Saturday, April 02, 2005

USB Port Fondue Set

This is completely out of the realm of the arts (well...I guess it would be covered under culinary arts) but is well in the domain of technology. A fondue pot that is run from your computer's USB port.

Strange but true.

New York Cab Nightmare

I’m on my way home from New York. I flew into LaGuardia but I’m flying out of Newark. Its raining, so I decided I would give myself a little extra time. I got up this morning at 6:30 am, which is 4:30 am to my body, so I would have plenty of time to pack, shower, and so on. I went down to the lobby and caught a cab. The doorman put my suitcase into the trunk. First mistake. I was in for an interesting trip.

We got as far as Lincoln Tunnel when the cab got a flat. I felt a little bad for the guy because of the rain. Its cold and nasty. He tells me, with a thick accent, “two minute. Be fix in two minute.” I waited about five and then asked him to call me a new car. He insists that it will just be a minute of two more. The cops came over; tell him to back up out of traffic. He obliges and they call a tow truck company. I asked him to shut off the meter. He said no. After another three or four minutes he did it. The meter read $6.20.

The two minutes became, ten, then 20, then 30. Finally he and the tow truck manage to get the spare on and we’re off again. We went through the tollbooth and I’m thinking, “Right, good, back on track.” Second mistake. He turned on his meter.

On the turnpike he missed the exit to the airport entirely. At this point he slowed down to 15 miles an hour in a torrential downpour. Cars are swerving around him with blaring horns. New Yorkers are well known for horn honking at random times, but these people had a point. We’re a great big yellow hazard. He then decided to cross the median where it is clearly posted that you’re not supposed to. He pulled in front of a semi that was driving at least 55 on slick streets. The semi had to punch his brakes hard—more blaring of horns. This guy ends up doing this across three different sets of traffic and pulls onto a tiny off ramp that is posted “Do Not Enter”. Third mistake.

He ends up BACK at the tollbooths, pulls a u-turn, cuts off a hearse—which, of course started blaring its horn.

At this point I’m starting to worry. He keeps slowing down trying to get his bearings. Bad sign…he turns off the meter at about $28. This man was muttering to himself and started cursing.

Finally we find our way to exit 14—the way to the airport. We drove down to the tollbooth and he stops dead. Another car was behind us…horn blaring. At this point he asked me, “Are we good? Is this right?” Of course my first thought was, “Are you kidding me???” I said to him, “You’re the driver.” We both noticed a sign to the airport and we headed off. Now bear in mind. The drive time to the Newark airport in the early hours of a Saturday morning (light traffic) shouldn’t take much more than 40 minutes. We were pushing 90 minutes at this point. I was thinking, “Ok, this fiasco has ended.” Fourth mistake.

We made it to the airport and he asked which airline. I told him that it was United. He asked, “US Airways?” “No United.” “Which Terminal?” “I don’t know.” “Which terminal?” “I DON’T KNOW” “Terminal C?” “I don’t know.” “Terminal B?” “I don’t know” “Terminal A?” I suddenly see a sign. “Yes, terminal A.”

We got to the terminal and I asked him, “How much.” Fifth mistake.

“I’ll take $65.00.” I am SO tempted to tell to take a long walk off a short pier. He has nearly killed me half a dozen times, got me lost, made me late. But wait….my bag is being held hostage in the trunk and I have a plane to catch. I sighed, fished the money out of my wallet—no tip—and ask for a receipt.

“The meter has been off for a long time. I can’t give you one.” I had just about had it.

I got out of the car, got my bag and went to the United kiosks. My luck has changed—my terrible middle seat in the back of the plane is replaced with an exit row with extra leg room (thank you elite status) and here I sit in the terminal, just a few minutes before boarding pecking away at my keyboard.

Friday, April 01, 2005

NYC Land of iPods

It is rather amazing to see the number of iPods in this city. Everywhere you look the “earmark” white buds are showing the tell tale signs of Apple. On the train heading to and from Brooklyn last night I probably counted ten of these gadgets. The news has reported that iPod thefts in the New York subway are skyrocketing. It becomes awfully easy to know who and what to target if you’re a pick pocket when the earbuds give it away. Most folks don’t want to swap them for plain black buds because the iPod has become more than a music player, more than a fashion statement. Its become a status symbol for the masses. Lets hope Apple doesn’t blow it like they blew the personal computer market.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Play Without Words

I'm in New York City on business. I was fortunate enough to get a ticket for Play Without Words tonight. This piece, a collaborative work, devised and directed by Matthew Bourne is stunning. The music, by Terry Davies, often echos Graham Fitkin's Piano Circus and Philip Glass mixed with old smoky bar jazz.

The main characters in this dance piece are played by multiple dancer/actors who are usually on stage at the same time. There is an incredible moment where a chase ensues where suddenly it felt like I was IN Duchamp's "Nude Descending a Staircase".

Time seems fractured in this piece and yet the story is cohesive. There is an amazing scene where Anthony, the lead, is undressed and dressed at the very same time by his servant. The clothes move from one actor playing Anthony to the other in a seamless way. You suddenly feel like you are watching a split screen in a movie or television.

The "clones" of each character move between one another and truly feel like a single character.

I wish I had time here to see it again. If you have the chance, don't miss it. It is playing right now at Brooklyn Academy of Music in the quite wonderful Harvey Theatre.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Just ASKING for Apple to Sue

iPod Shuffle, meet your clone. What are they thinking? Apple is known for protecting its patents aggressively. These folks are just asking to get sued.

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