Road Trip.

So today I went on an impromptu road trip. Earl is out of town with Jamie and Scott is out of town doing his thing and it was such a beautiful day I decided that I needed to go drive some back roads. I headed towards the western Catskills. The reason for this direction was simple; I had heard that the last traffic light on NY Route 17, the Quickway and the Southern Tier Expressway which goes from near New York City to the Pa. border near Erie, Pa., had been removed. I wanted to see what they had done to remove the last light, which was at exit 98 (Parksville/Cooley). I confirmed that the light has been removed by way of relocating the roadway to the southern side of the lighted intersection, resulting in a nifty bypass that goes up over the mountain. Exit 98 is now just marked Parksville.

Getting to this intersection was an adventure. As I’ve mentioned before, I enjoy riding over the back roads, especially roads that have been replaced by expressways. New York State has recently marked several “Scenic Byways”, one of them being Scenic Byway Route 20. Route 20 crosses the state at it’s midsection (part of US Route 20 that goes from Boston to the west coast) and I was delighted to see that they had posted “Scenic Byway ALT Route 20”, which follows the original Route 20 before they made parts of it four-lane in the 50s.

I didn’t even know that existed!

Back when I was a kid my dad would take us for Sunday drives and try to get me lost. 95% of the time I knew where we were and could get us home. Today I tried to get myself lost by just randomly turning at roads that were not marked as a dead end. I finally found myself in the isolated village of Walton. From there I made my way down to the aforementioned Route 17, checked out the bypass and then headed westward, following the original alignment of Route 17 (which isn’t really marked that well) all the way to Binghamton. I just started my second tank of gas for the trip and have stopped at Panera for a bite to eat before heading home. I’m still trying to figure out which way I’m going to go to get home, because I know the roads between Binghamton and home pretty well, but I don’t think I want to approach it randomly and find myself in the middle of nowhere at midnight.

One thing about riding the back roads (and some dirt roads in the process) is that the gas mileage in the Jeep is fantastic. Highway driving actually kills the gas mileage of my beloved Rubicon, it’s a good thing that I have such an affinity for the back roads.

 

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Comment.

So as I have been out wandering the roads this weekend (more on that in a separate post), my mind has been digesting the events of the week and filing away the necessary stuff and moving the fluff to the garbage bin. I like to think of it as a brain defrag, though if my brain was a hard drive it would be running OS X and not Windows meaning it wouldn’t be in such dire need of a defrag.

I think I’m digressing again.

One of the things I have been thinking about is my blog and how it has been filling my needs pretty well over the past couple of months, aside from the security breach that raised a little havoc. That got me thinking about the comments left on the blog; I have a tendency to respond to the email directly instead of adding my comment to the blog. I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago when I asked if replies to the comments were emailed to the original commenter; responses to that question were mixed.

I think I’d like to make the blog a little more interactive and make it have a more open feeling where people could post comments. I’m not going to ask for comments; it kind of irks me when someone writes a blog entry and ends it with a question to encourage discussion. That brings up two scenarios in my head: 1. reading Highlights as a kid where at the end of the article about something like birds we are asked “what is your favorite bird? Maybe you’d like to sit down and write an essay about your favorite bird” and 2. HR driven meetings at work where we are given the state of the company in a boring speech that requires blasts of cold air and an air horn to remain awake, only to be instructed to “get into focus groups with three people you don’t know” and coming up with a solution to the company’s problems. Whiteboards are usually involved and the only enjoyable part of those discussions is the intoxication from the fumes of the dry-erase markers. “I’ll write! I’ll write!”  I usually exclaim that.

I’m not really looking for validation of my thoughts here on this bloggy thing but rather I’m just looking for the viewpoints of others. For example, the greasy woman driving the Barney van yesterday… do people share my concerns about bad drivers on the road today? There I am asking a question and looking for an answer.

You can borrow my dry erase markers. They’re groovy grape.

 

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Tweet.

So I’m an active user of Twitter. Well, if I’m going to be technical, I actually use the Echofon app (for iPhone, iPad, Mac) to get to Twitter. I don’t use the actual Twitter app itself because I find it to be buggy. When it was called Tweetie it was good, but then Twitter bought it and screwed it up a bit and now I don’t use it anymore. Besides, Echofon allows me to keep my various flavors of the app in sync with one another and that’s kind of cool.

I think I’m digressing.

One of the cool things I like about Twitter, besides the fact that you can read about an earthquake before it hits you, is that you can reach out and sort of touch famous people in a digital sort of way. My friend B.B. Good once made a comment to a fan of her radio show when the fan was all gushy about being near B.B.; “Being on the radio is a job that I love and the cool thing about it is that a lot of people get to hear what I do for living.” I tend to like celebrities that have that sort of presence about them. I want to feel that if we actually knew each other, they’d sit down over a lunch and chat about normal thing, even if it was the intricacies of their art because that’s what they do, but nevertheless, they’d be kind of normal while having this conversation. I despise it when fans tweet at a celebrity things like “OMG please say hi to me.” That’s just ridiculous.

I follow quite a few “famous” people (of all degrees of fame) on Twitter. Right off the top of my head I can name ten, there’s probably more. Some of my favorites are Amy Brenneman (because, of course, I find her incredibly sexy to look at and because she is wicked, wicked smart), Audra McDonald (because if there was ever an angel on earth with a good head on her shoulders, it’s her – what an old soul), Kaley Cuoco because she seems quite funny and Alec Baldwin. Curiously, Alec will not respond to my personal judge of character question regarding using a blade or electric razor when shaving. He probably finds the question odd. Either that or he’s too busy answering mundane, idiotic questions from the fans that are all gushy over his chest hair.

I have recently started following Ruth Buzzi. I have always found her funny and I was happy to see that she’s embraced the digital age. I met her at Assembly Mall in Somerville, Mass. back in the late 80s when Laugh-In was on Nick At Nite. She was cool to talk to. Her tweets are humorous. Today she is celebrating “Caturday”.

One person that I follow kind of disappoints me with her tweeting, and that’s Reba McEntire. Her tweets started out being personable, i.e. “Houston, you were a lot of fun tonight!”, but lately her tweets refer to her in the third person and I find that creepy. “Reba will be in Nashville tomorrow, get your tickets!”  I understand that the tweeting responsibilities have probably been handed over to an assistant, and that makes me lose interest in following Reba because I don’t want PR, I want to just see Reba the person instead of Reba the performer.

I know that folks that are famous have to maintain appearances in order to make a living at being famous. I guess I’m most attracted or interested in following them on Twitter if they remain grounded and seem human. Twitter is about making connections. It’s best when it’s a human connecting to another human.