16.43.10 - Mark

Put simply, this month has simply been weird and a little confusing, and decently busy. I've been online less, and between photos on flickr and messages on twitter posting stuff here has just fallen off on the side. It's not lack of content, it's a simple lack of time. Other things have fallen off to the side as well, like watching movies (I've had the same Netflix rentals for a month), random web surfing and reading books all of which provides occasional add ons to the site. Why? Several reasons.

Part of it has been traveling. In the last two weeks I've been out and about far more than I've been in. Three days for Savannah GA, a day or two futzing around Surry County with camera in tow, a weekend in and around Brevard, NC, three days in Morganton, NC, and another day going to and from Lexington and Winston Salem, NC. Travel adds up quickly

Another thing has been photography related, well above and beyond the traveling with camera. I've taken tons of photos and didn't exactly stay on top of the processing, so that's added up. I've also been working on a photo printing comparison (20 some sets of the same 15 photos) which ordering and organizing alone ate up a working week faster than I expected. I'm also working on entering a couple prints into a judged photography competition and those prints needed ordered, and framed (which looks like it eats up time tomorrow.) Then there's some small attempts at shooting non "art" photos for profit.

Some of it's just life. Why bother with the website where there's stuff to hear/see/do/experiance. I like having this site, I like posting content, I even feel a little "bad" when I don't post in a while, so the sites not going away. Hopefully I'll get back in the habbit and post some more stuff as I start clearing out the backlog of content, or start finishing projects worth writing about. Until then...

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Things I've done in the last 60 Hours

01.06.27 - Mark

Since Friday Morning:

I've driven 1171 miles from Mount Airy, NC to Columbia SC, then to Savannah, GA, to Atlanta, GA, Ashville, NC, and finally back Mount Airy (without suffering death or traffic citations)

Slept on a floor (twice)
Saw a Blue Man Group Concert (Amazing)
Visited Friends (always nice)
Walked around on Interstate 77 South (during a mysterious traffic standstill in South Carolina)
Participated in no less than 6 traffic jams (I hate South Carolinian drivers)
Ate plenty of good food (American, Indian, Asian, Italian)
Visited an Ikea (listened to Jonathan Coulton's "Ikea" song on the way in)
Listened to ten episodes or so of Escape Pod and Pseudopod (I should stop binge listening to them)
Listened to lots of music (everything from Rock, to Celtic, to Bollywood)
Managed to pick up my brother from college and return home without killing anyone or crashing the car

It's been an interesting three days

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Burned and lightly salted

00.44.22 - Mark

I've been in NC for 5 years now (almost exactly) but I've somehow never made it to the beach, which is apparently what everyone in NC does. Coming from Iowa large bodies of salt water don't really matter that much and my only experience with the Atlantic ocean up until today could be condensed into it sucks. I had gone on a school sponsored (privately funded) east coast trip in 2000 which included visiting Washington DC, Gettysburg, and other random places with some educational value on the east coast. One of the places the east coast trip went to was Virginia Beach, and of course they checked us into a ocean front hotel. They of course planned on letting us play in the ocean, but for some reason I can't even remember we weren't allowed to go more than knee deep into the water. 93.7 quintillion (I think I did that unit conversion right) gallons of water reduced to little more than a kiddie pool that swallowed a salt truck.

That more or less changed yesterday. While down in Savannah, GA visiting my brother we went to Tybee Island and spent some (limited) time in the water before coming back to NC. We were there right as low tide hit so it could have been a lot more impressive, but I get why NC makes a big deal about going to the beach now. Large bodies of salt water are a whole lot more fun than some pool with a chlorine chemical concoction. Even if I have a sunburn and can use my head as a salt shaker...

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Slow Moving Hordes

11.48.12 - Mark

Thanksgiving brings together large numbers of very slow moving people, and I can't easily blame it on the Turkey. Normally I'm lucky enough to not have to do any traveling around the holidays, but this year my brother needed to be picked up from Savannah, GA for winter break Wednesday morning, and while I can drive the required 12-14 hours in a day, it is not fun. While getting down there was easy enough, coming back Wednesday was insane. What was 6 hours going south suddenly became over 8 hours coming back thanks to some insane traffic patterns.

I'm not talking about a handful of idiots driving under the speed limit either. Every single time we hit a major city the interstate highways suddenly became Interstate parking lots. One segment around Charlotte was bumper to bumper traffic four lanes wide crawling along under 10MPH for 12 miles. (We did some rough math and guessed that was nearly 24,000 people stuck in northbound gridlock). Once it cleared, there was no sign of an accident, no speed traps or construction or bad road conditions. It just cleared up magically. And we had similar experiances in at least 4 other places (thankfully they were not 12 miles long). It wasn't uncommon to see car lights going to either horizon, miles and miles of cars waiting to move a few more inches before stopping again. I've seen traffic move faster on highways burried in several inches of snow and ice. Completly fucking insane.

Of course thats before Thansgivings. Today is the ultimate consumer holiday, Black Friday As a geek its up there with Halloween and Talk like a Pirate day as favorite holiday. Portable DVD players for $20, ubercheap desktops and laptops, nearly free after rebate optical media (black and otherwise) and dirt cheap disk drives. It's a great time to stock up on parts for a year, and one that I tend to take advantage of. Last year I got a late start, doing most of my work after 8 AM. This year I started just before 5 AM. The crowds were mindblowing. One big box store had a line for registers wrapping all of the main isles, and plenty of people packed in around the merchandise. At a Target store that opened at 6, I got into line at 6:08 and was walking in as a decent flow of people with carts overflowing with spoils were walking out. Fortunatly things were peaceful, otherwise you very easily could have seen fights over avalible shopping carts, let alone products.

While it can be stressful when everyone else is as slow as a lava run, my slothiness in getting to some of the stores wasn't entirely unproductive. I walked into my main target store (Staples) for a hard drive and a couple other things at a quarter to 10, and while all of the $20 200GB hard drives were off the shelf, the ones that had been reserved freed up at 10 - and I still get the rebates.

If nothing else, Black Friday is an experiance.

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Which day is it?

00.06.42 - Mark

I'm back, since last night actually but I needed sleep (I had at best 8 hours of sleep between Friday morning and late sunday night). I'm not a wedding person. I hate ties and my purpose at the after party is wall decoration and designated driver but it was a nice ceremony and it was good to see the extended family for something other than a funeral.

Lexington, KY was neat. While we mainly traveled we ate at a couple of great restaurants in the area (whose names I can't remember) and spent some time at a Bookstore (Joseph Beth Booksellers) where it kind of felt like they had cut my head open and scrounged around for books and authors I'm really interested in (and not in the over-packed superstore sort of way).

Finally, I think all hotels need to be offering free internet access in this day and age. While I didn't have my ClampBook with me seeing that WiFi and/or wired ethernet access was $10 a day was pretty outrageous. Considering all the bars and coffee shops in the area I know I could have found a free access point without much work.

Water Wall at Triangle Park Lexington, KY

Water Wall at Triangle Park Lexington, KY

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At Podcastercon Now

09.17.20 - Mark

I'm posting this from Podcastercon. I made great time coming in from Mount Airy, real easy trip with next to no traffic. The in town directions provided by the conference page were great, and it didn't take anything to get a parking spot.

Like at the past conferences the people managing it seem to be doing a great job, my wifi account hadn't been setup but we got that taken care of quickly.

Also, and no promises here, I'm shooting some video. If there's enought, and if its any good I'll scrape together the drive space to do some editing. Of course, pre-announcing intentions is well known as a way to turn good intentions into public failure. I'll try not to screw up ;)

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