Subscribe With Bloglines


international librarian of mystery

Saturday, April 30, 2005


Firstly, if there's anyone out there who can tell me where I can get good coffee within walking distance of the Canal Street subway station, I'd be most appreciative.

The impression I got from American films and TV was that NY was absolutely awash in coffee, which may be true, but I've yet to find anyone who can make me the perfect flat white (or café au lait, as I've discovered as being the safest bet to get something vaguely like what I'm really after). The Starbucks in the Charles Schwab building is my front runner so far, but, really, Starbucks? Come on New York!

Because I am definitely in need of a tasty and strong caffeine boost after my nerve-racking initiations into the NY subway system. And my new job.

I arrived nice and early, having given myself a decent amount of buffer time should anything go horribly wrong on the subway. I considered taking a taxi, but my limited experiences with NY taxi drivers has led me to believe that they either can't understand my English, they don't actually speak English themselves, or, in most cases, both.

My boss offered me a coffee as soon as I sat down in his office.

I said yes, and he swung around in his large leather chair to reveal a filter coffee dripping into a stained brown jug.

"Err, No."
Cream? I didn't even know you could have cream with filter coffee.
"No, thanks."
"You have a lovely accent. Mel said you were a New Zealander?"

The accent thing still gives me a kick. I must have said all of six words to John, my new boss, all of them mono-syllabic, and still I get the 'you have a lovely accent' stuff. I reckon it's the 'thunks' for 'thanks' that gets them.

We chit-chatted for a bit, and he apologised profusely in advance for the job he was about to set me upon. His company's product catalogue has recently gone through a 're-imagining' of some kind, which has resulted in him hiring some advertising firm to write new blurbs to accompany the product line. All 750 items.

So now their website has to be updated with all the new blurbs. Enter me.

John showed me to where I was to do all the data entry. A space had been made for me in the accounts office, where I was introduced to the accountants, and then tucked into a corner. John walked me through the data entry process a couple of times, and all my start-of-job fears evaporated: it was indeed a job of mind-numbing repetition.

The website had a nice looking content management system, but the process of updating a single product entry required going through multiple steps, many of them pointless. Open the record. Confirm the name. Confirm the price. Confirm the meta info. Then update the record. Proof-read. Publish. Check the live site. The process took about five minutes for each record. Two weeks sounded about right.

Gah. At least I'm getting paid.

And what is it with the air pollution in New York? I went for a long sight-seeing walk around Greenwich Village in the evening, and by the time I got back to the hotel, my face was covered in this grimy muck. Yuck.

Still, haven't been mugged yet.