I've now had almost two weeks to think about the biggest question left unanswered in the new Star Wars film.* Obviously, if you don;t want to see spoilers, STOP READING.
Really. Go back.
|Initial briefing outside the ship|
|A prop notebook|
|Me and my fellow sublight engineers.|
|Galactica and Celestra officers in Ops/CIC|
|Ladder to engine room|
|Aftermath of the shootout|
|Damage control console|
|Me, post-game. The bandages indicate where |
I got my ultimately fatal wounds.
I came across this picture this week from a trip I took to Australia about a year ago. I was so struck by what a marvelous idea it was that I had to stop and take a picture. That black rectangle is a rubber mat, like you sometimes see on children's playgrounds. This mat keeps the roots from the trees along the road from buckling the sidewalk. In Amsterdam (where I live),the city solves this problem by cutting down trees that get big enough to push the sidewalk up with their roots. I find this solution far preferable.
I took this picture when walking to an ex-colleague's house in St. Kilda near Melbourne to have dinner. I found out later that he and his wife had moved to the country, and lost everything to the recent brush fires while going to the grocery store. The devastation of these fires has been unimaginable, in a magical part of the world. The Australian Red Cross is accepting online donations for victims.
A few weeks ago, I blogged about my first month of Blackberry use, and the drawbacks I found. One of the reasons I held off on getting a Blackberry was that I was afraid of the messages I would send while on the move. When I'm in a rush, I don't give good email. Like most people, I've been guilty of pissy, sarcastic communications when there was little or no justification for it. Almost all of these happened when I was in a hurry, leading to groveling and embarrassing apologies.
I was afraid that being able to send messages from just about anywhere would make that worse. Recovering snatches of otherwise unproductive time is one of the advantages of having one of these things, even if the snatches are brief. Small amounts of time can lead to boo-boos, however.
Today I did it. I was catching up on messages from other analysts while waiting in an airport security line. I had what I thought was a salient comment to add and just saw enough time to squeeze it out before I had to walk through that portal. Fifteen minutes later I was trying to remember what I said, and smacked my forehead. This is what came out:
If the vendor sells an unlimited plan, they cannot complain when people use a lot. They can't get the marketing cake of using the term AND the cake of capping or punishing users who take them at their word.
There was a real thought buried in there about having your cake and eating it too, but it didn't survive the transition from head to thumbs to message.
Maybe Blackberry needs something like mail goggles.
Little nice things I notice: Three times in the last week, someone has noticed my appalling accent when speaking bad French and reacted nicely, offering a few English words. One person even said I had a nice accent, but I know she was lying, just to be nice. It has always struck me as grossly unfair that when Americans speak French, we usually sound like rubes killing a beautiful language. When French people speak English, it makes me want to melt. Just listen to this:
I have been living as an American in Europe for over 20 years (as a dual Dutch-American citizen for the last five years). I have never seen open hostility or anti-Americanism directed at me, perhaps because at least for the last eight years I have been as disillusioned with the US government as pretty much anybody. While I never got hostility, most people let me struggle along. I was in France, so I should be at least trying to speak French.
This week though, that changed subtly. When hearing me speak, or talk with my wife, they smiled. I am sure they were thinking of a tall, skinny man speaking from a podium in Chicago to adoring crowds, and the hope he provides. Even the most anti-American Europeans (and several Canadians) I have met make a distinction between the government and the people (for the last 8 years bad and still good, respectively). Those smiles show that hope travels around the world that these two can be reconciled.
For this too, thank you Mr. Obama.