Archive for the ‘Galavanting’ Category

Continental Hates Tall Fliers

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

I am 6’3″, tall but well within the range of normal. The last time I flew, I had my knees under my chin for the whole trip because there was no room for me in the little bitty space they give people in coach. I always asked for the emergency exit seat, but you don’t often get one.

Luckily, I no longer work at a job where I have to fly places two weeks out of every month.

With luck, I will never have to fly again. I won’t pay an extra $60 for a normal human size seat. I will take the train or drive, and if I can’t, I’ll stay home.

I miss my trips to Chicago, Austin, San Francisco and DC, but I am older now and I can’t sit all folded up for several hours anymore.

Continental to let coach customers buy more space.

Spent Sunday on a Road Trip

Monday, September 28th, 2009

It rained the whole day on Sunday, so I did not get any pictures. It was a great trip, though. Erica and I went up to the Rose Hill Farm in Red Hook, NY. They have Pick-Your-Own deals, but the rain was too much. We bought 1/2 peck (a small shopping bag) of  macoun apples and a wonderful apple pie. The apple pies are the old fashioned kind with a thick crispy crust and tart firm apples. It is very different from supermarket apple mush pies with soft crusts.

We then plugged in Millertom, NY into the GPS. Erica had a recollection of the place from an article she read a few years ago. It is a cute little town in Columbia County, NY right on the Connecticut border.

Millerton was a cute little town, but when we wanted lunch only the town diner had empty seats – for good reason. Erica and I sat down and then left because of the unsanitary look of the place. There was a “Tea Bar”, but it only had a few tables and none were empty. There was a Coffee Bar, but the prices were very high and the place had a line waiting for tables.

We stopped at an Organic Farm stand and I bought an apple cider doughnut to keep my blood sugar up. We also bought organic baby beets for dinner when we got home, which were wonderful.

We went through some of the most beautiful country in the area. It was alternately horse farms and rugged hills. There were no flat places and the ride was wonderful. If I go again I will bring the big Nikon camera and take pictures.

The foliage was just starting to change. On the hilltops there was lots of color starting to appear, mostly yellows from the sugar maples. This will darken up to reds as the month goes on and the oaks start to change.

I used about half a tank of gas in the new truck. Good mileage was one of the reasons that I bought it. I had a great time, even though I had about 4 hours behind the wheel. I am looking forward to the next road trip. I hope we can go gallivanting again.

Status Update

Friday, February 20th, 2009

I am getting over a nasty little cold. I have not been doing much of anything, including reading, just sneezing.

I ordered a new pair of glasses online at quite a savings. I got the eye exam at a department store and I am waiting for the glasses. I will blog about the results when the glasses arrive in the next few days.

I registered for the SAO short course in Astronomy. The international balance of trade make it somewhat affordable again. I have received the welcome letter with instructions on how to get started. I will blog about this regularly.

I have found a farm within driving distance that sells beekeeping supplies and they will have a shipment of bees ready for me on May 9th, if I want it. Getting started costs around $350, but there is twofer deal, so I want to talk to Larry about it. I’ve have to drive up just north of Albany to pick up the bees and hive. It would take about 3 hours up and 3 hours down. There is another site that will overnight the bees and hive to you for a total of $400 if I decide not to drive. I want to do this, but I don’t want to kill the bees.

There is a satellite launch on March 5th at the Kennedy space center. You can view the launch from a beach in Cape Canaveral. Air fares to Florida have dropped so much that it is silly to not go. I will ask Larry or the poker boys if anyone is willing to go down and share expenses for a motel room and the rental car. We could go down the night before, watch the launch and then get our ears at Disney World, or just hang at the beach all day. If I can pull this together I will post the hotel where we are staying and anyone out there who wants to meet us there can join the party on the beach. I’ll be bringing my harmonicas.

I have been taking a course in web design. I know, I know, I have been designing web pages for years and even taught 4 semesters of a course in it. I decided that I did not have a well enough grounding in the actual esthetics of the design process even if I have the mechanics down pat. Everyone agrees that I make ugly web pages. I would like to see how another instructor deals with the topic. I have been in some interesting disagreements here at work about creating simple effective pages without all the fancy clutter.

I got a rewrite request on my story The Dinosaur Dance Floor, but I have not been able to get myself excited enough to do the work. Antihistamine pills take all the creative oomph out of your life. had a bang up Valentines day, even better than Christmas. It has slowed down since then, but I am still running better than 50% over the same period last year.

I have a camera full of pictures from January and February. I have not found time to empty it out and now there has to be a dozen blog entries worth of stuff in it so I am shirking this. I will try to get to this on the weekend.

In order to save money, all contractors working for the county of Westchester have to take an extra week off without pay. This may go up as the year goes on. It means more free time for me, but less money in the bank. It also means that I may be staying home on a few Fridays over the summer in order to catch some of those Friday afternoon garage sales.

Christmas Tree Cutting

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

Erica caught the last 10 seconds of me cutting down our tree up in Rock City, NY.

We chose a Balsam this year because of the wonderful smell. This one had pine cones all over it so it is very different from the tree you’d buy at the local gas station. If you have the chance you should cut down a tree for Christmas. It is a very cool experience. There was no snow this year. I always like watching the kids running around like crazy trying to find the best tree. Tree cutting is a real kid’s thing. (Good for me because I am just a big kid).

That’s not just my hat. That is the real shape of my head.

Sunday About Nyack

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

We went garage sailing today. One of the sales was up on Tweed Boulevard, which runs along the high ridge across from Clausland Mountain and eventually becomes the Palisades. It once was a nice spot for young couples to go and park and watch the “Submarine Races” on the Hudson River. Now, multi-million Dollar homes run all along the road.

I took some pictures of the view. That’s the Tappan Zee Bridge, the Piermont Pier and you can just make out the village of Nyack down below, dominated by the ugly condominiums at the foot of Byrd Street, and Hook Mountain in the distance. (See the picasa album here)

I went over to my Mother’s and Larry came in with a giant TV in the back of Harold White’s pickup truck. Harold is one of the few people left in Central Nyack from my childhood.

I got pictures of Zack and Toby. Zack is sick. The cancer is back and his days are numbered.

Some of these pictures were taken with Larry’s new Nikon 5400 (a garage sale find). A very nice camera, indeed. Larry has to go over to Walmart and get a memory card. I took these pictures with my memory card.

Clarkstown Graveyard

Friday, October 31st, 2008

We don’t get trick-or-treaters. It is partly because we live next to one of the spookiest cemeteries in the county.

I went over and took some pictures just as the sun set. The flash pictures came out, but the long exposures are often blurry because I could not hold the camera still enough. I wound up setting the camera on a gravestone and using it for a tripod.

Graveyard Gallery

Wandering through pumpkin country

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Erica and I drove up to Orange County, NY in search of apple pie and autumn leaves. I took 53 pictures and most of them are interesting. Check out the picassa web albumn to see all of the pictures. On the way back I had a flat tire on the thruway and had a lot of trouble changing it. I am very tired. We found no apple pie.

From October Leaves, Apples, Pumpkins and Corn Maze
From October Leaves, Apples, Pumpkins and Corn Maze
From October Leaves, Apples, Pumpkins and Corn Maze
From October Leaves, Apples, Pumpkins and Corn Maze
From October Leaves, Apples, Pumpkins and Corn Maze
From October Leaves, Apples, Pumpkins and Corn Maze
From October Leaves, Apples, Pumpkins and Corn Maze
From October Leaves, Apples, Pumpkins and Corn Maze

Last Day of Summer

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

We went up to Connecticut to the flea market today. Last year we went up at least ten times and in previous years we have gone as far as Pennsylvania to shop flea markets. Because of the price of gas, this trip costs about $50, so we may not make it up again this year.

The Elephant’s Trunk Flea was quite full. Here are some shots from the north side up on the hill.

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I did very well. At one table a nice couple sold me some Weird Tales Magazines and a vintage 1948 JT-30 microphone. Since I collect both vintage microphones and vintage pulp SF magazines this was an incredible coincidence. I bought a J.J. Cale album for poker for a quarter – it would have been too weird if I had found it at the same table.

The Weird Tales pulps were from 1951 ad 1952, which is not Weird Tale’s best period. The stories are mostly, if not all, reprints. Weird Tales was digging into their contracts and finding stories that had been purchase with All Serial Rights or First and Second Serial Rights. This means that the authors gave Weird Tales or one of her sister publications the right to print their story again and in some instances as often as they wanted.

The magazines were OK quality, but would not be rated good or fine if I wanted to sell them. I thought that I was getting a bargain, but I probably paid just what they were worth. They are the same age as I am, but they are too fragile to take the bus with me.

The JT-30 is a military version called a model 80.  It came with a long cable (missing) and had a rising response element. The element, of course, has been dead for 25 years. Some day I’ll find a 60 year old microphone that works. I made up for not getting a bargain on the magazines and got the JT-30 for $10, which is a very good deal.

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Erica had some good luck and found some vintage quilts, which she was able to get for a very good price. They are all in need of a good cleaning, but there are not that many bad stains. The binding on the pink quilt is shot, but there are only a few small spots on the quilts themselves that need repair.

The first is a Basket Quilt top, made with Cranberry red cloth and muslin. Erica dated it from the patterns of the pieces as 1880 to 1910.



The next is an Indigo Quilt in a "9 patch" pattern (I think that this was called flying geese, but Erica isn’t sure). This was about 1890 from what Erica can tell from her pattern references. It has feed sack, Victorian shirting, and several kinds of Indigo.





Ollie and Gracie were helping us photograph the quilts.


The next quilt is an "Around the World" which Erica dates it possibly the 1920s, although some of the patterns are much earlier. There is cheddar type material and some double pink from 1880s. It also has Indigo and Victorian shirting.



Sunday Walk to The Hook

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

I took a whole load of pictures when Erica and I spent an afternoon on a walk from the Upper Nyack village hall to the Hook (Hook Mountain if you are not a native).

From Walk to the Hook

I used to go to the Hook to play in the sand when I was very young. The river is not really clean enough to go swimming anymore, but it is much better now than it has been.

I discovered that the images from my blog, when I use Windows Live Writer, go to a Album. I stopped using Picassa a few years ago because it was buggy and wanted to control all of your images. I am trying it again because I took 67 pictures and I need a good place for them. Uploading the images was a snap and you can view them by clicking the “walk to the hook” link under the picture.

The pictures are of the mansions along the way, like the Fokker mansion (German Airplane maker) and some of the houses that I have been in. There is a beautiful wrought iron willow gate and other interesting things, including views of the river and Sing-Sing, the famous prison (up the river from New York, hence the phrase sending someone “up the river”).

Upper Nyack was always know as Goose Town or Van Houten’s Landing. It was named Upper Nyack to associate it with Nyack in the early 1900s, when Nyack first started to be a fashionable getaway from NY.

We only saw one cat. It was down by Peterson’s Boat Yard.

Pompton Lakes Town Wide Garage Sale

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

It seems that I have been seeing a lot of New Jersey’s Lakes lately. This is fine with me. I like lakes.

We went down to Pompton Lakes – about 30 miles down 287 from Nyack. There was no traffic today. The price of gas has hit $4 and like someone turned off a switch, the traffic stopped.

We went to at least 50 garage sales. It seemed that at least 25% of the homes were having a garage sale. There were lots of sales that we didn’t even get to. Every block had two or three sales.


I bought some odd stuff like a USB hub and US government publication on ethanol from 1980. (I want to make a post just on this book).

Erica found a few frames and an antique black walnut mirror for $8.

Here are some pictures of Pompton Lake. It was hot and hazy.

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Vistas and Ice Cream

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

Erica and I set off from rte. 15 to rte. 94, which took us north and then east on our way home.

On the way home I took some pictures of a view of the Wawayonda (neat name) valley.


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Erica pointed out that the barn I was standing next to had lightening rods on the roof, right out of Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes.


Then, on the way towards Warwick and rte. 17a, we stopped for Ice cream. This part of north Jersey is very rural and there are lots of Dairies. Sometimes you can smell a dairy a half a mile away.

The Ice Cream store shop was out in the middle of nowhere and was still crowded. I am used to the thin anemic ice cream that you get at grocery stores. This was incredibly rich and made from local fresh cream.


This was the view of the Warwick valley from the back yard of the ice cream store.




Sunday, July 13th, 2008

After the Flea Market, I went north on route 15 to Mohawk Lake, Highland Lake and then Greenwood Lake. I’ve blogged some nice pictures at Mohawk Lake in older posts. Here are the pics from Highland Lake.

Highland lake is controlled by a corporation and you have to join the owner’s society and pay for the maintenance of the lake.

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This new Nikon camera often does not take a picture, even though you think it is working.

Erica and I stopped by an Open House for a small house on the water. These are the pictures from the back yard, but the interior pictures did not come out. I got no pictures of the house at all except for a weird one of the foundation.

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Three Lakes

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

Erica and I went down into New Jersey to a community garage sale at Morse Lake. The sale was mostly a waste, but we had a good time driving around the lake.

Here are some of the views around Morse Lake






From Morse Lake we went to what I think is Glenn Wild Lake. (Erica thinks it might be upper Morse Lake.) We took tiny roads where the truck could barely make it through and saw beautiful scenes of nature. The small communities that live at these lakes are different from the snobby "summer people" that go to other destinations. Some of these houses date back to the 1920s and most are handed down through families for years.

















Then on the way back, we stopped by Eagle Lake, where I learned to swim back in the 1950s. The lake was abandoned for many years, but has since been cleaned up somewhat. The lump of green is an island. My Grandfather built a bridge out of logs and branches to the island and he cleaned it up and put a picnic bench on it. The place was so overgrown that I could not get near the place where the bridge was located.