Monday, May 31, 2010

Back in New York again

It seems like life runs in cycles. Been there done that, do it again. I use to spend a lot of time in New York many years ago, then for a long period of time I was never in New York.  Mind you I’m not complaining about missing New York or that I haven’t been there much lately.  I really don’t much care for New York. It’s big dirty, crowded, and very expensive!  But it seems that fate doesn't care whether or not I like New York. Stuff keeps happening there that I have to attend. So  I find myself back in the “Big Apple” for the second time in a couple of months. (see here for the last time) This time to attend a leading edge technical conference on the newest startup companies.


I flew out Sunday night because the conference started 8:00 Monday morning. Usually the conference recommends a hotel and this was no exception. Parts of the conference was held at the “Standard Hotel” a trendy remolded boutique hotel in the meatpacking district. (YAH I KNOW!  the meatpacking district???, but I’m not defining cool here the New Yorkers are)


“The Standard” 

It must be hip and cool because they spell their name upside-down on all their literature.


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Monday morning I walked down to the meeting place through parts of SOHO and “The West Village” A glimpse in the window of a real-estate agent told me that I could have one of these fine 800 Sq foot apartment around here for a mere $1,200,000 and a monthly association fee of $1,500. (What a bargain!) Tell me again why people live here?


Most of the conference was held in a now abandon Merrill Lynch office building just north of the financial district. (The door below with the vertical green banners)

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Inside there was three days of the latest new companies showing their stuff on stage competing for 1st prize and showing off for dozens of Venture Capital Organizations.

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Did I mention New York was expensive. The hotel room was $450 a night. What do you get for $450 dollars? Well a small room, approximately 8’ by 20’  160 sq feet with one window. A small desk and a big flat screen TV on the wall.

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The bathroom had a window with a view of the bed.

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Trendy black tile and European fixture, but no room to move.

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If you stood at the lone window and looked north toward Times Square in the distance you could see this view of satellite dishes and water towers on the rooftops.


Looking down at the street.


On the other side of the building by the elevators you could look out and see the greenway they called the “Highway” which was an old abandon raised railroad trestle that they have converted into a park. I guess in New York you have to take things were you can get them!

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The view of the “Highway” and my hotel from the walkway on the “Highway”

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I’m sure that there are many good  reasons to live in New York, but I can't for the life of me think of one! It is interesting though to see how some  people live.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Coach gets out for Summer

If you don’t  remember last fall the sad sad sight of the beautiful coach getting put in the shed as the winter approached you can review here.  As it always happens the winter ends (eventually) the summer begins and the coach gets to come back out of the shed.
We took off work early morning on a Friday to pick up the coach and when we arrived a little after 8:00 at Hilmerson RV we could see the coach waiting patiently for us deep in the shed. (I had called ahead.)
The people from Hilmerson were going to drive it out of the shed, but when they tried to start it the batteries were low so they had to put the charger on it for 10 minutes or so.  You know how men and machines are so it took 3 or 4 people standing around to get the battery charged.
With all that manly brain power working on the battery problem it was only a few minutes and the coach fired right up. The Hilmerson guy then drove it over to the propane filling station where we topped of the propane tanks for the summerDSC03573
Then it was time to hook up the Jeep to the Blue OX tow bar for the trip north to Brainerd where we had an appointment to have new tires put on the coach 
Before getting on Hwy 371 North we stopped to fill the diesel tank on the coach. It was a bit of a tight squeeze and Margaret was on the edge of her seat as we slipped between the pumps , but there was a foot or so to spare and soon the wallet was much lighter and the fuel tank was filled.


imageLets see $3.09 a gallon for diesel and100 gallon tank………. 
The ride to Brainerd was a little less than an hour, and the coach cruised along at 60 MPH easily in the stream of  opening fishing weekend traffic towards the lakes of Northern Minnesota. The tire place was just off  Business 371 and after unhooking the jeep in the street next door we pulled the coach into the parking lot in front of one of the bays to get the tires changed.
After a bit of difficulty getting the fancy stainless hub caps off the tires were soon on the floor in the shop getting new Michelin 275/70R/22.5 XR2 “energy efficient tires” on.
Now you would think that in this day and age there would be big fancy shiny machines with gages and pressure settings and shinny fittings  to change these big ass tires, but no meet the machine Fred.
image I took about 2 hours to change the tires then it was time to settle up for the tires and the price of the diesel looks like a bargain now.  Lets see $485  a tire plus installation. How many tires are on a diesel pusher again? Well at least you only have to put tires on the coach once ever 6 or seven years or so.
Finally it was time to get the jeep hooked up again for the final journey to the lake.  (I sure am getting good at this hooking up the jeep thing)
The weather was beautiful and the sun was shinning brightly when we pulled into the Lake Lot with the coach. Everything looked great after the winter. No animals had chewed the shrubs, no trees had died over the winter. Things were looking good.  Jockying the coach into its parking spot only took a couple of minutes, then we hooked up the electricity and water. Whoops! Water is squirting out of the pump house everywhere! Houston we have  a problem! The winter wasn’t quite so kind as we had hoped. Apparently there was a little water leftover in the pipes and of course when they froze the copper burst.

imageSo the wallet gets hits for another $60 worth of plumbing parts during a trip to Walker Ace hardware. 3 hours of work later around 7:00PM that night we sat down for happy hour.
The Coach is out for the summer!
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