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What a Mistake!

I work with open source software which means I am at the computer all day long. Who isn’t these days? We all work in the digital world, sometimes internationally. It is a brave new world they say given all the innovations. I am glad to be part of the progress. I am on a schedule much of the time so I can’t tolerate any downtime on the computer. I have learned how to fix it myself. If I take it to a shop, I must wait an intolerable week to get it back. Maybe I should have done it the last time it was on the fritz. Here is the sad tale of what happened.

I opened the computer and got out my tiny soldering iron, the kind jeweler’s use. I have used it before so I felt pretty confident I could fix the darned thing this time once again. Maybe I was tired or just inattentive, but something odd happened. The iron got to close to my face and burned off most of the eyelashes on one eye. Yikes! I looked really strange and now my attention was less on finishing my software program than on how to grow eyelashes back fast.

What a mistake! Now I must pay the price. I started to research eyelash growth serums and found a few options. You can make a home remedy with Vaseline petroleum jelly or you can buy a less greasy solution at the drugstore. These are touch and go and the reviews aren’t great. They all say to go to the eye doctor and get a prescription for a surefire product. You must put it on every day for six to eight weeks, but it is guaranteed to work. I wonder if the expense will be worth it. I decide to go with an over-the-counter item that looked good. Now for the six week wait.

Alas, nothing much happened but my eyelashes are now so soft. I guess it is to the doctor for me. You go to an ophthalmologist after a basic eye exam. Don’t assume that an optometrist can give you a prescription. It must be a medical doctor. I needed an eye checkup anyway to see if I needed better contacts. The doc agreed that I needed help with my eyelashes unless I wanted to look odd for months and months. The prescription would speed up the process. He advised me to have patience and I agreed. I applied a clear solution to the affected eye and there was a tiny bit of stinging for a second. I did this every morning and night and waited for the results.

I now have normal eyelashes on one eye and guess what? I have longer and thicker lashes on the other. The medicine worked but now I have to even things up. I will apply the solution to both eyes at night and see what happens. I hope no one nicknames me “luscious lashes.”

Apartment Building Looks Like New

I live in a nice modern apartment building. It is nondescript as styles go. No matter. It has clean lines and simple features that are timeless and classic. Any interior décor will do just fine. Mine is probably as nondescript as the exterior style. I tend to focus on electronics, even at home. I like a comfortable place to recline and a desk at which to go online for hours without straining my back. The kitchen should be updated and full of all the requisite appliances. If it all sounds a bit practical, well, it is.

I take pride in my environment and my rooms are simple and well-furnished. I keep things neat and clean. This is not a phobia, mind you, but practicality. You can imagine my consternation when I began to notice that the façade of the apartment building was getting a bit dark and weathered in appearance. Other tenants agreed and we decided to form a committee to clue the landlord in on some basic remedial work at his nearest convenience.

He turned about to be quite approachable and agreeable. I thought, well, he doesn’t mind the expense of hiring a professional cleaning crew. I envisioned a scaffold hanging by ropes and maybe a sandblaster of sorts. On the designated day, we all converged outside, mugs of coffee in hand, to view the transformation. Rather than a crew, a lone handyman emerged with a pressure washer in tow. He had a ladder and that was it. The unit was portable and he toted it with ease. Fueled by gas, this little dynamo in two hours renewed the apartment building surface, rendering it into a freshly-painted exemplar of good taste. No great outlay of funds here, but the results were superb.

The tenant group continued their “meeting” in the basement rec room, bottles of wine brandished in every hand. We discussed the landlord’s ingenuity and that crazy gadget called a pressure washer. We all wanted to draw straws to see who would borrow it first to wash their car or parking unit floor. I can see the value of such a machine for homeowners as well. They have windows to wash, sidewalks to renew, and driveways to rid of oil and grease. I thought of giving one to my dad for his birthday until I found out that these babies can run up to a thousand dollars. It was a good idea, however, if somewhat out of reach. I can see building managers stocking up, one for every complex they run. Larger washers have professional grade spray guns and lots of power. The biggest cleaning jobs seem to be no object.

I finally realized that you don’t have to spend a bundle for typical home tasks and I ran right out and found a great one under $200 for dad. Found it online through pressurecleaned.com.

It’s not that he isn’t worth more. It’s that this model will do fine, and at a great price. You have a lot of options, so take my word for it and have a look for yourself.

Weight Loss Wifi

The latest technology is here for your bathroom scale. Get on board or you will be left behind. Those who like the experience of weighing themselves with all the bells and whistles now have a wireless Wifi connection. You get your normal weight, BMI, degree of hydration, body fat composition, alarms, reminders, alerts, statistics in the form of charts and graphs, connection to your smart phone and computer, and lots more. You have absolutely no excuse whatsoever for being overweight.

If you are following a nutrition regimen, or in plain language dieting, you will love the new bathroom scales like the Fitbit Aria that hook into your digital realm in a flash. This is the way to conduct your life: methodically and accurately. Numbers types love it. The sensors are great for very accurate results. They are on the money every time. The days of plain old scales with dials are so long gone as to be archaic. You have clear, visible numbers to read on the LCD display: loud and clear. Then it automatically resets to zero.

Wireless connectivity is always a plus with any utilitarian equipment. You can store your data in your computer for posterity and later use it to see cycles in your life. These scales are like miniature genii. They can handle several people at a time with usage separated into individual components or files on one or more computers. You set up a “profile” for each member of the household. That’s it.

These scales use a web portal cloud server for optimal storage and data management. It couldn’t be easier. I have found it a tremendous way to goad myself into staying on track. When you have the evidence right in front of you, it becomes a reminder of your state of being and need for improvement. This digital coach is your guide to your consumption requirements at any given time.

You can of course do it on your own the hard way. You can eyeball your body in the mirror and go really low tech. You can guess your weight and then your ideal calorie intake needed to keep that weight or lose a few pounds. There are still some of the old printed diet books floating around. You can compare your figures manually. But why not do it with software designed for this purpose. It will do the data evaluation for you and even link you to nutrition and diet websites. You can see charts for all ages and heights and fit your statistics right in at a glance. It is a great timesaver and besides, it is fun. Geeks and nerds unite and share with the common folk the modern way to handle weight loss.

These best digital scales aren’t that expensive. They have come down in price and discounts on line are plentiful. They are even better and more analytic these days. You will get hooked the very first time. Your computer will send your unit little messages like “good job” and “way to go” that will boost your ego and your motivation.

Relaxing with a Rain Shower Head

As much as I love my work, sometimes I can not wait to finish work and come home. Because my work involves a lot of brainstorming, thinking and pitching ideas, at the end of the day I find myself tired. I am tired and sometimes cranky. I often find myself thinking about all the ways of relaxation after long hours of programming at work. I have tried things like taking a nap or reading a book. But, the thing that was really doing the trick was a relaxing rain shower. I mean; it was fantastic; it felt like hot summer rain was pouring down. A perfect shower means something else for everyone. The shower head comes in various designs and models. You can choose basically any kind you like. There are shower heads that make a nice mist. You get a feeling like you are outdoors. I am using it constantly now.

I also noticed that this kind of showering reduces headaches and encourages blood circulation. Like I said, it can really be helpful after a long day at work. It does not matter if your work is of a more physical nature or you deal with software development like myself. It is a perfect way to relax.

Because of the nature of my job, I travel a lot. Now, every time I get back from one of my business trips, I can not wait to relax under my new shower. If I could, I would take it with me. I am sure that you all know how Manhattan business life can be stressful at times; that is why I am glad to have found my relaxation method to relax and get the circulation going.

Do I take a hot or cold shower? That is the question. Well, I guess, the time of the year pretty much answers this question. But, still, I prefer a bit cooler water. Why is this so? Well, cold water rejuvenates skin, reduces stress, encourages circulation, and I feel fresh afterwards. On the other hand, when I take a shower with hot hot water, afterwards I feel a bit sluggishly. As if the shower did not do the trick. That is why I prefer cold over hot shower.

If you are, like myself, someone who likes to research, read a lot, then you will find all the benefits that a rain shower possesses. Working all day pretty much takes up a large chunk of my time; that is why I like this a lot. I did my research regarding shower heads and showers in general. Somehow I got the idea that a rain shower would suit me the best. And it did. So, folks, to sum it up; a rain shower, to me is number one choice when it comes to relaxing after long business hours of programming and brainstorming.

Taking Off to Sundown Wild Forest for the Long Weekend

When off the grid you want your appliances and devices on. Whether in the boondocks or an outback wonderland, modern technology still plays a part. Roughing it doesn’t mean you can’t take your IPod with you.

Our next vacation destination is Sundown Wild Forest in the Catskills—acres and acres of stunning territory in the picturesque southeast region of New York state. The natural features beckon my hiker’s soul. We are looking forward to a variety of terrain including mountains, waterfalls, trout streams, and more. We plan to explore, hunt, and fish to our heart’s content for three days of freedom. A picnic by the river is less a fantasy than an impending reality.

Deciding on this glorious wilderness is easy, but packing is another story. Do we take the trusty old generator to power all the gear we usually tote, but don’t always need? This time should we do without?

I think we will try to pare down our list somewhat. The van is becoming too crowded and the time it takes to unload cuts into fun recreation time. It will be a weekend trip, however, and some essentials will be welcome. Each person coming along is allowed to vote for two items. We pare it down to a sublist and then vote for just one. The top five ultimately win. We usually agree in any case, so we know it’s going to be a TV, cell phone, lamp for general lighting, and a cooler. No surprises there. But’s it hard to please everyone.

So the generator comes with. It will supply electricity in seconds. I like my friend’s gas-powered unit as it is quiet and reliable. Its small compact size is a plus along with the basic features it offers. Mine needs an overhaul before it will depart from the garage which may not be anytime soon. There is a catalogue sitting on my workbench open to the Yamaha EF 1000iS. It is royal blue (can’t miss it in the dark) and runs about $800. As a 900 watt inverter generator, it can perform in any camping environment with ease. If you tailgate or hunt, this is the one!

A bonus is that it is one of the best quiet generators on the market (which means it hopefully won’t draw any attention from our fellow inhabitants, the bears) and also safe for computers and sensitive electronics. That means I can use it at home during a power outage and recharge my smart phone. These generators are amazing and fuel consumption is low for those who are eco conscious. The Yamaha should make the Sundown trip a breeze and just short of luxury. Plus it will meet the demands of an emergency. I am getting into it and may discover new uses. But already I am a little confused about adapter plugs, cables, and extensions. I should probably get a cover and extra Yamalube engine oil.

The catalogue says rush order available so I am on it. Within a few days, I can expect a magical machine that will light up my campsite and power my TV. What more can I ask of it?

Creating a smart appliance for the kitchen

We love the idea of smart cars that practically drive themselves (a software programmer’s dream). We love to add new apps to our smart phones. I, for one, would love to design software for a smart product that would become a huge fad and then a permanent personal staple. This is a major fantasy.

Maybe I can create something for my mother who loves to cook at home. The meal could prepare itself. It would be far beyond the old crockpot, the original version, that working women relied upon almost daily. Blenders, mixers, and the latest generation of best bread machines to are now electronic marvels (along with the newer crockpot model) with options that would amaze your grandmother. Nowadays, everyone wants to be a professional chef and use top-of-the-line gadgets available on the market (online or otherwise). The complexity would addle my grandma’s brain. It is not a matter of attachments—she had various beaters and multiple settings for them. There is a sophistication beyond comprehension for simple food preparation in the kitchen.

So what can I do? How can I work with digital science to make food processing a breeze? I will be giving this some serious thought. Appliances are not yet full-capacity computers, even if they do offer some pretty advanced technology. Microwaves are better than ever, toasters are a dream, and coffee makers a must. Maybe a roasting oven… Not everyone has one and you are always concerned about overcooking and dried out results. To keep the bird moist, for example, you want complete temperature control and timers that sense the degree of rawness still present. No more sticking a crude thermometer in a chicken breast or crown roast.

For now, I am making a list of the five best smart appliances to own based on research in consumer electronics. I expect that most everyone will want or have:

  • A refrigerator that tracks food inventory and expiration dates
  • An appliance like a washing machine that can be controlled from the TV or a smart phone so you don’t have to get up very often
  • An undercounter wine cooler that controls temperature, humidity, and light exposure (with a UV filter)
  • A futuristic dishwasher with built-in sensors and Internet connection to assess malfunctions
  • A hi-tech digital food scale (like the one you bought for yourself programmed to track your diet progress)

There will become a time when you won’t recognize the items in your kitchen or the items in the antique store from a few decades ago. It is all about functionality, not just new design, and time-saving benefits. Sometimes it is technology for its own sake, but who cares. Our world on the outside looks pretty much the same, but inside our doors it is a brave new world of gadgets and appliances that make life more fun and exciting. The mundane can be magic as we whip up a meal in minutes and store our leftover food in seconds.

Time for a new backpack for work

Trekking back and forth to the office every day, laptop in hand, has inspired me to go shopping online for a new backpack. My old one is slightly torn near the handles so one of these days it’s going to give away entirely and poof, there goes my laptop. No thanks.

So, I decided to do what I always do before I buy something and searched for some reviews online. This was when I found a great site called backpacksmagazine.com which had plenty of great guides to help find a good daypack, including the guide that I used on the best backpacks for men. I wanted something that worked as well with my frequent traveling as it does going to and from work, so I chose an airport checkpoint friendly bag that was large enough to hold my 17 inch laptop.

The bag, a model from Targus called the Drifter II, fits laptops up to 17 inches and is perfect for New York weather, it is rain, snow and wind resistant with a highly durable cover. I like the fact that it holds not only my laptop equipment in a padded compartment, but also holds my paperwork, a bottle of water, my apartment keys, phone, cash, and everything else I need for my work day, even a change of clothes if I want. Not only that, but I can easily lock the compartments closed with luggage locks to keep pick-pockets unhappy. Now I don’t have to worry about my high tech equipment getting smashed, stolen, wet, or lost.

It comes in a black/grey combination which works for me, I guess. I don’t need a lot of fancy-schmancy colors, although green would have been cool. But colors aside, I love being able to get to my office at work and not having to paw through my old, torn bag anymore, looking for the right papers or the right memory card, and just exactly WHAT did I do with my stupid thumb drive?

Now everything is in its own compartment and as long as my head can recall which stuff went where, I can just unlock, unzip and reach inside, grab the item and be about my business. I think I have trimmed at least three to five minutes of backpack searching time from my schedule.

I have a really large laptop, which has a 17 inch screen, so many backpacks won’t comfortably cover it. My old one did, but only because there was a huge rip inside the lining, which was probably caused by repeatedly cramming my too large laptop into a too small bag. This new bag fits my laptop perfectly, with room to spare which is perfect for taking my power cord and mouse with me. I hate using the touch screen on my laptop, it’s too time consuming and inconvenient, so I always use a mouse.

With this bag I have all the room I need for my extra components. In fact, there is even a pocket inside that bag for my 10 inch tablet with room for its power cord and memory cards. Every day I find new uses for the bag, including hiding snacks inside it that I can eat at my desk, but don’t tell my boss.

When Advertising Renders a Website Completely Useless

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If there is one thing I hate, it’s looking something up in a hurry, which translated, usually means on my tablet computer or phone, and finding myself on a webpage that is almost entirely made up of advertising. I’m scrolling and searching for the information and most of the page is nothing but rot trying to sell me something. Then I finally get to the information I want and there is almost nothing to it. I learn virtually nothing and have wasted several minutes of my valuable time. Not my favorite thing to do.

There is a site that I sometimes go to that does product reviews and my time is wasted clicking ads off so I can search for something. More often than not I have found myself on web pages where at least one pop-up ad follows you down the page and covers up the block of text so you can’t read anything until you’ve clicked off that ad. Those are the most aggravating ones of all because there is no way under the sun to ignore them. I also hate those huge blocks of advertising that take longer to load than the rest of the script on the page so while you are trying to read something important the text is bouncing all over the place, and you have to keep scrolling to find your spot.

Ads on websites were becoming more and more prevalent until a certain search engine started making changes in how it searches, deliberately making it more difficult for sites that are overly populated with ads to come up on the first page of a search. As a result, a lot of sites shut down temporarily to upgrade their systems. I’m thinking this is probably a good thing and will help put a stop to the over advertising that so many sites were indulging in. The good sites will change along with the new standards while the greedy ones will simply disappear into the shadows of the web, like last year’s spider food.

I hope that the new changes don’t go too far and make the internet harder to use in the long run. The more complicated things get the less likely people are to spend time browsing. Although, for some of us who are continuously glued to the web, that might actually be a good thing as people have to rediscover green grass, blue sky, walks in the park and that huge, bright orb in the sky whose light we like to bask in every summer.

The Role that Open Source Software Plays in the Web’s Biggest Brands

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Some people say that Open Source Software (OSS) sucks, and I guess in some ways I have to agree, because some of the less popular open source software projects often contain more than the average amount of really bad code. Not always, but generally speaking, minor OSS projects are quickly written and shared around the world, often being re-written several times along the way, though not always in good ways that might actually improve the software bugs.

Of course, open source isn’t always filled with bad code, and sometimes it actually improves how well things work.

There are some major pieces of open source software that are used behind the scenes by many of the web’s largest brands to deliver the sites that you love and enjoy each day, including the Linux operating system, the Apache web server that powers 53% of the web’s most popular sites and nginx (a new generation, high performance web server) runs on an additional 17% – combined, Apache and nginx are powering more than two thirds of the most popular web sites.

One such OSS project, OpenSSL, which is a free implementation of the Secure Sockets Layer protocol used by many web brands to deliver HTTPS functionality for their web sites has been in the news recently and getting a bit of a bad wrap because it had an undiscovered bug that has been in the software’s code since December 2011 nicknamed “Heartbleed” that allowed hackers to gain access to the usernames and passwords of internet users that have been using that server.

The great thing about the open source community though is that they are very quick to patch bugs in the large software projects that are used by many organisations.

Another huge benefit is that because the companies who push these free products to their limits, like Facebook, have access to the source code of these software programs, they are able to further modify and optimise them to run even more efficiently or handle the large volume of requests that their services put on these programs.

Over at Facebook’s Open Source page, they share the products and programs that they have developed from other open source products, as well as their optimised versions of popular products like MySQL.

Google are also another big contributor to open source projects – did you know that the Android mobile operating system is an open source project that has been developed by Google? Their web browser, Google Chrome, is also built on an open source product that they have developed, which they call Chromium. Their Open Source Projects page features both of these projects plus many others that their developers have built and continue to improve.

Finally, even Microsoft are part of the open source movement. Yes, you read that right. While their flagship products like Windows and Office remain closed source, they are also working to ensure that open source products can interoperate with Microsoft’s desktop and server products and in 2012 were listed as one of the top 5 contributors to the Linux project.

So, open source software isn’t all bad – and while many people don’t think that it’s ready for the average home user to run on their desktop, it is part of many peoples lives through the Android mobile operating system and behind the scenes helping to deliver their favourite web sites.

Lost in Translation

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I know I’ve said this before, but I’m Australian, or an Aussie, for short. I live in Manhattan now, so I often find myself staring into quizzical faces when I open my mouth and swathes of Aussie slang spring forth. The people I work with now have no idea what an arvo is when I greet them g’day. I just sigh and repeat it in their version of English: Afternoon. Then they smile and say it back and I walk away chuckling, having forgotten that I’m no longer working amongst my blokes from the bush, or down under, or whatever Americans are calling Australia these days.

I once mentioned a B&S party, which arouses some pleasant and amusing memories in me, and people assume I’m referring to BS which is, well, a lot different from the Bachelors’ and Spinsters’ Ball. I didn’t bring it up again, although I do think this office could use one. I talked up some bloke outside the elevator one morning, noticing he was carrying one of those coolers for his lunch. “Nice esky,” I told him. “I usually just brown-bag it or do Maccas.” He had no clue what I was talking about so I pointed to the cooler in his hand, then to the McDonald’s across the street. Then he figured it out and laughed until the door opened at our floor. I have no idea why.

Once I told a secretary to avoid her boss as he was mad as a cut snake. She got the idea but I knew she didn’t know just how mad that was. I think she avoided him for a week just to make sure. Another time I brought my lunch to work in a plastic bag. The same secretary couldn’t take her eyes off it. I just said it was my tucker and went to my office. I came back later and found her staring at her computer researching the word. I secretly wished her good luck and left her to it. That’s how confounding I can be to my co-workers at times. I will always regret not telling her that my sandwich was made from damper. In my world, that’s bread made from flour and water. Sometimes speaking a different language is fun…even if it is technically the same language.

I joke with my boss sometimes. He’s a great bloke. I told him one day that I felt like chucking a sickie, and he didn’t know I was talking about calling in sick the next day. I confessed and then he admitted he wanted to do the same thing. Like I said, a great bloke. We often take smokos together even though I don’t smoke, he lets me stand around outside with him while he enjoys a smoke on our coffee breaks. I think I’ll go buy him a slab of grog sometime, that is if he can handle a 24 pack of beer on my dime. Maybe he’ll think I’m brown nosing, but nah, I’m just being friendly.

“Life is Short. Live Life. Life is an Adventure”

 

life-is-either-a-greatI have a new motto in my life these days. I’m in my 30’s now and feeling like time is going faster than usual lately. I want to do stuff before I’m old and creaky and everyone knows those days get here before we know it. My iPhone has a new background wallpaper but it’s not a cute picture of kittens or puppies. It’s not a picture of a girl in a bikini, although the thought did cross my mind. My new wallpaper is a text that tells me to live life because it’s short. I have a tee shirt with a similar sentiment that spells it out perfectly. Life should be lived, and that’s that.

I decided I needed more adventures, a few hair raisers perhaps. I made up a bucket list without actually calling it a bucket list, as that term inspires me to vomit. Number one on my list is learning to fly a small plane and I don’t mean a Cessna. I’m talking about those ultra-lights that are barely bigger than the person flying them. My friends force me to watch videos of people getting smashed up crashing those planes but I don’t care. I just tell them life is an adventure and you don’t live it always being careful. Maybe someday I’ll star in one of those videos of people crashing an ultra-light, I don’t know, but at least I will have had the experience. I might star in a video showing other people how to fly one. That’s me, living life to the fullest.

My laptop is full of pictures of ultra-lights. Someday one of them will be mine and I’ll rise above all the nonsense here on Earth. What nonsense, you might ask? Traffic on the freeways, jammed sidewalks where you are stepping on other people’s feet more than you are your own, and stresses of daily living. Okay, so all that stuff will still be a part of my life during the workweek but on the weekends, wow, what a stress reliever to get up above it all. But ultra-lights are not the only love of my life. I have developed other interests since turning over this oak leaf. One of them is moving up the corporate ladder a little bit, or a lot, depending on how well played my personal twists of fate are.

I’ve been in software a long time. I want to own a software company someday and I think I have what it takes to make it far, at least as far as CEO if not an actual owner. I’m always coming up with new, fabulous ideas, and presenting them to those who know the software business. It’s paying off, since here I am, in Manhattan, rather than Sydney, Australia. I got this new job through my connections and good idea presentations, so if I just stay on that track and not derail it, I should go far. I’m living life, it’s short but good and it’s an adventure to be had. So, I’m going for it.

Life as an Australian Living in Manhattan

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The biggest change of my life took place recently. I’m an Australian, or ‘Aussie’ if you prefer, relocated from Sydney, and I took a huge leap of faith and moved to New York City… specifically Manhattan. Huge, huge change, and a lot of little changes have happened in my life since I made this decision. For one thing, I had to rent out my nice house back in Australia and now I live in an apartment. In case anyone back home is wondering, living in Manhattan is not cheap – my rent alone is US$3,817.00 per month.

Manhattan is busy all the time. They weren’t kidding when they said that New York is the city that never sleeps. The streets are always full of cars, buses, taxis, pedestrians and me. I’m neither a vehicle, nor a pedestrian. I’m not a driver either as I am not willing to take my life into my own hands and no longer own a car anyway. I always take public transportation. Let the other guy do the driving is my new motto, especially in this traffic. As far as I’m concerned, rush hour is a condition incompatible with life.

Manhattan has made a remarkable comeback since hurricane Sandy hit and I really think they are striving to make it a safer city all the way around, but it really is a lot different than what I was used to in Sydney. I don’t think it’s quite as friendly here. I’ve been told by my friends that New Yorkers pretty much ignore other New Yorkers, and I guess that’s somewhat true. On any given day in certain parts of the city, you hear screaming, shooting, alarms going off, sirens, and who knows what else. The natives don’t even get restless with all of that going on.

Manhattan is nice though, and upscale. The neighborhoods are decent and there is always Central Park to enjoy, though I’ve been told that the best way to enjoy it is from your apartment window, unless you like getting mugged while out on your Sunday stroll. I think it’s pretty unreasonable that the only bit of nature in all that great city is plagued by crime but that’s just the way it is. Central park zoo is pretty cool, though for some reason whenever I go there I always picture scenes from a certain cartoon.

I like my new job, and I guess I like my new home as well. I feel like I’m moving in the world… if not up, at least sideways a bit. It’s taking some getting used to but I’m getting there. My accent always inspires the natives to question where I’m from, although I always mention that to me, they are the ones with the accents…and boy, do I hear a lot of them, for it seems like each section of the city has its own dialect. I think I’m beginning to like it here though. Manhattan is growing on me.