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Our Ithaca contingent split up after eating and visiting the comics store- Scott wanted Eli to see the diorama in Carl Sagan's honor of the extended solar system, which begins on the Commons and stretches to near the lakeshore at the Ithaca Science Center.  So I headed along my usual South Hill route to Owego- playing Harry Chapin on the drive through Candor as I always do- and got to my sister's in time to check out her own household project status:

That's from a few weeks ago, when a windstorm blew through the Southern Tier. Nobody was hurt, and the pool behind the tree suffered no damage (not even the cover took any), but the outbuilding for its filter and such is toast, and we're still not sure whether the filter inside the building  is okay or not.  But as of this weekend, you don't see the tree anymore. A passing chainsawer came and chopped it up. Another contractor will be replacing the building and doing some other work around the yard.

We then got a text that Eli was still stuck somewhere in the vicinity of Neptune and that we'd have to drive to the game ourselves. No problem; JARVIS can handle two people.


In her just-turned-71 years on the third planet (just outside the M&T Bank on the Commons), Donna had never been inside a baseball stadium of any level of play.  Even Sandy, I remembered, had visited Yankee Stadium when she lived in the Bronx, and all the rest of us in the immediate fam had been inside Shea, or Silver, or one or another more than once.  But she would get the unique experience of seeing the local Mets affiliate in her own home town.  Until last year, they were known as the B-Mets, but after a contest to rename the team to sell more minor-league merch, the winner was, wait for it:

....the Rumble Ponies.

(See, Binghamton has carousels in its public parks. With ponies. Who, you know, rumble.  Nobody caught that the "B-Mets" moniker could easily be morphed into "Bronies"  None of that merchandise was on offer in the gift shop, and I saw none in the stands, but it clearly was yet another only-the-Mets moment in marketing.)

We found the park (eventually), parked (4 bucks across the street), and got our whole crowd of five in for less than it cost three of us in Buffalo the previous weekend.  Seats right behind home plate, screened and roofed, and free Bronie hats for Memorial Day weekend for both of us.  Moments later, Donna's first selfie:

The interplanetary travelers joined us in time, and the rest of the evening was watching the game, the experience and even the occasional weird: this, for instance, right outside the beer stand, pimping the local economy:

My first thought about that was about the website- something right out of Animal House- but the line above it now seems more evocative of the whole Twilight Zone theme of the weekend- of everybody telling the evil little boy Anthony, "It's a good life!" 

(I will be returning to Billy Mumy in the third installment, but I digress.)

Unlike the majors, where access to batting practice is strictly limited to premium seat holders, this is how close anybody with a ten-dollar ticket can get to the players:

This is AA baseball, two rungs from The Show, and I knew of no hot prospects in the Mets organization or of anybody rehabbing at this level- but one name finally rung true: L.J. Mazzilli, playing second base for the Ponies. That would be the son of the Lee of that name, a phenom with the Mets in the 70s who returned for a brief time in their '86 World Series run:

The game was close and quick- like AAA, this league has the 20-second timer on pitchers between throws, and that got us out barely two hours after first pitch.  Maz drove in the only run of the game with a sacrifice fly, the Binghamton pitcher made it to the eighth with a shutout (BRING HIM UP TO THE METS!), and the bullpen survived a ninth inning scare to send us all home happy.


I had one more planned stop for the next day, which will come in the next post, but I ended my time in the Greater Binghamton Metropolitan Area a little lost. With the Memorial Day theme still strong, I thought it was a good time to visit my mother.

Donna wasn't quite up to the haul up the hills, so I gave it my best recollection of where in Vestal Hills Memorial Park she was.  I have directional notes (for all my favorite cemeteries) of specific locations, but they remained in the glove box of Emily's now-car.  I knew it was "by the gazebo," so I pulled up near it and did a lot of walking.  Even called my sister back for some more triangulation- and no, sorry. 

It was fitting, though. Mom would've gotten lost, too;)  And I'm sure she knew I was there, even as she knew the last time I was there and took this picture:

My only hope is that they kept the stone clear for people to find. Lots of them were covered in grass. I cleared probably 30 stones so the Peases and Sandwicks and Copes will have an easier time of it if they show up this weekend.


After that, it was back on the road, y'all, for a final stop- leaving the past, and heading for the far future.....

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As road trips go, this one was pretty com-packed.  I left Buffalo a little before noon on Saturday and was back in my own zip code by 2 p.m. today.  But it's going to take three posts to get in all the pictures and memories from that very intense run of people, places and events.

Saturday began with a household project- breaking up the major pieces of brickwork still in place from last month's demolition festival on our old, ugly and dangerous front planter.  Eleanor was concerned that it was going to take many weeks just to get this part of the job done- but between chisels, a power drill and mutual grit, more than a third was gone from the front yard within a few hours:

That whole thing? Ya, busted up and wheelbarrowed to the back.  We were both sore from the efforts, but it was time for my repast to begin; the real soreness didn't set in for me until I woke up this morning.


Usually my trips to the 607 involve detours- leaving from Rochester, or seeing the kids in Palmyra- but this was a straight shot to Ithaca to meet friends for a last lunch at its longtime downtown deli palace, so I wasn't in anything of a rush. Something tempted me to break from my usual route- NY 89 right along Cayuga's west shore- to take the Thruway-recommended higher ground along Route 96 through Waterloo, Interlaken and Trumansburg.  Each brought back memories and, the last two, new photos.

It was four Memorial Day weekends ago that I spent a dedicated amount of time in Waterloo, the Congressionally designated Home of the Holiday.  They still mostly ignore the Monday holiday, preferring whatever day the 30th falls on, but the museum is open and you can get acquainted with the sentiments of the sesquicentenary ago.  (This post from 2015 has the 2013 pics.)  So this time I didn't even stop, continuing south on 96 through the actual "downtowns" of towns I knew the names of better from the lakeshore route: Romulus, Varick and Ovid (19th century homesteaders were big on their Roman history), and finally the town of Covert and its village of Interlaken- so named because it lies between Seneca and Cayuga.

I cleared the village, close to an hour ahead of my designated meeting with baseball friends, and decided to double back to find a grave I knew needed to be found.  Interlaken, I knew, was the final resting place of Twilight Zone creator, host and regular writer Rod Serling.  He'd worked his Finger Lakes connection into the "Midnight Sun" episode that he wrote, where the main character painted a picture of the nearby Taughannock Falls, to help her keep cool in a world which turned out, in the final reel, to need way more global warming.  Siri told me where to find the cemetery; findagrave dot com gave further clues once there.

And after some investigation there he was:

A close-up of the bottom of the stone, showing the reference someone left to the beloved Burgess Meredith episode:

Other visitors were there for more ordinary family members and veterans, and the cheat sheet in the front building did not present Mr. Serling for your approval, but nobody minded that I shared a few moments of silence and respect for a soldier, a writer, and a great American.  Within miles of his resting place were at least one Confederate flag, a REPEAL THE SAFE ACT sign and a gun and ammo shop- but I was heading further south to where such things would be overcome:

I was heading to the People's Republic of Ithaca.


Trumansburg was first. Just over the line into Ithaca's Tompkins County, it has its redneck presences, but also the first hints that you are about to be among your own people.  The oldest and most significant of these stops is this performance venue, which goes back to my college days:

Alas, as of late last year, the Rongo wasno longer issuing passports or accepting refugees:

For years the Rongovian Embassy has been the living room of Trumansburg. Its name alone has drawn many locals and visitors to the village since it first opened in 1973. Current manager Robert Thomas is one of many who grew up spending time at the Rongo in those early days.

"The place would be packed night after night and so they would only have live music on maybe Tuesday's and Wednesday's not on Friday and Saturday because the bar was packed with people anyways," Thomas said.

That was when the Rongo was just a bar and the drinking age 18. Once it was raised to 21 a neighboring building was purchased and it expanded making way for a restaurant most known for its Mexican food.

Thomas says operating as a bar and restaurant worked for then owners Mary and Eric Ott. They sold the Rongo in 2002. Since then it has struggled to stay afloat. Thomas and a management team of other community members came together in 2014 with the hope of helping its legacy continue.

"Business was great for the first six months or so, but it didn't have the staying power to attract sufficient clientele day in and day out," Thomas said.

With the last live music performance taking place this Sunday, the hope is that the Rongo will not be closing their doors permanently. After all this will be the 7th closure in its 43 year history.

"We want it here everyone wants it here," said Daniel Scherer, Rongovian Embassy landlord and part owner. "I want it here, believe me, as the building owner more than anyone else I think. I want a viable profitable thriving business here."

One popular but expensive idea is being discussed.

"If this became a brewery, a brewpub you start to bring in more people because of that," said Scherer. "Its a very attractive type of establishment for this region because there's other businesses doing similar things. I think that would get more traffic in the door and it would be another source of revenue."

They've kept the storefront pristine, and a sign in the window invites inquiries about restoring the Embassy to its eighth regeneration. So hope remains in the Town of Ulysses for another iteration of the Iliad.


Moments later, JARVIS placed me a block from the Ithaca Commons, where I awaited the arrival of Rochester friends and one last nosh at the legendary deli that was home to many a college paper dinner break and annual pilgrimages ever since. Word came a few months ago that Hal's kids were hanging it up, and that they'd be closed by the end of May.  On arrival, despite what Yelp said, it turned out that The End came a few days sooner:

That sign on the door said CLOSED.  No online articles mourned the loss or covered the last orders.  The space is FOR RENT, and four hungry people wound up scoring bagelish fare a block north in Hal's honor. Their much more extensive menu of bagels, wraps and paninis was filled with local references- I had an Octopus, not far off from a Hal's Number 8, referencing a longago-reconstructed local intersection of infamy- but the special on the menu was "the Biden," a turkey panini in honor of the former Veep who spoke earlier that day at Cornell's pre-graduation convocation. (Cornell graduations themselves are ruthlessly efficient- in and out in barely an hour, no honorary degrees, speechifying only by the Uni president, degrees conferred by the thousands on schools and colleges.)

On the bright side, a longtime Ithaca Commons bar, put out of business a few years ago when a runaway truck plowed into it, has been restored and was quite busy. Many other businesses I remembered are still going strong. And Scott and his family loved their repast in a comics store next to the bagel joint, where I found this to be the most endearing sight:

We said our temporary goodbyes as I headed to meet my sister for what would prove to be her first-ever baseball game appearance in her now-71 years on the planet. The pictures and recollections from that,...tomorrow.

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The original Star Wars opened. Its release was limited to about 30 venues nationwide, including the Mann's Twin Cinema in Hicksville, Long Island. A few weeks later, my best friend Dennis and I rode our bikes over from East Meadow to see what the Force was all about. The rest, as they say, is history.

From five years ago:

It’s hard to remember a day when Star Wars wasn’t a towering cultural and marketing event, but on May 25, 1977, it was a smallish movie opening on a Wednesday in just 32 theaters.

There was no premiere.



Theater goers wait in lines in front of the Avco Center Theater in Los Angeles to see "Star Wars" in June 7, 1977.

“Theaters didn't want the movie. We were lucky to get thirty theaters to open it,” Charles Lippincott, former Lucasfilm promotions chief later said of the troubled and much-delayed production.

In New York, you could go see Star Wars at two theaters in Manhattan - the Loews Orpheum on East 86th St. and the Astor Plaza in Times Square - and on Long Island at the Mann Twin South in Hicksville. All three movie palaces have since been demolished.

Tickets were $4. Some viewers remember the box office handing out lapel buttons saying “May the Force be with You.”

It was June-something, days before our high school graduation, when we made the ride over. (Around that time, Mann Cinemas  became owners of the iconic Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, and had taken Sid's name off the marquee by the time I visited it with another East Meadow friend in the winter of 1979-80. I think we saw Empire Strikes Back there.)

The saga and I have always been traveling companions.  Return of the Jedi came out just before I spent a summer in England, and I wound up seeing it in a forgotten seaside cinema in 1983.  We were told then, sorry, three was it, and had no hope of either the forgettable prequels from the 99-oughts or the far better Return of the Series last year.  But I (and Eleanor, and Emily) saw all of them, mostly on or just after their release dates.

Now? The Force is everywhere. VIII and IX are real and conceived and ready to roll.  Rogue One, which we began re-watching tonight in honour of the 40th, gave us our first side-story and the immediate prequel to what Dennis and I saw 40 Junes ago. And there's a Solo project and a Boba Fett project and, yes, even Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money (or some other title).

The Force is strong with us.  Good, because we need It more than ever.

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posted by [personal profile] captainsblog at 04:06pm on 23/05/2017
Kermit the Car, that is. Not to be confused with the eponymous frog.

Yesterday was a long one, totally apart from the hour-and-change devoted to getting Emily's car formally transferred to her. Clients at 10:30, 11:30, 1 and 6, plus one who didn't show and many who called.  The day dawned on the road from the diner, where I saw this oddity outside the Catholic church in Clarence Holler:

I speculated that all clients would be required to wash their hands of all guilt before using the reformers.

Despite the backlog of appointments, everything proceeded pretty much on schedule; I used some downtime waiting for the 1:00 court hearing to fill out all the paperwork to transfer the title, and got there a few minutes before our appointed appointment.  Only thing I forgot was to record the odometer reading, so Emily continued with the paperwork and I headed out to write it down, stopping to take one last (or so I thought) shot of the lucky plates on that car which are about to be destroyed:

This was the set originally on Janis, the Cavalier I got for her to drive during college, and which was on that car when it was totaled in 2013 and Em and Cameron blessedly escaped unhurt.  I gave them my then-car to drive and bought this hybrid with the insurance proceeds (and then some); they tried to trash the plates and put new ones on it, but to me they were lucky charms and they stayed on it for the next three years as my ride and for the five months since I got JARVIS for myself and let them "borrow" Kermit until Emily got a new job.

Now that she has one, it was time. The paperwork all went fine, she was given a number in a short queue to finalize the transaction, and I went out to remove the old plates....

one of which, of course (the rear one in that last photo), was completely fused to the hatch and no amount of unscrewing or prodding would get it off.  Fortunately, the auto bureau plaza has an Auto Zone, so I headed over and bought a can of WD-40. They loaned me a bigger tool for the removal job (this happens often over there, as you might expect).  But I'd forgotten to turn my ringer on after leaving court, and Emily came out pretty panicked because she knew none of this, had been unable to reach me- and wound up having to pay the $118 to buy the new plates and register the thing for its first two years.  I told her I'd get cash out to cover that, and met her back at my office. There, further tools and sprigs of the oily stuff still failed to do the job, but then she asked:

They don't have to be in perfect shape, do they?

Hell, no; DMV destroys them as soon as you turn them in.   This opened up greater possibilities, namely, one (1) tire iron.  The top screws remained, but the plate, she came a tumblin' down:

(Some of the bending was from the accident in 2013, but most of it was fresh destruction. Heh heh.)

All that remained was to attach two plates with two screws- those removed when the front plate popped right off.  The new front plate seated nicely held down by just one, but the back one was a little wibbly wobbly platey watey for her drive home until Cameron could drill out the stripped top screws and replace them:

It's tighter than it looks on the outside. And it's now all hers. I took the damaged plates in to be destroyed this morning, and delivered the receipt to our insurance office, so it's now really all hers.

Weird-but-good karma continued. My last client left the Rochester office leaving me just enough time to get to my workout studio's Pittsford location for their last class of the day.  I pulled in, pulled out my bag, went to check for my heart monitor, and found it half-missing- the strap half.  I could've done it without, but I was worried about where I might have left it and/or lost it, so I got home by 8. This was just in time to find it sitting on my desk, but also near the pile of the six Blackadder videos which had to be back in the hands of the Erie County Library by 9 or I'd be looking at $6 per day fine for turning them in late.  I never would have made it to the library in time if I'd done the class last night- and I made it up, with the strap, after returning the plates this afternoon. 

So that last plate picture is quite fitting: things are a little wobbly sometimes, but the important stuff holds together:)
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posted by [personal profile] captainsblog at 06:33pm on 20/05/2017
Sometimes you just need to get away from It.  For the first Saturday in ages, I didn't set foot in my office, check the weekend mail, or obsess over how behinder I'm getting.  Yes, I did send out one revision of a petition this morning, but that was as far as I went.  It was time to return to my repast- the National Pastime, minor league edition.

The Red Sox AAA affiliate is in town, and they started one of the star Boston pitchers last night on a rehab assignment. I asked my Soxfan friends from Rochester if they were interested, and the timing didn't work out; just as well, since Eleanor and I wound up going out to dinner for the first time in ages, and the game wound up with David Price pitching only two innings and the contest going into extra innings.  But Scott and his son were up to coming in for the afternoon tilt today- no star pitcher, but third baseman Pablo Sandoval was still rehabbing and was expected to be in the lineup.

I love local baseball. Where else can you print tickets at home, just over two hours before gametime, for three seats seven rows up from the visitors' dugout for just over fifty bucks for the lot?  They picked me up, we found a street space, and were in those amazing seats just in time for first pitch.

In the second, Scott and Son headed off for hot dogs and coke. I was off for fancier fare- poutine, a sop to the Blue Jay affiliation (I still hate them divorcing the Mets but it's the second best choice), and a craft beer from a Rochester brewer.  I just needed to make sure the woman in the next row kept her hair out of the gravy (she put it up seconds after this was taken):

Panda, as he's known, played about half the game, including fielding at third and getting a hit.  Here's how close we were to him for most of his time on the infield:

Not sure why he wasn't wearing his Boston 48, but hey, Seaver homages are always welcome.

It was sheer joy sharing a ballgame with a father and his inquisitive son. Among the few good memories I have of my own father are of him answering my endless questions about the game, the rules, the players and such; Eli's inquiries far extended beyond mine in space and time, perhaps because he produced authentic Starfleet identification as soon as we met up:

Midway through the game was the obligatory Chicken Wing race. I don't even pay attention to the winner anymore, being more peeved that Celery Never Wins. Today, alas, was no exception:

Just past the Stretch, we got our final visit from Conehead, a fixture at this ballpark (and others in Western New York), pitching his bargain five-dollar beers with the Conehead Guar-an-tee!  I wasn't driving, so of course:)

"Thirty years of service" to this stadium now in its 30th year- the first of the retro downtown parks now dotting America from Baltimore to Seattle and all building on its success.

Pawtucket broke a 3-3 tie in the top of the ninth, and despite their closer loading the bases, the final out was recorded and the Sox fans went home happy. As did the Mets fan who didn't go for the outcome but the company and the sunshine.  We may meet up again at a Binghamton Bronies game sometime soon, but that will likely be at night.  There's just something magical about baseball in the daytime, surrounded by the friends you know and everyone around you who you don't but with whom you share the baseball bond.

We arrived home safely:)
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Yeah, de feets hurt.  You get that after another week of running around to six court appearances in four places in two cities (plus udda thingza) and ending it all with a workout with a fairly famous guy.  But this week didn't end with the exhaustion and overwhelmedness of two weeks ago.  It helped immensely having any number of Life's Little Victories to push me on. That's the title of a running comic series by artist Keith Knight.  Here are a few of them.

My one out-of-town trip Tuesday confirmed the essential death of my tablet to unknown causes. The replacement glass alone for it would run $100, before getting into the labor to sever the broken glass from the digitizer and reconnect the whole business. So I resorted to, dare I say it?, books! during cardio; Graham Nash's memoir, recounted in a 70s flashback on World Cafe a few months ago, came home from Hamburg along with the Blackadder disks we've been bingeing, and it's been delightful. My tablet time has converted to watch-scenes-on-this-laptop-time in the wee smalls after Ebony or a cat wakes me up before feeding time. I will replace the tablet in time, but no rush.... but I did achieve Life's Little Victory #517 the day after the Rochester trip:

Lisa, my go-to guru of recent times, succeeded in repairing the color printer which had been Eleanor's, was left for dead until Lisa fixed it a previous time, and was then handed down to Emily, where it remained until it started farting black ink all over her drawings. Eleanor donated her newer printer back to the kid, and we took the older Epson in for further guru-ness. Nothing was promised, but two days ago, a fully functioning Epson was re-delivered to me. It just needed a new print head and some cleaning of cat hair.  The cost? Reasonable. The effect? Priceless.

She also got my backup laptop working again.  No great feats of programming or diagnostics were required. No, she simply baked its motherboard. As in, in-the-oven-baked. Apparently this revitalizes the soldering connections on the thing, and it's back to its smiling happy self- and making me happier and smilier for reasons we'll get to later.


Thursday began with more of a de-feet-ist moment in court, but by afternoon, I was smilier again. We got things in motion to transfer the hybrid car to Emily for realz; she texted me, wanting information about its insurance for work, and I replied that now that she's commuting with it (and maybe using it for work trips), it really needs to be in her name and on her policy.  I took the first steps yesterday afternoon, she followed up with the agents at lunchtime, and I picked up the forms for the transfer after my last court appearance of the week this afternoon. We have an appointment at a Rochester area DMV on Monday afternoon to finalize the transfer. 

It's a big step, but one she's clearly ready for now.


The two final court appearances of this week were four hours apart and both downtown- too much time to just piddle away down there in between, so I headed back to the office and got some stuff done. Including a determination to do less stuff:

Four of the pending BKs got filed between last Friday and two days ago- but the backlog is still pretty overwhelming. Some, I've invested too much personal knowledge and connection into, but one just stood out as a good candidate for some help on: client had filed a previous case, and sent me her "changes" on that petition from 2013 via a bombing of embedded picture files of each page.  My BP was going up just trying to save and print each page. That's when I decided, for the first time in 32 years, to hire somebody on my own dime to help with my own work.

Back I went to Lisa's. We got my backup laptop up and running, the necessary software updated, and the client's bare file entered into it. This one person is now off. My. PLATE! for the foreseeable future, and it feels wonderful. I still have three to fine-tune over the weekend, but that's down from five, and not nearly as much raw work needs to go into any of them. I've even set aside time to take friends to a Bisons game tomorrow- and I ended my workweek a little early and in the accompaniment of a chocolate egg cream from Jerk's downtown (no egg and no cream in it, so don't worry):

Also, they have an incredibly cute puppy over there, so that helps with the stress, as well.


Work done for both of us here, we ended it nicely.  Eleanor heard from an artist friend who's really excited about the drawing Eleanor's been doing lately, and has asked her to think about organizing a show of her work for the first time in decades or ever, depending on the definition of "show."  We went out for Thai food tonight and enjoyed talking about all these victories, little and not-so, that have come to us despite stress, and politics, and the occasional agonies of all four of our de-feets.
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posted by [personal profile] captainsblog at 09:11pm on 15/05/2017

Other than sleepydowntime, I've been in pretty nonstop motion between my last post and now.  This won't even hit all of the events of those 30-ish hours, but we'll try to hit the highs.

* Have a Shitty Day!

That's perhaps the most iconic quote from Donnie Hendrix in Orphan Black. Kristian Bruun, who brought that originally-planned-as-a-one-off character into the most important male in the series, has also done other work in the Toronto-area television community. Last year, he appeared briefly as a Parkland Hospital emergency room doctor in 11.22.63.  And yesterday, when I reached a certain point in a certain binge, there he was again in a white coat....

Spoilers of the ewwww-est kind )

I had to stop watching. This was serious brain bleach territory for me. An actor who I associate so much with positives in a scene so full of negative. I texted Emily to make sure she'd caught it too, broke from the living room watch, and decided to resume on an elliptical.


Apparently Donnie didn't make just me sick.

I got to Under New Management And Now We Have Wifi Fitness, changed, turned on my tablet and,.... screenfreeze.  Unfortunately, this is nothing new; my Android has never functioned within normal parameters. This time, though, the freeze was irreversible: I saw a major smash in the lower left of the screen glass, fanning out into cracks going northeast and east from it across the display, and the touch function of the unit was completely gone.  It booted, and gave the start screen, but nothing would unlock the lock, bring up the icons or allow a letter of typing.

How? I still don't know. I did not drop it, step on it, and while I did put it in my gym bag, I did so as I have dozens of times, with the cover shut and nothing of significant weight laid atop it in or on top of the bag.  I don't recall any bumps or jostles on the way there that would have hurled something onto it. I did leave it in a cubby for perhaps two minutes while retrieving some forgotten thing from my car, but unless someone had a real mean streak,....

This particular brand fuses the gorilla glass to the unit.  There are repair youtubes involving sharp knives and power drills. Out of my league.  The choices are (a) a co-worker's go-to place near here where she got her iPhone screen fixed reasonably last year, (b) a Rochester client who was advertising such repairs at the trade show we both went to last month, or (c) surrendering to my own clumsiness and replacing it with a permanent rental through our cell plan which will cost some bucks but at least will provide insurance.


* Not all Doctors are bad.

Once I got home from that with some disgusting Mothers Day chocolate and some odd lots from Wally World, we settled in for the previous night's Who/Class double feature. We're liking how both arcs are going. Capaldi's wit and acting chops got them through what was a fairly routine Saving Shit In Space plot (though the Star Trek riff was epic).  Class continues to develop the relationships between the characters, even finding a hint of gray in an otherwise black-hatted connection between April and her father.


* Buying back your own memories.

In addition to the Mothers Day remembrances I'd posted mostly about mine, I also sent my nieces a link to a picture of my mother, and theirs, from 60 years ago:

By morning, my niece Michele had responded with a remarkable memory of her own. She's a single mom now, with teenage daughters, and they spent much of their Mothers Day working at the thrift store at their church:

 I found a family treasure. I'd donated a book without realizing my Nana had written an inscription inside it in October 1980, most likely after picking it up at one of HER church's Rummage Sales.

The book was Hans Brinker. And this was what mom wrote to her first granddaughter:

I replied back that it was amazingly coincidental- not just that she found her lost memory, but the timing of it for us: 

I was just thinking of mom's time in the Netherlands; we finally saw Fault in Our Stars, which is set for a small but significant portion in Amsterdam, and I wondered how different life would have been if we'd wound up there.


* Phones still work- if people will use them.

That got us to this morning. I knew the 9:30-10:30 hour would be rough- two hearings of unknown duration, in two separate courts three blocks apart. I know, you saw this.  And at least it wasn't raining.

The 10:00 opponent left a message around 8 that he hadn't received something and wanted to adjourn his case again. This time I said no; it had been adjourned at least three times already and it was delaying certain events. So I drew up a quick proposal to resolve things and took it with me to court.  Meanwhile, I just missed the 9:30 opponent leaving his office, and thus had to check in there at 9:30 (he wasn't there yet), scoot up the street to the 10:00- and by 10:30, both of their motions had been withdrawn. So I won. Ish. But not without a lot of running about


* Running about, you say?

Those three blocks were just a warmup. It was time to head into the mysterious world of local geography known as the Southtowns.

The Buffalo metro is mainly on a north-south axis- unsurprising with a lake/river and a foreign country to the west.  I've lived and worked exclusively in the city and northern suburbs, but occasionally I need to travel to Beyond Where Thar Be Dragons.

The wake began at 1. Court and some followup law library time ended a bit past 11.  I had a plan and a Siri.  First, Hamburg.  Their public library has the only system copies of the entire series of Blackadder, which we've watched online snippets of but definitely must binge.  Plus, that meant a drive along the lakeshore, past the harbor, grain elevators, old steel mills and now the Steel Winds turbines.  Quite a nice repast.

Their library, once you find its car park, is bright and active.  It was 12-something when I got my disks and a book to take to cardio (which I hopefully will not smash), so I went out onto the village's main drag.  It was so much quieter and quainter than the comparable road through our nearest village Oop North; Main Street through Williamsville is a road-ragey deathtrap.  But Buffalo Street in Hamburg, perhaps calmed by multiple roundabouts and a lower speed limit, was walkable. And it almost had a 50s quality to it; yoga and aromatherapy places, to be sure, but an oldschool movie palace (Guardians 2, one show a night on one screen), a bowling alley in the middle of the block, and a corner service station that I swear still had a "Flying A" sign on it.  I found a bakery, enjoyed a panini, a Snapple and the view, before getting back on the road to my main reason for coming this way....


* You can call me Ray,....

Next week's Absent Bankruptcy Client was laid out in the shadow of the Bills' stadium, but the sport of the day in the room was auto racing. He'd been a longtime driver at a nearby speedway, and most of the rels were there in race-team t-shirts.

Including the widow. I hadn't told her I was coming, but she saw me, said, Ray?!?, and hugged me. She seemed really surprised I'd come this far.  (Hmmm. She knew I go to Rochester at least once a week.) Then she started introducing me to people, and the light dawned: she'd mistaken me for her brother-in-law Ray, from Florida, who she really hadn't expected to show up.  She was still appreciative of the effort, and I again told her not to worry about anything involving next week's hearing.

Then there was this. Before walking in, I saw this in the funeral home's car park:

It turned out to be the deceased's daughter's car, up from NC for the funeral, and the reference was to Not Him but Na Tasha, of Avengers fame.  Still, odd- at least in terms of what-are-the-odds?


* But wait- we're not through!

I had one more Southtowns stop to make, which went quickly and satisfactorily, and was back at my desk a bit past 2. Yet the running about was not over.  I tracked down someone who absolutely positively had to sign something by Wednesday; I'm out of town tomorrow, and he was available today, so back in the car, and back toward downtown, only with a slide across Best/Summer Streets (passing my second Home of The Bills of the day) to get the document signed. Then back along the Niagara River and more sightings of Canada, stops for a workout and groceries, and finally home just before Eleanor rolled in on her bike.

Not watching anything tonight.  More fun lies ahead tomorrow, but at least I know where I'm going.

captainsblog: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] captainsblog at 10:05am on 14/05/2017

Just an ordinary weekend around here.

Yesterday, I was copied on a photo posted on the Facething by a downstate Republican congressman, who represents an area near where I grew up. Congressman King was so sad because people were picketing his home in protest of his vote to repeal Obamacare and replace it with what I affectionately call Ryanide.

In my comment about it, I asked about whether he'd held any town hall meetings to give them another outlet to petition the government for redress of grievances (citing US CONST, Amd. 1, while we still have it). I also linked to this piece, which explains that, no, New Yorkers are NOT immune from the bill's hideousness. Multistate employers would be able to pick and choose which of their states' insurance rules will govern all their policies nationwide. Because that's worked so well with credit card companies hiding out in South Dakota, yo.

I started getting notifications of replies from Peter himself- but alas, no reply to me. (I'm not sure whether he's even kept it up.) He's just thanking all his sycophants for agreeing with him. One of them even recommended he use "Second Amendment remedies" against the protesters. Wow. (Prayer: Do NOT let the Cheeto watch Handmaid's Tale. "You mean they just shoot live ammunition and throw bombs into the crowds of protesters? Great! Let's do that!")

In fairness, though, Peter King is not a complete moron. A hypocritical, insensitive Republican tool, to be sure, but I love his work on MMQB.


By day's end, the Mompictures began taking over the Facefeed. One was from a longago friend from church who has lived in Switzerland for years. Her mom, who was dear friends with mine, is named Eleanor- the first I would ever know by that name and still second on the list of importance. She posted a recent picture of the two of them, and she looks remarkably the same, although health issues have been a struggle more recently.

I linked to this old chestnut of pictures of my mom, which I found around what would have been her 100th birthday last October. It's remarkable to hear how many people still remember and love her after all these years and miles away.


Yesterday proved to be better than expected weatherwise, and I managed to get in a mow of the entire back yard. Today dawned even sunnier, which meant my usual Sunday morning alarm to take Ebony to the bark park. The Ellicott Creek Island was once just part of the larger county park of that name, with picnic facilities and assorted outbuildings, most of which have been left to blend in or fall down as nature will have it. Today, Ann noticed a leftover swing set (is a swing set a set if it only has one swing?), and figured the swinging motion might be good for her aching back.

From the smile, I'd say it was. Note the curious dog sticking her yap in the .gif in the final few seconds.


Client's wake is tomorrow at 1. Two court appearances before that. Life goes on, except when it doesn't.

captainsblog: (Default)
No court, no clients, no nothin today other than just WORKWORKWORK....

Thus, no alarm. At least not mine. Eleanor apparently slept through hers, a rare thing, and I vaguely remember dreaming about noises in the neighborhood that were probably said alarm, but she made it to work on time (on her bike, even:), and my first awakening post-feeding-time was hearing my phone go off around 8:30.

It was not happy news, once I was finally awake.

H and W came to see me in the last week of last year, Both had debt, but most of it was H's, and thus it was decided that only H would (and did) file a Chapter 7 last month. His hearing is a week from Monday, but he will not be attending. For the call came from W, telling me that H had passed away the day before. His health had been an issue; we'd even done a power of attorney so W could testify on H's behalf if he was too infirm that day. POA's do not survive the principal's death, but something similar will happen to enable those bills to go away.

Her main concern, on the phone this morning, was scuttlebutt from her coworkers (yes, she went to work the day her husband died) about her now needing to file bankruptcy herself to protect against H's creditors. I called back as soon as I was sentient, told her how sorry I was and not to worry, and that the System has this covered.  His case had been assigned to a decent gentleman to resolve, who I'm sure has dealt with this issue before. There are rules, and procedures, which should enable the discharge of his debts despite him not being with us a week from Monday.

The bigger issue, for me, is making sure I am at his calling hours or funeral, which have yet to be published. 

The rest of the WORKWORKWORK went okay for me, as it did for Eleanor. But we're both still here, which makes it all that much better.
captainsblog: (Lawyers)
posted by [personal profile] captainsblog at 09:26pm on 11/05/2017
Blah blah lots of court blah blah more bankruptcies to keep track of than I can count without a spreadsheet blah blah....

We interrupt this Usual Ray Post for some unusual developments in the world of his law practice.

Today didn't require an alarm, since court wasn't until 1. Yet there I was, up right before 8, and checking the headlines in the local paper:

That phone number's long superseded. When a competing personal injury lawyer started cutting into their negligence empire using a catchy rhyming slogan and a 444-4444 phone number, the boys retaliated a few years back with Don't Wait, Dial 8! as their slogan, and with spending tons to acquire the 888-8888 number in virtually every area code (including 800) and the SMS number "8" for texts.  This firm, other leaked court filings confirm, spends close to 44 percent of their revenue on billboards, tv/radio ads and other marketing (I spend closer to five percent, if that), and the firm expects that any lawyer leaving the firm will reimburse them for a comparable percentage of any recovery they make on their own thereafter. (Incidentally, the judge who ruled in that earlier case has resigned the bench and been disbarred for taking bribes in a political scandal.  I never got along with him, which I am now proud of.)

Well, now, Cellino has sued Barnes, seeking a judicial dissolution of their professional corporation.  Cellino also got the (new) Commercial Division judge to seal the entire record of the proceeding, including even the routine order setting the date (May 19th) and manner of service. But not before I downloaded a copy of it:

(Oops. Even that procedural order has since been sealed, including its rather unusual waivers of publication of notice of the pendency of the dissolution proceeding and even of service on the NYS Tax Department.  State courts are generally, and statutorily, loath to keep the public out of the records of proceedings, but it's not unusual for well-connected parties, either financially or politically, to exercise their muscle and get their case records sealed.  Parties to a controversial case in Rochester, which I had very peripheral connections to, got a record sealed, but reporters and the local paper's lawyers got it unsealed so a very salacious story could be fully known by the public.)

Although the Buffalo daily and the local tv stations have reported on the "business divorce," none has yet come forward to challenge the sealing of the record. It may be relevant that the firm is a heavy advertiser with all of them; some have even wondered whether the local media will suffer budget cuts if their Cellino & Cashcow goes away.

Or, the advertising could double. There's plenty of speculation about THAT, and about who will wind up with the iconic slogan and phone number in the divorce.  I did some checking today, at least locally. 222-2222 had been a personal injury competitor firm, but it broke up and the number, to this day, wound up with a DWI firm. The 444 guy also snagged the 777-7777 number, which once had ties to a legendary (and disbarred) Rochester ambulance chaser. And despite the demonic connotations, it turns out that Cellino & Barnes also locked up 666-6666. Assuming that 555 is out for its 411 ties, and 999 is too close to 911,  that leaves 333-3333 as the only asset that might be allocated in the divorce.

I think I'll trademark Dial 3, You'll See! Or something.


Meanwhile, the ordinary life of this non-personal-injury lawyer (slogan: Call 634-XXXX! Because OUR clients are smart enough to remember a seven-digit phone number!) went on all morning. Blah blah, forward K's initial questions and information from our meeting yesterday, blah blah, update M and A's almost-final drafts, blah blah meet with N and revise stuff for his trustee after meeting with him, SHIT! it's time to leave for my one and only 1 p.m. hearing, ....

which I get to right on time, client there, hearing officer rolling in. We begin the drill. Unlike many, we have this hour all to ourselves. Other than the ordinarily stressful morning, getting here and being here were neither. So imagine my surprise when, 20 minutes in while my client was basically monologuing, I wiped a sudden bit of snot from my nose and discovered it was not snot, but blood.

I caught it quickly and early, excused myself to the gents, and both stopped the bleeding and cleaned up the rather ugly redfacing. Last time this happened was just under six months ago, at our vet, when my schnozz went bloody while taking both of our cats to the vet.  Neither was expected, or consistent with overall levels of activity or stress: I HAD this!, just as I'd taken pairs of cats in for routine checkups many times.  I'd eaten before the meeting; I hadn't worked out or raced three blocks to get there (as I'd done just yesterday with no nosebleed); and when I did do cardio at the end of the day, the nose and the blood each were as they usually are.

If it happens again, or coincides with a change in meds or activity, I will get it checked out, but otherwise I am not going to overly stress about it.  If I really get nervous, after all, I can always Dial 8!


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