December 12, 2009

Is it real??

These guys have FAR too much free time

Is there anyone out there still reading here?

Posted by Pete at 09:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 22, 2009

Another one that is REALLY wrong

This music video is a piece of work. On one level it is so wrong but it does sound good. Thanks to William over at Two-Four

Posted by Pete at 02:53 PM | TrackBack

October 26, 2009

I found Jen!!!

Jen has been spotted tooling around Iowa in this little jem


Posted by Pete at 06:47 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 09, 2009

There I fixed it

Rube Goldberg would be proud.

It will bring tears to your eyes

Posted by Pete at 07:46 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 07, 2009

Out of the hospital

A big thanks to all for the prayers and thoughts. I have been out of the hospital since last Thursday. My ribs and shoulder are still hurting at times but nothing major. Hopefully I'll be back at 100% before too long. I was talking from a guy who was on the ride today and it seems that when they first got to me I wasn't breathing so I am unbelievably lucky to be posting this.

Posted by Pete at 08:10 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 27, 2009

Fund Raising time

Ok everybody we are getting close to the time for the Tri State Trek again. It a 270 bicycle ride from Boston to NY to raise money for ALS research. My fund raising page is here. My goal this year is to raise at least $1800. I appreciate everything that all of you did last year to help out. I know that times are tough for a lot of us but I hope that you can find something to give to this charity. Thanks

Posted by Pete at 06:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 03, 2009


Cool results of a competition to answer the question "What if celebrities had lived in different time periods?"

See the slide show here.

see more here.

Posted by Pete at 08:10 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 08, 2009

Ask Pete: Lyrical pursuit edition

Victor asks "What the hell is a jug band?"

The quick answer is a band employing a jug player. Jug, singular, sorry Shank.

The longer answer is that a jug band is used to refer to groupss that also incorporate home-made instruments. Other terms are called skiffle bands, spasm bands or juke bands. They were quite popular in the 50s and early 60s. The Beatles first started out as a skiffle band.

From Wikipedia we get the rest
The eponymous jug sound is made by taking a jug (usually made of glass or stoneware) and buzzing the lips into its mouth from about an inch away. As with brass instruments, changes in pitch are controlled by altering lip tension, and an accomplished jug player could have a two octave range. The stovepipe (usually a section of tin pipe, 3" or 4" in diameter) is played in much the same manner, with the pipe rather than the jug being the resonating chamber. There is some similarity to the didgeridoo, but there is no contact between the stovepipe and the player's lips. Some jug and stovepipe players utilize throat vocalization along with lip buzzing, as with the didgeridoo.

The swooping sounds of the jug fill a musical role halfway between the trombone and sousaphone or tuba in Dixieland bands, playing mid- and lower-range harmonies in rhythm.

Posted by Pete at 12:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 16, 2008

History Question

Via Best of the Web

What is "the noblest profession in America"? It may not surprise you to learn that lawyer Gerry Spence thinks it is the law. He argued his case in a rather overwrought manner at a conference of the Consumer Attorneys of California, reports
"We have to redefine who we are: We are the most important people in America," Spence said. "There is no other profession in America that fights for freedom, that fights for what America is about, that fights for justice for ordinary people."

Reading this three days after Veterans Day, our first thought was: What about the military? But Spence had a different comparison in mind:

To make his point, Spence--founder of the Trial Lawyers College, which trains lawyers to be more effective in the courtroom--said to imagine that all of the doctors and healers somehow vanished.

"I want to ask you which would be more important: If all of the doctors in the country somehow disappeared or all the trial lawyers in America somehow disappeared?" he asked. "We can live without medical care, but we cannot live without justice."

My question is how many countries have been liberated by lawyers? A bonus question would be which you choose? A world without Trial lawyers or a world without Doctors?

Posted by Pete at 09:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 06, 2008


As in my 401K is History. Has anyone else watched their retirement funds evaporate these last couple of weeks?

Posted by Pete at 02:04 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

September 14, 2008

Show the love

Happy Birthday Jen!!

Posted by Pete at 03:09 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 21, 2008

For some good laughs

go here and just keep scrolling

Posted by Pete at 01:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 14, 2005

Who Died on Jen's birthday

Since this blog used to be about history I figured that this might be of some interest..

891 Pope Steven V- The pontificate of Stephen V (or VI) witnessed the disintigration of the Carolingian Empire.
1523 Pope Adrian VI - Adrian VI was the only Dutch pope, and the last non-Italian pope to be elected until Pope John Paul II in the twentieth century.
1759 Louis Montcalm French general (Plains of Abraham), dies at 47
1836 Aaron Burr 3rd VP, dies
1852 Arthur Wellesley General/Duke of Wellington, dies at 83
1901 Pres William McKinley dies in Buffalo, of gunshot wounds inflicted
by an assassin. VP Theodore Roosevelt became president
1911 Piotr Stolypin Russia's PM assassinated by Mordka Bogrov
1927 Isadora Duncan dies as her scarf became entangled in her car's wheel
1966 Gertrude Berg actress (Molly Goldberg-The Goldbergs), dies at 66
1974 Vera Vague [Barbara Jo Allen], actr (Follow the Leader), dies at 70
1974 Warren Hull actor (Strike it Rich, Who in the World), dies at 71
1982 Bashir Gemayel Lebanon's president-elect, killed by a bomb
1982 Grace Kelly princess of Monaco, dies at 52 in a car crash
1984 Janet Gaynor actress, dies at 77 from a traffic accident
1988 Louis Quinn actor, dies at 73 of cancer
1991 Julie Bovasso actress (Saturday Night Fever), dies at 61 of cancer

On a brighter note Checkov was born today - 1938 Walter Koenig Chicago Ill
as was Mary Crosby LA Calif in 1959

Posted by Pete at 01:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 20, 2004

*WWII History

I was wandering around the internet this morning and found this great story on the life of the man who became Pope John XXIII. A lot of press over the years has been dedicated to the lack of efforts from the Vatican to save the Jews in Europe during the Holocaust. It is refreshing to see one of the positive stories get some airtime. RTWT as they say.

Posted by Pete at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2004

This week in History

In 1992 Marlon Brando submitted a trademark request to secure the phase "If rain water from Tahiti isn't pure, we're on the wrong planet."

Found via the good people at Despair Inc.

Makes me wonder if he had been mixing that water with something else...

Posted by Pete at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2004

The end of the beginning?

Iraqi Group Threatens to Kill Al-Zarqawi - BAGHDAD, Iraq - A group of armed, masked Iraqi men threatened Tuesday to kill Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi if he did not immediately leave the country, accusing him of murdering innocent Iraqis and defiling the Muslim religion.

The full story is available at Yahoo news


Posted by Pete at 07:25 AM | Comments (1)

July 05, 2004

Ask Jen Pete

Before she disappeared on vacation Jen left me with a couple of reader questions from anonymous readers. They are

"Jen, I want to shower you with gifts. Do you prefer cash or diamonds?"


" Jim of Snooze Button Dreams asks a lot of questions. What's up wid dat"

Since the the infamous crack internet research team has posted such a dismal record in the last few attempts I figured I would put it out to all of the readers here. Do you think that Jen is a cash or diamonds type of girl? And what is the story with Jim?

Posted by Pete at 09:01 AM | Comments (5)

July 02, 2004

This Date in History

In 2003 Hormel foods filed a legal challenges to prevent the company Spam Arrest from using the Spam name in their product for fear that that it could taint public esteem of their meat.

From the wonderful people who bring us the Demotivators® collection every year.

Posted by Pete at 06:28 AM | Comments (0)

June 30, 2004

Good news from Afghanistan

With the constant negative drum beat from Iraq it's easy to lose sight of the goings on in Afghanistan. Luckily Arthur Chrenkoff is on the case with a good news roundup from Afghanistan . Check it out.

Posted by Pete at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)

June 01, 2004

*More of Plus They Make Good Money...

Seeing this post reminded me of something I saw several years ago from Scott Adams

Men Who Use Computers Are The New Sex Symbols Of The `90s

(By Scott Adams, Windows Magazine, May 1995).

I get about 100 e-mail messages a day from readers of my comic strip Dilbert. Most are from disgruntled office workers, psychopaths, stalkers, comic-strip fans -- that sort of person. But a growing number are from women who write to say they think Dilbert is sexy . Some say they've already married a Dilbert and couldn't be happier.

If you're not familiar with Dilbert, he's an electrical engineer who spends most of his time with his computer. He's a nice guy, but not exactly Kevin Costner.

Okay, Dilbert is polite, honest, employed and educated. And he stays home. These are good traits, but they don't exactly explain the incredible sex appeal. So what's the attraction?

I think it's a Darwinian thing. We're attracted to the people who have the best ability to survive and thrive. In the old days it was important to be able to run down an antelope and kill it with a single blow to the forehead.

But that skill is becoming less important every year.

Now all that matters is if you can install your own Ethernet card without having to call tech support and confess your inadequacies to a stranger whose best career option is to work in tech support.

It's obvious that the world has three distinct classes of people, each with its own evolutionary destiny:

Knowledgeable computer users who will evolve into godlike non-corporeal beings who rule the universe (except for those who work in tech support).

Computer owners who try to pass as knowledgeable but secretly use hand calculators to add totals to their Excel spreadsheets. This group will gravitate toward jobs as high school principals and operators of pet crematoriums. Eventually they will become extinct.

Non-computer users who will grow tails, sit in zoos and fling dung at tourists.

Obviously, if you're a woman and you're trying to decide which evolutionary track you want your offspring to take, you don't want to put them on the luge ride to the dung-flinging Olympics. You want a real man. You want a knowledgeable computer user with evolution potential.

And women prefer men who listen. Computer users are excellent listeners because they can look at you for long periods of time without saying anything. Granted, early in a relationship it's better if the guy actually talks. But men use up all the stories they'll ever have after six months. If a woman marries a guy who's in, let's say, retail sales, she'll get repeat stories starting in the seventh month and lasting forever. Marry an engineer and she gets a great listener for the next 70 years.

Plus, with the ozone layer evaporating, it's a good strategy to mate with somebody who has an indoor hobby. Outdoorsy men are applying suntan lotion with SPF 10,000 and yet by the age of 30 they still look like dried chili peppers in pants. Compare that with the healthy glow of a man who spends 12 hours a day in front of a video screen.

It's also well established that computer users are better lovers. I know because I heard an actual anecdote from someone who knew a woman who married a computer user and they reportedly had sex many times. I realize this isn't statistically valid, but you have to admit it's the most persuasive thing I've written so far.

If you still doubt the sexiness of male PC users, consider their hair. They tend to have either: (1) male pattern baldness -- a sign of elevated testosterone -- or (2) unkempt jungle hair -- the kind you see only on people who just finished a frenzied bout of lovemaking. If this were a trial I think we could reach a verdict on the strong circumstantial evidence alone.

I realize there are a lot of skeptics out there. They'll delight in pointing out the number of computer users who wear wrist braces and suggest it isn't the repetitive use of the keyboard that causes the problem. That's okay. Someday those skeptics will be flinging dung at tourists. Then who'll be laughing? (Answer to rhetorical question: everybody but the tourists.)

Henry Kissinger said power is the ultimate aphrodisiac. And Bill Clinton said that knowledge is power. Therefore, logically, according to the U.S. government, knowledge of computers is the ultimate aphrodisiac. You could argue with me -- I'm just a cartoonist -- but it's hard to argue with the government. Remember, they run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, so they must know a thing or two about satisfying women.

You might think this was enough to convince anyone that men who use computers are sexy. But look at it from my point of view: I'm getting paid by the word for this article. I'm not done yet.

In less enlightened times, the best way to impress women was to own a hot car. But women wised up and realized it was better to buy their own hot cars so they wouldn't have to ride around with jerks.

Technology has replaced hot cars as the new symbol of robust manhood. Men know that unless they get a digital line to the Internet no woman is going to look at them twice.

It's getting worse. Soon anyone who's not on the World Wide Web will qualify for a government subsidy for the home-pageless. And nobody likes a man who takes money from the government, except maybe Marilyn Monroe, which is why the CIA killed her. And if you think that's stupid, I've got 100 words to go.

Finally, there's the issue of mood lighting. Nothing looks sexier than a man in boxer shorts illuminated only by a 15-inch SVGA monitor. If we agree that this is every woman's dream scenario, then I think we can also agree that it's best if the guy knows how to use the computer. Otherwise, he'll just look like a loser sitting in front of a PC in his underwear.

In summary, it's not that I think non-PC users are less attractive. It's just that I'm sure they won't read this article.

Posted by Pete at 09:30 PM | Comments (2)

May 30, 2004

*For Bill C

Maybe this will get Bill interested in Star trek.

Sunday's strip at User

Posted by Pete at 08:22 AM | Comments (1)

May 29, 2004


Found over at Sgt Stryker's Daily Briefing

If you've ever experienced a disk-crash (and who hasn't?), I know you will see the logic behind this: Data recovery service Disksavers has hired Kelly Chessen, a former suicide-prevention counselor, to do customer service. (800) 440-1904

God knows I have had some customers that had to be pulled in off the ledge after a crash.

Posted by Pete at 08:53 PM | Comments (2)

April 05, 2004

600 Years

That is one estimate of how long it will be until the area around Chernobyl will be safe for humans again. Take a ride through the "dead zone", with Elena . A photo essay showing the abandoned area around Chernobyl reactor site. It’s coming up on the 18th anniversary of that tragic day and the aftermath that claimed upwards 300000 lives and consigned many more to a life time of sickness and disease.

Thanks to Armed Liberal at Winds of Change.

Posted by Pete at 10:03 PM | Comments (4)

February 22, 2004

Ask and You shall receive?

I found this the other day while working at one of my clients


A few years ago, when Linda was serving as the director of the Ph.D. program at her school, a delegation of women graduate students came to her office. Many of the male graduate students were teaching courses of their own, the women explained, while most of the female graduate students had been assigned to work as teaching assistants to regular faculty. Linda agreed that this didn't sound fair, and that afternoon she asked the associate dean who handled teaching assignments about the women's complaint. She received a simple answer: "I try to find teaching opportunities for any student who approaches me with a good idea for a course, the ability to teach, and a reasonable offer about what it will cost," he explained. "More men ask. The women just don't ask."

This is the opening paragraph from the introduction to the book: Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide the full introduction can be found Here .

The point that author is making is that much of the disparity in salaries between men and women can be traced to the fact that men are more prone to negotiate than women.

The impact of neglecting to negotiate when starting a new job is so substantial and difficult to overcome that some researchers who study the persistence of the wage gap between men and women speculate that much of the disparity can be traced to differences in entering salaries rather than differences in raises.

If nothing else read the intro to the book on the site above.

I think that this raises an excellent point that that can benefit women and men as well. Too often I have seen people settle for what is offered for various reasons. There is nothing to be lost by asking for more. In most case the worst that can happen is that you are told "no". In my experience I have found that the answer is usually "yes" though. My boss is always amazed at the things I have been able to acquire for our "lab" at work simply by asking. It's not always about money; I work in technology so there is what I call the "toy" factor for us. It could be anything that you think will make your working life better.

So think about your own experiences, have you ever thought about asking for more, or do you settle for what is given to you and why? .

Posted by Pete at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2004

Presidential Facts

Before Jack Daniels there was George Washington? In 1797 George Washington laid the ideal foundation for a grand new venture, one of America's largest distilleries. For an interesting glimpse into the last couple of years of his life check out Washington, Distiller by Delia Rios. It's a good story on how Washington build a distillery at Mount Vernon that would sell over 11,000 gallons of whiskey in 1799.

Posted by Pete at 07:49 PM | Comments (0)

January 25, 2004

Missions to Mars

Missions to Mars
With all the talk about the problems with the Martian rover I thought it would be interesting to take a quick look back at the various attempts to study the planet.
The first US missions to Mars were flyby missions in the mid and late 1960s by the Mariner spacecrafts. Mariner 3 and 4 were identical spacecraft that were launched in the fall of 1964. Mariner 3 suffered a malfunction and never made it to the planet but Mariner 4 did make the 8-month journey and provided us with the first close-up pictures of the red planet. Mariner 6 & 7 followed up with launches in 1969. They flew over the equator and south Polar Regions of the planet.

The next attempt was to put a spacecraft into orbit around the planet and Mariner 8 and 9 were built to fulfill that need. However Mariner 8 failed to launch but Mariner 9 was able to make it and spent over a year in Martian orbit. Mariner 9 exceeded all primary photographic requirements by photomapping 100 percent of the planet's surface
In 1975 the next phase was launch in the form of the Viking Landers. The both arrived on planet the summer of 1976. They were designed to conduct biology experiments to test for the evidence of life. These experiments discovered unexpected and enigmatic chemical activity in the Martian soil, but provided no clear evidence for the presence of living microorganisms in soil near the landing sites.
In 1992 the Mars Observer was launched. The spacecraft was based on a commercial Earth-orbiting communications satellite that had been converted into an orbiter for Mars. The payload of science instruments was designed to study the geology, geophysics and climate of Mars. The mission ended with disappointment on August 22, 1993, when contact was lost with the spacecraft shortly before it was to enter orbit around Mars.
Launched in 1996 the Mars Global Surveyor became the first successful mission to the red planet in two decades. It entered orbit in 1997 and after a year and a half of trimming its orbit from a looping ellipse to a circular track around the planet, the spacecraft began its prime-mapping mission in March 1999. Mars Global Surveyor completed its primary mission on January 31, 2001, and is now in an extended mission phase.
1996 also saw the successful start of the Mars Pathfinder mission. Mars Pathfinder was originally designed as a technology demonstration of a way to deliver an instrumented Lander and a free-ranging robotic rover to the surface of the red planet. Pathfinder not only accomplished this goal but also returned an unprecedented amount of data and outlived its primary design life.
1998 saw the launch of the Mars Climate Orbiter. It was designed to function as an interplanetary weather satellite and a communications relay for Mars Polar Lander. The orbiter carried two science instruments: a copy of an atmospheric sounder on the Mars Observer spacecraft lost in 1993, and a new, lightweight color imager combining wide- and medium-angle cameras. Mars Climate Orbiter was lost on arrival September 23, 1999. Engineers concluded that the spacecraft entered the planet's atmosphere too low and probably burned up.
1999 also saw the launch and loss of the Mars Polar Lander. This was an ambitious mission to set a spacecraft down on the frigid terrain near the edge of Mars' south polar cap and dig for water ice with a robotic arm. Piggybacking on the Lander were two small probes called Deep Space 2 designed to impact the Martian surface to test new technologies. Mars Polar Lander and Deep Space 2 were lost at arrival December 3, 1999.
Launched in 2001 the Mars Odyssey is an orbiting spacecraft designed to determine the composition of the planet's surface, to detect water and shallow buried ice, and to study the radiation environment.
In 2003 the Mars Express was launched. The mission's main objective is to search for sub-surface water from orbit and deliver a Lander to the Martian surface. Seven scientific instruments onboard the orbiting spacecraft will study the Martian atmosphere, the planet's structure and geology. The Lander is called Beagle 2 after the ship in which Charles Darwin set sail to explore uncharted areas of the Earth in 1831. While the landing was a reported to be a success no data has been received from the Lander.

So there is a quick break down of the history of our attempts to study Mars. I covered only the US based launches. The former Soviet Union had also sent several missions to the planet with varying degrees of success.
Most of this information comes from JPL Mars Missions page
And JPL international Missions

Posted by Pete at 12:17 PM | Comments (2)

January 22, 2004

*100 Years ago

This appeared in my mail box. Ok, so it's a year old but still interesting.

YEAR OF 1903..The year is 1903, one hundred years ago... what a difference a century makes. Here are the U.S. statistics for 1903....

The average life expectancy in the US was 47.
Only 14% of the homes in the US had a BATHTUB.
Only 8% of the homes had a TELEPHONE.
A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost $11.
There were only 8,000 CARS in the US and only 144 miles of paved ROADS.
The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California. With a mere 1.4 million residents, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union.
The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.
The average wage in the US was $0.22/hour.
The average US worker made between $200-$400/year.
A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000/year, a dentist $2,500/year, a veterinarian between $1,500-$4,000/year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000/year.
More than 95% of all BIRTHS in the US took place at HOME.
90% of all US physicians had NO COLLEGE education. Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by the government as "substandard".
Sugar cost $0.04/pound. Eggs were $0.14/dozen. Coffee cost $0.15/pound.
Most women only washed their HAIR once a month and used BORAX or EGG YOLKS for shampoo.
Canada passed a law prohibiting POOR people from entering the country for any reason.
The five leading causes of death in the US were
1. Pneumonia &influenza
2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke
The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii & Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet.
The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 30.
Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented.
There were no Mother's Day or Father's Day.
One in ten US adults couldn't read or write. Only 6% of all Americans had graduated from HIGH SCHOOL.
Coca Cola contained cocaine.
Marijuana, heroin &morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores.
According to one pharmacist, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and the bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health."
18% of households in the US had at least one full-time SERVANT or domestic.
There were only about 230 reported MURDERS in the entire US.

Just think what it will be like in another 100 years.

Posted by Pete at 11:36 AM | Comments (9)

January 21, 2004

*Interesting Site

Found an interesting site, I Used to believe .

I used to believe is a collection of ideas that adults thought were true when they were children. it will remind you what it was like to be a child, fascinated and horrified by the world in equal parts. the following pages will reassure you that the things you used to believe weren't so strange after all...

They allow readers to post their own beliefs as well. Check it out.

Posted by Pete at 09:57 AM

January 17, 2004

*Don't Look Ethel

This is too funny

Three young men in Spokane, Wash., decided to "streak"--that is, run naked--through a Denny's restaurant. To make a quick escape, the Associated Press reports, they left their car running in the parking lot. "But a man eating inside the restaurant saw the running vehicle and stole it, along with the streakers' clothes."
This left the three men huddling in an adjacent parking lot--naked in 20-degree weather. They must've heard Al Gore's "global warming" speech and figured it'd be nice and balmy out.

hat tip to Best of the Web

Posted by Pete at 09:43 PM | Comments (2)

September 10, 2003

New York on 9/11

The following story was submitted by Pete.

I was working in an office building in the shadow of the Twin towers. Every morning I would walk past the line of trucks that were being inspected before being allowed to enter the underground garage to make their deliveries. The strange thing about it is that the people in my group didn’t even know about what had happened at first. Our office had no windows and we found out when someone came in and asked us how we could be sitting there as if nothing was happening. I remember rushing to the south side windows to see what he was talking about. The first thing I noticed was all the paper flying around. It was like a bizarre tickertape parade. Then I saw the hole in the North tower. As strange as it sounds my first thought was “how in the hell are they ever going to fix that”. We had a clear view of the hole from our location and I could see the fires spreading. Then we saw the first body falling from the tower and we all went silent. It looked like a rag doll flying through the air. I remember wondering what might have caused that person to jump. Could it have been that bad that there was no other escape? Or worse did they fall because of some sort of damage to the building? In the silence we could hear was the continuous wail of the sirens as the emergency services converged on the building. That would be the background noise for the rest of the day. Even now, after 2 years, every time I hear multiple sirens I still get the awful feeling in my stomach.

Our building fire safety officer made an announcement asking us to stay in the building for our own safety. The streets were totally chaotic and we heard of several near misses from some of our coworkers.

I called my parents in New Mexico to tell them about what was happening and to see if they might be able to get some more info for me. Here I was right next to everything that was happening and I was calling ½ way across the country to get details. I also wanted to let them know that I was ok. The lack of knowing what was going on was the worst.

We had barely returned to our room when we felt our whole building shake. Back to the windows to see the flames starting to come from the south tower. At the time we had no idea that the second plane had hit that tower and we though that it might have had something to do with what was happening at the north tower. We soon found out soon enough though. After that there was no doubt that it had to be terrorists, but there was no real panic. Ironically our building was still not evacuated and they were telling us to remain inside as a precaution against falling debris. They didn’t mention that some of those debris were bodies. Part of me wanted to go out to see if I could offer any kind of assistance. I have first aid training and I knew that there would be a large number of people who might need assistance but at the same time I didn’t want to get in the way of the professionals. I was also somewhat afraid of the continuous reign of debris.

I didn’t see the first tower collapse. Several of us were setting up some workstations incase people from another nearby site were directed to our building. We heard a rumbling and our building started to shake again. I could hear people screaming and all I could think about was another explosion. We made a break for the fire exits on the North side of our building (away from the towers). I remember seeing my boss turn around and run back the way we had come. I figured that he was crazy and kept going out with everyone else. There was no way I was going to stay any longer.

We were lucky in that Building 7 mostly blocked the malignant clouds of dust. Things were really chaotic when we got to the street. People were crying and carrying on about the south tower collapsing but at first I couldn’t believe it. It just didn’t make sense, how could it fall? There was a lot of dust and smoke and I figured it would clear and the tower would still be there. After a minute or 2 the awful truth hit me, the South tower was totally gone. I knew that probably at several thousand people were probably dead and that a hell of a lot of firemen wouldn’t be coming out.

We were still looking at the remaining tower and more people were jumping from it. The people on the street were screaming at them not to do it but there is no way that they could have heard. I started walking north with several of my coworkers but we kept looking back. I was wondering what was going through the minds of those who were still trapped in the north tower. What could they possibly be thinking after seeing the other tower collapse? What were the last thoughts of those who jumped? The regrets that must have went through their minds as they leapt to their deaths. I thought about my daughter and if that had been me up there. I was constantly trying to dial my cell phone but the service was overloaded. Someone near by had a cell phone that was able to get through and I asked them to relay a message to my parents that I was ok. I found out later that they did get it and it eased their minds.
After what only seemed like a few minutes I heard another rumble and I turned and watched the second tower fall. It was a surreal experience. I felt like I wasn’t in my body, like I was watching a Tom Clancy novel happening. The whole thing seemed to happen in slow motion and the last thing I saw was the TV antenna as it toppled down into more clouds of dust and smoke. People were screaming and crying all around me but I was totally numb at that point. It just couldn’t be happening I thought. Then I started to get mad at those who had done it, but who were they? How could they kill so many so easily? What would happen next?

I would like to say that the rest of the day passed in a blur but didn’t. I can remember every moment up till I finally got home late that evening after basically walking ½ the length of Manhattan. It was such a perfect fall day. I remember the crowds flinching every time a plane would fly overhead. The terrible realization that those planes were fighters and they were flying combat air patrols of the city. How everyone jumped when a loud bang came from a UPS building as they passed. The few cars parked on the side of the avenues with their doors open and the radios on and the crowds they attracted. Listening to Rudy on the radio asking for people to volunteer at the hospitals. Being told that there was a 4-hour wait for blood donations at the hospital and Red cross center when I stopped in to donate. The almost absolute silence in a bar where I stopped to rest my legs as everyone watched the drama played over and over on the TV. Watching fire departments from the suburbs pouring into the city to aid the NYCFD. Correction department busses loaded with officers heading to the site. The mayhem at the George Washington Bridge because no one was allowed across on foot. Watching as people filled up their cars and trucks to give people a lift to NJ. Watching guys in suits hanging off a truck to get a ride like something from a third world country.

One thing that really stuck with me was the absence of any type of panic though. Throughout the entire afternoon I saw countless acts of kindness. The NY reputation for rudeness went out the window that day and I don’t think that it will return. For me I still think about the final thoughts of those who died. I have made changes to my life to hopefully avoid having any regrets when my time comes. There are probably a hundred other thoughts in my head about that day but for now I’ll leave it here.

Posted by Jennifer at 06:32 PM | Comments (7)