Posts tagged ‘travel’


So many all sorts of things!

This is another of those posts that starts out all meta, noting how long it’s been since I posted last (and in fact meta-meta, since I’m talking about being meta (and in fact…)).

So much has been occurring!  I’m sure there was some stuff longer ago that I could mention that I’m forgetting, but we went to foreign countries!  Which is not a thing we do very often.

First M and I went to “England” for a week (“London”, in particular).  Here is a picture of Buckingham Palace:

Buckingham Palace

and if that doesn’t give you the full flavor of the experience :) M has done a great thorough set of writeups on every day of the whole thing (with perhaps more stress on yarn and fabric, and less stress on random blurry things, than a hypothetical similar series here might have offered).

Then after that, M went back home, and I went to “Dublin”, in “Ireland”, on business.  Here is Ireland (it is green):


All I saw was Dublin, mostly the “Silicon Docks” area and the part of downtown in front of Trinity Library, and the 20-minute walk between them.  But it was cool.  I was there entirely by accident on Bloomsday, and saw some people dressed all memorably, although I was not forward enough to take pictures of them.

Another notable fact is that a vast alien mothership has landed in the middle of the city, and apparently there is some mind-control field that prevents anyone but me from seeing it.  Here is a picture (although if the mind-control lasers have gotten to you also, you may just see an ordinary little line of Irish flats):

Giant alien mothership, Dublin

(Not Photoshopped, promise!)  So that was notable.  Various random things:

  • We stayed in a tiny flat off of a garage off a a mews just North of Hyde Park, which was pretty awesome.
  • There was a local pub right on the corner, The Mitre, which was very genuine (in the sense that for instance if you just wander in as an American there’s no clue what you’re actually supposed to do in terms of sitting down, obtaining goods and services, and so on), and (once we figured it out) had good Guinness and Fish-and-Chips, and all like that.
  • We saw All The Things, Big Ben, the Eye (from below, we didn’t go up in it), Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, the Tower, the East End, big famous stores and shopping streets and things whose names I’ve forgotten (see link to M above who covers these things coherently).
  • The Underground is great, if confusing compared to say the NYC Subway.  When you land at Heathrow, they will make it Very Very Easy to buy a ticket into London on the Heathrow Express, which is very convenient and fast, but costs basically infinitely more than the Piccadilly line in the normal underground.
  • The Underground is not great in that figuring out how to pay for things is Incredibly Baffling.  Again the NYC Subway is a model of simplicity here: you get a Metrocard of any kind at all, and you pay either nothing (if you have an unlimited card) or $2.75 to get into the subway system.  And that’s it!  In the Underground you can buy either a ticket or an “Oyster” card, and the “Oyster” card can have a TravelCard “on” it in some logical sense, and there is a deposit associated with the card that you can get back only after the card has expired, and you can get it back from a machine if it’s under a certain amount, and otherwise you have to take it to a hidden office in the London Sewers that is open only alternate Wednesdays in February.  Your Oyster card is charged (or not) both when you enter the system and when you leave; if you don’t have enough money on it to leave, you can still leave, but you can’t enter again until you “top up” the extra amount from when you left.  They have people stationed at every set of payment machines, who attempt to explain to tourists and Londoners alike how much it will probably cost them to do various things, but those people seem only slightly less baffled than the people they are advising.
  • Although you aren’t supposed to take pictures in Westminster Abbey (for reasons I can’t really understand), my phone seems to have accidentally gone off a few times, and I have some pictures of M’s feet standing on various famous names in Poet’s Corner.
  • Lots of other stuff.
  • The last day, when I’d dropped M off at Heathrow and had a couple of hours to get to London City Airport (the London Docklands is a really interesting area!), I went and sat in Hyde Park in one of the folding chairs that are all over the place, and as it was raining lightly (we had great luck with the weather, that was the only rainy bit) I put my umbrella up over me, and just sat there watching people go by for awhile.  That was nice.
  • After awhile of that, there was this very loud noise out in the street of chanting and marching and things, and eventually this roused me and I went up to the street and there were all of these Hare Krishna folks marching and singing and dancing and conveying a big colorful float, and a smaller float with a loudspeaker, and satellite folks going among the people on the sidewalk giving out literature and taking donations.  They were, it seems, going to Trafalgar Square for an annual vegetarian feast and festival.
  • So I ended up with a Hare Krishna book and have read much of it.  It starts out well, with good basic spiritual insights about the world and stuff, but then goes off the rails (as so many do) about how true knowledge can be obtained by chanting certain words, and we should believe specific things because the Vedic Literature says it, and anyone who believes otherwise are Lower Than The Beasts and blah blah blah.  Which was sort of sad.
  • And many many other things.

Outside of us travelling about wildly, other things have happened that you may have heard of from other sources:

  • omg #LoveWins.  What a world!
  • And Tony Scalia has completely jumped the shark; I really ought to write a weblog entry about that.  Ages ago I used to grudgingly admire him for at least being consistent and mostly rational, if from odious underlying assumptions and principles.  Awhile after that I wrote about how I’d become disenchanted, noting that his not even acknowledging the possibility of (rather obvious) alternate views was either oblivious or hypocritical of him.  And now he seems like just a frothing loony.  (And given the “applesauce” and “jiggery-pokery” in his latest, one has to wonder who in the world he hangs out with.)
  • Also ObamaCare is still legal and all, which seems good (I am such a Progressive these days!).
  • The Republicans continue to be the Party of Crazy.  I still think we will probably get a Clinton vs. Bush in 2016, with a close Electoral College and a Democratic popular vote.  But Jeb has been pandering to the loonies more than I would have expected, and I’m not sure what that means.  (Trump!  Christie!  hahaha!)

Other things I would like to write about someday:

  • All of these tabs that I have open on my phone and in Chrome (both to talk about them, and to write them down for myself so I can close some of them!),
  • The Monty Hall Paradox thing, for which I have what I think is a very insightful observation that doesn’t seem to have been made much, that explains why it generates so much strong feeling and all.

But not tonight!  :)  In fact I think I will post this without even a thorough proofread; enjoy the typos!



Here is another new poem! Even though it is no longer NaPoWriMo!


Bright sunshine and cool air,
Full belly.
One misstep on the curb
And that punch in the face
From the grill of a parked car
Is a gentle reminder
Of perfection.

It wasn’t actually the grill, since these shiny modern cars don’t actually have grills, but it was that general area of the car.

A rare picture of me with (even rarer) bodily injuries! (I was going to post a thumbnail of it here, but owch.)

This was on the way home, where, just to add to the airline excitement, my original plane was canceled and replaced with another one at 6:05am the next day, so I got to spend an unexpected extra night in a (different) hotel, and had plenty of time on the way there to slip in a parking lot after a nice lunch and bash my face against things!

That flight was then, at like 11pm the night before when I was already asleep, rescheduled to 8:10am instead.

I fell asleep immediately upon getting home when I finally did. :)

Adventures everywhere!


More things which have occurred over time

(From the lack of international fame after the giant rubber duck joke, I suspect it may have been a bit obscure. Axoim of Choice? Banach-Tarski Paradox? Giant duck? Maybe you had to be there. Although I wasn’t.)

Lesson about Boarding Passes

Normally it takes about an hour to get from home to LGA. I left myself two and a half hours to get there on Sunday.

It was raining, and everyone was driving slowly, and there were a whole lot of everyones. And then somewhere on the ubiquitous Bronx River Sprain Brook Cross County Parkway everyone came to a complete stop for at least half an hour, for no apparent reason.

I had good luck with the airport and parking and stuff, though, and I had probably twenty minutes to get to the plane from the terminal door. Passing security on the way to the devices that give you boarding passes, I saw that security was pretty much idle, which gave me hope.

There are many pictures of capybaras on the Web; this is one of them.The device told me that the time-window for it to give me a boarding pass had closed, and I would have to talk to a ticket agent. The nearest official-looking person waved me toward three counters each with one agent in back and one customer in front, and no line, and I figured that would not be too bad.

Ten or fifteen minutes later one of the three customers finally finished their complex transaction involving purchasing airline tickets using Peruvian stock-market derivatives or whatever, and slowly wandered off. The person behind the counter punched buttons on their console for a long minute, and told me that the time-window for getting a boarding pass had expired. And there were no more flights to my destination that day. I said, perhaps rather testily, that I could probably still make this flight if she would just give me a boarding pass. “It isn’t giving me one,” she said, and uninterestedly handed me back my documents.


(So here is a rule: even though it seems weird, always either print out your boarding pass before leaving home, or cause one to exist electronically on some device, rather than depending on the usually-but-not-always-friendly kiosks.)

Also I am now rather baffled about the threat model, or other constraint, that is behind the thirty-minute time-window in which boarding passes are not handed out, even when one is standing right there with one’s government-issued photo-id and all.

Plan B

American Express Travel Services kept me on hold for some time, but my cellphone battery did not quite run out, and when they answered the person was quick and helpful and clued, as usual. At first she said there didn’t seem to be any flights anywhere that would get me there that night, but then oh wait here is one that has just opened up, I’ll grab it for you. It has a stop in Chicago. Ick, but better than being stranded entire. Oh, and these seats are free first class upgrades. Well, okay!

I still needed a boarding pass, and the flight to Chicago was already less than half an hour in the future.

The kiosk device again regretted that the time window in which it could give me a boarding pass had closed. I moaned softly to myself, walked boldly up to a ticket agent in a red jacket who didn’t seem to be strictly-speaking open for business, but he nodded and punched some buttons and gave me a boarding pass (maybe if I’d just snuck over to him the first time, I would have gotten that first flight).

Security was still idle and I went through pretty quickly (although the guy on the carry-on scanner did wonder in a leisurely way what that was in my bag; a computer power adapter, I said, and he didn’t say anything, and let me take the bag and proceed).

Flight to Chicago was just boarding, and my First Class ticket let me slip right in between the Zone 1 and Zone 2 people. The flight proper was very nice, wide first-class seat, not-bad food, frequent offers of water and even a hot face-towel.

In Chicago, there was a reasonable amount of time to my next flight, and while many of the outgoing flights out into tornado country were being delayed, mine wasn’t. The flight that was supposed to leave from the same gate a bit before mine slipped slowly later in time, and eventually pushed into mine, and we got a gate-change and were sent into a little basement with gates in it.

At what should have been boarding time, it turned out that we had an airplane, but the crew to fly it was still an hour away, since they were coming in from tornado country, and everything out there was naturally all messed up. An hour or so later, though, they did show up, and while first class on this leg wasn’t nearly as nice (a tiny plane is still a tiny plane), it was still first class.

So anyway, I got into the hotel around 2 or 3 am (I’m a little unclear on the actual time, especially considering timezones). And gave a day of Educational Presentations on four hours’ sleep yesterday. Apparently I was quite coherent, although I don’t remember much about it.


Highly recommended for popcorn and burgers and ambiance in Rochester, Minnesota (United States of America, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy, the Mind of God) is Newt’s. And for having the energy and mental acuity to find Newt’s and eat food after presenting a day of modules on four hours’ sleep, highly recommended is a nice nap.

Also, Rochester, Minnesota is apparently a bastion of honesty and virtue. Getting my bags out of the car in a semi-coherent before-nap state on Monday afternoon, I left the rental car keys dangling out of the trunk lock. This morning, in the parking garage, feeling all my pockets in a bit of a panic due to a lack of rental-car keys, I looked down the line of cars toward mine, and there they were still dangling from the lock.

I said a heartfelt silent prayer to the Goddess (wow, that page is hard to read, isn’t it?) and the good citizens and residents of Rochester.

So that is all that! And I now have an app for electronic boarding passes, at least for American Airlines, on my i-Pad. As well as a bunch of Atari video games! Naturally…

Also I am just about finished reading Charlotte Joko Beck’s “Everyday Zen: Love and Work”; it is interesting in various ways, and perhaps someday I will post about it here.


North and Back Again

Now the Internet connection is out entirely. That is, we can get to the owners’ wireless router, but the rest of the Internet isn’t visible from there. (Night before last, when there was all that wind and the remnants of rain, we couldn’t get to the wireless router even all that reliably, but the rest of the Internet was sporadically accessible when we could.)

And, perhaps suspiciously, there seems to be no cellular service here this evening either, although there has been prior days. Maybe Linekin shuts down even harder than we thought, the week after Columbus Day.

Devoted long-time readers of this weblog (especially in its prior incarnation) will be concluding with joy around this time that we are once again writing from on vacation somewhere in Maine, and that conclusion will be, or is, correct!

(The pumpkin quickbread will need to be checked again in about ten minutes; since I don’t know this oven, and I’m baking it in a glass baking dish for want of a proper loaf-tin, the time’s highly uncertain.)



We drove from home to Boston on Friday for Parents (Parent’s? Parents’?) Weekend at the little boy’s school; that was fun, mostly for getting to see the little boy, but also random schoolish events (the sample Ear Training class was especially neat). Then up here on Sunday, to the little cottage above the larger house where we stayed in hmmm 2009, probably, although I seem to have Not Mentioned It In The Weblog, which is odd. Unless I just can’t find that entry in between being distracted by all of the other ones.

On Sunday we tried to go to the nearest-by good lobster-type restaurant, but it had apparently just (like, maybe minutes before) Closed For the Season. (We’d been a bit afraid that, coming up this late, everything in general would be Closed For the Season, but the owners here had assured us that most things would still be open.) So on the advice of the other folks leaving the nearest-by-but-closed place we drove down toward Ocean Point, found a place to park around the bustling Ocean Point Inn, and made our way inside.

Turns out it was the last night for the Ocean Point Inn before they also Closed for the Season, and it was “going to be a madhouse”, and they could not give two random persons with no reservation a table, but we could take two of the last four seats available at the bar, so we did, and had some very yummy lobster stew and I think blueberry pie, and sat talking to the bartender a bit when she had an instant to breathe. Busy night, definitely, but “tomorrow, free!”.



On Monday we went and walked around in Boothbay Harbor like we always do, went to many of the Usual Stores, bought a few random things (including me the usual few books at the Friends of the Library Used Book Store), admired stuff, had ice cream at the usual ice cream place (their last day before Closing For the Season!). Odd with no children or other relatives orbitting (orbiting?) about, but pleasant and familiar, and a gorgeous day. We had dinner at the Lobsterman’s Co-op; I had my traditional actual lobster, which was very good. Monday was, naturally, their last day before they Closed For the Season.

Tuesday I woke up with a sore throat and fever and no energy at all, so Tuesday and Wednesday we did basically nothing at all, which is really okay because we’d planned to do considerable nothing-at-all, and my being down for the count just forced it to be at that particular point in the schedule.

(This is awkward and/or frustrating; I called one of the owners a few hours ago on her cellphone, cell numbers being all that they gave us, about the Internet not working, and after asking if I was sure I had done the password right and all, she said that they would “take a look when we get back”; and now it is like quarter to nine in the evening, and I can’t really tell if anyone’s arrived back over there or not, and I am too shy and retiring to call them again before they contact us. I am such a connectivity addict!)

So Tuesday and Wednesday were extremely relaxing, modulo a bit of fever and all which were quickly moderated by Night and/or Day Quils produced magically by M from the nearest grocer.



Thursday, which was yesterday, I felt considerably better, and we went to Freeport, the home of L. L. Bean’s vast megastore into which we didn’t actually go, and scads of other stores of various descriptions, some amusing, some good sources of Outlet Bargains, and so on. We found a great British Goods store, which M (being the prime Anglophile in the house) will probably have weblogified significantly about by now (and where I got some nice teas, including a lovely green tea with lemon, for my recovering throat).

We ate lunch at a restaurant attached to the Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine empire; Linda Bean being the something-great granddaughter of the original L. L. Bean himself, and now a luminary of all that is Maine and lobstery and prosperous. She seems from my little reading about her to be quite the Ron Paul Republican type, which is pretty in keeping with someone who started her own commercial empire from (one speculates) merely quite a bit of inherited wealth and corresponding contacts and self-confidence. Sort of like Mitt Romney’s semi-famous line about how he inherited nothing, in the sense that he passed along the actually cash-money inheritance that he got into a trust for his children. But inheritance is so much more than the cash money passed along…

Anyway! And today being already Friday, how did that happen, we went into Wiscasset (“Prettiest Village in Maine”, or other slogan to that effect), and waited in line and had lunch at the extremely famous Red’s Eats, strategically positioned at the Wiscasset end of the Boothbay-to-Wiscasset bridge in such a way that the length of the backup both ways on Route 27 there pretty accurately reflects the length of the line to buy lobster rolls at Red’s. (We’ve always observed that notable correlation, but this is the first time we actually stood in the latter line ourselves.)

The lobster rolls were very good, largely I think because they contained very large amounts of very fresh lobster meat, still in the form of claws and tails and whatnot. And the sweet potato fries were a nice addition. And the Maine blueberry cake.

It was cloudy and chilly and windy during all of that, and we ate our lunch in the car, but when we emerged it was sunny and almost clear, and it stayed gorgeous like that as we wandered about the town and bought various smallish items of a vacationy sort, including a copy of The Submarine Boys on Duty and an oldish Texaco road map for me, and various things for M that she can weblog on or not.

We stopped by the grocery for random things on the way home, I made (and somewhat burned, as it turned out, but don’t worry it wasn’t because you were distracting me with weblogging) a pumpkin quick-bread from a box of mix (and water and oil and a couple of eggs), we found that the Internet didn’t work, and pretty much here we are, caught up to date!



Incredible how many years we’ve been coming up here. This is the first Empty Nest trip, with the little daughter all out being a college graduate and gainfully employed adult, the little boy a college Freshman in Boston, both of them living in apartment buildings (something that neither M nor I have ever done, and I sometimes feel that they are already more authentic grownups than I am because of it). We really haven’t figured out the whole Empty Nest thing at all yet, that’s going to take awhile just to seem real, much less to get used to.

Thirteen years, in fact, hasn’t it been? Since those very first postings to the then-new (and now-very-stable) davidchess dot com and associated domains. How young we all were! Although in the mental map in my head (that I suppose I formed when I was about twelve, and have updated only lightly since) fortyish and fiftyish are about the same really; so us adults haven’t aged much. :)

We didn’t come up here in 2011 or 2010, at least that’s our current theory. And then in 2009 we were up here, with M’s sister’s family, just across the street there, but apparently I managed to not weblog about it at all. So I last weblogged from hereish back in 2008. Reading back there, I note that (a) there is commentary on the Red’s Eats traffic situation, and (b) even then I was talking about how sporadic my weblog posting was becoming. That latter trend has certainly kept up, eh?



I could do the usual List of Books Lying About, but right now I am too lazy to get up (well, to get up again; I just wandered off to the kitchen upon remembering that I’d been heating water for hot cocoa, and got that, and came back). And what does one do about the iPad? It has various books on it, and it is lying around, but do they all count? Or just the ones that I at least halfway intend to perhaps read whilst up here?

(Not to mention the infinite number of books and potential books and book-like-things that are also virtually lying around when the Internet connection is working; but that’s obviously a whole nother universe.)

This house, cottage, is across the road from the one that is right on the water, and that has its own dock. And we’re further up the Bay than we were those first years, and the water is calmer. So I’m not sitting by the open window breathing the air and listening to the waves plashing (and, come to think of it, the air is supposed to be well below freezing tonight, and it’s headed there already, and we don’t have any windows open). Still, though, there are waves out there, plashing quietly, and a million extra stars up in the black sky (I saw them all, looking up when I strolled over earlier to see if the owners were home and might be able to fix the network connection, not that I’m in withdrawl or anything no no nothing like that). And it’s quiet, very quiet, and a car going by makes one lift one’s head to see what that sound is, as opposed to at home say where a sudden cessation of background motor sounds would have the same, if opposite, effect.

Those first times up here were so, what?, pivotal, or not pivotal so much as exemplary, maybe, thematic. Life-changing not in the sense that life would have been some other way without them (although to an extent it would have been), so much as life-changing as in showing in a lovely clear way how life had changed, having sentient children, a prosperous family, having chosen certain life paths over others, being in a rental house on the coast of Maine rather than crouched with tired fingers in a harvesting shack on the edge of some large and well disguised marijuana field somewhere in California, listening for helicopters and planning what to do with the next big payout.

Just for example.

And then over the years they’ve become more familiar, comfortable, known, part of life rather than some sort of distillation or fragment of metaphor. Being the first Empty Nest vacation is definitely a new thing, but still such a definitely-new thing that I have nothing much to say about it; that train has arrived, but the cargo has not yet been unpacked. The definitive bit of Empty Nest weblogging has yet to be written, and that may not happen on the coast of Maine at all.



There’s a road somewhere between here and elsewhere called New Meadows Road, and there’s a river near there called New Meadows River. And, thinking as I sometimes do about places and how they get their names, I found the river one sort of baffling.

I mean, it’s relatively straightforward how you get some meadows called New Meadows, because there were some other meadows first, and now there are these new ones also, the New Meadows, and if then a road goes in that runs by, or on the other side of, the New Meadows, that could be New Meadows Road.

But the river, that river was already there. It was there before the New Meadows were there, and it seems pretty likely that the New Meadows are close enough to the (if you will) old meadows, that even when the old meadows were relatively new, people knew about the river (rivers in general, and this one in particular, being no small things or easy to overlook), and had to refer to it now and then.

Did everyone just call it “the River” all that time, and it wasn’t until after the New Meadows were named that for some reason it became necessary to call it something? Not really convincing.

Was it originally called the “Odious Bobcat River”, and people living along it got tired of the name, and consciously redubbed it “New Meadows River” for psychological reasons? It would be a good story, and it’s possible, for all that one naively doesn’t think of persons in antique times being into that sort of PR.

M suggests that the meadows and the river could, after all, have been discovered (or discovered to the extent of needing names) at the same time, and rather than having started using some new meadows a stone’s throw from the old ones, it could be that our intrepid explorers came around some curve in the forest track, or reached a hilltop, and behold there were some meadows, gleaming in the sun as though newly-minted, and a river flowing merrily beside them, and they named them the New Meadows and the New Meadows River accordingly. (Although M says that “Fresh Meadows” might have been a better name in that situation, I pointed out that perhaps they had looked on the Internet and found that Fresh Meadows, Maine was already taken.)



Ha, and now it appears that the Internet is available again! (Approaching bedtime on Friday night, it is.) So I will stop typing for now and see what the world has been up to, and post this probably once we are back home, quite likely typing more in between now and then, in the traditional burglar-resisting style.

And now and now, it is near bedtime Saturday night, and we have various things all packed up, some even in the car, for the long drive home tomorrow. We went for a lovely walk and climb over the rocks way down at Ocean Point, taking lots of iPictures, and then back into town for seafood and icecream (the icecream store was actually open, although officially closed for the season, the owners we suspect having dismissed the thirteen year old counter persons until the Spring, and having fun selling off the last few flavors to weekend tourists themselves).

I won’t post the list of books lying about, because for one thing some of them are already in the car. But the ones I finished include Modesitt Jr’s “The Parafaith War”, which I enjoyed (from the blurbs I sort of expected a fast-paced clever-idea story, so because it’s actually a rather slow and thorough growing-up sort of story I found it extremely slow moving until I adjusted my expectations), and something named “The Buck Stops Flynn”, which was odd and quirky, and Sam Harris’s “Free Will”, which turns out to be very short and to say pretty much what I expected in my “Getting Free Will Wrong” entry the other day, but which I may eventually write a more nuanced entry on.

And that’s it! :) Probably no more typing here tonight, and possibly no more until I figure out exactly how and where to post this once we are back home. Probably to the shiny new wordpress weblog. Should I also post it to the old traditional davidchess dot com weblog as a Special Anniversary Update? If I remember how? Maybe!

In any case, be well, have been well, and whatever tenses English is missing. And thanks, as always, for everything.



(And now we are home! Things not mentioned above include half an hour of zazen sitting on a mossy stone on the scenic Maine hillside, which I’m not sure just when occurred, and a stop at a Cracker Barrel on the way home for our direct intravenous cholesterol injections. The cat is going completely bonkers at the return of her staff, and we are unpacking. Welcome home!)


Dingbat, the singing cat

Dingbat, the singin’ cat
He sung so high
But he was flat…

At least that’s how I remember Dad singing it. I remember him singing various things randomly.

(It turns out that “Dingbat the Singing Cat” was an actual thing, and actually sung to roughly the tune of Peter and the Wolf, although Dad and/or my memory seem to have transformed the words some. I didn’t realize that until I looked it up on the Interwebz just now.)

There was also

Be kind to your friends in the swamp,
For that duck may be somebody’s mother.

which I find is also an actual thing, again with perhaps slightly different words (I think I like ours better).

Mom was very partial to the “Let’s take a kayak to Juneau or Nyack” line from “Let’s Get Away From It All”. Although the line is actually “Quincy or Nyack”, and once again I don’t know if the “Juneau” version is Mom’s doing or mine.

Where’s Quincy, anyway, and why would one take a kayak there in particular?

But Mom was very fond of Nyack, which was just down Route 59 not too far, and had nice craft shops and art and stuff. Still does in fact! Although now it’s across the river, rather than just down Route 59. But still not too far!

I also remember the first few notes of Peter and the Wolf being used as the tune by which to sing “hey, ho, the radio!”, but I don’t know if that’s something Dad made up or got from some old comedy song (he loved Spike Jones, and I still do), or something that I made up or imagined.

Perhaps due to having enhanced my usual driving coffee with a Dunkin’ Donut or two (and those little shops are all the heck over the path from here to Boston and back!), I was apparently bouncing up and down and singing loud nonsense songs rather more than usual as we drove up that way this weekend for a (very successful and also triumphant) trip to apartment-hunt for the little boy.

And given that today is father’s day, I think that’s extremely appropriate. :)

Thanks, Dad!


Friday, 18 November, 2011

Most fun ever! Well… One of the most funs ever! In the top few, or dozen at most. Probably!

New York City is like a big… I was going to say Amusement Park, but it’s got more stuff than an Amusement Park, like quiet places to sit and read and look out over the river, as well as political protests and more Amusement Parkish things like subways and restaurants and art and people. So really it’s like, it’s like, New York City is like a big city or something.

I took the train to Grand Central Station, that being where it goes, and I got out of the train and had coffee and an egg-and-cheese croissant from Zaro’s I think it was, and sent off some small digital texts toward Steve, and then I walked out of Grand Central Station, and around it to the other side, and then a few blocks to Times Square, which is large and full of people and signs, and I sat down in a wobbly red chair and watched things happening for awhile.

(Times Square has free wifi that says it is from the Times Square Alliance or someone, and it is quite quite slow, but it is free; I posted to Twitter from it. Also, if I were going to put up an innocent-looking wifi service that actually kept track of all the interesting traffic that went by, Times Square would be on the list of best places to put it; so good thing there weren’t any of those. Also there did not seem to be any pornography or prostitutes!)

Then someone walked up and put down an enormous (maybe three feet tall) model of a Takeout Chinese Food container, and someone put next to it a sign saying “Stop Eating Garbage / Healthy Choice”. There were a number of young persons with video cameras and clipboards standing a little way from it, looking at it expectantly.

I went over and looked down into the model of a Takeout Chinese Food container, and there was a trash basket inside. I walked back over toward where I’d been sitting, and one of the young persons said “get him!” (not in the threatening sense of “get him!”, but in the more flattering “get him!”), and another young person intercepted me and took me over to a small table where I signed a model-release sort of form, and got my picture taken holding up a piece of paper with my name on it, for later identification in case the video they are making goes viral, and they want to pay the participants lots of money.

So you heard it here first (I imagine), folks! ConAgra, makers of Healthy Choice foods, have hired an advertising firm to make a Reality Video advocating that people eat Takeout Chinese Food as an alternative to garbage! Which seems like a very good idea, assuming you can afford it. And especially if you like Chinese food.

(I also think that having a trash basket inside the model of a Takeout Chinese Food container sort of dilutes the message, in that one might interpret it as saying that the Takeout Chinese Food is garbage. And that would be horribly offensive, and I’m sure nothing that ConAgra would want to be associated with.)

Here is a picture of Times Square, with the model Takeout Chinese Food container, and the sign saying “Stop Eating Garbage”, both terribly overexposed in the middle ’cause of it was sunny:

ConAgra promotion of takeout Chinese food

Then I found some stairs going down into the ground, and at the bottom was a subway station, and I took the 1 or 2 or 3 line downtown to Chambers Street (free association), and got off and went up the “NW Corner” stairs, and walked in a generally westward direction on Chambers Street until I got to the Tribeca Bridge, which seems like quite a large and expensive structure for just crossing one street, and not wanting it to go to waste I used it to cross the street, and then I walked out onto River Terrace which is a street on a very nice Terrace by a River.

There is a little park called Teardrop Park that opens inlandward from River Terrace, and I walked through that, and it was very nice. (One of the little metal things that keeps the gates of the sandbox area closed against the efforts of small and simple creatures like dogs and babies, while allowing larger and more complex creatures like me to easily open them, is broken, and probably any dog or baby could in fact open that gate and escape; someone should fix that. Although there were no dogs or babies there at the time.)

Then I got to Poets House! And it completely r00led in an OMG sort of way. You should all go there! But only a few at a time, so as not to make too much noise or disturb the people who are already there.

At the desk when you first walk in there is this gorgeous “right there behind her eyes” high-school girl (see this ancient theory and the paragraph a bit below for some hints of background on that; yeah, she was quite likely not actually a high-school girl) who will tell you anything you want to know about the place, although if you say that you heard about it on NPR she will assume that you already have a pretty good idea. There is no admittance fee, not even a suggested one, but you can become a member if you want, see the information on any of the stack of “becoming a member” forms they have there.

Upstairs is, first, a little display room, with some glass boxes in which are pieces of paper, many of them with things written on them by hand by Emily Dickinson. I thought that was pretty cool. One of them is a recipe for coconut cake!


Then, beyond that on the same floor, past the niches hiding the rest rooms, there is a little library, one wall all windows, with lots of light coming in, and places to sit by the windows, and books in shelves, and very nice free wifi. I sat there and played with the free wifi, and exchanged some bits with Steve using my cellular telephone, and I randomly took off the shelf a copy of The Poetics of Reverie by Gaston Bachelard (in an English translation; the one with the mostly-black cover), and I read that some, and looked out the window, and sat there drowsily with my eyes closed, and generally basked.

(Interestingly that particular copy, or possibly that particular edition, of that translation of The Poetics of Reverie is missing quite a few pages, in that for quite a bit of the early-middle of the book every other pair of facing pages is blank, so for instance one might have pages 50 and 51, then two blank pages, then pages 54 and 55, then two blank pages, and so on. This is unusual for a book! It did not bother me, because I did not get nearly to that part of the book, having started at the beginning. I do wonder if the Poets House people know.)

Then Steve and I got to the point in our exchange of messages where his said roughly “ok meet you in zucotti in 20 minutes” and mine said roughly “yay!”, and I went off to Occupy things. But that I think deserves its own posting, so I will stop writing this one now and post it, and post that one after.

Also I am really hungry!