Monday, July 16, 2007

Live from New York

Hey guys, sorry I haven't blogged in so long. I am alive!!

So now that I'm in New York, I feel it is my duty to mention my first impressions. Forgive me, dear readers, if some of them seem somewhat random.

Almost all of the buildings here are made of brick! This terrified Takeshi and myself at first, because we are both from earthquake-intense cities. Just imagining the effects of one modest, oh.. 6.0 on the richter scale gives me the shivers.
One of the drawbacks to brick as a building material is that it can't hold all that much weight. This causes the architecture of brick buildings to become layered... about at the tenth floor of the older buildings, they start having a chunky, elongated pyramidal effect that is, in my humble opinion, rather aesthetically pleasing. Oh yeah, and the building right next to us has gargoyles on the roof. Awesome. I like to imagine they come alive at night as I was promised they would on that cartoon show Gargoyles. ^_~

And mom, the subway system is really not that bad. I first imagined millions of hungry eyes on my purse/ wallet when I entered, only to find the car filled sweaty, tired tourists from Alabama. They were similarly wallet-weary though, I think a couple gave me an appraising glance before writing me off as harmless. (note to self, possible future as a pickpocketer!) ;) All of my meager life savings in unfortunately still in yen, and completely and inconveniently inaccessible through my Tokyo Mitubishi ATM card. Takeshi's summer bonus was generous, but it was paid to his Japanese account. Also, we were given a modest amount to help us with the move, but also, frustratingly, into an inaccessible account. This means we are tourists, but can only shake our fists ineffectually at the Empire State building ($18 each to go to the top!) , the Rockefeller building ($20 each to go to the observation deck), MoMA ($22 for nonmembers) and the like. Sigh.

But heck. I don't mind that much, because I am not a tourist! I even bought a guidebook filled with maps, the cover proudly stating "Not For Toursists". 'That's for me then!' I thought. It *has* been very handy. And everyone knows that locals never go to the touristy things. I lived in the San Francisco bay area most of my life and have STILL not made it out to Alcatraz OR Napa Valley.

So what have I been doing? well, a lot of walking. I applied for a copy of my social security card so I can renew my driver's licence as a New York State local. (Takeshi's going to have a fit if we don't get to see some wilderness soon. And central park, although lovely, doesn't count.) I've also been applying for programming jobs, and so far there's been fairly decent interest in my resume. Google even checked me out, but when I had a pop quiz, I was strong in Java, not that bad in Perl, but they asked me an algorithms question that I did embarrassingly bad at. Ok, software developers, here was the question:

Google Guy: 'If you are trying to guess a number from one to one-thousand, and you are told either too high or too low after every guess, how many guesses would it take maximum to guess the number?'
Me: 'Uuuuummmm...499?'
Google guy: '*snicker!*'

So it turns out the correct answer is log2(1000)+1. So.. a little less than ten, plus one? I guess. It's log base two because it's a binary search, it gets exponentially smaller as you keep checking. I found this out by checking out books from the library, (another great option for poor people like myself) and am now hitting the books to avoid further embarrasment from other, GoogleGuy-like people.
... Well, hitting the books and playing Final Fantasy XII. (I am only human! I can finally play it in my native toungue!) ;)

Hope all is well with you guys!