08.06 PulseDATING

Do Our Late 20s Mean One Foot in the Social Grave?

By Matthew Bonazzoli

Last month, Nicole was bemoaning the fact that ladies approaching the age of 30 run the risk of being passed over for barely-out-of-their-teens hotties. This month, Matthew offers a male perspective ~ and what he has to say just might surprise you!

These days you have absolutely no reason to feel like an old maid at 28. Yes, you’re being replaced, but in the same way one batch of high school seniors graduates and is replaced by the next year’s kids. If at 28 you find that you are competing against a younger crowd, it’s time to change venues ~ and maybe even your mindset.

Dance clubs are favorite hangouts for the younger set who have only recently gained legal access to alcohol and often have the luxury ~ before family, professional responsibilities, etc. get in the way ~ of focusing on fun, fun, and more fun. It’s time for you to move on…be proud that you’ve outgrown the monkey bars in that playground.

Just because you remember when Debbie Gibson was cool doesn’t mean it’s too late for you. In the past, a woman automatically became a spinster if she wasn’t married by age 25 ~ but nowadays, you’re simply an adult and there are many worthy, mature men out there who are looking to meet an attractive, successful single woman such as yourself.
Thirty year old men who are looking for a roll in the hay with a 21 year old girl are hardly worth your time anyway, so aim a little higher ~ but do so at the right shooting gallery because the ideal guy is not usually at a rave washing down his X with a Miller Lite. Keep in mind though that by age 30 a lot of men do begin running on what is slyly called the 20% principle. This “principle” means that they are essentially looking for someone 10 – 20% younger than they are ~ so a 30 year old guy would be looking for women around 24 to 27. There’s no need to raid the nursing home yet, but it might make sense to embrace the possibility of a slightly older man in your future.

So just where are these cool, single, not-just-out-of-high-school guys to be had, you might ask? Obviously, there are no easy answers or you’d already know about them. I can only make suggestions here and first and foremost (if you haven’t already guessed) is to ditch the college dance clubs and bars. Seeing as how you are a successful woman who’s looking for something real I would suggest joining the Young Friends of the Worcester Art Museum, Young Professionals Groups or like-minded organizations such as these. They’re good places to network and the people in these groups are sometimes higher caliber than your average club hopper. Take a night course in something that interests you, find a nice quiet dive bar to have a drink with some friends, or when you and a friend are out to dinner eat in the bar or lounge as opposed to sitting in a booth ~ that way, you’ll be more approachable. You don’t have to give up fun, good times, and late nights, you might just want to look for them in slightly different venues. The most important thing is to be yourself out there.

Try to remain positive, be receptive and smile if you think a guy is checking you out. Nowadays it’s not easy for a guy to approach a woman either so if you see someone you think you may like then feel free to make the first (ladylike!) move to show you’re interested. A smile will take you a long way.

Don’t worry about being single and approaching 30. These days (take a look at Hollywood!) it’s the slightly more mature crowd that’s oozing with sex appeal and getting all the attention. Live your own life for a while and enjoy it because soon enough a guy will come around. Eventually all the good girls and boys are taken and you won’t be an exception.


08.06 Cool Careers

Never a Dull moment for ESPN producer Tom Roche
By Kim Dunbar

There are five voices yelling at once as breaking news of Kobe Bryant scoring 81 points crosses the newswires in the ESPNews control room. Tom Roche’s is the most dominant. It has to be. He’s the one running the show and calling all the shots.

Roche is a producer at ESPN in Bristol, CT. It’s a job that takes immense patience, organization and enthusiasm Roche, or Rochey, as his co-workers call him, has it all. The show is broadcast live, so there is no room for error. Perfection is a high priority. With breaking news, the world of sports spins at unimaginable speeds ~ but there is no time to get caught up in the whirlwind. All focus and energy must be given to the matter at hand. It doesn’t matter whether your heart sinks deep into your chest or the butterflies feel like they might break through your stomach lining. What matters is that the news is broadcast to the public. One wrong move, one black screen, one second over or under, makes all the difference in producing a successful show or a show with an error. One wrong move and everyone notices.

“It’s a huge rush…especially when news is breaking ~ there is nothing like it,” said Roche. He describes Kobe’s 81-point night as “unreal.” “We didn’t even realize it was happening until the 3rd quarter of the game,” he added.

Bryant’s 81 points changed the entire show ~ in fact, Roche had to change the show 3 times to cater to Kobe’s scoring spree. Elements had to be moved around as the dynamic of the show took sharp turns in several very different directions. Roche usually has an entire day to plan his show; that day, he had to plan it in less than a minute, just before the show returned from a commercial break. No one said being a producer of a live television show at ESPN was easy ~ but the adrenaline rush sure does make it fun and exciting!

Roche, who was born and bred in Worcester and attended St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury, was like most other guys his age. Fresh out of college and an avid sports fan, working for ESPN had always been his dream job. After trying his hand in Engineering for a year, Roche decided to major in Communications at UMass Amherst. He gained experience working in the communications field as an audio operator and cameraman for Worcester’s Channel 3 newscast and other original programming.

“I was also an intern at WEEI radio in Boston, and also did an internship at New England Cable News in Needham on their weekend sports shows,” he said.

After graduating from UMass, Roche returned home to Worcester to figure out his next move, unsure of what direction he wanted to take. In March of 1993, he interviewed with ESPN ~ but never expected a call back. “I got the letter thanking me for my interest and I figured that was it,” he said. “But my call back came in June.”

Roche made the 90 mile move from the busy city of Worcester to the sleepy town of Bristol. He started work as a Production Assistant but was awarded the promotion to Associate Producer in 1996. Four years later, Roche moved another step up the ladder, nailing down the title of Highlight Supervisor. In 2003, Roche moved from overseeing individual highlights to running the big show as a Producer.

“I didn’t start thinking about becoming a producer until I got to highlights, but once I got there, I knew I wanted to produce shows,” he said.

In 12 years, Roche has learned to meet challenges head on and adapt to changes ~ much like he adapted to the changes from engineering to communications, from big city to small town, and from Super Bowl preview to Kobe Bryant spectacle.

But Roche does not forget where he came from; while he makes his home in CT with his wife and daughter, the rest of his family still lives in Worcester.  When he gets a break in his busy schedule, the one place he makes sure to visit is his old stomping grounds. “The one thing I really miss is my old neighborhood,” said Roche.

Roche also makes sure he helps those who someday hope to be sitting in his chair. The busy Producer spends his time in the newsroom sharing his knowledge and helping newcomers get along as he did. In fact, it’s his favorite part of the job.

“Teaching ‘the ropes’ to the younger folks who start here about how we do things is great,” he said. “I love watching them develop.” Roachy’s advice to those interested in television is simple: “Start early and get your foot in the door somewhere. Getting into TV is hard, but once you get in there are tons of opportunities that can be taken advantage of.”

The same kind of patience and poise that helped Roche land his job at ESPN helped him in the control room on that Night of 81 Points. He did not flinch. Rather, he embraced and controlled the moment. He had to. He was the one running the show.


07.06 Don’t Miss the Boat

Summer Cruises Offer Something for Everyone
By Sasha Hnatkovich

We’ve all heard and seen the commercials for the Norwegian, Holland America and Royal Caribbean cruise lines ~ glamorous people on glamorous ships, departing on week-long vacations in exotic destinations. But if you’re like me and don’t have thousands of bucks to spend on all-you-can-eat buffets and shore excursions, seeing those floating cities leave the harbor is as close as we’re going to get to a cruise this summer. Or is it?

Harbor cruises run daily all summer from Boston, Newburyport, and Hyannis. So for just a short ride from the city, you can be surrounded by glorious blue water, breathing in the fresh air and feeling as though the world is your oyster.

The perfect summer escape from sweaty clubs and dark bars, cruises let you enjoy cocktails, music and dancing under starry skies and accompanied by cool sea breezes. Join Boston Harbor Cruises [BHC] for their Salsa Cruise Series, complete with a lesson for you gringos and tropical concoctions that’ll help you find your rhythm. Mass Bay Lines, also out of Boston Harbor, offers 21+ Music Cruises on Fridays and Saturdays with live DJs and dancing. Hy-Line, out of Hyannis, has the widest range of options ~ from Sunset Cocktail to Moonlight & Music cruises along the Cape Cod Canal to TGIF Karaoke and Jazz cruises in Hyannisport Harbor ~ with many featuring local live bands like 57 Heavy. However, don’t miss the biggest party of the summer when Boston’s Weekly Dig commandeers Turntables on the Hudson [TOTH] and turns them loose on Boston Harbor on July 9.

If you’re looking for something a bit…quieter, Boston has two great alternatives to the typical booze cruise. Enjoy the sunset in comfortable, casual elegance with The Charles Riverboat Company’s Sunset Cruise along the Charles River. Or, for you gastronomes out there, come aboard the Liberty Fleet of Tall Ships’ 125 foot schooner for Steak & Lobster Dinner, Sunday Brunch and Wine Tasting Sails that are offered all summer long.

Of course, one of the foremost reasons to get out to the coast is to enjoy the fresh air and see the sights, whether they be a skyline, lighthouse or simply natural beauty. While BHC and MassBay offer great whale watching and sightseeing opportunities and Hy-Line has some sweet fishing trips, I have loved Capt. John Boats’ cruises since I was little. Departing from Plymouth Harbor, their Cape Cod Whale Watches offer some of the best opportunities to see humpbacks and porpoises ~ and their Deep Sea Fishing excursions will only add to your cache of you-should-have-seen-the-one-that-got-away stories. And don’t forget the Boston Harbor Islands this summer. Celebrating its 10 year anniversary this fall, this unrivaled National Park is made up of 34 islands, 8 of which are open to the public this summer (6 accessible by ferries). Enjoy their hiking and walking trails, picnic areas, camp sites, guided tours and walks, and natural splendor and isolation.

Find your sea legs this summer and come out to the coast for partying, peace and quiet, or sightseeing. Check out the links below for more information and ticket information for local harbor, river and canal cruises.

Boston Harbor
Mass Bay Lines, Inc.:
Hy-Line Cruises:
Turntables on the Harbor:,
Charles Riverboat Company:
Liberty Fleet of Tall Ships:
Capt. John Boats:
Boston Harbor Islands:


07.06 PulseDating

Do Our Late 20s Mean One Foot in The Social Grave?
By Nicole Steina

This month, our “She” gets introspective and wonders if she’s socially washed up at 28. Read what she has to say and then tune in next month when our “He” weighs in with the male point of view.

I was driving on the highway yesterday and talking to my best friend on the phone when suddenly it hit me ~ Literally! We were talking about how ladies our age, women in our late 20s who were once admired by women in their 30s for being young and vibrant, are now being replaced by 21 year old chickies with hot little bodies and most of their 20s still ahead of them. I was saying how I’m starting to sense that I’m now looked at not as the hot chick in the club but rather as that older lady who is trying too hard! Just as I said that I swear to you a huge rock hit my windshield…was a higher power trying to tell me something?!

I know a lot of you feel the same way that I do…I consider myself young and attractive. I take great care of myself and have better fashion sense than a lot of those cute little 21 year olds and yet I find myself out on the weekends getting passed over for the girl at the bar who bought her entire wardrobe in the Limited Too. It seems to me that nowadays it has become harder for a successful 20-something woman like myself to find a good man to settle into a relationship with when these young ‘uns are invading our social territory at a rapid rate!

What does she have that I don’t? Well, her boobs are firm and her butt is so tight you could bounce my dentures off of it! I spend 5 days a week at the gym to get that body and she sits home eating whatever she wants, watching TV and probably reading Teen Vogue! I try to keep up with what’s new ~ the hottest clothes, the newest hair cuts, the best fake nails. I go the hottest nightspots in Boston and am pretty well known as a socialite in the city. So why am I having such a hard time finding that perfect man? I’ll tell you why! The men I want in turn want the younger models and don’t want to “settle” for us old bags! The just-turned-21 ladies make men in their late 20s and early 30s feel like somehow they’re recapturing their youth.

Now I know a lot of you will say that I am making a generalization and I do admit that what I’ve said is not true in for every woman my age ~ it’s merely my perspective based on personal experience and a personal sense of, well, maybe getting a little bit obsolete in the dating world!

So it’s inevitable. Time marches on and here I am at 28 ~ another year closer to 30 and another foot on the banana peel as I step towards the dawning of my 30s! What can I do? Throw on my stilettos, put on that tight little dress I bought at Bebe and dread the look on the face of the man I meet at the bar when I ask, “ So how old do you think I am?” and he responds, “ I don’t know. 30?”


07.06 Skydiving: Go Ahead…Jump!

By Kyle Tucker

I remember when I was 8 years old and the world could still scare me. Watching the sadistic killer clown of Stephen King’s IT was traumatizing when I was in the 3rd grade. At Six Flags there were some rides I simply refused to go on ~ The Cyclone, for example. Alas, those days are gone…or so I thought. The Superman coaster is boring and Gothika merely made me check behind the shower curtain for a week or so. So when my brother came to visit and suggested that we go skydiving, I suddenly realized that there ARE still things that can make me go weak in the knees (aka scare the living daylights out of me). I kind of shrugged off his suggestion, saying that maybe I’d go if I could afford it. Well, he told me that I would be going and that he would pay if need be. Confronted with the idea of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane into thin air, I felt like that traumatized 3rd grader all over again.

Turns out that all my apprehension was for naught. Over 1100 people in the U.S. will die this year from bee stings, over 800 from bicycling accidents, and about 80 will die from getting struck by lightning. Last year, 21 people died in skydiving accidents ~ out of over 3,000,000 jumps performed. And while fewer people skydive than ride bicycles, a more apt comparison is that you literally have a greater chance of dying while driving your car to the airport than you do skydiving once you’re there. So join me in slaying the boogie monster underneath the bed and free yourself to explore life at 13,000 ft.

You’re up in the plane, high about the ground. You shuffle up to open door. You can see the plaid expanse of civilization below. Little lakes and rivers run like pencil strokes on a giant canvas. You’ve been climbing in altitude for about 20 minutes, during which time your innate yet irrational fears have had time to fester. You long for solid ground as this little plane seems so precarious. But you know the quickest way back to real life ~ and terra firma ~ is jumping out this door in front of you. The instructor is tightly strapped on to your back. He’s about to give the signal to push gracefully into the open air. Then he says, GO!” and you cross your arms as rehearsed and fall forward out of the plane, screaming like bloody death for the first few seconds.

You’re accelerating through the air when a strange and unpredictable thing happens. You realize that skydiving isn’t scary. The speed is intense but you are no longer falling so much as you’re coasting through the air on a sort of hyper cruise control. The ground below looks light years away and you feel like you have all the time in the world to enjoy the open air, the soaring vistas, and the feeling of absolute liberation. You even forget that Walt, your seasoned instructor, is strapped to your back.
After almost a minute of straight-out freefall, Walt pulls the chute. Your velocity is suddenly stunted ~ but then the ride becomes even more enjoyable. Using handles on each side of the parachute you can easily steer within 25 meters of your ground target ~ and you can also do some cool spins and flips in the air (just ask Walt, he’ll tell you all about it).

Beginner skydivers need no prior knowledge or experience. As is the norm in the skydiving industry, beginners always jump their first few times “in tandem”’ with an experienced instructor. And by tandem I don’t simply mean that you jump at the same time as your instructor; you are literally attached to and strapped onto them for the entire duration. They help nudge you out of the plane and they pull the chute. They will give you the option of steering the parachute, but they’ll also happily control things if you choose to be passive ~ or if for some reason you have second thoughts half-way down.

I booked ahead on a middleman website that claimed to offer the lowest prices. When I arrived at Fun Skydiving in Danielson, CT, they informed me that the middleman was unnecessary, so my advice is to book directly with the venue you find most convenient. You can expect to pay about $200, but make sure to check for group, student, and veteran discounts. These 5 skydiving venues are within an hour’s drive of Worcester, so take the word of someone who started out more than a bit nervous and wound up totally enthralled with the whole experience ~ strap on an instructor and JUMP!


02.04 Have we had enough silly love songs?

No doubt. But on Valentine’s Day, these classics will make your love hunger for your touch

February 2004 – A quick glance at the country’s top music charts tells us what St. Valentine does not want to hear: the love song looks dead.

Right now (deadline time) the two top songs in this country belong to Outkast – “Hey Ya!” and “The Way You Move” respectively. The former song’s line, “Lend me some sugar, I am your neighbor,” expresses some type of sentiment, but I do not think that you would call it love. Likewise, the same can be said about songs by successful artists like Kelis, Beyonce, No Doubt, and Linkin Park.

It is nothing new that rap does not offer anything in the way of romantic love songs. Guys like Ludacris and Jay-Z are not exactly your typical balladeers. Sure love songs used to be outnumbered by anti-love songs (songs about heartbreak or “free love”), but this is ridiculous.

So what to do on this Valentine’s Day 2004? With what song can you surprise your lover as she leans out of her second floor window only to see you in a full-length leather jacket with a boom box held over your head? On what song will you press play when your true love unsuspectingly picks up the phone to hear your personal statement of desire (written of course by somebody else, because writing your own song has the potential of becoming blackmail material further down the road)

Here’s the solution — go back to the classics. As much as you might like a great deal of the music out there today, let’s face it: there have not been any real testaments to love out there since the boy bands — and dedicating one of these songs to your boyfriend or girlfriend may not exactly be viewed as a sign of kindness.

Here’s a list of songs that typify the love song. This is not an exhaustive list nor is it a catalogue of the best love songs ever written. But all of these have in them something that makes these songs especially able to melt the heart of whoever you play it for on Valentine’s Day.

Unchained Melody — The Righteous Brothers: This is the ultimate slow song, perfect for slow dancing by definition alone. “Lonely rivers flow to the sea/ I’ll be coming home/ Wait for me.”

Your Song — Elton John: A self-conscious love song. Simplicity reigns as Elton just says plain out that this was a song written for you. And go ahead and tell everybody. Oh yeah, and “how wonderful life is/ when you’re in the world.” Simple words soar when put to graceful music.

I Will — The Beatles: Paul McCartney’s acoustic jaunt is different from most other love songs because of its bounce. Love songs do not have to be slow dances or soft ballads. “I Will” is fun. The diddy is also a testament to selflessness, an automatic winner in the love department.

Can’t Help Falling in Love — Elvis Presley: “Wise men say, only fools rush in.” Elvis sings a song about defiant love — love that should not even happen. And that’s exciting. It is a song about that rebellious love that cannot be denied – at least until the feeling of the fling wears off and then the love song becomes void (All love songs can eventually turn into cruel reminders).

Lay Lady Lay — Bob Dylan: Playboy magazine once called “Lay Lady Lay” the sexiest song ever written. Velvety and candlelit, the song is at times self-deprecating and then dreamy and hopeful. A great testament to depending on somebody else’s love.

Sing A Song for You — Tim Buckley: Probably the least known song on this list, I think it is the best. The late Buckley managed to write a song that was both sad and lovely at the same time. “Sing A Song for You” has imagery and self-consciousness like some of the previously mentioned songs, but the difference is a personal immediacy that permeates every word.

I Just Called to Say I Love You — Stevie Wonder: Also a little lighthearted, “I Just Called to Say I Love You” is fun and expresses a sentiment that most girls want: somebody just calling to say hi and tell you how they feel. Sweet as sugar, basically.

Something — The Beatles: There are probably many more Beatles songs that could be included as pinnacle love songs. “Something” stands out though with a smooth guitar riff that nobody forgets. The song also lists attractions – it says why Harrison loves his object of affection.

I Will Always Love You — Whitney Houston/Dolly Parton: For the quintessential love song, it helps to have a killer voice. You may not play it for your love because it is so well known it seems almost tacky. But its country credentials help it, since it comes from the heart and says plainly that love should be eternal – and that’s true love in a song.