After a couple weeks of frantic preparation (last time I went down there was before Henry was born) in between numerous deadlines, I’m finally off. In a way, in fact, I’m half way to New Zealand; sitting in LAX, I’ve now finished 2 of my 4 flights to get from Cleveland to Christchurch. (My itinerary, courtesy of the United States Antarctic Program (USAP) agreement with American Airlines, takes me from Cleveland to Dallas to Los Angeles (done!), then to Sydney Australia (oops, went too far), then back to Christchurch, New Zealand. 33 hours, airport to airport, if I make that 30 minute connection in Sydney.

So far so good. Unfortunately it’s dark here in LA already, so I can’t get a good picture of a big airplane for Henry and Gilpin. :( Here’s a picture of me in the airplane from Cleveland to Dallas, though… still smilin’!

On the plane from Dallas I sat next to Ben Bixby, the CEO of a startup company called Earth Aid ( that is building tools so that consumers can more easily track their household energy consumption; you sign up, and if your area is covered they can download your utility information so you can track and plot your usage, expenses, etc. It’s free to you… looks pretty cool!

Next stop, New Zealand!