Thursday, November 24, 2005

On the train again

Another trip on the train today. This time it was the Metroliner to DC, and miraculously, it left on time. I saw on the board that the 94 to Boston wasn't so lucky, but then, it never is. Out of the five times I've taken it so far, it's been at least 45 minutes late three times, and 15 minutes late the other two times. And it's only a 4-hour trip to begin with.

And yet I keep paying money to keep taking the train. Why? Because I like the train. This bus is fine if I'm travelling with someone else, but I get carsick if I try to read on the bus, which limits the entertainment possibilities when I'm alone. And the train is so much less hassle and less constraining than flying... you can get up, walk around, buy food, or whatever, and half the time you even get two seats to yourself to spread out on. (There were a couple times when I tried to lie across two seats to sleep on the late-night Boston-Washington train, but I don't recommend it unless you bring a pillow. The armrests are hard.)

Getting on the train at Penn Station in New York is always exciting, especially when the train is running late. There's one giant hall where everyone waits for all of the Amtrak trains (and probably the commuter rail trains too), with a giant board hanging from the ceiling in the center. They never post a gate until the train actually starts boarding, which means a mob always forms outside the gate the instant they do announce it. It's a little bit of a game, trying to guess where to stand so you'll be closer to wherever it is they tell you to go to. When the train is running late, it's even worse since everyone's just standing around waiting, so they post "Stand By" on the board between 2 and 15 minutes before they start boarding. To, you know, give you warning.

Not that it bothers me or anything. Hey, I keep taking the train, right?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Life in the big city

After all of this time, I've suddenly started doing things in the city besides working and furniture-shopping.

Saturday night, Vikki and I saw Serenity. It's only open at one theater in the area, and that one theater only had 8:20pm and 11:25pm showings, and for whatever reason they stopped selling online tickets to the 8:20 show. So we went to the late showing, which meant we were getting there (where there is 42nd St, near Broadway) just as all of the shows were getting out. Lots of people. The movie was good, too.

Then, Tuesday night, I went to see a talk by Morgan Spurlock at the Oxonian Society. I was invited through the MIT club of NY, but the talk was on the 4th floor of the Cornell club building. I was there in, of course, jeans and a T-shirt, so I went as quickly as I could through the lounge with the "business casual attire is required" sign by the door. The talk itself was good. I was disappointed with the interviewer, but the audience had some interesting questions for him, and he was able to go off on interesting tangents all by himself anyway.

Tomorrow, if all goes well, I'll go to the Google Print debate at the NYPL tomorrow night. The office has a bunch of tickets they'll be giving out first-come, first-serve starting around 8:30 tomorrow. This means I'll be getting up early tomorrow. (And if I can't get in, at least they have a webcast.)

It's also worth noting that all of these things have been within a 15-minute walk of my office.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Assembling an apartment

It's strange how much of a difference the little things make. I've been living here for four months now, but there were a couple small framed prints I'd never gotten around to hanging. When I bought another one on Saturday, I it as an excuse to hang all three up, two in the kitchen and one in the hallway. And suddenly the kitchen and hallway feel... mine. The table and chairs, microwave, and all the other stuff in the kitchen wasn't enough. I needed something at eye level, I guess.

It carries over to the living room a little bit, too, but that was already doing okay. I've had a couple pictures on the wall in here for a while, not to mention a bookshelf full of my books, and my random stuff on the mantlepiece, and my mexican blanket on the couch. What this room still needs is... a coffetable. Ever since I decided I was going to get one, there's been a coffeetable-shaped hole in the middle of the room where I keep wishing I had something to take up space and to put my things on. Ah well. It's supposed to get here next Monday.

I do like how open the whole place feels. The bedroom has wide open space. The living room has furniture, but most of it doesn't go all the way to the ground so it feels a little less... solid, I guess. Unmassive. And the completely unadorned windows (with an unobscured view) help too.

(Someday I'll be done putting this place together. Until then, I'm going to keep talking about it.)