Cancun trip thoughts, so far

Today is Wednesday of my Sunday through Saturday week in Cancun. It is currently the evening, about 11p and, before I go to sleep in preparation for tomorrow's activities, I thought that I should check-in with y'all. I think that Im going to structure this as a summary of some of what's been going on and follow with some more general thoughts that have been crystalizing.

It being Cancun, the obligatory sun bathing, swimming and strong, frozen beverages have been happening but, as that is largely not interesting in any detail, I'll leave it at that. I have been staying with friends at the Royal Sands, a timeshare resort. This is one of five timeshare resorts owned by this company and I have to say, it's pretty sweet; honestly, if my family didn't have property on Cape Cod, I would strongly consider signing in to this whole timeshare thing. The amenities are nice, the weather is fantastic and, let me tell you, the water is amazing. Evenings here have primarily finished off with games of Dominos, Fluxx and Set,which has been a wholely pleasant experience, and makes me want to play more casual games with friends.

This morning, we traveled to the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza, which were truly fantastic to see. The degree of engineering, architectural and astronomical knowledge expressed by the structures of the ruins is truly impressive. I am certain that the experience was greatly enhanced by the quality and character of our tour guide. One of the major things that caught root in my mind as a result of the experience is the impermanence of everything that I am doing with my life. Even a relatively modest Mayan dwelling still exists and expresses something about its inhabitants; what mark have I left on this world that will not be gone two generations from now? For that matter, what mark am I really leaving now?

Certain, deeper things seem to be gaining focus for me as well. One that seems truly clear is the degree to which I have missed the Atlantic Ocean and Woods Hole. Hopefully, my plans to work remotely from Woods Hole this summer will succeed and I shall get some substantial time there.

Another thing that occurs to me is that I need to spend more time with my good friends and, perhaps, make a few more.

Leg two: ugh, customs

Today, for the first time, my travel was slowed down as a result of not checking baggage. With a two hour shift, it is now 4:00p, and I am eating a so-so ham and cheese with a freely provided Tecate. Having just left Mexico City, I feel as though I almost didn't make it.

So, I debarked my first flight, passed through immigration and proceeded in the direction of "Connecting Flights". Before reaching my gate, I encountered a checkpoint where I was asked how many bags I had checked. Having checked no bags, with the intent of expediting my journey, I said as much and was told to go back through immigration and go to customs. Passing immigration again, I was told to continue as I had the first time. Please realize that my inability to speak or understand Spanish was not to my advantage. Returning to the checkpoint, again, running out of time to catch my flight, I was turned back once more. This time, asking for very precise instructions from the quite competent English speaking head of the checkpoint. It turns out, what I had to do was go through immigration, again, ignore "Connecting Flights", and pass through customs as though Mexico City were my destination. It was then necessary to turn around, pass through a different entrance and find my gate as a domestic flight. With about twenty minutes before departure, I was very pleased to catch my flight.

All is now well and that was a mighty tasty Tecate.

Mexicana Air, a positive review

As I write, I am sitting in seat 20E on a Mexicana Airbus A318 en route from San Francisco to Mexico City. It is 9:30a; I am writing on my Nokia N810 (a device, which I will have to tell you of some other time); I have just consumed a wholely decent omelette; and, I it is my intention to publish this as soon as I next encounter Internet access. The omelette has arrested my attention and is what prompted this post.

Though the omelette fell somewhere between edible and passable, this really is more of a "thought that counts" sort of thing. I have become so accustomed to the nickel-and-dimeing of bankrupt United States airlines that I was astonished to be offered food: "omelette or enchilada?" It took me two tries to understand through the Mexican accent, but that's probably a failing on my part. Not only is there food but there appears to be free beer, though, it being 9:30a, I opted for milk.

Based on my experience thus far, I'm liking Mexicana and feeling reminiscent of British Airways. If you're reading this, as is, nothing has interfered with my opinion sufficiently to justify revision.

Striking "intellectual property" from my lexicon

I just read two fantastic pieces from the Free Software Foundation. The first, a guest post on TorrentFreak, addresses the question of Why the FSF cares about RIAA lawsuits and is a very insightful view into the dangers involved in the direction that copyright, patent and trademark laws seem to be headed. The second article, which was linked from the first, is an article by Richard M. Stallman on the term "intellectual property", and the dangers of conflating copyrights, patents, trademarks and physical property. I find the article to be both interesting and insightful to a sufficient extent that I have decided to strike the term "intellectual property" from my lexicon. Henceforth, I will discuss such matters in the frame of what they are, not the frame that major rights holding organizations would like to phrase them in.

I feel that these articles are both extremely well written and make strong points on the nature of copyrights/patents/trademarks. I also feel that these articles give me a better vantage point from which to discuss the juxtaposition of copyrights and physical property rights. There are certainly some sharp people, doing some very important things at the FSF.

Battlestar Finale == ugh luddites, religion

I finally got around to watching the end of Battlestar Galactica (sure took me long enough) and I have to say that I was somewhat displeased, to say the least. Don't get me wrong; the series, as a whole, was quite pleasant and I did enjoy watching the end but, still, somewhat displeased.


Points of contention:

  • Luddism: We had lots of technology and lots of war so let's throw away all of our technology. Seriously? Going one step further; you think that you can actually just throw away all of your knowledge. It'd be zero to super-polymers age in one day. Oh, le sigh.
  • Religion: God this, destiny that, magical know-how the other; ugh, give me a break.
  • Starbuck: What's the deal with her? Just going to write her out with no explanation at all? Talk about sloppy. Talk about cop-out.
  • Prehistory: If that's supposed to be Earth, how do you explain linguistic evolution? Where are the records of ships and technology? What about the super fancy materials? I bet they didn't degrade in the past 150 thousand years.
  • Matrix Architect: Didn't we get the this has happened a bunch of times before idea out of the way in The Matrix Reloaded? It was a so-so idea then and it's even more so now.
  • etc.: Those were the big ones, at least.

Seriously, you guys couldn't come up with a better way to write a conclusion to this thing? I guess mediocre closure is still better than no closure. Thanks for the four/five seasons of pretty great, Battlestar Galactica. Oh well, time to catch up on Lie to Me and Dollhouse, I guess.

Updates and hopefully a return

I have finally gotten around to updating my blog to the latest version of Wordpress (I used to be horribly behind). As you may have noticed, I am back at the default theme; I will likely do something about this eventually; you may have to bear with me until then, if you haven't already left due to my extended silence.

Speaking of that whole silence thing; I'm hoping to return to posting more often than I may have in the past (not that I haven't said that before). For right now, I'm focusing on being in flux and getting things back to where they were; with luck it'll just involve writing some new css to go with the default theme. To get those square boxes, borders and the like back; perhaps fit to width as well.

Anyway, just wanted to break silence and let you guys know that that's my intent for future times.

Outlander, which is to say, "Holy Crap, Vikings vs. Aliens!"

Let me add Outlander to the list of awesome movies that you've never heard of. Outlander came out in US theaters last Friday and having followed it for a while, I went and saw it. Now, let me come clean here, Outlander isn't a particularly good movie but it sure as Hell is a totally awesome movie. That said, I do recommend going to see it while it's still on the big screen.

Vikings versus aliens really should be all the synopsis that you need to convince you to go see it but, I guess if you want more, I can give you a brief synopsis. Earth is actually an undeveloped, abandoned seed colony for the spacefaring human race. Kainan, a man from space, crash lands his ship on Earth in viking-age Norway. Kainan soon realizes that a particularly nasty alien, called a Moorwen, had stowed aboard his ship and is now on the loose. There are subsequently a lot of spaceman/viking integration/culture-shock dynamics and eventually it becomes vikings+spaceman vs. alien monster.

Just to be clear, I keep saying that this is vikings vs. aliens because that's both what it purports to be and what it delivers phenomenally well. Outlander has cult classic written all over it.

I must be pretty sentimental

Just a bit ago, I was performing a quick search of my blog for monkeys, because that's the kind of thing that I do sometimes; got a problem with that Anyway, I happened to come across one of my old posts, which happened to remind me of my dear old friend, Mr. Tickles. Good Lord, he was a great fish and I, absolutely, still miss him. Ditto, if not more, for Browder. Thankfully, Baldr's probably got 7-9 more years in him.

Sometimes my sentimentality really catches me by surprise; I would have thought that I was colder hearted than all this.