The last entry is dated a week ago. What's the point of a blog if one doesn't blog? Answer: My life is very hectic as we approach the end of the semester. And sometimes something has to give. In my case, taking the time to write entries.
The Longest Running April Fool's Day Joke -- Michigan's Spring Weather -- is beginning to run a little thin. North of us, Montcalm and Oceana Counties, is expecting a winter storm from noon today onward, bringing perhaps 8" of snow. Here in K-zoo, WMU's campus is getting an inch or two of wet heavy slushy stuff. Driving home should be a job.
Of course, the weather wackiness isn't confined to Michigan. One has to admire the gumption of the Cleveland Indians to hold their "home opener" in Milwaukee's Miller Park because it has a closeable roof and a heated interior. And wasn't buried in snow.
And what of the mighty Chicago Cubs? The Tribune Company being sold? The Cubs probably divested from the Tribune? They might sell Wrigley Field separately from the team? Ack! These business fools be trifling with powerful forces of nature Which Should Not Be Trifled With.
The Big Green Ugly
NPR yesterday had a story about Boeing's Dreamlifter -- a trio of modified 747's designed to carry large components for the 787 Dreamliner around the world. The article talked about how ugly the original green paint was and how distorted the plane looked, so I had to Google "boeing dreamlifter" and naturally the first hit was to Wikipedia's entry on the 747-400 LCF. Okay, the green was hideous, the new Dreamlifter white scheme is much more marketing friendly.
One of the points of the article was discussing how much the Boeing Seattle employees hate the Dreamlifter. It represents to them jobs lost. Thus we enter into the murky world of global trade. The "what" of the Dreamlifter is that it is a cargo plane to carry parts for the 787. The "why" is that some of the countries whose national carriers are buying the 787 Dreamliner are asking for a piece of the assembly pie. This has been going on for a long time, and indeed was central to one of the plots in Michael Crichton's novel Airframe.
It's a double-edged sword. Make the deal and part of the aircraft is made overseas. Don't make the deal and maybe the airline goes with that upstart Airbus outfit instead of Boeing. There's no good choices. It's negotiations, plain and simple.
"... on a steel horse I ride..."
I'm not quite sure why I am so devoted to The Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch. But I find it very compelling television. On the one hand, you seen one boat launch a crab pot, haul in a crab pot, dump the crabs in a hold... and you've seen them all. And yet, the weather of the Bering Sea is wild and the risks are so great, the hours are so long... and you get to know the men hidden in their rough weather gear and the captains. The boats even become characters -- the Fishing Vessels Northwestern, Maverick and Cornelia Marie all have their own websites and logo stuff for sale.
Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame narrates most of the episodes. I've even seen him do lobster pot fishing off Maine in a Dirty Jobs episode -- same thing on a much smaller scale -- and they've done a series on fishing off New England as well.
This is not any work I am suited at, but so what? If nothing else, it has made me think about my own SF writings and the concept of small space freighters and crews and what makes them tick. Not that you can put pots overboard in space to try and make a killing fishing for Crab Nebula crabs... (grin)
I'll Take Mine Black
I haven't had time to think about wasting time to do anything about it, but I may soon break down and buy a black 2nd generation 8GB iPod nano. Amazon is actually selling them at $12 off of the standard Apple pricing. I bought Mrs. Dr. Phil a 2GB iPod for Christmas, which she uses for listening to NPR talk shows she can't listen to at work, along with a couple of CDs. Other than occasionally locking up the iPod for No Good Reason or spontaneously rebooting her Windows XP laptop while downloading podcasts -- surely this is all part of a DetectWindowsPC subroutine written by subtle Apple programmers (grin) -- the unit has exceeded all her expectations.
I've carried various tapes and CD players on my long drive, but with cold and hot weather and having one more thing to drag around -- that last point just doesn't seem an issue with an iPod nano, now does it?
Buying an iPod nano will not ruin me as a human being and I am smart enough not to turn up the volume too high and ruin my hearing into the bargain. Hey, I've had plenty of personal sound devices over the years.