Southern Man

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Live From New York - It's Sunday Night!

Thanks to the miracle of modern transportation technology, Southern Man finds himself at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, for a five-day workshop on using Alice and Java in introductory-level computer science courses, so any posts this week will be from the Empire State.

I made it in fairly early in the afternoon, only to find that there was no one here for the usual arrival meet-and-greet, or to even give us our dorm room assignments and keys. Fortunately, the dorm rooms were open, so the four of us that were here promptly staked out the best ones - "best" in this context meaning "having windows with screens so we could open them at night without being devoured by the local insect population." Not many rooms qualified, so we then went about the building and swiped screens from wherever we could find them so that all four of our rooms could be upgraded to "best" status. When we did finally figure out who in Campus Security had the actual room assignments and keys, we promptly re-arranged things such that we could keep the rooms we had (that is, the "best" rooms), as opposed to the rooms to which we were actually assigned (which were not the "best" rooms). Security was less than happy about this, but we browbeat them into submission. They learn early that university professors are generally harmless critters but you should be careful around them anyway, especially when encountered in their native habitat and running in packs.

The next order of business was food and drink, and not necessarily in that order. One of our number had a rental car and was quickly promoted to "everyone's best friend." We headed into town (only a few blocks away, as it turned out) only to find that at 6:00 PM on a Sunday in Hamilton, New York, pretty much everything is closed. Apparently the tiny downtown lives on the largely absent college population, and the local pubs were no exception. We found out that one favorite watering hole, the Stone Jug, shuts down completely at the end of May and re-opens in mid-August. The others, if open at all, were on greatly reduced summer hours. Devastated by the possibility of a refreshment-free week, we ended up at a hole-in-the-wall Chinese joint called the Main Moon. Believe me, if you live in Hamilton, this place ranks a big "two thumbs down."

However, while walking back to the car we heard the dulcet strains of live music and quickly found that a bar-and-grill called Nichols and Beal was in fact open and had a live act playing in the alley behind the bar. We quickly obtained beverages and staked out a table near the band. They were a mixed bunch, with both older players / singers (one fellow and a bunch of women who called themselves "Ed Vollmer and the Chickadees") and some younger boys (name unknown, ages fourteen and fifteen, who played acoustic guitar and drums). Ed and the Chickadees played mainly gospel, folk, and bluegrass (including a terrific foot-stompin' rendition of Rocky Top), and the two boys did some very passable Eagles and CCR tunes. I'll post some cell phone pics later if they look OK.

Now adequately lubricated, we returned to the dorm to find that a fifth member of the conference had arrived. She was interested in finding food and drink as well, so three of us headed back to town (on foot, this time). We ended up back at Nichols and Beal for even more liquid refreshment and stimulating conversation and a grand time was had by all.

Generally at these affairs you meet with your hosts the day before and get orientation material, name badges, food service cards, conference schedules, notepads, pens, pizza, and that sort of thing. Oddly enough, we have yet to see any sign of any of the above. Perhaps he / she will appear at breakfast tomorrow morning, whenever and wherever that is.


Post a Comment

<< Home