19 December 2007

Now, about my business

The only real business that I have to report for today was taking the car to the shop. The transmission was stuck in "park" for some unknown reason. After doing some investigation online, Crystal and I checked the fuse related to that system, but that was not the problem. I took the car into the shop, and they had it fixed in a few hours. Turns out it was a switch (which was cheap) so most of the bill was labor. Only came out to about $120 NZ. And they fixed the radio too. Crystal and I should be wrapping presents tonight to send back home to various people. Won't be there in time for Christmas, but they won't be too long after.

Two external bits of news

I'm going to make this a seperate post so as not to clutter up the news about my little life with goings on in the rest of the world. The first is this. Here's a quick quote from the site.






Los Angeles, CA (Tuesday, December 18, 2007) Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson; Harry Sloan, Chairman and CEO, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM); Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs of New Line Cinema have jointly announced today that they have entered into the following series of agreements:

* MGM and New Line will co-finance and co-distribute two films, “The Hobbit” and a sequel to “The Hobbit.” New Line will distribute in North America and MGM will distribute internationally.

* Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh will serve as Executive Producers of two films based on “The Hobbit.” New Line will manage the production of the films, which will be shot simultaneously.

* Peter Jackson and New Line have settled all litigation relating to the “Lord of the Rings” (LOTR) Trilogy.

Said Peter Jackson, “I’m very pleased that we’ve been able to put our differences behind us, so that we may begin a new chapter with our old friends at New Line. ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is a legacy we proudly share with Bob and Michael, and together, we share that legacy with millions of loyal fans all over the world. We are delighted to continue our journey through Middle Earth. I also want to thank Harry Sloan and our new friends at MGM for helping us find the common ground necessary to continue that journey.”

“Peter Jackson has proven himself as the filmmaker who can bring the extraordinary imagination of Tolkien to life and we full heartedly agree with the fans worldwide who know he should be making ‘The Hobbit,’” said Sloan, MGM’s Chairman and CEO. “Now that we are all in agreement on ‘The Hobbit,’ we can focus on assembling the production team that will capture this phenomenal tale on film.”

Bob Shaye, New Line Co-Chairman and Co-CEO comments, “We are very pleased we have been able to resolve our differences, and that Peter and Fran will be actively and creatively involved with ‘The Hobbit’ movies. We know they will bring the same passion, care and talent to these films that they so ably accomplished with ‘The Lord of the Rings’ Trilogy.”

“Peter is a visionary filmmaker, and he broke new ground with ‘The Lord of the Rings,’” notes Michael Lynne, New Line Co-Chairman and Co-CEO. “We’re delighted he’s back for ‘The Hobbit’ films and that the Tolkien saga will continue with his imprint. We greatly appreciate the efforts of Harry Sloan, who has been instrumental in helping us reach our new accord.”

The two “Hobbit” films – “The Hobbit” and its sequel – are scheduled to be shot simultaneously, with pre-production beginning as soon as possible. Principal photography is tentatively set for a 2009 start, with the intention of “The Hobbit” release slated for 2010 and its sequel the following year, in 2011.

The Oscar-winning, critically-acclaimed LOTR Trilogy grossed nearly $3 billion worldwide at the box-office. In 2003, “Return of the King” swept the Academy Awards, winning all of the eleven categories in which it was nominated, including Best Picture – the first ever Best Picture win for a fantasy film. The Trilogy’s production was also unprecedented at the time.

For more information about “The Hobbit” films, please visit www.TheHobbitBlog.com.

All in all, I think that this is very good news for fans of the series. I'm a little leery of the news of a Hobbit sequel, but with PJ as producer I'm sure that things will turn out for the good.

The second piece of news is for me to recommend to everyone to listen to the Best of Ideas podcast for Dec. 10 and 17. Its a two part show about the future of hydrogen in our energy system. David Scott, a long time engineer, make some very good points about energy and the use of hydrogen as a "currency" in his terms. He describes the place of hydrogen as similar to that of electricity. Neither are a power source in themselves, but they are a way to deliver power to a place where it is needed and to do the work that needs to be done. He argues his points much more eloquently than I can argue them here, so I recommend that you take a listen. Generally the whole podcast is pretty good, and was recommended to me by a Canadian that I know through the internet. The link to the podcast page is here. You can go to that page and download the individual episodes, or subscribe.

18 December 2007

Rainy Days

So, first truly rainy day in a few weeks and guess who decided the umbrella wouldn't be necessary. Hopefully, I'll be able to get home without getting completely soaked.

I had a pretty good weekend. Most of Saturday was spent in cleaning up the apartment. All that Crystal and I have left to clean is the bookshelf, so I think we did a pretty good job. On the other hand, we have another slug friend. I really don't know why they want to wander into our apartment. We aren't leaving food out or anything like that. And we never actually see them. Just the little trail of slime that they leave behind. I need to remember to put some salt down tonight. That'll teach him.

Sunday was spent doing some Christmas shopping. We've got gifts for most of the people on our lists and we'll send them off soon. I think we'll ship everything to my parents house. From there, it can be redistributed. It won't be likely to be there by Christmas, but it shouldn't be too late.

Speaking of which, we'll be at the Phynn house on Christmas eve for some merry making. I thought that a sangria might make a welcome addition to the party, so we'll be fixing that later this week. We made some chocolate chip cookies on Sunday and we are planning to make sugar cookies next weekend. Turns out that it takes about the same amount of time to make a batch of cookies as it does to make spaghetti sauce. That kept both Crystal and me busy on Sunday evening. I've discovered that red bell peppers, mushrooms, and fresh garlic are welcome additions to my mom's recipe.

I wasn't able to make it into the lab today unfortunately. No one was there most of the day. I was able to get in a few minutes this afternoon to weigh some samples, but didn't really have time to do much else. I've spent most of the day catching up on reading. When we did the cleaning, I found a stack of articles that I printed out but never read. I've got through about half of them now, and that includes entering some info about them into EndNote. That's a citation program that I use to store bibliographic and other information about the various articles that I'm referencing.

As soon as Christmas and New Years are past, I will be able to get some more field work done. I need to do a good amount, but I know where to go and what to do. I just have to spend the time down in Tauranga to get things done.

P.S. All our international cards have been sent out, except for one, whom we are still trying to find an address for. So, look for something in the mail in the next week or so. I hope they are in by Christmas, but I can't be sure. I've also taken a few pictures of things, and I'll try to post them soon. Crystal is really hard to get photos of.

14 December 2007

Cards are out

The first round of Christmas cards went in the mail today. As soon as I get some addresses looked up, more cards will be sent out.

The new gmail thing, allowing you to talk to AIM people is pretty cool, though having not signed into AIM for about a year, I'm not sure about talking to people, since I'm not sure they will remember me. We'll have to see. Maybe I'll just put a thing up on the forums that I'm willing to talk to people.

I was having some trouble with GIS today. I talked with the tech guy and after about 5 minutes, he showed me how to turn the tools that I was trying to use on. I felt a bit foolish at that point. But now I've got it working again, and will be doing some analysis with it.

Not much else to tell. For the first time ever, Crystal and I have been able to find real corn on the cob at the grocery store. We'll see how it turns out. There are a lot of things that neither of us have ever actually cooked before, even though we've eaten them a lot. This is another one of those things. We are in fact having the most American thing we can manage in NZ. Frankfurters (ie hot dogs, or near enough) and corn on the cob. Horray!

13 December 2007

1 month to anniversary

Well, I'm not sure what to post today. I meant to be in the field this week, but between some rainy weather, unfavorable tides, and that colloquium thing that I had to do on Monday, I ended up not. I have spent most of the week in the lab so far. Tomorrow they have a meeting there in the morning, so I won't be able to do any work then. I'll have to finish up the experiment that I'm working on in the afternoon.

I'm not sure how I feel about Christmas this year. For me, it has always been a holiday about family. Even with the strong religious meaning that I also feel for the day, I think that the most essential part of celebrating Christmas is getting together with people whom you love. This year, I'll be so far away from everyone except Crystal that I don't know how I will feel when the actual holiday comes.

It's also one month until my 1st Wedding anniversary. That's another funny thing. I still have trouble believing that Crystal and I have been married for nearly a year. The time has gone by really fast. I have to remind myself of what I've done during the year to keep myself from feeling like I haven't accomplished anything. I've been to two conferences, made running up in the Faculty poster competition, started detailed work in a new study area, and done a good bit of geomechanical testing as well. I might have been able to do more, but looking back, I think that I worked hard enough. Next year, I'm planning to get more accomplished. For one thing, I'll have several more months to work on things. For another, I have a better idea of where to go in the future.

Crystal stayed late at work last night, and plans to stay late again tonight. I'm glad that she is really applying herself to her job, but sometimes I think she might be working too hard. I also feel that without funding, I'm really not towing my weight in the financial end of things. If I could get the funding that I've applied for, Crystal and I won't have to worry much about our finances for the duration of our stay. I'll work hard on the applications as soon as I hear back from the first round of application.

06 December 2007

Business Cards

Well, I think I may be finally getting some business cards to hand out at conferences and such. I'll let everyone know once I find out more.

My annual report is coming up due. I've filled out my part. Colin has been working on his, so we should get together this afternoon to sign everything and then send it off. Everything looks alright. I've got a lot of work to do over summer this year, but I should have a lot of my thesis done coming into Winter. The planned completion date is mid-2009. After that, I will still have the oral examination and I may stick around for graduation. But, I think I'll be home for good in 2010.