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Time to pass out. Stories and photos to come.
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This avocado is to a Haas avocado like browned butter is to regular butter, or parmesan cheese is to mozzarella cheese. The flavor is just more complex and intense, like the fats are richer or something.

Oh, and it is HUGE.
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Greetings from A-Town!

[ profile] beatings rocking the drums while my cousin Kwele (facing the camera) and some other members of the Watengwa crew rock the mic.
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I think I discovered the secret Central Park Time Travel Research Laboratory.

Also, just moments before I was standing in a particularly overgrown area of the park.

Some dude: Daayum they sure let this place go.
Some lady: It's an ecosystem, fool!
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Oh hey, look. A painting! Click the image to find out what else is on that canvas.

WARNING: To say this is not safe for work would be an understatement. Not safe for work, mind, etc. You cannot unsee this, even if you tear your eyes out.

If you're crazy enough to want to see it, here's the full-res original image, or some highlights from the canvas below. The artist shooed me away before I could get a "better" shot of it.

Aaaaaaand now... you probably need a unicorn chaser. Here, see the adorable man I bought a t-shirt from. Isn't he the best?

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I'm watching the Hudson river turn silver waiting for the NYC fireworks display to start. My flight landed way early and I got an awesome cab driver who took me to the perfect spot. I gotta say... This is pretty awesome. Maybe I'll be able to post fireworks photos later.

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This is it. I'm packed, I'm ready to go. This is everything I'm taking with me, including what I'll be wearing in the morning and what will be in my pockets (except for the jacket and hat I left by the door).

Total weight: 23 lbs.

That includes:

- passport + wallet (the key ingredients)
- legal documentation that I have yellow fever and hepatitis a/b vaccines
- three days' worth of clothing for mixed warm/cool wet/dry weather
- a sun hat and a rain hat
- hiking shoes and open sandals
- emergency medical supplies
- full compliment of toiletires
- lots of sunscreen and mosquito repellant
- two kinds of anti-malaria medication
- emergency food rations
- two water bottles (one with crazy good filtration system)
- two digital cameras (one pocket-size, one not so)
- string mono/duo-pod and gorillapod for camera stabilization
- insanely bright LED flashlight
- 24 AA batteries for flashlight and cameras
- all kinds of crazy foreign power adaptors
- one laptop with power supply and external hard drive
- one Audio-Technica AT2035 condenser microphone + shockmount and XLR cable (special request from a recording studio I'll be visiting in Arusha)

and... some other stuff I can't remember

I really can't believe it all fits...

I even managed to keep the laptop and 1-quart bag of 3-oz containers (!@#$!@#$ TSA) easy to take out and put back in for the inevitable security check.

So, anyway. Off I go.
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It felt really good to tie up loose ends at work and turn on my vacation auto-reply for my work email. That's a whole set of neural pathways that can just go dark for a while. Work: the end. (for now)

I've only got a few errands to run and items to buy before I'm set to go. In 32 hours my plane takes off. Three weeks of semi-aimless exploring is sounding basically perfect right now.
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Holy crap they're finally releasing The State on DVD. I thought this day would never come. I only found that out because these photos reminded me of the sideways house sketch and then... well you know how the internet is.
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What's on my mind:

What's on my plate:
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Gorillapod testing result: HUGE SUCCESS

Can't wait to go someplace worth photographing!
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Getting more and more items from of my pre-trip checklist taken care of, and less than 10 days to go!

Tonight I'll go bag hunting, probably at REI. Gonna find a fits-like-a-glove bag for the Canon SX1. Also want to see if any reasonably priced large (but not too large) backpacks suit my needs better than the schoolbag type ones I already have.

The excitement is building :D
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Initial test footage with Canon SX1. Yes, I know it's cheesy as hell to put background music in videos.

Ants: YouTube and Vimeo.

Bees: YouTube and Vimeo (not in HD due to restrictions on free Vimeo accounts).

Decisions, decisions... YouTube, which has marginal playback quality, is free with unlimited uploads... Vimeo, which has excellent playback quality, is free for one HD upload a week or you pay to get more. Hmm....

Overall, I'm pleased with the camera and the quality of the photos and videos it produces. My examples certainly aren't stellar, but I'm still getting used to driving the thing. Next weekend I'm definitely going to play around with it more, maybe head for a beach somewhere or something.

Also: I am absolutely going to make a string monopod for the trip. With a full loop of string, it could even be used as a mock duopod/tripod. Neat.
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My new Canon SX1 arrived today, though I didn't really get much time to play with it. Amazing photo and video quality from the first round of test shots. Loving it. I'll spend the next two weekends taking as many photos and videos as I can to get comfortable with it before the big trip.

I also got CHDK (Canon Hackers Development Kit) installed on it with no issues. Well, except for the fact that I couldn't leave well enough alone and wrote a new installation script. If anybody with a supported Canon camera wants to try preparing a camera card for CHDK installation under OS X, give it a try.

hash bang slash bin slash bash )

The features in CHDK I really want to use are the scriptable and highly configurable time-lapse photography tricks. People are working on ones that adjust aperture and shutter speed, etc, across the day and night so you can take really long time-lapse shots and have the exposure be correct for the time of day. Yet another hacking hobby. Neat stuff!

I should get some sleep now so I can enjoy some daylight with the new camera later.
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