Friday, February 24, 2012

Ominous Albany

When I think of ominous winter scenes, I generally am reminded of being in southern Vermont, high up in the mountains, with no one around for miles as the snow piled up outside.  I exaggerate only slightly.

Other scenes in Vermont may look familiar this winter, and are just as creepy:

Vermont in April 2009.  No snow, lots of haze.  Taken from my parents' deck.
Overall, I don't think of Albany as being a particularly ominous place, even during the autumn, although this can change during an Aqua Ducks Haunted Duck tour.

On the other, the lack of snow and cold this winter is certainly an ominous sign.  As was the lack of autumn in autumn.  (Of course, the lack of snow will change today, as a big storm moves into the Northeast.  Why?  Well I'm driving to Vermont, of course.)

Sometimes, the sky gets just that kind of eerie that makes for a nice afternoon, especially if it can be viewed from inside, on the couch, with a movie and a nice mocha latte.  The other day, there was just one of those skies.

These pictures have been taken over the course of the last couple of years.

Taken as the bus was coming to take me home, hence the blurriness. 
Taken from my apartment a few minutes later, which is always an ominous action in and of itself, as I have to stick my iPhone completely out my third story window in order to get this particular shot.
Taken from the 3rd floor of the Massry Center for the Arts at The College of Saint Rose.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Albany Stop Lights: The 12-second grace period

Drivers are douchebags.  This is something we all know.  When you get behind the wheel, you're a douchebag.  Instantly.  Admit it.  Sometimes I rent cars, and when I get behind the wheel, I'm a douchebag, too.  It's just how it is.

However, there is one aspect of driver douchebaggery that routinely grinds my gears:  the absurd grace period that every Albany driver assumes they have when approaching a stop light.  The grace period is generally about 2-3 cycles of any given light.  And someone recently put together a wonderful five-minute video about it:

The first segment of the video is actually taken at Lark and Lancaster Streets, otherwise known as the intersection at which I live for another month.  And the site of the gorgeous Trinity Methodist Church, the choir of which I am a member.  It moves to Washington Park, then to the intersection of Madison and New Scotland Avenues, and finally to Chapel Street between Columbia Street and Sheridan Avenue.  Pay close attention and you can see some of Albany's finest running red lights, as well.

A really great description of the impact of this type of selfish, immature and dangerous behavior can be found on the Albany Times Union Blog, from which this video was taken.  Additionally, it proposes some really good, cheap, easy solutions that work psychologically, such as removing traffic lights on some of the most quiet streets in Center Square and Washington Park.

Here's the URL for that post:  Normally I only link to something, but I want to make sure everyone gets to this site.  It's important.

Especially if you're one of those douchebags.