Crash course

I just finished my first driving lesson. Well, not strictly my first, but the last time I drove a car was 15 years ago, in England, and it had manual transmission. It seems like a lifetime ago now. I’ve been in the US long enough that driving on the right wasn’t a problem. In fact, it seems natural. What didn’t seem quite so natural is that the sticks to control the indicators and lights are reversed—but the brake and accelerator aren’t.

Learning to drive and other troubles

As you may have noticed, I’ve not been writing much recently. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, work has been insane for the last few weeks. The other day the project manager I’m working with actually asked why I haven’t crawled into a corner to whimper quietly. I explained that at Harlequin, I became completely acclimated to having an order of magnitude more work than I could ever possibly do in the time allowed.

Found in Davis Square

So as I walked through Davis Square today, I looked down and noticed a small ziplock bag filled with powder. On closer look, the crystals appeared to be slightly larger than regular sugar, perhaps similar in size to Demerara brown sugar. The color was off-white, with a touch of yellow, maybe the merest hint of brown. The bag was about 6cm by 4cm and packed fairly full. I considered what it might be.

Las Vegas

eBU is in Las Vegas for the first time. Previous years it has been held in Orlando, Florida, in Disney World; and also in a European city, Berlin one year and Barcelona the next. The move to Vegas has allowed IBM to consolidate and have everyone from around the world attend one huge show. To be specific, there are 17,000 IBM people in Las Vegas at the moment. That’s enough to fill the conference facilities of the MGM, Mirage and Venetian, with a few hundred excess people at the Paris and a couple of other hotels.

Down in the park

Walking home just now, I saw a figure ahead in the darkness, walking through the linear park. A very large, female figure dressed in badly-matched clothing. She was staggering slightly, and weaving from side to side, in the manner of one who is paralytically drunk. The linear park often attracts the homeless, so I thought nothing of it. Seeing a large drunk female vagrant wandering towards the liquor store on Mass Ave made perfect sense.

Diner

This is the Rosebud diner in Davis Square. Diners are something uniquely American, and I find it hard to resist the chance to visit them. There’s something about the whole experience, even if the food’s not that great. Which is not to say that there’s anything wrong with the food at the Rosebud. On the contrary! The only problem with the place is that it’s usually really full at weekends.

Mephitis mephitis

This is probably as good a time as any to write more about skunks. We don’t have skunks in England, so I was really excited when I first saw one late one evening. I watched it turn a corner and snuffle off. I knew what it was from watching TV. “Wow,” I said, “It’s a skunk!” Genuine North American wildlife! I started to follow it, closing in to get a better look.