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31 December 2009 @ 01:07 pm
Meanwhile, life goes on  
Apart from the Mars thing, I haven't had a single substantive blog post this month. Sorry about that.

In mid-December we spent five days at Walt Disney World. We had a blast. My favorite part of the trip was the Animal Kingdom, which is basically a world-class zoo with thrill rides and shows; my favorite ride was Mission: Space at Epcot, a simulated trip to Mars (and at the time I had no idea I'd be taking the next step on that trip in January). I've posted pictures from the trip over at Flickr.

By going to Disney World halfway between Thanksgiving and Christmas we avoided crowds almost completely. Between the lack of crowds, willingness to hit the parks right when they opened, and cunning use of The Unofficial Guide and RideMax software we could basically do whatever we wanted without having to stand in line for more than ten minutes. And unlike 1992, the food was excellent -- our dinner at Jiro, in the Animal Kingdom Lodge, was a standout.

This was the first time I'd ever tried one of those package vacations and it worked really well. Southwest Airlines had a special of "buy one airfare, get one free" and "buy one Disney ticket, get one free" which meant that the whole trip cost ony $1800: two people, five days, including airfare, hotel, and car. We stayed on-property at Port Orleans French Quarter and it was lovely and oh so convenient. I'd do it again, for sure.

Even while we were at Disney the writing has continued. I haven't missed a single writing day this year, though in December I've bumped my words-per-day quota down from 500 to 250. It's become rather a chore, unfortunately, and so I am going to continue this regime for only one more day (365 days in a row) and then take January 1 off. Having broken the streak I will then be free to try something different in the new year.

I made a sale last week... well, I say "sale" but it was really only that I received the contract for a submission that had been informally accepted some weeks ago. My novella "Second Chance" will be in Alembical II from Paper Golem LLC, appearing some time next year.

Much of this week has been consumed in Mars prep. I bought a bunch of stuff, such as a new sleeping bag and gloves, which will be necessary for the cold dry desert. I've been reading a lot; maintenance and operations of the simulated Mars habitat are complicated and tricky. And I've already started my work as crew journalist by copy-editing the crew bios which have just been posted. It is an impressive bunch of people and I feel rather as though I'm just along for the ride. I hope that I can pull my weight by assisting in the science and engineering as well as doing my primary job which is to document and publicize the mission.

Life goes on. Chop wood, carry water.

Intelligentrix: Jon Stewart-Yay!intelligentrix on December 31st, 2009 10:30 pm (UTC)
I meant to respond when you first posted the news about your acceptance to the MDRS crew. Firstly, congratulations! That's fabulous! I'm sure you'll have an excellent time and return with even more ideas for stories bouncing around in your brain-pan. Secondly, a very dear friend of mine (we go back to high school) is seriously involved with the Mars Society. He's a past president and served as medical director at the arctic station. I had a fine time keeping up with his exploits up there via webcam and updates. His name is Tam Czarnik, so if you have any dealings with him, please feel free to mention our connection. There's an excellent interview with him online at Cyberista.