Posts Tagged ‘NYC’

Travel day to NYC plus Queen Elizabeth

Today’s travel was surprisingly pleasant, considering that it started at 4:30am.  Rob got up to drive me to the airport which he claimed was no big deal because it allowed him to get an early start at the winery.

I zipped through security and then ran into some puppeteer friends who were on their way to the SE Regional Puppetry Festival. That did give me a bit of a pang because I’d like to be on my way there too. Still it was nice to catch up and chat with them and I know I’ll have fun at Readercon.

No problems with the flight until we landed.

This wasn’t a problem so much as just funny.  We’re sitting there waiting to deplane and the attendent makes this announcement. “Folks, we apparently landed one minute before Queen Elizabeth and now they’ve locked down the airport.”

The delay getting off the plane was so negligible that I’m not sure there really was one.

I came into the city, hung out at the Puppet Kitchen for a bit then wandered over to NYRSF to hear Saladin Ahmed (one of the Campbell finalists this year) and Paolo Bacigalupi (up for a Hugo) read.  Both did really nice readings.

I’m now ensconced at Jodi and Sam’s and feeling the travel day catching up with me. Well, that and the humidity. Ugh. I do NOT miss that.

I wonder how the Queen is handling it?

Off to NYC. Again.

I’m at the Portland airport (yay, free wi-fi!) waiting for my flight to New York.  Yes, it’s another redeye. I don’t love them but at least it feels like I’m wasting less time in transit since I spend a good portion of it asleep.

I’ll be out there until the 25th and am contemplating having a picnic next weekend as an easy way to try to catch up with everyone.  Any thoughts on where would make sense? My initial inclination is Riverside, simply because it’s in our old neighborhood and I know what’s around there. Plus, breeze from the river and not usually over-crowded.

Feel free to make suggestions.

Saturday, at the Musical Saw Festival

Saturday, I went with my dad and my nephew to the NYC Musical Saw Festival where they were part of an attempt to enter the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest Musical Saw ensemble.

No, really, I’m not making this up.

The previous record was set in Poland with 27 saw players, or sawists. In Astoria, this weekend they had 53 musical saw players on the stage to play Ave Maria.

Now, before you listen to this, I want you to understand something. To find the note, the saw needs to be ringing slightly or you have to slide into the right note. With that many players, finding the starting pitch quietly wasn’t going to happen, so the first note…well, it’s a doozy. Dad says that the conductor rocked back on his heels like he’d been hit by a basket of lemons.

And as a palette cleanser, here is my Dad playing “Wayfaring Stranger.”

After the initial concert and Guinness attempt, many of the saw players had solos. I sat through Four and A Half HOURS of musical saw. The fascinating thing was the wide, wide range of techniques. Many of these folks had been playing for decades and were really, really good. Not as a novelty mind, but demonstrating genuine musicality and talent.

How was your weekend?

Moving back to Portland, end of August

Rob and I have been in NYC for the past two years on a house swap. That ends on the last day of August. After thinking about it, we’ve decided to move back to Portland, OR. The houseswap was intended to be a way to try NYC out without committing to it. While I’ve enjoyed a lot of my time here, the experiment has not been entirely successful.

People who’ve already heard the news ask me if this is a good thing or a bad thing. In truth it is almost entirely neutral. There are many things I’ll miss about the City, but I truly loved living in Portland. I have friends in both places that I will miss while I’m in the other.

Based on the way my theater life was before moving out here, I expect I’ll still come back on a fairly regular basis for work. Which, of course, adds to the neutrality of the move. It will be hard to miss a place where I plan on coming so often.

What a day doing props looks like

My dad said he thought a dull day for me was more interesting than most people’s day jobs.  As an experiment, I used twitter to record the minutia of today.  There are big silent stretches, unfortunately, where I’m in the theater without a signal to the outside world.

  • 10:22 Picked up a zipcar at 10 and am going to get a table and chairs for Night Sky. #
  • 10:40 Astonishing. Parking in front of the building. #
  • 10:40 The very nice French student and her father helped me get the table & chairs into the car. Now, to the theater. #
  • 11:16 I have arrived at the theater and am not dead. Again, there is parking in front of the building. This is not normal. #
  • 11:36 Dropped off the furntiture, extended the Zipcar res. And heading out for next load. #
  • 11:42 Also sending designer reference photos while stopped at traffic lights, of which there are many. #
  • 12:06 Ah ha. Now is the driving in circles looking for a spot, as expected. #
  • 12:16 I’ll be double-parking, now. #
  • 12:25 Furniture loaded and back to the theater. #
  • 12:58 At theater. Found parking. Dropping furniture. #
  • 13:08 Furniture dropped and off to return the zip car. Fascinating day, I know. #
  • 13:21 On the car radio, 89.9 is playing the complete discography of Benny Goodman in chronological order for the next 16 days. #
  • 13:39 Whew. I’ve dropped off the car and now have a little room for a breather before heading on the next errand. #
  • 14:20 For those folks who wanted to listen to the Benny Goodman complete discography. 89.9 is streaming online #
  • 15:03 I’m laying out some of the paper props used in the show. Brochures and forms. #
  • 15:07 I’ve got the aphasia lesson plans printing now. #
  • 15:37 I’m printing flashcards of actors. #
  • 15:39 Ugh. A brand new color cartridge and it’s not printing yellow. This is the third one that’s happened to so I think it’s the printer. #
  • 15:53 I’ve emailed the flashcards to the office which will print them for me. Now, off to the floral district to buy fake asters! #
  • 16:55 Fake asters don’t exist in NYC. I need another flower with a connection to the word “star.” Any ideas? #
  • 17:08 Thank you all! I have aquired star jasmine. #
  • 17:39 At the theater to drop off star jasmine, jewelry box and put alka-seltzer in a champagne bottle. #
  • 21:57 10 alkaseltzer have the right boost, but priming the bottle without losing liquid is hard. #
  • 22:01 Back into the bowels now. #

I got home around 1:00 am.

Short bits for May 4th, 2009

  • 03:19 Waiting for the shuttle to the airport. I’m tired from having fun this weekend and also fromthe bleakness of this hotel. #
  • 04:00 Wow. I allowed waaaaaaaay too much time to get to the airport and through security. Did get to use the nifty e-pass again. #
  • 05:42 Bizarre. TSA was pulling people out of line during boarding. #
  • 08:15 I’ve landed in NYC and am contemplating taking a cab so I can nap sooner. #
  • 08:28 Looked at the length of the taxi line and, no thank you, I’ll take the bus. #
  • 08:51 A woman just got on the bus wearing a surgical mask. Really? You’re that worried about swine flu? #
  • 09:35 – A SyFy ad on an NYC bus is as lame as you might imagine it would be. #
  • 09:53 Home again, home again. #
  • 14:44 Maggie update: She weighs noticeably more than when I left on Friday. She’s still thin and bony, but no longer skeletal. #
  • 16:34 Also, may I just add, personally, how much I love the new volunteer management software for SFWA? #

Early morning radio

Bright and early Saturday morning, I will be on Hour of the Wolf at WBAI 99.5 in NYC.  You can listen live from 5-7 AM Saturday or later on demand at

The host, Jim Freund has invited me to chat and do some reading.  We might even take listener calls.  I used to do radio theater and took radio broadcasting waaaaay back in college, but this is going to be my first author appearance on the air.  It should be fun.

So stop by to listen.

New Year’s Eve

timesquare2009Rob and I stay in and make sushi for New Year’s Eve instead of braving the madness. But today I had to be in midtown for a meeting and walked through Times Square en route to the subway.  For you, I paused and took a picture.

See that pole in more or less the top center of the photo? That’s what the drop the ball from apparently. It says “2009” at the base of it. Can you imagine traveling to NYC and standing in the cold with the wind and the snow to watch that tiny thing?  This is why television was invented. And hot toddies.

Tomorrow I’ll be snug at home enjoying the traditional black-eyed peas and collard greens, which are said to bring wealth and good fortune.  The good fortune is working, but I guess I gotta work on my greens recipe because the wealth is a little thin.

What are your plans?

First snow of the season

I came out of the store and tiny crystals were drifting in the air.  They weren’t even snowflakes, more like glitter. As people stepped out their doors for the first time, they all seemed to repeat the same thing, “It’s snowing!” even when there wasn’t someone with them.  Everyone was walking with their faces up turned and smiling   By the time I got home they had thickened to a proper snow, although there’s no chance that it will stick. Still, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

SFWA NY reception

I’ve just returned home from the SFWA reception which seemed to be a rousing sucess. Kudos to Bud Sparhawk, the Eastern Regional Director, for arranging it. It was my first one, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. It turns out that it’s very much like an opening night party, without a show attached to it. Folks dress up, chat and generally seem to have a good time.

I took Rob along since people have been making cracks about my invisible husband at cons. I don’t think he minded and he even smiled in a photo. (Ellen, will you send me that?) I was amazed by how many people I knew. There just wasn’t time to talk to everyone.

Spamalot, Edison Cafe, Zabars

I’ll tell you, it’s strange not to be going into the Puppet Kitchen to build things. I kept feeling like there was something I needed to be doing all day today. What I did instead of that was head up to the farmer’s market and pick up some produce plus some apple cider.

After I dropped that off at the apartment, I gathered Mom and Dad for a stroll down Central Park. The weather cooperated in lovely ways and was crisply sunny. We hopped onto a train eventually and went to Cafe Edison, also known as the Polish Tea Room for an egg cream and brunch before the show. It’s a diner in the fading splendor of a Victorian ballroom. Gorgeous plasterwork and then hardcore diner fare. It’s a grand blend of styles.

We had tickets to the matinee of Spamalot. I’ll tell you that I was highly skeptical of the premise. I mean, Monty Python and the Holy Grail is pretty much perfect as is, how could converting it to a Broadway musical possibly be good. And yet it was. It succeeded perfectly at what it set out to be, a profoundly silly musical adaptation of Monty Python. The energy never flagged. I enjoyed it without reservation.

We stopped at Zabar’s to pick up some treats. Mom and Dad were suitably impressed with the place.

Mom and Dad visiting

My folks arrived last night to spend the weekend with us.  They were supposed to arrive around noon, but the weather out of Atlanta was apparently foul. Normally I would have been distressed to lose those hours with them, but honestly, after the past week having a little extra time to clean was very welcome.

We went to Picnic for dinner last night which was lovely.

On the way home, we stopped for a bit to watch a show being filmed. Our street gets used fairly often for filming — I don’t know why — so it’s not uncommon to come out and find the whole thing lined with trailers and whatnot.  Last night’s shoot was interesting because they had a rain machine on. So they were stopping passersby, not just for continuity, but so we didn’t get wet.  Needless to say, Dad was fascinated with the rain machine.

I was in bed by midnight and my body seemed a little confused by this, since I woke up –wide awake — around 5:00.  I suspect it will take a little while for me to adapt back to a normal day/night cycle.

Today I think we are headed out to museums and the like.

Look, a parade!

There are times when explaining things doesn’t work and you just have to witness it for yourself. This is the ambient sound at my apartment today.


Bear in mind that all my windows are closed and we have no walls that face the street.

Edited to add:
“After listening to this, record the ambient sound where you are and post it on your blog.”

You devil!

I was heading downtown during rushhour last night and somewhat miraculously had a seat on the train. The usual crowd was trying to push in and this guy started shouting, “Move the f**k in. Move to the center. I’m getting on this train.”

Not unusual.

A tax broker type in the middle of the train shouted back, “You’re in the train. Shut up already.”

“Come on and make me.”

“Why are you still shouting? You’re in the train.”

The shouting guy continued unabated. “You want to come over here and make me. Move into the train.”

Tax broker was standing dead center of the train. It’s unclear exactly where shouting guy wanted him to move. The doors were shut and we were moving at this point, so you know, shouting guy didn’t have a case for being angry. Tax broker said, “Just shut up already.”

“You shut up.”

“Shut up.”

“You shut up.”

The three-year old level of conversation continued for a bit and then shouting guy sayid, “No, you shut up, you devil!”

At which point we pretty much all laughed. Shouting guy nodded, “Yeah! That’s what I’m talking about.”

A woman from another section of the train said, “They’re laughing at you.”

Silence. Shouting guy got off at the next stop.

What makes me really curious is where he came up with “You devil!” I felt like I’d run across a time-traveler from the past who’d been told that to pretend to be a contemporary New Yorker he had to be antagonistic but wasn’t given the full vocabulary list of expletives.

Harvest again

We’ve definitely started into Harvest season.  It’s funny, the last harvest Rob worked was 2005 but the rhythm of the winery was so much a part of our lives up until that point that it feels completely natural for him to come home smelling of grapes.  He only worked a partial day today, but I didn’t see him at all on Friday  — I mean, technically, I saw him sleeping but he was gone before I woke up in the morning.

The strangest thing about this harvest, for me, is that he comes home every night.  When he was at Bethel Heights, because the drive was an hour and a half, he’d stay at the winery for the whole harvest.  I always drove down to visit him.  I’m glad that this place is closer at least, even if they are having some rather interesting challenges from working in tight spaces.