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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old August 15th, 2003, 10:26 AM   #1
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I Have The Power...

...and so do tens of millions of other Northeasterners after going without for just over twelve hours in the largest outage in North American history yesterday. Where were you when the lights went out?

The disappointing thing for me was, despite the fact that it was on a UPS, my video workstation rebooted when the blackout hit. I don't think I lost much work, except for the rest of yesterday's productivity.

I admit I ignored the mayor-imposed curfew to walk around downtown Cleveland last night and see something I'm not likely to ever see again: all of the skyscrapers, customarily lit by floods, pitch dark.
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Old August 15th, 2003, 02:55 PM   #2
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I hope you took some photos, Robert! The impact and the immensity of that situation is beyond amazing; apparently there were very few instances of physical harm as a result which is something to be thankful for. I can't imagine how it must have felt for some folks to be trapped in elevators...
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Old August 15th, 2003, 03:17 PM   #3
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Actually we had a poor woman trapped in an elevator in Detroit, the Fisher building to be exact for 18 hours. A radio station is located in there and their technicians just happened to hear her barely when they were walking down a hallway. When she got out aperentatly she was very happy and actually had a lot of energy. Figured I'd tell everyone about this amazing story.

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Old August 15th, 2003, 05:35 PM   #4
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Alas, Chris, I've only got my memories for this occasion. Not only did I neglect to bring my camera, but even had I taken some documentary snapshpots, they wouldn't have been very exciting. That's the thing about photos--they only work when there's light!

This is actually the second paralyzing cataclysm for the Northeast since 9-11, the first being the snowstorms that shut down businesses, schools, and airports for several days last winter. They weren't terrorist-related but they sure brought everything to a standstill.
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Old August 15th, 2003, 08:49 PM   #5
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Like Robert, I was also was caught without any equipment. I did grab friend's instamatic and tried to take pictures of Times Square without the flash, but I doubt the pictures will be very good.

It was fun trekking around the city during the night, I kept thinking of '28 days later' with lots of people shuffling around in the darkness - and of course the full moon.

At around 1 AM, Times Square was very disheveled but was relatively safe with lights and lots of people just sitting or sleeping on the sidewalk. Everybody looked shell shocked. I was aching to take video or pictures of the Marriot entrance lined with all the people that got kicked out. It had an otherworldy air with the halls lined with tired people with nothing but time until the sun came up.

Central Park was absolutely beautiful, reminded me of some of the descriptions in Tolkien about the "Ancient Forests". Did not risk venturing inside though.

Union Square was completely dark at 4 AM except for the full moon and some small camp fires. The quad was full of people listening to a drummer band making music, very tribal.

Still kicking myself though, of all the times not to have access to my equipment! The shadows of New York without the light were a a once in a lifetime opportunity.

I did get to be a small hero, I was assigned at work to keep talking to a woman who had been stuck in an elevator for 40 minutes. Engineering "was working" on getting her out. After about 15 minutes I got a little impatient and told her I would try to force open the door - no luck. Then she said, "wait I'll help from this side" and the door opened with barely a push ... I got a kiss for my efforts.
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Old August 15th, 2003, 09:13 PM   #6
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Nice rescue, Michael.

My first thought last night was that it would have been a great night to use a SONY video camera with NightShot, but even then that would have been counteractive in demonstrating the sheer darkness, which was, after all, the point.

Without resorting to the Hollywood trickery of blue hues, how does one depict darkness in a medium of light?
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Old August 15th, 2003, 10:04 PM   #7
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Howdy from Texas,

Quote:
I was aching to take video or pictures of the Marriot entrance lined with all the people that got kicked out.
Yep, the Marriot Marquis, that's exactly where I was staying during my recent two-week NYC trip for DV Expo and MacWorld. Sorry I had to miss out on this experience.
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Old August 16th, 2003, 01:26 AM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Chris Hurd : ... the Marriot Marquis ... where I was staying ... Sorry I had to miss out on this experience. -->>>

Well there's always next time, they haven't fixed the electrical grid yet, so there's still time.
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Old August 16th, 2003, 01:44 AM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Robert Knecht Schmidt : Without resorting to the Hollywood trickery of blue hues, how does one depict darkness in a medium of light? -->>>

Good question. If I'd had my camera I would have tried to shoot the darkness as negative space with anything lit as the subject. Here's some of the shots I wish I could have taken.

- One street was pitch black because the buildings were so tall that they blocked out any moonlight. But right on the horizon from where I was standing, a deli owner had pointed the head lights of his truck right at the store entrance. It was like this tiny island of light in a sea of black.

- The silhouette of Central Park was awesome, it was a full moon so the sky was bright, but the park's outline was black and ominous. Every once in awhile a brightly lit bus would appear out of nowhere and zoom past like a see-through ship in space.

- Union Square had the the same type of silhouette as Central Park, but because of 2 small fires you could also make out the silhouettes of 200 or more people camped in the quad. If it had been video, you would have heard the drums beating to an improvised techno/tribal version of "When the Saints Come Marching In"
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