Saturday, April 28, 2007

Quote of the Day - April 28, 2007

Today is a great day to be in a big black room in Alabama!

- our test director. Every. Single. Day. For two weeks.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

It Certainly is a Big Black Room

I have spent 10-18 hours a day for the past two weeks (with only Sunday off) in a Big Black Room with a powerful air-conditioning system. I blended quite well, but I ended up buying a sweatshirt to keep warm.

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Alabama is theoretically in the Central Time Zone. However, I’ve been getting up at Nova Scotia time, eating lunch between Chicago and Denver, and eating dinner between California and Hawaii. My body has pretty much given up hope on regular eating and sleeping patterns, so it just makes me hungry at random intervals.

For the most part, I only saw the sun on my drive in to work, though on Saturday we left just as the sun was about to touch the horizon for sunset. On the bright side, we did have a sun simulator in the Big Black Room with Artic Aspirations. However, I don’t think it was capable of encouraging the production of vitamin D. And its warmth only encouraged the over-eager air-conditioner to simulate a passing cold front. I’m surprised a thunderstorm didn’t break out. But that wouldn’t have been ESD safe.

My time in the Big Black Room with Arctic Aspirations and a Simulated Sun is now complete. I have returned to the land of crowds, traffic jams and perpetual road construction. My car actually fits me. I get to eat food that isn't 50% grease and vegetables that aren't potato-based. I get to go outside. During the day. And EXERCISE! And I have a reason to wear sunglasses again! WEEEEEEEEE!

Woah. There appear to be some mental side effects. I think I'm going to have to wear color for a couple of days to recuperate. Hopefully, the damage isn't permanent.

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Quote of the Day - April 27, 2007

Is she a nun?

- someone referring to someone else's mother-in-law


Sunday, April 22, 2007

In Other News, the Rest of the World Still Exists

Boycotting the news media and sponsors for appalling behavior ~ NanoThoughts 1.0

Roger links to a blog that proposes boycotting the news media for airing the photos and videos from the mass murdered at Tech. I've been working long days all week, but even in the rare moments I could get access to news I only watched a few moments or read only headlines. So, essentially, I’ve already been doing that. I knew media coverage would be both heartbreaking (the Hokie stone as a back drop for swarming police cars was all I had to see in an airport bar before I walked out) and excessive. Even if they hadn't shown the videos and pictures, it would have been too much. They always do this. They shove microphones and cameras into the faces of the mourning. They try to blame anyone and anything but the person who was directly responsible. They bring fame to those whose punishment should be the anonymity they sought to escape by slaughtering innocents. They have no concept of the consequences of their own actions. They’re perfectly willing to blame their media siblings in the movie, television, music, and video game industries for these tragedies. But they think themselves blameless. They bring information to the public. But they cannot distinguish between good and bad, helpful and harmful. They just spew it at you as it comes to them, so busy standing in front of a camera they don’t have time to actually investigate, delve deeper, or even verify what they have. If nothing new comes, they just give you the same five minutes of information for hours on end. They’ve got air time to fill, after all. And they can’t cover something else because viewers might change the channel to someone else who is covering it from a slightly different camera angle. And we can't have that.

Perhaps Lionel Shriver should join the boycott, too.

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I am outside. I’d forgotten what the sun looked like. It is a beautiful sunset in Huntsville, Alabama. It’s so warm you’d think it was spring. Oh, yeah. It is.

It has been a long and stressful week, and would have been so even if the shootings at Tech on Monday and the shooting at Johnson Space Center on Friday had not bracketed it. My mind races with ideas on what to write. I had intended to write about my trip (now extended another week) when I got back, but such things seem wrong for the moment. I want to write about appreciating friends and family, recognizing the reality of security and emergency response, media coverage of unfolding and tragic events, reflections on fond memories of Tech to wipe the blood and tears from my mind. But the thoughts all come at once and then my brain shuts down to protect itself. Maybe when I finally get home I will have something coherent. For now, I am simply thankfully that no one I know was injured or killed. It’s sad that it sometimes takes a tragedy to make us reach out to those around us. But as long as we do reach out, there is hope.

The sun is gone. The warmth is fading. It’s still beautiful, though. Even in the dark.