Memories of the UPL
the ones that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
The route was, from the Dayton St entrance between Unit I and Unit II:
I used this from time to time, but the one that sticks in my mind was a post 7PM viewing of the old mainframe when it was in the basement elevator lobby. It's possible I spent too much time in that building.
how to blow off steam during exam week
wonko: There were the fun things we'd do to blow off steam during exam week, like racing chairs down the CS ramp (Tomlaw was quite the driver), seing how could open the most xterms on someone else's terminal before they shut you down, or in Tomlaw's case, yelling "Eep!" and throwing yourself over the railing.
The True Story of the Sun
mitch: At some point Peter had bought it (for like $1 or something) at a swapfest. It was dead when he bought it (wouldn't power on) At some point it showed up at the UPL to tinker with.
About the same time we had been scavenging RACKS of old broadband modems from DoIT (for years a couple channels of the university-wide cable tv network were dedicated to a 1980s form of cable modems - DoIT (or rather MACC) used this to get connectivity into some random buildings but it eventually was decommissioned around 1993 or 1994) I'm sure some old-timers remember these big boxes.
One of the nicest part of these devices is that each one had a nice big power supply. So Peter and I figured out what this pinout of the Sun power supply was and then wired in one of these in its place.
As soon as we turned it on there was an amazingly loud "BANG!" and a big capacitor missing from the Sun's motherboard. Contrary to what Nick said, it wasn't miswired. What had happened is that one of the filtering caps on the motherboard had failed and was leaking a lot of current. This extra current draw is almost certainly what caused the original power supply to fail. The scavenged power supply had WAY more juice on +12 though and was happy to throw a couple dozen amps into it, which literally vaporized the offending capacitor.
After that the Sun would at least light some LEDs but we never messed with it much after that. It did help get the ball rolling on getting Sun to eventually give us vger though:
> From: mitch (Mitchell Blank Jr)
> To: upl
> Date: Fri, 16 Jun 1995 14:47:21 -0500 (CDT)
> Subject: machine status
> 4. The worldwide education representative for Sun Microsystems stopped
> by (no shit). I showed him the 2/50 in hopes of getting sympathy
I remember being like "well, the only piece of Sun hardware we have is this 10 year old box that doesn't even boot" :-)
Also - another one of those same power supplies was used to resurrect harmon.ssc.wisc.edu (a decstation 5000/25 we got for free after a power surge had killed its power supply) This was right near the end of the decstation era though and fixing it was the last thing I did before I left the UPL (we got it on 5/1/96; I repaired it on Fri 6/21/96 and started my job at ExecPC the following Monday). Not sure if that box even ever got a UPL hostname.
will: SUFFER? I know not of this SUFFER. Discuss.
wonko: You know not of the horror that was SUFFER? For an ECE class in which a computer was to be built, Mitch, Felix and Gulfie were on a team togther.
A psychology student joined them to watch team dynamics in action. This student eventually quit from the pressure.
Last I heard they're still be used as an example of how not to function as a team.
There were sleepless weeks, arguments, anger, broken grad students...it's best left to discussion by those who were involved. It left a swath of broken people, shattered lives, fragile mental and emotional states and so forth.
Badness. Much badness.
The Instant Coffee was finally thrown out in fairly recent memory.
mturner: I don't know exactly when the chocolate frosting was disposed of, but the goo it left behind in the VAX is still there. Ironically that recipe might have been the most useful result of that project.
chaos: The only goo I remember was the Mountain Dew spill discovered during a cleaning. It wasn't sure when it had been dropped behind the Vax, but we found an open can and a small puddle in front of it. The yellowish liquid had become thick, almost gelatinous. It hadn't really sunk into the carpet, instead it had simply puddled on top.
It was a long time ago, and I remember it being late at night, so I might be accidentally exagurating the facts, but it was a vivid image.
I think this was the same cleaning where Peter Beirman was using one of the Vax Fans Of Death to dust machines. Of note were the very dusty Next cubes. They were hauled into the hallway, then the fan's exhaust placed on top. A sizable cloud of dust was ejected out of all sides. That amused me.
The Dead Technology Track:
CS 1.0 "High Voltage
and Duct Fan Saftey Precautions"
wonko: We called that the "Besh, please don't stick a screwdriver in that" class.
CS 1.3 is "Introduction to the Univac", if I remember correctly. CS
1.5 is "Boot-toggling your PDP-1." That was a great class.
kilroy: Yeah, watching Bart do that with his eyes closed was pretty cool.
(kilroy history note: That saved the UPL's ass once. Bart came in, and the lab was a STY. His eyes started glowing that death ray red color, and all hell was about to be visited upon the lab, but then he saw the PDP-8F I had sitting on the table, and he got all mushy. "Oh man, I remember booting these things." Then he actually closed his eyes and started flipping the switches really fast. Then he left, with nothing but a little mention of "you guys should clean up a little.")
gaming in the lab
will: Back when I was in 352 with hamblin (his last class to graduate), we were in the UPL working on our final project. We were here for 36 hours, but the first 12 consisted me doing vaious stuff and him playing video games; the second 12 consisted of him working on his Playstation Tron and me setting up the webcam and powerglove/joy-gun/crystaleyes to create the cool picture of him at the beginning of the game; the last 12 hours consisted of us cursing the TorMentor Graphics, all hardware, and the fact that neither of us had gone to class or read anything.
At about -4 hours, when were wondering aloud why our hardware wouldn't compile (hardware people would say simulate), and Zach wandered in and imparted a pearl of wisdom on how to solve any problem in TorMentor Graphics: "Oh, you've just got to snag a Vcc out of Gen/Lib," said he, in full Wisconsin accent. Of course, he was right.
harl: Damn it. I was schooling people in quake with out a mouse, it didn't quite work right under X-windows, before you kids were a reflection in your CRT. Mmm garak that hsould go in the lore. Ping times of 4. Bitchslayer. That machine in library that we used to get rid of bitchslayer. Yet one more explample of how stupid doit can be.
kilroy: "Try running sendmail with the -CHECKYOURCRONTAB flag..." Someone who can do so without cackling evilly, please explain. ;)
hartmann: Once upon a time there were a bunch of game fiends in the lab. I do not now, nor have I ever particularly cared for gaming, but at the time it was still interesting to run a server, so we ran a quake server in the UPL on garak. This attracted all sorts of deviants and miscreants, most notably a player with the handle of 'bitchslayer' who apparently lived in Ogg somewhere.
Bitchslayer was quite a problem, and a real pain apparently, and the decision was made to make his life miserable from someplace not quite associated with the UPL.
In a different vein, I used to work at the Memorial Library Infolab. This was back in the Bad Days, when UPLers had hard times getting jobs following the mass DoIT exodus. Memlib was still okay, because the manager there, Henry Huang, was a great guy boss. A few of us had been looking to set up a Linux server, and since I was most qualified, I wanted to run it. However, someone else set it up not particularly well (he's on junkies now, so don't say anything), and failed to do any sort of decent security. I walked into the lab, booted it into single, and made it my playground.
This box, which had plausible deniability, was used to ping flood bitchslayer whenever he showed up. In a childish fit of pique, to torment the supposed admin of the box, I added a crontab entry to run "shutdown -rn" every fifteen minutes. The '-n' used to mean "not recommended" - shutdown kills all the processes manually instead of calling init. The admin showed up in the linux newsgroups asking for advice, and since sendmail starting was the last thing in the log files, he wondered if it was a sendmail problem. An unknown smartass replied "try running sendmail with the -CHECKYOURCRONTAB flag".
ramirez: I had managed to track him down to a dorm room in Sellery, actually, with the help of Sam who lived there at the time.
chaos: In regards to Bitchslayer, it's not directly mentioned that he was extremely verbally (textually?) abusive. A bit of trash talk is traditional, but Bitchslayer took it too far. He was extremely crude and personally insulting. Various warnings were made, but he refused to improve.
will: As more folklore, I'd like explanations of some of the lockshells in /usr4/adm/lock. lockshell.tyrannical.monkey?
Your account has been locked because you are a tyrannical
monkey. Obtain a species change, and your account will
be reinstated. Thank You.
hartmann: On the subject of lockshells...
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 00:25:00 -0500 (CDT)
From: Peter Keller <psilord>
To: upl (UPL coords)
lock shell dot suck isn't gonna keep me outta the machine.
I am the machine. I've licked *every single bit* in the whole goddamned
core, and they obey me, and me alone. All of you might have licked the
case, the monitor, hell, maybe even the CPU.
But I've licked dukat's soul.
UPL and junkies
zimage: Since we're on the topic of history, I have a quick question. Where did junkies come from? Is it a UPL thing, or has it simply always attracted UPL types?
psilord: Junkies is a UPL thing. It came into existance because we needed to get a hold of people who had crap in the lab so we could give forewarning to them so they could remove it during cleanings. It started with posts like: Would whoever owns this burnt out shell of a Tandy 1000 computer please remove it from the lab. Bart says it ruins the lab's karma.
However, since so many people had crap in the lab--and I'm talking like stacks and _boxes_ of the most useless junk you have ever seen (anyone need a broken pdp 8/f 12 bit CPU card (how about 7 of them?), it became a running membership of the coords plus most of the users who hung out in the lab. Since the only way to have junk in the lab is if you physically put in there and defended your squatters rights where you put it.
After a while, it just became used more and more for mass communication amongst the usual denizens of the UPL. Now everyone who hangs out in the lab for long enough to figure out it exists can join. However, it is still a closed list in the sense that everyone basically knows everyone else on it.
The ICs in the ceiling
psilord: Who put the first IC's into the ceiling?
wonko: It was a team effort. Several of us. I can't remember what we took apart to get the first batch of chips, though.
I could be wrong, but I think it was from a Sun workstation bierman
(and possibly mitch) picked up at a Swapfest.
I think they misconnected the power -- there were definitely some sparks --
and pulled the machine apart. Anyway if you can determine the original chips,
you should be able to narrow down the machine -- Except I don't quite remember
wonko: There's a definite "center" to it. It started as a sort of row thingy, and then the "spider" in the center was added. I remember being really proud when we stuck a m68000 in there.
hartmann: It's got to be earlier than that, because the pattern was started when I got there - Turner the Elder pointed it out to me in July 1994. Massive growth happened post-VAX dissection.
psilord: I have vague memories of asking Abe about it. He said he started it with the Cantor set near the wide part of the triangle the room forms. I could come down and point it out (it is probably still there) if anyone wants to know. I suspect it might have been Abe that started it.
wonko: I know Abe was there when it started. I seem to recall us having a large pile of chips and wondering what to do with them. Somewhere the idea came for sticking them in the ceiling (might've been Tom "Wild Eep!" Lawrence's idea...seems like his style). So we did. It was probably spring 93 or thereabouts.
nevyn: That sounds about right. I remember coming into the lab the next day and seeing the pattern for the first time.
Oh, the joys of politics (a followup to the Opening of the Blinds). and other random trivia.
psilord: Yeah, like why there is a "No Productive Work Allowed" sign on the door.
We were testing out the donated HP color printer.
psilord: And why someone scribbled "re" infront of Productive.....
Dave and Anna. :)
psilord: Don't forget about the Saga of the Blinds. When Coords fought tooth and nail to have the blinds up or down. I wrote a folklore anthropology paper on the UPL during that time(concerning this issue) and it got me an A in the course because it was so fascinating to read.
wonko: It's intersting, as when I was first a coord the blinds were often up. We starting putting them down mroe often to hide the mess and to obscure Dave Carley sleeping on the floor. Also to hide the brothel-red pillows Craig's mom had donated that Tom Rutlin hated so very much.
Oddly, the mess went in cycles too. The first year I was there - complete mess. Second year - pristine (well, as pristine as the UPL got). Third year - mess. I think it had to do with the amount of free time coords had to clean. The third year was the year of SUFFER, so nobody had any time, and some of us were hiding from the others. :)
psilord: It details the struggles of the UPL right after when the Old Coords (mitch, felix, wonko...) left and a lot of new ones (Paulson, Stanis, ...) had become coords. I was present for the transition so I got a front row seat.
wonko: There was a longer transition there than I think was previously mentioned. I and a few others left a year (or more, in the case of tomlaw and Craig Peeper) before Mitch and Felix et. al. did. A few others had already been recruited as coords (or at least had been pegged as replacements) at the time (Besh, Gus, etc.)
There was still a weird vaccuum that resulted when those who had previously been established as taking over (Kimuchi, Dave Carley, Gulfie, Kilroy) either graduated or just left, suddenly leaving a bunch of open coord spots and no particular succession.
There was actually a similar issue when I became a coord, many many moons ago. The prior guard had been Spy, Abe, TheBoo, Larry, Quayle and a bunch of others. They all graduated simulatneously (or just stopped showing up). The remaining people with doorcodes (not coords mind you - Abe gave out his doorcode to anyone who asked. He gave out root pretty freely too. Solow was given root by abe, looked at him and said "what's this for?") were Me, Bruce Hearn, Nick Wagner, Dave Blumenthal (who'd been a UPL'er for about a semester at that point) and one or two others. But there were no coords. There hadn't been 12 previously, so there weren't just empty coord spots, there were no coords *at all*. We hastily reconfigured, named everyone who showed up regularly and was willing to put time into it a coord. This was all due to a threat of Bart shutting us down if we didn't give him a coord list by the end of the week.
It happens a lot, I guess.
When I first showed up at the UPL, Spy turned me away. He asked if I knew any Unix. I said "um, no, but I'd lke to learn." He told me they didn't have room for people who didn't have a background (something to that effect) and sent me off to DoIT to ask them. I came back a week later and Abe gave me a doorcode and root. Go figure.
What's really intersting to me is the perception that the previous crop of coords had been "closed." We had the same view of our previous batch. And at one point we'd gone super-populist, having over 650 users on picard and yar alone ("wanna learn computers? Join the UPL!")...I wonder if it's a cyclical thing.
Which reminds me, I still have the JugIt video on VHS tape if anyone has the capacity to digitise it (I currenlty do not).
What I find intersting is that it's <mumble> years since I left and I (and many of my UPL contemporaries) can still recognize many of the current coords on the street (altho the Tazerfish shirts help), and that most of the coords past and present keep in touch with each other in some capacity (especially if that capacity involves alcohol).
More discussion following Changing the Old Ways.
dsb: On the topic of practical jokes, I had a whole collection of them. Things like getting one xterm to control the mouse of another. Or just randomly changing the background colors or making the keyboard LEDs blink in patterns. Or swapping the monitor and keyboard cables of yar and picard.
Umm, or aliasing cat to cat.schrodinger, which had a 50% chance of failing and refusing to cat the file. Or modifying man to filter everything through the drawl or swedish chef filters. Hmm. Or echoing "Bus error (core dumped)" to someone's vtty (I got someone once right after they typed 'ls' - they were really confused). Or having the xserver run xroach right before xlogin, so when you log in all the bugs scurry out from under the login box.
I'm fairly sure I could dig up all the scripts - they're on some disk somewhere no doubt.
dsb: The best "you left yourself logged in" trick I've seen is "echo sleep 1 >> .cshrc" at the end of .cshrc. But I also had a set of scripts for doing things like creating deeply nested directories, with each directory being a single letter and the chain spelling a message. I created a directory structure once that was hundreds of directories deep. Unfortunately the machine rebooted at some point and fsck crashed on a buffer overrun from the 1024 length path names. We had to bypass fsck, mount the disk manually, and then mv the directories into smaller trees, because rm also crashed. I think some people were unhappy with me at that point.
psilord: The best one I ever did (I think it was either to Derek or NWA) is where I added a shitload of trojan UNIX programs I wrote which did hilarious things 1% of the time, and then fixed which, echo, ls, du, <etc> to not display the trojan directory, or print out which ls they thought they were using (It picked the one you would have gotten if you didn't get the one you did), or show the space of the trojan directory (I fixed du remember), and fix the environment to not show your altered path. And for those of you thinking that typing a full path would have fixed it, I present to you the clever use of alias: alias /bin/ls echo "Nope"
Whenever other coords, like Gus, used to piss me off, I'd wait until they were working on their project, secretly log in as root, and then kill -SEGV <pid> the program they were running. God, the sweet sweet screams of frustration: It'd never break when they used gdb. But as soon as they thought they found it BAM!!! core dump city the first time it is run standalone...
The sordid history of eta
Spy and the Windex
wonko: Late night, UPL. Spy is writing some Microcosm code and complaining bitterly about the fingerprints on the monitor (Bob Henderson had the habit of tracing text with his finger).
"Clean the thing off, then" I helpfully suggest.
Spy grabs a bottle of windex, and begins spraying.
"Um...maybe you might want to turn the monitor off before you do that?"
"Pft. It'll be fine. It'll..."
A crackling zapping noise interrupts him, and the monitor ceases to function.
"Um." He says as he quickly switches it off. Wisps of smoke drift up out of the casing.
There is a pause. He looks at me, as the scent of burnt hardware and ozone fills the lab. "Try turning it back on." he says to me.
"YOU try turning it back on!"
Several days later it heads up to the CSL for repair. Several days after that it comes back down with a CSL guy. "Now what's wrong with it?" He asks. We suggest he plug it in and try it out. The monitor flickers to life. "There doesn't seem to be anything..." followed by a sequence of zaps and crackles and the monitor shutting down. "Oh."
So we stopped letting Spy touch cleaning materials for a while.
raito: In the pre-Picard/Yar days, there was a lot of effort expended on getting ART (that's Abe's stuff before Microcosm) to work better faster. So Spy went and redid major sections of the code, moving a bunch of stuff to pointers and other things 'guaranteed' to speed up the code. Without having run it, he declared to everyone present "This code is bug-free!" and launched the program. It crashed so badly that the machine had to be rebooted (quite a thing with UNIX, but understandable given the graphics libraries in use at the time.)
Postscript: When he finally got his changes working, it actually slowed the code down, because of architectural issues.
JohnnyC - plague to the coords
1) When the CSL began to insist that real names be used (some users were fond of using aliases in their user information) Johnny Cheuk kept insisting that his real name was "Johnny Nintendo."
"It is real japanese name!" He insisted.
"But you're from Hong Kong" pointed out M Turner.
"It is my name!"
"No, your name according to your user signup form and wiscinfo is Johnny Cheuk. Change it."
He eventually complied.
2) The emails he would send to UPL were of the most baffling broken english we'd ever seen. Even our resident linguist (The Rev. Dr. William Annis) was often intrugied by the constructions, which seemed to follow no known language patterns and were heavily peppered with the word "hello."
"Hello, the quota of my thank you disk to me raise hello please."
3) Back in the days of the 1meg quotas, he was constantly exceeding his. Not usually by enough to justify nuking him wholesale, but every two weeks or so he'd hit 3meg and locksh.quota would be invoked. It got to be a pain to have to perpetually lock and unlock his account.
I think after the first year we had even nuked his account for repeated quota violation, but he came back and got a new one when a new coord, who didn't know anything about him, re-added him.
4) We noticed one day that his disk quota had been exceeded...by a whole lot. It wasn't difficult to notice as he lept overnight from around 1meg to around 50meg, and considering all 600 users were on about a gig of space, it showed up pretty quickly. A brief look uncovered that he had downloaded a mess of pirated nintendo binaries (for use with some sort of blank-cart adapter). Since we weren't too keen on using our disk resources for pirated software, we locked his account with one of the baaaaaad lockshells.
He came storming in. "WHY MY LOCK ACCOUNT?!?"
William, our Policy Facist, calmly replied "You've been pirating software and storing it on our machines. Not only are you WAY over quota, but you're in violation of several UW and CS rules."
He got indignant. "WHAT PROOF HAVE YOU!?!"
"Well, we *do* have all your files." He got very quiet, and we agreed that if he never came back, we wouldn't turn him over to the dean of students.
William later mused "I should've yelled at him in Mandarin, just to make him nervous." Admittedly, that'd probably have gone over the edge into cruelty, but considering Johnny's track record, it was probably warranted.
The Various Incarnations of That Guy
v1.0 - the Linux Laptop Guy
psilord: This guy as in his mid 40's or 50's as far as I could tell, and I think he was a math professor (or had some affiliation with the Math dept). At the time he started showing up, we had just started a "bring your machine in and we'll install linux on it" fair that we had opened to the random public. This is maybe 1996-7 or so. So, this guy comes in, and nwa (Nate Anderson) is really the only one who ever had installed linux on a laptop sits down to help him. After a couple of hours, it becomes obvious that linux didn't play too well with his laptop and nwa did the best he could to make it work. The guy seemed appreciative, but he definitely had a creepiness about him. He left with a mostly working laptop and we thought nothing more about it.
A couple of weeks later, he comes in and asks for some X server configuration help. Since we felt a little obliged to help him out since we in fact installed the OS onto his laptop, we help him. It wasn't too big of a deal.
A couple of weeks later, he comes in and asks for some alternate X configurations. We do them for him, this time making sure he fully understands how to do it himself.
Enter him comming by a bunch more times looking for really, really basic help and we had shown him multiple times where on the net to find this information and how to apply it to his machine. It appears that he is just plain lazy and never wants to actually administer his own machine. Then he asks if people want to come over to his house and do administration for him there. Um, no.
One of the final times he came in, I was there. He asked about the configuration of his X server(asking it to be put into a configuration it had been in a couple times before, and he had verbally told us the steps to get it there and back). I blew up at him. "What part of the man pages don't you understand? We teach you this stuff over and over again and it is like you have either a brain dysfunction or are so utterly unwilling to actually learn something new that you expect the world to hand it to you on a plate."
He didn't come back until most of the coords graduated, then he started comming round again, but us older folks informed the new coords of the issue, and thankfully he wasn't able to ensare a new generation of coords.
will: Who is not to be confused with "the other That Guy" (or "That Annoying Guy" - I'll have to check my archives to be sure of his name). He was mid-to-late, skinny, a little tall, and had glasses. He came in 2-3 years ago at a linux install fair and, again, wanted an extraordinary amount of help installing linux on his laptop. He's some sort of post-doc or something in the Soc (?) department, and he kept coming back time and time again, not realizing that we were all trying our best to ignore him comletely. I still see him around campus every once in a while and run the other way.
anthony: I think it is the same guy. I have seem him sitting in an office at the math building many times. I also run into him on the street alot. It is kind of scary.
My last encounter with him in the lab was odd. He came in and asked if we had a phone jack. I said yes. For some reason he thought this meant he could unhook it from the wall and hook it into his labtop. He then tried to configure a winmodem under linux.
To put a visual into your brain he did this all with no table. By that I mean he did all this configuration while kneeling on the floor but resting his elbows infront of him. Does anybody understand what I am saying? It's just not a way a grown man should position himself.
Its kind of like if you wanted someone to ride you like a horse but then got tired and layed straight down. That is really the only way I can describe it. Just unpleasant all around.
Anyway, what the hell was I talking about. Oh yeah, long story short I rode him around the room for about 5 minutes and we had some good laughs. The moral of the story is "Don't bring a saddle to work". On a serious note the man is just horrible.
v2.0 - Guy with debian machine
nick: I was sitting in the upl this morning and this chump comes in:
chump (to stephane): I have this box that i'd like to bring in, but i need to have root on it so i can do development...
Now I had sit this kid down yesterday and told him flat out that he has two options if he wants to bring a machine into the lab: He can have root on it but we'll put it on .46 so it can't talk to the outside world, or the box can be on .45 but no root.
me (shout from across the room): Didn't we talk about this yesterday?
chump: But stephane was the one that emailed me back so I wanted to talk to him about it.
me: What did I tell you yesterday... you have two choices if you want your machine in the lab.
chump (indignant): What? You guys like the borg or something, and all speak with one voice?
me (thinking): yes you dumb fuck, now where'd that lockshell.dumbfuck go?...
me (to chump): what do you think?
chump goes back to his term.
Later I find out that he's talked to like half the coords individually about this. He is, in fact, reminiscent of a young 'That Guy' (v. 1.0). Except vaguely more clueful, which only means that his annoyance is on a different level.
craft: Any or no reason. Just make him go away.
harl: He's new this year? What has he done to earn a box in the lab? Just tell him "No." Without even thinking about it. When he asks why tell him that you ahve no idea who he is and he should come in and get to know people and spend time there. Build trust. But hey things were different Bitd(tm). We didn't do so much of this stringing him along type thing.
Other random bits of historical trivia
Jen Juergens used to steal Abe's bike in order to get his attention. She'd leave notes like "If you want to see your bike again, you need to leave the lab and call me."
Dennis Strelow once said in a coord meeting "what is this root thing and why do *I* have the password for it?"
Eric "TheBoo" Bazan was fmaous for wondering aloud why anyone would want to program in a language like C when they could use 68000 assembler on his Amiga.
One summer, the waitron at the Red Oak Grill became so familiar with the UPL crew that she would order for us when we walked in. It was she who coined the phrase "Basket of Death" to refer to the $3 cheeseburger basket.
Dave Blumenthal was once put into hysterical laughter by the menu at Goeden's fish; "The flavor is sweet and slightly chewy." To this day you can make him giggle by saying that.
In the early days,
when the shades were still open, you still couldn't see in as the majority of
the window was covered with color printouts of MicroCosm images. Many art students
wandered in asking about it.