Yep, I'm on a plane again. This time on a flight from Sydney Kingsford to Aukland (and later to Wellington for webstock). Air New Zealand is plying me with red wine, which is nice, and lamb, which is nicer and it strikes me that a little over 16 hours ago, I was in SFO boarding a similar flight to Sydney.
Why it strikes me is that I was worried, having not flown internationally for about three months, was that I might have lost the knack for long flights. There was a little bit of dread going on in my head when considering the 15 hour flight, then a 3 hour flight to NZ.
But it was cake. I even managed to sleep for 6 or 7 hours (in one hour chunks, mind you), I caught up on the new terminator show, which is just barely okay enough to watch, and some other TV, copied from the Tivo, and managed to get nothing else done. It was mostly about consuming media. I didn't even play any games, modulo a few games of backgammon against the computer.
I find backgammon against a computer to be a very deterministic thing. Depending on the rolls, I can tell within the first turn or two how likely it is that I will be able to defeat the computer. Hoyle Backgammon is a pretty crappy program, too, but it is good enough to beat you if it rolls well. You can definitely beat it points-wise, though, as its risk algorithm that decides whether or not to accept a doubling is flawed and it tends to accept it when only a flop-sweaty drunk would do so. But it keeps my 'gammon skills sharp for that inevitable day when I must play to save the world against an unseen alien enemy from beyond.
Okay, so maybe that won't happen. But it's nice to not be terrible at it. I want to be not terrible at chess too, so I've been noodling with chessmaster when on planes. The latest patch to the 10th edition is a no-cd patch, thank you very much, and so I don't need to whip out the portable dvd-rom drive to start with the chess learning.
Here comes breakfast. More later...
I'm now in Wellington , approaching day 2 of webstock. Webstock is just about the best show I've been to in a long time. They treat speakers very well and the speakers are almost universally interesting and compelling. Totally worth the trip, time, and sponsorship dollars from mother company. For you New Zealanders, you should make time for this next year.
Wellington continues to charm, too. It is a very small city, incredibly walkable and sweet. It reminds one of a smaller version of San Francisco, but with a more European/British flair to it.
More later :)