8/14/2009

08-14-09 - Travelling

I'm on my way to New York. I was thinking about not taking my lappy, but at the last minute I caved in. If I was more confident that this would be a pleasant trip I would have left it, because I do take great delight in just getting away from the computer and the internet hive from time to time, but I'm worried this trip is going to suck balls and I'm going to have to hide in my room, and then I will desperately crave my lappy.

Typing on my actual laptop keyboard is hurting my wrists already, and I can feel it wreaking havok on my shoulders and neck. If you regularly use a laptop, be aware that you are intentionally destroying your body.

ADDENDUM : for some reason my email isn't working, so if you're sending me mail, I can't respond. I'm sure I could work it out but I'm on vacation so I'm not dealing with god damn internet problems.

I'm sitting on the plane next to an old couple. The woman was reading "People" ; she was skipping the articles, because lord knows the articles in People are far too serious to bother with; she seemed to mainly be interested in the pictures of celebrity couples, who was dating who. As if that wasn't bad enough, the husband would occasionally lean over and say "now that's a fine looking woman", invariably in regards to some 20 year old starlet who has absolutely no redeeming physical characteristic other than that she's professionally made up and 20 years old, at which point the wife would scowl silenty and flip the page.

I would travel a whole lot more if flying and airports were more pleasant. Like if I could take a plane in the Pan Am era, I would just travel whenever I have free time. As it is, travel makes me so miserable that I feel like I need at least a week for it to be worth the misery of a travel day on each end. And of course, flying is only very miserable if everything goes completely according to plan; there's a high probability of cancelled flights and lost luggage, which turn the very miserable into nearly-suicide-or-homicide-inducing. If I could teleport, I would go to all kinds of crazy places, because I actually adore being in foreign countries and off the beaten path places where you have to mime what you want because you have no common language and all that.

There's an article in the September Atlantic about health care. It's quite good, it summarises my own viewpoint quite thoroughly. I think the problems with health care are very obvious (though obviously not obvious enough, because almost everyone gets them wrong - it has nothing to do with universal health care or single payer or electronic records). Perhaps the most important problem is the whole idea of using insurance to pay for things that aren't just catastrophic accidents with huge costs. Insurance in general is a horrible thing which is only to be used as a necessary evil. Sadly consumers are unbelievably fucking retarded, and they would gladly severely overpay for a subscription in order to get "free stuff" rather than just pay for each item/service individually out of pocket. While I think the Atlantic article is very good at getting to the crux of what the real problems are, it is (like me) light on solutions. His HSA suggestion is an okay start, but the more you think about the details, the more problems arise. How exactly do you encourage people to pay for preventive care, how do you subsidize people who can't pay enough into their HSA themselves? How do you motivate people to control their costs once they are already paying beyond the out of pocket maximum? It's also all completely irrelevant mental masturbation, because we have zero chance of actually doing anything serious to reform health care.

It's quite ridiculous the way the Republicans are reacting to health care reform. For one thing, the proposed bill does almost nothing. For another, their stance now has basically become that of an ultra-liberal Johnson democrat. They are demanding infinite care health care for all. God forbid you ever control costs on the eldery! I mean, of course it's ridiculous that all of their attacks are just completely fictitious made up nonsense, but even if you ignore that, the positition that they're taking on the made up bill they're attacking is quite strange. I really think the Republican party basically has no political identity any more except "people who are not in NY or CA and are angry/jealous that NY/CA dominate the US".

I'm in "The Hamptons" now and it's really one of the creepiest places I've ever been (similar to Carmel or Vegas). You've got all these rich New Yorkers who dress up in the uniform of white with ridiculous name brand sun glasses and strappy shoes and such and try to pretend like they're the "it" people. Then they're surrounded by the locals and service people that are the total Long Island cheeseball guido stereotype - muscley guys with berets and pouty lips and dark tans. Everything is so incredibly self conscious, and everyone's idea of what's good is entirely based on what other people are saying is good; it's the kind of place where The Emperor's New Clothes could literally happen. On the plus side, the beaches are actually really nice.

I met a girl in Seattle just before leaving and I'm quite smitten; I can't get her out of my head. I wish we were both unemployed so we could just ride around the city all day, go hiking during the week when it's not crowded, take long road trips, travel, and just do whatever feels right at each moment. When I was unemployed in San Francisco I really wanted to meet a girl who was unemployed so we could just run around together and be free. I did meet a few, but most unemployed people are either huge losers and flakes, or they're all stressed and obsessed with finding a job, which is not fun to be around. It's hard to find someone who was in the situation I was in, being unemployed but having a bit of money and just enjoying it and not being a total hippie/hobo wanderer.

I've developed this really bad habit of just checking my email reflexively any time I'm sitting at a computer and have a lull. So as I'm writing this, each time I take a pause, I hit ctrl-alt-M which fires up my Eudora, and I'm not on the net so it just shows error boxes. I close it and come back to this and then a few seconds later, boom ctrl-alt-M just fires again. For one thing yikes my muscle memory for key combos is strong. But more importantly that's just a really bad kind of habit to have. I might have to pull a Casey and cut myself off from email and web browsing for a while. It's become a crutch that I use to feed the ADD and save myself from painfully intense focus.

My brother thinks you should spend money to have fun any time you can, that memorable experiences are worth almost infinite amounts of money, so no price is too high. So, you know, thinks like a $250 helicopter tour of Hawaii or a $150 concert ticket to see Radiohead or whatever are all good deals. I sort of agree in theory, but in practice I find that those expensive things often aren't actually that much fun. For example, I find that most $5 concerts in small sweaty hipster clubs are better than big stadium shows for major bands. A lot of fancy hotels are just weirdly stuffy and unpleasant to be in, and the beds aren't even that great. Expensive tours are often really annoying with lots of waiting around. I have been trying lately to just be more liberal with money and try to buy happiness whenever I can, but I find it really hard to find. There are a few cases where I think it's worth it - I'm never cheap with food any more (though a $2.50 Vietnamese sandwich is usually better than a $50 nouveau bullshit CIA sear-and-sauce faux-fancy meal), and I think the next time I fly I'll go ahead and go first class, or at least go Virgin America if possible. This fucking plebian cattle car flight bullshit is not worth the savings.

I do like my brother's philosophy of trying to make trips more memorable, more interesting, more exciting. Don't just go visit the Grand Canyon and look at it like every other bum - take the mule ride down to the river, or raft it, do something. Do the shit everyone else wishes they were doing; why not?

The fucking tards on the airplane are all annoyed when they have to wait, they start huffing and stamping their feet like agitated cows, but then when it's their own turn to go through security or get their bags off the plane, they don't have their shit ready to go, and they take their sweet time ever so slowly going through their stuff. It's fucking hypocritical and inconsiderate and retarded. Par.

BTW this is yet another case where I'm not even talking about expecting people to actually be good. Expectations are so far into the gutter I just want them to be halfway reasonable and they still fail. Really you would like people in the airport to be quick and efficient and considerate, but without getting all uptight and impatient, they should still be relaxed and friendly. Lol. It sounds silly to even state what good people should be like because it never ever happens. So, now we lower expectations. If people would just pick one bad way to be and be self-consistent, I could tolerate that, like if they were all antsy and uptight and in a rush, but they actually went fast and had their shit together, that's fine, or if they're slow but they're actually relaxed and friendly and don't give you passive aggressive looks when you have to take time for something perfectly reasonable, that would be fine too. But no, they have to fail in every possible way and be both impatient dicks and also incompetently slow. Who the fuck doesn't know that you need to have your ID in your hand at the fucking security, and take off your damn shoes and fucking get your shit together. The fucking TSA should just taser people who are too retarded to go through security quickly.

1 comment:

castano said...

> I would travel a whole lot more if flying and airports were more pleasant.

You sound a bit like Duc Jean Des Esseintes :)

old rants