Our holiday plans

Created 1236105120 by Mithandir in category My Life

Hey all,

Those of you who frequent our IRC channel already know that Alien and I are planning another big trip this year. Since we've just booked our flights for it, I figured I'd bring the rest of you up to date (you know, in case anybody cares).

Older readers may remember that in 2007 Alien and I did a 21 day overland trip in eastern africa. We had such a great time there that we decided to go for something similar, except bigger.
This time around we'll be traveling in southern africa, taking Oasis Overland's "More Deserts and Game Parks" trip from Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) all the way to Johannesburg (South Africa). On the way we pass through Botswana, Namibia, Cape Town and most of South-South Africa and Lesotho. In total it's a 40 day trip plus a few days joining/leaving (the plane trip alone takes some 17 hours all told).

We're hoping this trip will be as great as the last one. The itinerary promises some great memories at least, but a lot depends on the group of people we'll be traveling with. Last time around we had a bunch of absolutely awesome people there (which made saying goodbye quite hard).

Now don't despair. We're not gone yet. The trip starts the 30th of august and we'll be gone from the 28th of august till the 10th of october. We're already working on making sure we have a buffer for the comic by then so you won't have to miss a single update, and we'll get somebody to keep an eye on the site and kill any spam that props up.

Once we get back, I'll bore you all too death with wildlife pictures :)

Some new flatmates

Created 1218715560 by Mithandir in category My Life

Two female Gerbils joined us after Jonatan, our spotted mouse, died. They have a big cage in a nice spot now and tease us by being entirely impossible to tell apart, forcing us to - for now - address them jointly as Trickxy.
(Both pictures are off the same gerbil. It seems one is more adventurous and thus the name Trickxy, but we can't tell whether it's consistantly teh same one being adventurous!).

Happy Anniversary to US

Created 1218127320 by Mithandir in category My Life

Today Alien and I celebrate our (unofficial) fourth wedding Anniversary. Yay us!

i'm an uncle once more

Created 1215521520 by Mithandir in category My Life

Today my sister gave birth to another beautiful daughter. I welcome to the world Dounia, daughter of Manninne and Mounir. 52 cm tall at birth and weighing 3950g. May the world treat you well.

Doing the right thing

Created 1215415680 by Mithandir in category My Life

I was cycling to my mother yesterday, taking a road through a small park next to the highway around Antwerp when I see a small black furry thing bouncing towards me. I look more closely and it turns out to be a kitten, running alone. Surprised, I stop. Some old people are cycling along the path in the same direction as the kitten and I wonder briefly whether they are the owners, but they pass me and the kitten can't keep up with them. Clearly they are not together.
I get off my bike and crouch down, the kitten turns and walks towards me a few steps. Carefully I close in until I get in petting range and after it has sniffed me a bit, I pick it up. It wriggles a bit, but seems otherwise content to be held.
At this point I notice a jogger so I approach her and ask if it's her kitten. She says no, and both of us think that, given the time (first week of school holidays) the location (small park next to highway) and the shape of the kitten (slightly malnourished), this kitten was abandoned there.
Considering all this, I decided to take the kitten home with me as it didn't look like it could have survived much longer on its own there. The jogging lady was most helpful, taking my bike so I could handle the kitten (who was now getting quite wriggly). A bit further on I managed to stuff the kitten into my camera bag, its head and paws sticking out so it could look around.

Of course, Alien and I already have two cats and our apartment is really not big enough for three (even tho they can leave any time they want) so I brought the kitten to my mother (who has wanted a cat for about a year now) so she and my niece could take care of it. Once there we fed it some milk that it hungrily devoured (it seems too young still for more solid food). It's a very curious and playful kitten and other than being very thin seems to be in good health (it's playing, exploring and washing itself, all good signs for kittens). Nonetheless, my mother is taking him to a vet today, just to be sure (and to get a better age estimate. We think he's between 1 and 2 months now).

Meanwhile, I've done a tour of the neighborhood where I found it, looking for posters about missing kittens. I'll post pictures of it in vets offices seeing if anybody lost it (after all, maybe it wasn't abandoned after all). Secretly I'm hoping nobody will turn up, so my mother and niece don't have to lose this darling kitten, but if you're doing the right thing, you have to do it the right way.

Oh, and here's a picture:

I'm 3 years old today

Created 1210056420 by Mithandir in category My Life

Yay me. After succesfully navigating 11, 2², I have now passed 3³ years of age. Next target: 44

Kids are too smart these days

Created 1206527880 by Mithandir in category My Life

So yesterday I was in the car with my 7ish-year-old (6.96 to be exact) niece, Imani. With me was also Alien (Siri).
At some point I said something to Siri in english and Imani asks (in dutch) "Why does Siri speak French?". So I explain that siri is Norwegian and ask her to say something in Norwegian, which she does.
Then the following conversation took place:

Imani: But I don't understand that language!
Me: That's Norwegian. And where are the Norwegians?
Imani: Well, here. In the car.

Kids are too smart these days :)

Cats and doors

Created 1191682320 by Mithandir in category My Life

For about a year now our cats have been locked into our apartment. Since we have double glass doors and windows, we never really had a way for them to get in and out ... until now:

Behold: The MacGuyvered Catdoor Contraption (MGCC):

We're so scared now ... our little kittens all alone outside ... what if they don't come back?

It's been a good week

Created 1180082700 by Mithandir in category My Life

Been ages since I posted here, so now's as good a time as any...

It's been a good seven days.


Last sunday I found a relatively cheap second hand flash unit for my camera. While it's not as compatible with my camera as I had hoped (it's an olympus flash, but from an earlier series), it's still nice to have. Yay!

On wednesday, I got a raise. Yay!

Also on wednesday I found out that Tales from Earthsea, the anime movie version of one of my favourite fantasy series will be played in antwerpian cinemas after all ... we're going to see it on saturday. Yay!

On Thursday the postman brought to me, one photo storage unit, whee. It's a nice one and working perfectly except it doesn't seem to accept my xD-H cards. Shrug, no big deal. It's a lot smaller than the previous unit I had (which broke) and can be charged from USB. Yay!

Also on thursday, my lens finally arrived! I had ordered a Sigma 135-400mm lens in early march but due to underproduction at Sigma, I'd all but given up hope on getting it before the africa trip. Hence I was very pleasantly surprised when I called my retailer and it had just arrived. I've taken some test shots with it and it seems I have a steadier hand than I gave myself credit for so even hand-held shots shouldn't be a big problem. Megayay!

On Friday I upgraded the firmware on the photo storage unit and it now accepts the xD-H cards. Yay!

I'll have some more posts up here soonish about the new lens, the trip to africa and what's going to happen to Chasing the Sunset while Alien and I are playing chicken with rhinoceroses.

Seeking Africa

Created 1171616100 by Mithandir in category My Life

Hey all!

Yesterday we paid the deposit on something Alien and I have been loosely planning for many months now: a trip to Africa.

And not just any trip.

The trip is called "East Africa & Gorilla encounters", it's a discovery style adventurous trip where a group of people travel together in a converted truck/bus through (in this case) Eastern Africa. We'll spend about 80% of the 21-night trip camping out in tents, the rest in small hotels/hostels. Starting and ending in Nairobi, we'll travel through parts of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. Highlights of the trip include (but are not limited to):

- Serengeti national park
- Ngorongoro Crater Reserve
- Lake Victoria and the sources of the white Nile
- Mountain gorilla trek in Rwanda's Volcano NP

The last part (for which we need special permits, which we're not yet certain we'll be able to get) will (if everything works out) put us within arm's reach of wild mountain gorillas (the same ones, incidentally that Dane Fossey, of gorilla's in the mist fame, studied). We'll only be allowed at most one hour near them, because authorities wisely want to limit tourist access.

We haven't got plane tickets yet, but likely we'll be leaving around the 7th or 8th of June (the trip starts the 9th) and be back the first of July. We'll do our best to have a buffer up by then so you'll have at least one comic per week while we're gone.
Meanwhile, we're working hard to get Alien in shape. It will be a strenuous adventure with some heavy walking and it will need a physical fitness that currently Alien does not have. As a result we have a bit less time for comic than usual, but we try.

It's an expensive trip for us (even now we're not sure we can really afford it :P) but our philosophy has always been that Life should be lived as fully as possible and this trip will give us unique experiences. Alien and I want to see the entire world, all its wonders, all its mysteries, drink teh soul of the earth and say "Yes, this is life.".