A New Perspective

I have started two things in the past week that are out of the ordinary for me. First and foremost, obviously, is my new full-time job. I’m currently two days into it and I actually am enjoying way more than I thought I would. Now, clearly this is only after two days and it’s way to early to make any definitive statements. However, my future has been very loosely laid out and I like what I’ve seen. Comparing my proposed responsibilities to those that I had as an intern is not even close. I’ll actually have control of some things and be a part of the decision making process. At the moment I’m a little bit too fresh off the block to understand how everything works but I’m confident and excited for the future.

That was an unintentional paragraph about how I feel about my job currently. The second thing that is out of the ordinary was starting a book. I’ve been told that I shouldn’t tell anyone but I started 50 Shades of Grey. I can explain. I was playing with Trooper one day last week and saw the book in my mom’s room. I wondered what all the fuss was about so I started reading. This has been the only book ever where I can sit down for an hour plus and just read without feeling like I’m wasting my time. I’m ~300 pages in right now but my progress has been temporarily halted due my life changing direction in the past few days.

Anyway, the reason I’m posting this is because old (or should I say young) Sam wouldn’t be able to do these two things (my job and reading a book) and I’ll tell you why. When I was at work I would be anxious about leaving. It would hit one or two in the afternoon and all I could think about is what else I could be doing. The same happened when I would try to read a book. After a chapter or two I would so anxious about what I was missing. I would think about what else I could be doing and my mind would wander to the point where I’d flip through the pages and be able to give you zero information about what I just read.

New Sam on the other hand has a new stance on life. My position is essentially long-term at the moment. On my weekdays from ~8-5 there just won’t be anything for me to really do. My free time now consists of reading, a ton of free-throws, eating, watching sports/movies, and going on the computer. I’m not missing out on anything so when I’m at work (at least for the past two days) I’m not anxious at all about when I’m leaving. It hits four in the afternoon and it doesn’t really mean anything to me. I don’t mind being at work because there’s nothing to do. Things in a grand scheme are moving very slowly now and it’s pretty relaxing. I don’t mind reading 100 pages straight of 50 Shades of Grey not because I’m a pervert and love the book (although I think it is good, but that will be a post unto itself) but because reading in general doesn’t have the same effect on me as it used to. Before I was anxious and couldn’t wait to finish a chapter so I could put the book down and stop reading. Now I breeze through.

Both of these effects are made quite clear to me because of one specific behavior that I have abandoned. What I used to be at work I would be conscious of the time and how much has passed. When I used to read a book I was always conscious of how many pages I had read and how many more were left until the end of the chapter. Now I don’t even think about the time or how many pages I’ve read and this has actually had a great effect on me. Time goes faster for me at work and the pages fly by in the book without me realizing it.

I don’t know how long these things will last but at the moment I’m very happy with my set up. I anticipated that work would be my downfall but that does not seem to be the case in the slightest. At least for now, my life can continue like this and I’ll be very pleased.

Regret?

I’ve lived the last couple of months with the general motto of no quas. This generally leads to acting in a manner that would suggest I have no regrets as well. As of right now, I would say I don’t regret anything I did in my last few months of college although I could see how if some people duplicated my actions they may regret them. That leads to me thinking if I will ever regret anything that has happened recently.

When I think about it, I don’t really care, but at the same time there are numerous things that I would prefer not to tell my parents, grand parents, or children. I anticipate that I’ll be willing to tell my grand children (assuming I make it that far and am fortunate enough to have them) because I’ll be old and will give less quas than I do now. But still, there are things that I would rather not have. So will I ever hit this point where I flip from not regretting my actions to regretting my actions? Is the only thing that matters my mindset at the time the actions took place? I wouldn’t think so but I wonder what life event or realization would have to occur in order for me to look back at my college days and be embarrassed to share what I did.

My dad has a scar on his arm and I always wondered how he got it. I’ve never asked him but I recently entertained the thought that he got it way back in his college days. Maybe something like that is something you would look back on and regret. Whether it was putting a cigarette out on your arm or whatever. You just look back and think how stupid you used to be. I fortunately don’t have any scars or regrettable tattoos or anything like that to remind me of what I did but between Facebook photos, this blog, and the stories that people know, I wonder if I’ll ever look back and be disappointed. At the moment I’m not because those last few months were easily the best of my life so far but I guess things can change.

Blog vs. Twitter

There’s a battle going on that almost no one I know would understand because no one else besides a select few maintain a personal blog and a Twitter. It’s become somewhat apparent to me lately that Twitter could in fact be sapping some creativity out of my blog. I’ll dive further.

Twitter is used for quick thoughts or observations that are worth sharing and in general they’re humorous. Since I have a blog and a Twitter it often comes up in my brain as to whether I should blog about something simply tweet it. A tweet gets the point across quickly and has no elaboration whereas a blog post is dedicated to full elaboration of a specific topic or event. When something happens to me I have the option to tweet it or blog about it. The argument always comes down to “well, is this blog-worthy?” Lately I’ve been finding it easier to just tweet something as opposed to post about it which results in less posts. In general the message is the important part of a tweet, the elaboration of the message in what’s important in a blog post.

Being able to transfer small thoughts into an entire blog post takes time, effort, and the ability to do so. This reminds me of Seinfeld. Seinfeld is creatively genius because they can take these small “tweet-worthy” things and create an entire episode about them. An episode in my case, is essentially a blog post. I need to become more skilled at taking tweet-worthy things and turning them into blog posts instead of vice-versa. The problem here is that I’m not nearly a smart or creative as Jerry Seinfeld or Larry David and my writing skills on par with Trooper’s. However, there is always room for improvement.

I will be doing my best in the future to take tweet-worthy things and turn them into blog posts. But this can be risky. Due to the quick and easy nature of tweets a lot of non-tweet-worthy things get tweeted. I’ll have to be careful about what I decide to elaborate on. This idea may also allow me to go back in my tweets and find potential blog-worthy things. We’ll see what happens.

Gearing Up for Great Races

Slade and I will be attending our first major track meet on Saturday, the Adidas Grand Prix in New York. It’s the third meet in the Diamond League series and it promises to be a good one. There’s Rudisha in the 800; Hagos and Dejen in the 5k (along with Ben freakin True); about five different high school boys who could break four in the mile, and a host of other races that will be exciting to watch. With that in mind, I’ll be doing another version of this post in an attempt to get more excited for the meet.

2012 London Olympics – David Rudisha’s 800

http://youtu.be/YKEOjWEzVGs?t=3m16s

Most people probably don’t know but this was the greatest single T&F performance of the 2012 Olympics (arguably of all-time Olympics) without a doubt. This was also the greatest 800 meter race ever run in terms of depth and times. David Rudisha was already a legend but this was the most legendary race of all. On the biggest stage in the world he leads a field of incredible talent wire to wire for the win in a new world record. This cannot be emphasized enough. Setting a world record in a mid-d or distance race without a rabbit is unheard of. A rough estimate is that a quality rabbit is worth one second per lap which would suggest Rudisha was capable of sub 1:40 that day. He took the race right from the get go and proved his absolute dominance. The race itself had the fastest finishing times ever for places 1-8 (no 2nd place finisher ever ran as fast as Amos, no 3rd place finisher as fast as Kitum, etc.). We will likely never see another 800 race like the one that took place that day.

Daniel Komen’s 3k World Record

Daniel Komen is widely considered the most talented distance runner of all time and one of the only men ever to reduce Geb to a jog while Geb was in his prime. As a 20 year old he had 3:29 1500 speed (~3:45 mile) and ran 12:39 in the 5k (3rd all-time). For about two years between 1996 and 1998 he did things that were unthinkable, the biggest one being his outdoor 3k record. When you have someone with that type of mile speed and that type of 5k endurance, the 3k/2 mile is the perfect race. Two days prior to this race he ran a “tired” 13:00 in the 5k so he was no where near fresh. Steve Cram, who was an animal himself, is literally laughing at Komen when he goes through 800 in 1:56 (4:05 in the video). What he did that day was absurd. EVERY single 400 meter split was under 60 seconds. Even El Guerrouj himself attempted the record and missed it by a full two and a half seconds. That’s the closest anyone has ever come to that record.

2000 Sydney Olympic 10k – Geb vs. Tergat

There are other more traditional videos but I’ll play this one just because it’s different and pretty cool. These two had an incredible rivalry. This is the epitome of Kenya vs. Ethiopia, the two greatest distance running nations in the world. Tergat was an incredible XC runner but Geb always had the edge on the track. However, he was slightly banged up going into this race so everyone thought this might be Tergat’s time. The race itself is great. Tergat sits and sits and then all of a sudden he pounces, much later than most expected actually. Then it was up to Geb to see if he could do what he always does, outkick Tergat. An incredible effort by both runners.

The rabbit that got away –  Tom Byers

At the time this was billed as a legit attempt at the world record for Steve Ovett and he had the company in the field to do it. When you have a field of this caliber you often see everyone just wait around looking at each thinking that they’re not going to sacrifice their race, they’ll just sit and respond to what the other great runners do. It’s a shame really to have this many capable runners gather together and no one has the balls to go for it. You have to give Byers credit for sticking in too. He’s in way over his head going out solo in sub 1:55 but he guts his way to a win over an incredible field. He deserved it.

 

 

 

The Killers Concert

killers

I’m aware the Killers concert was on Sunday and that today is Wednesday but I want to post about it.

Simply put, they were incredible. I was not drunk for this concert so I was fully focused on the music and the atmosphere around me. Not only are they a great live band in terms of quality of play, but Brandon Flowers is one of the best entertainers I have ever seen. The crowd feeds off of his energy which in turns fuels him even more. He loves what he does and rightfully so. Also, his voice is incredible. He delivers every note with force and hits them all perfectly. The guy just has so much energy and charisma and enthusiasm that he’s extremely difficult not to like. I went into this concert thinking that the Killers were a good band and that Brandon Flowers was a good front man but after that I would say the Killers are a great band and Brandon Flowers’ stock has sky-rocketed in my book. He’s been doing this for 10+ years and hasn’t lost it one bit.

Another thing that helped was the actual ‘show’. The lights and pyrotechnics and off the charts and fit every song perfectly. Finally, there song selection was great. They had a new album come out relatively recently but didn’t dwell on that too much. They played their classics like Mr. Brightside and All These Things That I’ve Done (my personal favorite), they played about 4-5 songs from their new CD, and some other decently well known ones throughout but everything was mixed up so you were never hitting a point where you went more than a song or two without knowing it. I listened to their new album Battleborn and I would say it’s good. If I had it in my car I would listen to it but it doesn’t blow me away. However, when it’s performed live and the energy is there, it’s a whole different story.

I would highly recommend seeing them if you like the band at all and get the opportunity. I can only imagine that if I was drunk and in a party mood I would have enjoyed the music even more.

On one final note, Sunday was my first trip to the Susquehanna Bank Center (Tweeter)

My Last Days: Meet Zach Sobiech

People generally don’t watch any video on here if it’s 2 minutes long so I highly doubt anyone will watch this whole thing but I had nothing better to do and I watched all 22 minutes. I fought off tears for the majority but shed a couple around 18 minutes in. Worth the watch if you have the time.

The Wedding

Finally the day had arrived. Laura and Brookes were set to marry on Saturday. There had been a lot of drama and anticipation leading up to this event but we were finally there ready to make it happen. I was actually really excited for the whole day leading up to it. I woke up, made a nice breakfast, and then sipped beers until JC and I made the drive to Bartram’s Garden which is where the wedding took place. Jeff, Dan, and I were set to be ushers which would have been fine but because it was slightly drizzling we weren’t sure whether we should send people to the ceremony (which was taking place outside) or let them wait inside until it actually started. Regardless, we did our job pretty well and everything was going smoothly.

At around 5:00 the ceremony was underway. I was fortunate enough to have a front row seat for all of the action. Derek did a great job leading everything and Laura and Brookes look fantastic up there in front of everyone. Laura got a little emotional during the vows but that was to be expected. The ceremony was short and sweet just as most thought it should be. We headed off to take some pictures and then were off for dinner. I was seated at a table with my cousin and his wife, Mike and Katie, which was extremely fortunate because I didn’t know anyone else. Mike’s always full of good stories and he even made a point of complimenting my blog noting that it was hysterical. I enjoyed their company greatly and it made the time pass quickly until the party really got started.

Jeff and Bryan were in charge of giving toasts to Laura and Brookes. Although I’ve only known Bryan for a week he seems very quick on his feet and is not afraid of stealing the show. He led it off with his toast and did a great job. Jeff followed and I believe he was funnier than he expected/was hoping. Both guys did great I thought. The reception proceeded with Laura and JC having the traditional dance as well as Brookes and his mother. Then it was under way. The dance floor started poppin’ and for the next 2-3 hours it was just a blast. I was knocking back as many beers as I could in order to obtain my dancing feet. It started off a tiny bit slow but near the end the dance floor was packed and everyone was just having a good time. The tent protected us from the rain but near the end a few of us decided dancing in the rain would be more fun anyway. Overall I would say the wedding was a 10/10. It could not have gone any better in my mind. There were no problems or incidents and everyone had a blast (well, at least I did).

I timed my drunk perfectly. I peaked drunk at the very end of the wedding and it’s only after the wedding that things start to get hazy. Tom, Jeff, and I went out to Ladder 15 where I struggled to get in and then was denied access to alcohol. By an extremely odd connection, Brad S (who I met once at JMU) and he somehow recognized me. He led me to Yoko which was kind of crazy because this is our second random meeting at a bar in Philly. We established the odd connection as to why this happened and why it’s not a total coincidence but still, it’s quite bizarre. All of this is really hazy, I was a little too drunk and had to be taken back to Tom and Jeff’s place. I woke up fully clothed with my heart pounding and a killer headache. It was absolutely worth it though as that night was a unique and incredible experience.

Congratulations to Laura and Brookes. Here are two pictures from the wedding.

lar

wedd

The Creative Lull

Similar to my life at the moment, my creative juices are simply not flowing. You would think more free time = more posts but that’s not how it goes. A quality post takes ~20-30 minutes (assuming it’s not a long music post or something) and I almost always have 20-30 minutes of free time a day no matter what stage of life I’ve been in. I need things to happen in my life so that I can observe and reflect on them. A normal day as of late consists of shooting ~100 free throws along with hundreds of other shots, watching 2-3 movies, and watching 1-2 playoff basketball games. I may slip a run in there but that’s nothing special. Oh, I’ve been to the vet twice and there’s a cute girl that works there. Fortunately for me, because my cats suck, I get to go back twice next week as well so I’ll probably have a girlfriend in less than a week.

Obviously the next three days for me are packed between Brookes and Laura’s wedding rehearsal tonight, their wedding tomorrow, and then the Killers concert on Sunday but recapping these events are not necessarily what people want to read. People don’t want to read about actions unless they’re funny which they sometimes are but generally when I recap my nights it’s all fluff. People want to read ideas and when my mind is being stimulated at a minimal level it just doesn’t do it for me. I want to write good posts, I want people to think my blog is entertaining, but at the moment I’m unable to provide. Dave wrote on my wall saying now that I’ve graduated my blog will probably start to suck. I can only say that it will probably suck for the next week. Hopefully starting my job will give some quality material. I’m sure I will have a number of awkward personal interactions and be put in a number of awkward situations that could lead to something.

The one little thing I’ve been looking forward to lately is cooking. Wacker made homemade Eggs Benedict last night and my long term goal (end of next week) is to do that myself. I made my first ever omelette yesterday which turned out pretty well. Last night I attempted to poach an egg in preparation for Eggs Benny and it was moderately successful. Today I poached another one and made myself a nice breakfast otherwise. I’m starting small but being able to cook is obviously a valuable thing to know. I’ll never forget Brookes’ crab cakes at Avalon. Those things were incredible. Hypothetically, if I cooked a girl that for dinner, there’s no way I wouldn’t go up a few notches in her book. It’s also beneficially because I won’t have to eat peanut butter on toast or ham sandwiches all day.

Just to please Tom, here’s a picture of Wacker’s Egg Benny from last night. This is my competition.

*He used real bacon because he didn’t have Canadian bacon

wacker benny

Bachelor Cat

Instead of lying on the couch until 11:30PM then going to bed yesterday, I only laid on the couch until 3:30PM in anticipation for Brookes’ bachelor party. Us Stortz boys were invited but had little to do with the planning of the event. It started off at 6:30 with batting cages on Girard Ave in Philly called Everybody Hits Philadelphia. I haven’t swung at a baseball in probably 10 years and I was absolutely terrible about it back then. I put it on the second slowest setting (40-50mph) and let it rip. It was brutal. Out of 16 pitches I made contact with probably five. It didn’t help that pretty much everyone else in the group was crushing it right off the bat. After a few more tries I started getting the hang of it and bumped up the speed. The hour went by fast and I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought.

everybody hits

After that we headed to a bar to grab some drinks for a few hours. The drinks were somewhat expensive but pretty high quality. I made the mistake of ordering an 8oz beer which came in what looked like a shot glass. The table did not let me live that one down. We went around getting to know each other and reflecting on the man that is Brookes. At one point the owner of the batting cages walked into that same bar and actually bought Brookes a beer which was really nice. It was actually a really fun time that concluded with a round of tequila shots and a monster check. Somewhere along the way Brookes and his friend Phil got into an argument about who would win in a game of pool. There was a bar up the street with a pool table and after countless trash talk we decided to head up there to settle the dispute. Unfortunately Phil never showed up so I guess that means Brookes wins by default. After a couple more beers and a few games of pool the party decided to disperse. It was about 2am and everyone was ready to call it a night.

The Stortz family woke up this morning to some bad news. Elvis was scheduled for surgery today between 8:30-9:30 but he was missing for over 24 hours. We had searched all over the place and could not find this cat. We all feared the worst. I arrived home at 10:30 and saw my dad shaken up in the drive way. He asked me if I had any ideas and I pretty much said “I don’t know, I’ll look around a bit I guess.” I headed outside and within two minutes I found the freakin’ cat. He was in the back woods on Hoffman’s side in the pricker bushes. I couldn’t believe it. I got my dad and after five or so minutes we had the cat in our hands. Unbelievable.

Unfortunately they wouldn’t accept him for surgery this morning because we couldn’t be sure that he hadn’t eaten something. If he ate this morning then he could possibly puke after anesthesia and die or something so we have to wait until tomorrow but the important thing is that the cat is somehow alive.

Anyway, Brookes and Laura’s wedding is currently three days away with the rehearsal only two days away. That is the biggest thing on my agenda at the moment and I’m quite excited for it.

Reflections on Ursinus

uc

College is complete. I’ve taken the credits, passed the classes, competed in the races, and graduated from Ursinus. In all honesty, as I sit here three days later, it still hasn’t hit me that I’m done. I’m obviously well aware that it’s all over, but the reality of the situation hasn’t set in yet. One thing that I think helps is the alumni of the class above me. It wasn’t like they graduated and I never saw them again. Between Ryder, Pane, Drowzy, and even Ben who lives in Colorado, it’s  become apparent that these people are your real friends and not living with them doesn’t change that. Sure it’s different when you only see someone once a month instead of all day everyday but these people are still in your life. If I had to guess, I would say once I start working is when it will really hit me. At that point there’s no turning back, but fortunately I live in close proximity to Ursinus so I will many chances to visit on the weekends (although I don’t want to end up like most know who).

One thing that seems strange is the difference between each year in college. For example, Slade was more or lesss my best friend at school by the time I graduated but when I was a junior or senior I barely ever looked back to when I was a freshman and the times spent with Len. Granted I wasn’t that great of friends with Len but everything seems so long ago and there are so few details that I can recall. I could look back at this year and even last year and recall the specific jokes that were just hilarious. I’m just curious to see how that will work out.

I think the thing I will miss the most is the team and the running. Being on a team with fellow distance runners is one of the fastest ways to get to know people. When you spend that type of time together you can’t help but become really close. Over the course of my four (more like three) full years of running I’ve probably been on at least five on one run of at least half an hour with every person who’s been on the distance team and with most people the number is way more than five. The group goes on distance runs 4 times a week at least of generally an hour so you have all that time to just talk and have fun. Sure I’ll have my parents and my cats when I’m at home but most nights will be spent generally alone. The running was also huge despite the huge set back with my injury. It always gave you something to look forward to. Sure my junior year track didn’t exist and my senior year sucked. Had you told me I’d run 4:15, 10:13, 16:30, and 28:33 my senior year when I was a freshman or a sophomore I would have been extremely disappointed. I know I could have been good but that’s not how it worked out. The times sucked but it was just as fun as ever spending every day at practice with the team regardless of how fast or slow I was.

Even though the people change some of the things never change. For example, the drama on the team. That’s the one thing I will miss the least. A lot of it was so unnecessary and I just look back and wonder why that always happened. I don’t know if people just crave that sort of stuff or if it’s just natural when you have that many people with differing opinions but regardless, it’s gone now and I’m happy about that. Also, I won’t miss sleeping in Reimert. I mean, I could have told you it was a shithole while I was living there too but as someone who went to bed early at school the constant opening of the suite door and people not realizing how loud they were always annoying (not that I would trade living for a second).

As far as going back and changing anything, well I don’t think I would. The four years I spent at Ursinus were well worth it and will likely go unmatched as I go forward. I met a lot of people that I’ll be in touch with for a very long time. Sure I spent all that time running to essentially say “I ran just over three miles at just under five minute mile pace” but as I said before, it didn’t matter how fast or slow I was running because the time spent with the team at practice and at meets are unforgettable and developed relationships with people that most people don’t have.

This has been a long post so I’ll end it there.