What’s Up for 2016

So I love doing this because I truly believe that goals are more achievable when you write them down and have something to reference. I’ve done this for a while and 2015 was one of the few years that I didn’t conquer most of my goals, which is explained after the jump.

I definitely think there will be more chances for me to focus in on my goals this year and I’m ready to take on this huge challenge because I know what I want.

Goal/Resolution No.1: Become Part Of A Newsroom, which people probably think that I am but I’m not…I know, it’s a real head scratcher. I’m a contract employee through the NFTA and not actually a Channel 2 employee but that’s my ultimate goal. I’m such a big fan of working with good, successful, driven, and passionate teams and I just want to be a part of one SO INCREDIBLY BAD. For those who have never been in a newsroom, there’s a certain energy that gets people going and the organized flow of work just makes everything possible, I miss that feeling. My goal is to get back into that type of environment. In what capacity? Well, that’s a great question that I’m asking myself too. Updates to come when they’re available. 

Goal/Resolution No. 2: 168 Days Of Working Out, okay, so this sounds completely ridiculous for those of you who go to the gym almost every day. I will admit, I had a really hard time getting to the gym last year with so much going on. But now, I’m going to hold myself accountable with a countdown. I spent $168 on a gym membership and I’m going to make it worth it. So I’ll match the number of days with the dollars I put forth toward the gym membership. I think that’s totally reasonable and the goal is to obviously go more than 168 times. This is just a convenient benchmark for myself.

Goal/Resolution No. 3: Be A Better Saver Of Money, I think sometimes I tell myself that I’m incredibly skilled with saving money when in reality, I’m not that great at it. I tend to spend money in small chunks and then a month later, I realize how much I actually spent. So the goal is to keep track of my money better and save more (which essentially means I’m putting it towards my loans, lets be honest). Looks like budgeting and I are going to have a real blast this year. 

Goal/Resolution No. 4: Really Begin Preparing for Meteorology, I hate reusing stuff from last year but this time around, I’m really committed to taking Physics in the summer and Chemistry in the Spring of 2017. My mentor gave me a whole ton of things to read and links to resources that I should complete online, so obviously I’m going to take advantage of that. I am going to position myself as a candidate for meteorology school either at Oswego or Brockport. There’s no doubt that this is a career path that I want to take. And while this means more school, I know you want to see me as a weatherman. And so do I. 

4 goals. 12 months. Bring it on. To see what I didn’t accomplish in 2015, keep reading after the jump.

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2015: The Year of Unexpected Everythings

I remember writing the blog post that recapped 2014 wondering how it was going to get any better. In some cases, it did. In other situations, it didn’t turn out the way I had planned. To be honest, some of the not as great things that have happened this year were things I thought only authors dreamed of when they had no more ideas to write about. I’ve had more ups and downs this year than any year in the past but damn, the great moments have been incredible and the low points…those really sucked. Time to reflect, look back, and think about how I want 2016 to be better.

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Saying Goodbye

I can’t believe that I’m sitting here writing this post. It’s so surreal, it’s so painful, and I’m sobbing because I can’t convince myself that it’s actually happening.

For those who may or may not know, my family has been the owners of Ginger & Garlic, a Chinese restaurant situated in the Town of Hamburg, for 7 years now. Hamburg is such a great place and we have always felt that way, which is probably why we ended up coming back after 2 restaurants elsewhere. I feel comfortable saying that we’ve had some of the best customers and we’ve definitely had our share of unpleasant customers too.

Well, tonight, the unthinkable is happening. We’re closing up our restaurant for the very last time. I don’t think I’ll ever have the words to fully express how I feel but some may wonder why this is such a big deal to me. And that’s a great question.

Having a restaurant has been a part of my life for the past 23 years. I can only remember a short period of time when we didn’t have a restaurant but back then, it was different. At that point, my dad was younger and always had plans to continue on the adventure of owning his own restaurant. Sadly, we’ve reached the point where that’s no longer going to be the case. This is the last restaurant our family will ever own and it’s that feeling that has left me heartbroken.

IMG_6331The restaurant has always been the place I’ve gone home to first and that’s cause we spent most of our days (and lives) there. Since we’ve owned the restaurant in 2008, it’s just been part of my routine to go to the restaurant and have dinner after the restaurant closes and also help close up nearly every night. That’s just how a family business works.

That’s all going to change now. Walking away from this restaurant means no more mopping responsibilities, settling the credit cards statements, or totaling up the day’s sales. It sounds like it’s easy to walk away from but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. This has been such a big and crucial part of my life that I don’t ever think I’ll be ready to let go of what this restaurant means to me and my family.

As a kid, I spent my weekend evenings sitting on the counter of our first restaurant overlooking the dining room, I spent countless times folding annoying and flimsy dinner napkins, hours peeling snow peas, and spent too much time asking every waiter/waitress to play a game with me while simultaneously inhaling too much secondhand smoke (since it was legal back then). At our restaurants in between, I remember get smacked in the face with a dirty mop, having a confrontational blowout at the ripe, old age of 13, and enduring the painfully long drive out to our restaurant that was situated so far away. This has been my life. And while so many of my friends have their best memories at home, most of my family memories come from our time spent at whichever restaurant we happened to be owning at that time. At this most recent location, we have spent 7 Christmas dinners there, 7 Chinese New Year celebrations, and countless family dinners that I will always hold close to my heart. So in essence, this means that I can have a social life again if things begin at 8:30pm, I won’t have to go to bed at 1am every night, and I really have no excuse not to do my reading for grad school now. Some people would think that I’m happy about that and the feelings are mixed.

IMG_6321We’ve also built such a bond with some of the people who work for us by owning these restaurants. I think we’ll forever be in debt to Rose, who so many of you love and enjoy, our waitress since 1995 who has gone with us to each location and gone through this family journey with us. And to Doris, one of my mom’s best friends, for finding time in her busy schedule to come spend Saturday nights with us and drawing a crowd who specifically came to see her. They’re seen in the photo as the people who are not me or my parents.

As my mom told me through the selling process, we knew that this day would eventually come, we just didn’t know when. Well, it’s here now. Effective Monday, September 21, 2015, Ginger & Garlic will officially be under new ownership. The rest of tonight will be spent cleaning up the cupboards, packing up our belongings, and turning the lock on the restaurant one more time.

As for the food, I’m sorry this announcement didn’t come with any warning at all. We are truly sorry that we couldn’t announce this sooner and I hope that you will ALL remember how much my dad loves cooking for each and every one of our customers. You are the only reason we’ve ever been able to succeed and on my behalf, I am forever grateful.

Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me and my family. We will miss serving you and inviting you into our restaurant for, what I consider, some of the best food this city has ever had. I’ll never forget this incredible bond we have shared.

With much love,

Carl & Family

“Because You’re In Grad School” Just Doesn’t Fly With Me Anymore

I didn’t know being in graduate school was such an earth shattering idea to wrap your mind around because apparently, it still is for some people.

I’m sick, tired, and frustrated of people thinking that by me enrolling in graduate school is some sort of limitation on my life. It’s absolutely not and I don’t know when that came about but I’ve certainly never put that out there. I’m beyond annoyed that people think I can’t find time to do the things I enjoy doing because I seem to be working on school work all the time. Well, it’s a magical thing called balance and I happen to be pretty good at it.

I think what people see in me is that I’m not ready to commit to something that’s permanent and full-time, which could be true but there has to be a clear definition of the terms we’re talking about here. If the work was right, I would find a way to make things work because that’s what I strived to do in my life but now, people are taking this opportunity to pass on what I’ve worked for and it’s really frustrating to see that hard work just literally evaporate right out of your reach.

I think people see me as a person without focus or a real end goal, which can be true depending on what kind of day it has been. However, in the grand scheme of things, I don’t really think I’m that misguided. Let’s review, shall we? I’m a full-time graduate student, working part-time at the university, appearing on television, hosting and filling in on radio programs, selling shoes once every 25 days, playing in no less than 3 orchestras at a time (on separate days, of course), and closing the restaurant every night. It’s worth noting that this is all happening while I’m in graduate school.

People always said that graduate school is just an extension of your education and brings many new opportunities to the forefront but I don’t know, this seems to be crippling my life and opportunities in a way I was hoping it wouldn’t. Moving back to Buffalo was supposed to be a springboard for all the types of things I wanted to do and now all of a sudden, I look like the villain because I take interest in so many different things and work so many kinds of jobs and oh, I am going to school too, which is apparently the worst thing I’ve ever decided to do.

This will blow over but at this moment in time, I’m just frustrated with what’s been going on and how it’s happened. I didn’t plan on writing the script this way but apparently, my script wasn’t picked up for the pilot.


The Revolving Door

I honestly don’t even know why I’m writing this post but I’m likely to clear out my mind if I do, so I shall continue.

This post is about wondering how you prove your self-worth to where you work. Change is coming to one place that I work and I’m not sure where I stand in this mix because I, quite frankly, don’t want to know. I’m staying cautiously optimistic because that’s what we were told to do in my media classes but I think most of us know that as some of the youngest people in the market these days, we’re subject to be the victims of reorganizations within stations and media groups.

So the revolving door is a term that people in the media business use all the time. One person comes in and out goes another. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how I can be someone who doesn’t have to go through that door. I haven’t been able to think of much except for one piece of advice I was given.

But I’ll go back to when I met with a career counselor at the beginning of the semester who told me that I have to find a niche and really throw myself into that. I think that’s incredibly true and probably the one key to survival, if I had to name one right now. Your hope is that people find your skill so valuable, that they wouldn’t dare put you out on the open market. I don’t want to disclose what I’m doing because that would give it away but I’m definitely working on improving the product I’m doing.

We were just talking in one of my classes the other day about how frightening change is to an individual and an organization. It really does mess with your ability to continue on with your daily life because change is a disturbance. I don’t think any of us really like change but some embrace it better than others. And change is especially difficult when decisions are being made without anyone really knowing what is going on.

So now we just play the not-so-enjoyable waiting game and see where I end up. I can’t say I’ll be really surprised if changes occur and if they don’t, then I’ll be even more surprised.

A Strong Addiction

I’m finally coming clean and announcing that I may or may not have a strong addiction.

There really aren’t many ways to say it. It’s a problem that I have and I just can’t control myself around this stuff.

Of course, if you know me, this is hardly a bad addiction at all but rather my inability to resist myself when it comes to earning degrees.

Come on people, I set that up so you would see what’s actually wrong with me, so I guess I’ll explain a little more.

After I left Fredonia, I thought I was going to have an easier time making my life balance in the way that most people allow their lives to. You know, just taking a few classes in graduate school, maybe working a part-time job, and sleeping a lot. I obviously had high hopes for how light my life could possibly be and so those were dashed too. Obviously, things didn’t work out this way and now I seem even more ridiculous than I did during my undergrad years.

Let’s review, shall we? In my second semester of graduate school, I’m taking double my courseload than I did in the fall, my transcript says that I currently have 39 credits in progress (that includes the Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters), and I’m now pursuing a second master’s degree. Something has got to be wrong with me, which is why I’m classifying this as an addiction.

People I’ve seen recently have told me I’m crazy (as if I was unaware) but they’re asking why I’m doing this to myself. I honestly just have such a desire to learn about anything and furthering my knowledge has been exactly what I’ve loved doing. Sure, there’s a financial cost but there are ways of offsetting that but I guess that’s a personal battle that I’ve got to fight.

In my mind, there’s something about having degrees that prove my self-worth to myself. I guess this comes after years of doubt from me and others that are/were around me. Not to say those instances defined me but there’s a remarkable feeling when something you work so hard for pays off in such a fashion. While other people collect random things like stamps and what not, I like to collect degrees, and I don’t think that’s too hard to wrap your mind around.

And so this is where my collection picks up again, I’m going for two and potentially a third master’s degree. You heard it here first, folks. I may be considering master’s degree number 3. I mean, don’t you want a wall covered in degrees in your house when you get older?

Maybe that’s only a problem for someone who is addicted to furthering my education.



A Word To The Upset Residents Of Lancaster

Hi Lancaster,

I don’t normally enjoy talking about these controversial issues all that often because we’re all in such a sensitive society now that taking one side sometimes can seem to be too extreme.

For those of you who haven’t heard or aren’t familiar with the issue at hand here, Lancaster is a suburb in Western New York that has a really incredible education system. They have a fantastic reputation academically, athletically, and in the arts as well. Their nickname for the past 60 years has been the “Redskins.” Say what you want about the nickname but I’m going to leave that to you.

The nickname has been retired, effective this past Monday.
The nickname has been retired, effective this past Monday.

The school board unanimously voted to retire the nickname, effective immediately. The discussions for a new mascot/nickname are currently underway.

Okay, I get that some people are mad about this decision because there’s a lot of school pride attached to the “Redskins” nickname…60 years worth. But what I’ve heard after the vote is what makes annoys me and frustrates me even more.

The people who wanted to keep the nickname of “Redskins” have now come out to voice another stance that they’ll soon take, which is to vote against the school budget.

You’re really going to pull that card?

So let me get this straight, you’re so angry about the retirement of an “offensive” nickname that you’re going to vote down a school budget to show your opposition to that decision? That seems like a really mature idea, if you don’t care about the education of the future generation.

I have no idea what type of support this movement has but it’s definitely enough to cause people to worry a little bit. Somehow there seems to be some disconnect between how this process works. A school budget is proposed and the community votes on it. Normally, the budget that’s presented to the community is one of the more rational plans that the school board has chosen to adopt.

Voting “no” on a school budget doesn’t show your toughness as a movement, it shows complete disregard to the students that your tax dollars are going toward. So what happens when you prove your point and vote “no” on the budget? You get the contingent budget, which is always WORSE than the original budget. That means you’re going to shaft students of a great education in Lancaster and you’re movement is going to be the primary reason for it.

Find another way to voice your opinion with this issue. Meet with the town supervisor, establish a community forum, or something else that doesn’t come to the level of jeopardizing an education for students.