Friday, August 11, 2006

Nanuk Hit by the War on Terror

The aftermath of yesterday's prevention of a devastating series of bomb attacks on trans-Atlantic flights has a direct and frightening consequence for this poor writer.

As has been discussed elsewhere in this blog, I am not a good flyer. It is not so much fear of crashing which can engender panic attacks, it is a sense of claustrophobia - that once airborne I am very much committed to being on the flight and have no escape except to ride it out until the wheels touch land again.

Ironically, it was the Arabs who invented the device which has provided so much relief for my affliction: distilled alcohol. Now for those of you who are used to flying in more civilized climes, a shot of on-board vodka or scotch for medicinal purposes is only a touch of the flight attendant button away. But for those of us flying in the Arctic we usually have no such recourse.

Most of the flights I take have no bar service, and my work-around involves filling up a water bottle with vodka placed in my hand luggage - discrete, odorless and comforting. But with the ban of all liquids being carried on board I am right fucked for the foreseable future. In my many years of flying, I have for decades of successfully passing through airport security checks with my stash of vodka - even with open, half-consumed liquor bottles - without so much as raising an eyebrow from the guards. But all that changed yesterday.

It wouldn't be so bad if airport security adopted the same policy as asking mothers to drink a sip of their baby's formula to prove it wasn't nitroglycerine. I would be happy to take a slug or two of vodka out of my water bottle in front of security personnel if it would make them happy.

Let's hope these current measures get phased out really soon. They really cramp my style.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Procrastination and Perversion

My apologies for my recent absence. It is truly amazing to me how a simple 5-page writing assignment at work can cause such consternation and anxiety. It's not as if I didn't understand the subject matter, having written a number of background texts and summary charts six months ago. But for some reason, the task became nearly impossible to do.

I am offering to you a new corollary of Murphy's Law: the difficulty in completing any task is directly (and exponentially) proportional to the number of times you have put it off. And once deadlines and absolute deadlines have been surpassed, the chances of ever finishing an assignment becomes practically non-existent.

For those of you keen on procrastination, for whom the Pandora's box of the Internet provides a seductive distraction from actually working, and who compulsively enjoy certain types of websites, I direct your attention to the following film - Perversion for Profit. It is narrated by outstanding news reporter George Putnam, whose command of the subject and forthright delivery style is most impressive and persuasive. I certainly am far the better for having viewed it.

Warning: this requires broadband (and then some).