Friday, September 04, 2009

Virtual Vicarious Vacation Friday: New York

I'm still playing with the idea in development, and I've found that for this stage of work, it actually helps to have some kind of background noise going. When I write, I like absolute silence, but for brainstorming, having the TV on in the background seems to distract the conscious brain so the unconscious can play. However, some of the ideas I've played with will now require additional research, but it's more the kind that just requires a few Internet searches, not a library trip.

When I went out to get ingredients for my Southern Church Lady funeral food baking yesterday, I also ran by the nearest Half-Price Books, since it's extra 20 percent off weekend (which started yesterday), and I managed a huge find, an out-of-print book I've been dying to find for ages. It's so out-of-print that I don't think there's even a cover or information posted on Amazon, and I'm not even sure it was ever published in the US. I'd almost given up ever finding it, but I still automatically check whenever I'm in a bookstore. The weird thing was, I found it in a section where I wasn't expecting to find it -- in the mass-market paperback section instead of in trade paperback (so I think maybe it's a British edition, since I'm pretty sure that if it was published in the US, it wasn't published in mass market, and the store's scanner wouldn't read the bar code on it). Even better, I saw a lovely example of customer service at the store. Usually, they do the thing where they keep one line for two registers, and just take the next customer at the register that comes open, so I got in the line behind the first register. The lady at the other register waved over the person at the front of the line I was in, and then all the people in line behind me rushed over to that other register. I was mildly miffed because even if the store wasn't officially doing the one line to feed both registers thing, it was still a bit rude to essentially line jump and go from the end of the line to the front of a line, but it's not that big a deal, so I didn't say anything. Imagine my surprise when the bookseller cheerfully informed the next person in line that I was actually next and had been waiting longer, then signaled me to come over.

Now I'm trying to decide whether to indulge myself in reading the new book this weekend or to save it for my fall vacation so I have something to look forward to. I just got a ton of books from the library, so I may save it for vacation, since I love having something to anticipate.

But now, for some pictures from the New York trip. I'm still getting used to the digital camera, and while it's handy for instantly having something to post online, I think for any serious vacation photography I may also use film and my old 35mm. The LCD screen is difficult to see in sunlight, and strangely, I find it more awkward to work the smaller camera than I do the larger one (which is contoured with a hand grip). It was raining for most of the trip, and it got very hard to juggle the camera and an umbrella, so a lot of the shots are at wonky angles or very dark (because it was rather cloudy). Here are a few that don't require clean-up and that don't have anything to do with the content of the book I was researching (that I know of, since you never know).

First, after that week's Warehouse 13 episode (and that show has really grown on me), I found the Alice statue in Central Park rather amusing. I wanted to warn all those parents having their kids climb on the statue for pictures to keep their children away from the dangerous psychopath.

You can see here what a gorgeous day it was -- crystal blue sky as the backdrop to the Bethesda Terrace fountain in Central Park.

And then things were very different the next day. I ventured down to the bottom tip of Manhattan and found yet another reason why this was a good setting for a hidden magical corporation. You never know what you'll find tucked away in some corner. There were all these corporate headquarters type buildings, and then this block of little old buildings that looked like something you'd see in Amsterdam. I don't know for sure what these buildings were, but I suppose they could be a holdover from the New Amsterdam days.

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