Monday, October 03, 2005

DAILY MUESLI: 4 Minutes Early

Good morning. I forgot to mention one really funny thing in my weekend hodgepodge post. As my train was pulling into Union Station yesterday morning, it arrived four minutes ahead of schedule, which was very exciting to the train conductor. Over the public address system, he said:
“HA! We’ve arrived four minutes ahead of schedule! HOOO HA! Amtrak, still No. 1!”

1.) I’ve never met Nick Denton in person. But if he looks like anything like his stylized portrait on the front page of this week’s New York Observer (above), well, he may scare off some children. If you find the origins of Mr. Denton’s blogging empire, Gawker Media, interesting, I suggest you read the Observer’s piece, though it is awfully long.

2.) If I would have been around my neighborhood this weekend, apparently I would have been likely to have heard a seven-minute barrage of cacophonous explosions, machine-gun fire, white smoke and other loud sounds that reverberated across the District and Northern Virginia.

No, Jubal Early didn’t breach the capital's defenses at Fort Stevens. The Kennedy Center was putting on a special Chinese fireworks display for its Chinese festival. The Washington Post has the details, in case you were wondering how people were fleeing indoors to take cover and flooding 911 to report an apparent attack on the capital.

2a.) A few friends who were in different parts of the District and Arlington have given me their reports of the Kennedy Center fireworks spectacular, and it seems to have looked like and sounded like different things, depending on where you were. I have always thought that acoustics in Washington work in mysterious ways. On the night before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, I was coming home from Sigur Ros’ performance at the 9:30 Club. I was out of money, but had enough for a 96 bus ride to Woodley Park. I walked the rest of the way from Woodley to Glover Park where I had been living at the time. As I approached the Naval Observatory on a very crisp, and foggy 34th Street, I heard a train whistle moan off in the distance. The train sounded like it was nearby, as if it were snaking through Rock Creek Park. But in reality, the nearest active freight rail tracks are in Northeast Washington. Just as people who heard the fireworks explosions on Saturday night, the District’s varied geography can warp and manipulate audio waves. So when it sounds like the city is under attack, it isn’t all too surprising that people might run for the air raid sirens while others a few blocks away might have never heard something very different, or nothing at all.


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