04 August 2006


Today, Sue and I had a multitude of adventures. I'm still off of work on Friday's, so it's continually nice to have these three day weekends.

Around 11ish, we left to go into NYC on the PATH trains. Sue is going to start looking for work soon, and she wanted to see how it would be commuting into the city. From leaving the apartment, to setting foot in NYC at the 9th Street Path stop was 45 minutes. Walking in a roundabout way to Washington Square Park made the total travel time about 1 hour.

So, very doable as a morning commute. We headed back to Jersey City the way we came, and were back at the apartment slightly less than 2 hours after we left. It's nice to be able to just drop into the city like that, with no real commitment to do anything real. It was a good test run, with no pressure to do anything else.

Taking the PATH train back, it's always interesting to see little things in the underground tunnels as we're traveling. I remember in Boston, Brian and I always would see some sort of stuffed animal (perhaps a tiger) between the Harvard and Central Square Red Line stops, with a sign on it saying "Privatization! It's a Weld scam!" This was back in the 90's, but besides William Weld being the governor of Massachusetts at the time, we could never really figure out what the whole privatization issue was about. Something with the T? Eh, who knows...

Our second adventure of the day was going to the Palisades Mall, off of 87/287, the road that runs from the Garden State Parkway to the Tappan Zee Bridge. I know that Sue and I had talked about stopping there, but I never really wanted to when we were in the middle of a 6 hour drive to New Hampshire. Now, it was about a 45 minute drive away. I think Brian and I had talked about stopping there also, on drives to and from Boston, but of course, we never did.

The mall certainly wasn't bad. It's 4 levels, but not as long as Monmouth Mall is. I guess there's just as much commerce in Monmouth Mall as the Palisades Mall, but just shaped differently. It's also newer, so there's more mall amenities there, like a decent food court, and a big movie theater. Both things that Monmouth Mall has only sprouted in the past 5-10 years...

One thing I did not like at all about this mall is that the escalators going up the levels are all in the same areas, so as you're going from level 3 to 4, you could look all the way down. Generally, I don't mind heights. Planes don't bother me, and enclosed spaces in tall buildings are fine, but those big open spaces in malls, taking escalators where you can look down 3 or 4 levels just freak me out. But, I was a trooper, and took the escalators. It doesn't lessen my anxiety at all, but I try to not let it rule me either.

There are times I don't even like standing by those open middle areas in malls, where you can look down. I used to joke that I thought someone might run up behind me and throw me over, but I don't think it's as logical as that. I simply don't like open space heights. Ferris Wheels have bothered me in the past, and maybe that's another reason I don't like roller coasters.

While at the mall, I bought a few books:
  • The latest Harry Potter in paperback (Book 6)
  • Star Wars on Trial - Edited by David Brin and some other dude. Brin is a fairly vocal critic of the Star Wars movie, so this book is a series of pro/con essays about different aspects of the Star Wars mythos. Should be a fun read.
  • The Pirate Coast - A book about the battle against the Barbary pirates during Jefferson's administration. Should be a good history read.

Speaking of pirates, we also saw the second Pirates of the Carribean movie while at the mall today. It was a lot of quick action fun, but did feel a bit like a 3 hour preview for the next movie, especially with the ending. My friend Lou thought the ending was a bit abrupt, but that didn't really bother me that much. The Pirates movies are fun, I don't look for too much from them.

In other viewing news, we finished watching disc 2 of the 2nd season of Battlestar Galactica tonight. It's a really good show, although I do have some critical issues with it. Here are my issues, I'll talk about the good stuff too...

  • For a separate society, albeit a human one, everything in the culture (clothing, written language, cars on Caprica, guns) looks a bit too "Earth-y" for me. It's not the end of the world, it's just something that bothers me a bit.
  • For a smart guy, Baltar certainly does act pretty stupid at times. Just in the middle of the 2nd season, he finally figures out he can do a brain scan with the doctor to see if the Cylons have planted a chip in his brain. Of course, his personality is so self involved that he could have just avoided thinking of it, but it's still a bit annoying, because he thinks of it when it's convenient for plot, not as something that might occur naturally.
  • It appears that a fleet of 48,000 some humans has about 20 reporters in it, but only one doctor. Galactica itself, a ship of what, about 2000 crew, has ONE doctor? Granted, it was going to be decommissioned, but still, they had a full compliment of Viper pilots, maintenance crew, and others. And it's been heavily implied that the doctor on Galactica may be the only doctor in the fleet.
  • Actually, it's the reporter issue that gets to me more than the doctor issue. I can rationalize it, saying that it's more likely that there's going to be more "professional" workers caught in transit during the Cylon attack than some more blue collar types, but it still seems a bit off.
  • I do think it's funny that the civilian population isn't more thankful for Galactica. Granted, early in the 2nd seasion there's issues with Tigh causing civilians to be shot, but even before that, there's kind of a mentality that the fleet doesn't really *get* that their civilization is decimated.
  • The zoomy camerawork still annoys me, although I do understand it's very hip to do that type of stuff now. That's my worry, that the style is going to *really* date the show. Subtlety is usually better for the longer term than being stylish. But, that's just me.

On the positive side:

  • The plot, continuity, acting, and just about everything is miles ahead of the original story/series. But, there's enough nods to the original series to see that the writers took the good aspects of the original, and have incorporated better storytelling methods into the mix.
  • Baltar cracks me up. Great characterization by the actor, and great writing. I actually don't think there's a weak link in the cast, although I do think the Tigh character is a bit too much like Garibaldi from Babylon 5 for my taste. Not a big issue though.
  • I'm fascinated as to what the Cylons are really trying to do. It seems pretty obvious that they know where the human fleet is at pretty much all times, but are allowing them the freedom to travel on their own for awhile. Interesting...
  • I remember Brian saying in his blog awhile back that he was hypothisizing that Baltar may be a Cylon. I think it's possible, but doubtful...
  • I noticed on the season 1 discs that most of Boxey's scenes ended up on the cutting room floor. What a shame...

Overall, a good show, and I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of season 2.

NP: The Who - Christmas (27 June 1989)

01 August 2006


My car insurance is up for renewal at the end of this month, and with the move down to NJ, we're looking at new rates. NJ is also known for having VERY high rates of insurance. We've received quotes from Geico and Met Life so far, along with our present company of State Farm, and Geico is in the lead by a little over $300 per year.

We're waiting for one more quote, from NJ Manufacturers, which may actually be lower than Geico, so we'll see what happens with that. Fortunately, the cost for two cars is not as much as I thought it would be, although it is higher than the rates in NH were. But, that's to be expected, with more people in NJ.

Work continues to go well. Today was a day to work on RA Training, and I feel like I made good progress. I have to keep plugging away at it, as it's starting in 18 days. Yeech!

Also, it's hotter than balls here. Fortunately, the apartment doesn't retain heat, and the cinder block walls do a good job of keeping the heat out. So, sleeping's been good, and living is easy...

I have to make some calls soon, I've been out of touch a bit since the move, and it's time to return some calls, and make others.

NP: King Crimson - Thela Hun Ginjeet (14 Oct 1981)

30 July 2006


Sorry for the absence of blog posts in recent days. I was down in Monmouth County (I can no longer say, down in NJ, as I'm here all the time now) at my Dad's house for the baby shower for my stepsister. We were gone from Friday to today. I could have written a blog from home, but I was too busy getting sucked into "Spider Solitaire."

I didn't actually attend the shower, but was able to hang out at a pool with some family friends while it was going on. It was more of a female only shower, so about 6-7 guys hung out at this pool. A good time, I got to swim a bit, which is always a positive thing.

That's about it for now. Longer entry tomorrow, I promise

NP: Pink Floyd - Sorrow (Aug 1988)