2002 Q1 Vacation:  5149.46251ÕN, 044.9946ÕW

Day 0:  Tue 19 Mar 2002

00:00 Š 03:00 GMT (Errands)

I started the day heading home from work.  I had stayed a little bit later than usual to make sure all the right loose ends were wrapped up before I left.  All the emails and voice mails answered or delegated to others, the out of office messages on, etc.  I dashed home for just a few minutes, then a quick trip to the physical therapist that is torturing my left shoulder because I fell on it and hurt it while attempting (and failing) to ski about a month and a half ago.  Then it was a mad rush to get to Radio Shack before they closed.  I needed to have a power adapter for England, or all my various electronic equipment would run out of battery juice long before the end of this vacation.  I made it, got my stuff, and then wandered randomly awhile (at least an hour) trying to decide if I should stop to get food.  But in the end I decided that I had eaten the day before, so additional food wasnÕt really necessary yet.

03:00 Š 07:00 GMT (Procrastination)

Once I finally decided I wasnÕt eating and went home, it was time for the most productive time of the day.  I sat down on the couch, answered some email, and watched stuff I had recorded on my TiVo.  I did absolutely nothing useful.  I procrastinated doing any packing.  I sat and watched TV.

07:00 Š 14:00 GMT (Sleep)

Eventually I got tired and fell asleep on the couch in front of the TV.  I slept about 7 hours.  Longer than I really should have given I hadnÕt packed yet, but thatÕs OK I guess. 

14:00 Š 21:00 GMT (Packing)

I finally got up and started thinking about packing.  WellÉ  not immediately.  First I slowly roused myself.  Then I decided I had to clean things up a bit.  Then I cleaned the birdcage and switched the birds to the clean cage and fed them.  Then I got all the electronics that I knew I wanted to take together in a pile.  While this was going on I was doing laundry, because I didnÕt have enough clean clothes for the trip.  And of course since I tend not to be able to stick to one thing for too long, I would occasionally sit down, watch TV and answer email.  Around the end of this time I realized I had to get myself in gear or I would be late for my plane.  So I grabbed the clothes I needed, made sure I had everything else, threw them into my suitcase and put the things I would need on the plane into my backpack.  I was finally ready to go.

21:00 Š 22:00 GMT (Rush to the Airport)

While I still had about three hours until my flight, I was an hour from the airport, and with all the security stuff since 9/11, they say you are supposed to get there many hours in advance, especially for international flights.  So I sped North on the New Jersey Turnpike as fast as the traffic would allow without me looking TOO obviously like I was just asking for a ticket.  I made it to the airport with about two hours left before my flight was scheduled to leave.

22:00 Š 23:00 GMT (Security Checkpoint)

Well, once parking and all was taken care of, I headed to check-in.  I was immediately flagged for a random full security scan, along with several other people.  This meant that my checked bag was X-rayed as well as my carry on.  It meant that they swabbed all my electronics (laptop, camcorder, digital camera, cell phone, pager, PDA, iPod, batteries, etcÉ) for bomb residue.  They also of course checked my shoes.  I trust they did not find anything, because they did indeed eventually let me through.

23:00 Š 00:00 GMT (Illicit Photographs)

I still had some extra time once I had found my gate and was all ready to go, so I got into a little trouble.  I had seen the National Guard type folks at the security checkpoint with their fatigues and weaponry and all, and decided I wanted a picture.  Now, I wasnÕt sure, but I had a suspicion there were probably some rules about taking pictures of these guys.  Like, you probably were not supposed to.  I thought about going up to one and asking if I could take his picture.  But that just isnÕt me.  So I decided I would try to sneak a shot.  I had it all set, I was holding this thing down so the flash on my camera wouldnÕt go off, I was coming up from behind so they werenÕt looking at me, etc.  Then this family walked right in front of my shot as I was taking it, I startled, let my finger off the button at the wrong time, and the flash went off.  I got a picture of the ceiling. 



But five of the guys in fatigues started coming toward me and telling me to come talk to them.  They informed me I couldnÕt take pictures of the security area, or they would have to take my camera.  They saw it was digital so they asked to see what I had.  I showed them the lovely picture of the ceiling, which they said I did not have to delete.  How nice of them.  I then went away as rapidly as I could, chagrined that I had not gotten the shot.


Then, risking arrest and harsh penalties and such, I decided to try again.  This was probably a stupid thing to do.  But I went into a little cafŽ that had a window facing where the fatigue guys were.  I got an ice cream then sat down and pretended to play with my camera.  I actually took a highly blurry rushed shot of the guy who had asked me to not take pictures of the checkpoint.  I think technically I did not take a picture of the checkpoint, because he was standing a bit away from it.  I just have him standing next to a wall.  And in fact you can barely tell that the blurry blob of green is a guy in fatigues.  Not my best camera work.  But I was trying to be stealthy though, and was probably pushing the line and would have been chastised if caught, even though the actual picture I took in no way endangers national security or anything and I donÕt THINK it would be considered a shot of the security area itself, which was what they were worried about.  It is just a blurry green guy next to a wall.  But probably still silly for me to have done.  But it was the principle of the thing, you know?  I wanted a picture of the guy in fatigues!




So by then it was time to board my flight from Newark to Gatwick.  Boarding went smoothly.  I had nobody in the seat next to me so I had plenty of room.  The flight was a few minutes late leaving, but not much.  We left right around 00:00 GMT.