January 7th, 2005

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Security

Having just spent about 2 weeks with my passport on my body at all times except when sleeping, I find this news pretty disturbing:

Passport chips raise privacy concerns

My passport expires in 2008. I guess when I get my new one, I will have to wrap it in alluminum foil as suggested!

Oh, and in the Frankfurt airport yesterday, I received a yellow flyer telling me that even U.S. citizens can be subjected to retinal scan upon arrival in the U.S., under certain circumstances. I didn't get one (at least not knowingly!) so I have no idea what the "circumstances" are.

On a related note, security inspections I underwent yesterday:

- Frankfurt: Bags X-rayed at check-in
- Frankfurt: Passport inspected at check-in
- Frankfurt: Carry-on and body x-rayed, pat-down
- Frankfurt: Carry-on and body x-rayed again half-way through terminal
- Atlanta: Passport inspected immediately upon arrival
- Atlanta: Passport inspected, personal questions by U.S. Immigration
- Atlanta: Carry-on and body x-rayed

Some people (including a woman we met en route) say they don't mind any of this crap because "It's all for our security," but F*CKING A! Put a barcode on my forehead already! (Oh, wait, that's what that passport chip is for!)
  • Current Mood
    annoyed annoyed
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Far From Home

Got this meme from versailles_rose

1. Go To Mapquest.com
2. Click on Directions
3. Enter your Current Address and the Address of your Childhood Home (or at least the town if you don't remember the exact address)
4. Put the time and distance in a post like this.
5. Don't forget to repost these directions. (Not the door to door ones).

For Me (Andover, MA to Atlanta, GA)
Total Est. Time: 17 hours, 48 minutes
Total Est. Distance: 1103.57 miles

Seems about right, if perhaps too optimistic. I do know that it takes 21 hours to ride from Boston to Atlanta on Greyhound though...
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Coming Back Down

I'm making my way through this first day back very slowly.

Slept very well, enjoying the space of a full-sized bed all to myself and the sateen sheets. Woke up around 3:30 but quickly dozed off again. At 7 the phone rang; Caleb calling me, having assumed I was awake. I wasn't, but after that I couldn't sleep so I got up.

So far the main things I've done are 1) get a new monthly MARTA pass, 2) ride MARTA up to the allergist office for my shot, 3) meet Caleb at allergist and go to Kroger with him to get groceries, and 4) take MARTA back. Oh, and I ate the last pancake leftover from my diner visit last night.

My tiredness has led to some mishaps. In Kroger the self-checkout process took an inordinate amount of time and the poor attendant was probably like, "Why didn't this woman just use the regular line?" (Answer being, I like self-checkout because I can pack my 2-wheel cart myself, whereas most Kroger baggers are utterly baffled by the cart.) Also, on the way from subway station to my house, I very gracefully rolled a cart wheel into a hole in the sidewalk, tipping the whole thing over and skinning my shins. Luckily my expert packing job meant that nothing spilled, broke or rolled away, but I did look like an idiot. When I got in the elevator at my building I was so out of it I waved my card and stood there half a minute before realizing I had to tell it my floor; I think I thought it would "know" where I wanted to go.

--

My back-to-Atlanta comedown is going a little different than usual. Normally I come back to Atlanta from trips to Europe (or certain U.S. cities) feeling utterly disgusted and angry that this city is such crud. The vulgarity, the ghetto elements, the sprawl, the bad grocery store selections, high prices on flowers, stupid architecture, and the whole entire package just makes me feel like I've made a really bad choice in life. I'm living in a bucket of poo when I could be living in a champagne glass, ya know?

Anyway, this time I'm not quite as pissed off. I think inwardly I have just accepted that spending time comparing Atlanta to someplace like Cologne is time wasted. Atlanta isn't going to change -- at least not very much. It's getting better, yes, and we have more urban stuff, more food selections, but the differences (and inferiorities) are so great that Atlanta could never catch up. And plus, if it did, it wouldn't be Atlanta anyway. It just is how it is, and I have to just look at it as that and be happy with whatever baby steps happen.

Not like I can't travel and not like I can't move and not like I'm not planning to...
  • Current Music
    "San Francisco" -Global Dee-Jays
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Germany: Day 1 & 2

Well, now that my head is coming together again — got back yesterday after an 11-hour plane trip — I think I'm reading to start describing The Trip, from the travel over to the LARP to Cologne and Frankfurt.

BTW, the Wraeththu LARP bits will be cross-posted to raythoo and eventually in Inception. I'll also be making additional picture posts; the pictures in this log are illustrations, while the picture posts will be a lot more complete.

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tired

That's all for now

No more diary or pictures today -- I'm spent! Tomorrow or Sunday I'll get around to the rest of the trip, which will be much more easily summarized since it was mainly shopping and eating and watching TV. Lots of fun pictures too, including.... (drumroll) ...screen captures of delightful German TV porn!

And now I will attempt to stay awake long enough to make dinner. Indian maybe...
  • Current Mood
    tired tired
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Bush and his babbling maniacs

Since I got back I've been catching up on news and have been finding more and more and more really distrurbing things about Alberto Gonzales, who apparently is some kind of sure-shot for U.S. Attorney General although he is clearly an uber-dickhead whose record disqualifies him. And naturally the Dems are just sort of standing there going "OK, well, whatever..."

Anyway, this particular syndicated opinion piece by Maureen Dowd ran in the Atlanta paper today and it really "said it" to me:

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--

Had an interesting chat with a couple of old women on the ICE from Cologne to Frankfurt, all about Bush, Iraq, fundamentalists. Naturally these two women, both my mom's age, knew more about American politics than most Americans. To quote the more talkative of the women: "That fool! Every time I see him speak on television, I think, 'He's so stupid!'" I told her that was the reaction of many Americans, including many who voted for him BECAUSE he's stupid, e.g. like them.
  • Current Mood
    annoyed annoyed