15 December 2005

End of my vacation, and why I'll skip the New Year's parties

Times Square, preparing for New Year's

Darlene and I are in the departure lounge at JFK, on our way home. I'd forgotten something I learned on a couple of my previous trips through here: The folks who designed JFK went out of their way to avoid putting electrical outlets anywhere near the departure lounges.

I don't know how they buff the floors.

Oh, I see. They don't.

I've been examining how various kiosks and displays get juice to their cash registers, etc., and it seems they all have to run extension cords to some hidden panel behind a triple-locked door.

Even the TSA's scanners are plugged in via long orange power cables like you buy at Wal-Mart. They are all plugged in behind doors, panels, or curtains in some unseen electrical room the public is not privy to. Apparently, power is so expensive in New York that they don't even want travelers borrowing an outlet to recharge a cell phone.

Which makes me wonder what the nightly tab is for all those lights in Times Square. Last night, with temperatures below 20, you could actually feel the heat coming off the light panels in Times Square.

Trust me, that was the only thing enjoyable about Times Square last night. It was unbelievably crowded with pedestrians and choked with taxi traffic. (But don't try to get an available cab there. There aren't any.)

Times Square is a horrible place to be on a normal weeknight. I can't imagine why hordes of people all want to be there on New Year's Eve, when you have to stand in one place, hour after hour, shoulder-to-shoulder with people who are mostly drunk—just to watch a ball drop?

As a Cubs fan, I've seen enough dropped balls to last a lifetime. Thanks.

But, then, New Year's revelry in general doesn't really appeal to me anyway. The night the calendar changed from 1999 to 2000, I went to bed about 11:00 and was sound asleep when the New Year came. I wonder how many people can say that?

Phil's signature

32 comments:

Forgiven Sinner said...

To answer your question about the power.......you know good and well in today's world that someone would mis-use the plug and get shocked, and in turn have to sue the Airport for a couple of million.....I think that they are just practicing good disaster management.

The only thing that would interest me about New York would be going to Ground Zero.

Have a safe trip home, cause you are on the most dangerous flight you can be on, just watch for people wandering around on the plane....but I will pray for ya....lol

Nathan said...

At the changeover from 1999 to 2000, I was at my church's New Year's Eve pancake dinner flipping the breakers off.

Sojourner said...

I can beat that. I have no idea what I did on New Year's 1999-2000. And no, it was not due to some drug thing. I am just such a non-party guy that it was a non-event.

I would also add that I had a similar problem with outlets in the Atlanta airport. However, I actually found an outlet behind a garbage can. I moved the can, but it weighed around a hundred pounds. Boy did I mooch off their power that day!

Sojourner said...

Sorry, I remember now. I was at a friend's house. I remember because it took me until past midnight to get it through someone's head that it was now the 21st century and that there was no year zero.

Frank Martens said...

I can't say that I was asleep that night of 1999->2000 switch. In fact, the night is too embarasing for me. It was back in the "unregenerate, rebellious" part of my life. And that's all I need to say about that.

Bob Bixby said...

I was actually one of the ones in bed over midnight between 1999 and 2000. I figured that since the world as we knew it was going to come to an end I better be rested up.

Jeremy Weaver said...

Dropped balls! Ha! The Cubs stink! Go Yanks!

The Once Dead Poet said...

In defense of the ball, it is covered with more lights than that Carson Williams guy's house.

Seriously though, New Years falls under the same category as birthdays in my book. As you get older, it just isn't fun anymore. I went to bed at 9 last New Years Eve.

Forgiven Sinner said...

I forgot to mention in my earlier post that I was at work on the big Y2K EXPERIENCE. I worked at Nokia Mobile Phones at the time as a lead Electrician and had to be there in case we had everything shut down at the 2000 turn over. Boy,,,did we waste alot of money preparing for that fiasco!!!!!!

Screaming Pirate said...

Well if the cubs would stop picking up washed up braves players maybe they would not be so bad.

Steve said...

Though there's only one New Year's eve every 365 or 366 days, they are pretty much a nonevent in our family. Far more inspiring is the fact that the Lord's mercies are new EVERY morning. You can't beat that.

chamblee54 said...

At the start of y2k, I went and cranked up the car. There had been concerns about a chip in the mechanism going bonkers after 1999, but that was not a problem.
I then went back upstairs and probably was in bed before long.
I quit drinking new years day 1989, and the ball(or peach) dropping celebration just isn't the same sober.

centuri0n said...

Your party didn't overloop out of time? I'm not sure you're being entirely truthful ...

wordsmith said...

i myself have never understood the fascination with new year's eve, either. but on the eve of Y2K, i was with my then soon-to-be fiancee (is it one 'e' or two, for describing a male? can't remember) watching the broadcast of the celebration at Washington, D.C. i guess we figured if the world was "going to end," it would happen in D.C. before it hit the Midwest.

Warren Pearson said...

My parents were on a practically empty 747 over the pacific on Y2K. Was a fascinating trip. The pilot deliberately left about 45 minutes late from LAX headed for Auckland New Zealand. Once on board everyone was put at rest that the plane would be back on the ground in New Zealand before midnight GMT - which is the time aviation works to. Furthermore they flew just east of the time line on Dec 31 1999 until just before midnight New Zealand time, then crossed over and watched the sunrise at 30,000 feet, the plane doing a complete circle so everyone could see it without moving. All approx 60 of them received a commerative coin, I think, for their 'bravery.' The captain assured them they were the only plane in such a position and were therefore truely the first in the world, to see the millenium in, beating those on the ground on the eastern ranges of NZ. My Dad always figured out cool stuff like that to do!

Impacted Wisdom Truth said...

Warren

I had an experience on a near-empty 747 from Detroit to L.A. many years ago.

We boarded, and I was seated next to a man in economy class. We made small talk during the boarding time, and we both remarked how empty the plane was.

Finally the intercom came to life, and the captain said something like, "obviously, we have a pretty empty flight. Feel free to move about the cabin after we reach our cruising altitude."

There could not have been more than fifty people or so on the entire plane, which could easily hold close to four hundred people. I was up early on little sleep, so I took an entire row of five seats and stretched out. It was the only time I have ever had actual, meaningful sleep on an aircraft.

When I awoke, a flight attendant looked at me with a strange look. I must have been snoring.

candyinsierras said...

Wow Phil. We actually have something in common considering New York. TimesSquare is overwhelming and I did not like it. Consumerism at its most glaring.

I was working at a Christian Ministry as a houseparent for teen girls in 1999-2000. At midnight we all walked down to the corner and watched the fireworks in downtown Ft. Worth, TX. The girls had sparkling apple cider and goodies and when they went to bed, I checked my computer to see if it still worked.

TEX said...

I still can't figure out why people cannot get it through their heads that the change from the year 1999 to the year 2000 was merely the change from the NEXT to the LAST year of the 20th century to the LAST year of the 20th century...the 21st century did not enjoy its first year until 2001. Thus the BIG change of centuries was the 2000 to 2001 new year. The first century (i.e. the end of the first 100 years after Christ was the year 100, not the year 99.) Can I get a home school mom to witness! :) It must be all this public edumacation and the silly media controlling our brains that caused this collective stupidity. In case you couldn't tell from this comment, this particular issue is a MAJOR pet peeve of mine.

sorry...
back to lurking...
TEX

TEX said...

nyhdfv...these were the letters for my word verification...hmmmmm...Phil...could it be that your trip to New York was for the purpose of heresy...thus...New York High Definition Federal Vision....or New York Heresy Debate Federal Vision...hmmmmm...there is an algorithm to crack this code in there somewhere...I'm sure of it!

conspiracy ahoy!

TEX
ps...my current word verification is oxlvub...Ox Loves U Bubba...can I get witness?

Warren Pearson said...

Yeh Tex but computers don't know that. For many programs and all kinds of embedded timing devices in all sorts of unexpected places, it was a change from year 99 to year 00 - which is backwards not forwards. As a matter of interest for a number of programming languages and date functions there are many more 'year 2000' type events coming up this century where they'll mess up the calculation. I think there's one in about 2038 for certain C language date functions - which will soon come into play for things like 30 year mortgage calcs.

Dan Edelen said...

Phil,

I hate to say it, but I fear your fogeydom is nearly complete.

;-)

pgepps said...

Let's hear it for Cubs fans!

That is all.

Cheers,
PGE

John Haller said...

Man, I can relate to the comment about the lack of power outlets. A couple of years ago I was logging about 200K miles/year and there was a scramble to find those things. Most airports don't have them (although my home airport in Columbus has actually put in work tables near outlets and free wireless). I carry a self-retracting 12' extension cord. Found it years ago in an OfficeMax and figure if I can find a way to manufacture it I could retire because it allows me to plug in on those few available plugs that are available.

It's getting worse now that everyone seems to travel with a laptop.

With so few outlets I can't figure out how they clean the place.

Jeri said...

The night the calendar changed from 1999 to 2000, I went to bed about 11:00 and was sound asleep when the New Year came. I wonder how many people can say that?

I can. Maybe it was something in the air, but by 11:00 I couldn't keep my eyes open. I had been watching people ring in the New Year in other countries all day, so it was boring by then, and I just went to bed. The next day, all those "Rapture/Cataclysm in Y2K" sites had closed down.

Douglas said...

My wife and I were in Aussie 1999/2000 and if I remember correctly, I think I was outside waiting for the computers to crash and see if all the lights on the moon would go out. Didn't happen(jn). The moon's still shinning and it was a bright full one last night. I did get up and watch the sunrise over there in Bunbury on the West Coast of Aus. It was beautiful. Rising up from out of the eastern desert, all aglow. A strange and mysterious country.

Randy said...

Cubs drool, Card rule!!

Randy said...

*That's Cards

1GrnRat said...

There have been a few "dropped" balls in recent Cubs history. One sticks out in particular, NLCS 2003 game 6.

Steve Mason said...

NORTHGAREDNECK.
I know what you mean, I have gone to bed early the last 2-4 years before the New Year rang in. It was great.
God bless and regards from the REDNECK.

pgepps said...

hehe. Cardinals fans can't even spell. hehe.

My church has a long habit of having a Watchnight service on New Year's Eve, finishing with prayer in the last hour or so of the year, before the New Year arrives. I rather like it. As the congregation has aged, this has tended to end up being prayer about 9 or 10, with a few people (sometimes just our family) sticking it out 'til midnight.

And, sometimes we give up and sleep.

Go Cubs!
PGE

Broken Messenger said...

Phil,

Kudos on the graphic! I'm guessing it took a little work lifting the street light to get your image in behind, yes? Another technique? Anyway, nice work. Oh, and you did write an fine article too....well, given that I am not a big crowd kind of guy, I guess I couldn't agree more.

Brad

Brendt said...

I don't know how they buff the floors.

Oh, I see. They don't.


I almost fell out of my chair, laughing at that one. As a lurker, I have to say that you often have some very good theological thoughts, but I found this to surpass even those. ;-)