Monday, March 29, 2004

The Trunk Monkey

Last Monday night, while at dinner with a number of Novell employees and customers, the subject of the Trunk Monkey came up. Only a few people in the group knew what the others were talking about, and I was one of the clueless ones. Now you can share in the wackiness that is the Trunk Monkey.

The only thing funnier than a monkey beating a man with a tire iron is the monkey hitting the man in the groin with the tire iron before pummeling him with it.

The Sammy Hagar shots will be online in just a minute. Honest.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Sammy Hagar can still rock

Wednesday night's conference party featuring Sammy Hagar was better than I expected. The food was Mexican, mass-produced but still tasty. After we ate they warmed us up for the show by showing us homemade Novell commercials they commissioned at last year's BrainShare. Then a comedian (Jay Headron?) did about half an hour on turning 30, getting married, and growing up. He started out slow but got better as he went along. Then Sammy and his band came out.

They put about 70 people from the audience on stage behind the band, in the "On Stage Funatics [sic]" section, sort of like what Metallica used to do when they had a "snake pit" in the stage filled with fans. Most of the songs in the set were Hagar originals like "I Can't Drive 55," "One Way to Rock," "Where Eagles Fly," "Mas Tequila," and a few others I didn't know. He sang two Van Halen songs, both from F.U.C.K.: "Runaround" and "Top of the World." Hearing Sammy's originals made me wonder just how much influence he had over the other members of Van Halen, since his stuff sounds too much like what VH did for 10 years with him. I had the realization during the show that Sammy Hagar has become the Jimmy Buffett of the hard rock crowd. His songs are all about the beach, margaritas, spicy food, and hot chicks. But it was a good show anyway. I got some decent pictures I'll upload later today.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

so much for blogging LIVE

I had planned to post entries more frequently, but actual conference sessions and events have prevented that.

For the past three days, during the day I've attended tutorials and information sessions about various Novell products and technologies. I'm supposed to pay attention during those, so it's hard to blog. The most exciting part of the conference so far was the appearance at Monday's keynote address of Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel. He's as close as any of us attendees get to a rock star in our midst, and crowd reacted accordingly. He didn't stay long, but the fact that he was here says a lot about Novell's commitment to Linux and open source software. Torvalds tends to stay out of the spotlight, at least at things like this, and prefers working on Linux code to making appearances. Getting him here was a complete surprise and a real coup by Novell management.

The past two evenings I've been out to dinner and drinks with some of Novell's NY-area customers. Monday night we ate at The Melting Pot, a chain restaurant that serves fondue (cheese and chocolate) and where you cook your own meat in a pot of oil or broth. We had two different kinds of cheese and two different kinds of chocolate fondue for dessert. Last night (Tuesday) we ate at Metropolitan, which was expensive American cuisine. I had a wild mushroom ragout appetizer and a lamb shank entree, with warm apple crisp for dessert. I've been to Port O' Call both nights, but I've managed not to inebriate myself too badly. It's too hard for me to drink at night and then get up early the following morning. I'm not a callow youth anymore.

Tonight is the Sammy Hagar concert at the Delta Center. I hope I can get better pictures of this show than I did of Styx two years ago. I'll put up some more pictures later today or tomorrow. Definitely before I leave on Friday.

Monday, March 22, 2004

A toga party, Utah-style

Tonight's welcome reception was a college fraternity-themed party, with toga-clad partiers, a surprisingly good cover band, and goofy games for all of us techies. They had toilet races (motorized toilet-scooters), an inflated boxing ring, Playstation games, and plenty of food. After not eating most of the day, I pigged out on sandwiches and cookies. Most of the games they invited volunteers to play were funny, like the whipped-cream plate trick where the first one to find the message on the bottom of a paper plate covered in whipped cream won. Too bad for the folks that wiped the plates with their faces that the message was literally on the bottom of the plate (the underside). In between games, the emcee tried to get a rise out of the crowd by making jokes about Bill Gates and Windows BSOD (blue screen of death) error messages. Didn't anyone tell him that Bill Gates isn't our punching bag anymore? Someone needed to give him some SCO Unix and Darl McBride material. I stayed long enough to get my fill of food and entertainment, then rushed back to my hotel room to watch "Arrested Development" and "The Sopranos." I considered going to Port O' Call instead, but after not sleeping last night, and overeating at dinner, I decided that alcohol wasn't a good move. Tomorrow night for sure.

I've posted some pictures of tonight's revelry on my Webshots page; see the link on the right. Liz, you asked for some new pictures, so that's what I took.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Have blog, will travel

This week, Phil's Occasional Musings is on the road. I'm coming to you LIVE from Novell's annual BrainShare conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. After a long flight sitting in the extreme rear of the plane, I got here about 11 AM this morning. I got to my hotel just in time to see the dreary end of the Mississippi State-Xavier game. I took a quick nap and now I'm sitting in the Salt Palace wondering why Novell doesn't provide free food until 6 PM tonight. A small breakfast and no lunch have left me a ravenous shell of a man. But they have games and sponsor booths to check out, so I'll have something to do until the party gets started. And I can bring it all to you, my few loyal readers, through the magic of wireless networking. Truly, this is the age of enlightenment.

One of the highlights of registration is picking up the BrainShare bag. Every year it's a different bag: usually a backpack, laptop, or duffel bag. I love my backpack from BrainShare 2002 : it holds my laptop, my gadgets, a book, and my lunch, and it goes everywhere. The only problem is that it's falling apart after two years of constant abuse. This year's BrainShare bag was hyped extensively on the Novell newsgroups as "not a backpack" and "not a laptop bag." My guess was that it would be some sort of rolling bag, like airline pilots and stewards use. And that's exactly what we got, in red and gray. I'm sure it will serve me just fine this week, but a rolling bag won't last long on the streets of New York. If the wheels don't fall off after I drag it up and down 86th Street each day, I'm sure it won't survive the beating it will take on the subway. But I'll find a lasting use for the new bag, and they're selling BS2002 backpacks in the conference gift shop, so I can always replace the old one. Or I could get off my cheap ass and buy my own laptop backpack when I get home. Like that's going to happen.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Desson Thomson on Joel Siegel

Last Saturday, Washington Post film critic Desson Thomson wrote an eloquent tribute to the late Joel Siegel. I can't believe I forgot to mention that Professor Siegel used to bring his dog to class and his office all the time, and she (I think it was a she) might have come along for some of our class adventures as well. I thought the picture that accompanies the appreciation piece is worth clicking on the link.

By the way, in case anyone is confused, this is not the same Joel Siegel that appears on "Good Morning America." He's a different movie critic that didn't teach at Georgetown in the early 1990s.

Friday, March 19, 2004

on the passing of one of my former professors

Today's Georgetown Voice mentioned that one of my English professors and my former advisor, Joel Siegel, passed away last week. (The Washington Post obituary is also available. Along with one of my high school English teachers, Professor Siegel was responsible for my desire to become an English major at Georgetown. I only had one class with him, and it wasn't his popular "Elements of Film" class; it was his section of the writing workshop that was an option for the freshman English requirement but that most students avoided. (From that last sentence, you can tell that his writing lessons didn't sink in. That's my fault, not his. Students avoided the writing workshop sections for the workload. They didn't avoid his section in particular.)

His class used the cultural resources of Washington, DC, as the basis for the papers we wrote every week. We wrote about paintings in an art gallery, a dim sum brunch in Chinatown, reviews of a play, a movie, and a concert (I was the class expert on the concert, which was a solo violist with piano accompaniment), and even a little fiction based on an Edward Hopper painting. While I was familiar with some of the museums and cultural opportunities in DC, it was his class that showed me the variety of options that students had at their disposal. Writing two-page papers every week wasn't hard for me, and it allowed me to work on my writing skills and apply them to papers for other classes. Throughout everything we did as a class, Professor Siegel was a knowledgeable, entertaining host and educator. He offered his opinions about our experiences and led engaging class discussions of our excursions. I was so impressed with his style, wit, and approachability, along with his writing talents, that I asked him to be my advisor when I decided to major in English. He was perhaps not the best choice (he said so himself when I asked him), since he was on sabbatical for my junior year and I had to ask another professor to substitute for him, but when I was able to see him for advice about my schedule, he was helpful and tried to provide what insight he could into other classes and professors. I wish I'd gotten more of a chance to know him while I was there. Given my current interest in films, I'm sure I would have liked his film class. One of the films he showed us was Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story Todd Haynes' infamous movie about the life and death of the singing star, told with Barbie dolls. It's extremely hard to find, since Haynes had to withdraw it from release after the Carpenter family refused to grant him the rights to the songs. It's disturbing and grotesque, yet oddly compelling, and it's just the sort of film that Professor Siegel liked for its effect on his class.

After graduation I continued to enjoy his movie reviews each week in the Washington City Paper. He was always entertaining, whether or not he liked the film he was reviewing. He won a Grammy in 1993 for liner notes he wrote for a jazz album, and I was sometimes proud that I could say I knew a Grammy winner personally. I thought of him occasionally but didn't think I knew him well enough to contact him. I regret not making any effort to stay in touch, and hearing that he's gone saddens me. It's so easy to write a letter to an old friend, and clearly writing is something that I enjoy, so I must make more of an effort to stay in touch with former educators like Professor Siegel while I have the chance.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

What's that book again?

Today's Washington Post has this article about Mel Gibson's potential profits from The Passion of the Christ. He stands to make at least $150 million, and possibly as much as $350 million from the movie. But what struck me was this line:

Add profits from licensing and merchandising revenues on the best-selling tie-in book, soundtrack, and items like collectible "Passion" nails ($16 for the 25/8-inch pewter pendant on the Internet), a pay-TV sale, and robust video and DVD sales and rentals, and Gibson's returns could reach $500 to $700 million.

Isn't that "best-selling tie-in book" the Bible?! How did Mel Gibson get himself a piece of the sales action for the all-time No. 1 bestseller?

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Esherick gets canned

I'm almost stunned at the news of Georgetown head coach Craig Esherick's dismissal. I figured that Georgetown's administration didn't care about the basketball program anymore, after school president Jack DeGioia and AD Joe Lang gave Esherick a vote of confidence two weeks ago. I forgot the "law" of votes of confidence: anytime the coach or GM gets one from management, he or she is likely going to be fired unless they win a championship.

Esherick seems like a decent guy, so I'm almost sorry to see him go. He was one of the Georgetown "lifers:" someone who takes a job at the school after graduating and never leaves. Unfortunately, the program has been in decline for years, since Allen Iverson left after the 1996 season, and Esherick wasn't able to make much of a difference. It's interesting how John Thompson's departure in 1999 looks now. Maybe he didn't leave because he was tired of the game, but because he saw the way college basketball was headed (more recruits spurning college for the NBA, diluted talent pool, academic scandals, etc.) and decided that coaching wasn't worth the trouble. I wonder if he doubted his own abilities to reverse the decline of the program and left while he still had some creative energy left. Esherick tried to continue the Thompson way and clearly didn't enjoy the success his predecessor did. I'm just a little surprised he got fired this year. I thought the school would give him one more year to improve. Maybe that's just what I would have done were I the president.

I'm glad to see that DeGioia still sees the need for a successful Division I basketball program. Aside from the financial advantages, a winning basketball team draws needed academic attention to the school as well. And I'll be able to wear my Georgetown hat with pride again.

Monday, March 15, 2004

The Sports Guy watches Wrestlemania XX so you don't have to

Twenty years ago, I was a 10-year-old boy who loved professional wrestling. I had magazines, action figures (I think), and I even saw it live a few times when the WWF came to Johnstown. I remember being near or even in tears when my mother wouldn't pony up the dough for me to watch the first Wrestlemania on PPV. I tried to watch the scrambled version but that was worse than not seeing it at all, so I gave up. Eventually, I outgrew my interest in wrestling, about the time Hulk Hogan went evil and/or started appearing in movies. The last time I watched wrestling was in 1998, three days before my wedding, when I put it on while waiting for my friends to drag me off to my bachelor party. My friends ridiculed me for it, and they were right to do so. Before then, it might have been ten years since I'd watched it; I'd dropped that habit long before they told us what we already knew: that it's all fake.

The Sports Guy has been a wrestling fan for much longer than I, but even he has his limits. Check out his diary from last night's Wrestlemania XX. It's all good, but it gets especially funny near the end, when the event threatens to drag on into the wee hours and wipe out the chance to see "The Sopranos." It reminded both of us (yes, I think of TSG as one of my friends) why we stopped watching wrestling years ago.

And I think Goldberg might just be one of the greatest Jewish athletes ever.

It's that time again...

No, not the NCAA basketball tournament, at least not this morning. I'm dreading the task of doing my taxes this week, before I go out of town next week. I'm either in for a pleasant refund surprise, or another annual gouging by both the federal and the NY state governments. It's usually the latter. An editorial in today's Washington Post discusses one writer's problems with his own tax forms -- it's quite a horror story. My taxes have never been as bad as his, but I can understand the headaches. However, the most important point in the piece is that the people who make the tax laws, Congress and the president, don't know how difficult it is for the average American to figure out the tax forms. Members of Congress can afford to pay accountants and tax preparers to do all the work for them, and they just sign the forms. But we have to wade through the paperwork or computer screens ourselves, and still wonder when we're done if the numbers are right. If the men and women in government could see how tough tax time can be for their constituents, would it make a difference? I'd like to think so.

Friday, March 12, 2004


To get myself in the mood for March Madness, I spent my Thursday evening watching Hoosiers. I'd never seen the movie before, so now I can cross it off my list of "I can't believe you've never seen [x]" movies that often come up in conversation with my friends. I really enjoyed it, but there's not much I can say to praise the movie that the Sports Guy hasn't already said. I didn't have as dramatic a reaction to the movie as he did: it didn't make me want to run out and play hoops for two hours, though I did briefly think back on my short career playing basketball in gym class and for my Jewish youth group when I was in high school. I couldn't shoot or dribble, though my passing wasn't too bad if I had enough time to think about it. Anyway, this isn't about me. The only aspect of the movie that bothered me was the score. Jerry Goldsmith composed the music, and in some places it was exceptional and suited the scenes perfectly. Unfortunately, for most of the film the music was the synthesized crap that filled out countless soundtracks of '80s movies. Hoosiers is set in 1951 in Indiana, but the music sounds like it's New York, 1985. How hard would it have been for Goldsmith to come up with something a little more appropriate to the '50s? Maybe it was a budgetary thing: they couldn't afford an orchestra to play the entire score, so they went to the drums and synth for the rest of the movie. I was surprised to learn that Goldsmith received an Oscar nomination for best musical score for this movie. I guess that the music went over better in 1986. It really was distracting to Liz and I. More than once, I sang along with the music, making up cheesy lyrics like "Hickory's gonna win it/look, there goes Jimmy/the cheerleaders are dancing/oh no, Shooter's off the wagon." Aside from the music, it was a great film, and even knowing the outcome, I got a little misty-eyed at the end. To be fair, it IS dusty in the apartment. We haven't cleaned up in a few days.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Some sports-related thoughts

First up, the NHL.

This morning, Vancouver's Todd Bertuzzi was suspended for the remainder of this season and the playoffs for punching Colorado's Steve Moore in the head and riding him down to the ice. Moore suffered a broken neck, a concussion, and facial lacerations and will miss the rest of the season. I think the suspension should have been longer, and it may be: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will reevaluate the situation before the start of the next season to see how Moore's recovery is progressing and whether Bertuzzi's suspension should be extended. I was all set to bloviate about the NHL's irresponsibility in mandating a short suspension for such a heinous attack (there are only 12 games left in Vancouver's regular season schedule) when another columnist reminded me that the next NHL season might not start until 2005 or 2006, if there is a lengthy work stoppage as everyone expects there will be. So Todd Bertuzzi could conceivably miss a year or two of professional hockey anyway, even if his suspension were to be lifted after the 2003-04 playoffs end. Still, I think his actions warranted a year out of the game, even if Moore were able to come back next fall. The league sends the wrong message by only suspending Bertuzzi for this year. In 2000 Marty McSorley clubbed Donald Brashear on the head with his stick, ending Brashear's season, and McSorley got a year's suspension for his troubles. Bertuzzi's hit was no less premeditated than McSorley's, so the only reason I can see for the shorter suspension is that Bertuzzi had the sense to drop his stick before slugging Moore. The intent was the same, so the penalty should have been the same. The league should also send a message to all the teams' coaches and GMs, indicating that behavior of this sort will not be tolerated. I understand that violence is part of the game of hockey, but there's no excuse for sucker-punching a guy, and there's no justification a coach, GM, or teammate can give for why someone would deserve this. The Vancouver coaching staff had to know that their players were upset about a check Moore delivered to Markus Naslund in February that knocked Naslund out for three games. The coaches should have taken the players aside and told them in no uncertain terms that there was to be no retribution. Unfortunately, that's the culture of hockey. I love the game of hockey, but I could live without all the clutching, grabbing, and hitting that passes for the modern NHL game. The league should be taking steps to eliminate all of the above, and even with a looming labor dispute, a short suspension for Todd Bertuzzi sends the wrong message to the players.

Next, the current trend of college basketball fans rushing the court after games.

Wednesday's Washington Post had an excellent article on the subject. While this sort of on-court demonstration used to be limited to the unbelievable upsets or unimaginable come-from-behind victories, lately everyone in the the arena seems to think it's acceptable to run onto the court after any win. I've never understood this phenomenon, and I've even been a part of it once. In 1994, I was a sophomore at Georgetown and I had season tickets to the mens' basketball games. One night late in the season, we were playing Syracuse, who were ranked much higher than we were, and we were winning a close game. I was in the student section near the front row, practically on the court already, and there was a palpable excitement in the crowd. We were living and dying with every shot. There were only a few games in my Georgetown days that were that exciting, so it was already a memorable night. As the seconds ticked down, word spread that we were rushing the court if we won. And when the game ended, we ran like we'd just won the national championship, not just a regular season game (albeit an important one against a longtime Big East rival). I remember being forced onto the court by the mass of people behind me, but when I got out there I realized something: there's nothing for a fan to do on the court. We jumped around and screamed for a few seconds, and I bumped into a few players who were just trying to get out of there, but it couldn't have been more than a minute before all of the students were calmly leaving the floor. There was no reason for us to be down there in the first place, and when we got there, I like to think that everyone figured that out right away. Probably not, though, because a week or two later, we were in the same situation against UConn, and as the game wound down and were were behind by only a few points, we got ready to rush the court again. This time, the barriers to the court were removed in the final seconds, even though the police presence righ in front of us augured against another successful rush. It was all moot when we lost the game. By the way, in neither case was I drunk, or even drinking, though I can't speak for the people around me. In my case, it was just youthful exuberance and a love for my team.

The point of all that rambling was that there's just no point to fans rushing the court, but university officials seem reluctant to do anything about it. Barricades aren't the answer, for safety reasons and also because they would probably be dismantled by fans intent on their goal no matter what the obstacle. I think the NCAA needs to step in and tell schools that if they can't control their own crowds, they'll forfeit games where fans run onto the court. If the people in the stands knew that their team would forfeit a hard-won game just because they ran onto the court, I think that would stop the practice. It might take an actual application of the penalty to do it, though, and I'd probably wait to announce the forfeit until after the fans have left the building. Otherwise a riot is a real possibility. But this trend has to be stopped, before someone dies during a celebration.

Monday, March 08, 2004

No hookups on the 4/5 trains

Occasionally (as in when I think about it) I enjoy the sarcastic commentary over at For example, I particularly enjoyed the latest "Black List," the weekly review of pop culture phenomena and/or things that annoy other New Yorkers. I, too, received a check from the music CD settlement thingy to the tune of $13.86, and I'm equally perturbed at the thought of low-carb orange juice.

But what really moved me to write today was "Week in Craig," Amy Blair's review of strange and disturbing personal ads on This week's column is all about personal ads from F train riders trying to hook up with each other on their daily commute. Apparently there's an effort to designate certain cars for meeting people, like a mobile singles' bar without the alcohol or ambience.

I haven't been single for nine years, so I'm completely out of the loop on how and where single people meet these days. If the F train works for lonely Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan residents, more power to them. I can't imagine trying to get acquainted with someone new between stops on any subway train, but especially on the East Side 4/5 train that I take to and from work every day. The 4/5 trains are cramped, crowded, poorly lit in some cases, and always unpleasant. It's tough enough just finding a place to stand without hitting someone with my bag or stepping on their toes. Over the winter, with everyone wearing heavier coats, it was stifling most of the time. As much as I love the subway system sometimes I wish I could get to work using any other mode of transportation. I don't see many people hitting on each other and getting phone numbers on the way to work. Like me, everyone seems to be suffering with the overcrowding and just trying to make the best of the situation. Music helps: I've been listening to MP3s on the train instead of reading, since there's not even enough room for me to break out a book. At least the music takes my mind off the utter discomfort of riding the only East Side subway at rush hour. The F train must look like happy hour by comparison, if all these craigslist folks are finding love.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Miracle, in more ways than one

Last night, James and I went to see Miracle, the movie about the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team defeating the Russians. It was an excellent film. I was most impressed with the dramatic tension of the final game despite the fact that everyone in the audience knew the outcome, and probably (like me) how most of the goals were scored. I had a tough time telling the players apart (it took me a while to figure out that "Rizzo" was Mike Eruzione) but I don't think the individuals on the team were the point, with the possible exception of Jim Craig, the goalie. The point was that Herb Brooks molded the players into a cohesive whole that believed they could beat anyone. Even with the liberties taken by the filmmakers, it's a worthy treatment of the team and a tribute to the late Brooks, who died tragically in a car accident before the film was released.

I saw the other "miracle" of the evening on the way home. I was waiting on the uptown platform at the 33rd St. 6 train station, looking down the tracks to see if a train was coming. I noticed someone crossing the express tracks, from the downtown platform to the uptown side. This guy (and it had to be a guy, no woman is this dumb) was not a transit worker, just some fool in street clothes. He had apparently found himself on the wrong platform, and since 33rd Street isn't a transfer station, rather than leave the station, cross the street, and re-enter the subway on the uptown side (and pay another fare), he jumped off the downtown platform, walked across four sets of tracks (downtown local and express, uptown local and express) and hoisted himself back up the chest-high platform on the uptown side. The local train was at least a minute away as he did this, so he had time to get off the tracks, but just after he was safe on the uptown platform, an express rolled through the station. Had he tripped or accidentally touched the electrified third rail, he would have been crushed by the express. There are all sorts of wires and rails on the subway tracks, and I wouldn't want to try changing platforms even if the trains weren't running at all. There are too many things to trip or step on if you're not an experienced track worker. Besides, the fare is $2. How would you like to explain to your family, or have someone else explain to them, that you were so cheap that you tried crossing the tracks to avoid paying $2 but got hit by a train in the process? I'll pay the $2 again, thanks.

What a complete and utter dumbass.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

a test everyone can pass

I laughed out loud at the test of basketball knowledge former University of Georgia assistant coach Jim Harrick Jr. gave to his class as the only exam. You can take the test yourself, and read all about it as well. I'm a little ashamed to admit that I missed the question on how many referees call a basketball game, but I'm sure a college baller would know the right answer.

I know that "student-athletes" tend to be jokes most of the time. Even at schools like Georgetown, they get extra study help, academic advisors who direct them toward favorable curricula, and in the case of Minnesota, advisors write the athletes' papers for them too. I used to wonder how the players on the basketball team got through Georgetown's sometimes-rigorous classes, and now I understand. I'm sure that some of them took exams that weren't much harder than this one. All I'm saying is that we should start accepting our student-athletes for what they are: athletes first, and students second. The schools exploit their talents and in return give them degrees (assuming they stick around long enough) that aren't worth much more than the paper they're engraved on. And that's fine with me.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Is New York City prepared for a subway "incident?"

Considering that the news outlets here buried the story on the back page and got many details wrong, those who live outside NYC might not have heard about the track fire near the West 4th Street station in Manhattan on Sunday evening. Apparently someone threw a piece of metal onto the tracks, striking the electrified third rail and sparking a fire. The trains stopped in the tunnels and as you can read in two accounts here and here, it took over an hour before passengers got out of the subway system to the streets above. While they waited on the train, they heard announcements from the train operator that the fire and police departments were "on the way." I can understand the need for caution when you're dealing with track problems, but if this had been some kind of terrorist attack, how long would the MTA have waited to get people out of the trains? I take the subway to work each and every day, and I do this fully aware that if there's any kind of mischief in the works by anyone with a grudge, I might not survive the trip. I put that fear out of my mind, reminding myself that I'm more likely to get hit by a drunk driver while walking down the street to the subway entrance than I am to become a casualty of a terrorist attack. Still, the risk is there, and the MTA's response to Sunday night's incident (coupled with the news organizations' quiet coverage) makes me wonder just how bad the odds are against me if something terrible happens on my daily commute.

Now it's time for me to take the subway home. Hopefully I'll blog at you later.

Monday, March 01, 2004

yet another psychological profile quiz result

Charlie Brown
You are Charlie Brown!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

I realize that these surveys aren't scientific, but it's creepy how well the above description fits me. Although if I am the Master (see 1/23/04 in the archives) AND Charlie Brown, does that mean that Charlie Brown grows up to be the Master? And does Linus becomes Torgo? The mind reels.

an Oscar live-chat transcript to answer all your questions

We hosted an Oscar party at our apartment tonight and with all the caffeine and food I'll be up a little while longer. The Washington Post's movie section editor held an online chat during the show. While our partygoers had many questions that were raised and answered during the telecast, there were a few queries that we couldn't figure out. However, those who were at their PCs the entire time found the answers we couldn't, so see the transcript if you're interested. Specifically in my case, Sting played a hurdy-gurdy for one of the Cold Mountain songs, and you can read more about that instrument here. Also, the blue pins worn by all of the LOTR participants were provided by, a popular LOTR fan site.

The party was a great success, though I think we'll let someone else take a turn hosting it next year. We'll be there, of course, but it might be more fun to rotate it to someone else's apartment instead of packing 15 people into our living room again. We have plenty of leftover chips and salsa, so come on over for a snack. Just call first.