Monday, November 14, 2005


This is the post you've all been waiting for, and I think I finally edited it enough for general perusal. Now, let's travel back in time to when I was on the road...

...So for the second straight day I don't have an internet connection available to me. I'm at my grandmother's house in Dearborn, MI. There's one wireless network within range, but I'm not going to go door to door asking for passwords to sponge a signal. Thinking ahead, I grabbed NetZero and the local access numbers for this area. But my grandmother has no phone. All I needed was a dial tone, and I couldn't even manage that.

Obviously I'm not editing this online. I'm writing it in Notepad for posting when I get back to civilization. I should have installed more software because then I could edit it directly in my LJ editor of choice, and put it up later. Now I have to cut and paste and use an unfamiliar program.

One thing that I like to do periodically when I don't have a connection to the internet is to write some stupid program to pass the time. I can't do this, since I neglected to install any dev environment on this box before I hit the road.

And I can't work. I would like to be playing poker right now instead of wasting the time doing next to nothing, but I can't. This is teaching me to be a better boy scout than I have been in the past.

In other news, I grabbed a digital camera a couple days ago. It's one of the few Canon cameras that do not come with a rechargeable battery pack. It takes AAs, and oh does it take them! AA batteries : Canon camera :: plankton : blue whale. Every 40 pictures or so I need to replace them. Tonight I went to Best Buy (the store of choice for all my recent digital camera needs, since there was always one close to where I was staying), and grabbed 4 Lithium batteries. And a little camera bag. The bag is big enough for the camera itself, as well as a supply of batteries. I suppose I could fill it with extra memory cards too, but I have a 512 MB SD card. This is enough for about 1,497 pictures of pretty good quality. The memory card that it came with is a 16 meg MMC, which is good for another 40. I don't know if I should bother carrying that with me, but I see no reason not to since I already have it. It's fine in case of an emergency when I really need a picture, I guess.

The good thing is that my laptop has an SD card reader built into it. The bad thing is that while my camera can take either SD cards or MMCs, the laptop will not read MMCs. This is fine, except that 16 meg card that came with the camera originally is (as I said) an MMC. Not only does it hold an insignificant number of pictures relative to the 512 meg SD card, I need to have the camera on and plugged in to the computer to transfer pictures. As I say, I'm only keeping it in case my SD card breaks or something, and I need to take some pictures in the mean time.

The total cost of this camera project thus far has been:

$179.99 Canon A520
8.99 16 Alkaline AA batteries
11.99 4 Lithium AA batteries
39.99 512 meg SD card
17.99 Kenneth Cole Camera bag

After various sales taxes (NM, OK, MI) I figure it's less than $300. And well, being able to share some of what I saw with others is worth a bit more than that. I definitely recommend this camera, though the battery situation is absurd. With a 16 pack of AAs I will run out of them before taking all 1500 pictures that I can before downloading them to my laptop.

The laptop is new too. It's a Dell Inspiron 9300, and I'm extremely happy with it. I'm really hoping that it has some longevity, though laptops are prone to mechanical issues. I'm going to be very careful with it, since I love being able to 4 table without overlap while on the road. And for $1102, it's not too bad. That's not the normal price, but if you wait for the online coupon codes you can usually get it right around there within a month.

The bad thing about it is that it's a Dell machine, and as one comes pre-installed with a ton of "show the user an ad every 5 seconds" programs. When it interrupted me twice while I was trying to enter the passcode to my wireless network, I had had enough and wiped the hard drive. I reinstalled Windows (with my own CDs, since they don't give you any), and went to my desktop to download (from Dell) the drivers for everything. I burned those to a CD after I had the complete set for use in the future. You never know when you'll decide to reformat or replace a broken hard drive. I also downloaded the Dell repair manuals for this machine, since I'll likely be adding RAM soon. I can get it for less than Dell would have charged me, which is why I went with the minimum RAM option.

The display is beautiful, and I love pretty much any laptop keyboard with the typical short-throw keys. I'd prefer a normal keyboard layout, but I'm a beggar in this situation. I have a DVI out for a second monitor, so I can reasonably use this as a desktop replacement. That will be great, since I'll be able to throw Linus and his OS on that machine and centralize my PokerTracker database. That makes sense for several reasons, and I'm pretty sure that I can have it listen on a port that my cable company doesn't block. Having access to that everywhere would be terrific.

A while back I was stunned when my buddy Vin actually had a lot of work done on 2 screenplays, and had written several programs for himself (mainly to learn .NET). I never pegged him as someone to actually get things done, and he said that he just didn't have internet access on his work machine. With an internet connection he said he was prone to chatting and otherwise screwing around all day. Now I'm without an internet connection and I'm forced into "content creation," since I can't sit there, do my mundane "job," and spend the day learning about anything and everything. If I could have a connection for poker only, I might end up finishing a book with the freed up time.

I don't feel "bad" about not getting a lot done outside of the poker-related work and income generation, since it's not like I'm not doing anything. I'm constantly learning, which is something that I never want to stop doing. But there comes a time when it's beneficial to do something with what you've learned, and I guess I was consistently skipping that step. I'd start a writing project and lose interest. I have read more about the process of writing than most published authors.

I really want to contribute a book to the world at some point, since I feel that I have at least one pretty good story to tell. I have disparate experiences in my life to draw from, and have experienced both the highest highs and the nadir. I've taken all the preliminary steps to becoming a writer there are, aside from just writing, and writing, and writing. Perhaps this blog entry will serve as a first step in that direction. If only it weren't a rambling assortment of divergent thoughts I could publish it as is.

I'm looking forward to getting back online as soon as possible so I get to share some of my recent experiences with some people that I care about. By people I mean person, and by care about I mean a bit more.

If you've read this far, then we're legally married in 17 states. Fag.

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