What’s a good excuse for not writing?

We have excuses, really good ones. But who really cares? Bottom line, we enjoy sharing our full-timing life, what we’re up to, and we’re in an incredibly neat part of the U.S., and we’re neither writing about it nor will we be able to catch it up. It becomes lost like other chapters in our odyssey. We imagine, sometimes, we can pick one of those lost episodes and share it anytime later. Hope so.

This is at least the second time this year we have completely lost communication, slacked off, stopped answering email and stopped writing. No, make it three times. We had the post-holiday recovery in January. We crashed the Dell laptop in April – not exactly slacking off but a holiday from writing, yes. And we’re in the greater Seattle area and haven’t had much impulse to write.

Conditions require labels and mine has one. Jim ate a bad scone or something in Oak Harbor while we were staying in Deception Pass State Park on Whidbey Island a couple of weeks ago. Didn’t quite lose his lunch but spent two days in bed, suffered from severe stomach cramps three days, and felt poisoned. Lost his energy, lost muscle tone, stayed achey all over for days, and started reading spy and suspense novels. Bunches of them.

Yesterday Jim felt, for the first time, like his stomach has returned to normalcy. Not any certain size, but holding onto food and liquid without any cramping. He had, before the assault, spent every morning early outside with a cup of Matcha tea and a book. And on every other morning he followed a run with an hour of exercises.

He’s back to getting up early and reading for a little while, and want to start again with the exercise regimen. Jim felt good enough to wash and wax the truck (it looks so great!). And with the writing? Jim spent almost twenty hours in the past ten days learning MS Publisher and experimenting with a newsletter for the RV Service Net/WBCCI Amateur Radio Club. And it takes all the keyboard time anyone can stand in a day.

The newsletter is on ice for a couple of weeks. He’ll take a fresh look at it when we get to Ocean Park, WA, after September 12. Until then, we’re essentially without commitments. Or excuses. Well, almost. Today is Debbie’s birthday. Happy Birthday,

Today it has rained all day. Started sometime after midnight, a fine pouring rain started pattering on the roof. Sixteen hours later, it continues off and on. Mostly on. And the wind is buffeting our trailer hard. We’re in the middle of a 50 by 150 yards gravel parking area for itinerants like ourselves.

Washington Land Yacht Harbor is a WBCCI Club’s residential park. Almost all the 194 sites are built up with park models or mobile homes. A few others appear to have had a structure that has collapsed or been torn down. Unlike some parks we’ve visited, this one doesn’t have a mixture of RVs and residences. The owners have space for their RV on their large lot, or they can maintain their RV in the large storage field.

The available spaces for visitors to WLYH are in the “Terraport”, a pair of large gravel parking lots separated by Harmony Hall. The parking lots have three-way hook-ups for each site and the sites are lined with spray paint on the gravel. The physical layout works fine, the wifi (which I’m using now) works well, and Harmony Hall is very nice with large meeting and performance area, card playing room, pool table/ping pong room, kitchen, and library.

The park is large enough to afford great walking or we can exit to Steilacoom Rd’s walk/bike path or into nearby neighborhoods. WLYH is located conveniently close to Lacey’s Post Office, laundries, restaurants, grocers, and gas stations. There’s a Best Buy and Home Depot and SuperCuts and Cabelas. What else do we need? Oh yeah — a nice bakery next door to the Post Office. That’s a great idea!

We’ve met nice folks in the Terraport and a few during our walks, a few more during last Saturday’s Coffee and Rolls in Harmony Hall. And Washington State is NICE! The weather is mild, the coffee is strong (and delicious), the greenery is as green as North Carolina’s, and south Puget Sound is just a really nice area.

Our sightseeing generated some pictures we’ll share tomorrow. We visited Tacoma (Apple Store; Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the sturdy one; and Steamer’s, a seafood restaurant by the Sound) and spent a day in Lacey for the Sand Sculpture festival last weekend. Fun sights, good eats, great coffee, and fine weather.

Jim’s big birthday present is a new Macbook, arrived just yesterday evening. Our Dell’s crash in April left us without means to update our iPod’s music and podcasts. The iPod’s content, from the Dell, worked fine on the iPod but we could not update it or modify it. When the Dell crashed, the source for all the songs on the iPod disappeared.

While we own the real source, the compact discs (CDs) for all the music, we don’t travel with them. The eighty-five or so CDs are locked up in our storage unit on the East Coast. You know, you can’t take it all with you. And we back-up our data from the laptops, right? We thought so. But found out some things weren’t getting to the portable hard drives. Yep, the music wasn’t backed up.

Ask any Mac user what kind of computer to use and what will they tell you? A bunch of fanatics, these Apple advocates are. Jim’s brother, our children, many of our friends, 3/4 of the people we see in coffee shops (Bozeman, MT; Vancouver, B.C.; and Seattle area), and all the people we’ve met in WLYH so far are Mac users. There’s no other computer for these folks. Something in the water they drank?

We finally succumbed to this Mac thing and bought the Macbook. This is remarkable for a few reasons. We have both been using exclusively IBM-compatibles/Windows machines since they became available at work (mid-80’s). And first cost for the Macs is twice a Windows laptop’s cost.

Why is this worthwhile? For starters, the battery is rated at more than twice as long per charge. The Mac restarts instantly when you open the case. The applications are very slick and integrated, and do NOT crash. Composing and publishing documents is native to Apple’s entire history, and happens to comprise most of what we do.

The iPod thing helped the decision too — how many hours would it take Jim to re-load all the music from the CDs? Multiply 85 CDs X 15 minutes and it is over 20 hours. How long did it take to get all the music onto the Macbook? Twenty or thirty minutes to download SENUTI, register it, and run it with iTunes.

ITunes is all about moving music files from computer to the iPod, and definitely not the reverse. SENUTI is the reverse. If you use the free download you can move up to 1,000 files from the iPod to a computer and use the program for 30 days. We chose to register our copy ($18 USD) to allow unlimited files count and time.

We have over 2,800 songs on our little 4th generation 20gb iPod and enjoy using it to play our favorite music through our home’s sound system. And we can listen to podcasts through our truck’s stereo on driving days. We’re back in business with iTunes and the iPod, thanks to SENUTI.

Unfortunately we lost the playlists from our old iTunes setup. But we have all the songs, organized correctly by album and with genre and artists information complete. And we have the opportunity to reorganize our playlists, not a bad thing.

We’re learning how to navigate the slightly different keyboard shortcuts on the Macbook. This blog is solely from the Macbook, a minor victory already. We have no idea how the photo management will work out, and need this for tomorrow’s sightseeing blog here. Or we can revert to the still-functional Dell laptop.

The Windows machines fill a niche, even for switchers like us. We have an unknown (for now) number of applications not available to Macbook’s operating system (unless we load Parallels or another utility to allow running Windows on the Mac). We’ll keep the Dell running as long as we can for amateur radio apps and whatever else we need it for.

It’s time we get ready for our dinner downtown somewhere for Debbie’s birthday. I’ve rambled (a lot) but had a lot of ground to cover. Conspicuously, I’ve scarcely covered where we’ve been and what we’ve done since leaving Vancouver, B.C. over two weeks ago. That’s a good story for tomorrow, and we’ll make no excuses for not writing then.

See you tomorrow!

Jim and Debbie
locate us here
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©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr

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6 responses to “What’s a good excuse for not writing?

  1. Welcome back. Sorry to hear about those killer scones of the Pacific NW. Hope Jim gets fully recovered. Congrats on getting a Mac. Have been on the Apple train since 1986. Was so glad when iPod revolution put the company on solid financial footing and allowed people to sample the best computers in the world as well. If the RV Service Net/WBCCI Amateur Radio Club is spread out all over the country, email newsletter may be the way to go and Constant Contact is so easy to use and has the best online customer support, that is if Jim isn’t wedded to MS Publisher after putting all that time in.

    • Fully recovered, we think. Might not eat a scone for many moons. Heard encouraging news this morning about Apple’s plans for further increasing market share on readers and mp3 players. We’re not so much wedded to other apps, like Publisher, as we are tied to some by outside constraints. While we could migrate to another app for the newsletter we also are mindful others who succeed us might not be able to. We’ll figure this out before the next publication, early 2011.

      And thanks for your pm encouraging us to write again — you pushed us over the edge, longest blog we’ve ever written?

  2. I told you that you would love your Mac. Congratulations!

  3. I found myself reading this and wanting to look up and say to Chris, “Can I get a Mac?” (But, I’ll save this question for later today when his long weekend begins.) :-) Glad you like it. We’ve resisted the Mac for so many years but I am very tempted by it.

    Safe travels!

    • Lani,
      The Mac is still just a computer — but I keep messing with it to see, “what else will it do?” First benefit, it’s nicely smaller than our 15.4″ Dell, and the Incase we bought is also much lighter. Of course, we could have bought a 13″ Dell for far less moolah. Second benefit, as I’ve mentioned before, it’s just so much smarter than a Windows laptop.

      I was able to completely write the blog off-line, with pictures, last night, then copy and past it into WordPress this morning. Well, almost completely. I still had to copy the pictures again, because WordPress needs their means.

      But the Mac gives me a very real preview as I write, something harder (but not impossible) to do with Windows.

      Third benefit? Instant off and on, just by closing the lid. No longer awaiting the slow reloading of Windows (more a problem of Vista than XP), and even in the middle of most applications, not a problem to close the lid and resume any time.

      Although this was horrible with the Mac’s dvd player — We’ll be looking for a replacement app for this. Had to “force quit” the dvd player several times, and it is very very slow to load up. Maybe a function of the dvd I was watching? We’ll see.

      Great to hear from you again, looking fwd to reading your Aluminumbliss.com posts for August. I previewed and love the Emerson pictures. Welcome back to writing!

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