Saturday, December 16, 2006

Remember to Lock Those Doors!

There was a great article a few days back in the Washington Post describing police "bait cars" used to capture car thieves. I've been giggling for days (I have a very manly giggle) over the following part:

Aside from being a high-tech way to nab thieves, bait cars provide a rare look at the initial moments of a common crime. Most of the time, it's not that exciting, officers said, because most interceptions take place within about two minutes and most arrests within four.

But not always. In one Loudoun incident that has become infamous among area police departments, a man stole a bait vehicle and was able to drive it from Leesburg to Southeast Washington because of technical difficulties. Police eventually got the suspect, minutes after the camera caught him smoking crack and masturbating. He had spent part of his ride urinating in a soda can, then drinking his urine to try to quell a case of the hiccups. He also vomited twice.

"We still crack up about that one," said Detective Chris Dengeles, of Arlington's auto theft unit.
Oh My God. That video clip is begging to be used in a Public Service Announcement.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Escape Velocity as Metaphor

NASA is planning to build a permanent station on The Moon by 2024. Think about it: life on The Moon...
Obviously they'll need talented people to staff the place and I'm already writing my application. Surely I'll still be in my prime at the age of 45. The rocket trip will doubtless be fun (25,000 mph to tear free from the Earth!) but I'm really looking forward to a happy life on The Moon.

All the residents will be highly trained and motivated to do our jobs. Teamwork will be the name of the game--no fussing, no fighting. There will be plenty of opportunities for everyone, from ice-water collecting to space engineering. It'll be expensive to ship things to The Moon so we'll have to be pretty self-sufficient--water, food, etc. There will also be a gigantic catapult to fling our trash towards the sun. We could occasionally aim sewage at Earth on April Fools Day.

Top pyschologists will consider how to keep us happy and cohesive. Obviously we'll be carefully selected for our social skills, trustworthiness, and complete lack of vice. We'll have no booze, not even wine. Ownership will be made illegal. Relationships would have to be outlawed too since they tend to be messy. Maybe close friendships too. Perhaps life sciences will be sufficiently advanced to surgically remove the anger and scars and rotten parts of our feelings ... I'm thinking arthroscopic lasers on the heart or something? Or maybe we'll just be Finnish. Anyway they'll have to think of a way to rid us of any potential conflict. I think this means minimizing our contact with others as much as possible.

But that's fine, we'll have the whole Moon to ourselves! Long walks would be effortless. I could stomp out messages in the dust (Moondust!) so the poor bastards I left on Earth could read them and turn green with envy at my idyllic life on The Moon. "LIFE IS GREAT HERE ON THE MOON. DON'T MISS ANY OF YOU. please send porn." I'd cruise around in a free moon-buggy and take long trips to the dark side.

We could build a low gravity dance club (named The Earthbounce of course) and spend days dancing to electro and eating astronaut ice cream. But I guess the club would have to be limited to one person so we aren't tempted by each other. Or if there were other dancers we'd have to wear space-burkhas or something. There'd also be low-gravity racquetball! Well actually I guess competition could create conflict so they'd have to be single-user courts ... but we could play against easily-defeated robots to keep our spirits up.

The best thing I like to imagine is sitting alone on a crater rim and watching earthrise. I'd have no one to share it with but that's the price to pay for being free. No hiking partners would be around to irritate me saying they're cold or have dust in their shoes. No phone calls from drunk friends. Why, gravity would barely hold me down! I would find contentment in my beloved isolation, like the Buddha did! I'll leave my life behind, take my heart outside, and watch the stars go out. To The Moon!

I'm spending this month winding down a bit at work but mostly looking forward to classes and thinking about where I'll go for grad school down the road. Somehow I don't think it'll be anywhere near Eugene. Oregon is beautiful but I'm done with this town. The University of British Columbia has some very cool stuff but is also hideously expensive. Maybe I could go to the University of Utah? Or hey, international! Australia? Norway? I remember fantasizing about studying geology in Finland as an undergrad. Fortunately for Nordic-US relations, my grades didn't allow me the opportunity live/drink in Helsinki.

Completely insane story: my roommate Chris got a job in Kansas City. He's lived here for eight months and was growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of job prospects in San Fransisco, Portland, and Seattle. Out of the blue this company in KC calls him, gives him four hours to get to the Portland airport, puts him on a plane, and 10 hours later he's stepping in to an intensely hectic environment at a media-design firm. For the next six days he essentially pulls 20-hour workdays with drinking in between. This company receives thousands of applicants a year and picked him not for his corporate design work but for his experimental and student work. They're giving him the equivalent responsibility of an Art Director. The best part is that he completely loves what they do and how they work. He's leaving us in early January. From Eugene to Kansas City ... it'll be quite a change but he says it's a cool town and I've generally heard good things.

I'll be in Alexandria, VA from the 23rd to the 26th. East coasters: if I haven't tugged your pant-leg already, we'll be reuniting on the evening of the 23rd, possibly in Falls Church. Talk to Mike. AND I'LL FORM ... THE HEAD.