Saturday, February 23, 2008

Lunch, @ jfk intl. airport

You'll be glad to know that I made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare. You never quite know how much time it's going to take you to get out to JFK. Whether the subway is going to be running smoothly, or if traffic is going to be backed up.

Having missed a flight or two before (I missed the plane to go to my sister's funeral, don't worry, the flight out the next day got me there in time) I decided to give myself two hours in transit with three hours to rove back and forth from terminal to terminal to get checked in.

I got a late start, so I caught a livery car at 207th and Broadway, and it was smooth sailing until we hit a slight snag around 158th on the Henry Hudson Parkway. Ten minutes later, we were past the accident and off again.

The car service dropped me off at my bank, 70th & Broadway, I took care of some business then strolled out and caught the 1 train down to Columbus Circle, then caught the C to 34th, then the Uptown E to Sutphin Blvd. at which point I switched to the AirTrain.

I arrived at the airport right on schedule, I discovered that JFK doesn't have an Air New Zealand terminal, so I hesitantly stood in the United line (5 minute wait tops), they said that I wouldn't need an FIM (Flight Interruption Management) number after-all, and checked me in.

All said, it was a bit anti-climactic, I had been ready to run back and forth from the Air NZ counter & United attempting to check-in, and now I was left with 3 1/2 hours to cool my heals.

Since it was lunch time, I strolled over to the food court to grab a bite to eat. McDonalds? Um, NO. Coffee place with dry looking, fatty, sugar loaded pastries? Um, NO. Bistro deli, where I could order sliced meats as if I were at Fairway? Um, whatever. And then low and behold what did I see? A Wolfgang Pucks. :)

I have fond memories of Wolfgang Puck's from when I lived down in DC. There was one located between the walk from my apartment and the subway in Pentagon City, and I've eaten dinner there many a time. Mmmmm, their macaroni & cheese, herbed french fries, and margarita pizza are delicious.

Warm happy feelings of contentment began to flood my brain, and I strolled inside. I searched the menu, no french fries, no mac & cheese, and no margarita pizza's. They did have other pizza's but at $10 a piece, I decided that it was a little to steep for my tastes. Instead I went for the Chinese oh, excuse me, I meant to write, "Chinoise Chicken Salad" for $9.99. Yes, it was just as expensive as the pizza, but it had yummy chicken on it, and was a little healthier besides.

My Lunch

I'm not a fan of Vasa water, it tastes kind-of funny to me, so I grabbed a Vitamin Water.

Let's take a closer look.

My lunch
This baby cost me $3.24.

Considering that I can buy one of these for $1.15 on a good day, I'm thinking that they have a bit of a mark-up here at JFK what do you think?

It's now 2:49, and I need to go grab more $$$$ food, and head to my gate, so I'm off now. As I look out past the HSBC jetway at the overcast grey day and snow-covered ground, I have a little smile inside knowing that sunnier and more adventurous climes are only 28 hours away... yeah I wish that planes could go at warp speed too...


Friday, February 22, 2008

Mr. Winter, part trois

There, there, Mr. Winter, no need to be vindictive. Yes, thank you so much for the snow, it is much appreciated.

You may stop now.


p.s. - any of you readers out there savvy enough to quickly re-book canceled flights?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

See You, in two

A Stiff One., originally uploaded by jk5854.

Yeah, I've pretty much checked out of the office already. I was going to leave you all with a really long, nice blog post to ponder in the coming days, but yeah, life happened. The only thing I'm going to do tonight is laundry, pack, sleep in, then catch a plane. :)

70 degree weather here I come. See you in two weeks, don't do anything that i wouldn't do while I'm gone, and enjoy the slushy sleet for me, okay? *grin*


Ahhhhhhh, vacation

Air New Zealand, originally uploaded by Beard Papa.

Anyone care to take a guess where I'll be for the next two weeks?




All I can say is bliss awaits, oh, and sand between my toes, and good food, and more photos for stock photography, and . . . incidentally, I'll be shooting a wedding on Feb. 29th. Pictures to come.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mr. Winter, part deux

You're fired.
But it's only because you're messing up. Yes, thanks for the arctic blast from Canada, but it came a few too many days too late. I've endured the frigid cold outside for three days now knowing that a little snow was on the docket for this afternoon, but what do I see outside?


Tiny ice crystals being driven sideways in a brisk wind. Not the wet, fluffy snow that I had in mind. You can go ahead and retire to Florida now, but before you go, please send the arctic cold back up North. I think I'm done for this Winter.


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Kristy & Rolf, engaged

Well, actually, they're married now. But last fall I I did an engagement session with them. They're a sweet couple and I enjoyed working with them.

Here are a couple of my favorites from the day. Loved the leaves and colors.



Congrats Kristy & Rolf!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

They Didn’t Ask to See My ID, hmmmm

Well this morning, for the first time in my life, I voted in a Presidential Primary Election.

It was a surreal experience, and I’m not sure what to think of it. For the record, I’m a registered Republican but have Independent leanings, I’ve voted in Utah, Virginia, and now in New York.

I’ve never encountered anything like I experienced this morning, and I’m not quite sure what to think about it.

This morning came early (mornings usually do), I woke, dressed, and ran out the door into the cool misty morning to cast my vote in the Presidential Primary on my way to work. There is a candidate whose positions I value and wanting him to have a chance in the general election I headed to the polls this morning to help him on his way.

I trekked along the streets of Inwood over to Academy to my local polling station, PS 56, and followed the signs to a side entrance leading to the school’s cafeteria.

There wasn’t a line and I was relieved that I’d chosen to come early in the morning instead of battling crowds at the end of the day. I gave my address to the lady manning the table at the front, she hunted for my address (it ended up not being listed, I know because I discretely searched the page along with her), consulted with her colleague, and sent me over to table 83.

Most of the other tables had numbers hanging off the front of them, mine didn’t. It took a few moments to locate the right table. “Is this is table 83?” I asked the volunteers at the far side of the polling area. They told me I was in the right place and asked my last name.

I said, “Bitter.” The lady at the desk looked startled and looked back up at me.

“What?” she asked.

“Bitter.” I reaffirmed. I opened my mouth to make a joke about my last name, but she’d already turned back to the spiral bound book in front of her and didn’t seem interested. Instead I dug through my hand bag and pulled out my wallet.

She quickly flipped through the book until she found my name, and began to copy information down onto a small slip of pink paper. I pulled my drivers license out of my wallet and asked if she needed to see my ID.

She said, “No.”

I hesitated, then put my ID back into my wallet then shoved it back in my bag. The woman handed me a pen and asked me to sign beneath my signature for verification, then took the pink slip of paper she’d written on and turned it face down and slid it forward next to a stack of blue papers about the same size. After signing the book, I reached down to grab the slip of paper, but she fended off my hand and gestured to the voting booth.

I hesitantly walked over to the enclosed booth, a crooked white cardboard sign with the number 83 blazoned in black upon it hung on the side, and a woman drew back the curtain. “You’re republican right?”

Startled, I answered, “Yes”. I wondered if she was allowed to ask me that, stepped into the booth, and promptly stepped back out. The lever and knobs (most likely built back in 1940) looked so foreign that had to ask for instructions.

Here's what the booth looked like but sketchier.

New York City Voting Booth, originally uploaded by thepodger.

“Pull the lever to the right, turn the knob, then pull the lever back to the left and you’re done.” She smiled. I nodded and stepped hesitantly back into the booth.

I’m tall, 5’ 10”, but still I had to look up at the wall full of knobs in front of me. I stared trying to make sense of what I saw. Column upon column of names on blue paper. Some of the columns had one name listed others had several. I remember seeing Obama’s name and Clinton’s, in another column I found Edwards (hadn’t he withdrawn from the race?).

For a moment I wondered why when the woman had confirmed I was Republican, had she put me in a booth where only Democrats were listed. I almost stepped back out to ask, when I spied one column in pink crammed to the far right. A short list of Republicans.

I grasped the large lever at the bottom, pulled it to the right, counted down the names to make sure I turned the right knob, double checked, looked up and read the short list instructions listed on the booth’s wall (there were three, pull the lever, turn the knob, pull the lever back), then triple checked the knob, turned it and an X appeared beneath and to the right of my chosen candidate’s name. I hesitantly pulled the lever back to the left. Gears turned inside the machine, and I wondered at the simplicity of it. Surely there must be something more?

I stepped out of the booth. No one paid me much attention, the booth workers were clustered around the table I had signed in at, and not wanting to interrupt, I walked out and past the table at the front, bid them good morning, then stepped out into balmy cool mist and crossed Broadway to catch the A train.

I now sit and nervously wonder if my vote was cast, if I did things correctly.

I think of how they didn’t check my ID and wonder how much voter fraud happens, I wonder about them re-affirming that I’m Republican as faint thoughts of anonymity float through my head.

I contemplate why the Democrats were spread out across so many columns with the Republicans squished into just one column to the far right, and why the columns were not labeled with the office the candidates were running for.

I am curious as to how many registered Republicans voted for Democrats and how many registered Democrats voted for Republicans in the Presidential Primary. Perhaps that’s why they asked if I was Republican, so they could de-activate the Democrat side of the board.

But most of all, I worry about that pink slip of paper laying face down on the table. Was there something more I needed to do? Once I had voted, should I have placed that paper in a box, or was I supposed to leave it face down on the table? I suppose I should have interrupted the clustered group of volunteers around table 83 to ask if there was something further I needed to do, but I was unsure and hesitant, and now I worry did my vote count?


p.s. Polls are open until 9:00 pm today, have you voted yet?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Open Letter, to old man winter

Old Man Winter
Formerly of the Mountains of the Whispering Winds
Hilton Garden Inn Boca Raton
8201 Congress Avenue
Boca Raton, Florida 33487

Dear Mr. Winter,

I’m writing in regards to the dearth of snow in New York City. We’d like this remedied.

It’s now February and we still have time left for a good storm. I’ve seen massive blizzards sweep in and deposit a few feet of snow upon an unsuspecting populace so I know it’s possible. You see, the problem is that the frigid cold that makes me appreciate the Spring and Fall (and kills all the scary looking insects like the ones that live in Florida) really hasn’t hit us yet and I’m not feeling closure to the end of the season.

It’s not too late to send snow our way and a little biting cold. This morning there were fat fluffy flakes that fell from the sky as I strolled along 207th street to the A train. But it didn’t last, since then all flakes have melted and it’s now raining.

I have fond memories of snow banks five feet tall, of tires spinning and squealing uselessly against the slushy snow and packed down ice as my neighbors attempted to drive up the hill outside my house, the toboggans we built when I was young, down the stairs off the back deck around a corner (reinforced by the stump of a giant tree) and down another two flights of steps. The sledding, the snowball fights, and even the giant rainbow snow sculptures we made one year with a pot of gold at the end.

But I digress, you’ve gone on vacation and it makes me a little sad. Yes, I too like the warmer weather of the Southern States and like to complain about the cold, but I live in the North, and the season is called Winter, not Extended-Fall. My heart yearns for the quiet hush that descends upon City streets as thick flakes of snow waft down upon black pavement, the glistening brightness as the sun rises the next morning, and of trudging through the snow after a big snowfall.

This is pretty much the only snow I’ve seen all winter and it only lasted for a few hours at most.

Snow 2

The view from my apartment on the same day.

Seaman Avenue

So I would like you to nudge the weather a bit. There is a wet storm system headed our way, and if you can manage to bring some cold air down from Canada we'll get snow. I don’t need much, well actually I’d like a foot or two, and I don’t need it to stick for longer than a day or so, just long enough for me to take pictures, but I’d like snow just the same. Winter without snow just isn’t winter.

If you could manage to send some white fluffy goodness our way before Feb. 22nd when I fly to New Zealand it would be much appreciated. But please avoid sending it on the 22nd if you can, as I’d like my plane to depart on schedule.

Please send snow to:

Upper West Side
c/o Bitter
81st & Amsterdam
New York, NY 10024

Kind regards,

p.s. clearly I’m not the only one who’s missing the snow.