Monthly Archives: July 2006

Why the World Needs More Heroes

The other week I went to see Superman Returns. I really liked the movie, even though I tend to like superheroes portrayed with lots of dark inner pain, like Batman or Spiderman. Superman tends to be more Mr. Do-Good. Still I enjoyed it more than I thought.
In the movie, Superman disappears for many years to visit his destroyed home world, Krypton. Lois Lane, his love at that time, apparently got no explanation for his departure and in a bitter fit, writes a Pulitzer winning piece entitled, “Why the World Doesn’t Need Superman”.
But yet, the movie shows that the world does need Superman. Superman notes that with his super hearing, he hears the cries for hope and a savior from millions, and that world needs a hero and someone to look up to. Of course, the movie trumpets his homecoming as he saves the world yet again.
After watching Superman Returns, I started watching the Tour De France. I started watching a few stages of the Tour on Tivo but soon felt very uninvolved and, quite frankly, bored. I searched inside for why this could be, as I really enjoyed watching in previous years due to my involvement in bicycle racing and triathlon. It basically boiled down to this: Lance wasn’t there.
For the last 7 years, Lance has been the guy to beat. He has beaten cancer, fought his way back to health and superstar status as a cyclist. His drive is motivating; his commitment to cancer research, admirable. Every year we’ve watched Lance and wondered if he would take the yellow jersey again and he would do it again, despite the other riders seeking to dethrone him. Even the French tried to discredit him with constant allegations of doping. Through all this, we’ve prayed and hoped for Lance to win again and he does.
Without our hero, the Tour De France somehow becomes that much less interesting.
It just goes to show that the world needs more heroes. These are people you look up to, the people you model yourself after, the people who give you hope. Yes they do have weaknesses: Superman has his Krytonite and Lance has doping scandals and constant tabloid writings of his comings and goings. But we accept those as very human traits so we know that despite their specialness, they are still one of us.
We need more people to look up to. It gives us something to strive for, gives us a reason to be better than we are today. Without our heroes, the world would be a much less motivating place.

The Problem with Thin Phones Is…

I love my Motorola SLVR. I really do. Before that, I loved my RAZR. I could stick them in my pocket and it wouldn’t bulge . They are small, thin, and super-portable.
The problem is that they are SO THIN, that they:
1. slide out of a bag’s pockets so easily that I’ve lost my phone three times now like that! Luckily I’ve found it all 3 times!
2. fall between stuff in your bag and it’s hard to dig out of bag full of stuff. I’ve thought my phone lost yet again when it got hidden between some papers and books in my messenger bag.
3. have barely any surface to grasp onto, so they easily flip out of your hand if you’re not careful. I’ve dropped my phone so many times now because I’ll be manipulating it fast, and then it flies out of my hand!
Love portability, hate the downside. Wish they had some super thin chain to attach to my body so I can always find them…

Blackberry Thumb

Now repetitive strain injury has hit Blackberry users. My physical therapist just told me that the incidence of “Blackberry Thumb”, the strain of the thumbs due to overuse from typing on the tiny Blackberry keyboards, is growing rapidly. I assume this would include any of the PDAs with mini-built-in keyboards.
Occasionally I feel the stress on my thumbs from typing on my Treo. Thankfully, I don’t type long messages that way, or reply to many emails on the Treo but rather do a lot of reading rather than sending. I bought a Palm IR keyboard to help me type longer messages and documents. It definitely helps a lot.
But I definitely want to avoid “Blackberry Thumb”. I have enough problems with my body as it is!
You’d think that someone would have invented a better physical interface now for small devices. I hope somebody is looking into this. Our huge human thumbs aren’t meant for tiny keyboards like that. Or perhaps, we need to build up tolerance from our youth, just like in any physical activity. I wonder what the incidence of “Blackberry Thumb” is among younger populations…?

Life in the Fastest Lane

When I bought my Toyota Prius, I found out that I could sign up for this new program where each year, California would allow a certain number of hybrid vehicles to occupy the carpool lane without having the minimum number of passengers in the car. It took me a while to get the stickers, and then a longer while to even put them on my car. But I finally did and this week….I rode the carpool lane.
I pull with some trepidation into the carpool lane, as we’re all conditioned to not to do so or else we’re going to get a big ass ticket.
And now I fly down the highway, to the envy of those stuck in the regular lanes where the traffic is stop and go. I make it up to SF in record time during the day, which is about 45 minutes. Likewise on the way back, I zip onto 101 and dash into the carpool lane, and accelerate back home, again in record time.
What a rush (and how silly to feel this way)!
When I first signed up, I thought it was a silly motivation to buy a Prius. After all, being green and saving gas cash were the bigger reasons, not the ability to zoom down a near empty carpool lane (simply because Californians refuse to drive with someone). But definitely my feelings have changed.
As my new occupation forces me to visit SF often, I find that minimizing the time I waste being in the car (where I can’t do anything but drive) is incredibly important. Now I have another reason to love my Prius!