“Burn after reading” … learning about the garage door during power outage

An email written on Oct. 5, 2008 :
 
======================================================================
 
Dear Lisa,
 
I hope at least the worldbank email account of yours is working.  I haven’t heard from you for a little while (after sending you a couple emails).  Still busy with your baby ??  Got no time to watch movies ? 
 
I’ve watched one for you this afternoon (knowing that you never do so in the afternoon).  It’s called "Burn after reading".  It’s hilarious !!  I went to see it because of its very good reviews in IMDB.   I now have to mark down the names of two writers/directors  Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (even though I didn’t do that after "Fargo").
 
Every actor from George Clooney to Brad Pitt to John Malkovich (wasn’t he always ?) has acted seriously but the fact is that it’s actually a big joke/cynicism from the beginning to the end. I probably shouldn’t read too much before I went to see this movie but perhaps it doesn’t matter.  It started by making you think that it’s like a serious CIA matter.  But soon you realize that everybody is having the illusion of their own realities.
 
I’m not sure it’s just me or … Somehow I associate it strongly with the US govt. or US now.  The not very good looking Linda (Frances McDormand) wanted her 4 expensive steps of cosmetic operations for laughable reasons.  Then, a couple guys just unbelievably went to take the great risk of stealing/breaking laws to help her … She’s not even pretty.  It’s like Bush/US govt. which could just made the Congress agree to invade Iraq and approve >$800 billion bill last Friday (I’ve expressed my disagreement to my Senators and Representatives before the final votes).   Linda accused other people’s negativity or not being strong.  Her philosophy (American cliche ?!) was that +ve thinking would generate +ve results !   ( We should learn from the other roles who had suffered from taking her words/believes ….).
 
At the last scene/dialogue of this movie, after people got killed/escaped for bizarre reasons, the presumably CIA chief said something like "We learn not to do this again … but what did we do ? "   I guess Coens didn’t predict the financial crises .. but how timely and appropriate all these sarcasm  are (in my mind at least) !!!    The US govt. is just like the CIA folks (in this movie) who don’t know what they have done …
 
I could hardly contain my laughter at the end of this movie (when it was clear what this movie was), so were the other audience.  The silliness has become apparent towards the end.
 
==>  Recommendation : Go see it !!! 
 
          ***********               ***********                      ***********
 
Another semi-laughable incident was the sudden power outage this afternoon.   I should have gone to Manhattan/Queens so that I would have missed this slightly more than one hour episode.  The last "long" (anything >1 second of power dip) was the big New York and East Coast blackout a few years ago — not sure whether you were already in DC then. 
 
In the last power blackout (~days), it happened probably during my office hours and I didn’t have the problem of having my car inside the garage.   It’s more scary/problematic without a car.  I thought I would be stuck at home until they could fix the problem.  But 10-15 minutes later, I finally saw neighbors come out as they realized it was a power outage (rather than their power switches — somehow my "insight" told me it must be a general power outage).  But more importantly, I noticed that their garage doors were opened which were not 10-15 minutes back !!  
 
I immediately realized how dumb I was. Since we all have similar garage doors, I went out to ask them.  Everybody seemed to know that one could pull a rope to relax the latch of the garage door to allow manually opening the door.  But then, I wanted to be able to lock the door manually.  Pulling the door back down didn’t lock it any more without the power !  I didn’t feel that stupid this time as I wasn’t the only dumb guy — just like we’re all stupid Americans Smile  At least the old folk who tried to help didn’t know either.  Another guy’s and my own few seconds’ "research" made ourselves aware of the manual lock which was normally "disabled".
 
I didn’t realize these features before today’s power outage.  It’s like an astronaut feeling thankful for the a not-very-well known good design/feature of NASA’s.
 
Another tiny bit learnt : since I don’t have cell phone, I have had a wired phone (and a wireless one) at home so that I could still use the phone to call even without power.  I actually did that to complain to the power company.  But then I somehow wanted to do "research" again.  I tried to open/check the battery case of this phone and somehow disconnected the batteries.  Oooh… I thought if I re-connected the batteries, I could use the phone again.  But it’s not !  Re-connecting the batteries was no use if they were disconnected once.   I had to wait until the power came back.  I’ve done this experiment a few times now after the power is back.  It does seem that I shouldn’t disconnect the phone batteries during power outage.
 
I still don’t completely understand this.  The batteries were needed to keep a 6 V across a capacitor and once they’re disconnected the charges got discharged ?? …..
 
………..
 
Yours someone who would very much to hear from you again,
 
Kin
 

 
 
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About kinyip

An experimental particle physicist ...
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