Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pictures Part 3

Okay, so part 3 of the pictures will now attempt to capture the essence of the squalidity in which I find myself. It's actually not so bad, but as you will see, things in this apartment are old and in major need of repair. When you see the new place, you'll understand what I mean by old.

And here we go...

So this is the window. It has no screens, so when we open them, we get lovely swarms of flies and mosquitoes. The windows also don't close all the way because someone (maybe a previous resident or the housing office) messed around with some of nuts and bolts of the window. In any case, it does little to protect us from the wonderful noises outside. Like the MetroNorth rail. It's currently 1 AM so I won't take a picture of the railway, especially because it's pouring outside, but I'll take a picture in the morning.

This is our kitchen sink and counter area. Really, the counter area is that small. The dish rack is new (courtesy of one my roommates and also 1st year MD/PhD Tim) but now imagine that the counter not being as white as it looks now and the sink consistently piled high with dishes (and the rack still somehow full). That's what it looked like when I came in in June.

This is the kitchen stove and oven. It's all gas run (I think the oven is electric), but it's white now because we Clorox wiped the entire kitchen area and I think Tim also took some 409 to the whole thing. It used to be splattered with pasta sauce and grease spots. Definitely not pretty.

These shelves are meant to hold stuff for people. If you look closely you'll see these 3x5 notecards taped to them. They're the names of people in the apartment and everyone claims a shelf (Tim and I took the cupboards above the sink). But the clutter is just overwhelming (I'll explain below).

The umbrella and jacket on the left are mine. I just got back from a downpour of rain so I left them outside to dry. Anyway, the table is filled with unclaimed things, but there's just no where to put them! Again, clutter that I'll explain later.

This is the toilet seat. I took a picture of it because if you look at the bottom right section of the toilet seat, there is a nice, deep crack in it.

Yea, we need a new toilet seat.

Oh, and random note, New York doesn't have toilet seat covers and the toilet paper definitely is not as good as CA toilet paper. Just a thought...

This is our sink. Now you see that jar of stuff in the right? Imagine all that strewn all over the sink? One of the guys (Steve, who now no longer lives with us) had his sister and his sister's friend over for a few days, and I'm pretty sure they did the tidying up. Where's my stuff, you ask? In my room. The only thing I left in the bathroom is some benzoyl peroxide.


Alright, so I promised you an explanation for what I think is going on with this apartment. This is a 6-person apartment right next to the MetroNorth Railroad tracks which happens to go above ground right at around 97th St. We live on 98th St. So basically every 10 minutes you hear the train clackity-clacking away either towards the North or the South. And in the mornings, because of the tourists and little kids who stand on the bridge of 97th Street and wave at the train, the conductor feels obligated to blow that horn of his.

It's a great alarm clock. (No, it's not).

The apartment itself is also in need of repair and is pretty old. However, I'm pretty sure the real estate office has let things stand where they are because people don't stay for long. They come in, realize it's not a fun place, and get the heck outta here when they can. Or, for those that stay, they don't complain at all. Our common room A/C used to be broken. Then I arrived and the first complaint I wrote was that it was broken. Sure, my room AC works just fine, and it's not that unbearably hot (all the time), but when I'm cooking and then eating...I want it to be a nice temperature, not a Stanford-summer-with-no-AC-and-no-fan-and-I'm-living-in-the-4th-floor-of-Mirrielees temperature. So now the common room AC works.

I think the clutter also exists because as people move out, they leave things with the other roommates...who then leave it with the newbies when they move out....who get the picture.

Well, hopefully when Tim and I move to our new rooms that will change. We'll be moving out all our stuff of course, but I'll also be taking some of the dishes and pots with me that I can use myself. The new guys with whom we will be living don't cook and I think they eat out a lot, so it seems like Tim and I will have free use of the kitchen. And considering my training when it comes to washing dishes (long story short, I've been washing dishes since I was 5 or 6) and keeping a clean kitchen (thank 717 for teaching me how to hash properly), I'm sure we'll be fine, especially since Tim is also a neat cook.

My roommates aren't horrible people. Eric is a nice guy who doesn't even cook at all because he's in his clinical rotations now, but he's an otherwise neat guy. Kevin's presence in the kitchen is hardly felt at all because he washes what he uses. Hao cooks as well, but also cleans his stuff. Basically, the older residents who are no longer with us contributed a bit to the mess. There is a stack of dishes under the sink that a previous resident left behind because he "didn't have time to wash them."

And as for all that clutter? At some point, it will have to be tossed, but until then, it'll sit there.

Again, it's not because we're horrible people. Sometimes it's just a matter of not knowing what to do with the stuff or being preoccupied with other things. Like the fact that my first final is this coming week.

Pictures Part 2

So this is part 2 of the pictures post (part 1 was the one right before this one, so look for the next oldest entry...I know it can be hard to scroll down and click, but hey, that's life...).

On a side note, just heard a bunch of popping noises -- I'm pretty sure they're gun shots (just GChatted with a military friend of mine). My friend Joe, when he first moved to NY, told me it was like living in a rap music video. Of course, this was Upper West Harlem area and now the Upper East Side, where I believe it's considerably safer.

Anyway, here we go...these are pictures of my room and common area

This is the top half of the desk. When I move to the new room I will try to keep this arrangement, but until then, here it is...

This is the second half of the desk, nothing notable here.

This little beauty is something I got just Friday afternoon. It's a Logitech diNovo wireless keyboard that cost me $20 (after a mail-in rebate). It comes with an on-off switch and runs on 4 AAA batteries (I have rechargeable AAA batteries so things are pretty cheap :) ). I can type on my computer clear across the room, and it barely takes up the drawer. My previous Microsoft Ergonomic 4000 (as much as I loved it) took up the whole drawer and I had to awkwardly angle my hands sometimes to type.

And this is the grand overview. Of course, I've only shown you the place where I work. I'll post a more comprehensive set when I move in to the new room.

Stay tuned for Part 3! And by stay tuned I mean give me 5 minutes....

Friday, August 28, 2009


Okay, this post is just going to be pictures. I'll try to update with some content later on. I will post descriptions below each picture because that's the easiest way for me to do this...I think. So it looks like Blogger is shoving my pictures one below each other. I think I just went in the order in which they're shown, so you can ignore some of the "top right, bottom left" business.

So before I show you all the fun stuff, let's take a look at our freezer, shall we? On the left here we have the freezer AFTER we cleaned it out. Tim and I found meat dating back to 2004 (my fingers accidentally typed "1004" at first...I wonder if that's a Freudian Slip). To the right is the bags of trash that came out of the freezer (we filled up the stuff on the left first, then moved towards the right). And yes, the bag on the right is a jumbo garbage bag. And that's just the freezer...the refrigerator was equally bad.

So for orientation, we are all assigned to small groups (these groups of people are the ones with whom I'll be cutting open cadavers in Gross Anatomy so it was good that we took the chance to get to know each other), and we were sent on a "photo hunt" in NYC. Stanford folks, think scavenger hunt minus the fact that you're unleashing 1600 frosh into the city that's completely unprepared for the coming tsunami...

In any case, my group had Times Square, Theater District, and we summarily found a SpongeBob SquarePants and we had to take a picture with him. Of course, since 4 out of 6 of us were Asian, we were also tempted to do the V for victory/Asian tourist peace sign/Asian photo hand sign, but instead, since our team name was "6pac/6pack," we opted instead to do the Chinese way of hand-signing the number 6.

Top right: a bakery somewhere in Times Square (I basically followed people around since they knew the area, and I tried my hardest not to get run over by a car, but thank goodness for "training" in China/Taiwan, where I firmly believe that traffic laws and individual lanes do not exist and where safe driving (to me) really means getting to your destination in the shortest amount of time possible while avoiding denting your car or getting hit by a car/bike/motorcycle/oncoming bus/train/etc. But I digress. I think I was talking about the bakery Magnolia Bakery, which is famous for its cupcakes. I forgot to take pictures on my camera (I have tons of food related pictures on my phone though, but I can't do Facebook mobile uploads...) but they're pretty good.

Actually, random tangent. Dessert shops/bakeries/good eateries abound here in New York. I was talking to my program director about this and she suggested that we (the MD/PhDs and anyone else who was interested) write reviews of desserts that we have eaten at local bakeries and such. She gave me several places to go check out, and it would be fun to play food critic for awhile, especially since I can bring back old high school phrases such as "winout, mediocre at best, random, Orientalism, pwn, own, etc.".

Bottom left, we went to the Marriot Hotel in Times Square and just rested in their lounge bar area, which had the fanciest bar collection I've ever seen (okay, maybe Mantra in Palo Alto was pretty good too). Of course, the bar was closed, but it would have been interesting to try one of their drinks at some point, given the heat and how much we were walking by that point.

Bottom right: view of Times Square from this place that has Steps on it.

So in Union Square there is this store called Max Brenner's that sells chocolate. And all things chocolate. And only all things chocolate. The "pizza" above is basically dough with chocolate stuff on it. There is a chocolate related body spa to it's right. The bottom left holds a bunch of different chocolates you can buy. And on the bottom right are "special" cups used for drinking hot chocolate (aka if you're looking to spend money somewhere 'cause you have too much of it, buy this stuff).

So I had dinner with Tina and Amy one night during the summer at this Greek restaurant called Persephone. Here's the dessert picture...there wasn't much to say about the other stuff :)

So this picture here is just a grilled cheese sandwich I made (with a frying pan no less). It's Mexican Cheddar though, which gave it a nice little kick :). Up on the top right is my ID and on the top left is my watch. The wood beneath the food is my desk :).

I made noodles, eggs, and veggies one night. That's not much else to say...

That's all the pictures I took, folks! I'm sure there are others somewhere on Facebook and Flickr and various other photo compilations, but I'll have to look for them later.

Friday, August 7, 2009

"New" Address

Apparently things are getting lost in the mail =(.

Try this address

50 East 98th St
Apt 9G6
New York, NY 10029

Hopefully that works. If not I'll just post the Graduate School Office and they will have their mail-lady put it in my box there.