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How to recreate Peter Kaiser's eclipse experience

from TBTF for 1999-10-05

September 26, 1999

Peter Kaiser <kaiser at acm dot org> "viewed" the total solar eclipse of August 11. He sent this recipe for recreating his experience to a humor list. It is posted here by permission.

This material is Copyright © 1999 by Peter Kaiser <kaiser at acm dot org>.

We went to see the eclipse..., and I thought you might be interested to hear what it was like. Here's how you can reproduce our experience.
  1. Buy a candle.

  2. Rent a big apartment on a block on the West Side of Manhattan. Make sure that it's on the ground floor and that it has a big bathroom with a very big shower stall. (Important fact: such blocks are 1/20 of a mile deep and 1/8 of a mile wide.)

  3. Wait until the weather is overcast and drizzling lightly outside, then follow the rest of these instructions. Begin by turning on the bathroom lights and opening the shower to a drizzle.

  4. Put the candle on the bathroom floor.

  5. Open the doors of the shower stall, the bathroom, and the apartment. Make sure the doorman is on duty. Go outside and get in a car.

  6. Drive around the block 357 times, then into your building (the doorman will hold open the street door), your apartment, and finally into the bathroom and under the shower.

  7. Get out of the car and look up to confirm that there is still a shower head in the shower stall. Light the candle.

  8. Turn the shower on full. Turn off the lights, leaving the candle lit.

  9. Get back in the car. Sit there in the car under the shower for four minutes.

  10. Get out of the car. Turn on the lights and snuff the candle. Get back in the car.

  11. Drive out of the shower stall, the bathroom, and the apartment, back into the street.

  12. Drive around the block 357 times in the other direction. You're done.

Our apartment isn't on the ground floor, though, so here's how we handled it: we made a 250-mile round trip from Zurich to get rained on in the dark near Stuttgart.


[ TBTF for 1999-10-05 ]


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Created 1999-10-06