Manhattan Update

Okay, so here’s what’s been happening. I drove from Dallas to DC with all my stuff in my car. It turned out being more than I hoped it would be, and I have yet to buy furniture/kitchen stuff! Money is rapidly leaving my wallet and not having a salary is not very comfortable for me. It’s like I’ve put the Ben-career bus in reverse.

It took me two full days of driving to get to DC. I stopped near Knoxville the first night after driving a couple hours extra, not being able to find a vacant room because apparently everyone decided, “HEY, YOU KNOW WHERE A GOOD PLACE IS TO GO FOR VACATION? TENNE-FUCKING-SSEE!”

I got into DC and to my house easily. I emptied my car and parked the car at a classmate’s house who has a parking space in the back. I spent a couple nights in the house with a sleeping bag and a blanket. Ghetto-style.

When I was leaving the house to take the metro to Reagan to fly to NYC, the fire alarm started going off. I know I’m a hot sexy bitch once I’ve showered but the alarm was hurting my testosterone-laden ears so I had to remove the batteries and let the landlord’s son (who lives in the basement) know about it before I left.

I got into NYC and took the bus to the Manhattan Club to meet up with my parents. After that, we went down to Union Station by metro. I saw a pick-up basketball court that I wanted to stop and watch but we were on our way to eat at Perilla, the restaurant of the chef who won Top Chef Season One. The runner-up to Season Two also showed up to chat with him.

Afterwards we saw the Bourne Ultimatum and it was awesome. A guy leaving the theater in front of us told his friend, “How can a guy NOT like this film?” Several questions: 1) Did that chick have a relationship with Bourne before, because her telling him that it was hard before seems to hint at it. 2) Why is the Deep CIA Cover office visible from the next building over, while a guy puts Top Secret documents into a visible safe? 3) Could the action be more awesome? (besides Casino Royale)

Today we woke up and there was a vicious thunderstorm in the early morning that put all the city into temporary chaos. We had brekkies and went to MOMA but it was full so we went to the Folk Art Museum right next door and it was empty. There was some great stuff in there like these tin cans stripped open to make little figurines or people on bikes. There was a lot of quilting but the one I liked the most was the one depicting MLK Jr’s funeral along with remembrances for all the other important figures killed during that time — it showed the sadness and hopelessness that their absences caused in a nation previously bursting with hope. I finished looking at stuff before my parents did so I called up some old buddies at work and they caught me up on how fucked up things continue to be in the office. Some things never change. I also went to the gift shop and overheard the saleslady there talking about how she showed up late because she was stuck in the metro. Apparently the storm was so bad that a tornado touched down in Brooklyn (a first) and rain was flooding some stations and delaying trains later. The saleslady said she was feeling really anxious and nervous while trapped in the train car but there was a really handsome man in a handsome suit who she just focused on the whole time. She said she wanted to thank him when she got off the train! The power of a suit, I told my parents. Note to self.

Then we ate at Café Spice and I had the spicy lamb wrap with yogurt. Yummy. After that I walked to Rockefeller Plaza and visited the Nintendo World Store. What was fascinating to me was the age ranges of people playing the Nintendo Wiis and DSs. There were little kids, young teens, young men and women playing together, and even parents slightly interested. There were plenty of Wii stations to play with the controls.

I asked one of the guys about the approximately 20 Wiis I saw behind the checkout counter and he said they usually sell out by 11AM but the delay in the metro system was slowing down customer traffic.

I have a feeling that Wii supply is beginning to firm up…it’s taking a tad longer to sell out in stores but is still almost impossible to find.

Christmas Console Figures

And with that I want to talk about video game sales for Christmas. My interest lies as a Nintendo shareholder looking for an exit point. I know at this point that Nintendo has a massive profit stream coming in, but I also know that part of the appreciation of the stock price is based on Microsoft and Sony being inept at expanding their customer base. PSTriple has almost no popular games coming out before Christmas (GTA4 will be on 360 also so it won’t be an exclusive), while the 360 just won’t catch on in Japan and may have been losing momentum in the short-term.

Of course, an Xbox 360 price drop is coming and this will directly affect sales. Plus there’s the massive Halo 3 release coming soon.

I don’t understand why Microsoft does this right before the Christmas rush though. What will happen is that sales for all three systems will increase, but PS3 probably stands to benefit most since it’s been out for one Christmas already and has had poor numbers all year. The Wii might suffer the most because it’s limited by supply — Nintendo can’t produce enough Wiis fast enough to satisfy demand and that will limit its sales at Christmas unless it ramps things up.

The result is that some dumbass blogger or reporter will “crunch” the numbers and claim that sales growth is slowing for Nintendo and increasing for Sony, despite the fact that the Wii has almost out-sold the 360 worldwide in half the time.

By the way, I think the market may have bottomed for the year. I can’t easily post charts for you to see. My strategy is not to buy during August-October, since those are the most crashiest (!) times for the market historically. This morning BNP Paribas was claiming it didn’t really know the value of its assets in sub-prime funds. And another Euro bank suspended withdrawals from accounts. It’s pretty bad when you have banks saying these sorts of things. But I’m tempted to go in small.

Anyway…back to NYC. For dinner, my mom and I went to this tiny little burger joint tucked away behind the Parker Meridian check-in desk. Amazing that a place with no signs is packed with people in-the-know seeking the simple menu of a burger, fries, and a pitcher of beer. After we ate, we went to see Spamalot, which was hilarious. Very creative despite being based upon Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

The city is amazing right now. It’s super hot and humid right now but that doesn’t stop the businessmen from wearing excellent suits. And the beautiful ladies are out wearing their boobalicious dresses. It’s really quite stunning just watching people here. Everyone in different styles and colors — not like the rather dull winter garb. People in DC are dressing incredibly well given the conservative reputation it has; in comparison though, NYC amps it up a few more levels.

I’m loving my time in Manhattan so far, and it’s great to be able to spend it with my parents!