Sunday, March 28, 2004
Saturday, March 27, 2004
Continental 6925 JFK 12:00 noon – Detroit (DTW) 2:06 PMSo if I fly from JFK to Detroit, then back to Newark, taking an additional 8½ hours, I’m able to avoid the drive to New Jersey. Now THAT’S an algorithm that makes sense!
Continental 3446 DTW 3:05 PM – EWR 4:49 PM (on a regional jet)
Continental 16 EWR 8:25 PM – GLA 8:00 AM
Friday, March 26, 2004
I’m a bagel snob. Seattleites are coffee snobs. Texans are BBQ snobs. I’m a bagel snob. I’ve had the best – Murray’s Bagels in NYC. I’ve had the worst – Lender’s frozen. And now I had my first chance to sample Noah’s REAL New York bagels right there in SFO! With excitement in my heart, I stepped up to the counter...
Look, I can’t even fake it. I knew from the start that these bagels were going to be crappy. I won’t pretend otherwise – there was no bagel boiler there. I didn’t even see a bagel steamer. Bagels MUST be boiled before baking. It gives them that chewy texture inside and crispy shell. I expect that Noah’s bagels were parbaked before shipping. It also didn’t help that the Real New York street sign above the concession showed us at the corner of Delancey St. and Shittybagel Blvd. But I wasn’t about to try the turkey Canadian bacon, so I got my standard poppy with cream cheese.
Surprisingly, it was crappy. There was no segue between the bagel’s core and its crust. None. It was like a piece of bread with the crust cut off. It wasn’t very toasty at all, and it certainly wasn’t worthy of the fine bakeries along Shittybagel Blvd. in Lower Manhattan. New York bagels my ass.
You know what really instills a sense of calm on a flight? Well, I’m going to tell you. United calls my group number to board the flight home. I get on, head down to my seat (576C – it’s a widebody), and all alone in the back row, three guys are sitting there. They were clearly boarded first. The guy in the middle looked like Jeff Leonard, and he was wearing a hooded SF Giants sweatshirt. His hands were hidden inside his I looked back, and he glared angrily back at me. The two men who flanked him were chatting a bit too cheerily on their cell phones.
So we’ve got prisoner transport, and we’ve got what turned out to be a violently bumpy flight for most of the trip. The movie was “School of Rock.” My Archos ran out of batteries after about 30 minutes. The guy next to me had elbows and knew how to use them. The flight attendants were scolding people who got up to use the can. The lunch consisted of a box with chips, a pinky-sized Toblerone, a packlet of raisins, and some “genuine cheez” crackers. Now THAT’S good eatin’. I nearly broke into the emergency box of honey-oat bars they kept in the overhead storage “for use when the delay is longer than two hours.”
Thursday, March 25, 2004
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
On board the plane, I sat next to a girl who was a Singaporean college student who lived in Seattle. She asked me about which major she should pursue, and some other standard college-person-talking-to-Microsoft-guy questions. It was about halfway into the flight when I realized something was wrong. She asked whether I thought aliens were real. Because a friend of hers told her that Colin Powell was an alien. I told her that if anyone was an alien, it was Rumsfeld.
Then a few minutes later, she asked me if I ever felt like I was sad or had no emotions at all for no reason. I KNEW I should’ve just put the headphones on when the flight started.
I made the excellent choice of the Clift hotel, which has that “I’m self-consciously post-modern” feel to it. For some reason, the new thing in hotels is really creepily low levels of lighting in hallways. The Clift’s elevators are nearly unlit, but they’re designed (as is much of the hotel) with colorful Lucite paneling. So it’s dark, but also orange.
VSLive was nice and crowded this year – big exhibitor floor, big attendance, some excitement. It was good to see the industry feeling stronger, even if it WAS three shows in one.
Oh! Chinese food alert. I had dinner with Michele and David of CMP at Brandy Ho’s. http://www.brandyhoshunan.com. You haven’t lived until you’ve had their Spicy Beef with Green Onions in Wine Sauce. It’s got the Cynicor money back guarantee – if you’re not satisfied, I guarantee you’ll wish you had your money back.
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
I was fortunate enough to sit in on an MSDN Online content group meeting. Unfortunately, the proceedings were repeatedly disrupted by Chris Sells’s scuffles with Duncan Mackensie, so I missed 2/3 of what was going on – including my mini-presentation.
I walked past Ed Kaim’s office on campus, and was shocked to see a sign from the former Republic LIRR station. It turns out that Ed went to Polytechnic, but that no one else had ever figured out what was going on with the sign. LONG ISLAND RULES!!
After my last meeting of the day, I headed up to Evergreen Medical Center to see Meryl Stillman, who has been fighting cancer and who ended up in intensive care a week ago. She was in good spirits – at least as good as you can be when you’re hooked up with a bag of fiber drink and on oxygen mask.
Several years ago, Microsoft started withholding New York City tax from my paycheck. I tried in vain to explain to the payroll specialist that I lived on Long Island, not NYC. The response I kept getting was “but you live in New York, right?” Meryl was the only person who had the clue that New York was both a city and a state.
Monday, March 22, 2004
Sunday, March 21, 2004
I managed to wheedle my way to a seat anyway, and started up a conversation with the guy sitting next to me. We talked a bit about outsourcing and he grilled me on the magazine’s business model. He said that he was a former senior VP of the US Chamber of Commerce, and that he worked for Boeing. Later, I looked him (Craig Johnstone) up online and it turns out that he was what I would consider an American hero. In 1975, he launched and funded a rescue mission to rescue Americans from Vietnam.
For the first time, I rented from National at Sea-Tac. They have an interesting deal going on. If you’re an Emerald Club member (which I found out I was, even though I’m not a Friend of Judy), they just tell you to go pick any car off the lot. And oh, the choices! I never knew that so many companies made the same damn car. I got a Chevy Classic which started to emit the pungent aroma of fried chicken and cigars about five minutes after I hit I-405.
For some reason, I got a room at the Residence Inn. It’s got a little fireplace with Duraflame, a kitchen, and 4000 light switches you have to find before you can turn everything off. I hit the wrong switch in the kitchen and the trash compactor nearly took my hand off. The stove is nice, in case I need to whip up some skillet potatoes during the week ahead.
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
The train pulled into Bay Shore right on time, 5:50 PM. I walked over to my car, started it up, and hopped back out to scrape the ice off. I got that nagging realization right then that I'd somehow locked myself out of the car, which was ridiculous, because...uh...the door won't open. None of the doors will open. The car's running, the lights are on, my bag's inside, my key's inside, and I can't get in. No one's at home because of the kid's hockey practice. The wind is gusting to 30 MPH, and the little pellets of ice are stinging my face. I can't go home to get a key because I can't get in the house. I don't want to leave my car sitting there running with the keys in it. There's no one who can help. I go into the shelter at the station (it's open air, just a roof and a wall) and call AAA.
After waiting for the next available operator in their call center somewhere up in Saugerties, I finally get an operator. I explain what's going on, and they ask me for a number where I can be reached. I completely blank out on my cell phone number. "Wait...I know the 631 part..." I end up giving them some number that's probably connected to a beauty parlor in Brentwood. Then I go back to standing in the shelter area.
The shelter area is quite nice. I shared the space with one guy who was drinking tallboys, one guy who kept following me around, one guy who was smoking, and one guy, complete with huge beard and limp, who kept coming up to me and asking if I could loan him a cigarette. WHen I said that no, why would anyone smoke, he asked the drinking guy and the stalker and the other smoker, and they all ignored him. Then he went up to a waiting car and asked if the driver had a cigarette he could borrow. She quickly rolled up the window. Then he went over to my running car and looked in the window to find out if he could borrow a cigarette. Since no one was in the car, he just stared forlornly into the driver's window to see if there was something he could steal.
At 7:25, the tow driver finally showed up with two wedges and a coat hanger, and tried in vain to open the door for almost 15 minutes. The sleet was stinging, the wind was howling, and the driver was swearing. He wiggled the wire, worked it up and down, tried to unhook everything on the door panel, until finally he popped open one of the rear windows. My hands were so numb that I could barely open the door by then. I'm such an idiot.
Monday, March 15, 2004
The Bush campaign has just unveiled an ad called "100 Days." It claims that Kerry would raise taxes, weaken the Patriot Act, and "delay defending America until the United Nations approved." Wait a minute - Kerry would restore fiscal solvency to the country, start restoring the Constitution, and not launch unilateral wars based on falsehoods? Is there anything that monster WOULDN'T do????
Saturday, March 13, 2004
Anyway, the reason I brought this up was because of the ad that accompanied it. The Times was running an ad for Endless Pools. This is a great idea for those without much space - it's a small box of water that you tether yourself into and pretend you're swimming. You could also leash yourself to your bathtub spigot, but that might be too complex. The picture on the click-through ad made it look even more appealing. The poor guy looks like he's being ripped limb-from-limb by an Endless Pool gone awry! I'm wondering whether the Endless Pool corporation actually bought a cadaver from Tulane to test the strength of their tethers or something, because this does not look good for the poor guy.
"Help me I don't wanna die like this!!"
Thursday, March 11, 2004
Todd Bertuzzi has just been suspended for the rest of the season, which will cost him over half a million dollars. This comes on the heels of his press conference yesterday, where he repeatedly started crying. (Although I prefer the term “blubbering,” because it casts Canada as a land of whale-hunting primitives.)
The Bertuzzi incident proves at least one thing. As an American, I am SHOCKED at the violence that is a part of day-to-day Canadian culture, and I am worried and alarmed that we are sharing a border with such a bloodthirsty, out-of-control nation.
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Edina the dog is close to losing out under the terms of my own personal “three strikes for pets” law. Since I carried her up the stairs to bed for a couple of nights, she now expects the royal treatment all the time. Tonight, she didn’t get it. I just didn’t feel like it – she’s heavy and she smells.
Edina gets to the top of the stairs, walks into the nearest bathroom, and craps on the floor. The ten steps obviously exhausted her digestive tract, and she just plopped one right then and there. As you know, nothin’ says lovin’ like a pile of hot dog crap on a tile floor. Tomorrow we’re going to compromise – I’m going to kick her fluffy little ass up the stairs.
Tuesday, March 9, 2004
Last night, Todd Bertuzzi of the Vancouver Canucks viciously assaulted Steve Moore during a hockey game. It’s hitting all the papers today, and this can only mean one thing. For the next week, I’ll be expected to defend the sport of hockey against a number of people who have no interest in it either way but who love to cluck about it every couple of years when something happens.
Monday, March 8, 2004
Crazy Guy provides sharp social commentary, but he really shines when his friend, Crazy Ed McMahon, drops by. Crazy Ed McMahon stands next to him, agreeing with each revelation as it comes out.
“WOMAN NEEDS TO BE TAKEN CARE OF. WOMAN IS LIKE A BABY.”
“Heh heh, you’re right about that!”
“WOMAN NEEDS TO BE TAKEN CARE OF. WOMAN IS LIKE A BABY.”
“Heh heh, you’re right about that!”
And who says New York is dull?
Saturday, March 6, 2004
So, a couple of observations about Tesla. They’ve aged about as well as the Go-Go’s did. Their site has the most atrocious Flash animation I’ve ever seen. And from Nassau Coliseum, they go to the Midwest and celebrate their new album by playing the East Peoria Convention Center. “I said, are you ready to haaaaaaaaaaaaaarvest!!!” Good times.