Saturday, September 02, 2006

The annual party I have been hosting at the Levanto family beach house in August was on August 19 and 20 this year. Attending: Me, Blake, Elizabeth, Nikko, Lauren, and Ian. There were also cameo appearances by my brothers, my sister-in-law Gina (and her sister and brother-in-law Maria and Mike).

Now, each year this party is quite the eating fest. We made our supermarket run in Niantic, Connecticut, in the process supporting the college education funds of more than one Stop & Shop manager. We were to be in CT for about a day, yet we bought enough food for an army. Blake figured we would need to consume an average of 10-dollars worth of food an hour, continously (including sleep time) to even have a chance of eating everything. And that doesn't count the donuts we bought the next day.

Blake, Nikko, Elizabeth and I have taken up playing cribbage. I have played the game since I was a mere toddler, so you would think that would translate into a nice winning percentage. Not so much. In fact, I have only won one game since sometime early this year, and here is the proof:

Team Levanto and Propst won the first game of this seven game set. Unfortunately, we lost the next three, barely avoiding a skunk in two of them. At least for me the beach weather was nice.

On Sunday of the weekend, we stopped off in Mystic, CT for dinner at the Steak Loft with the rest of my family (Sans Brett). It was fun. The Steak Loft has become part of this annual event, since it's a nice stop-off on the way back to Boston from Old Lyme.

My mom, Scott, Elizabeth and Blake on the top, and Laren, Nikko, Gina and my dad on the bottom row.

All in all, it was a good weekend. The weatherman screwed up on Sunday, and instead of the clouds in the forecast, we had sun and warmth.

It's September 2 and Labor Day weekend. We're about to enter into the Fall Wedding season. That means we just ended the Summer Bachelor Party season. Last week, I went to Las Vegas for Blake's bachelor party. Can't really say here everything that happened, but I will mention that I stayed on the town longer in Vegas than any other night in my life. Mark it down-- August 25 into August 26th, I was awake in Vegas until 7:30 a.m. Not only was the sun rising-- it was up. Legitimately, it was Saturday.

Make note of the photo above. It's taken from Penthouse row at the Imperial Palace. By the end of 2007, this view will no longer be possible, as the IP, as it is affectionately called, will no longer exist. Blake is in the background, and in the foreground is Scott Eckert, Blake's best man.

I did alright in Vegas. In my previous trip with Paul McNeeley and Wes, I played only Black Jack. However, I was very intrigued by 3-card poker, which I watched Wes play. I tipped my toe into the 3-card poker arena on Friday afternoon in Vegas, only to quit after losing too much. In fact, the entire crew lost enough that first afternoon that we all retreated to the Penthouse suite and played Texas Hold 'Em and "Inbetween" with chips worth a quarter a piece. Vegas baby! (I guess?)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

In early June, I went to New York for work. Since my meeting was conveniently scheduled for Friday afternoon, I arranged to meet up with my old college friend, Lauren D'Angelo.

Now, I have lived in Boston since 1994. Despite that length of tenure, I have remained true to my childhood loyalties. I have remained a New York Yankees fan. The experiences of the past 12 years would make a great book... The life of a Yankees fan in Boston. I am seriously considering writing it.

A trip to (my first), and I purchased two tickets to a Yankees game that Friday night (June 9) against Oakland. Lauren and I went. The seats were awesome.

I was a maniac at the game. But that's because I have a lot of pent-up emotion. I can't cheer for the Yankees in Boston-- at least not outwardly. I really can't even cheer that loud when I am in my apartment, or I risk being heard by my neighbors and being outed. My close friends know I am a Yankee fan, and fortunately they have learned to accept it.

Since the Yankees were losing in the seventh inning by a bunch-- courtesy of another bad start by Randy Johnson, and since the game was in the middle of a rain delay-- Lauren and I left and went back to her home neighborhood in Hoboken. There, we went to a local bar and gave sage advice to a bunch of recent college grads. We served as proof that at age 30 one still can go out past midnight (now I remember that Lauren is not 30, yet. Sorry Lauren).

The next morning, as is customary, Lauren and I went to the famous diner in Hoboken and had pork roll and pancakes.

I have been eating a lot of pancakes lately. Probably why I am back up about 220. ugh.


Sunday, August 06, 2006

When I first decided to create a blog, I dedicated myself to updating it at least once a month. As you can see, I did not live up to that promise. I assure you it's not because I have suddenly lost interest in this concept; there just isn't enough time in the day. More importantly, it's clear that as you get older time accelerates-- each day represents a mathematically smaller and smaller portion of one's entire life... So each day seems shorter.

It is now early August, and we're into the final full month of Summer. I have spent a significant portion of this summer on the Beach, which is by design. For pretty much the entire month of July, my loyal beach companion and organizer, Nikko Mendoza, was in her native Philippines. Luckily, the Levanto family beach cottage in Connecticut was open, so I spent time there each weekend, chatting it up with my parents. When Nikko returned two weeks ago, we launched on a tour of beaches in Massachusetts. Last week, Nikko, my friend Elizabeth Leary, and I went to Singing Beach in Manchester. Good beach-- except the water temperature is frigid. Yesterday, the three of us, plus an addition-- Jen Mehigan-- trekked to Cape Cod to spend time at Elizabeth's family home there.

Later this month, I am back at the beach cottage in CT, once the renters move out, for a BBQ.


Nikko's cousin, who is attending MIT in Cambridge, spent the summer in Los Angeles. She graciously left her car, a BMW X5, to Nikko. Here's Nikko behind the wheel, looking at home:

Nikko and I went on a tour of Boston's neighborhoods last month. I had never seen Readville, which is where Mayor Menino lives, or Roslindale, which is very cute, or the areas if Roxbury that are especially violence prone. We saw the all.


Every July 3rd since I was in-between my second and third years at Boston University (1996), my parents have come to Boston to watch the Boston Pops. The famous orchestra performs every Independence day on the Esplanade. What many don't know is that the same concert takes place the night before, on July 3rd. It's a warm-up, plus it allows CBS to tape the performance in the event of rain on July 4th (CBS broadcasts a portion of the concert live nationally).

I can't go into detail, but after doing this thing for more than ten years, we have a method to ensure we get the best seat in the house. This year was no different. Here's my dad standing in our spot:

Since 1996, my parents and I have seen some great acts on July 3rd, including Trisha Yearwood and Roberta Flack. We've also seen some bad ones, like Cindy Lauper.

The special guest this year was Steve Tyler from Aerosmith. A Boston native who apparently works out from time to time in my gym (that's what the manager says), Steve Tyler attracted the most eclectic audience I have ever seen for one of these events. This year, I nearly witnessed my first Esplanade brawl, involving two avid female Aerosmith fans jockeying to get the best view (right over my seat). I was very afraid, being so close to the action (refer to picture above) that my parents would lose their hearing. Luckily, the orchestra backed up Tyler, not the rest of Aerosmith-- and the sound was comfortably regulated.


I cannot log off this Sunday without word out to Paul PMAC McNeeley, who invited me on a boyz-only trip to VEGAS (baby) in July. Earlier in the month, PMAC invited me to the Harvard hockey rink to watch the Boston Lobsters (Boston's own professional tennis team). The opponents, from Sacramento, included the lovely Anna Kournikova.

It's cool Boston has a professional tennis team-- and it's cool the team is hosted by Harvard. But let's just say that I would only be interested in attending if Ms. K is the opponent. Luckily, Paul understands this, too. Thanks PMAC.

This week, I am off to Utah for work... two days in Salt Lake-- my first trip there. Later in the month I am back in Vegas (baby) for Blake's bachelor party.


Friday, June 02, 2006

So today is my nine year anniversary at Schwartz Communications. I have been working there for nine years. Nine.

I started on June 2, 1997 as an account coordinator.

I thought today about what those nine years have meant. And perhaps more importantly, what those nine years at Schwartz Communications have meant.

Well, I would not have met Tom Hopcroft. He was the first person I met at Schwartz. He introduced me to the Paramount and to Beacon Hill.

I would not have met Kim McCrossen. She introduced me to Army football games. I wouldn't have met Kim's roommate Annmarie, or Kim's family (I was at her younger sister Kait's graduation dinner last weekend).

I would not have met Nikki Shimshock, and her picture is already in this blog.

I would not have met Akemi Tinder. Which means I would not have met AU, Smith, Alexa, or Ted Furst.

I would not have met Paul or Sarah McNeeley. After all, they met on the same day-- their first day working at Schwartz.

I would not have met Jess Fiorelli, Jon Siegal, Dan Borgasano, and the many other Schwartzers I have played softball with.

I would not have met Jason Mandell, the only other Hartford Whaler fan I know.

I guess you get the picture. That being said, it is truly amazing that I have been at Schwartz nine years. It doesn't feel like nine years, though.


I am sitting at home. It is raining outside. Blah!

My parents hosted a reception in CT a few weekends back for my brother. Luckily the rain held off... Here's a picture of the set up:

That's me with Kim and Brett's brother in-law Jennings.


Saturday, April 15, 2006

It has been a while since I posted. Let me give you the headlines. My brother is married. I have been working hard at work, with a trip to San Diego in early April. It's Easter weekend and I am going home later today to work on the cottage. That's about it.

Last weekend, I went with Nikko and Elizabeth to an all-you-can eat Sushi place in Framingham. Right out of a Seinfeld episode-- three friends who live in a city taking a trip out to the suburbs to capitalize on an all you can eat deal. The results were impressive; I ate 50 pieces of sushi, flat. Among the three of us, we polished off near 100 pieces. And that's not counting the dumplings, crepes, and shrimp. Not sure if they want us back there.

Anyway, I took many, many pictures at Brett's wedding, but below our my personal favorites, with commentary attached, of course...

I decided to take the week before the wedding and spend some time with Brett and Holly. I drove them to TF Green airport in Providence, where we promptly learned that our flight was overbooked. Not really having anything to do, we decided to take the free U.S. air ticket and start drinking. Our first stop was some random airport bar, and then we went to TGI Fridays.

We quickly befriended most of the waitstaff. Now, the airport is in Warwick, Rhode Island, which is probably a very good representation of this country. Our waittress (hint: she's the one in the red shirt with the ID badge) has a kid and a great boyfriend, and she is working at the airport bar because she makes good money and her schedule is flexible enough so she can take care of her kids. Her sister works at the same restaurant.

This picture is important for another reason. Look at the green thing I am holding in my right hand. Anyone have any clue what the h*** that is? It was one of Holly's shower gifts. We had fun asking other people if they knew what is was. Almost everyone in Rhode Island thought it was a sex toy...

Probably my favorite picture of the trip. Taken at a bar called TOOMBS right next to the Georgetown campus in Washington. Basically, it's me (the only one with a hat on), Brett's college friends, and Brett's soon to be brothers in law, Jennings and Jim (they are behind me, over my right shoulder).

Toombs is cool. It was cooler because Gerard (the guy all the way to the left in this picture) was a bartender there, so he knew everyone.

This is the "calm-before-the-storm" picture. There's that point, I think, before every wedding, when everythign is planned and all you really can do is sit on big couches, eat pizza, and watch college basketball. Here, that is pretty much the agenda, at Brett's house in Clarendon, Virginia. We are waiting for the limo to take us to the wedding site.

The wedding was a lot of fun. I am so proud of Brett, and I am very happy about my new family in the great state of Texas. Wouldn't Lincoln be proud. The marriage of two families-- one could not be more Yankee; the other could not be more... well.. Texas. And yet we all get along.

That's it for now. Thanks for your patience... One final announcement: It looks like I will be in Vegas twice this summer. One trip with Mr. Paul McNeeley and friends, and the other with my roommate on his bachelor party... Imagine the possibilities.


Sunday, March 05, 2006

The temperature climbed above thirty today for the first time in a week. My very first blog coincides with New England's most depressing month of the year. March represents the thaw-- mud, dirt, leftover brown snow, dingy grass and in general a lack of color. Soon however, we will arrive at my most favorite day of the year. That day when you step outside and realize you made it. The long days of winter are behind you, and there is that distinct smell in the air. Spring is coming. I love that day, but it's never in March, which means it's more than a month away.

My friend Nikki had this pimp-n-hoe party a few weeks back, right before I turned 30. I like the photo because it proves that I really wasn't making it up when I said I had been invited to a pimp-n-hoe party. Yes, they still have those.

This week, I am back on the road, though this time not to San Francisco. I make a quick one-day trip to our nation's capital on Wednesday, and I am back in Boston Wednesday night... Of course, I head back to D.C. in a week for my brother's wedding, so you could consider this one an advance trip.

So if you keep reading you should hear about my brother's wedding, the fact that I am not married (and am 30), and the fact that I really love UCONN basketball. Being from the Nutmeg State, I share a love for the UCONN Huskies that is in fact required by law. Trust me, it's one of them blue laws they sometimes talk about. If you are from Connecticut and did not go to a competing school for college, you are by law a UCONN fan.

Right now, Texas is kicking Oklahoma's butt and making a legitimate case for a Number 1 seed.