Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Too tired to do haiku right now, but here is the latest, if belated, update on media coverage of the Mob Project, an interview with a participant in MOB #2 on NPR's All Things Considered from June 20, 2003. (Here you can read the instructions for MOB #2.)

NPR's site bills the program as follows: "Michele Norris talks to Mike Epstein, a software engineer who runs a personal photo log on the Web, about the 'Mob Project.' " In fact the interviewer is clearly Robert Siegel, and he is somewhat patronizing, in my opinion. I was especially irked by his admonition to Epstein to "try to stay on the right side of the law." Gimme a break.

Tonight was MOB #3, and it was a smashing success, even though -- or perhaps because -- the site was changed at the last minute due to concerns about the cops being in on it, as they were on #1. Originally intended to take place at Grand Central Terminal, instead the third MOB was relocated to the lobby of the Grand Hyatt on the south side of GC, on 42nd Street.

Instead of following the original protocol, we each received a a slip of paper that read as follows:

*** MOB #3 ***

Change of Plans

If you are reading this, we have decided to change venues.

(1) By 7:02, walk out to 42nd St. and look for the main entrance to the Grand Hyatt. Enter and take the escalator up one flight to the main lobby. Loiter until 7:07.

(2) At 7:07, start taking the escalator and elevators up one floor, to the wraparound railing overlooking the lobby. Stand around it, looking down. Fan out to cover as much of the railing as possible. If asked why you are there, point down to the lobby and say, "Look."

(3) At 7:12, begin applauding. Applaud for fifteen seconds, then disperse in an orderly fashion.

(Note: the exit on that floor is not a pedestrian exit.)

It all went, as far as I could tell, entirely according to plan. The balcony was *full.* That is to say, there were people lining every inch of it, 360 degrees, and in some spots the downlookers were significantly squished. Clare said she counted 75 or 80 people on the long side of the balcony across from her. Multiply that by two, and add in the mobbies on the two shorter sides, and we're talking over 200 people. (I will update this info once I get a more credible count.)

The security staff did not appear overly concerned, though they were definitely on their walkie-talkies while we were on the balcony, and on my way out the front door, I heard one uniformed fellow say into his squawker: "Yeah, they're leaving now. No, I don't know where they're going."

The best part was definitely the applause. Some 30something blonde in a black fashion T-shirt and short (red?) dress had just come in when we all started to clap (a minute or so early, by my watch), and was standing at the welcome podium, talking to a hotel staffer. She looked up quizzically, shrugged, and then did a curtsy -- as if to say, "I have no idea why you're clapping for me, but seeing as you have bestowed on me this gracious honor, it is only fitting that I acknowledge your generous adulation." Absolutely charming.

Congratulations, Bill, on another MOB well done.