well, here we are: philadelphia international, terminal A. they just announced that because of our flight's late arrival, boarding will commence at 5:45, but assured everyone that because the flight is expected to take less than normal time, no connecting flights will be missed.
my dad is working on grading exams. the youth of today are brilliant. did you know that the Dalai Lama was the "'leader' (of sorts)" of thailand? but they aren't the only ones voting, so we can't blame ol' GW on them, not entirely. half his briefcase is full of bluebooks.
the flight is leaving philly sometime after 5:50. we're heading to frankfort, germany, where we arrive at sometime around 8:30 am. we've got a layover there until 3pm, and will spend that time hanging out with my uncle johnny, before flying out to skopje, the capital of macedonia.
security still astounds me. the line got long enough to back up into the airport, so suddenly one airport worker came up to my father and me and said "Follow me!" and walked us out of airport, into the parking lot, getting everyone who would listen to join the caravan. she led us around to another gate, where there were only a few dozen people in line, and we got through security shortly after that.
i really need to get some interesting piercings for the next time i fly.
hmm. there's an RJ45 port on this phone. i'm sitting in a chrome telephone booth in the waiting area, because there's a power outlet here, so i can save batteries for the flight. i'm curious if this rj45 port is for internet access, and if so, whether it is freely and readily available. 'course, i'd have to reboot the machine to find out - i decided not to bring my powerbook, but instead am using my old sony vaio. it's from 1998, and predates the vaio being offered in the united states. so it's got a japanese keyboard (english and japanese chars on each key). while the letters themselves are in normal positions, the non-letter characters are oddly placed. the "@" is next to the "p", """ is shift-2, "'" is shift-7, and so on. takes a little thinking to get used to it again. some of the keys have no english analog, and are entirely in japanese. they
don't appear to have any function in the englishized version of the japanese version of windows 95 that's on this thing.
needless to say, a japanese laptop with a japanese keyboard isn't complete without godzilla; my laptop is complete.
i don't know yet whether i'll have internet when we get to skopje. my gut feeling is no, and that i'll need to find an internet cafe or some such thing. we're staying at a small, privately owned hotel called Hotel Bimbo, according to the guy my dad spoke with, but he said that the reception was bad so he's not sure he heard right.
i hope it is tho. i mean, how many people actually get to stay in a place called Hotel Bimbo?
well, i think i've written all i want to right now. i lost my seat to an elderly couple who were looking for 2 adjacent chairs so they could sit next to each other, so i'm going to shut down and go in search of a comfy chair. kim gave me a book called _vanishing point_ - says that it's similar to tim powers in some
ways, which is good.
i finished the second of the betancourt amber books last night, as much to be done with it as anything else. i'm not sure if he got a little better writing the second book, or if my expectations had just lowered to an appropriate level, but it wasn't as teeth-clenchingly difficult to get through as the first one. still, the
man has no poetry in his soul. mostly, i think he just just took all the concepts of the zelazny books and plugged them into some randomized plot-development software, then filled in the text to match. paint-by-numbers for novels. but the good news about having finished this book before i left is that it wouldn't be sitting there, waiting, an abhorrant potentiality, for me to return.
packed like sardines - i'm glad i don't weigh more. they have managed to squeeze 8 seats across and 2 aisles into this plane; it really should be 3 across for any measure of comfort. the nice stewardesses keep bringing wine and now brandy. on lufthansa this is "free" - or at least, included in the price of admission. given
enough brandy any space can be considered adequate.
surprisingly, the food was actually reasonably tasty, for something that comes in a box.
they don't charge for the movie/headphones either. in some ways it's really a pleasant departure from typical US airlines. 'course, the movie is "2 brothers" - one would have hoped for a wim wenders film - until the end of the world or some such. but no such luck.
eighty-some pages into vanishing point. it's brilliant, so far. one of these days (before i, too, Vanish) i'll need to visit the winchester house. i'm hoping next summer to do a longish cross-country trek, if i can get maybe 3 weeks off of work. not sure how that will pan out - if i can't get that, then i want to take linda to europe, rent a car, drive around germany, italy, austria, ex-yugoslavia, and so on, for a couple weeks. wherever we end up. pick a few places we HAVE to hit, and improvise the rest.
wish my language skills were better. the US has such a fucked up idea of what constitutes language study. we didn't start until high school, and by then it's far too late. they should start in elementary school, 1st grade, or even kindergarten, im(oh-so-correct)o. that's when language and music and all that stuff is easy, before our brains calcify.
we're so US-centric in the US that we designed our educational system to assume that anyone worth talking to will speak english, and therefore, we don't ever need to learn anything about anyone else.
break of concept, not of time. it struck me during the 2nd debate between herman and alfred, i mean, between kerry and bush, that we really are basically doomed, as a country, perhaps as a culture. i'm still trying to sort out what that means in my head, but it seems to me that with china and indonesia looming as the coming economic giants, the best we can hope to offer the working class in this country is protectionism, and that has limited benefits at best, and it's only a matter of time until the warrantee runs out on it. so we can have "free trade" now, and dump our people's wages into the toilet (while the rich continue to get richer, an economic model that is destined for collapse), or we can revert to protectionism, which will support the working class for now, but eventually collapse as surely and thoroughly as the soviet union.
it's more a matter of time. politically, it's a matter of seeing how long it can be postponed, and figure out how to set things up so that the other party is in power when the collapse comes. but we're in a situation where the cost of living is high enough here that we can't lower wages, the expectations are that each generation will do better than their parents. but that isn't going to happen.
i'm curious about what the collapse will look like. will we become a sad former superpower, occassionally putting ourselves in the limelight like russia, when it looks like we can be relevant on the world stage again? will we be like great britain, following the next great power blindly in hopes to be relevant? will we
become belligerent and isolationist? north korea or albania on a larger scale?
regardless, our consumption levels of resources must decrease to some sane level - we won't be able to sustain anything more than that. the bush/cheyney/haliburton strategy seems to be to dominate militarily those parts of the world that are integral to controlling energy and other valuable resources, but that strategy is failing. we're certainly no paper tiger, but we may be a saran-wrap tiger, superficially strong, but one tiny rip in the right place will tear the whole thing apart.
well, gonna go rid myself of coffee and wine and brandy, then perhaps read some more. we're hitting some turbulence, which always makes things interesting.
we're going 750km/h, btw.
the whole world understands what that means without doing math. 'cept us.
it's been a while since i've felt compelled to sit down to pee, not since i was dating emily. this time, of course, it was the turbulence. now that i think about it, it was the turbulence last time too.