I’m not entirely sure, but I just might be the target of this mockery… (Oh, and Anil, I am pretty sure that it was you who came up with the need for a docking cradle.)

suzie the subie!

Today was a very special birthday… for Suzie, a 2003 Subaru Outback Limited. (Not coincidentally, it is also my first day owning a car.) The arcane laws of the Great State of Massachusetts made it necessary to actually drive to Massachusetts to acquire Suzie, but that’s all behind me now, and tonight, she’s tucked safely into a space in a Manhattan garage. It’s a little overwhelming to own my first car (and to think about the payments that start in a mere 30 days), but all things said, I’m totally happy, and can’t wait to break her in a little bit.

A few observations (or, put more aptly, nagging questions) that I’ve come up with while planning for the move to Boston:

  • Why don’t most of the major car insurance companies provide policies in the state of Massachusetts? Part of me suspects that it’s a legislative thing, like maybe that the state rules make it hard to offer affordable insurance. The other, more realistic, part of me feels that it has to do with the absolutely freaking insane drivers of Boston, and the fact that carriers need to factor in the reasonable chance that the entire right side of your car will be demolished by one of them as he swerves down the shoulder at 100 miles an hour.
  • Is there a good way to find someone that I can pay to help me unload the truck when I get to Boston? Thanks to Alaina and Anil, I have people for this end (of course, I haven’t called or e-mailed them yet), but thinking about the flight of stairs at the other end has already made my back start hurting.
  • How likely is it that a single 15-foot truck is going to hold all my crap? I mean, I feel like my computer shit alone is gonna fill that puppy. (What, did you think that the MetaFilter server was small or something?)
  • Is there a cellphone provider that’s particularly good in Boston? One whose coverage is so bad that I’d be better served by a roll of quarters and a box of alcohol wipes to sterilize the payphone handsets? T-Mobile has decided to treat new customers better that current (eight-year veteran) customers, so I’m going to dump their service at the end of my contract next month; so far as I can tell, I can get good deals and great handsets through AT&T, but I have no clue if I’ll have reception worth a damn in the Brookline area.
  • Is there any chance whatsoever that I’ll just come home towards the end of June and find my entire apartment boxed up and ready to go? Do I have to actually participate in the process of making it so?

That’s just a little bit of what’s whizzing through my head as I enter full-on panic mode…

Postscript: Don’t even think about buying a car outside the state of Massachusetts and registering it in Massachusetts; it ain’t gonna happen. Ever. (Oh, and that was two hours of my life that I’d like back, please.)

Alas, it turns out that the online sharing abilities of iTunes 4 is less of an undocumented feature and more of an unintentional bug. So much for the alternative theory

How cool — a wild turkey has been making spotted appearances in the heart of Manhattan, much to the delight of residents and confusion of ornithologists. One sighting was even on a 28th-story balcony, amazing given that turkeys aren’t very good at tackling vertical distance. And people say that you need to leave New York City to find the great outdoors… (Thanks to Noah for the link!)

Re: The Matrix Reloaded, I’m right there with Philip Graham. Seriously, I have nothing more to add to his review; it’s spot-on.

Ever since we all returned to the northeast, my family has made Thanksgiving the one holiday when we all get together and bask in each other’s company. We’re a family of many religions, and that means that the traditional big family holidays — Passover and Christmas, for the most part — aren’t shared by everyone, so that means that we all settled on Thanksgiving as our big family gathering. Unfortunately, though, I just got my schedule for next year, and it looks like a return to New York City isn’t in the cards for me. I’m scheduled to be on the Bone Marrow Transplant service for the month of November, and more precisely, I’m on call for the service on Thanksgiving Day. I hope that the service is quiet enough that I’ll be able even to get back to my apartment that night and have dinner with Shannon, but since I invited one of the fellows to our dinner this past year and she wasn’t able to make it out of the hospital, I harbor a certain amount of skepticism that it’ll happen. Harrumph.

Wow — a Manhattan judge ordered New York’s transit authority to roll back last month’s 50-cent fare hike within two weeks due to dishonesty in the process used in helping justify the hike to the public. Apparently, the MTA hid money off the books by shifting it into future annual projections, making its finances look $600 million worse than they really are. The MTA is complaining about how hard it will be to roll back all the equipment; that being said, if the allegations are true, nobody’s going to feel sorry for the predicament the agency put itself in.

Around here, things have been busy lately. As soon as I finished in the emergency room, I was thrown into the inpatient wards as the senior resident on service, meaning a return to early mornings and fourteen-hour days. And just after walking in the door at night, I’ve been heading straight for the laptop, getting down and dirty with code as I craft a content management system for one of my web projects in the hospital. With Shannon in the middle of her finals, we make quite a couple, tiredly collapsing into our respective ends of the sofa and communing with our computers until the wee hours of the morning. All in all, it’s enough to form the framework for a new reality video, “Overextended Dorks Gone Wild.”

That being said, I’m really enjoying my work. The web project is allowing me to finally pick up a language I’ve wanted to use for years, and get off of a CMS backend that I absolutely despise. It’s also letting me play with workflow design and systems architecture, which may not sound exciting, but which makes my brain feel right at home. And importantly, the project may actually earn me a little money — something that I welcome wholeheartedly, given that my looming move to Boston is already taking a bite out of my bank account.

In the hospital, as the only third-year resident on my inpatient team, I’m getting a great chance to see how much I’ve learned over the course of the last few years. What took me hours of reading and contemplation two years ago is now second-nature; a kid who could instantly drive me to panic as a first-year resident now drives me to start delegating tasks and taking action. (It’s even been enough to push me into starting a new pediatric arrest curriculum for the hospital, which has unquestionably been the most satisfying thing that I’ve been involved in thus far.) I now have only six and a half weeks left as a resident, and while I only feel like I’ve been a pediatrician for fifteen minutes, those fifteen minutes feel like they’ve been jam-packed with great learning, awesome kids, and more rich experiences than I would have ever believed possible.

I’ve never been one to handle idleness well, quickly finding something to fill any gaps in time or commitments. These last two months in New York promise to be busy as all hell, but I don’t think I would want it any other way.

Two views of my apartment building, separated by almost a century:

April 2nd, 1909

April 2nd, 1909

May 4th, 2003

May 4th, 2003

The first picture comes from a print I found at the Columbus Avenue Flea Market this afternoon, making me one of the happiest people walking the streets of New York today. I bought four other prints, as well — one of the intersection of Broadway and 96th Street (taken during the construction of the subway in 1903), one of Columbia University’s Washington Heights campus in 1905 (when there were only five or six buildings on the site), one of Hilltop Park in 1905 (between 165th and 168th Streets on Broadway, the home of the New York Highlanders), and the last of my hospital building in 1931. Leafing through all the historic photos of New York made me remember that there’s a lot from of late 19th- and early 20th-century New York that’s still standing, and it’s what makes this city so amazing to me. I’m going to miss exploring New York’s history when I leave; I guess it’s time to start exporing Boston’s history.

(Update: Anil made a neat animated GIF of the two images.)

If you’re a New York state resident and have experienced problems with VeriSign — problems with the company screwing you over with domain name registration, or any other problem with its business practices — you might want to head over to Mike Wasylik’s site and help the good New York Attorney General out with an investigation into the company. (Mike is involved because he has served as Leslie Harpold’s lawyer in her inquiries into how her domain name, hoopla.com, was stolen out from under her.)