Walking for the Jimmy Fund (Please Donate!)

September 6, 2011 at 6:00 AM (Events, Goals) (, , , , , )

No point in beating around the bush: I’m walking five miles for the Jimmy Fund in honour of a colleague who was diagnosed with Cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer) about a year ago and would greatly appreciate a donation from you – no matter how small. Cholangiocarcinoma is a cancerous growth in one of the ducts that carries bile from the liver to the small intestine. It, along with every other form of cancer, is a bugger that needs to be wiped out. The Jimmy Fund supports cancer care and research at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. To date, the walk has raised over $73 million, and I need your help to contribute.

I’m only about $30 away from my goal of $250. If the average of 18 people who read this post today donate just $5 each to my team, I will surpass my goal and tap-dance with glee. Of course, if you’re feeling more generous than that and wouldn’t mind donating a bit more, that’s awesome sauce, too. If plain old altruism just doesn’t cut it for you, perhaps some charitable purchases will convince you . . .

Do you like food? Or being pampered? Fancy that: I have a few deals that may interest you! Courtesy of goodtwo, you can buy a coupon for Club Cafe, G’vanni’s or Toscana, save some dough on your next visit, AND donate to my walk. Everybody wins! Details below.

Club Cafespend $25 for $50 credit toward food (Jimmy Fund receives $6.25).

G’vanni’s – spend $25 for $50 credit toward food (Jimmy Fund receives $5.00).

Toscana – spend $45 for $90 credit toward spa services (Jimmy Fund receives $9.50).

So, really, you have no reason to not donate. \Okay that’s not true, but I’m trying to make it as painless as possible. Thanks in advance for your help.

Today’s Tunes
“Normandie,” Shout Out Louds
“Second to None,” Phoenix
“Armistice,” Phoenix
“Too Young,” Phoenix

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“Happy Superbowl! Here’s Africa.”

February 3, 2009 at 9:15 PM (Friends, Happenings) (, )

Staring at the banquet hall set up in Faneuil Hall’s Ned Divine’s, I couldn’t think of a less likely place for me to be spending Superbowl Sunday.  Russ, Beth and I found ourselves amongst 200 philanthropists gathering to support Public Action for Arts & Education’s “City Kids” at its 29th Annual Superbowl Party.  Although the game flashed across a massive projector screen, most attendees seemed preoccupied with silent auctions, raffle tickets, wining, dining and otherwise socialising.  It looked like the game only served as a reason to convene.  Feeling only a little under-dressed in our jeans, Beth and I retreated to the bar to get a menu and, more importantly in my case, a brewski.

I can’t say that I was wildly enthusiastic about the Superbowl this year.  I grew up in a Giants household; I live in Boston, where Tom Brady lives down the street (waaaaaaaaay down the street, but that doesn’t make the statement any less true).  You can maybe imagine how awkward the Superbowl was for me last year.  Anywho, neither Giants nor Patriots made it to the final game this year, and although I definitely enjoy watching the game, I wasn’t emotionally, geographically, or genetically attached to either the Cardinals or the Steelers.

On Saturday, I had forgotten that Superbowl Sunday was to follow.  After my memory jog, it occurred to me that I had no plans for this year’s game (the crew and I had convened at one enthusiast’s apartment the previous year, only for him to swear that he would never host a Superbowl party again after the Pats’ loss).  I was running competitors’ practise at Balera yesterday wondering if I had any friends I could call for game day festivities when the phone rang.  It was Billy Morganti, a prominent, proactive and highly respected member of the dance community.  He wanted to invite Russell to an “awesome Superbowl party.”  I took the message, trying not to wish that I could go too much.  Russell’s a close friend of mine, but in the dance community, I’m a nobody.  Russell’s a studio owner, and another prominent, respected dance figure.  I assumed that if one dance somebody is inviting another dance somebody to a special event, that there won’t be too many nobodies present.

A couple hours later, I was gathering my things, getting ready to head home and look for a bar to inhabit during the game.  Beth was locking up the studio, and Russell asked if I was on a time schedule.  I have no friends who like sports who aren’t also jaded from last year’s game so I’ll be drinking alone at a pub during the game.

“Eh, not really, why?”

“If you’re not in a rush, Beth and I are going to be heading into Boston for this Superbowl party.  I guess it’s a dance event, too.  We can give you a ride in in a little bit.”  Eager to avoid paying T fare to go eat chicken wings by myself, I happily accepted.  “Sure, Beth just has to go home and change real quick.  We can hang out at Solea while we wait.”

Free ride home, hanging with my buddy Russ and tapas?  Yes, please!

I was finishing up my artichoke fritters when Beth stopped by to collect us.

“Why don’t you come with us?”

Oh thank the Lord Jesus, I don’t have to watch the game alone in a bar filled with drunkards!! “Are you sure?  Didn’t Billy have to put you all on a special guestlist or something?”

“Yeah: ‘Russell Jackson and Guests.’  Come on!”

And that is how we found ourselves amidst the Philanthropian Sea.  After finding Billy and his table to say hello, Beth and I made our way to the bar to place an order where Russell eventually found us.  “How much was the entry fee?”  After conducting some observatory research, we found that entry was $30.00.  “This is a charity event, and we got in for free.  We should at least buy some raffle tickets.”  The three of us dug through our wallets, found some cash, and bought a total of 20 tickets.  We finished eating and went back to the hall to join Billy and Company, just in time for the half-time show, and what looked like a live auction.  Russell flipped through the auction guide, commenting on the starting bids when the auctioneer introduced the first item: three nights and two days at Stowe, VT.

“We’re starting this bid at $350.  Do I hear $350?”  Silence.  Russell grinned.  Beth shot him a glare that clearly said “Don’t you dare.”

“Again: $350?  Going once . . . going twice . . . ”

Evidently Russell did not speak Glare, or he chose to ignore it, because the next thing I witnessed was his hand shooting into the air.  “$350!”

The auctioneer looked at him quizzically.  “What took you so long!?  Do I hear $400?”  We looked around, but no one else seemed too interested in Vermont.  He continued: “$400?  Going once . . . going twice . . . ” He pointed at Russell, “Congratulations, you’re going to Vermont!”

As the room applauded, I looked at Beth and grinned.  “You’re gonna have fun.  Don’t worry yourself about it!”  It was then that I learned that Russell complained when car rides lasted longer than 20 minutes, and that he’d never been skiing in his life.  “Minor details.  You’ll still have a blast.”

Our table won a few more items, but Beth, Russell and I kept our hands down.  I’d already splurged on raffle tickets, and had no intention of trying to get my hands on $600 Red Sox tickets.  Russell was ecstatic.

“That was awesome!  I’ve never bid on anything before and I won!  Where are we going?”

The game resumed again, but we were busy socialising along with everyone else.  After the third quarter, Russell and I decided to see if we won any of the raffle prizes.  Together we won three.  Russell’s enthusiasm rivaled that of a schoolboy who’d just found a frog to bring home when he saw that he’d won two items.  He surrendered his winning tickets in exchange for an original photograph of one of the Celtics players accompanied by an autogAfricaraphed piece of wood panel floor and an Africa-inspired painting.  I won the other Africa-inspired painting.

While Russ paraded about with his additional prizes, I wondered to myself what I’d possibly do with this painting of two African natives toodling past a watering hole.  My Superbowl Sunday certainly hadn’t gone anything like I had expected.  Granted, I wasn’t expecting much, but at least I thought I’d be able to tell someone what the score was after the third quarter, or what my favourite commercial was by then.  Instead, I was at a charity event with Africa under one arm.

With great friends.  And having a wonderful time.

I suddenly decided that I liked my painting of Africa after all, and mounted it on my apartment wall as soon as I got home.  Admittedly, its context is a lot more memorable to me than the content of some silly commercials I can look up on YouTube any old time.

Today’s Tunes
“Losing My Way,” Justin Timberlake
“Gone Going,” Black Eyed Peas feat. Jack Johnson
“The Sweet Escape,” Gwen Stefani
“Take Me Home Tonight,” Eddie Money
“Safe and Sound,” Rebelution
“Julia,” The Beatles
“Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” Green Day
“Octavo Día,” Shakira
“Something,” The Beatles
“For Once In My Life,” Stevie Wonder
“Days Gone By,” She Loves Me
“Billion Dollar Babies,” Alice Cooper
“Crush,” Dave Matthews Band
“You’re Crashing, But You’re No Wave,” Fall Out Boy
“Rods and Cones,” Blue Man Group
“Virtual Insanity,” Jamiroquai
“Sunday Morning,” Maroon 5
“Tell It Like You Mean It,” Quantic
“Road to Dead,” Paula Cole
“Girl,” The Beatles
“A Love of Your Own,” Average White Band
“Carry That Weight,” The Beatles
“You Gotta Go,” Chase the Sun
“Fly Me to the Moon,” Diana Krall
“Build God, Then We’ll Talk,” Vitamin String Quartet
“One Step Up,” Bruce Springsteen
“Motorcycle Drive By,” Third Eye Blind

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Santa Speedo Run 2008

December 14, 2008 at 7:23 AM (Friends, Happenings) (, )

Today, I enjoyed spectating at my second Santa Speedo Run.  For two years, one of my friends has participated in the run for Cradles to Crayons, a charitable organisation that aims to provide life’s essentials for children through age 12 (www.cradlestocrayons.org).

Last year, I was a passive spectator at the balmy 33-degree weather spectacle (given the time of year, my adjective choice is in fact appropriate), but this year, I went one step further and took part in sponsoring my friend in his charitable (and, admittedly, aesthetically hysterical) endeavor.  Not only did I take care of my good deed for the year, but I was also happy to support one of my friends.  I’ve been blessed with a great group of people in Boston who have proven themselves to be incredibly caring in a very short while, and I was glad to be able to show one of them even a fraction of my appreciation.

This year, the weather was a bit harsher, with the thermometer barerly hitting 27 degrees, and raw winds making it “feel” like 22 degrees.  I was reluctant to leave the warmth of my apartment even for two hours, but I had paid good money to watch and record my friend gallivant through Boston, slightly intoxicated, in a red Speedo and Santa hat.  I bundled up in as many layers as I could manage while still looking remotely put-together, and made my way out to the merciless elements.  I lasted for maybe 45 seconds before I sprinted into the nearest coffee shop . . . across the street.

Equipped with my no-water chai latte, I strode back outside to wait for the train (or bus, whichever came first).  After two minutes of waiting my latte was tepid, at best, but I persevered: 1.) walking would have taken me forever and I would have missed the run entirely, and 2.) I’m too cheap for cab fare.  In short, I didn’t really have a choice.

After an uneventful train ride into town, I walked towards the bar/ starting point for the run in hopes of catching my friend.  After all, he had said that he planned on prepping for the run with some holiday spirits.  When I arrived at the bar, I tried calling him, but received no answer.  Rather than wait outside and freeze my posterior, I decided to visit another coffee shop in the area to warm up and kill time.  After all, I had 20 minutes to spare until the fun and games began, and I was usually lucky enough to score free caffeine at this place.

Nineteen minutes and a mild case of the jitters later, I stepped outside to a completely different scene than that from which I’d just left.  The street was lined with spectators, police officers, and stray vehicles that had missed the memo about the roads closing down for a bunch of half-naked philanthropists who’d be jogging through shortly.  At the head of the street, maybe a thousand people decked out in their best Speedos, Santa hats, cowbells, garlands, body paint, and assorted winter accessories were cheering wildly as they jumped up and down to keep from freezing before their run.  It was pretty astounding to see it all – again.

The atmosphere was electrifying, and despite the fact that I could not feel my fingers because they were so cold, I could not help but beam as I shot pictures and skimmed the Santas in search of the one participant I knew.  I found him doing jumping  jacks with a few other runners, but couldn’t get his attention: I’m 5’4″, and he was in the middle of a BIG crowd of  underdressed enthusiasts.  I moved further up the street beyond the starting point in hopes of catching my dear acquaintance on a portable medium as he chasséd past me.

There was no gun start, but it was easy enough to decipher when the Santas (and reindeer, and elves, and general loonies) were let loose: the cheering exploded.  I tried to shoot pictures while keeping an eye out for MY lunatic, but I couldn’t pick him out of the stampede that roared by.  Mildly frustrated, but not discouraged, I ran (okay, I walked briskly) back to the starting point, then walked against the itinerary to situate myself on the last leg of the run.

I cursed my barely average height as I struggled to get a view of the runners as the approached: everyone was stepping further into the street in order to see who was running towards us first, which of course left me either staring at the back of someone’s head or standing directly in front of the police car that headed the pack of Speedo-clad runners.  As I chose not to turn into roadkill, I prayed that my friend was running on the side of the street nearest me.  What also distracted me was that my camera battery was beginning to fail.  I had yet to document the adventures of anyone I cared to acknowledge.

Almost done!

Almost done!

ESP, luck, God, Chuck Norris, whatever, must have been on my side: sure enough, my buddy was trotting maybe six feet away from me.  I shouted to him, and when he saw me, he cut over to the curb to give me a big, sweaty, Speedo-tastic hug.  Then and there, I had accomplished my goal for the day.

Sure, it was a bit nippy, and I really could have used the time to get some end-of-semester work done, but being even the tiniest part of the whole production was worth it (and now I have some GREAT pictures for Facebook).  I think it’s pretty safe to say that the Santa Speedo Run is turning into one of my holiday traditions . . . who knows?  Maybe one year I’ll actually be one of those silly people you see running down the street in a Speedo for charity.

But I would not count on it.

No, really.  I wouldn’t.  Do not bet money on that.

 

Tonight’s Tunes
“Lovers In Japan / Reign Of Love,” Coldplay
“Into the Night,” Santana
“Closer,” Ne-Yo
“Under the Bridge,” Red Hot Chili Peppers
“I’m Yours,” Jason Mraz
“Wanna Love You Girl,” Robin Thicke feat. Pharrell Williams
“Secret,” Maroon 5
“The Show,” Lenka
“Sun King,” The Beatles
“Fields of Gold,” Eva Cassidy
“Adia,” Sarah McLachlan

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