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Saturday, 19 November 2005

Debian saves the day again

I'm already over punching in over thirty numbers to call people back home with the prepaid phone card I've bought, so I did a quick apt-cache search dtmf, happened upon dtmfdial, and in five minutes had a quick and dirty shell script making my laptop do all the button pushing for me. So as to not drive anyone in earshot insane, I just hold the cordless phone's microphone to my headphones.

Of course, if the phone had a speed dial, all this would be unnecessary.

[23:46] [geek] [permalink]

Australian to American translation #1

(Despite what I said, I'm still going to feed this to Planet Debian as I've actually had one person ask me not to stop)

feature wall
accent wall
confused look from apartment leasing salesman (Australian for the bathroom attached to the master bedroom)

[22:42] [life/americania] [permalink]

Hello America!

Where do I start? It's been an eventful couple of days...

The flight to LA was uneventful. Qantas is certainly orders of magnitude more pleasant to fly with than United, even though we were seated in a bulkhead area. I had a 13-month old baby seated next to me (no, Mikal was on the other side), and he was about as well behaved as you could possibly ask a 13-month old baby to behave. Mikal also behaved himself. I had the intention of trying to get something approximating 8 hours sleep, as we arrived at LAX at 7am local time, but I only managed about 4 hours. I did spend about 8 hours with a mask on and my brain in idle, so I arrived at LAX being mostly coherent.

Entering the US via LAX was a much less traumatic experience than I was expecting. The E-3 visa was accepted fine, and I now have an I-94 stapled into my passport. Quarantine involved getting looked up and down by a guy in a booth, who waved me through.

We had 3 hours to spare (or about 2 by the time we cleared all the immigration/customs queues) and then hopped on a 50 minute American Airlines flight to San Francisco, hired a car and drove to Santa Clara.

The accommodation we're staying in for a month is very spiffy indeed. It's a largish gated community of units. Mine's got a ground floor entry, but everything else (except the garage) is upstairs. When Sarah gets here, we'll put up some photos. The weather is lovely as well.

Our first outing was to the Social Security office to attempt to get social security numbers. This wasn't as successful as I'd hoped, as we were too freshly in the country to show up on their systems, so we left with letters saying we'd get one within four weeks, when our details had been verified.

Yesterday evening, we went for a general recce of the surrounding area, and checked out a supermarket. That was less disconcerting than I expected, although I don't think it was a terribly huge supermarket. Having a GPS certainly raises one's confidence when navigating significantly.

Last night I discovered that all the keys in my apartment were not created equal, and that the two loose in the lock box on the front door were the only two that opened the unit, and the two sets on key rings on the coffee table only opened the amenities and my mailbox. So I got to spend a bit of time sitting on my front doorstep until the nice man from Synergy Relocations came out to let me in (except his key didn't work either, so he got to make conversation with a legal alien while we waited for someone else to come out with a key).

Today, we drove around to see a shopping mall, and the first set of shops we found happened to be around the corner from an enormous (by my standards) apartment complex, which had some signage implying that it had vacancies, so we decided to get the low down on how renting worked before we did our rental tours. Casey drove us around in a golf buggy and gave a tour of what two different floor plans looked liked. It seems that in this part, it's standard for an apartment to include the refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, washing machine and clothes dryer, which is good to know.

Let me just say that if this is what living in an apartment complex is like, it's more like living in a resort. The place had pools everywhere, tennis courts, two gyms, a community centre, it was just unreal. It was also cheaper than I was expecting.

We then went to a massive shopping mall to do some window shopping. Discovered Wetzel's Pretzels. Hope they're not too fattening...

Tomorrow, I'm going to avail myself to the complex's gym, and generally get ready for the week ahead.

Future posts will be in a new category, which I won't be feeding to Planet Debian as not to bore people. I will inflict Planet Linux Australia readers with them until someone asks me to stop. If you'd like a custom feed that excludes my American adventures, please let me know.

I wonder if adjusting Blosxom's idea of timezone buggers up existing posts and aggregators like Planet in general?

[17:38] [life] [permalink]