September 9th, 2002

self portrait

Vacation, and the sleeping is easy

My vacation to Seattle started fairly well with the purchase of the iBook that I'm writing this report upon. The Apple Store at the Mall of America opened early on Saturday in order to do an intro to OS X class for new users. I mistakenly believed this to mean that they would be operating as usual at 9:30 a.m. Not so, sadly, they just had a group of newbies around the theater portion of the store listening to the spiel about how wonderful Jaguar (OS X 10.2) was.

I'm all up with the wonderfulness of Jaguar, but this is not why I was here. I longed to have someone to whom I could say, "I'm here for my iBook. Thank you." Unfortunately, it became swiftly apparent that the only employees in the store were not in the selling mood, being otherwise occupied with things to do before they "officially" opened at 10:00 a.m. You'd think the half-closed gate at the front would have been a signal or something.

Well, I did eventually get the machine. A wonderful little box it is. I deliberately got the smaller of the iBook models, this one only having the 12" screen. My thinking was that the extra real-estate the 14" screen would give me would be of little use for what I wanted this machine for; writing. This is my writing iBook. It is not intended for other purposes and I'll actually make some efforts to prevent myself from doing other things, like playing games, upon it. (My one failure in that regard is the presence of a go client on this machine. I figure that when words fail me I can retreat to the abstract of the ancient strategy to gain clarity of vision again. Nice rationale, eh?)

My flights were flights. Nothing too spectacular one way or another as I worked desperately at my talent of being able to sleep on airplanes. In preparation for leaving I got no sleep Saturday morning so the only sleep I've had today has been on the planes. This has worked OK and shouldn't handicap me for tomorrow to any great degree. I've just now figured out that while it is 6:20 a.m. here in Seattle, this is 8:20 a.m. in Minneapolis and, thus, my normal bed-time. So getting to sleep now should not be a problem.

I want to write more about having Jonathan's daughter Tessa call Wme on his cell phone and having a long discourse with her about how I might be an alien because I was born in the year we landed on the moon. (And she had just watched Starship Troopers the night before.) But there is also the sleep that is calling me. So that will have to wait for later. As will the adventures of the evening with Rev and JoT.

Sunday was Scott Glancey's birthday. So, of course, we we went shooting. When telling me about today's activities, Rev said "This is so cliché, it's funny...." The Pagan house guys are the one who, a few years back, shocked me to the core when they role-played with live ammo. That is to say, one of the house members took time out of our busy gaming session to make sure that his personal side-arm was loaded. Not in-character, the 9mm he had on his hip.These guys are serious about their guns. Also, John wanted to take a couple of the folks from the video game company he's working with out to fire some of the things they were putting into the game.

So we drove about an hour out of Seattle towards the mountains to the "shooting range" used regularly by the Pagan household. Now, this isn't a civilized thing you might imagine it might be, it's basically just a place where people go and pull off the road and shoot shit. No fixtures of any kind, no range officers keeping people out of the field of fire; just some guys with guns pointing them all in the same direction.

We loaded up with targets before heading out. As John said, when you begin to look for "things to shoot," the grocery store takes on a while new meaning. Watermelons were on sale for 25¢ per pound. We got the cheapest red soda we could find. Loaded all the stuff into the Landcruiser of the Flying Labs folks, packed guns into the trunk of Crowe's Saturn, added a few more watermelons and a styrofoam head to the pickup along with all the empty beer bottles in the house, some more ammo, some snacks and headed off to the range.

While I am morally opposed to firearms on the grounds that they exist to kill people, I will admit to having fun firing off the AK-47s (yes, plural) owned by these guys. Not to mention the 9mm semi-automatic HK pistol, the 50s era carbine and the .38 revolver I tried out. There was great satisfaction in the destruction meted out to the various bits of things down-range. The styrofoam head turned out to be far more resilient than anyone thought, it survived several high-powered rifle rounds which appeared to pass through it, barely deforming the surface where they entered and exited. It survived a shotgun blast to the temple from close range with minimal damage. Only when I took the AK to that mother did it pulverize into a satisfactory puff of styrofoam bits, a few big chunks flying off into the underbrush.

After the long day of dumping lead into the local ecosystem, we retired to a small-town bakery/cafe for dinner. We were warned that portions were huge, but we had no idea. I fell asleep during the drive back and feel like a need a nap now. What I'll do in the wee hours when I wake up, I have no idea, but that nap thing sounds good. We'll see how it goes here....
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