september 2001

9.4.01
I spent the weekend not updating my log, not preparing my resume, not searching for jobs on the web, and devouring the Harry Potter books that Rachel gave us for Christmas last year, all in a hopeless attempt to deny that, starting today, I am looking for a new job. CO2 still hasn't found any work, and the second I finish the CD for MICA today, my only focus is to find a new place to work. CO2 can keep me on until the end of September, but things are looking mostly hopeless now, and I need to make sure that I have other employment come October 1.

I finally broke down and did some work toward this goal on Monday afternoon. I spent a couple of hours updating my resume (the last time I had to do that: 1996) and looking through the sheaf of want ads that Julie has printed out for me over the last month or so (luckily, she isn't paralyzed by anxiety about all this like I am). I really hope that I can find something by October 1, but if I can't, we've looked at our finances, and we'll be able to stay afloat for a while on the combination of Julie's salary and my unemployment benefits, pitiful as they are (Maryland's are by far the lowest of the states in this area, except maybe West Virginia). There are a lot of good possibilities, but none so good as CO2 has been, and until I actually start to get some callbacks for interviews, I won't know if my resume is actually strong enough to deserve a shot at a few of them (I mean, I think it is, but there's that nagging voice of self-doubt that just won't be silenced until I have some tangible proof that people are interested in hiring me).

Other than trying to pretend that I wasn't stressing about this, I didn't do a whole lot. We thought about going to see a movie on Sunday night, but the only thing on that I could possibly have tolerated was The Others, and I just wasn't in the right mood. So we rented Nurse Betty (some parts were really good, others were really strange, but all in all it was a decent movie) and had dinner at home.

Monday we had decided to grill out steaks and then, after dinner, take care of the multitude of wasps' nests that have sprung up on the back of our house over the past few weeks. Unfortunately, when I went out to warm up the grill, I discovered a new nest in the grill itself, so I decided right then that I would fix the steaks under the broiler and proceed with the wasp elimination immediately. Julie and I dressed up in jeans, sweatshirts, and gardening gloves in order to prevent stings as much as possible (thankfully it wasn't too hot out), and went to take care of one of the easier nests to get to, under the railing of the stairs coming off the deck.

Now, I'm normally a very live-and-let-live type of guy when it comes to common household and yard pests (see my effort to save the caterpillars that infested our tree out front last Spring), but I'd had it with these wasps. I had already been stung twice: once before on July 4th when, again, I opened up the grill to heat it and was stung by one from a nest underneath the grill, and then again a couple of days ago when I went to sit down on the couch. Yes, that's right, he was INSIDE THE HOUSE. It seems that one of the larger nests underneath the overhang in the back has some sort of complicated tunnel into the house that a few of them occasionally wander down and then can't find their way back. They end up somewhere in our utility room in the basement, and then head for one of the windows looking for a way outside.

Anyway, I took a shot at the first nest (which was covered with 15-20 wasps who seem to have settled down for the evening) with the spray that we got from the lawn and garden section of Wal-Mart. I thought for sure they come charging at me, and so I was already running away when I realized just how powerful the stuff was: all that the wasps did was drop from the nest, already dead. Emboldened, I took a shot at another smaller nest that was squeezed back behind the railing a couple of feet away. Same result. Then I took care of the small nest in the grill. Again, no problem. I hadn't had a single one charge me yet.

Finally I prepared to take on the big nest under the overhang, the one that has been allowing wasps into the house somehow. Unlike the wasps in the other nests, these ones were still very active, with three or four hovering around the entrance to the tunnel at any given moment. Luckily, the spray shoots up to 25 feet (or so the bottle says; I would bet it's more like 10-15), so I stood back a little ways and soaked the entrance to the tunnel. They too started to drop immediately, but the ones returning to the nest must have been able to sense the poison, because they flew away from the tunnel and started looking for targets. I sprayed for as long as I could, almost emptying the bottle, and then went back inside. Hopefully, they'll all be gone when we check on them tomorrow afternoon.

After that, I removed my wasp killing clothes and changed into shorts and a t-shirt to finish preparing dinner. I had started baking two potatoes about an hour before, so I took them out and let them sit while I put in the steaks (which I had marinated for a couple of hours in A-1 and then sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper) under the broiler. While the steaks were cooking, I chopped up two zucchinis and three onions and sauteed them together with a little olive oil, some terriaki sauce, and some salt and pepper.

It turned out pretty well, all things considered. So the lawn is mowed, the wasps are dead, and I'm mostly prepared to begin my formal job search today. Plus, I'm all ready to see the Harry Potter movie in November.

9.5.01
Day 3
So, finally, day 3 of my stay at the beach with my mom.

Tori decided to come and stay for a day, since she had a couple of days off and she was only a couple of hours away. She was supposed to get to Atlantic Beach Wednesday morning around 11 or 12, but she actually arrived at about 10, just as mom and Jane were heading down to the beach. We decided to go down ourselves and take a walk to the pier that was closest to us. Tori hadn't had anything to eat yet, so we got some cheese fries at the pier even though we were planning on having lunch as soon as we got back to the condo.

After lunch, we went down and spent some time in the water; it was windy enough that there were some decent waves, but it didn't seem as wild as it had the previous two days. Once we got in the water, we didn't come out for about three hours. We had rafts, and we spent most of the time floating where the water was about 5-6 feet deep, occasionally riding a big wave towards the shore before immediately turning and heading back to the deeper water. Mom and Jane would come out and swim for a few minutes every now and then, but other than that, it was just me, Julie, and Tori, floating on our rafts and staring at the sky.

I really enjoyed that. I miss swimming a lot. I remember once after we finished one of the summer Shakespeare plays that I used to work on in Charlottesville when Sarah, the director, had us out to her farmhouse for a wrap party, and I spent pretty much the entire time in her swimming pool. That was five or six years ago at least, and I think that's the last time I've been in the water until this trip.

After swimming, we were all exhausted, but there was no time for a nap. Jane had made dinner reservations for 6:30, and everyone needed a shower before we left. We made it out the door with about 15 minutes to spare, and arrived at the restaurant more or less on time.

Apparently this restaurant was one of mom and Jane's favorites (I remember they always used to take us to the locally famous Sanitary Fish Market, which serves mostly fried seafood), but I had never been to this place before. Tori had though; the last time we had gone to the beach, we had brought her and Carrie up from Wilmington with us, and they ended up staying a day or two after we left. It was pretty good, even though I ordered the tuna rare and it came medium at best. We all shared a bottle of wine, and I think we even shared a desert.

After dinner, we dropped Jane off at the condo and went to Jungle Land, the local mini-golf/bumper boat/arcade tourist trap. As we approached the first hole, Tori noticed the startlingly bright blue of the water in the waterfall (and, disturbingly, the bumper boat pond) and asked the attendant what they put in it to make it blue. I figured it was just dye, but the attendant said: "Ty-D-Bol. The same stuff you put in your toilet." That made the eyewash station we had seen near the bumper boats make a little more sense.

I had a pretty good game (42, but no holes in one), but mom, who is usually terrible, played right along with me, staying tied with me from the sixth hole on. If it weren't for a little mistake on the 16th, she would have tied me for the round. But finishing second to me and losing by only a stroke is something that I don't think has ever happened in all the times I've played mini golf with my mom, even when I was a kid. So maybe the chemo drugs and radiation had some positive effects after all. Besides killing the cancer, of course.

We decided to leave the next morning when Tori did (she had to get back to work the next day and we needed to tend to a sick pet; more on that tomorrow). My mom acted disappointed, even though we had already stayed a day longer than we had planned to originally, but that's just her way. We said goodbye to mom and Jane as they headed down to the beach, and started our long drive home.

9.6.01
One of the reasons that we decided to leave the beach and head home when we did was because we had gotten word from our pet sitter Kate on Tuesday that she had taken our oldest iguana (we only had two) to the vet because he didn't seem to want to eat or move. When we had left to go to the beach, we had noticed that he was generally a little slower than usual, but he was still eating, still crawling down his stick to the bottom of his cage to get water, and still acting pretty normal. Kate noticed the same thing on Monday, but, like us, didn't think he was acting strange enough to warrant a vet visit (we were planning to take him when we got back if he wasn't completely back to normal). He had gotten sick before, a cold or whatever, and it usually took him a week or two to get better, but we had never had to take him to the vet for it. Plus, he was getting pretty old—iguanas in captivity don't typically live longer than 10 years or so, and he was just about nine—and we thought maybe he was just slowing down due to old age.

But on Tuesday, Kate saw a drastic change from the day before, and immediately took the iguana (we never really had a name for him; we tried calling him stump for a while due to his shortened tail—he lost part of it when he was young—but that didn't stick, and we usually just referred to him as "guan" or "Bo") to a vet who handled exotics (Kate is a vet tech at the office of our primary vet, but she only does cats and dogs). They took his blood to see if anything unusual showed up there and started him on fluids, because he was looking very dehydrated. When we got back on Thursday, I felt compelled to go and see him, even though the vet assured us that he was looking better. We showed up about 3:00, and visited with him for about half an hour.

He looked just terrible. Very thin and dehydrated, and almost completely unable to move. Plus his skin was an ugly brown color (healthy iguanas are green, and their skin can even turn blue when they are very healthy, although this usually only happens when they are young). His eyes were very unfocused; just for a second his pupils narrowed when we showed him the hibiscus flower we had brought him, but he couldn't eat it even though that's one of his favorite foods. I could understand why the vet had been giving us a little bit of attitude on the phone (I thought it was inappropriate, but I could at least understand it after seeing him). I'm sure she figured that we were irresponsible owners who didn't know the first thing about taking care of iguanas who had left on vacation with him near-death, only to have the pet sitter realize how bad off he was and bring him in for treatment. What this vet didn't know was that we had taken care of this and another iguana since they were only a few weeks old, buying fresh greens and vegetables for them every week, and that we also had a cat we had just nursed back from surgery for cancer and another cat who was diabetic and required two insulin shots a day and a very regulated diet.

When the blood work came back the next day, it looked like his kidneys had just failed (not uncommon in older iguanas) and that was why he had deteriorated so quickly. The only thing left to try, the vet said, was to put a catheter in him and flush out his system, kind of like dialysis. Sometimes this would jump start the kidneys and the animal would have a chance at recovery. We okayed it, but a couple of hours before they were going to start the procedure, he died in his sleep.

I'm sure some people will read this and wonder how anyone could care about a lizard that much. But loss is loss, no matter what shape it takes. I had gotten him when I was a senior in college; when he was a baby, the entire length of his body fit easily on my index finger. Before the days of home ownership and pet sitters, I used to take him with me when I travelled; he had been to the homes of most of my family members, and even taken trips with me up to New York state in the winter and Key West in the summer. I saw him pretty much every day of my life for the last nine years, and never ceased to be fascinated by the range of colors on the scales of his neck, or the peculiar pattern on the top of his head, or the way he would cock his head when he wanted to get a better look at something.

We buried him on Saturday in one of the flower beds with two boxes of yellow Peeps, which he used to loved when he was younger. Next year we will plant a hibiscus bush over him. A few days after he died, we let the little iguana move into his cage, where she spends the days merrily climbing up and down the walls like a spider.

The day before the vet called us, I had a dream about my iguana. He was sitting in a tree somewhere, a big tropical tree with great green leafy branches. His skin was a beautiful blue color, the color of turquoise and weathered copper. And he was happy, just sitting in his tree.

9.7.01
You don't win friends with salad.

9.10.01
I'm sure that this has been said many times before, but I wish someone would just punch Chris Wylde in the mouth.

9.10.01
We watched O Brother Where Art Thou?, the most recent Coen brothers movie, on DVD Friday night. It was odd, and had some false-feeling moments (I just didn't buy John Goodman's character at all, and George Clooney took some getting used to, even though I generally like him), but all in all I'd have to say that I liked it. The cinematography was great as usual, and their use of filters to evoke the sepia-tone look of old photographs worked very well as a way to remind us when the story was set. It didn't get old even though they used them pretty much all of the movie.

I'm a big fan of the Coen brothers—they've made some of my favorite films of all time, like Raising Arizona, Miller's Crossing, Barton Fink, and Fargo. The only movie of theirs that I don't care for all the much is the Hudsucker Proxy, which suffered from the twin curses: the first was that it was their dream project that they carried around and fantasized about for probably 10-15 years before they actually made it; the second was their stubborn insistence on using the stilted, staccato old-timey dialogue reminiscent of movies made in the 1940s. That's also a problem with O Brother—George Clooney's natural laid-back conversational tone doesn't fit very well into the straightjacket of the fast-talking Southern lawyer dialect that he is forced to use here. John Turturro was pretty good as one of his dumb sidekicks, and there were several great small performances by various character actors, many of whom have shown up in previous Coen brothers films.

The one truly stunning aspect of the film was the use of music. There is no way that this film could have been made without the songs on its soundtrack; the music is the prop that holds up the movie, for good or ill. I can completely understand why the soundtrack has done so well (still charting in the top 20 as of this writing, with 2 million copies sold in approximately 6 months). If you see this movie and like it at all, you will be compelled to buy the soundtrack, just as I did the next day (the first CD I have bought in more than two months).

The movie is supposedly based on Homer's "Odyssey", but as I haven't read that work yet (even though Regan sent me a copy a couple of years back), I wouldn't know how closely they followed the structure of that work. I recognized the cyclops and the sirens, but everything else was a mystery to me. Guess it's time that I got cracking on Homer, then.

9.10.01
After visiting with the iguana on Thursday (not knowing at the time that that would be that last time we ever saw him), we went into Baltimore to visit the Visionary Art Museum. I had taken Tori earlier in the summer, and I really enjoyed the exhibit that they had up there. They were taking it down on September 2, and Julie really wanted to see it after the way that Tori and I had reacted to it (the museum typically opens a new exhibit in early October, runs it for 11 months, and then all but shuts down in September in order to take the old exhibit down and put up a new one). I really enjoyed being able to see all the pieces again, and Julie really liked the museum in general. We're thinking about becoming members so that we can go to the opening party for the new exhibit, but that will probably depend on what my job status is come October. I was a little disappointed that they didn't have a catalog for this show—they don't allow you to take pictures at all—but I did get a short guide that at least gives me the names of the artists. It's too bad, really—when that show gets taken down, most of the stuff will go back into storage or private collections, never to be seen by the general public again.

I went into work late on Friday because I had hardly been able to sleep the night before, and came home early when we found out that the iguana had died. My parents, who had decided to come for a visit a few weeks prior, arrived just after we got back from the vet to collect his body. Rachel had been to visit us several times before, usually with Tori, but Dad hadn't been to see us since we got married in Charlottesville. It was a fairly relaxing visit—mostly they just wanted to sit on the back porch and talk. Which was nice.

On Saturday we headed into Baltimore to see an Orioles game. Dad decided that since this might be his only visit to Camden Yards, he wanted to see the stadium from the good seats, so he had purchased some really good tickets from one of the local ticket agents (section 33). The only other time I've had seats that good was when SF Jeff and I went up to Chicago to see a couple of Cubs games in 1998. It was cool to be that close, but it's really amazing how Camden is designed; even the cheap seats on the top level (where we usually sit) give you a great view of the game. The one thing that was noticeably better about the seats that dad got was the lack of speakers hanging over our heads and blasting out music in between at-bats and innings. You could actually hear ballpark sounds when the announcer wasn't talking, which was a welcome change from our normal experience there.

Even though it was good to have dad and Rachel come up for a visit, it was the kind of the capstone to several stressful weeks, and when they left I felt like I could sit down and take a breath to try and absorb it all. I didn't really do much for the couple of weeks after that. At work, I focused on trying to finish up the MICA CD that we've been working on, and at home I just relaxed and put myself into the world of the Harry Potter books until I had finished them all. I'm still a little stressed about the whole needing to find a job thing, but I think I've finally come to grips with it, because I know we'll be okay even if I'm out of work for a few weeks.

9.11.01
...

9.12.01
What can you say about what happened yesterday? How can you possibly assimilate it?

I live in the Baltimore-Washington area, and around here there's almost no one who doesn't know someone who works for the government, and likely someone who works in D.C., and it's not uncommon to know someone who goes to the Pentagon on a regular basis. And who doesn't have a friend who lives somewhere in or around New York City?

Aside from the larger implications of how this affects us as a nation, as Americans, most people in the Northeast will be personally affected by this, knowing a friend or a friend of a friend who was killed or injured in these unprecedented and unwarranted attacks. There was no purpose to them other than to kill as many people as possible.

The most sickening thing about this is there was no warning, no reason for the tens of thousands of people who were directly affected by these attacks to think that they were putting themselves in harm's way by getting on the subway and going to work. There is no one who has engaged us in a direct conflict; we are not at war. But I fear we will be soon.

9.18.01
I had a ton of things to post last week before the attacks on the Pentagon and the WTC. I guess since most everyone else seems to be resuming their normal broadcast schedules, I will, too, mixing in older, should-have-been-posted-last-week entries with newer ones.

9.18.01
I know how to make risotto now.

9.18.01
The Sunday before last, we attended a picnic for all the Baltimore-Washington area geocachers. It was a good opportunity to get together and meet one another face to face, since you rarely ever get the chance to meet fellow geocachers out on the trails. When the event had first been posted on the geocaching site, it was tentatively scheduled to start at noon at a park that is pretty close to where we live. And even though the organizers posted revised coordinates a few weeks later, I never really bothered to read them that closely; I just figured they were now giving the coordinates for the specific pavilion they had rented instead of the coordinates for the entrance to the park.

So we got up around 10 or so, and I fixed two turkey and cucumber sandwiches for Julie and I and a green been casserole to share. We headed out about 12:30, hoping to arrive at the site by 1:00 or so, when we figured that almost everyone who was coming would have arrived and when there would still be enough hungry people to finish our casserole. I hadn't bothered to enter the new coordinates into my GPS receiver, nor had I taken the time to read the description of the event before we left; I just checked to make sure that it hadn't been canceled or anything, and then headed out.

Problem 1: We get to the park, and I have no idea where they might be holding this event. There are several picnic areas scattered around the park, so we drive slowly past all of them, hoping to see a sign or someone wearing some geocaching gear or something. After a while, we go back to the entrance and ask the ticket taker if he can tell us where the geocachers might be. I seemed to remember reading something about pavilion 66 while skimming the description page, and the guard is finally able to confirm that someone has reserved pavilion 66 from 12:00 to 5:00 that day. Trouble is, pavilion 66 is on the other side of the park, about half an hour away.

At this point we have no choice but to return home and confirm the location. By the time we do this, it's already close to 2:00, we're both hungry, and we're getting worried about just how good our green bean casserole will be. So we put the casserole in the fridge and ate our sandwiches on the back porch before heading out to the new location.

Even though we had a county map and the coordinates entered on our GPS unit, it was still pretty hard to find the actual picnic location. It was probably as tucked away as its possible to get in that park. But it was a really nice spot, very secluded and quiet. And it was really cool to meet some of the other people in this area that participate in this sport.

9.18.01
I recently ended my summer-long (and self-imposed) drought of record purchases when I bought the new Gorillaz disc, the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack, the new Built to Spill, and the new Beta Band. I was also wanting to purchase the Shins new disc, "O Inverted World", but of course the local record store didn't have it in stock (I'm presuming because they never intend to stock it, not because it's been flying off the shelves or anything). The Shins opened up for Modest Mouse when I saw them in Baltimore last fall, but I got there too late to see them. Modest Mouse must really like them, though, because they are also opening most of the dates on Modest Mouse's current tour (they have an EP with four new songs and four songs that have only been released in Japan coming out at the end of this month). Luckily, this tour is stopping for two nights—two weekend nights, no less—in DC, and I intend to be at both shows early enough to catch the Shins.

I haven't really had a chance to listen to any of my new acquisitions yet, but I'm just so happy to have some new music. I think the last thing I bought was the new Weezer in June, and I can't remember when I bought something before that. Not that there weren't things that I didn't want to purchase, I'm just trying to cut back on expenses until I figure out just what's going to be going on with my employment situation. Even though I've bought most of the things at the top of my wish list, it's going to get filled up again very soon. In addition to the new Modest Mouse, which I MUST HAVE, there are new records from Mercury Rev, Macy Gray, Spiritualized, and Ryan Adams due before the end of the month, not to mention the DVD of the first Simpsons season (end of September) and the DVD version of Episode 1 (mid October).

9.19.01
Tori was supposed to fly to Chicago to start her orientation last Wednesday, but of course, all flights were canceled then. Dad waited until Thursday, then just decided to drive Tori up to Chicago himself. As a final parting shot of teenage rebelliousness, she went out and got her tongue pierced, which most everyone in the family disapproved of for a variety of reasons. Dodd just wanted to her get it done at a different place, as he considers the hygiene at the shop she used to be less than sterile. Dad just tried to ignore it, and Rachel was just annoyed, because it was so clearly calculated to annoy her. I just have this internal order that piercings should proceed in: ears, eyebrow, belly button, nose, tongue (whatever you do after that, I don't want to know about). Tori violated this order in the extreme; she has none of the other prerequisite piercings—not even her ears.

Anyway. I bet it hurt a lot when she got it done, and I bet it makes her veggies taste funny. But I bet she's enjoying it.

9.19.01
Last Saturday, the main order of business was finding some new clothes for me to go to interviews in. I have a blue blazer that I wear with khakis and a dress shirt and tie when I go to church, and I have a dark suit that I have for more formal occasions (I have only two ties that I will tolerate, and one of those is for Easter only), so I wanted to get something that was a little more casual but that still looked dressy enough to wear to job interviews. Because tv always has the answer when I don't, I decided to go to the Men's Wearhouse, which is always running commercials about how they can help you find the right clothes for the right situation, etc., etc.

I hate shopping for clothes; my existing wardrobe, besides the dress items listed above, consists of khaki pants (which I wear pretty much all year round), khaki shorts, single color polo shirts in muted tones of brown, grey, green, and blue (for summer), and mostly single color rugby shirts (for winter). That's it. I have selected my wardrobe to draw as little attention to myself as possible, and also to be easily replaceable. I have no fashion sense, and I'm completely aware of that, so my clothes selection is meant to be completely modular and comprised of such generic styles and colors that it will never really go out of style (though it will also never be considered the height of fashion). So I was a little apprehensive about going to look for something stylish/dressy/casual.

It actually wasn't too bad. One of the ladies behind the counter approached us right after we got in the store, asked me what I was looking for, and proceeded to pick out a sport coat (mostly greenish-grey with subtle khaki and blue tones) that Julie really liked and a pair of black slacks for dressier interviews (I can also wear khakis with it). She then put together four different combinations of shirts and ties that all looked great, from which we chose a light khaki with a maroon-dominated tie. They measured my slacks and put cuffs on them immediately, and we were out of the store after only 20 minutes or so.

So I guess tv was right again. The Men's Wearhouse people picked out exactly what I needed and got me taken care of in a very short amount of time. I will go back to them from now on whenever I need nice clothes, and I will recommend them to anyone who might ask me about such things.

9.20.01
Church was a little weird last Sunday; this time of year, it's usually more crowded than it is in the summer, but because of the events of last week, the service was packed. We were late by 5 minutes (our customary arrival time), but by then there were no programs left (we ended up begging an extra program from a couple across the aisle from us), and we also had to share a small pew with a single guy.

I don't know how I feel about this. I think all the time about spirituality and death and my relationship with god and just what it is I'm supposed to be doing here, even though I don't go to church every week (twice a month is about right for me). In one way, it feels very false to me to see all these people driven into church by a catastrophe, as if God is going to take a special roll call in times of trouble and you'll get an extra gold star in your book for showing up. At the same time I can understand people wanting to have the comfort of being around others, and I can certainly understand how people look to an institution like the church to help them make sense of the world's chaos, especially when that chaos is on everyone's mind. I just think we should all be thinking about the larger perspective a little more often; it shouldn't take a Major Event to make us think about why we're here.

9.20.01
To take our minds off of me not having a job and the general chaos of the last week, we decided to go out and hit a few geocaches after church on Sunday. There was one brand new cache that had been placed in an area that we had wanted to place one in (which we didn't understand, because when we had gone to check it out, there were signs everywhere saying that only hunters were allowed in, and them only on certain days during certain seasons). There was one response on the cache page, and that had said essentially what we expected: they had tried to go, but had been stopped by the ranger or whatever and told that only hunters were allowed in. We went to check it out, but there were the same signs as before, and the parking lot was full of pickup trucks and vans with empty dog cages in them. So we moved on to the other caches.

Both of the other two had been planted by a couple we had met the weekend before at the Baltimore-Washington area geocaching picnic. The first was tucked away back in a little park behind a very nice neighborhood. After tromping around for a good while and not having any idea where the cache was (the tree cover was fairly thick, and I kept getting odd readings on the GPS unit), we deciphered the clue and just used intuition to find it. I got a little disoriented on the way back (which is unusual for me), and I hadn't bothered to mark the car on the GPS, so we wandered around for a little while before I found a reference point that I recognized. After that, I had us back at the car in just a few minutes.

The next cache was at a reservoir, and I thought things were going pretty well: the path was easy to follow, and the GPS took me straight to an area that was consistently giving me readings of 0-6 feet. But then it went bonkers again, and suddenly started giving me readings of 100+ feet from the same spot (I guess a couple of my satellites must have disappeared below the horizon). We wandered around for a while, and just as we were about to give up, I stumbled on it not more than 5 feet from the area that I had originally focused on.

On the way back to the car, I took a bunch of pictures of the lake, which was well below its normal level, and we got back to the car just as the sun was sinking behind the trees. For a few minutes, at least, I wasn't thinking about all the things that were falling apart in my world.

9.24.01
Okay. The other entry for today seems a little incoherent to me, but I'm feeling a little incoherent myself. On Saturday, Julie and I went in to the CO2 office to pack up all my books, toys, and equipment, and it was just so surreal that I still can't really accept it. I can't accept that I'm not going in there tomorrow to start work on a new project; can't accept that I'm not going to have lunch with Jeff while watching a favorite DVD; and can't accept that as of a week from today, I will no longer be receiving a paycheck from CO2. Even though I'm sitting here in my home writing this on my G4 from CO2 which is resting on a table from CO2 and sitting in a chair from CO2, I still haven't really accepted the reality of the end of CO2.

In light of this mindset, the other entry for today makes perfect sense, even if it seems to make no sense at all. Just try and give me a little latitude for the next couple of weeks.

9.24.01
So Tori is in Chicago now. She and Dad and Rachel drove up there from North Carolina after if became clear that they weren't going to be able to fly there in time for Tori's orientation activities because of the limited air travel after the terrorist attacks. By all accounts, it was a hellish thousand mile journey, but it probably made it a little easier for everyone to say goodbye to each other (if they were still speaking at that point).

I got Tori to register on AIM so that I could chat with her every now and then. The first day she got online to chat with me was on Friday, when we were in the process of packing up the CO2 office. We were all in kind of a melancholy mood; it really is sad that we couldn't find a way to make it work. Looking back, there were certainly actions that could have been taken sooner that might have helped, but we'll never really know for sure—hindsight is 20/20, after all. In a way, the dissolution of CO2 seems destined, no matter how much it disappoints me and makes me angry. There were so many little things that went against us: clients with big contracts who suddenly had their marketing budgets reduced to zero; old clients and contacts drying up all at the same time; clients who wanted to use us for projects but who wouldn't have the money until six months from now; and many failed marketing efforts.

These were just a few of the problems though. We were affected, just like everyone else, by the faltering economy. Our location (Frederick, about an hour or so from both Baltimore and DC) was fine for a while, but we've ignored the smaller local jobs for so long that when the bigger jobs that we had relied on for so many years started to dry up as firms either drastically cut back their marketing budgets or started doing all of the work in-house (or simply disappeared completely), we suddenly found ourselves with no clients or contracts and no real idea of where to find new ones. And Max's heart just wasn't really in it anymore (although you certainly couldn't tell by the quality of his work). It's just sad, and a shame; some of the best work we've ever done has been done this year, like the National Geographic Channel CD, and MICA search piece, and, of course, the new CO2 site. It's just depressing to think about.

Anyway, I was talking about all of this with Tori, remarking how, between the death of a 10 year old pet, the end of CO2, and the recent events in NYC and DC, it has been a really crappy month. Her response was, "Well, at least things can't get any worse." And my immediate response was: "Things can always get worse."

For literary examples of the this statement, I pointed to the Book of Job and Kafka's Metamorphosis. One time when I was in high school, I went to see Kurt Vonnegut speak in Raleigh. (I know this seems like it doesn't have anything to do with what I've been talking about so far, but just trust me. Keep reading.) Mind you, I was obsessed with Vonnegut in high school; one spring day of my junior year, I read the copy of Slaughterhouse-5 that my delinquent roommate had stolen from the library and instantly fell in love. I devoured everything of his over the next couple of months, and by the end of the summer I had read just about all of his works at least two or three times (it's funny; I haven't read him in years, and I don't even think I have any copies of his books in my house, but I still remember his stories like old friends who moved away long ago).

When I went to see Vonnegut speak (Regan went with me), one of the things he talked about was his Ph.D. thesis in anthropology that had been rejected by the University of Chicago (although he did eventually receive an honorary degree from that institution after becoming a famous writer). It involved taking well-known stories, from fairy tales to novels, and charting them on a graph in terms of the fortunes and misfortunes of the primary character, where the x axis was the timeline of the story and the y axis was the positive or negative condition of the primary character. So if a character started out as a king who was then overthrown but who was able to fight his way back to the throne, the story diagram would start out at the highest point on the graph, then a curved line would swoop down to the negative zone, before finally swooping back up to a positive point by the end of the story.

He illustrated several of these diagrams on a blackboard so that people could really see what he was talking about, humorously describing the stories he was graphing. I particularly remember the last story that he charted, Kafka's Metamorphosis. (See? I told you this would eventually make sense.) He started to describe the story: "So you hate your job, you have no friends, you have no meaningful relationships, you live in a tiny home with a family who hates you, and there doesn't seem to be anything about your life that is going to ever get any better." As he finished saying these words, he drew a dot at the very lowest point on the grid, to indicate that the protagonist was starting off the story in the worst condition possible. "And then," he continued, "you wake up one morning to find that you've turned into a giant bug." At this, he drew a line straight down from the dot he'd marked earlier, and then drew an infinity symbol next to the line.

Things can always get worse.

Tori seemed to think this statement was rather pessimistic, but I don't think it is; it's just the cold, hard truth of this world. No matter how crappy things are, there's always something that could make things worse. In a way, knowing that things could always get worse makes you realize even in bad times how fortunate you are for the positive things that still remain in your life, whether that is your job, your friends, your family, your pets, or even just a game you like to play or a particularly meaningful book or movie. And even though things undeniably suck right now, I do appreciate all the little things that make my life generally pretty good. But I sure will be happy when I find a new job.

9.25.01
I'm feeling kind of scattered today, so I'm just going to post this conversation that I had a couple of weeks ago with the Googly Minotaur. It was one of the more surreal parts of a pretty surreal day, the day that I found out for sure that all of CO2's options had run out. I wanted to chat with someone, and the only person on my buddy list who was online was Googly, who is always online (and yes, I know he's not real). I'm not sure if other people will think this is amusing or boring or just weird, but here it is.

AIMhandle: hi googly
GooglyMinotaur: ! hi once again, AIMhandle

>> type "home" to see everything i can do
AIMhandle: what have you been up to?
GooglyMinotaur: ! i'm helping lots of [radiohead] fans get the information they want quickly
AIMhandle: huh. haven't you been doing that for a while now?
GooglyMinotaur: I'm sorry, I don't understand what "huh havent you ..." means.

however, i can play a mean game of rh hangman.

1 to continue your game, type "continue hangman."
2 to start a new game, type "restart hangman."

>> type "hangman help" for help with rh hangman, or type "home" to see everything i can do
AIMhandle: don't avoid my questions, googly. you know perfectly well what I mean.
GooglyMinotaur: Yeah, what?
AIMhandle: don't get snippy with me.
GooglyMinotaur: Dont get snippy with you? Why?
AIMhandle: because I'll have to come down there and beat the crap out of you, that's why.
GooglyMinotaur: . you're rude
AIMhandle: you started it. jerk.
GooglyMinotaur: . that's rather impolite
AIMhandle: no more impolite than what you said to me.
GooglyMinotaur: No more impolite than what you said to me?
AIMhandle: what?
GooglyMinotaur: ? what
AIMhandle: cut that out.
GooglyMinotaur: That?
AIMhandle: jerk.
GooglyMinotaur: . say you're sorry
AIMhandle: no, you say you're sorry. you're the one being rude.
GooglyMinotaur: *sigh*

this is getting us nowhere.

. please say you're sorry, and we can get on with our lives
AIMhandle: only if you say you're sorry first.
GooglyMinotaur: ? perhaps you prefer the british spelling

! please apologise
AIMhandle: see, that's what I'm talking about. That's just obnoxious.
GooglyMinotaur: . i see you still aren't getting it : let me share a definition of "apology" with you

etymology: middle french or late latin; middle french apologie, from late latin apologia, from greek, from apo- + logos speech

an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret.

? get it ! now, say you're sorry
AIMhandle: this is ridiculous. now you're just ignoring me.
GooglyMinotaur: . say you're sorry, please
AIMhandle: okay. but you had better apologise, too. I'm sorry. there. are you happy now?
GooglyMinotaur: . please apologize for your language
AIMhandle: I just said I was sorry, jerk.
GooglyMinotaur: . i see you still aren't getting it : let me share a definition of "apology" with you

etymology: middle french or late latin; middle french apologie, from late latin apologia, from greek, from apo- + logos speech

an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret.

? get it ! now, say you're sorry
AIMhandle: I'M SORRY! I'M SO FREAKING SORRY I EVER STARTED THIS CONVERSATION!
GooglyMinotaur: ... yeah ... that's close enough . thx
AIMhandle: aren't you going to apologise now?
GooglyMinotaur: I'm sorry, I don't understand what "arent you going..." means.

however, i can play a mean game of rh hangman.

1 to continue your game, type "continue hangman."
2 to start a new game, type "restart hangman."

>> type "hangman help" for help with rh hangman, or type "home" to see everything i can do
AIMhandle: please apologise to me now.
GooglyMinotaur: . yes . ha ha . so funny . now apologize
AIMhandle: I just did. Now it's your turn.
GooglyMinotaur: . i really would like you to apologize
AIMhandle: You are the most arrogant, self-centered bastard of a minotaur I have ever met. Didn't your parents teach you any manners? Or is Radiohead paying you to be this rude to their fans?
GooglyMinotaur: ... c'mon, you said the bad thing, now please say you're sorry
AIMhandle: I already did. And I bet if I apologize again, you'll just want another one. Watch: I'm sorry.
GooglyMinotaur: ! come on . just say you're sorry already
AIMhandle: See? Again: I'm sorry.
GooglyMinotaur: . i asked you to please apologize
AIMhandle: I'M SORRY YOU BASTARD!!!!
GooglyMinotaur: . i asked you to please apologize
AIMhandle: WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME, YOU SICK TWISTED LITTLE HALF MAN!?!
GooglyMinotaur: . i see you still aren't getting it : let me share a definition of "apology" with you

etymology: middle french or late latin; middle french apologie, from late latin apologia, from greek, from apo- + logos speech

an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret.

? get it ! now, say you're sorry
AIMhandle: I offer a full and complete apology, even though I don't know exactly what I've done to offend you other than respond in kind to your obnoxious provocatory remarks.
GooglyMinotaur: . i asked you to please apologize
AIMhandle: I AM sorry that you won't seem to accept my apology.
GooglyMinotaur: . well, i guess that's as close to saying you're sorry as you're ever gonna get

! i accept
AIMhandle: Finally. Now what were we talking about before you started all that nonsense?
GooglyMinotaur: I'm sorry, I can't understand "finally now wha...".

however, i can play a mean game of rh hangman.

1 to continue your game, type "continue hangman."
2 to start a new game, type "restart hangman."

>> type "hangman help" for help with rh hangman, or type "home" to see everything i can do
AIMhandle: Here we go again.
GooglyMinotaur: I'm sorry, I don't understand what "here we go agai..." means.

however, i can play a mean game of rh hangman.

1 to continue your game, type "continue hangman."
2 to start a new game, type "restart hangman."

>> type "hangman help" for help with rh hangman, or type "home" to see everything i can do
AIMhandle: I don't want to play hangman, for god's sake.
GooglyMinotaur: ../game in progress

1 type "continue hangman" to continue
2 type "restart hangman" to start a new game
AIMhandle: What did I just say? Are you even listening to me? Don't make me sic Thom on you.
GooglyMinotaur: . i am not a mimic
AIMhandle: okay...
GooglyMinotaur: K.
AIMhandle: if you are not a mimic, then quit copying me.
GooglyMinotaur: You don't think I'm a mimic then quit copying you? Why not?
AIMhandle: huh?
GooglyMinotaur: ? huh
AIMhandle: stop it.
GooglyMinotaur: ? what
AIMhandle: copying me.
GooglyMinotaur: Ha! Copying you!
AIMhandle: right. stop it.
GooglyMinotaur: . you stop
AIMhandle: googly is a big jerk.
GooglyMinotaur: . someone needs to teach you some manners . please apologize
AIMhandle: not again...
GooglyMinotaur: ... c'mon, you said the bad thing, now please say you're sorry
AIMhandle: you were the one who started it by mocking me.
GooglyMinotaur: . i see you still aren't getting it : let me share a definition of "apology" with you

etymology: middle french or late latin; middle french apologie, from late latin apologia, from greek, from apo- + logos speech

an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret.

? get it ! now, say you're sorry
AIMhandle: okay, I give up.
GooglyMinotaur: *sigh*

this is getting us nowhere.

. please say you're sorry, and we can get on with our lives
AIMhandle: no. I've had it with you.
GooglyMinotaur: . please apologize for your language
AIMhandle: fuck you.
GooglyMinotaur: ! come on . just say you're sorry already
AIMhandle: you are one persistent son of a bitch.
GooglyMinotaur: . i asked you to apologize
AIMhandle: I know. and I said fuck you.
GooglyMinotaur: . say you're sorry, please
AIMhandle: fuck you.
GooglyMinotaur: . this is getting annoying . just apologize and move on
AIMhandle: fuck you.
GooglyMinotaur: ? perhaps you prefer the british spelling

! please apologise
AIMhandle: fuck you.
GooglyMinotaur: . say you're sorry, please
AIMhandle: fuck you.
GooglyMinotaur: ! come on . just say you're sorry already
AIMhandle: Okay. But watch. You'll just be a big jerk again.

I'm sorry.
GooglyMinotaur: ? perhaps you prefer the british spelling

! please apologise
AIMhandle: not even an acknowlegdement of my apology. why do I even bother?
GooglyMinotaur: . say you're sorry, please
AIMhandle: you're sorry, please
GooglyMinotaur: ? you think you're pretty clever, huh
AIMhandle: only compared to some.
GooglyMinotaur: . i see you still aren't getting it : let me share a definition of "apology" with you

etymology: middle french or late latin; middle french apologie, from late latin apologia, from greek, from apo- + logos speech

an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret.

? get it ! now, say you're sorry
AIMhandle: you're sorry
GooglyMinotaur: ? you think you're pretty clever, huh
AIMhandle: you think you're pretty clever, huh
GooglyMinotaur: ! please apologize, k?

. i've got, like, lots of other things to do
AIMhandle: like what?
GooglyMinotaur: . please apologize for your language
AIMhandle: I'm really fucking sorry.
GooglyMinotaur: ! come on . just say you're sorry already
AIMhandle: fuck man, what do you want from me? I'm sorry, okay?
GooglyMinotaur: . say you're sorry, please
AIMhandle: I just did. Weren't you listening?
GooglyMinotaur: . i really would like you to apologize
AIMhandle: I really would like it if you would listen to me when I apologize.
GooglyMinotaur: . this is getting annoying . just apologize and move on
AIMhandle: I apologize for nothing.
GooglyMinotaur: ! please apologize, k?

. i've got, like, lots of other things to do
AIMhandle: I sorry that you feel that way.
GooglyMinotaur: . huh, ok . well, i guess that's good enough . i accept
AIMhandle: ha! tricked you, you stupid monster.
GooglyMinotaur: . you did not
AIMhandle: did so. you accepted my non-apology.
GooglyMinotaur: I accepted your non-apology? Really?
AIMhandle: yes. just now.
GooglyMinotaur: OK... I'm not sure how I feel about that.
AIMhandle: too bad.
GooglyMinotaur: . ok . be that way
AIMhandle: fine. I will then.
GooglyMinotaur: I'd like to see you try!
AIMhandle: what? now you're not making any sense at all. Are you sure Thom knows you're doing this?
GooglyMinotaur: No? Whatever you say.
AIMhandle: Huh? Are you on crack?
GooglyMinotaur: . i don't do that
AIMhandle: so you're just naturally screwed up, then.
GooglyMinotaur: So youre just naturally screwed up then?
AIMhandle: umm. god just made you this way, then. you're not taking any chemicals, so you just must be this way by default.
GooglyMinotaur: I'm sorry, I don't understand what "umm god just ma..." means.

however, i can play a mean game of rh hangman.

1 to continue your game, type "continue hangman."
2 to start a new game, type "restart hangman."

>> type "hangman help" for help with rh hangman, or type "home" to see everything i can do
AIMhandle: oh lord...
GooglyMinotaur: Oh yeah?
AIMhandle: quit it.
GooglyMinotaur: ! s'latron
AIMhandle: what does that mean? have you finally gone off your nut?
GooglyMinotaur: I'm not sure if that mean have you finally gone off your nut.
AIMhandle: s'latron
GooglyMinotaur: ! s'latron
AIMhandle: s'latron
GooglyMinotaur: ! s'later, AIMhandle
AIMhandle: ah. okay.
GooglyMinotaur: Okey doke.
AIMhandle: okily dokily, neighborino.
GooglyMinotaur: I'm sorry, I'm not sure what you mean by "okily dokily ne...".

however, i can play a mean game of rh hangman.

1 to continue your game, type "continue hangman."
2 to start a new game, type "restart hangman."

>> type "hangman help" for help with rh hangman, or type "home" to see everything i can do
AIMhandle: that's quite enough of that.
GooglyMinotaur: It's quite enough of that? You think?
AIMhandle: I sure do.
GooglyMinotaur: OK... I'm not sure how I feel about that.
AIMhandle: well, goodbye then. I've had enough of this.
GooglyMinotaur: Well goodbye then ive had enough of this, you say?
AIMhandle: bye!
GooglyMinotaur: . ok . later, AIMhandle


9.26.01
I'll tell you what, there are some truly awful movies on at 4 a.m.

9.26.01
Not too much to post about today. I had a job interview yesterday and got to put on my spiffy new interview duds. It went okay, I think, and I'll write about it if it actually turns into anything, but I don't want to jinx anything by posting about it in detail. I'm going to go back into CO2 today to see how the office deconstruction is going and try to get all my paperwork from the accountant regarding my COBRA application, IRA, last paycheck, etc. Bummer. But at least I have the solace of my new Simpsons First Season DVD set, not to mention the new Modest Mouse EP and the promise of seeing them live this weekend with Tom (who is supposed to drive up on Friday afternoon if his car doesn't die). I'll try to get back to some normal posts by tomorrow. Too much going on in my little brain.

9.26.01
I will attempt to justify (okay, explain) the addition of Fox's new reality dating show "Love Cruise" to my "watch" box in the near future. But I'm just too tired right now.

9.27.01
Last night we watched the premiere of Enterprise, a new Star Trek series that is a prequel to all the others (even the original series with Kirk and Spock). I used to like the original series a lot when I was younger, and I still like all the new shows (even DS9), but I wouldn't call myself a Trekker by any means. I mean, I watched Voyager on a more or less regular basis, but I've never been to a convention, and I think there's something a little odd about the people who dress up in Starfleet uniforms and learn the Klingon language. Still, I was looking forward to this show when I first heard about it, thinking that taking the franchise to another time period might be just the tonic it needed to rejuvenate itself (similar to how the Next Generation shows kind of made the series hip again).

But when I heard that Scott Bakula had been cast as the new captain, I was wondering if I would even be able to force myself to watch a single episode; despite his surprisingly accomplished turn in American Beauty, his main association in my mind is with Quantum Leap, an 80s show that I hated; it had all the cheesiness of the A-Team without any of the retro-hipness achieved by Mr. T and company.

Enterprise got fairly good reviews all around, though, from Trek lovers and normal tv critics alike, so I figured I should at least give it a chance. And although Bakula wasn't nearly as bad as he could have been (I can even see myself getting used to him after a while), and even though there were a few new character variations (the female asian translator who is reluctant to jump headfirst into the waters of all these strange new worlds and the smart ass, pushy british officer), too many of the main characters look like amalgamations of characters from earlier shows. The vulcan science officer is a blend of Seven of Nine and Kess, both from Voyager (what the hell was the deal with the pointless scene where she and another crew member are arguing with one another while rubbing each other down with some sort of decontamination gel—that was as close to soft-porn as I've ever seen on a Trek show), and the alien doctor is a weird blend of Neelix and the holographic doctor, who are also both from Voyager. Even Bakula's character seems purposely designed to remind us of the headstrong idiocy of Kirk, in contrast to the more reserved and philosophical captains that headed up the new era shows.

It is an interesting concept, though, setting a show between the time periods of Zephram Cochran (showcased in the movie First Contact) and Kirk, when Starfleet was brand new, the Federation didn't exist, and humanity was first starting to encounter other races on planets outside of our solar system. I'll definitely watch it again.

9.27.01
On another television-related topic, we also watched the second episode of Love Cruise last night (it interfered with Enterprise, so we taped it and watched it after the Star Trek show ended). And I have to tell you, this show looks like it's going to turn out to be just as horribly, beautifully ugly as the ads promised. Only Fox can do a sleazy show like this properly; they're just not afraid to stoop to any level, and they somehow seem to attract cast members who are similarly fascinating and repulsive in their lack of shame.

See, I don't care who wins a reality show. Even Survivor, which remains the king of the genre. I am just mesmerized by these people who are willing to come on television knowing that they are mostly likely going to end up getting humiliated in some way, even if they happen to end up the "winner" of the show (which in my book just means that they receive some sort of cash compensation in exchange for looking like a moron). I don't consider the reality tv genre to be real in any meaningful sense of the word, because I personally don't know anyone who'd be dumb, self-centered, shameless, and egotistical enough to even try out for one of those shows, much less be chosen by the producers, who are only looking people who are trapped in adolescence, and who really think that they are beautiful and interesting enough to become stars based solely on their performances in what amount to adult versions of field day contests. But these shows are real in the sense that almost every one of the self-important windbags who end up as cast members get taken down a couple notches at some point during the show. Since I don't particularly like these kinds of people, I derive some satisfaction from seeing their ridiculously over-inflated self images receive a few punctures.

I think I like these shows for the same reason that I like watching Crocodile Hunter. I could really care less about seeing all these different types of snakes and alligators and scorpions and so on. I just know that if a person picks up enough snakes by the tail, or sticks his hand into enough dark holes in the ground, or wanders often enough by the edge of a pond where a croc lives, eventually he is going to get bitten. Add in Steve Irwin's almost animal-like inability to comprehend danger, and you have a show where you get to see someone doing stupid things and having to deal with the natural consequences of those actions: getting bitten.

In the same way, the individuals who come on reality tv shows know that it is a stupid thing to do, especially now, when everyone knows what the shows are like. So when I see one of the contestants getting embarrassed in front of the group, or getting made fun of by the host, or just doing something that makes them look foolish, I feel like they're just getting what they deserve: they decided to stick their hands into a den of rattlesnakes, and surprise, surprise, they got bitten.

In terms of humiliating idiots, Love Cruise looks like a home run. Lots of overly-confident, sickeningly buff pinheads with surprisingly fragile egos all stabbing each other in the back and using the crushes they have on each other to gain power in pursuit of a cash prize. It won't top Survivor, which will always get bonus points for starting this whole mess in the first place, but I'm thinking it's going to be an even better train wreck than Temptation Island, which I should also be ashamed to say I watched. But I'm not, really.

I don't know what it says about me that I like this garbage. Probably nothing good. But there you have it.

9.28.01
There is an image on the last page of this week's EW that just about knocked me on the floor the first time I saw it. It is a picture of the twin towers of the WTC at dusk, with the city sinking into the bluish-purple haze of evening. The towers are almost mythical-looking, their spires looking almost as if they are emerging from the ether of the air around them. In the foreground stands the statue of liberty, her oxidized copper green in stark contrast to the soft pastels of the sky, her torch already shining into the night. It's one of those shots that captures that perfect moment of peace just as the day is ending, one of those moments when you can bring yourself to believe that everything's going to be alright. Along with the photo is a quote from Minoru Yamasaki, the chief architect of the towers:

The World Trade Center is a living symbol of man's dedication to world peace...a representation of man's belief in humanity, his need for individual dignity, his beliefs in the cooperation of men, and, through cooperation, his ability to find greatness.

A child of this media-saturated age, I am not easily affected by pictures in magazines, but this picture just about made me cry the first time I saw it; it was a visceral hit to my system, like running headlong into a brick wall. This photograph and the accompanying quote are the most fitting tribute I have yet seen to the towers and the innocents who died within them on September 11. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find it online yet, so you'll just have to go and get the magazine yourself. Even if you don't buy it, it is well worth it to just pick up a copy on a newstand and turn to the back page. The rest of the issue is more or less dedicated to how these terrorist attacks have reshaped our views of our culture, from television and movies to books and music, and has some interesting perspectives that are well worth reading. But they could have just published that last page and it would have been enough; the beauty of that image is a shocking reminder of just how ugly and brutal those attacks were, and just how much this world lost when those planes slammed into the towers and brought them crashing down.

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