For most of the summer my poor roomate David has been dealing with a broken car. That's not a good thing for a technician. Today David unexpectedly rolled up to my street in Newark in a sweet used '93 Toyota Celica. Yeah David.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
After leaving the Patterson/Passaic region, manager Corey let us choose where we wanted to work. Me, I chose Newark. I love the sense of urgency that Newarkians have about security. It's not so much a want there as it is a need.
This here is the grandson and great-granddaughter of my sale today--Josephine. This sale took over two hours; I not only had to sell her a new system, but I also had to cancel out her old one. A lot of time for bonding.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
This is my favorite summer sales tradition. Get a bunch of dollar bills and packing tape, wrap the tape carefully around your body, and roll around like crazy over the bills. Unfortunately I was not selected in this year's raffle, but this here is a picture of Logan. Last year in Pleasanton I made over $50 doing this.
Just as interesting as getting to know new people from across the world is getting to know their pets. This is a toy poodle named Susie. I love her, but she doesn't love me back. Everytime I come by she plays this weird game of hard-to-get. Maybe she's taunting me for never being able to have a dog. Or maybe it's just the fact that I'm not Dominican. All I know is that when I grow up I swear I'm gonna have like 50 dogs of all shapes and sizes. I hope that one is just like Susie.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
My mother has a half brother that lives 20 minutes from where I live in NJ. Just before heading back to Buffalo, Dad took me to his house for a quick morning visit. As we sat in Uncle José's living room and discussed the last year of everyone's life, I started asking myself, "Who is this man?"
I honestly could not remember how the man sitting before me was my relative. On the car ride home Dad carefully narrated the story of my Abuelito Simon and how my Tio José fits into the picture. Seriously, it's a story fit for a network TV mini-series.
It really feels good to know your roots. Since serving a mission in Mexico I have really begun to develop an interest in my Hispanic heritage. This is something completely new to me. Seven years ago we took a family vacation to Peru and visited a million people that were somehow related to me, but sadly I didn't really care too much. (Typical 17-year-old non-Spanish-speaking reaction.) Interestingly, when Simon and I went to Peru this Christmas I was sad that we didn't have time to visit any relatives. What a difference a few years makes.
Today, while in a corner store bathroom, I heard a radio spot promising to uncover the geneology of any family. I am so grateful to have parents and grandparents that have already done this for me.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Seth and Dad at a park in Washington Heights
Dad came to visit this weekend from his Navy service in Buffalo. I had 40 hours to let him experience the city the way I like to. It was nice to be in charge for a change.
Highlights included taking Dad to the NJ Unit dinner goal Saturday night at Uno Pizza in Jersey City, showing him the quaint streets of West Village, listening to another one of Marjorie Eliot's Jazz concerts, eating lunch in a Washington Heights park, checking out Gound Zero, and spending quality time on the Kennedy cliff overlooking the Manhattan skyline.
Thanks for a great weekend Dad.
Today one of my favorite library patrons randomly showed up to church before taking a plane home to Ukraine. I find the whole clerk-patron relationship very interesting. You can feel like you're quite close to someone because you see them every day, but in truth you really don't know them at all. Even still, I figured a picture was in order.
Friday, July 22, 2005
Last night Audrey and I realized that by this September we will have been friends for 10 years.
It makes me happy to think that friendships can endure so much time. (Ten years is almost half my life.) As we discussed current musical endeavors and foreign travel obsessions it occurred to me that neither of us is the person we were in back 9th grade. Somehow though we've both changed in an interestingly congruous fashion.
For example both of us have decided that Dave Matthews Band went downhill since our high-school days and that now eclecticism seems to be our favorite factor in determining what to listen to. (We became friends through DMB.)
Both of us have also decided that the only way to live is to travel. (She brought me a gourd-shaker from her recent trip to Jamaica. How sweet.)
Most coincidentally, we both are infatuated with all things Spanish. (She's dating a Spaniard; I hang out with Dominicans for a living.)
So anyway. I'm not quite sure what the next 10 years will bring, or even where I'll be next summer. One things for sure though, and that's that wherever Audrey goes in 2006, chances are I'll be quick to follow.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Have you ever been attacked by love?
I'm not talking about love from a boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse. I'm talking about being bombarded with furry, slobbery, doggy affection.
Back in Mexico there was this family of street dogs that would pin me down with sloppy hugs and kisses whenever I came to visit. I seriously loved it.
Today I had another one of those moments. I sold a system to Colombian lady named Maritza. Sassy, sassy woman--that Maritza. This is a picture of her dog Blacky and his puppy friend. Usually big dogs like these are mean and bark at you. Instead these guys charge you with a clobbering hug.
Then proceeds an intense make-out session that only ends once Maritza pulls them away.
MORAL OF THE STORY: For anyone in need of a little touch and affection (or a lot), just come to Passaic, NJ. I'll show you where Blacky lives.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
I felt so bad that I talked with the girl in English and apologized to her. Remarkably, she was positive about the whole thing and kept her cool. Rosa Parks, no. But a good example nonetheless.
Monday, July 18, 2005
I'm not quite sure why I was so compelled to take this picture. Seriously. It's taken from a dirty public bathroom stall, yet for some reason I really like it. I bet these tiles in their several decades of existence have never once been photographed. I figured maybe they had a place in the "Jersey Jobber." (If nothing else they go with the background color.)
I just sold a system to this family from Guyana so I figure I deserve to hide out in the library for a bit where there is air conditioning. These past couple days have been incredibly humid. It's seriously like a non-stop sauna out here. I try to stay inside houses as long as I can to avoid heat exhaustion. These nice people let me watch "That's so Raven" with them. Crazy how that little Olivia is all grown up now.
Saturday, July 16, 2005
So this weekend I didn't feel like going to Palmyra for the pageant with everyone else. Instead I decided to head over to Coney Island for the Village Voice Siren Music Festival. The Subway ride over to the east side of Brooklyn is a long one, but it was worth it. I got off the train to hear the distant sound of Mates of State, a band Jessica and Christina have both helped me get into.
This here is a picture of me with the keyboardist Kori. She's funny.
After the show I walked around the beach and meditated for a bit. There was a heavy mist and a strange glow that night. You can kind of see it in the picture. It was a good time to sit and think and make phone calls.
After the show I picked up the recording they made of the Ben Folds in-store concert I went to in April. On a whim I also picked up the new Bebel Gilberto remix CD. I figured I needed some more Brazilian Bossa Nova in my life. Later my friend Emmanuel picked me up and saved me from having to wait an hour to take the bus. I love having friends in the city. I really do.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
There are many subtle differences you'll notice when you cross the Hudson River from New York to New Jersey.
This picture is one of them.
See, in New York overcrowding is what causes traffic jams. In New Jersey it's lazy flocks of geese taking morning walks.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Today was another frustrating day in Passaic. Apparently Ana tried to cancel her system. That came as quite an unexpected disppointment. Later on at night I ended up kinda getting sale, but I have to wait for the credit card holder to get back from the Dominican Republic before it can go through. We'll see how it goes on Friday. At least I got to watch a Mexican telenovela with the family though. That's always fun.
The highlight of my day was meeting the couple you see pictured above. They are from Lima, Peru. I knocked on their door, and they sat me down very quickly and with a lot of concern on their faces. Apparently they had had several issues/problems with ADT and were unsure about how to fix them. Now it was hot (and I didn't feel like working) so I volunteered to help them through ADT's call center maze. After about an hour of explanations and transfers, I finally got them out of their ADT contract. It wasn't free for them though. Let me tell you that much.
After I cancelled their account they were beside themselves with joy. They fed me dinner and gave me a 3D picture of Machu Picchu. Everything I said was "Que Lindo." Once it came out that I'm Mormon they got really excited. Apparently they used to be good friends with the missionaries and were hearing the discussions. They told me that they felt something special when I knocked on their door that told them I was LDS. Crazy, huh? I'm gonna give their info to the current missionaries to see what happens.
It's funny really. I show up trying to sell a family ADT...and I walk away two hours later after canceling their account, spending their money, and eaten their food. AND THEY LOVE ME FOR IT. To top it all off, they were so happy that they congratulated Mom and Dad for having raised me so well.
So, um. Mom. Dad.
Today I went to work with Hunter to check out DDB ad agency in mid-town. Basically Hunter is the man, and it sounds like he's making a good impression through his internship. He's been able to work on campaigns for clients like Diet Pepsi and Subaru. He took me around and showed me the ins and outs of the place. It was awesome to tour a real-life ad agency and meet some of the cool people there. I got really good vibes from the place. I can't wait to get an internship next summer.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
These past couple of days have been rough ones; no sales. We left Newark last week and are now working in the Patterson region. My area is called Passaic, and it's a very Hispanic community. Unfortunately they are Hispanics who (for the most part) don't want security systems. I'll try to make the most out of it. As for installs, I have 38. Not bad for mid-July.
So this past weeked was probably the best yet here in the city. My friend Zeke came out from Washington to look at some schools he's thinking of going to in Staten and Brooklyn. Since he had gotten a hotel in Midtown, I was able to crash at his place a few nights and fulfil my dream of finally feeling like a real New Yorker. Highlights of our adventure included checking out the top of the Empire State Building and going clubbing at the Roxy.
As for right now, I'd better go hit the heat and get a sale. I'm so lazy.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
This is Ana from the DR. She is a news anchor on the Supercanal network (canál 35 here in New Jersey). On Saturday her brother-in-law Fernando and I convinced her to get a security system. Fernando is an advertising major from Panama. It was entertaining to be in a room with two other Latin communications people. Don't we look happy?
This is Frank and Maryellen. Very nice senior-citizens of Polish decent. Frank was a farmer in Pennsylvania back in his day. Despite their age they are still fairly "with it." Maryellen uses a cell phone and commented on me having the same last name as Faith Hill. Frank likes all kinds of music except rap. Quite an impressive pair.
On Saturday I sold the couple an upgrade to their 1970s security system. Monday they called me up to cancel because they were convinced that a new system wouldn't be as good as one that's proven the test of time. Sometimes it's hard to close the generation gap. Oh well.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Monday, July 04, 2005
Manager Corey let us get off work at 3pm for the holiday. What did I do with my free time? Go shopping of course! I know, I know. It sounds gay, but seriously you have no idea just how enjoyable browsing through stores can be when you you work almost every open hour of the week and Sunday is your only day off.
After shopping Andrew met up with me in the Village for some pizza, and then we spent the next couple of hours trying to meet Phil and his friends at the South Street Seaport for the fireworks show. We never actually made it to the seaport for the show, but I got some pretty sweet views of the spectacle as we walked from the Williamsburg Bridge to the Manhattan Bridge to the Brooklyn Bridge.
Sunday, July 03, 2005
So last Sunday after attending the Spanish ward and witnessing the big gay parade 2005, I took a nice sack-dinner break at a small park in Greenwich Village. There I met this funny lady named Suzanne who started talking to me about how horrible New York City life is. After criticizing the Mormon faith (but complimenting its members for their entrepreneurial skills), she ended up giving me this amazing guidebook on how to have fun in NYC for free. She said she was about to throw it away.
I cannot thank Suzanne enough for her generous gift. It was seriously like the best present I could have recieved.
After purchasing the 50-card NYC "City Walks" deck and studying Suzanne's gift, I am now the authority on how to experience the Big Apple for dirt cheap. We're not talking tourist spots, we're talking about the real, authentic, greasy, grimy deal.
Today I planned a fun-filled afternoon in Harlem; and, at the risk of sounding cocky, it turned out great. Phil and I went to the early single's ward and there met up unexpectedly with some of his old friends from St. George. After church we met up with Hunter and invited the ladies along to Marjorie Eliot's weekly free jazz concert in her Washington Heights apartment. Yes, every week this sweet, old lady invites the world to her home for some classic jazz tunes and some eclectic company. (Of course, one would never know about this unreal event without a cool guidebook.) After the music she gave us juice, granola bars, and a stirring speech about the importance of jazz music to African American identity.
Later on we took the prescribed "City Walks" route through Harlem covering the Washington Heights, Sugar Hill, and Hamilton Heights districts. Highlights included seeing the 17th-century Morris-Jumel Mansion, the Trinity Church graveyard, and a house John Hamilton built. Hunter and I had a dinner on the grounds of City University of NY and discussed his current ad internship at DDB. We also covered other topics such as gargoyles, jocks, and drinking. Once it got dark we headed over to his place to brainstorm for a print ad he's working on. Instead of taking the bus home I got a free ride with with Hiram and Dan. I tell ya you haven't truly experienced Times Square until you've done it in a sweet, red, topless Jeep.