Monthly Archives: May 2013

Village of Kenmore Offers New Direction For Delaware Avenue

previously published on BuffaloSoapBox

To the Village of Kenmore, I have never had as intense a reaction to something you or any other municipality in Western New York has ever done as and I did this morning; utter shock and surprise of what I saw when I turned onto Delaware Avenue, disbelief in your decision to act as you did. This was something I never thought I would see, least of all from you.

I have only one thing to say to you right now:  I love you.

ch4-drivers-from-either-directionWhen did this actually happen?  I don’t know, but I didn’t notice it until just this morning, and that paint looks pretty fresh to me.  Delaware Avenue through the Village of Kenmore is now one lane in either direction with a center turning lane.  There is still parking alone each side just as there was before.  The original center double yellow is still there, so it looks odd running down the middle of the newly painted turning lane.

Look, let’s all just admit it right now, there weren’t two lanes.  There weren’t.  There was one lane and a parking lane.  Granted, that one lane was nice and wide, but it was still one lane.  That second lane that you insist was there because the old lady in front of you is sticking to three miles under the speed limit?  It wasn’t a lane.  Do you know how I know this?  Because you were constantly cutting in front of me when there was a parked car coming up.

For years I’ve been asking why there isn’t a center turning lane instead of the unmarked free for all that Delaware had become.  Unfortunately, I was only asking myself as I was stuck in this traffic.  Clearly a few other people had the same idea, most notably the Department of Transportation.  Since at least October this idea has been gaining momentum, with most of the support coming from Kenmore business owners.  I might still take credit for this one though.

Hopefully, more so then relieving my own awkward traffic-induced stressful driving, this new layout lightens some of the congestion that would build up due to drivers making a left turn.  When a vehicle needed to make that left and there was a parked car preventing traffic from moving around that vehicle, traffic could potentially have backed up for a couple blocks.  With a designated turning lane traffic can continue to flow.

026More importantly, and the reason many businesses were supporting this move, the left turning lane gives easy access to the many parking lots situated behind those businesses that face Delaware Avenue.  Yes, there are parking lots back there, I swear.  And now you can make that left and get to them without backing traffic up to Delta Sonic.

This is a great move for Kenmore, and the evolution of Delaware Avenue, as shown by a similar plan put into effect in Downtown Buffalo.  But this is beneficial not only for drivers passing down Delaware Avenue.  When car traffic is better controlled and able to move efficiently, the roads become safer for pedestrians as well, allowing them time to move safely from one side of the street to the other.  With better access for pedestrians, easier access to parking for drivers, and over all a less stressful ride down Delaware, this simple repainting can lead to a great rise in business for all the great shops and restaurants in Kenmore.

Buffalo Reading Invasion 2013 Dates

Buffalo Reading Invasion

Hello everyone! After a winter off (from gathering, not reading, l hope), we are finally back with a schedule and a plan and a renewed excitement about getting together once again for the 2nd year of Buffalo Reading Invasions.

Last year we held three invasions; this year, we plan on having them once a month until the weather drives us indoors. Like last year, we’ll be announcing the locations right before the event (in keeping with our flash-mob roots), but we are setting the dates more in advance. And so, this year’s Buffalo Reading Invasion schedule:

Monday June 3rd,   7pm – 8pm, location TBA

Monday July 1st,  7pm – 8pm, location TBA

Early August

Early September

Early October

Please help spread the word, encourage and invite others, and most importantly, find a good book to bring to the occasion.

We’ll be announcing locations via:

on Twitter @Buffreadinginvasion


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And Then She Asked If I Wanted to Hear a Funny

A customer asked me the other night if I wanted ‘to hear a funny.’  Being exhausted and not immediately able to translate I asked, “A what?”

“A funny,” she repeated with a bit of an edge to her voice.  When she spoke it was as if through clenched teeth, and her eyes were suddenly attentive and aware of her surroundings.  Anyone who’s worked customer service knows that’s a dangerous state for a customer to be in.  A feral growl would have been the next logical progression of emotion should I have not suddenly understood she meant to tell me a joke.  I found myself afraid.

Reawakened, A Once Upon a Time TaleGiven that we had bonded already over my enjoyment of and her rabid obsession with the show Once Upon a Time, I knew that whether I wanted to hear her ‘funny’ or not, I was going to listen. 

You see, we’d met earlier that night when she brought the new Once Upon a Time book, Reawakened, to the desk and asked what specifically it was about.  Granted, she had the book in her hand and could easily have answered the question herself, but it was a slow night.  I told her it covered the first season. 

This was disappointing news for her until I quoted Wikipedia’s promise that it would give “fans of the show a whole new look at their favorite characters and stories.”  Boy oh boy did her spirits lift at that news.  She was certainly in for a treat, although the customer in line behind her looked slightly terrified. 

This look of terror was not properly interpreted by my Once Upon a Time customer.

“Aren’t you so excited?” she asked the women behind her, “Do you watch Once Upon a Time?  Isn’t it so good?”

It turned out this customer was not excited since not only was she not a fan but had never heard of the show before.  I was sincerely worried for this ignorant customer, scared she may be mauled in a hysterical fan-rage when she innocently responded, “Once Upon a Time?  I’ve never heard of it, is that a TV show or something?” 

I tried to make eye contact with her in an attempt to signal she should back away slowly and not engage the woman further, but thankfully another bookseller came to the desk and helped her, ending the conversation.

We talked about the show a bit more, I confessed sadly that I was a few episodes behind on the current season and begged her forgiveness for this, and showed her the books we had on fairy tales.  After that we parted ways, her to her crazy and I to cleaning up the crap customers had left all over the store.  I thought we were done.  I was wrong.

“Do you want to hear a funny?”

“A what?”

“A funny.”


“If you’re a Russian in the kitchen, what are you in the bathroom?”

“I don’t know.”

“If you’re a Russian in the kitchen, what are you in the bathroom?”

“No, I still have no idea.”

“European.  Get it?”

Maybe it was how late in the night it was; maybe this joke really is funny.  I don’t know, but I laughed.  And not just because I was too scared of her not to.

European.  Yeah lady, yeah I get it.  I see what you did there.

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