greg (grysar) wrote,

Joyful Vacation

Ive been having great fun up here in upstate NY. It started with my first flight since Sept. 11, I wasnt afraid as I hold a personal sense of vigilantism, one likely common among flyers, that I believe ends the problem of hijacking. The government disagrees, and thus a forty minute wait to get through security. I was also perhaps stupidly surprised to see the Army or National Guard Troops carried full rifles. Id report what type they were but despite my love of FPSes, years as a boy scout, a few Clancey novels, and any aspirations to machismo, I dont know jack about guns.
The terminal itself was strangely vacant though, and the line at the gate was nonexistent. I was pleasantly surprised to see a security hole had not just been seen by my devious mind. Southwests plastic boarding passes are now accompanied by ones baring the travelers name; sensibly matching ID is required to board. It is of course still possible to bribe or to jump a traveler for there boarding pass and counterfeit a named pass, but this is far more complicated.
When I deplaned I realized another change would be coming. If security continues to only let ticket passengers through, the tradition of seeing off voyagers and greeting the homeward bound at the gate ends. Now of course hugs and tears can take place and lais can still be handed out just outside of the metal detectors. Perhaps this wont even be a huge cultural change. However, this means our airports, with their spacious gate-side waiting areas and the panacea of mini-shops are obsolete! Major renovations are going to be required, not just to let the travelers beloved sit, but for the lifeblood of concessions revenue. There is investment potential here, but sadly Im too busy to figure out the right companies for the job.
Albany airport was attractive, but not as lovely as the city itself. My parents and I took a hike through the capital and I was quite charmed by much of the architecture. I found much to appreciate in multilevel birdhouses, streets purporting to be a little Village, and the eclectic mix of buildings. The key note came in a vaguely European mix of styles near the end of the walk. Empire Plaza, a nicely modern complex, which was adjacent to the Capitol itself, a mix of several old world styles that aspired being to castle. I quite approved.
In our laidback wanderings we also visited a fun tourist trap that could easily find its place in Sam & Max or American Gods. It was the worlds largest kaleidoscope with appropriate attached attractions at which tourists could be relieved of the burden of cash. There was what looked to be an appropriately kitschy museum, but my mom and I had limited time, so we pursued the kaleidoscope store. It had a myriad of them, with most practical combinations of mirrors and focus points. My favorite was one which oddly enough resemble the X33 but when looking in one could generate images reminiscent of rose windows.
The show itself was in the old silo that is the worlds largest kaleidoscope (which perhaps I do dishonor by not bolding or capitalizing). The mirrors made a equilateral triangle, perhaps eight feet to a side and at least fifteen feet long. The seating was remarkable, it wasnt seating at all, but a series of back rests and head supports that each individual could adjust. The effect was to allow the bunch of us to look up in reasonable comfort. I lack the language to properly describe it in brief, but ask me in person and Ill diagram it. The show was entirely appropriate, a scroll of images was projected onto the far end of the triangle. The affect was to generate what appeared to be a sphere composed of many triangles some distance away. The scrolling images were vaguely patriotic and historical, and not so uptight to exclude a marijuana leaf when depicting the 1960s. There was also an odd mix of music that was exactly what I expected and fun. They accomplished their mission of relieving my mother of some money quite to my satisfaction. I do realize that as a 21 year old I really should pay for myself, but Ive promised ample bounty if Im ever rich, I figure it averages out.
More stories available on request, such as the one Shimin will get on a postcard.
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