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August 23, 2006

New York Pungent

Strange circumstances conspire to bring me back to New York just before the blog ends. I drove through Jersey late last night. A blind man could smell his way up the Jersey Turnpike. My memory of New York will be forever mixed with the smell of garbage. Tokyo has its sweating salarymen with natto-breath crowding the subway. Summer winds blow stinging road dust into your eyes in London. But the smell of rotting dinners sets New York apart, simply because it's always there, and especially strong in the summer. No part of Manhattan escapes it. Walk up from a Times Square subway exit, the cleaned-up area for tourists, and spoilt meat assaults your nose. Walk down Broadway for a romantic meal and you're certain to pass at least three corners reeking of fish. Take a badly air-conditioned cab through slow traffic to a job interview on 54th street and you have a choice: roll up the windows and sweat or arrive with your suit smelling as if you cleaned a drainage ditch in it. Maybe as the years go by I'll grow nostalgic and I'll forget. But for the present, summer in New York is remembered with my nose.

New York Pungent

Strange circumstances conspire to bring me back to New York just before the blog ends. I drove through Jersey late last night. A blind man could smell his way up the Jersey Turnpike. My memory of New York will be forever mixed with the smell of garbage. Tokyo has its sweating salarymen with natto-breath crowding the subway. Summer winds blow stinging road dust into your eyes in London. But the smell of rotting dinners sets New York apart, simply because it's always there, and especially strong in the summer. No part of Manhattan escapes it. Walk up from a Times Square subway exit, the cleaned-up area for tourists, and spoilt meat assaults your nose. Walk down Broadway for a romantic meal and you're certain to pass at least three corners reeking of fish. Take a badly air-conditioned cab through slow traffic to a job interview on 54th street and you have a choice: roll up the windows and sweat or arrive with your suit smelling as if you cleaned a drainage ditch in it. Maybe as the years go by I'll grow nostalgic and I'll forget. But for the present, summer in New York is remembered with my nose.

May 26, 2004

Still vacationing...

...so the blogging is light. And I'll admit, I'm behind on reading all the wonderful things that the rest of the blogosphere has written recently.

Nonetheless, I wanted to take some time out and point you to the wonderful SpamBayes project (recommended to me by one of my readers). My father had been under a deluge of 150-200 spams/day. Given our rather obscure home-networking setup which slows down his mail access, this was taking up a lot of his time. I installed the SpamBayes Outlook plug-in, however, and now he's transfixed watching all the spam disappear into a spam folder.

Quite a nifty tool. There's probably a dozen others like it out there, but if you're looking for a good spam filter, you could do a lot worse. Oh yeah, and it's free.

July 27, 2003

The Three Beanbag Theory of Keeping Your Soul

Well, the floating across Lake Michigan wasn't as pleasant as it could have been. The boat got caught in storms both ways, and I rediscovered why 'sea legs' are something I've never developed. Fortunately I get motion sickness, but my stomach is highly resistant to actually losing its lunch, so I just had four hours of feeling ill each way.

I left my friend at his conference, a fairly hefty conference of virologists. While he was registering, I listened in on three of his fellows having a riotous time:

"Well, I've been immunised, so that shouldn't be a problem..."

"Oh, you must have one of those new root viruses"[1]

(Laughter all around.)

Yes, it was virologist humour. And right then it hit me: within months I would be in my own little academic world, with our own strange in-jokes, the punchlines to which might be things like, "Well, don't do that, you'll be subject to promissary estoppel," jokes that are humourous to lawyers but just silly to ordinary people.

I don't want to let that happen to me. My friend, always helpful, suggested I buy three beanbags, and throw one at anyone who made such a wisecrack in my presence. And obviously, allowing them to throw one at me if I should ever succumb.

Now where can I buy three beanbags on e-bay?

[1] Apologies if the joke has been mistranscribed, I really didn't know what these guys were on about.

July 25, 2003

10K Airport Run

I recently told someone I was too out of shape to do a 10K run. I might have overstated the case.

Today a friend of mine arrived from England via a bus from Toronto, and I was supposed to pick him up at the Robert Q stop at Detroit Metro Airport. Little did I know there were three stops, one at each terminal. He didn't have a cell phone, nor did I. Cue nearly three hours of running around between three terminals to find him. My legs are sore, because as I was worried about it I literally ran around the terminals. In the end, despite pages from rather useless information booths and an actually strategy for finding each other, we ran into each other almost totally by chance.

Oh well. Tomorrow I'm up to much of nothing, and then Saturday I'll be taking him to a conference in Madison, Wisconsin. We'll be crossing Lake Michigan on a rather antiquated ferry, which should be pleasant. Ironically, it's cheaper for me to park my car on one side and rent a car back and forth from Manitowoc to Madison than it is for me to ferry the car over.

One more reason to be glad I chose my career rather than someone else's: my friend is a biologist, and is going to Madison to attend a conference on herpes virus.

July 15, 2003

Met my first classmate

Well, I met my first classmate yesterday, a very stylish young lady. Good sangria, reasonable wine, a shot of Laphroaig (for which I am finally acquiring a taste), and company the likes of which is not to be found in Big Rapids, Michigan. All in all, making me look forward to school.

I've also realised that if I really wanted to, I could get my law degree and then sign onto the Judge MBA at Cambridge (sorry, Martin, but I still think the Judge has better facilities) in the same amount of time as it would take to get a joint degree at Columbia. I'll have to make that decision in a few years.

June 26, 2003

Nature is Annoying

One thing about staying out here in the boonies before heading off to Columbia. I remember how wild nature really is, and how much I like living in cities. Tonight, driving to the bar and back (and yes, I was the designated driver):

a) Two fauns almost ran out into the road in front of me
b) A cat decided that trying to cross in front of a Ford was a good insurance risk

and best of all

c) It's insect spawning season out here in the woods. For some reason, one side of the house (the one that has my bedroom window on it) is covered by several plagues of Egypt. The particular insects (I have no idea what they're called) are small enough they can slip through the screen, and they're smacking their tiny bodies up against the windows in sufficient numbers to make a perpetual low-grade hum.

New York City, here I come!

Giving The Devil His Due

New York Pungent (0)
New York Pungent (0)
Still vacationing... (6)
Peterise wrote: Finally i found what i've been look... [more]

The Three Beanbag Theory of Keeping Your Soul (2)
Anthony Rickey wrote: Sadly, I agree with you that it mig... [more]

10K Airport Run (0)
Met my first classmate (2)
Kathy wrote: Found your website and I'm glad to ... [more]

Nature is Annoying (3)
Andi Nagler wrote: Hi Tony, so you arranged a drive... [more]

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