  Bailey Doon-Ving Eng was born on October 8, 2001 at 12:37 PM and weighed in at 6 pounds 10 ounces.  I saw him for the first time last weekend (11/2/01) and we had the traditional Chinese 1-month banquet that Saturday (well it was more like the 3 week banquet if you're keeping track, but, it worked out as a better time for both families).  Bailey is the most precious little baby on earth (not that I'm biased or anything...not at all).  He's very cute and I'm so happy to be an uncle (though the title will take time to get used to).  Pictures will come as soon as I'm able to sort through the couple of rolls of film that I have and figure out how to organize them.        

        Speaking of film and photography, I bought a new camera this summer as a little birthday present to me back when I turned a quarter of a century on June 15th.  It's a Canon EOS Rebel 2000, a Single Lens Reflex camera that so far has been really good to me. I don't expect totally professional pictures with this camera, but the results are very good.  Nevertheless, it is definitely fun to play with and experiment with all the various f-stop and shutter speeds and see what happens.   I hope to take a darkroom class at some point next year and pick up photography as a little hobby but then again I need to figure out how much I can afford and find out if such a class exists in my price range.  The baby pictures that will be posted came from this camera.

        As for my job, I have been there for just over 5 months (feels like 5 years) and I have to say that I really do like my job overall so far.  The work can be really challenging at times and full of stresses, but my co-workers are very supportive and make the job very doable.  I have to say that I don't see myself doing case management for the rest of my life, but I definitely can be there for a couple of years.  Plus, I'm going to be involved with various other tasks, including a research study on homebound clients, a caregiver support group, and a caregiver information and referral clinic, meaning there will be a variety of work to do.  Hopefully this means that the administration is open to new ideas (which they seem to be to some extent) that may arise through my work with clients.  We shall see, but for now there are only some minor difficulties that may make it difficult to do my job but overall it's been pretty good so far.

        Hmm...I guess that's about all I can think to mention at this late hour.  So, next update which will be very soon should contain some pictures of Bailey. Til then.

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November 9, 2001

    Well, much has happened since I last updated this website.  First of all, I originally was going to post a response to the events of September 11th that Friday (on 9/14/01) and started to write my thoughts and feelings, but I just could not find the emotional strength at the time.  I just had this overwhelming sense of shock and was full of varying emotions that I could not sort them out by typing.  And then I got so caught up with work and other things happening, and the days went by and I didn't really think about the site.  But now, nearly two months after the day of tragedy, I have reached a point where I feel that it was time to write something.  Fortunately (and for the benefit of to let those I know who I haven't talked to yet), I did not know anyone personally who was a victim in the World Trade Center - Twin Towers and all of my family is safe.  Nevertheless, I still have this overwhelming feeling of sadness and, to a lesser extent, a sense of disillusionment of what happened.  I won't write more here for I feel that it is time for me to continue with my life as much as possible (though I do admit that life will probably never be the same) and move on to talk about other events that have happened in my life, but for those who are interested in my experience and feelings about what happened, you can go to a page that I created to work out what was going on my mind, which you can find at World Trade Center Thoughts. I will write more about the other events in my life shortly.

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June 3, 2001

    Wow, much has gone on in the last three weeks since I last updated this page.  I officially graduated from Columbia School of Social Work on May 16th, which was both a happy and sad moment in my life (endings to new beginnings always are happy/sad to me).  I just came back from a glorious trip to London where it was sunny most of the week (a rather odd occurrence I have been told) and met my penpal, Sarah for the first time.  But most importantly, I have a social work job!!  Starting June 4th, I will be a social worker for the Burden Center for Aging in their Homebound Unit.  I actually got the job the day I left for London, meaning I relaxed the whole trip and spent a little bit more money than budgeted (since I figured that I would be making some money out there).  I'm kinda nervous, but really feel good about this job.  My task is to visit homebound older adults in the Upper East Side and basically do case management and counseling with the seniors who need help.  It is definitely something that I had been interested in doing, as I would not be cooped up in an office all day, and I would be exposed to various different and challenging situations that I will have to work through to effectively help my clients while learning more about services for seniors in New York City.  I'm excited!  Well, London was a great city and I did lots of walking, sightseeing, and taking in the environs, but there were tons of stuff that I did not get to do.  Alas, I will have to return there sometime.  It was quite nice being able to meet Sarah, as she was very friendly, was able to direct me initially around London, and got a job offer while I was there (so we both were able to celebrate).  And finally, I passed my ASWB Intermediate Exam, so I'm now a Certified Social Worker!  Another relief, so now, it's off to working and saving up to find an apartment to live in (and decorate) come the Fall.  But until then, I will be living with my parents and not having to write any more papers or process recordings (what a strange feeling). Okay, I think I'm going to read for my own enjoyment now.  Later.

For some pictures of the Columbia University and CUSSW graduation, follow this link here.
For a selection of pictures that I took while on my London trip, follow the link here.

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May 10, 2001

    Well, my short but seemingly eternal two years at Social Work School has finally come to an end.  I am officially finished with classes and placement for the foreseeable future.  Now all I have to do school-wise is figure out my loan payment options (eep!) and go to graduation to get my $45,000 receipt for my social work education.  The graduation is on May 16th and I hope that my whole family will be there and my friends (Jeanne, Nicolette, Lauren, and Debbie) will be there.  I picked up my graduation gown yesterday and it has these really strange flaps on the sleeves that look like wings (yes I'm getting a bit loopey and yes I have always been this way).  Aside from the school bit, I am still trying to find a job after I graduate but so far have been somewhat unsuccessful (or not too motivated to pump out cover letters, take your pick).  Alas, it might be some time before I find a job, but in the meantime I will probably temp starting in June.  This is because I have decided to take a little trip (6 days) before I enter the real world and vacation time becomes hard to come by.  I will be headed to London on May 23 after a presentation at my placement and I am just so looking forward to it (but I have to keep somewhat focused on life here with the job search and studying for the certification exam).  I have never crossed the Atlantic Ocean before and never left the continent when it counted (I went to China when I was 4), so it is rather exciting and adventurous of me to do this.  I will be traveling alone and staying in a hostel, so pretty much meeting random people and exploring the city on my own.
    And the other great news in my life (well the life of my family really) is that I am expecting to be an uncle (!!!) come October.  Yes, folks, my sister is currently in the beginning of her second trimester and the baby is doing fine.  I'm not sure what sort of uncle I will be, but I figure I might one of those uncles who try to undermine the authority of the parents and do cool things with the child that the parents normally would not do (somehow I envision this, but who knows?).   But I just found out yesterday (May 9th) about this and just could not believe it.  Yay!!  Anyway, so all these changes in my life and all these things that are coming up.  Wow, it's almost overwhelming.  Phew.  I need a long rest. 

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March 16, 2001

    Okay, I'm in the midst of my final Spring Break for the foreseeable future (I don't think I'll be getting my PhD anytime soon) and have been mostly catching up on my sleep.  While most people that I know from school have gone away, leaving me somewhat isolated socially, I've decided to stay at home and try to work on my résumé, rent videos, visit the Museum of Television and Radio, and nosh on carrots, chocolate (I just had a couple of Champagne Truffles...yum!), and yogurt while being a semi-bum.  The main reason that I stayed home (aside from the money) was that I had important commitments to attend to during the Monday and Friday of the break, leaving me only 3 days to go somewhere and it just was not worth it, I thought.  Anyway, on Monday, I had my road test for my driver's license.  This was the second time I took it, failing just 6 weeks earlier, where I had problems turning and judging the middle of the road.  So, after a few more lessons (and a couple of hundred more dollars), practice with the cars of my sister and my brother, waiting almost two hours in a line of cars to take the test in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, having the student that was with me fail her test, and feeling utterly tired and nervous at the same time, I PASSED!!!!  So, yes I now can legally drive in this country.  Now if only I had a car to drive (well that will come later, I guess).  Anyway, it is definitely a relief to get this hurdle out of the way so that I can at least rent a car or something or look at other states for Social Work jobs.  Alas, there are a few more hurdles to surmount in the next couple of months:  My licensure (or certification in NYS) examination, which I hope to take sometime next month (though I have yet to study and need to start soon), passing my last three classes, revising my résumé, finishing up my placement, and looking for a job.  Then, I will be graduated and off into the world of the underappreciated and underpaid MSW social worker.  Woohoo!  But, really, I am excited about being done with school but somewhat apprehensive about having to find a job and go through this process.  Yet it is definitely time. Til next time.

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December 29, 2000

    Well, another few months has passed and here's another update in my life at the brink of the beginning of the REAL Christian Calendar millennium (the whole 2000 hoopla was just a commercial ploy that mostly bombed...I mean 24 hour coverage of the each time zone hitting the double zeros and $1000 seats to a concert with Barbara...c'mon).  Anyway, I'm currently at the tail end of my two week winter break from anything at all having to deal with school or field placement.  I realize that this is the next to last break that I will have in my life for the foreseeable future am definitely trying to savor it.  I'm trying to catch up with people that I've neglected these past few months both via e-mail and seeing them in person as well as people who are around for the holidays.  It's been rather relaxing for the most part, but there is some anxiety over sprucing up my résumé and have it ready to begin my quest in looking for a job after I graduate (as well as evaluating myself for this purpose).
    Well, my field placement this year is with the Caregivers Service of HealthOutreach, a community outreach organization that provides services for older adults (age 60 and over) and their families.  This agency is funded by NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.  My role has been multi-faceted and is expected to expand next semester.  I have been developing a needs assessment for the agency of the caregivers to better inform the creation of programs for the Caregivers Service.  I also have been meeting with caregivers and older adults on an individual basis as well as co-facilitating a support group for caregivers.  Next semester, I will be co-facilitating a bereavement group for daughters and sons who have lost a parent as well as doing a rotation in an inpatient unit of the hospital (possibly oncology).  All this in the midst of trying to finish my last semester at Columbia and thinking straight most of the time.   Is this possible, you may ask?  Barely.  But, alas, this is definitely an area that interests me and hopefully I can pursue working with older adults in the future.  We shall see.
    Other than that...well, not much exists other than school and placement, but I guess some other things have occurred.  I'm finally taking the next steps of getting my driver's license by taking lessons (so far, so good).  I hope to get my license before I have to renew my learner's permit AGAIN (note that I have already renewed it embarrasking).  So, wish me luck with that.   With that, I wish all happy moments and the best for the New Year.

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July 15, 2000

        Oh my gosh! It's been awhile since I even looked at my page and then I realized that according to some sections, it's 1998 and I'm living in Ithaca for the summer. Well, that's was true, but here's what's been happening in my life the past 8 months or so. In the middle of this past May, I finished my first year of graduate school at Columbia. The spring semester was pretty grueling, as it was full of lots of papers and presentations. Plus, I had my field placement with the Brooklyn Bureau three times a week. Phew. I was pooped most of the time. But somehow I found the energy to survive and manage through the troubled waters until I hit the summer. Let me just thank my friends for bearing with me and listening to me bitch about papers and other randoms things in my life (you know who you are and I appreciate every one of your set of ears for support). So, I have only one more year left before I actually have to find a job and start paying off my loans! Ah, the joy of the real world. I figured that I was able to cheat it for only so long before I got way to seriously in debt (wait a minute, I'm going to Columbia....nevermind, I'm already in that position...okay, let's just say borrowing to the point where my life would be easier if I defaulted on my loans). So, this is more or less for school until I decide to go for my PhD (and I have not thought that far).
        So, currently, I have taken a temp job with Cornell Medical College and somehow managing to suck myself back into the world of Cornell (hey Cornellians, they even have LaunchPad here). I'm working for the finance section of the facilities development department as a bill pusher (aka member of the bureaucracy!). I can't really say that it's the most exciting or interesting job that I have ever had, but at least it pays well and it has so far been steady work. I probably will be let go in a couple of weeks cause I anticipate that they want a temp to perm and I'm only a straight temp. But that is okay, as I could move onto a new job (although, the plush internet access may be compromised (pooh). We shall see.
        Well, the biggest news about me right now is about next year's placement (sorry, no love interests here, I apologize for not being so exciting). I will finally be testing my interests in gerontology through my placement with the HealthOutreach Program of New York Presbyterian Hospital (at the Cornell Site - only one block away from my current temp job). My exact role has yet to be finalized or defined completely but the program deals with trying to promote health education in seniors through a variety of means. The placement is actually part of a research project to test a model of social work education to see if it will enhance a student's learning and interest in the field of gerontology (at least that's what I think the specific aim is). I also will be working on an inpatient unit with seniors for one semester of the year and some other incentives will be included as well in exchange for my services as a test subject. I also will be working with other students in the program on a research project. Overall, I'm very excited.
        As for as exciting news in other people's lives, one of my high school friends, Jen S., just got married about a couple of weeks ago to her significant other of like 5 years. I was very happy for Jen and Jason and wish them the very best. The wedding was wonderful and also made me teary (what can I say, I'm a sentimental sap). For a pic of the happy couple follow this link. Thanks to the photographer and videographer at the wedding who gave me some really cool lighting to work with to produce some great pictures of the special evening. Now, I feel old as my friends are getting married. Next up on the marriage track, is my friend Wendy, who is currently in North Carolina and will be wed to Nathan in August. Wow, yes Virginia, people are growing up now (which is a good thing but still scary nevertheless).

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November 27, 1999

        Welcome to the beginning of the holiday madness. Well, It's been a rather busy few months. I ended AmeriCorps at the end of July, took a month off from everything, and started my MSW Program at Columbia School of Social Work. I am really enjoying it right now but the work has been pretty intense. I now remember why the heck I took off a year in the first place. My schedule is something like this. I have 3 classes spread out over two times a week (Wednesday and Friday) at Columbia. The other 3 days, I'm at my field placement with the Brooklyn Bureau of Community Service East New York Family Center. Essentially what I do is family counseling with families whose children are at risk for foster care placement (either they identify the risk or the risk has been identified by another agency). It's interesting and I'm really fortunate to have a great supervisor/field instructor who is teaching me lots about the field and how to be a social worker.
        Classes and field placement seem to take up practically all of my life, so I have had little time for a social life. It's like I'm carrying two full time jobs. It's a little frustrating, but I still manage to go out occassionally, meet new people, and hang out with old NYC friends (although it's happening less often than I would like to in order to maintain that people contact that is so important to my life). Anyway, I'm almost done for the semester (about 3 more weeks left) and I'll be a quarter way to getting my Masters. Wow, time is going fast yet again. And I seriously have to update this webpage at some point in my life.

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June 15, 1999

        Well, I'm officially a year older. Egad, I'm 23. Boy do I feel old. People being born right now will probably think that cassettes are symbols for nostalgic people wanting to cling to their childhood. Sigh. Oh, well, on with living my life (just because I'm happier with myself, doesn't make me less cynical).

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June 14, 1999

        Hey Everybody! Yet again a few months have past in an instant and still my pages have yet to be updated. First let me apologize to all the Technites who have written me asking to place their contact information of the site. I will put them up ASAP. Thank you all for your patience.
        And now for a quick update: These past few months have just been amazing. After my VA Medical Center project, my team, "Lushis Funk," and I headed out to Poughkeepsie, NY to work for Scenic Hudson to promote The 2nd Annual Great River Sweep. Well, our team actually continued the work of a previous Perry Point team who did all the grunt work (Thank You SO MUCH Purple Mountain Majesty). What The Funk basically did was to seek out coordinators throughout the Hudson River Valley who would gather volunteers to do a cleanup of the Hudson. We more than doubled the volunteer output and number of cleanups from the previous year. The cleanups that were part of The Sweep stretched from Staten Island all the way up to Washington County, New York. While that was impressive, there were two main reasons why I truly enjoyed the project. The first was the Scenic Hudson staff, including our sponsor Andy Bicking, who were so patient and kind throughout our eight week stay. They were supportive of our efforts for The Sweep and truly animated and energetic people who are committed to their cause. They made me a firm believer in environmental non-profits. The second reason was that I gained a greater appreciation for The Hudson River and the surrounding areas. I just was never aware of the beauty of The Hudson, that "dirty" river that separated NYC from Jersey, and what it meant to the volunteers who participated in the cleanup. And now, I will forever be an advocate for The Hudson.
(Quick side note: While my experiences in AmeriCorps have been great, they have not been with some problems. In any large government organization, there exist a number of inconsistencies between the said program and what actually happens. While I am a firm believer and supporter of Americorps*NCCC as an idea, there are a number of things that have to change before this program can truly accomplish its goal of being a great national service program. While I am not the definitive source for such solutions (other people have for more well thought out ideas than I), I do have some. Please e-mail me if you wish to discuss them. And now back to our regularly scheduled update).
        Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to express my appreciation of the project to the people at Scenic Hudson as I was whisked back to Perry Point to prepare myself to head out to Oklahoma City to assist people who were affected by the May 3, 1999 tornadoes. I joined two separate teams who had been together for the past 8 weeks and was really unsure what to expect in the coming 3 weeks. The 14 of us left for Oklahoma City on May 16 in a 15 passenger Ford Club Wagon and a Ford F-150 XL Truck and arrived in OKC on May 18. It turned out to be a truly surreal, amazing, and memorable experience. I met some awesome people from the Denver and D.C. campuses (two other NCCC locations), and got to know a few of my fellow Perry Pointers a bit better. It was in Oklahoma where I struggled with determining what to do after AmeriCorps and realized, with the help of the people that I encountered throughout my three weeks there, that I should follow my strong desire (dreams would sound a bit too cheesey here) to be the best darn social worker I can (okay there is a bit of melodramatic play here but hey, that's how I felt). So, I am pleased to announce that I will be entering The MS Program at the Columbia University School of Social Work this Fall (loan debt here we come!). Granted, I probably would have come to this decision eventually, but there were just some people I met in Oklahoma who instilled a confidence that I do not remember having in such a long time and I now feel ready to take the next step in my life and that is to go to grad school in a program that I truly want to pursue. There were other magical experiences in Oklahoma but this one was the most newsworthy and describable in words (there is one thing about coming more to terms and open with my bisexuality, but nothing romantic happened and that's okay). So, with that I bid you adieu for now. Next project: Woodstock, NY for some trailwork and archiving of artwork.

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February 14, 1999

        Hi All. Happy Un-Valentine's Day. Hey, if and when I actually have a significant other, maybe I'll think about this day differently. Until then, it's most importantly my dad's birthday today. Time has gone by so fast these last few months. I realize how much I really need to update these set of pages and hopefully I will have time in the coming weeks while I still have access to a computer. But an update-in-brief: I did visit Seattle for one week and it was fabulous. I would consider living there if somehow I lose my love for the East Coast. I'm currently in Americorps*NCCC living in Perry Point, Maryland (Perry who?) just outside of Perryville, about 45 minutes away from both Baltimore and Philadelphia. There's a Veterans Administration Medical Center here (well actually, all of Perry Point is federal land devoted to the VA) and I live in a house on the grounds with 5 other males and one bathroom. I really am enjoying my time here even though I've been stressing out about life after Americorps. Heck, I just started and I have to worry about the future already. I guess I have to face reality soon enough.
        I had my 5 second brush with fame last Wednesday when I headed down to College Park, Maryland to hear President Bill Clinton speak about his desire to increase funding to Americorps so that more young people can participate. This is an excellent idea as I really like this program as it provides an excellent opportunity for service and helping communities. Anyway, I actually sat on the stage where Bill was speaking and got to shake his hand. That was cool. What was even more strange was that I managed to run into Tim Green, a fellow former co-worker/friend from the Music Library, who is in an Americorps Program as well. That was a very big surprise (you might say that it surpassed the awe I experienced that day with meeting the president). Small world we live in, huh? More on life, the universe, and everything later on.

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August 19, 1998

        The summer is slowly approaching the end, but at least I have a little bit over a month before my big year-long trek of service commences (hopefully). It feels weird that I'm not actually going to go to school or start school in a week when everyone else at Cornell begin their year. I have been doing this for the past 4 years (really the past 18 years if you want to count all the time I've been in some form of academia) and now will be the first time that I won't have to go through this. While that is a HAPPY and exciting event, it is also SAD at the same time as that means that it's time to move on. For me, it is a bit difficult, but I personally know that it is time to take the next step in life. My only main regret of late is that I wasn't able to do some of the things I planned to do during my last summer in Ithaca. Sigh.
        But, on a happier note, I have been temping lately and getting some money to help with the credit card debt I have accumulated over the past few months. It does suck not having worked during the early parts of the summer, and now I am paying for it, but I hope that I will be able to get most of my debt out of the way before I start Americorps (Let's hope really hard!). I will actually be heading to Seattle for about a week to visit my friend Nina and to explore a part of the country I've never been before and that is pretty exciting!

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