Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The big red switch

was not so much thrown as fused into a molten mass .

Maybe 5 minutes after I made the last post I was startled to see a flash of light coming from behind. Given that I'm on the 10th floor with my back to the outside window this made me wonder more than somewhat.

Well we've just had a thunderstorm. Awesome stuff. I don't remember how I felt about them when I was 5 years old but ever since I understood the physics (at about age 8) I've enjoyed em. There's something about seeing large scale physics at work with nary a project manager in sight that's incredibly satisfying.

I've never had much time for the 'oh that' crowd. If the universe is prepared to give me a free show it would be churlish, would it not, to refuse to enjoy. Thus I've always enjoyed that moment when, just after dusk, the full moon rises. I've been known to plan beforehand the best place to be to get the perfect view of the moon as it rises.

Similarly, I usually go for a window seat on planes. This varies of course. If it's a one or two hour flight it's a no brainer - window every time. 7 or 8 hours? Depends on how sleepy I'm feeling. If I'm sleeping do I really want to be awakened by a passenger who is busting? 14 to 18 hours? Usually a window because I know ahead of time not to overdo the liquids.

As for why the window? Even travelling as much as I have been recently it's not every day I get to see a city from way above. Or that magic moment when the plane dips below the topmost layer of cloud and you see cloud above and below. Or the time I saw a rainbow 10 kilometres above the ground. Did you know that a rainbow seen from that height is a series of concentric circles?

A couple of years ago I flew into Los Angeles just after dark. LA was covered with cloud and the view was unbelievable. A pink light on the cloud coming from the Pacific Ocean highlighted by pink and orange from the street lighting below the clouds. The odd break in the clouds revealing LA below. It was magical.

Back in the 90's I was in the office (7th floor) just as the sun set. It was one of those sunsets - you know the ones; striated clouds and crepuscular beams; delicate pinks in the west turning to purple north and south. I couldn't resist pointing it out to a workmate. She took one glance and returned to her computer. Oh, she said, sunset. Does nothing for me. I was appalled.

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