Items tagged with 'AOA'

Photos from AOA8

AOA8 composite

Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate AOA's 8th birthday last week at the Tech Valley Center of Gravity. It was great to see so many people again, and to meet others for the first time.

There are a ton of photos from the party after the jump.

And thank you to everyone who helped make the party fun:
+ The Tech Valley Center of Gravity volunteers
+ The Tech Valley Game Space crew
+ Daydream.io
+ Ric Orlando and the team at New World Catering
+ Chatham Brewing
+ DJ Trumastr
+ And Duncan Crary, Anasha Cummings, Jason Lebrecht, Rhonda Rosenhect, Tom Tongue, Bridget McGivern, and Bob Bownes

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Thank you

AOA birthday cupcakes 2016

We figure we've now made something just short of 1,200 birthday cupcakes over the life of AOA.

We're skipping out a little earlier today so we can get ready for tonight's AOA birthday party.

It will be the eighth such party, which is almost unbelievable. The beginning feels like it was both a long time ago and just yesterday.

As we've said before, the best thing about working on AOA has been the people -- so many interesting, interested, thoughtful, and funny people. We really appreciate that you've been a part of all this.

Thank you.

AOA Birthday Party 8

AOA8 announce image

The word is out: This year's AOA Birthday Party -- #8 (!) -- is in April. And you're invited. Because, obviously.

AOA8 will be at the Tech Valley Center of Gravity in downtown Troy on Wednesday, April 6 from 5:30-8:30 pm. There will be a bunch of free snacks from New World Catering, the traditional AOA birthday cupcakes, a cash bar, music from DJ Trumastr, fun projects, and tours of the COG. Also: a lot of interesting people (because you'll be there).

As in past years, space is limited so we're asking people to RSVP -- here's how. It takes 30 seconds and we appreciate you doing so.

If the spaces on the list fill up (they usually do), a wait list will activate. In past years many of the people who sign up for the wait list do end up getting a spot. Update: The wait list has been activated. We'll do our best to find spots for people on it.

We're looking forward to seeing you again, or meeting you for the first time!

The most popular items on AOA in 2015

most popular posts 2015 composite

At the end of each year we like to go the through the stats on AOA to see which posts were most popular. It's one way to remember some of the stuff that happened.

So, here are the most popular items on AOA for each month during 2015...

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Photos from Bad Boys, Broads, & Bootleggers III

bad boys broads bootleggers 2015 composite

Sometimes it's fun to be bad.

The latest version of AOA's Bad Boys, Broads, and Bootleggers tour rolled through Albany, Troy, and Cohoes this past weekend. The sold-out tour sampled beer, wine, and spirits along the way -- and explored the area's history of gangsters, madams, bootleggers, and brewers.

Thanks to everyone who came along! We had a fun time!

There are a bunch of photos from this year's tour after the jump.

Thanks to the City Beer Hall/Speakeasy 518, Nine Pin Cider Works, Druthers, The Lucas Confectionery, Smith's of Cohoes, Rare Form Brewing Company, and The Malt Room at Brown's for letting us stop in and sample.

Thanks also to CDTA for providing transportation, the Troy Music Hall for its assistance, and Jack Casey for entertaining us.

And big, big thanks to Duncan Crary and Craig Gravina for working with us and serving as guides.

The Bad Boys, Broads, and Bootleggers Tour was presented by Brian Brosen, Reggie Monroe, and The Capital Team at Realty USA. And it was sponsored by the Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Druthers Brewing Company, Patsy's Barber Shop and Shocker Tattoo, and Historic Albany Foundation.

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Well, that was frustrating

TV color bars

And... we're back online. Sorry about that.

We're still in the process of fixing some stuff after the site outage Wednesday into Thursday. It's our hope to have things more or less back to normal for Friday.

Thank you to everyone who expressed concerned -- and offered to help -- during the outage. We appreciate it. A lot.

Photos from the AOA cider pairing event at Nine Pin Cider Works

nine pin tasting event composite

We got a bunch of people together Thursday night for a cider pairing event at Nine Pin Cider Works in Albany.

People got to taste a flight of four ciders paired with four locally-made cheeses, along with a short introduction to each from Nine Pin's Alejandro del Peral and cheese makers and purveyors. Then everyone took a tour of the production facility, and finished off the night with free samples of cider sorbet made by the Dutch Udder.

It was a good time. Thanks to everyone who joined us!

Here are a handful of photos of the night...

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Tickets now on sale for the AOA Bad Boys, Broads, and Bootleggers Tour!

bad boys broads bootleggers tour badge 2015

Update: Sold out!

AOA's popular Bad Boys, Broads, and Bootleggers Tour makes its return October 17. And tickets are now on sale -- follow this link to buy them online. They're $30.

The tour combines beer, fun people, and a history of the Capital Region that you won't find in text books. Duncan Crary and beer historian Craig Gravina of the Albany Ale Project will share stories of gangsters, bootleggers, and the area's brewing history. We'll also stop for tastings at fun local bars and producers.

As we mentioned earlier this week, the tour has changed a bit since the last time in 2013 -- there will be new stories and new things to taste, so we hope you'll join us. (Here are some photos from BBB I and BBB II, which both sold out.) A few details for this latest version of BBB:

+ Tales of characters such as gangster Jack "Legs" Diamond, political boss Dan O'Connell, and Troy madam Mame Faye, and a cast of characters from Albany's political and brewing history.

+ Stops at the speakeasy below City Beer Hall, Nine Pin Cider Works, Druthers Brewing in Albany, Smith's in Cohoes, and the Malt Room in Troy.

+ Swag and other surprises all the way.

The tour will both start and end on River Street in Troy near Brown's Brewing Co. We'll be traveling in CDTA's brand new accordion bus. The bus leaves at 2 pm and we'll be back around 5:30 pm.

The Bad Boys, Broads, and Bootleggers Tour is presented by Brian Brosen, Reggie Monroe and The Capital Team, and sponsored by Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Druthers Brewing Company, Patsy's Barber Shop and Shocker Tattoo, and Historic Albany Foundation.

How we make those maps

sample map

You can make a map like this. (Really.)

We like maps. And we like to make clickable maps to post here on AOA. Maps about patterns in Census data. Maps about election results. Maps about suggestions you've offered. (We might like all of this a little too much.)

Many of you also seem to like maps. And some of you have been curious about how we make the maps for AOA.

So here's how we do that.

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AOA event: Cider pairing at Nine Pin

Nine Pin Cider Works four flight

Update: Sold out!

Apple season has arrived. And when we think of apples our thoughts also turn to cider.

Nine Pin Cider Works is rolling out a new charcuterie offering at its tasting room on Broadway in Albany. So we thought it'd be fun to organize a get-together there on October 1, pairing four Nine Pin ciders with a variety of New York fruits, cheeses and meats. Here's what you get:

Cider flight
Taste four Nine Pin ciders: Signature Cider, Belgian Cider, Blueberry Cider, and Ginger Cider.

Local foods
Ciders will be paired with samples of cheeses fruits, veggies and charcuterie from farms and orchards both local and from around New York State, along with Saratoga Crackers.

Tour
Guests will get a tour of the cider works with founder Alejandro del Peral to see how Nine Pin is made, bottled, and canned.

Dessert
The Dutch Udder will be scooping free samples of its Nine Pin Cider Sorbet. (We got to taste this during the Startup Grant final and it was delicious.)

The Nine Pine tasting room will be also pouring that evening, so more of your favorite Nine Pin ciders will be available for purchase. And of course, you'll get to enjoy it all with other fun AOA people.

The event is Thursday, October 1 at the Nine Pin tasting room on Broadway. It's 21 and over.

Early bird tickets (purchased before September 15) are $15. After September 15, tickets are $20. Space is limited for this event, and we expect it to fill up, so buying early will both save you a few bucks and ensure you get a spot.

Nine Pin advertises on AOA.

Photos from Rail, River, Hudson 2015

rail river hudson 2015 composite

A whole nine days ago (there was a summer break in there), this year's AOA Rail, River, Hudson trip made its way to Hudson. And, like last year, it was a lot fun!

The sold-out trip took more than a hundred people from downtown Albany to Hudson and back via bus, train, and boat.

Here are a bunch of photos from the day...

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Rail, River, Hudson II

rail river hudson composite for 2015 promo

Last summer's Rail, River, Hudson trip was such a good time, we thought we'd try it again. And we'd love for you to come along.

What is Rail, River Hudson?

On Saturday, July 11 AOA will lead a group of people to Hudson via Amtrak and back home on a sunset cruise on the Dutch Apple. In between there will be plenty of time to explore this fun and historic city, plus tastings and dinner.

Tickets are on sale now. (Last year's trip sold out.)

There are more details after the jump, but these photos from last year's trip will give you a good sense of what to expect.

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AOA7 RSVP

AOA7 cupcake card

This year's AOA birthday party is March 25 at Takk House in Troy. We mentioned the party date earlier this week so people could plan a little bit before the RSVP process started.

And now here's the link to RSVP.

This will be the biggest AOA birthday party... (cue dramatic pause in the music)... ever. But even so, space is limited, so an RSVP is important. And if the list fills up as it has in past years, a waiting list will activate. (Each year a bunch of people snag spots after being on the wait list.)

Thank you again for all your support. And we're looking forward to celebrating with you.

AOA Birthday Party 7

AOA7 Takk House illustration

Let it be known: This year's AOA Birthday Party -- the seventh, unbelievably -- is later this month. And you're invited (obviously).

AOA7 will be at Takk House in Troy on Wednesday, March 25 from 5:30-8:30 pm. There will be a bunch of free snacks from New World Catering, cupcakes (as is tradition), and a lot of interesting people (because you'll be there).

As in past years, space is limited so we're asking people to RSVP. And because the party fills up very quickly each year we're doing things a bit differently this time around.

We will post details about the online RSVP this Friday, March 6 at noon. Our hope is that will give everyone a chance to check their calendars, coordinate with friends, find a babysitter, or just have some advance heads up.

We're looking forward to seeing you.

The most popular items on AOA in 2014

that was 2014 most popular posts composite

At the end of each year we like to go the through the traffic stats on AOA to see which posts were most popular. It can be an interesting way to remember all the stuff that's happened.

So, here are the most popular items on AOA for each month during 2014...

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Pics from the AOA holiday cocktail party at New World Catering

new world catering party composite

The AOA holiday cocktail party in the kitchen at New World Catering in Albany was Thursday night, and we had a lot of fun! It was very informal -- a throw-your-coat-over-here-and-grab-a-cocktail kind of affair. And, of course, there was food: pan-blackened stringbeans, deviled eggs, ropa vieja sliders, an enormous pan of paella, and more.

Thank you to chef Ric Orlando and the New World Catering crew for hosting us. And thanks to everyone who came to hang out with us!

Here are a few pics...

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AOA fall event: Farm Tour

aoa farm tour 2014 logo announce

Update: Tickets are now on sale!
____
Summer is cooling down, and while that means bidding farewell to ice cream stand and swimming pool season, it also means welcoming a bounty of produce from local farms.

We thought it'd be fun to visit some of those farms early this fall, so we've organized a farm tour through the Helderbergs. The tour is September 13. Tickets are $40 and will go on sale this Wednesday (August 20) at noon. Capacity is limited. And as with AOA's past tours, they will probably sell quickly.

The tour will visit three farms so we can meet the farmers and hear their stories. We'll also get to see cows, chickens, and pigs; sample produce right where the food is grown; and visit a brew shed (and try some beer). We'll finish the tour with some snacks made from locally-sourced ingredients.

It should be a fun early fall day. Here's are a few more details, along with an outline of the schedule.

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Photos from Rail, River, Hudson

rail river hudson recap composite

This year's AOA summer tour -- Rail, River, Hudson -- was this past Saturday. And we had a lot fun!

More than a hundred people met up in downtown Albany before catching buses to the train station where we hopped a train for Hudson. After spending the afternoon there, we boarded the Dutch Apple for a sunset return cruise up the Hudson River.

Here's a big photo recap of the day...

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Rail, River, Hudson tickets now on sale!

aoa hudson tour 2014

Update: Tickets are now sold out!!!

____

Tickets for this year's AOA summer tour -- Rail, River, Hudson -- are on sale now!

Many details are after the jump (with updates from the original announcement), but the super short summary for the July 12 tour: We've organized a day trip to Hudson -- riding down on Amtrak, an afternoon in Hudson that includes an event at Etsy's building there, and then a sunset cruise on the Hudson River back to Albany on the Dutch Apple.

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Rail, River, Hudson with AOA

aoa hudson tour 2014

Tickets are now sale!

Back in the day you could day trip to the edges of what we now call the Capital Region and never use a car. You could hop a trolley or a train, or take a boat along the Hudson. That sort of trip sounds fun to us -- and it inspired this year's AOA summer tour.

This July we've lined up an AOA day trip to Hudson -- a train ride down, a sunset cruise on the Dutch Apple for the return -- with a lot of fun and surprises along the way. We'd love for you to come along.

Because these tours have been so popular in the past, we're giving you the early heads up now so that you'll be ready when tickets go sale on later this week.

Here are the details...

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Photos from AOA6

AOA6 buttons

These great buttons were made by Laura Glazer. (Thanks, Laura!)

Thanks to everyone who celebrated the AOA birthday with us this week at The Malt Room at Brown's in Troy. It was great to see so many people again -- meet a lot of people for the first time. We had a lot of fun.

Here are a bunch of pics from the party. Thanks to Andy Kainz and Marcie Pry for taking photos.

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Thank you!

aoa small box logoThank you to everyone who voted for AOA in this year's Metroland readers' poll. AOA did well in a handful of categories -- and we very much appreciate the support.

And congrats to everyone mentioned in this year's poll, especially fellow independent sites Nippertown and KAB.

Again, thank you very much for keeping us in mind.

Birthday week: Hey, hey, next week is AOA birthday week. And, as in years past, we have a bunch of good drawings lined up.

AOA Birthday Party 6

Brown's Malt Room bar

The bar at The Malt Room. It's quite nice.

Update: As it does every year, the party filled up fast. But there's a wait list set up on Eventbrite (link below). And in years past, many people on the wait list have ended up with a spot. So if you're interested in going, please add your name to the list.
____

AOA is yet another year older, so we're celebrating. And you're invited. (Because of course you are.)

AOA6 will be at Brown's Malt Room in Troy on April 16 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. There will be free snacks, cake, and a lot of interesting people.

Because space is limited, we do ask that you RSVP at the linked Eventbrite page. The party fills up very fast every year.

See you there.

AOA NCAA Tournament Pool III

ncaa basketball bracket 2014

The pool, it returns. For another year we have created an NCAA tournament pool for AOA. And, yet again, the winner of the pool gets a $25 gift card to Stewart's.

The AOA pool is set up at Yahoo. This link should take you to the sign up page for the pool. The password is "greatdanes" (no quotes).

If you already have a bracket set up at Yahoo, you should be able to add it to the AOA pool with just a few clicks. (Or, if you set up a pool for the AOA group, you can add it to other groups.)

The deadline to complete your bracket is 12:15 pm on Thursday. The "first four" games -- in which UAlbany is playing this year (Tuesday night) -- aren't included. So you'll have some time to make your picks based on the results of those games. (Should UAlbany win Tuesday night, picking the #16 seed Great Danes over #1 seed Florida will earn our admiration for you courage, though we suspect it won't gain you any actual points.)

As we did last year, we'll post the winning bracket and the top-10 finishers here at AOA. And maybe we'll also post something here about picks from the pool pre-tournament.

The reigning champ is Dylan, who picked 41 of 63 games correctly last year, besting a field of almost 50 people.

Good luck. May the block/charge calls go in your favor.

Important: The winner will be determined by Yahoo's tournament pick 'em system. In the event two (or more) people tie for the win, we'll randomly draw the winner from the top finishers. The winner will be notified via email by 5 pm the day after the championship game and must respond by 5 pm the next day. We'll contact you through the Yahoo system, so please be sure to designate an email address that you actually check.

The most popular items on AOA in 2013

that was 2013 most popular posts composite

At the end of each year we like to go the through the traffic stats on AOA to see which posts were most popular. It's a fun way to remember all the stuff that's happened.

So, here are the most popular items on AOA for each month during 2013...

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Hey, look up

aoa holiday banner 2013 clipYeah, at the top of the page here on AOA. It's a new holiday banner. (If you're reading this via some sort of feed reader or somethingorother, come on over.)

Once again we were lucky enough to get Phil Pascuzzo to design this year's holiday banner. And many thanks to Bombers Burrito Bar for sponsoring the banner on behalf of the Starlight Foundation.

The holiday banners always make us happy. We hope you get a smile or two out of them as well.

That time AOA was mentioned on the Today Show

This week's moment of "Wait, what did she just say?!"

Here's the Work Week post they were talking about.

If you have trouble watching the clip above, there's a different embed after the jump.

(Thanks to everyone who messaged us about this!)

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Photos from The Historic Bad Boys, Broads and Bootleggers Tour 2

duncan and mary on the bus

Duncan and Mary making sure the capabilities of the bus were used to the full extent. / photo: Erin Pihlaja

Thanks to everyone who came along the replayed/remixed Historic Bad Boys, Broads and Bootleggers Tour on Saturday. It was a lot of fun again, and we were able to mix in a few new things. A bunch of photos are after the jump.

Other ideas? We won't be running this tour again, at least not anytime soon. But we really like these sorts of events, and we get the impression you do, too. So... if you have ideas for other stuff like this you might like to see AOA work to get together, please let us know. We can't guarantee anything, but we're always open to suggestions.

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The AOA Historic Bad Boys, Broads and Bootleggers Tour 2

bad boys broads bootleggers tour badge 2

Update 12:45 pm: Sold out!

Back in August we held the first Bad Boys, Broads and Bootleggers Tour. And everyone had a good time. Well, everyone who got to go, that is.

The tour sold out in a matter of hours, and lots of people asked us to try to put it together again.

So, we did.

On Saturday, October 5, AOA is hosting the Bad Boys, Broads and Bootleggers Tour 2. Because the first tour sold out so quickly -- before many people had a chance to see that it was happening -- we're giving everyone the heads up before tickets on go sale. So ask around, coordinate, whatever you have to do. ***The tickets will go on sale this Thursday, September 19 at noon.***

For the sequel: Duncan Crary and veteran Capital Region guide/history buff Paul Nooney will lead you on a raucous tour through our region's infamous illicit past and share stories your history teachers didn't want to tell you.

In addition to tales of characters such gangster Jack "Legs" Diamond, political boss Dan O'Connell, and Troy madam Mame Faye, we'll stop for tours and tastings at:

+ The speakeasy at City Beer Hall

+ Smith's in Cohoes, a historic haunt for political figures and home to the bar from Tammany Hall

+ The new Malt Room at Brown's in Troy (it just opened this week)

+ There will also be a tasting of whiskey from Albany Distilling Company, swag, and surprises along the way.

The tour will both start and end in the parking lot behind Brown's in Troy. The trolleys will depart at 2 pm and return around 5 pm.

Tickets are $25 -- here's how to buy them.

Trolleys for the the AOA Bad Boys, Broads, and Bootleggers Tour II will be provided by Advantage Transportation. The event is sponsored by Choose Cohoes, and Brown's Brewing.

Photos from the Bad Boys, Broads, and Bootleggers Tour

aoa bad boys tour composite

The AOA Historic Bad Boys, Broads, and Bootleggers Tour was Wednesday night. We had a lot of fun following some of the hush-hush history of Albany, Troy, and Cohoes. Thanks to everyone who came along!

Our guides for the tour were Maeve McEneny and Duncan Crary. They shared stories about infamous figures like gangster Legs Diamond, madam Mame Faye, and gangster/boxer/Congressman John "Old Smoke" Morrissey. And we stopped at the new speakeasy at the City Beer Hall in Albany, the Confectionery in Troy, Smith's in Cohoes, and Albany Distilling Co. (Along with a post-tour stop at the Albany Pump Station.)

Many thanks to Advantage Transportation for providing the tour trolleys and Harmony House Tours for helping to pull the whole tour together. And thanks to tour sponsors: The Lofts at Harmony Mills, the Cohoes Local Development Corp, and The Downtown Albany BID. Also, thanks to the folks at Enjoy Troy for providing fun swag for the trip.

And bunch of photos from the tour are after the jump. And here's the hashtag stream from the night.

Another tour? This tour sold out quickly, and we've gotten a lot of questions about whether we'll be scheduling another one. The answer is: maybe. A lot of things had to fall into place to make this happen, so we have to see if we can line that all up again. We'd like to -- it's just a matter of making it work.

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We're back

fail eggYou might have noticed that our website, um, didn't show up for work on Tuesday. Sorry about that. It appears things are back in working order, and we'll be publishing as usual today (Wednesday).

Here's what happened: Our hosting provider experienced a significant hardware failure that affected AOA's server. That meant we had to wait all of yesterday while our hosting provider replaced the hardware and restored our data from a backup. That took a... long... time. We only got access to our server again early this morning, and we've been sorting things out since then (it took a little bit of work to restore Monday's content because it wasn't part of the data backup). Now it looks like we've gotten it more or less straightened out.

We apologize for the interruption. And we're exploring other options in an attempt to guard against this happening again. The whole situation was frustrating, to say the least.

Thank you to everyone for the messages of support and offers of assistance. We appreciate it. A lot.

And, if anything, we got a laugh out of the "Fail Egg" Paul created yesterday for the situation.

At the ballpark with AOA, now with more spots

joe bruno stadium night game

The Joe

This Wednesday (June 26), AOA has lined up a get together at the ValleyCats game -- we'll have a luxury box at the Joe, and we've arranged for a bunch of food and drinks. One person will even get to throw out a first pitch.

Well, the event is pretty much full -- but today we were able to arrange for 10 more spots. So, if you'd like to go, there are now more spots. We'd love to see you there. It should be a fun time -- even if you don't know a change-up from a fastball.

Tickets for the AOA get together are $20. That includes admission and food, including one beer voucher for adults (details at both those links). If you have a group of friends who want to go, you can buy a four pack of tickets and save $5 per ticket.

The ValleyCats advertise on AOA. That's how we were able to set this up.

photo courtesy of Tri-City ValleyCats

AOA night at the ValleyCats

joe bruno stadium night game

At the Joe.

valleycats logoSummer is here, and this year we're leading off the season at the ballpark -- and we'd like you to come along.

On Wednesday, June 26, AOA will take in a Tri-City ValleyCats game from a luxury box at The Joe, and there's room for 30 people to join us.

Tickets include:
+ Admission to the game in the Diamond Club suite
+ Burgers
+ Hot Dogs
+ Chicken tenders
+ Kettle Corn
+ Curly Fries
+ Chips
+ A voucher for one beer with each adult admission
+ Soda and water

AND -- one member of the AOA group will be chosen to throw out a first pitch.

Tickets to AOA's Night at the ValleyCats are $20 per person. But if you purchase four or more at the same time, you can get a $5 discount per ticket. So get some friends together. The game starts at 7 pm.

The ValleyCats home opener is Monday, June 17. You can get single tickets to any of their gameshere.

The Tri-City Valley Cats advertise with AOA

photo courtesy of Tri-City ValleyCats

Photos from AOA5

aoa5 composite

Here are a bunch of photos from AOA's 5th birthday party Thursday. It was great to see so many people -- both to meet some for the first time, and to catch up with others we don't see often enough.

Many thanks to the City Beer Hall for putting together some very tasty food and making sure everything went smoothly. And thank you to Andy Kainz Photography for the photos.

There probably weren't a lot of people who thought AOA would make it five years -- we're not sure we would have predicted it! We greatly appreciate all the support over the years. Thank you.

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Cutting down the nets on AOA NCAA Tournament Pool II

aoa tournament pool 2013 winning bracketCongrats to Dylan, the winner of this year's AOA NCAA Tournament Pool.

He bested a field of 46 other competitors in AOA's pool. And for that he now sips the sweet nectar of victory. In this case, that nectar will probably come from Stewart's, because he won a $25 gift card from there.

Dylan correctly picked 41 of 63 games in this year's tournament, compiling 141 of a possible 192 points. He even correctly picked the final match-up: Louisville vs Michigan (with a Cardinals win, of course). His bracket, which is posted in large format here, ranked him in the 99th percentile of all brackets in Yahoo's Tournament Pick 'em game.

After the jump, the top 10 from this year's pool. Thanks to everyone who played.

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AOA Birthday Party 5

city beer hall exterior

Update: OK, so the party filled up in about three hours. That was fast. There's a waitlist at Eventbrite, and we just released a bunch of spots to people on the waitlist Wednesday morning. In past years, spots have continued to open up as the date nears, so if you'd like to attend please sign up for the waitlist. Thank you!

AOA is now five years old -- hey, we're surprised, too! So we're having a party. And you're invited. (Of course.)

We'll be celebrating at the City Beer Hall in Albany on April 18 from 5:30 pm until 8:30 pm. There will be free snacks, cake, and a lot of interesting people.

Because space is limited, we do ask that you RSVP at the linked Eventbrite page. The party fills up fast every year.

See you there!

AOA NCAA Tournament Pool 2

NCAA bracket 2013

Back by popular demand* -- and for a little fun -- we've put together another NCAA tournament pool for AOA. The winner gets a $25 gift card to Stewart's.

The pool is set up at Yahoo. This link should take you to the registration. If it doesn't, here's the info:

Group ID#: 130240
Password: greatdanes

If you already have a bracket set up at Yahoo, you should be able to add it to the AOA pool with just a few clicks. (Or, if you set up a pool for the AOA group, you can add it to other groups.)

The deadline to set your bracket is 12:15 pm on Thursday. (The "first four games" -- or whatever they're called -- aren't included. As is only right.)

While you won't get any bonus points, you will get some measure of admiration and respect for picking #15 UAlbany over #2 Duke. Also: We're not responsible for you pinning your hopes on Syracuse this year.

Good luck. (And if Hollie plays again this year, you'll need it.)

Important: The winner will be determined by Yahoo's tournament pick 'em system. In the event two (or more) people tie for the win, we'll randomly draw the winner from the top finishers. The winner will be notified via email by noon the day after the championship game and must respond by noon the next day. We'll contact you through the Yahoo system, so please be sure to designate an email address that you actually check.

* OK, by popular, we mean Spencer. (Thanks, Spencer.)

Thank you

aoa small box logoWe just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for voting for AOA in this year's Metroland readers' poll. AOA again did well in a handful of categories -- we very much appreciate that people are keeping us in mind.

And a tip of the hat to both Nippertown and KAB. We're happy to see other local indie sites continue to get recognition.

We've been at this five years now, which somehow doesn't seem possible. And yet here we are, thanks in large part to you. Thank you.

Birthday party: A bunch of people have been asking about this year's AOA birthday party. It'll be a little later than usual, but we'll have details soon.

What would you like AOA to be?

aoa logo circleAOA is coming up on its 5th birthday this spring (yeah, crazy). And as we approach that mile marker, we're thinking about making some significant changes to what we do and how we do it -- form, content, schedule... it's all on the table.

We haven't settled on anything yet, and probably won't for a while. This is the second time we've moved in this direction. The first was about two years ago and, well, we learned a lot, but didn't end up making a lot of changes. And we're hoping to build on some of those lessons. (If we ever start the AOAOA blog like we've been threatening, maybe we'll talk about it.)

But here's the thing: we'd like to hear your thoughts. As we always say, the best thing about AOA is the people. And we wouldn't want to make significant changes with your perspective. (One of Paul Ford's many insights is that the web is a customer service medium, and its fundamental question is: Why wasn't I consulted? That is mostly a good thing.)

So... please share. What would you like AOA to look like in the future? What sorts of topics would you like it to cover? What would you like to see more (and/or less) of? What form would you like it to take?

There's no right answer. And while we'd like the suggestions to be realistic (and constructive), it's OK to ask for one or two sparkly unicorns. Also, please feel free to ask questions -- we'll do our best to answer them in the comments.

And, of course, there's no guarantee we'll do exactly what you suggest. But we really are interested to hear your thoughts.

Thank you.

The most popular items on AOA in 2012

most popular posts 2012 composite

At the end of each year we like to go the through the traffic stats on AOA to see which posts were most popular. It's a fun way to remember all the stuff that's happened.

So, here are the most popular items on AOA for each month during 2012...

(there's more)

To North Creek and back

north creek trip train engine

The AOA-organized trip to North Creek on the Saratoga and North Creek Railway was this past Saturday. It was a nice time -- and we had some good wine and cheese at barVino. Thanks to everyone who came along.

Here are a bunch of photos...

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From the farm-to-table dinner -- with the farmers -- at Creo'

farm-to-table creo dining room

The AOA-organized farm-to-table dinner -- with the farmers -- was last night at Creo'. And it was a good time -- tasty food and a bunch of interesting people.

It's not every day you that you eat some goat cheese, and then directly hear from the farmers about how it was produced. Many thanks to Purple Gunder Farm, White Clover Farm, Goats and Gourmets, and Wild Thyme Farm for growing delicious food and sharing their stories.

(By the way: farmers have many un-boring work experiences -- their stories are usually way better than your work story about the guy in the next cubicle who won't stop clearing his throat.)

But, right, the food...

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Photos from the Troy > Albany tour

Albany Aqua Duck in Troy

The Duck makes a stop in Troy.

The Troy > Albany AOA Aqua Duck tour was yesterday evening. And it was a lot of fun! (Also: hot, very hot.) Thanks to everyone who came along!

Serving as guide and Troy advocate was Duncan Crary. Maeve McEneny defended the honor of Albany. They both were great, sharing interesting historical facts -- and a few jabs back and forth.

Big thanks to the Albany Aqua Ducks -- and sponsors Brown's Brewing, the Arts Center of the Capital Region, Bacchus Wood Fired Pizza, and the Olde English Pub and Pantry. Also: thanks to Enjoy Troy for t-shirts and prizes, and Andy Kainz for the photos.

Here are a bunch of photos from the tour...

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The Troy > Albany Tour

troy greater than albany

Is Troy greater than Albany? We shall see.

Trojans are always going on about why their city is so great: history, architecture, a walkable downtown, and on and on.

Well, on June 20 we're giving Troy a chance to back it all up.

AOA has organized a tour of the Collar City led by its fierce advocate, Duncan Crary.

Heckling Duncan on behalf of Albany: Maeve McEneny.

And all this will happen on an Albany Aqua Duck. With snacks.

Here's how to come along...

The Troy > Albany Tour is sponsored by Brown's Brewing, the Arts Center of the Capital Region, Bacchus Wood Fired Pizza, and the Olde English Pub and Pantry.

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Photos from the AOA Burger Lab at Central Steak

the whole hog slider submission

Josie's submission, "The Whole Hog." Said one judge: "Thank god this is small because it could kill you."

We had a lot of fun at the AOA Burger Lab at Central Steak last week.

There were so... many... sliders. It was great to see all the combinations of toppings people put together on their tiny burgers. And we raised some money for the ASAP Daisies.

Five burger combinations submitted here at AOA were put to a taste test by our panel of judges. And we would have never guessed the winner.

Here are the results and a bunch photos...

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Photos from AOA4

aoa4 composite

As promised, here's a ton of photos from the AOA's 4th birthday party last week at the City Beer Hall. Many thanks to Andy Kainz for capturing so many good moments.

We had an excellent time at the party. The City Beer Hall did a great job with the food. And we feel very lucky that so many interesting and fun people helped us celebrate.

On to the photos...

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Tweets and pics from AOA4

happy birthday aoa city beer hall wall

We had a great time last night at the AOA birthday party at the City Beer Hall.

Thank you to everyone who was there to celebrate with us! And thanks to everyone else who wished us a happy birthday from afar!

After the jump, a bunch of tweets and pics from the night...

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Thank you

metroland readers poll aoa mention 2012It always feels good to know that people appreciate what you do. So it was a very pleasant surprise to see today that we had been voted to the top of two categories in the annual Metroland readers poll -- best local website, community; and best local blog -- as well as mentions in a few others. We're especially happy about the community category because it's a credit to the AOA crowd itself.

Thank you to everyone who voted for AOA. We really appreciate it that people keep us in mind.

And, as we said last year, it's great to see other local independent sites -- Nippertown, Friday Puppy, KAB -- also recognized in the poll. Here's to a vibrant neighborhood.

AOA Birthday Party 4

city beer hall exterior

The City Beer Hall.

Update: Wow, that filled up fast. There's a waiting list at the Eventbrite page, so if you're interested in attending, please sign up there. In past years people have dropped out as the date approached, so there's a good chance more spots will open up. Thanks to everyone who wants to celebrate!
____

AOA recently turned 4 years old -- so we're having a birthday party. And you're invited (obviously)!

We'll be celebrating at the City Beer Hall in Albany on March 22 from 5:30 pm until 8:30 pm. There will be free snacks, cake, and a lot of interesting people.

Because space is limited, we do ask that you RSVP at the linked Eventbrite page. We need to have an idea of how many people will be attending.

See you there!

Earlier on AOA: Photos from last year's AOA birthday party

The most popular items on AOA in 2011

giant guilderland snowman face

He was living large in 2011. (Until he melted.)

At the end of each year we like to go the through the traffic stats on AOA to see which posts were most popular. It's a fun way to remember all the stuff that's happened.

So, here are the most popular items on AOA for each month during 2011...

(there's more)

What ever happened to...

flabby tabby king kong croppedWe're starting to plan an upcoming theme week called "Whatever happened to..." It's exactly what it sounds like: a series of posts about people or things that have left or are no longer in the spotlight.

For (a silly) example: Whatever happened to the Flabby Tabby? Did he lose the weight? Is he still living large? (Please let there be a cat wearing a headband on treadmill somewhere.)

So, what are some people or things upon which you might like to see some follow-up?

We'll try to follow up on some of them. And if you're interested in writing a post for the week -- pitch us at editors |at| alloveralbany |dot| com.

AOA Birthday Party 3 photos

aoa birthday party 3 composite

If there's a sock monkey present, it must be a party.

Thanks again to everyone who came to celebrate AOA's third birthday at The Point last week. It was a lot of fun! And it was great to meet so many people/see so many people again.

A whole bunch of party pics are after the jump.

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Tweets from AOA Birthday Party 3

AOA Otto button

Thanks to Laura for making such fun buttons!

We had a really great time last night at AOA's third birthday party at The Point. Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate with us!

We've said this a few times before, and it's still true: the thing we appreciate most about working on AOA is the people. We're so lucky to have been able to meet all of you.

After the jump: a bunch of tweets and pics and links from last night's party. We'll have more party photos tomorrow.

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AOA Birthday Party 3

aoa first birthday cake

The cake from our first birthday party. It tasted a lot better than it looked.

AOA is now three years old -- so we're having a birthday party! And you're invited (of course)!

We'd love to see you at the The Point in Albany on March 23 from 5:30 to 8:30 for some tasty free snacks, a bunch of fun people and... cake!

Because space is limited, we do ask that you RSVP (that part is important -- almost as important as the cake).

See you there!

Earlier on AOA: AOA Birthday 2 photos

Thank you

aoa small box logoIt was a pleasant surprise to see that we were voted "Best Local Website (Community)" in the Metroland readers' poll out today, as well as being named in a handful of other categories.

Thank you to everyone who voted for AOA. It's an honor to know that you keep us in mind. We appreciate it. A lot.

It's great to see how many independent sites are represented in this year's poll -- Nippertown, Friday Puppy, Keep Albany Boring. It makes us proud to see the local online ecosystem growing.

Here's to a thriving neighborhood.

AOA Valentines

AOA valentine The Egg

Just for fun, we created a few AOA valentines. That's one of the above. There are two more (Otto makes an appearance in one of them).

Feel free to send/facebook/tweet/copy as you like.

Happy Valentine's Day.

AOA, now with more snow globe

aoa snow globe thumbnailOur Monday was little feeling a little gray, but this has brightened things up a bit. It's an AOA online snow globe -- go ahead and check it out.

On some computers (Mac with Firefox), you can actually make the snow globe "tilt" by tilting your laptop side to side. In other browsers, you can direct the snow with your mouse.

We've been keeping this open in a tab and switching to it every hour or so. It's made the day pass a little faster.

Meet Akum and Liz

akum and liz

Akum | Liz

Please extend a big AOA welcome to Akum Norder and Liz Clancy Lerner, our two new associate editors.

We're very excited to have them working with us for the next few months. Akum and Liz are both smart, fun, interesting and interested.

Here's a little bit more about them...

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The most popular items on AOA this year

flabby tabby nomming the egg

The Flabby Tabby was living large this year.

Toward the end of each year we like to go the through the traffic stats on AOA to see which posts were most popular. It's a fun way to remember all the stuff that's happened.

So, without further ado, here are the most popular posts on AOA for each month during the last year...

(there's more)

"I'm not sure I've ever been involved in an interview... about dog poo"


When the people at the CW15 invited us on their new newscast at 10, we're betting they never expected such high-minded topics. Yep. Jerry gets a +1 for providing the thematic frame to the segment.

AOA's weekly segment on the CW15 News at 10 is now on Wednesdays. Thanks to everyone who's been watching -- we appreciate it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

can cranberry

We have a lot to be thankful for this year!

Thank you to everyone who's been a part of it. We appreciate it.

AOA on CW15, now on Wednesday

aoa on tv with doriCheck it out: AOA's spot on the CW15 News at 10 has been moved to Wednesdays!

We'll be on tonight with Dori talking about backyard chickens, Ryan's question about the best burgers in the Capital Region and... pancake bites.

Update at 8pm Wednesday: ... or not. We just heard that there was a technical problem - and as a result, no AOA segment tonight.

Update again: Now we're going to be on Friday this week! But next week -- and the weeks after -- Wednesday.


AOA is hiring

aoa job chart

We're looking to bend these curves.

The chart above is a quick organizational history of AOA. As you can see, we could use some extra people.

So, we're looking to hire a part-time associate editor. The job description is after the jump.

If anyone knows who might be the right person for this job, it's going to be the AOA crowd. So if someone spring to mind, please forward this along.

Any questions or suggestions, please don't hesitate to contact the editors.

Thanks!

(there's more)

AOA on TV

Update: Here's the segment:

____

Check it out: the Editors will be appearing weekly on the new CW15 News at Ten. And our first appearance is... Thursday night! We'll be talking with Dori Marlin about the Tournament of Pizza, Maeve's Capital Region ghost stories and... things that are TOO DAMN high.

Our regular segment will usually air on Fridays, but we got bumped ahead a day this week.

Thanks to CBS6/CW15 for inviting us on the show!

I'll see you later

albany b sign

By Jessica Pasko

This is hard to say, but I'm taking off. It's been a good ride but it's time for me to try something new in life and unfortunately, that also means taking a break from Albany in the form of graduate school in the Midwest.

Like so many of us, I never intended to come back here. The lure of immediate post-graduate employment in the form of a job with the Associated Press brought me back, and ended up pushing my dreams of moving to San Francisco to the side. So I stayed... longer than I ever anticipated, and I've enjoyed myself more than I would ever have expected.

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We want you to review Salt

salt trailer 2 U-Haul

The U-Haul building, serving as an extra with Angelina.

Update: Lou will be reviewing Salt!

Update: The deadline has passed. We'll contact the winner tonight. Thanks to everyone who entered!

As you know, Salt -- the Angelina Jolie movie -- was partially shot here in Albany (the director would like to thank the citizens). And it opens this Friday.

So, we're looking for someone to review the movie. And that person could be you. Here's the deal:

+ Post a comment telling us what your favorite movie is, and explain why. It doesn't have to be anything long. A few sentences will do.

+ Based on the posted comments, we'll pick a winner to review Salt.

+ That person will get two free tickets to see Salt at the Spectrum this weekend -- so you can bring a friend (it's always good to talk about a movie with someone afterward).

+ The winner then sends us a short review of Salt by Monday at 9 am. The review should be no more than 500 words. And we hope you'll pay special attention to Albany's cameos in the movie (787 apparently makes quite an appearance).

+ We post the review later that day.

So, that's the deal. We think this could be fun.

Important: One entry person. You must answer the question to be considered. Your comment must be posted by 5 pm Wednesday July 21. You must include a working email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified by 11:59 pm on Wednesday and must respond by noon on Thursday July 22.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Lining up for Salt
+ More Angelina and more Albany
+ That's Angelina and that's Albany
+ Angelina Jolie to stop traffic in downtown Albany

screengrab: Sony

I'll have the AOA

nippers cart capitol parkSo, last week as part of the totally informal lunch-up at the Capitol Park food trucks, Nipper's Hot Dogs offered an AOA special: two classic Chicago-style hot dogs for $2. It's a good deal -- lunch doesn't get much cheaper.

Well, much to our surprise, the Nipper's guys have decided to rename their classic dogs the "All Over Albany Classic Hot Dogs" and keep the special price for the rest of the summer! We're very flattered! (And, it must be said, a little hungry.)

It was great to see everyone at the lunch up. Thanks for stopping by!

Lunch-up on Thursday

Nipper's chicago-style hot dogs

The AOA special: two of these for $2

As part of Lunch Week, we thought it would be fun to have an informal lunch meetup.

So... AOA's having a totally informal, no-sign-ups-or-anything lunch get-together this Thursday in Capitol Park in Albany (it's the park just behind the Capitol with all the lunch trucks).

We're planning to be there from noon until about 1 pm or so. If can you can stop by during your lunch hour, it'd be great to see you. (Weather permitting, of course. Let's hope.) We'll be over by the Nipper's stand on State Street (look for the rainbow umbrellas).

Hot dog bonus!
The guys from the Nipper's Hot Dogs will be offering an AOA special that day: two classic Chicago-style hot dogs for $2. We can speak from experience -- these are good dogs, and filling. If you bring a friend, you can probably both have lunch for about two bucks.

And remember: Wednesday is snap a pic of your lunch and send it to AOA day. Two people will win $25 toward lunch at their favorite local spot.

Next week is Lunch Week

your lunch here

That had been a bagel.

We have something new coming up next week on AOA: Lunch Week.

It's pretty much what it sounds like -- a whole week with posts about... lunch. There will be other stuff, too, including all the usual items. But every day will have at least one post about lunch. Trust us, it'll be fun. We have some excellent contributors lined up to help out.

Here's where you come in

On the last day of Lunch Week (Friday, June 18) we want to do a post about what everyone had for lunch that week. Specifically, the Wednesday of that week (June 16).

So, next Wednesday we'd love for you to snap a pic of your lunch and send it to us at this email address: lunch |at| alloveralbany |dot| com. Please include what's in your lunch, where you got it and how you'd like to be identified.

Lunch can be whatever you're eating that day -- a PB&J from home, a sandwich at your desk from the deli, Chinese at the place down the street, whatever. If you ate it around noon that day, it's lunch.

Everyone who sends along a qualifying lunch photo will be entered in a drawing for, yep... A FREE LUNCH. We'll pick two winners at random. They'll get a $25 gift certificate to their favorite local lunch spot (yep, the winner gets to pick).

OK, to review

  1. Next Wednesday, snap a pic of your lunch and send it, along with a description, to lunch |at| alloveralbany |dot| com
  2. We'll post the photos and descriptions on Friday
  3. Two winners will get free lunch at the local spot of their choice
  4. We all have some fun

The Matthew Carefully song for AOA

Remember that contest where we asked for ideas for a Matthew Carefully song? Well, we ended up picking the suggestions from Arielle and Jackers.

Well this morning, Matthew's song -- based on Arielle and Jackers' ideas -- was waiting in our inbox. It's titled "Half-sleep."

It's embedded above. And you can download it here.

Lyrics are after the jump.

Thanks to Matthew for the song! And thanks to everyone who posted a suggestion!

Matthew's new album, Community Balloon, is now available. And here's recap (and photos) of his album release show at Caffe Lena.

(there's more)

Thanks!

aoa small box logoThe past week has been unbelievably good to AOA. First the birthday party, which was a great time -- and now this: a top-three ranking in multiple categories of the Metroland readers' poll.

AOA was voted best local web site (community) and best local web site (arts).
We were also voted second for best local web site (news) and best local blog (congrats, Matt!). And AOA finished at #3 for best local web site (music).

We're especially proud of the best local web site (community) honor. The most fulfilling part of working on AOA has been the chance to meet so many interesting/smart/insightful/kind/funny people. Your support and encouragement keeps us going on the tough days -- and on the good days, it pushes us to do more.

Thank you so much.

AOA Birthday 2 photos

aoa birthday2 wide

Midtown was packed for the party.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the Midtown Tap and Tea Room last Thursday for the AOA birthday party. It was a really fun time! It was great to see so many people again -- and meet a bunch of others for the first time.

There are a whole lot of photos from the party after the jump. Also, here are recaps by Albany Jane and The Exile. And you can read most of the party tweets by searching for the hashtag #AOA2.

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Birthday present: Complexions Spa

relaxation-area.jpg

We'd like to makeover the AOA offices to look more like this.

Well, the party is over, but there are still more presents to be had. We've got one prize left in the AOA birthday bag. The winners of today's drawing will get $100 gift certificates for Complexions Spa and Salon or their new barber shop and hair salon. There will be 3 winners.

So here's today's question:

What -- and how -- would you makeover in the Capital Region?

We're looking for constructive ideas about how to make over something that already exists here. Think broadly -- it could be a street, a neighborhood, a building, an event, an attitude, anything.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 10 pm Friday (Feb 26, 2010) to be entered in the drawing. One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address with your comment. The winners will be notified via email by 5 pm on Monday and must respond by 5 pm on Tuesday.

Happy birthday to us

making cupcakes

Sprinkles!

Update: Recaps from Albany Jane and The Exile.

Update: You can read a lot of the tweets from the party by searching for the hash tag #AOA2.

We're kicking off a little early this afternoon for the birthday party.

There are cupcakes to be eaten.

Birthday present: New World Bistro Bar

New World Bistro Bar.jpg

New World was, well, new to Albany last year.

AOA's birthweek celebration continues today with -- what else -- more presents.

The winners of today's drawing get: a $100 gift certificate to New World Bistro Bar in Albany. There will be three winners.

This one got us thinking. New World. New. New stuff. New stuff in the Capital Region! So today's question is:

What new thing would you like to see in the Capital Region?

From subways to taco trucks -- it's all fair game! Post your answer in the comments section. We'll draw the winner at random.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 10 pm Thursday (Feb 25, 2010) to be entered in the drawing. One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address with your comment. The winners will be notified via email by 5 pm on Friday and must respond by 5 pm on Monday.

Birthday present: Bilinski's

Bilinski Sausage image.jpg

All natural chicken sausage -- made in Cohoes.

Update: The drawing's closed! Thanks for entering.

It's day three of the AOA's "birthweek" celebration and we're giving away more presents.

Today's prize: a basket of products from Bilinski's in Cohoes.. Here's what's in the basket:

Bilinski's All Natural Spinach & Garlic Chicken Sausage - 2 packages
Bilinski's All Natural Mild Italian Chicken Sausage - 2 packages
Bilinski's All Natural Sundried Tomato & Basil Chicken Sausage - 1 package
Bilinski's All Natural Apple Chardonnay Chicken Sausage - 1 package
Bilinski's All Natural Blueberry Maple Chicken Littles - 2 packages
Bilinski's NEW Chicken Meatloaf - family sized - 1 package
Bilinski's NEW Chicken Chicken Chili - family sized - 1 package

That's like an entire month's worth of dinners. Maybe two.

OK, so remember the old adage about laws and sausages?  You know, two things you
don't want to know how they're made?  Well, a while back AOA toured the Bilinski's factory in Cohoes -- and we got the impression that if New York did made laws like sausage, we might actually be in better shape today.

So in keeping with that theme, here's today's question:

If you could make one new law for the Capital Region, what would it be?

It could be for your town, it could be for the whole area. Post your answer in the comments. We'll draw the winner at random.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 10 pm Wednesday (Feb 24, 2010) to be entered in the drawing. One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address with your comment. The winners will be notified via email by 5 pm on Thursday and must respond by 5 pm on Friday.

Birthday present: Bettie's Cakes

bettie's bus

Mobile double-decker cake stand not included.

Update: Congratulations to Jackers and Cathy -- they're the winners!

Update: The drawing's closed! Thanks for entering.

AOA's birthday week continues with another present: cupcakes for a year.

The winners of today's drawing will get a dozen mini cupcakes a month, for a year, from Bettie's Cakes in Saratoga Springs.

This being quite the sweet treat, we though it would be appropriate to ask:

What's the sweetest thing in the Capital Region?

Think widely on this one -- it could be a place, a fact, an event, even a person (please use discretion in naming people). Post your answer in the comments. We'll draw two winners at random.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 10 pm Tuesday (Feb 23, 2010) to be entered in the drawing. One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address with your comment. The winners will be notified via email by 5 pm on Wednesday and must respond by 5 pm on Thursday.

AOA office memo

otto asleep

Otto hard at work. As usual.

MEMO

To: all AOA editors, contributors, participants

Re: office dog

Two years ago today Otto started his job as AOA's office dog. Please join us in warmly congratulating him on the anniversary.

otto_napping.jpgDuring the past two years Otto has grown (literally and figuratively) into the position. His originally modest job description now includes:

greeting visitors
twittering
US Postal Service liaison
summer replacement
document shredding
product testing
lunch monitor
holiday model

In addition, he's also enthusiastically served as AOA's goodwill ambassador.

Here's to many more years.

Birthday present: Uncommon Grounds

uncommon grounds giveaway basket

Stimulating.

Update: Heather's the winner!

Update: The drawing's closed! Thanks for entering!

AOA's birthday party is coming up this Thursday -- but we though it would be more fun to celebrate our birthday all week. And what's a birthday without presents?

So all this week we're giving away birthday presents via a different drawing each day. Today's present is a gift basket from AOA's favorite satellite office -- Uncommon Grounds:

3lbs coffee
2 1/4lbs tea
UG mug
UG t-shirt (winner specifies size, style, color)
1/2 lb of dark chocolate covered espresso beans

UG being a purveyor of fine caffeinated products, we thought it would be fun to ask the question:

What's the most stimulating thing about the Capital Region?

Post your answer in the comments. We'll draw the winner at the random.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 10 pm Monday (Feb 22, 2010) to be entered in the drawing. One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address with your comment. The winners will be notified via email by 5 pm on Tuesday and must respond by 5 pm on Wednesday.

Party prep

birthday cupcakesWe're less than a week away from the AOA birthday party. And we're excited. We hope you are, too.

The list for the party is jammed -- and there are people who would still like to come. So if something's come up and you won't be able to make it, please let us know so we can release your spot.

Also: we've decided to celebrate AOA's second birthday all next week. Fun things ahead...

AOA Birthday Party 2

birthday cupcakes

These guys made an appearance at last year's party -- they were quite popular.

It's All Over Albany's second birthday! And we're of the mind to party.

So join us at the Midtown Tap and Tea Room on February 25 from 5:30 to 8:30 for some tasty free snacks, a bunch of fun people and... cupcakes!

Because space is limited, we do ask that you RSVP (that part is important -- almost as important as the cupcakes).

See you there!

Look, it's the editors... you know... editing

aoa in tu 2010

It was gray sweater day at AOA last Friday.

We can confirm that the rumors of AOA's upcoming second birthday are true. February's the month -- details soon to follow.

And if you've been intending to follow us on Twitter or fan us (OK, that doesn't sound right) on Facebook -- now might be a good time. You never know...

Jessica Pasko Appreciation Day

jessica pasko

The one and only.

Today is Jessica Pasko Appreciation Day on AOA.

Jessica is a big part of AOA's success. She's always finding interesting stuff to post about, whether it's a person with an odd talent or a little-known ethnic market or an unusual museum.

She's also always willing to help out, picking up a pizza for the TOP or sending along an event for Stuff To Do This Weekend.

And did we mention she's a fun, cool person?

Jess, you're the best. Thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving

can cranberry

Another thing we're thankful for: ridges from the can.

AOA has a lot to be thankful for this year -- most of all the many interesting, smart, funny people who contributed, commented, sent along ideas or supported us.

Thank you. We appreciate it.

AOA cookout photos

aoa cookout junot

Relaxing in the park.

It was great to see so many people at the AOA cookout in Washington Park a week and a half ago. We had a lot of fun!

Thanks to Bilinski's and Crisan for providing the delicious food.

A few pictures from the cookout are after the jump. A whole bunch are at AOA's Facebook page.

And here's a good set of photos by Andy.

(there's more)

Cookout with AOA in Washington Park

bilinskis logoUpdate: The list is full! We're working on opening up more space. We've expanded the list! And it's full again!

Undaunted by this summer's weather, AOA is having a cookout in Washington Park on August 13. Among the many reasons you should add this evening of fun and free food (yes, free) to your social calendar:

The sausage

The folks from Bilinski's will be there cooking up some special all-natural chicken sausages -- so special, they're not available in stores, yet. Bilinski's is looking to get some feedback on the new products. So here's a chance to actually influence what shows up in supermarkets.

The gelato

You can follow up that sausage with some gelato from Crisan. Yep. Free gelato.

The people

As we've found out from the other get-togethers, people in the AOA crowd are interesting, smart and a lot of fun. We'd love to see you there.

The cookout starts at 5:30 pm. We'll be in the grassy area just west of the monument in Washington Park. All you need to bring is yourself and maybe a blanket or something to sit on. We'll be providing drinks, plates, napkins and all that kind of stuff.

In order to make sure we'll have enough food, we do ask that you RSVP. The list only has 50 spots on it. If you're interested, it's best to sign up early.

Thank you

TU best of 09It was a really great surprise to find out today that AOA had placed in not one, but two, categories of the TU's Best of 2009 poll.

We were #2 on the list of best web sites (behind the TU) and #3 on the list of best bloggers (behind Steve and Kristi -- company in which we're delighted to be).

Thank you to everyone who voted for us. We really appreciate it.

And if this is your first time at AOA -- welcome!

AOA Midtown party photos

AOA_Party_Group

At Midtown.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the AOA's Midtown party last Thursday. It was good to meet so many new people for the first time -- and great to see so many again.

Thanks also to the Midtown Tap and Tea Room for making us some really tasty snacks.

A handful of photos are after the jump.

(there's more)

AOA Midtown party update

midtown tea and tapFirst, thanks to everyone who's said "Yep, I'll be there" for this Thursday's party at the Midtown Tap and Tea Room -- the 75 spots filled up over the weekend. We're excited to meet a bunch of people in person for the first time. If you're signed up and won't be able to make it, please update your status (or send us an email) so other people can take your spot.

Second, the food. The list of hors d'oeuvres is after the jump. They look like some tasty snacks.

(there's more)

Have a drink with AOA

midtown tea and tap

It's at the corner of New Scotland and Ontario in Albany.

After the AOA birthday party in March, we heard from a bunch of people: "Again!"

So, we're holding a meetup/get-together/soiree May 28 at the Midtown Tap and Tea Room in Albany (map). We'll have the whole front room to ourselves from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. Stop by, have a drink, say hi. Snacks are on AOA.

To make sure we'll have enough space, we do ask that you RSVP.

We're looking forward to seeing you!

Self promotion of the shameless sort

TU best of 09Which of the following statements is true?

a) The Editors would like to think they're above asking people to vote for AOA in the TU's Best of the Capital Region survey.

b) The Editors are wrong.

c) AOA's #2 spot in last year's poll (behind, well, the TU) introduced the site to a bunch of new people.

d) All of the above.

We're going to have go with "d" -- so, if you have a second, we'd appreciate it if you voted for us in the "Best Local Web Site" category of the survey (it's on the fourth page). Today's the last day to vote.

Thanks!

Advertising on AOA

aoa logo 250So, as we've mentioned, AOA has been around for a year now. And we'd really like stick around for awhile longer. But to do that, we gotta make some money to pay for all these pixels. And bagels. And food for the office dog.

You've probably noticed that AOA has started running ads from local businesses. It's a good start, but we need to keep building the pool of advertisers. And that's where we're hoping that you might be able to help us move things along:

+ If you own a business in the Capital Region, we'd love to talk with
you about advertising on AOA.

+ If you know someone who owns a local business, it'd be great if you could mention AOA to them.

+ If you know of a business or org that you think would be a good fit
for advertising on AOA
, send us an email.

+ If you see an advertiser on AOA, check them out when you get a chance. We're trying to line up advertisers that offer products and services that you'd be interested in.

(Perhaps you've noticed a theme here.)

We've priced AOA ads so they're affordable for all types of businesses. Here's more about how it works and what it costs. Got an idea for something different? Great -- we'd love to talk about that, too.

If you're interested in advertising, email us: advertising |at| alloveralbany |dot| com

And thanks for all of your support in the past year!

What should come next for AOA?

aoa logo 250OK, group meeting time. AOA is now a little more than a year old. And the crowd has grown significantly (especially over the last few months). That has us thinking about the future.

We have a lot of ideas for AOA. And you probably have some good ideas that we haven't even thought about. But we only have the resources to pursue a few new features in the near future. So we're asking: what should come next?

A few of our ideas are after jump. We'd very much like to hear your constructive feedback.

(there's more)

The AOA birthday party

aoa_party_pics30

Upstairs at the Pump Station. The actual party was in color.

AOA celebrated its first birthday (a little late) Wednesday night at the Albany Pump Station. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to have a cupcake and talk!

A bunch of pictures are after the jump (so many that the page will probably load slowly).

AOA's first year was better than we could have expected. We're really excited about what's to come in year number two.

More pictures are posted on AOA's Facebook page.

(there's more)

Thank you

metroland best blog

You like us, you really like us.

We got a very pleasant surprise today: AOA was voted best local blog by the readers of Metroland. Apparently we came out ahead of Steve Barnes' indispensable Table Hopping blog by just one vote -- it's company we're happy to be in. Thank you to everyone who voted for us!

AOA just passed its one year anniversary. And it's been a great year -- in large part because of the crowd of really interesting people that's formed around the site. We've really appreciated the opportunity to get to know so many of you.

New to AOA? We hope you'll like what you find. One of the best ways to get a feel for what goes on here is to skim through our "Last Seven Days" page. Beyond that, here are a few recent posts that you might find interesting:

Supermarket Showdown II

O big name bands, where art thou?

Eat this: macaroni and cheese at Hattie's

Meet your new neighbors, the fishers

Chewing the cud with Paul Tonko

Who has the best prices on beer?

Jonathan cares about the world, do you?

Thoughts about 2009?

2008-2009So, AOA Greg is going to be on this panel with a bunch of other media people this coming Thursday. But little did he know that appearing on the panel would involve... homework.

Homework! Maybe you can help.

The people organizing the event are looking for the panel to talk about the top three stories of 2008 -- and what the top three stories of 2009 will be.

We're guessing (hoping) you might have some thoughts on that topic. And we'd love to hear 'em. We'll totally give you credit on Thursday.

To get things started, here's what Greg sent along to the moderator this week...

(there's more)

2008, meet 2009

2008-2009This is straight out of the shameless self promotion file.

AOA Greg is appearing on a panel this Thursday with Susan Arbetter (NY Now), Karen Dewitt (public radio Capitol reporter), and Judy Patrick (managing editor of the Gazette) to talk about what happened in 2008 -- and what's ahead in 2009.

And, yep, we're as surprised as you are that he up ended on this panel.

The discussion is part of a luncheon organized by Women's Press Club of New York State and the local chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. It's at the Italian American Community Center from 11:30 am - 2 pm. It's $30 for non-members / $15 for students. We've heard the event usually sells out.

AOA Mary will also be there, so please say hello if you stop by.

In search of good design

something goes hereAOA is looking for a few graphic designers who might be interested in picking up a little bit of work on the side. The pay would be modest -- but so would the size of the projects.

We'd like to work with people in the AOA crowd, for a few reasons:

1. You already have a sense of our style.

2. You're probably awesome.

If you're interested in learning more, please send us an email: editors |at| alloveralbany |dot| com. If you could include a link to some of your work, that would be great.

The most popular items on AOA for 2008

most popular 2008 composite

As 2009 starts, we thought it would be fun to see what some of the most popular items were on AOA over the course of the past year.

(there's more)

Happy Thanksgiving

Otto pumpkin

Otto's thankful he didn't have to wear this pumpkin costume very long.

What's AOA thankful for this year? All the interesting people who take the time to comment and send along cool ideas.

Thank you.

Responding to the AOA survey comments

Otto closeup

A few people asked for more of Otto, the AOA office dog.

A few weeks ago we posted a survey and a bunch of you were nice enough to take it. Thank you. We appreciate it. And congratulations to Ned Abbott -- he's the winner of the survey prize pack.

We'll publish the aggregate data from the survey soon (we're still organizing it), but we also wanted to respond to some of the comments that people made. So, we went through and paraphrased a bunch of the most common comments. Included in our answers are a little bit about where we're hoping to take AOA. If you have any ideas/suggestions about that, we'd love to hear them.

On with the comments...

(there's more)

The AOA survey

pizza, cupcakes, album

In the prize pack: pizza from DeFazio's, cupcakes from Spa City Cupckakes, albums from Collar City Records. There are Spectrum passes, too.

Here's the deal: AOA has to start paying for its pixels, and to do that we have to have some sense of who's stopping by the site every day. So, we've put together a short survey that we're hoping you'll take.

To thank you -- and to make things a little more fun -- we're giving away a prize pack of cool Capital Region stuff to one person who takes the survey (the winner will be drawn at random). Here's what's in the pack:

+ A gift certificate for a dozen cupcakes from Spa City Cupcakes in Saratoga

+ A bundle of four albums from Collar City Records, including Kentucky by Mathew Loiacono and We Are Giants Now by Ben Karis-Nix

+ A gift certificate for pizza (or really, whatever) from DeFazio's in Troy

+ two passes to the Spectrum in Albany

Here's the survey. It should take five minutes (at most) to complete. We appreciate you taking the time.

The AOA survey is now closed. Thanks to everyone who took the time to fill it out! We appreciate it!

Questions or concerns? Email us: editors |at| alloveralbany |dot| com

You're a very stylish girl, can't we start this stylishly?

AOA help wanted sign

AOA is looking for someone with a sharp eye for style to help us spot great deals, fierce fashion and other forms of all around retail awesomeness. No formal writing experience necessary, but we are looking for someone with voice and the ability to put subjects, verbs and objects in something approximating the correct order. The pay is more along the lines of H&M than LV.

Interested? Give us a shout: editors |at| alloveralbany |dot| com

original photo: Flickr user swanksalot, used under a CC license

Summer break

orange lilies

We're hoping for a few days like this.

The AOA editors are taking the week off to sip cool drinks, take lazy walks, and eat ice cream. Look for posts from a special guest editor all this week.

AOA will be back on its regular schedule July 14.

We're #2

tu readers poll logoCheck it out: All Over Albany ranked second in the "Best Local Web Site" category of the TU's Best of the Capital Region Readers Poll. (The TU's own site was #1.)

Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for us. We've had so much fun with AOA. It makes us happy to know that a few other people are enjoying it, too.

AOA's Capital Region Outdoor Dining Map

a sample of the Capital Region Outdoor Dining Map

Zoom, click, chill out.

A few weeks back we desperately wanted to go someplace, get something to eat and sit outside. Alas, the weather was a little ahead of local dining establishments that day. But the hunt got us thinking.

And here's the result: AOA's Capital Regional Outdoor Dining Map. It's a listing (and map!) of places you can have a drink or get something to eat -- and sit outside at the same time. There are about 40 establishments on the list right now and we'd very much like to add more (along with pictures and descriptions). If you can think of a few not listed (we know we've missed a bunch), post about it in the comments and we'll add it.

Now all we need is the return of warm weather.

Shameless self promotion

tu readers poll logoWe would love to say that we're above asking you to vote for us in the Times Union's Best of the Capital Region readers poll, but who are we kidding. So, vote for us! The "best local web site" category is all the way on the last page of the survey.

Of course, we only want you to vote for us if you really do think that we're the best local web site. We're actually on the fence about it ourselves. Right now we're leaning towards voting for Rob Madeo.

Racing to the tax day finish

Check out this screengrab from one of the stats packages AOA uses to track traffic to the site. This particular package (it's called Mint) provides snapshots of what's happened recently. Listed below are searches (mostly via Google) that brought people to AOA in the hour or so leading up to midnight yesterday. Notice anything that might have been on people's minds?

searches for AOA

Meet the neighbors

The NeighborhoodWe wanted to show you something we've been playing around with during the last week. We've been calling it The Neighborhood. It's basically a snapshot of what people are posting about on local blogs during the last day or two. You'll understand when you see it.

There are only a handful of blogs included right now, but we'd very much like to expand the list. We're trying to keep it to blogs that are both by people who live in the Capital Region AND post often about local stuff. If you know of a great blog like this, please post the url in the comments. And if you have any suggestions about how we could make this better, we'd love to hear that, too.

New to All Over Albany?

photo composite of Aja Style, deep-fried candy bar, Rachael Ray World Domination Watch, the AOA map

Yes, that's a deep-fried candy bar between the stylishly dressed woman and Rachael Ray.

Thanks for stopping by! Here's the nickel tour:

AOA is kind of like an ongoing cocktail party where the conversation always revolves around something about the Capital Region. New items are posted Monday through Friday. And the first thing up is usually a digest of local headlines, which we call Morning Blend.

Some of our most popular posts to date have been a comparison of supermarket prices, a spelling-challenged sign at the Colonie Sears and a our account of trying a deep-fried candy bar.

We love to eat, so there are usually two or three items each week about food. We also have a regular feature called Eat This, which points out a specific dish, snack or drink at a local eatery that we've found to be especially good.

Like to shop? Or just wish you knew where to find clothes with a little style here in the Capital Region? Aja Lownes helps us keep an eye out for all that is fierce.

And, yes, we admit to being a little obsessed with local-woman-turned-media-empire Rachael Ray. That's why we have Rachael Ray World Domination Watch.

One more quick thing: if you're looking to scan through the items on AOA in a fun way, we list all our items that have a place associated with them on a map. Just click on the map markers to find out what's up at that location.

That's just a sample of what goes on here at AOA. The fact of the matter is you can never really be sure what's going to turn up each day -- frankly, it's a surprise to us most days. We're just having a good time working on the site and we feel lucky that so many people have chosen to join in on the fun.

Questions, comments, concerns, shout-outs, or just have a tip about what's going on:

editors |at| alloveralbany |dot| com

Thanks!

BREAKING NEWS! TU finally runs out of people to interview!

AOA in the TU

Note to selves: never have picture taken again. Ever.

It's the only way to explain today's article about AOA in the TU.

And, yes, we really are that pale.

AOA Memo

otto_napping.jpg

We're not sure napping was in the job description

MEMO

otto_closeup_small.jpgTo: all AOA editors, contributors, participants

Re: new office dog

His name is Otto. He's a collie. He enjoys chewing, napping and chasing people as if they were sheep.

His current project is making sure to take care of business outside. Otto will report directly to the editors.

Please welcome him aboard.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

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