January 2010

Last night we got a little snow and a lot of sleet and when I couldn’t sleep I had to go out in it and take pictures. At one point I freaking huge black Mercedes made its way up our street, both unsteadily and quickly, shocking me into realizing that some people really will drive out in weather like this to get their drink on.

Around 3:00am a truck drove through and then back again, presumably dropping someone off. When they saw me they stopped and stared and even talked to one another about me before moving on. I said to The Boyf that I found this perfectly understandable since it’s not likely that someone standing in the middle of the street, in the middle of the night, wrapped up like a Russian soldier and taking photos during a snow storm was high on their list of expectations.

Pictures I took at night and pictures I took when we went for a walk this afternoon are both up in my gallery installation.

The Boyf and I have been tearing through some Netflix of late, as a hankering for old-school X-Files has been riding me ever since we went to see the movie a year or two ago. I’ve learned that I vastly prefer watching a TV show on DVD, even over watching it on TiVo. The upconvert capability of the PS3 as a DVD player is tremendously impressive. Regular DVDs look spectacular, almost as good as Blu-Ray.

Last night we popped in the first disc of season 3 of Battlestar Galactica, a show I dropped halfway through the third season when I realized I was so emotionally invested that I could no longer enjoy watching it. We skipped an episode, watched another and then watched all the most important bits of both parts of “Exodus”, the episode in which the colonists abandon and/or are rescued from New Caprica. I was left dumbfounded, over and over again, at just how good the show was. Time and again it takes concepts we know all too well from the news – in this case, insurgencies, occupations, suicide bombings and indefinite detentions – and turns them inside out for us. As 24 whiles away the seasons on torture porn, one after another, Battlestar Galactica made us root for the terrorists without even realizing it. Years later and on my second lap with these episodes I still found myself shaken.

That’s the good stuff. The Boyf points out that this is why he loves science fiction: it can say anything and it most of all can say all the things other genres can’t.

Questions I had the first time I tried to watch the show have only strengthened over time: what, exactly, is the technical difference between Cylons and humans? If a Cylon can pass a colonial fleet physical and incidental injuries and all the broken skin of everyday life, what exactly makes them different? I suppose that’s the philosophical point of the whole show, or at least I hope it is. In the meantime, I’m an engineer. The physical answer is just as interesting to me as the metaphysical one.

In a few scant hours my flight leaves for my fraternity’s national convention. I hate flying. I hate it so much. I am already packed, yes, but here are the things I’ve done tonight just to make sure I don’t get ejected from the terminal:

  • placed masking tape over the ends of all the spare batteries I’m carrying for my camera
  • verified on the TSA’s website that I can carry spare batteries in the first place
  • researched whether it’s OK to wear my Dr. Scholl’s onto the plane. I can’t.
  • identified which slip-on shoes I’ll wear tomorrow
  • gone through a weeding process to pick a t-shirt that can in no way be construed as creepy or threatening in case someone at security hasn’t had their morning coffee when I get there
  • identified which of my middle-tier dress socks will be most suitable for showing off to everyone in the airport
  • packed and repacked so that the baggage checkers hopefully won’t have to utterly destroy the packing job I’ve done on my clothes the way they did two years ago
  • learned that one of my TSA-approved baggage locks doesn’t work at all
  • faced that it is pointless to try to keep my dress shirts wrinkle-free since they will simply be wadded up and shoved back in by security anyway
  • researched whether I can take my camera in carry-on (I can)
  • tried on pairs of jeans until I found one that didn’t need a belt
  • gone through my underwear to find a pair I don’t mind someone else seeing should I get pulled aside
  • learned I’ll have to pay $50 at check-in for my baggage
  • been advised that I shouldn’t bother using the luggage lock that does work, even though it’s TSA-approved.

In the happy news column, the hotel is letting me do early check-in, which is good since I plan to get there and immediately find out where there’s a bar. I don’t really care that it will be 11am.