June 30th, 2003



Heard about fireworks happening tonight over Boston Harbor, so I decided to head down. Very neat. Exactly perfect weather for it, and there weren't crowds (at least not compared to what they're going to be like on Friday). Now I won't feel bad about skipping fireworks on the 4th.

Seen on the train this morning

A man in a blue and orange plaid jacket. Underneath the jacket is a yellow T-shirt with a picture of Mr. Body from the game "Operation!" I was considering saying something about how I liked his shirt. Then I noticed the large green plastic alien pinned to his lapel. Then I noticed he was holding three copies of a Dorling Kindersley Reader ("Read Alone 3") about aliens. I re-evaluated what the T-shirt meant. Then I had a large desire to say "We're watching you" as I got off the train.

6/28 (transcript from my notebook)

Trip to New York to pick up Cheryl from the airport on her way home from England.

Found the airport, long term parking, and the subway fine. Subways have bench seats and are much wider than Boston subways. Some guy was even able to do a magic act in the middle of the car, so I decided to get off at the next stop. Turned out to be Columbus Circle, the southwestern corner of Central Park. I think I'll spend the 3 hours I have here in Central Park.

Crossed the sheep Meadow, a large grassy field full of people picnicking, sunbathing, and throwing frisbees around. Many women in bikinis, the smell of suntan lotion. No towel, so I didn't sit down (no shade, either). I guess I'm not a hoopy frood.

There's a roller blading area, a bit of concrete roped off. A DJ is set up in the middle playing music. People on roller blads (and one guy on a Segway) are grooving to the music. People around the place watching. There appear to be some roller skates, too. "Community Dance Skating Event." "Welcome to the Central Park Dance Skate Area. This area is open to everyone without charge. music and maintenance are provided through cooperative voluntary participation of skaters."

Subtle mosaic art of a green monster (picture taken) on the stairs down to a fountain (Bethesda Fountain?). Some sort of performance art with volunteers going on. 4 people bent over in a row. 2 guys. 1 guy egging the crowd on. The other guy looks like he's going to jump over the people. He actually flipped over them. Just caught the end of the show. They're collecting money now. And there's a magic/juggling act next. Looks like an unofficially designated performance art spot. (2 pictures takenof the fountain with a lake in the background.) People out in rowboats on the lake.

Bride and groom with a photographer.

Snippet of a conversation: "Fixing the third act of my screenplay, finally."

Swedish Cottage/Marionette Theater (picture). Brought from Sweden, performances year round. Next to it is Shakespeare Garden, a nice flower garden with paths and benches. And a sundial, which is about spot on disregarding Daylight Saving Time (picture). Little plaques with Shakespeare quotes, appropriate to the plant they're near.

Belvedere Castle (picture). Looks like a wedding at the top (guy in tux, at least). Turtle Pond (picture of turtle) next to the castle.

Atop the castle can see lots of turtles in the pond. See another big field, this one with lots of baseball diamonds.

A little amphitheater with harpsichord music coming from it for a little bit.

There's a video display terminal in the castle with weather information by the weather service updated every minute. Current temp is 28 C, 39% relative humidity.

I've noticed a lot fewer people smoking here than I do in Boston Common. Actually, I think I've smelled smoke once and not seen a single person smoking. Is it a NY/Boston difference? Or is it a weekday/Saturday difference?

You know, this really is a Kevin-sized vacation. Driving here was fun. Going on the subway was fun. Walking around Central Park, getting a little flavor of the city. And then I can go home in a few hours. Nice. I should investigate other day trips by myself (other people would probably want to see lots of stuff).

5th Avenue. Walked through a gauntlet of street vendors selling various arts and crafts, right outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Nice fountain outside the museum (picture). Wow, food is cheap here. $1.50 for a hot dog from a vendor cart outside the museum. It would be at least $4 in Boston, I think. I think I might even go to $2.50 for a Polish sausage. Yes, I'm buying food, even though I didn't intend to.

Mmm, good sausage.

NYPD officer on moped.

Back into Central Park. I've seen my first kepot, and I've also seen a few people smoking (still far fewer than I see in Boston). Going to head to Central Park West (the street on the opposite side of Central Park from 5th Avenue). Plan to walk down Central Park West to get back to the subway at Columbus Circle, then back to the airport where I'll read while waiting for Cheryl.

Back on the subway. It looks like some of the trains (the newer ones?) have individual seats instead f bench seats. The back of my shirt is all sweaty from walking aound with my backpack. I'm glad that I thought to bring an extra T-shirt to change into. It will be nice to change and then sit in the airport and read until Cheryl's flight gets in.

Oops. Looks like I took the wrong branch of the A line. i should have got off earlier and transferred to another train. I heard an announcement mention the airport, but I couldn't really hear it, and assumed ir said something about this being the train for the airport. I just got up and looked at a map and a guy sitting there told me I could take a bus from the next stop directly to the airport, so I guess that's what I'll do. I bought a Metrocard with 2 tokens on it for the subway, so I guess I'll have to buy another one for the bus. Or, since it's only one, maybe I'll get a token (Metrocard is $4 minimum, 1 token is $2). I'm sure there will be people who can tell me where to go. Good thing I left more than enough time.

Made it onto the bus. Padded seats! Nicely padded seats. Mmmmm.

Okay, I'm impressed

I got home a little after 11 tonight after gaming. There's something in the mail from Washington Mutual. It's about the escrow account being low for the old loan, so we owe a little money or whatever. But I just refinanced, so what's up, right? So I call their customer service line, not really expecting to talk to a person. I wade through their automated menu system (finding out in the process the the old mortgage hasn't been paid off yet). And then I actually talk to a real person! At 11 P.M.! Really, I'm very impressed. Not so impressed with the agents I delat with in the local office, but very impressed with the customer service people. The person I spoke to told me that, since a payoff figure had been ordered, I could just ignore that statement. She also told me that the payoff had been ordered for tomorrow, so that should all happen in just a little while, hopefully. Yay. Looks like everything is going well with that.

Heh, and my character in the game lost a bunch of psyche and basically went nuts. He wasn't exactly in a coma, but he was completely unaware, so I got to leave the room for most of gaming. We'll see what happens next session.