London achieved-

July 29, 2007

It’s late Sunday afternoon, and I’m on layover in London, at Heathrow’s terminal 1. Nothing exciting to report beyond a comfortable flight, in an aisle seat with with no other passengers in my row.

Not much to report and otherwise all is good. I should be in S. Africa very early on Monday morning, local time and should be back online regularly starting on Tuesday, but will be at 5 hours ahead of those on the east coast.

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Nearly time to go

July 28, 2007

This is going to be mercifully short. In nine hours I should be in the air on the first leg of the flight to S. Africa. I won’t say that I accomplished everything, but I’m now well beyond the panic mode, and just attempting to complete as many things as possible before I must leave.

I am of course excited, but at the same time a lot of faith is being placed in my knowledge and abilities. I just hope that I live up to the hype.

I’m uncertain when I will be online next. At Heathrow tomorrow, or from the bed and breakfast on Monday, or the lab in S. Africa on Tuesday…. it will be mystery. If I were you, I’d start up a betting pool over in the comments section- but that would likely be illegal, so you may not wish to pursue that concept.

Take care, stay cool, and I’ll be in touch-

Well, I did return to work last night from midnight until 5am. It allowed me to get much done on the work front. Between that, and this afternoon I’ve made some impressive progress-

Completed-

  • Will and Power of Attorney
  • Room reservations for SCA
  • Seeds shipped to Germany
  • All orders but 1, and that’s not essential
  • A large portion of the plant transfers
  • Hotel for Wednesday night pre-D*C, Hyatt Regency

Big things left to do-

  • Plant transfers, hopefully by the end of the day
  • Presentation– tomorrow and during/following travel
  • Photocopy and distribute documentation
  • Coordinate cat-sitting and send out contact lists
  • Last minute shopping
  • Pick up new phone
  • Final cleaning of home
  • PACKING!
  • Nearly forgot— Rush Concert, tomorrow night!
    • I know, how could I nearly forget about Rush…..

Given where I was a few days ago, it’s looking more manageable. I’m now down to exactly 48 hours to the plane lifting off. Must make the most of the few hours remaining and go work with my plants.

The day’s results-

July 25, 2007

Could be worse but also could be better…. I did get a number of things done today and didn’t add an appalling number of extra tasks to the list. Therefore a good but not exceptional day. I’ll be heading back to work tonight to get some additional work done before crashing for the night.

Today’s to do list- updated:

  • get a new phone (I’ve got a free/cheap upgrade) and the old one might croak before I return
    • after spending 30+ minutes of my time, they didn’t have it in stock- must wait for Friday
  • finish the media prep that stymied yesterday
  • pack seeds for shipment to Poland or is that Austria….

    • Seeds are packed, awaiting address confirmation, it’s Germany
  • place orders at work just two special orders yet to deal with
  • transfer plants– going back in tonight to do this
  • work on presentation– have the work specific templates, nearly time for the brain dump.
  • make room reservations for SCA
    • email prepared, should have it out tomorrow
  • tackle photocopying and some of the list/itinerary/will and power of attorney things
    • gathered together, just need to spend some quality time with the photocopier
  • Parsec conference call

New and updated list in the morning. I like how this is keeping me honest about preparations.

3 days and sundry hours

July 25, 2007

My days remaining until I board the plane for S. Africa can now be counted on one hand, or referred to as “few”.

My overly long list of things to do has shrunk significantly, although additions keep sneaking past he armed guards that I’ve posted.  You’ll notice today’s task list has items that don’t appear on the main lists-

Work:

  • Presentation for the laboratory I’ll be working in
  • Get 1+ weeks of lab work completed in the next 2
  • Arrange for lab projects to be looked after while gone
  • Submit vacation request

Personal

  • Copy all ID, contracts, and important papers, leave a copy or 2 with friends
  • Find crash space or lodgings for the Wedenesday night before D*C
  • Set up call forwarding for the cell phone- route to skype
  • Coordinate pet sitting schedule with various friends and get them contact info for each other, plus vet info
  • Make itinerary and contact list for friends, family, work place etc. and distribute
  • Power of attorney and will, just in case life gets too exciting– found the forms
  • Go to Rush concert on Friday night
  • Create list of all bill to be paid while gone, confirm electronic payment options

SCA & Podcasting

  • Set up room reservations for the SCA on-campus group
  • Hopefully– finish up Food Geeking #3

Today’s to do list:

  • get a new phone (I’ve got a free/cheap upgrade) and the old one might croak before I return
  • finish the media prep that stymied yesterday
  • pack seeds for shipment to Poland or is that Austria….
  • place orders at work
  • transfer plants
  • work on presentation
  • make room reservations for SCA
  • tackle photocopying and some of the list/itinerary/will and power of attorney things
  • Parsec conference call

It’s a sizable list, so I must get in gear, leave home and get a start on it. I don’t expect to accomplish everything on this list today, some things will slip to tomorrow, but we’ll see where I stand tomorrow… when I’ll have 2+ days left…

Tis that time of the year, the newest Harry Potter novel is destined to hit bookshelves tonight at midnight. I’ve even reserved a copy of my own which will be available for me to retrieve from Borders at midnight…

So what trumps Harry Potter… Gaming Night!

I’m a roleplayer who’s been in withdrawal for 7 years. When I left Ithaca, NY I left all my gaming groups behind and have failed to find my way into any groups here in AZ. The lack of vehicular ownership had much to do with this. In the I’ve filled my time admirably with SCA and more recently podcasting , but once a gamer always a gamer and I desperately miss gaming.

Tonight I will fore go hanging out at Borders, awaiting the release of book 7 for the indescribable joy spent with friends, eating good food and playing games.  What’s on the table you ask: Robo Rally, Settlers of Catan, Gloom, some version of Munchkin, maybe some Chez Geek, and a variety of Cheap Ass Games.  It will be a magnificent night.

As of today- August the 20th, I’m down to 8 days until the flight to S. Africa begins. I’ve managed to get a number of the tasks that I need to complete taken care of for the trip, but there are many that yet need doing and the list seems to grow faster than I’m able to whittle it down. True panic is likely to strike on Thursday, allowing me to go completely mad for all of Friday and give me a few hours of recovery time on Saturday before I bundle myself onto the plane…. at least I have a plan.

I’ve spoken with the cell phone company, and as long as I keep my phone off, and have all calls forwarded, I will not be billed for roaming. If I keep the phone on, then roaming charges will apply. Since I hope to route all calls to Skype and use Skype VM for taking messages I should be good there. It means I’m likely to respond to messages by email, unless callers are lucky enough to catch me on Skype when the call is forwarded.

Earbuds and international power adapters are now mine and I’ve got everything set up to pay rent in absentia. Most of the paper work related to the SCA is complete and I should be able to turn it in on Monday.

The last important things to do are related to putting last paper work in order, coordinating pet care while I’m gone and the presentation, which I fully expected to be my major point of procrastination. The additional Skype services are one of the final planned expenses that has yet to be dealt with.

It has been brought to my attention that I have failed to state that the trip is work-related, but not specifically for my job. I’ll be a visiting scientist while working for CSIR.

Too much to do-

July 13, 2007

As of tomorrow I will have but 14 days until I’m on a plane. Time is no longer slipping by, it’s taking an express train and barreling past at high speed.

  • √ Flight itinerary to and from S. Africa set
  • √ Travel immunizations
  • √ Ticket for Dragon*Con purchased
  • √ New Bucky travel pillow purchased- the nice U-shaped neck pillows, with buckwheat hull filling.
  • √ Ticket for flight home- Monday September 3rd.
  • √ Record sufficient material for Food Geeking for the 5 week absence- I think we are now good
  • √ New earbuds- purchased
  • √ Power converter and plugs for computer
  • √ Arrange for electronic payment of rent, and any other bills while away
  • √ Prepare student club registration for the next year- in preparation
  • √ Found different hotel room to share at D*C

To be done-

Work:

  • Presentation for the laboratory I’ll be working in
  • Get 4 1 weeks of lab work completed in the next 2 1
  • Arrange for lab projects to be looked after while gone
  • Submit vacation request

Personal

  • Copy all ID, contracts, and important papers, leave a copy or 2 with friends
  • Find crash space before D*C to reduce hotel expense, or
    • find a roommate to share the hotel room for the weekend.
  • Buy extra Skype services- SkypeIn and VM (Kris_from_Tempe)
    • if you add me in Skype, change the message. I don’t add people I can’t identify.
  • Set up call forwarding for the cell phone- route to skype
  • Power converter and plugs for computer
  • New earbuds- the old ones have shorted and I’d line to discontinue my electric shock therapy-
  • Coordinate pet sitting schedule with various friends and get them contact info for each other, plus vet info
  • Make itinerary and contact list for friends, family, work place etc. and distribute
  • Arrange for electronic payment of rent, and any other bills while away
  • Power of attorney and will, just in case life gets too exciting

SCA & Podcasting

  • Prepare student club registration for the next year- in preparation
  • Set up room reservations for the SCA on campus group

I’m certain there’s more, but that covers much of it….

Itinerary is set-

July 11, 2007

Just yesterday and email arrived providing 3 flight options. Each offered different advantages, yet none of them were perfect. It would have wonderful if I could have pulled out the best qualities of each, but that is not the way of the world.

I will be leaving Phoenix on Saturday the 28th of July, with a stopover in London before arriving in S. Africa on July 30th. My return to the states will begin on August 28th, once again stopping in London and reaching Atlanta on the afternoon of Wednesday August 29th.

Then the fun begins- I’ll be in Atlanta most likely until Monday September 3rd- I have yet to purchase the ticket for the return flight, but hope to do that before the weekend is out. This will put me in Atlanta for Dragon*Con. The membership was purchased today, and I have a lead on a hotel room while I’m there, hopefully more details will be forthcoming.

As with all things- the devil is in the details, and I have yet to attend to so very many details.

I’m fortunate in living less than a mile from a small theater that continuously brings in independent and foreign films.

Tonight I took advantage of this this conveniently local theater once again, and saw Paprika. This is animated film from Japan that was released in 2006, and was recently released for the first time to US theaters, beyond showing at film festivals. To date is has not been widely released and it is unlikely that it will shown outside of larger metropolitan centers.

I very much enjoyed the film. It is not a movie to sit down to when tired or after a few drinks. It keeps you on your mental toes, and between keeping up with the subtitles and following the story, there is little opportunity to slack off while viewing this film.

The basic premise (without spoilers) is that a new experimental device has been stolen which allows someone to enter into the dreams of others. Unfortunately, the dreams begin seeping into everyones reality, and are collectively becoming destructive, both mentally and physically. The characters spend much time slipping between dreams and reality, often being uncertain if they are in the dreaming or waking world. For this reason alone, the audience is required to perform mental cartwheels and back flips to keep pace with the story line. It is however will worth the effort and is in no fashion a criticism. I generally approve of movies that keep me mentally engaged, and this movie certainly cashes in on that score. It is also visually stunning and magnificent when it comes to the quality of animation.

If you’ve enjoyed other anime features, this movie may appeal to you. Further information can be found at main website

This movie is rated R, and for good reason. There is nudity, and limited violence, but more importantly there are some graphically disturbing elements which I would not consider appropriate for children. On a side note, I was very pleased that there were not young children, or even unaccompanied teens during the showing, despite it being shown early on a Saturday night.