Archived updates from Daryl's Home Page

Journals, January 2003
Friday, January 31, 2003 | #
Pennsylvania 6-5000?

Tomorrow, New York switches to eleven-digit phone dialing. That's 1, plus the area code, plus the number, for all local calls. Keep in mind New York City has five area codes, including two that overlay Manhattan (212, 646), two that overlay the other four boroughs (718, 347), and one that is used for cell phones and an additional Manhattan overlay (917). It gets more complicated if you include nearby New Jersey (201), Connecticut (203), Long Island (516, 631) and greater New York Metro (914, 845). So Verizon tells us we can no longer call within the same area code by punching just seven numbers. New Yorkers, as far as I can tell, are reacting as you'd expect: With shock, outrage and anger. How can they do this to us? We'll have to re-program our fax machines! (Well yeah, we hardly ever fax things anymore, but the very idea!) To this, I say: Chill out people. We went through a similar switchover to ten-digit dialing when I lived in Maryland a few years ago. Bell Atlantic announced we would all have to dial ten digits so they could add two overlay districts, 443 (over 410) and 240 (over 301). Smartly, the phone company allowed seven digit dialing to work for a while anyway, so no one was left in a panic. The transition went smoothly. I can't explain why ten- or eleven-digit dialing is necessary in overlay districts, but it is apparently a government regulation which New York City has been trying to appeal, unsuccessfully, for some time. Now the time has come to switch. Be strong, we will get through this. And hey, if you can't figure out the phones, you can send an e-mail. Just don't forget to re-program your modem.

- Daryl

Thursday, January 30, 2003 | #
Need a lift?

New York is a city of a million stories, mostly arranged in stacks of 25. I work in a 9th-story office, so I ride an elevator at least twice every day. Compare this to Carlisle: The entire time I lived there, I remember riding in exactly three elevators. Two of them were in nursing homes and one was in the courthouse. The building where I work has no fewer than ten elevators, including a freight lift big enough for a truck. Even though I once lived in a building with an elevator (my one summer in Harrisburg), I was still a bit unfamiliar with the complete elevator rulebook when I moved to New York. For example, it took me a while to realize that a red light signifies a down car and a white light means an up car; I was used to seeing arrows. Most taller buildings, including mine, have express elevators that only serve certain floors, so you must be sure to get in the right car. There are other unwritten but serious rules about elevators, such as no singing, no bulky items, nothing that smells bad. Talking in elevators is risky, but not as risky as love in an elevator (going down?). The elevator, like its sliding-doored cousin the subway car, is an unsung miracle that makes the city work. Speaking of the subway, I recently stumbled upon a mysterious subway station in Brooklyn Heights that is accessible only by elevator. That's the Clark Street 1-2 stop, which you enter through the front of the Hotel St. George. Yet another story, 100 feet beneath the street.

- Daryl

Wednesday, January 29, 2003 | #
"Arrested -- or otherwise dealt with"

As I do every year, I watched the State of the Union speech last night. I realize it's highly unfashionable to agree with President Bush, however: I must say I support his bold stance against forest fires. I also think he was smart to call attention to AIDS, alternative energy research, and drug treatment. Like any good politician with re-election hopes, he promised tax cuts and more government handouts to senior citizens. No surprises. But something about the president's tone threw me off. I guess I wanted him to say, "Hang in there folks, things are going to be just fine." Instead, he gave us a "God is on our side and justice will prevail" speech. Of course, all we're thinking about right now is Iraq. It's hard to care about economics when somebody is talking about tanks, ships and bombs. Pretty neat trick, yes? I wish the year 2003 was available on a special-edition DVD -- the kind where you can choose from alternate endings...

Ending A: War with Iraq. Burning oil wells. Arabs and Muslims required to register. Recession continues. Abortion outlawed. First Amendment overturned. Cowboy hats for everyone.

Ending B: Saddam goes quietly. Bin Laden turns up dead. Stocks rise. Britney and Justin get back together and record a hit duet. Peace and prosperity. Party like it's 1999.

- Daryl

Tuesday, January 28, 2003 | #
I want fruit. I need fruit. I love fruit.

To score a Honeybell in New York, you need a hook-up. My connection is a friend at work, David, who has family in Florida. He recently got a shipment of Honeybells from the south, and brought some in to the office. We cracked one open Friday morning. It was my first taste of Honeybell, and now I'm hooked. Honeybells are sweet and pulpy, as you'd expect from an orange, but fuller, richer and juicier, like a grapefruit. David brought in two Honeybells yesterday, and I'm told to expect another fix later in the week. But once his supply runs out, that's it. We'll have to hunker down until next January.

In the mean time, let me tell you about cloudberry. I picked up some Swedish cloudberry jelly from a Polish grocer to share with my friends while we watched the Super Bowl. What is cloudberry? It is a smooth, light berry, which tastes as magical as the name suggests. As one of my friends said, "Cloudberry sounds like something they'd eat in Middle Earth." Here in the city, you can get 10 ounces of cloudberry for a street price of $6. Go on, try some. You won't regret it.

- Daryl

Monday, January 27, 2003 | #
Ad nauseam

My review of the Super Bowl commercials:

Best: ESPN Sportscenter ads are brilliant -- The one last night involved the Sportscenter staff, somehow, losing a Super Bowl ring in the ESPN kitchen. showed us an out-of-control big rig to drive home the point that they can help truckers find jobs. had people singing "Rainbow Connection," Kermit's anthem from "The Muppet Movie." I love this song, and so do you. The AT&T Wireless "Gilligan's Island" ad was silly, yet surprisingly well done. Beer commercials were funny all around (see below).

Worst: ABC's "Alias" promos tried to be sexy, but seemed tasteless. Cadillac tried to wow us with their cars, which are best described in one word: ugly. GM could just say, "From the people who brought you the Pontiac Aztek..."

Interesting: One of the lines of Reebok's Terry Tate commercial was from the movie "Office Space" ("You need a cover sheet on your TPS report!"). Anheuser-Busch paid homage to at least two of their commercials from previous years. Those would be the football-playing clydesdales ("That ref's a jackass." "No, he's a zebra.") and the over-talkative cowboy. Did you see the man in the hand-stand clown suit drinking a beer through his ass -- then being refused service when he asks for a hot dog? That may have been the naughtiest TV ad since Pepsi's Britney Spears ad a few years ago that ended with Bob Dole saying, "Easy boy!"

Final thoughts: Does anybody actually like Sierra Mist? Does anybody not plan to see the new Matrix movies? If you missed any ads, you can see some of them here.

- Daryl

Sunday, January 26, 2003 | #
Daughter Judy, Super Sunday

I went to see a play last night with my friend Amy and some of her friends. We saw a three-person production at a tiny acting company theater on the third floor of a shady office building on a dark street. The play, "Sister Calling My Name," took a serious look at religion and mental illness. We pretended we enjoyed it. The experience was made somewhat sweeter when we read the program and learned that one of the actresses did the voice of Judy Jetson.

Today is Super Bowl Sunday. To me, watching the Super Bowl is like watching Telemundo: The programming is a little tough to follow, but at least the commercials are funny. I still struggle to understand the rules of football. Hey, can somebody (Tom?) please send me an e-mail today and explain what "offsides" means? And how do they always end up with extra players on the field? Anyhow, I'm having some friends over this evening to watch the game, so that will make it more fun. Check the home page tomorrow for what we thought of the commercials.

- Daryl

Saturday, January 25, 2003 | #

Last night, I went with some friends from work to a place called Medieval Times in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. This is essentially a big dinner theater where the entertainment is a jousting, sword-fighting, lords-and-ladies, fight-to-the-death, fake-fog-enhanced show of chivalry. Pay no mind to history and just enjoy the performance. (A note for you all in Maryland: This is a chain of restaurants, and they're building the eighth one at the Arundel Mills Mall.) As we went in, our group was assigned a certain knight for whom to cheer (Go Red Knight!) and seated at a bench looking out at the sand-filled jousting arena. The show doesn't disappoint. The stunts are impressive, the horses are well groomed and well trained, and the lights and sound effects are fantastic. As the knights fight, sparks fly from their swords. The Red Knight won our tournament -- Well done indeed! The food is unique only in one respect: It is served without utensils, so you must stuff it into your face with your fingers. The place draws large groups of children for birthday parties, creating an atmosphere that's a mix of Renaissance Faire and Chuck E. Cheese's. If our group was a bit old for Medieval Times, we certainly were not too grown-up for it. After the show, they turned part of the lobby into a strobe-lit dance floor for about 45 minutes, much to the delight of small children and my coworkers.

- Daryl

Friday, January 24, 2003 | #
Old Man River vs. Old Man Winter

Earlier this winter, I started asking some long-time New Yorkers about the Hudson River. Does it ever freeze up? The answer was always no. Too shallow. Too salty. Too tidal. Moves to fast. Or whatever. This river -- which I look out on from my office window -- seemed to have too many excuses to stop flowing. Well yesterday morning, we looked out and saw a flotilla of big, white rafts snuggled against the bank of the river. Ice, ice, baby. The Hudson is freezing. (I don't have a report on the East River, which I ride under every day, but never see.) It's been so cold in New York for so long -- the temperature hasn't been above freezing in 11 days -- that now the rivers must fight to keep moving. Just like the rest of us. This morning, as I leave for work, it is 7 degrees. Yes, Fahrenheit.

- Daryl

Thursday, January 23, 2003 | #
The Amazing Spiderman

I passed Spiderman on my walk to the subway Tuesday morning. He was wearing a heavy coat and work gloves, but I knew it was him because he was wearing that distinctive red and black mask on his head. Spiderman and his crew were working out of the back of a city government truck, repairing parking meters. One guy took the meters apart and inspected them. A second guy replaced the worn-out meters with new ones. Lastly, Spiderman set the broken meters in the back of the truck and busted them up with a sledgehammer. (I guess they dent the old meters with the hammer to make sure they aren't used again.) Between swings of the hammer, one of the other guys walked up and tapped Spiderman on the shoulder. "Don't scare Spiderman!" Spiderman barked back in his gruff, gravely voice. "You know better than to sneak up on Spiderman!" I sleep soundly knowing Spiderman is on the job and our city is safe.

- Daryl

Wednesday, January 22, 2003 | #
Invest in CDs

I realize this reeks of urban legend, but stay with me for a second. Here's the story: Everybody who bought a music CD between 1995 and 2000 is eligible for a refund. If you submit your name and address to the music CD settlement web site, you'll be sent a check for a to-be-determined amount between $5 and $20. The money is a fraction of a multi-million-dollar music industry settlement involving a price fixing lawsuit. All you need to do is answer three questions on this site and send them your mailing address. They don't ask for a receipt or any other specifics. Oh yeah, and if too many people sign up (ie. more than 8.8 million people), none of us get anything, because the costs of mailing out the checks would be too high and the amounts of the checks too low.

If you believe that, there's a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you. No, really this looks legit as far as I can tell. (The AP moved a story about it recently, so now everybody knows about it.) I sent my name in. We'll see if I get a check in a few months.

(Thanks to Jeff Cronin for bringing this to my attention.)

- Daryl

Tuesday, January 21, 2003 | #
Mission accomplished

The good news is that I've finished painting my apartment. I hope you'll stop by some time and see it. This was a tiring project, and I've fallen behind on e-mail, bills, eating three square meals a day, etc. If you're thinking of painting any rooms, I'd be happy to answer any questions or offer some advice from my own experience. Piece of advice number one: Seek professional help. No, really, it looks pretty good. It just took a lot of time.

- Daryl

Monday, January 20, 2003 | #
Think peace

To recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day, here are the lyrics to a hymn that I think conveys the spirit of civil rights and keeps a focus on the big picture. I don't know the history of this song, but it's called Koinonia.

How can I say that I love the Lord,
whom I've never, ever seen before,
and forget to say that I love the one
whom I walk beside each and ev'ry day?
How can I look upon your face,
and ignore God's love? You I must embrace.
You're my brother, you're my sister,
and I love you with love of my Lord.

My heat is back on today, so I'm going to stay in and finish painting.

- Daryl

Sunday, January 19, 2003 | #
The heat is off

My buzzer rang last night. When I opened the door, my super was standing in the hallway, wearing a wool cap. Her son was also there, with a tool box. They had a message from the landlord. "Joe told us to shut off the boiler. He'll be by in the morning to fix it." One appropriate response to this news would have been to shout: "You call Joe and tell him that is not acceptable. It is too [insert any combination of expletives] cold out for us to be without heat!" But my super is a sweet old lady, and I can't possibly be stern with her. "Well, thanks for letting me know," I said cheerfully. Since then, it has gotten steadily colder in this apartment. I threw an extra blanket on the bed and stayed warm overnight. Hot water still runs, mercifully. If the apartment is still cold tonight, I can go stay with a friend. (Today's weather: Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers. Breezy. Highs in the upper 20s.) It is frustrating to be able to work hard to improve my apartment (paint, curtains, furniture, etc.), yet be helpless when something as basic as the heat stops working. For now, my radiators are simply decorative.

Plug: Check out my brother's site for some excellent pictures from his recent trip out west.

- Daryl

Saturday, January 18, 2003 | #
Being Charlie Kaufman

Yesterday evening, the bus driver on the m23 got on the PA and announced: "I'm having a barbacue tonight. You are all invited. Chelsea Piers. Nine to midnight. Leave your coats at home." I passed on that invitation and met my friend Jeff for dinner and to see the movie "Adaptation." This film tells the story of Charlie Kaufman, the screenwriter who writing this very movie. You can imagine how complicated that gets. I really enjoyed it. But don't see the movie if you haven't seen/didn't like "Being John Malkovich" (this is a sequel) and don't see it if you're sensitive about fatal car accidents (this movie has two). An inspirational life lesson from this movie: You can write your own ending. As I got ready to go home on the subway, I realized I had lost my messenger bag, the one I carry with me to work. It had my company ID, my paystub, a roll of Mentos, and a book I was reading. This plot twist took us back to the restaurant where we had dinner, where we asked if anyone had seen the bag. They had, and gave the bag back to me. The end.

- Daryl

Friday, January 17, 2003 | #
I'd like to buy an R

A few days ago, my friend Jeremy noted on his blog that there are two recent hit songs with a mysterious extra letter R in the title. I'll tell you about these songs in just a sec. But first, a bit of background. Jeremy and I both have the same middle initial -- R. When we wrote for the Daily Collegian, Jeremy used his initial in his byline and I didn't use mine. (Example.) This was a topic of much debate and discussion. Now that you understand the importance of the letter R, consider the songs. The first song is Nelly's "Hot in Herre." Sample lyric: "I am getting too hot/ I'm gonna take my clothes off!" The second song is Christina Aguilera's "Dirrty." Sample lyric: "I need that, uh, to get me off/ Sweating 'til my clothes come off!" Notice a pattern? Based on those songs, it seems that adding an extra R is like cranking up the thermostat a couple of degrees. And given the weather, that seems like a great idea right now in New Yorrk.

- Daryl

Thursday, January 16, 2003 | #
Paint update

Whew, I'm beat. Time for just a short note today. This is paint-like-a-maniac week. So far I've finished the bedroom and the living room. Last night I moved my furniture back into the living room and set up my desk again. It looks so much better now that I've painted over the green walls. Instead, I'm now facing a sea of pleasant, neutral, off-white. Not to worry, it will soon be covered with maps and artwork and flags and who-knows-what. Of course, when you take a room apart and then put it back together a few days later, things have a way of going slightly wrong. My radiator used to have a metal cover over the top. I took the cover off when I started to paint. Now it's up and disappeared. I'm sure I'll find it sooner or later, but it's an odd thing to misplace. My radiator looks naked without it. Scandal!

- Daryl

Wednesday, January 15, 2003 | #
Dave wants to be a millionaire

Of the 16 contestants competing for $1 million on the "Survivor: The Amazon" TV show, two are from Ellicott City, Md. -- my old stomping ground. One of them is Dave Johnson, who was an Eagle Scout in my scout troop and a friend of mine in high school. I haven't seen or spoken to Dave in almost 5 years, but I'm sure he'll be fun to watch on TV. In high school, Dave was one of those guys who was involved in absolutely every activity, and did well enough at all of them that he was respected, but never so well that he was resented. If there was such a thing then, Dave would have probably voted "member of the class of 1997 most likely to become a Survivor contestant." I won't bore you with any high school stories. Dave's CBS bio says he's now a body surfer and rocket scientist (my brother translates: aerospace engineer) in Pasadena, California. Perfect. Dave also has good taste in gin. But whoever wrote his bio for the web site needs to check their math -- Dave is not 22. He turns 24 tomorrow. Happy birthday, Dave! And good luck! I'll be rooting for you.

The other guy from Ellicott City is Ryan Aiken, who is also my age but whom I don't think I know. His bio says he's a "model and actor" who attended Howard Community College. His luxury item is a baseball and bat. I'm afraid I don't have much hope for this guy. Dave, on the other hand, is the kind of dude who might stick around a while on the show. Or he might get in front of the camera and look like a fool. Who knows? In addition to both being from Ellicott City, Ryan and Dave have a few other things in common. Dave says his favorite fruits are "Apples, oranges," while Ryan's include "Oranges, apples." Dave's favorite music is "Anything but country", while Ryan's is "Anything except most country." (Have these guys never heard of Johnny Cash?)

Anyway, the show premieres February 13. Best luck to you guys. Do Ellicott City proud. And even if you don't share any of your prize money with me, maybe you could at least get me Heidi's phone number?

(Thanks to alert web surfer and Webelos leader Jo for being the first to tell me about Dave.) - Daryl

Tuesday, January 14, 2003 | #
Resting easy

I awoke Monday morning with my pillow jammed uncomfortably between the mattress and the wall. I decided it was time for a change. Later in the morning, I found this ad on craigslist:

Adjustable bed frame fits either full or queen size mattress. Nice wooden mission style with headboard and footboard. Bought from Fileen's four years ago for $700.

I sent an e-mail to the seller, a very nice guy named Tom, and who e-mailed me back a picture of said bed, along with his price: $50. I made an appointment to meet Tom in the evening. I drove to his apartment in Manhattan, we loaded the bed into my station wagon, and I hauled it back to Brooklyn, where I carried it inside and assembled it. Now, as I write this Monday night, I am typing in my pajamas in my fancy new bed. It's that easy.

Regarding my angry tirade yesterday, Allan writes from Maryland: "You're wrong about the Phillips head screws. They are superior in every way over the flat heads. The flat heads strip much easier...." And Mark writes from Pennsylvania: "Sounds like you need to find your nearest Sears and get the Craftsman Screw-Out." (Guess who Mark works for.)

- Daryl

Monday, January 13, 2003 | #
Bring me the head of Phillip!

Okay, Phillip. Wherever you are. I'm calling you out. You don't know me, but I know you're the snake responsible for unleashing upon the world the Phillips screw, one of the worst inventions of modern times (after telemarketing and reality television). The flat-head screw, invented first, did a swell job. Then you had to screw with the system and give us this new-fangled replacement, a competing and totally incompatible kind of screw that for some reason became very successful. Now yeah, I know all about its advantages when used in automation. But I don't live in a factory, pal! What do I do when I've got a rusty, painted-over Phillips head screw that I need to remove in order to take down an old curtain rod? I could try to work at it with a screw driver, but it just wears away into metal shavings. To put it mildly: I'm screwed. The best I can do is grab the claw of a hammer and rip away at it, then patch up the gigantic hole in the wall I've created. It's enough to drive me crazy, so to speak. So where are you hiding, Mister Phillip, bucko? Put 'em up!

- Daryl

Sunday, January 12, 2003 | #
Your thoughts?

I'm sure someone will write a fascinating book about how Gov. George Ryan decided to commute the sentences of all the criminals on death row in Illinois. In my view, this was a smart choice. Whether the death sentence is right or wrong (and I think it's wrong), it is a bureaucratic disaster. State governments are notorious for botching seemingly mundane things like highway projects, school testing, tax collection, and, of course, elections. You're asking for trouble when you grant the states the power to inject people with poison, zap them with electricity, shoot them with guns, smother them with gas, and string them up with rope. (Yes, some states still hang people.) A few years ago, I covered a would-be execution at the Rockview State Correctional Insitute in Pennsylvania. There was a special room for repoters in an old barn, where they provided us with orange drink and pastries while we awaited briefings from the press secretary about whether the convict was still alive. It's a creepy ordeal. Some people say executions helps bring "closure" to the families of murder victims. But it can take decades for an execution to actually happen. Consider Pennsylvania. As of today, there are 244 people on death row. Since the 1960s, Pennsylvania has executed exactly three of them.

- Daryl

Saturday, January 11, 2003 | #
A brush with disaster

Vincent. René. Claude. Daryl. Did you know I was a painter? You can bet I am this weekend, and probably next weekend, too. After a few months in this apartment, I have grown sick of the walls. For one thing, the walls lumpy and sloppily painted with glossy colors, which is a real bad scene. (Picture these colors. Kitchen and bathroom: Sunflower yellow. Living room: Lime green. Bedroom: Sky blue.) It's a new year, and time for a fresh coat of paint. I went out last week and bought all the paint, primer and supplies I need. This project has a budget of $200 and should take roughly two weeks. I'll let you know how my masterpiece turns out.

- Daryl

Friday, January 10, 2003 | #
So there's this guy, right?

Today, a joke:

Jack prays every day for five years to win the lottery, but never hears from God or hits the jackpot. Finally, God wakes him up in the middle of the night. "Jack, is that you who's been praying so hard to win the lottery?" the Supreme Being booms. "Yes, Lord, desperately!" God pauses for a moment, then says thoughtfully, "Jack, I'll tell you what. I want you to meet me halfway. Buy a ticket, OK?"

(That's from Rob Brezsny's "Free Will Astrology" column.)

- Daryl

Thursday, January 9, 2003 | #
A murder of one

There was a murder involving two teenage boys in my former home town. Both of them went to my high school. Read The Sun's story here. The story lacks a recap of recent teenage murders in Howard County; there have been a few in recent years.

I didn't know any of the families involved in this killing, and I have a hard time understanding what would motivate a teenager to murder somebody. We could blame video games (which the boys were playing at the time of the alleged poisoning), or school (the parents say their son was disturbed by a writing assignment in English class), or literature (isn't poisoning your rival just a little Shakespearean?) or the general social pressures of being young in a suburb like Ellicott City (which hasn't been the same since they closed The Enchanted Forest). I could go on, but I'd just be making stuff up. Maybe its best to write it off as another freak killing and hope it doesn't happen again. But of course it will.

(Thanks to Tiffany for bringing the story to my attention on her blog earlier this week, and to Tim for keeping me updated.)

- Daryl

Wednesday, January 8, 2003 | #
One down

I've developed a habit of starting the newspaper crossword puzzle on the subway ride to work, then setting it on the conference table at the office so my coworkers can work cleanup and finish it. We get it done almost every day. (We do the Daily News puzzle every day except Thursday, when the Times puzzle is always at its best. We don't do the weekend puzzles. The only places to ever attempt the Sunday Times puzzle are in a hospital waiting room or on a trans-continental plane flight.) As a newspaper crossword junkie, I'm intrigued by the idea that thousands of people are working on the same puzzle at the same time. Hold that thought. Now, notice that the crossword is always easier on the ride from work than on the ride to work. I used to think this was because my mind was more acute in the late afternoon than in the morning. But consider another possibility: Morphic Resonance. Let me tell you about Morphic Resonance. This is the idea that nature (including, um, us) has some sense of collective memory (sort of like telaphty, but on a social/cultural scale). Thus, the puzzle is easier in the afternoon because more people have already solved it. The answers are out there already, floating around, making it possible for you to mold them together easier in your own mind. I suppose you could also use Morphic Resonance to explain how we all know how to do The Wave at stadiums, and how we can all sing the lyrics to Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog" despite never making any effort to commit that song to memory. A load of bunk, you say? How did I know that was what you were thinking?

- Daryl

Tuesday, January 7, 2003 | #
Odds and ends

I ordered a sheet of stamps by mail from the post office. They charged me the cost of the stamps, plus $1 for shipping. This was more convenient than waiting in line at the post office, but I wonder why the postal service can't deliver their own mail for free?

The rules to football are so complicated, the NFL had to issue a statement the day after Sunday's Giants game, simply to clarify which rules were broken.

By the time you read this, Apple has probably announced it's latest mysterious new wizz-bang digital gismo, set to be unveiled this morning. Proof I've been brainwashed: I don't care what it is, I want one.

- Daryl

Monday, January 6, 2003 | #
An epiphany

Many museums offer a discount on admission if you show a student ID. Figuring I could save $3.50, I dug up my old Penn State ID and took it with me to the MOMA on Saturday. Waiting in line, I pulled the card out of my wallet and looked at it. That's when I realized the picture was from when I was an incoming freshman -- 17 years old, big glasses and messy hair. My hair is still messy, but the glasses are gone and, well, it would be a little embarrassing to lay that card on the ticket counter. Plus, it's technically a lie, since I haven't been a student for a year and a half. (Rationalization: That ID card cost thousands of dollars, so why not milk it for all it's worth?) Faced with the choice, I paid the extra $3.50. What would you do?

- Daryl

Sunday, January 5, 2003 | #
Month five of my New York holiday

My friend Jeremy and I set out exploring in New York today. I'd like to write at length about every place we visited, but I'll keep it short. We went to the MOMA QNS, which is the temporary location of the Museum of Modern Art as their Manhattan building undergoes rennovation. There you have it, some of the world's most dazzling artwork, slapped onto the plain plaster walls of a concrete-floored warehouse off the 7 line in Queens. I get a lift every time I see "Starry Night." Next, on to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens and the Unisphere, the 140-foot-high orb said to be the world's largest globe (pictured at right). This steel curiosity -- complete with arcs that trace the paths of NASA's first three satellites -- was assembled for the 1964-1965 Worlds Fair. This has got to be New York's least crowded tourist attraction. After our venture to Queens, we rode the train to Rockefeller Center, then made the spontaneous decision to walk to Times Square and see a musical. We stood in line at the TKTS booth and got half-price tickets to the catchy and funny "Thoroughly Modern Millie," which I gather is a good sample of a traditional Broadway show. I used to categorically dismiss Broadway musicals as corny and sappy, but a few months in New York has forced me to change my mind.

- Daryl

Saturday, January 4, 2003 | #
Catch us if you can

Today's entry comes from very special guest Jeremy R. Cooke, visiting from Pennsylvania. But first, Colleen writes about yesterday's entry about the first babies of the year. She notes that there were two cases of twins being born with one in each year, in New Jersey and Iowa. Okay, you're on, Jeremy.

- Daryl

After a delicious home-cooked dinner in Daryl's spacious apartment tonight, we braved the driving sleet to see Catch Me If You Can at a nearby theater. Ticket prices have shot through the roof in the big bad city, but I felt like it was worth it this time. DiCaprio, Hanks, Spielberg: They delivered. It doesn't hurt when you have one of those truth-is-stranger-than-fiction tales as your source material. The flip-flop at the end is amusing, and the relationships among the characters are explored more deeply than your typical cat-and-mouse chase. I haven't cheered so hard for a likable bad-guy since Clooney's character in Ocean's Eleven.

(Shameless plug alert!) Check my blog Sunday night for more on this town that's gradually growing on me.

- Jeremy

Friday, January 3, 2003 | #
Baby steps

You can always count on the local news for stories about the first children born in the new year. I love the element of randomness to these. Here's my round-up:

  • In Carlisle, it's a perfectly routine first birth. My friend Kara writes this fine report for The Sentinel, with fine photos by Jason and Wally.
  • In New York, there's a debate over which of two babies was actually born first. (Aside: The two moms' ages are 19 and 21.)
  • In State College, the family of the first baby refused to be interviewed for the newspaper. Doh!
  • Lastly, we move on to the Washington Post, which tells us the first baby in the DC area -- a healthy girl -- was born to a lesbian couple in Bethesda. I love this story. (If I had spotted it yesterday morning, I would have linked to it then.) It forces a big social issue -- gay adoption -- into an otherwise mundane real-life story, and it will help remind some people that, yes, gay people live family lives just like straight people.

- Daryl

Thursday, January 2, 2003 | #
Can you hear me now?

Now that everyone has cell phones surgically attached to their hands, it has become an annual tradition is to make phone calls in the first few minutes of the new year. I tried calling some friends yesterday morning just after midnight. Other people tried calling me. This was all pointless, since every single resident of New York City was trying to do the same thing and the network was jammed.

The whole city seemed quiet yesterday, as if it was sleeping in, which of course it was. Pouring rain, too. And as I walked through my neighborhood, there was an odd dank smell that I couldn't quite place. Finally, I figured out it was the distinct stink of a rain-soaked canvas tent, like the ones they have at Boy Scout camp. No idea where this odor was coming from.

Today, I hope you'll notice, is 01.02.03.

- Daryl

Wednesday, January 1, 2003 | #
Auld "Lang" Syne

It was neat to watch Dick Clark do the countdown on TV and then hear the Times Square fireworks simultaneously from outside. We were in an apartment building on the lower east side. After Dick did his thing, we walked up to the roof and watched fireworks burst all around the city.

Some of my 2003 resolutions:

Take good care of my cat.
Be kinder to my friends. Be more about them and less about myself.
Stop talking smack about the Concord Monitor. It's over.
Make fewer snide and sarcastic comments in general.
Refrain from trying to be an art critic.
Get involved with some level of community service activity in Brooklyn.
Post nothing on my home page that will embarrass my grandparents. (So far, so good.)

- Daryl

More journals:Most recent
Dec 02 . Nov 02 . Oct 02 . Sep 02 . Aug 02 . Jul 02 . Jun 02 . Apr - May 02 . Jan - Mar 02 . Jul - Dec 01

Ice photo

Ice on the Hudson River. - photographed 01.28.03, posted 01.29.03.

Ice sculpture photo

An ice sculpture at the Brooklyn Promenade. - photographed 01.25.03, posted 01.26.03.

Empire State Building photo

The Empire State Building, photograhped in November from near Herald Square. - posted 01.12.03.

Cat photo

Another picture of my cat, Sterling. - Posted 01.08.03.

Unisphere photo

The Unisphere in Queens. Yeah, it's that big. - Photographed 01.04.03, posted 01.05.03.

Ice skating photo

Skaters at Rockefeller Center. - Photographed 11.27.02, posted 1.1.03.

Cool songs
  • "Clocks" - Coldplay 01.18.03
  • "Tiny Dancer" - Tim McGraw 01.18.03
  • "Stole" - Kelly Rowland 01.06.03
  • "Your Body is a Wonderland" - John Mayer 01.03.03