Monthly Archives: October 2005

Is it kismet?

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Or is Pure Prairie League trying to tell me something? On the drive back home from obligatory Halloween activity no. 1 tonight, I was listening to oldies radio — my CD player in the truck is broken, which is something I really have to attend to before I go insane — and out of nowhere came a song I probably hadn’t heard in 20 years, maybe more. Sang along, loud. Still know most of the words. Get home, do some stuff, hit the iTunes store to see what’s happening, and on the “Just For You” recommendations is: “Amie,” by the aforementioned League. And, it IS almost Halloween, so I’m just a little frightened that zombie bands from the past are trying to get to me.


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The sun is back. That’s all I’m going to say about the weather for now. The week was a blur of ballet, Halloween stuff, an extremely busy work schedule, and more ballet. For all the time I’m spending there these days, I may as well be taking the classes. PIctures to come from observation days this week.

The sun is calling, and I must ride my bike today. Got up on the rollers for a little while yesterday — it was nice enough (though cold) to ride, but I didn’t have the time. With a doorframe to occasionally lean against, I was able to get up and ride for a few minutes. It’s tricky because steering on rolling cylinders of aluminum is very twitchy — not quite the grip you get on asphalt. But I imagine it’s hard to make a roller of asphalt. These do give a pretty strong workout, too. Of course, while setting that up in the garage, the (once again) distressed state of the garage came to my attention, and I realized that eventually I’d have to do something about that extra boat I suddenly needed and now have no place to store. So I started fiddling around with elaborate racking options, and finally decided to just buy a pair of metal sawhorses for the new boat and be done with it. With a LOT of work, I may still be able to get a car in the garage this winter. Stay tuned.

Looking for Halloween fare to view last night. We’ve got some great bad b/w horror films, but Bek’s a little sensitive for that sort of thing, so we were going to to go with “Beetlejuice,” only to be surprised by the fact that we don’t own it. Could’ve sworn we did. So, that left us with the choice of “Ghostbusters,” which always reminds me of when the chart-topping force of Ray Parker, Jr., and Raydio seemed to be unstoppable. Also watched “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” which really just isn’t all that interesting anymore. “Christmas” holds up, “Pumpkin” not so much.

Gotta get outside!

No snow, old newspapers

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Well, not here, anyway. Higher elevations got hit. The girls were disappointed because they had dreams of a snow day in October, but those of us who remember the October snow of ’86 (and yes, I take a long draw on my corncob pipe as I recount it) know how incredibly damaging snow is when the leaves are still on the trees. Why, this very house suffered serious damage when a branch crushed the back corner of the garage, and the previous owners did nothing about it. Five years later, I’m battling powder post beetles and carpenter ants because these bozos didn’t take the time to patch the roof correctly.

I’ve been totally immersed in family history lately. Something called the Northern New York Library Network has put together an amazing digitization project for several north country newspapers, most importantly (for me), the Adirondack Record and Elizabethtown Post. The newspapers are fully searchable and come down as PDFs (rather than some obscure proprietary viewer technology like Ancestry uses). As a result, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks poring over old papers looking for (and finding!) mentions of my grandfather and many other ancestors, filling in holes I barely knew existed, and revealing something of normalcy in a north country family life that we frankly weren’t sure existed. My father never spoke of his family or his life growing up — it was impossible to drag it out of him. How people were related to him was very vague. It was all very odd. On my mother’s side, we knew all our great great aunts and cousins and knew some family lines very well, but on my father’s side it’s been a jigsaw puzzle with about 80% of the pieces missing. So this has been amazing.

This was a time when the “society” columns of a newspaper reported on every little thing someone from a community had done. If they went 3 miles up the road to do some shopping, it was written up. If someone was over for Sunday dinner, it was written up. If someone was down with la grippe, it was written up. (Now I know that the same week my father was born, his family acquired a telephone.) When I was composing newspapers that still did this kind of reporting back in the early ’80s, I thought it was the most ridiculous, antiquated form of newspapering possible, and may well have prayed for its extinction. While I still barely see its value as contemporary news, it is an incredible resource for those of us studying family history, so it’s just possible I was wrong. These papers are also browseable, so even for those with no family connection, it’s enlightening to look back and read some of the dispatches, particularly from World War I. And the ads. The ads are amazing. Gotta get back to it….

Café Society

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Wrote not too long ago about the Ultraviolet Café, next to the Spectrum. Turns out (thanks to the Albany Bloggers for pointing this out) that the Madison Theater is now blessed with a similar adjunct called The Muddy Cup. Big, wide-open place filled with cast-off furnishings and free wi-fi, perfect for a soaked family waiting to get in to see “Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit” (which was brilliant, by the way). If they’d had coffee houses like this when I was younger, I definitely would have hung out there. Alas, all we had were bars. So in a way, all that alcohol consumption wasn’t even my fault, was it?

Very glad to have the Madison open again — its future was very iffy there for a while, and after the last closing it appeared it would be sold to Sage College and the last neighborhood theater in Albany would be gone (the truth of that statement depends on whether you consider the Spectrum a neighborhood theater). It’s a drive for us, but the seats and concessions are cheap, it shows first-run films, and it keeps me from handing over money to the big chains. And now, there’s a place to hang right next door. Perfect.

Light in sky

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What is that disc in the sky that burns? Oh, that would be the sun. Yes, I remember it.

Seriously, this rain has been getting on my ass. The one day it didn’t rain, we had 40 mph winds. Today, it finally cleared, and there’s a chance tomorrow will actually be sunny. (Again, I’ve lived in a far worse place, sun-wise, but I moved away.

Been reading “Her Husband,” an interesting enough story of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. Tends to drive home the same points over and over (and over), but it’s pretty good. I was unaware that Ted’s mistress, the women for whom he left Sylvia and with whom he later had a daughter, also killed herself. Same method. Took the daughter with her. That’s something to have to carry the rest of your life. It’s also interesting to read about the reality of Sylvia Plath, rather than the feminist icon that was fed to us way back when. For instance: very domestic, very into cooking and homemaking, very much wanted children. That was very much against the given truths of feminism in the ’70s, so it was definitely not part of the discussion of who she was. Also missing was her aggressive sexuality, though it appears that really only emerged with the later publication of things that had been held back. So, as I said, interesting.

For my other reading, I’m working on understanding cascading style sheets. I think I finally get it. But you’ll see no evidence of that here, yet. Yet.


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The weekend started with a Friday night trip to the emergency room — bad fall, nothing broken, and I think it always brightens the hospital if you arrive in a half-angel half-devil Halloween costume. In addition to Rebekah’s knee, they x-rayed her stuffed dog, so the night wasn’t a total loss. Sun peeked in on Saturday, and while yesterday was dry, the winds were gusty around 40-50 mph, and I just didn’t feel like getting blown all over the road so I stayed off the bike (wise, given how much tree debris is on the shoulders right now). Imagined getting up early this morning and getting a short one in before work, but the wind is still howling and it’s still pretty dark at 7 a.m. Those rollers can’t come soon enough.

Made it up last week with a little swimming, anyway. With swim team practice it’s almost impossible to get a lane at our Y, but twice I was able to sneak in right after work, get my half-hour, and get out. At least it’s something.

Took Hannah to see “The Corpse Bride” yesterday. It was incredible. Tim Burton tells a great story — in this case one I don’t know that I’ve ever heard before — and does it in a combination of puppetry and animation that is just stunning. The visuals at the end were unbelievable. Glad I didn’t take the younger one, though — I think a maggot repeatedly popping out the corpse bride’s eyeball might have been a bit much for her.


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There were several minutes of sunshine today, the first in about two weeks (before the rain, which has been going on for 9 days, we had several days of fog and overcast). Those several minutes occurred in the middle of the day, but were quickly brought to an end by a little more rain, and at the very end, when a brilliant setting sun flipped us the bird.

I recall a fall in Syracuse, it may have been 1981, when we went 34 days without seeing the sun. Living a life that is almost like suicide, as Elvis C. put it.

During those few minutes of sun today, I finally resolved how to get the huge, heavy, slippery kayak up onto the truck. Lee suggested using the roller from one setup with the j-bars from another, and it actually works pretty well. Humping this thing onto the truck is NOT going to be one of my favorite activities, I can tell, but it’s at least do-able, and with the j-bar rack, I can get the canoe up there, too, so our 2 by 2 concept will work. Of course, as soon as I got it all set up, it started to rain and I had to pull it back down so it didn’t fill up with water.