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Below are the 11 most recent journal entries recorded in sly's LiveJournal:

Sunday, March 9th, 2008
11:44 pm
Travels in Australia and New Zealand - on the way to Canberra, fun at LAX
I recently returned from a trip to Australia and New Zealand, part for work and part for fun.
Pictures will be posted on picasa once I get a chance to sort through them. Some of the things
about the trip really just need to be told in words, so I'm going to do that here before I forget.

Starting with -- the trip to Canberra!

Our flights were from Albuquerque to LAX (United) and from LAX to Sydney (Qantas) and Sydney
to Canberra (Qantas) -- many many hours of flying. I hate LAX, really I do, and I was dreading
the trip through there. We had 2.5 hours to make our connection. We get in to LAX. We have to
change terminals which means going outside and getting on a bus to another terminal -- thankfully
the luggage transfers without us. Not only do we have to change terminals we have to check in
with Qantas once we get to LAX.

We get off the plane at LAX and there are no signs or maps anywhere that we can find to tell us
where to go -- so we hunt down a gate agent who kindly explains to us that we have to take an
airport terminal connection bus (bus A, NOT bus B or C) to the international terminal. We're also
told these buses come every 10 minutes.

We go to the curb. Bus B comes by, a bus C comes by, several other random buses go by along with
some more bus Bs and Cs -- time passes -- after about 10 minutes a bus A does in fact show up,
let off passengers, toss up an "out of service" sign and drive off. More time passes -- three more
bus As go by over the course of the next about 30 minutes that also go "out of service" right as
they pull up. (Little do we know we could have walked to the international terminal in far less
than that from where we'd started, like I said, no maps we could find). Finally we get a completely
overcrowded angry busload of people (all the other people waiting at all the other terminals I presume)
and just sort of shove of our way on.

We get to the terminal, get to Qantas checkin where we wait in another 30 minute line behind everyone
in LA that is taking this flight (lots of large boxes). We make it through, now we have about an hour
to our flight, and are confronted by a ridiculously long security line -- at first, it didn't look so bad!
then we realized not only did it go down the hallway it wrapped around a corner and came back! We make
the flight with minutes to spare.

The plane pushes back. And sits there. And sits there. The pilot comes on and mumbles something where snippets
are heard of words like "cargo" "heaviest flight" and frighteningly "calling Boeing" (this is a 747). The pilot
was really hard to understand. More time passes and the pilot comes back on and this time is more understandable
and basically explains that due to the amount of cargo they put on board, they were at a weight that was heavier
than they ever flew before and they had to call Boeing to make sure it was ok. Boeing said it was but we would
be spending a REALLY LONG TIME on the runway before taking off and "don't worry, it will be much longer than
you're used to, but we'll make it!" We were not amused, nor particularly warm and fuzzy feeling.

We start off and we are in fact zipping along the runway for a really long time....and still on the runway,and still
on the runway ...and by the way, these runways basically go off towards the ocean....and still quite firmly on the
runway.....finally we feel the front end start to lift up....but the back end doesn't follow quite yet...and we're
still on the runway....then *finally* the front end tips up more and after another agonizing about 30 seconds, the back
wheels also leave the runway, and very shortly after we see ocean beneath us. But we're off!

Next, the saga of the lost luggage and getting to Canberra. But tomorrow, after I sleep, and maybe figure out what
timezone I'm in and what the date really is (crossing the international dateline is kind of evil that way).
Saturday, January 12th, 2008
5:02 pm
Picture updates while in Cambridge
So being in Cambridge has reminded me that I saw these really neat things at United World College (the place has an interesting philosophy, www.uwc.org) in New Mexico. It's a glass chandelier art object (yes, glass), there are two hanging from the ceiling, no lights involved. All of the little balloon object shaped things unscrew like lightbulbs. Apparently everytime they take them apart for cleaning they end up reassembled slightly differently. I have more pics from here up in my picasa album. I've moved most of my photos from flickr to picasa at this point, I ran out of space on flickr and didn't like it enough to pay for it, so I'm experimenting.

Sunday, December 16th, 2007
3:43 am
Pictures and cruise!
Ok, I've finally gotten pictures of the hike in the Manzanos and Hoover Dam, and a bunch of other things up now. I decided to give picasa a shot for the archiving aspects http://picasaweb.google.com/slyatmit

Went on a cruise to the Mexican Riviera a bit over a week ago (out of San Diego, to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta) -- it was incredible! Have I mentioned lately that Albuquerque lacks a decent dance club? It's rather sad when the cruise ship has a nicer club dancing venue than the city I live in. The cruise ship also had a piano bar with a cute and talented piano player. Now if I can just import him to play for me, that would be awesome! Anyhow, it's late, cruise pictures will go up at some later point once they've been sanitized a bit....
Monday, September 10th, 2007
12:01 am
Hiking! and more hiking!
I've done some of the really long trails in the Sandia's recently, including TWA Canyon (called that because of TWA Flight 260 that went down there in 1955) and the La Luz trail. Photos of the canyon are up on flickr (tagged twacanyon). It's kind of odd to do these sorts of hikes on the west side of the mountain, because no matter where you go, it doesn't feel very remote or far from people -- now don't get me wrong, people do get lost and get into trouble and Albuquerque Mountain Rescue has to come drag folks off the west side of the mountain, but it just doesn't *feel* like you're really in the wilderness. There are also a bunch of other photos up on flickr from my trip out to the Trinity site and other things I haven't posted here about.

I'm running out of space on flickr, I need to upgrade my account or find something I like better. Is there another one out there I should look into?
Sunday, May 21st, 2006
1:16 am
Sandia peak hiking

IMG_0909, originally uploaded by slyatmit.

Look, that smoggy thing, it's Albuquerque! I managed to actually make it on one hiking trip into the Sandias before they closed the trails because of the fire danger. Hopefully thunderstorm season will get here soon and they'll reopen things

Thursday, May 18th, 2006
1:02 am
That movie with all the hype
I finally figured out where to get sneak tickets around here and got some for the Da Vinci Code. All in all the movie was ok, well acted, though they took out some of the puzzles and tossed other conclusions at you in ways that were kind of hard to swallow. I'll refrain from details to not give too much away. Even if you've read the book, it's not a bad movie. Perhaps matinee price worth. Oh, and there were three lab splices and CAP codes in reel 5 of the print I saw. Amusingly I seem to have found some people out here that can sometimes see them, and a person that likes to point out cue dots to people -- I shall have to make him see CAP codes...
Friday, May 5th, 2006
10:09 pm
RAIN!!!
I saw my first real rainstorm tonight. So far when it 'rained' it would kind of sprinkle a little and make everything more dust. Tonight it was a real thunderstorm, thunder, lightning, buckets of large drops falling from the sky. Seeing the storm come in over the mountains was really spectacular. The flashes of lightning would kind of make the mountain appear out of nowhere. (It's really dark here at night still, despite the city, so you can't actually tell the mountain is there after dark.)

I also got a bunch of hair cut off today, about 6+ inches off the front and three or so off the back (for those that don't know, I had about 6 inches cut off of everything just before I left Boston, so it's actually quite a bit shorter, but I still bet most people can't tell).

Current Mood: happy
Monday, May 1st, 2006
11:44 pm
Volcano hiking!

IMG_0897, originally uploaded by slyatmit.

A few weekends ago I went hiking in the area of Petroglyph National Monument that has the volcanos. Darn hard to get to, those volcanos, you can see them, but the roads don't go there. One of the few 'can't get there from here' problems in a city that's pretty much laid out like a giant checkerboard.

Anyhow, we saw these guys, which are called 'velvet ants' (thanks for the help in IDing them!) but aren't ants at all. They're female flightless wasps. Instinct said 'hrm, there are nasty things that bite here in New Mexico, I won't touch and will try to make sure they don't crawl on me.' I'm glad I listened.

Thursday, April 27th, 2006
1:53 am
Snow!

IMG_0844, originally uploaded by slyatmit.

Oh right, I promised snow pictures. It's snowed three times since I got here. They tell me that these are the first few times it's snowed all winter. There actually is a ski area at the top of the Sandias, which didn't have enough snow to open this year. Click on the picture for some more snow photos.

Friday, April 21st, 2006
12:16 am
Remember Contact?

IMG_0876, originally uploaded by slyatmit.

New Mexico is home to the Very Large Array (VLA) the radiotelescope array that was featured in the movie Contact. They did apparently film on site. It's about a 90 minute drive from Albuquerque, so I went to visit a few weeks ago. I saw an amazing number of jackrabbits running around the dishes, but they were too fast for me and the camera. Perhaps they are scheming to call the mothership.

Thursday, April 20th, 2006
12:56 am
And I thought they were joking...
I've heard stories about situations where people thought New Mexico was in another country. UPS combined with Amazon win:


Apr 18, 2006 09:19:00 PM ALBUQUERQUE NM US Arrived at destination country
Apr 18, 2006 08:01:00 PM ALBUQUERQUE NM US Arrival Scan
Apr 18, 2006 09:37:00 AM PHOENIX AZ US Departure Scan

Can't say I've ever seen my package arrive in its destination country before.

More New Mexico adventures -- including tumbleweeds, jackrabbits taking over the VLA, snow! (yes, it does snow here), water that strips paint off cars, and the prairie dog conspiracy -- to come, when I've slept.

Current Mood: tired
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