Memorial day

… is today, so we get a long weekend. The US seems to have as many if not more public holidays than Australia.

Visited Manhattan again yesterday, and spent a bit of time walking around the university area downtown, and central park, which is remarkably different in the summer.

Some quick culinary observations:


  • “Lemonade” is basically lemon juice, sugar, and flat water.

  • Selling pizza by-the-slice is a great invention, I don’t know why nobody’s really tried it in Australia yet.

  • They have gaytime ice creams here, but they’re called something different and they’re not half as good.

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They have (a lot of) ads on TV here for prescription medicines. I thought I was used to this, until last night when I saw an ad for a genital herpes tablet. “Thanks to [product name], I’m outbreak free!” complete with uplifting music etc, and an announcer gently telling you all the possible side-effects. Makes you wonder how much extra they have to pay people to star in ads for herpes medicine.

In more mundane news, I took some more photos of the Croton and Hudson Rivers, and discovered that panoramas involving moving water don’t work terribly well.

Customer appreciation day

… is today. This is something that happens once a month, where the cafeteria shows its “appreciation” of customers, by selling plates full of as much random greasy crap as you can fit on them for $2.95 each.

They do vary the greasy crap each time though. Today it was “Breakfast for Lunch”, so bacon sausages, eggs, toast etc. So on the whole, not sure if this was a good day or a bad day not to bring lunch.

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Well, the weather is certainly more familiar: we had a hot humid day with an afternoon thunderstorm. Spent most of Saturday helping someone move stuff out of Manhattan, so I took a couple more photos although it was pretty foggy/misty.

Other things to report from the weekend:


  • A “pilsener” here is a quantity of beer (a larger glass), it has nothing to do with the type. You could conceivably order a pilsener of pilsener.

  • Ben and Jerry’s is pretty good.

  • Shrek 2 is really good (just look at the cast list).

Also managed to borrow a real ironing board, which makes doing laundry suck a bit less.

Summer

Well, I’m back in New York, and all of a sudden it’s 30°C, and everything is green. This is a bit more livable!

Have been running around getting things like phone, apartment, car organised again, but am basically done now. Hertz don’t do multi-month rentals anymore, so I’m paying a bit more than I was for the car, but to make up for it I did get a brand new shiny red mustang. Cruising down the freeway at 65mph with the stereo blaring and the windows down is kinda fun, I guess. Of course, I haven’t had to fill the tank yet, and it seems that fuel prices have jumped 10-20% (which is a big news story)… so we’ll see how it goes.

Photos to follow as soon as I buy a digital camera. Hurrah for toys!

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Los Angeles Airport, Gate 46A, seat in the far corner by the window

After an uneventful flight, I’m back in the US but on the wrong side of it, so I’m waiting patiently to get packed into a 767 for the flight to New York.

No exit row seats to be had, so I got squished in behind an obnoxious woman who kept her seat back the whole time and shoved rubbish back under the seat towards me. She also kept shaking, which I understood when leaving and I saw all the cigarette packets. Not pretty.

Took the opportunity to finally watch the last Lord of the Rings movie. It’s a bit better when they bring you a meal in the middle of it, and you have other discomforts to worry about anyway. Although Qantas’ food is distinctly better flying out of the US than out of Australia. Not sure what that says.

Dealt with a rather bitchy immigration officer, who eventually let me in anyway. Had to go through the whole baggage collection / customs / checkin rigmarole again, including digging some food out of my bag to show the much friendlier customs inspector. Also got accosted by a guy who cunningly directed me towards the gate, before starting a charity spiel once he had my attention. I used the “I don’t have any cash” excuse, which is actually particularly plausible in the international arrivals hall of an airport.

Anyway, based on the frequency of the recorded announcements, I estimate I’ll be told to keep within sight of my luggage at least fifteen more times before getting out of here. Hurrah.