Archive for July 2003

So it's going to be that kind of day

First I went the wrong way out my front door, and walked several paces before I realized, "Hey! Where am I going? This isn't how I go to work." Then when I got to the station, I dug my keys out of my purse, rather than my MetroCard. I was a little perplexed as I stood there, wondering how to unlock the turnstile.

Winged Migration

Last night I went to see Winged Migration, an amazing film that follows various migratory birds on their journeys. Like Director Jacques Perrin's previous documentary, Microcosmos, I felt completely transported into the film's world. But I was really saddened by a scene towards the end, when a mean bird killed a baby penguin.

The penguins didn't seem organized to fight at all! I mean, there were only two mean birds and many penguins, and I think they could have totally taken those nasty birds in a fight (remember how Tsar vs. serfs turned out in Russia a while back?). All they need to do is organize. They've got sharp beaks and I bet they could do some serious pecking. Instead, they just squawked and squawked, and the mean birds were not deterred by this at all. I know we don't want to disturb nature's delicate balance, but I think we should help the penguins mobilize. Who's with me?

War flow review

It's been several months since I made the American War with Iraq Justification Process flow and it's time for a revisit. Looks like we've made it all the way to the end case, "The war is to liberate the Iraqi people." Now all I need to do is insert another box after it saying, "Hawks gloat, It was always about liberating Iraqis, America pretty sure it's great but soldiers are still dying and their tours of duty are being extended and at home their veterans benefits are being slashed." Whooh, that's a long one!

What the hell is going on?

So here's what I don't understand...say you're the President of the United States. And you give a very important speech, such as the State of the Union. And it happens that something you say turns out to be untrue. Wouldn't you be upset? Wouldn't you want to reassure the American people that what happened was an egregious error? Wouldn't you publicly say something along the lines of, "A speech to the American public carries the heaviest burden of proof. Though CIA Director George Tenet has apologized for the factual error in my speech, I would like an investigation into how such a mistake could have happened. Processes will be reviewed, the American people must never be deceived, and as your president I assure you this will never happen again." Etc. Unless of course, you meant to put that lie in there in the first place...

Similarly, there's an astounding quote from President Bush in an article from yesterday's Washington Post, President Defends Allegation On Iraq. In addition to claiming that the intelligence he receives is "darn good," Bush also claims Hussein wouldn't let inspectors in!

Defending the broader decision to go to war with Iraq, the president said the decision was made after he gave Saddam Hussein "a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in."

The president's assertion that the war began because Iraq did not admit inspectors appeared to contradict the events leading up to war this spring: Hussein had, in fact, admitted the inspectors and Bush had opposed extending their work because he did not believe them effective.

I feel like I'm living in a crazy world where people are just re-writing history as they go. Read the entire Post article for a good look at the Administration's changing story about the whole affair. [via Tom Tomorrow]

Can you help me out with Seabiscuit?

Consider this an experiment in weblogs-as-PR machine, or weblogs-as-journalism...

If you've been reading this site for any amount of time, you probably know that I'm all gaga about Seabiscuit (the horse, because of the book), and am highly anticipating the film's opening on July 25th. What I'd like more than anything is to go to a preview screening before it opens. In return, I promise to write a review of the film here on my site on opening day. So if you, or any one you know, could get me access to a press screening, or some other showing, I'd super appreciate it. You can email me

As proof of my passion/crazyness/obsession, here are older megnut posts about Seabiscuit: Seabiscuit: An American Legend, a book review; The Biscuit, an obsession; I see the film's preview and whine about its far-off release; and finally Seabiscuit is coming!, wherein I anticipate the American Experience episode about the Biscuit.

Also, ESPN Classic is showing a program called, Seabiscuit -- The Making of the Movie with airings scheduled through the end of August. I saw it last night and it was pretty interesting, and further piqued my interest in the film. The camera work looks amazing, they have these really long booms that get the cameras right in between the horses during the race scenes. And I hadn't realized but jockey Gary Stevens plays jockey George Woolf in the film. My only concern still is that the film will be all about the men, and not enough about the horse.

And finally, last thing on this topic (at least for today), I promise: if you haven't read the article in The New Yorker, A Sudden Illness - How My Life Changed, by Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand, you absolutely should. It is beautifully-written and inspiring, and I find I am more in awe of her accomplishment with Seabiscuit: An American Legend than ever.

DNS problems

Something's gone screwy with my DNS and it looks like I'm not getting email at my usual address. If you need to email me, please use mhourihan -at- instead. This site may also disappear, and depending on what the problem is I may move my DNS, meaning everything will be down/broken/not working for a couple days. If possible, I'll keep you updated. Ugh. Sometimes I hate the internet.

Update: in the meantime, you can always access megnut at

Second update: UltraDNS deleted my account (thereby removing my records from their nameservers) through a series of billing and invoicing "errors" that are hard to believe (apparently their payment system and invoicing system are not intergrated?!). Suffice to say, I've left them. What that means in plain English is this: will become unreachable for a period of time (24 - 48 hours) and then it will come back. If you're trying to send me email, it will probably queue on your mail server but I won't get it for a few days. By the end of this week, all should be well again. Damn you UltraDNS! Damn you!

An office dialog

Meg: "Whoa. The Homeland Security Department's chosen Microsoft as its 'preferred supplier' for desktop and server software!"

Mark: "That doesn't sound too good."

Meg: (reading from article) "Microsoft will provide the standard e-mail software for the entire department."

Mark: "So one I LOVE YOU virus and that's the end of Homeland Security."

Garden woes

So for the most part, things are going along swimmingly (or should that be sunningly?) in my garden. The tomatoes are ripening, one is even now orangish! My basil is growing like mad, and following the instructions in the wonderful McGee & Stuckey's Bountiful Container, I've cut the flowering plants back so that only four leaves remain on the stem (thereby creating a "basil factory" as they say, because now it will start growing again). With all the basil, I've been making pistou, a sort of French pesto without nuts, which freezes really well and tastes delicious on the grilled pizzas I've been making (recipes soon). So yes, things are going well. Except something's eating my climbers! :(

I came home a few days ago to find a bunch of my morning glories all wilted and fearing I'd failed to water appropriately, dashed out my window with my watering can in hand. Upon inspection though, I realized they'd been bitten off at the base. By a bird? A squirrel? Also the top of one was bitten off as well, so I lost two morning glories and one cypress vine and maybe the top-bitten-off one will cease to grow too. Does anyone have any idea what could have done this? And how to protect my garden from future attacks? I fear for my luscious tomatoes! And all my other lovely plants.

How to revive Niagara Falls

Apparently the once-great travel destination of Niagara Falls is in a serious slump. The Independent (UK) reports the city is looking to open casinos to attract more visitors.

The windowless casino is a mark of desperation from the city on the American side of the falls to attract more visitors to its roaring water and hanging mists. The depressed community, stricken by high unemployment, believes the casino may be the only chance to turn around the city's fortunes.

But I've got a better idea. Those familiar with the area know that Niagara Falls sits on the border with Canada, where the government of Ontario has recently legalized same-sex marriage. So rather than build a casino, the city should organize gay marriage packages: help with the arrangements, shuttle people across the border, renovate all those honeymoon suites, and bundle cheap airfare from Boston and NYC into the deal. Niagara Falls was always known as a marriage & honeymoon destination, why not uphold the tradition and revitalize it for the 21st century?

Buried in work

I'm in heavy-duty work mode for the next few weeks and probably won't be posting much. Just an FYI. Also quick updates: no luck with Seabiscuit tickets yet and I'm quite sure it's birds eating my garden. Also, NYC is weirdly cold but sticky today, humid, gray. I want Mr. Golden Sun to please shine down on me.

Seabiscuit misc.

The American Experience episode Seabiscuit will be re-run on Monday, July 28, 2003 at 9pm ET (check local listings). I caught this back in April and it was quite good, lots of information and original footage.

Here are some photos from the premiere last night in LA. There aren't any of any horses though, didn't they get invites too?

And I got tickets to Seabiscuit, alas I had to buy them myself for a Friday (opening night) showing. My experiment in getting tickets through the site failed. Waaaaaahhh! But I also learned a lot, like I should have started earlier because big movies like Seabiscuit have screenings further in advance. But no matter, I don't care. If I survive until the end of the week, it will all be worth it so I can go see Seabiscuit.

Oh, and there's a bunch more stuff about Seabiscuit at EquiSearch's Seabiscuit Central. [thanks Lenny!]

And Seabiscuit director Gary Ross on NPR's All Things Considered, from yesterday.

This moment in time

TriBeCa, Franklin @ Church, New York City. Right now. First a siren, then a few more. I say, "Jeez people, get out of the way." We keep working. Sirens continue. Louder. I go look out the window. Gridlock. Back to work. I realize the sirens are still going, really loud. Everywhere. Sirens. Traffic's snarled. All the sudden I get a cold feeling. "Something must have happened," I say. I rush to check Google News, breaking story, Gunman Opens Fire At NY City Hall. Sirens continue to sound.

Ok weird. Now I read that it happened shortly after 2 PM. It's 3:22 PM. Is something else going on? Why are there so many sirens now?

Update: apparently the gunman's still at large. And Brooklyn Councilman James Davis has died. News here.

Update update: Gunman isn't at large. Was never at large. Was killed by security guard at scene. Yay security guard. Boo City Hall security. How'd the gunman get a gun into City Hall? He never went through the metal detector. He walked in with Councilman Davis and wasn't required to.


Grown, nicely-dressed woman, walking down the street, talking on her cell phone:

"Yesterday I had the greatest day ever, I mean the best day I've had in a really long time. First, I got together with Ross, which was, of course, great. Then I made a prank phone call..."

A special treat

Amongst the growing pile of items to read, I think I'm most looking forward to Henry Newman's Tapes: A Modern History, Trends in the August 2003 Sys Admin magazine.

Lazy Girl's Guide to Budgeting

Though we've still got five months before the end of the year, it's never too early (or late!) for financial resolutions, especially with handy articles like The Motley Fool's Lazy Girl's Guide to Budgeting. The Fool reports that,

[H]alf of the 3,136 people surveyed said they do not always stay within their monthly budgets.

And how many people even have budgets? Every time I mention to anyone I have a budget I hear responses like, "Oh, how funny!" or "Wow, I could never do that." I'm here to tell you (along with the article) that yes, you can! And you really should, no matter how much or little money you're making. The more aware you are of where your money goes, the less likely you are to "spend" it unwisely (bank fees, interest payments, gigante frozen latteccinos, etc.) And that means more money for you and your vacation/house/emergency/[insert your fantasy here] fund.

From the New Yorker archives

David Denby's got a review of Seabiscuit (the film) this week in the New Yorker, and the magazine's dug into its archives and pulled out a profile from 1937, "detail[ing] the busy life of Man o' War, from birth to stud." Of course, Man o' War is another famous racehorse and "Seabiscuit was a grandson of War Admiral's father, the legendary thoroughbred Man o' War." (Wait, does that mean that War Admiral is the Biscuit's uncle?) Anyway, here it is: Big Red by Arthur Bartlett from 12/18/1937 issue of the New Yorker.

Bluefish on the grill

Today's New York Times has an article about Chris Schlesinger (from the East Coast Grill in Cambridge MA) grilling a delicious-sounding dinner of chourico, cherrystones, and bluefish: A Perfect Change-Up With Bluefish, Sausage and Clams.

"Everybody stresses recipes, but it doesn't work that way," he said, piling fresh logs onto glowing coals in the round fire pit he dug into his patio six years ago. "Technique is the whole deal."

"Here's the thing about recipes," he said. "You can follow them as close as you like, but the recipe doesn't know how big or small your fire is, or whether you have a four-ounce fillet or a six-ounce one or even what the temperature outside is." He pulled at the shoulder of his baseball jersey and wiped his brow with the material. "You have got to have the confidence to screw things up," he said.

It sounds delicious, and just the thing to try and make in a few weeks when I'm on Nantucket. And I like Mr. Schlesinger's approach -- if you're afraid of screwing up in the kitchen, you're paralyzed. You need to just go for it, wing it, and just keep your wits about you, whether it's fish on the grill or a mango salsa. (Except baking, don't wing it with baking, baking is all about exactness, and you'll be very sorry if you wing it while baking.) Also, I very much like Mr. Schlesinger's Red Sox jersey. Very much.

A very nice interview

There's a very nice interview with my friend (and hopefully yours) John Hodgman over at Lots of funny stuff and insight, as you'd expect from the Hodg-man. I'm looking forward to the revival of his Little Gray Books Lectures this fall so I can attend. Even if it is in Brooklyn. ;)

Bread salad season

It's that time of year again, yes, it's Bread Salad Season! I made my first batch last night with my very own basil from my fire escape garden and it was yummy! It will be even better in the coming weeks with fresh tomatoes from my plant and the local farmer's market. Still, nothing beats it after a long day at the office. I may attempt to subsist entirely on bread salad this summer.

Site problems

Something went kaput with the web server yesterday while those who were able to reboot it were unavailable, hence no megnut. But I'm thinking about moving the site to a more substantial server whose uptime should be more reliable. Hopefully at some point in the next month or two I'll find the time.

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