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Monday, May 30, 2005

Avant-garde at fantastic new heights (or: a summary so far)

Again I sit on a plane, my mind adrift. Unlike last time I have a heavy burden of sleep depravation this time and might actually try sleeping. I woke up at a little before 3:00 am PST this morning to catch my flight, and will be arriving in the Seattle/Tacoma airport at slightly before 9:00. The time zones are making for a short flight time on paper - My plane left at 7:15 am Minnesota time and will arrive at 8:45 am Seattle time. Somehow between my two flights, and keeping busy seeing Janet and attending her graduation I'm exhausted and feel (rightly so) like I've been getting too little sleep for a while now.


The trip has for the most part been very positive for me. I was surprised at how Modern Minneapolis was. Once you got outside of the city things got very "red state", but in the twin cities proper things seemed very nice. I doubt if I could settle down and live there like my sister is, but I can see her being very happy there.

The weather for the whole trip was surprisingly nice. It was cooler in Minnesota than it was in Seattle when I left. The humidity was higher, but I adapted to that fairly quickly. Aside from a brief sprinkling of rain on Saturday morning the skies were clear, blue, and gorgeous. Seattle summers still have that beat in terms of sheer niceness, but from what I've heard Minneapolis keeps the nice weather significantly longer. The climate was actually similar enough to Seattle at this time of year that I occasionally forgot I was in such a far off place. I think this could mainly be attributed to the similar lattitude. Minnesota is far more flat, but aside from that has very similar vegetation to the Seattle area. I would catch myself unaware of my location and assuming I was in some suburb - perhaps a part of Lynwood or Tacoma that I was not familiar with. Only the odd unfamiliar chain of stores or the slightly different ways of marking streets served to remind me of the more than 1500 miles between my sister and I on the average day.

The people that I met have all been nice. In the backwater parts some of the people I met failed completely to impress me, but were at least somewhat polite. I can tell that particularly out in the country my tattoos were rather unusual and a few people were slightly uncomfortable about them, but they still managed to smile and be very nice about it. It's true what my sisters goes on about midwestern (mideastern?) hospitality. Seattle can be a bit cold shouldered from time to time. I still would much rather live in a bigger city with more things to do.

One thing that struck me as odd while I was there is that most of the people who had been to Seattle referred to it as bohemian. Now I would agree that the area I live in (capitol hill) is somewhat bohemian, but the rest of Seattle is fairly mainstream as large cities on the west coast go. There is certainly a little bit of the free spirited and artistic offbeat ethos floating around in some of the older Seattle neighborhoods (Ballard, Capitol Hill, Fremont, the U District).I suppose your definition of bohemian depends on where you were raised and to what you attribute "normal".


The clock on my powerbook now reads 5:53 am. That must be why I'm nearly passing out here. I've been awake for hours yet my normal schedule would have me waking up and hour and twenty minutes from now. As much as I would love to take a nap today I think I'll end up being busy catching up on work email, and making sure to spoil Skype so he knows I still love him.


WingviewMy flight continues, passing over nameless mountains, and featureless plains occasionally dotted with some sign of human contamination. A field here, a road there, the occasional mottled spec of a small town. Theoretically we are landing in about 40 minutes. Right now I'm trying to figure out exactly where we are. I would guess we are over Idaho or Montana from the landscape and time, but it could just as easily be over Eastern Washington. It really is amazing how big America is. It takes 5+ hours to fly across it and provides an endless collage of landscape. From above it looks so small, but on the ground it would take years to hike across it - if you could at all.

Update: It looks like we were flying over Arizona. Not minutes after I mused about our location did the captain come on the loudspeaker and point out Phoenix. It kind of makes me wonder why our path from Minneapolis to Seattle took us so far south. It also makes me wish you could use GPS mapping applications on planes - it would be very interesting to be able to watch your progress on screen and see details such as airspeed and altitude in real time.


The flight is nearing an end and I must say I'm pretty happy about that fact. We have had a little turbulence but my biggest complaint is again the cramped quarters I am forced to endure. Hopefully this will all be over soon and I'll be on the ground. Brien should be there to pick me up at the airport and whisk me back to the condo so that I can shower and get on with my life.


Some pilots will allow you to use GPS units when on the plane, unfortunately most of the consumer grade garmin's don't work during flight speed (intentional limitation, they want you to buy the pilot version) magellan did work in the past, not sure if they still do.

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