spring has sprung

More or less, anyway. The temperatures are approaching livable, which means it stays above freezing, and most days reaches about 10°C. The grass is turning green again, and trees are sprouting buds.

This also means that you’re seeing a lot more of these critters out and about, including on the roads where the roadkill density has increased noticeably. I’ve also seen lots more deer wandering around near the roads at night.

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Caught some of The Blues Brothers on TV tonight, and thought I’d better say something about the ridiculous things they do to movies to avoid some naughty words. In the twenty minutes or so that I was watching, I noticed:


  • “goat piss into gasoline” was dubbed reasonably well as “goat milk into gasoline”

  • “The fucking Nazi Party” became “The stupid Nazi Party”, said by someone completely different

  • And the most glaringly obvious: Aretha Franklin’s line “Shit, they still owe you money, fool!” had the “shit” turned into “shoot”


The thing is, the different voices and the bad overdubbing are so noticeable that you wonder why they didn’t just bleep it. This kind of thing is apparently standard here, watching a bit of Fargo on cable at a friend’s place I noticed the same dodgy dubbing of swear words.

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Skipped work very early for another trip into New York City, only this time with a local (albeit of only a few years) to guide us around. Getting the train in we tried observing the way the conductors punched out the coloured cards that they placed on each seat so they knew how far each person had paid for. Variables are the colour of the card, number of punches, and number of cards in each seat. In some instances the place that the card had been punched also seemed to be important. We didn’t come up with anything… also they stop you from collecting these cards by retrieving them very diligently before you reach your station.

We ended up seeing much of Downtown Manhattan, as well as Greenwich Village, Central Park, and the Upper East Side. Some random factoids from the day:

  • The subway was originally built as three different networks by different companies. This means that several lines basically duplicate routes, and that there are different sized trains for each network that can’t be interchanged.
  • Downtown is full of Duane Reade pharmacies. What’s stranger is that the locals pronounce “Duane” as “Dwayne”.
  • Wall St is an unimpressive back alleyway with big buildings on both sides. This explains why there are more photographs of the street signs than the street itself.
  • Downtown streets are very dark and lifeless, because they’re so small, and because the buildings go straight up. Newer buildings, and those further North, are required to have gradual setbacks as they get higher to avoid this.
  • The queues for the Ellis Island (Statue of Liberty) Ferry are enormous, and, I’m assured, not worth it.
  • Every park has a big population of squirrels, or “tree rats”. As with the pigeons in Sydney, people feed them for no apparent reason.
  • The hippies in Central Park don’t put in nearly as much effort on a weekday as they do on a Saturday afternoon.
  • Donald Trump most likely has:
    1. a big ego, and

    2. something he’s compensating for.
  • A good rule of thumb for judging the price of items in a shop is that the total value of the merchandise in a fixed floor area is constant.
  • The Italian bakeries and cake/pastry shops are good 🙂
  • “Oven-roasted nuts” from a street vendor are basically that, what they don’t mention is that they are roasted in craploads of sugar.

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Went to the movies last night in White Plains with some other guys from work to see Starsky & Hutch. Not my choice, but pretty enjoyable anyway. The cinema had completely electronic ticket vending machines, no sign of cashiers. The most worrying thing was that they operated just on swiping your credit card, no need to sign or enter a PIN.

Also had Japanese for dinner, which wasn’t too bad but made me feel quite poor afterwards, and spent a short time in a pub. I should mention that almost every pub I’ve seen is “Irish themed”, which mainly seems to mean that there’s dim lighting, and they serve Guinness. Can’t complain I suppose.