taylweaver: (Default)
Happy belated Purim to all who celebrated yesteday (or today)!

My Purim was exhausting, but so worth the lack of sleep.

It began with a cab ride to KOE with [livejournal.com profile] mbarr - because we both cut it so close that it's a good thing we didn't walk. Granted, I was reading the second chapter, not the first... Did I mention I read megillah. By the way, it's fun to sit there chanting Hebrew on the subway - just because it's fun to look strange on the subway - at least, strange in a nonthreatening and nonsmelly sort of way...

After that, I should have gone to bed, but it was Purim, and who goes to bed early when there are drunken spectacles to enjoy at [livejournal.com profile] margavriel's apartment. A small but festive gathering that included all sorts of interesting hats - hard hats and black hats and caps and paper crowns. I did not wear any hat, but [livejournal.com profile] mysticengineer, [livejournal.com profile] nuqotq and [livejournal.com profile] margavriel were posing in them and passing them around. Let's just say there was much merriment - and yes, I have pictures, and yes, they will eventually make it online...

Somehow got to bed after midnight.

And woke up about four and a half hours later - well, that's when my alarm went off, but I may have woken up even earlier - to make it to megillah reading at the shul around the corner. I even dressed in my usual Purim day "costume" - only this time, a slightly more professional version of frum, the kind of outfit that one can buy at Old Navy and The Gap (well, Gap Outlet, anyway...) - so that I would fit in at shul. I think the only person wearing pants was AF - and I'm not sure she was, but if she was, it was only because she was in an actual costume - her gi from taekwondo. (She teaches six-year-olds, and wanted to hear every word of Megillah before hearing bits and snatches in school.)

Megillah reading was introduced in a way that went something like this: "Ladies and gentlemen, before we start megilla reading, please check that your cell phones are turned off. For those of you who haven't been here before, I want to let you know that this megilla reading will be fast. I hope you are able to hear every word. I will stop once briefly for Haman's name, the first time it is read. After that, I won't be stopping, and if you make noise, you risk causing yourself or others to miss words of the megillah." That is VERY paraphrased, but all of the ideas are in there...

And yes, it was fast.

And I even got to work on time.

And my coworkers got all excited about the hamantashen - so much so that I brought them some more today.

And the best part was, I left early and missed my least favorite class.

And then I got all sorts of exercise shlepping around the UWS delivering mishloach manot. By the way, [livejournal.com profile] shirei_shibolim - I have one for you and [livejournal.com profile] terriqat. I tried to deliver it but somehow had the wrong address. Perhaps we can connect later so I can give it to you. But all the others got delivered, even if I was an hour (hour fifteen?) late to seudah. Of course, it helped that [livejournal.com profile] mysticengineer was running equally late, and so I had company.

Plus, I got to deliver one to my family - which then got passed along to a family friend who was in the car - my dad came to get my sister for seudah at home, and I got there with her mishloach manot at just the right moment - plus the one for the family.

And the seudah at JH's shul was lots of fun. Low-key, lots of meat, and some very good wines. Especially the Merlot.

Then there was Marx Brothers, but I was too tired to really enjoy it. Good thing we left to go to [livejournal.com profile] mbarr's apartment, where I was able to enjoy a different DVD while curled up half-asleep in a pile of pillows on their very comfy couch.

Wine or exhaustion? You tell me. (Or, then again, maybe I shouldn't encourage opinions on this one...)

Anyway, it was a very comfy end to a very happy day.

And it was so hard to get up so that I could drag myself to bed...

Once again, happy belated Purim! I hope all of you had just as great a holiday.
taylweaver: (Default)
So I am posting a new entry at last and it's about - of course - the subways.

But this time, it is no random story or observation. As all of you probably know by now, there is a transit strike in NYC today. And in case you can't tell by the time on this entry, I am very much not at work.

Granted, I needed a day off (even if it involved taking one - school is open), but if it is any longer than one day, I'm going to have a problem.

I will once again ask: does anyone know of a good way for me to get from Manhattan to the middle of Brooklyn? No? I didn't think so.

And now, of course, for the random story. (Yep. I lied. This is pretty much another subway entry like all the others...)

Yesterday, I think I must have been hoarding subway rides in anticipation of today's strike. Well, that wasn't entirely my thinking - but I think that, had it not been for the strike threat, I would have been on the subway a bit less... but now I should explain:

Yesterday, I rode on a total of ten different subway trains over five different trips. The fun part is, only one of those transfers involved walking any further than across a platform.

And now I shall elaborate:

My day began with my usual commute to work (1st and 2nd train). Then, mid-day, my usual travel to the second school I work at (3rd). After that, my day got less usual - I had a staff meeting back at the first school (4th train). Then, because I was in the neighborhood, I went to Amazing Savings to buy things like chocolate - and a few gifts, like a photo frame for my parents. This did not involve the subway, because that's the neighborhood of my first school - which is why I went - I usually don't end my day there. It is important to note that i went there because I left with a few heavy bags, and therefore wanted to minimize my walking.

But I also wanted to go clothing shopping in Manhattan, which is why I stopped at a kosher Dunkin Donuts - conveniently located right next to the subway - and bought an egg and cheese croissant sandwich for dinner. It sounds like such a non-Jewish sandwich... But it was $2, and I was able to eat it on the train. Which is good, because I got home late.

So. Onto the local train (5th) - but it wasn't going where I needed to go. Well, actually, it was, but I would have needed to walk an avenue block once I got there. So I transferred to the express (6th train) as soon as I could. But the express, though it would run up the correct avenue in Manhattan, was also express in Manhattan. So I switched to the local - a different local - (7th) to get to my final destination. Both transfers involved walking across a platform. Which was nice.

Went to Burlington. Shlepped around my heavy school bags and Amazing Savings bags. Found a coat. Agonized over the coat - can't return for cash there - waited on an insane line to buy the coat. Left the store with the coat - plus all my heavy bags. Could have walked one avenue block and taken one train home - would have dropped me two avenue blocks from my apartment.

But remember, I was carrying heavy bags. So I got back on the same train (8th one), and then switched twice (9 and 10!), because the wrong express train came first and I was impatient. Those were also same-platform switches, though one was a very long wait. And once I got to my street, it was only five minutes to my apartment where I could finally put everything down.

I know that all sounded rather confusing. Especially because I didn't put in all the subway lines - I decided it was too much info for an unlocked entry. (If you want to know, feel free to ask.) Let's just say I spent a lot of time traveling: hour in the morning, half an hour each way in the middle of the day (some of that is walking time, though), and probably 45 minutes to the store and 45 minutes home.

That having been said, I did buy a winter coat, and had I waited even one more day, the coat would not have been there for me. I would have bought another one there, I think, but the other one was not as nice. I got the last coat in my size of the style I liked - and they had petite sizes! - and the woman looking next to me was looking for the same size and might have discovered it first had I not been there.

So yeah, I have a fancy wool winter coat now.

And I spent a lot of time on the subway.

Today, I plan to spent a lot of time on foot instead.
taylweaver: (Default)
So this morning, I was headed to a new teacher orientation (my last one), and so I got on the local train. The doors closed, then opened, then stayed that way. The train conductor announced that there was a problem with the doors and that we would be moving shortly. Then I heard an announcement from the station: "Due to an incident at 96th street, South Ferry bound 1 trains will be running express from 96th st. to 72nd st." Moving shortly? I got on the next local to show up - on the express track.

As we pulled away, I saw that the front half of our train had closed doors. I am glad I was in the back half.

Of course, my subway ride at the end of the day was not quite as smooth.

Because of the orientation, eneded up at a different professional development (it's that day of the week...) and while my subway ride home was no longer than usual - shorter, by a bit - getting to the subway somehow took an hour and a half. (between getting out of the school building, hunting for the car of the person who offered us a ride, getting caught in traffic...)

Yeah. long day.

It's snowing, though.
taylweaver: (Default)
Well, really more like reasons to be frustrated on the rare day when the subway is majorly messed up.

Okay, only two lines. But the ones I needed to get to school.

I left my apartment at 7 AM. I got to work at 9:25. That was an hour and fifteen minutes late. My commute literally took twice as long as usual. Or rather, the last ten minutes of my commute took over an hour.

I guess that's the subway equivalent of getting stuck behind a major accident on the highway.

Actually, it was a track fire. That was what the conductor told us on the train. That there was a track fire at Newkirk Ave. At the time, we were at Prospect Park. And then we sat for a while. And the guy in the subway station kept announcing in a rather loud and frustrated tone that no trains were running to Manhattan (where most people were trying to get - I have a reverse commute) - and that people needed to go to the other end of the station to get a free bus transfer. And there was also a softer, more recorded-sounding announcement that no trains were running in either direction due to "debris on the track."

Note how they did not say "flaming debris on the track" - a far more accurate description. Thankfully, our conductor told us this, so it was not too much of a surprise when, after 10-15 minutes of sitting on the train and hoping it was a minor fire, the conductor announced that the train we were on was being taken out of service and that we should all get off.

That was when my bus map came in handy.

That was also when I got cell phone reception.

Prospect Park is the station where the B/Q comes comes above ground, and most of the station is aboveground - with reception, but, of course, the car I was in was at the very back of the train, so I needed to get out before I could call my school, just as the school day was starting, to let them know that I had no idea when I'd be arriving. Thankfully, the school where I work has many, many students who ride the subway, and also other teachers who do, so I was far from the only one who was arriving late. They were well aware of the problem.

Anyway, out came the bus map, and while it did come in handy, it also offered some disappointing news - because there is a subway line from Prospect Park to where I needed to go, there is absolutely no way to get there without switching busses.

And then, even with the bus map, I didn't know the area and probably walked at least ten minutes out of my way before I found the bus stop and boarded a very crowded, very slow bus. While on the bus, I got a seat, then gave it up to a little girl who was asking for one. Unfortunately, that put her next to the strange guy sitting in the adjacent seat, and she kept looking at him, so I ended up drawing her attention away from him by asking her about her Pringles.

But I digress.

I then proceeded to switch busses, but because I did not know the area, walked out of my way again - only a minute or two this time - but that was enough to just miss the bus. Thankfully, it was a beautiful day, and that bus comes often.

Still, the last ten minutes of my commute took over an hour.

And, of course, by the time I got to school, the trains were running again. I would have arrived earlier if I'd waited for the train to start running again. But I couldn't do that, because what if I had waited an hour only to discover the trains still were not running?

Of course, even when I left school this afternoon, the trains were not back to normal - the B train had joined the Q on the local track for a stretch. Because I end my day at Newkirk Ave., where the problem was, I got to see why. When reached the subway around 3, there were a bunch of men on the express tracks, still working on repairing all the damage, including the damage to the third rail - or at least to stuff around it. I think the fire even damaged the station a bit - there was a support column that looks like it used to have more paint, and an overhang that was a bit more crumpled than it should be.

I wonder if it made things better or worse that Newkirk Ave. is an outdoor station.

Anyway, so that is my subway story for the day.

And yes, had I left my apartment ten minutes earlier, I might have made it to school on time - but that is just coincidence. I am fairly certain the Q train before mine got through before everything shut down.

(for that matter, had I been running late and missed my train, I would have been stopped somewhere higher up on the Q route, possibly with better bus prospects. Oh well.)

And yes, it is true that I should try to leave earlier to allow time for delays - but this is not the sort of delay I can leave time for.

Anyway, so it was a weird start to the day.
taylweaver: (Default)
Today, I had occasion to ride the shuttle from Grand Central to Times Square. I am inclined, however, to call it the Eddie Bauer train, since that was the ad that covered nearly every surface of the car's interior.

And by every surface, I don't just mean the usual advertising space. I am used to seeing one company take over all the ad space along one side of the car. I could even see it happening on both sides. But this was on the walls too. And the doors. And the ceiling. Even the seats were covered with what looked like a picture of snow-covered mountains.

I didn't check the floor. I wonder if that was covered too.

It actually had a rather interesting effect, seeing as the ad was mostly a mix of snow-covered mountains and brilliant blue skies with white clouds. Rather soothing.

But definitely something I have never seen before.

And I think it was the entire train. Plus the columns outside the train in Times Square, that have recently been used for advertising in general.

It seemed a bit like overkill, though. I wonder how much it cost.

Oh, and by the way, I confirmed today that it is, indeed, possible to recycle old sneakers at Nike stores. Granted, I don't know what happened to my sneakers after I dropped them off, but they did accept them - all three pairs - and they did say they would be recycled.

Recycle your sneakers. Then you won't have to throw them away. They get used for things like playground turf.

This public service announcement brought to you by... oh, never mind.

at last

Sep. 20th, 2005 07:38 pm
taylweaver: (Default)
It's been over a week since the last entry. Shows how busy life has been. Also stressful. But mostly busy.

So here, now, is an update that is likely to be far too long, as it includes all sorts of randomness and so forth.

First of all, I have been spending literally hours a day on public transportation. At least three hours a day, if not four, depending on my schedule. Thankfully, this is likely to improve as of today, but more on that later. My commute is at least an hour each way, depending where I'm at when the day ends. Plus, there is the travel between schools. At least those "commutes" count as work I get paid for... Yes, that's right. I get paid to sit on the Q train and do the crossword puzzle.

That having been said, I have been on so many bus lines and train lines and at so many different subway stations. It has really been interesting. Over the past week or so, I have ridden the following trains and busses: 2/3 (probably both), N, Q, R (so I could get to 23rd st - more on that later), D, B (I think - that may have been last week), B64, B72. I have seen many different subway stations, having gotten heavy use out of the Q station at Avenue M (Yay Jew-land!), the N station at King's Highway and the Coney Island Stillwell Avenue station, which, by the way, is beautiful. It's full of light without any direct sun, and when the Q train pulls in, if I am in the last car, I can see the front of the train curl around far ahead of me such that I wonder: is the train really that long? I am also getting a feel for the different characters of different subway lines or different stretches of different subway lines. It's amazing how different the subway feels when it's above ground and I see houses and trees and such. Plus, no matter what line I take, I get to enjoy the Manhattan Bridge twice a day.

I have also noticed some interesting characters on the subway. It's amazing what people do on the subway. Like the woman who was testing her blood sugar (cringe) and the man who was clipping his nails (different sort of cringe) and the man who was muttering curses, then stopped muttering, then started cursing again and banging on the door. And the woman who was so tense, she kept shifting in her seat. Also, the woman who was so scared of losing her balance that she remained standing, clutching a pole, until the next time the train came to a stop - or she tried to wait, anyway, then finally gave in - before taking one of many empty seats.

In other news, I killed a yellow jacket this morning. It was on my front door. That is, the front door to my apartment. On the inside. I don't usually kill bugs, but yellow jackets sting. So it is dead now. Ew. I hope this doesn't turn into a trend. Downside to a window on the courtyard side, perhaps?

And I got to see [livejournal.com profile] mysticengineer last night. Regrettably, only for about ten minutes. During that time, Fresh Samantha (sorry, too tired to link) kept referrring to her as "engineer" while demanding help with her new cell phone. This seemed like a misuse of [livejournal.com profile] mysticengineer's title, so I decided to take true advantage of her engineering expertise (really, her HVAC expertise) to ask her why my air conditioner was getting cold, and also collecting condensation - it got my blanket wet - but not cooling the room. I was not surprised when she immediately said it was the fan. I think that in my head, I was thinking, "the problem is the part that makes the cold air come out into the room." Plus, I have learned a lot about air conditioners just by listening to the aforementioned engineer discuss her work. Of course, when the doorman wrote the work order for me, he did not write what I said - only that it wasn't cooling the room, so I am now waiting for the maintenence men to say it is cold enough and nothing is wrong. We shall see.

And con ed lost three checks we sent - two from subletters - so it has been interesting to sort out that mess. And I had to change the name on the cable in order to change the address, but after going to 23rd street two days in a row, waiting for... an average of 20 minutes each time? - and dealing today with a woman I saw yesterday and had hoped that I would not end up dealing with because she seemed to not really know her stuff - the cable is hopefully set.

And I still do not have the check for my last two weeks of summer school. Every time I call, they tell me, "in a few days," pretty much. It keeps getting pushed back - and I am getting frustrated. NEVER tell somene to mail you a check...

And math class is going okay... two kids give me attitude. And I don't really have an interpreter yet... but I am surviving without one so far... It will be interesting to get one later on.

And my case load for the rest of the day just changed - so less in-between commuting. We will see if the commute is short enough to stop at some of the kosher restaurants for lunch. (the ones on Avenue M, that is). So now I start all over again with meeting kids and so forth - which will just serve to give me more time to figure out what I am supposed to be doing with them...

And I guess that means I will be riding fewer trains - no more Stillwell Avenue. Oh well.

And no, still not fully moved in. Give me time...

And this concludes my update.
taylweaver: (Default)
The other day, I saw a rather intersting man on the subway. He was nodding off in the seat by the door, and I was standing over him, so I had plenty of time to study the top of his head - curly hair, black, cut short - and the rest of him - glasses, black button-down shirt, black pants, black gloves with silver studs on them - the kind that leave the fingertips free - encasing hands that clutched a blue i-pod mini - the only color I saw on him, aside from the white ear buds and the black and silver, a dog-tag around his neck, a black band with silver spikes around his left wrist, and, on his right wrist, a black rubber bracelet, "live strong" style. It said "love" on it. I found that funny.

Also, in a subway station, I learned how MTA workers rescue fallen objects from the tracks. After having just missed a train, I watched a man lead two MTA workers in orange vests to a spot on the tracks. He pointed. They checked for approaching trains, then looked down, and reached down with one of those grabber things - a long pole with a claw on the end - and retrieved the apparently undamaged phone. It makes perfect sense to retrieve dropped objects in this fashion, but it's not an idea I would have thought of on my own.

Lastly, I forgot to add in to the entry two entries ago - after having had the conversation with the students, I headed home, by subway of course, and the second leg of the journey, from Times Square, was forced to endure one of the most claustrophobic rides I can remember - and not because of the conversation. I think that even our resident claustrophile ([livejournal.com profile] mysticengineer) would agree that this was not a pleasant ride. I thought I would be the last one into the train, because I barely fit. In fact, I was concerned my bag would get caught in the doors. Then the crowd pushed forward, and I was pushed further in. Not one, but two more layers of people squashed in behind me, pushing me up against the arm of the person in front of me, such that my head was turned to the right, almost too far. My body was also bent at a weird angle. I was rather relieved when a few people got out at 72nd st. Had I been in that position much longer, I think I would have strained more than one muscle.

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