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Drama in the Big Apple We arrived at DoubleTree Suites Times Square this afternoon after a relatively calm Amtrak trip from Philly and cab ride from Penn Station to 47th and 7th. Having never spent time in this city I was surprised to see everything look so much like the movies. It's easy to see why Spider-Man could have a career here but not in Philadelphia. There just aren't enough tall buildings close together to really get anywhere via web-swinging, you'd end up taking a cab and getting stuck on Walnut Street or something. Philadelphia would be a better place for someone like The Flash, or anyone who can fly, I suppose. The U.S. Dollar is down against the NYC Dollar this week. Paying fifteen honest to goodness American dollars for a plate of chicken fingers and some french fries was an experience I'll not soon forget nor forgive. And speaking of dollars, we are experiencing some technical difficulties determining who is actually supposed to pay for this hotel suite. I was under the impression that when I recieved the notification that my room had been arranged through the offices of my employer, the information given to reserve it was also sufficient to pay the bill. I was mistaken. Apparantly, since my last overnight business trip, the financial rules of the company have changed. Every expense except plane and train fares are expected to be payed by the traveller, and then reimbursed by accounts payable. This seems like a scam to be. Essentially, I am loaning the company money at zero interest, money that I am usually borrowing from my own creditor, for a period of however long they take to process my forms and issue my reimbursment check. I was not aware that this was the arrangement when I arrived at the third floor of the hotel and attempted to sign in. "Your credit card is declined for this amount, Mr. Stevens." "I don't want to pay for the room on my card, it should be billed to the card that the room was reserved under." "I'm sorry, we need you to pay for this room on your card." Neither my wife nor I carry enough credit cards to foot the bill for a Times Square business hotel suite, and this was about to become a problem. A few quick calls later, I managed to get my friend Jamie from my department's business office on the line right as he was trying to get out the door to meet his kids. Multiple phone calls and faxes ensued, the mating songs and dances of business machines trying to come to agreement. Eventually, I was given two room keys, two warm cookies, and a smile. We were in, or so we thought. All was well as we unpacked our bags on the ninth floor, admiring the explosive colors of advertising billboards and video signs, the merger of technology, art, and commerce as high as the sky and as far as the eye could see. I was admiring the merger of porcelain, tile, and paper in another anteroom, when I hear the phone ring. I could hear the phone ring because there was a phone right next to the commode. I decided to let my wife answer the call, while I answered another. I hear her voice...it appears that Jamie's efforts were to less avail then we had hoped. The card was declined regardless of multiple attempts to persuade the restrictive financial situation to relent. At this time (9:33 PM) we are still in our room, currently reserved for one night on our own paltry credit, eating tira misu, watching the Red Sox beat the Indians on ESPN2 (a luxury not afforded my home cable package). I've left emails for the relevant players to take up the charge first thing tomorrow morning, and hopefully while I am attending nerd school, my wife will not be wandering the streets of Times Square with all our luggage after checkout time. Stay tuned as the story unravels, or perhaps ravels. In other news, the view from our room is really spectacular, if you like that Broadway sort of lighting scheme. I've taken some pictures that I'll try and post soon.

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