April 2002 Archives

Don't Buy This Monitor

This is the third ViewSonic A72f monitor I've had since April 15, and I gotta say, I've been less and less impressed by each one.

  • The first one couldn't keep its vertical lines straight.
  • The second one not only couldn't keep its vertical lines straight, but the bottom was bowed.
  • The third one (which is going back as soon as I find the time) can't keep its vertical lines straight, the bottom is bowed (but less than the second one), the top is skewed, and there's a distinct blue tint to the left side of the screen (yes, I tried degaussing it).

Has ViewSonic quality control just gone completely out the window or has this just been a really bad batch? This is really, really frustrating.


Head colds suck. They really aren't bad enough to take you completely out of commission, but you still feel terrible.

Ask Medea

The Truth about the Myth of Mom. What do you guys think?

Follow-up (sorta) on the explosion yesterday

As far as I know, the exact cause of the blast is still unknown, but the latest news I've seen indicates that the latest theories involve the storage of volatile chemicals, including acetone, in the basement of a sign-making company. It's probably going to be a while before the exact events that led to this accident get completely figured out. At least 42 people were injured, 12 critically (and 6 of those 12 are said to have life-threatening injuries).

What's interesting, though, is how the city's four daily newspapers (I'm not counting the Wall Street Journal) covered the story. The Post ran it as the only story on their front page, and followed it up with three stories inside the paper. The Daily News, like the Post, ran it on the front page with a great photo, and had four stories on the blast on the inside. The New York Times ran a large photograph of the damage from the blast on the front page, right below the masthead, and ran three stories on it in the Metro section, including a huge photo above the fold on the front page on the Metro section.

And the New York Sun, the paper that promised "New York on the front page", the "broadsheet that will make coverage of New York a priority"?

The Sun covers the story with a lousy photograph of one of the injured on the front page, with the caption below the fold. The caption itself is exceedingly vague, leading off with the title "Chelsea Explosion" and offering virtually no supporting details, save for the factoid "The explosion ripped through the building next door to the offices of th old Talk magazine." Turning to the main story we find... we find... we find that there is no main story.

That's right: the day that a building blows up in the middle of Manhattan, the New York Sun, the paper that "will offer its readers . . . a priority focus on the city it serves" covers the story with one picture and a 51-word caption that doesn't even specify where the explosion occurred (for the record, it happened on the north side of 19th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues).

In the meantime, however, the Sun thought that stories on Columbia University possibly bringing back ROTC, a plan for trying to catch millionaire tax cheats, and how a pair of terrorists who kidnapped and murdered an American citizen are probably holed up in the Church of the Nativity were all worthy of space above the fold on the front page. Below the fold on the front page are a story on a new Spanish-language "I Love New York" television ad, two blurbs about the dog rescue in Hawaii and this summer's Shakespeare in the Park production, and a piece about how it's OK to love the New Jersey Nets now that they're winners.

I think that smarternysun.com summed it up best with their headline: Explosion? What Explosion?

Arthur Miller?

Hmm. The New York Post's Page Six (or at least their website) seems to think that Arthur Miller has had a face-lift:

Arthur Miller, according to the Post

Nice Things Are Good

Sasha, La Blogatrice, says some very nice things about me in her blog, yet finds the blog itself, and I quote, "intriguingly titled".

Well, now, for the first time ever, I explain the title (actually, I'm kind of surprised that anyone actually noticed it):

There's no deep, dark mystery behind the title: the humble truth is that it changes every month. By an odd coincidence, it seems that I archive my posts (located for your convenience over there on the right) every month. Truth is, last time I redesigned the site I was running out of creativity and didn't actually name it (pre-redesign, it had been titled "the home page", (no caps), which was either a sardonic, post-modern commentary on the semiotic nature of titles or a blatant display of extraordinary intellectual laziness). I guess if I had been feeling clever that day it would have been called "the monster files" or something like that ("the monster mash"?).

Hm. I guess I actually didn't explain the title. So, officially, there's no title.

If you really want to know what it means, you can plug it into Google.

Breaking News

There was an explosion over on 19th Street in Chelsea a few minutes ago. The explosion was inside the Apex Technical School. It appears that it was an accident, but it was big enough to collapse several floors of the building.

Does It Go Boom?

YAWCM -- Yet Another Wacko Case Mod. I'm just wondering how long it will be before the damn thing explodes.


Yesterday’s Times has a nice piece on chefs who aren’t working in restaurants anymore. Surprise, they’re discovering that cooking at home is rather different than cooking in a restaurant kitchen. Sample quote: “I’m buying things in the store now, normal products, and trying not to use so many pots and pans because I don’t have two full-time dishwashers at my disposal.” A follow-up piece could easily be called “Why cookbooks by Famous Chefs suck”.

Frontier House

This show will be on PBS early next week. Check it out. I worked on it (well, just a teeny weeny bit, but I worked on it just the same).

Vouchers For Everyone!

Guess what the real motives and purposes behind the whole school voucher issue are? I'll give you a hint: it's not really about making better schools. (It seems to me that the real keys to improving schools are

  1. Better pay for teachers (quite frankly, it's rather difficult to make a living as a school teacher. Why do you think so many quit to get real jobs?). Better, more competitive pay means that more people will be interested in becoming teachers, and therefore the quality of the teacher pool will increase.
  2. Smaller class sizes. Smaller classes means more individual attention for the students and allows teachers to experiment with different pedagogic techniques. The best course I took in High School was an American History class with only ten students in it.
  3. Adequate physical infrastructure. There are a lot of schools out there in great shape. There are also a lot of schools out there (particularly in large cities) that are in terrible shape. Quite frankly, schools that are in bad shape -- broken doors, stuff falling out all over the place, etc. -- are not conducive to the learning experience.
  4. More and better arts instruction. This is a personal pet peeve of mine, but when school budgets get cut, the first thing that goes is usually arts instruction. I'm afraid that this is turning America into a country more populated by culturally illiterate baboons than is already the case.
I fail to see how school vouchers, which divert public money to private institutions, will solve these problems. But I'm digressing.)

OSC on Terror

Orson Scott Card on terrorism and why "Oppression" isn't a root cause (of terrorism). Thanks to the Blue-Collar Snob Slob. I don't always think OSC is right all the time, but he makes some very important points here.

Film XChange

The Film Exchange Project On May 20th, you will find on these pages (barring disaster of one sort or another) 12 images from the camera of the San Francisco-based (and talented) Jessica. On the same day, you'll find 12 of my images on the pages of the erudite and witty Scott. That'll be the first time that I'll see those images (I'm half-tempted to just drop one of the un-developed rolls of film I have lying around into the mail, but that's not really playing by the rules), so I'll be just as surprised as the rest of you. I think that's kinda cool. I just hope I shoot good stuff.

Does Dante Know About This?

Apple Computer is in league with the devil. Gee. No wonder I like their computers.

It's A Good Thing

Homemade mayonnaise: it's a good thing.

You'll need:

  • Three eggs
  • Oil (I use bog-standard canola oil. Feel free to substitute olive oil or any other standard cooking oil).
  • A lemon
  • Mustard (I have a weakness for Expensive Imported Gourmet Mustard)
  • Salt and pepper
  • A blender of some sort -- either a standard stand-alone blender with a big glass jar or one of these small hand-held immersion blenders (often referred to as "The Stick"). Actually, Stick blenders work really, really well for making mayo. You just have to watch out for how they have a habit of making a huge mess. Don't use a food processor. You'll regret it (and I'm pretty sure that it won't work, anyway).

Separate the eggs. You can do what you want with the whites (whip them in to a meringue or throw them out -- it's irrelevant for our purposes here). Put the yolks in the mixing container. Add the juice from the lemon (don't use bottled juice -- fresh is so much better -- and definitely don't use any sort of lemon juice intended for consumption as part of a mixed drink (i.e. Rose's). Add about a teaspoon of mustard (keep the mustard around -- you'll probably want to add more later). Start blending at low speed. Start adding the oil slowly. When it starts to stiffen, it'll stiffen very, very quickly.

Once it's started to thicken, add more mustard/lemon juice/salt/pepper to taste. If it gets too stiff, you can either drop another egg yolk in or thin it by adding lemon juice/water (if you really don't know what to do with the left over egg whites, you can use those to help thin out a too-stiff sauce).

With practice, you can get the process down to 5 minutes.

You can play with the ingredients and proportions for different flavors and purposes. For example, you can add roast garlic and use olive oil as your oil to make aioli. Or you can load it up with extra mustard for a sauce that works really, really well with fish. I've even seen recipes that call for adding saffron (have to try that one day).

After tasting homemade mayonnaise, you'll find that the pale stuff out of the jar doesn't really compare. The only problem is that homemade mayo doesn't keep well -- a few days at most.


Well, the Big Apple Blogger Bash was a smashing success. Many kudos to Asparagirl and Orchid for their bold initiative in actually organizing it. The fact that I was several beers to the wind might have impaired my recollection of the event, but an incomplete list of the NYC-area bloggers (who are all uniformly intelligent, charming, attractive and witty) I ran into must include, aside from the above-mentioned hosts, La Blogatrice, Ravenwolf, The Blue-Collar Slob, The Illuminated Donkey, Jane Galt, and many, many more who's names I've completely forgotten. But I'd like to offer a very special thank-you to Steve, who bought us all pizza.

A few notes for next time:

  1. When wearing nametags in a dimly-lit bar, don't use red ink. It's just too hard to read.
  2. Business cards. Sasha did it right. Definitely.

The flip side to all this is that my blog bookmarks list has grown completely out of control, much in the fashion of a giant radioactive Japanese lizard.

The Film Exchange Project

Yeah, so everyone else is pimping The Film Exchange Project. Check it out.

Trek Trivia

Leonard Nimoy Demonstrates the Magnavision Videodisc Player has somehow garnered a rating of 9.2 (on a 10-point scale) over at the IMDB. The user comments indicate that this one is slightly more action-packed than your standard documentary video.

Kewl Kids

big apple blog bash; click for details

All the cool kids are going... are you?

Thank You Sir May I Please Have Another!

OK, I think that's it's pretty safe to say that yesterday sucked.


They've turned off The Towers of Light.

I think that they should leave them on. Or at the very least, they should bring them back every year to commemorate the event.


And in lighter news, New York is easing its lifeguard crisis (what, you didn't know that there was a lifeguard shortage?) by importing lifeguards from abroad. I wonder if they'll qualify for H-1B visas?


It would make perfect sense that on April 14, the one day of the year that I really, really need my computer, my monitor dies.

I mean, I did find it in the trash, and you know what they say about getting what you pay for. But still. It's the principal of the thing. And the timing.

What was it that I was saying about April being the cruelest month?


Found most the paperwork for my taxes.

Now I have to find the money so I can pay my taxes.

April is indeed the cruelest month.


Broke the bike out for the first time this year today. Went for a nice little cruise along the river, up to about 86st Street and then down to Chelsea Piers. Rode back, watched the Red Sox beat the Yankees, and then took a looooong nap.

Guess I'm still a little out of shape. Either that or this residual jet lag is harder to shake than I thought.

Shakespeare Almost Had It Right

Beware the Ides of April.

Where oh where did I put my 1099s and my W2s?

Why Jet Lag Sucks, Part The Second

I barely slept at all last night, netting a total of some five hours (if I was lucky) between all the tossing and turning.

Some links:

And, in totally unrelated news, can anyone tell my why I have them main theme from The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension stuck on auto-repeat in my head?

I guess this is what happens when I don't get enough sleep.

Why Jet Lag Sucks

I slept like a rock for 10+ hours last night, and could have slept for another hour or two.

And I'm still tired.

Que Sera, Sera?

Archives, eh?

Youda thunk that I'da had the foresight to create my March archive page before I went away for a week, wouldn'tcha?

Baby Got Back

I'm back. No time to do a full update. Hitting the ground running. More later (soon? tomorrow? who knows? the shadow knows....)