Monday, January 14, 2008

This morning I rode the San Pronto metro trolley line, which stops along San Pronto Boulevard half a block from where I live, out to the police airfield on the edge of the bay for a breakfast meeting with the ombudsperson for environmental concerns there. I'd requested this meeting many months ago, when I first learned that the airfield and a certain Internet giant had just signed an agreement allowing the company's corporate jet to take off and land from the San Pronto Police Department's facilities in exchange for providing on-board hosting for some atmospheric sensors the municipal space agency wanted hauled around in the sky. After hearing nothing for months, I got the long-awaited call yesterday and once I'd assured her my interest was purely scientific and would not be made public under any circumstances whatsoever, Lassie Boynton agreed to an informational interview, provided I would never identify her by name, either in print or by any other means. I arrived a few minutes earlier than the time set for our appointment and discreetly photographed the guard post and front gates until Dr. Boynton came out in her jeep to escort me to the conference room, where we sat down to a modest Continental breakfast spread and began talking. The following is a direct transcription of our secretly recorded conversation.

Drifty: You say this jet is extremely quiet- how quiet? I've never heard a quiet jet. Is it so quiet that no one can hear it?

Dr. Boynton: Well, it's quiet, for a jet. How quiet is difficult to quantify, by ordinary measures. You see, there are other considerations. When we talk about noise and disruption, we have to balance these factors with the need for scientific inquiry. It's a balancing process, with lots of room for adjustment on both sides. We don't like the term gray area- we prefer to speak of negotiative zones and working to achieve consensual impetus. Would you pass the non-fat non-dairy bagel spread, please? Thank you. Doesn't that sound about right to you? We can say there is noise, yes, but we must also recognize there is progress, so it's an opportunity to refine our expectations and look in forward directions for alternative interpretations of traditional perceptions.

Drifty: But is it really quiet? People don't like to hear jets coming in low over their town, that's just-

Dr. Boynton: Exactly, and it's really in that set of historical expectations that we find the most fertile ground for reconsideration, for empowering a bold vision of enhanced accommodation.

Drifty: Aren't you just saying that the people who don't think jets belong here can go fuck themselves?

Dr. Boynton: No, not at all. This is not business as usual, it's a chance to re-examine some of the parochial concerns that have begun to stagnate, to move around the information traffic-jams and build a green-belt to a brighter future where the heavy tools of progress can work right alongside the prairie and the bison.

Drifty: What prairie, what bison?

Dr. Boynton: Figurative prairies, figurative bison. What's that clicking sound coming from your lapel?

Drifty: That's just my pacemaker, I get a little wound up when I'm intellectually stimulated.. Hey, let go. Quit it, Dr. Boynton. Hey, whoa!

Dr. Boynton: Guard! GUARD!

As you see, I didn't learn much from the interview I didn't already know, but it may be of some value to have this record made public, so people can understand what's going on around here, and realize what we're up against.

Drifty, I'd like to you to jump on a plane and cover Kofi Annan's visit to Kenya today. I want a short piece on what he intends to say about all the post election violence they're having there.

Yeah, thanks, Ed. Drifty don't jump on nothin' for nobody, not even you. I'll tell you what he's going to say, and I won't even have to look in my crystal ball: Kenya all just get along?

Harley, from Mountain View, California writes:
Dear Drifty, you sick clown- I read some of your blog. Why don't you talk about something interesting, such as indicator lamps? BTW, I have your indicator lamp in stock and waiting for you in my warehouse. When are you coming to pick it up?

Yeah, thanks, Harley. There are many kinds of indicator lamps- but only one I really like, which is more or less what Harley has procured for me. Mine is made by Philmore, and it's red. I'm gonna mount it in my forehead and run it on brain power.

Folks, I have an offer for you- Usually, when you like a website, or in this case a blog, you start thinking how nice it would be to have a sticker for your window or a logo coffee cup, or a patch you can sew on your backpack, right? And don't you say to yourself "Oh, well, it IS a lot of money for such a trivial thing, but it's WORTH it, to me."? Yeah, don't you? You can admit it, there's no one watching over your shoulder while you read, is there? Or is there? I'm kidding, no I'm sorry! Don't run away, come back. Ah, thank you. There, sit back down and ... Well, you can get any or all of these things, and many others each with my face and signature on them for FREE! So, what's the catch, you're wondering, eh? Well, there are a couple of conditions, both of them pretty reasonable and not terribly hard to get along with: 1. You have to go here and steal the digital image (right click, save as) the art department has cleaned up a little bit and placed there for you AND 2. You have to print it on any damned thing you feel like printing it on. Presto-Blammo: instant Drifty-bilia, yeah?

For things like coffee cups, plates, keychains, and such you'll probably have to send the image out to a printing shop- but patches and stickers can be done very satisfactorily on your home inkjet printer. For a patch, print the image on fabric, cut around the edges, and stitch it on. For a sticker, print the image on your choice (cling, permanent, other) of inkjet decal stock, which is available from many different makers. Pretty much all you need to know about the step-by-step process can be found right here at the Hewlett Packard Inkjet site. If you think they're a bunch of fucking skunk-rats who should be ridden out of town on a rail (I do) just do a websearch for inkjet printing on fabric and you should find a dozen or so sites with all the same info. Several years ago, I used techniques just like these to print some favorite comic strips on scraps of old bed sheets, for use as liners in small drawstring bags. I didn't fool around with treating the fabric or any of that, I just lightly stuck the cloth to a piece of printer paper with a water soluble glue stick and fed it through. The colors didn't bleed, and the lines were crisp enough that I could read even the finest print. Then I peeled the paper and fabric apart and started sewing. You won't have any trouble winging it either, I promise. This is simple stuff, helped along by great technology, so have fun.

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