Wednesday, October 25, 2006

John's Blog - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly


The Good…
On October 13 we went to Washington D.C. for the weekend. We had a great time, and saw most of the touristy things. We were amazed at how big the Lincoln Memorial is, and how big the Iwo Jima Memorial is. The Washington Memorial (or the Clinton Memorial if you watch Futurama) was pretty boring, but we didn’t get to go up inside it… so maybe it’s better inside.
There is heaps of cool war history there, and it was great to see as much as we did.
We did, however, notice a few odd things…
The walk/don’t walk signs count down to zero when they change to walk, so you know how long you have left to make it across the street. This is a good idea I reckon, but it means that you look at the opposing side while you are waiting and sigh and say ‘a whole 45 seconds till we can go… aww’.
As we were coming in from the outskirts of town (but still in Washington D.C.) there is a sign that says “U.S. Capitol”, with an arrow pointing down the street that leads to the city centre. Do people really drive all this way, pass all the other road signs to Washington D.C., get there and go “really, this is the U.S. Capitol”?
Similar to around the Embassies in Canberra, the streets as you enter Washington D.C. are named after where they come from. So we came in on New York Avenue, and we passed Florida Avenue.
The subway system in Washington is very different to that of New York. It feels like it is a whole class higher, with carpeted floors and polite conductors. As opposed to New York, where the conductors try to shut the doors just as you arrive (you are usually running to make the train, and you may run face first into the closed door… if you’re a retard).
I’ve been still working on movie sets, but things are drying up here as we move into the colder weather. I have also been doing some other odd jobs for cashola, which keeps food on the table (and alcohol in me).

The Bad…
Before we left for Washington we wrote an e-mail to our landlord telling her that we were going away for the weekend, and we’d be back late on Sunday. On Saturday our dog sitter called us and said that while he was watching the baseball at our place, he heard keys in our door. Thinking it was us coming back for something he was not too fussed. When our landlord entered he was quite shocked (particularly because he doesn’t know her). She left without doing much. When we got back on Sunday at about 7pm we checked our e-mail and saw that there was one from our landlord saying that we had to be out by 6pm… d’oh. We spoke to her and got till the next Sunday. She was not very nice and threatened many things. After a little while on the internet, and a few phone calls, we knew most of our rights and while trying to accommodate our landlord we were not going to be bullied. The end result is that we got 2 of our 3 months rent back (we’re waiting a month for the 3rd month), and we got out on Monday. The situation sucked, but now we have a new apartment, and a new neighbourhood to discover.
Our new place is a studio apartment… with a yard! It’s on the Upper East Side, which is a bit higher class than the Lower East Side. Here we feel safe at all times, and there are no areas that we don’t go at night, which is nice. We felt safe in the LES, but still a bit apprehensive at times. The new place has nice polished floor boards, a new bathroom, and did I mention a yard?
The new bathroom is nice, but like all American tradesmanship (we’re finding out) it has been done fast, not good. We have already replaced the shower head, and now it’s the size of a bread plate, and it’s like in Seinfeld when Kramer can’t make it to the tap because of the pressure. It’s fantastic.
Our old place was partly furnished, and this place is completely bare. It’s amazing how much crap you need when you start, and how much it all costs!
We’re planning a BBQ with our upstairs neighbours soon, as they helped us get this place (she works with Pen) before it was released on the market.
One of the other places we looked at was about 350 square feet (you can do the math, it’s very small). It was so small that there was no room for the bed, so they built a mezzanine (called a loft here) and put the bed on that. But the ceiling is still only 8 or 9 feet tall, so there is no room. The shower was in the kitchen, which was really intimidating no matter whether you are bathing or cooking, and the bathroom was out of the apartment and down the hall! The funniest thing was that there was a queue down the block about 100 meters to see the place! People who had seen the place were walking down the line telling people about it, which made most people want to stay just to see such a thing. The 2 people in the line in front of us started talking (as we all were), and one of them was looking for a room-mate, so the other gave her his details and they both left! Things in this city seem to only happen by word of mouth, which is why we were lucky with this place.

The Ugly…
There are many free newspapers available here. My favourites are Metro and AM New York. Where I’ve been working this week is about an hour’s commute each way, so it’s nice to have the paper to read on the way (if I don’t fall asleep). So on Monday October 23 I got the Metro and read it on the way to work. I found a few quotes that I thought were great:
On a story about how a diplomat to the Middle East said “history will decide what role the United States played [in Iraq]… I think there is a big possibility… for extreme criticism and because undoubtedly there was arrogance and stupidity from the United States in Iraq”. The quote I loved was from a senior Bush administration official, who said “… those comments don’t reflect our policy”. What did he think? That we all thought that it WAS their policy to be arrogant and stupid in Iraq?
On a story of funny quotes – “Depopulation should be the highest priority of foreign policy towards the Third World, because the U.S. economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries”. Henry Kissinger.
- “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity”. Ann Coulter.
- “There is nothing wrong with doing something that benefits all humanity, but that is, in a sense, a second-order effect”. Condoleezza Rice.
- “I will never apologise for the United States of America. I don’t care what the facts are”. George Bush Senior.
- “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we”. George Bush Junior.
These are the people who are in charge of running this country, and whether you like it or not, these people think that they run the world. Shouldn’t they be paying someone to stop them from saying things like this?
And one last one… on Thursday 26 October in a story about a male teacher who was caught buying some drugs, the newspaper called his father… {When asked if he thought his son was abusing drugs, Dillon replied: ”Oh no doubt about it, he sleeps all day”}. So there it is people, the way to find out if anyone is abusing drugs is to find out how much they are sleeping.

Otherwise everything is going well, we can tick off a State from our ‘To Visit’ list, I now run Colb’s in Central Park (well I have once… but I’ll do more), and we are constantly entertained by the Americans. This year really is just a long trip to the zoo.


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