Today, Wed: Fairfield County Happy Hour Club meets at Hula Hanks in Stamford. I love the guys that run this and I always meet nice people when I go (don't the people in this pic look nice?). I'm gonna stop by. I am dying to see what name tag I get; they always have funny ones. Also, there is music in Columbus Park tonight; I'm going to stop by that, too.
Ohhhh is that why Hula Hanks is doing 50's/Bike Night? Because the music in the park is 50's music? Nowwww I get it.
Tomorrow: I'm going to be at my 2nd FC Blogger Happy Hour at Monster B's, but Alive @ Five presents music (singer Billy Vera) in Columbus Park. Next week is the last one (Boys II Men!) so you should probably try to go to tomorrow's and next week's.
This weekend: SoNo Arts Celebration. Not only are the streets full of arts and crafts, there are two music stages. Mystic Bowie (he's my facebook friend!) is one of the opening acts on Friday at 8:30, and my real life friend Damon Grant plays at noon on Sunday. There is music throughout the whole event; see the website for a schedule of specific artists.
Related Stamford Talk posts:
--June 8, 2008-- Socializing Opps with FC Happy Hour Club
--July 10, 2008-- Mystic Bowie spotted at Monster B's?
--June 20, 2008-- First Alive at Five a Smashing Success
-- June 18, 2008-- Stamford Alive@Five Concerts: Drunken Frat Party? Click here to read more.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Today, Wed: Fairfield County Happy Hour Club meets at Hula Hanks in Stamford. I love the guys that run this and I always meet nice people when I go (don't the people in this pic look nice?). I'm gonna stop by. I am dying to see what name tag I get; they always have funny ones. Also, there is music in Columbus Park tonight; I'm going to stop by that, too.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Here are the photos I promised yesterday. You can see the orange netting and "kickboards" to prevent further accidents at the Trump Parc construction site. Actually, when I looked back at my older photos of TP (I've been stalking the building for a while), I see that there were already kickboards on the lower levels and orange netting on all floors except the top 6-10, where they relied on a black net placed outside the building.
Mayor Malloy said the upper floors were cluttered and unsafe, so I'm guessing that black netting is what failed. You can read more about Trump Parc's drama and destruction in my "Construction/Development" category.
Current Trump Parc netting as of 7/26:
Former Trump Parc netting, 5/23, below, just after the first incident- a ten pound piece of metal fell 25 stories and through a truck's cab: "The fallen object appeared to be a piece of bracing used when construction crews pour concrete... Similar objects were found caught in the construction site's safety net, [police spokesman] Cooney said, but one must have fallen through or missed the net. 'It's par for the course for the smaller pieces of debris,' Cooney said. 'Little pieces come off, but nothing that would cause any damage. This is the first incident of this degree that I'm aware of.'" (from Advocate) Oh, but not the last!
Because of my hard drive crash, I lost photos from June and July, but on my flickr site, there's a pic of TP from June and you can see that it looks pretty much the same.
Here are two pics of current TP netting/kickboards:
And here is a close up shot of the shattered glass panel at UConn, which was the third debris damage incident. It only shattered the darker, outer panel, which is why it's a lighter color than the windows beside it. The darker panel had a 5 foot hole smashed into it when a 2-inch piece of metal sailed across the street from God knows how high up. That is one tall-ass building.
Click here to read more.
Something pretty spectacular happened in the Stamford Talk household last night: the person responsible for my starting this blog came over. It might not sound like a big deal to you, but I've only seen the guy- we'll call him N- one other time, and that was last August at happy hour with my husband and his co-workers. N mentioned he was playing in a cricket tournament in Stamford that weekend. I enthusiastically promised to go and daydreamed about it all week. I was so excited to see a new sport in person and get the scoop on an unknown scene in the city.
When the day of the match came, I learned that my husband had not found out the location or time. I frantically googled "Stamford CT cricket" and found nothing, leading me to say, "In a city of 120,000 people, there is a cricket tournament and no info online. That's pathetic. I am starting a website about Stamford so I can find the cool stuff and share it with other people." I've blogged almost every day since then. You can go back and read my August 2007 entries to see what this blog was like a year ago, or read my original post about the cricket debacle.
Yesterday afternoon my husband called to say his co-workers were coming over to play poker. This was just after I posted on Twitter "letting house get really messy before I clean it." I rushed home and had some fun with my Dyson vacuum. A few poker guys arrived, and one of them mentioned that N was coming. I perked up: super-cool N, the catalyst for my blog, was coming to my house? N is the original, and probably only, Stamford Talk celeb. He's got a great accent, an incredible new car, and dresses well. You know Carlos from Desperate Housewives? N looks like an Indian version of him. To me, N is the most glamorous person in Stamford. And, he's smart, fun and laughs a lot. (Sorry ladies, he's taken.)
N walked in.
"Hi N!" I beamed from the couch.
"You remember me!"
"Remember you? I talk about you all the time! You're the reason I started my website about Stamford."
It was a beautiful reunion. So, the guys are playing at Scalzi today- I am SO gonna stop by after work! They are also having a tournament soon that N says will be more fun to watch. I got his email, so I am now totally hooked into the Stamford cricket scene! Yes!
Speaking of Stamford Talk celebrities, tomorrow, I'll tell you about the Shi'a LeBouef look-alike I saw at the train station. Click here to read more.
Monday, July 28, 2008
A reader posted disgust at yesterday's Advocate/Time article "Trump Parc leads transformation of Stamford." The headline also caught my eye: the building is not even finished yet, and the only remarkable thing it's done for most of us is enrage us by sending debris crashing into the street below, at least 3 times, from oh, 20, 30 stories up. My commenter wrote, "If you haven't already read it, you're not going to believe the SPIN BS that the Stamford Advocate wrote today on Trump Parc." He/she called it unbelievable and outrageous and wondered if the Advocate got paid off to write it. While the article did not strike me as that nefarious, I do have a couple of reactions.
First, I was puzzled by the title. Um... what grand transformation is it leading? More accurately, it has the potential to lead a transformation. Announcing that it is currently doing so seems imprecise and will understandably give some people the impression that the Advocate is being overly positive about the new building.
Interestingly, the Greenwich Time titled the same article "Trump tower changes Stamford's skyline." That's obviously a more accurate title. I wonder if the Advocate gave the Stamford edition a more provocative title just to irk us.
Second, I was somewhat puzzled by the timing of the article. It didn't mention that while some are excited about the building's potential to transform downtown, others are still irritated about the carelessness the contractor has shown so far. If this had been written a few months after the entire site had been shut down for what sounded to me like gross negligence, rather than a few days, I might not be struck by the omission.
I'm not left angry; I'm just very puzzled. I think the main problem is actually the Stamford edition's headline. If you read the article, it presents a pretty balanced view of the project even though it does not mention the three stunning accidents in the streets outside. (I'd be stunned if metal tore straight through my car roof or shattered a glass window of the building I were in.)
From article: But not everyone looks on Trump Parc as a tall beacon of hope for downtown. Renee Kahn, director of the Stamford-based Historic Neighborhood Preservation Program Inc., sees it instead as a harbinger of things to come... "Will this become the prototype where whatever local character we have left will be gone?" she said... Kahn said she is skeptical about whether the city's infrastructure can support a high-density population surge. Kahn's concerns include water supply, traffic issues and whether the city has enough sewage treatment facilities.
I only wish there were a few more people quoted about their concern-- there were four excited people quoted, including a senior managing director of sales and marketing for Trump Parc, and only one concerned person-- and a more balanced headline.
I completely understand my commenter's anger, though. If I did not know that the reporter is a nice person, I might be angrier, but since I do know her (met her at the Malloy Trump conference and have talked to her a little about Stamford blogs), I let some time pass after reading the article before deciding how I felt about it.
Trump Parc safety update: Finally, last Friday, after the third debris incident, the mayor took the proper steps to require the site to install safety measures. If you drive by Trump Parc, you'll see they have boards and nets blocking off any open spaces to prevent further accidents. According to News 12 this morning, floors 7-22, the ones that are already mostly glass-enclosed, have gotten the approval to proceed with work. Inspection of the upper floors will continue today. The links in this paragraph lead to my old posts, not old Advocate articles, so have no fear, you'll have access to the info.
I'll post some pics of the netting later today, but right now my camera is locked in my husband's car. Click here to read more.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
One thing that is totally ruining my summer is the fact that there have been NO movies filming in Stamford in the past two months. When I was teaching full-time in the spring, there were movie sets all over town that I didn't have energy to go to. Now that my summer days are freer, there is absolutely nothing cool going on. Screw farmers' markets. I want to watch DeNiro again.
There are no movies because of some kind of vague possible strike that is keeping filmmakers away from starting movies or something. I really have no idea what the story is, because I read about it in the Stamford Advocate. You know what that means: I can't link you to that article, or ever read it again, because articles over 2 weeks old disappear from the Advocate site. The Advocate owners would like you to pay 3 dollars for any article over 2 weeks old. To that, I spew a string of profanity.
The headline is- I mean, was- "State's film industry stalled by stalemate on actors' contract" but you will just have to imagine the rest. This enrages me so much, for so many reasons, that I can't allow myself to think about it for too long.
I understand that newspapers need to make money, but I looked at my options for paying to access old articles, and the package deals were absurd.
Single article $2.95
3 article pack $6.95, good for one week
10 article pack $21.95, good for one month
25 article pack $49.95, good for one month
40 article pack $79.95, good for one month
50 article pack $100.00, good for one month
600 article pack $1200.00, good for one year
1200 article pack $2000.00, good for one year
Realistically, to research what I need for this blog, I'd need that $50 pack. I mark interesting articles in my Advocate RSS feed, because often I want to go back and read them again. Two weeks ago, I may not have wanted to blog about a topic, but that does not mean I never want to see that article again for the rest of my life.
However, 50 a month, for 12 months, is 600 bucks. I might as well subscribe to the hard copy for that amount of money, but I don't WANT the hard copy AT ALL. First, I don't want that many old newspapers to get rid of. Second, I'm not going to clip articles from the paper like a hoarder and keep them in a file cabinet. I want those suckers online, but I don't want it to cost that much money.
One more thing, because don't want to get too riled up before bedtime: $2.95 for access to one article? So, I can enjoy a $3 latte for ten minutes, or I can skim an article in ten seconds that may turn out to be useless and only 2 paragraphs long?
Does that make any reasonable sense to anyone? Good night, and now I am going to go do crosswords to calm myself down.
Oh- the Stamford Times does allow access to their old articles, but they don't always have the same content. They are a smaller paper, so I'm not going to begrudge them that, although I will begrudge them if they start trying to charge me for old articles. Click here to read more.
My husband, sweetie that he is, tells me no one gives a crap about trivia, but I want to tell you how my effort to get an all-girl team together went last week.
It went BAD.
Turns out women don't suck at trivia, they just cannot manage to get themselves out to a bar on a Tuesday. I'm not criticizing that; if I didn't do this blog and didn't have a good motivation to explore Stamford to see what's going on, I'd be much more likely to stay in my cozy home. Also, if I had a kid under age 5, which a lot of my friends and fellow bloggers do, maybe I'd need the evening to catch up on my computer/blogging/TV/me time.
Although very few women made it out, the two that did kicked some serious trivia butt. Our team of 3 men and 3 women came in 5th out of 23 teams. The three guys who usually win (the three librarians, aka Three Stooges) eked out a victory over my guy friends, who tied for second. My team finished 3 points behind a team called Beat the Bloggers. That hurts my pride only a little bit, because
1. my team did so well overall- only 7 points behind top winner, and just 4 behind my guy friends, who even had their secret weapon this week.
2. they didn't really beat the bloggers.
There was another blogger on my team, but he doesn't blog very often, so I'm using that criteria as an excuse to say they did not really beat bloggers in the plural sense, and to encourage my friend to blog more if he expects to be called a blogger. (Sorry, buddy. That sounds meaner than I mean it to. Still on for lunch tomorrow?)
Three Stooges- 73
My guy friends- 70
Some other team that had a girl on it- 70
Beat the Bloggers- 69
My team- 66
By the way, who else has heard of the Kalahari desert in Africa? I hadn't. Oh well.
Click here to read more.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
until they clear the building to proceed, on a floor by floor basis, starting today. I actually attended the mayor's press conference yesterday, my first ever. There were a few reporters, a cameraman, a photographer, some guys in hard hats, and me. I must have looked odd in my workout clothes, pointing my little camera at the mayor.
The mayor said the bottom 22 floors that are already partially enclosed by windows could be back in action today, but he was "somewhat dismayed" by conditions on the top few floors. He said there was debris on all floors that didn't need to be there; tools and materials they were done working with, but had not cleaned up. While I'm surprised the workers didn't manage to clean up for the mayor's inspection, I guess I am happy they did not try to hide the evidence. Now, I get to gossip about it.
The mayor met with the contractor and outlined new safety measures, including better netting and "kickboards," that must be installed before any other work can proceed. I assume a kickboard is a piece of wood acting as a barrier on the edge of the building, so no one will accidentally kick something from 34 stories into the street. The News 12 reporter showed me the type of object that smashed into UConn Wednesday. It's tiny, but it must have come from the very top of the building to have managed to sail across 6-lane Broad St. The Advocate reports that Wednesday's debris was blown, not kicked, off the building; either way, it sounds like there were plenty of those items lying around.
The best thing: the city will now have an on-site inspector at Trump Parc, every day, paid for by the contractor, until the glass is fully installed in all floors. Yeah! The inspector will have the power to stop work immediately if he finds violations that threaten safety of passersby.
While I commend the mayor for all of these amazing steps, I think the inspector should have been there after the second accident, especially since the builder allowed things to stay sloppy. Malloy said, "We've also instructed that any open areas on floors 8-22 be fully cleaned and that any openings be fully secured with a footboard or netting." There were open spaces where things could fall through; that's not OK when people are walking right below. The contractor should have known that. If he didn't, why wasn't the first- or second!- incident of a smashed car enough of a heads up? I'll give a big Stamford Talk "DUH" on that. The contractor did not take enough care to protect pedestrians and drivers, and that should have been obvious before the third incident. What if Wednesday's projectile had pinged a little baby in the eye? Rrrrrrrrr I am still angry.
I still don't really get how that little object managed to impact the bottom window of UConn. In this left of this pic, you can see plywood and caution tape at the damaged window. You can also see how it was right at "baby in a stroller" height, as opposed to the first projectile in May, which took a more adult-like "rip through cab of a truck and narrowly miss killing driver" path. That was a hefty ten pound chunk of something or other. June's airborne debris was a metal cable that landed on the back half of a car, blowing out the back windows. Ka-blam! Oh, the silly shapes that airborne construction debris can take!
I hope we take this as a lesson to act sooner rather than later in the future. We're lucky to have gotten away from this situation with no one badly hurt... yet. I still plan to avoid the site until the crane is down.
A big thank you to Mayor Malloy, Director of Operations Ben Barnes, and whoever else helped bring about these new measures.
My favorite part of the conference:
Mayor: Any questions?
Advocate reporter Elizabeth Kim shoots her hand up.
Kim: Will that crane be stopping? (We all look up and observe the 40-story crane lifting something heavy-looking up into the sky.)
M: Yes. We only decided to stop work about two minutes ago, and word probably hasn't reached everyone.
Kim: So that crane will be stopping?
M: Yes, it will be coming down.
I liked her spirit. Read her excellent article on the press conference; it's so much more coherent and organized than mine.
Later, the mayor clarified "coming down." Turns out they are almost done with the crane because all the forms have been laid on the top floors. They're going to start using elevators to bring stuff up soon. YES!!!!!!!! I cannot wait until that crane is gone. That, along with kickboards, should significantly decrease the risk of things falling on us.
Click on the "Construction/Development" tab in the right hand column to read all my posts on Trump Parc. Click here to read more.
Quick reminder if you are heading out to Alive @ Five tonight: Due to fights between Stamford teens after last week's concert ended, SDSSD is trying out the tactic of emptying Columbus Park after the concert. This sign says that no one can enter the concert area after 9pm. I don't remember if the concerts usually end by that time, but I guess if you're in the park already, the concert can continue until 9:30 or whenever. I'm not sure if the solution will work, but if you read comments from Advocate readers, you'll see that the situation got pretty scary.
Thanks to the reader who sent me this photo from the show tonight!
Here are quotes from articles about the violence and tonight's solution:
From 7/21 Advocate, "Police to discuss Alive @ 5 brawls" by Jeff Morganteen:
Cooney said several fights broke out after Thursday's concert as youths from the city's West and East sides confronted one other in Columbus Park... Police arrested seven people in Thursday's altercations, and three officers were injured, Cooney said.
From 7/23 Advocate, "Columbus Park will close after Alive @ Five concert," Morganteen (this is the article with the interesting comments):
After discussions in the wake of last Thursday's Eve 6 concert, Stamford police officials and event organizers agreed to close Columbus Park from 9 to 11 p.m. after the show. Concertgoers, especially young music fans, said they were disappointed by the new policy... Jesse Arrico, 19, lamented the move because it would leave under-21 concertgoers with no place to go after the concerts. A greater police presence should be enough to correct the problem, he said... Police and concert organizers closed the park temporarily after last week's Eve 6 show. Many altercations between police and pedestrians occur after the music ends, usually at about 8:45 p.m., police and organizers said. "Most of the people who are the source of the trouble don't come for the concert," police spokesman Lt. Sean Cooney said. "They come after. We're trying to discourage that."
Blog Stamford also has an interesting post up about the subject in which he proposes some other solutions.
Click here to read my previous post about Alive at Five that links to my photos of the event. Click here to read more.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I am so angry. Actually, first let me say I'm happy because a reader posted a comment that debris fell from the Trump construction site today; I appreciate the tip, or I would have been blissfully blogging about trivia. This is the third time an object has fallen into the busy area below. The building is on one of the most heavily-traveled roads in town, the one that leads directly to the train station and I-95, so it's not like we can easily avoid the site. I am absolutely disgusted.
This time, metal snapped off something and flew across Broad St. into a window of the UConn building. You know, that building with the all-glass front. If this situation weren't deadly, it would be funny. How can these people be so incompetent?
It is beyond unacceptable that metal is flying off of a 30 story building. So, my question is, what should be done? Should we close Broad St. and Wash. Blvd? Should we shut down construction? WHAT is the solution? Obviously, the late June "refresher course in safety" for workers didn't do much good.
If these people can't do the job right, I'm sorry, the roads really should be closed. Sucks for us, and sucks for traffic, but I don't want anyone to be killed. I think I'm going to write a letter to the editor and to the mayor.
Here's a pic of the UConn Glass Front from last fall, while they were digging the foundation for Trump Parc. That white wall with windows to the right of the yellow crane is part of Trump, I think, not UConn- I believe that whole face of UConn is all glass panels.
I'm not going anywhere near that building until it's done. In the meantime, I give Trump Parc a big Stamford Talk "F You." It's the only thing I've ever given that, but it totally deserves it.
That building has not heard the last from me.
Update 8/2/08: Stamford Talk Posts on Aftermath of Third Incident
--July 29, 2008-- "Photos of New Trump Parc Safety Measures"
--July 28, 2008-- "Odd Advocate Headline About Trump Parc"
--July 24, 2008-- "Go, Mayor Malloy! Trump Parc is SHUT DOWN..."
--Click here for my post about the second time debris fell; that post has several pics. You can also see more pics of Trump at my flickr site.
--Here is the full text of the News 12 article below.
Debris falls from Trump building for third time
(07/23/08) STAMFORD - Debris fell from the Trump Parc condo building in downtown Stamford Wednesday, for the third time.
The small piece of metal, which is described as weighing a few pounds, apparently snapped off of something and became projectile around 8 a.m. It smashed through a window at UConn's Stamford campus across the street.
The impact destroyed the outer pane of the double-pane window. Crews worked to repair the damage and picked up the broken glass.
The incident is the third since May at the site, located at Washington and Broad streets. Last month, a piece of cable fell from the 29th floor, breaking a car window. In May, a 10-pound piece of metal fell 25 stories. A deliveryman was injured in that incident.
The accidents at the condo construction site have left pedestrians wary. "There's a crosswalk here. After the second incident that occurred here, I no longer use that crosswalk," said Dr. Michael Ego, of UConn. Click here to read more.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Open invite! Everyone is invited to come play trivia at Tigin tomorrow, but my team is going to be all women, so guys will form their own teams. In the comments of last week’s trivia post, Blog Stamford bravely said: Girls aren't very good at trivia. Even on the rounds where they should be cleaning up, like the celebrity picture round, they struggle. Guys retain useless info, women remember birthdays, anniversaries, etc. I just don't agree with that, so I am putting together a girls’ team for tomorrow night.
Do I think we can win the whole shebang? Probably not.
Do I think we can beat Blog Stamford's team? Yes.
If there is a smidgen of truth in BS's idea that women aren't good at trivia, it's not the useless info itself, but the subjects of the info. It's on topics that guys care about, like baseball and boxing.
Baseball: I grew up in Va., so the Baltimore Orioles were the closest team; no one cared about them. We followed the Redskins and got to watch a spectacular Super Bowl with Doug Williams.
Boxing: I know about the Rumble in the Jungle, and the Thrilla in Manila, but I don't know who the boxers were, except maybe Muhummad Ali (OK, I just went and read about them on Wikipedia).
So, "trivia" usually means "questions that lean toward guy stuff," like that stupid pirate round from last spring! Bluebeard, Blackbeard, whatever. And movies. Women don't really sit around watching movies with friends. When we do, it's not the movies that trivia asks about.
I do think women do have an equal shot at the history and geography stuff, and I am determined to have a good showing on Tuesday. I've already got two people on board. Oh wait- three! I believe Mrs. Z. is on board. And she knows about baseball.
Now, if you are a loyal Stamford Talk male reader, don't join Blog Stamford's team. No offense to Blog Stamford, but some extremely smart men read this blog, and I don't want you to tip the balance to his team. You should be on your own team, with my friends who played last week, plus Mr. Z., and you will probably beat everyone. So start rounding up your men, men, and ladies, email me if you want to play.
When someone says something about girls, I always fight back (unless it’s true).
Scene from high school:
Jason (classmate who later plays volleyball for Hawaii and in a pro league in Europe): I can beat any girl at any sport.
Me: You can’t beat me at tennis.
J: Yes I can.
Me: Jason, you don’t even play, and I’m pretty good.
J: It doesn’t matter. I can beat you with my pure athletic ability.
So we played, and I beat him, with no huge effort. He insisted on a rematch- I do love his spirit- and I beat him again. Man, high school was fun. I also remember a boys vs. girls food war during cross-country practice. Click here to read more.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
I managed to catch the beginning of Monster B's Reggae Night with Timmy Love and Reflex Band. When the keyboard started, it felt like I was on a tropical island. On the next nice Sunday evening, I suggest you attend, get yourself a fruity (but strong) drink, and relax.
The music was supposed to be from 5-9, but I arrived at 8 and it was just starting. I don't like it when things start late, but I'm wondering if this band had to fill in last minute. They weren't listed for tonight on Monster B's page, but they are listed for several more upcoming gigs. That's what I choose to believe, since the band seemed cool, competent and not the type to stand people up.
Anyway. There was a mellow crowd on the deck- perhaps a bit too mellow. "This is a party... not a show. Dance if you want!" Timmy said. That is the right attitude. Get your butts out and dance, people. Not that many people were smoking, so you could probably even bring your (mellow) kids.
Related Stamford Talk Posts:
--July 10, 2008--Mystic Bowie Spotted at Monster B's?
Click here to read more.
You simply must be reading the blog Derailed, written by a Metro-North train conductor who lives in CT. We've all encountered a lot of crazy people on Metro-North, but this man has stories in spades. I highly recommend his blog for the humor and gossip factor. His "Week in Review" posts are always a hit.
Here's this week's review, and here is the July 14 Week in Review. Click here to read more.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Today I went to the Stamford Apple store to see if we can recover data off my dead hard drive. My husband said that if they had iPhones, he’d leave work and we could buy two, since he broke his and stole mine.
Decent news: I have a new iPhone.
Bad news: My hard drive is probably dead. There is a chance we can recover data by sending the hard drive away, but Apple can't do it. Many of my 10,000 photos may be gone. It's my fault; I should have backed it up more recently than say, 8 months ago. I hate myself a little, but all I can do is learn a lesson, scrounge up what photos and music I have on my iPods, and move on.
Fortunately, a lot was going on at the Apple store to distract me. When I arrived for my 9am appointment, the joint was rockin'. Eight adults were getting one-on-one tutorials. The Genius Bar was filling up with people like me with troubled computers and iPods. I sat for an hour while the so-called Genius ran diagnostics on my 'top. I chatted with the Stamford resident to my left about public schools and materialistic people. The front half of the store filled up with elementary school kids who were attending "Apple Camp." An instructor shouted directions about making transitions between slides. A diverse group of other random shoppers milled about.
An employee said he'd know by 10:30 if they were getting a shipment of iPhones today. I clung to that possibility as a way to not feel too bad if my hard drive was shot.
Right around the time that iPhone delivery was confirmed, the Apple Genius broke the news that he could not see any data on my hard drive. I said, "I'm not going to cry." My eyes teared up. I fanned my eyes. "I'm not going to cry." Then I cried a little bit.
The Genius consoled me, I called my husband, and we determined that since Apple can only replace my hard drive, we’d take it home and try to retrieve the data ourselves, and if that fails, maybe send it away and hope that someone can fix it for a few hundred bucks. Apple is keeping my ‘top overnight to make sure nothing else is wrong before we spend money to fix the hard drive… which should not have gotten messed up in the first place because I treat my laptop like it is made of glass. I’m very bitter if I think about it too much. Moving on… to the delightful, instantly-gratifying Apple store.
By 10:25, my laptop was checked into the hospital, and an iPhone line was forming outside the store. I got a great spot in line, number 10, and my husband arrived. We had to wait almost an hour. I could not fathom what was taking so long... until it was my turn.
The employee signing me up did not know details of the procedure for switching from a T-mobil account. He kept walking away to ask other people what to do. He was also slow at typing with the stylus on the handheld machine the employees type your info on. It was painful. I thought my husband was going to lose his mind, but he kept it together. It took us over an hour- no exaggeration- to get signed up for a family plan and 2 iPhones. The woman in front of me in line took just as long; she looked like she was going to fall over after standing in line for an hour and then another hour as they tried to get her an iPhone.
I don't want to seem like an ungrateful beeyotch, because the entire Apple staff was awesome. Every single person was helpful; thank God, or I may have lost it. I was in the Apple store for 3 1/2 hours today. It was a long day. I was tired, I was hungry, I was disappointed about my laptop and somewhat stressed about spending so much on new iPhones.
At one point, when we had me switched over to the iPhone AT&T plan, but we were encountering a glitch in signing my husband up, my husband said impatiently, "Let me see your phone," and opened the box really fast. My brand new iPhone tumbled onto the concrete floor.
Me, matter-of-factly: "You just f*%#ing dropped my brand new iPhone on the f*%#ing concrete. This is gonna get mentioned on the f*%#ing blog, you know."
I wasn't angry; I was just saying. Click here to read more.
I'm trying not to get too upset that my Mac laptop died yesterday. It's less than a year old, so it's under warranty, which is nice, but I'll be laptop-less for at least a week while it gets sent away to be fixed. My husband thinks it's the logic board. I see the "Data Rescue II" and "Mild Injury Star" software on our iMac desktop that is currently trying, to no avail, to resuscitate my laptop. This is my second, out of 2, Mac laptops to die in the 3.5 years I've owned them.
Again, trying not to get too angry. I'm a Mac fan and I don't want to feel this rage toward the company that I'm feeling right now. How am I going to blog for a whole week on a desktop computer? Nooo! I have to sit cross-legged on my couch under a blanket!!!
My anger is augmented by the fact that my husband busted his iPhone installing new software this week, so he took mine to use while he tried to fix his. I know that makes me sound way too generous, but he bought me the thing, so I figure I owe him that one smidgen of kindness. Maybe after he reads this post, he'll see how awful the next week is going to be for me, and give me my damn phone back.
I am laptop-less and iPhone-less. This is hard for me. I had gotten used to life with the iPhone, and it was very, very good. Now, I can't even blog in comfort.
I'm taking my machine in to the Apple store today to be looked at. Something spectacular and blog-worthy better happen at the mall, or preferably at the Apple store, to make up for this calamity. I'm not worried about losing my data, really. I just miss my laptop and my iPhoto and my preset websites and my 3 email accounts all in one screen.
I've been trying to convince my middle sister to get a Mac (my little sis has one), and she was already dubious because she could not believe my first one died in just over two years. This current problem is only going to convince her that it's not worth her time to get a handy dandy Mac, and to stick with the same brand of the laptop that she and her husband have had for ten years and have had like, no trouble with, even thought it fell once and has a big crack in the corner.
I'll let you know how it goes at the Apple store. Click here to read more.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
All the cool kids were at Tigin’s trivia last night. My guy friends, two-time defending champs, hunkered down in their corner. Blog Stamford and Vin from Fairfield County Happy Hour Club were on a team out front. I played with two other local bloggers and two college friends who I hadn't seen in 10 years. They just moved here from the city; I am hoping my hobby of hunting down the good stuff in Stamford will ease their transition. They loved the trivia and are damn good at it, so I fully expect us to kick heinie next week. Our team, the Drunken Llamas, did quite well. My guy friends, who are a coworker's husband and his coworkers, didn't win tonight, but they only beat us by two points.
I like trivia because I'm competitive, and I like it when adults get enthusiastic about silly things. It's so funny to hear, at the announcement of the answer, "Annnnnnnnd the name of Hermione Granger's cat with the smushed up face?.... Crookshanks!" the roars of happiness and screams of dismay coming from various parts of the bar. I like games that involve shouting. I hate quiet games like Scrabble and poker with serious people who don’t like to trash-talk and bluff over-dramatically.
As usual, most of Tigin was full of men. I adore men, but I'm not OK with that. I'm married, so these men are useless to me. I'm looking for fun, and women are a lot more fun than men, so I need more women to come to trivia. Women keep the social atmosphere flowing; we're the talkers. As I've said before on this blog, men need us.
I'd assert that the lack of women at trivia, and even the lack of a huge crowd last night, is an example of how we are not making the most of this city. For years, I was so bored here. I should have been out at Trivia. Although, maybe then I wouldn't have met my husband, and I don't want to change that, so I'm fine with my lonely, single years.
I was disappointed that the Trivia Girls weren’t there last night. I met the three of them a few weeks ago when I wandered through Tigin, sat down with their team, and gave them a wrong answer. They were so friendly, and they trash-talk like champs. They are girly-girls, too, and I love girly-girls. I bet they watch the show Gossip Girl like I do. I hope they are at Trivia next week.
Related Stamford Talk posts:
--June 8, 2008--Socializing Opps with FC Happy Hour Club
--March 9, 2008-- Trivia at Tigin: Stamford’s Hot Tuesday Ticket
--February 20, 2008--Gordon Ramsay, Trivia: Stamford Rocks the FC
--January 18, 2008--Stamford's Single Women: Where Are You?
--August 29, 2007-- It's Easy to Meet People on Tuesday Click here to read more.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
I highly doubt that this affects any of us, but I do have a friend who drives to Hartford regularly, so I'll mention the car window shooter on I-691 near Meriden/Wilbur Cross Parkway. I was on that road this weekend, and maybe some of you will be on it this weekend if you're heading up north.
According to the WTNH website: At least two drivers say their car windows were shot out while they were driving on the highway in Meriden this morning near the Wilbur Cross Parkway. That was posted at 5am today.
I'm hoping it's just a BB gun, because it is so not cool to shoot at people. What an a-hole. This reminds me of the DC sniper, who shot a lady at our mall in Fredericksburg, Va.- she lived- and killed a man who was pumping gas at a shopping area near town. We don't live in Freddy-burg, but we shop there, so in the weeks before they caught those two snipers, my mom walked in a zig-zag line in parking lots.
My dad likes to tell this story: "I told the ladies at work, 'I haven't pumped gas in 2 weeks. I have my wife pump gas.' They looked at me in horror, and I said, 'Well, she volunteered.'
'Did she?' they asked. I said, 'Yeah, she kinda ducked.'" He falls over laughing.
He reports that he also told them cheerfully during the anthrax scare, "I have my wife open all my mail. I haven't touched a letter in weeks." Then, he laughs until he can't breathe.
I like the story of how they caught the DC snipers. The police announced the suspect's license plate, and a little while later, a trucker in Western Maryland spotted the car parked at a rest station. The two men were sleeping in the car. The trucker called police, blocked the exit to the rest station, and waited for police to arrive. Click here to read more.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
All kinds of doody is hitting the fan in Greenwich, and what are we doing here in Stamford? Participating in ground-breaking studies on what makes good policemen? Having block parties to raise money for our firehouse? Throwing big concerts? Sheesh. That wholesome, productive stuff is not going to get the New York Times to come and join the gossip fray.
In a way, I feel bad that we’re not grabbing the spotlight because some teens cleared a town lot valued at 1.25 million dollars and built a Wiffle ball field that’s pissing off the neighbors. In a way, I feel left out because I don’t give a hootchie-koo about drunken non-residents riding the Island Beach ferry that my taxes pay for. I want to be angry about something like the Greenwich residents I'm reading about.
I miss blogging about drama, like Napa and Co. and school board inanity. All I can write about recently are sensible topics like farmers markets and nights out with friends. Hoooo-hum, Stamford! Where’s the next big drama? (Noooooo nothing more with the school board thanks! Nothing with the fire departments- I cannot follow that complicated story. OH! And I can't link you to it, because the Advocate refuses to show articles over 2 weeks old, and it's not coming up on a search on the Times site, and I need to go to bed, so I am not going to keep searching. Rrrrrr.)
I’m mostly kidding about wanting an over the top story in Stamford. When I feel myself craving some drama, I think to myself, that takes energy. It takes energy to form opinions, and I don’t feel like getting all riled up over an issue that’s not crucial. I’m glad I don’t have to weigh in on Wiffle ball and ferry rides. Those are Greenwich’s issues right now. I don't want my city to be involved in dysfunctional situations... even if those situations do make for good blogging.
Maybe our next big story is our part in the state of CT lawsuit against the FAA over the proposed dramatic increase in air traffic due to changed airplane routes into NYC. I only know what I’ve read in the paper, but it sounds like it’s going to affect a lot of us. Greenwich, Stamford and Norwalk also filed a lawsuit together. Maybe- maybe this will be just the thing that bring our 3 oh-so different towns together... nah, doubt it. Click here to read more.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
This area is rocking out with music this summer. Obviously, we have Alive @ Five Thursdays, but SDSSD also sponsors another concert series, Pops in the (Columbus) Park, Wed. July 16, 23, and 30th. That's classical/oldies/Broadway, and you are allowed to bring picnics (and, I assume, alcohol).
The Norwalk Jazz Festival is this Saturday. I'll put in a special plug for my friend Damon Grant, pictured above. He's a great percussionist and the VP for Artist Relations for the festival. The jazz fest starts at noon, Damon Grant Project plays at 3, and the Fest ends at dusk. It's at Veteran's Park in Norwalk; tickets at $25 in advance, $30 at the door. The lineup is impressive; there are several Grammy winners and nominees. Um... Norwalk is kind of out-cooling us with Jazz Fest, I have to say. Even Darien has one Aug 15.
Monster B's now has reggae every Sunday on the deck from 5-9pm. This Sunday's band is called Anthem, and there will be $3 Red Stripe beers. Monster B's has bands Thurs-Sun every week, so go to their website for the latest.
This one's interesting: every Thursday in July, First Presbyterian Church on Bedford, AKA the Fish Church, will have concerts on their lawn. The Advocate says, ...an hour of music from the Carillon Tower followed by an hour of live music. The concerts are free. Audience members may bring a picnic dinner. I'm not sure I want to eat while bells ring over my head, but maybe the bells are prettier than I think. I wonder if the church is doing this on the same night as Alive at Five to give people a less wild option? I also wonder if you're allowed to bring your own alcohol to First Presby's Concerts along with your picnic dinner.
Let's see... the Bartlett Arboretum has classical music on Sundays at both 10am and 5pm. 16 and under free, non-members $10.
Next week, my friend Jeff's band, the Terryl Lee Band, is playing on Friday, July 18th, at the Bottega Lounge in New Haven, CT. No cover.
On Thursdays, Thataway Cafe on Greenwich Ave. features singer-songwriters at their Songwriters Den.
Check out Faifield Theatre Company and Acoustic Cafe (Bridgeport) for more music options.
Here's an awesome pic of the Fish Church from the 1950s. You can click to make it larger. Click here to read more.
I totally should have said hi to the guy with dreads at Monster B's. He was sitting on the patio when I was there randomly this Tuesday. I thought it was Mystic Bowie, but I wasn't sure; this guy looked younger than I expected. Also, I didn't want to look like a groupie, because I've never seen him play. If I said, "Are you Mystic Bowie?" all I'd be able to follow it up with would be, "I've seen your picture in the paper." Bo-ring!
Ugh. I should've said hi. I was tired, and not in the mood to try to be interesting, but now I regret it. Dammit. I also wasn't dressed that cutely, so... anyway, Mystic Bowie plays at Fairfield Theatre tonight.
***** Oh my god, that probably was Mystic Bowie! I just looked at his tour dates, and he's got several at Monster B's, including one on Sept 21: "Reggae Sunday Afternoon on the Deck." That sounds amazing.
Let's hope for great weather, but the indoor space at Monster B's is huge, so no worries. This event is SO already on my calendar and nothing is stopping me from going to it.
489 Glenbrook Rd
So, Mystic Bowie is from Jamaica. His website has an impressive bio, and you can hear samples of his music on his myspace page. I like "Sixteen Dimples."
Here's a description about the Fairfield Theatre show tonight: Mystic Bowie performs with a band of New Orleans natives. The result is music with a diverse mix of ethnic, geographic and musical roots, combining funk, jazz and rock with rich Caribbean traditions to create music with a hard-rocking, deeply funky reggae sound. Additionally since 1992, Mystic has delighted audiences around the world as the lead vocalist for the Tom Tom Club, a musical collaboration featuring Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz of Talking Heads.
Monster B's is a nice bar. Excellent sound system, two pool tables, darts, extensive outdoor seating, good food. Check it out if you haven't been yet. They also have live music Thurs-Sun! They are making one of my dreams a reality: live music in Stamford! Click here to read more.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
The Bartlett is a gorgeous spot for a farmers' market, but they've got some kinks to work out. As it opened at 10, there was very little parking up close, so cars had to turn around and park somewhere else. I don't know where, because my friend did a U-turn and drove over a curb to get us the last good spot. We walked down, trailing people carrying their reusable bags... and there were only four tents. The FM was tiny. Then... a dog ran out of the woods and ate three pies off the pie stand!
Of course, the only people there at 10:10 were oldish people and youngish moms, but one brave lady stepped forward to at least get the aluminum plate out of the rascal's mouth. Then, his harried owner emerged from the forest and dragged him away as we all scowled at her.
I had to leave at 10:20, and there was at least one more stand setting up as I left, so maybe the teensy market got bigger. However, on my previous post, Irene commented today, "They've got to work on the Farmers Market, I don't think they expected the crowd that showed up: I was there at 10:30, parking was at a premium, and some vegetables were already sold out."
The market has great potential. I am optimistic that the Bartlett will use this as a learning experience, and that with the enthusiastic crowd as motivation, more sellers will come. There was a big crowd and the Bartlett is gorgeous. There was only one produce area spread out under two tents, so I'd have to say it was... 1/8 the size of the Saturday market on Bedford? However, what the Bartlett did have looked good. There were nice-smelling candles for 10 bucks, honey from the Bartlett and robust vegetables. I only bought a pie, so I can't comment on how reasonable the veggie prices were. Were there any fruits there? I don't recall seeing any.
Check out my pics of the market on flickr. Evvvvvvvvvvvveryone was toting their reusable bags!
I, as usual, forgot mine. Click here to read more.
Bartlett, why does your farmers' market start at 10am? That is way too late.
And, why does your classical music on Sundays start at 10am? That is way too early. Still, I'll check it out to see who is out for classical music in the morning.
There's a nice feature on the Barlett Arboretum and Gardens in the Advocate. (Note: I reposted their article on my resource site so you can see it after the Advocate rips it off their site in two weeks- yes, I am so very bitter about that.) We're lucky to have places like this in our city and I feel bad I don't take more advantage of the Bartlett's cool stuff, like their clinic where you can bring in your plants and get advice. I'm totally psyched for the farmer's market today. It looks like it should be good lighting for pictures.
For real, 10am for a farmer's market? Why not 8 or even 9? Anybody with a regular 9-5 job can't make a 10am time. I'm a teacher so I have summers off, so for this blissful 2 months, I get to see the outside world and re-learn what adults do during the day. (It looks like they eat, shop, and go to work.) Not being with kids is unbelievably wonderful. I can curse up a storm during the day, say what I actually think, etc. I feel so free. I'm bordering on euphoric.
Don't get me wrong; I could not have a better teaching job. My students rock and my co-workers are some of my best friends. But having to be a goody two-shoes all day kills me. If I have to tell one more kid to stop running in the hallways... actually, now I just stick my arm out and clothesline them. Why should I waste my breath telling them a rule they already know? Nope. You better watch yourself on my end of the hall.
See, this is why it's important for teachers to have the summers off. Things would get ugly if we didn't. I have, no joke, the patience of a saint, and if I tell you we need summers off, we need summers off. Even a month is fine if you want to get all anal and jealous and begrudging about it.
Lest you think my clothesline move is cruel, running is dangerous. The poor kids are late to class, so they run, but they don't know how to run carefully. They smash into each other, and sometimes, teachers, who aren't as resilient as children. One teacher got badly hurt by a kid, and another time, a pregnant teacher almost got run down by a boy who was bigger than her. And my clothesline move is done early, so they usually see my arm, and slow down. What's funny is when they either try to limbo under my arm or veer around it. Then I have to use my voice. Click here to read more.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
There's a new "Where in the Hell is Matt" video out! Matt goes all over the world and films himself dancing silly in interesting locales. The videos are catchy because they cut every few seconds to Matt dancing in another amazing place.
In this new one, he got people to dance with him because he thought dancing alone was getting old. I don't love the soundtrack, and the video feels more staged than the others, but it's still cool to see how many people he got to dance in each place and how they acted. (Parisians: bonkers.) Matt is from Westport, incidentally.
I still like his 2006 Dancing Outtakes the best. That's when the children from Rwanda start dancing with him and show him up with their ecstatic moves and huge smiles.
Makes you want to cry your eyes out to think of what that country went through. This reminds me that I'm fairly certain I could shoot someone dead if they were going to hurt a child. We all feel that way, right? Not just me who, as I get older, feel more sure that I could, no problem, kill someone who harmed someone I care about? That's normal, right?
Anyway, you really must watch the Outtakes on Youtube if you have not done so already. It made me laugh out loud in front of my computer. Then it made me feel like crying. You know, one of those. Click here to read more.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Speakin' o' produce... Mrs. Green's, the health food store on High Ridge, has bright yellow reusable bags that cost .99 this month. Although now as I'm poking around the 'net, that's how much Whole Foods' big beautiful bags cost, too. Maybe Mrs. Green's needs to charge more because they are a small chain with only 10 stores in the CT/NY area. Today I got some tasty spinach-artichoke dip, curried chicken salad, and delicious local lettuce. I'm excited for my Mrs. G's bag. It's bigger and prettier than my pine green Stop and Shop ones, but I'm still fond of those.
Is it weird that I feel awkward when I use my Whole Foods bag at less fancy grocery stores? I can't tell if I feel like a poser, or like I'm showing off, or like people think I'm slumming because I can't always afford to shop at WF. Does anyone else identify with this feeling at all?
On a related topic, Westport is considering banning plastic bags at grocery stores. I think that's a bit rash, because even the EPA agrees that paper bags cause more environmental pollution than plastic. I've read a couple of articles about how plastic bags are getting a worse rap than they deserve. Even if plastic bags aren't as villainous as they are portrayed, the EPA still recommends that we all try to use reusable bags.
On a less related topic, I posted pretty pics on flickr of the farmers' market I went to in Mississippi. Click here to read more.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
I don't mean to be a b!&@h, but isn't it a little exclusive to have a farmers' market that people have to drive to? Now that I've gotten that negativity out, the Bartlett Arboretum and Gardens are having their first farmers' market this Wednesday July 9 from 10-2.
I'll certainly check this place out; the market sounds great. I'm just saying, it's not conveniently located like the Saturday market on Bedford St. and that limits who can go to it. However, I don't deny that the Bartlett, a beautiful park, will be a more pleasant location than busy, belching Bedford... if you happen to be free in the middle of the day on a Wednesday.
I question the timing of that, but maybe local restaurants will buy produce there. I bet most people there will be women with young children, but I could be wrong.
The photo in this post is of a picnic a friend and I had at the Bartlett last August. The place is beautiful and not very far past the Merritt off High Ridge. The Bartlett's market will run until Oct. 1. You can read more about it in this Stamford Times article. Click here to read more.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Coyotes are present in Stamford, so we need to make sure you can identify them. Some people can mistake them for a dog (like I did 5 years ago) or a fox, like my pilot did today. We were about to take off (in an un-AC'd prop plane) from Tupelo MS, when the pilot came on the loudspeaker and said, "Awlraght, folks. We're gonna have to wait here for a few minutes. We've got a fox on the runway- a large fox- you can see him right out the window. We don't want to run him over, so we'll just wait 'til they come chase him off. It'll be just a few minutes, then we'll be on the way to Memphis."
Getting off the plane in Memphis, I said to the pilot: How big was the fox?
Me: Like, how big? (I hold up hands, three feet apart.)
No, bigger. Actually, it was coyote.
Me to sis on phone after I get back to CT: Who mistakes a coyote for a fox?
Sis: Probably a lot of people.
Me: A coyote is like, three times the size of a fox. Foxes are tiny.
Sis: I know, but a lot of people don't know what they look like.
I act all hoity-toity with my fox knowledge, but I really only know about their size by chance. I went to a "field party" in high school (Va.), and we drove down a dirt road through a corn field to get there. Right in front of us, little foxes kept jumping out of the corn, trotting along in our headlights like they were leading a parade, then leaping back into the tall grass/corn. Repeat. Hop out of the corn, trot in the headlights, hop back into the corn. It was like leapfrog; I have no idea if it was just one fox messing with us or a whole band of them. In any case, they were the size of a large cat.
Oh! I thought. That's why our high school mascot is the fox! I had never known foxes were such a presence, I guess because I don't frequent the woods at night.
Foxes are very, very cute by the way.
Um OK actually YOU be the judge. Is this photo on the right a fox or a coyote?
On this person's website, he calls it a fox, but I swear it looks like a coyote! Is this a fox-like coyote, or did that man, like my pilot, mistake a coyote for a fox? This is a photo from Wisconsin, if that helps.
Info from another website seems to confirm my opinion: Dr. Cavallini's research concludes that "body size of the red fox may be variable even within a small area," but also suggests that the average red fox, wherever it is found in the world, is a much smaller animal than commonly believed, and that even in the regions with notably "big" fox, the average fox weighs only between 13.7 and 16 pounds.
I may not know much about foxes... but it seems like I know enough. If you think you see a fox, and it's the size of a dog... it is probably a coyote.
Previous Stamford Talk posts about coyotes:
Jan 14, 2008- Ahoooooooooooooo: Coyotes in Stamford
Click here to read more.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
I will probably take the next 2 days off blogging; it's my last day here in Mississippi with my niece and nephews, then I fly home tomorrow. It's been a fun visit. I got to help with five and under T-ball, take a few jogs, and read a lot of books to my nephews. My sister and I even got in a few hours of shopping, just me and her and my nine month old niece. It hasn't been too hot, either. Love ya, Mississippi!
Have a great time on the 4th.
Stamford is one of the few places in the lower FC to have their 'works on the actual holiday. (WHAT was I talking about? Stamford's fireworks are on the 3rd. I was distracted.) Here's info on fireworks in Stamford and other towns:
Stamford fireworks are Thursday, July 3, to be fired off a barge off Cummings Park beach. Rain date is Saturday, July 5. The best views, according to the Advocate, will be from Cummings and West Beach parks. D.J. and vendors start at 6, and fireworks go off at dark, around 9:10 pm.
Greenwich: Saturday, July 5 at Binney Park and Tod's Point. Guests must have a beach permit or pay a $5 daily pass to attend.
Norwalk: Thursday, July 3 at Calf Pasture Beach Park. Rain date July 5.
Westport: Thursday, July 3 at Compo Beach. Rain date July 7.
Rowayton: Friday, July 4 at Bayley Beach in the Rowayton section of Norwalk.
Wilton: Friday, July 4 at at Wilton High School, 395 Danbury Road.
Weston: Friday, July 4 at Weston Middle School, 135 School Road. Click here to read more.