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Frivolous

I make a lot of fairly serious updates on this blog. Really, though, all sorts of dumb things are bouncing around inside my head. Here are a few:

Battlestar Galactica

The third episode of the fourth season might be just about the best episode of any television series I have ever seen. BSG is as a whole, an amazing show. Because it has set viewers expectations so high, if an episode is not astonishing, it tends to disappoint (“Black Market” being the one exception that was just all around lame). The season premiere let me down a little bit, but only because I was schoolgirl giddy about it. The third episode, “The Ties That Bind,” astonishes with an extremely artistic and nuanced character-driven episode. At times I felt I was watching an art house film, the camerawork, sound design and complexities of plot were so well done.

Also, did anyone notice the designation of the weapons locker the Chief, Tigh and Tory visit? 1701D. 😉

Northwest/Delta Merger

I probably fly Northwest Airlines more than any other airline, and have always thought that Delta is sort of a piece of crap (their miles expired on me last year and I had to use 9,000 of them on a bunch of crap magazine subscriptions). So I’m a little confused about the merger between them. My friend Nate works for Northwest in their training department, and he says he should keep his job, so I am happy about that. What bothers me is that the new airline will be called Delta Air Lines. I have two problems with this. The Northwest name, logo, and fleet livery will probably go by the wayside. I like the way NWA planes look. White, red, and smooth gray in broad, clean shapes makes me feel like the plane I am getting on is somehow calmer and more well-prepared than a white or silver beast with chevrons emblazoned on it. Northwest’s SEA-NRT A330 coach service is hard to beat as well. I met a Boeing engineer in Tokyo who travels between Seattle and Niigata eight or nine times a year to supervise cockpit manufacturing for the 787, and he would only fly Northwest on that route, saying that the cabin configuration and entertainment system were much better than American or Delta.  Plus, why is Northwest Airlines becoming Delta Air Lines? Who are they employing as language consultants? Compound the damn word!

Proper Penmanship

How do you write the capital letters M and N? For M, I figure everyone either goes, from left to right, up down up down in one continuous stroke, or, from left to right, down down down down in four separate strokes. Well, the penmanship for the new first grade junior high students instructs them to write an M like this: Left vertical stroke from top to bottom, far right vertical stroke from top to bottom, then the left and right middle diagonal strokes from top to bottom in that order. What is that?

Photo Website

Pbase is starting to feel a little dated, and my subscription will run out in a few months. I have an idea to continue my punny domain name trend and create a separate website for all my photos. The Japanese word for photo is shashin (shah-sheen). Both www.seanshin.com and www.shasean.com are available. Any thoughts? I’m also looking at smugmug as a new photo service.

Categories
travel

Back from the Jungle

I’ve been back from Papua New Guinea for about 10 days. I took some time to let the experience decompress before recounting it.

It was a great experience. Every one of our group came back touched by something different. For myself, I was fascinated by the language; its isolation and lack of documentation sparked my linguistic nerdiness, and I spent a lot of time trying to understand what I could. However, I found myself more curious about the geography. The valley, the coast, the mountains, the river, the flood plain, the rainforest. And how the people live with it. Emphasis on with. Developed countries have eliminated nature from everyday life; the people in the Waria Valley are a part of it. I am lucky to know nature more than the average city dweller, but the subarctic Alaskan wilderness corresponds not to the tropical Papuan jungle. Learning how local people make use of the land and the things that live and grow on it was an adventure and fascinated me far more than their language. The experience has me seriously reconsidering my interests. Even while studying linguistics at UAF, I realized that I sometimes harbor a weary complacence with people that hardly befits human research. Even linguistics itself, while immensely important, fills somewhat of a niche role in the big picture of human problems. While I am fascinated with Zia tribe and their language, how the lexicon reflects their connection to the environment, in my mind those aspects are ancillary to the broader issues of deforestation, sustainability and responsible development.