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Turning Points

From netdancer et al:

Where were you...

  1. When John F. Kennedy was shot (11/22/1963)

    Still in some previous incarnation -- I wasn't born until 1969.

  2. When Mt. St. Helens blew (5/18/1980)

    At the Erie Day School -- for this, and for the assassination of Anwar Sadat, they filed us into the library to watch the coverage, and I caught more from Frank Reynolds and company when I got home that evening. Remember Frank Reynolds?

  3. When the space shuttle Challenger exploded (1/28/1986)

    Walking through Barton library on my way back to my dorm room from physics class, at Deerfield. Some government official (I don't remember whether it was Pete Williams or Reagan's press secretary) was giving a briefing, and mentioned that they didn't know anything about "the fate of the crew," but that it was possible that all hands had been lost. At the time, the other big news story was that USS Yorktown had been scheduled to intentionally steam across Qadaffi's "line of death" in the Gulf of Sidra, so I thought that the Libyan Air Force had launched a massive raid and sunk her, with the loss of hundreds of lives -- so I was actually relieved when I learned that it was Challenger, with "only" seven aboard.

  4. When the 7.1 earthquake hit San Francisco (10/7/1989)

    This was during my junior year, when my coursework was heaviest. On top of that, it happened a couple of days after I first subscribed to the first trans-related mailing list on the net, and met the first real people I knew who had actually transitioned. About fifteen seconds later, I decided to transition myself, and was still rather distracted by this at the time. I heard the story, but it didn't really register much.

  5. When the Berlin Wall fell (11/7/1989)

    This happened right in the middle of my ECMP 316/317 junior year microprocessor design course, so I kind of missed it. I'd been following the news in dribs and drabs, and there'd been talk for several weeks of changes going on in Eastern Europe, starting with Hungarian border guards no longer enforcing exit restrictions, but it wasn't until two days after the fact that I heard a reference to it having fallen.

  6. When the Gulf War began (1/16/1991)

    In my apartment in Cleveland Heights, the one where I lived for my first transition. I was watching World News Tonight, which was mostly devoted to the increasing tensions in the region. They had their correspondent in Baghdad on the phone to give a report when he suddenly reported hearing explosions. They stayed with the story in round-the-clock news coverage all night, and sat and watched and designed a wargame on my NeXT.

  7. When OJ Simpson was chased in his White Bronco (6/17/1994)

    At Metro Health Center -- I'd wandered in to the main building to check on a router that we'd set up in the radiology department, and the coverage was on in the ER waiting room.

  8. When the building in Oklahoma City was bombed (4/19/1995)

    At work at Ansoft; I didn't learn of it until I got home that evening.

  9. When Princess Di was killed (8/31/1997)

    Visiting Mom and Dad in the North Hills of Pittsburgh.

  10. When Bush was first announced President (11/7/2000)

    I had just moved into my apartment in Lakewood (the one with moominmuppet's evil ex-landlords), and the cable was to be installed the next day. Sitting and watching election coverage all night on Election Night is one of my favorite political geek activities, so I was rather annoyed. "I wish they'd wait for me to get my cable hooked up," I thought, in a be-careful-what-you-wish-for moment. I stayed up until 4:30 listening to NPR, and drifted off to sleep before they came to any conclusion about victory or defeat.

  11. When the 6.8 earthquake hit Nisqually, WA (2/28/2001)

    This happened when I was working 20-hour days trying to set up Avaya's email backbone in time for a hard, unslippable deadline, so I wasn't following the news much, but I did send a few alarmed emails to friends out thataway to check on them.

  12. When terrorists knocked over the World Trade Center (9/11/2001)

    I got to my office at Kodak shortly before 9:00, and right after I arrived, Doug wandered into my office and told me that a 727 had crashed into the WTC. I was skeptical until I saw the first photos of smoke from the first tower, and the damage didn't look severe enough to have been a jetliner; we just assumed that a light plane had had a catastrophic navigation error. Then the second plane hit, and someone turned on the TV in the conference room, and I watched in horror as the Pentagon got hit. I went back to my desk, and AP started reporting that one of the towers had fallen. Back in the conference room, CBS news (which was the only one that would come in on the TV) was running a live feed from a camera angle where the second tower blocked the view of the first, and the rectangular column of smoke from the fall of the first made it look like the first tower was still standing, wreathed in smoke. It wasn't until the second tower fell that we learned the enormity of what had happened.

    Many other wild rumors were floating around that day: a car bombing at the State Department, an F-16 shooting down a fifth plane near Camp David, et cetera. I left for a looooong lunch break around 11:30, and Peri got home shortly after I did (I was still living with Kat and Peri at the time). Kat hugged me fiercely as I walked in the door, and the three of us spent a lot of time talking. Then Amanda called, and we all tried to lean on each other.

  13. For the last Rochester Writers' Group meeting? (1/8/2003)

    Asleep at home -- I got back from work around 4:00, and the meeting wasn't until 8:00. So I decided to take a nap for a couple of hours... and woke up at 11:00. Sorry guys!

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