7/28/01 - Well, folks, it's about that time. My first leg in DC has come to an end, and my third (and longest) tenure in New York (after writing the Let's Go guide in 1995 and working as a equity research temp in 1997) begins. There's just enough time to say my goodbyes, play ball at the neighborhood court one more time, wave farewell to ole Abe over at the Mall, and then head for Gotham. All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go. Well, almost all of 'em. Everything but my computer is either in a box or disassembled and box-ready. Tuesday afternoon, I pack the truck. Wednesday morning, I unpack the truck in NYC. The Friday after, it's three weeks in beautiful, fun-filled Hawaii with the family (Booyah!). My return, after a quick swing through DC to pick up Berk at the kennel, is followed immediately by the beginning of my PhD studies at Columbia. It's a strange time for me, as are all big life changes, I suppose. More so, because I leave feeling more ambivalent than I have in the past. Unlike the last few four-year-tours in my life, high school and college, I leave DC after four years older, wiser, but I'm afraid not necessarily much better. I came to this town full of vim, vigor, and good old-fashioned progressive naivete. After spending 18 months researching the best defenses for Presidential blowjobs, and 18 more watching Bill Bradley and John McCain flame out to unprincipled chump changes like Gore and Dubya, my earlier idealism and basic faith in people now has a sickly, charred burnt-out smell to it. But I hear that happens to most people in this town if they stay too long. And, Lord knows, I've stayed too long. Well, it's been an event-filled stint here, if nothing else. Got to see the way the political game is played at the nexus of the media-industrial complex, and made some great friends, colleagues, and mentors that I hope to keep in touch with through the years. Gained a dog, a weblog, a scar on my nose, and a wealth of personal and political experience. Of course, on the other side of the equation, I lost a wife. So, in the end, not a very good trade-off, is it? Perhaps that's why I feel a bit like Matthew Broderick at the end of Election. Ah, whatever. I should quit being so maudlin - It's all in the past now, I guess, and worse things happen at sea. On the brighter side of things, I got to check out my new building last Thursday while in New York putting the finishing touches on the Press book with the good folks at Simon and Schuster. It's still two or three blocks north of the ever-widening circle of Starbucksification around Columbia (The Swartzchild-Gap radius?), so it's still kinda dingy, but in a good, sincere, neighborhood way. More importantly, the building seems very dog friendly - The super's got one, as do at least two residents I counted, and there's a handful of cats living in the basement. Since the generic Columbia lease said "No pets," that's definitely a load off my mind (I was told by everyone I met that pets were totally legit - Glad to discover that the word-of-mouth trumped the-letter-of-the-law.) And, in even better news, two weeks from today I'll be in wonderful, sun-drenched Hawaii, to recharge the batteries and get tan, rested, and ready for whatever life's gonna throw this way next. I can't wait. Snorkeling, cliff-diving, hiking...it's should be more fun than a barrel of monkeys. So, anyways, to cut to the quick...This is the day, when things fall into place. See ya, DC - it's been real, it's been fun, hasn't been real fun. Hello, NYC. If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere. The upshot of this posting, by the way, is that Ghost in the Machine will be on hiatus until early September. See y'all on the flipside. Until then, here's some stuff to look forward in the next few months...