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So I was on this twelve-hour flight the other day, and I got bored and wrote some things...
  • Twelve and a half hours ago I stepped onto a shuttle bus in front of my house. Nine hours ago I walked down a jetway at the San Francisco airport. At this moment I'm about seven miles away, vertically, from Siberia. In another three hours I'll be on the ground in Beijing, China. Once in a while, at moments like this, I step back and remember how epically weird modern life is.

  • The project I've been working on part-time for the past year, and full-time since January, is called BIND 10; it's a total from-the-ground-up rewrite of BIND 9, and it's a pretty big deal for the company. The team I'm working with consists of a half dozen ISC people plus five engineers on loan from companies that are sponsoring the project: two from JPRS in Japan, three from CNNIC in China. Every six months we've gotten the whole team together at ISC's headquarters in Redwood City for a week of design meetings and coding. But this time, CNNIC invited us to hold the meeting at their offices in Beijing instead, and we said yes; oddly enough, it turned out it wasn't much more expensive to fly everyone to Beijing than to fly everyone to Redwood City.

    It's going to be my first time in Asia. (Hmm. Should I use the future tense, there? Am I "in Asia" already, seven miles above Siberia-or-maybe-it's-northeastern-China-by-now? Well, either way, the airplane cabin doesn't look any different, so I'll leave the philosophical question unanswered and the tense unchanged.)

  • I gotta remember this "having an airport shuttle pick me up at my house" trick. Least stressful trip to the airport evar.

  • I was seriously dreading the 12.5-hour flight in economy class, but I gotta say, so far it's been quite nice. Partly because of my friend and colleague [livejournal.com profile] roshismomma, who's sitting next to me, making conversation possible when she isn't asleep. But also because the gate agent, bless her, offered us exit-row seats, which turn out to be THE place to be on a 747. The people in "economy plus" paid $200 extra bucks each for five more inches of legroom. Meanwhile, I can't reach the seats in front of me without getting up and walking over to them.

    I really have no idea why these seats weren't occupied already--nor why there's an empty seat between the two of us, on a flight that's nearlyfull. I'm sacrificing my next little-tiny-bag-of-pretzels as an offering of thanks to the airline gods.

    That said, getting to Beijing and landing would be very nice. Really, any time would be fine. Now's good.

  • Harking back to that philosophical question: I may not be "in Asia" yet, but I've looked out the window and seen Asia, which is kind of cool. A few hours ago I looked out at Alaska, bringing to 49 the number of states I've looked at.

  • Airplane food reviews: The Salisbury steak with ketchup was as good as it sounds, attractively plated on a recyclable black tray with accents of reconstituted mashed potatoes, followed by a brownie delightfully wrapped in two layers of plastic, and served with a fine Chardonnay, in the "enh, it's fine" sense of the word. I'm fairly sure the point of the latter was its tranquilizing effect, and it met this requirement admirably. The snack, a half sandwich of pressed turkey and American cheese on dry Wonder bread, left a little bit to be desired, so I sent it back and accepted a Cup o' Noodles instead. It was notable for being the first time a flight attendant has ever given me a pair of chopsticks to eat with.

  • Yep, definitely over China now. Hi, China.

  • Airplane movie reviews: We started with some Hugh Grant/Sarah Jessica Parker piece of crap about an couple of New York sophisticates in the process of getting a divorce from each other who witness a murder and are forced to enter the witness relocation program which requires them to live together in a hick town in the boondocks full of colorful people, where they complain about the quality of the bagels and pizza until the homespun values of the simple country folk blah blah blah I've seen this movie with different actors 96 other times and it was lame then too. We ended with a Robert De Niro/Drew Barrymore thing about a retired dad and his grown kids that's probably just fine but totally failed to grab me. In the middle were The Young Victoria and Fantastic Mr. Fox, both of which I liked a lot.

  • I don't believe I've ever succeeded in sleeping on an airplane. I'll probably have been up for over 24 hours before I sleep. I used to do that all the time in college, so this should be totally easy.

  • The odd thing, though, is that it doesn't feel at all like I've been up a full day. It's this weird kind of lost time. Maybe it's just because it's still daylight outside? (In fact, by the sun, it's only an hour or so later than it was when we left.) It's been a very long flight and I'm quite tired, but at the same time it's extraordinarily hard to get my mind around the idea that W and B have spent a full day together and B's bedtime was a couple of hours ago. I feel like I should be able to call them when I get off the plane and hear that they've just gotten home from the gym. Round planets are weird.

...and then they brought some more snacks and then the plane landed and then I rode in a taxi through Beijing for half an hour or so and then I went to dinner and then I slept, and then I spent several days going to business meetings and fancy dinners. I've scribbled a bunch of notes about it but will post them later.

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mr_cellaneous

April 2010

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