Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Wednesday, Wednesday

The first time I took a plane was late 1998 (I think it was November), and since then I've had consistently good luck. I've been delayed once or twice, and occasionally I spend a few hundred miles with a small child bawling and kicking me in the back through the seat. I've only once had luggage lost or delayed, though that's not such a good record given that I make an effort to travel light, and I've only checked luggage twice. Yesterday's trip was more eventful than most: the first leg was bumpy, and due to freezing rain at the airport, we didn't make it to the intended destination of Kansas City. The plane landed in Chicago, and after a couple hours in line I was given a ticket for an alternate flight. I was in a middle seat, but the adjacent seats were filled by reasonably polite adults, and I was able to take a nap. The plane got in on time, the bus ride to the BART station was unusually prompt and pleasant, and the BART ride home was like any other BART ride. I got in around 11:30.

On longer flights, Southwest gives out snack packs -- some crackers and cookies and chewy candies -- rather than just the roasted peanuts. I think these packages are delightful, not so much because of the food as because of the packaging. This time, both the crackers and the cookies were packaged in air-tight wrappers strong enough not to fail when the plane went up. The pressure differential made them look for all the world like air-filled packaging material, and I was very much tempted to see if I could pop them. As the airplane was crowded -- and as I didn't really want to shatter my snack -- I resisted temptation.

Long plane rides are a great time to ponder questions about the strength of the joins in a piece of food packaging, or try to mentally estimate the altitude at which a bag of Oreos would pop (supposing it was sealed at sea level) or what the terminal velocity of said bag of Oreos would be. It's also a good time to ponder the recent increases in laptop battery life, and the ettiquete of watching a movie over someone's shoulder. Well -- not exactly a movie. I suspect that I got much more entertainment from watching fragments of Sex in the City over someone's shoulder in an airplane than I would ever have achieved from watching it in other circumstances (e.g. with sound).

My first day back in the office has so far seen me moving books around, deleting an enormous amount of backlogged spam, cheering for Poland, and rolling my eyes over someone taking Philip Dick and William Gibson too seriously. I type faster than I can effectively think of things to type, and doubt that a more direct-to-the-brain interface would do anything except lower the chances of RSI. Maybe I'd feel differently if I had a mind-controlled rocket car, but I doubt it.

A mind-controlled rocket car would be cool, though. I'm sure it would have an intelligent computer to do most of the driving. I could call it Fess.

  • Currently drinking: Black coffee