03 February 2007


Today, Sue and I went down to Asbury Park to visit my mom, since her birthday is tomorrow. She and we figured today was a better day to visit, as trying to go out to lunch or dinner tomorrow would probably have been interrupted by a bunch of yahoos out watching the Super Bowl.

Personally, I may actually watch the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet instead...

We got down there around 11ish, and Sue and my mom went out to a yarn store, to check out the local wares there. I believe the store was up in Colts Neck somewhere. While at home, I ran some updates for my mom's computer, and tried to make friend with her cat Daisy.

Daisy isn't really used to other human beings besides my mom, so she doesn't react well when I'm in the house. She never comes out, or if she does, I can't get close enough to pet the kitty. And that's no fun for me, the cat lover. All I want to do is be friends, but she prefers to hide...

This isn't her hiding, but I wanted a visual representation of the kitty for readers.

After the return of Sue and Mom from the yarn store, we went out to lunch at a place close by to her house. A good time was had by all. I had Chicken Quesos, which were okay, but I should probably stick to having Mexican food at Mexican restaurants. We had some good conversation, and Mom enjoyed her birthday lunch.

I think tomorrow's going to be a big cleaning day. I've been meaning to clean around the apartment for awhile, I just haven't gotten around to it. Tomorrow's a good a day as any to do it.

Nothing else too exciting to report out there today. More to come soon, I'm sure. I'm also a bit sleepy, so writing isn't the top thing on my mind. Tomorrow, I'll write about hearing from long lost friends over e-mail.

NP: David Gilmour - Blue Light

31 January 2007


Reading Florence's blog, she did this thing about listing 6 weird things about you that nobody knows. Never one to overlook a good idea, I think I'll try this out. Feel free to do this yourself on your blog, if you have one...

1. When I tie my shoes, I still do the two rabbit ears thing. I remember being shown as a kid, that there's a way to tie shoes by doing one rabbit ear, and then twisting the other lace around it in some magical way, but I can't for the life of me remember what it is. I always feel a bit kid-like when I tie my shoes because of that...

2. When I was in school (elementary through late High School), I had this thing that I couldn't be friends with people outside of the year I was in. I don't know where it came from, but until really late in high school, like during Senior year, I really didn't have friends outside of my own class. Sure, there were people I talked to in class who were not in my year, but that was about it. During Senior year, mainly through my friend Brian, I got to be close to people outside of my year. Then, in college, most of my close friends ended up being in the year ahead of me, or the year behind me. Oh, how times change.

3. While I really enjoy the company of people, I think I can go long stretches of time without human contact, with little to no problem. Maybe it's from living on my own from 1994-2001, but there were some weekends (especially when I was living in Vermont) where I realized I would go a whole weekend without speaking to another human being. I think part of it is because my job is pretty much totally about talking and relating to other humans, that when I get some time off, sometimes disengaging is a good way to recharge my batteries.

I am trying to be better now in staying in contact with friends, without being overwhelming. We'll see how that works. With this job, I don't have to pay for long distance, so if you want me to give you a call, just say the word!

4. I have a thing about litter. I mean, I *truly* dislike it. It annoyed me when I lived in New England, because if you live in a pretty area, why litter? And I dislike it here, because if you're living in an urban area, wouldn't you want to do everything you could to keep it neat? This leads into number 5, which is...

5. Sometimes I really don't see why people think differently than I do. I mean, we're all the center of our own universes in some way, but I can't imagine people doing truly stupid things, without realizing they're stupid. This is one reason why I could never really write anything that was satisfying to me, as a piece of narrative fiction. I always found it difficult to have characters do things that weren't "right," or "good," because it's almost impossible for me to concieve of someone not realizing that they're making a bad decision. When I'm talking to students sometimes, I want to say, "Don't you get that this is a bad idea? How can you not see that?"

And it's not just because I'm "older and wiser," I thought this way back in elementary school. Either I was tremendously advanced, or I haven't grown mentally since then...

6. If I don't like someone, I can totally ignore them in the presence of other people, and not feel the least bit bad about it. I first realized this in college, when my friend Joe pointed it out to me. Or maybe Brian and I talked about it in High School. If I didn't like someone, I really wouldn't harass them or anything, but I could really just tune them out entirely. If I was directly addressed by the person, I'd respond, but in the most limited, short fashion possible. Joe did say in college that it was great to watch, because I would be quite rude to people, and not think anything of it.

From my perspective, I thought I was being more polite, because I wasn't leading anyone on. If I liked you, I'd make fun of you forever, but it was all in fun. I wouldn't make fun of the people I didn't like, because then that would feel like I was picking on someone. And that's just not right in my book... But, from the outside, me poking fun at someone could look like I don't like them. But, nothing could be further from the truth...

For those of you out there, feel free to add any other weird things you know or remember about me. I'd be curious to see myself from the point of view of others...


NP: Pete Townshend - I Don't Know Myself

30 January 2007


Tonight, before Sue went off to bed, I was regailing her with stories from High School. For whatever reason, I got onto our Lunch misadventures, and was thinking back on who I sat with at lunch for 6th through 12th grade.

At least for me, it was very uncommon to sit with different people back then for lunch. It was all about consistency. However, outside of a few of the "core" people I sat with (Brian Paik, Erik Lynch, Mike Pohl, Albert Mark, and some others), I really couldn't remember the consistent people all that well.

I went looking to my photo albums, to see if I had photos from lunch, and surprisingly, I don't have a one! I rememeber Senior year lunch pretty well, because, as seniors, we were able to leave the cafeteria. About 20 of us took over a room in the math wing of our high school, eating and causing "trouble" there for most of the year. But before senior year, it's mainly a blur.

I know this is just a symptom of ageing, but isn't it amazing that things that mattered so much then (who you sat with at lunch, even at the SAME TABLE each day), you can barely remember now. Not the most original observation in the world, but a valid one nonetheless.

Generally, I have to say that after 9th grade, I enjoyed my High School years. I'd change a few things now, if I could go back, but not much. I'd get rid of the glasses I had senior year, that's for sure. What was I thinking??? Tinted glasses were kind of in, but I looked like a cop from the 70's. I'll try to get a picture here to post as a warning to future generations.

I was also incredibly shy around girls. I'd change that now, as looking back on things, I realize I was what you'd call a TOTAL IDIOT about some situations. Those are probably best left unsaid for now, but lets just say I never dated at all in High School, and I know that I could have at least gone out with some girls if I had had the guts to say hello, or "Want to go out?" at some point.

Ah, but such is life, you live and learn. If I hadn't done that stuff, or not done that stuff, then, who knows where I'd be now, and one thing is for sure, I'm very happy with how things are as they have turned out.

You know, I could fill a full blog with "Mike's an idiot around girls" stories, but I don't know if I need to relive that portion of my life. And, the stories are much more fun to tell in person, anyway.

I guess what this post boils down to, is that if you sat with me in lunch during Junior High or High School, please write. I'd like to be reacquainted. Brian, as a reader of this blog, is already here, and I think Baron (still around Baron?) may have sat with us a few times, but I could be wrong...

NP: Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - The 17-Year Cicada

29 January 2007


It's been awhile since I've given a thorough update on my genealogy research, so tonight's a good a time as any, I guess... Also, I can't think of much else to write about.

  • I've been in contact with a gentleman who is a cousin to my Lord grandfather, on his mother's side, so the common last name there is Riepe. We've just started corresponding over e-mail, so we'll see how this goes. But, as always, it's good to find people who are connected by family.

  • I've gone to the Jersey City library for the first time in the past two weeks, even though we've lived here since July. I was busy with other avenues of research. While there, I saw that in their New Jersey room, they have lists of all the Jersey City high school graduates. I found some offshoots of the Coulson line in there, which I'll have to go back and photocopy for complete-ness sake. The last name in question was Jameson. I didn't find any Coulson's in the one list I was looking at. I really think that at least of my ancestors on the Lord side, my grandmother was the first person to complete High School. (It was my mom on my mom's side.) I've also dug up some Coulson obits from the local paper, which will help me find living descendants of those mentioned in the obits. For example, I just got an obit for a Harry Coulson, which lists the married names of his five daughters. I only knew the married name of one of them before, so now I can try to find if any of these daughters are still alive, or if they're not, then if the daughters had living relations.

  • I've really reached a bit of a wall on my Mom's side, the Polish side. Until the state and church records are a bit more easily accessible, I'll have to plan my requests to different Polish agencies carefully. I wish the civil Polish records were accessible like the Scotland records are, on the web. And speaking of the Scots records...

  • The ScotlandsPeople website, link found on the right hand column, has recently made all their pre-1855 records available on the web. There is a fee for using the site, but it's quite reasonable. I found some records I've been holding off paper copies of, as I knew that there'd be online access at some point, at a cheaper price than ordering paper. However, the one issue is that the records aren't printing properly. I have to drop a line to the website, to see if it's an issue with the site, or an issue with my printer. In the meantime, I'm simply glad to have access to the records in a very easy form.

  • I've gotten a lot of records on the James Coulson from Iowa, who I think was a brother to my G3-GF Richard Coulson. However, I do need to find his elusive death record from 1894, to prove that his parents were Richard and Sarah (Shield) Coulson. I'm going to try one more library out there, and then go the state government route again. I spoke of that agency previously, when they wouldn't issue me the record because I couldn't prove relationship. But, I need the record to prove relationship. Catch-22.

And, as a little bonus, here's a photo....

The white haired guy at the center of the photo is, I *think*, my G2-GF Robert F. Lord. I found the photo at the Kearny Museum, and it was labeled "Officials of Kearny, circa 1900." Robert was a town officer at that time, and would have been 48 in 1900. Of the guys in the photo, this person is the closest looking to another picture I have of Robert, taken probably in about 1885 or so. Here's the full picture, for context:

Of course, just my luck, there's nothing written on the back of the photo. Such is the life of a genealogist. However, I think the odds are better than 50-50 that the close up above is Robert.

So, that's the excitement on that front. For a roll call, here's a partial list of surnames in my direct ancestory:

  • Father's side: Lord, Partridge, Riepe, Nixon, Coulson, Lang, Schulze, Fegan, Houston, Lindsay, Gibb, Love, McLeod, Crawford, Blackwood, Taylor, Laird
  • Mother's side: Sanecki, Moskwa, Gac (anglicized to Gatz), Drozd, Kawa, Stachura, Flaga, Kluska, Ruszala

That's it for now. Enjoy!

NP: Yes - I'm Running (Demo)