Sunday, March 25, 2012

Free Stuff This Week

Monday March 26th
-Free Credit Report and Credit Repair Information Drop-in Session with Affordable Housing Partnership, Albany Public Library Main Branch, 11:30am-1:30pm

-Science Series: Keeping Your Brain Young—Can Doing Crossword Puzzles, Ballroom Dancing, and Eating Healthy Delay Dementia? Presented by Francisco Gomez, MD Chief of Neurology, Ellis Medicine, Schenectady County Public Library Central Branch, 12pm

-Financially Fit Series: Managing Your Credit & Protecting Your Identity, Albany Public Library Pine Hills Branch, 6pm-7pm

-The Sage Colleges Nutrition Lecture Series, Bush Memorial Hall Russell Sage College, Troy, 7pm

-NYS Writers Institute Presents: Robert Nickas, Art Critic and Curator, University at Albany Art Museum, 7pm

Tuesday March 27th
-Free 30-Minute Financial Planning Consultation, Albany Public Library Main Branch, 4:30pm-7pm

-Author David Smith: If the World Were a Village, Bush Memorial Hall Russell Sage College, Troy, 7:30pm

-NYS Writers Institute Presents: Lauren Goff, Novelist and Short Story Writer, Assembly Hall Campus Center UAlbany Uptown Campus, 8pm

Wednesday March 28th
-“Rain or Shine…It’s Reading Time,” Story and Special Exhibit for Preschoolers (2nd and last Wednesdays of the month), NYS Museum, 10:30am-11:30am

-Research in Archaeology Lecture Series: Cache and Carry: New Insights on Ice Age Technology of New York Paleoindians, Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, 12:10pm-1pm

-Songs from the Piano Bench, Adirondack Hall, NYS Museum, 12pm-2pm

-Basic Mandarin Chinese Conversation, Albany Public Library Pine Hills Branch, 4:30pm-5:30pm

-Beahive Open House, 418 Broadway, Albany, 5pm-7pm

Thursday March 29th
-Get Informed about NYS EPIC Drug Prescription Plan, Albany Public Library Main Branch, 10am-1pm

Friday March 30th
-Alternative Energy: Our Future Depends on It Lecture, Schenectady Museum & Suits-Bueche Planetarium, 5:30pm-7:30pm

-Iranian Civil Society and the Threat of War, Albany Law School, 7:30pm-9pm

-NYS Writers Institute Class Film Series: Daddy-Long-Legs, Page Hall UAlbany Downtown Campus, 7:30pm

Saturday, March 31st
Howe Caverns Job Fair, Howe Caverns, 9am-1pm

-A Morning with Alice Ozma, Author of The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared, Contact: Central Library, Reference Desk 518-388-4511, Schenectady County Public Library Central Branch, 10:30am

-Family Fun: Maple Sugar Open House, Five Rivers, Organized groups please call 518-475-0291to register, 1:30pm-3:30pm

-Showing of “Guerilla Midwife” Plus Potluck Dinner, Sanctuary for Independent Media, Troy, 7pm

Sunday April 1st
-Wagon Train Easter Egg Hunt, Wagon Train BBQ, Schenectady, 11am-5pm
-Sunday Cinema: War Horse, Albany Public Library Main Branch, 2pm-4pm

Week Twelve: An Ancient Devonian Forest: A 385-million-year-old Forest Finally Uncovered in Gilboa, New York, NYS Museum, Albany, New York

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m from Schoharie County.  I was really excited to learn that the world’s oldest forest was discovered in Gilboa, New York (not far from where I did my week one Minekill hike!).  The findings make up the cover story in the March 1, 2012 issue of Nature.  Through March 31st, the NYS Museum has a display in the lobby featuring some information on the ancient forest and a fossil of a 385-million-year-old tree trunk.

Ancient fossils were recovered at the site in the 1920s when the NYC reservoir system was being built.  In 2010, the Gilboa Dam underwent a series of repairs.  The ancient remains were uncovered for two weeks and scientists had the ability to once again study this magnificent discovery.  It was originally thought that the ancient forest only included one species of tree, but the latest findings show that three types of trees grew in this ancient forest.  Scientists identified 200 root mounds before the spot was once again covered with soil and rocks.

Scientists have been able to piece together what the forest probably looked like.  These illustrations are also displayed at the museum.  Located in the lobby, the display is small but fascinating.  Check it out before March 31st!
What the forest may have looked like

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Free Stuff This Week

Since I only do one free thing a week, and there are a lot of free things in the area, I thought I'd start making a list of free events you may be interested in attending!  Please share your ideas as well!

Monday, March 19th
-Science Series: “Where have all the (Alpine) Flowers Gone?”-Plants and Climate Change, Presented by Nancy Slack, Professor Biology and History of Science, Emeritus (ret) Sage Colleges, Schenectady County Public Library Central Branch, 12pm

-Working Knowledge PCC: Metrix Learning Orientation, Albany Public Library Main Branch, 6pm-8pm

Tuesday, March 20th
-NYS Writers Institute Presents: Margot Livesey, Fiction Writer, and Jo Page, Fiction and Nonfiction Writer, Seminar at Assembly Hall, Campus Center, UAlbany Uptown Campus 4:15pm, and Reading at Albany Public Library Main Branch 7:30pm

Wednesday, March 21st
-Tax Assistance Program @ APL Main Library, Call the Main Library Reference Desk for at 427-4303 for more information 

-REELS Film Series: Anonymous, Schenectady County Public Library Central Branch, 12pm (also being shown on Thursday at 7pm)

-Research in Archaeology Lecture Series: The Skull in the Wall: The Case of the Coeymans Lady, Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, 12:10pm-1pm

-Albany Pine Bush Presents: Nuts about Nature, Albany Public Library Pine Hills Branch, 6:30pm-7:30pm

-Friends of the Library Poetry Slam Hosted by Willie Mae Spencer, Albany Public Library Arbor Hill/West Hill Branch, 6:30pm-7:30pm 

-Get a Raise in Retirement, Troy Public Library, 7pm-8:30pm

Thursday, March 22nd
-Music Jam, NYS Museum, 12pm-2pm

-ESL: English as a Second Language, Albany Public Library Delaware Branch, 1pm-2:30pm (every Thursday)

-NNORC Nurse Clinic and Outreach Information, Albany Public Library Bach Branch, 3pm-4pm

-NYS Writers Institute Presents: John Matteson, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Biographer, Seminar at Assembly Hall, Campus Center, UAlbany Uptown Campus 4:15pm, and Reading at Huxley Theatre, New York State Museum, 8pm 

Friday, March 23rd
-Is it Spring? Five Rivers, 7pm

Saturday, March 24th
-Tax Assistance Program @ APL Main Library, Call the Main Library Reference Desk at 427-4303 for more information

-Family Fun: Maple Sugar Open House, Five Rivers, Organized groups please call 518-475-0291 to register, 1:30-3:30pm

Sunday, March 25th
-African Adventure in Photographs, Troy Public Library, 2pm-3pm

-Beat the Snow!: Winter Concert Series, Fairview Avenue Bluegrass Band, Schenectady County Public Library Central Branch, 2:30pm

You may also want to check out:
-An Ancient Devonian Forest: A 385-million-year-old Forest Finally Uncovered in Gilboa, New York, Through March 31st, NYS Museum Lobby

-Shadow and Substance: African American Images from The Burns Archive, Through March 31st, NYS Museum Photography Gallery

Week Eleven: Corning Preserve Trail Bike Ride, Albany & Watervliet, New York

 The weather was so beautiful this weekend and I wanted to do something to enjoy this unseasonably warm March.  I’ve been to the Corning Trail before but never on a bike.  I have a bike but rarely ride it.  To me, there’s something terrifying about riding my bike around lots of cars and people.  When I suggested a bike ride, I was afraid Mr. Free Albany would want to ride our bike through the city of Albany and to the Corning Trail.  I would have been scared but I probably would have done it.  Luckily, he knows me well enough, he didn’t even mention it.  When I walked outside to get my bike, he was loading the bikes on the car.  It’s nice being married to someone so thoughtful!

In case you don’t know, the Corning Trail goes along the Hudson River from Albany to Watervliet.  We started at Albany’s Riverfront Park.  The sky was overcast and cloudy at first but the sun soon came out and the day got warm.  We went at a leisurely pace and I was surprised at how good I felt on a bike.  I’m not bad at riding but since I rarely do, I’m a little wobbly when I get nervous.

It started out hazy but the sun soon came out
We weren’t the only ones who thought of spending the day on the Corning Trail.  Runners, walkers, and fellow bikers were out in full force.  Although there were a lot of people, the trail never seemed crowded and we mostly rode alone.  The March sun felt good on my deprived skin.

Along the trail there are several benches and grassy areas that would be great for a picnic.  There is also an area with picnic tables and outdoor grills.  Mr. Free Albany mentioned a Burger King in Watervliet and since there are free French fries this weekend, we decided to ride all the way there.  Two free things in one day?  It’s too good to be true!

And indeed it was…

We got off the trail in Watervliet and I was under the impression that the Burger King was right around the corner.  After following Mr. Free Albany for what felt like forever, I started to doubt him.  We rode on a major road which terrified me, but I was doing okay until my wheel hit the curb and I almost crashed.  I then started to panic and was convinced that every car that passed me was going to hit me.  Luckily, there was a sidewalk close by, and I quickly pedaled to more comfortable ground.

We pedaled and pedaled some more through Watervliet.  When we came upon the Price Chopper plaza, Mr. Free Albany looked at me with that face I know all too well.  The Burger King he was thinking of was actually a McDonald’s.

I was starving and since there was a Subway in the plaza, we stopped there.  We had a Subway gift card that had some money on it, so we used that for lunch.  Then, tempted by the alluring image of the Shamrock Shake, we stopped and bought one.  It wasn’t free but it was really, really good.  I’ve never had a Shamrock Shake before but now I’m a fan.  Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait until next year to get another one.

Our ride back was fast and pretty uneventful.  I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty impressed with how I held up on such a long ride.  The longest I’ve ever biked before this was 6 miles, and that was 4 years ago.  I know my butt will be sore tomorrow, but I’ll deal with that then.

The Corning Trail is a great way to get outside and appreciate the beautiful Hudson River.  My advice is to stay on the trail though, and not go randomly riding around Watervliet.  Unless you’re into that kind of stuff.
Albany skyline on the way home

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Week Ten: Movies at Albany Public Library-Albany, New York

The internet is back!  Apparently, the line that connected to our house had been chewed through by squirrels.  Anyways…

Last week I wanted to stay in.  Luckily, you can stay in and have fun without resorting to musty board games or movies you’ve seen a thousand times.   Albany Public Library has an extensive movie collection, including new releases.  Why spend money on Netflix or Redbox when you can get movies for free at the library?  Of course, you have to have a library card, which is free if you live in Albany or Rensselaer County.  All you need is a photo ID and a recent piece of mail as proof of residence.

With your library card you can check out five feature films and five TV shows and documentaries at once.  That’s a lot of free stuff!  Mr. Free Albany and I checked out a bunch of DVD’s on both of our cards.  Thanks to the library, we’ve watched a lot of amazing movies that we wouldn’t have access to otherwise.   

If you’re into doing free stuff (like I am) then the Albany Public Library is a great resource.  There are movies and obviously a lot of great books, but there are also magazines, playaways, computers, and a lot of great programs.  Everyone can find something to do at the library.  Children’s story time, adult computer classes, tax assistance, pilates, book groups, and so much more are all available to the public for free.  Visit their calendar of events at to find a program for you!