Friday, February 29, 2008

Confirmation of being in the system

From The Crawfords in AZ Blog Photos

Today is the day that I received my final confirmation that I am an ASU employee -- I got paid. You always hold your breath for that first paycheck, because getting it means that all of your paperwork has been processed and entered into the system.

I have been asked on the blog and via email about what I am working on. Unfortunately I am not working on anything interesting, yet. I have spent most of the time getting to know folks and getting access to the various systems I will be using. Then I have spent a lot of time reading the procedure documents, becoming familiar with the project templates related to how ASU designs online courses, and then checking out some of the online courses and their materials. I have also been attending some workshops on the different systems that they use. One of the workshops was an introduction to Blackboard (Bb), the course management system. Despited the fact that I was a Bb admin at ODU, it was good to sit in on the workshop to hear what they tell ASU instructors and to understand how they do things.

I expect to have more interesting things to say about work in the near future. I will be helping with the Microcomputers in Education Conference that starts on March 10th. I understand it is a big deal for alt^I.

Happy Leap Day all!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

So far so good

It seems like everyday I find a new reason to like this place. I really like ASU and the people I am working with. I have spent most of my time learning about ASU and how alt^I does things. So far, I have liked everything I have seen.

I had a chance to go out to the developing area of south Phoenix last night. I had dinner with an old friend that I was in Scouts with growing up. It was a great evening of catching up on old times and talking about the PHX area with him and his wife. I am looking forward to doing stuff with them and having them over and meeting the family this summer.

Before planning to move here, Dawn and I had always talked about what we would like a place to have if we were to move. One of the things I wanted was to live in a place where I could be more considerate of the environment. Well, one of my ASU benefits is that I get a free bus pass for the Valley Metro. I have been riding the bus to ASU this week and it takes just as long to drive to work as it does to ride the bus, and the bus times are convenient. Another thing I wanted is to live somewhere that had a good network of bike paths, well this is one of those places. I plan to start biking to work soon and will hopefully get into better shape in the process.

The main grocery store I go to is Fresh & Easy. They stock a lot of freshly made foods and organic products. Another neat thing is that in addition to handicap parking they have designated parking for adults with small children and also spaces for hybrid vehicles.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Comment responses

I wanted to take some time to respond to some of the comments:

Knitting Dalek has asked several TV related questions. Yes, I have watched Flash Gordon on my MacBook Air. Because I have not bought a TV yet, I watch most of my television on the MBA using the networks streaming video. I have been able to keep up with Lost, Knight Rider, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and I have started watching Jericho. The reason that I have not bought a TV yet is because we only have basic cable. Without SciFi and ESPN, I just have not been motivated to spend the money yet (I do have a cable hookup in my room). BTW, I did like the Flash Gordon finale and the Knight Rider pilot was better than I expected.

Gene asked about me adopting the Diamondbacks as my baseball team. I have adopted them, but I am not a big Major League Baseball fan. I have also adopted the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League.

In response as to what to add to my desk. I plan on going to IKEA at some point and getting a bamboo plant. I have taken my diploma in, but I have not hung it yet. I also need a new picture of Dawn & I, unfortunately that will probably have to wait until the end of June.

I know I have not responded to every comment, but please continue making comments. I enjoy reading them. I will try to semi-regularly respond to general comments through a post like this.

The view from the top

From The Crawfords in AZ Blog Photos

Despite the fact that it was cloudy today, it was warm enough to go biking in shorts and short sleeves. I decided to confirm that it takes about 30 minutes to bike from my place to campus today and then hike up Hayden Butte (aka Tempe Butte and “A” Mountain) while on campus.

Once I got to the butte, I found a very nice trail that is a bit steep, but well maintained. A short hike later (30 minutes or so), I am at the top standing next to the antenna array at the top. According to one of the guys who had hiked up there with his ham radio, this is where the Tempe fire and police antennas are as well as several ham radio repeaters. The view looking out over Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale, and Mesa is beautiful. The picture above includes ASU in the background.

After I hiked down I biked over to Mill Avenue, this is the hot spot in Tempe on a Friday or Saturday night. This place is also one of the reasons why ASU is a top party school. I am planning to hit Mill Avenue on a Friday night soon.

Then there is the park at Tempe Town Lake. They have a public “splash” park that I know the girls will love when they get out here. I biked the length of the lake and then headed back home.

I have added pictures that I took today to my ASU album and my AZ Fun album.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Going to see the caber toss

From The Crawfords in AZ Blog Photos

Today was a fun day in the sun at the 44th Annual Arizona Scottish Gathering & Highland Games in Central Phoenix.

I spent most of the day watching Wicked Tinkers, a tribal celtic bagpipe, drums, didgeridoos, and bronze age irish horn band. These guys are pretty good and are a lot of fun to watch. So much so that I watch all three of their 45 minute performances throughout the day. I also caught the performances of Chris Yates as “Rusty Nuts” and the 10 foot scotsman “Woody McCloud”.

It was nice to have a shepard’s pie for lunch while watching the heavy athletics. Apparently these games are one of the first of the season. One of the competitors was a national and international champion. In addition, it appears that the area has a lot of great pipe bands and apparently the top international drum major was at these games as well. It was great to hear the pipes again.

I got a little sunburned, but it was worth it. I have added a couple of pictures from the games to the Arizona Fun photo album.

Today was also the Tidewater Council’s University of Scouting. I am really proud of Chris and the gang for putting on a great event, I wish I could have been part of the team this year.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The end of the first week at ASU

From The Crawfords in AZ Blog Photos

I am easing into things very nicely. Payroll finally processed my paperwork and put me in the system yesterday. This allowed me to get my Sun Card (the ASU ID) and my computer accounts. This morning I finished setting up my computer and accounts and started getting access to various systems so that I can see the processes being used and become familiar with them.

There is always something interesting going on around here. This afternoon our office was buzzed by a helicopter as it was approaching the recreation fields for a landing. It appears that the ROTC was going on a drill this weekend and they were shuttling the kids from campus to where ever they were going. BTW, that building in the background is the Student Recreation Complex (I will be blogging about that soon) and the picture was taken from the outside balcony of my building (Computer Commons).

It also looks like I got here just in time. The AZ Governor has put a hiring freeze into effect. No one knows what that means for ASU or my department yet, but it is nice to not have to worry about stuff like that.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Observations of Phoenix life

I have now been in the Phoenix Metro for just over a week now. Things are very similar to what I was used to in Hampton Roads, but there are a lot of differences.

The trees are short here, just like they are near the oceanfront. A lot of the chain stores that I went to in HR can be found here.

Here are some of the differences:
  • Obviously it is warmer (it is currently 62 in PHX versus 36 in HR).
  • They have major league sports teams here: NBA, MLB, NFL, AFL, and NHL. In addition, most of the MLB spring training Cactus League is here.
  • They have Whole Foods, Fresh & Easy, Safeway grocery stores here, but the main one is Fry’s. There are no Food Lion, Farm Fresh, or Harris Teeter’s here.
  • They have cameras to monitor and issue tickets for not just people running stoplights, but for speeding as well.
  • You can easily see a mountain of some sort in at least one direction.
  • The main highways are always busy. Rush hour in the evening is defined as 3pm to 7pm, this is based on the HOV lane hours, in HR they are 4pm to 6pm.
  • The main surface streets are laid out in a grid and they are wide. In addition, they almost all have bike lanes.
  • Primetime TV starts at 7pm.
  • There is an IKEA here.
I do miss my friends and family in HR, but I do hope you guys will visit. Hopefully by then I will really understand this area and can show it off.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How I get to work

From The Crawfords in AZ Blog Photos

I currently have a parking pass that is good for my first two weeks at ASU. This pass is only good in certain areas, for me I need to park on the back side of Sun Devil Stadium and the Wells Fargo Arena. It is a plain surface lot and according to the signs, it will be closed for special events.

As I walk around the stadiums and one of the buttes of Tempe Butte that the stadium is built into, I also pass by the ASU Desert Arboretum Park. I noticed both yesterday morning and this morning that there were ducks in the little pond they maintain. I hope this helps to dispel the myth that the desert lack animals and vegetation.

Anyway, it is about a fifteen minute walk from where I park to my office. When I combine that with the ten to twenty minute drive (it all depends on traffic), I am seeing that the decision to bike to and from work is going to be a good idea. As soon as I get my Sun Card, I am going to investigate getting a membership to the Student Recreation Center so I can have a place to change, etc. after biking to work.

Until then, I am taking advantage of the fact that I am driving and taking stuff to “decorate” my office a little bit at a time. Today one of the things I took was the picture of the girls as ball kids that I printed out before I headed west. Now what should I take tomorrow?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

First real day at ASU

Today was my first day in the office. I am working for the Applied Learning Technologies Institute (alt^I) which is part of the University Technology Office (UTO). I spent most of the day setting up my workspace and computer.

Payroll has apparently lost some of my paperwork, but the good folks in UTO are taking care of me and it should be resolved shortly. Once that happens, I will be able to get my email address, network login, bus pass, Sun Card, etc. The good news is that I have office keys, a working computer, and a telephone.

BTW, if you are looking for educational Wii games, take a look at Endless Ocean and Trauma Center: New Blood. These two games look interesting.

Monday, February 18, 2008

VA to AZ drive movie

Take a look at this iMovie project showing my drive.

I took a picture looking out of my windshield about every 25 miles or so. It is fun to see the terrain change as I went down the road. Since I was focusing on the icy road in Missouri, I did not take pictures at regular intervals.

This was my first real experience playing with iMovie. I am looking forward to doing other projects using the software in the future.

I have also uploaded a higher resolution version of the the video to YouTube (see below).

Day 1 as a Sun Devil

Finally, I consider myself employed again. I did not feel like I was on a vacation or anything like that for two reasons: 1) I was not returning to the same workplace/employer and 2) I was not getting paid during this time period.

Today was mainly a day of sitting in a classroom and learning about ASU, its policies, and of course employee benefits. It was a bit frustrating to see that the paperwork had not been fully processed yet. This meant that I could not get my bus pass, university ID card, and computer account. However, most people in the orientation were in the same boat I was in, so at least I had company. I am not worried, I know it will all get sorted out this week. I was also not surprised. I did just come from across country and there are a couple of things that has to be done in person.

I really like the vision that the University President has set. I feel very comfortable here and I am really excited to be here.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Life in the green and snowy desert

From The Crawfords in AZ Blog Photos

I bought a new bike on Thursday so I can commute to work after I get started at ASU. I picked up a GT Nomad that is built as a hybrid road/off-road bike. It might not be able to handle big tough trails, but then again neither can I right now.

The plan on Friday was to tweak the bike’s settings and ride some of the nearby canal trails. Instead, it rained most of the day, so I just ran errands instead.

That rain in our area was snow up along the rim and the storm dropped 9 to 13 inches in some areas. Chip and Laurie invited me to join them to take their kids to play in the snow. We drove up AZ 87 past Payson and we picked a beautiful spot to play off of AZ 260. As you can see in the photo album, the snow was up to my knee in some spots. Several snowmen were built among the flying snowballs, including this one that was at least six and a half feet tall.

We continued up AZ 260 to US 60 and looped back to Mesa. This route took as through the a bunch of canyons, including the Salt River canyon. The late afternoon sun really brought the colors of the canyon out. One thing of note is that these areas were very green (both AZ 87 on the way up and US 60). There is a lot of plant life here and I am looking forward to all of the wildflowers and cacti blooming in March.

We continued on to the mining town of Globe for dinner and made it back at about 9pm. It was a great day of fun, snow, and sun. I will definitely be heading up to this area again.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I am now a resident of Arizona

It took only an hour for me to get an Arizona Driver’s license, registered to vote, and my car’s registration and tags done. I did not get amateur radio plates since they have to be special ordered; therefore, I will do that later down the road.

I also have changed over my Facebook profile so that it now says I am in Phoenix. I have also officially adopted the Phoenix Suns (NBA), Phoenix Coyotes (NHL), Arizona Cardinals (NFL), and all ASU Sun Devil teams as my favorite teams. ODU will always be my favorite too

Did you know? Arizona became the 48th State on this day in 1912.

BTW, Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.

VA to AZ drive summary

From The Crawfords in AZ Blog Photos

Now that I am here and have somewhat setup my place, I am taking some time to reflect on the trip.

Having an iPod to listen to the entire time was great. I had a lot of podcasts to catch up on and then when I ran out of those, I had a series of podcasts to learn spanish. I listened to the language learning podcasts, but did not really concentrate on learning spanish. However, I did crank out the tunes from the iPod during Missouri since I wanted to stay focused on the roads and ice.

I stayed in some great hotels. The Best Western in Yukon, OK and Albuquerque, NM were great and I strongly recommend them. They have just finished remodeling the on in Albuquerque and it is a beautiful hotel. However, the underground parking threw me off a little.

Some of the coolest things I saw included the largest McDonald’s in the world. I did not stop here and I would have had I realized what it was in enough time. It is located over I-44 in Oklahoma. Another thing that I liked were the wind farms in Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico.

I am in the process of adding a photo album of the trip and another little surprise.

In the random thoughts category, I think the dumbest animal has to be a skunk. I saw more of them dead on the road than any other animal. Also, once you get to Oklahoma, do not expect to see many rest areas. They are far and few between and most are just a park and picnic area.

Best Roadside Signs
  • Blasting Zone (IN)
  • Do Not Drive Into Smoke (OK)
  • Do Not Enter If Flooded (AZ)

Overall Trip Facts
Started: Virginia Beach, VA
Finished: Mesa, AZ
States Visited: WV, KY, IN, IL, MO, OK, TX, NM (10 total)
Miles Driven: 2412
Average MPG: 30.5
Road Time: 40 hours
Fastest Speed Limits: 75 MPH - OK (I-44 only), NM, AZ
Slowest Speed Limits: 65 MPH - VA and IL

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

One journey ends...

From The Crawfords in AZ Blog Photos

It was a beautiful day for a drive. I started this morning with the temperatures in the upper 30s and finished in the lower 70s. The skies were mostly clear all the way.

I will warn anyone who attempts this drive to be prepared to be in the middle of nowhere for quite a while, but it is very beautiful to see the landscapes such as the canyons and snowcapped mountains. I turned off of I-40 to take a more direct route and avoided Flagstaff. This means that I kept my promise to not visit the Grand Canyon or Sedona until the family can go with me, but AZ 377, 277, & 87 brought me through some smaller canyons and areas that still had a good amount of snow on the ground. Parts of Arizona is very green right now, but I am sure that will change when the summer heat gets here. This place is very different from Virginia, but I already love it.

I am here in one piece and it is now time for me to get my new home for the next several months organized. As this adventure ends, I am looking forward to the next one. The one where I start my new job at ASU and find a new home so my family can join me at the end of June.

Trip Facts
Started: Albuquerque, NM
Finished: Mesa, AZ
Miles Driven: 411
Drive Time: 8:15am to 3:30pm (7.25 hours)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

MacBook Air Review

From The Crawfords in AZ Blog Photos

Like so many other people, I had to clean the drool off of my desk after watching Steve-O’s MacWorld Keynote and seeing the introduction of the MacBook Air.

Knowing that I was going to be moving and that I would need to be mobile for a while, I felt that this was the perfect computer for me to get. I also knew that I was not going to be doing any heavy processing such as compiling code or rendering lots of video (just some); therefore, I felt that this would be a great little computer for me.

I did not want to risk ordering one online since I did not want it to show up after I moved. So I patiently waited two weeks after the Keynote before harassing my friendly neighborhood Apple Store. Yes, I called daily as net rumors of the MBA being shipped and some stores were setting up their displays made their rounds through the blogs. The store had them on Friday for display only, and they received their units to sale on Monday (2/4). I was there at 5pm that evening to purchase one.

The keyboard size is perfect for me and is comfortable to use. The battery life is good enough. The video is crisp. The iSight camera looks great when using Skype. I bought the external optical drive so that I could transfer files from my archive CDs. I also felt that I had to have the drive since I did not know if I would have access to a drive using the remote control software over the next couple of months, plus by having the drive I can watch DVDs on the MBA. Having only one USB port has only slightly been inconvenient, but not enough for me to consider buying a USB hub. I have pretty much been able to do everything I want so far on the MBA.

It did not come with one of the remote controls, but I already had an extra one from my iPod AV kit. I had been using Aperture to manage my photos, but it would not work on the MBA; however, this problem went away when I upgraded Leopard to 10.5.2 last night. I was pleased to find that it did come with a video adaptor for both VGA and DVI, but I have not used them yet. I did not get the USB to ethernet adapter since I expect to have access to a wireless network in most places that I go.

I also picked up a .Mac account and as you can tell, I am getting the hang of iWeb :-) I plan on digging through the other features .Mac soon. I also picked up MS Office 2008 for Mac and like it so far, I just wish that a good version of OpenOffice would become available soon.

I had joked that the computer you own makes a statement about who you are. I then said that the MBA says “I am mobile and connected, catch me if you can”

Bottom line, if you are going to be mobile, wireless, and want something small to use, this is a good box. If you need more horsepower, go Pro.

BTW, it does fit in a standard interoffice envelope.

Head west young man

From The Crawfords in AZ Blog Photos

I have to start by thanking my mother-in-law for setting me up in such great hotel rooms. The one in Yukon, OK was excellent and the one in Albuquerque, NM appears to be even better. I will put pictures up when I do the trip summary.

I decided to sleep in this morning. I figured after yesterday’s drive, a little extra rest might be a good thing. When I started, it was 30 degrees, overcast, and breezy; however, it did warm up to the mid-50s during the day and eventually became most sunny. The Google Maps directions were simple, get on I-40 drive west towards Amarillo (passing Texas and entering New Mexico) for 523 miles, and then there were directions to the hotel.

The drive was beautiful and mostly flat. Because of the clear weather you could see some structures in front of you, such as grain elevators and wind farms, that were still over twenty miles away. Having speed limits of 70 and 75 MPH and light traffic really made it an easy drive. Can you say “cruise control”?

I took an long lunch break today to walk down memory lane. When I was coming home from the Philmont Scout Ranch almost twenty years ago, our group stopped for lunch at The Big Texan Steak Ranch. This is the restaurant made famous by Paul Harvey, Homer Simpson, and others. This is the home of the 72 ounce steak “The Texas King”, that if you can eat in less than an hour - it is free. Just like in the Simpson’s episode, there is a table on a stage for anyone who dares to challenge the steak. I did not take the challenge, but the waitress says that about 1 in 7 who tries the challenge manages to succeed. It was nice to see that the restaurant was much like I remembered it from so long ago.

Tomorrow is the last leg and I am looking forward to setting up my new home.

Trip Facts
Started: Yukon, OK
Finished: Albuquerque, NM
States Traveled Through: Texas
Miles Driven: 529
Drive Time: 9:15am CST to 5:15pm MST (8 hours)

Overall Facts
Total Miles Driven: 2001
Miles Remaining: 410 (according to Google)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Missouri’s weather was miserable

From The Crawfords in AZ Blog Photos

First a question, why does Missouri label their highways/state roads with letter designations like “A” or “HH”?

So I start out early this morning knowing it was going to be “interesting” with overcast skies, the temperature was only 13 degrees, and there were Winter Weather Advisories posted for the entire Missouri leg of the drive. According to the radar, freezing rain and sleet was already falling on Springfield, MO.

So I get out of St. Louis without incident and settled in for the drive. At about Bourbon, ice pellets began to fall and swirl along the road. I will say that the Missouri road crews know how to respond to this stuff, they were out in force already. Then at Rolla, I was brought to full attention when the ice pellets turned into freezing rain and instantly coated my windshield in ice. I managed to get most of the windshield cleared enough to drive by turning up the defrosters to full blast, but the windshield wipers were only partially effective and were icing up. Next up was an upside down horse trailer on the side of the road, with a poor horse tied off to it grazing as the driver was being tended to by emergency services.

Things are getting bad. The windshield is getting bad. The freezing rain/sleet is coming down harder. However, when I was packing, I was fortunate enough to have left an ice scraper in the trunk of the car (who needs them in AZ?) and had left it where I could get to it (that was luck). So I started doing what the truckers were doing, pulling off I-44 every hour or so to scrap ice. I finally get to Springfield and this is where I had the “what am I doing?” moment. It is 30 degrees now, everything is coated in ice from the storm, it is pouring freezing rain, and now there is thunder and lightning. Insert colorful metaphor here.

About an hour later, I stopped as things were letting up (coincidently it was Chesapeake) for the final scrapping and knocked off the ice from the front of the car. This casing of ice was at least a quarter inch think. When I got to Oklahoma, it was still a freezing drizzle, but the glaze it left on the car went away within an hour. The rain even stopped as I approached Oklahoma City and the temperature managed to get to 35 degrees.

They say getting there is half the fun and I have to admit, I actually had fun driving through the ice in Missouri - I was prepared for it, no one got hurt, and I do not get to challenge my driving skills like that very often. However, the hotel I am in is great and I am going to relax a bit in the hot tub - I have earned it.

Tomorrow’s forecast is much better as I head west down I-40.

Trip Facts
Started: Glen Carbon, IL
Finished: Yukon, OK
States Traveled Through: Missouri
Miles Driven: 538
Tolls: $9.00
Drive Time: 6:15am to 3:45pm (9.5 hours)

Overall Facts
Total Miles Driven: 1472
Miles Remaining: 935 (according to Google)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

It is soooooo cold

From Blog Photos

I knew the weather was going to be interesting when the Weather Channel was calling it the “Arctic Blast”. Started the morning at 40 degrees, but within 45 minutes it had dropped to the lower 30s and the wind was blowing so hard that some hanging stoplights were being pushed so that they were at a 45 degree angle. Needless to say that the wind bounced my car around. It was overcast until Louisville, KY, that is when it cleared up and the temperatures leveled off in the lower 20s.

It was worth going this far north to see Brian, an old friend from high school who now lives near St. Louis. We caught up on old times and see who remembered who. It was a lot of fun to see Brian and his family.

Tomorrow is the long day. I plan to get through St. Louis before the morning rush hour and will have the most miles to drive of any leg of the trip. Looks like the weather will not cooperate either. Hopefully the “wintery mix” will not be too bad, but I expect rain the whole way tomorrow. At least it will be warmer by the end of the leg.

Trip Facts
Started: Barboursville, WV
Finished: Glen Carbon, IL
States Traveled Through: Kentucky, Indiana
Miles Driven: 463
Drive Time: 8:15am EST to 3:00pm CST (7.75 hours)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Leaving is the hardest part

From Blog Photos

They say leaving is the hardest part. It is definitely was today. The girls were picked up by my mother to visit my sister in NC. That made things a little easier, partly because of all of the activity going on with both them and I leaving at relatively the same time. It was very tough watching them leave knowing that it will probably be four months before we are together again. Then it was my turn to leave. Dawn was very strong as I left. This has been one of the hardest things I have ever done. However, the thought that this is about what is to come is what comforts both Dawn & I. Of course the fact that my parents will still be over 2000 miles away will remain hard.

I have to make it clear that I am excited about starting my new job at ASU and Dawn beginning the program at SCNM. I just wish we could have timed things better. But this is the right thing do, at the right time - we both feel that way. However, the reunion will be very sweet.

The drive today was pleasant. The temperatures were in the mid to lower 50s all day. Skies began clear and then started to cloud up after I passed Charlottesville, VA. Around Lexington, VA the winds became stiff and were a little rough from time to time. It was a nice drive and everything went as planned.

When I arrived at the hotel in Barboursville, WV, I was told that my reservation had been cancelled. Still not sure who or what did it, but needless to say I was surprised. The good news is that they had plenty of room and I am comfortably seating in my hotel room. Barboursville is about 20 miles from the WV/KY border and is near Marshall University (as in “We are Marshall”).

I want to thank Mike & Sharon for the can of snacks, Cindy for the jerky, and Mom for the dark chocolate - having those items (as well as several bottle of waters) lowered the number of stops.

Trip Facts
Started: Virginia Beach, VA
Finished: Barboursville, WV
Miles Driven: 457
Tolls: $2.50
Drive Time: 9:00am to 4:30pm (7.5 hours)

Friday, February 8, 2008

Putting the stuff of your life into a car

From Blog Photos
Remember when you could load everything you own into your car? I had a friend who pretty much lived out of his VW Rabbit for about the six years after high school. He would load everything into his car every couple of months and move in one trip. He had everything he needed, a lamp, stereo, sleeping bag, clothes, kitchen stuff, etc.

I have just finished packing up the car with hopefully everything I need. There are a couple of things that I know I will need that I just did not have room for. So I will have to buy things like a bed, desk, TV, etc. when I get out there. I am trying to be careful not to buy things that I will not need once the rest of the family gets out there with me in June.

One thing that made packing interesting was that a Randy sent me some Original Space Bags. These things are SO COOL. I shoved my clothes into the bag, closed the zip lock, and then hooked up the vacuum cleaner. The bag shrunk in size and made packing things so much easier. These things were a life saver. Between the bags and the hanging bar for my shirts and jackets to hang from made it so that I could carry out many things that I would need.

I think I have everything I need. We shall soon find out, if I left something here that I need out there - it will have to be sent out via UPS.

The weather forecast looks decent. I expect to have rain through West Virginia and maybe some as I go through Oklahoma in couple of days.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

From Blog Photos

Today was my final day at Old Dominion University. After almost 18 years, I am leaving the place that allowed me to earn two degrees and employed me full-time for over 13 years.

This was not an easy day as I am leaving so many friends and colleagues behind as I head west. As I spent the last several weeks letting friends know about my departure and future, handing off responsibilities, packing up my office, planning my drive west, figuring out what I will be taking with me, and everything else, I kept remembering the final M*A*S*H episode as B.J. Honeycutt and “Hawkeye” Pierce never quite said goodbye to each other due to everything going on around them. I feel like that, wondering who I did not talk to or express my appreciation to enough. So I am left leaving a message like BJ did, a message that Hawkeye saw as he left the 4077th in a helicopter.

So I shall quote famous lines of appreciation of everything you guys have done for me:
  • The dolphins from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: So long, and thanks for all the fish
  • Q's last words to Picard: It was nice knowing you, Jean-Luc, but all good things must come to an end
  • BJ (To Hawkeye as they leave): I'll see you in the states, I promise! But just in case I left a note! (B.J. rides off on his motorcycle. Hawkeye lifts off in a chopper. And sees some rocks arranged in the word "Goodbye.")