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Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

Time Event
3:20a
That bumbling persona is real
Since diet V8 Splash is almost impossible to find (especially since the C-Town across the street has closed), my new favorite beverage is Minute Maid Light Raspberry Passion. In the vast array of juice selections, I look for the little red knob on top.

When I bought some today, I wasn't looking very carefully. I just opened the container and poured half a glass, and it seemed awfully tart for raspberry punch. That's because it was really Cherry Limeade. Non-diet!

Down the sink it went.
6:31a
Premiere week - Monday and Tuesday
The days leading up to the premiere were spent worrying about the aforementioned health issue. I E-mailed my doctor, then decided to unsend the note, but he called me anyway as the header still appeared in his mail (weird - maybe it was because he was online at the time?). We decided to wait, but then the thing came back. I was panicking Monday afternoon, but he was on his way to pick up his daughter and said to come in first thing Tuesday.

With this cloud hanging over my head, I proceeded with the events of the week. First up, a free screening Monday night at the W Hotel in Union Square. I'm not sure what this series is or why they do it. The hotel was the old Guardian Life building on lower Park Ave. I once had an interview there for their actuarial program, and was rejected (I ended up at MetLife where I stayed for 17 years).

There was a cocktail hour first, with junky snack food. Several puzzle people were there, including NYT forumites, Norma from LI, and staff from nearby Sterling and Dell. Peter had advance copies of the "Wordplay" (which I almost spilled water on) and Ken Jennings books. My cousin Rachel also came.

Heading into the screening room (a nice auditorium), I sat in front. The woman next to me said she was a Harvard-educated lawyer who didn't do puzzles, and heard about it through a Women in Film mailing list. She seemed in awe of Al's 2-minute sprint and the Clinton/Dole puzzle, and was touched by the camaraderie. Good to know the movie can reach non-puzzlers.

Since this wasn't a real movie theater, the sound was not ideal and the screen a bit small. They stopped rolling before the credits were done. Jon and I did a Q&A, with some insy questions from our friends ("Which contestants were cut from the film?").

Tuesday morning I finally saw the doctor, who thinks it's nothing to worry about (indeed, it has since gone away and not returned). I directed him to the "Wordplay" site. I should have napped during the day, but soon it was time to meet my sister at the Marriott Marquis. I didn't know if she would be there, but could have gone to the NYT and waited if she was out. However, she was in the room, and I went up.

The Marquis elevators are really neat. You press the floor on a console in the lobby, and it directs you to the proper car which then automatically knows where you're going. All week passengers were oohing and aahing at this. Linda and Jeffrey were ready, and we decided to walk to Lincoln Center, where the movie was showing at Walter Reade.

We were greeted by IFC and Lincoln Center people (one of whom said I exemplified the Upper West Side Barnard woman), and directed to seats halfway up. Tyler was there, too. The movie started, with the sound excruciatingly loud. I hate that! I ducked down and ran out to complain. Things improved, but midway through (as Miriam was talking) it started blasting again and I ran out once more. By then, Patrick was outside. The sound was fixed once more, and I went in to watch the rest of the movie. I'm not counting this as a full viewing.

Al, Will and Merl joined us for the Q&A though some of the audience had left (the moderator said they're not used to having Q&A's). Afterward, there was a reception with good hors d'oeuvres. Greg and Jessica were there for the next showing (a Film Society member friend gave them tickets). One woman at the reception looked a lot like Anna Wintour, had a British accent and an older husband, but I don't think it was her. Another woman was a neighbor who recognized the buildings.

We wanted a real meal (Linda and Jeffy had a not so great lunch), and wandered into the Mozart Cafe. We started kidding around that everything was authentically the way it had been in Mozart's time. My grilled chicken arrived with salad piled on top (there were also caramelized onions and vegetables in there), so we decided Mozart died young because he was malnourished. He couldn't find the protein under all that lettuce! Poor Mozart. You had to be there.
2:34p
This information is not that hard to find
Lazy journalists!

http://hollywood-elsewhere.com/archives/2006/06/late_to_wordpla.php

"Wordplay gang: (l. to r. background) Tyler Hinman, mysterious piano-playing guy, Will Shortz, Merl Reagle

Wordplay started out as a profile of N.Y. Times crossword page editor Will Shortz, but gradually expanded into a group portrait of six hardcore types -- crossword constructor Merl Reagle, pudgy not-quiter Al Sanders, congenial former champion Ellen Ripstein, super-brilliant Trip Payne, a 20 year-old whiz kid named Tyler Hinman and a bespectacled Tin Pan Alley piano player whose name escapes me."

Update: that mysterious piano player has now been identified.
4:06p
How did they know my nom?
http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/entertainment/14878270.htm

"Even if you don't know an em from an en, you'll be amazed by "Wordplay's" ability to take you into the mind of a crossword puzzle enthusiast."
5:14p
In the movies
I was belatedly reading an obit of Buck Owens, which mentioned he wrote "Act Naturally." It occurred to me that the lyrics are fairly apropos.

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