June 27, 2007: The Caribbean

I was reading Wil Wheaton today and he mentioned that you can read the award winning novelette “When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth” by Cory Doctorow for free online.

By the way, if you are interested in utility poles you can learn more from Christopher Joyce on NPR.

Since I have been playing Sid Meier’s Pirates! over the last few days I am getting a much better idea of where places in the Caribbean are in relation to each other. I think it is weird living so close to the Caribbean and having such a poor geographic picture in my head of where things are. One city that I really didn’t know was England‘s Port Royal on Jamaica. I had no idea that it was such a big, rich city during the famous Caribbean expansion years. But I did some research and feel better now knowing that the city no longer exists having been all but destroyed by a major earthquake in 1692. The city was built on a sand spit and in the earthquake the city’s foundation liquefied and flowed into the harbor!

[Most of my readers will be interested to discover that the most important sand spit in their area is Presque Isle in Erie, Pennsylvania.]

It is amazing to me how many nations or semi-sovereign entities exist in the Caribbean region and how much important European history happened there. I think, as an American, that the history of the Caribbean region gets mostly covered up and forgotten because of the much larger current impact of American history. We forget that for the first almost three hundred years of New World exploration and exploitation that the Caribbean was the hotspot and that we were the backwater. The United States has only been the dominant player for about the same amount of time since the decline of the Caribbean! Now there is some perspective.

I also find it strange the level of current European involvement in the Caribbean and the lack of American involvement. Sure the US has Puerto Rico which is practically a state and we have the US Virgin Islands which are considered to be very much a part of the mainstream US (unlike Guam or American Samoa which are widely forgotten in the American consciousness.)

There is a lot of important culture, history and politics in the Caribbean. It is one of the regions where the colonialism of the Age of Exploration can be most readily observed. Here in the United States or to the north in Canada or even in Mexico the post-colonial civilizations that have grown up there are so prevalent that the effects of the colonial age have all but vanished. As an American it is hard to imagine America ever having been a colony of a far away political power. We have come very far from that place in our history.

Researchers from the University of Bologna believe that they may finally have discovered the impact crater from the 1908 Tunguska event in Siberia.

Today at work someone managed to run me into a hallway display while I was carrying my lunch. The impact caused the can of Nestle Enviga that I was carrying to rupture and spew forth its contents all over the hallway. It must have shot almost three meters! The incident was accidental but it highlights a pet peeve of mine that seems to be a big thing here in suburban New Jersey – people are completely devoid of any etiquette in hallways! Everyone walks side by side until they fill any lateral space around them and never make any alterations for “oncoming traffic”. People will just plow right into you even if you are alone and taking only fifteen percent of the hallway width and they are three or four people wide. All four people will look somewhere where they can claim that you are not in their peripheral vision long after they have clearly seen you and will just keep walking. And to make matters worse the cafeteria ignoring the behaviour of New Jersians puts annoying displays in the hallway where there is the most traffic. After having run me into the display and causing the hallway to be covered in sparking green tea not one person who caused the incident even turned around or acknowledged it in any way. Argh. At least it was pretty funny to see the green tea explode and spray all over. Too bad it was a $3 can of green tea!

It was almost time to go home this evening when I realized that it was Wednesday and not Tuesday!! My week is, apparently, just flying by. It was six o’clock before I had even realized.

Dominica didn’t get home as early as she had hoped because she witnessed a fender bender in Wallington. She called and I wasn’t up to the Garden State Parkway yet so we decided to meet in Clifton at Chipotle Grill for some dinner. Traffic was awful and it took me forever to get there.

We ate dinner but couldn’t linger as Oreo was in the car and was way too warm. I had to run out before Dominica was done eating and run the air conditioning to keep him cool. Once we cooled him down enough we ran into Game Stop and did some shopping. Dominica found the original Guitar Hero which neither of her siblings have and of course had to pick it up. She is loving the second one and we think that the first one has a better song line up. We also grabbed Suikoden III for the PS2. I had Suikoden I or II (I really can’t remember or figure out where it is stored) for the PSX back in the late 90s and Andy and I used to play it when we lived Greece. We also got the Sega Collection for the PSP which was cheap and is loaded with twenty-eight class Sega Genesis games. And, last but certainly not least, I finally found the Space Quest collection (all six games) for Windows XP. (Technically they are the original DOS games packaged with a built in emulator but whatever – it isn’t like I can buy the DOS versions these days anyway.) That was only $10 for six games that I have wanted for years! Now if I can just get a chance to play them.

It was eight by the time that we finally got home. Dominica did the dishes and sat down to play some Guitar Hero I. I am working from home tomorrow so I get to relax a little tonight but I have to work extra early tomorrow so that I can coordinate with a team in Bahrain so I won’t get a chance to hit the gym in the morning.

By around nine o’clock the wind had really picked up and it looked like there was a storm rolling in. We could see the occassional flashes like there might be lightning getting close.

Weight Lost So Far: 24lbs

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