June 29 to July 2, 2001 - GHO Weekend
• First, let me just inform the unaware. PHIL MICKELSON WON THE GHO. Not only am I reveling in the fact my all-time favorite golfer - it's the whole lefty thing - won my favorite regular Tour event, but that now he's almost obligated to come back next year and defend his title. Oh yeah. :)

Matt got 23 autographs for the week. On a slower news day, I'll chronicle them.

Friday morning I left the office in Hudson, N.H., at 12:40 a.m. I got off the Mass Turnpike in Springfield at 2:03 a.m. That's over 110 miles in 83 minutes. Go ahead, laught at the Tempo now, bitches. Hit 121,000 miles in the River Highlands parking lot, and it can still, um, go on its own power.

Friday I watched golf all day. Saturday I did nothing all day. Sunday I watched golf all day. Today I saw Pete Sampras lost his first match at Wimbledon in five years, drove a lot and am off to work again. I almost forgot how lonely Nashua is. :) My latest project to kill time is to fully redesign the BUCB site. I have it all planned out in my mind, where it will probably stay given my talent level.

May the AP Photo wire have some nice shots of Phil and his new trophy. Time to go make minimum wage!
June 27, 2001 - A Little Math
69% of my paycheck ($115) goes to rent off the top.
12% ($20, very hard to live on for a week) goes to groceries.
thus leaving...
19% (roughly $32) for gas, amusement and any other miscellaneous purchases I have to or, heaven forbid, want to make.

Tonight, I feel like the walls are starting to creep in. As I am slowly coming to realize, as much as I have enjoyed my time up here, I'm coming to the end of a spiral that is inevitably going to leave me near bankruptcy. The first two weeks, I've spent more than I've made. This weekend, I'm going home to go to the GHO with Dad and Matt (Matt's volunteering down there for the week - I'm honestly proud and jealous of him), the best yearly tradition the Couture guys have. So this week I'm bound to overspend.

I guess the point of all this is, other than to freak everybody out - an unintended side effect I assure you -, is that I don't know if I'm gonna be able to pull this off in the end. I think I'm going to cut an e-mail to my boss Matt, and just see if he thinks I'm really as far behind as I think I am. I would like to know.

And to the gang back home, please don't call. I'm broke already.
June 26, 2001 - The Day That Kept Getting Better...
• It's reaching the point where I just want somebody at work to go off on me. I'm sick of being coddled, because I keep fucking up, and no one will get mad at me. I couldn't even run my mile today because I'm so exhausted from... I don't even know from what. Now, I've discovered I've taped over my taping of Oasis, Behind the Music. Plus, not only did I tape over it, but I taped over it on the wrong channel. So I now have Law and Order, when I wanted The Daily Show. Only I would care about this. It caps off what has been a glorious day.

Tomorrow, I get my half ass paycheck so I scrounge together money for groceries. Then maybe my stomach will stop aching. Here's hopin.

Things are nowhere near as bad as this makes them seem. Those who know me should be aware I'm prone to exaggeration. Though maybe that's the hunger talking.
June 25, 2001 - Excitement!
• Nashua has a mall. I mean other than the aforementioned Nashua Mall. An honest to God, actual stores, made for this decade, mall. IT HAS A CHICK-FIL-A!!!

A northern Chick-Fil-A. You couldn't possibly comprehend how much this has brightened my day. Especially considering the fact I was so hungry that I had lost my ability to see and was bleeding out my ears. OK, it only seemed that bad. Nevertheless, I'm all smiles now. If only I had money to spend at said establishment...

Pheasant Lane Mall
June 24, 2001 - Travis!
• Heck of a weekend, let me tell you. The drive back into Boston was much shorter than I thought it'd be, and fun because I had to keep smacking myself so I wouldn't fall asleep. I hadn't realized how long it had been since I'd seen all the Oriental girls running around Boston in their 35 pound sandals. And no, I don't mean anything by that, it's merely a commentary that Oriental people don't fill western Massachusetts or southern New Hampshire in great numbers.

Tournament went fine, my pack went over about as well as expected. That would be poorly, but whatever, I was rushed. Afterwards, the gang all went out to Medford to eat and play Mike Burger's amazing Game Show Round. Apparently, everything in Medford except Papa Gino's closes at 4 PM, so we had pizza. Burger's round is incredible, it just keeps getting better. I can't even imagine the time he's put into it. I was also surprised he knows my name now... that was cool.

I crashed at Mark and Sarah's place up by BC, which was much nicer than I expected. I may never have to clean for Mark again. :) Then, I met Rea, Robin and Katie at the Newbury at Alewife to see Travis (the Scottish rock band, JIM) perform. We didn't see them per se, but they sounded damn good. If I hadn't already spent all my paycheck on luxury items like rent, food and gas, I would have bought 'The Invisible Band'.

None of you care, nor should you really. I promise next time I'll have more witty commentary, as opposed to a rundown of what happened. Til then, read these. Good day.
June 23, 2001 - N.H. Weekend
• On the first Friday I've ever spent in this place, I learned something. Actually, I learned a lot of things. I learned that I can't write 37 college bowl questions in one day - Mark will just have to do with what I've got, bad as it is. I learned that my quest to break 40 for 9 holes of golf again isn't as far off as I thought - shot 41 with a triple bogey at The Overlook in Hollis, gorgeous course, horrible greens. I learned that if ginger ale is 2 for $5 at Shaw's, I'll forget to buy cereal and milk in my excitement.

Tonight, well, technically this morning of the 23rd, a door closed. A chapter ended. There's a feeling of calm in me that there hasn't been in quite some time. Yeah, I'm being cryptic. Only one other person in this world needs to know what I'm talking about, and I'm sure that person does. They know I write better than I talk. And I know they'll read this.

The shock is subsiding, I think I might actually be coming to grips with what you said. I hope I didn't seem too judgmental, or bitter, or any of that. I still don't know what to say, but then again, I don't really have to be the one saying anything. I thank you for telling me. But more than anything, I hope that when we really are 80, wrinkled and gray, that we're still telling each other things. Granted, it'll probably be hip replacements and disposable diapers, but we're young yet. And you still always make me smile.

It's light out. I haven't slept a wink. Boston, here I come!
June 21, 2001 - Dans Francais
• I can't remember the last time I slept until noon. Though when you stay up til four in the morning, it makes it a little more acceptable.

Basketball went well last night. I still have what I've turned Iverson syndrome - all I do is shoot. I can't drive on anybody, so I'm left to either work for a shot, force something up, or kick it back out. I hit a lot of shots, yes, but I missed a whole bunch too. And I'm always fascinated how much more other people sweat than I do? Why is that?

Last night, I came to the realization that I have nearly every fast food chain within walking distance. There's a KFC, Dunkin Donuts, Wendy's McDonalds, multiple Burger Kings, plus about eight pizza places. Yet my diet still consists of cereal, fruit and cold cut sandwiches, and I have no plans to change that.

I get the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on basic cable here. I've been so used to getting Univision and crap like that, seeing people speaking French on TV fascinates me. If only I hadn't been such a miserable French student, I could enjoy this episode of "Tam Tam."
June 19, 2001 - Hope
"Hope can drive a man insane." - Red [Morgan Freeman], 'The Shawshank Redemption'

Despite the warning, I'm feeling upbeat for once! Today went from overly shitty day to pretty damn good day in the span of about an eight-hour shift. When I got to work, I was told that a fact box I put in a story last night had an incorrect date in it, meaning they had to run the whole thing all over again. Purely my mistake. Everyone's been real delicate with me so far, but I almost wish someone would rip into me. Maybe then I could get my shit together.

However by the end of the night things looked up. Tim Wakefield's near no hitter put a buzz through the office, partially because of the heavy Sox fan base, partially because if he had, the front page would have needed a complete re-layout. I've been invited to play in the staff pickup basketball game tomorrow after work. I can only hope my skills haven't faded completely away in my long layoff.

Found a better way to go home, taking me through a nicer part of Hudson and South Nashua - where the stores, not the ghetto, are. Plus I heard this cool song, a Smash Mouth cover of the Monkees 'I'm a Believer.' Stop laughing at me.
June 18, 2001 - Solemnitude
• When I got home tonight, I didn't turn the Christmas lights on. So I'm sitting here in the dark. I'm in a sitting in the dark kind of mood.

I struggled mightily at work tonight. They gave me the Region cover to do, which really is one of the more difficult things there is to do on the copy desk - the cover and jump page of the "Nashua/Region" section. I struggled mightily, eventually getting it out around 12:15. I just feel like I'm slowing everybody else down and should be further along than I already am. I'm no doubt setting my goals too high, but that's me.

For some reason, the streets a few blocks over from here looked extra ghetto tonight. All of the 'residents' were standing on the street jiving or whatever it is they do. I think one of them told me to fuck off, though I don't really know why he would have. It bothered me more than it should have.

In every life, there are good days and there are bad days. Today would have to be one of the bad ones, not even considering that the national championship of American golf now lies in the hands of a South African. On the plus side, I heard from Andi. That always makes me smile.
June 17, 2001 - Weekend
• Lot of stuff happened this weekend, but I really don't remember all that much of it. Yesterday was a downpour, that was real fun to drive back up in. Anyone who saw the U.S. Open yesterday afternoon knows what I'll be doing today - watching the playoff. Mickelson managed to choke in another major, but I feel worse for Stweart Cink. Guess the American banner will have to be pinned to Mark Brooks... I only hope he can pull it off.

Went to Sand Trap mini golf course Friday night. Talk about a place that's gone downhill... the place is a hole now. Though I do have about two dozen bug bites to remember it by.

Cooch's first ever Bastille Day Bash is on for July 14th. Always good to create an excuse to have a party. Depending on how ambitious I get, I may build a web page about it. I think I will, though I'm not sure what the heck it's gonna say.
June 14, 2001 - How Do People Live Here?!
• Today was not a good day. I got moved around to three different desks at work, finally relegated to being halfway across the office. Aside from it being a slow night, the solitude was annoying.

Then after work, I went in search of an ATM that wouldn't charge me a fee. Yeah it's only $1.50, but it's the damned principle of it. First one wasn't there, second and third ones tried to charge me. If you happened to be at the Nashua Mall last night around 1 a.m., you could hear me scream "I hate this ______ state!" at the top of my lungs.

The fact that it was about 135 degrees last night didn't help matters. Walking into an incinerator of an apartment didn't either. Fortunately the air conditioner (and Meg) talked me down from the ledge. Now I'm headin' back west for a couple days - I swear I'll stay in N.H. for at least one weekend before August.
June 13, 2001 - Loneliness
• I really just need somebody else up here. I'm noticing that at work, and even moreso out of work, that spending all of your time by yourself is extremely unfulfilling. Given the way things shook out for this summer, there's no way I really could get around this. But it doesn't make me any happier about it.

I finalls found a decent supermarket today, so I'm all set on that front. Plus I got paid. My whopping salary of $5.15 an hour, times four days worked, means I have approximately enough money to breathe. After I bought groceries and factor in next week's rent, my take for the week will be -$20. And I have to do this til August?! :)

Smiles aside, I miss all of you. I'd say come visit, but I live in one room and there ain't much to see.
June 12, 2001 - Ye Olde Southern New Hampshire
• I've finally figured out what's been bugging me about this town. As I went on more trips exploring it, I was coming to a conclusion, but I didn't know what it was. Having gotten out of work early tonight, I went to the Nashua Mall, which is mainly centered around a Denny's, some sort of Mexican Roadhouse and a now-abandoned Bradlee's.

Nashua was great place to live... 20 odd years ago. You can see it in the old school Dairy Queen, the older housing, the slightly less than cutting edge downtown. Manchester is 'modern' (by New Hampshire standards), Nashua is the second city. The First Lady. The Andy Richter. You get the idea.

The reason I got out early was because I went in at 3 for a staff meeting. We went over the results of this survey to improve newspaper readership. This is what I've retained:

1. Just because PowerPoint lets you animate graphics does not mean you have to animate your graphics.
2. RBS stands for "Reader B____ Score." I think the 'B' stands for Behavior. It most definitely does not stand for Buoyancy, because then it would make no sense.
3. In order to make people read your paper more (and increase your RBS), you need to create the illusion that you care about the places you cover. You should also write about chicken dinners.

I sat in the back corner, and may be oversimplifying some topics.
June 11, 2001 - Fame
• Show business is a strange thing. Look at Kirsten Dunst. She has based her entire career on, essentially, being a teenage slut. Think about it. Also, Mandy Moore has her own talk show. Granted it's on MTV, but she's still got her own show. I want my own talk show! Damned if I know what it'd be about though. I'd probably just sit on stage and make fun of the audience for coming. I'm sure UPN has some openings in the prime time lineup.

And what about Bob Dole?! Here's a guy who was one of the nation's most respected politicians, and he's now become a celebrity because he can't get it up anymore!
June 10, 2001 - Sweet Victory
• The early drive paid off. Despite being only a threesome, containing a guy who hadn't golfed in 12 years, our team won the 1st annual John Coen Memorial golf tournament! We finished 2 under, the only team to break par. I was very happy with how I played, crushing the ball everywhere and even throwing some irons on the greens. In addition, I won the most accurate drive prize, earning me six lobsters. Yeah, six freakin lobsters. The family was very happy about that. :)

Then last night, my Avs (I was a fan pre-Bourque as well, thanks very much) came through like I knew they would all along. 2001 Stanley Cup Champions... now I'm just hoping cap restrictions don't tear them apart.

Week two in Nashua starts now... and this week, I'm gonna get me a paycheck!
June 8, 2001 - Golf
• So here it is 5:30 a.m.... I'm golfing on the North Shore today with Coen and Hypho - it's a regular BUCB outing. Scramble, which I usually suck at, but hopefully I can break the trend today. Seeings how Mark hasn't golfed in 10 years, least I won't be the worst guy on the squad. :)

I'll be heading home for the 'weekend' so probably won't be updating this Sunday when I come back for work. That first paycheck would taste so good right now...

Oh well, off to battle the commuter traffic.
June 6, 2001 - Job Good, Shopping Bad
• Much to my dismay, the Citizens Bank's up here charge for ATM transactions. My plans for keeping the old account may have been foiled, unless I start a weekly commute to Tyngsboro to withdraw rent money. As Nashua is on the state line, that's not as unfeasible as it sounds.

My work schedule is set - I'm going to be working 4:30-12:30 Sunday through Thursday. I could not be happier. Not only do I love my job, I love my hours too. My summer is going to kick your summer's ass!

And that's despite my living in New Hampshire!
June 5, 2001 - The Great Frog Society
• Should you read the Telegraph tomorrow, let it be known that Page 5 is my first ever Quark project. I'm making my debut, with stories on gorillas, AIDS and slurping when eating noodles. God bless the AP Wire.

My biggest fears this summer circulate around grocery shopping and money, two things I've never dedicated huge amounts of time to think about before. Today at the market, I bought 100 sandwich bags. But I forgot to buy milk. I'm still learning. College has a dining hall where I don't have to worry about this crap. On the plus side, I went running today!

The Tempo is a disaster area. It's got mud all over it, and I have no idea where it came from. I haven't been offroading with it since Whitey and I drove it into a tree. Gots to find me a car wash...
June 3, 2001 - Let The Granite Par-tay Begin
• And here I am, in Nashua, NH for night number one.

This morning I was back at fair AHS to see little Cooch get the American International College book award. Saw some old teachers, got asked by a School Committee member if Agawam prepared me for college, all that fun stuff. Then it was pack the cars and north we went - Dad followed with more of my things.

After a surprisingly somber goodbye, it was day one at the Telegraph. Had a good time, everyone was really helpful and kind to little old me. I'm completely overwhelmed, but hopefully I can pull it all together before too long.

Last two thoughts for today:
1) Nashua grocery stores close at 9 PM. Nine! Even Agawam's stay open longer, for crying out loud.
2) White Christmas lights make a room feel much more homelike. :)
June 2, 2001 - Dreary, Oh So Dreary
• Here's how this is gonna work: The May Commentaries can be found at the bottom of this window, by clicking on the link to the Archive. Every month, I archive it, and it'll all be accessible down below. An amazing concept I know, but I am a prodcut of the gifted classes. :)

Napster finally got the ax from the system today, and thanks to Charlie for the recommendation of LimeWire. Works much better, plus I can search for all those old SNL "Space: The Infinite Frontier" with Harry Caray clips.

"Now Ken, we all know that the moon is not made of green cheese. But what if it were made of barbequed spare ribs? Would you eat it then?"
2001: [05]