1967 first indoor movie
The first movie I saw that was not at a drive-in was maybe in Ridgewood, New Jersey. My dad took me to see Robbery by director Peter Yates in 1967. I was nine years old and was amazed that we were going to a movie and it was still light outside. We walked into a building, I thought we were just going there to get a snack. It was amazing to me, even though the movie was not that memorable. I only remember a train conductor getting hit in the head and the robbers throwing bags of cash off the train.
2003 lunch with Oliver Sacks
The author and neurologist Oliver Sacks turned 80 on July 9, 2013. I got to meet him at the American Chemical Society meeting in 2003. He was promoting his book, Uncle Tungsten, that had been published in 2001. People were waiting in line for 30 minutes to get a book signed and chat for 30 seconds. I had a better strategy, I hung out with and chatted with his personal assistant. Her job was to keep him on schedule and make sure he had his Sharpies at hand. You would buy the book at the front of the line, wait, and then hand it to him to sign as he sat at his table. When it was time for his lunch break she introduced him to me and he asked if I wanted to join them to walk around and look at the exhibits. We walked around and chatted about chemistry and we collected lots of trade show swag that exhibitors were eager to give him. I told him that my girlfriend (now wife) was at the neurology unit of Bayley Seton Hospital in New York City, he had started his career at the neurology unit of Beth Abraham Hospital in New York City. He said 'I hope she is there as a physician and not a patient.' We got to spend an hour together and I did not have to buy a book, but now I wish I had bought a copy for him to sign.
2004 at Disney in Orlando
I was in Orlando for the Society for Biomolecular Screening meeting. Hurricane Ivan was about to hit Orlando and they announced that Disney would be closed, but at the last minute the hurricane veered off to the west and Disney opened. I got discount tickets by listening to an hour long pitch for a time share. The tickets were discounted to just $25 per person. Since there were no lines, you just ran through the cattle gates and got on the ride. When I finished I would run around and get back on again. If the I couldn't get the front seat, I would just wait for the next car. I was on this one ride about 15 times. Orlando was already damaged from the previous hurricane, almost every billboard was knocked down and several buildings had collapsed that you could see from the ride from the airport. Hurricane Ivan hit Florida on September 20, 2004. The previous hurricane was Frances that had hit on September 5, 2004.
1993 World Wide Web
I was walking down the hall when I worked for Merck in building 80G and my friend Eric Allen stuck his head out the door of his office and said "want to see something cool?" It was the Mosaic web browser and the World Wide Web. If I remember correctly he went to the website for the National Weather Service and typed in the ZIP code for Rahway, New Jersey.