Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Egypt eve

I'm as excited as a kid at Christmas and as terrified as an adult about to fly across the world in a tin can. Starting tomorrow I spend 26 hours in airplanes and airports on my way to Cairo. Let's stipulate that tomorrow is not the fun part of the vacation.

Yet all is calm tonight. I've been a bit frantic lately with preparations for the Egypt vacation, and work was frantic with preparations for the LA trip that immediately follows it, so calm is unexpected. I'm waiting for Chinese food delivery while putting my three piles of stuff into three bags - main bag, carry-on bag, LA-only-that-gets-left-in-Edmonton-while-I'm-in-Egypt bag - but packing is pretty much done.

I left work at 5 having only forgotten to change my voicemail - easily remedied remotely.

There's a few things I need to pick up tonight, like contact lens solution - years ago I ran out in Bolivia and paid an astronomical sum for a bottle - and plane snacks.

A few loose ends with TV, eh? and the freelance work I'm doing on another website.

Maybe I should clean the apartment a bit more so I don't come home exhausted to a disaster.

And ... oh god. Time to stop writing. Will try to blog from the road.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pre-vacation anxiety

The real preparations have begun:

Trust me, there's a system. One pile is for Egypt, one for LA, one for carry on. I know it's hard to detect three piles, but they're there. Sort of. Now I'm whittling away to try to get them as compact as possible without sacrificing too many options. The most painful part is seeing how little I can get away with in the LA-only pile. I'm not going home between the two, but leaving the LA-only bag at my transfer point in Edmonton. So I won't have to take the LA items to Egypt but I'll have the Egypt wardrobe to pilfer from in LA. On the other hand, I don't want to look like I just climbed off a camel while dining in LA. This is why I've started to say I need steamer trunks and manservants.

Besides packing, I'm now in this tug-of-war between the part of me that needs to plan and prepare in order to feel less stressed about an unknown future, and the part of me that finds planning and scheduling to be stressful. I keep talking about LA as a work trip, and it is, but I'm staying a few days after the tradeshow to visit friends, too. I also won't get my tradeshow schedule until well into my Egypt holiday. So it's a jigsaw puzzle of trying to figure out who and when in LA without prioritizing my need to schedule over some very busy people's need to have a life that doesn't revolve around me. The nerve.

Things are coming together, though. I'm thrilled to be getting a tour of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory courtesy my NASA friend Sarah, and to be meeting another friend for the first time in person over chocolate chip French toast. Now to sort out the rest without fully knowing my schedule. I guess I like a challenge.

Egypt will take care of itself - we're booked on a tour and while there's flexibility within that, Teresa and I have either already made the decisions or can make them as we go, depending on our whims on the day. We have a couple of extra days in Cairo but again, we'll see what we feel like doing and have a 234 hour plane ride before we get there to make plans (all times approximate).

I am going to try to blog and tweet as I go, but that's going to depend on Internet access and time. In the meantime, I will continue to be the laissez-faire stresscase I always am pre-vacation.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Deja vu, Egypt style

One week to Egypt. The question I get asked most frequently right now is "Are you excited?" The comment most often directed to me is "You must be excited." And I answer yes, but the truth is more complicated. Or at least longer. With more bullet points.
  • Our first attempt in April was cancelled after the Icelandic volcano. Was Charlie Brown excited every time he went to kick the football? Because unreasonable as my brain knows this is, my heart can't stop feeling like the ball's going to be pulled away again. I'm not superstitious, except when I am, but I can't let myself anticipate too much. I will believe I'm going to Egypt when I'm sitting under a pyramid. And not these ones:

  • I'm still so happy to be sharing this experience with Teresa, and I know this is ridiculous, but the perfect story has been ... de-perfect-ified. It would have been the first time we'd seen each other in 8 years. Now we've had that reunion. It was timed for her 40th birthday and the end of my Olympic contract as our "Woe is We" trip. Now we have no woes. Well, no fun woes. Yet I wouldn't have traded our Edmonton as Egypt trip for anything. Anything but an actual trip to Egypt, that is.
  • I'm a homebody who loves travelling. I'm an introvert who tries to fight against the hermit instinct. This trip will take me out of my comfort zone. Which is great and exciting and terrifying and exhausting.I can't think about it too much or it's overwhelming. Exciting, but overwhelming.
  • Packing logistics are complicated by the fact that I'm heading directly to a Los Angeles work trip without going home first. My wardrobe and electronics needs are very different. But no way I'm bringing a laptop and formal black pants to Egypt. Also: I'm going to die of jetlag, working long days at a trade show on the west coast of North America starting the day after I return from Africa. And yet I'm excited about both trips.
  • While the original timing of the trip gave me something to look forward to during the gruelling final months of the Olympic contract, now I'm distracted by other exciting current and future commitments, including the LA trip - the work opportunity is great, and I'm getting a tour of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and seeing friends. There's a lot going on right after Egypt, and right now, which is great and exciting and terrifying and exhausting. And sometimes just mundane, but time- and thought-consuming.
  • But if I weren't excited, would my iGoogle look like this? 

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

TV, eh? podcast episode 10: Waking in a Bad Gemini Dream

Episode 10: Listen or download here or subscribe via iTunes or with any other program via the TV, Eh? feed

Anna Silk, the “sexy succubus” of Lost Girl, is this week's special guest, talking about her new Showcase series and her return appearance on the upcoming season three of CBC's Being Erica.

Anthony and I are exhausted just looking at the list of Gemini nominees (there are eleventy billion, as the wise Bill Brioux says) and I'm exasperated by the demonstration, yet again, of how little the Canadian TV industry thinks about their audience. (I was wrong in that nominees who are voting members of the Academy get one free ticket to the gala.)

Shattered's premiere ratings were better than I expected and worse than I hoped. Translation: they were pretty bad.

Before I call Anthony a jerk, we close the show with our favourite 10 Canadian shows, in honour of the Geminis inviting Canadians to vote on their faves of the last 25 years, and Toronto Life compiling their own top 10.

Spoiler alert!

Anthony's Top 10
(in no particular order except the first 2)
  • Hockey Night in Canada
  • SCTV
  • Slings and Arrows
  • Kids in the Hall
  • King of Kensington
  • Hilarious House of Frightenstein
  • The Friendly Giant
  • Hammy Hamster
  • The New Music
  • The Red Fisher Show

Diane's Top 10
(in no particular order except the first 1)
  • Slings and Arrows
  • Intelligence
  • The Newsroom
  • Durham County
  • Twitch City
  • Call Me Fitz (yeah, I know, pre-air – call me crazy)
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • Made in Canada
  • Rick Mercer Report
  • Some years of This Hour Has 22 Minutes

Your hosts

Sunday, September 05, 2010

TV, eh? podcast episode 9: The Bucky Gunts Summer Classic

Episode 9: Listen or download here or subscribe via iTunes or with any other program via the TV, Eh? feed
Callum Keith Rennie joins me, Diane Wild, for an interview about Shattered, where he plays a cop with multiple personalities.

But first, I try to convince Anthony Marco that the Emmys are worth watching. I did not succeed. I’m not sure I convinced myself. We mention the Gemini Award nominations which will have been announced by the time you listen to this.

Is 18 to Life returning to The CW? Maaayyyybeeee.

Anthony and I could not be less excited about Canada Sings. But if you disagree, casting is now open.

Then I discuss creative control in the Canadian television industry, from the consistent vision brought to Call Me Fitz to the multiple showrunners and lack of a cohesive vision on Shattered and The Listener. I mention my interview with Peter Keleghan, too, where he brings up some of the same issues. And Anthony laments that Shattered lost a golden opportunity to claim that their multiple showrunners were reflective of the multiple personality of the main character.

We finish up with how PVRs are affecting television viewing – for Anthony, it’s being even more annoyed by commercials, while Diane now gets weepy over iPhone 4 commercials.

Your hosts