Sunday, August 24, 2008

jason in jersey sweded!

If you've seen Be Kind, Rewind the movie, then you know what "sweded is." Well, I decided last night to try to "swede" my blog and this is what I came up with. Tell me what y'all think!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Quotent Quotables

With some of my birthday money, I bought a used Dell SX260 small-form-factor computer to hook up to the TV so we can watch tv/movies on the internet and download movie rentals via It's small enough to put behind the TV and powerful enough to do most things.

The Dell SX260

I got it all running yesterday and thought I'd try out a movie. The one free movie that Blockbuster has for rent (you have 30 days to watch it after you download it and 24 hours to watch it after you first start it) is The Color of Freedom. It's an amazing movie about Nelson Mandela. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it. Well I loved some of the things said in the movie and I went in search for Nelson Mandela quotes. I've also been reading Spotting the Sacred by Bruce Main, who started the Urban Promise private school in Camden, NJ and I found some great quotes in there also. Here is my list of recently read great quotes:

  1. "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela
  2. "We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right." - Nelson Mandela
  3. "There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living." - Nelson Mandela
  4. "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." - Nelson Mandela
  5. "It is said that no-one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones." - Nelson Mandela
  6. "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered." - Nelson Mandela
  7. "We need to exert ourselves that much more, and break out of the vicious cycle of dependence imposed on us by the financially powerful: those in command of immense market power and those who dare to fashion the world in their own image." - Nelson Mandela
  8. "I have long been fascinated with the domestic nature of Jesus' spirituality. Time and time again in the Gospels, Jesus embraces the most ordinary of circumstances and places, finding within them rich sources of spiritual meaning ... Jesus spends the largest part of his time in the most everyday settings - homes, neighborhoods, and marketplaces - identifying and responding to the presence of God." - Simon Carey Holt
  9. "Books and articles have been important in my search for God, but it has been the interruptions to my everyday life that have most revealed to me the divine mystery of which I am a part." - Henri Nouwen
  10. "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." - Paul, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
  11. "Adults need children in their lives to keep their imagination fresh and their hearts young and to make the future a reality for which they are willing to work." - Margaret Mead
  12. "Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's Theory of Relativity to serve. You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love." - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
  13. "Preach the gospel always. If necessary, use words." - Saint Francis of Assisi
  14. "Those who, in the biblical phrase, would save their lives - that is, those who want to get along, who don't want commitments, who don't want to get into problems, who want to stay outside of a situation that demands involvement of all of us - they will lose their lives. What a terrible thing to have lived quite comfortably, with no suffering, not getting involved in problems, quite tranquil, quite settled, with good connections politically, economically, socially - lacking nothing, having everything. To what good? They will lose their lives." - Oscar Romero
Alright, I want to get back to reading my book now.

-jas ... (c:

Ocean City, Lindenwold Lions

This past Wednesday, Joce and I decided to explore the Jersey Shore (note: it's not the "coast," it's the "shore"). We figured we won't be able to go anytime soon with Jocelyn starting law school next week, so might as well do it now. Atlantic City seemed like a good choice, so made sure we had parking places marked on our GPS and mid-morning we set sail. On our way, Jocelyn was reading that the boardwalk in Atlantic City wasn't all that classic and the more we thought about it, the more it just sounded dirty. There was also a little blurb about Ocean City and how it's kept it's vintage appeal, so halfway there, we changed our course. Luckily Ocean City isn't too far from Atlantic City and in the same general direction.

After a little traffic and finding parking, we walked up on the boardwalk. It was great. Very clean, very dry (no alcohol), and very family friendly. It's amazing to me how 50 pizza/burger places, 25 fry places, and 75 ice cream/custard/water ice places can make it in such a small space (numbers exaggerated), but they all seemed to have a healthy business. We checked out 4 of the mini-golf places and decided on Congo Falls. It has not only 1, but 3 very-themed and decorated mini-golf courses! The solomon's mine course sounded good and it had a PG rating! It was this time when I found out I had brought the digital camera, along with a change of batteries, but failed to check if the memory card was in it. Yes, I performed a classic digital-camera blunder - forgetting the memory card. After mini-golf, we had a medium bucket of fries and a Cherry-Coke. The medium fry turned out to be fairly large, but there wasn't a large variety of health-conscious eateries around. '

Joce really wanted to lay out on the beach, but it cost $5/person to get on the beach and we were trying to be as cheap as possible. I wanted to go on the huge ferris wheel, but that would have been $8. We figured we'll do the ferris wheel some other time when we're there during the night and spend the $$ on the beach. There were little stands set up every so often to sell these beach passes, but when we tried to buy one, no one was around. We thought we could play dumb if someone comes by and asks us for our beach pass, but no one did. Score one for the Fowlers! Free beach passes!

After getting home, I saw there was an email from Lindenwold High School requesting an interview at 11am the next day. They said they tried contacting me by phone, but the phone was disconnected. I specifically took my phone to the shore to make sure I had it if someone called, but I think they used the local area code (856) instead of my area code (512). Anyway, I emailed them back saying that I would love to come in for an interview.

The next day I got all cleaned up and prepped for the interview. I even shined my shoes. I got to the high school and after spending a good 5 minutes figuring out how to get in, I stepped into the office. I didn't get the warmest of greetings, but I did notice a plaque on the wall rewarding students for how many decimal places they calculated Pi for Pi Day (3/14). Awesome! I met with the interim principal and the math specialist. As you can image, they loved me and often times I got a, "right answer" response from the principal. :-D We talked for a good 30-40 minutes, then they asked me to sit outside the office while they talk. I patiently waited and immediately said, "yes" when they asked if I had time to interview with the superintendent. Now, I'm used to school districts being larger and the superintendent being in charge of many schools, but there's only 2 elementary schools, 1 middle school and 1 high school in the Lindenwold School District, so it wasn't as intimidating as I thought it would be. She was real nice and, of course, asked me the harder questions. She went on and on about the great things the school has to offer and the history of school. It was nice seeing her energy and excitement about the school. When I couldn't think of any other questions to ask, she asked if I was interested in the job and offered it to me on the spot. I immediately accepted. One thing I still can't get over is the health insurance for the teachers. It's a no-contribution family plan. So Joce can get on my insurance without having to pay anything at all! This is a HUGE difference from Austin where I would have had to pay over $600/month to get her on my HMO insurance plan. This is actually an answer to our prayers since we recently found out that the Rutgers insurance doesn't cover a whole lot.

So great news! I've got a job with insurance that Jocelyn can get on for free and Joce is starting law school this monday! YAY!!!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

birthday gifts, Katy, trash freebies, jobs, grocery stores and the park...

So I titled my blog to help me stay on track and not start talking about something random. My birthday was not too long ago and I don't feel any older. I guess that's good. But I got some great cards and money (THANKS Granny & Gran!!) and a GPS from the folks. Around here it's a life-saver and it's pretty well updated. Of course there are times when I accidentally take the wrong street (since it's so confusing!), but thank goodness it re-routes us.

mr. bill and my angel watching over the gps

Our friend Katy came in from New York this past weekend and hung w/ us. We wanted to give her a good Philadelphia experience so we went to Gino's Steaks - supposedly one of the best places in Phila to get a cheesesteak sandwich. Honestly, it wasn't all that great. Kinda dry. I think the Castilian made better cheesesteaks when i was a sophomore in college. Anyways, I probably won't be going back anytime soon. Didn't get that great of a comfortable feeling there. If I wanted to fit in, I'd need shorter hair, a north-east accent, a sense of "i'm better than most folks", a wife-beater shirt, and a phillies cap. Plus it was posted everywhere that they had the right to refuse service to anyone and "Order in English! This is America!" Not the most welcoming place and from what I've read on wikipedia, Geno (aka Joe) said the signs were directed towards the Mexican immigrants in the neighborhood. Sounds very "patriotic" - note the sarcasm. After all, it should say, "Order in Lenape or Susquehannock! This is America!" if we're being historically correct.

Joce and a horse at Geno's

We ate breakfast Saturday morning at the Pop Shop in Collingswood, NJ. It's a great place and very veggie friendly! Our luck, we stumbled upon a little street fair there in Collingswood and spent the morning. It was very much like the Pecan Street Festival in Austin.

Where's Jocelo?
See if you can find Jocelyn in the photo below:

I love dumpster diving and the great things you can find. We came home this past week just in time to find a perfectly good 20" or so TV and a nice little black mesh waste paper basket. We had a cable hookup in the bedroom, but didn't have a TV, well now we've got it hooked up so we can fall asleep to cable or a movie! It's a little big for the filing cabinet it's on, but it's functional.

scary santa watching the free apex tv

The job hunt is still going. I've applied to two schools which would both be great. One is exactly 3 miles from the apartment and the other is a great private Christian school near Camden. I've been calling and sending in my stuff, so now I'm just waiting (and calling to remind them how interested I am every so often). Let's cross our fingers!!

We're still looking for a grocery store that is similar to our wonderful HEB back home. The places we've found so far aren't all that great. There is a Whole Foods not too far away, but they're usually expensive. There's a Trader Joe's that has good prices and good food, but it's kinda small so we can't get all our groceries there. Genuardi's right next to us didn't impress us much at all. Our last trip we went to Acme and so far it's the best of the bunch. It had a good natural/organic section and most of everything else we'd need. The apples were really expensive and so was the cheese, but besides that, everything seemed to be ok. We might try the local Shop-Rite next. Stay tuned!

The weather up here is beautiful! If you've been reading Jocelyn's blog also (which you should be! - click here if you haven't), you'd know that we barely turn on the a/c and usually just have the windows open all day. I'm looking at the temperature right now in the middle of the day and it's only 79°F! We woke up nice and late today and rode our bikes to the nearby park. We brought a basketball and our tennis stuff just in case there was someone already playing on either court. Turns out there was only one tennis court taken, so we tried basketball first. I'm horrible and Jocelyn hasn't played in a while, so that was fun/funny. Then we went to the tennis court and Joce showed me a little how to play. I'm not all that good at that either. I should probably stick to cycling and handball. But we had fun nonetheless.

Joce on her awesome cruiser

Alright, well I've got stuff to do today, so I best get going.

-jas ... (c:

Friday, August 15, 2008


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Eastern State Penitentiary

So, for my birthday, I wanted to check out the Eastern State Penitentiary. Some of y'all might think this weird, but it was really awesome. It was like watching a 4-hour Discovery channel special on the ESP (Eastern State Penitentiary) except in real life. They've got these really nifty little audio tour deals and something like 40+ points of interest with an audio tour of each. (We actually got kicked out 'cause we stayed until closing and I still had one more to listen to). It's really interesting finding out the history behind this place. Built in 1822, it was our first penitentiary and designed by the Quakers to instill pertinence - hence the name. Each of the prisoners were not allowed to talk or communicate to any other inmates and had to wear hoods when outside of their cell so they didn't know the layout. If you want to know more about it, check out their website or Wikapedia's article on it.

Here's a slideshow of pictures I took from it. Press the green play button to start it. If you want to see larger pictures or it doesn't work for you, click here.

Well, I'm going to go watch a movie, then go to sleep!

-the now 28-year-old jason ... (c:

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yay! I've made it to 28 years of age. Man, that's just 2 more years until I'm in my 30's *shiver* That seems so old. But I guess looking at some people that are in their 30's (you guys & gals know who you are ;-), they still seem to be pretty hip, so I guess it's not all that bad.

So I was thinking last night I wanted to create a post with all the differences between Texas and Jersey Joce and I see up here, so let's see:

Texas/Jersey Differences

  1. To turn left on a lot of roads in Jersey, you must turn right first. Confused? Yes, we were too. At least in the area we're in, Jersey seems to favor cloverleaf intersections. To turn left, you go past the street you wanted to turn left on and turn right on a little loop, then cross the street you were just on.
  2. The posted speed limit means $limit+10mph. If the speed limit is 25mph, you drive at least 35mph. If it says 60mph, you drive at least 70mph.
  3. Wawa is a wonderful 24-hour food mart in the area and everyone loves it. It's not just a 7-11 without gas, it's got fresh fruit, their own brand of cheaper Wawa-branded drinks, hot breakfast/lunch food, etc... If you hear someone say they've got to stop by Wawa first, you'll now know what they mean.
  4. You want to purchase beer? You can't buy it at the local convenience store or grocery store, you've got to go to a liquor store.
  5. Water-ice is apparently a pretty big thing around here. You won't hear people talking about snow-cones, it's water-ice here.
  6. It's not the coast, but the shore.
More to come later. We're heading to the Eastern State Penitentiary for my birthday. Expect some great creapy pictures!

-jas ... (c:

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Pri's got new plates!

Check 'em out. They're cute, right?? A lot better than just plain yellow - eww!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Getting lost is becoming the norm...

So Joce and I just finished watching the movie "Be Kind Rewind" and it was awesome! I love both Jack Black and Mos Def. Plus the film was shot in Passaic, New Jersey! It sounds like what happened to Passaic is similar to what happened in Camden, NJ - factories and businesses left town with all the jobs and killed the town. But aside from that, I highly recommend watching this movie if you haven't already.

This morning Joce went for a walk with the dogs and I thought I'd go ahead and explore the area on my bike and go for a ride. Well I got all geared up and spandexy and plotted out a way to get to nearby Berlin Park. It looked like it'd be about 6.5-7 miles or so - not too bad. Well first off, I'm pretty out of shape. I haven't cycled for any extended amount of time (read: more than 20 minutes) for a little while now. Getting started it was really nice. Berlin Rd and Egg Harbor Rd are pretty nice, not too busy and they're either wide enough for a car and bike or have a bike lane. Well, I got into Lindenwald, then added ~2 miles to my ride since Lindenwald doesn't believe in normal street signs. No, instead of street signs I guess they think it's cute to have little posts in the ground with the street name on them. I missed it on a bike. I figure a car would have even more trouble. So after figuring this little tidbit of knowledge out, the street I wanted to turn on didn't actually connect to the street I was on. Google maps isn't so reliable up here. It's easy when most of the streets fit a grid pattern like back home, but (I've already complained about this already) when the streets go all caddywhompas, it gets confusing. Got to the park and the street to turn into the park didn't exist - Thanks Google! Overall, it was a nice ride and should take ~14 miles if ridden correctly. It's kind of nice starting to figure out where to go without having to look at a map. I guess getting lost is all a part of the game. Afterall, it's how I started figuring out computers. Whoops, I messed that up. Now I gotta figure out how to fix it or my dad's gonna have my ass. It was pretty good motivation.

Tomorrow we're off to get new plates for the car. We're going to get the cute "Animal Friendly" plates. Just look at it. Doesn't it make you smile?

Hopefully that won't take too long and we can get on with the rest of the day.

Oh yeah, speaking of the rest of the day. Joce scheduled a dentist checkup for both of us and it turns out my great dental insurance is only for Texas. If I wanted a checkup, I'd have to fly to Texas. So much with being glad I've got insurance here. :-P

And the greatest news today, I got my official State of New Jersey Standard Teaching Certificate!! It says I've "met all of the requirements established by the State Board of Education and [am] authorized to serve in the public schools of New Jersey as indicated below: Teacher of Mathematics." It's good from 07/2008 until forever! YAY!

-jason ... (c:

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Teaching Questionnaire

So I'm here at a local coffee shop trying to fill out this 12 question questionnaire for a possible job and it's difficult. I've got to really think and do some deep inner-reflection for some of these. So I'm taking short little breaks (like this one) to give my brain a break. I love black&white photos. It makes me want to take more pictures with Butch's old SLR camera.

my coffee house picture

And back to work!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Train ride into Phila

So it's really convenient to take the train & ride into Phila with our bikes, although it's not as fun standing up between the wind guards for the 20+ minute ride. But Joce does it in style:

Joce studiously reading the Not For Tourists Philadelphia book while in transit

Holding her wheels up in style