May 23, 2012

The pros and cons of unmasking commenters

I see that the New York State Legislature, or at least a few members, are proposing a ban on anonymous comments on blogs, newspaper comments, and similar things. As this site runs out of my house with a server in...

Posted by simon at 11:27 AM

May 8, 2012

Learn from Roscoe

I posted this yesterday at The Albany Project, thinking that it was mainly about state and maybe national issues. There isn't, even in the wildest extremist fever dreams, a political machine in these parts that can compare with the O'Connell/Corning...

Posted by simon at 12:17 PM

April 10, 2012

Thoughts on Empowered: The Movie

I mentioned this movie a few weeks ago for its Dryden roots, but only got to actually seeing it last night. Its creators have been organizing group showings around the area, which I think is great for starting conversation, but...

Posted by simon at 10:49 AM

December 31, 2011

Changing gears

I've spent the last eight or so years writing this blog and getting involved in Dryden politics. I've run for offfice, chaired a party committee, and participated in many conversations. I've learned a lot about Dryden's history, people, and neighborhoods....

Posted by simon at 7:47 AM

October 22, 2011

Absolutely do what you believe!

Some wisdom from departing Town Board member David Makar about standing up for the Town....

Posted by simon at 10:24 AM

October 14, 2011

Yes, you can

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any. -Alice Waters I've had too many conversations with people who seemed deeply convinced that there was nothing they could do about issues that seemed...

Posted by simon at 6:31 AM

June 7, 2010

Why I write this site

I first started writing Living in Dryden because the 2003 local elections taught me that many people had little idea of what was going on around them. It wasn't just that they were too busy or uninterested to find out...

Posted by simon at 10:55 PM

May 5, 2009

Hyperlocal news

I do hope to return to writing hyperlocal news at some point, especially as the Ithaca Journal seems to have become the incredible shrinking paper. In the meantime, it's nice to know that I was ahead of the trend. As...

Posted by simon at 2:15 PM

April 4, 2008


Sometimes a little contrast is a good thing. I pointed readers to Two--Four yesterday, a site I can always promise will be interesting, and Billy Beck wrote a piece welcoming visitors. (He lives just outside of Dryden, close enough for...

Posted by simon at 1:27 PM

January 1, 2008

Welcome, 2008

2007 had its heart-breaking surprises and its wonderful moments, some strife, and some victories. 2008 will likely be the same - but all different. There's going to be a lot of change around here, as Angelika is expecting a baby...

Posted by simon at 3:50 AM

November 13, 2007

National and local

I just sent this to a local political mailing list, but think it serves as a good explanation of why I focus on Dryden politics and not on the usual national issues that people think of as "politics": Maybe I'm...

Posted by simon at 10:51 AM

Life after the election

I've had a hard time wrapping my head around it being November 13th - for most of the past few weeks, I looked at the world as if it was ending on November 6th, election day, with some slight chance...

Posted by simon at 8:39 AM

November 9, 2007

Four years

By a strange coincidence, I wrote the first post here on November 6, 2003, four years to the day before Tuesday's election. After a bruising loss that removed all the Democrats from the Town Board, I wrote: The whole process...

Posted by simon at 12:09 PM

September 5, 2007

Spreading the word about local blogging

I'm mostly happy about how Living in Dryden has turned out, and every now and then I try to encourage other folks to do something similar. Judging by the list of Dryden weblogs on this site, I'd say Dryden is...

Posted by simon at 6:10 PM

Change-makers not necessarily radicals

I was talking back and forth with a friend who's also interested in Dryden, local issues, and the politics that seem to come with all of that, and was delighted to hear something that I've been thinking about for a...

Posted by simon at 5:50 PM

August 25, 2007

Why local?

I've had a few more questions lately about why I devote so much time to local issues. It's a reasonable question - most people don't spend a lot of time thinking about their municipality. It seems like everyone has an...

Posted by simon at 9:01 AM

August 15, 2007

Local eating generates a bit of heat

Living in Dryden has thankfully been a place where cranky comments - apart from my own - are rare. I didn't expect that my local eating project would generate complaints, especially relative to some of the political positions I've taken,...

Posted by simon at 9:10 AM

August 4, 2007


Most of the Dryden activity in today's Journal is on the editorial page. Henry Kramer of Dryden writes about possible government consolidation. While I rarely agree with Kramer, there's a lot worth considering in this article. I agree completely that...

Posted by simon at 11:06 AM

June 11, 2007

Home again

Three weeks is a long time to be away from home, though it was great to take time off for the wedding(s), some wonderful honeymoon time, and a college reunion. I don't think I've ever seen the grass in my...

Posted by simon at 8:30 AM

April 6, 2007

The problem with paying attention

I'm happy to report that this weblog is succeeding in many of the ways I'd hoped it would when I first started. Those successes are generally modest - people hear of things they wouldn't have heard of otherwise, and sometimes...

Posted by simon at 12:26 PM

March 27, 2007

Past years

NYCO suggests that bloggers look through their archives, and that seems like a good idea in a period when I feel I haven't been giving Living in Dryden the attention that I used to. Looking back to the end of...

Posted by simon at 5:04 PM

January 15, 2007


Over the weekend I had a disagreement with a friend, someone whose goals I generally share. It reminded me of the reasons I started this site, and the reasons I keep working on Dryden politics and community. The disagreement was...

Posted by simon at 10:07 PM

December 22, 2006

Holiday break

I'll be offline for the next couple of weeks, enjoying the holidays and trying to relax. This site will be quiet, with comments off and no new stories for a while. If you need your fix of Dryden stories, I...

Posted by simon at 9:50 AM

November 9, 2006

Three years

Monday marked three years of Living in Dryden, with only occasional breaks in publication. (I now take Sundays off regularly, took a week off in September, and miss a day sometimes.) This is apparently article 1921. There will be a...

Posted by simon at 5:36 PM

September 23, 2006


Living in Dryden will be taking a break for the next week, returning October 2nd. I'm hoping to have more articles on the drastic changes this summer in my yard/garden, as well as the latest in Dryden news and events....

Posted by simon at 3:17 PM

July 14, 2006

A proud predecessor passes on

I'm sad to report that A.K. Fletcher, publisher of the Dryden Rural News, painter, writer, and yes, a proud Democrat, passed away this morning in Florida. I'm very glad to have met him last summer when he was visiting, and...

Posted by simon at 5:36 PM

July 4, 2006

Zipcodes and towns

I felt a little odd listing "Ithaca is Home" as a Dryden blog, but the writer definitely lived in Dryden, almost in Caroline along Route 79 in Bethel Grove. David Makar has since come to notice that while his mail...

Posted by simon at 7:57 AM

June 13, 2006

Living in Ulysses

I'm glad to see another blog focused on life in a Tompkins County town, this time at Finding Ulysses. It's pretty different from Living in Dryden, but it's good to find someone else writing specifically about local politics and issues....

Posted by simon at 12:10 PM

February 27, 2006

Non-technical difficulties

First travel and now a major cold have brought posting here to a temporary halt. I hope to be writing again today or tomorrow....

Posted by simon at 8:56 AM

February 20, 2006

On the boundaries

There aren't a whole lot of businesses and organizations right on the boundaries of Dryden, but there are a few. I just added two places that are pretty much right on the town lines to the links at left. On...

Posted by simon at 5:08 PM

January 25, 2006

Reasons to focus on the local

NYCO's Blog regularly reminds me of why I find running this site interesting. Tonight she's posted a piece called How I got local, and it echoes my own sentiments: I just don't care to discuss all that national stuff any...

Posted by simon at 11:16 PM

June 27, 2005


After a year and a half of making certain to update this site every day, it's time to take a break. Updates will be sporadic for a while; I'm not sure how long. In the meantime, if you're looking for...

Posted by simon at 8:11 AM

June 1, 2005

Roots, traffic, a sense of place

It's not exactly about Dryden, but I love the observations in NYCO's American Dream entry. As I've gotten into local politics, one of my biggest worries is that too many people see themselves as just passing through, stopping by on...

Posted by simon at 8:56 AM

April 18, 2005

Golf course bidding questions; child endangerment

Reverberations from the golf course auction continue in today's Ithaca Journal, with an article on who knew what and when about the price the town was going to bid. Course owner George Szlasa seems to have stepped back a little...

Posted by simon at 8:12 AM

January 7, 2005

Lots more people doing this

I found a discussion thread about local blogging that includes a lot more sites that focus on a particular area. (I have a list, but it's much smaller than that one.) My current favorite of the blogs I found there...

Posted by simon at 9:44 AM

December 1, 2004

Democrats and Reform

I've written a piece on why I think the Democratic Party should take reform as a core issue, including the need to reform places where we have control. The article isn't specific to Dryden, so I've posted it on my...

Posted by simon at 7:47 PM

November 7, 2004

Things I haven't managed to cover

As happy as I am with the way this weblog has turned out over the last year, and as much as I've written, there's far more going on in Dryden than I can possibly cover. A brief list of things...

Posted by simon at 7:27 PM

November 6, 2004

Celebrating a year

I started this site one year ago. I was depressed about an election then, and I am depressed about an election now. A lot has improved in the last year, though, and this site has helped me find better things....

Posted by simon at 10:42 AM

September 24, 2004


I know it's been kind of slow here on the surface, but if you look carefully, I'm making some changes, especially to the categories. What used to be just "schools" is now mostly "schools (Dryden)" and "schools (Ithaca)," as well...

Posted by simon at 7:39 PM

August 29, 2004

Sometimes I miss things

Last night, I was down on the Ithaca Commons with my wife and a friend from Dryden waiting for other friends from Dryden to arrive. I looked at the kiosk at the bottom of the time/temperature sign, and there was...

Posted by simon at 1:28 PM

May 6, 2004

Six months

When I put up my first posting here six months ago, I didn't really have any idea what I was getting into. I wasn't sure there would be enough news for stories every day, and didn't know if people would...

Posted by simon at 5:42 PM

April 16, 2004

The Meeting Master

I've had stranger titles, but the Ithaca Journal's Jennie Daley gives me that one in Meeting up with the meeting master, in which she profiles the work I've done on this blog. Most of it echoes our conversation at Googer's...

Posted by simon at 8:17 AM

February 3, 2004


I've had a few questions about who I am and why I'm doing this, and it seems like a good idea to explain that a bit. Until fall 2003, my main political activities since the 1988 Dukakis campaign (when I...

Posted by simon at 7:44 AM

January 6, 2004

Blogging locally

I put up a weblog entry last night at my employer's site talking about this weblog and what I hope to accomplish with it. I still haven't seen any other weblogs quite like it, and would like to see them...

Posted by simon at 7:28 PM

November 6, 2003

A long few weeks

I spent a lot of the last few weeks' worth of evenings making phone calls for the Dryden Democratic Party. While we did carry the districts I called (phew), we lost the election pretty soundly, roughly 3 to 2. Dryden...

Posted by simon at 11:52 AM