Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Firefox will tell you ALL what I'm doing

How are you reading this?

Oddly, I have no idea. You might be reading this post on my original blogger blog, girl & kat. Alternatively, this entry might have appeared on your facebook newsfeed as I set up my "notes" to grab new posts from blogger. Some of you may even be scanning through this on LiveJournal, which blogger excitedly emails when it accumulates a new entry. This revelation inevitably leads to the next question:

Why do you have three identical blogs?

See, I've been considering this all day and came to two profound conclusions: (1) This question has no sensible answer, (2) and yet ... I still need all three. I don't like the set-up of facebook's notes to use that as my only blog. Blogger is prettier, I had it first and anyway, that silhouette I drew is just plain cool. LiveJournal is a recent accumulation which I set up to twiddle with role playing. Since I had the account, it seemed silly not to put something up there. So I got blogger to send across the posts it had.

But it's still not enough.

One of the faintly dissatisfactory things about the above arrangement is that my post looses all its formatting and html links when it's emailed across to LJ. I can fix it quickly, but it does mean I have to log onto both blogger and LJ for the post to display nicely on both. This is clunky and really, I'm all about the one button click.

So hello from ScribeFire, a firefox add-on that allows you to edit multiple blogs at once. This should post to both LJ and blogger and keep all my formatting and add-ins. The only thing it doesn't do is allow me to select my LJ userpic but, meh, none of the other blog editors I procrastinated looking at researched did either.

In case any facebook or twitter users are reading this and smugly thinking, 'ah ha! At least she updates her status directly in our programs.' No, you're both wrong. I use firefox to update twitter that then updates my fb status. Hmm, now I think on it, I wonder if firefox can program for me to. How about packing?

Good grief, could such excessive electronic geekiness be topped?

Actually, yes, I suspect it could. I, at least, have to be at a computer. iPhone users, you know who you are...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Frost in May

It is a gorgeous mid-May morning. The sun sparkles off Jenny Lake in the Grand Tetons, reflecting the clear blue sky as temperatures soar into the 70s. Walkers in t-shirts amble off along the lake side's "must-do" walk, picnics in their backpacks.

I am:

(a) Sunbathing by the lake.
(b) Sauntering along the path, idly looking for the park's population of moose.
(c) Inching along a snow laden precipice a mile along said path, trying not to sink thigh deep into the snow drift.

... you only picked (c) because no one would make that up, didn't you?

It's the strangest thing. The snow falls so thick and deep in the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone that the resulting drifts take forever to melt. You start off strolling down a sun-baked trail, regretting not packing your flip flops, turn the corner and boom! You're scrambling over thickly compacted snow that stretches for miles. It's how I imagine riding on the Knight Bus must be like. I contemplated this as I inched along a single-person track along side a near-vertical drop to the gushing waterfalls below.

Despite the ... hellishly unnatural weather ... hydro-challenged nature of the walk, the view of the falls at the end of the trail was spectacular. I also saw a beaver, three marmots, a moose, ospreys and a bald eagle teaching its chick to fly. All of which, it must be said, handled the snow rather better than me. God bless all creatures... and indeed my sturdy water-proof walking boots.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bison and elks and bears, oh my!

Hello bear, my aren't you big?

Hello from Yellowstone National Park where I have just narrowly avoided been mauled, eaten and probably having my wallet nicked by a bear. Well okay, it was the other side of the river from our car, hanging out behind some trees. I confess we wouldn't have noticed except we had to slow right down for the ten people (it is low season) with telescopic lenses blocking the road. I think it was a black bear, but I only caught a view of its side so I wouldn't like to bet it wasn't a grizzly (both types roam Yellowstone). Hopefully we can examine the remains of said photographers tomorrow to determine the source of the attack.

Apart from bears, I have seen elk, deer, ospreys and herds upon herds of bison with babies in tow. Oddly, baby bison look more like cows than their heavy faced parents. They also, old and young, don't give a hoot about cars. While we have frequently seen them on the roads, today we were caught in a mist of a bison migration where maybe 50 bison were moving from one section of the park to another. Well, I guess the road was the easiest route. However, while at a standstill surrounded by my bovine friends, I started to wonder... do bison have a sense of humour? The unmistakable fact was that the animals moved to block both sides of the road. If one side of the road became clear enough to allow cars through, a bison would step out of the line of its fellows to stand, casually, in the centre of that lane. Sports car, SUV or RV alike, nothing was too big or shiny to be stared down by a bison.

However, after a slow day travelling behind them I got my revenge. Bison... delightful served beside mashed potato.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dragons cost extra

Just over three weeks until I head for Japan and leave America after 5 years working here. Well, okay, come November I'll be just over the boarder in Canada but that's the Commonwealth! It's practically like coming home! But with more snow.

So, almost all my possessions need to go in boxes and into storage somewhere in Florida. I need to go to Japan with useful things such as a toothbrush and my laptop. My car is going to one friend, my cat is going to another and box of things that aren't needed in Japan but might be needed before all the rest of my gubbins arrives in Canada is going ... somewhere. Got that?

I picked out a moving company based on three quotes from large national firms, since horror stories abounded about the smaller cheaper places. The quotes were ... largely incomprehensible and almost entirely incomparable. So really how much this will cost me remains a mystery. I understand the problem; the 5 months of storage while I take off on an Asian adventure and the t.b.a. destination address does mean the companies can only estimate their costs. For instance, a 1 floor house with no outer wall and a humongous driveway is considerably easier to maneuver my desk into than a tower apartment with decaying wrought iron outer stair, guarded by a dragon. I'm pretty sure dragons cost extra.

Still, the point is, I have signed up with a moving company. I have visas, passport and plane tickets. I have a huge amount of pent up excitement that causes my downstairs neighbour to complain about my dancing round the room. I mean, it's almost organised.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hello passport, how I've missed you!

"Any requests regarding the status of an application, MUST be submitted in writing, either by letter or by fax. We are only able to reply within 8 to 10 weeks. "

.... or you could just complain on your blog and hey presto! Passport arrives in the mail the next day! Yatta! All is well.

Oddly, my passport itself is completely unaltered. No pretty visa sticker covering a page or a thick wad of official looking paperwork. In fact, all I received was a black & white sheet with a staple hole torn on one corner saying 'yeah, s'cool' and some vague mention of more to come when I actually reached the border. It's amusingly un-American.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The trouble with tribbles

Hello May 4th. Departure date for Japan T-5 weeks.

Japanese visa? Check.
Moving company? Check.
Flights? Check.
Passport? .... Ah.

Sad, but true. The Canadians have stolen my passport. In an impressive act of organisation, I had submitted my visa application for my job in Ontario this fall at the Canadian Consulate in NYC while there on a work trip. It was the perfect plan; I'd go to Japan, return to the USA briefly on a tourist visa to collect cat & car, then speed off up to Canada with all documents in hand.

Maybe it was the confusion of someone applying for a work permit and not a permission-to-enter-Canada-having-been-banned like everyone else who was there (seriously!). Maybe it was the excitement of seeing a British passport in New York. Perhaps they liked my face, or perhaps they didn't.

Panic rising.

Suppress it. It's going to be fine. I can just contact the Consulate and inquire as to my application status, right?

From the website for the New York Consulate:

"Due to Canadian Privacy legislation, individual cases cannot be discussed over the telephone and must be dealt with by letter, by email or by fax."


Well, actually email is better anyway. You get a record of the conversation and I actually hate phone. The website continues:

Any requests regarding the status of an application, MUST be submitted in writing, either by letter or by fax."


Okay okay, not great, but we can work with this. I'll send them a letter by fax.

"We are only able to reply within 8 to 10 weeks."

...... I can panic now, right?