Perfectly Positioned in Princeton, Part Two

Updated March 23, 2007.

March 11, 2007

City Lights Diner, where the waitress seemed upset when I paid exact change for my $4 to-go order. Did she expect a tip on a to-go order???

Had to gas up out on Long Island, in Nassau County, where the prices were a good 40+ cents more expensive than NJ, and I noticed, for the first time, that the stations out there are all full service only. Was that new? I had been under the impression that only NJ and Oregon did that.

Aw... a pigeon using the crosswalk. Isn't that the cutest thing?

After meeting my cousin and family in White Plains for lunch (very late, around 3:30), I arrived back in the City around 6:00. As much as the time change had irritated me, it meant an extra hour of light, and I was able to get better photogaphs of all my recently-visited stores.

I left Manhattan too late and cut my time too close, and by the time I found the West New York store, after many wrong turns, I had run out of time to reach Roseland by 10:00. But that was fine, because I decided to simply hang around in the area until morning for a good photo and then head to Roseland. First I needed food, and so I went up the hill into Guttenberg. Along Park Ave I found Sabor Cubano. A good thing about these Latin restaurants, they tend to stay open later. It was almost 11:00, and the kitchen was closed, but they still had ropa vieja, rice, and beans. For $5 it was a great deal, especially since I had plenty left over for lunch.

March 10, 2007

More starbucking around a Scrabble tournament.

March 9, 2007

Manhattan Mall security, Notorious B.I.G., Angelika The Lives of Others

March 3, 2007

Mad starbucking + scrabbling.

March 2, 2007

Light rain throughout the night, and with the cloud cover the sky lightened and woke me later than I had hoped, 6:57. Well, I thought, at least I'll go well-rested into my Toronto blitz.

Collegetown Bagel Express

Popped into Commons again to say hi to a partner, then rushed off to Collegetown because I had official transitioned from ahead-of-schedule to

Holy cow, was that a beaver crossing the road? I've never seen a real-live beaver before!!!

Rainy, rainy, rainy in Syracuse, which was disappointing because I would not be able to get the photo I wanted of Armory Square. Farther north, on the way to Watertown, I got snow in varying degrees.

Tried to save time in Watertown by ordering pizza before I went into the Starbucks, but I ended up wasting time because the location plotted on my map had closed, but the # had been transferred to the new location, thus fooling me. Grrr...

At the border had to talk to customs, but at least no inspection. Pitched my movie to the agent as much as I could. Farther north snow had beeen falling long enough to accumulate

Oh shit!!! CBC reports a gas shortage in Toronto due to some sort of supply problem. Crap. Better fill up at every station inbound. Pulled over at the first opportunity, in Brockville, and crossed my fingers.

Esso in Kingston out, but Petro-Canada had.

Peterborough was a pretty store--wished I had time to stay the night and photograph in the morning, but since I was running way late, that might cost me Toronto stores.

From Peterborough the most efficient overall route was to go directly to Newmarket. Unfortunately, that store is in a mall, and wouldn't open 'til 7:30, which wouldn't give me much time to visit Toronto stores in the morning. Oy, but these mall stores are irking the heck out of me. READ MY LIPS! NO NEW MALL STORES!!!

Woohoo, found gas in Toronto!!!

Queen & Logan was closed, so I called it a night. Took me a while to find suitable parking because the neighborhood streets had signs prohibiting parking past 12:01 AM except by permit. after a while I found a suitable industrial street a few blocks over. As I changed I saw what appeared to be a racoon in the distance. I decided I would try to catch it and keep it with me through the night for companionship and warmth, but the little sucker was fast. I almost caught it's tale once, but I lost my balance on the ice and he got away.

March 1, 2007

For the second weekend in a row I embarked on a mad starbucking and Scrabbling race against time, but with many more Starbucks on the line, around 40 between Ontario, New York, and a couple of brand-spanking good ones in PA.

About 10 miles from Scranton on I-380 an electronic sign reported "WINTER STORM WARNING." "Aw, fuck," I thought. I had forgotten to check the weather. Stupid, stupid, stupid!

I managed to beat the traffic out of Princeton and amazingly did not hit any slowdowns all the way to Scranton--120 miles in just over two hours. That allowed me to take a nice photo of Montage and then get over to Clarks Summit before the sun set completely. Unfortunately, the barista I spoke to was not forthcoming with the requisite sample. First an incredulous/puzzled look, then a pseudo-impatient look, but still the sample cup a hair short. I asked for the manager, but he was tied up in the back with opening-day stuff. After a while I decided I was burning too much time and paid $1.48 for a few drops of coffee. I tried to leave before the manager came out from the back so I wouldn't waste any time, but he caught me and I had to answer questions. In all that time, the sun had complete set and my photo was crap.

I debated whether to hang out in Bingamton to photo the store in the morning, but despite being on "Front" street, it was just a strip mall, so I moved onto Ithaca.

I had just eaten an apple and still had a banana and juice, but I could not resist the name "That Burrito Place". Pretty good, but the chicken was very spicy, just like the lineup of three attractive college-age females preparing my order.

First Collegetown, then the Commons store where the staff knew of me and was very friendly... but somehow managed to dump out my coffee from Collegetown that I had been saving to drink throughout the night. It was okay, though, because I definitely wanted to stay the night and get some good photos in the morning. Additionally, the mall store in nearby Syracuse would not open 'til 8:00, so there was no point in leaving 'til around 7:00.

Even at my low speed, I was not able to read the parking restriction sign visible upon entering the Ithaca city limits. I asked the baristas, and, as I suspected, there was no 24-hr Wal-Mart in town. But there was a 24-hr Wegmans, and that did me fine, thankee sai.

February 26, 2007

When I woke up around 9:07, I had not quite slept eight hours. I tried to go back to sleep, but I quickly decided that I couldn't, not after three days of getting up around 7:00 AM. As I pulled away

February 25, 2007

After an unremarkable performance, I rushed away from Scrabble so that I could reach the new Starbucks at the Palisades Center before 8:30. I did not realize it, but I had an additional worry. As I approached Kingston I looked ahead to the Poughkeepsie store and realized it is in the Galleria. I quickly called, and, sure enough, it closed at 6:00. AARRGHH!!! It was almost 5:30, and to make matters worse traffic had started backing up a mile or two before the exit. I was loathe to get back on the Thruway just to sit in traffic, so I rushed in and out of Kingston and set off for Poughkeepsie anyway. It was about 5:46 when I called and asked the supervisor to set aside a small coffee or me, outside the gate. He seemed in a hurry to get me off the phone, and wasn't going to help me at first, but perhaps the sense of urgency in my voice convinced him otherwise. As I continued onward, I worried that he would change his mind and shaft me. But thankfully, after an agonizingly slow drive along US-9W and US-9, I made it into the mall, located the Starbucks after asking about four people, and found the coffee. Whew!

Stopped at the first Italian restaurnat I saw off the highway, and then it was rushing once more, not just to reach Palisades in time, but to knock off as many more stores as I could in northern New Jersey. I thought I had plenty of time, and I hit Palisades Center just past 8:00. By the time I found the store it was 8:15, and I was surprised to see the gate halfway closed. I went in, of course, and the barista said they were closed. "What!" I exclaimed, and protested that I had been told 8:30. The barista continued to insist they were closed, but after some cajoling I convince her to let me take a DoubleShot. Unfortunately, all I had was a five, and she was not able to give me change, and I didn't have the heart to ask her to break it from the tip jar.

Westwood was not a problem, but then when I reached Clifton I also found it closed. Damn, the third one that night. And I had called to find out if they closed at 10:00, and the barista said they probably were. More cajoling, and I managed to get away with another DoubleShot. Whew!

Backtracked to Little Ferry and vented my frustration at how the night had gone.

February 22, 2007

Left work in the afternoon for a Friday-to-Sunday Scrabble tournament with the hope of visiting seven or eight new Starbucks in Montreal, plus Vermont and upstate NY.

February 21, 2007

Busy busy day. Radio interview scheduled in-studio down in Bala Cynwyd for 8:30. I suspected that traffic would be a nightmare at that area, so I woke up shortly after 3:00 AM and arrived at some metered parking spaces conveniently located in front of the Bala Cynwyd store around 5:00 AM. The interview went well, and as I headed north on Route 1 and saw the miles-long backup southbound I was very glad I hadn't had to deal with that.

And of course, later that afternoon I sped back down to Philly to Temple University for a screening of Starbucking. I was wholly uncertain of how many people would show, and I hoped the hours I had spent putting up flyers and the two radio interviews would bring some people out. Only about 16 showed, and a pair of older ladies left early, and I wasn't sure how to feel about that. One way to look at it was that it didn't bode well that a free screening couldn't draw more people. Made me worry more about Nashville and just how much money we would lose on that four-walling deal.

February 19, 2007

Took me a couple of hours to get to just 5 or 6 stores in the morning with the mini flyers--it's just time-consuming work. I finally had to head into work, and I crossed my fingers that my efforts would increase the audience on Wednesday.

At work I had a bit of a scare when Bryant Simon, the professor setting up the Temple screening, told me he had not received a DVD of the movie yet. I quickly scrambled to get ahold of Bill so he could overnight another copy to Bryant and one to me because mine was cracked. A firm believer in redundancy, I also tried to arrange a copy to be sent either by my cousin, Howard, or my parents (on videotape).

February 18, 2007

Got up at 6:42 and headed over to Landsdowne. Chatted with Amy as long as I could and then rushed off to the other two nearby stores and then clear across the metroplex to Annapolis where I was disappointed to find that the West Street store is not the one in the historic inn. I'd been looking forward to that store, but it hasn't opened yet.

I detoured from a direct route to my Scrabble tournament for some very tedious work, stopping at as many stores as I could to distribute a flyer about the free screening at Temple. After winning the tournament I continued on, getting to all of the Center City stores except the mall one.

I thought about trying to get to the remaining stores and slipping the mini flyer under the door, but I decided I'd be more effective putting them on the board myself. So rather than heading back up to the house, I stayed at the Neshaminy Service Plaza. The temperature dropped well below 20 degrees, so I had to run the heat more than usual.

February 17, 2007

With a little bit of time to spare, I took the opportunity of being down in the Hampton Roads to reshoot a bunch of long-outstanding photos. One of these was next to Pop's Diner Co., which I had made a mental note to try out a year or two earlier. Not great, but not bad. I'd go back if I was in need of a biscuit.

I finally returned to the original Williamsburg store for a better photograph, and, amazingly, I had another bad customer service experience experience. The previous time, the barista who answered the phone couldn't seem to give me good directions and ended up snapping at me. Later, I suspect she called the police when she saw me photographing the store. This time, the barista who answered also couldn't give me good directions, and in fact did not even know which direction Williamsburg was. She ended up hanging up on my while I was trying to get clarification. When I reached the store, I went in to ask for the DM's contact info, but they weren't even sure who there DM was, let alone being able to provide the contact info. Unbelievable. Maybe Starbucks needs to cut back to just one store in the area, one with professional staff.

Nacho Mama's in the very cool Carytown neighborhood.

February 9, 2007

Puerto Rico trip.

February 7, 2007

Oh, dear. After corresponding with several fans and exchanging some e-mails, I have come to the conclusion that I might have missed a store. Englewood, Route 4. It closed, sometime in 2006, and unless I just accidentally deleted the photo, I never got to it, because I confused it with the original Englewood store. Not good. I hope that if I track down some of the original baristas from that store and have them serve me coffee at the location where the Starbucks used to be, that the prophecy will still be fulfilled.

February 4, 2007

Very strange dream, a first, in which I was involved in a bank robbery plot, and the ringleader, or at least one of the leaders, was my father. What was the significance of that, I wonder?

Took until 7:37 to feel like I had slept enough, but with my engine already warm and the windows defrosted from running the heater three or four times (two is the norm during a night), I was able to get moving right away and soon reached Hingam, after a stop at a conveniently-located Whole Foods just down the street, where I bought some four different varieties of orange/tangerine juice (Bolthouse Farms, Naked, 365 (in-store brand), and one more I can't remember).

Next stop, Boston proper, and a drive through the tunnel o' death.

Oh... my... god... it is so cold in downtown Boston. My hands are literally freezing every time I take a photograph, and I just happend to decide to reshoot some stores since I had the time to spare. Ouch!!!

I was trying to make a fan appearance, but I had gotten confused and though the barista who e-mailed me worked at the new store on Summer St., but he actually worked at 62 Boylston. When I was informed of my error, I called Boylston and asked them to call the barista and tell him I would drop by in about 30 minutes. I actually spent about an hour reshooting most of the downtown Boston stores, but when I returned to 62 Boylston he was not there.

Crooked Still

Interesting. The toll plaza on the Maine Turnpike accepts Canadian bills--I had never noticed that before.

At the Bangor Mall I managed to shoot a heck of a lot of frames of the kiosk in an effort to get a good one, but finally, after making about three passes past me, the security guard, female and not very assertive, told me photography was disallowed, so I left and went to pick up the pizza I had ordered from Uno.

Despite all my rushing, I did not manage to reach Dover before nightfall, but what was worse was that, after Concord, I calculated I did not have time to visit Worcester and Springfield and Southington. After Worcester I could definitely reach Springfield before 10:00, but since I had to skip a store anyway, it made more sense to visit Southington since it was along my direct route back to Princeton. Thing was, if I reached Southington by 10:00, it would be just barely, and it would suck to miss both stores. I decided to take my chances, and I hauled ass west on the Mass Pike, put just $7 worth of gas in the tank (to save time), and hauled ass down I-84 to reach the store just minutes before it closed.

I still needed to get food, and down the street I spotted a pizzeria with an open sign. But the door was locked. But the sign said 11:00 PM. The lone worker ignored me, so I called the number. I told him that I just wanted the two slices of pizza I could see in the case. He/she wouldn't sell them to me. Bastard. I had to settle for a yucky roast beef sandwich and chips from the gas station.

In Bridgeport I was surprised to learn that Ruby's, or Ruby II's, or something like that, was an all-nude club, the only one in the area I think the bouncer said. But the cover was just $5, inexpensive for an all-nude club, and the beers were cheap. On the other hand, the dancers weren't that great looking, even the two imports from central Pennsylvania. One difference from most clubs--for a lap dance I had to purchase a ticket from the bartender, but just one. Additional dances were worked out with the dancer.

I was torn between driving all the way out to my rest area on the NJ Turnpike where I could sleep in peace or trying to find a quiet place to sleep in downtown Scarsdale so I could visit that store in the morning. There was a Mobil station on the Hutchinson, and I hoped to sleep there, but it was not a proper service area, and the sign limited parking to 15 minutes. I kept driving and debating, and the decision ended up being made for me when I screwed up and missed my exit from the Hutchinson. I didn't feel like doubling back.

February 3, 2007

At the Farmingdale store, the supervisor seemed to think she had heard about my project somewhere, but she also seemed to think that I had given up. What??? Where the heck did she read that??? I will never give up!!!

But I had to admit Starbucks was making it more and more difficult, and I was finding myself having to skip more and more stores on any given trip. Despite having gotten up at 7:00 (after just 3 1/2 hours sleep), Farmingdale and Bayport were all I had time for--I had to skip Northport. I lost some time getting a bagel sandwich, then juice, then a wrong turn that took me into Sayville, and I arrived at the tournament 10 minutes early. That sucked--I could have made it. But I wasn't too worried about missing a store on Long Island, as I would have to return soon enough. It was more important that I made it to Bangor after the tournament.

But the first step was to reach the Dartmouth Mall in MA before it closed at 9:00 (or was it 9:30), so immediately upon finishing my final game at 4:15 I asked Ginger for my meager winnings and rushed off. I had already called the manager and explained myself and asked her to have the baristas save some coffee for me, which gave me a window of opportunity as long as the mall doors stayed open. It was not snowing, which would speed my trip, so I decided I had time to stop at the downtown Scarsdale store and get a sunset photo. Unfortunately immediately upon exiting I-95 onto the Hutchinson River Parkway traffic slowed to a crawl. Stamford and Dartmouth were more important, so I exited and took US-1 back to I-95.

As I expected, getting in and out of the Stamford Town Center took a bit of time, but I saw neither snow nor delays the rest of the way. My stop in Waterford went smoothly, and I made it to the Dartmouth Mall at 8:40, with plenty of time to spare.

UnfortunatlEy, Hingam closed at 9:00, which meant I needed to camp out somewhere. I lucked out though, and rather than having to find a neighbor that was quiet as early as 10:00 PM on a Saturday night, I found a service plaza in Bridgewater. I found this unusual, because service plazas are usually along toll roads, the MA 24 is not.

February 2, 2007

Received my Starbucking t-shirt on Wednesday. Since I only ordered one, I can't wear it every day, so I waited until Friday. Do not really like the way it came out, so I might not order any more. Would have preferred to take the design to a t-shirt place ourselves rather than having CafePress do it. But it's not entirely in my hands.

Visited my first store, East Brunswick, wearing the Starbucking shirt. Not sure if the positive reaction had anything to do with the movie and the shirt, but two of the baristas were mighty pleased to meet me anyway.

After 3 1/2 weeks in Princeton, I finally headed up to NYC. At my first stop, a new Staten Island store, the supervisor's reaction was much more subdued (by which I mean disinterested). Of course, I suspect it takes a lot more to impress New Yorkers, and these SI folk in general. After all, they got the Wu-Tang Clan.

And the pain caused by mall/Barnie's stores continued--Manhattan Mall closed at 9:00, and the Macy's balcony store at 9:30. I hit Manhattan (by mistakenly taking the tunnel from Brooklyn) at 9:15, and I made a mad dash up to the Macy's. Right at 9:27 I parked in a "questionably legal" 'space" right in front of the store and asked everybody I saw where the Starbucks was. They had dumped the coffee, but the supervisor gave me an espresso. That was better, actually, because I was able to down it immediately and focus on finding an angle from which to surreptitiously take the photo. More dangerous than in a mall or regular Macy's--this one is crawling with security. I got my shot and rushed back down to ground level, keenly aware of every guard, especially the ones talking into their communicators.

More rushing to 21st & 5th, and I made it with about 7 minutes to spare after passing it up the first time and having to drive many blocks to get back around.

And, after wasting time on Craig's List (but much less than 24 hours), I made a final rush out to Queens to the Sunnyside store that closed at midnight. Then, after failing to find any fresh strawberries, I headed out to Farmingdale and found a quiet neighborhood to await the morning.

February 1, 2007

Curses! The curse of the mall locations continues. Three of them, in Stamford, Dartmouth (MA), and Bangor, with limited hours, look to make my weekend in New England logistically difficult.

January 21, 2007

So it didn't help that the barista I spoke to, the second one actually, could not give me good directions to the Starbucks. Actually, I just wanted her to tell me where the fucking store is. But she kept trying to give me directions, which wouldn't work, because she didn't know where I was or which direction I was headed. She told me to make a right on Mundy, and when I said I didn't think that was right (it wasn't), she lost her patience went to transfer me to someone else. I didn't want to waste any more time with bad directions, so I hung up and tried to find it on my own. It was a left on Mundy,

January 20, 2007

6:58, still sleepy, but needed to make the most of the weekend, so I turned on my laptop to figure out how my Starbucks I could detour to. The only one that was really a possibility was the Ohio Valley Mall. It was an 80-mile detour, which did not really make sense, since St. Clairesville is along a major interstate that I would be likely to drive in the future, but because the mall has limited hours, there was always the chance that during my next trip through the area I'd have to skip the store. Truly, mall stores are the bane of my project.

I finally decided that I didn't want to put those extra miles on the new car, nor cut my arrival in Hudson so close, especially with snow in the parking lot. Thankfully, the turnpike was free of snow, and I was able to move quickly without losing any time.

Oy, but I hate these fake/new streets in these new developments! While on the phone trying to get directions to Massillon Marketplace Drive, I passed up my exit, and the next one off the Ohio Turnpike put me many miles out of my way. Still, the upside of not having detoured to St. Clairsville was that I had the time to stop for breakfast. My route to Massilon took me through Canton, and the first place I passed was the Sunshine Cafe, where it was a challenge to get the heavily-accented waitress to understand what I was asking (if they had biscuits).

January 19, 2007

Left work at 3:05 so I could meet a fan up in Bridgewater who had e-mailed me and was leaving at 4:00. After a stop at the coolly-named Jimmy Jack's for a cheesesteak, I barely made it in time.

Ugh, nasty. Because of the placement of the cup holders in the Accent, I dipped the edge of my long-sleeved shirt in the coffee and had to suck it up. Still had the taste of laundry detergent in the fabric, and let me tell you that the combination is not flavoricious.

Had been away from New Jersey too long to remember all the traffic patterns, and besides that the Allentown market was new to Starbucks, so I don't think I took I-78 west during the rush hour much, if at all. I had chosen my route in part so I could meet that fan at Bridgewater, but also to avoid heavy traffic on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Well, I-78 was not much better. Took a while, but the jam finally cleared, and I was able to reach the first new Allentown store in time for a halfway decent photo.

Okay. Strong winds + light, light car = bad news. Must... keep... both... hands... on... wheel.

Holy shit that was a close on! Not too far west of Allentown I was following a pickup doing 70-80 MPH when I saw the silouhette of a vehicle on the right shoulder and then its lights come on. I slowed down, moved to the right-hand lane, closed my laptop, and turned off my interior light. I don't know if the cop lost track of me or if he was just gunning for the pickup to begin with, but it was with great relief that I watched him pass me by and zero in on the truck. Whew! Close one. And the thing is, I had just been dealing with an auto insurance issue related to my last few run of tickets, and hoping that I could make it a whole year without one. Of course, the near miss wouldn't have even occurred had it not been for the idiotic speed limit of 55 that I'd been seeing through out Pennsylvania. Truly, PA DOT needs to suck my dick.

wind, dizziness

Next up was Hershey, and I was reminded of my youth, when the family took a tour of the Hershey factory.

Barely made Somerset because they were closing early due to the weather.

Summit Diner

Benadryl, New Stanton service plaza

January 14, 2007

Another blah morning. Only this time, with about five hours to make it up to Philly for Scrabble, I did not have the luxury of killing time waiting for the sun to come out. On the other hand, the tempearature was still unseasonably warm, while people in the midwest were getting really bad ice.

In contrast to the previous day's lackadaisical stroll through Pennsylvania, Sunday morning's theme was rush, rush, rush.

Had to reshoot Hillendale first, and then over to Plaza del Mercado. But somehow I got turned around and started heading away from DC, not towards it--lost at least 10 precious minutes. The trip down to DC was, as usual, slow, even on a Sunday morning, because those darn speed limits are way too low, and those DC cops are too power-hungry to mess with. When I finally reached the one new DC store that was open, the partners seemed determined to frustrate my efforts to get out of there quickly, and it took all my willpower not to scream at them to stop fucking around and give me the coffee that I was trying to pay for. I seem to have some of the worst starbucking experiences in DC.

The clock was ticking as I headed east towards the freeway, and I could hardly have gone faster along US-50 to Bowie. Actually, I could have--I was actually lagging behind some cars that must have been doing 85-90.

January 13, 2007

Ugh. My first free day for starbucking back on the East Coast, and I woke up to a sky that was utterly ungaschlungaschlish. I, too, felt a bit unga myself, in all likelihood residual caffeine withdrawal. But with the Neshaminy (Trevose) store nearby, my caffeine deficit could be soon corrected. The overcast sky could not.

The combination of a hazy head plus a phone call at just the wrong moment caused me to miss that first exit off the turnpike, and I had to drive 16 miles round/trip to the next one and back. I wasn't much fazed by that mistake though. Given my proximity to Philadelphia, and a likely the opportunity to revisit all the new stores for better photos in the near future, the overcast sky had the effect of sapping my Starbucking will.

However, being recognized on site by the manager at the first store and greeted with general enthusiasm by he and the other partners sure helped perk up my day!

Holy fizzle-drizzle! I was recognized on sight two times in a row. First Neshaminy, then Montgomeryville (or Lansdale?). That had never happened before.

Holy, cow! I spent about 5 minutes at the Broomhall store sending a reporter photos for an article and brushing my teeth, then posing for photos, and in that time the store volume just exploded to the point that cars were waiting for parking spaces. I knew I should have taken the photo right away. But with intensified interest in the photography of thes stores, I decided to hang around a bit and see what developed. Sure enough, as has happened before, several spaces in front of the store cleared out within a matter of minutes, allowing me a better, if not ideal, shot. It never ceased to amaze me how a Starbucks could be slammed in one instant and then nearly empty out the next. I wonder if chaos theory can be used to predict Starbucks rushes?

As I drove around the greater Philly suburbs, now fully awake, I felt a continued warm glow over being back on the East Coast. My only concern was that bug that they had handed me on my first day at work. After two days working on it, I knew more about the problem, but I had no solution.

A wait here, a chat with the baristas there, and getting to the Philly area stores took longer than I thought. I had to



pulling teerh Chesterbrook , Agency Langley, 703 645 5600

Longview, "when you have been opened"

Streets & Trips screwed me again. I was in a great hurry to meet Jill, and it plotted the Pikesville store waaaay off of where it really is. As a result my route was so incredibly suboptimal it isn't even funny. My delay was made worse by the fact that Saturday Baltimore traffic seemed heavier than I expected. This was not helped by the fact that speed limits on Baltimore city streets are lower than they would be in another city, and that maybe part of the reason for that was that the quality of many streets is shit. Never really cared in my old $4000 Civic, but I was pissed to have to drive a brand new car on these crap roads.

Finally reached the store, and had to wait for two customers. The kid at the reg, hung up, rudely told me

January 10, 2007

Not an hour had passed after my arrival at Siemens when it began to snow. And this after I had been hearing for days on the news about how the northeast was experiencing unusually warm temperatures. But I guess the news was right, because the snow lasted less than an hour and was followed by bright, bright sun for the rest of the day.

During lunch I ran some errands and reacquainted myself with the area (Plainsboro, Princeton, Princeton Junction, who can keep track of these municipal boundaries in New Jersey). I should put quotes aroiund "reacquainted" because I saw so many new developments in the span of a short 4-mile drive. I seemed to remember that the area was pretty well developed when I work there in '03/04, but I guess there was a lot more open land than I though. Well, it's gone now, much of it, thanks to those greedy unecological bastards.

Close to 3:00 my late night and early rise took its toll, and I had to take the car out to the back of the parking lot and nap for about an hour; otherwise I couldn't have focused on the problem at hand. Yes, they had actually given me a bug to fix right away (usually the first day is spent setting up a machine and installing software), and one of the programmers actually asked what the chances were I'd have it fixed for the next day's build. By 5:30 it looked clear that I was not likely to find the source of the error, and my mind wandered towards thinking of what films I needed to catch up on. Seeing that The Good Shepherd was playing reminded me of the smaller, less-succesful, The Good German. Unsurprisingly, it was only playing in New York City and Philadelphia, and it would end in Philly on Thursday. That was reason enough to change my mind about Wednesday-nigght Scrabble club and hit the road.

I had to postpone taking a look at a room I was thinking of renting, which would mean another night at a rest area when the temperature was dropping to 24, but that's not anything I'm not used to.

No idea southbound rush-hour traffic on US-1 had gotten worse or not, but it was plenty bad, over 20 minutes to drive the 9 miles to the freeway.

As I drove down to Philly, taste-buds eagerly anticipating Tradewinds, I felt a sense of satisfaction over being back in the area. Part of the reason for that was WHYY and XPN. I just wishteded that XPN had a stronger signal, to reach Princeton without so much static.

Finally, Tradewinds!!! Car was a mess, and I was in a hurry for Scrabble and didn't feel like rearranging things, so I just bought one case. But that was enough for me to taste the sweetness. Oh, the sweet, sweet, extra sweet sweetness!

Interesting. Slightly modified label on the bottle.

I was surprised to pay just $6 for the film after paying around $10 in California. It was a Wednesday night special, the low price.

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