Airport Blues

Boston was great. We’re home now, but it wasn’t easy. We took the train to Logan Airport, then managed to swap tickets to catch a flight that left 2 hours earlier than our first flight. Everyone was seated when the pilot announced that the plane was having air conditioning problems, and that they were working on it. They expected it to take only a few minutes. We were allowed back into the terminal after an hour of sitting on an unairconditioned plane. Michelle got us switched back to our original fight, which got to O’hare before the earlier flight.

Then our flight in Chicago was delayed by 30 minutes. Once we boarded, the pilot let us know that the smoke detector in the lavatory was broken, and was being fixed. We waited another hour before it was fixed. We got back to Portland an hour later than expected. Such is life.

Not surprisingly, United Airlines is experiencing problems. I heard on the news that the big airline bail out wasn’t enough. United is still around, and I think I know how. They have gotten in the mail delivery business. Our plane spent nearly half an hour loading up two luggage trailers full of US Mail boxes. If United ships the mail, then the postal service doesn’t have to spend money on flying and maintaining planes. They’re both in trouble, and they’ve both found a solution. Did I mention it took longer than normal for our baggage to show up?

I’ve got more I’ll share later. We went around a cool thunderstorm, and saw the Red Sox play in Fenway. Fun Stuff.

horst & graben

I’m writing from 34,000 feet today. Michelle and I are flying to Boston so I can attend a WebCT conference. WebCT wants to sell us a new version of their software.

I love flying because it gives me a chance to see all the things I learned about in physical geography. It was the first time I’ve seen the hosrt & grabben of the Basin and Range area, and the playas, alluvial fans and aprons in the desert of eastern california.

I’d better turn this into and extended entry – click to read more.
Continue reading horst & graben

Rocket Sled

The neighbor kid was sliding down his driveway in a recycling bin. It’s about a 2 second ride, maybe a drop of 3 or 4 feet, but he rode down it for about half an hour. He’s a unique child, but a blast to watch. He’s always so happy, and always hitting things with sticks; even people’s cars.

He’s funny, but the guy who lives in the apartment next to really takes the neighborhood freak cake. I think he was recently laid off or something. He sits in his apartment without many clothes on, drinking, and rocking out all day. Michelle and I have been trying to think of a nickname for him, but we’ve unsatisfactorily decided on “classic rock.” He’s always singing to the rock radio station. He harasses neighbors, even the cute kid. One time he kept yelling “shit” and variations at me after Barley took a dump in our yard. He yelled at me for not picking it up, and then continuted to yell various feces related rants at me while I grilled dinner. His dog takes a crap in our yard every day, and he’s never picked it up. Jackass.

Apple disappoints

I’ve been a mac user for half of my life. I’ve also used PC’s most of that time as well,5, even for employment, but I’d never identify myself as such. There’s something unique about being a mac user, which might stem from the fact that we’ve been hustled for years for being elitists, simpleton, extravagant spenders, and cultists. We may be, but we’ve had our share of disappointments, betrayal, and moments of pure joy.

In 1994/5, the mac world was in such disarray. There were companies building mac computers, and they made much better computers than Apple did. Be even made a better OS than Apple did. Steve Jobs came back, and saved to company. It took a while, but we kept giving them money, and convincing our friends and family to buy macs. With Steve, Apple returned to the limelite with the best designs, best OS, easiest user experience. We could use the internet easier than everyone else. The mac users I was in school with knew both Macs and PCs better than anyone else, and we naturally picked macs.

It only get better for us, because we love our computers and the operating system when Mac OS X is released as a public beta. Apple let us test their operating system for them. We did their work, paid for it (or, someone did) then we bought the release, which was a beta as well. It was great for nerds, anyway, because it was an OS that we could be proud of. In fact, MacOS X’s unix underpinnings made those of us who actually enjoyed using macs “cool”. For some reason, now that we’ve added a command line to the things we’ve been doing for years, we become legit.

MacOS X has been a blast. I now revel in the command line. I used to make fun of people who complained that macs had no command line. I can be proud of the computer identity I’ve rallied behind for years. It’s like collecting on your investment (speaking of which, apple stock is at 15bux). Every 6 months, Mac users get rewarded with MacWorld, which is the trade show that Steve Jobs uses to release Apple’s next and greatest computer or software. Its almost always worth the wait, and the suspense. But as a shareholder (hardly), I watch as stock prices rise a bit until the announcements, jump a dollar afterwards, then drop 2 dollars. Technically, every breakthrough they make, they loose my money. I know its not their fault, because capitalism is not capitalism, and the world is full of people who hate it when people show them up.

Macworld was today. Steve announced a 17″ flat-panel iMac, MacOS 10.2, iTunes 3, and .Mac services. These are some pretty exciting announcements, but the overwhelming feeling mac devotees got was that Apple has truly sold out. We got that feeling when they teamed up with Microsoft. We accepted it because apple needed it (office 98, 01, X) and Microsoft needed it (we’re not a monopoly! look at apple!). Today’s announcements included 10.2 ( a 130 dollar upgrade) and that they were going to change the free service (itools) to a pay service (.mac) What they’re doing is charging for a service that they once gave away, and extolled as one of the virtues of having a mac. I’m a subscriber, and i don’t use iTools, but I’ll have to pay if I want to continue using my andy_freed | address. Lame.

This was the first day I agreed with the investors who made stock drop 2 dollars a share. I’m mad because I’m losing my e-mail address in 60 days. In this world, that’s the electronic equivalent of being neutered. The company I’ve spent so much time working and advertising for has pulled a microsoft. I remain confident that the overwhelmingly negative response to some of these changes will force changes, but I’m upset they even brought it up.

Apple just gave us the world of open source, and now they expect us to pay for it? Its unlikely. If Apple is going to turn in to Microsoft, they’ve lost their devoted following. I’m sure they hear this all the time, but if you’re thinking about a mac, just realize that computers and technology are no longer free and unlimited. Apple is a better place for it, but don’t expect the wonderful 4 years that we’ve have had recently. Companies have found a way to commercialize, simplify, and severely limit it. Just note, Apple is filled with amazing talent, amazing creativity, and amazing potential, but they’re also a company.

de Colores

In the future, colors will be represented by interest groups. Colors with strong lobbies will have a tremendous share textile and acryllic representation. Big corporations whose identity is tied with a specific color spend lots of money to encourage the use other colors; especially the colors of their competitors. IBM has spent a lot of time and money trying to convince people that blue is too formal for everyday wear.

Colors weren’t originally intended to be a corporate interest. The original idea was for bodies of concerned citizens to promote the color of their choice. The problems, the near color warfare, errupted because paint companies were creating imposter groups. These imposter groups would promote the use of colors that were clearly the result of an accident in the pigmentation of paints.

Disgust with the paint lobbies gave most americans a sense of futility. A small group of concerned citizens began lobbying for white, which technically isn’t a color, but it had been so under represented that even notebook paper no longer came in bleached white. There was a slowly building effort to bring white back to favor. People were tired colored undies, and the printing prices for books with multi-colored pages was outrageous. The return of white pages of the newspaper had a calming affect on people. The insomnia crisis that was making americans unproductive was fledging.

The natural reaction was a public outrcy agains the multifarious remnants of the color strife. Surplus colors were blended together to get another non-color: black (technically, it makes brown, but this is fiction.) Seeming normalcy returned and interest groups disbanded. The color ticker on the bottom of many news channels, once keeping americans keen to what color was sexy, were replaced by financial information. People started paying attention to the financial information. people got really caught up in finance, but that’s another story. You know how it goes.

freaky phonecall

When I got home from walking Barley today, there was a message on the phone. Its usually one of Michelle’s friends, but this one was different. It was weird. I’m not sure what you do when you get a message that really isn’t for you, but must be important because the person talks for two minutes in a different language. Anyway, listen to it and you can decide.


Some close friends of ours got engaged in Venice today. Or yesterday I guess… Time differences. Michelle and I are so very excited for the both of them. They’re traveling in Europe right now; Prauge I believe. Either way, its wonderful to see. We’ve watched them flirt, start dating, fall in love, and now this. Congrats.

Makes you wonder who might be next… them? him? them? him?

Anyway, this can be attributed to Michelle’s killer arm. She knew exactly where she was throwing that bouquet.


Last night I was sitting at the computer, trying to figure out wireless networking in Linux, and a spider crawled over my laptop and onto my hand. It was dark, and I was started. Its the second spider to go scampering across my desk in as many days. I saw another spider on the floor by the surge protector, and another on the ceiling. I’m not sure why they all decided to come indoors this week.

In 7th grade, my art teacher told me about a spider that had made a web and laid an egg sack in his floppy drive. That really disturbed me. I was especially pleased when Apple quit using floppy drives. I used to hate spiders. Now I dislike them, mostly because I can’t tell what they’re thinking. They’re so damn unpredictable. Michelle thinks she got bit by one in th shower.

You’d think we lived in a barn. Its actually quite clean. I guess I”ll have to pick up all the power cords behind my computer and vaccum there. Maybe its because we leave the door open, and lots of flies get in, and they’re just following the flies…..


Today I recycled a map that came with National Geographic. This decision, though seemingly benign, has set me apart from the cartographers, geographers, and map librarians everywhere. I’ve committed a cardinal sin. But then again, it was a map of the Incan empire, so it had little practicle use. Hopefully future generations weren’t depending on my copy as the only link to Incan civilization. I doubt it.

Jiffy Lube

I went to Jiffy Lube to get an oil change today. I went there because they did it last time, not because I like them. In fact, I don’t think I’ll go there anymore. I think they use a commision system for employees.

The guy who was “getting my information” tried to sell me all sorts of stuff, including a new belt because mine had cracks in it. He showed me the cracks. They were evenly spaced, every 2cm or so for the length of the belt. I asked him why they were all so evenly spaced, knowing the answer, and he told me that’s just how they wear. I quit listening to him after that. He followed instructions with pictures on a computer screen, trying to sell me all sorts of things, because the computer showed that I hadn’t had any of them recently. I really was getting a lube job.

I miss Oil Can Henry’s in Yakima. They never wanted to sell you extraneous crap, and they had newspapers, and I enjoyed going. Sadly, the Oil Can Henry’s here doesn’t service Previas.