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Where I exhibit restraint

Smiling
It was extremely brief, and you had to pay very close attention, but the sugar season's passed now, and thankfully, azrhey and I managed to catch some sugar shack action, thanks to my dad inviting us over to his annual thing (which went better than the last time, as I wasn't dying this time!). It was what, azrhey's third time in a sugar shack in her life? How do they manage over there? ;-)

I went for a lightning trip to New York City, where I thought it'd be a good idea to get a room at the Hotel Chelsea, since, you know, the office is in Chelsea, that'd be convenient, no? I did listen to punk music, but I don't remember stabbing anyone. I didn't write a novel either, but I did write a small piece of code, related to my most recent ranting, where my hack gets similar latency on event handling as busy waiting on the event queue, while using less CPU (and much lower latency, by multiple frames!) than SDL's built-in SDL_WaitEvent.

This last item results in myself restraining myself very hard from going off and making a high-performance game library. Add it to the list of things I could do very well, but that I shouldn't be doing because it's useless. Argh.

azrhey and I went to see Iron Man, which was pretty damned good, I think. I think that it was a good introduction, although the battle at the end was a bit contrived and short on time. I think Justin Hammer might have been a better choice, with multiple supporting bad guys, but Iron Monger does make for big badaboom. I liked the hints at War Machine, and the small (in that movie, at least) involvement of S.H.I.E.L.D..

I'm now about to register for the Bike Fest, which inconveniently overlaps with MUTEK. The day ride doesn't pose a problem, but I really like the night ride, and that will obviously mean that I'll be missing out on something else... We'll see.

Flying In, Flying Out

Smiling
My Sunday in New York was fine. It was rainy, but I had excellent coffee (Gimme! Coffee, and also accidentally tasted someone else's coffee, oops!), excellent pizza, played games all afternoon (Cleopatra and the Society of Architects is fun, I was hilariously bad at Guitar Hero), and had most excellent italian food at Pô (white bean ravioli in a butter balsamic sauce, yum!)) in the evening.

But the return... Oh, the return. I couldn't get any taxi that wanted me for a JFK ride (there was a smell of rush hour coming up), so I decided to be brave (the risk here being getting lost) and take the train. That worked out all right, thanks to another passenger who made me realize I was on the wrong train, which I could fix before it became too annoying.

Arriving at Terminal 2, the check-in hall I was directed to was so amazingly full of people, it was ridiculous. Thankfully, I arrived plenty early, because the place was packed with people queuing for whatever reason, and it was just pandemonium (when I left the place, the queues were extending outside, and this building isn't exactly small!). There, I was told that the booking for my return flight had been cancelled when there was some issues with my first flight. But I'm in New York, not Montreal, get me home!

I ended up on standby for the flight I was supposed to be booked on, and after some delays, didn't make it. They actually called my name by mistake, as the attendant thought there was one more seat, so it was a pretty close call. In fact, it was so close that my checked-in luggage was in the plane, and I couldn't get it back!

So I ended up in an hotel in Jamaica, because, you know, that'd be cool. Jamaica is colder than I thought it'd be. Big thanks to azrhey and tygrbabe entertaining me, so that the accidental murdering rampage didn't happen (this would have hindered my return trip even further, I suspect). The hotel was just about full, and I got an "Elite" room or something, which was pretty cool, and I slept very well, strangely enough.

That next flight went just fine, no delay, my luggage was given to me quickly, there was very few people at the security check lines. Whew.

Thanks to my hosts, andukar, a_chatterbox and dreamage for having me over! Also, some photos from the Saturday.

Very Big Place

Smiling
Explored New York a bit yesterday with some of my hosts, which was pretty cool and impressive. Already, from the apartment, there is a view on the Manhattan skyline, and getting there, there's a definite feeling of being in a Big Place. That's why I took my 14mm/f2.8 super-wide-angle lens as my only lens, which was a bit of a weird choice. I was glad I had it for some stuff, but other times, the thing I wanted to photography as so small and far away! A cool lens, but I'll need to get used to it, for sure.

andukar and a_chatterbox took me out for a late breakfast first, at Max Brenner on 2nd Avenue (they wanted to take me to some other place, but it was full). They're pretty serious about their chocolate, and while the breakfast was nothing too special, the included cappuccino was actually pretty good, while they didn't let me upgrade to a mocha, it came with two small chunks of chocolate, which I promptly threw in the coffee. Tasty!

We then headed to the Grand Central Terminal, where some photos were taken, and the acoustics of the archway next to the lower concourse was tried out.

We walked up 5th Avenue, seeing a vast penny collection set up at the Rockefeller Center, onward to the Fifth Avenue Apple Store. While the store itself is nothing all that special (it's just larger than the one I had seen before, but not huge either), the architecture of it is indeed pretty damned cool. I took advantage of the almost-collapsing US economy to buy a few items, saving something like 30% over the price in Canada. Haha, chumps!

We then walked through Central Park for a bit. This is such a great idea, dropping a huge park in the centre of a city! Definitely the hallmark of an awesome city (check!).

After a while there, a_chatterbox announced that hot chocolate was called for, as it was a bit chilly, which I could only concur with. So we headed to the Chocolate Bar, where I had a nice hazelnut-flavoured hot chocolate with a chipotle/cinnamon brownie to go with it. Oh yeah.

After a quick visit to the Google office (I walked in front of ze_dinosaur's office, heh!) to figure out where we'd eat, we set our (metro) sails for Times Square. Wow! The people! The lights! At that point, I was glad I had my super-wide-angle lens, because this place is very big. Like, a lot. And there are people. And lights.

Dinner time being the time, we went to a Thai place not very far from their apartment, where we were joined by caffeinemonkey, for maximum classiness (first question to him: "was it you or mrwise who pooped in the shower?"). Had some pretty good garlic and pepper beef, with a good helping of wine (especially as I had uncovered a plot to get me drunk the following night!).

We went back and watched Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which was quite hilarious. I had never even heard of it, but I definitely recommend it!

Good thing that we did some good walking yesterday, because this morning, the weather is pretty crappy (rainy).

New York, New York

Smiling
Despite many adventures (including one that, weirdly enough, fixed my shoulder blade, which had been in pain for the last few days, more time in bus and taxi than airplane and involving no less than four separate flights), I'm safe and sound in New-York. Since I'm staying at the place of well-known madmen, this might not last. In any case, heading back Monday evening.

Oh, and in other news, gregorama is clearly a highly-skilled assassin, azrhey and I have seen the proof. But he's not too handy around women. Be careful.

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