Monday, February 28, 2005

Snowstorm

In New York there is a snowstorm currently moving accross the region. There is an expectation of between 6-12 inches of snow to fall. People are running out purchasing bottled water, snow shovels, road salt and wondering if there will be work tommorrow.

Usually after school there is a hundred minutes of professional development (something weird in the New York Department of Education) that all teachers must attend. Well, because of the snow the Department of Education cancelled it.

I walk outside and most of the snow is falling and melting on the wet pavement. If this had of been Toronto I would have bet that the professional development session would still be on and we would all be suffering through it.

Well, at least I am happy that it was cancelled. You try teaching and preparing six periods a day then having to sit through an hour and bit listening to someone try and show you a new teaching technique that probably won't work with the students.

So at least there is an upside to this storm....now if only school was cancelled tommorrow so I could catch up on the marking...

If I was in Canada I would be dreaming....but since I am in the States I guess I do have a little more of a hope!

Sunday, February 27, 2005

A New York Moment

I was at Connolly's pub near Grand Central Station in New York City this past week. I had a friend down from Toronto on my week off as a New York City school teacher.

We were seated next to these three mid-thirties looking guys. This was kinda weird considering that there was perhaps a total of 5-10 tables occupied in the entire place. But I didn't complain.

Next thing I know is I am hearing about Sparks Street in Ottawa. The three of the them were trying to figure out the name of the bar at the corner of Sparks and Elgin Streets across from the older looking Post Office building. The three of them knew it was an Irish bar but couldn't name the bar to save their lives.

I turned to them and said, "D'arcy McGee's would be the name of the bar."

Their mouths nearly hit the floor.

They looked at me and said "how'd you know that?"

I said, "I was a student at the University of Ottawa for four years and went their quite often on Thursday nights for the Kitchen parties. I was the class of 2002 for History.

It turns out the three of them were lawyers. One was from Toronto and graduated from Carleton University, another lived in Ottawa and graduated from Carleton University. The last one lived in Ottawa and graduated from University of Ottawa as well back in the eighties.

Turns out that New York City has quite a lot of Canadians visiting. Including from Ottawa. It was a good time to reminisce.

Talk about a small world.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Stupid subway people!

The MTA, in their infonant wisdom, decided a number of weeks ago to start reconstructing the subway tracks on the 4 line near my home. Fine and dandy since I figured this would be only a temporary inconvenience. But this weekend will be the third weekend in a row that the line has been shut down.

This has totally angered me since I was out and about last weekend. While walking accross the 4 platform at Borough Hall in Brooklyn to get to the 2/3 line in order to get to Grand Central station, I found about more than half of the construction works sitting on their butts talking to each other while only two or three guys were actually working on the tracks. Now I wouldn't mind if it was only two or three guys taking a break. But give me a break! 10-15! That seems a little ludicrus? Why weren't these guys working on another section further down the track in order to speed up the construction process?

Could it be government incompetance? probably.

Meanwhile, fares are going up and the MTA continues to look for every nickel, dime and penny they get their hands on. How about either getting these guys to work, instead of sitting on their butts, so the subway system's disruptions can be minimized and more fares being brought in instead of forcing them to take taxis or drive because the subway system has become too inconvenient on the weekends. The weekends are a time when you should want people to ride the subway. This means more income during non-peak periods that the MTA can utilize to the fullest. More ridership in non-peak periods means the infrastructure (read: subway cars) are being used to their fullest potential from their initial investment. Something all New York City taxpayers would want.

We'll see tonight again if these same construction workers are enjoying some time off on the taxpayer's dime.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Michael Suddard's Homepage - Michael's Blog

Michael Suddard's Homepage - Michael's Blog

Yup I am mad at my own blog. My profile says I haven't yet updated my blog since October 2004 when I hadn't yet received a pay cheque from the New York City Department of Education. Obviously I have posted SEVERAL entries since then. So what is the hold up?

Get with it Blogger.com and Google.com! ARGH!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Chrysler Building


Chrysler Building on February 13, 2005 evening. Just out on an adventure in Manhatten in order to kill 2 hours.

When the Roof Leaks


You roof leeks to much when....or when simple roof repair simply won't do.

Brooklyn's Borough Hall looks to be having some roof work done. But none the less I couldn't help but thinking how hillarious this old style building looks like with a modern canopy over top. Then again, maybe this was an artist's rendition of trying to modernize the building. If it was, it was a horrible idea in the first place.

A nice day in Brooklyn.

Enough fun and frolic for the weekend. Today it is down to work. Too much marking to do. Why do I always seem to get loaded up with marking, unbury myself and then load myself back up again? It just doesn't make sense.

When will I ever learn?

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Picasa 2

Now that I have Picasa2 from the fine people at Google.com who own Picasa, Blogger and other assorted online technological free goodies, I will be able to post more pictures to this here blog fast and easy. So watch for colourful updates to come such as the one below on my adventures into Central park.

New York Times: The Gates in Central Park




The New York Times > Arts > An Appraisal: Billowy Gift to New York: a 23-Mile Saffron Ribbon

The New York Times might rave about the gates in Central Park. I just say they look like huge orange pilons with a little bit of fabric.

The stands look like they are forcing people to walk underneath them on the path. So it would seem if you put up metal frames and attach some funky orange tent canvas to them that people will stay on the paths and off the wintering grass. Perhaps this was the idea of the Central Park big wigs who want to save the grass in Central Park.

True their are some pretty spots of these "gates" in areas, but mostly the bright orange colour stands out like a sore thumb and blocks the views of some of the buildings that surround central park. These same buildings provide a great opportunity for pictures to show nature within one of the world's most populous cities.

I say this is a big waste of $20 million. But at least it didn't come out of my pocket as a taxpayer of New York City, because at least the artists took it upon themselves to fund the "artistry" themselves. To this I say, thank goodness the hardworking city taxpayer was not fleeced.

Things I miss...

"I'll start with you..."

I miss loving to hate that Canadian Tire jingle on the radio.

I also miss haranging my sister who works at a "Tire" with that song. You really don't know how annoying that song is until you have to hear it on and off for 8 hours a day.

Good times....good times.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

TheStar.com - Street blight into urban art?

TheStar.com - Street blight into urban art?

Very interesting article. I always wondered what shoes dangling over hydro lines that mysteriously appear was about. Now I know those funky looking shoes are meant to be art. Who knew?

My Rants by Bill Arends

My Rants

A new blog started by a friend of mine who went to school with in my days in Ottawa. This blog has promise to develop into something. Definately something to keep your eye on in the future! Best of luck with it Bill.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Central Park

Went for a small wanderance in Central Park this afternoon. Walked past the Central Park Zoo and the seals that seemed to be enjoying the sun while swimming around in their aquarium.

Upon this walk I realized how much I hate strollers. You know the strollers I am talking about. The ones that hold a single child in it either asleep, awake, or throwing a temper tantrum cause they wanted this or that. The major problem I have with the strollers, besides holding whiny children, is that it seems to slow down the mothers and fathers who push them. Perhaps it is the large bags of brick a brack that these wonderful parents have loaded the stroller down with. Anywho, they are just dead slow. Add to the problem that it is hard to pass them when in a crowd, nevermind when there are two strollers across.

Welcome to New York City, the city of pedestrians. Along with pedestrians today comes strollers. It also angers me that these wonderful people who push the strollers take the subway. Now lets stop here for a moment. Lets remember when the New York City subway system was built mostly. Yup, the subway system started in 1904, way before someone even dreamed up the obnoxious idea of a stroller. Therefore, many of the stations were built over or were not configured for the idea of an elevator. In fact, the idea of anybody needing devices like wheelchairs wasn't even thought of. Thus, many stairways are narrow and, in some cases, twisty and turney.

Now back to the ongoing saga. I, being the strapping young man that I am, are called upon to help out the poor shmucks who get off at stations without working elevators in order to lift the front end of the strollers (as well as everysingle package on the stroller including child sometimes) and walk up the stairs.

Even better is when the parent wants to attend to the screaming occupant of the stroller in downtown Manhatten. You see in Manhatten every single inch of sidewalk space is required in order to maintain a certain flow of pedestrian traffic. Add a single stopped stroller in the middle of the sidewalk, and chaos looms. It is not just people with strollers that stop in the middle of the sidewalk though that bother me, pedestrians that stop on a dime to look at the windows or some strange building. ARGH!

Anyway, I got on a tangent there with that whole stroller thingy. Back to Central Park. I walked through enjoying the beautiful old trees and clean walkways into the Rambler bird section. I walked up and around a couple of trails until I ran into a dozen people with their binoculors and expensive cameras out looking at, you won't believe it, simple American Goldfinches. I was flabbergasted. One of the most common birds that fight over the bird feeders back home in Canada.

I continued on up through the park admiring the wildnerness within a city of over 12 million people and yet it was very peaceful, except for the strollers! ARGH!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Tom's Restaurant

Tom's Restaurant, better known as "Restaurant" from Seinfeld, still looks exactly the same from the outside as it did on the old show.

I had the pleasant experience dining at this family restaurant on a big and juicy beef burger with all the fixins'.

"The inside of the restaurant?" you ask. Well, it is smaller than on the show, but looks a little similar to what George and Jerry might be sitting in with nothing but booths to sit in.

Did I see their apartment or the glow from the Kenny Roger's Chicken sign?

Nope, according to the NBC television special, the apartment outside is actually in Los Angeles and Kenny Rogers Chicken, if I remember correctly, went broke years ago.

But none the less, travelling to Tom's on the Upper west side is well worth the travel.

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