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Sunday, January 23, 2000

Poolside Ponos, Powerbook Prowess, and Girlfriends from God

Sitting here now somewhere over the Pacific ocean, on a United flight from Maui direct to San Fransisco. I've been reading Cryptonomicon while my row-mate clacks away at spreadsheets on his boxy Toshiba laptop. I repress a slight grin as I slide my smooth and slender Powerbook G3 from my Kensington Saddlebag. Current estimated remaining battery life: four hours and forty minutes--and that's if I don't swap out the DVD drive for the second battery. Her name is Tera, after a heroin in a book I never wrote ("The Man with Two Legs"). Not that I'm the type to personify my posessions, but this baby is so obviously designed after the feminine form it begged for a lusty moniker. In retrospect, maybe I should have just called it Lust. Anyway, I have it in mind to brainwash Tera... to bring up Yellow Dog Linux on her, and run MacOS as a virtual environment over that. If all goes well, I'll be able to swap between the two with a keystroke, and when MacOS barfs I'll only have to re-run it rather than rebooting from scratch and hoping the disk isn't complete trash. Or maybe I'll just stop botherring to reboot MacOS at all...

While waiting in the terminal, a young woman walked briskly by with a backpack stacked three layers out. From her motion, expressions, and style of packing I could tell with high probability that she was an adventurer, intelligent, independant, probably here by herself just to explore the island. I had a little debate with myself whether to run her down and test my theory, but the fear of loosing my good seat (nearest the gate) seeded rationalizations against it. Naturally once the moment was sufficiently passed that it was irevocably gone, the great bungy cord yanked me back up into the sky from where I could see the love of my life hitchiking away from the airport as I borded the plane, never to cross paths again... and there, off in the distance of time, my lonely corpse rotting in some dark corner no one botherred to brighten up when I was too tired to glow.

The Red Violin is playing in quintuplicate on the monitors hanging over the isle. I didn't pay the $5 fee for the headset rental, but half the movie is subtitled anyway so I was able to follow it just enough to get depressed. I highly prefer sex and violence, provided the hero wins in the end, to the successful opression of individuals by the masses. Yeah yeah... the voilin survived... but that cheers me up no more than the thought that my Powerbook will outlive me.

We held a Pono Council meeting in the bathroom on Friday. Three of the pono council members were in the jacuzzi tub following an afternoon splash in the pool, and it was easiest just to take the meeting to them. Unfortunately, the defendant decided to plop himself into the tub along with them, which made for some aggrivated splash fights as animosities brewed over issues of blame and consequences. The outcome, in response to repeated harassments of others and willfull destruction of school property, is that he is not allowed to interact with others for two days. I have no idea how that will work out...

Erik the caretaker is warming up to us. He came over for dinner last night, brought a salad. Turns out he's a vegitarian, which one would not guess from his crew cut and general ranch-hand appearence. By contrast, people see my long hair and frequently peg me as a vegitarian, when in truth I wonder things like whether food irradiation will open up the possibility of chicken sushi, and weather gravies and sauces taste so good on meats because they approximate the missing blood. Anyway, it turns out he's an airplane mechanic, owns his own Cesna 150 but doesn't have a license to fly it yet (he just got it working recently), normally manages a ranch in California (I didn't bring myself to ask him what kind of ranch a vegitarian would run), likes to talk about getting laid in an awkwardly superficial manner, and believes that "God places people in his path". The latter two points seem incongruous, and particularly so since they came up together in that the people God is placing in his path are the women he has had. Where do you go with that, conversationally? I went back to airplanes, since that's something we have in common.

On the Megacorp front, I've broken through and started coding. If I were younger, I'd be excited by the solutions I've come up with, keen to see if they work, to see the results in action... But by now, I know they'll work, and I can imagine what they'll be like in action, so now it's just reduced to a task of a hell of a lot of typing. Damn, but for a better programming language. And I know what the language would be, and how it would work. But I don't have the time to implement it, for all the time I spend typing.

Got out windsurfing yesterday. I was previously having the problem that as I brought the sail back at higher speeds to keep me from getting launched over the front, the board would insist on turning up wind. What I've finally realized is that the pivot point of the board in the water is greatly effected by where you stand on the board (duh!) so as you bring the sail back, you also walk back toward the rear of the board, until at the high speeds you are standing just in front of the fin with the sail leaned way back, and the front 4/5ths of the board is effectily inert. Also at this point you need to be resting most of your weight on the sail--which is flying like a wing now--or the sail will just pull the board right out of the water. That was another spectacular failure mode I was experiencing for a while -- my speed would get up and then the nose of the board would just lurch for the sky and I would skid to a stop. Hanging my weight in the harness fixed that. Anyway, with those problems solved I'm getting to where I can zip along at high speeds with at least my front foot in the strap and have managed to plow over a few chest-high waves without plunking in so maybe soon I'll figure out how to break masts and sails like Garrett*'s been doing.

The shmo in front of me has leaned his seat so far back that there's no room for my screen at any reasonable viewing angle, so here I shall sign off.

Signing off,


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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com