Friday, October 10, 2003

I spilled coffee all over my desk and keyboard. I hate when I do stuff like that.
This morning, I had a healthy dose of chicken on my way to the bus stop.

And by chicken, I mean Peeps.

Yummy, sugary peeps.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Apparently, broken hearts DO actually cause physical pain.
Sonar "noise polution" affects quality of marine life and is possibly to blame for whale deaths. Sad. :(
Finally, my prayers have been answered:
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Scientists at the University of Chicago have demonstrated that sleeping has an important and previously unrecognized impact on improving people's ability to learn language.

And from that article, a bit that I found particularly interesting: ". . .the idea for the study arose from discussions Nusbaum and Fenn had with Margoliash, who studies vocal (song) learning in birds. "We were surprised several years ago to discover that birds apparently 'dream of singing' and this might be important for song learning," Margoliash said."

That's so cool! Next time I tuck my birds in at night I'll have to wish them sweet dreams.
I used to be a late sleeper. I didn't tend to go into work until at least 10:00 am or 11:00 am. Some days, not before noon. Then I'd just stay until 7:00 pm or later without thinking anything of it.

Then, a few weeks ago, my group started holding daily 9:30 am meetings. It was painful for me, at first, dragging myself out of bed early enough to make those.

Now though, I easily get here between 8:00 am and 9:30 am, sometimes even earlier. But I leave earlier, too. There are days that I leave at 4:00 pm. 4:00 pm! That's so early! It's like you've got this whole other day at the end of your day to fill with wonderful things!

I've also found that I actually like the early morning hours. Louie and I take a good walk around the neighborhood each morning, sometimes as early as 5:00 am, sometimes as late as 8:00 am. The air is fresh and crisp, the sun is just coming out; it's a pleasant time to be out and about. Then I leave him off at home and stroll to the bus stop, also a nice walk. Occassionally I stop for coffee along the way, but the walk and the wait at the bus stop are enjoyable just on their own.

Even without the meetings, now, I think I'd choose to continue this schedule. If anyone had told me half a year ago that I'd feel this way, I would have scoffed at them. Funny how things work out.
My eyes hurt from being open.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

I went on an adveture last night!

I was curious to see where my bus ultimately goes. There were no bus schedules on the bus (and I have trouble reading those things anyway), so when I got to my stop I just didn't get off.

I thought that perhaps I would end off either at a stop closer to home than my normal stop, in which case I would get off and walk, or close to my sister's dorm, in which case I would track her down.

Neither happened.

I realized several stops in that I was travelling away from both destinations, but decided to stick it out anyway. Eventually, all but one other person having deboarded, the bus driver turned around and said, "Is there anyone left on the bus? If you are, you shouldn't be." We both got off.

Boom! There I was, in the middle of the international district, right next to Uwajimaya. It was raining, but what is rain to a daring adventurer? In some ways, I think the rain had fueled me on; a stormy adventure seems so much more romantic than an extended trip on a sunny evening. And, while it wasn't techinically stormy, it was as stormy as Seattle gets.

Being in the international district, I decided that I would reward myself by calling up Alex and Mary and inviting them to meet me at the dumpling place. Dumplings; yum. So I called them, arranged to meet, and began my walk to the restaurant.

Unfortunately, it turns out that the dumpling place is closed on Mondays. I sat on a stoop close to the restaurant for a while reading my book (Ahab's Wife - a great read, if you ever have time), hanging out and waiting for Alex and Mary to show so that we could rethink our plans. The rain continued and daylight faded first into dusk and finally into darkness, broken only by scattered streetlamps. With the darkness came a chill, and waiting became distinctly less pleasant.

Eventually, I decided to contact Alex and Mary to see where they were and when they might show. I walked down the street to a nearby payphone, only to find that a destructionist had been at work and had dismantled the handset, leaving just an empty shell and several disconnected wires. Thus thwarted, I walked back to the street in front of the dumpling place to wait again.

Finally they showed, and we decided to walk down to another Chinese place Alex is fond of. The food was good, but Mary seemed withdrawn and a little down. It turns out the last time she ate there was the night she found out about her Jeremy's* death. Alex and Jonathon had taken her there just after she found out. Had I known that, I might have suggested someplace else.

After dinner Alex drove me home, and then he and Mary went to the dance. I was still a little sleep deprived from my travel-filled weekend so I opted out. When I got home I grabbed my book and with the intention of reading a few chapters, but the next thing I knew it was 5am and I was awake with my book under the pillow. What a night.

* Someone asked me recently if there are two Jeremys, and the answer is yes. There is my Jeremy, who attends Georgia Tech in Atlanta and whom I dated on and off for a number of years, and there is Mary's Jeremy, who sadly passed away in a car accident not so long ago.

Monday, October 06, 2003

I'm going to leave work now and start the journey home. Later tonight, though, I will post about knives and airport security, and about mid-flight seat adjustments.
I took a trip out to CT two weeks ago, flying on Northwest Airlines. It was the first time in years that I had flown on anything other than a budget airline such as ATA, Frontier, or JetBlue. It was a disappointment.

Somehow, I expected that were I to spend the extra money to fly one of the bigger airlines, my experience would be significantly different. Better seats, better food, better customer service. It wasn't so. They don't even feed meals anymore; well, not really. On several of the flights were given the option of spending $7 on some TGIF meal they had on board, but they didn't serve any food outside of that. On one of the flights, we didn't even get a beverage service! The seats were as small as on any other plane. Two of the planes were smaller and older than any of the budget airline planes I've recently flown on.

This last weekend, I took another trip, and this time I flew United.

My faith in the bigger airlines has been restored.

We slept in and I got to the airport late. Not good. Recently, most people I know have been turned away if they get there any less than 45 minutes [rior to departure time. The desk attendants are short and curt in the turning away -- there will be no discussion about the matter.

Anyhow, today, I got to the airport about 25 minutes before departure time. Another lady hoping to make the same flight got there at the same time. The lady behind the desk was really nice. She called to the gate to see if they were still boarding and if we might make it. They weren't sure, but she checked us through anyway. "I don't know if you'll make it," she said as she handed us the tickets and advised us to hurry, "but I'll at least give you the chance to try."

So nice! The chance to try! We got stuck in security for 15 minutes, but the gate was close and they were still finishing up general boarding when we got to the plane.

That plane was okay. Nice stewardesses, reasonably comfortable seating, beverage service. No complaints at all.

We arrived early in Chicago. (Every United flight I flew this weekend arrived at its destination between 5 and 40 minutes ahead of schedule.)

The second plane I flew on this morning was a B777. It was awesome.

There were 16 rows of first class seating. Most of those rows had 7 seats -- two on each side, three in the middle, with two aisles. The extra-special first class rows had 5 seats -- one on each side, three in the middle, with two aisles.

The coach class seating had 9 seats -- two on each side, five in the middle, with two aisles. The seats were large and comfortable; I think they were they most comfortable airline seats I've ever flown in. Reasonable leg room, lots of butt room, adjustable head rests. Three quarters of my way through the flight I switched from my aisle seat into a middle seat (that's another story for another blog entry), and even that seat was more comfortable than any airline seat within memory.

When we first entered the airplane, it was playing mood music. You know the sort -- soothing nature music, often played in large arena-like echo-ey spaces. It was actually sort of nice. It seemed to fit well.

The overhead bins were roomy, and instead of the slamming latch doors, they nicely rolled down. So easy to fit luggage into, and so easy to close. Nobody had to force the things shut, and they opened such that nothing could fall out upon the opening.

Every seat was fitted with a personal TV screen. We were given a choice of four movies or five general channels to watch, and each seat was supplied with decent headphones. None of this "give me 5 dollars for a cruddy pair of headphones" shizzle that I've seen so many other airlines pull.

And they fed us food! Croissant sandwiches! Warm! Granted, the croissant was a little stale, but it was food. And it was included with my fare.

I wish I could ride B777's every time I had to fly.