Monthly Archives: November 2010

On Flying, Part Deux

It is all fine and dandy to drive to San Francisco or Lost Wages or Phoenix from LA, but what happens if you need to go farther afield or even across an ocean? Not even BlkPhbe the trusted Prius can drive across the ocean.
As bizarre as I find the whole flying experience in recent years, particularly the part at the airport before departure, I do like airports. Back when one could walk one’s friends or family to their departure gate, before the advent of boarding pass folks beyond security only, I used to offer to take friends to the airport, as I enjoy the hustle, bustle, and air of possibility that pervades a good, large airport.
People are going places! I could be going places! What fun people watching!
The only problem in the post 9/11 world, the hustle and bustle has been replaced with dour faced, tired, stressed out people. And that only covers the employees and TSA folk, as for the passengers there is an air of defeat.
GW Bush’s pronouncement of “Mission Accomplished” aside, I think the terrorists have won. Instead of airports being a place of movement, anticipation, and possibilities, they are now a place of banal, mindless bureaucracy that verges on shows of soul-corroding power trips in the name of supposed security.
One wanna-be terrorist failed to blow up his shoe, now millions of people get to have their shoes inspected. One failed terrorist couldn’t get his underwear to explode, now many more innocents get to be patted down & felt up in the name of making us all safer.
Before you start thinking, “Well, I am willing to put up with ALL of that AND MORE to be secure!” Are you really that secure? I raise an eyebrow at you. You must not fly that often anymore.
As I detailed out in last night’s post, for trips shorter than 6 hours, I now drive rather than deal with the b.s. at the airport.
Flying internationally is one exception to my little no-fly rule, as I do like to get into an aluminum tube with wings and be strapped in for 10-12 hours so that I can emerge on the other side in a new world. This I like so much, I will put up with quite a bit.
I like watching Labrador, Baffin Island, Greenland, and Iceland from 35,000 ft in the air as the metal tube is getting jostled about by the turbulent air in the interstices of the North Atlantic and the North American landmass. It is even more fun to watch Greenland & Bafflin Island go by with a barf bag* in one hand while one is trying to operate a camera in the other while pressing the lens to the window.
One of these days, I will touch down in Iceland and Greenland for a proper visit rather than just fly over. For Greenland, I will even put up with the airport.
*Sometimes, if it smells real bad, no matter how hungry, don’t eat the airplane food. Yes, they still feed you on International flights.

On Driving, not Flying

Rather than fly to San Francisco this weekend to attend Cindy & Matt’s Wedding 2.0, I decided to drive.
Generally, I prefer to drive than to fly. I don’t like the expense and hassle of flying. It isn’t just the cost of the plane ticket & fees but also do I park my car at a protected pay lot or do I ask a friend or family member to drive me & pick me up from the airport? What about the time it takes to get to the aiport, through security, etc? I own a 2007 Toyota Prius that gets between 46-52 mpg when driving; yes, I can go 460 – 520 miles to a 10 gallon tank of gas. For short trips, there is a definite time savings to driving, as well as money savings.
Las Vegas from SoCal? Drive. If you plan it right, it is 4 hours door to door via the car. I dare you to beat that with driving to the airport, going through security, being at the gate 45 minutes before the flight, plus the 45min to 1 hour flight time & additional taxing to the gate & getting out of the airport & to your destination time. Get a road trip partner & just go.
Phoenix? Also, just drive.
San Francisco? Ooh, that one is hard. It usually is 4-4.5 hours door to door if you fly, plus a minimum of $110 for ticket & fees if you book two weeks ahead. It is 6.5-8 hours door to door from SoCal to SF and less than $60 total in my car, if I drive. But dang if the the drive through the Central Valley on the I-5 is not a mind-numbing haul, even if it is really shorter in the terms of time than one’s brain perceives it. In the end, it is time and how much I need my car when I am in SF that determines if I drive or fly.
The last two trips to San Francisco, I have flown, as I was only in the city for a day or two and was only at one location both times. The trip before that in April, I drove up by myself as I did need my car to get around, and I drove back with my brother who needed to visit a series of commercial real estate properties for work in the Silicon Valley. I picked him up in SF, we drove around for a couple of hours, hit Chinese food in Sunnyvale, looked at a few more buildings and then drove home to LA. Easy peasy.
I like flying Virgin America, it is fun. I like flying American, even if others don’t. I *actually* like LAX. So, if I was only going to be in San Francisco for a weekend wedding and visiting of friends, having to leave late Friday or early Saturday and then be back by Monday morning, wouldn’t flying be easier?
Ah, no.

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Tidbits :: Monday November 8, 2010

Zadie Smith reviews ‘The Social Network’ in Generation Why?: “How long is a generation these days? I must be in Mark Zuckerberg’s generation–there are only nine years between us–but somehow it doesn’t feel that way. This despite the fact that I can say (like everyone else on Harvard’s campus in the fall of 2003) that “I was there” at Facebook’s inception, and remember Facemash and the fuss it caused; also that tiny, exquisite movie star trailed by fan-boys through the snow wherever she went, and the awful snow itself, turning your toes gray, destroying your spirit, bringing a bloodless end to a squirrel on my block: frozen, inanimate, perfect–like the Blaschka glass flowers. Doubtless years from now I will misremember my closeness to Zuckerberg, in the same spirit that everyone in ’60s Liverpool met John Lennon.
At the time, though, I felt distant from Zuckerberg and all the kids at Harvard. I still feel distant from them now, ever more so, as I increasingly opt out (by choice, by default) of the things they have embraced. We have different ideas about things. Specifically we have different ideas about what a person is, or should be. I often worry that my idea of personhood is nostalgic, irrational, inaccurate. Perhaps Generation Facebook have built their virtual mansions in good faith, in order to house the People 2.0 they genuinely are, and if I feel uncomfortable within them it is because I am stuck at Person 1.0. Then again, the more time I spend with the tail end of Generation Facebook (in the shape of my students) the more convinced I become that some of the software currently shaping their generation is unworthy of them. They are more interesting than it is. They deserve better.”
David Neary on The MeeGo Progress Report: A+ or D-?
Laurie on Why I really, really hate Instagram

Happy 7th Birthday to Scruffy McDoglet!

Scruffy McDoglet, still spry at seven
Photo of Scruffy racing around the Green Belt taken on 11.03.10 by Ms. Jen with her Nokia N8.
Sun 11.07.10 – Happy 7th Birthday to the one of best the dogs ever, Scruffy McDoglet!

Sunday: From Queen Malika to the Cows

Jason Queen Malika The Wind Turbines of Altamont Pass Pastoral Graffiti
Sun 11.07.10 – Sunday: wake up. Brunch with friends. Tea & crepes at Queen Malika in the Castro with Jason. Get in the car and drive back to SoCal via the Central Valley in the rain.
Photos taken by Ms. Jen on with her Nokia N8.

Wedding 2.0

Matt and Cindy get married 2.0
Looking out at the San Francisco Bay from the end of Pier 39 Jason, Daniel and Arun The Groomsmen practicing their hand holds & stance Jeremy and Jessica Greg and Stephanie Greg taking a photo with his new Samsung Galaxy Tab Here comes the Bride #cindymattwed 2.0 The Flower Girls The Receiving Line, with Grandpa Li MJ and Ari The best part of having the wedding at the Aquarium: Jellyfish! The Tube Tank Swirls of Anchovies Kiss the Bride! Screen glow: MJ, Coley, and Kevin More folks from the YVR Table: Stephanie, Greg, and Dave MJ and Cindy Lauren and Cindy All the Ladies Matt is tall and I am short.  ;o) Ms. Jen, Dave, and Lauren Coley, Kevin, and Craig They are all taller than me: Greg, Matt, and Jeremy MJ and Tantek More screen glow: Jeremy, Norm!, and Craig James and Norm! Dancing Dan DJ'ing Christopher and Ari The Bay Bridge from the Balcony of the Aquarium
Photos taken by Ms. Jen with her Nokia N8.
Sat 11.06.10 – 361 days after Wedding 1.0, Cindy Li and Matt Harris got married (Wedding 2.0) at the Aquarium by the Bay. Jeremy Keith made an excellent officiant, the ceremony was lovely, and I loved that Cindy’s dad, Mr. Li gave a blessing prayer in Chinese.
After the ceremony, the receiving line was held in the Aquarium proper and we were encouraged to visit the various tanks & displays while the catering staff re-purposed the event room for the reception.
The reception was lovely with all the guests sat at airport code tables. I was at YVR with a lovely set of friends and the reception was delightful. Food, dancing, laughter, catching up.
Congratulations to Cindy and Matt!

Lexi the Super Small & Super Cute

Lexi the super cute chihuahua puppy
Fri 11.05.10 – Lexi is a three month old long haired chihuahua pup that has visited with my neighbor’s daughters twice this week. She is just tiny, tiny, tiny* and super cute/sweet. Best yet, she has soft fur and puppy smell.
* Lexi is about 3 pounds and is not even 5 inches tall.