It just so happened that my mom needed to pick up their passports from the Taiwanese embassy in Flushing so she and Connie came along to drop me off. They then hung around for a couple hours until the embassy opened and managed to snag the passports. While everyone in my family is a US citizen, and were either upon arriving or from birth, Taiwan allows for dual citizenship of some sort and there's apparently some advantage to using a Taiwanese passport for part of their travel. I think it had to do with some discount or lack of some fees or whatever but in order to take advantage of it, everyone who's going to Taiwan/China in October went through with filing the passport applications.
I spent the day with Chelle, mostly just chatting and puttering around. I spent the entire time in the airport listening to the latest Dresden Files book, Ghost Story. I actually ran into a bit of a technical snafu while I was packing for the trip last night. Usually, when I need to transfer files to my netbook from my laptop, I use a small portable harddrive I bought a couple years ago. It's small and handy, and I usually load a variety of anime, audiobooks, manga, and whatever else I think I might need onto it. I then take the harddrive with me along with the netbook when I go anywhere on trips, like to gencon or even local cons. This way I can be always sure that I'll have something to occupy my time if I get bored.
The problem I had was despite searching, I couldn't find the little harddrive anywhere. I searched as best I could, but with all the clutter in my room it's very possible I just missed it. It's also possible that I accidentally left the damn thing in Indianapolis at that last PoS motel I stayed at. I wouldn't have thought that likely since I usually check and double check that I have the netbook and its peripherals, but it's just nowhere to be found. So my connundrum was that I had absolutely no way to transfer the audiobook files to the netbook from the laptop. I used to maintain some free webhosting accounts that I used to store files for easy access, but most of them shut down over time and I never searched for replacements. Most of the files I need to access are pictures or video anyway, and I can pop those up on LJ or youtube or even facebook. I simply didn't have any place to store several bigass MP3 files online where I could later snag them.
I ended up MacGuyver'ing a solution in a roundabout manner. The netbook basically only has a few USB ports for access and that's it. There are no cd drives or memory card readers or anything. I wasn't able to find any flash drives so I dug through my old digital camera and yanked out a microSD card. I was able to pop it into an adapter, stick it into my laptop, copy the files over and then stick it into my cell phone which I was surprised to discover has a microSD slot. I was actually able to play the files through my cell phone, something I had never attempted before, not being one of those people who need to listen to music wherever they go. The downside was that I had no headphones so the audiobook would play but it had to play on speaker. While in the airport, I tucked it into my badge holder and kept the volume as low as I could and still hear it. That simply wasn't possible while on the plane so I ended up holding my cell phone to my ear for the entire hour and a half flight. I wouldn't be surprised if some people thought I was making the longest phonecall ever or was simply nuts, since I was actually holding the phone closed and upside down to my ear.
So I spent a good chunk of the day listening to Ghost Story and it was pretty kickass. I think it might easily be Jim Butcher's best work yet and there are a couple of plot points which practically make me gleeful. I'll save that for a later entry since it'll probably ramble a bit, but it was so spiffy that I didn't even miss James Marsters after a while. The new guy didn't quite have Marsters' sardonic way of voicing Harry, but he didn't suck either by a longshot. It might just end up that the switch in voice talent might not be the absolute disaster I was afraid of.
Anyway, as I was listening to the last hour or so of the book this evening, exhaustion started to catch up to me. I was probably a little sleep deprived, since if it had been a normal day, I'd be sleeping at least a good chunk of it away. I actually dozed off a couple of times and would have to rewind back to catch what I had missed. I wasn't even sure I could finish the whole book before falling asleep for good. It's now 4 hours later and I'm still up. I can't freaking sleep! It's like the ending of the book actually caused my brain to activate as I pondered it and chased away Mr Sandman. So my plan to get a good night's sleep and sort out my sleep schedule has basically gone to pot. Even assuming that I fall asleep the minute after typing this entry, it'll probably mean I'll still carry some amount of sleep debt over.
Oh well. At least the book was worth it.