October 30, 2005

At noon tomorrow Dominica and I will be on the direct AirTran flight headed for Orlando, Florida and Walt Disney World! Dominica is starting to get pretty excited about it. The ticket confirmation that I was so upset about last night did finally arrive this morning so we are going to be able to get tickets and actually go into the park. That is a relief. If that hadn’t worked I wasn’t sure what we were going to be able to do.

The SGL Podcast continues its steady climb up the charts. We are still doing decently well on the daily chart and today climbed from #84 to #75 on the all time chart. The Jedi Council Speaks moved up again to #69 or we would have caught them. We keep closing in though. We will get there.

For those of you, and there are a lot of you – myself included, who have the need to play QuickTime movies but do not want to have to install Apple’s awful QuickTime player that hogs system resources, runs at startup and displays advertising there is an alternative that I have mentioned to many of you but have never provided a link. The best way to watch QuickTime MOVies is to download QuickTime Alternative for Windows. This is a Windows only product but it is free and does not have any of the issues that the Apple product has.

I figured out how to use my Kodak CX7530 digital camera as a video camera today. Unfortunately it takes videos in the Apple QuickTime MOV format that is a real pain to deal with. I am not happy at all about that. That makes it much harder to do any video editing. But I am on a mission now to figure out a good way to do it.

I was up and moving nice and early this morning around 7:30. Not bad for not getting up to an alarm. Of course, with the time change it is always easier to get up and moving when you gain an hour. But we did stay up late last night to take advantage of the time shift. I wish that every day could have an extra hour in it. That would rock.

Dominica and I are able to make it to church this morning but instead of going to LaGrange like usual we are going over to Perry to go to Brick Presbyterian.

We took Oreo with us to church since it was a nice day with some sunlight and since he is going to be without us for an entire week (he isn’t going to like that one bit.) He was happy to sleep in the car while we were at church. It is nice getting back to Brick from time to time because I still know so many people there. Joe was not there today, however.

After church Min and I went over to Parker’s for a light lunch with the whole family. We had a good time hanging out but didn’t get to stay for very long because Dominica has to work her regular Sunday double shift tonight. The awesome news is that this is the last double that she has to work at the hotel, ever. That is such a relief for her. These sixteen hour shifts are killers. They are better than working two separate eight hour days but they are still really tough. This new position at Fuji is actually, once Min manages to phase out the hotel, going to reduce Min’s total work load a bit because it will keep her full time, fourty hour week in four days that she is doing now but it will do it in four even ten hour days that only shift by up to one hour from day to day and not one sixteen and three eight hour shifts with a full eight hours of swing between the shifts. That alone will be a huge difference. Dominica is going to feel so much better having a regular schedule that is the same from day to day with a real weekend – even if it doesn’t fall on the actual weekend. Even with her going to school one day a week, Tuesdays, she will still have two full days off once the hotel work is done and she will have three days off once she wraps up at FLCC.

Andy was supposed to be coming over to work here in Geneseo this afternoon but he called around 3:30 and said that he was pretty sure that our phone conversations over the past few days had ended up giving him enough to work on for the week and that he wouldn’t actually need to get together today and instead could get a lot of work done if he stayed home. So I ended up having the afternoon to myself to get things done around the house. That is probably for the best since I do have a lot to do going into the week away and I would not have managed to have gotten very much done had Andy been here hanging out this afternoon. I have bills to pay, banking to do online, blogging, podcasting and vlogging to do, online accounts to set up and feeds to prepare, a camera to learn how to use, shopping to do an Wally World, a hamster cage to clean, etc., etc. And none of that even takes into account any packing or my regular work. The packing is almost all complete. Dominica did most of that yesterday and there is just a little bit that I need to do tonight and a little to do in the morning. My laptop is going to be packed up tonight so there is not going to be an update to the dailies until sometime on Tuesday once I post this update tonight. All “up to the minute” updates will be posted directly to SGL 2 starting around 1:00 in the morning on Monday. There is going to be a ton going on making this the ultimate “virtual vacation” or so we hope.

I am working with some new tools this afternoon in an attempt to get our vlogging features ready for the trip. Here is a direct link to the test video that I made to see if the upload features are working. This video requires Quicktime which you can check yesterday’s post to see where you can download a nice alternative to Apple’s product to use to view these videos.

Min needed me to bring a USB Extension cable to her at work so I grabbed the camera and drove over there and filmed a quick clip so that there would be some stuff for people to download who are testing everything early. I dropped off her cable and then went over to Walmart to do some really quick shopping. I picked up a 1GB SD card for our Kodak digital camera so that we can get a whole day’s worth of action onto a single card without having to have multiple cards or go back to the hotel or anything. I also picked up a five dollar camera bag so that we don’t have to worry about the camera getting ruined from a little rain or anything. We have been needing that for a while and have never bothered to get one. I am glad that I waited because it is pretty nice and was dirt cheap.

I came home and have been working on getting video editing software. I decided to go with the least expensive and simplest option that I could find: QuickTime Pro. It is only $30. I had just started to get to a point where I could try it out when Min called and wanted me to return to the hotel. She has developed a migraine and is getting ill. She needed me to come in and bring her some Excedrin. So I packed the pooch back up and we drove back over to the hotel. While I was there I shot a short film to kick off the Disney trip. It is cute. I wanted some material to play with with QT Pro. I hung out at the hotel for about twenty minutes or so until Min started to feel a tiny bit better. Then I went across the street to Tim Horton’s and picked up some soup for her and a few donuts. I walked over to the hotel and delivered Min’s food. She was very happy. Then it was back home. There is a lot to get done tonight. That is the problem with vacations: there is SO much that needs to be taken care of just before you leave. What a pain it all is.

Susan called tonight and we got a chance to talk for a little bit. It is tough living so far from everybody. It is so seldom that you really get a chance to talk to anyone anymore. I guess that is just something that happens when you get to be around the age that we all are.

I took an hour out of the evening to clean the hamster cage. Boy is that a major undertaking when you really clean the whole thing. Mr. Humphries has two full hamster condo units to deal with and it is a pain. I put him in his ball and take everything out to the kitchen to work on it. He wasn’t in much of a mood to be in his ball tonight so he spent most of the hour just trying to get to anything that smelled like his cage or bouncing against my foot to tell me to put him back in his cage. Oreo wasn’t too thrilled that I was working with the rodent either.

One of my tasks this evening is to charge things. We have two cell phones that need to be fully charged before we head out. We also need my iPaq to be charged and ready to go. We are taking along our walkie talkies and they need to be charged and ready as well. So I am managing all of that stuff.

I had some problems posting the video that I took when I was at the hotel with Dominica. I am not sure why it didn’t work. After a few hours I finally just posted it again and this time it worked just fine. OurMedia is only in an alpha release so there is a lot of room for error there. But when I reposted it seemed to work right away so I think that everything is okay now. So now you can go check out the SGL Goes To Disney video that I shot at the hotel. I promise that the videos will get better after this. I just really wanted to make sure that this process was going to work before we were out of town and didn’t have any way to deal with things. But it looks like as long as I have some patience then we should be pretty good working with OurMedia. It really is a wonderful service so I am really happy that it is working now.

It is getting late and I need to wrap up the SGL update so that I can sync my laptop and get it packed up and ready to go. I am hoping to get a halfway decent night’s sleep tonight so that I can really enjoy the day tomorrow. There is so much to get done. It feels overwhelming. Oreo wants to get a good night’s sleep too since it is his last chance to snuggle with me for a whole week.

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