Chris Baus

Back from vacation

I had a nice time on vacation. I went home to Western New York to visit the folks and some friends. It is the first time I've been back home in the summer in as long as I can remember, but getting in touch with my roots isn't easy while living thousands of miles away with only a few weeks vacation.

I spent so much energy trying to escape the rust belt that I've forgotten some of its virtues, and my last visit in a February snow storm didn't help. It is much more verdant in the summer than I remember. And the weather was pleasant. Although some parts of the local economy seem improved to my eyes, generally Western New York is still an economic black hole. When was the last time you heard of someone moving to Buffalo? Exactly.

I rented a bike and rode some of the lazy country roads and trails that I used to frequent growing up and meet up with a group ride at the local bike shop. The same folks who sold me skis in high school still own and run the shop, and they have done a good job promoting cycling in the area.

The cycling in Western New York is underrated. I dare say the road biking may be better than Northern California if you can live with out the soul crushing climbs. The hills are quaint compared to those in Tahoe and the Bay Area.

I also met up with Kathryn in NYC who was staying with her sister in Park Slope. It was hotter than hell, but still NY feels like a real metropolis compared to SF. My favorite part of NY are the subways. While the condition of the trains is very good these days, some of the infrastructure outside of Manhattan appears to be barely holding together. The subway is intriguingly modern and archaic, and I love zipping around subterraining New York on a network that used to be run by multiple competing companies. It is amazing it works as well as it does. I wish Muni could compare.

We saw a short play about making a TV show about making a play. While I'd call it a post-post-modern or meta-meta play, I think NYers would term it a deconstruction of reality TV. Deconstructing seems a common pastime in NY. As a software developer, I'm more of a constructionist myself which fits these post-post-modern times.

Kathryn left a day before I did, so I decided to take a walking tour of Williamsburg which is the closest approximation to SF's Mission district in NY -- fixies, burritos, and all. Ok I got a bit lost and ended up in some areas that were less than comfortable. This rarely happens to me in SF, and I'm not sure if my sense of the area was valid.

On another meta note, I disabled the comments on my blog. I really hated to do this, but my simple captcha method, which until recently worked flawlessly, is no longer a sufficient deterrent -- the spammers got the best of me.