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Last Visit 2013-07-09 08:56:20 |Start Date 2006-06-08 17:52:06 |Comments 398 |Entries 87 |Images 82 |Videos 5 |

Category: relationships

06/29/06 02:13 - 72ºF - ID#21188

Picking up after yourself at Sea World

Weird article from the NYTimes (6/25/06):

Basically the article is written by a woman who, after getting frustrated with her good husband's annoying habits, decided to take a lesson from the people who train exotic zoo and water park animals. Apparently men can be trained after all...?!

I guess I'm posting the link basically to bait (e:chicoschica) (nice new pic, chica!) into some sort of a reaction, but I also couldn't resist the tangential connection to the marriage discussion revolving around (e:dragonlady7,37) .

I'm tempted to be insulted by the article but I think (like the husband in the article) I'm more amused than irritated. Hell, I even laughed out loud at one point -- an unlikely event when I'm reading the NYTimes. haha


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Category: moving

06/23/06 05:14 - 75ºF - ID#21187

The next big project... (help! part II)

Now that we've ostensibly found a place -- don't want to jinx anything here, but let's assume for argument's sake that the 3 br upper with a view of Delaware Park is going to happen (seems like all systems "go") -- we are facing the next big step: figuring out a moving plan. We're fortunate enough to have assurances of help with moving expenses, so we might be able to afford a professional mover instead of a big U-haul... what a luxury! But also, apparently, a potentially huge pain in the ass.

All of the how-to sites about choosing a mover emphasize getting recommendations from people you know, so...once again, beautiful and generous people of (e:strip), help!! Have you done an interstate move (or are you close with someone who has recently done one)? If so, can you recommend a moving company for us to check out? We'd be most grateful for your reco's. We can do all the follow up work (ICC #, AMSA certification, etc.), we're just looking for companies that people have had good experiences with.

Alternatively, I'm thinking PODS ...anyone use them before? Good/bad/ugly?

Thanks (e:peeps)....


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06/23/06 01:46 - 73ºF - ID#21186

The quiet philanthropist

Just read in the Buffalo News about a grocer who lived meagerly and gave away his fortunes to the needy and to deserving causes. Below is some irresponsible blogging...more like theft...but surely worth reading. I don't know about you, but I could stand to be more like Waldemar.


Waldemar Kaminski, who quietly ran a food stand in Broadway Market for more than 50 years, has been revealed to be a self-made millionaire and philanthropist who anonymously gave millions to Buffalo charities and neighbors in need. He died at home Wednesday night from complications of a long illness. He was 88.

"He didn't want anyone to know him, but I just had to thank him," said Anne Gioia, co-founder of the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, to which Kaminski donated several million dollars. "Now I think we should shout it from the rooftops."



He lived in a modest flat and didn't really buy much at all. He squirreled away his profits and shared them liberally with people and organizations in Buffalo.

Kaminski gave so much to so many that it's difficult to quantify just how much he's given. He donated millions to Roswell Park - including $1 million for an endowed chair in pediatrics and $1 million to build a two-acre park on the institute's campus.
He gave handsomely to other groups as well, including the Father Baker Home, the Salvation Army, Hilbert College and Camp Good Days and Special Times. He even helped neighboring families with mortgage payments, college tuition and lines of credit at his stand.
"It wasn't a handout. He was supportive and helped them maintain their dignity," said one of his nieces, Marsha Kaminski of Oakland, Calif.
"If they were helping themselves, he wanted to help, too," Eller said.
His gifts were kept quiet both because of his deeply humble nature and for his personal safety. Kaminski had been beaten and robbed several times over the years, and publicly revealing his wealth would only make him a larger target.
But now that he has died, no one who knew him is holding their tongue. The green space he helped create will be named "Kaminski Park" in his honor.



Good show, old man.
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06/21/06 03:57 - 73ºF - ID#21185

Paul S., R.I.P.

I'm really stunned right now. A friend -- not a close friend, but a guy I've known via the conference circuit for quite a few years now and one of my first contacts in Buffalo -- just died yesterday.

Paul S. was just 38 years old. Professor at UB, leaves behind a wife. I have no idea what the circumstances of his death were, just that he's gone.

Paul S. was a real advocate of the city of Buffalo -- he grew up in Buffalo and after completing his graduate studies he came back.

When I was deciding between Atlanta and Buffalo, I asked Paul S. for his help, and he wrote the following:

Buffalo is an awesome place to live -- way underrated by those who have never spent much time here. Cost of living is low, traffic a dream, food and restaurants excellent, good schools, several universities and colleges, pro sports in hockey and football (and Triple A in baseball), excellent theater and museums, Canada
just a few miles away, the lakes are great in the summer, good skiing a half hour away and great skiing an hour away (with easy access, low prices, and night skiing to boot!), very user friendly airport, some very hip and artsy areas. Most of our incoming faculty really dig it. [Name withheld] has turned down a
number of job offers over the years because he loves the area so much (he grew up and went to university in NYC).



Maybe less gritty and ultra-realistic than kookcity's brilliant love letter to Buffalo (e:kookcity2000,21) , but certainly written with conviction. And it helped convince me that Buffalo was worth moving to...which I still believe, despite all the bad shit about Buffalo that I hear and read.

Anyway, this isn't really about Buffalo, it's really about Paul S. I'm deeply saddened at the loss his death imposes on his wife, family, friends, UB faculty and staff, and UB students. And Paul, I'm sorry that we couldn't get to Buffalo soon enough to share a meal with you and your wife before your untimely passing.

Rest in peace, Paul.

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06/20/06 10:46 - 69ºF - ID#21184

Couldn't this have been multiple choice?

In the interest of science, and (e:paul)'s degree, here are my answers to his (e:strip) survey (see (e:news,874) ) ....

People:

1. How did you find out about/why did you become of estrip?

Honestly, I don't recall. When I took a job in Buffalo I started a vigorous online search for all things Buffalo to get a sense of the local scene. Probably a Google search of "Elmwood strip" and maybe links from other Buffalo related sites?

2. How "out" are you about having a publicly accessible online journal. Do your friends know? Does your family know? Do your co-workers know? Does your boss know? Do you use your real name? Do you use your real photo?

I've told people about "the online blogging community" and my contact with (e:peeps) but I'm pretty sure no one except my partner knows that I write journal entries. I avoid using my real name on the site, but occasionally share it with (e:peeps) via email. Photo is real, but my face is partially obscured.

3. How many epeeps have you met real life?

None yet - but I'm looking forward to it when we move to Buffalo!

4. How has estrip changed the way that you meet people, on and/or off line?

It has definitely improved the speed of making social connections in a new city - correspondence with one (e:peep) seems to lead inevitably to a connection with a second and a third, etc.

5. How has estrip affected you love life?

Not at all - (e:chico) and (e:chicoschica) still a happy team with no new members. ;-)

6. How many of your friends have joined estrip because of your influence?

One - (e:chicoschica) ... I don't think she knew about the site until I joined and started talking about it.

7. Are you from Buffalo/do you live in Buffalo?
No/Not yet... August 2006

Equipment:

1. What type of hardware or software purchases have you made as a result of using estrip?

None, but because of (e:strip) I would consider looking into mobile internet technology. Was already using Firefox on my PC before (e:strip).

2. Have you used the mobile version of estrip? Why or why not?

No-- technology-deficient and motivation-deficient at the moment.


Lifestyle:

1. In what way has estrip changed your Internet surfings habits? Describe the amount of time you spend on estrip, when you use it and about how long?

I find interesting links from (e:strip)pers ... (e:kara) in particular has made some good suggestions. I spend less time looking at online newspapers and more time looking at (e:peeps)' journals...
I try to look at (e:strip) every day... probably [choke] three times a day at least, once in morning, once at lunch, once at coffee break time in afternoon (3pm), occasionally in the evenings. Probably altogether 1-2 hours per day, though the novelty hasn't worn off yet. :-)

1a. How many journals do you usually read per day?
Maybe 4-5...I try not to miss (e:jenks) , (e:hodown) , and (e:mrmike) among others

2. In what ways has estrip changed the way you perceive your local community?

Hasn't really changed the way I see my current local community in NJ, but because of (e:strip) I feel like (e:chicoschica) and I are moving to Buffalo with a ready-made network of friendly acquaintances who seem ready to help us settle in to our new city.

3. How has journaling about your life affected the way you spend your free time?

Yes, slightly... now I'm more likely to journal than to watch horrible garbage on TV. Also, when I see an interesting article online, I think about recording my thoughts and posting them online.

4. Has estrip changed your living situation in any way?

Not yet...but the (e:peeps) are doing their best to help us find new digs!

5. Do you find that you mediate/document more of your experiences now that you share them with others?

Yes, to a small degree - probably will increase with time

6. Has publishing on estrip affected the way that write?

No, I think I use the same awkward combination of proper English and text-msg-type shortcuts as I would with G-mail chat, AIM, etc.

7. Do you have other online journals? If so, with what service and has estrip affected your usage of that journal?

No/NA

8. Have you ever gotten in trouble for using estrip at work?

No, but I should.

9. If you have stopped using estrip, why?

NA
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Category: housing

06/19/06 03:55 - 75ºF - ID#21183

A winner in the apt sweepstakes?

Well, kids, we may be nearing the finish line of the apartment search. On the basis of (e:libertad) 's tip, we have a new top contender. True, it doesn't have fancy new appliances (although the fridge is new). Nor does it have an open garage spot (teasingly, it has a garage but no spot - but there is off-street parking in the driveway). The kitchen is sort of small, definitely not eat-in. And the stovetop is electric (groan). Finally, it's not within easy walking distance of Elmwood.

So what makes this place at all attractive?

Location. Despite the Elmwood problem, the place is literally across the street from Delaware Park, and, more importantly, is less than 10 minutes' walk from my office - which is HUGE because the parking situation at work is dismal. So this would eliminate my need for a car, at least to get to and from work. Sweet!

Neighborhood. Apparently quiet. We like it quiet.

Second floor unit. Ah yes, no one walking above us, and a single older gentleman on the first floor. Did I mention that we like it quiet?

Amenities. Screened in sunroom in the front of the house that looks over the 198 through to the edge of the park. Rear sunroom with 11 windows and a southern exposure. Both have French doors to the living areas of the flat. Dining room with nicely detailed walls and a ceiling fan. Living room with ornate windows on either side of the decorative fireplace. Excellent hardwood floors throughout. A (admittedly tiny) half-bath off the master bedroom. Washer and dryer in the basement. Storage in the attic.

OK, so it's not Shangri-La, but it is three bedrooms and two sunrooms within easy walking distance of work, park, and Metro stop, with off-street parking, for $800 + utilities.

And the landlord lives in the house behind this one - no absentee landlord here.

So I think we may have a new frontrunner.

But...

...did I mention the 2+ bdrm for $975 including heat and a garage spot on Lexington between Elmwood and Delaware? hmmmmmmm...


Anyway, here are some pics of the place near the park that a colleague of mine graciously provided:

Living room, with a glimpse of the foyer:
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Living room, with a glimpse of the front sunroom
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One half of the kitchen (dw and pantry not shown)
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Full bath:
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Master BR and little 1/2 bath:
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View of the street, the 198, and the edge of Delaware Park:
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The rear of the house, w/sunroom visible above:
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Thanks, J.O.! And also (e:libertad) . :-)
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Category: housing

06/16/06 11:31 - 76ºF - ID#21182

Apartment hunting update

So the apartment hunt goes on... we're looking into a lead from (e:libertad) that's pretty promising -- an apt overlooking Delaware Park and a short walk to work, w/ off st pkg for (e:chicoschica) -- and we've got someone checking it out for us this weekend. Also, we're still in the mix for the pretty apartment with the open floor plan and garage on Gates Circle (see pics below).

Not sure about W Utica, it's a great apt but we're a touch apprehensive about the first floor issue...and I've had trouble getting ahold of the landlord this week (ever since I asked if we could talk to the first floor tenant about why she's moving upstairs).

I just heard back from a guy about an apt (another first floor, damn) on the 200 block of Ashland Ave (between Hodge and W Utica). Here's the skinny:

big 3+ BR
lg foyer
frml DR
big EIK, not fully updated but clean; fridge+range included (no dw)
pantry
BRs are on small side
HW floors
1 garage spot in garage at end of L-shaped lot to side/behind house
locking garage door (not automatic though, no power to garage)
rear entrance to house
snow removal and yard maintenance included
furnaces less than 5 yrs old
W/D (for first floor tenant)
alarm available, tenant pays monitoring
attic storage available, basement too if wanted

rent 850 +utils

sorry no pics of Ashland...maybe forthcoming...

Anyway, if (e:libertad)'s lead works out, we'll probably go with that. It will mean driving to meet you guys on Elmwood, but I promise we'll make the trip. :-)


Gates Circle pix...

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06/14/06 11:44 - 69ºF - ID#21181

Scoring with the ladies

A New York Times article with chicks, bowling, an auto body shop, New Jersey (represent!) and Buffalo (OK, ok, Cheektowaga -- see article). I ask of you: does it get any better?


[Kelly] Kulick, a 29-year-old from Union, N.J., works part time in her father's shop, KBF Auto Body, in neighboring Elizabeth. For about five hours a day, she sits on a ripped and soiled desk chair in her office, handling dusty paperwork. Sometimes, she rolls up her sleeves and fixes fenders or bangs out dents.

This fall, though, Kulick will trade her life at the shop, where she is the lone woman surrounded by men, for a life on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour, where she will be the lone woman surrounded by men.

At a tournament last week, she became the first woman to qualify for a season-long exemption on the P.B.A. Tour, a 20-event circuit that begins in October. She likened her accomplishment to Billie Jean King's victory over Bobby Riggs in tennis, but better, because that was a one-shot deal.



Now I don't follow pro bowling, but this is pretty inspiring stuff. Apparently the purses available to tournament-winning women bowlers are peanuts compared with the prizes that can be had on the men's tour. But how will Kulick handle the pressure?

"I do pretty well against the men, maybe because working at the shop has made me tough," said Kulick, the only employee who wears pearl earrings and makeup...

Kulick does not rub it in that she can beat men, but there is evidence that she is proud of it, like the ring tone on her cellphone, Martina McBride's "This One's for the Girls."

And Kulick's mother, Carol, described the pep talks she gave her daughter during the qualifying tournament.

"What's better, testosterone or estrogen?" Carol Kulick asked Kelly over the phone.

"Estrogen!" Kelly answered.

"Who's going to be the first woman on the Tour?" Carol asked.

"I am!" Kelly answered.



I'm inspired. I'm jazzed. I'm ready to wear smelly rented shoes.

As Walter Sobchak once said, "Fuck it, Dude. Let's go bowling."


photo credit Richard Perry/The New York Times

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06/13/06 02:07 - 70ºF - ID#21180

Bright flight

Okay, so I'm really going to hear it from the Buffalo faithful on this one, but I can't let slide a front page story in the New York Times about Buffalo...if any other (e:strip)per already blogged on this, I apologize for duplications.

So Sam Roberts' article is titled, "Flight of Young Adults is Causing Alarm Upstate." Here's the first few paras:

Upstate New York is staggering from an accelerating exodus of young adults, new census results show. The migration is turning many communities grayer, threatening the long-term viability of ailing cities and raising concerns about the state's future tax base.
From 1990 to 2004, the number of 25-to-34-year-old residents in the 52 counties north of Rockland and Putnam declined by more than 25 percent. In 13 counties that include cities like Buffalo, Syracuse and Binghamton, the population of young adults fell by more than 30 percent...
"Make no mistake: this is not business as usual," Robert G. Wilmers, the chairman of M & T Bank in Buffalo, told his shareholders this spring. "The magnitude and duration of population loss among the young is unprecedented in our history. There has never been a previous 10-year period in the history of the upstate region when there has been any decline in this most vital portion of our population."
In New York City and the five suburban counties in New York State, the number of people ages 18 to 44 increased by 1.5 percent in the 1990's. Upstate, it declined by 10 percent.



Now this is probably not news to anyone in Buffalo, or downstate for that matter. I recall a Canisius prof describing the problem to me a couple of months ago. But it is distressing.

Here's another section:

....In almost every place upstate, emigration rates were highest among college graduates, producing a brain drain, according to separate analyses of census results for The New York Times by two demographers, William Frey of the Brookings Institution and Andrew A. Beveridge of Queens College of the City University of New York. Among the nation's large metropolitan areas, Professor Frey said, Buffalo and Rochester had the highest rates of what he called "bright flight."
Irwin L. Davis, president of the Metropolitan Development Association in Syracuse, which promotes economic growth in central New York, said, "We're educating them and they're leaving."
And Gary D. Keith, vice president and regional economist for M & T Bank, said, "Sluggish job growth is the biggest driver of out-migration among young upstate adults."
The decline in the 1990's in the population ages 18 to 44 of the 52-county upstate region was "chilling," he said.
"When the jobs don't grow, the people go," Mr. Keith said.



Which is why I kid about reversing the tide ((e:chico),#1). Buffalo Rising gets a plug in the article, which is nice, but I can't wait to hear from my mentor about this one. Last time he made an observation about Buffalo to me, it was based on a NYT article about people buying dilapidated houses on the East Side sight-unseen for $8,000 and then having to spend more money to demolish them.

Where the F is Buffalo's PR department? MIA or too busy doing damage control on the casino debacle I suppose.

Anyway, no real purpose to this post, just couldn't let it go without pointing it out.
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06/13/06 12:44 - 60ºF - ID#21179

I stink.

No, really, I need a shower. Too many hours practically living in and out of (e:chicoschica)'s Subaru during the past two days.

I will say one thing: you can get a lot of apartment in Buffalo for your money. And one other thing: I can see why (e:jenks) likes Spot Coffee for people watching. Wish I had more time to sit and watch the world go by... but I was busy seeing apartments.

Surprisingly, given the WTF? kind of reaction of e-:strippers to Rand Avenue, it's a nice street. Nice in a residential, tree-lined sort of way. Short walking distance to Delaware Park, a Feel-Rite, Bagel Jay's and a couple of other businesses. And a slightly longish walk to Hertel. Apartments there are pretty spacious, and there's one we might end up taking. (Although it has a front porch that we would have to share with the upstairs tenant...ugh). Also a place on Tillinghast that's pretty nice.

North of the park feels almost like suburbs compared with Elmwood area though. We've got four contenders south of Delaware Park:

  • Gates Circle, above the Curves for Women: great looking 2nd floor apartment, secure garage parking, heat included in rent. Two doors south of Hutch's. But as Nikki from (damn, forgot the restaurant--little diner joint on west side of Elmwood with outdoor seating) said, would you actually walk anywhere from there?

  • Hodge, a half block W of Delaware, third floor apt mentioned in earlier post... big heating bills and weird parking restrictions that would force us to do some jockeying on a parked-up street near the hospital. Gorgeous apartment except for the kitchen which is still OK.

  • W. Utica near the corner of Norwood, a very nice and well-maintained fully updated apartment. Security system, exclusive off street parking off a common alleyway, great new appliances. First floor, though, closer to west side, and some road noise from W. Utica including the buses.

  • St. James Place, a block or so in (one way street) -- the dark horse candidate. Best address of the 4 in my estimation, just a great street. Place needs work though. New homeowners and a scary kitchen, which blows b/c we like to cook. Some rooms painted wacky colors (we could change them if we're willing to paint). Old appliances, on-street parking only. Beautiful front porch.

Knowing what you know about Buffalo, how would you rank these? Any thoughts? Let 'er rip, (e:peeps).

And as always, we are most grateful for your feedback.

P.S. Drove by 444 Linwood before I left town. Looks like a nice house but never did make any arrangements to see the inside...


UPDATE: Many thanks to everyone who provided feedback...we're still deciding (Gates Circle, W Utica, Rand, or wait) and I'll post again soon with a complete report for all of you (e:peeps) who just can't get enough of the strange NJ-Buffalo saga that is unfolding...
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