Journal, Technology

Night of the Panther

From 8:00 pm to midnight on Friday, October 24, 2003, the Apple Faithful descended upon Apple Stores across the nation to christen the Night of the Panther. The third major update to Mac OS X brings a number of innovative features and functionality to the Unix-based operating system, including Exposé, Xcode, and FileVault. With so many windows open at any one time, I’m especially looking forward to using Exposé, which allows one to — with a press of a key — minimize all windows so they fit on your screen without overlapping one another. XCode looks like it’s going to be a big improvement over Project Builder, the previous IDE for OS X. Finally, FileVault will secure my data in the event it gets stolen. Finger… or paw-licking good! Can you tell that Night of the Panther was a total geek fest?

Before heading over to the Apple Store in Palo Alto, we checked out four films at the UN Association Film Festival, Sadako’s Cranes, Friendship Village, Those Who Trespass, and Discovering Dominga.

Sadako’s Cranes was a short 5-minute piece on Sadako Sasaki, a survivor of the Hiroshima atom bomb explosion when she was 2-years old. At 11, she developed leukemia, the “atom bomb disease.” Told of an ancient Japanese legend that said anyone who folded 1,000 paper cranes would get their wish granted, Sadako started to fold paper cranes in the hospital. She died after having folding over 600 cranes, though her friends finished the job and buried her with 1,000 cranes.

Friendship Village showed the story of George Mizo, a Vietnam veteran who founded a village near Hanoi for treating children and veterans with Agent Orange-related disabilities. Those Who Trespass told us of elderly four nuns who were imprisoned following a protest of the infamous School of the Americas (now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation).

Finally, Discovering Dominga depicted the awakening of Denese Joy Becker, a young woman living in rural Iowa. She was born Dominga Sic Ruiz and was one of the few remaining survivors of a 1982 massacre in Guatemala against Maya Indian villagers in Rio Negro. Her mother and father were killed and her young sister died in her care. She survived long enough to be adopted by American parents. Over the next 18 years, she suppressed the horrific memories of her childhood. The documentary told of her reawakening and transformation into a strong activist fighting to reveal the ongoing genocide against America’s indigenous populations.

These were four powerful films, and there were many tears shed during their showing. I must admit that at times, I felt like Blaine, Denese’s now estranged husband, who said that he was the typical American, unaware of the actions undertaken or supported by by his government. What can we the people do to affect policy on Capitol Hill? Call for a ridiculous recall? Protest at City Hall, as they are doing today in San Francisco? Write letters to your congressmen or congresswomen? Hope for a better tomorrow? Mizo quotes Gandhi in Friendship Village, saying that hope is an illusion. I’ve been hearing since childhood that actions speak louder than words and that a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Sadako never finished folding 1,000 paper cranes. What was important in her journey was that she started it. Others helped her to finish it.

Depressing times indeed.

Following the film festival, we headed into Palo Alto, where we had dinner at Marigold, a new Indian restaurant on University Avenue. I remember it being a Japanese restaurant years ago with great sushi. Sad to see it go, but the food at Marigold was pretty good. Next door at Palermo’s I ran into Ziv and his family. I know Ziv from my COBA meetings. At the Apple Store, I saw Chris Pedregal, a freshman and Daily photographer (he was the one who took that other photo wrongly attributed to me during Full Moon on the Quad), and Tristan Harris, the Apple student rep at Stanford.

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