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.

So busy it isn’t funny-

September 28, 2007

In the next few weeks I’m likely to be much less regular with notes and updates here. I’ve found that there is so very much to get done and an every shrinking amount of time in which to accomplish everything. I thought the planning and preparation for S. Africa were was hectic, but this is likely to become so much worse.

If all were to go quickly and easily, by the end of October I would be moving out of the current apartment to a new location and job elsewhere in the states. However, I’m beginning to have doubts that all of that- job search, apartment search, packing and moving can be accomplished in only a month. I might yet surprise myself, but it’s more likely that I’ll manage to pack and move into a smaller place (+storage) here in the Phoenix area, while the job search continues then actually move to wherever the job takes me later this year or early in the new year.

The nearer the potential move comes the more chores and tasks that seem to pile up and gain in urgency. There are a lots of things happening with Food Geeking, and I am trying to get it back on track so that it begins to have a regular, reliable schedule. In addition, the feed for it must go live soon, and much recording must be done.

Packing of books has begun, and I hope to have the majority of them packed by the end of next week and move on to paperwork, non-seasonal clothing and SCA gear. Next week is also the week to start the local apartment search, and the job search must be kicked into high gear. It will be a very exhausting and busy month, but I hope to keep on top of the many tasks and commitments I’ve made and keep everything in motion.

Wish me luck,

Thinking back on S. Africa

September 24, 2007

I’m now asked on a nearly daily basis, “So, how was S. Africa?” I’ve found that I have a number of responses that I provide depending upon who the questioner is, how well I know them, and how much of an answer they want or are ready to endure.

For all my whining and whinging  and complaints that I’ve voice here, I really did enjoy the time I spent in S. Africa. The work I was involved and assisted with in all 3 laboratories I visited was very rewarding, and better yet, was successful. By that standard alone, my time in S. Africa was well spent and worth all my time and energy.

Yes I did have a number of issues while there: far less connection and bandwidth than I prefer, the accommodations were at times less than satisfactory, the whole International Driver’s permit acquisition problem all created stress and ate  up my time, energy and patience. Despite these multiple frustrations I would return in a heartbeat if the right offer was made. Many of the irritations I faced were solved by the time I left or could have been avoided entirely it I’d had foreknowledge of the situation.  If I’d had the information I was searching for the week I arrived, rather than finding answers 3 weeks into my trip many things would have gone more smoothly.

Knowing the situation you are walking into makes all the difference in the world. With the knowledge and experience I now have,  I would expect any future trips to S. Africa to go much more smoothly and pleasantly. I do hope they will  materialize with time and careful cultivation.

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.


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.

Catching up ever so slowly

September 6, 2007

I’m finally back from all the travels and am now trying to catch up on multiple fronts- at work, at home, with the podcast and listens to podcasts and most importantly with friends. I’m working to get photos uploaded to Flickr, a full redaction of Dragon*Con impressions and goings on, etc.

Check Flicker for the newest photos until I post some of them here.

I arrived in Atlanta yesterday afternoon safe and sound following somewhere near to 30 hours of travel. Better yet, I still had all my luggage which I claimed then passed through customs with both of my checked bags…. Unfortunately, Atlanta does things a bit strangely, and all checked luggage then had to be handed them back to the airport for a final screening and delivery to baggage claim. Yeah, they lost one of my two suitcases in the airport.

So there you have it- I traveled from S. Africa to London Heathrow, shuttled to London Gatwick and from there flew to Atlanta with all bags accounted for only to have one of two pieces of checked luggage go missing in the one mile from the arrivals terminal and customs area to baggage claim. There was nothing terribly valuable or irreplaceable but it’s extremely frustrating to have all your bags in hand then have them lost so very perfunctorily. GAH!

Once a live body was exhumed from the back rooms of British Airways ticketing area, which was unmanned for the better part of an hour I was able to actually file a claim and provide information for the bag to follow me to the Hyatt Regency once they finish trying on my bras and panties in the underground catacombs of the Atlanta International airport. Just a warning to those who fly BA- their customer service SUCKS!

Let me explain. No, that will take too long… let me sum up-

  • Inaccurate information provided over the phone-
    • Refrigeration of drugs (even for 30 hours of travel) is at the “discretion” of the flight staff, even if you assured that refrigeration can be provided.
      • Apparenty the flight attendants have it on good authority that no drug “requires” refrigeration for fllights less than 12 hours
      • They also fail to comprehend that 3+9+6+10+1 > 12…. and are somehow qualified to determine if my drugs are temperature sensitive…. All delivered with an snotty “I know better, you pesky American” attitude.
    • They will only handle lost baggage claim at the airport (ticket counter) or online. . . even if someone tells you that they can initiate a claim over the phone

Once you get a live, warm non-flight attendant body in front of you they are perfectly useful and helpful. Unfortunately they seem to hide such folk in back corners were only the ATF agents can get to them.

The better news is that Dragon*Con starts this evening, or at least check in starts at 4pm. So I must go and find myself 5 hours of entertainment before I sign in for a weekend that I’ve been very much looking forward to. More D*C news as it develops.

Homeward bound…. sort of

August 28, 2007

My flight is due to leave from the Johannesburg airport at 9:15pm this evening, in just a little less than 11 hours from now. I’ll not be going home to Phoenix though, I’ve got 5 days to spend in Atlanta and at Dragon*Con before I see the overly bright, sunny and hot skies of Phoenix.

I’ve a ton of new photos to put up. More pictures from caves, botanical gardens, a variety of creatures from a local game park, including my mauling by a white tiger cub, which is absolutely adorable. Unfortunately, I’ve little time to get them uploaded today as I’ll be leaving from work shortly after lunch to complete final packing and head to the airport for my complimentary invasion of privacy. Once I’ve arrived and settled in Atlanta I’ll get some of those pictures here and even more on my Flickr page.

I spent the later half of last week in Durban, which was warm, humid and often sunny, although my arrival brought blustery winds, cloud cover and some rain.

I promise to be well behaved and get the photos up on Wednesday night….

Photos at last-

August 20, 2007

I’ve finally succeeded in getting out of Edenvale and to some places around Johannesburg, specifically the Apartheid Museum and Sterkfontein Caves. I didn’t take pictures at the museum, it just didn’t have the feel of someplace that you take lots of pictures. It’s an interesting place.

I do have lots of pictures from the caves and am working to upload them to Flickr. Unfortunately, due to the quality of the camera and the less than ideal lighting conditions there are any number which aren’t particularly exciting. I’ll be loading a few here, but you can see many more on my Flickr pages, which are linked near the bottom right of the page.

Sense of scale Geologic forces- Exit Sterkfontein environs