Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Back in state service

I am back in State service. These days I get to go to work in, what I would argue, is the most amazing building in Albany (and, yes, I am including the Capitol when I say that).
And here's my office view. The column, the Capitol, the Jennings Tower. What a sight...

The move meant that Gideon, my office companion fish, had to move home. Here's The Misty Cat introducing herself.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A380 Booked and Ready to Go

I was recently researching an overseas trip that I will take in relation to this life decision and I had the good fortune of having the opportunity tobook part of the trip on this new and recent new beauty of the airplane world:

So in late November, the Airbus A380 will become the latest airplane I have known.

Selecting the seat on the A380 flight was entertaining. For starters, we, like I presume most fliers, prefer the two-aside seats next to windows so that we (1) have a window and (2) have an aisle. This is slightly difficult on the A380 since the majority of the economy rows are arranged in a 3-4-3 format. The 2-4-2 seating format begins towards the rear of the aircraft, so as such, Diane and I found ourselves in row 87 (!!!). We'll probably have to start boarding two days before the flight to get to our seat in time.

Almost as exciting is that per my crude research on Airliners.net, there is a chance that the Delta B767 we will also invariably be on might have winglets (ie it will be a "sexy plane" for all you posers out there).

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lessons of a Session from the Outside

From my previous time at the Assembly, I had learned that everything we learned in high school about how a bill becomes a law is, let's just say for the sake of being polite, "optimistic". After 6 months on the outside, it was confirmed to me that the process is, let's just say, again, for the sake of being polite, "wishful thinking", but I became much more cynical and hurtful/hateful about it all.

After months of pushing reasonable, common sense legislation - the low-hanging fruit of legislation, if you will - and coming up mostly empty-handed, I came away thinking, "Gee, if we can't agree on this stuff, can we ever get anywhere on the stuff that really matters."

There is more inertia in certain houses of the legislature than you can imagine. The coefficient of friction is high in this government, my friends. When is it a legitimate argument in opposition to say, "Well we oppose this because we've never done it before." Typical. But that's not even the best one I heard: "It's too difficult to explain that this is not actually bad." Wow. Stop the presses. This might be too intelligent. Can't have that now, it might make people think too much. True story. So in essense the legislative session went as such.

But it was not all bad - as every surely knows by now, at least every one of my readers, the state Senate passed marriage equality. It reminded me of this scene from Dumb and Dumber. Marriage equality is Harry and the state Senate is Lloyd (starting at :45).

Monday, May 30, 2011

My recurring fishing nightmare recurs

Many years ago, when we were visiting Argentina during Christmas break, my dad, sister, uncles and cousins went on a fishing trip at El Carrizal in Mendoza. Here's a summary of the trip - Luci caught 6 fish - more than anyone else. Nicolas caught 1 fish - and also the smallest of any of the many fish that were caught. This is my recurring nightmare - my little sister outfishing me badly.

Fast forward to yesterday. During my mom and Luci's visit, we went fishing at Schodack Island State Park. Of course on the way there we joyfully recalled the above referenced story and internally I thought how silly my sister would feel after I outfished her, especially since I had been fishing regularly and she probably has not fished since that trip many years ago (so long ago that we were both in K-12).

So there we were taking in the great sights of the Hudson River at Schodack Island. She had already brought in a bullhead catfish.

Then, she suddenly and calmly said, "I think I have something."

That was all she said and started reeling in. I was using a heavy sinker, so I thought she was probably feeling that, but she kept reeling and looking over the ledge into the river hoping to see something. And then I saw this 2 1/2 foot freshwater drum appear in the shallows.

I estimated that it weighed at least 10 lbs.

She caught this with a nightcrawler. I should mention, she caught it with my fishing pole, after I had cast and baited it. So, yeah, I still get no credit for it.

This was not unlike how she destroyed me in racquetball two Christmases ago, after my decade of domination. After a few years, I may get over this fishing incident. Then she'll crush my spirit once again. For the record, she ended up catching 9 fish yesterday, and although I reeled in 4, 3 of them were the smallest of the lot, and the other was a catfish.

Monday, April 25, 2011

New Hobby Pans Out, Mostly.

I have a tendency to take up hobbies quickly and many times without thinking them through entirely. I bought a guitar because somebody at camp played a killer rendition of Rocky Top. Couple of years later, I can sometimes play a decent Comfortably Numb or Heart of Gold, but that's about it. I bought a damn nice guitar, too, so it's a shame.

Then some guys opened up a skateboard shop down the street and I figured this was how I was going to get to work from now on. Couple of skateboard trips (a few falls) and the realization that it's incredibly hard to skateboard uphill and my skateboard sits under my bed, probably waiting for some lazy summer moment when I don't want to walk to the ATM.

Flight, of course, is my ultimate hobby, but I only have the one exploration flight under my cap - but that one's still a work in progress.

But for the first time since I picked up hockey a new hobby finally paid off - fishing.

I am obsessed with the show River Monsters. You may have seen it - a Brit named Jeremy Wade goes around the globe trying to catch - surprise - river monsters. There are some issues with the show. The premise is that he is trying to "investigate" mysterious events leading to death. So, it sensationalizes just a bit. But - it is incredibly entertaining and I watch it for hours.

Then, one day, it hit me. There are rivers near me. I need to go catch a river monster. I went out to a shop in Renssalaer and got set up to go fishing. So far, there has been some success. I caught this "monster" in the Hudson at Schodack Island, and I caught a smaller little guy at Lock 7.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tale of Two Unions

In the span of a couple of days, headlines on the front page and sports page of your local newspaper were probably both heavy on union issues. On the front page, you read about how the governor of Wisconsin signed legislation to eliminate collective bargaining rights for certain unions; on the sports page, the news was about the NFL and its players not being able to reach an agreement on how to split the $9+ billion in revenue the league annually takes in.

So, on the one hand, we had a bunch of teachers and other public employees lose their right to negotiate salaries. On the other, we had a bunch of multi-millionaires willingly end collective bargaining negotiations with the most profitable sports league in the country - reportedly because both sides could not budge on $185 million.

Of all the problems inherent in this situation, there is only one I am going to focus on. With all the attention that the Wisconsin legislative proposal is getting, wouldn't it have been great if the NFL Players' Association had come out in full solidarity and support of Wisconsin public employees?

For starters, the demonstrations in Madison already include members of FD and PD unions, both of which are not captured under the governor's radical proposal. Obviously, the NFL is not captured either, but their star power would likely have gone a long way towards furthering the cause of the demonstrators - especially since Wisconsin's Green Bay Packers are the current NFL champions.

Ironically, most NFL players are likely registered Republicans - and it is a Republican state government in Wisconsin that is curtailing the rights that they so vigorously seem to value. God forbid the NFLPA was eliminated - they would cry foul. They should have the footballs to stand up and fight for the collective bargaining rights of others as well.

Monday, February 21, 2011


I can already tell that the opportunity to travel is going to be one of the major upgrades at my new position. In the 6+ weeks since my transition, I have spent a 8 days in the big apple.

The second of those trips coincided with the UA Great Danes game at Madison Square Garden against BU. Diane's parents made th
e trip down to NYC, and since I was in town and close to the Garden, I was able to join them for the game.

I had never been to MSG before but I had heard the stories of
its grandeur. Those stories never resonated with me because, well, it's just an arena. After all, I've been to arenas before.

But this was different.
And I knew that immediately as I walked out into the place. I d
on't know exactly what made it spectacular, but it was. I mean, just the ceiling of the place was splendid.

Not only did we get to watch the Danes under the bright lights of the Garden, but we also got to take in the St. John's vs. UConn game, which turned out to be a St. John's upset over the then #9 Huskies.

So after taking in some real Big East men's hoops, we stuck
around for our main attraction and watched helplessly as the Danes got demolished by the Terriers. At least we were in the Garden. And at least we had incredible seats: