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Silver’s More Pretty Than Gold

Posted in Buffalo Tom, NYC on May 16th 2010 by Randy Reichardt

.: I’m in NYC, arrived yesterday, and will be here until Tuesday, 25 May 2010.  I have meetings with the Knovel Library Advisory Board on 20-21 May  It’s probably my longest trip ever, and by my calculations, the 19th or 20th time I’ve been here.  I’m once again staying in a tiny one-bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side, off York Avenue.  I have a ticket to see God of Carnage on Wednesday afternoon, and tickets to the Cabinet of Wonders show on the 20th (featuring Buffalo Tom, Janeane Garofalo, and others), and then the full Buffalo Tom show on Friday, 21 May 2010.  I’ve never seen Buffalo Tom live, and this band is one of my all-time favorites, ever.  So I’m predictably excited about these two shows.

Some weeks ago, I received a package from Delta Airlines.  I was already a member of the Delta SkyMiles program, but in the package was a new SkyMiles card, and luggage tags, each designated with “Silver Medallion” status.  Apparently this is a status one reaches after flying a certain number of miles – in my case, 25,000.  I was not aware of the benefits until I arrived at the Edmonton International Airport on Friday, 14 May 2010.  Once there, I was advised that the maximum weight on each piece of my luggage bag was now 70 lbs instead of 50 lbs; also, I no longer have to pay a luggage fee.  Additionally, I can check in at an airport in the “fast lane”, so to speak.  Once I’d checked in, I went to clear US Customs, and because I have Nexus status (Trusted Traveller), I was able to bypass the lineup of 50-75 passengers waiting in line and go straight to a Nexus machine.  Once there, the machine does an iris scan, I answer a couple questions, and the machine prints a card.  I turned and waited, and the next available US Immigration officer waved me over, looked at my documents and that was that.  Next, I proceeded towards the lengthy security lines, only to be met by another uniformed staff person who asked me if I was Nexus.  I said yes, and he directed me to a much shorter security line!  Sweet.

Taytum, me, and Terra, with Minnehaha Falls in the background.

The Delta flight to Minneapolis was on a Canadair Regional Jet 900, one of the sardine cans that Delta used to replace the larger, much more comfortable ones previously flown when Northwest Airlines flew the route, before it was bought by Delta.  It’s more uncomfortable if you end up sitting next to, well, a large person, and that’s what happened to me on that flight.  Anyway, later in the day in Minneapolis, while I was visiting the lovely Rhoades family, I checked in online for my NYC flight, only to discover I’d been bumped up to First Class.  Apparently when you have Medallion status, if there are empty seats in First Class, you are automatically moved into that section.  All these perks – who knew?

I was spoiled on the flight to New York – free meal, red wine, nice big seat.  My only complaint was that I ended up behind someone who moved their seat back as far as possible, making it somewhat difficult to watch Sanctuary on my computer.   Then when went to retrieve my luggage, it appeared amongst the first few bags, with a special tag on it because of my Medallion status.

Today in NYC it was sunny with moderate temperatures.  I didn’t venture far from the apartment, just went for an early afternoon breakfast at The Barking Dog (had the spinach, potato and dill pancakes, with poached eggs, salmon caviar and crème fraiche), and eventually had a latte at Starbucks and read some of the NYTimes.  A totally lazy day.  Tomorrow evening, dinner with the Dillons!

New York Note

Posted in NYC on May 10th 2009 by Randy Reichardt

.: I’m at the end of a 12-day trip to NYC, the longest trip I’ve ever taken here. I’m surprised at how well I have managed this time. It was a great trip, I was able to visit all of my friends here, saw a few movies, met celebrities, saw a great Broadway play, and ate a few fantastic meals with friends and colleagues.  It was wonderful to see Sekeena and meet her 10-week old daughter, Lila, and to see Jessica and (finally) meet her amazing two-year old son, Leonardo.  Dinner with Leo and Diane Dillon, and Lee and Greg, was a blast, and I was able to catch up Barbara over a coffee with thunderstorms ensued outside the coffe shop.  I do feel a bit displaced from reality out here, having forgotten about most of Edmonton for a few days.  I’ll be back tomorrow, but only briefly.  On Thursday night, I fly the dreaded redeye on Air Canada (aka Annoy Customers) to Toronto, and then on to Boca Raton for a weekend meeting with the CRC Press Library Advisory Board.  Apparently we are being housed in a hotel with a view of the ocean, so I promise to take photos if indeed this is the case. 🙂

Live from New York – Cheryl Hines, Serious Moonlight, Rachael Harris, and More

Posted in NYC on May 3rd 2009 by Randy Reichardt

.: I am in New York.  I arrived on Wed, 29 April 2009, and spent Thursday in a meeting with a group of librarians and representatives of Begell House, which publishes books and journals in areas of mechanical engineering such as heat transfer and fluid mechanics, as well as titles in biomedical topics and nanotechnology.  We had dinner on Wed night at Remi, a restaurant specializing in Northern Italian cuisine, and the food was delicious.  I was in the Hilton New York hotel for two nights, and then moved over to The Leo House on Friday.

On Friday night, on Taras’s recommendation, I went to see the movie Serious Moonlight at the Tribeca Film Festival.  The movie stars Meg Ryan, Timothy Hutton, Kristen Bell and Justin Long, and is directed by Cheryl Hines from a screenplay by the late, great Adrienne Shelley.  Here are a few photos from the event.  It’s a movie that is both lighthearted and serious, and features compelling performances by Meg Ryan, Timothy Hutton, Kristen Bell and Justin Long.  Here is a clip of Cheryl introducing the movie. While at the theatre, I noticed Cheryl walk in and sit close to where I was sitting.  She was with Rachael Harris; like Cheryl, I have admired her work for many years.  When the movie was over, I approached Rachael and told her how much I admired her work on The Daily Show, gushing like the geek fanboy I am.  It was wonderful to talk to her, and she was warm and friendly and lovely.

Yesterday, I went to see Colin Quinn perform at the Gotham Comedy Club.  While waiting in line, I noticed that Cheryl had walked in with Andy Ostroy, one of the producers of Serious Moonlight, and who was Adrienne Shelly’s husband.   (He also writes The Ostroy Report, a superb political blog.)  On impulse, I called her name, and when she turned to face me, I said, “I saw your movie last night”.  That led to the three of us discussing her movie, and when I had to be shown to my table, Cheryl walked with me to continue the discussion.  Andy joined us shortly thereafter, and we continued to talk about the movie and other things for about 10 minutes.  I explained how the Friday screening was brought to my attention by my friend in Edmonton, Taras, who had emailed me the details.  I would not have know about it otherwise, as the Friday screening was an add-on, and wasn’t listed in the TFF program.  I was blown away by Cheryl’s kindness, that she (and Andy) would take the time to talk to a total stranger for 10-15 minutes.  Never mind that I am and have been a HUGE fan of her work for years – here she was making time for ME!  When people at the table next to me asked if they could have a picture with her, I spoke further with Andy, and then asked the people with the camera if they would mind taking a picture of Cheryl and me, and email it to me afterwards.  They said yes, the picture was taken, Cheryl turned and gave me a hug, and I think I melted on the spot.  She is more charming and beautiful in person than she appears on screen.  I think I floated home after Quinn’s performance, which was good, but he was hard to hear across the room, and the morons next to me on the right wouldn’t stop talking throughout the evening.  (Not the people with the camera, btw.)  I’ll post the picture as soon as I receive it.  Meanwhile, here’s a pic of Rachael and Cheryl.  *sigh*

So when this movie is in general release, please see it, especially if you are fans of the actors, of Cheryl, and of Adrienne.  Following her passing, Andy created the Adrienne Shelly Foundation, in support of women who wish to pursue a career in filmmaking.

So what’s next?  Dinner with my dear friends Leo and Diane Dillon tomorrow, a Yankees/Red Sox game on Tuesday, seeing Sekeena and her newborn (now 10 weeks old) on Tuesday afternoon, seeing Jess and her two-year old on Wednesday in Bloomfield NJ, dinner with Bryan and Kortney on Thursday, and who knows what else.  Maybe a Broadway play.

When I return to Edmonton on the 11th, I’ll have three days before I fly to Boca Raton for a meeting with the CRC Press Library Advisory Board.  I’ll return home on the 18th, and hopefully fly nowhere else until 13 June to DC for the SLA conference.

Ed Gavagan: Drowning on Sullivan Street

Posted in Ed Gavagan, NYC on August 27th 2008 by Randy Reichardt

.: Please take 16 minutes out of your day and listen to this amazing podcast by Ed Gavagan. Ed lives and works in NYC.  I met Ed for the first time a few years ago one on of my trips to NYC, after he met and started dating a friend of mine. He’s an amazing guy, friendly and immediately likeable, and I always look forward to seeing both of them when I am in NYC.

This podcast was posted on 25 August 2008; I don’t know when and where Ed recorded it, but it is part of The Moth Podcast series; its website notes that “The Moth features people telling true, engaging, funny, touching and eye-opening stories from their lives.”. Listen as Ed tells the tale of what happened to him one day while he was walking on Sullivan Street – it is a remarkable story, made even more so by the way Ed tells the story of the day his life changed forever.

Ed’s story is available on this page on the Moth site.

Is There Gas In The Car?

Posted in Miscellaneous, NYC, Steely Dan on June 27th 2008 by Randy Reichardt

.: Since returning from Madison, I’ve been on the road two more times. From 14-19 June, I was in Seattle attending another Special Libraries Association Annual Conference. I had a good time, saw many old friends, made a few new ones, and documented for the record, Librarians Gone Wild.

A day after returning from Seattle and washing clother and repacking, I flew to NYC to see two Steely Dan concerts at the Beacon Theatre on Broadway. I arrived at LaGuardia around 17:00 hrs, took the usual two hours to get to The Leo House, and hopped the subway to The Beacon Theatre in time to see the show. Afterwards, I ran into a number of the loyal Danfen who follow proceedings via the Dandom site and discussion lists, most of whom flew in from other parts of NA for the show. A dedicated and motley crew of misfits and ne’er-do-wells, I hung out with them until 01:00 or so, and made my way back to the Leo House. On Saturday, >20 of us met at Blondies’ for a pre-show dinner and Danfest, at which the humble Doc showed us his collection of Dan-related Pennsylvania licence plates:

After the sixth and final Beacon show, we hopped over to The Bitter End for an amazing Steely Dan After-Party, organized by the master himself, Mr Pete Fogel of Razor Boy Music. The entire rhythm section of the SD Band played on one song, which I recorded using my Flip video camera:

After the jam, which featured Jon Herington‘s band followed by Jeff Young‘s band, I was fortunate to finally meet Jon, who has performed live with Steely Dan since 2000, and has appeared on their last two albums, as well as the two recent solo albums by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. I had a nice conversation with him, and was able to tell him how much I admire his playing and how inspirational he is to me as a fellow guitarist and musician.

It was a whirlwind trip. I also had another amazing dinner and visit with my friends, Leo and Diane Dillon. They autographed more of their books for me, and showed me the next two projects on which they have been working. One is called Mama Says, written by Rob D Walker, and the other is called The Night Goblin, written by Mem Fox. I can’t wait to get copies when they are published. It is such a privilege to know both of them, and to be able to see the amazing work they are doing before it hits the bookshelves. I love them both dearly and am incredibly blessed to have them in my life.

Thank you to everyone who has sent along words of love and encouragement regarding my Mother. She will be having surgery on 18 July 2008, and I promise to keep everyone informed on her progress. Right now it’s looking good, and we are feeling positive and upbeat about all of it.

Well, in 15 minutes I turn 55, and it is the moment I am eligible to retire at full pension. All I can say is, “Freedom 55” is a myth, people! 🙂

Yes, there’s gas in the car.

A Steely Summer

Posted in NYC, Seattle, Steely Dan on May 15th 2008 by Randy Reichardt

.: Today was the warmest day of the year so far in Edmonton, and it felt like summer has finally arrived. I have a number of trips upcoming, beginning with one to Madison WI on Sunday, to visit a couple good friends. I’ll first spend some time with Jude, and then another friend, Lenny. I’ve never been to Madison before, but have it on good authority from a friend who studied at U Wisconsin at Madison that it is a great city. I may also take a quick side with Jude to see a band in Milwaukee. And while in Wisconsin, I hope to pick up one of these and bring it home to Canada, where like HBO, the Amazon Kindle, and the iPhone, it is not available for purchase.

Following my return, my parents will be visiting for a few days in early June. I’ll be in Seattle from 14-19 June for my annual library conference. I return to Edmonton on the 19th, and the next day on the 20th, fly to NYC for five days to see one, and perhaps two of the shows on the 2008 Steely Dan tour. I already have a ticket for the show on the 21st at the Beacon Theatre, and will follow that by attending an after-party at The Bitter End, featuring some of the SD Band musicians (Jon Herington, Jeff Young).

I’m planning to do a mini-tour with a local singer, Carrie Hryniw. I’ve played three shows with her already, and we are planning to hook up to play shows in Regina, Brandon and Winnipeg before I drive back to Edmonton afterwards.

Then the Steely Dan summer continues. I fly to Chicago on 15 July to see them perform at The Chicago Theatre, and return on the 17th. My friend in Madison, Jude, will meet me in Chicago to see the show there. Finally, I’ll return to Seattle to see two more SD shows on 30/31 July, when they perform at the Chateau Ste Michelle Winery in Woodinville WA.

Why so many Steely Dan shows? Why spend all that money? Well, first of all, life is short, and Steely Dan wil always be my favorite band of all-time, after The Beatles. So with each year they tour, and this is the third year in a row they have decided to tour, one never knows if it will be their last tour. I’ve seen five shows this decade, in 2000, 2003, 2006, and two shows last year at The Beacon in NYC, and have enjoyed them all. It’s such a treat to see a band perform as good as this one, knowing in advance I wil be familiar with all the tunes.

Since the early 90s, I’ve subscribed to a Steely Dan fandom newsletter, called the Dandom Digest. As a result, I’ve become familiar with and made friends with a number of fellow Dandom subscribers, and met many of them at the previous shows. So when I attend the shows in NYC and Seattle, I will see many of them again, and because I am a known quantity among the Danfen, so to speak, I am assured entrance to the after-party at the Bitter End. Sweet. 🙂

What are your plans for the summer?