Minor Celebrity Week Continues Yesterday’s

Minor Celebrity Week Continues

Yesterday’s post reminded Henry Berg that he still had some pictures of mine from March 2001: the Day I Met Hasselhoff. So I’m posting the pictures below for the first time anywhere!


I subscribe to UPOC’s Celebrity Sightings wireless message group, for kitsch value and to have something to show executive management in pitch meetings. Last March, my phone told me that David Hasselhoff was sitting in the Hudson Bar: Jason Robinette, Ken Courtney and I immediately gave chase.




  • Frame 1: Jason and Ken look for Hasselhoff among a forest of black cashmere sweaters.
  • Frame 2: Ken finds him in the basement lounge. “Hey, look! It’s DAVID HASSELHOFF!”
  • Frame 3: Hasselhoff signs a photo for me.
  • Frame 4: Hasselhoff doesn’t want his picture taken, so he takes our picture instead. This is our indubitable proof that we actually met him.

Minor Celebrity Week Continues Yesterday’s

The best piece of swag

The best piece of swag ever.

Like a mysterious ifrit, Gary Coleman appeared in the hallway outside my office today. No, really; here’s a company email you don’t get every day:


TO: NY Office

SUBJECT: Company Announcement: Special Guest


In case anyone is interested (and they said it was okay), Gary Coleman is visiting the Media team today for lunch in the “Lincoln Center” conference room. If you’d like to meet him, come by after 12:30.


Thanks

Wesley


…So I got his signature on my new “Analysis and Design of Information Systems” book. All right! I’m gonna be the coolest kid in Q8102: Object and Structured Analysis — Software Engineering for E-Commerce!

The best piece of swag

The worst piece of


The worst piece of swag ever

I gave platelets again this morning. It was hard this time; I was on the one-arm machine this time, and it complained the whole time (“Warning! Low Draw Volume! [continue/rinseback]”), and my hand went to sleep, and my lips were tingling (so I had to chew Tums, I’m not sure why), and I had the scary technician who yells at me (“Don’t move your arm! That needle tear your vein up!“), so all in all I earned my halo today.


When I left, they gave me the worst piece of swag I’ve ever seen. It’s a refrigerator magnet about six inches in diameter, advertising the somewhat arcane fact that the plateletpheresis machine has a centrifuge. “Yay, my precious bodily fluids were sent to a machine and returned to me!” It’s gross, it’s dizzying, and the freaky blood-drop beanbag character has an odd, complacent grin carved between its tumescent cheeks. Why does it need eyebrows, for christ’s sake?


Here’s a much cooler mascot.

The worst piece of

“Let’s put on a show

“Let’s put on a show in the barn” has a much different meaning at a large direct-marketing company.
Ever since hearing about the fledgling charity “Mustaches for Kids”, in which participants collect pledges to grow ugly-ass mustaches, I’ve been hooked. Mustaches are grown for six weeks, with regular checkpoints and rules — no handlebar mustaches, pencil-thin mustaches: in short, no “ironic” mustaches at all. We’re talking volunteer firefighter mustaches, assistant basketball coach mustaches. God help us all, even Freddie Mercury mustaches. The money goes to the Make-A-Wish foundation, so when someone asks you about the horrible caterpillar on your lip, you can fix them with a steely gaze and say, “Hey! It’s FOR THE KIDS!”


I’ve been fortunate enough to get some colleagues at [My employer] involved — Account-manager-pprodigy Gerard Viau, master copywriter Doug Bost (you can hear him talking on the Crown Royal homepage), and the inimitable Kyle Smith, world-record holder for multi-level knife sales in college. With their help, the project is blooming from silly idea stage into a full-blown multi-channel direct response campaign, complete with business response cards and corporate involvement.


I plan on putting a site together over the weekend and will post the URL: meanwhile, you can see some pictures I gathered for inspiration here. Caution: Yanni photos!

“Let’s put on a show

Okay, the aquarium webcam is

Okay, the aquarium webcam is up!

As you can see from my webcam above, I’ve pointed a second webcam at the aquarium. The second webcam is a Lego Vision Command USB camera, with a lego base that I built for it. The camera has its own server, a box we cannibalized from the (defunct, right now) [My employer] QA lab. The monitor behind the tank shows a full-screen preview of the fish inside. Here’s the page where the picture goes: go watch the fish now!

http://www.tikaro.com/aquarium.html


Suggestions for names now being accepted!

Okay, the aquarium webcam is

My office mates and I

My office mates and I went to Petland on 29th and 3rd to buy fish for the aquarium in our room. We got rid of the diving treasure hunter with the animated opening treasure chest: like my colleague Tim Griffin says, it’s like a new apartment that looks big before there’s any furniture in it, let alone animated plastic skeletons at the wheel of sunken Spanish galleons.


Technology manager Leandro Levinson donated a QA machine to act as a webcam server; if I can get it a fixed IP address, I’ll post the new [My employer] Oceanographic Institute’s Streaming Webcam address later this week!

My office mates and I

The long train ride on

The long train ride on Friday gave me time to finish Louise de la Valliere and The Man in the Iron Mask, by archetypical historical-populist Alexandre Dumas. Together with The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years Later, and The Vicomte de Bragelonne, Dumas’ Three Musketeers series runs to over 1.25 million words. The last chunk I was reading took up 2 megabytes in my iPaq, which is twice as long as the whole Lord of the Rings. I like to go to the bookstore and look at the twelve running inches that Dumas’ series takes up in the Oxford Classics paperback editions. I beat you, Dumas! I read the whole thing! Take that!


I might not have the healthiest reading style in the whole world — it’s kind of like the three-day canoe trips I took at summer camp. We’d have three days to go, say, 30 miles, and our counselor would spur us on to prodigious efforts on the first day. “Come on, guys! The farther we go today, the easier we can take it tomorrow!” We’d slog on and on, imagining the long, lazy day spent in a riverside campsite the next day. Bright and early the next morning, though, we’d get inspired for another death march. “Come on, guys! If we go the whole rest of the way today, we don’t have to do anything tomorrow! We’ll all be cooking hot dogs and playing mumblety-peg all day, and then the other groups will get in all tired and we’ll laugh at them! Yeah!” …And we’d power through the rest of the day, finish the hike, then look at each other, shrug our shoulders, and take the van home.


Maybe my counselor had a girlfriend in town, or something. Anyhow, my Dumas Death March is complete. Sort of; I want to read The Count of Monte Cristo before the movie comes out on Friday. I bought the book today, only to discover that I’d purchased the abridged version. No way, no abridged versions for the conqueror of Dumas’s mountains of prose! I took it back, but the only other version there had the movie poster art on it. I couldn’t buy that; I get really embarassed when I read books that have the movie poster on them. So, in summary: 1) Death march reader: 2) No cover art. Does this make me an endearingly idiosyncratic reader, the kind that write witty memoirs containing their work published in the New Yorker, or just a freak? Unfortunately, the look I got from the bearded bookstore clerk today seemed to vote for the latter. Pointing to a mass-market glossy with a scowling Antonio Banderas on it: “…but it’s the same book, sir.”

The long train ride on

I’m writing this in the quiet car

I’m writing this in the quiet car of the Acela Express train from Boston, after my fourth day trip to visit the offices of the Bridgespan Group. Tighter baggage regulations went into effect nationwide today, so it seemed like a good time to try the train instead of the Delta Shuttle. The Delta Shuttle is great — a 40-minute flight and fast check-in. (last week, I arrived at the airport at 6:45 AM and made a 7:00 boarding call — and that’s including time to get thoroughly frisked twice.) The Shuttle trip is fragmented, though: taxi to La Guardia, metal-detector line, boarding-gate line, takeoff, landing, two T trains to Bridgespan’s office above the Hard Rock Cafe.


Amtrak, by contrast, is one uninterrupted three-hour ride with a tray table, a laptop plug, and a fully stocked cafe car. Plus a quiet car, where there are no cellphones allowed. It’s the same price as the shuttle and you end up right where you want to be instead of 20 minutes outside the city. I’m sold!


Adding to my joie de vivre is my destination: I’m taking the train all the way to Philadelphia, and Kate’s taking me to a rodeo at the Spectrum tomorrow. I’ll take plenty of pictures, though in posting them I’ll try not to be a prolix as I was about the Turkey Pro.

I’m writing this in the quiet car

The webcam, today, shows the

The webcam, today, shows the brand new [My employer] Oceanographic Institute, consisting of a MiniBow All Glass 5-Gallon aquarium given to my on my birthday by the inimitable Kate Smith. It’s filled with neon orange rocks (the garish color is reminiscent of miniature golf courses and tiki bars; unfortunately it doesn’t really come through on the webcam.) I’ve also put in a diver chained to a treasure chest, with the air bubbles that open and close the lid!


Next come the fish. My cubicle neighbor, Tim Griffin, says that you can buy goldfish, put them in a plastic bag, add some food coloring, and after a few hours the goldfish turn cool colors! Hopefully, the fish don’t mind, though I’m not sure how you’d tell if the fish did mind. Tim also told me about this teenager, who almost managed to build a breeder reactor in his backyard, so I’m inclined to believe anything he tells me.


As I update this post at 8:30 PM, the aquarium is giving off an incredibly pleasing christmas-tree glow, except that the glow is nuclear orange. I wish the webcam did it justice; I’m telling you, it’s almost this cool.

The webcam, today, shows the