We are watching

the airline industry collapse. There are some factors, such as poor business planning, that are entirely within the ability of airlines to correct. There are others, such as fuel prices, the cost of jet fuel, and the expense of fueling their jets, that are beyond anyones ability to change in the foreseeable future.

That's why I'm going home again this winter. I'll fly to Colorado, then drive to California with me Pops, and I will soak in every last detail of my journey because it may well be the last one I ever take.

Call me pessimistic. Ticket prices are already more expensive this year than they have been, and we're still months away from the peak travel season. Perhaps the airlines will make one last major push to drop prices in order to convince people to jet across the country for the holidays, but it seriously may be the last. All the romance of airline terminals and pressurized cabins and baggage claims will be gone within our lifetimes, and in the shorter term they will become unavailable to most Americans (especially as the rich-poor wage gap continues to widen due to high energy costs).

Speaking of high energy costs, I picked up a small space heater for this winter, and it's already proven it's worth. My room is easily the poorest-insulated in the house, yet it is many degrees warmer than any other. I'll be adding plastic insulation, replacing bulbs with CFLs, and buying a "Draft Dodger" or two (cute little draft socks that sit below the door). What bothers me now, that I just realised, is that the attitude most people are taking is that Yes, this winter will be Diffficult, but things will Get Better. There is little sense that our NG crisis is permanent, or that we are on the cusp of the post-carbon-energy era. For myself, I can't shake the feeling that a door is closing, rapidly, and that by the next springtime our reality will have been severely altered.


A Powerful Funk

Settled on my brow this evening. It was one of those infamous Grey Days in Pittsburgh, when no rain fell, no sun shone, and the wind was just cold enough to remind you that summer has ended. My professor for history writing has serious doubts about my ability to pull enough research for my term paper, and I know that he is justified. As a part of my reasearch on cold war era SAM silos I watched the documentary "Fog of War" about Rob MacNamera, and it was useless for my topic but tragically fascinating for my inner Historian. He sat in front of the camera and with almost reptilian calm discussed the war that we never fought, the one in which 58,000 Americans died because of a lack of understanding, and it made me depressed and fearful because we are so obviously repeating the same mistakes all over again.

I told my friend Wonko that the neat thing about history is that you can tell who's learned from it. The unfortunate corollary is that you can tell pretty damned easy who has not learned from it, and this would include just about everyone in politics today. We're living through a massive tragedy that never had to happen.

The walk home always gets me down too. There are too many people, for one, and almost no human beings. Cigarette smoke gets puffed at you, sluts yell insult-greetings across the crowded streets, crazy people mumble at ghosts and ask you for change. You have to detour around half-dried vomit-splatters.

I took a route through a hospital parking lot, following a pair of flighty dancers chatting about who did this and who said that. We all pass a mother and two children sobbing on a sidewalk corner, yelling No! and Oh my God... I felt the same tears in my eyes, and suddenly all the desires I had for relaxing the rest of the night seem selfish in the face of whatever loss they'd suffered. I didn't know them, but I loved them.

Then I walked through a gang of thuggish teenagers on a street corner just outside my house and it made me want to tear and rend the world. Don't they know people are suffering?

As I walked up to my door I saw that my Netflix DVDs had arrived, three red bundles of fantasy. So I could spend the rest of the night escaping.


Proof #397

that Macs are easier to use than Windows PCs:

I got a Razr when I re-upped with my cell service. This is slightly ironic since I'm the kind of guy who guards my phone number with almost the same zeal as I guard my SSN. Point being, I'm not the type to be using it very much, but it was free and every gadget geek is obligated to acquire the most awesome hardware he can.

I was under the impression from the reviews on the Internets that it would be possible to use MP3 ringtones and customise the display with my own pictures and so forth, by downloading them from my computer. The Razr has both a standard USB port and Bluetooth, and since Ruri is an older iBook and didn't come with Bluetooth, I thought it might be possible to use the cable to transfer da goods.

Silly human. iSync will work with calendars and address books, but not simple file transfers. So I went on a search for some software that would let me do it with a Windows laptop, since we have a bunch of those at work and I could possess one temporarily. After ONE HOUR of downloading software that said it would work then didn't, searching Motorola's help site and dozens of other cell phone sites and trying to find the drivers, all I could get was a form for buying, at $29.99, the sync package from Moto that would enable the basic communications features I was seeking.

So I gave up. I Grabbed a 17" PowerBook, turned the Bluetooth on, paired the device, and sent my files over. It took three minutes with built-in software to accomplish on a Mac what it would have taken thirty bucks and two Install Wizards to do on a PC. That is proof #397.


This struck me

as odd, and sad. I think they've missed the point:

Let me zoom in on the top of the container, in case you missed it.

Yes, friends, this coffee is superior because it is Patriotic.

I have no idea why. Why? Why? Why?