spew - what is it?
|This is where I go to get things off my chest every now and then. For those of you familiar with my old rantings, this is basically the same thing, 'cept maybe a tad more risqué since I won't mince on cussing. ;-p But don't worry, I won't spit out shit for no reason. For those of you who've never been to my pages before, this section is here for me to make comments (mostly educated, sometimes not) about things that I've observed in my life and also just to keep my friends up to date with what I've been doing. Keep in mind that anything you read on here is pure opinion which might not jive with your own view of the world. If that's the case, friendly messages espousing your own views are welcome but flames will be cruelly mocked. So, without further ado....||
> Current Spew
> A newcomer...
> Life goes on...
> Life in slow mo...
> Strange times...
> Sittin' 'round da House...
> Unemployment Blues...
> Slowing down...
> Time Flies...
> Frivolous Thoughts
> Catching Up...
> Life as Usual...
> Changes in the Air
> Words Cannot Convey
> Almost a Revelation
> A Whole New World
> Beginning of a New Era
> Millenium Revisited
> Sticks & Stones
> New Millenium!
> Karaoke Madness!
> Conspiracy Theory
|Aug. 20, 2003 - The day the light died...|
Or maybe not. Living in the NYC area is certainly not without its share of twice or thrice in a lifetime events. By now, I’m sure all 2500+ bloggers in the NYC area have given their 5 cents about what happened that fateful day. And I even briefly considered not writing my own account after reading this headline from The Onion: Blackout Survivors Tell Stories Of Harrowing Inconvenience. Which, in retrospect, pretty much summed that day (or 2 for the NY folk) up pretty well. But in the end I figured I needed a new spew anyway. Plus this would serve as a reminder to myself as to what to do the next time the city loses juice; which if you take a look at past history, should be in another 15-25 years.
So anyways, there I was, actually doing work at work at about 10 minutes after 4 pm when everything just went dead all at once, no flickering of lights to forewarn, no nothing. Just no more electricity. Good thing I had just saved my work. After milling about aimlessly with the coworkers for a minute, noticed that people in the building next door were looking out their windows so that was the first indication that this wasn't just an ordinary outage. Then Erin calls to say that the power had gone out in our apartment. By this time one of the coworkers had dug up a battery-powered radio and was tuned in to some AM news station that was still on. Everyone in our office trooped out to the ledge that we have outside to look down and around to see if indeed there was no power to be had in the vicinity. Radio station didn't really have an idea as to what had happened besides saying that power was down in cities in the US North and parts of Canada. After about 20 minutes most people decided to call it a day and head out. Streets of NYC were about the most crowded I've ever seen, including weekends, and it took about half an hour or more for me to skirt around the massive crowd at Times Square and complete the 2.5 mile walk to the ferry station at 38th. Luckily I had decided not to go climbing after work that day so wasn't carrying around an extra couple of pounds of clothes and shoes as would have been customary for that. Unfortunately I wasn't the only one who had thought of hitting the ferry and by the time I got there there was a considerable gathering in the area.
Those of us waiting for the ferry were literally "packed like sardines" for the entire time we were waiting. It was a distinct advantage to be tall in a situation like this cause I could at least get whiffs of fresh air unlike the poor short souls who had to deal with the miasma and stench of sweat-filled and hyper-heated air that could only come from a massive group of people trapped in mid-80's temp and sunny weather. Luckily this blackout happened on Thursday when the weather was relatively mild for a summer day and later in the afternoon which meant we only had to deal with the sun for only like another hour or 2. If this had happened on Friday when the weather went back up to the 90s with much higher humidity, there'd most likely be a lot more calls for doctors from the crowd (6 during the time I was in there plus 4 people who had to physically be carried out of the crowd to ambulances by the police). Some comic relief was provided by the poor guy who was assigned the task of announcing to the masses in which direction we were supposed to go (at about 3 feet per half hour) if we wanted to go to Hoboken or Jersey City or Port Imperial, etc. Facing the crowd, "Hoboken, Jersey City and Weehawken, go to your right!!" as he waves HIS right arm around. "Port Imperial to your left!" as he waves his left arm around. Despite numerous attempts by the crowd to correct his sense of direction, he STILL didn't get it right. Since this happened relatively early during the waiting period, most people still had a sense of humor about it and thought the guy was pretty funny. The crowd wasn't as kind to perceived line cutters as chants of "Asssshooollee!!!" resounded whenever people tried to climb over a stair railing that led further in towards the docks. Not that the line cutters cared. Thick skins.
At about 3 hours into it, people were really starting to get ornery, even more so the closer we actually got to the pier where we could see the ferries coming and going. There were a couple of perceived problems at that point. One being that some folk thought that they weren't loading the ferries to capacity before letting them set off. This was more of a problem of perception though. The ferries are double-deckers and according to one of the workers there have a capacity of about 150-200 people. However, I think 150-200 people doesn't actually fill up the entire boat. Compounded to that was the fact that while you're on land, you can't really see the bottom level of the boat. So a lot of those waiting were getting pretty indignant and pissed off cause they thought the boats were leaving without a full load even when they were since not as many people were venturing up to the top level of the ferries. The other big problem was that the entryway to the actual pier was being controlled by the NYPD who were trying to keep everything orderly. Of course, keeping things orderly also meant slowing down the actual loading process. Basically they wanted people to go through that entryway 2 at a time (when it was big enough for 5) which was pretty insane. Imagine a 100 lane highway that suddenly had to converge down to 2 lanes. And periodically they would be asking the crowd if there were any people going to specific locations because the ferries going to that area had a few more spots open which didn't sit well with the crowd at all. Those of you reading this might say well why not? It seems like what they were doing was relatively reasonable. But, when you've just spent the last 4 hours crammed into an enclosed area with 15000 other people, not many things seem reasonable. Everybody just wanted to get on a ferry and go to NJ, who cares WHERE in NJ, as long as it was OUTTA THIS FREAKIN' CROWD!!!! So there was a simmering undercurrent of rage slowly building the closer you got to a ferry. The NYPD could've handled things a little better though. Someone should've at least gotten a bullhorn and explained what was going on as many in the crowd wanted. Getting from the crowd onto the pier was pretty interesting since it was like you were shot out of a cannon. With the giant mass pushing behind you and much less resistance in front of you, once you got within a few feet from the entry to the pier, you pretty much were at the mercy of the crowd who literally threw you onto the walkway to the pier.
So I managed to finally get onto a ferry to Jersey City at 9 pm. One of the last women to get onto the boat suffered a panic or asthma attack or something cause she started hyperventilating and wiggin' out. So we had to wait around another 10 minutes or so for the cops/Coast Guard folk to find a chair to get the woman out of the boat and to an ambulance. During this time there was this one fat, middle-aged, selfish spinster bitch that was complaining about having to wait for the cops to remove the sick woman from the boat and how we should've just cast off and dealt with the woman when we got to NJ. I couldn't believe the fuckin' gall this woman had. If I was the ferry captain I would've driven to the middle of the river and drop kicked her sorry ass out of the boat.
Luckily the ferry to Jersey City actually was taking us to Exchange Place rather than Newport so I would pretty much have a 5 minute walk home once I set foot on NJ soil. It was nice to see that there seemed to be electricity again on the NJ side while Manhattan was still mostly pitch black. Erin had been waiting for me at the ferry station at Exchange Place for about 2 hours since I had called my mother when I was walking to the ferry to tell her where I was going and she in turn called Erin after she got concerned from watching the news reports about the whole situation. So we finally got home a little before 10. The bar across the street from our complex apparently never lost power the whole time so was doing quite well since all the buildings around it were down. It was nice to see that our apartment had electricity though. So took a nice cold shower (best shower I EVER had) and had dinner before the electricity went out again about an hour later. We went out for a few minutes to take a look around the neighborhood and was a little annoyed to see that the buildings directly across the street north of us were still powered while everything from our building south was out. Not much else to do but try to go to sleep but couldn't since it was starting to get muggy. Power finally came back on for good a little after 1 am and I got up to check on email and watch some more tv coverage for another hour or so.
So the Blackout of 2003 wasn't really that big of a bad thing. Lost about 5 hours of my time but gained a nice extended weekend. Friday power was back in NJ but sporadic throughout NY. Subway wasn't running yet either and I heard on Monday that power didn't get back to our office building till about 10:30 pm Friday night. Was kinda amusing to see Pataki (NY governor) on tv telling people to treat it like a snow day and to take the opportunity to go out and visit NY's beautiful beaches and then seeing Bloomberg (NY mayor) immediately afterwards telling people to avoid the beaches because the power outage had caused some sewage to be dumped into the ocean around some of the beaches. The people in Manhattan seemed to have had fun for the most part Thursday evening as most people stayed outside and met their neighbors and such. Next time I have to remember to walk to the Battery Park ferry station instead since my coworker said it only took her about 2 hours to get home from there. Granted it's a much longer walk to Battery Park than it is to 38th but the less time I need to spend in a giant crowd the better.
|Jul. 10, 2003 - How things change...|
in the matter of months, weeks, even days. One of the biggest events that occurred in the past few weeks happened to some friends of mine and it was just one of those things that those of us who knew them never, leather ipad cases ever expected and would have thought could happen. It was just unfathomable and even now it still feels a bit unreal. Kinda like having a law of nature suddenly revoked. Definitely made it clear that no one can really say what the future holds for anyone. And who knows, maybe it'll work itself out in the end but man, was quite a stunner.
Anyhoo, I've recently been drawn back into the world of classical music thanks to a Chinese movie by Chen Kaige called "Together". Quite a good flick and now I'm infatuated with Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35. I have 6 versions of the same piece in my wishlist by different conductors and soloists just waiting to be picked up and compared. Could you imagine something like that in pop music? 6 different versions of Kelly Clarkson's "Miss Independent" would probably cause me to rip my ears off and go insane (hell, just the 1 already makes me want to do that) but with classical music it's quite alright.
Then earlier this week I was invited to my first Concert in the Park which is basically a free concert that the New York Philharmonic gives on the Great Lawn in Central Park. Didn't know till I got there that one of the pieces being played was, yay!, Tchaikovsky's Violin Concert in D Major. Bonus! But anyway, it turned out to be a great afternoon/evening for that concert since it rained briefly before the concert started which cooled things way down. Had a good time. There's something to be said about lying face-up in a giant field and watching the clouds go by in the twilight as you listen to timeless music. And in the middle of New York of all places. Faaaaaantastic!
Erin, being from Taiwan and having a Chinese medicine man for a grandfather, is more prone to trust Chinese medicine than Western when it comes to any ailments. So for the past few weeks she's been having accupuncture done once a week. Braver soul than I. And I gotta give our doctor credit too, she really knows what she's doing. leather ipad portfolio case Things are getting advanced now apparently cause not only do they stick needles in you, they then hook them up to a electric pulse machine and zap you. It's just kinda freaky, yet strangely fascinating, to see the area around the needle (or a finger or toe) rhythmically jerk to the beat of the electric pulse. But it seems to help alot so kudos to them ol' Chinese accupuncturist pioneers. I don't even wanna know how they figured out all the effective nerve points on the human body and what each one is good for. My guess is those guinea pigs weren't very well paid either back then.
I know Bushie Jr. is supposedly smarter than he sounds but he's really doing his hardest to even debunk that notion. Can someone _please_ send his sorry ass over to Iraq. Pretty please? With a cherry on top? His recent "Bring it on" remark is just incredibly insensitive to our troops. Of course he can talk big since he's all the way over here guarded by hundreds of people. Let's see him say that again when someone tries to assassinate him on a daily basis in the middle of a desert. What an asshole.
And the other thing that has irked me ever since our supposed "national sense of fear" bumped up Bushie Jr's approval rating is, for the majority of Bushie Jr's supporters (mainly in the South and the Midwest), what the blazing hell do they have to be afraid of when it comes to terrorists? When was the last time you saw a Muslim terrorist attack in the South? The only idiots dumb enough to terrorize the South and the Midwest all seem to be just other white people. ipad mini case Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh (which of course some people have been trying to pin on Iraq), Atlanta Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph, the recent probably race-motivated workplace shootings by Doug Williams in Mississippi, the stupid kids run amok at Columbine; the people in the South and Midwest have as about a good a chance of getting killed by an international terrorist than I do of becoming the next president. The entire nation's focus is placed on entirely the wrong place and it's irritating to see it happen. And really, has anything actually CHANGED since Bushie Jr. implemented his international and national policies? al Qaeda's still doing its thing. Hussein and his sons are still running around. The economy is still in the crapper with unemployment continuing to rise. Way to stimulate the economy with them tax cuts. Everyone in the world hates us and we don't care (which is another rant in and of itself). Basically, he hasn't done crap 'cept kill a whole bunch of people and make his VP's cronies wealthier than they already are. About the only good thing that has happened is the outdated sodomy law being overturned in Texas but I can see that flipping itself around pretty soon when Supreme Court justices start being replaced. I think the American people as a whole have sunk way into self-obsession (absorption?) and is in dire need of a good beating.
Argh... But to end on a happier note, earlier this week I accepted a job offer from the Bank of New York and will FINALLY be rejoining the ranks of the full-time employed on the 21st. Pretty excited about this one since the work environment seems to be just great and I'll finally get the financial experience that I need to be successful in this town. Actually I'm just glad to be done with the whole job-hunting debacle. It's just such a relief and I hope to not have to go through it again for quite awhile. Many thanks to everyone for their support and help the last 6 and a half months. =) Man, it feels good to be able to finally start deciding what new gadget to go after again.leather ipad cases Problem now is that I have so much backed up I don't even know where to start! ;-p I'm just kidding, if there's one thing I've learned during this recent bout of unemployment is to save money for the more important things. Of course there'll still be a purchase or two since I still haven't completely conquered the pent-up "need to consume!" rage. But nothing as awe-inspiring as before, like a new computer or 3. =p
|2003-07-11 17:48:56 - Ronin|
Heh, no, no G5 for me right now. While I wouldn't mind having one I don't exactly have space (or money) for one currently. Hopefully the G5 laptop will be out early next year cause my current ones starting to really get long in the tooth.
2003-07-11 11:11:18 - AC
Congrats! I only skimmed this piece, but I got the good news! Woo Hoo!
2003-07-11 02:58:25 - Kim
Congrats on the new job! Maybe by next year you can start giving me advice on handling the finances or something. ;) Sounds like you had a great Concert at the Park!! Rob and I are jealous! I wanna lie down in a big field and watch the clouds go by while listening to classical music ...
2003-07-11 02:03:24 - Christine
Ben you are such a funny writer... things I never knew about you when we were all living together! =)
2003-07-10 21:30:13 - June
Wow!!! Congrats on the job!!!! Way to go!!! Patience really does pay off... You know you'll be picking up the new G5 of course... or will you wait until it comes out in a laptop version???
2003-07-10 21:16:29 - George
Congrats on the new job... Now you should start putting .NET books on your Amazon.com's wish list :> (I know... it's a difficult thing to do)
|Jun. 17, 2003 - Some things I missed...|
writing about the other day. First off...
How cool is that? Been visiting Mitsuwa more often than normal the past month or so and in one of those visits noticed these nifty Gundam figures that were marketed as _candy_ of all things. The way it was packaged I couldn't figure out where the hell the candy was so I bought one (the blue one) to see. Turns out the "candy" is just this quarter-sized chalky-disc thing that they put under the fake dog tag that comes with each figure. But the figures themselves turned out to be pretty cool with fully-articulate arms and torsos. Turns out these figures form a set of 9 but at $10 a pop, wasn't exactly going to be collecting all of them anytime soon. So I figured I'd just get the cooler-looking ones. The one in the middle is actually the piéce de resistance of the set and I was surprised to see it during my last trip since these things have been out for awhile and I thought it'd be close to impossible to find outside of Japan. Anyways, just figured it was time for a show-n-tell. ;-p
And while we're on pictures, here's another one in case you missed it the first time around...
That's just Bushie Jr. falling off his Segway, the people-mover that balances itself. Apparently someone failed to tell Bushie Jr. that.
I just discovered that Fox has indeed cancelled Andy Richter Controls the Universe. Fuckin' A! That show ruled damnit! The hell're they thinking??? Idiot tv execs wouldn't know a good show from a hole in the wall. Argh!!!
Grrr.... anyways, found an interesting program called Lotto Sorcerer which uses the latest neural networking techniques to identify patterns and the best strategy to use when it comes to picking lottery numbers. So after spending a few hours entering the last 260 winning numbers for MegaMillions (dating back to early 2000) into the program so that it could do an effective analysis, well... the people who run MegaMillions (which is up to $140 million incidentally) sure do a good job of keeping it pattern-free as Lotto Sorcerer could do no better than suggest numbers it deemed to have between .8 to 2.5% better chance of winning than just having the lotto machine pick the numbers for you. Pretty negligible in other words. Which I guess wasn't too surprising. Oh well, there goes another get-rich-quick scheme. ;-p
|2003-06-20 04:16:19 - Hsin|
Ah, the Republicans. . . makes us laugh and makes us cry. . .