Changing States

It has been six days now, living in our new apartment, and my senses are adjusting.

Living on the coast of Upper New York Bay alone has been a tremendous change. Rather than walking past sleepy row houses and run down businesses, I’m greeted with the (what other word is there?) majestic lower Manhattan skyline. It is an awe-inspiring view to take in, both in the morning as I wake up and in the evening as I trek home along the promenade.

My nose is no longer plagued by the sweet tang of packing tape or the sharp wood of fresh cardboard. Most of the boxes have been unpacked, our belongings now lodged in their semi-permanent locations. The new paint smell is fading fast with every cycle of fan or air conditioning.

My hands are no longer spotted with the scars and pains that come from cam locks, wooden dowels, and allen wrenches. *Some assembly required* is the Great Lie of our time, or at the very least, the understatement of the century. Regardless, the five pieces of furniture we assembled are functioning well.

My ears are dealing with even more quiet. While I had always pegged Astoria as quiet, even with a major road just outside our window, Jersey City completely re-calibrates my hearing. The roads are largely free of cars, with only the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail providing the occasional gentle screech around the corners.

We are cooking in earnest again. Small steps for the time being, but already we are starting to dig into cookbooks long forgotten. My desire to start a food blog is climbing steadily, despite fully knowing the difficulty I have in even keeping this one blog sufficiently active.

Buttons adjusted quickly; already he has caused substantial reconfiguration of one area of the apartment. He has since returned to his normal self, sleeping on his favorite chair and being very excitable about his morning kibble. He continues to assert his innocence in all matters curious.

Like so many things in my life, move-in is a rolling process, never quite finishing. Some boxes never get unpacked; some items find comfortable places but are never touched again. But already, everything is in the right enough for the new apartment to feel like home.

Farewell, Astoria

I’ve come to realize that I tend to be very terse when writing about life changes. While I’m happy to gush about job changes or anecdotes, things going on in my personal life feel almost less relevant.

But that, obviously, is ridiculous.

This is my last post from our apartment in Astoria; tomorrow around noon, I must drag the cable modem back to Time Warner and terminate my service. Friday afternoon brings movers, and movers will bring us to Jersey City. I should be back on line by Friday night, but this post officially closes the book on our five years in Queens.

Continue reading Farewell, Astoria

Sing When You’re Winning

Thursday night, we were playing Rock Band, and she was giggling again.

“What?” I asked between a break in the lyrics.

“Nothing, nothing!” Katie smirked as she kept banging on the drums.

But I knew what it was: my vocals were coming through too loudly, and they sounded ridiculous. A quick visit to the controller and my vocals were muted behind the lead vocals, allowing me to avoid being mocked for the time being.

Continue reading Sing When You’re Winning

iUseThis for the iPhone

It’s been just over two years since I started using iUseThis, a neat web tool for tracking OS X apps you use. A social network for software junkies, I suppose.

As part of iPhoneDevCamp, Marcus and Arne have launched an iPhone-centric version of the site, allowing people to track and comment on their iPhone apps.

This is one of those things that I didn’t realize I was missing until I saw it. While the App Store does have plenty of methods of app feedback (user reviews, popularity ratings), it does tend to be a bit low on the signal to noise ratio. IUseThis works better, with a or Digg like method of popularity. The more people that mark they use an app, the higher it goes.

You can find my app list on my profile.

(Before anyone starts marveling as to the number of apps I have purchased: dumping five years of spare change into an iTunes gift certificate via Coinstar makes all the difference in the world.)

Journalistic Integrity

Let me see if I’ve got this “how to be a journalist” thing straight.

You go to a message board and post something laughably stupid, like “is Obama too skinny to be president?

> Does anyone out there think Barack Obama is too thin to be president? Anyone having a hard time relating to him and his “no excess body fat”? Please let me know. Thanks!

You get a brilliantly articulate response from “onlinebeerbellygirl”, who has never posted anywhere else on those forums and seemingly just registered that day:

> Yes I think He is to skinny to be President.Hillary has a potbelly and chuckybutt I’d of Voted for Her.I won’t vote for any beanpole guy.

You think, “JACKPOT!”:

> Love your response and your username (onlinebeerbellygirl). Would you mind shooting me an email so I can ask you a few more quesitons? My email is Thanks so much!

Then you cite this as “research” or a “source” in your shitty article in the Wall Street Journal on the same topic:

> But in a nation in which 66% of the voting-age population is overweight and 32% is obese, could Sen. Obama’s skinniness be a liability? Despite his visits to waffle houses, ice-cream parlors and greasy-spoon diners around the country, his slim physique just might have some Americans wondering whether he is truly like them.
> …
>”I won’t vote for any beanpole guy,” another Clinton supporter wrote last week on a Yahoo politics message board.

And that’s journalism, right?

Mighty tip of the hat to Sadly, No! for digging this one out.