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Hixie's Natural Log

2005-10-04 05:32 UTC New Ground

New York: Noisy, ugly, busy, smelly, dirty. Public transport in New York and the surrounding area is really bad: incomprehensible public announcements, poor signage, ancient rolling stock. Traffic is a nightmare. Tourist hot spots are badly managed. Altogether, could be better.

Actually, when I say "New York", I probably really mean "Manhattan". The name "New York" itself seems to be a bit vague, what with it being a state, a city in that state, a county in that city, and a metropolitan area that includes the city and other cities in the surrounding states. What a mess.

Anyway. Two weeks ago I visited Nadia in Princeton. Princeton itself is a small village with a huge university on the side (well, it's huge to me, who went to Bath). One night we hung out with some of Nadia's new friends, watching Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Another night I played board games with some other new friends of hers. Here I was introduced to Medici, an interesting game that consists of bidding for goods in order to get the most points. There are various ways to get points, there are various ways to prevent others from getting points. One interesting aspect of this game that is unusual is that the currency that you bid is in fact your actual victory points. (Having said that, I guess that's not that unusual — any game where you bid money and the winner is the one with the most money is basically doing the same thing.) It's one of those "three days" games, where you simply play three rounds and then the game ends. Just before I left Oslo Wilhelm bought Guillotine, a card game with the same mechanic.

When I was walking around the lake that one finds on the other side of the university I caught a glimpse of a deer, who seemed surprised to find me there and ran off when he saw me getting up. Apparently there are many deers over there.

I also visited Manhattan, as I alluded to at the top of this entry.

There are lights everywhere. It's quite ridiculous. My brain wouldn't let me read the signs because it thought they were spam. Which I guess they were. But my eyes kept darting around becuase there are flashing lights everywhere.

The trains at New York Penn Station (which, by the way, sounds exactly like the totally unrelated stop called Newark Penn Station which all the trains happen to also stop at, and which is in a completely different state) stop at platforms which are only announced ten minutes before they leave. This causes everyone to rush to the platforms en bloc, a stampede for each train. Quite ridiculous.

The PA system is horrendous. I'm not sure why they bother, I seriously could not understand a single word most of the time.

Later in the week I saw Corpse Bride at the AMC at 8th and 42nd, while Nadia went dancing (my dancing skills are, ah, not yet to her standard, to put it mildly). The AMC has some 25 full-scale theatres with fully raked seating, which they achieve by stacking them on top of each other on multiple floors. I don't know how many they have but when I left I had to go down some 9 flights of stairs.

We had only vaguely planned a time to meet up afterwards, but I got back first, so after reading a few chapters of The System of the World I decided to look for her. Miraculously, I actually managed to find someone I was looking for in a random Korean restaurant in Manhattan. Talk about needles and haystacks.

All in all it was a fun week.

I am a bad guest.

Then I went to visit Ben and Leslie in Campell on the West Coast. Not much to report except that having now seen their TiVo's To Do list, I am a little concerned about the effect Ben is having on Leslie. Or Leslie on Ben. Either that or I'm just worried about their joint taste in TV. Over the course of the week I was forced (well, techncially not forced but you get the idea) to watch one particular disturbing Southpark episode not once but twice. "I love Tacos, and Burritos."

The second time was at their housewarming party, which was nice. I met and spoke with several lovely people. Ben cooked. (Man. Fire. Make food.)

Over the weekend I saw another movie, Serenity. It was ok. I'm not a huge fan of Joss Whedon's style (e.g. I only liked Buffy seasons 5 through 7, and that had probably more to do with Dawn and Spike than anything else). Serenity is very Whedonesque (I hear that's a word).

Oh and today I started my new job at Google.

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