Wednesday evening, 9:10 EDT… on the plane from NYC, stopping in Chicago, then on to Seattle.
Tuesday evening / night was a bunch of fun. After I finished class for the day, I hung back at my hotel for a bit. I decided to try and see if I could get the “broadband Internet” in my room to work. The ether drop was completely dead (same as when I tried it sunday night), so I called the front desk and they told me they would “send up the engineer”. I laughed at the thought of some poor asshole actually being on call to fix this. Turns out it was just Manuel the maintainence man. He took one look at my gear splayed across the bed (that is, my various pieces of technology… like, digital technology ;) and pretty much assumed that I knew how to set up my computer for an ether net. He then informed me that it’s probably just dead, because my room wasn’t on a list of rooms that are known to have functioning ‘net access. He offered to get me moved upstairs, but since I was checking out the next morning, I decided to just screw it. I did end up paying just over $40 in goddamn phone bills, though… 17 cents per minute :/
After all that, I took a train going down and walked over to West Village area, where my friend Bill (billabong on newnet) resides. Met him in person and hung at his place for a few hours, just shootin’ the breeze and whatnot. He’s a freelance mac dude who does consulting and a bit of hosting… as he described it, a lot of what he does is “putting out fires” :). Anyway, I respect the ability to just sorta make it on one’s own… It gave me some pretty good ideas about my ability to do the same, not that I begrudge my current situation, mind you :) I told him all about the Apple training stuff, and he told me about some of his escapades involving compressing video that represents the seedier underbelly of web content… hehe. All in all, a very enjoyable evening. It’s not all that often that I get to hang out with people that are doing similar stuff as me in a professional context. Plus, he’s pretty laid back (like myself), and knows how to just kick it, which we did in typical fashion :)
He had to wake up quite early, so I split around 10:30, and decided to walk the ~ 60 block back to the Hotel and hit bars on the way. I had updated directions to the two bars gren had recommended, so I wanted to try to visit ’em… shortly after leaving bill’s place, I found a Belgian Beer Bar, and had to check that out. I had a Treppiste (sp?), which did indeed remind me of LeFin d’monde (sp again). Victor (the developer of the QTSS curriculum) dropped me a call and we talked for about a half hour about the class, and how it was going for me, plus he answered some of my questions about some of the various technologies at work. We also went over some of the details of how we’d set up a live stream the following day to demo for the class.
After the consumption at Bill’s place, plus the beer I had at the Belgian bar, I was feeling pretty elevated. It was very pleasant walking, and I must say that I was unconditionally happy about that particular point in space-time. Kept walking until I found the Korova Milk Bar. I didn’t realize from the name that it’s themed around Clockwork Orange, at least as far as decor / style… there was none of the ol’ ultraviolence, thankfully :) It did look pretty much straight out of the movie though, which was cool. It was kinda dead… just small pockets of people scattered about. Not willing to crack into anybody’s conversation, I just sat at the bar and stared at the multiple monitors, watching something I’d never seen before, but which was quite captivating and strange. Without the audio, the imagery seemed quite random and stream-of-consciousness… I asked the bar tender who told me it was American Warewolf in London. Gotta rent that or something.
It was a bit after 1 when I left there… kept walking up. I decided to bypass the glamor of the grand central / times square scene and instead walk up 1st ave… past the UN complex and the trump tower and all that. It wasn’t until I was just about at the hotel that it finally clicked in my head how the hotel was situated with respect to cardinal directions in relation to the rest of manhattan.
Even though there is quite a lot of activity in the city, I get the feeling from people that live there that it’s nothing like what it used to be before Guilliani took the helm. I’ve heard people say things like “he took the fun out of new york”. Now, to be sure, we’re talking specifically about illegal activities, but goddammit if a lot of those aren’t considered fun by a lot of people. Is it worth ‘cleaning up’ the city for the benefit of those who don’t care for the seedier stuff, but at the expense of those who do? Guess it doesn’t matter at this point, cause what’s done is done. There’s still an incredible number of hip people, places, and things.
I must admit that I feel some level of attraction to NYC, but not as much as I did before I started my life in Seattle. Seattle is more low key, more laid back… not nearly as much infrastructure / overhead that goes along with supporting many millions of people in a tiny area. There are benefits and drawbacks, but I’m certainly quite happy in Seattle currently. I get enjoyment just knowing that NYC is there, and constantly in motion, even when I’m not looking :) Now if we could just get all the humans on the planet to feel the same sort of kinship and comradery as the citizens of NYC, then we’d really have something… It’s kind of absurd that we don’t, but I guess the geography has a lot to do with it… Ultimately, though, we (as a species) have a *whole* lot more in common with each other than we have differences. But I digress…
Wednesday I had to kind of step on the gas a bit as far as the courseware because we moved a bit slow on Tuesday. Ended up finishing all the chapters, though we had to skip an exercise at the end of the day due to running out of time. Victor was kind enough to do a live stream for us from Cupertino, in which he answered a few questions we threw at him (actually, my group was somewhat less than technical, so many of the questions were my own :) My workstation’s video was being projected onto a large screen for the class, and I had the quicktime stream open next to an iChat window which we used for feedback and such (see a screenshot). It actually went rather well, considering it was the first try at it in this situation, and that the source was all the way across the US. After some fine tuning (which I get to help with), we should have it 100% solid (as it was, we had some loss due to a couple possible conditions that will be explored further).
After class was over, I met up with b nelson at Union square, and we hit up some kind of Japanese tea place. He recommended a tea with tapioca perls in it, so I got the green tea variety with said perls. It was one of the most unusual drinks I’ve ever had, and I’m still not sure if I like it :) Only had a bit of time before having to leave for the airport – caught a cab just after 6, and the rest is recent history :)
Not getting to the seattle / tacoma airport until almost 1 a.m, but then it’s gonna be all about sweet sleep…. (after I post this, of course ;)