Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Is your car covered during a state of emergency?
(photo from Carlo Allegri, Reuters)
Monday, September 26, 2011
Free Ice Cream!
You may have noticed a trend with me...if it's free, I'm usually there.
That's the case for the Bomber's free burrito day, Ben and Jerry's free ice cream day, when there's free concerts, etc. There's another annual free day I've come to add to this list. And that's the free Cold Stone Ice Cream day which happens to be Sept. 26 this year from 5pm to 8pm at the Cold Stone in Stuyvesant Plaza.
I first heard about it since I volunteer with Make A Wish and the donations/proceeds from the event, dubbed the largest ice cream social, go to Make A Wish.
There's a minimum $2 donation to enjoy the ice cream which, this year, includes brownies, sprinkles, fudge and was crafted by a Make A Wish child.
So, I'm helping Make A Wish, eating fudge/brownies, and it's technically free (or free-er than the usual high Cold Stone prices) - um, yes please.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Adirondack Hiking Post-Irene/Lee
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Birthday Beverage T-shirt Trifecta
It's amazing what you learn when you go to enough bars.
For example, while at trivia night at The Ruck on Monday (it's a really good trivia night, by the way, I highly recommend it 7pm on Mondays), a friend told me that he heard there would be a new free birthday libation at the Olde English Pub that opened this month and, on top that, there was a new birthday challenge.
I facebooked owner Matt Baumgartner about it and he got back to me today and sent out this Twitter announcement around the same time.
Here's the deal: You can go to any of his three bars (Bomber's, Olde English Pub, or Wolff's Biergarten) to pick up a postcard. Upon finishing that establishment's birthday drink (the huge margarita, the massive teacup, or das boot, respectively), you get a staff person to check off the postcard that you completed that section of the fun challenge. Or, as I'm calling it, the BOW chicka postcard. (get it? I've made each bar's first initial into an acronym and paired it with...oh, never mind....)
After you drink all three, you get a T-shirt (the one pictured, actually).
I know, I know.....that's a lot of alcohol for just a T-shirt. And, personally, I do have a lot of T-shirts just piling up - got another one at the Over the Edge rappelling thing last week too. But, as a Troylette and native Albany area resident, this seems to be almost a rite of passage. Not necessarily just for the just-turned-21 folks but for anyone who has drank that sour, sour margarita or been belligerent after the boot.
And I'm looking forward to checking out the tea cup (which, again, I hear can also be filled with cider like Strongbow instead of just beer).
This birthday T-shirt activity starts officially on Sept. 23. As it turns out my boyfriend's birthday falls on that day.....I have a feeling it's going to be a long - but fun - day/night.
(BOW chicka postcard)
Update: The postcard now also includes Sciortino's Pizzeria, which is the old Miss Albany Diner and next door to the Biergarten. You get a free slice of pizza there and have your postcard checked. If they're closed, you'll get a stamp at one of the other businesses and still get your T-shirt.
Also, for those wondering, the tea cup is fabulous - w/ options of beer or cider in it - and my boyfriend's 30th of doing this trifecta was memorable, from what he can remember. ;)
EZ Pass Error
It was pretty much one of the worst driving experiences I have ever had - and I've driven across the country.
The Record had picked me to do a "video boot camp" down at our corporate offices in Pennsylvania near the border with New Jersey. The camp was slated for a Tuesday and Wednesday, so I decided to drive the 3.5 hours on Monday after work.
It had been a very busy few weeks with weddings each weekend in three different states and this trip.
It was drizzling out when I left but it was still light out too and I only really hate driving in the rain when it's dark. Or...so I thought....
The rain picked up, then stopped, then became heavy again, and then stopped again - all in about two hours of driving. It was around the time I was near the end of the toll section of the NY Thruway that it just started down-pouring. Traffic was going maybe 20 mph and I could barely see five feet in front of me.
I turned my windshield wipers at full blast and it was soon after that one of them fell off - luckily, it was the passenger side one. I then got to the intersection where you could take Exit 16 or continue to Exit 15 and the end of the thruway. I became confused with the signage (and from the rain) and accidentally went through the EZ Pass lanes for the end of the thruway when I was supposed to take the ramp for Exit 16 and the Exit 15 cash toll plaza.
I made it down to the bootcamp where a few people told me they had heard of similar experiences over the years and they all had varying results - one person's aunt ended up just having to pay a toll, someone else somehow evaded the toll plaza cameras and didn't get notified, and someone else ended up having to pay the toll and a fine.
A week or so later, I got a letter from EZ Pass saying I owed $25 in administrative fees and more than $18 in tolls, since that is what the toll would have been from Buffalo to NYC.
On the back of the letter, however, there was an area to appeal and you would almost miss it if you weren't looking for it since it's not really marked on the front. The options include appealing because your car was stolen or saying you weren't even there.
I appealed and gave my story of the ridiculous rain, windshield wiper issues, and realizing too late that I should have taken the ramp to pay cash.
After returning home from my European trip, I was greeted by a letter from EZ Pass. I knew that it would be either good news or bad news (I really didn't want to pay more than $40 for a $5.25 toll).
As it turns out, the state can be kind and I just have to pay the toll. I sent in the payment today. I just hope this helps people to know 1) You do have to take that ramp if you're paying cash and 2) There is an appeals process if you make a mistake.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Last chance to be in "The Place Beyond the Pines"
If you are interested, please send an email to: email@example.com with the subject line “Wednesday Shoot – Rally” In your email please put your name, age, phone number, and email address. And if you are interested, do it right away! I expect the demand for these spots tobe intense. The casting staff will respond in an email on Tuesday letting you know when and where to report, as well as what to wear.
In particular they are looking for adults of all ages from the business and professional community."
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
My last night in Iceland
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Iceland really is nice...
I came to Iceland more on a whim than anything. I was looking for cheap flights to Europe for the wedding and found that it would be cheaper to take a flight to Iceland then connect to the UK.
And, now that I'm here, I realize there is so much I didn't know about this country and I could have made a whole trip out of coming here.
I'm packing in a lot for the four days I'm here and so I'm leaving bright and early in the morning to see the Golden Circle (yeah, I'd never heard of it before either until I came here).
Here are some photos of what I've seen thus far.
(from top to bottom: a white house that stood out nicely near the Iceland Highlands, that's a shredded fish and potato dish with delicious brown bread that I wish I could get in the states, a faint double rainbow,me standing on a glacier that is the second largest in Iceland, and downtown Reykjavik at sunset)
Dance: The Universal Language
There were 12 nationalities represented at the wedding. And especially considering there were only about 55 guests to begin with, a dozen different countries is a lot. But, I guess it's to be expected when the bride's family is Czech, she's from Philly, and met her Belgian now-husband in Dublin.
We had a bridal shower the night prior to the big day - and, in case you didn't know (because we didn't) bridal showers are definitely an American thing. The guests had no clue what it was. While the event was fun, it was still a little awkward especially since not everyone spoke the same language. The Belgians spoke Dutch, the bride's fam spoke Czech or Slovak, and then most of the bridal party spoke English.
The dinner rehearsal that night wasn't much easier. I felt bad since the two groups basically stayed on their separate ends of the table. It was just difficult since not many felt completely comfortable speaking their non-native language.
Things became a lot easier and more fun following the ceremony. It was like a weight had lifted.
And the mood became even lighter once the music started and people began to dance. Even if people didn't understand the lyrics, they understood the rhythm and let their body do the rest.
I also found it interesting what songs the Europeans did know from America - Cotton Eye Joe being one of them.
I made some friends that night, and picked up some good dance moves in the process.
Pimp Out my Castle
After my experience at Crom Castle for my friends' wedding, I really hope more of my friends decide to get married (never thought I'd say those words)....but I hope they do so in Europe. And then invite me.
The experience was totally worth the missed plane, three flights, two buses and one taxi that it took to get there.
Friends and I stayed in a cute nearby cottage on the estate which was "pimped out", well, as far as cottages go anyway. It had a living room, fire place, full kitchen and even a clothes washer, which definitely came in handy.
Then the castle, where the ceremony and reception took place, dates back to the 1800s and is owned by a couple who is related to the royal family. The room where the bride and groom stayed in (pictured above) is called Camilla's room because she stayed there with Prince Charles.
My favorite part of the estate, though, was the ruins. The old 1600s castle on the property survived two sieges but then fell to a fire. The only ghost story I heard about the property was that when rebuilding the castle the workers found that their tools kept being moved overnight, supposedly by the ghosts of those who died in the sieges, so they moved the location of the new castle to where it is today.
It truly was a beautiful venue and completely worth the 3,000+ mile trip.
Thursday, September 1, 2011