With my new job providing a much-needed infusion of cash, I've been able to convince John to let me drive to the Gallifrey One convention next weekend. This is the annual Doctor Who convention that I try to get to every year, but only manage to do so about half of the time. Between the celebrities and the fans in costumes, it's an event that pretty much demands that I take lots of pictures and post them online.Weekend Assignment #357: The Art of Packing
When you go on a trip, do you travel light, or try to make sure you have everything you might conceivably need? Specifically, what do you bring along by way of electronics?
Extra Credit: What's the most important thing you ever lost, broke, or forgot to bring on your trip?
Traditionally, when I go out of town, I take along my camera, a charger for the camera's battery, a phone and the charger for that, and my laptop. But my current camera takes AA batteries, so that's what I'll be packing. As for the laptop, I plugged it in at Halloween and it totally failed to turn on. So, after much mutual consulting, negotiating and agonizing, John and I went out this afternoon and bought this:
It's an iPad. John's been wanting one since before they first came out, but couldn't make himself spend the money while I was underemployed. Now that I'm working basically full time, he's put it off because a) he's used to denying himself stuff like this, and b) the next generation of iPads is due to come out soon. But Best Buy was on the last day of a promotion in which you can buy a current iPad now, and trade it in for a good deal on the new one when it comes out. More likely, John will eventually get the next generation one, and hand the old one down to me.
Meanwhile, I get to borrow his iPad for my trip next weekend. This both thrills me and makes me nervous. I'm considered a bit of a techie, especially by people over age 70; but smart phones, PDAs and iPads are outside my experience. I don't even use my cell phone for anything but phone calls, the occasional photo if I forgot to bring my camera, and rarely a text message if there's no good alternative. I've never browsed the web with my phone, and my iPod is an old monochrome one.
So now we've got less than a week to get myself and the iPad ready for my trip. We did a test run over at Borders tonight, where we successfully watched a few of my videos on YouTube and looked at my photos on Flickr and Picasa, but failed utterly to log me in to Blogger and Gmail. It turned out that I needed to change a setting in Gmail (enable IMAP) and download something called BlogPress to blog on Blogger with an iPad. Myself, I'm not entirely clear on why I can't just use Safari on the iPad to access any website and expect it to work, but apparently the platform isn't quite capable of supporting the full-featured Internet, with Flash and all that stuff. Or vice versa; Google isn't exactly bending over backwards to make their products work on rival Apple's products.
Anyway, expect to see a few more blog entries this week as I attempt to get all this up and running!
As for stuff lost or left behind on a trip, I remember the time I couldn't find my passport anywhere the day we were leaving for London. John threatened to leave me home, but it turned out he'd already packed my passport and it was in the car, ready to go! On a more recent trip I forgot to bring the charger for my phone, and I once left behind the charger for a camera battery when I checked out of a hotel. This year, I hope to do better.
But will I be packing light? Well, the iPad is certainly lighter and less bulky that the Sony Vaio I bought in 2008. The camera is fairly compact, and doesn't need a charger. But clothing may be a bit of a problem this time. Gallifrey One this year is having themed clothing days, including a call for Hawaiian clothing one day, Doctor Who costuming the next, and something relating to their Islands of Mystery theme the day after that. I probably won't even be there for the Hawaiian day, and I'm certainly not going to do a full-fledged costume. Besides where can I find a fez at this late date, or a bowtie and suspenders? Would a fez even fit in my suitcase? The Islands of Mystery include Treasure Island and Jack Sparrow's Isla de Muerta, so I suspect that Black Rose Kate will be making an appearance that day. Or I could get a Gilligan hat for the Gilligan's Island theme. Gilligan hats are cool.