Saturday, August 27, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
Disparity of renting a car in Iceland
Why Americans don't take vacations
This past week I've finally realized why Americans don't take vacations....it's because, like clockwork, there will be a million things to do the week before and the week after the vacation.
This week has been busy. I like busy - but not when I'm also getting ready to go on a trip that involves re-booking a canceled flight, renting a car internationally (which I did today through Sixt.com, by the way - Yay. It's mega cheap too! I guess we'll see how that works out), and learning all of the different/odd ways to get money with my Keybank debit card (a woman from Keybank was very patient with me today while I was on the phone with her for about 15 minutes). I just called Keybank to inform them of the soon-to-be odd activity on my account and they then informed me that I may have to use letters and extra numbers to access my account abroad. Didn't know that.
I was reading though that in a 2003 study 47 percent of people surveyed said they would not use all of their vacation time and 58 percent said it was due to job stress.
For seriously! I'm doing my regular work, trying to do work ahead of time so the newspaper will be good while I'm gone, schedule stuff for when I get back, and do last minute planning.
And there just Had to be a hurricane and earthquake.....
Thursday, August 25, 2011
What is...a strip club?
The business is finally getting the attention it deserves. And I can't help but wonder how many people will see the film and say "I've been there!" or "I know where that is!" - kinda like when Salt filmed in Albany.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
I knew it!
This is one of those times that I am not proud at all to be right. In fact, it's made me all that much more stressed.
So, yesterday I wrote about how all of these bizarre activities - the hurricane, earthquake,etc - were bad omens. I thought maybe it was just foreshadowing a volcanic eruption or other disaster.
I'm that not lucky.
I got an email today from Iceland Express saying that my flight from Iceland to Boston was canceled, and I could either get my money back or re-book with another flight.
You'll never guess where the other flight would go to.....Newark. That's right. The airport that was just voted worst in the country by Wall Street Journal.
Well, my co-worker pointed out this could be a blessing in disguise - I could just never come back and live in Iceland forever. And I have to admit, that would be kinda cool, especially after everything I've read about the country's beauty.
I have less than a week until my departure to Europe (that flight, by the way, was also changed but only by an hour or so) and a couple weeks until I come back. I guess I have to make my decision in the meantime...
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
One less spot to smoke...
So, first I started noticing there was more violence in Northern Ireland than usual. Then, about a week before my flight, there's a bizarre earthquake originating from an ancient fault line causing record-breaking tremors in the country's capital.
I'm starting to think there really will be a volcanic eruption before/during my N./Ireland/Iceland trip.
Even my parents have a black cat....heck, they have two of them.
I'm so screwed.
On the other hand, maybe it won't be so bad being stranded in Iceland during a volcanic eruption. Might be kinda cool.
More disclosure from airlines
My first reaction: Awesome.
But, considering how long travelers have dealt with these issues. I'll believe it when I see it.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
$1 movies at Regal cinemas
I had a bad day yesterday. Possibly as bad as Obama's No good, very bad week.
I accidentally (and Very unintentionally) informed a husband that his wife died in a horrible accident, forgot my sneakers at home so couldn't go to the gym after work to work out any feelings caused from this, and was out later than I initially wanted to be last night.
Yep, I've become an old, grouchy woman.
But a few things cheered me up yesterday: my friends and boyfriend, swimming a mile at the Y (and finally finishing my maid of honor speech in my head in the process) and hearing on the radio at 11 o'clock at night that Regal was having a $1 movie deal.
I love movies. Especially cheap movies. And, while I love Netflix, who really wants to see It Came from the Pink Lagoon?
I looked up the info for the Summer Movie Express with Regal and there are still a few chances to take advantage of the deals. They're Tuesdays and Wednesdays with G and PG movies. Obviously geared towards kids during their summer break, but us adults can go too.
The next $1 movies are: Marmaduke and Monsters vs Aliens (next Tues and Wed at 10 a.m.) and Charlotte's Web and Planet 51 (Aug. 23 and 24 at 10 a.m.). All showings are at the Crossgates Mall Cinema.
So, if you too are having a no good, very bad day/week/month, check out some cheap films and, while watching the G/PG films, pretend you're a kid again - when you're biggest problem was figuring out the best trade in the lunchroom for your PBJ sandwich.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Good Guy, that Gavin
The assault on Gavin DeGraw, and subsequent cancellation at SPAC, reminded me of when I randomly met him in NYC a few years back. I seem to have a knack at stumbling into celebrities, randomly.
At the time, not sure if it's the case now, he owned kind of a hole in the wall bar - but with good music - in the Village. My friends and I were roaming around when one of the bouncers at a bar we passed said Gavin was playing inside.
We took the bait and went in.
I, personally, observed him for a bit and eventually got up the courage (*achem* possibly due to drinking too much) to at least go up and say Hi. He was very friendly (and possibly a little/very drunk himself).
It's a shame that things like what happened this weekend to this jovial person have to happen at all.
If you haven't seen him in concert, I'd recommend it. Or maybe just walk around the Village til you hear a familiar singer/musician.
Glacier National Park local blog
I got sucked into reading Bethany Parks' blog recently on the TU site (yeah, cuz who reads anything other than Kevin and Amanda on there?).
I was specifically interested in her Glacier National Park blog since that is a park I've always wanted to go to and hope to maybe see next year on another road trip.
It seems Bethany is on her own cross-country trip right now.
If you have some free time, it's a fun read - especially the random road side things like Babe the Big Blue Ox in Minnesota (which I remember being bummed we didn't see) and the more pristine and beautiful things like the Glacier Park (as shown in one of Bethany's photos).
Monday, August 8, 2011
Stop-over in Iceland, get free night at a hotel
Icelandair posted a promotion today that if you stopover in Iceland en route to more than 20 European destinations, you will get your first night free at the Reykjavik Natura Hotel.
Fly from Boston to London for less than $450 Roundtrip. Or NYC to Stockholm for $579. Or D.C. to Amsterdam for $619. Or Seattle to Frankfurt for $719. All, and more, with stopovers in Iceland.
The travel period is Nov. 13 to Dec. 11, and tickets must be purchased by Aug. 11.
Having just researched some of these flight prices, with and without Iceland stopovers, they're good deals.
New tourist train break-down
The train service began operations in July, Churchill reported.
The R/R is not expected to operate again until Thursday (since Monday's routes were cancelled and it does not run on Tuesdays and Wednesdays).
Friday, August 5, 2011
Worst Airport Award goes to...
...Newark Liberty International Airport.
According to the Wall Street Journal, most delayed flights either start or end in Newark.
"Of the 100 most-delayed flights over the past year, 40 come and go from Newark, a key gateway to New York City, according to data compiled for The Wall Street Journal by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics."
The two most chronically delayed were Delta flights going to Atlanta.
I guess that means it might not be a good idea to fly from Newark to Atlanta.
Personally, I have flown out of Newark once and into Newark once - for a roundtrip to/from Germany. Even though it was half of my life ago (14 years ago), I still remember the flights being late leaving and coming back from my month-long exchange program. My parents were not happy. I didn't mind too much at the time. I mean, I was a kid and getting away from your parents as a teenager is kind of a goal.
I have yet to utilize the airport as an adult though friends of mine are for the Ireland trip coming up. I'll have to see how their flight goes.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Alive at Five with Live
So, it's not too late to check out Alive at Five tonight with Live's Ed Kowalcyk. It's 5:30pm now and the main act normally starts at 6pm.
Parking.may.suck. Don't say I didn't warn you.
But, even in my sick state (took a sick day today), I'm tempted to see part of the first band I ever saw live in concert....Live.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Area Swimming Holes
While reading Keep Albany Boring, they had a guest post about swimming in Burden Lake and a nearby pizzeria. I'm actually planning to attend a birthday party at the lake the weekend I get back from Iceland and I've never been to Burden Lake.
Funny, isn't it, that I'm going to see Iceland before a lake that is literally just 25 minutes from where I was born? Hm, such is life.
Anyway, I found the link in the post interesting because it includes information for dozens of swimming holes in the state. Some of which I hope to use during my next hike in the Adirondacks and a few of them were also in the Capital District.
I figured I'd do the leg work for ya and just cut/paste the info for the nearby swimming holes. You can thank me later...(especially for how the posts even say whether bathing suits are customary or not - awesome)
JACKS CORNER [JACK]: Sandy beach in Kinderhook Creek by highway
overpass with rope swing. This is a "local" place. PHOTO , PHOTO .
Grills are left under the bridge, strangers (especially those without
children) may get the "evil eye". To get here from I-90 east of
Albany, get off at RT 20 and go east to junction with RT 66. Cross
over Kinderhook Creek and park in large dirt lot on left. LAT, LON
lat=42.4951, lon=-73.54634(source: GPSV) (accuracy: approximate) LINK
TO GOOGLE MAP. Very confident. Not verified. Updated 3/7/04.
BEAVER COTTON MILL [BEAV]:Potholes and ravine at base of dam in
Kinderhook Creek. PHOTO . To get here from I-90 east of Albany, get
off at RT 9 and go south on RT 9 to Kinderhook. Turn east (left) onto
Main St. Go east through town to junction with RT 203 (Novak Rd).
Follow RT 203 north about 50 feet to parking area on right. Swimming
hole is under RT 203 bridge in Kinderhook Creek. LAT, LON :
lat=42.39897, lon=-73.67947(source: DeLorme) (accuracy:approximate)
LINK TO GOOGLE MAP. Very confident. Verfied by W. Brunner. Updated
EAGLE MILLS [EAGL]: Falls in Posten Kill with potholes and large
swimmable pool. NOTE: Water shoes a must as there is considerable
broken glass. PHOTO ,PHOTO . To get here: Continue east on RT 2 to
Eagle Mills. Cross bridge over Posten Kill, park and walk back over
bridge. Path on right by fire hydrant leads to very steep, badly
eroded path to river. LAT, LON lat=42.72897, lon=-73.60408(source:
DeLorme) (accuracy:approximate). LINK TO GOOGLE MAP. Very confident.
Verified by W. Brunner. Updated 3/7/04.
JONES HOLLOW [JONE]: Falls in Little Hoosick River with potholes.
Bathing suits customary - in town location. To get here, continue east
on RT 2 to Petersburg. Cross bridge over Little Hoosick River and park
on right. Paths on both sides of RT 2 lead to river. LAT, LON :
lat=42.74897, lon=-73.33910(source: DeLorme) (accuracy:approximate)
LINK TO GOOGLE MAP. Very confident. Verified by W. Brunner. Updated
HOOSICK FLATS [HOOS]: Deep section in Hoosick River. Current is swift
- NOTE: avoid area after heavy rains or thunderstorms. PHOTO . In
Petersburg, turn north (left) on RT 22. After you cross RT 7 (RT 9?)
near Hoosick, on RT 22, look for dirt roads on the right. Turn onto
the second one and drive to river. Most cars park on rocky bank, but
be careful not to get stuck. LAT, LON :lat=42.86203,
lon=-73.34169(source: DeLorme) (accuracy:approximate) LINK TO GOOGLE
MAP. Very confident. Verified by W. Brunner. Updated 3/7/04.
From Glens Falls, go north on I-87 to Exit 25 (Chestertown exit) then
go west on RT 8 into the Adirondack Park, past Wevertown (set odometer
FOX LAIR[FOXL]: Abandoned Adirondack estate, Fox Lair, now State
property, has small gorge with deep swimming hole in the East Branch
Sacandaga River. PHOTO . LAT, LON : lat=43.56026,
lon=-74.11930(source: DeLorme) (accuracy:approximate) LINK TO GOOGLE
MAP. To get here: Continue west on RT 8 to about 12 miles past
Wevertown. Here you will see on the left (west) side of the road an
embankment control project where there is grass planted in a green
mesh. See the road (dirt/gravel) right at the far (west) end of this
embankment project - but there is no place to park here. A very short
distance further is another similar road, park here and walk back to
the first road. Walk down this old estate road (it gets more narrow as
you go down) only about 5 minutes and you will see on the left a set
of concrete (yes!) stairs heading toward the river. The swimming place
is here between two large rock banks. Very confident. Verified 8/2005.
SHANTY BROOK [SHAN]: Deep hole at foot of 12 foot high falls in gorge
of Shanty Brook. Pretty remote, bathing suits probably optional. PHOTO
. LAT, LON : lat=43.531636, lon=-74.147650(source: DeLorme)
(accuracy:approximate) LINK TO GOOGLE MAP. To get here: Continue west
on RT 8 past Fox Lair (above) about 2 miles or so more to the Shanty
Brook parking area - a large lot (with separate in and out driveways)
on the south (left)side of RT 8 (there is a long box-type guardrail on
the north side at this point). Walk northeast (back the way you came)
along the road, after the end of the guardrail - about 800 feet from
the parking area - on the north side of RT 8 to a dirt road that goes
toward the East Branch Sacandaga River. About 100 feet on this road
look down at the river and see several cables going across the river
and a steep path that goes down to the river bank; cross the river on
the cables or by fording. Follow the trail on the other side of the
river at the cables. You will soon be going up along the west bank of
Shanty Brook. Follow this trail a bit more than 1 mile (sometimes a
bit muddy - little streams to cross and a bit overgrown) and you will
see a yellow ribbon an a branch where a side trail goes down to a
waterfall. The deep pool is at the foot of this fall. Very confident.
Verified by another. Updated 10/21/2005.
GRIFFIN[GRIF]: There are several swimming holes along the North Branch
Scanadonga River near Griffin - including a falls. PHOTO 1 , PHOTO 2 .
LAT, LON : lat=43.47321, lon=-74.22464(source: DeLorme)
(accuracy:approximate) LINK TO GOOGLE MAP. To get here: Continue west
on RT 8 to about 2.4 miles BEFORE (east of) the RT 8/30 intersection;
look for where the guardrail on the north (right) side changes from
box-type to cable-type). Between the two types of guradrail you will
see a stop sign on a dirt road that angles to the right off of RT 8.
You can drive on this road north along the bank of the East Branch to
a bridge over the river. Cross the bridge and park. Walk to the left
down the road (downstream) a very short way then see on the left a
path that heads off toward the river. Follow this path a short
distance to where huge, flat rocks slope steeply down to the river.
This path is high above a rather steep bank and care should be taken
not to slide down. There are also several primitive camp sites along
this trail. The swimming holes are near here and downstream of here.
There are several swimming holes along here and a falls.
Alternate directions: Park in the paved lot across RT 8 on the south
(left) side of RT 8 (signed "trailhead - Georgia Brook, Cod Pond,
Wells Lake"), cross RT 8 and walk down the dirt road. A trail on the
left, about 100 feet down this road leads to a large swimmable pool
that is very difficult to access from the other side of the bridge.
Very confident. Verified 8/2005. Updated 8/22/2005.
AUGER FALLS [AUGE]: NY DEC Scenic area on Sacandaga River. Falls,
swimming areas upstream from falls. Bathing suits sometimes optional-
depends on the crowd. LAT, LON : lat=43.46722, lon=-74.24689(source:
DeLorme) (accuracy:exact) LINK TO GOOGLE MAP. To get here: Continue
west on RT 8 thru the intersection of RT 30 and RT 8. Go north (right)
on RT 30/8 about 1.7 miles to the second right turn into a large dirt
parking area. Cars parked near this entrance are usually cyclist
vehicles. Turn right to trailhead for 1/2 mile hike to the falls.
Swimming is not advised here- deep gorge, swift current. To swim in
the pools drive straight to the far north (left) end of the parking
lot. Follow path to river and follow downstream for choice of 3 pools.
Very confident. Verified 8/2005. Updated 8/22/2005.
AUSTIN FALLS [AUST]: Adirondack picnic area with chute-type falls
nearby, deep holes for swimming. PHOTO . LAT, LON : lat=43.501,
lon=-74.280(source: Topozone) (accuracy:exact) LINK TO GOOGLE MAP. To
get here: Continue north on RT 30/8 to where you see a closed and
barriered bridge that goes to the right over the Sacandaga River to
Old Highway 30. This is where you want to go but you can't go this
way. Continue on RT 30/8 until you see the other end of this road
where it comes back and rejoins RT 30/8 (sign just says "Snow plow
turnaround"). Turn here and go 2.5 miles down this paved but bumpy
road then park by the road. Walk down to the river and you will hear
and see the chutes known as Austin Falls. WARNING: The flow can be
very fast at some points here, be very cautious where you enter the
water. Don't go in if you can't find a safe place. Very confident.
Verified 8/2005. Updated 8/22/2005
DUG MOUNTAIN BROOK [DUGM]: Remote, Adirondack picnic area with sandy
beach extending into the Jessup River - slopes very gradually, good
for children. Falls nearby. LAT, LON : lat=43.59514,
lon=-74.38989(source: DeLorme) (accuracy: general area) LINK TO GOOGLE
MAP. Uncertain. Not verified. Updated 12/10/2002. To get here: There
are two ways to get to the Dug Mtn. Brook Picnic Area, one by land and
one by boat, both take a good bit of effort:
By Land: Continue west on RT 8/30 to Speculator. Go about 5+ miles
north of Speculator on RT 30 to Whitaker Lake road (on the east
(right) side), look for a large rock that has been painted like a pig
face. PHOTO . This is a rough road, but you can drive a regular car
maybe mile in, about as far as Camp Deerfoot, then park. Walk about 1
mile more down this road to where an old unused road heads north. Walk
up this road past the road barrier, over the decrepit Cannon Brook
bridge, for a total of about hour where you will come into a field of
trees and brush (Part of Indian Clearing) and an obscure fork in the
trail. Take the left fork toward the Jessup River. Go north alongside
of a swampy area then follow the east bank of the Jessup River, rough
going, easy to get lost, use your compass. In about 30 minutes walking
along the bank of the river, you come to the Dug Mtn. Ponds and the
Dug Mtn. Falls which empty into the Jessup River. The picnic area and
swimming hole (in the Jessup River) are here.
By Boat: Go up RT 30 to the Indian Island Caretaker Headquarters off
RT 30. Here there is a public boat launch place. Ask how to get to the
Dug Mtn. Brook Picnic Area, it may be 8 miles by water from here, a
good distance for a canoe!
From Albany, take I-90 west to Exit 29 (Canajoharie) then take RT 10
north (joins RT 29A) to Pine Lake, where RT 29A turns west. (a total
of about 26 miles from I-90). Then:
NINE CORNER LAKE [NINE]: Nine Corner Lake has a main beach-y area with
a great rope swing plus many other coves where people swim with some
privacy. Clothing is optional at some of the more remote coves,
customary at she main/closest ones. There is primitive camping at site
- commercial campgrounds and state park campgrounds nearby. PHOTO 1 ,
PHOTO 2 . To get here from the intersection of Rt 29A and RT 10 in
Pine Lake: Turn west (left) onto RT 29A and in about .25 mile park at
trail head. Parking is on both sides of the road, but the trail leaves
from the north (right) side. Sign in at register and follow wide trail
1.1 miles to lake. Keep right at all forks and you will come to the
lake and the main "beach" and rope swing. Cross over rock dam at main
beach and follow "fisherman's" paths to other swim opportunities. LAT,
LON lat=43.19106, lon=-74.55022(source: DeLorme) (accuracy:
approximate) LINK TO GOOGLE MAP. Very confident. Verified 8/2005.
Updated 8/24/2005. A Family-Friendly
GOOD LUCK LAKE [GOOD]: Medium size lake with rocky shore for informal
swimming. PHOTO OF LAKE (but not at beach) . Bathing suits optional.
Primitive camping at site. Group camping or stays of over 3 days
require DEC permit. To get here from intersection of Rt 29A and RT 10
in Pine Lake: Continue north on RT 10. Go past some parking areas and
park where sign reads "Trailhead Parking". Park on the east side of
the road, cross road to where trail begins. There is a sign there that
says "Good Luck Lake .4 miles"- I think this is not correct. The trail
will take you to a sandy beach area on the lake in about 4 miles. Or
you can go about 30 yards south of this trailhead to an unofficial
trail that begins near the diamond shaped highway sign that will get
you to a rocky shore in .5 mile. LAT, LON lat=43.24944, lon= -74.54194
(source: Topozone) (accuracy: general area) LINK TO GOOGLE MAP. Pretty
confident. Partially verified (didn't go full 4 miles to beach)
8/2005. Updated 8/24/2005.
POESTENKILL GORGE[POES]: Swimming place at bottom of falls in Poesten
Kill river gorge. PHOTO , PHOTO . This from a visitor:" The hole is at
the base of the falls and is very wide and deep. As a warning, the
water can get very rough after heavy rainfall, and the area could get
quite dangerous. This is an urban area, and the falls are in sight of
the parking lot, so bathing suits are required. I am not sure what the
official sanction is, but I have seen others swimming here as well. "
LAT, LON : lat=42.7212, lon=-73.6784(source: Measured by another)
(accuracy:approximate). LINK TO GOOGLE MAP. To get here from Troy,
take RT 2 East up the hill, passing through a couple stoplights, until
you get to a light and bear right onto Pawling Ave., going across a
bridge (over the stream that creates the swimming hole). Then take the
first right onto Linden Ave. There is a parking area to observe the
falls on the right about a quarter mile from this turn. Park in the
lot, then walk down the hill to the observation platform, then down
the rocky bank to the water. Very confident. Not verified. Updated
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
I have never been so sweaty in my life...
When I came into work today, I had no idea that by the end of the day I would have put on a firefighter's uniform, helmet, boots and gloves,then used hydraulic rescue tools to open up a 1999 Lincoln Town Car like a can of tuna.
And at this point I'm not sure which smells better - a can of tuna or my sweat-soaked clothes.
I get to blame this misadventure on Chief Tom Garrett. He told my editor the Troy Fire Department was doing training at a scrapyard in Green Island and said I would have the chance to be in the car when they were opening it up and to handle the equipment.
I've done a lot of things with this job - whitewater canoeing, being rescued by a German Shepard in an anti-terrorism training exercise, flown in a WWII bomber, and I even did some coverage of the fire at the scrapyard where this car rescue training was taking place - but I had never got into full firefighting gear and held a Jaws of Life-like apparatus before. Until now.
I'll admit I'm not the strongest person. In fact, really, I just started working out again after about a month hiatus due to getting re-situated with moving,etc. But the hydraulic rescue tools we used were heavy.
I also learned how to break open a window pretty easily which has all kinds of uses, some of which could be thought of as legal.
The guys at the training were really nice and even humored me when they saw my pink painted toes and dark pink Nine West open toed flats. One of them said they had the same pair and same color toe nails. I almost believed him.
As I sit in the air conditioned office, my clothes slowly are becoming a little less damp...though still a bit smelly. I have to commend anyone who wears that outfit for long periods of time.
And I take solace in the fact that I probably already burned a decent amount of calories today, via sweating and carrying heavy equipment, so I can take it a little easy at the gym tonight.
(You can see a video of these shenanigans here and here.)
If you had not heard (like me) Dakota Steakhouse closed
This weekend begins my wedding season (4 weddings in 5 weeks - that May be a record for me - at least last year there were six spread out over seven months). And what better way to kick off this blessed time of year than with my best friend's dress fitting at Yvonnes?
Being me, I was (very) late to the fitting but saw the pictures, and the dress, which looked stunning on my friend before, looks even better now. I was on time, however, for the post-fitting lunch - which I initially didn't plan to go to but figured it would be fun since I hadn't seen my friend for a few weeks while she's been in Maine making the final preparations for the Aug. 13 event (aka the singledom finale).
We weren't sure where to go to lunch so I suggested Dakota Steakhouse. It's actually where another one of my friends last year had her dinner rehearsal too. We get there and the parking lot is completely empty. A sign is still up for the establishment and another one says "Lunch Served."
As it turned out, a man was coming out of the building as we were about to leave and I asked if they were open. He said they closed about a week ago.
I apparently need to keep more up to date on these things since it was reported last week that it was part of a bankruptcy agreement and about 50 people lost their jobs pretty suddenly at the business which had been open in Latham since 1994.
We went to Pizzeria Uno instead. Not quite the same thing but....you can't argue with a deep dish pizza.
Monday, August 1, 2011