Productivity planning at sea…

Now I have something like 6 days at sea. That means plenty of time for reading, writing, eating, swimming, juggling and whatever else I can find to do.

Reading:

  • The Accidental Time Machine – Joe Haldeman. I just found this in the library, and it looks quite fun.
  • Crystal Rain – Tobias S Buckell. I bought this at JFK.
  • The Final Circle of Paradise – Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. It’s sitting there on my iPod Touch, but is getting weirder. I have to read it in short chunks.

    Writing:

  • Finish continuity edit on the novella Monster Story. This should take me two or three days.
  • Look up notes and previous attempts at my next novel project. I’m going to give this project the code name “Human Danger”.
  • I wrote one novel in November and a novella in February (and a bit of march), which means, on a one month on, two month off (not off so much as “editing and catching up on reading”)… May is another writing marathon month! On May first I’ll begin my third (maybe forth) attempt at writing Human Danger.

    Juggling:

  • Generally keep practicing.
  • Get a good video of my ring routine.

    Eating and swimming and “whatever else I can find to do” doesn’t need much planning.


  • Flights, James Randi, Trap Door Spiders, etc.

    Normally, when I travel for work, I get my flight details a week or so in advanced. This time I got them a full 14 hours in advance. The waiting was a bit stressful, but thankfully I got what I needed.

    On Friday I flew from Berlin to JFK, then got on a much smaller plane down to Fort Lauderdale. As I approached my seat, I found it was already taken. This pissed me off because it was a emergency exit/plenty of legroom seat. But the man sitting in the seat said “It’s your lucky day,” and handed my a slip of paper showing my new seat number. Seat 1C. First class! This doesn’t happen to me very often.

    The seat was nice and wide, plus I had the luxury of legroom. I was fed dinner for free, while in coach class I’d have had to pay for the food. And I wouldn’t have paid, of course, because it’s airline food. Apart from that, the flight was the same as normal; I read it bit, then fell asleep. Jetlag was telling me the time was 12 midnight.

    Anyway, this left me with a night and half a day in Fort Lauderdale. I’d checked online for “things to do in Fort Lauderdale” and while there’s plenty of activities, there’s not much I could do in four hours. Apart from the busiest cruise terminal in the world, the only thing I knew about Fort Lauderdale was that the James Randi Educational Foundation office and library was somewhere in the vicinity. It turned out to be almost exactly on my taxi route from the hotel to the ship.

    I called to make sure James Randi himself would be there, and he was, so I popped in for a visit.

    For those who don’t know, James Randi (also known as The Amazing Randi) is a quite well known magician and escapologist, but a legendary scientific skeptic and debunker of those who claim to have psychic powers. Whenever I’ve heard him speak on radio shows or podcasts he’s always been fascinating, and always has another story to tell. And I knew he enjoys visitors.

    So we had a really good chat for about two hours. First we talked about juggling and magic, then entertaining in general, then writing ideas… actually we moved and moved on through countless other topics.

    However, we were sitting in the “Isaac Asimov Reference Library”, so I asked why it was so called. It turns out Randi was good friends with Asimov. Not only that, but with many other science fiction writers like Lester del Rey, Frederik Pohl and L. Sprague de Camp. This collection of names immediately set off alarm bells in my head, and sure enough, Randi admitted to being a member of the Trap Door Spiders for a while when he lived in New Jersey. This fact is really only interesting to science fiction literature geeks such as and, if you knew about the Trap Door Spiders before clicking on that link, YOU.

    We ended up sitting at Randi’s computer, getting pissed off at it crashing, trying to find a science fiction short story Radni had written twenty five years ago. It was never found, and I stupidly left my USB thumb drive stuck in the computer.

    But I don’t mind losing a thumb drive, because meeting Randi, swapping stories, finding out about secret “easter eggs” in his books, browsing the library and generally chatting about mutually interesting topics was worth it.

    If you’re ever in Fort Lauderdale, call in on Randi. He obviously loves visitors, as each one is a new opportunity for him to do what he likes doing best; telling stories.


    New trip today.

    trip-eurodam-april-2009
    I’m off for the next 11 days or so. I’m going to Lisbon… via America. On the way I hope to visit the JREF HQ in Fort Lauderdale, swim with Dolphins of the Azores and spend another day in Lisbon. Most days will be spent at sea, so I’ll have to think of some fun projects to work on.

    EDIT: I wrote this this morning, but obviously forgot to post it. I’m currently in a rather nice hotel in Florida.

    Another cool thing was being bumped to first class on the flight from JFK down to Fort Lauderdale.


    3p1 1p2 2 3 2p1 2 2 3 3

    I went to Contakt, the Hannover juggling convention. A lot of fun was had by all! Chatting, combat, volleyclub, and Berlini-style Prechac patterns. The last is a very geeky style of juggling which mixes Gandini-style weaves with Berlin-style takeouts and 1p’s.

    A video demonstration:

    Late on Saturday night I took some photos of Jochen, Jochen and Flo doing a much harder version:

    Discussing the pattern

    Discussing the pattern


    Action!

    Action!


    1p

    1p


    1p and 2p exchange

    1p and 2p exchange


    Fail!

    Fail!


    SFBRP live recording.

    Everything is set up and ready to go! We start in 30 minutes! Just go to http://www.ustream.tv/channel/lukeburrage and join in the fun. The session will begin at:
    11pm my time (Central European Summer time)
    10pm British Summer Time
    5pm Eastern Daylight Time
    2pm Pacific Daylight Time

    I’ll be reviewing and discussing Dan Simmons’ novel Hyperion, one of the most requested novels from the listeners of the SFBRP.

    The idea is that I’ll chat for a few minutes and welcome any listeners, then do a normal SFBRP recording, then take questions about the review and the book from those following in the attached chatroom, to be included in the podcast itself. Following that I’ll be open for whatever those in the chatroom suggest, answer any questions, whatever.

    If you miss the recording session, the video will be recorded in full, and you can play it at any time by visiting the same page. The audio will be edited and released as a normal episode in the podcast feed.