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Christiana Ellis
26 February 2008 @ 12:51 pm
As with the last post, this post is really just me forcing myself to type the words because I want to get back into the habit. It's not that I don't WANT to journal, it's just that it seems to always slip down on the priority list.

That's kind of what I mean by the title of the post too. There are all of these things that I want to be able to do, and there just aren't enough hours in the day. For example, though I love writing and podcasting, spending time on those things is that much less time that I have for other things that I used to do a lot, like going to movies.

Then, when I have to work longer hours for a while, or travel, (I'm doing both recently), it means even less time for those things. So I have all these projects that I love, but when I have so little time to work on them, I feel like the schedule is sliding out of my control sometimes, and so I get anxiety about something that, often, I don't really HAVE to do.

Sometimes, but only for the briefest moments, I envy the people who really don't feel the need to do anything besides work, then come home and watch TV or play videogames. Seems easier.

Then again, just knowing myself, when I do that I start getting itchy to create something again.

I don't think there's really much of a solution to this anxiety so much as it is just kind of the way life is. I have ambition and creative urges, and curiosity and imagination. And there is such an infinity of wonder and beauty and fun in the world, that no matter how much time I had available, I wouldn't be able to do it all.
Current Location: East Stroudsburg, PA
Current Mood: anxiousanxious
Christiana Ellis
18 February 2008 @ 06:21 pm
I'm not really sure I have anything specific to say right now. As always, it's not a matter of not having anything worth talking about, but rather, how to distill 24-7-worth of life into a simple post.

I haven't written here in a long time and so this post I guess is really just intended to be a check-in and re-opening the door sort of thing. I'm doing pretty okay for the most part. Same sorts of aggravations as always, but lots of good things too.

In particular, I'm very proud of the audiodrama mini-series I just wrapped up: Space Casey

I've also been doing lots of voice acting for various podcasts around the podosphere, and I've been enjoying that a lot. Some of those include:

Morevi Remastered
Metamor City
Murder at Avedon Hill
(huh, just realized those are all M-titles. Weird.)

And I read a flash piece (already out) and a short story (coming soon) for the horror-fiction podcast Pseudopod.

So, definitely keeping busy, and lots going on. But I wanted to get back into trying to write here more often, so here I am.
Current Location: Home... for now.
Current Mood: weirdweird
Current Music: American Gladiators finals
Christiana Ellis
16 September 2007 @ 09:20 am

Continued from Part 6

Go to Part 1

The next morning (Wednesday), we were checking out of the Westin, but we took our time. The hotel had a couple of very nice Japanese gardens and a lengthy bird-watching trail. My brother and I hiked that trail and had a wonderful time, even though the heat and humidity, even that early in the morning, meant that we definitely needed a shower when we got back. then returned to the room to shower and pack up. We took a taxi from the Westin, to our new hotel, another traditional Ryokan, but one of the crazy fancy (and expensive) ones, right in the middle of Gion.


My Japan Photos

Christiana Ellis
13 September 2007 @ 06:42 pm

Continuing from Part 5

Go to Part 1

It was up early the next morning (Monday) to finish the newsletter before programming started for the day. We didn’t quite make it, but we came pretty darn close, and got everything taken care of. I actually wasn’t able to stay at the con after that, because I had to rejoin my brother and mother to catch our train to Kyoto. I bid farewell to everyone I’d met and hung out with at the con, and was mildly embarrassed when everybody was giving everybody else small presents, but I’d forgotten to get anything. Oops. Still, all in all, it was a great con, and a perfect centerpiece to our Japan trip. 


Continued in Part 7
Christiana Ellis
12 September 2007 @ 06:49 pm
Continued from Part 4
Go to Part 1

**I am home from my trip now, but parts of this series of entries were written while still in Japan**

Okay, it’s actually before breakfast now and I should have twenty minutes or so. I’ll try to get a little more of this out. It’s been such an awesome trip that I just haven’t had that much down time or time for writing, but I really want to document this stuff before it begins to blur even more than it already has. 


When we’d finished that, we made some attempt to upload the footage to create a backup but we were not altogether successful, and then we watched some of my DVD’s of “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya”, but we only made it two episodes in before everyone was so tired that we called it a night.

Remember you can find all my Japan pics right here.

Go to Part 6
Christiana Ellis
09 September 2007 @ 08:36 pm

Continued from Part 3

I spent the rest of that afternoon with various wanderings and newsletter helpings. Dinner was sushi with Paul and Martha at (Can you guess?) the mall again. They just had so many different restaurants there, you could eat three meals a day for a week without repeating yourself. Anyway, that particular place had some odd variations on things that I’d come to think of as standard. Perhaps this had something to do with the Japanese only menu. Only way to order was to point at a picture and cross your fingers. For example, there were mussels in my miso soup, and the meals came with an odd little cup of soy custard, as well as a sauce that we suspect was tempura dipping sauce.





Okay I'm actually back now, but will be posting this a piece at a time. Remember you can find all my Japan photos here. Christiana's Japan Flickr Set

Go to Part 5
Current Location: At home, for once
Current Mood: exhaustedJetlag
Christiana Ellis
03 September 2007 @ 08:08 am

Continued from Part 2

Go to part 1

When I last left off, I had just left the hotel room to go register for the convention. Nippon2007, this year’s Worldcon host convention. Almost immediately upon making my way to the convention registration table, I spotted Clinton Alvord of Comedy4Cast, as well as his wife and son. As Clinton was one of only three people that I already knew that would be at the con, I went up to say hello. We chatted a bit about our respective trips to date and agreed to meet later for dinner.

To be continued...

Pictures go here.

Go to Part 4

Current Location: Kyoto, Japan
Current Mood: geekygeeky
Christiana Ellis
31 August 2007 @ 01:36 am
Continued from Part 1

Wow, I’ve been so busy that I haven’t been able to write anything about my impressions of the last few days. I’m making the time now, because I’m afraid that if I wait any longer, I’ll begin to forget things.

So… Where did I leave off? I believe that we were getting ready to leave the Holiday Inn Narita for Tokyo.

That means, I’ve caught up to now again, and it’s time to go register for the con!

P.S. I didn't actually post this until the next day, but the events between then and now will have to wait until the next post!

Pictures will be here: http://flickr.com/photos/19376100@N00/
Some are up now, more will follow.

Go to Part 3
Current Mood: crazycrazy
Current Music: Scifi keyboard music
Christiana Ellis
26 August 2007 @ 06:13 pm
Well, we made it to Japan.

For those who don't already know that I was going to Japan, I'm here for two weeks with my mother and my brother David. The timing is so we can attend Nippon2007 AKA Worldcon, but we are also going to be spending several days in Tokyo and Kyoto, before and after the con respectively.

So I made the decision to stay up Friday night before my early morning Saturday flight, first from Raleigh to Chicago, where I would meet my mom and brother, and then from Chicago to O'Hare. Staying up was to get a head start on the jetlag and it seems to have worked pretty well. (Brief side note: I really hate the Chicago airport. Least favorite I've ever been to. :P)

First leg was ordinary, then had a 4 1/2 hour layover waiting for our flight to Tokyo, but I met up with my family pretty quickly, so the time passed faster than it would have if I'd been alone. Then the flight. Ugh. 13 hours in the air. The seats are actually more comfortable than most normal domestic flights and they have lots of movies and such to watch, but thirteen hours in that cramped space is still not what I'd call fun. Just the price we have to pay I guess. Better than spending a week on a boat or something. Fortunately I managed to sleep through about half of it, which was the plan, of course, and the reason I stayed up the night before.

We arrived at the Tokyo airport and made our way through customs without too much trouble. The airport was pretty crowded, and we were starting to see some Japanese flavor, stores, vending machines, etc., but still, airports are airports. We picked up our G-Phones (American Cell-phones don't work here), our Japanese rail passes, and then exchanged our currency.

For the first night, we chose to stay at a hotel near the airport, so we left the terminal to catch our hotel shuttle. We arrived mid-afternoon and the weather was overcast, but hot and humid. Ahh... feels just like home. ;)

Most of the locals we've come across so far speak English pretty well, but it's occasionally tricky to recognize when they are speaking Japanese and when they are speaking accented English. Our shuttle driver had to say "Holiday Inn" three or four times before we realized what he was saying.

I didn't manage to learn much Japanese, but I've been trying to use what I know. Which basically amounts to pointing at things that I know the word for and saying the word. For example, pointing to a plane and saying "hikooki" (plane). I get laughed at a lot.

We arrived at our hotel, the Holiday Inn Tobu-Narita, and got all checked in. It's a western-style hotel, so aside from the wacky robot toilet/bidet and the tea-maker instead of the coffee-maker, the biggest differences from American hotels are the contents of the vending machines and the programs on the television.

After settling in a little, my mom and brother were on a mission to find beer, and I went along. They had beer in the hotel lounge and I had some sake. Mmmm... I likes me some sake.

There, we discussed where to go for dinner. We had a choice of a more western-style restaurant and buffet or the "Chinese Bamboo Garden." We chose the latter and had "Sour and Pepper Soup" (Much like Hot and Sour Soup, but with some kind of sesame oil too,) Shanghai fried noodles, and sauteed pork with cabbage in garlic and sweet bean paste. Everything was good but the pork was especially tasty. I haven't really tasted anything quite like it before, and it was very good.

Then we browsed all the Japanese-y stuff they had at the gift shop and I bought some ice cream from a vending machine. It was a box full of individually wrapped bite-size chocolate ice-cream nuggets. Pretty tasty.

By then, we were ready to crash, so we went to bed. My brother and I were a little better-rested than my mom, so we got up about 5:30 AM and walked around the hotel a little. Not much to walk to, but it's sometimes fun to check out the "ordinary" stuff in addition to the touristy stuff. It was hot and humid already, so we just checked out the hotel grounds and took some pictures.

In a little bit here, we're going to go have breakfast at the hotel restaurant, and then the plan for the rest of the day is to take the shuttle back to the airport and leave our luggage there while we walk to a nearby temple. Around lunch time we'll be catching the train into Tokyo proper. We're staying in a more traditional Japanese hotel in Ginza for the next two nights, so we'll be checking in there and figuring out something to do this afternoon. I'm sure we won't have trouble thinking of something. ;)

Continue to part 2
Current Location: Japan, Narita
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
Current Music: Ridiculous Japanese TV
Christiana Ellis
01 August 2007 @ 09:15 pm
Wow, what an evening it's been.

I've been traveling for work the last few weeks (and for the next few weeks,) and though the work itself has actually been good, the travel part of it has involved more stress than usual. (In particular due to some SPECTACULAR examples of luggage-losing by US Airways. (Twice in one weekend!))

Today was a relatively good day, but there was some miscellaneous business issues that I will not discuss in any more detail here except that it led to a stress-inducing phonecall when I got back to the hotel. The call involved my overreacting to a perceived critical tone that may or may not have been actually there, and the whole incident, even though it ended on a good note, left my nerves on edge a bit.

I'd been hoping to get a lot done this evening, but I really just couldn't even begin to sit down at the keyboard at that point, so I decided to leave the laptop and the cell phone behind, and take a walk.

It just so happens that my hotel is right next to a cemetery.

Because I've always found cemeteries to be peaceful, contemplative places, I decided to take my walk through there and found myself unexpectedly moved. I've been feeling somewhat adrift lately, spiritually speaking, and of course a cemetery, by its very nature, tends to bring many of those questions back to the fore of your mind.

I sat for a while on a very nice bench, looking over the gravestones and past them to a horizon full of green deciduous trees, which were taking on a slightly golden tint from the setting sun. It was quite beautiful, and I cried there for a while, though I could not say exactly what I was crying for or about.

I didn't have any special epiphanies or anything, but that old cliche about needing a good cry every so often is actually true, and I did feel better afterward. I continued sitting there until I had reached a place of calm, then I walked back to the hotel. I had a fine dinner of pene with marinara, meatballs, sausage, and sauteed onions and green peppers, and I really took the time to enjoy the meal instead of focusing on other things. Then I returned to my room to a pair of beautiful things.

First, Paul Fischer had sent me this link: Yokohama by night

I'm going to Yokohama at the end of the month, for Worldcon, but I have to confess that I'd not really seen any pictures except the one on the hotel website.

Then, I read an email from a fan of Nina Kimberly the Merciless that made me cry again, but this time, it was all joy.

I didn't really make any progress on my various projects tonight, and I think I'm going to blow them off for the rest of the evening as well and just watch some quality British Television on my computer.

At the end of the night, I've not really reached any special enlightenment or anything, but I did have a profound evening, if only in an abstract way, and I wanted to write about it.
Current Location: East Stroudsburg, PA
Current Mood: peacefulpeaceful