Back home, again, at last. I made it alive, as I'd hope, and intact though strong tailwinds meant the flights got in ahead of schedule I had to spend several more hours trying to stay conscious in Tokyo/Narita or San Francisco International, but happily my dad had just got into Newark when I did. Remarkably the flights from Singapore/Changi to Tokyo and from Tokyo to San Francisco were nearly empty: the other guy in my row (both times) gladly (and saying it was nothing personal) (both times) jumped over to the middle section where he could have three or four seat spaces to himself, and many people raised armrests and lied down. San Francisco to Newark was full (and there I switched seats so a woman could sit next to the person she claimed was her husband, and I got to sit at the front of the section with greater leg room in front of me, but no chance to raise the armrest for more hip room), but apparently ``Saturday before Christmas'' is the time to travel internationally. More flight anecdotes to follow. Responses to older comments to follow, too. Bear with me; it's been a long, long flight of waiting, and I have dreams to get to.
My last MRT ride had me get on at Harbourfront with my camera including wide-angle lens and adaptor. As I got on I was watched by a guy in an SBS Transit shirt. (SBS Transit runs the North-East Line, including Harbourfront station.) He said he had a camera just like mine, but his didn't have the wide lens on it, and asked where I got it. I was glad to share, particularly since I got it locally, at Funan formerly the IT Mall now the Digitalife mall, and while I didn't remember exactly the price I could show how the adaptor ring fit and how wide an angle the wide-angle lens captured. He then introduced me to his coworker, one of the two transit employees who wander back and forth on the automated trains (which drive themselves) in case something comes up that needs human intervention, and we had a lovely little chat. I don't know how I get into things like this, but was glad for the company. The guy I started talking with had to get off at Chinatown; the other guy saw me through to Dhoby Ghaut. I like to think of it as working towards a more gracious society.
Trivia: Refuse tossed into the 420 acres of marshland used to build Newark Airport included seven thousand Christmas trees and two hundred bank safes. Source: Naked Airport, Alastair Gordon.
Currently Reading: Sleeping with the Fishes, Mary Janice Davidson. It's billed as ``paranormal romance'' -- the lead character is a mermaid -- although it doesn't feel like what I imagined a romance novel was. I'm inexperienced in the genre, admittedly, but while there was more sex than in (say) an average Isaac Asimov novel there wasn't much more romance. It also includes a climactic scene where the protagonist and friends confront the evildoer even though I can't figure any reason why they would need to confront him; they'd be better off going to the district attorney or the Boston Globe, as the friend they have on the phone who never got near the scene of the problem is doing. (The cover blurbs also praise the author's wicked sense of humor, and that comes through better, although -- for example -- the mermaid not being able to swim when in legged form made too much logical sense for me to find it funny.)