Happy Christmas from New York

We are now in New York.

Wednesday was a very long day. We got up at 3:30am UK time, and didn’t arrive at our hotel until the sort of time we would normally be thinking of going to bed. Despite this, we went to Starbucks for a coffee (there are no coffee making facilities in our room), and then wandered to Times Square to look at the pretty lights and generally marvel at how big and alive everything feels. We then went to the restaurant next to our hotel to grab food and drink before getting a stupidly early night (8pm NY time, which felt like 1am).

Thursday (Christmas Eve) involved a lot of shopping (or rather wandering around shops and not buying a lot). We also saw lots of Christmas celebrations which made me realise how bad the UK is at celebrating Christmas. I managed to stay up until 10pm, and seem to have slipped back into a half decent sleeping pattern.

Today (so far) we have wandered around Central Park, taken lots of photographs, and eaten delicious bagels. Tomorrow we plan on doing more shopping (proper shopping this time) along with a visit to the Museum of Modern Art to see Tim Burton’s exhibition.

All in all, I think I like this city. Some things about it are strange though. I really like the hotel we’re in, but it does lack a bar (there is a mini bar, but with no price list I’m not risking it), and we could really do with a way to make coffee in the room. On the bright side, we’re a stones throw from Starbucks and about 20 places to eat and drink, so it’s hardly a massive chore to go out, explore, and try out lots of different nice food (on Wednesday I had the best pizza I’ve had for ages, and everything we’ve eaten so far has been great).

The first batch of photos should be on Facebook soon.

A brief life update

This week I’ve largely been:

  • Listening to the new albums by The Flaming Lips, Atlas Sound, Charlotte Hatherley and Broadcast (all of which I’m really enjoying)
  • Updating my main workstation to Ubuntu 9.10
  • Learning about Google Wave
  • Trying to juggle various work tasks (and not dropping anything hopefully).

Oh, and I still hate this time of year. Even though we had no annoying begging children this year, there is still the firework-hating dog to deal with.

Flaming Lungs and Flaming Lips

At various points in the last few days I’ve been fairly convinced that I’m ill. I’ve had a sore throat, various wheezing fits, and a general sense of tiredness that sleep does not fix.  The annoying thing is that each “episode” only lasts a few hours and then I feel fine again. Maybe it’s my super-immune system kicking in, or maybe I just need a holiday and I’m not ill at all.

In other (more relevant) news, I’ve been losing myself in the new Flaming Lips album for days. It’s epic (over an hour and a half if you download the iTunes version), and a very challenging listen, but if you like music that makes you think and that is a little (lot) to the left of the mainstream then I’d very much recommend it. I’m also liking the new Califone album (for those times when I need to be soothed rather than challenged), but have otherwise not bought a great deal of new music recently.

Of course, by “recently” I mean this month.

Holidays and other things

As of 4pm tomorrow I’m on holiday for 10 days. It’s the first break of any length I’ve had for a few weeks, and I am very much looking forward to it. Last time I was off I ended up spending most of the week working on various projects, but I do intend to make at least a half hearted effort to step away from my laptop for a few hours each day and actually enjoy the sunshine.

I will also review some music, seeing as I’ve actually been asked to by some of the people who make it (which still scares me).

Of course, it would be a good time to upgrade all the computers to Ubuntu 9.04, but I think I may wait a couple of weeks for that.

Renovations

So far this weekend I have:

  • Built a webserver out of the useable parts from my dead PC (and the case of another less powerful machine).
  • Set up webmin on all my Linux machines and built a webmin cluster.
  • Copied 10gb of music (the stuff I actually listen to) onto my new laptop.
  • Rebuilt my old PC (OS and config files) as a VM on my laptop.

So all in all a busy weekend.

Why I hate this time of year

This is not a post about any of the things I usually blog about, but I thought it was worth making a note of.

October and November are fast becoming my least favourite months of the year. It’s too cold, everyone is miserable, and our household is in a state of siege mentality due to the constant sonic bombardment that comes from the endless firework displays that our neighbours seem to love.

I actually like fireworks. I think they are pretty and that they cheer people up at a time when shorter days and less sunshine can drag us all down a bit. However this view is not shared by our cats, and most especially by our dog who has now been prescribed a herbal remedy for his firework phobia (valium didn’t work and we’ve run out of other viable alternatives). He’s currently sat on the floor underneath my desk and he’s visibly shaking. He’ll probably be like this for a few hours during which time he’ll not eat, not sleep, and be very fractious and downright unpleasant.

So yes, that why I’m not too keen on this time of year and also why we’re unlikely to be out and about after dark for the next couple of weeks at least.