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Cooked green curry (which was very hard to find in the supermarket) chicken for dinner. Cooking is a bit of an exercise in event management here, firstly because there’s one saucepan, one small frypan, and two hotplates, but also because if both hotplates and the microwave are on at the same time a circuit breaker trips out.

Discovered a channel that shows BBC world news in the evening. This is nice, because although they have a slightly British slant they cover much more international news than any of the American channels. There are something like 10 full time news channels here, they all have that annoying scrolly text across the bottom, and in some cases they have multiple scrollys.

Anyway, I was flicking through all these channels just to see how many there were, so I made a spot survey of what’s on TV at around 8pm:


  1. noise

  2. CBS: showing a current affairs program

  3. PAX: America’s Funniest Home Videos (yes, they have that crap here too)

  4. NBC: some reality TV show

  5. FOX: American Idol (yes, that too)

  6. a Spanish channel

  7. ABC: some sitcom

  8. NJN: the local PBS channel, showing a documentary

  9. UPN: Star Trek

  10. a Christian channel, currently plugging a website

  11. WB11: some soapie

  12. News 12 Westchester: a channel showing nothing but local news, except there isn’t very much of it so they rehash and repeat themselves every half hour or so

  13. Thirteen: interview with some muso guy

  14. A program guide showing what’s on now (you need it with so many channels)

  15. YES: college basketball

  16. another Spanish channel

  17. and another, this one is showing “Guerra de los Sexos”

  18. some channel showing a loop of local town info pages

  19. RNN: news

  20. a Korean channel

  21. WLIW: someone discussing needlework

  22. what appears to be an operetta, only they’re running it off video and the tracking is all screwed up

  23. MSNBC: news

  24. CNBC: more news (what is it with all the *NBCs?)

  25. CNN: news

  26. FOX: news

  27. Discovery channel: a bible story reenactment, but they didn’t have a very large special effects budget

  28. TLC: reality TV

  29. The food channel: a cooking show, except with a live band doing backing

  30. HGTV: basically a home improvement channel

  31. Disney channel: a teen soapie

  32. Nickelodeon: kid’s cartoons

  33. TEENick: Sabrina the Teenage Witch

  34. TVLand: some very old sitcom

  35. ESPN: ice hockey

  36. ESPN: basketball

  37. TNT: a movie

  38. USA: a soapie

  39. TBS Superstation: an Arnie movie

  40. the home shopping network

  41. Spike: Star Trek

  42. Game Show channel: Who Wants to be a Millionaire

  43. AMC: an old Bond movie

  44. Bravo: an awards ceremony

  45. Livetime: the Nanny

  46. A&E: doco about movies

  47. neverending ads

  48. QVC: more home shopping

  49. ABC family: sitcom

  50. Comedy Central: Crank Yankers (puppets)

  51. E!: entertainment news

  52. VHR: doco about some 60s pop star

  53. reality TV (big brotherish)

  54. JET: another sitcom

  55. MTV: video clips

  56. The Golf Channel

  57. Animal Planet: reality TV combined with nature doco

  58. Court TV: neverending cop shows, car chases, crime docos, etc

  59. CNNHN: news

  60. Metro TV sports: basketball

  61. C-SPAN 2: British House of Commons

  62. The Weather Channel: weather reports

  63. some ancient movie

  64. Sci Fi channel: The Flintstones movie

  65. C-SPAN: some US Senate committee

  66. noise

  67. noise

  68. noise

  69. noise

  70. noise

  71. noise

  72. noise

  73. noise

  74. MSC: ice hockey

  75. an interview with Shimon Peres

  76. some college channel on bad video

  77. ice hockey

  78. video of a local council meeting


…more than ten times as many channels, but still nothing worth watching.

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We got the snow as promised. Had to dig the car out from its parking spot because someone was coming to clear out the driveway, but I wasn’t game to drive anywhere until the afternoon by which time the roads were mostly clear again.

Used the free time to take some photos of the place I’m staying at. It’s a big house that’s been divided up into apartments.

Work is a fair bit quieter than usual — lots of people just stay home when it snows, but without internet access I couldn’t do much.

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So apparently we’re supposed to get 10 inches of snow overnight. I have a feeling I won’t be in at work terribly early if that happens.

Spent the day at work, doing nothing spectacularly exciting. The next thing on my general TODO list is to get a mobile (sorry, “cell”) phone, since that seems like a better option than paying to have the phone line in my apartment connected. You can get prepaid phones here, for about $80, which is good, but I’d like a tri- (or quad-) band phone so I can use it back in Australia. Unfortunately they don’t come with prepaid packages, and the plans are all for a year or more, so I’d be looking at $200 plus just for the phone. But, I was going to buy a new phone anyway. Tough call.

In other news, trying to do raw bit manipulations in Java sure is painful.

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Checked out of the hotel, boggled at the “occupancy tax” they were charging me in addition to the normal sales tax, and moved into the
new apartment in Ossining. Very good to be here.

Also, went grocery shopping properly for the first time. It takes forever when you don’t know any of the brands and need to look at all the options and work out what’s best. Random observations:


  • Every item has a per-unit price displayed (eg. $2.50 per pound or whatever), which makes comparisons much easier.

  • The cheese is all a funny yellow/orange colour.

  • You can’t buy just plain milk. There’s skim milk, low fat milk, slightly more fat milk, and “vitamin D milk” which seems to be normal milk as far as the fat content goes anyway. I took my chances with the vitamin D.

  • They employ someone at each checkout just to put stuff in plastic bags.

  • You don’t pay tax on food, like the GST.

So, at least now I can start eating a little better, and not have to spend about $20 a day on breakfast and dinner.

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Managed to sleep in a bit for the first time, which was good. Went shopping at that great American institution: the mall. Experienced Wal Mart for the first time (basically a really big Big W), and some other places. They have a chain of chemists here called CVS, which I find funny. Had a lot of trouble buying gloves, because everywhere was sold out of them. Ended up getting a pair that are probably more fancy than I needed.

Took some photos of the new car, and worked out how all the gizmos work. There are cupholders in the dash everywhere, but only space for four CDs. Also, you can’t turn the headlights off: there is an on setting, and an automatic setting. It even leaves them on for a while after you park the car and stop the engine. Furthermore, it locks itself when you start driving and unlocks when you switch the engine off. And it beeps at you until you put your seatbelt on.

Also spotted a yurt. Finally, a random Americanism: they’ve never heard of “Coke” here, you have to ask for “Coca Cola”.

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Returned the Echo, and picked up a slightly nicer car for the next few months. It ended up being cheaper to get a long term rental through the Hertz at IBM than buy something (and have the hassles of insurance, rego, and then reselling it). I paid for a small car, but because they don’t have small cars at IBM got a “medium” car, which seems pretty big to me: a
Chevy Classic. It’s got lots of power bits and goodies, so I’m pretty happy.

Also did the ironing. Boring.

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Down to my last pair of undies today — I guess this means I need to do some washing?

Used the washer and dryer in the hotel… had to get a load of quarters from the front desk. The allegedly warm water emitted by the washer was actually rather cold, so I’m not sure how much cleaner the clothes became, but they look ok. There’s also an iron and ironing board in the hotel room, which is pretty good I guess.

I’m really getting keen to move out of the hotel, though. Not only is it expensive to stay here, but eating out (or getting takeaway) every night also starts to get to you — there isn’t exactly a huge variety of food places here. Also, breakfast costs a minimum of $8.50 once you add sales tax and the standard 15% tip.

Speaking of food, the cafeteria at IBM isn’t too bad, although they seem to recycle things from day to day under a different name. And, there’s something really fundamentally wrong about serving “Thai” food, and the fried rice having bits of pineapple in it.