Tuesday, May 01, 2007

12/4/07 Over Birmingham, UK – On Flying

The Netherlands is one of those small countries were within a couple of degrees of separation you know pretty much everyone. In fact if I go out in Amsterdam for more than a couple of hours and don't meet or see someone, I feel something is wrong. Also it often happens that on the flight I am taking or at the airport I bump into someone with whom I am familiar. This time I was recognised by a stewardess from a combination of the easylaughs shows and last year's Theatersports Weekend. We didn't get to talk too much as she was at work and constantly had to dish out things to people to take their minds off the fact they are defying some of the most immutable laws in science.

One of the best things that has been developed for airline passengers is the map that allows you to follow the flight. It doesn't serve any real purpose, but it really gives you a feeling you are involved. Makes you feel that you are not being carried around like freight but that you are part of the navigation crew. The other great thing is the digital film system that allows you to select a film to watch and start watching it when you want to. Not only that, you can pause it and speed past the bits life is too short for. In the old days (and on older aircraft), there was one big screen at the front which showed some inane family movie usually starring Macauley Culkin. The flight map is itself is not often much of a lesson in geography, but it shows interesting things, such as reminding one that the name Aberystwyth (Wales) is so long it almost covers up the town of Shannon (Ireland). I have often wondered in long nights in the air whether the inhabitants of Shannon have ever requested that the inhabitants of Aberystwyth shorten or move their name.

1 minute reviews:
Black Dahlia: Necessarily simplified version of the James Ellroy novel. Adequate, modern stab at Film Noir lacking substance but containing Scarlett Johansson.
On The Waterfront: Classic, noirish, small-time gangster film that offers some excellent performances and a pretty realistic story almost until the end.

Coffee at high altitudes tastes like mud. I have had the coffee on a variety of airlines, at a variety of heights, and every time it tastes exactly like mud. I assume there is nothing the scientists can do to make it taste anything like coffee. Things do not bode well for serious space travel.

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