Dec 03 2007
I've been sent on the road again for work, this time to the west coast, and the lovely region of California called Palo Alto. It's 0606 EST as I begin writing this from my increasingly infirm partner in crime Windbringer from one of the Z gates of Dulles International. Security was a nightmare this morning - not only does everyone and their backup seem to be hitting the friendly skies this morning, but the physical security detail seems to have changed its strategies once again. Now they are inspecting boarding passes and presented identification with both ultraviolet lamps and magnifying monocles hanging from lanyards. I don't know what they're expecting to find but it backed the security queue up around the corner and resulted in a one hour wait in line. Maybe my last few trips out have spoiled me, or at least raised my expectations to an unreasonable degree.
Just attempting to enter the terminal was a chore in itself - they've powered down a random selection of automatic doors (in particular, those belonging to my airline) to force travelers to hike and slalom down the sidewalk in an attempt to find a working gate. Between that and the concrete barriers all over the place, one would suppose that they're hoping to prevent a mad bomber from filling a car with explosives and ramming the building. There's just one problem with this particular threat model: Terrorism as a concept doesn't particularly care how they go about the task at hand so long as maximum damage to property and loss of life are achieved. A particularly selfless and dedicated suicide bomber could accomplish precisely the same effect by loading him- or herself up with explosives beneath clothing (especially at this time of year, when everyone's wearing heavy clothing for warmth), making his or her way to the front of a packed security queue (like this morning's), and detonating the bomb. Sure, you probably wouldn't get to see the whole facade outside go up in smoke but the terminal where several hundred to several thousand people would be in range of the blast would be utterly destroyed, and all those people would be killed at best, maimed for life at worst by the heat, blast wave, and shrapnel.
As JFK was reputed to have said, "If they're going to get you, they're going to get you."
In other news, Saturday night was another fun-filled night at Spellbound with Lyssa, Laurelinde, Hasufin, Mika, and Cindy. We got dressed up in our finest dancing clothes and joined the older contingent of the DC goth scene for a fun-filled night of movies on the big screens (BIg Trouble In Little China, Buckaroo Banzai, and Escape From New York (as opposed to Escape From CMU)), music that didn't take itself seriously, and good friends. After last week I wasn't much in the mood to cut a rug, so I wound up hanging out with Tom Rhodes at the bar sipping hard cider and catching up on the past couple of years. We talked for a couple of hours about old friends, people we knew, and the crazy stuff that happens when you get a bunch of bored geeks together on a Friday night. I wound up on the dance floor about half an hour before we left, which pretty much wiped me out. I don't know what was up with me that night, I think I was just road weary even though the prospect of going dancing was one of two things that kept me going all last week.
On Sunday, Lyssa, Laurelinde, and I slept in and then headed to Amphora for a late breakfast. While they got ready I jumped out to Micro Center to pick up a PCMCIA USB v2.0 interface for Windbringer to get us through until I can spec out a replacement for him. After some thought I decided to pick up a new laptop rather than buy a replacement motherboard for Windbringer because ultimately an upgrade would win out over a lateral replacement move. If you're going to do it, do it right, right?
It figures that this would happen after I get William Gibson to autograph my laptop. Foo.
After breakfast we drove out to the House of Leaves, homestead of Laurelinde and company, and spent the afternoon and evening hanging out with the family, working on our pet projects, eating Chinese food, and watching football (or at least allowing it to provide background noise). A simple, yet fun way to spend a rainy, cold, nasty Sunday. Lyssa and I got home around 2330 EST on Sunday, and she went to bed early while I tried to gear myself down to actually get some sleep, a couple of fleeting hours of vague dreams, tossing, turning, and wishing that I could drop my brain down into low power consumption mode. 0330 EST came around far too rapidly, though Mika was nice enough to drive me to the airport at 0-dark-thirty and bring coffee.
Some days, vamping and flirting with the securicams are the only thing that make it all worth it.
Brass Goggles is still offline following the compromise of some number of systems at the web hosting provider it's based out of.
I really hope that I took care of everything that I had to take care of while I was at home this weekend. It's a nagging feeling that I haven't been able to shake just yet.