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Drive to NY Wedding
Sarah and I took a road trip to New York to go to Jason Lin’s, Stephanie’s brother’s, wedding. We took most of Friday off in order to get down to New York. The plan we had created involved going out to the Chrysler dealership in Concord to pick-up my PT Cruiser from the shop, driving to Bedford to drop off the Passat, then driving into New York City to check-in to the Hotel Pennsylvania, followed by driving back to the New York Botanical Gardens for the wedding at 6PM. The day started out fortunately enough. My three way Skype call between the US, UK, and the Netherlands started at 8am instead of 9am. Nothing says “wake-up” like a ringing computer next to your bed. The call went to 9:30 which was when I had expected the call to end in the first place but I got a 90 minute call in and felt good about doing it on the Internet dime rather than paying the phone company. Sarah and I then proceeded to run around packing random things. We had to get a stain out of the tuxedo, figure out how to bring the portable DVD player and DVDs, get bathing suits for the pool, and get my contact lenses.
Finding things in the apartment can be very annoying. The other night I lost my glasses and spent a panicked hour looking everywhere for them including going back and forth to the car in flip-flops and tearing off some skin from my arm reaching under the seat of the Passat. I have been more than patient enough with the RFID and nanotech folks and I deserve my HomeID system so that I can find all those HIDden items with a tricorder-like device that points like a divining rod to my lost items and lets me know what inventory of junk I have throughout the apartment. When is this technology going to help me out around the house? There is one product out there from iautomate – I guess I should have registered for it. ( http://www.iautomate.com/homeseer_rfid.html ). The glasses were found in the bed where I had taken a nap earlier in the day and lost them in the folds of the comforter.
The PT Cruiser had $745 worth of repairs. The steering pump had been replaced because it had broken and they had decided to not only fill the air conditioning system with Freon (good timing at least) but also to run some expensive fluorescent dye test that didn’t appear to have had any results according to the payment slip. We were in a hurry so we pushed out of the dealership and I figured I wasn’t going to get anywhere with the dealership staff and I was lucky they hadn’t found some other awful problem like a broken flux capacitor or that a mafia don had installed an explosive device underneath that I would need to have removed. The dealership loves to find problems with the car that I can’t possibly ignore. In general the answer to what will happen if I don’t fix something is “You might die!”
So once we hit the road at 11:40 we figured we were in good shape for a 6:30 wedding. I was listening to the phone religiously because I had told a VC friend of Brad’s that I would be in the city on Friday and he had left me a message via email to ask if I was in town. But the phone never rang so it was all about the wedding.
We didn’t expect it but we hit severe rush hour traffic when we got close to New York at 3:30PM. When we thought about it we were near the Bronx, where the Botanical Gardens are, so we made a significant change of plans to avoid the traffic. Sarah changed our hotel reservations to Tarrytown, and we drove straight to the Botanical Gardens. The major worry that Sarah had, since this new plan didn’t involve stopping at a hotel, was that among the hundred things we had done before leaving for New York, the one she should have done was to iron her new wrap that was likely wrinkled. Since we were going to change somewhere at the Botanical gardens this wrinkly wrap would be unacceptable and she might freeze to death in the 90 degree heat of an unnaturally hot June.
So we walked about the botanical gardens from 4:00-5:45. The botanical gardens are very nice but I noticed that all the signs were pointing in directions that led to gates rather than being like the arboretum where once inside you actually reach the nice flowers when you walk around. The secret to the arboretum is that they charge you multiple times. The initial fee of $6 gets you onto the grounds, but to see a nice rock garden it costs another $1 per person. We enjoyed the rock garden since we were the only people there and it was nice and romantic to walk alone. Sarah wanted it as her backyard since it was maintained in a natural state filled with flowers of all sorts, with waterfalls, and trees. One section of the rock garden area was filled only with native flowers. We stopped on a bench for a while there and enjoyed the warm weather.
They also had a big white building that cost $7 per person to enter and with a AAA card we got some deal that was $7 for two people. The building was advertising the spring flower show so basically if you wanted to see spring flowers at the botanical garden you had to fork over the cash. It was actually very impressive inside of the big greenhouse building since it had multiple mock climates including a desert, rainforest, palm forest, and lily pads in a big pool. I was impressed and thought we got our extra seven dollars worth.
So at 5:45 we suddenly needed to change and drive over to where the Lin/Moy wedding was to be held. The wedding was at the Snuff Mill. I assume that is where they mill snuff? We were parked at the main gate and sweating heavily from our walk out in the heat. So we cranked the new air conditioning on to keep our clothing from sticking to our skin and then changed comically in the car. I had never put a Tuxedo on with a steering wheel in front of me but the secret is to periodically leave the car and return. It took about 20 minutes to change completely and I wasn’t much faster than Sarah despite her need to fuss with beauty products and worry about how ironed her wrap was despite the irrelevance of a wrap on a swelteringly hot evening.
So we arrived at the wedding at 6:25 and were just on time. Lots of other folks hadn’t adjusted well to the traffic problems so there was a commotion about how to handle some of the gaps in the guest list since any delay at the beginning would cascade through the wedding activities throughout the night. They started about 15 minutes late, just like we did at our wedding, and plenty of folks had arrived in that extra window. A few stragglers processed by accident behind the bridal party walking to the stage but it wasn’t important. The ceremony itself was lightning fast. Both Jason and Kathy said some words that they had written themselves. Sarah and I had a good time although we didn’t know most of the Chinese/Taiwanese family members at the wedding. After the wedding we tried to caravan back to Tarrytown behind the Lin family Prius. The Prius contained a GPS device that led us through some crazy back roads to avoid a detour but after about half an hour we arrived back in our hotel room and got some sleep.
Powers of 10 - Cool stuff
I had a fun time drilling down from a cosmic view of things down to quarks on this site. It's worth the ride for a few minutes. It shows us where we fit into the Universe. A couple of powers of ten up and down and we get pretty insignificant.
View the Milky Way at 10 million light years from the Earth. Then move
through space towards the Earth in successive orders of magnitude until you
reach a tall oak tree just outside the buildings of the National High Magnetic
Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida. After that, begin to move from the
actual size of a leaf into a microscopic world that reveals leaf cell walls, the
cell nucleus, chromatin, DNA and finally, into the subatomic universe of
electrons and protons.