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Friday, May 20th, 2011
9:00 pm
I'm at my folks' house because they live much closer to the start line. Corri and the kids have gone home, but they'll pick me up at the finish line on Sunday. This means I won't see them for about 40 hours - almost two full days. I miss them so much already.

I haven't been posting much about the ride on here this time becaue I'm just not sure if anybody reads this but not Facebook. In any case, I've made it to 75% of my goal; if you have the ability, please send a last minute donation to my Coast the Coast MS ride.


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Wednesday, May 11th, 2011
9:05 pm - Please support my MS ride
Hi everyone –

I can’t believe it, but I have my first MS ride of the season coming up. And soon! Like a week and a half soon! Somehow in the business and the chaos of the last few weeks (I got a full-time position; my son was born), the upcoming ride has really not been a top priority for me. But it is now, and I need your help.

I’m collecting donations for the Coast the Coast, a two-day bicycle 170-mile ride from Monmouth University in Long Branch, New Jersey all the way down the length of the Jersey shoreline to Cape May. This ride is for the National MS Society, benefiting those afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis and their families.

To make donations easier, I am fundraising primarily online at www.bensmsride.com. I encourage you to go there and read all you care to about the disease itself, the ride, and how your donations are put to work. Any amount that you can donate is the right amount.

One other way that you can support me is by spreading the word. Anything you can do to put the message out there about this disease or the ride will definitely help. A huge portion of my donations in recent years has come from friends and family of friends and family.

As always, I appreciate all your support.

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Wednesday, May 4th, 2011
7:29 pm - These are our children

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Thursday, January 6th, 2011
10:52 pm - I have the best donors!
The National MS Society just posted the top 250 fundraisers for the 2010 City to Shore, and all of you who gave to my ride put me on the list! You even kept me out of the last spot. Ok, I'm number 249, but keep in mind that there were six or seven thousand riders, so that's still a really great place to be.

You guys are awesome!

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Wednesday, December 29th, 2010
8:33 am - I can't believe I didn't get a picture
So my wife called me on the phone the other day as I was at our neighbor's house. She was, in her own words, freaking out because she had done some laundry, removed said laundry from the washing machine, and later reached into the machine only to have her hand brush up against something brown, furry, wet and squeaky. Mouse? Rat? Bat?



A small brown bat had survived a laundry cycle (the lid left open between loads), but wasn't happy. She was lying face-down on the bottom of the basin, one wing spread to the side, one held against her. Her head was tucked under the agitator.

I got some barbecue tongs and a paper bag. When I first tried to pick her up, she raised her head out (actually relieving me somewhat; I had been afraid that it was pinned underneath - I don't know what I would have done then); she showed me her fangs and screeched at me. Wishing I had longer tongs, I tried to pick her up, but noticed that she had locked her hooks into the holes at the bottom of the machine. I had to gently unhook her fingers, then her elbow. After that, she went into the bag pretty easily.

I called one animal rescue who directed me to another, because they apparently don't all truck in bats. One lady who does so runs a rescue out of her house in Cinnaminson, about twenty minutes away, but rather than direct people to her house, she has them meet her in the parking lot of a nearby diner. When you give an animal to one of these organizations, it's generally good to make a donation too, since they usually run non-profit and it costs money to take care of the animals.

This is how I found myself waiting in a parking lot to give some woman I don't know twenty dollars and a live bat. It seemed like some odd drug deal. The woman ran late, reminding me of Velvet Underground's "Waiting for the Man", where I learned that that's just what dealers do. Get me hooked, maybe make me bring progressively more bats in.

When I gave her the bag, we didn't even open it. I went straight to work, and on the drive home, I thought it would be hilarious if I got a text from her saying "There's no bat in the bag! WTF?!" and then I'd hear squeaking in the car...

Anyway, I talked to the lady two days ago, and not only is our bat healthy - no pneumonia - her wing seems to have only superficial damage. By the time the weather turns warm enough for a release, she should be long-since healed. She's eating mealworms like a champ and trying to bite the rescue lady whenever she handles her, which is apparently a good indicator of bat-health. What's more, based on her weight and how she's interacting with another rescue bat, she's possibly pregnant!

And she's squeaky clean!

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Friday, November 19th, 2010
3:48 pm
Last year was the 20th anniversary of our school (within Drexel, of course). When I was talking with some colleagues, we realized that it was at this time of year that we celebrated it, making this the 21st year anniversary. Of course this seems a lot less significant.

That wouldn't be the case, I said, if we were a seven-fingered race.

Man, it sounded like such a normal thing to say in my head. The reaction of others indicated otherwise.

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Thursday, October 7th, 2010
10:06 pm - Two years later
First this:

Then this:

Now this:

And this:

And this:

Happy birthday Lily!

The rule is that the pictures have to be from her birthday itself, but you all get two bonus pictures from her recent "Alice" birthday party:

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Thursday, September 23rd, 2010
1:10 pm
Hey everyone. Less than 48 hours unil the City to Shore and I'm at $400. Not bad, but it's less than a third of my goal. I'll live if I don't make that goal, but I want to make one last push for last-minute donors.


Any amount you can donate will help. And remember that you can get art from Jon Morris just for donating.

Thanks for the help so far everyone!

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Monday, September 20th, 2010
11:06 pm - The Bridges of Salem (and Gloucester and Camden) County
Ok, so fund-raising is going... not well.

I (optimistically) set a goal of $1500, and with five days left I'm currently at $280. I don't know why, but the donations just are not coming in this year. If any of you were planning on donating but were going to get to it later in the week, please donate now (www.bensmsride.com, of course).

If any of you have the capability, you can also help me by spreading the word. Put it out on livejournal or facebook, tell your friends or coworkers. I must admit, it's important to me that I feel like I've raised a respectable amount, but it goes beyond that: ask anyone living with MS or any surviving family members and, in my experience, they will tell you that the National Multiple Sclerosis Society does good work, helping victims and families manage MS and funding research for a cure.

In an effort to get in a little training before this weekend, I took a ride down to Woodstown, then over to Penns Grove and back home for a 66-mile loop.

The Delaware Memorial Bridge from about four miles north on the waterfront of Penns Grove.

A rusty drawbridge from just south of Bridgeport.

The Walt Whitman Bridge, waviness courtesy of the motion of the bike.

All in all, it was a great ride: nice and easy, thoroughly enjoyable all the way. I think I'm looking good for the big ride; please help me get where I want to be by going to www.bensmsride.com.

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Tuesday, September 14th, 2010
7:52 pm
Lily is helping me train for the City to Shore (less than two weeks away!):

But she gets sleepy from yelling at me to eat lightning and crap thunder:

Lily wants you to go to www.bensmsride.com and donate whatever you can to help people living with Multiple Sclerosis!

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Thursday, September 9th, 2010
2:16 pm
I suppose since many of you read this over on Facebook, there's no real need in changing the wording:

For anyone who doesn't know, the City to Shore is a charity ride to raise funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. It's a two-day ride from Cherry Hill, New Jersey to Ocean City, then back again. There's a choice of going 25, 45, 75 or 100 miles down, but only 75 back. For the past few years, I've been doing the 100, for a 175 two-day total.

This year's ride is on Sept. 25th and 26th, but I need donors. Donors like you. Many of you throughout the past decade have come forward and freely given money, sometimes in surprisingly excessive amounts. Usually I set a $1000 goal, but this year I am feeling gutsy: $1500 goal for my tenth CtS. So far, I have $175, so I need some help to reach that goal.

Please go to www.bensmsride.com and donate whatever you can. There you can also follow links to learn how horrible this disease is and where exactly your money goes.

Thank you everyone.

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Monday, June 21st, 2010
11:31 am - These beetles are almost as big as Jesus
Here is some of the wildlife that was on my rear window when I came home last night.

This one asked me if I had any spare change:

Here's a different one after I ... painted the quarter white, I guess. I can't tell you how little I wanted to get my finger near that thing.

And here's one with both kinds in it. I think the perspective doesn't really show that the darker one is easily bigger than the coin.

No luck so far getting Lily to use either as a phone receiver, sorry to say.

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Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
10:07 am - Since Mickie asked...
...and since I can't be bothered to upload to a site just so I can HTML code these into comments, Lily on a banana (phone) gets its own post.

She was saying "Hi" to her grandmother the whole time.

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Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
12:02 pm - Moshi Moshi!
One of Lily's favorite things lately is taking anything vaguely crescent-shaped and pretending it's a phone. She usually just says "Hi Daddy!" or "Hi Mommy!" again and again, which is more than she'll do with a real phone. Recently, in the absence of any properly shaped objects, she will use her foot.

She'll use either foot, too. She's ambidextrous...with her feet. Ambipedstrous? Ambipedible?

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Thursday, May 20th, 2010
12:09 pm - Look out honey 'cause I'm using technology
I honestly don't know how people did fundraising before the internet. I mean, I email people, I post about my ride on social networking sites, people donate online - what did people do before this? Send out actual letters? Wait for people to snail-mail donations? Bug people at the office more? Do math themselves to keep track of it all?

Well, in that environment, I definitely would have had to start fundraising sooner. But I'm actually almost there! Help push me over the edge in the fight against MS! I am two days away from one of the hardest rides I do every year, but a weekend of discomfort is nothing compared to what Multiple Scerosis does to people for a lifetime, and my riding is far less of a gesture than your donations are.


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Wednesday, May 19th, 2010
12:29 pm
Three years ago today, between days of the Coast the Coast ride (bensmsride.com), I got a Myspace message - yes, Myspace - that changed my life. A beautiful stranger named Corri was commenting on a picture of mine (a childhood Halloween picture of me dressed as Vyvyan from The Young Ones, if you must know). Since then, nothing has been the same.

I still love that lady like crazy, I love the daughter and life we have created together, and I am proud of her and the choices that she makes in her life every day.

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Monday, May 17th, 2010
2:08 pm
I decided to make the third ride of the season count, so I got out Saturday and rode 63 miles. Let's just say I hope Saturday's ride is easier. It's reasonable to hope that twenty more miles will be more than offset by chatting with other riders and drafting, right? And Sunday's ride, well, that's going to be hard no matter what.

To donate to my weekend of sunburn and saddle-soreness, please go to bensmsride.com. Hey, it'll be my birthday too! You can call it a birthday present that I just regift to people with MS.

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Tuesday, May 11th, 2010
4:22 pm
I'm a teacher now; I'm pretty much done with being a projectionist. But every once in a while, I get a call to run a film. Of those times, it's a rare occurrence when I run something that I don't mind watching, and among those few instances, there may be a film I actively like. Tomorrow, I am going to watch Alien on the big screen. In fact, someone is going to pay me to watch Alien on the big screen. This is how it should be.

I'd like to thank everyone for spreading the word via Livejournal, Facebook, and whatever other social media is out there about my upcoming MS ride (bensmsride.com!) and donating whatever you could. I'm up over $125 already, so by my reckoning, I'm a quarter of the way to my goal. Thanks again for your donations and help everyone! I'll try to do right by you (mostly by not passing out around mile 50).

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Friday, May 7th, 2010
1:43 pm
Every year I tell myself it will be different. I tell myself that I'll be responsible and not let it wait until the last minute. I won't wait until only about two weeks before my ride to start fundraising.


Guess what I'm doing in two weeks?

It's like I'm not even paying attention or something. Now don't take this to mean that I'm not happy that the ride is coming up. In fact, thinking about this particular ride has gotten me through some particularly depressing days over the harsh winter. But I need your help.

To support me in my sixth Coast the Coast MS ride (and my fifteenth MS ride overall), please go to bensmsride.com. There you'll be redirected to my personal donation page for the ride. My goal this year is for $500 - modest by other years' standards. You can also look around there and see just how horrible a disease Multiple Sclerosis really is, and just why I ride twice a year to help end it.

Thank you, as always, to anyone who donates. And if you can, please help me spread the word about the ride.

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Tuesday, March 9th, 2010
4:31 pm - Why did it have to be cardboard boxes?
I just had to help a family of three put a snake in a box.

I couldn't turn right because there was a mini-van in the way. Its doors were open and everyone - a mother and two small children - was outside on the sidewalk, looking at a shoebox held together with masking and duct tape. Unable to turn, I pulled my motorcycle over to the curb. I couldn't hear what they were asking me, so I cut the engine and learned that it was, "Can you put this snake back in the box?" An eight-inch snake, thinner around than my little finger, had mostly gotten out of a small gap, but was now stuck on the tape. It turned out that I could put their snake back in their box for them.

I learned something about myself today: I am OK with handling snakes that are not much bigger than an earthworm. But if it had been a spider, that family would have been on their own, because fuck that.

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