Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Preparations for another journey

Body run-down again. It seems that sitting in air-conditioned libraries lately may not be a good idea! Body aches, lymph nodes swollen, unusual amount of sneezing.

While listening to “Democracy Now!”, I stood in the opened patio doorway, absorbing the warmth of the early morning sun.

Drove over to the nearby "Starbuck’s" for coffee and a scone.

Packing day. I also hoped to have lunch or dinner with Jessica before departing on my journey.

Last night, Henry asked me to leave the broken front door sweep outside, so he could replace it. I removed the shredded flimsy piece of plastic months ago, and merely sealed the gap under the door with a towel each night. No one will do that when I’m away. So I decided to finally take care of it.

Over to "Friedman Brothers" building supply store (a taste of the old "shopper" days.) Found a more durable anodized aluminum weatherstrip. Also picked up two flood lamps (two of four lamps in the apartment had burned out, yet I didn’t mind using only half the energy, but thought Henry and Charlene might frown on my lack of proper maintenance.)

At "Oliver’s Market", I bought some things for the road. With no panniers or tie-downs, I had to balance the bag of groceries on the gas tank as I drove home.

Felt my body dragging today.

Over to Jess’ later, taking some groceries from my refrigerator and cupboard. We went out to dinner at “Sushi to Dai For”, my first visit there. (Her roommate Kellie was at another table, on a date.) On the ride over, her car was making a grinding noise. I suspect the transaxle u-joints are wearing out. It’s time. We talked a long time about what to do. I suggested a number of options.

Jess led me through the menu, suggesting things to try. Had a rice beer for the first time. It was good, refreshing. We went to “A’Roma’s” for a coffee afterwards. She mentioned that when she was in Thailand, following the tsunami, she considered going to Sri Lanka to help out in the recovery.

Back at home, I moved my wine into the empty refrigerator and turned the thermostat to its warmest setting.

Retired after midnight.

***

It hardly feels like I’ve stopped traveling. Living in a tiny (less than 300 square foot) apartment, I'm surrounded by travel gear that can be assembled in a day. Over the past year, I've continued to live a pretty austere, traveler's existence, seeking to accumulate nothing, and to extract the last measure of life from everything in my possession. I grudgingly pay out only when absolutely forced. (A few days ago, I used up the last bar of hotel soap, from last Autumn's trip!) I've cut back consumption in many areas. It might be regarded as fanatical, still I am thankful for all that I have, and don't feel any material lack.

One of the little decisions I faced leading up to this trip was "do I buy a new laptop computer?" The one I have now has been barely functional for the past two months. The "Lenovo" tech support says the "motherboard" is bad. $475 to replace it. (But the replacement comes with just a 30-day warranty! And other components will likely fail in the near future.)

In an on-line forum, someone suggested re-soldering the video chip, but local repair shops won't touch the motherboard nd I've been unable to identify the defective component.

I'm not ready to deal with the set-up of a new computer, the transfer of programs and files, and all the unforeseen hurdles one usually encounters in such undertakings. Not ready to pay that price. So, no new computer yet.

I've limped along the past couple months relying on the public library and Junior College computers.

Meanwhile, I had attempted to back-up files from my hard drive, prior to doing a complete restore of the factory settings. That required about 25 CDs and was a painfully slow process, often interrupted by computer crashes and corrupted files. Afterwards I discovered that two of the CDs were exact duplicates. The second CD should have contained all my photos of Adventure Camp, Toddy’s photos, the SXSW Festival photos, and my America’s Trip documentation. None of that had been saved, and was now completely erased from the hard drive. Perhaps most painful to accept, were the loss of detailed records of virtually every expense associated with the trip, beginning in January 2005. I had painstakingly recorded every purchase, expense, the places, mileage, repairs, etc. Oh, well. It must have been irrelevant.

Also not captured by the back-up (though I followed proper instructions for backing up “Microsoft Outlook” files and the appropriate “.pst” files appeared on the back-up discs): all my contacts. Over 1,200 contacts, including names, addresses, birth dates, family information, work information and notes, collected over the past 8 or 9 years.

There’s nothing like being a “beginner”, starting afresh!

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