Jamestown and Williamsburg

Lost Details of the Vacation

I’ve told you about our vacation that the family took back in April, back when gas was cheaper, but there were a couple of details I left out. One is that if you’re ever driving anywhere near Baltimore, and you see a road sign saying “Travel plaza ahead,” it is NOT one of the places where you can stop, get coffee and gas, and rest. It’s actually a bus and train station, and it is NOT easy on/off the highway. In fact we drove several blocks before we could find the single McDonald’s which served food.

On the way there, we passed a car that was stopped at the light. When the driver didn’t go forward, we waited several seconds before we honked. He still didn’t move, so we passed him and went down the street. We couldn’t tell as we looked back whether he was okay, or injured, or deceased. So we got to the travel station, and I walked back. The car was still at the intersection. When I got several steps along, he finally apparently woke up and drove off.
The highlight of the trip was Jamestown, for my daughter loved the boats and the hands-on Indian and colonial villages.

Colonial Williamsburg was less fun, but only because we didn’t think it was worth the high cost of a single-day ticket, which is all we had time for; a multiple day ticket WOULD have been worthwhile. Still, Lydia was placated by a fife we bought her (no, not Barney Fyfe.) And it WAS a beautiful day for a picnic. The one “free” place we got to was a church that high ranking officials such as governors, had special seats designated for them. The first two governors are names well known to most Americans, Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson.

Weird but True

And all happening this past week:

Monday or Tuesday night, my wife was having trouble with my home computer, so I checked it out. When she typed in a URL, it would come in backwards. So www.aol.com would show up as moc.loa.www – and, BTW, it didn’t work. I rebooted – the universal solution to all computer problems – and ended up with no Internet connection at all, so I had to call Time Warner, who do the voodoo they do and fixed it remotely.
My work fax is tied to my work e-mail, but I don’t receive very many faxes. Generally, those I do get are junk faxes. But Wednesday morning, I got this letter from the NYS DMV explaining why a woman’s driver’s license was suspended for medical reasons. Below that, I see the woman’s rebuttal as to why the suspension was not medically necessary. Clearly, this fax has been sent to the wrong number – mine – so I looked up her number and left a message explaining what happened. She called me back late that afternoon and thanked me for letting her know that her letter had been waylaid.
Ash Wednesday was a cold and rainy-turning-to-icy night. Carol, Lydia and I went to church, then I took Lydia home on the bus, since Carol had a church meeting. We left the light on the front porch. About 8:45 p.m., the doorbell rang. I assumed it was Carol who left her meeting early and didn’t want to fumble with her keys. Instead, it was this woman I did not know, who appeared drunk and/or stoned, who wanted me to call her a cab. Apparently the cell phone in her hand wasn’t working. So I closed the door, got our portable phone, opened the door and started calling taxi companies for her, first from the numbers as she recalled them, then from the Yellow Pages. I let them each ring over 10 times and got no answer – this was six or seven different companies, a couple I called twice. Finally, I got one who said a cab would be there in 45 minutes. The woman on the porch asked, “It’s coming, right?” And I said yes, but I didn’t give her a time frame. I felt sorry for her, since it was cold and wet out, but I was disinclined to let her in since 1) she appeared wrecked, 2) I had my daughter in the house and 3) the woman was smoking a cigarette, with a very long ash that had somehow stayed intact. About 20 minutes later, I looked on the porch, but the woman wasn’t there. Twenty minutes after that, my wife got home; the woman was still gone. Thirty minutes after THAT, or over an hour after I had called the taxi company, I heard beeping in front of our house, which I assumed was the cab; whether the woman ever got on it, I’ll never know.
Wednesday night into Thursday, I sneezed in my sleep and bit the left side of my tongue. Boy, that hurt!
I was on the bus Tuesday night, Primary Night in New York and elsewhere, heading to the polls. This woman I know only from riding the bus was telling this story – not just to me, but anyone within earshot – about a dream she had had the night before: There was a terrorist attack on Washington in early November 2008. President Bush declared martial law and postponed the elections. It was later discovered that the Bush administration had planned and executed the bombing itself.
The woman telling the story then explains how she woke up screaming and her upstairs neighbor ran downstairs to see if she was all right. He was about to call 911.
I won’t even get into talking about my WORK computer, which died – as in as though someone pulled the plug – a week ago Friday thrice, Monday thrice, and Tuesday once, went to another computer, which did the same thing once on Wednesday.


A Most Peculiar Day

I’ve now been to two conferences this month, which I’ll have to tell you about sometime, both within NYS, but sufficiently out of town to change the schedule. For instance, last Wednesday to Friday, I was at conference #2. Grandpa picks up Lydia, takes her to the grandparents’ house. Carol meets me in Hamilton, NY, then the next day, we’re off to Oneonta, where we go shopping and to the National Soccer Hall of Fame (more about that anon) before we see our daughter. Sunday, church, Mother’s day dinner about an hour away, then home. Spent more time on NY Route 23 than I thought was possible.

But when I’m home during the school week, it’s most regular. Wednesday was a bit of a variation on the theme.
*Take bus #1 – the child to day care. Check.
*Take bus #2 to downtown (that was so late, at some point, it stopped picking up passengers and only dropped some off, saying to bewildered patrons: “Another bus is right behind me”). Check.
*Play racquetball. Check.
*Wait for bus #3 that apparently came early, and there isn’t another for over two hours. Nuts.
*See my friend Bill Anderson, who tells me the Albany Public Library main branch is without power. Oh, and there are people there I need to talk with.
* Run back to the Y, hitch a ride with one of my rball competitors.
* Eat breakfast. Check.
* Work. Check.
* Go to lunch. I often eat with a couple folks, but one had left early, because a woman in her department had suddenly died at age 50, and their group all went to the service. There are maybe 200 people on our floor, and I had no idea who this person was, but felt badly anyway.
* I was working on a lengthy e-mail, answering a reference question, when at about 3:45 pm, the power in my whole building goes out. I mean, there were emergency tracking lights, but everything else was down, including, thankfully, that damn constant white noise that’s supposed to make working in cubicles more “soundproof”. (Note: it doesn’t, just adds to the din.) After about 15 minutes, it was evident that the power wasn’t coming back any time soon. It’s amazing what you can’t accomplish without a phone, e-mail, Internet connection, printer, copier… (Fortunately, the e-mail was saved, mostly intact when I got to work yesterday.)
* Catch a ride. Usually, I’d have taken a bus, but they’re only every 30 minutes. Get to the bridge I would normally take, but there’s a car on the side of the road, a police car and an ambulance, blocking one lane, and a bus, what would have been MY bus, stuck behind it.
* Change course, and go over to the library; the power’s STILL out. Go home.
* Carol arrives home with Lydia, who had her first visit to the dentist. After the appointment, she had gone over to my building, ironically, to finally see our offices – it’s been a year now – only to be asked by the security guard, “Are you sure he’s still there?” They called my number (fast busy signal), and the main number (ditto), then went home.
I suppose the dreariness of the day, plus a couple more ambulances I saw gave the day a very odd cast.
NBC has teases of their Fall Preview programs. I’ve watched them all, might check out a few in September, though don’t imagine watching any long-term. Didn’t find such info from the other networks, at least as of Wednesday. Nothing in the description of the CBS shows interested me especially, but I was intrigued by a couple descriptions of some ABC shows. I’ll admit I like the GEICO cavemen in 30-second bites, but to make a 22-minute (plus commercials!), 24-episode season of “sophisticated cave dudes living in modern-day Atlanta (who) will continually find themselves at odds with contemporary society and thus comment on today’s race relations” – how will that play? Then there’s that Grey’s Anatomy spinoff, which will get a short leash from me. Dirty Sexy Money is my “Studio 60” pick; that is, it looks the most interesting on paper. It features William Baldwin, Jill Clayburgh, Donald Sutherland and Peter Krause.

Oh, and speaking of NBC’s most disappointing show of 2006-07, this cheeky piece from AdAge, May 14, 2007, “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the TV Upfront …but Were Afraid (or Too Busy Watching YouTube Videos of Nora, the Piano-Playing Cat) to Ask” by By Simon Dumenco: “It’s worth noting that NBC chief Jeff Zucker has so far declined to apologize for the dramatic catastrophe, though he’s gone on the record saying: “If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have green-lit ‘Studio 60.’ All the available intelligence at the time suggested Aaron Sorkin was a brilliant TV auteur, but of course it turns out he’s a solipsistic schmuck.” Because formal cancellation of the show would involve an admission of an error in judgment, Zucker is said to instead be considering “de-authorizing” its green light.

Truth is, I’m looking forward to the end of THIS season because I have mucho shows gone unwatched. Scrubs, going back to April 5, The Office and My Name Is Earl from April 12, so I really DON’T what Michael did on The Office that should have gotten him fired, yet. Three Gilmore Girls, a couple each of Brothers & Sisters, Boston Legal, Grey’s Anatomys, several JEOPARDY! and news programs, and special about Ahmet Ertegun and (laugh if you want) Bob Barker. Except for The Closer, JEOPARDY and some news programs, nothing to be added after Sunday, when I tape (probably to watch in June) The Simpsons’ 400th episode and a show I have actually never seen before, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which is focused on an Albany County family.
Alan David Doane on the future of Comic Book Galaxy, which mentions, ahem, me.
I heard some folks complain that Paul Wolfowitz was driven out of his job heading the World Bank, not because he got his girlfriend a $60K raise, but because he was an architect of the war in Iraq. That’s quite possibly true, and somehow I’m OK with that. Next to go will be AG Alberto Gonzalez, who quite surprisingly, has me longing for the days of John Ashcroft?
Happy birthday, sister Marcia!


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