October 24, 2008: Last Friday in Newark

28 Days to Baby Day! (36 Weeks Pregnant)

5 Work Days Left for Dominica.

Today is the first of the last days in Newark (today is the last Friday, tomorrow is the last Saturday, etc.)  One week from this morning, Dominica and I will be heading out of our apartment in Eleven80 in Newark for the last time, throw are few remaining items into the trunk of the Mazda and on Friday night, after work, we will be heading for Peekskill to stay.

We are close enough to the end of our time in Newark that I can now see what the weather will be like for the rest of the time that we are here.  Only three days are scheduled to hit over sixty degrees.  Good for those of us who commute primarily on foot and prefer to walk quite briskly but are often restrained by the temperature.

It is a bright and crisp day in the NY Metro today.  There is a lot of smog, though, and I can barely see Manhattan from Newark.  It will be awesome to be up in Peekskill where the air is clean every day.

Last night, whilst walking Oreo, I finished reading Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”  The book is interesting but I don’t agree with Joel Spolsky’s assessment of it that it is not a book on manipulation.  I feel that it is.  Many of the techniques that Dale mentions in the book are in a grey area of lying and flattery.

The book is based around the assumption that the reader is always in the right and that the people that the reader wants to “influence” are simpletons.  Many of the techniques, I felt, came across like marketing which often have an adverse affect on people with Asperger’s Syndrome and similar world views.  I could sense the techniques in the book being used on my while reading it and it really turned me off.  I felt Dale attempting to manipulate me through the book.  In many ways the book just felt like an advertisement for the Dale Carnegie classes.

There is much to be gleaned from the book, especially for marketeers, but make no mistake that the book really is about manipulating people and that the average person will really feel like it taught them a lot simply because the book is written using its own manipulative principles that really do work on most people.  The book completely forgets to mention that the techniques will backfire on a significant percentage of the population and if you use them at the wrong time that you will really come across poorly.  Once people sense you trying to manipulate them you are in far worse shape than just being honest up front.

All of that being said, the average person is a sucker for marketing which is why they do it.  SPAM is only used so much because it has such a high success rate.  Telemarketers risk fines to market to people because the percentage of people who will buy anything is so high that it makes it financially worth the risk.  The book is very useful.  Just be aware that Dale is using its techniques on you too.

Our next several days are extremely busy.  Today Dominica and I both have to work plus I have homework due tonight which doesn’t make my day any easier.  Early tomorrow morning we are getting up and packing the car and heading to Peekskill where we are meeting Dominica’s parents for lunch and giving them a tour of the house and Peekskill.  Then we will return to Newark in the early afternoon and spend the rest of the day packing which we can do since my homework will be out of the way – although I then have a major paper due in two weeks so I need to be hard at work on that as well.

Sunday morning, Ramona is coming over to Eleven80 and is hanging out and helping us to pack.  She can only stay until early afternoon as she has some friends moving whom she is helping to move.  Then we are making another run to Peekskill.  Hopefully by that point we are taking nothing but delicates (monitors, computer supplies, plants) and no longer moving hard to deal with items out of the way.  Katie might stop by on Sunday afternoon to check out the new house.  We can’t hang out there long, though, as we will need to return to Newark to continue packing.  We have to have everything packed and ready to go by Monday night.

I am planning on working from home on Monday.  It is the only day that I can work from home all next week.  Tuesday I will be off as we are moving.  Wednesday through Friday I will be working from Wall Street as much as possible as all I will have in Newark is my laptop sitting in the middle of the empty living room floor.  That will not be very condusive to getting any work done.  It will kill my back having to work without having a chair.  We still need to schedule the maids to clean the apartment and the move out inspection.  So much to do!

I had to work from home all morning today and had to travel in to the office over my lunch window.  There were people already waiting impatiently for me to do some work by the time that I got to the office so I did not have any chance to go out for lunch or to swim or anything.

All of my free time today was put into doing homework for RIT.  To get ready for my homework that is due tonight I found it prudent to also do my homework that is due next Sunday (in nine days from now) which was pretty crappy to need to do it today, but it is pretty great that I have it completely out of the way for next week.  It was a pretty long assignment compared to most weeks as well.  I also went ahead and did the reading and prep work for the final week of classes which is the week after next.  That leaves nothing but in class discussions and the final project – which is a very large paper due in two weeks and two days.

Today, I just happen to examine my American Express records which I seldom do, and realized that we were charged for the rental car that we had while the BMW was last in the shop.  We had been phones a few times about the rental because the shop had lost information connecting us to the BMW dealer and apparently they just decided to charge us rather than the dealer even though we went through the effort of getting it all corrected for them.  One more thing that I need to deal with now in the midst of moving and homework and everything else.  I looked through my SGL records, boy am I glad that I have them, and the rental place charged my card more than a month after we had rented the car!  Talk about a scam.  They managed to have a mid-August car rental show up just a few days before November on my credit card bill.  Likely they were hoping that I would not notice the charge.  They also listed us as having rented the car for more than a month – claiming that we did not return the car until September 23rd after having borrowed it on August 21st!  This is crazy.

I was looking at some flight prices that were sent to me today – we get great deals sent to us now that we have flown around the UK a little bit.  This winter, flights to Ireland start at just $169 from New York going to either Shannon or Dublin.  Considering how incredibly strong the dollar is compared against the pound and euro right now, this would be an ideal time for a European vacation.  Talk about cheap.  The hotel that we had in London for $300 last November would be just $200 this November.  Our B&B in Stratford-upon-Avon would be really inexpensive.

I ended up working in the office, both on office work and on homework, until after nine thirty this evening.  What a long day.  Fourteen hours from start to finish at work, but the day passed relatively quickly and there is much to be done tomorrow.  We get to go to the new house first thing in the morning.

I was at work so late that Dominica and I decided to just eat separately.  It was a long night for me and I did not get to go to the gym today which is crappy, but I got a lot of important work done and out of the way.  Now I just need to keep working on my final project for the next two weeks as it is a very large project and I need to do it incrementally or else there simply will not be enough time to get it done.

I am signing off early.  I should get home around eleven tonight.  Might do a tiny bit of light packing but that seems unlikely.  Tomorrow we are off to Peekskill.

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