Tag Archives: coincidence

A Plague Of The Plague

I can count on one hand the number of shows I follow on a weekly basis: Cheap Seats, Wonder Showzen, Amazing Race, and House M.D. This makes my life considerably easier as there’s only one per night and I’m not forced to endure the same commercials 50 times in one evening.
If you haven’t seen House this week yet and you don’t like being spoiled, you may want to skip the remainder of this post.

Anyhow – I love House, despite its very formulaic structure most weeks (Patient Collapses, Initial Battery Of Tests, Flailing Diagnosis, More Tests, Patient Goes Code, Crazy Idea That Might Work #1, Cameron Empathizes With Patient, Cutty Goes Ape, Revelatory Moment, Semi-Convoluted Explanation, Cure). Tonight, the patient hadn’t slept in 10 days, and it turned out to be – cue the minor chord, boys – the plague! Black death! It was certainly an entertaining episode, in any case.

But then I got slightly unnerved not an hour later as I read that [there’s been a case of the plague reported in LA](http://www.nbc4.tv/health/8801513/detail.html). Now, don’t panic, says a scientician:

>”Bubonic plague is not usually transmissible from person to person,” said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, head of public health. “Fortunately, human plague infection is rare in urban environments, and this single case should not be a cause for alarm in the area where this occurred.”

But hey, Fox, way to go on the timing. I can only imagine what watching this in LA would be like – where undoubtedly the Fox affiliate screams horrifying news during commercials just like NYC’s Fox 5.

Another Flickr Collision

Back during WWDC, I wrote a post about Flickr and it’s habit of causing real-world collisions, spurred by a post from Buzz Anderson.
So: I use del.icio.us, a wonderful social bookmarking app. Part of the functionality is that I can subscribe to bookmarks from people I trust or on subjects I’m interested in. Today, while riding the subway, I checked my inbox, and the top link was from Buzz:

Cool Cyber Dude on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
*This* guy should win a Macworld Best of Show. Bobby and 
I have seriously been  on the floor laughing for about five 
minutes after seeing this photo...
to macworld photo humor virtualreality by ldandersen ...
labeled as Online ... on 2006-01-13 07:56:08

Now, I’ve been to my Apple expos before, and I know the type that ends up in shots like these. And so, just reading this, I can only imagine what I’m in for while my Sidekick tries to load the photo. Certainly this would have to contain more than the standard geek t-shirt and possibly even more than the Apple dyed hair and/or tattoo that’s become commonplace over the last few years. This would have to be a truly unique geek to get someone like Buzz on the floor laughing for five minutes.

It loads. I looked. And then I died – not of laughter, but some weird mortified-and-aware-of-the-collision way.

It was, of course, a picture of my boss.

Adding to further the collision: the picture was taken by Mike Merill – who I’ve been bouncing email with because he works for Panic and was involved in getting me my Katamari shirts.

World! Too! Small!

World Gradually Collapsing, Film At 11

Every morning on the train, I have a tendency to bury myself in something; over the last month, it’s been a Sudoku book I picked up from a local Japanese bookstore. I try to complete one puzzle from my home stop to the one I need to transfer at; this gives me about ten minutes. I also traditionally have my iPod on, thus making me a little ball of puzzle-solving isolationism.

As you might guess, this makes me completely oblivious to the world around me. As evidenced by the IM message I got about an hour after I got into work:

*”dandickinson is wearing a red shirt and doing su doku puzzles on the train.”*

Sure enough, [one of the bloggers I’m friendly with](http://www.sliceny.com/) had gotten on the train in Astoria, sat pretty much across from me with his girlfriend, and spent much of the ride debating whether or not they should say hi. They weighed against it, figuring I was in my “morning space”.

It would be safe to assume I will be considerably more alert on the subway from now on.

Later: my phone rings at my desk. It’s a vendor, one I’ve been trying to work a purchase through, but where the purchase process is stalled due to red tape and decision making. This isn’t the first time the vendor has called trying to check up, and I don’t blame them.
In the course of the conversation (which involved giving a very brief overview of why the purchase is taking so long), the vendor says:
“You know, I just visited campus a few months ago – I love that sidewalk in front of that one building, the one that makes noise if you step on it right?”

I ponder this quickly – there’s nothing like that at the Medical College; there’s not even much of a campus to visit. Did he mean the Ithaca campus? What on the Ithaca campus would be musical…oh yeah, the area around Olin Library. I respond, stating that we’re not in Ithaca although I had gone there for undergrad and knew what he was talking about. I also mentioned that I had lived in the area for about ten years besides that.

He continued: “Oh yeah? That’s cool…I was there visiting a friend, she lives in Trumansburg…”

At this point, I can literally feel the universe collapsing slightly. I point out that I, in fact, lived in Trumansburg.

He continued: “Really? Wow…my friend’s last name is Ellis, Ca…”

He didn’t need to finish. Carmen? Sure, I remember her – and not just because she was two grades ahead of me and we had a couple classes together. No, it was because my very first job – just over ten years ago, now that I think about it – was working for her father, out of their house, at one of the very few web design places in the area.

I relay this, and then we had one of those magnificent pauses that come when you have such a coincidence naturally occur. He promised to say hi to her for me.

I smiled, promised to attempt to push the purchase through once more, and hung up.

Flickr: The World From All Angles

As part of my catch-up process after returning home last night, I’ve been trying to find relevant content today – mostly blog posts, but also some trekking around on Flickr.

As Buzz noted, there’s a number of highly intriguing real world collisions in Flickr space. Besides the discovery of my arty black and white Apple campus shot being a virtual reverse angle of Mike Smochko’s shot from the place I was shooting, I’ve discovered yet another one, literally moments apart. My quick crowd shot caught D’Arcy Norman almost head on. Amusingly enough, while browsing his photos, I found myself similarly snapped, caught checking my camera.

Now, I love coincidences like this – not only because they are slightly strange and a bit funny, but because they represent something new technologically. A few years ago, these sorts of things were longshots at best – often requiring the same people to be on the same specific group or bulletin board, which for large events is a near-nil proposition. But now, thanks to Flickr and its lovely tagging feature, I can quickly go through an enormous amount of content, filtering down to just the right photos and in this case, lucking out twice for coincidental photos. Had we all still been posting photos to our own Gallery installs, what are the odds I would’ve ever seen either of the above photos?

I can only hope that Flickr continues to grow in user base and picture quantity; that the cost of good quality cameras and cameraphones decreases, as well as the cost of picture messaging; and that people will continue to be unable to resist the urge to take photos of damn near everything. Finding coincidences like this is damn good times.