The gigantic clock (reference the pendulums that can be seen at Hogwarts in the HP movies ) is ticking loudly again. My lease extension runs out in 3 weeks, I’ve not any word from potential employers, and the holidays have come and gone. There is much packing yet to be done, but at least the seasonal cooking, gift making and wrapping are complete. There’s further job searching that must be done and I’ve got to get the Food Geeking podcast back on it’s feet. There is also a lot to tackle at work, particularly given my expectations of leaving for a new job in the upcoming weeks (with luck) or few months at worst. I’m feeling both over and underwhelmed at the same time.

I seem to have weathered the worst of the work-related money shortage. With my employer’s switch to both a lagging pay cycle and moving to a bi-weekly rather than by-monthly paychecks, they in essence removed a paycheck’s worth of money from us, to be paid out 2 weeks following the end of employment. It makes lots of business sense, but doesn’t much help anyone who lives on a budget. My first “extra” or 3rd paycheck in a single month will be arriving next month, which will do much to balance my funds, assist with taxes, and give me a bit of money to help afford the upcoming move.

Hopefully, in the next few weeks there will be some success on the job hunt. I’ve got many hopes and more  than a few fingers crossed that I’ll yet find employment in Flagstaff. If I’ve no success as January comes to an end I’ll need to open the search much farther afield. Despite my exceedingly strong desire to be in Flagstaff, it seems rather foolish and self-limiting to find employment there that won’t cover my basic cost of living without a second job, while I could potentially find any number of jobs that pay exceeding well elsewhere. My brain is calculating the timetables and chances, and the blinders are off when it comes to other locals, so I’m keeping an eye out for those “perfect matches” elsewhere. I will admit that my heart isn’t really into it. In the meantime, the regional job  search continues and with luck I’ll find  decent opportunity in Flagstaff before the situation becomes critical and I’m required to search further afield.

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For those who follow me elsewhere, the packing of books has resumed, after a fair bit of distraction during this past month. The distraction has been provided by some trips northward to Flagstaff, résumé preparation and an intervening holiday. The waiting is provided courtesy of the employers who are reviewing the previously noted résumés. I’m behind on email, and hope to get the remaining books and game supplies packed this week, before organizing and packing paperwork and preexisting files.

The first batch of photos from a recent trip to the Grand Canyon are now available on my Flickr pages and more will be forthcoming. It will be well worth a return visit, as the hours were rather limited and the canyon was hazy that day due to both cloud cover and couple of controlled burns that were occurring. Gorgeous and majestic. I’d love to spend a week or more hiking about, camping and losing the crowds, which were light given it was an overcast Friday afternoon in mid-November, but were nonetheless endemic.

For those hoping for more episodes of Food Geeking, do not despair, the Food Geek has not been resting… entirely. I’ve got a fair number of shows mapped out and I just need to sit down and get some recording done. I am not giving up on the podcast one iota, but life has been more than a bit busy on multiple fronts. Among other tidbits, I’ll have a new cheesecake variation to share, which I prepared for Thanksgiving-  Pumpkin  cheesecake with  caramel sauce and a maple-cognac syrup.

On the geeky side, tried to watch Razor, the newest Battlestar Galactica spin-off/TV movie. What I did see and remember of it was quite good. Unfortunately, Saturday had done a fine job of wiping me out, and while of great interest and not boring, I quickly found my self comfortably dozing…. I’m certain that much of it will ‘sound familiar’ when I settle in to watch it later this week, likely Wednesday or Thursday at latest.

Also had the chance to partake in some post Turkey-day gaming with friends on Friday. Food was eaten, Settlers of Catan, Flux and Lord of the Fries were all played, and a round of Illuminati: New World Order was experimented with. I’ve got the INWO “One with Everything” box which provided sufficient cards for 5 decks with plenty to spare. Unfortunately, the game and it’s concept were new to everyone but myself and it had been years since I’d played. Between a late start and the newness of the game most didn’t make it through much of the game. It was agreed that it had loads of potential and will given another try earlier in the night with fresher minds. Given everyone’s end-of-year holiday plans, it was likely the last chance for gaming until next year. So I hope perhaps INWO and a few other games will be added to our repertoire for next year.

I think that covers at least a portion of the past 3 weeks… it doesn’t include the cooking I did for an SCA camping event which I didn’t attend or my concerns that Chaos’ food allergies are re-emerging after 4 years without problems, but that will wait for another day and a separate post. I hope everyone who celebrates the Turkey-day holiday, or not, enjoyed good food and company in the past weeks and can look forward to more of the same in the coming days.

Food Geeking #4

October 22, 2007

The newest episode of Food Geeking is now available for download from the website… Hurrah! It is running rather late in being posted as it was recording before my trip to S. Africa. Given the lateness of the season, I included recipes for candied and caramel apples with this episode, figuring that they were more “in season” than recipes for grilled items.

The issues with the feed are still present, but I will be addressing those very soon, so I have every hope and expectation that everyone (myself included) will be able to actually subscribe to Food Geeking starting with show #5 .

For those of you who currently download and a listen to the podcast, please send in email, or better yet- call into the voice mail line at 1-928-542-4361 and leave a comment or message.

Thank you!

Breathing space acquired

October 17, 2007

Everything remains very busy but I’ve bought myself a couple extra months in which to organize and plan. When I returned from S. Africa I had 2 months left on my lease and overly ambitious hopes that I could pack, orchestrate a job search and relocate in that time. I severely overestimated my ambition, energy levels and organizational abilities. I didn’t expect to find a new job in 2 months, but had hopes that I could conserve and same some money by finding a smaller apartment with a short term lease and putting at least my books, paperwork and such into storage as the job search continued.

Multiple factors blew these plans to shreds. The first and foremost being the lack of short term leases that would actually save me money. Most locations did not meet both my needs (allows cats & isn’t unpleasant) and my budget. I has spoken with my apartment complex about any options of extending my lease with no success. Failing to locate alternate housing or extending my lease, I was prepared to deal with the rent increase that would accompany staying in my current apartment month-to-month, outside of a ease agreement and cut back on expenses with the hope that I could pack and find a new job before hemorrhaging too much money.

Then stars and planets then came into alignment- the manager of the rental office called to have me renew….  Apparently the person I spoke with at the office didn’t have the inside track. I explained my situation, and due to a shortage “signed leases” they were able to extend my lease, at my current rental rates. Yippee! Granted, this doesn’t solve the “need to find new employment” issue but it gives me a bit more time and space to work with before everything must resolve. In the meantime, I’m polishing up the resumé and looking at employment options.

I should probably return to getting a new Food Geeking episode posted and I really need to get some more boxes packed. Keep and eye out for the new episode and expect some changes and evolution to arrive to the podcast in the coming months. I shall endeavor to update this site on a more regular schedule and please do harass me if I fail to follow through.

Food Geeking #3 has arrived!

September 19, 2007

After far too much time the third installment of Food Geeking has finally arrived and is available for download. Please visit the site, listen to hte podcast or try out some recipes.

Now that I’ve nearly caught up with my life, the universe and everything, I have every hope and desire to make Food Geeking a regular staple. We have the next 2 episodes recorded and in production, so they should be soon to follow.

The issues related to the feed still exist, but should be resolved toward the end of the month. Until that time any links to an RSS feed or iTunes will not be functional, it can be directly downloaded from the site. Once the feed is operational all the previous shows will be made available in that format.

I had aspirations of posting multiple times during Dragon*Con, but my plans were overly ambitious. I arrived safe and sound in Phoenix on Monday evening on the 3rd of September and was reunited with my wayward luggage at the British Airways ticket counter- there is a story behind that.

There is nothing so comforting as sleeping in your own bed after five weeks worth of travel. The plaintive cries of my cats, insisting that they were starving, despite full bowls of food and water was reassuring and welcome- though the novelty has already faded. Fractal was my shadow for the 24 hours following my return but was soon confident that I would not suddenly disappear. Chaos greeted my first approach with hissing, but soon thereafter dropped the disgruntled act.

I’ve successfully disassembled the massive pile of mail that was waiting for me. The few important items of mail that arrived in my absence have now been dealt with and I need only mop up the few non urgent bits and pieces that remain. The post-Africa and Dragon*Con laundry has been washed, ironed and put away and the apartment has lost the abandoned feel it had when I re-entered it for the first time more than a week ago.

I have an overly long, painfully detailed version of this recap. It was taking far too long to write and would have taken even more time to edit. At better than 4000 words it was just too lengthy and I suspect was terribly boring. I have saved the entire thing, but have buried it in the back yard to spare everyone the pain and suffering of exposure. Beyond that, time is slipping quickly past and I have many other things to work on… moving, getting Food Geeking back up and running, catching up on my money-earning work, and finding a new job so I know where I’ll be moving.

Now, before the memories fade and blur into the past- my summation of D*C and a brief list of highlights.

Wednesday- I arrive in Atlanta after 34+ hours in transit, with 2 checked bags. Then the airport manages to loose one between customs and baggage claim. I fill out the necessary forms and proceed to the Hyatt where I settle in, orderd room service then slept in a real bed for the first time in 48 hours. Incidentally, it was also the last time for the next 4 days, but that’s not a complaint, just an observation in hind site.

Thurday- Room service breakfast ordered and I checked out of the Hyatt. Met Philip from Sydney, hung out and was plied with chocolate. Picked up my badge for D*C, and found Derek & Swoopy and had dinner with them and others. Luggage is found and scheduled for delivery (wait, there’s more.) Brad of Podculture and crew (my roommates for D*C) arrived in town. I checked back into the Hyatt and settled in for the night.

Friday- Breakfast then I randomly met my FarPoint Media family- Brian, Mike and Doug… on a street corner. Attended a podcast panel, grabbed something lunchish, caught another podcast track where I met JustaJ0e and Ed from Texas (fellow Deadpanites.) I had dinner with the FPM fans and family at Trader Vic’s. We caught the end of George Hrab’s live Geologic Podcast show, then proceeded to the Podcast Playa’s Ball hosted by Scott Sigler.

Saturday- I acquired 4± hours of sleep, breakfast, and then went back to the podcast track. I was given a camera by Mike and instructed to take photos of the Con (I suck at this!) I visited the Dealers and Exhibit Halls, found Tee Morris and was pulled into a Parsec Awards meeting about 2 hours in earlier than expected. I changed clothes for the Parsec Awards! Dinner with FPM family, followed by WI-3D Live and then the Post-Parsec party at Sigler and J. C. Hutchins’ suite. The night ended with nursing a very inebriated friend – a massive thank you is owed to our hosts.

Sunday- With little sleep I woke, found a shower and a change of clothes. I called around but everyone was having or had had breakfast so I eat alone… with amazingly craptastic service. Am I invisible or what! I attend more podcast panels and I don’t join J0e and Ed for drinks with Jack Mangan, as I feel retched with an upset stomach, dizziness and perhaps a fever. The world spins when I stand up… food poisoning?? My FPM family departs- I mope, but the world ceases it’s gyrations. I finally receive a call from British Airways… my bags have arrived! …in Phoenix? …and do I want it delivered to Tempe or Atlanta (WTF)?!? Dinner with Doug, I miss the Podcast Peer Awards which I later hear was not a spectacular loss on my part. I wander over to Sigler and Hutch’s for a FPM get together that never materializes but end up hanging out for a quiet, relaxed evening spent in conversation with interesting people. To Scott, Earl Newton and all the others who were there- Thank you! It was a great way to wind down on my final night in Atlanta.

Monday- Late to bed, early to rise…. pack my bags for departure. I meander through the Exhibit Hall, buy a Gloom set for my self and expansion for friends. Late lunch with Doug. A final podcasting panel and goodbyes… but first, there time for one more panel. Yes, I do like to procrastinate. I gather my bags, more goodbyes, and take a shuttle to the airport for my final flight. Dinner is had with friends in Phoenix and I return home at last.

Highlights-

Dinner with FPM folks and fan

Geologic Podcast Live

Sigler’s Playa’s Ball

Surviving the Parsecs- it all went well (hurrah!)

Least of My Bretheren Live- especially the sillier bits at the end

So there it is. If I were to do this all again, I wouldn’t try attending D*C directly after a month spent in S. Africa. The trip to S.A. did allow me to attend Dragon*Con, and I wouldn’t give up either experience for anything. That said, I spent much of the time feeling not jet lagged, but time shifted. I was stressed about the Parsecs, lost luggage, and seemed to be flirting with food poisoning on Sunday. I had spent a month with little access to the internet and had therefore been separated in a fashion from my tribe, so I felt somewhat out of sync with those around me, at least for the first day or so. Couple that with the month spent at the B&B owned by “very Godly” people and D*C was a relief and homecoming, but I felt out of sorts, stressed or to some degree not myself for a good portion of the weekend.

The next time, I’ll do Dragon*Con the right way. Luggage intact, appropriate costumes for any parties- corsets were the must-have clothing item this year. No month long stays in foreign countries with 36 hours of travel to make me jet lagged, out of sync and grumpy.

Yes. Next year- D*C done right.

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….

Food Geeking Episode #2

June 25, 2007

The second episode of Food Geeking has finally made it’s appearance and is available for download. Unfortunately, Druple is still defeating Tim’s efforts with enclosures so this episode is not available through a feed but is now available at http://foodgeeking.com