Thursday, May 25, 2006

Noo Yawk City

Greetings, Constant Readers...

Just a few more days in the barrel and I'm outta here! Hooha!

Let's re-cap the last few days, shall we?

Sunday night I went to NooYawk...
A Delta flight through Atlanta. The best thing I can say about it was that I flew on 737-500s the whole way. Even got a bulkhead aisle seat on both flights. The next best thing to an upgrade...

New York was hit by a cold front over the weekend, so by the time I got there, 11:00pm on Sunday night, it was cold.
Not chilly.
Not comfortably cool.
It was cold.
Like 40s and a wind chill cold.

I had gone directly to the airport from the Perfect Child's soccer tournament on Jekyll Island, where it was 85 in the shade. I didn't bring a sweater, fleece, hoodie or even a long sleeve shirt. I froze my butt off all week. More on the weather later...

The Screenworks equipment truck made it to the site on Sunday afternoon. Saved us a few problems by getting in early.

The site is being struck by the construction workers union, so it is a bit of a sticky situation...

I really like the Giant Inflatable Rat...

In theory, one union can't cross another union's picket lines. By our truck arriving while the picketers weren't on-site, we avoided the ugly scene.

We crashed the gates on Monday morning and hit the court with our equipment and after one false start, we had our stuff up and running.

This is the 2-cube-high section. Think anyone will complain about their view?
If I'm paying a couple grand per game you can bet I will pitch a fit it that is in front of me...

Rallis and Ron (Butler) showed up around 10:45... Ron is our Graphics Wizard and Rallis is, well... Rallis.

Lunch was at Joey D's (5819 College Point, Flushing NY - 718 321-0408)
I bought luunch for the guys. I had a great hero- Sweet and hot sopresatta, fresh mozzarella, artichoke hearts, roasted peppers.
Wow. Awesome sandwiches.
I brought a meatball sub back for Rallis, just because I'm that kinda guy.
If you're working the US Open this year keep the number handy, they will deliver to the USTA site.

Post tiffin we did some testing and made some plans for some changes to the graphics we were going to use. We had dragged Ron Butler along...praise Cthulu... Had he not been with us, we'd have been in deep doo-doo. He was able to source some new logos and resize them to fit our ribbon board configuration.
Big, big kudos to Ron!

We called it a day and headed to dinner- a lovely little place on 108th called Parkside (108th Street and 51st Avenue,
Corona. (718) 271-9274)
Tommy Z from the USTA facility turned us on to it... The New Zeland Mussels were fantastic, Rallis had a stuffed artichoke & Mussels, Ron enjoyed a penne with broccoli, and I had Cherrystone clams with linguini. If you have the opportunity- definitely make the trip.

The next day we tweaked our graphics a little more, and I also got the chance to see our handiwork from the very top of the stadium.

Nice Diet Pepsi logo.

The wind was whipping and cold... It's a great spot for pictures though...

Shea Stadium from the top of Arthur Ashe

the New York Skyline

The Worlds Fair Hemisphere and "Men in Black" spaceships.

Armstrong Stadium.

When all was prepared and ready for the demo, we headed over to Mama's for lunch.
Leo's Latticini is known colloquilly as Mama's, 46-02 104th St in Corona. (718) 898-6069.

Latticini means "Dairy products", I think.

Ben Catoe took me here last year. The actual menu is pretty skimpy, but really you can get anything you want.
Some favorites:
Mama's Special- Proscuittini Salami, Mozzarella with mushrooms and peppers...
The Super Italian, Proscuitto, Sopresatta, Cappicola and Mozz...
If you go on Thursdays, you can get the once-a-week Roast Beef with gravy special.
Go stand in line behind the cops, firemen, city construction workers and several office types, then have your order ready.
Ron got the Super Italian, The Screenworks boys had Mama's Specials, and I got a Proscuitto, Mozz and roasted red pepper work of art. (Actually I got two, since I had to bring back one for Rallis.)
The sandwiches are amazing. If you are in the area, make sure you see Mama. And don't forget the bakery 2 doors down... Pick up a few biscotti for dessert. It's called Mama's Backyard, and it is as wonderful as the home office just up the street.
Be aware- Mama's is closed on Mondays.

We hauled ass back to the Stadium and enjoyed our lunch on-site, then got ready for the show.
We did our thing- the pony kicked his heels up and the doggy did his trick.

Nice Lexus logo thanks to Ron's magic with Photoshop...

Things went, well... as good as things like that can be expected.
In a group of people you will always have a cross section- some will like it, some won't.
If you make changes to appease the borderline people, you alienate some other number of the group.
All in all, it was pretty good.

We broke down the equipment and loaded out in record time-
I got Ron and Rallis to LaGuardia in time for their flight, then headed back to the hotel.
(FYI- the Wyndham near LaGuardia is a shithole. A convenient shithole, but a shithole all the same.)
I started thinking about dinner- a trip to Chinatown seemed inevitable, but instead I did a quick search on xiao long bao and found a listing for Joe's Shanghai Restaurant...(136-21 37TH Ave, Flushing (718) 539-4429)
I way overdid it... One order of tiny pork buns (xiao long bao - Little Dragon Buns, according to Jocelyn- my native Shanghai connection), an order of regular pan-fried dumplings, and a bowl of hot & sour soup.
Double wow.
No more running into the depths of Manhattan if I'm on the east side of the river...
Now, if I can only find a place that makes xiao long bao in Florida.

I headed back to the hotel full and happy.

A had a couple meetings the next morning and a 3:15 flight out of LaGuardia. Too late for a good lunch- I grabbed another sandwich at Mama's and picked up a to-go box of biscotti to share with the guys back in the office. Ate my sandwich in the waiting area at the airport.

The flight home was the only dark spot on an otherwise pleasant trip...

Delta uses Comair for a LGA-JAX nonstop- flying Canadair Reigonal Jets. Tiny little toothpaste tube-sized planes.
Try as I might I could not get an aisle seat, let alone a bulkhead. It was just not in the cards for me to get a decent seat. If you fly the LGA-JAX trip, you know the "Gate 5A Drill" - Wait in the collective waiting area, where the passengers for Montreal, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio and Kentucky depart from.
When they call your flight, you troop off to a bus to be ferried to the plane.
Well... I missed the first bus- they cut if off just before the guy in front of me got on and we were told to wait for the next one. 15 minutes later (!!) another bus showed up to take the last 4 of us to the plane...
When I finally got on, there was no room for my one carry-on bag in the overhead, so it goes under the seat in front of my legs, thus obliterating any legroom I might have had.
The capper was the asshat next to me, who insisted in using a good 3 inches of my seat along with his. Normally I don't have a problem with this, I'd just lean the other way. In this case however, I was in the window seat- nowhere to lean.
To add insult to injury, if you are over six feet, the curve of the fuselage causes you to have to sit with yout neck bent to one side... So, Asshat is making it impossible to get any shred of relief from the pain in my neck and legs.

So... We finally get started and pull out to the taxiway where we are delayed. And I'm not talking about a 10 minute wait for gound clearance... I'm talking about more than an hour wait... So long that they pulled the plane to one side and shut down one engine to conserve gas.
We got a song and dance from the captain, weather delays over the Carolinas, blah blah blah.
Meanwhile my knees are screaming, my neck has a permanant 45 degree tilt to the left, and I am ready to pummel the businessman in front of me because every ten minutes he tries to recline his seat into my knees. After the 4th time, I'd had it with that bullshit.
I leaned close to his seat and said in a low, threatening voice:
"Sir. Push your seat back one more time, and I will hit you so hard you will be unconscious until headbands are back in style. You are breaking my knees."
No more trouble from him- at least not as we waited or during the flight itself.
(Asshat pretended not to hear the exchange, but he didn't alter his behavior either.)
We finally got in the air about 90 minutes late. I was hoping once we got in the air things might improve.
Nope. Not a chance, Homeslice.
As a matter of fact they got worse, this time in the form of air conditioning.
I have started wearing flipflops while traveling when possible, in order to hasten the security process and as much for my comfort as for those around me...
Trust me, you don't want me taking off my sneakers anywhere near you.
Let me assure you, a size 14 tennis shoe can emit a 10x10 toxic cloud in record time...
So I wear flip flops.
The down side- when the aircond unit on the plane is set for deep-freeze and the vents are near the floor, it can make for some frostbitten toes.

Well, It's a two hour flight...
By the time we were beginning out final descent, I had lost all feeling in the toes of both feet. My knees were on fire from being cramped in the same position for more than 3 hours. My neck was permanantly crooked, and my shoulders were in knots from trying to sit semi-sideways because of Asshat next to me taking up part of my seat.
(Asshat was one of those typical flying that needs multiple special requests from the Flight Attendant to shut off his phone, put away his iPod, the bag needs to be UNDER the seat in front of you, not in the aisle... You know the type.)
Anyway... As we were circling to land I was in such a state of discomfort I was trying to figure out a way to punch Asshat in the solar plexus hard enough to stop his heart... I doubt I would have gotten in trouble for it.
Anyway- I was able to grit my teeth and made it to the ground without killing Asshat...
One good thing about Asshat, he did jump right up before (of course) the plane got to the jetway. He didn't go far, but at least he vacated the row and I was able to move my legs enough to restart the blood circulation...

The fun wasn't quite over yet. Appearantly the bonehead in front of me had spent the last two hours thinking of some cutting and meaningful retort after having been threatened with bodily harm...
After the flight he looked at me as he got up to exit the plane- I was still sitting down.
He had that look like- "This isn't over, buddy. Wait 'til we get off the plane."
What was funny was that apparently he didn't know what/who he was dealing with because after the flight, as I got off the plane he was outside waiting for his gate-checked bag to be delivered. When I get off those little planes, I gain about another foot or two of height, since I have to bend down almost double to walk down this aisle.
As I straightened up, he started to say something, then thought better of it... He found something in his briefcase needed attention as I walked by him...

I really wanted to do the old "I'm granting your wish" routine on him.
You know the old joke...
The two young rednecks get pulled over by the local sherrif. The Sherriff give the driver a ticket and after the kid gives him some lip, the Sherriff bitch-slaps him. The kid wisely shuts up, just wanting the episode to be over.
The Sherriff walks over to the passenger side and opens the door and smacks the other kid around.
"What was that for?" the kid whines.
"Just granting your wish, Sonny."
"What?" the kid says.
"Well, you know, when you guys drive away from here you were gonna look at your buddy over there and say 'Boy, I wish he'd done that to me, I'd'a shown him a thing or two.' So I'm just granting your wish."
He slams the door and the boys drive away.

Alas, with the humorless folk at the TSA and our friends at Homeland Security, I don't cause a scene at airports.

Oh well... Back in Jax again.

Just two more trips to go...

Amazing out-

1 comment:

Flygirl said...

I'm still laughing from reading about your 'oh-so-exciting' CRJ experience. ;) Good!