Bon Voyage -- 08/17/00

My youngest is on his way to Australia today. I took half a vacation day this morning to hang around the house, nag him to finish any last minute packing, make sure that he had packed sunblock, had his passport and his itinerary (using e-tickets), etc. He's going to Sydney with his friend Brian (all of this came about because the company Brian's father works for was willing to buy economy tickets for family and friends to visit his father in Australia rather than have to pay for business class tickets for his father to fly back home during his work assignment in Australia)... Brian's mother came by around 11:30 a.m. to pick Sean up. She's driving them to Logan Airport (Boston) so they can catch their flight to Los Angeles where they will switch to a 747 for the flight to Sydney.

(Personally I prefer to fly out of Providence. That might mean, for example, that instead of going directly to Los Angeles like you can from Boston, I might have to change planes in Chicago, but to me that's easier than the hassles of getting to Boston and through Boston traffic and having to put up the the over-crowding at Logan.)

It was difficult to convince Sean to bring a light jacket or a sweatshirt with him. Is there anything more stubborn than a fifteen year old male? I pointed out to him that just as we are in late summer here, it is late winter in Sydney. Granted, that does not mean quite the same thing as winter in New England -- snowball fights are exceedingly rare in New South Wales -- but nevertheless it can be a bit chilly. He pointed out that he often went to school in shorts and t-shirt even in quite brisk weather -- 40 degree weather -- but what you wear on a less than three mile drive to school in not the same thing as what you might wear if you are spending hours outside. A quick trip to the Internet to check on current weather in Sydney -- overnight low near freezing, cloudy chance of rain Friday, high in low 50's, overnight low around 39, sunny and clear on Saturday (he'll land a bit past six a.m. Saturday) with a high in the upper 50's -- and he consented to let me stuff a zip-front sweatshirt into his suitcase.

I was mumbling about Journalcon in yesterday's entry. My tentative plan had been that I would be attending a class in Pittsburgh that ended on Friday, Oct 6th, and then I would just stay on in Pittsburgh for Journalcon. Alternatively, if for whatever reason I decided against taking that course, it's still early enough that I could get round trip tickets for about $250 on U.S.Airways. (I don't have enough flyer miles with them to get free tickets and those airlines where I do have enough miles don't have any direct flights... despite what I just said above about it being easier to fly Providence to Chicago to Los Angeles than to drive to Boston just to be able to go direct to LAX, I have no desire to turn an hour and a half flight to Pittsburgh into a four or five hour ordeal by going through Baltimore or Washington.) Since I really want to go to Journalcon because I would get to meet

  • Emily (Yeah, okay, so I did get to meet her on a trip to Pittsburgh earlier this year, but she's cool and I'd like to see her again.)
  • John Scalzi
  • Sage and Todd -- Sage's Coffee Shakes was one of the early journal sites
  • Pamie
  • Jennifer Wade -- Jen was another early online journaler and co-curator of The Online Diary History Project
  • Cara Leitch-Thompson -- another early (1996 era) online journaler and the other co-curator of the Diary History Project.
  • Yes, there are many more journalers who are going to be there [see the Journalcon site for a list of speakers and panelists] but these are the people whose journals I read that I know are going to be there. There might be others with journals I read who will be there but who haven't announced it or maybe I've lost track (who, me?)
However, I have to make up my mind by tomorrow. Having contributed to my daughter's attendance at an anime convention in Baltimore a few weeks ago and having handed Sean some money last night for his trip to Australia... my thoughts are that I deserve to spend a few bucks on myself and maybe I should just forget about taking a course in Pittsburgh (for which my employer would pick up the airfare) and the uncertainty about that (courses do get cancelled -- I've had that happen twice this year -- and not schedule myself for the course but just go to travelocity and buy my tickets now. There's just one problem with that... yesterday I got some email indicating that I might have to teach a class in Norway the last week of September... that means not just being away all that week, it also means I would probably fly on the evening of Friday Sept 22nd, reaching there on the 23rd -- [it just hurts too much to fly overnight and get there jet-lagged on a Sunday and have to teach all day Monday, I've done that and it really doesn't work well] -- and then I'd probably fly back on Saturday Sept 30th and arrive home all jet-lagged that night and be tired all day Sunday. In other words, travel like that wipes out two weekends. If this assignment becomes definite, then I would not want to spend the next week in Pittsburgh taking a class. In fact, if two consecutive weekends are wiped out and I am away from my family the week between those two weekends, then do I want to be away that following weekend for journalcon? (The answer is: no, probably not... and I'm certain that my wife would not appreciate it much.) I probably won't know about Norway for a couple weeks but the registration deadline for journalcon is August 18th.

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Note to Bonnie: yes, I did remember to go and put a next entry link in yesterday's entry and I put one here too.

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