Good interview mind teaser

How many traffic signals in Manhattan?


Finally, that trailer for Heaven, the movie I mentioned in an earlier post.

The Kid Stays in the Picture

Engrossing documentary about a fascinating ego. I see a story like this and it scratches an itch I can't reach because I'm wearing a cast.
The movie leads with a quote: "There are three sides to each story. My side, your side and the truth. And no one is lying. Memories shared serve each one differently."
And so Robert Evans gives advance notice that he'll be narrating his side of the story, and that's fine. He knows it will be biased, but honestly so. Frankly, it's loads more entertaining because it is his point of view. Who doesn't want to hear directly from a guy who produced The Godfather, Marathon Man, Love Story, and Rosemary's Baby; married Ali Macgraw, then lost her to Steve McQueen; got caught in a cocaine sting by the DEA; was a suspect in the murder of an associate; committed himself to a mental hospital for fear he'd kill himself; and all the while, bedded most every gorgeous model and actress in Hollywood?

Back in black

My car is finally back from the shop. Man, I missed it. Days when things don't work out, when you get behind the wheel, it's great to know that everything works exactly the way you want it to when you put your foot down and turn the steering wheel.
At the same time, I read an article in The New Yorker about traffic, and how it's getting steadily worse all across the country. So I think, perhaps I'll take public transportation.
But yesterday, some kid hijacked a bus in Seattle, drove it at insane speeds down a local city street, demolishing a few cars, sending a few people to the hospital, finally crashing on a sidewalk just down the street from my house. Ironically, without knowing what had happened, I was hitching a ride back home from Amy and we were discussing a bus accident in Seattle many years earlier. Then, the bus in question was the one I usually took home. Some guy shot the driver, shot himself, and the bus ran across a few lanes on the Aurora bridge, smashed through the side rail, and plummeted head first down through a few floors of an apartment down below.
So maybe I'll bike? No, the office won't let me bring my bike up to my office. I've had three bikes stolen in my life, I'm not going through that heartache again. All offices should allow employees to bring bikes up to their office. Ours allows dogs but not bikes. Hmm.

Valuable real estate

Today, across the country, lots of readers receive their weekly copy of The New Yorker by mail. First thing you do with a magazine like The New Yorker is flip to the table of contents. It used to always be on the first page after the cover, on the backside (which is the left page if you have the magazine laid open). Now it's occasionally one or two pages in, after a few ads. Not as good as the old days, but not quite as bad as Vanity Fair or GQ where you spend ten minutes searching for a table of contents amidst ten or twenty pages of pouty models sporting clothes they look terribly bored to be wearing.
Anyway, next to the table of contents, in the left-hand gutter, is always a vertical pillar of adspace. Usually, it's for a book. Today's featured book? You Are Not a Stranger Here. The first rave review excerpt reads:
"A genuinely heartbreaking work of staggering genius."
Obviously an appeal to the hundreds of thousands of readers of Dave Eggers book of that title.
The next review? By Jonathan Franzen, author of The Corrections:
"A wonderful rarity: an old-fashioned young storyteller with something urgent and fresh and fiercely intelligent to say."
An appeal to the millions of readers of Franzen's novel.
Intrigued, I visited Amazon to check out the book. Only then did I find out, after reading a few customer reviews, that it was a collection of short stories, not a novel. Not just that, it was the #9 best seller in the bookstore.
Had to be the New Yorker ad. I've never even heard of that book. Makes me thing that was a darn good ad, and that the table of contents page in The New Yorker is one damn valuable piece of real estate. It's pretty hard to navigate the New Yorker without checking out the table of contents, one of the best in any magazine. Because people use it, and because it's very spare (author, page, title, subtitle, and a one-line fragment about the subject of the article), the ad space next to it jumps out at thousands of readers every Thursday.
If I ever publish a book, I'll know I've made it if my publisher buys that ad space.
A collection of short stories in the top 10! That never happens.

Jaguar, iPod

Jaguar: faster, definitely, than OS X 10.1.5; still good-looking; stable; great developer tools; overpriced, because lots of the bundled apps are available for free from Apple already, especially overpriced if you already bought an earlier version of OS X.
iPod: beautifully functional; great asset for creative professionals, because the proper soundtrack for life is always at hand; not good for jogging or working out, because it's a hard drive, and those are inherently delicate.