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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year/Back from Break.

Brooke and I spent NYE in an undisclosed location. It was wonderful. Hope everybody's parties and shows went swimmingly.

Unrelated:

Remember my post about self-styled psychedelic visionary Daniel Pinchbeck and his views on the Great Reckoning?

Well, I'm also reading a more scientific book called The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, by Ray Kurzweil. His empirical post-futurism (can you even say that?) provides a fine counterbalance to Pinchbeck's subjective flights-of-fancy. I'm totally ready for the Upgrade. Where do I sign up for beta testing?

Candleblog
has posted semi-regularly about the Singularity concept. Here's something I jacked from their recent linkdump.

Embarrassing confession:

Our Christmas Eve flight from DC to NYC was horrible. We encountered heavy turbulence, and I had a serious panic attack. My legs were thumping up and down, I couldn't breathe, etc. I've never experienced an involuntary reaction like that. But one little girl puked, so at least I wasn't alone.

We spent an hour at LaGuardia deciding whether or not I was fit to board the plane to Burlington. It was a tiny, 15-person propeller craft. Considering the previous flight, there was justification for aborting the mission.

Instead, I ate a small fistful of Benadryl and boarded the damn thing. After taking our cramped seats, Brooke turned to me and said, "I don't think this is going to work for you." So we made them let us off the plane. I felt ridiculous, but relieved.

We called our Big Apple-based friend Mirela, who looked at the train schedule and found us a hitch to Rutland. the downside? It would be leaving Penn Station in about an hour. But there was a happy coincidence, provided we could make the train: Mirela's boyfriend (and my best pal) Ethan was in Rutland already, visiting family. He said he'd be glad to give us a lift back to B-town.

So we hastily summoned a cab and managed to catch the choo-choo to VT. It was a really fun ride; we drank booze, read and joked about what a psychological mess I am.

And it was fantastic to see my friend.

Now I have to go to a meeting.

New Year's Resolutions:

#1: Be nicer.

#2: Get ahead.

#3: Read more.

#4: Relax.

#5: Explore.

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Comments

Sean

Glad things worked out. I noticed a silver lining to your story that perhaps isn't an obvious one: You got to spend time in beautiful Rut-Vegas!!

bd

fuckinA...that sucks. i can totally symp(Or emp...)athize. My girlfriend and I were on a plane from Dallas to Los Angeles - they had crazy softball size hail and 60-80,000ft thunderheads. plane delayed 6 hrs but finally left. flew south (instead of West, duh) 'to get around the storm' the pilot said. all the while heavy turbulence and crazy chain lightning out the right side of the plane. finally after an hour things settle down, seatbelt lights go off, they're serving drinks....then i notice the nose of the plane starts climbing a bit..then the seatbelt light comes BACK on...then a big shudder (it's a 747 man and you can SEE the fuselage bending, really) and we free fall instantly must have been 500 feet. Drink carts bounced off the ceiling - TWICE - people were injured. We were covered with bad whiskey and bloody mary mix. Then it happened again. This time people screamed like on the Poseidon Adventure and i really thought we might die. really. then the plane caught the air again. we made it to LA ok. But i've never been the same since. My girlfriend was holding off answering (3 months and counting at the time) my marriage proposal. After the second drop she said 'Yes'. So, YES, I understand completely. Planes are handy but they sure can suck. bd

casey

Holy shit!

I don't know what I'd do if that ever happened to me. It's gonna take some serious mental gymnastics to even get me back on a plane as it is.

jay

I have a pretty severe fear of flying as well, which really sucks since my job involves a lot of air travel. The only thing I've found that helps me is being drunk or really, really hungover. My last flight back to VT from Chicago was at 6am after being up drinking until 3am. I passed out before the plane took off & when I woke up we were in the air, halfway to Burlington.

Triple or quadruple dosing on NyQuil helps too. But what doesn't quadruple dosing on NyQuil help?

Bill Simmon

Well we just had two totally smooth flights to and from Chicago. Normally flying makes me a little bound up inside -- a sort of low level fear that causes me GI distress. This time it was a snap because the flights were relatively short and uneventfull and I was with people I could talk to. Flying alone is a lot worse for me usually. Turbulence sucks, no matter how much I consciously know that it's normal and not actually dangerous. I think (hope) bd's story is pretty rare. I'd effing hate that.

Sometimes it helps me calm down when I think of the number of planes in the air over the US at any one time (the # is in the thousands) and then I remember that there hasn't been a major US commercial air disaster since Sept. 2001. That's one hell of a lot of flights safely landing. The odds in your favor are literally astronomical.

Debilitating fear sucks.

Neil

I go through mental gymnastics with planes too, Casey. Jeezum. Sometimes I'm fine, other times it's just a second-by-second mental survival. While I'll add my 2 cents to the being-drunk solution, the being-hungover thing seems to work against me as when I'm hungover I'm exxxtra sensitive and imaginationally creative. I would also, like Bill, recommend the numbers games. Often I've been travelling in a van for a few weeks previous, so I'll ponder how much safer I actually am on the plane. I'll picture the globe and imagine how many other planes are airborne at the moment. It's actually done a lot for me too, just being near an airport and watch how many planes land and take off, hour after hour, day after day, without event. My other game is the mantra a boat on the waves. I wouldn't be afraid if I were in a motorboat bouncing over waves, and that's pretty much what's happening in a plane going over waves of air. I imagine being out on the lake bouncing along, a boat on the waves.

I've gotta say though, I love the story of you guys getting off the plane because the seemingly inevitable was suddenly revealed as optional like, wait, we don't have to do this. Fucking yay. I love those moments.

casey

Triple X-tra sensitive and imaginationally creative? Sounds like my kind of film.

Many of those tricks work if I prepare in advance, but sometimes The Fear just sneaks up on me. Especially when the plane is lurching.

The the "boat on the waves" concept is interesting. When we were on the train, it rattled and rocked considerably. I think Brooke found it uncomfortable from time to time, but I was totally cool with it, mostly because we weren't 35,000 feet above the earth. I'm aware that train tracks are no doubt underserviced and the couplings aren't as obsessed over as aircraft doohickeys. Plane crashes are rare even in Third World countries, but train wrecks still occur from time to time.

That said, it's really difficult for me to imagine surviving an air mishap. A derailing, I think I could manage.

I'm sure I'll try again someday, though. I mean, their isn't much of an an alternative if I ever want to go to, say, Europe. Can't quite see myself in steerage on a freighter.

Mistress Maeve

Nice is over overrated.

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