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What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Over the Fourth of July weekend and the week that followed, this site has been – with the exception of a few Twitter tweets, just for fun – on hiatus.  It seemed like a good thing to me to take some time off and regroup, gather strength and inspiration, before settling into the long, hot summer of presidential politics.  So, what did I do whilst I was gone?

Well, for one, I completely screwed up my website.  Many of you may have noticed that some of the links to the other blogs aren’t working, and that the news hasn’t been updated in a while.  That’s because I fucked up.  I installed a new version of WPMU and discovered a problem no one else in the WPMU community seems to be having.  Lucky me!  So, whilst I trundle through fixing my mess and reporting my findings back to Donncha, I will likely remove these things from the front page and posting may be a bit sparse in the meanwhile.  Sorry!

But on the upside, my wife and I traveled back to NYC for another vaction.  We stayed at the Hotel Empire, whose classic red neon sign burns high above Columbus Circle on Broadway.  Very, very small rooms, but a cool, ultra-modern vibe throughout the hotel.  In the wee hours of Saturday morning, while I snapped photos of the cool decor, the radio played a very strange dub-esque remix of Riders on the Storm by The Doors.  Nothing but bass line with occasional flourishes of guitar and keyboard trippiness.

We took in a show on Broadway called Passing Strange, which has been getting a lot of advertisement here and on other local blogs for a month or so.  As you might imagine, a show advertising on lefty blogs probably isn’t doing so well, and indeed, we got second-from-front row seats for Row F Balcony prices.  It’s unfortunate that this show is doing so poorly, because that means a lot of people are missing out on a great production.  This show explores the various illusions people impose upon themselves for the sake of vanity – not merely the kids in the play, but also the mother figure who regards herself as so grown up.  If you get a chance to support this one before it goes away, definitely check it out.

And of course, we spent lots of money on food.  People go to New York for lots of reasons.  For Sarah and I, it’s all about the food, shows and shopping.  We spent $160 on our first meal, and while that was certainly the most expensive meal of the trip, other meals weren’t off by all that much.  In fact, we paid $80 for breakfast on Central Park South at a place called Sarahbeth’s, making it the single most expensive breakfast I’ve ever eaten.  But it was good.  We also visited Anthony Bourdain’s Brasserie Les Halles again.

And then we went to Naples wine country and sampled the local flavour.  Upstate New York wine keeps getting better and better.  They’re even developing their own voice in the red wine department, a genre of particular challenges for northern, short season hill country.  We went to Sonnenberg Gardens and tasted a bunch of wines there, but I have to say that the Sonnenberg home itself is the most depressing place I’ve ever been to.  There’s something about the place that says, “these people only just died. Please be quiet.”

And then we went to the Seneca Park Zoo, checked out the new baboon enclosure and the elephant pool, and that was about it.  Fascinating, eh?

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.