Archive for the ‘Ramblings’ Category

By the Numbers

A few numbers from the trip.
(The table formatting is off but I think you can figure it out.)

24 Days in travel status
21 Nights in hotels
7 Different hotels
24,896 Miles: Air miles flown (runway to runway)
24,901 Miles:

Earth’s circumference at the equator

14 Number of flights (different planes)
8 Different airports
7 PPTs given, written, or helped to write
3 Countries visited (spent over night – not just airport stops)
13 Geocaches found
2 Fish caught
77 Blog posts (including this one)
unknown Cups of coffee consumed

Dead Laptop

I’m back in the US and doing fairly well considering all the miles, climates, foods, people, and various enviornments I came in contact with.

My computer, now so much.

My USFS laptop is still dead and I can’t seem to get a re-image of the machine to work.

I can only imagine all the work emails that await me when I can finally login.


Up Early

Back in NC and almost adjusted to a “normal” Eastern US sleep pattern.

My work computer needs a re-image and so I am kinda dead in the water as far as doing significant work.  Just emails and skype but that is probably enough for the moment.

Deep Thought

Sometimes I try to take on too many projects and end up pushing myelf too hard.  Sometimes.

Noontime Coffee

Sleep came easy last night.  11 hours.  I needed every minute of it! Even the street sounds did not bother me.

Now is time for some mid-day coffee and then stretch my legs a bit.  This afternoon I MUST do some work.  So much left to do….

Tonight I repack my belongings and tomorrow I am off to Vienna for a couple of days at the IUFRO Headquarters to give and update on the progress of FORNIS and “close the loop” on some of the things we started in Malawi.

Juha Buys A Bike

Juha and his New Bike

Juha and his New Bike

Monday was a tough day.  Just felt bad all day….. cold/sinus infection/fever…   blah…..

I probably would not have left the hotel but Juha contacted me and asked if I wanted to ride with him to Porvoo to buy a bicycle.  This seemed like a good idea and I needed to get outdoors.  I am not sure if others needed to be around me but I think most people could take one look at me and know to keep their distance. ;-)

In Provoo Juha bought a Finnish Army bicycle (very cool) and then we went into town to see some of the sights around the 700 year old city.

Monday- Rest Day

Looks like my hotel situation is settled, at least for the next three days. My cold seems to have gotten worse so I am going to spend most of the day resting.

More soon.


finland-flag-smI have safelty made it to Finland.  37 hours after leaving my last hotel I have arrived at my new place in Helsinki.  *whew*   umm….  I’m kinda glad I leg of the trip (from Malawi to Finland without stopping ) just so I can tell the story – but I DON’T recommend it.

Unfortunately there was a problem with the hotel reservation but I have convinced the folks to let me stay here at least one night.  Well, 8 hours…..  It is midnight local time and we’ll have to straighten things out in the morning or I will go packing again.

I just saw the US lost in the finals of the Confederations Cup.  Damn……  I hope that I did not take the good luck away from my fellow countrymen when I left the continent!

Gotta sleep.  More tomorrow after I take care of where I will stay in Helsinki and, most importantly, after I take care of some critical work stuff for Michael Weldon, Edward Mundy, and Tamara Jenner.  Gotta keep on top of the FS work!

Tired. Feeling Sick

Lunchtime Post.

It is mid-day at the end of the week and I have been pushing myself extra hours every day to give this project my all while still trying to keep up with SRS and FS business.

The work in Malawi is so damn important that I need to fully commitment…. As it often happens, giving my all to a project comes at a price in terms of my health.

Maybe I am not really getting sick.  Maybe I am just tired.  Maybe I can get some rest tonight.


Flashbacks of MEO Work

This morning our group has been working on the patio outside the hotel lobby.  The weather is nice – sunny and dry, and the surrounding geography reminds me of Tucson, Arizona.  Not exactly the same, of course, but close enough to give me flashbacks of work on the MEO work from a few years ago.

Is this my lot in life?  Traveling to interesting places only to sit in hotels and work with other techies about how to better manage our jobs?  Perhaps.

The major draw back to this extracurricular work is trying to juggle the work of these special projects while maintaining some semblance of control concerning the my primary duties for the Southern Station.

These trips and projects are challenging and exhausting. But the upside is that I get to meet and work with some of the best people in the US (and the world).  On occasions you feel as if you are making a difference for the better, and you know, there are worse ways to make a living!

MEO Work

MEO Work - December 2006


FORNESSA Work - June 2009

MEO Group Photo

MEO Group Photo - December 2006

FORNESSA Group Photo

FORNESSA Group Photo - June 2009


I am off to have dinner with the group.  I had a few other things to vent but the ideas in my head seemed to cross the line into whining so I decided to keep them to myself.

On a positive note, I am enjoying the time with the people from FORNESSA.  Good folks, especially the Information Managers.

There should be one more post in me before I call it a night.  I’ll make it a more positive one!

Bis Bald

Sunday Night

All is well in our little corner of Blantyre as the FORNESSA Networking Meeting begins in a few hours.

Due to flight delays several people were not able to make connecting flights to Blantyre and so approximately 10 people scheduled to attend our meeting are spending the night in Lilongwe.  These folks should be able to catch a morning hop to Blantyre and be at the conference centre by mid-day.  Hopefully.

Other random updates:

  • I am still kicking myself for not buying an additional power converter at the Johannesburg airport.  I was having trouble with the one I brought on this trip and now I am without a power converted.  Luckily Michael has one that I can use (very kind) but we have to share and that is not convenient to either of us.
  • The people who run the hotel are Pastuhn (I think).  The are Muslim and they have a stick no-alcohol policy.  The policy not only forbids alcohol from being served but it also prohibits alcohol from being brought onto the premises.  This is why we had our “ice-breaker” at a nearby Hotel.
  • I wish I could speak German or French.
  • The work of building a functioning technical network for FORNESSA seems more daunting by the hour.  Infrastructures at the institutions seem be even less than I have imagined.   (And I did not expect much.)  However I am feeling very happy about the connections I am making with the Information Managers.  Everyone seems to be highly motivated.  (Of course, it is still Sunday night.)
  • It is 10pm and Michael and I are sitting in the Board Room preparing for tomorrow.  Michael is working on a PPT and I am mostly just checking FS email and being on standby in case he wants to bounce ideas around.
  • Blantyre seems to always be smokey.
  • Still no sign of Maddona.

Thought of the Day

Is there anything more stimulating than creating a Powerpoint Presentation?  (Besides watching one, of course.)


In case people don’t notice the “Trip Purpose and Logistics” page, here is a summary of my travel schedule:

This trip is to attend the FORNESSA Networking Week, visit GFIS Headquarters, and IUFRO Headquarters.

June 17: Asheville to Vienna
June 18: Rest in Vienna
June 19: Travel to Blantyre, Malawi
June 20-27: Fornessa Networking Week
June 27-28: Travel to Helsinki
June 28-June 5: Helsinki (Work with GFIS)
July 5-11: Vienna (Visit IUFRO and Holiday)
July 11: Return to Asheville

not much else to post until I go “wheels up” on Wednesday

One Week

One week until I go wheels up.  Time to start a newblog!