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Travelogue: Settling In

As my workday comes to a close, and my efforts gladly wind down, I think that what I’m most looking forward to this evening is going to bed.

Rainclouds obscuring the mountain range
Rainclouds obscuring the mountain range

It started pouring rain last night and continued, off-and-on, into most of today. I had the house to myself, my office room enveloped by the view of the mountain vista outside, enshrouded in cotton-like filaments of rain-soaked fog and mist. The picturesque landscape actually reminded me of the sky texture from Doom episode one, which I guess is appropriate, because that texture was taken from a photo of a Chinese mountain range.

Last night I was up quite late, feeling suddenly wired (probably a jet lag reaction) and deciding that I may as well direct my pent-up energy toward getting some work done. And oh, was there plenty of work to be done.

I knew in advance that yesterday, my first full workday in Thailand, was going to be a doozy. As it turned out — and this always happens to me when I book a vacation or other travel date — my company planned to release a monumental new product on that very day. Every time a new product lands, it’s my job to update the downloadable files for our free trials and licensed copies, add the product to our website, write and deploy the press release, do all the ancillary marketing, and lots more.

This time, though, the development team decided not only to release the new product as planned, but they also launched major revisions to two of our other products, so the work was multiplied even more so than usual. Add to this the fact that I also needed to write the company’s monthly email newsletter, bearing announcements about the release, and get it sent out within 48 hours. Saying that I had my hands full yesterday would scarcely do justice to the reality of the situation.

I wasn’t helped by the Internet connection here at the house. It’s an ADSL system provided by TT&T MaxNet. It was up and running just fine when we got here, but as I started working, it became clear that we were going to need to upgrade from the “Indy” package to the “Premier” package. “Indy” is meant for casual users; tons of ports are blocked (no Slingbox, torrents, or even instant messaging with my work contacts) and connections between here and the western hemisphere are de-prioritized.

Apple and her brother A called in to get the package upgraded. Then MaxNet did something dumb: They disconnected our existing line, even though it was going to be a full day before they could get the new line up and running. So my connection went down in the heat of this crazy workday battle and stayed down for about five hours. After a flurry of calls and complaints we finally got MaxNet to turn the “Indy” connection back on until they could get the “Premier” one ready.

I didn’t have connectivity again until evening, so I went back to work. Eventually I stayed up late enough to run into the U.S.-based crowd as they came to work for the day, and we started exchanging emails, and the next thing I knew, it was three in the morning. But I finally wrapped up everything that I needed to, and got to put a whopping 15 hours on my time sheet for the day.

This morning, I got up around 7:30 or so. Despite the early hour and the small amount of sleep, I wasn’t feeling tired — there’s that jet lag again — but as the day wore on, I started really feeling it. Right now it’s about 8:30 in the evening and I’m ready to fall asleep at the computer. As soon as I get this update done, it’s bedtime for bonzo.

We got the “Premier” Internet package activated today, incidentally. All of those missing ports are now magically open — I had the Slingbox on in the background this afternoon, playing the local CBS morning news at 5 a.m., while I wrapped up a work project. My Spark instant messenger works again, and torrents are coming in at maximum speed. I can also now hit my router back in Florida without it taking an eon for every page to come up. Apple even found me a super-long phone cord so I could hook up my VoIP business phone, and it works perfectly. Overall, I’m much happier — and I hope our Internet troubles are over.

This evening, after dinner, we all went out to Carrefour (the local supermarket / shopping mall) to get some groceries. For my part, I stocked up on baked goods (croissants, doughnuts and crispy breadsticks to snack on), cereal, bananas and flavored iced teas. I also went to visit Roti Bun — it’s on the ground floor of the Carrefour mall — and got a yummy vanilla pastry. Yep, Roti Bun is still in business! I keep thinking they’re going to be gone whenever I come back to Thailand, but each time, there they are.

Apple has started the first phase of her fertility treatments with her doctor. As it happened, everything was situated just right for us to get started as soon as we got here. She’s getting a series of GnRH injections first; today was the second of them already. It’s all going well so far. I hope we get lucky!

Tomorrow’s Thursday. I’m not sure what to think — it seems like it should be Tuesday or Wednesday instead. Of course I’m hopelessly clueless not only as to what day of the week it is, but what day of the month it is. Not only am I halfway around the world, but my lifestyle is pretty different now, and it all seems kind of surreal. But in a good way — less to worry about, easier to concentrate when I’m working, lots of family to hang out with, and a much more interesting view from the window.

I’m really psyched up for the weekend. That’s when we’re going electronics shopping, awww yeah. I’ll be looking at buying my desktop computer — either a prebuilt box or a custom one, depending on the costs and configurations available — as well as the treasured Xbox 360. Just have to get my $600 cash USD exchanged for Thai baht. Much to my surprise, I found that our home here is now equipped with a Samsung 1080p HDTV, so my Xbox experience might be closer to home than I thought. I’m still debating whether to set the Xbox up downstairs, where the new TV is, or in my office room where I can connect it to a computer monitor. I’ll probably try both to see what I like better.

OK, that’s gonna be it for now. I’m still working on a post detailing our experiences with having our credit card number stolen. It’s already half-written, but I haven’t got any more energy left to finish it off tonight, so it’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

To those of you in the United States, good morning! Have a great day — I’m going to bed.

Edit after posting: God, do you think I use enough em-dashes? It’s like I need some kind of intervention.

3 thoughts to “Travelogue: Settling In”

  1. So glad to read that you & Nantana are doing well, and that all your “comm.” systems are up and running. Hope you find just what you want for new electronics to enhance your uptime and downtime. The new 1080p TV should be great for some serious X-box sessions! Does it have PC input, and do you think this would help for an even better Slingbox playback?

    Well, since I’m in the office, I’d better get back to work. Have fun!

  2. Hmm, I think you might get the dash thing from me – I use them a lot (along with parentheses).

    So glad the Roti Bun store was open – it’s so disheartening when your favorite places disappear! By the way, did you hear my cosmic scream on Friday when the Bar at the Bay was closed? The sign said “Closed for Private Party,” but your dad and I were (understandably) suspicious.

    I can just imagine all the screaming going on over there when the internet failed and you’re bogged down with work. I have to say, I’m glad I wasn’t there! But I’m glad you were all able to get it taken care of 🙂

    By the way, I finally got the eReader app on my iPod, and I’m loving it! But where did you find so many free books – everything I want costs money (of course!)

  3. As it happens, the new TV does have a PC monitor input. I hadn’t thought about getting a D-sub cable and trying to watch the Slingbox on it, but that’s a pretty cool idea. Although, admittedly, the Slingbox doesn’t have enough bandwidth to comfortably serve us more than the minimum quality level, so on a big screen it would probably look pretty bad. It would make it easier for Apple to watch it with me, though.

    Holy crap, so the Bar at the Bay was closed too?? Madness! That sheds new light on Dad’s Tweet from that evening when he mentioned in passing that printing your upgraded boarding passes might have been the easiest thing you’d done all day. When I read that, I had to wonder if the bar had been closed. I don’t have any trouble believing that a place like that would be rented out entirely for a private party, but in light of all the other retail failures in town, it’s hard to take them at their word, isn’t it?

    In the end, sounds like it was a pretty depressing trip to Naples this time — almost everything is bloody gone. Hopefully it won’t be such a drag if you decide to come back down for Christmas. At least the weather itself would be a draw — I saw how cold it is in MI right now. Brrrr!

    Regarding the eBooks, there are actually two eBook reader apps. One of them, eReader, handles commercial eBooks that you can buy online. The other app is called Stanza — look for it in the iTunes app store — and that’s the one that has a whole library of free books you can download. Since (in many places) copyright expires 70 years after the death of the creator, that includes a lot of famous and well-known classic works. I think Stanza boasts something like 70,000 free titles or some such. You can browse the whole library and download new titles right from the phone/iPod. It’s too bad it couldn’t all be handled by one application, but such is life.

    Anyway, guess I’d better get back to work. You know those new product versions we released on Tuesday? Apparently the dev team screwed up one of them and had to put out an emergency point release, but I was so tired last night I went to bed at 9:00 and the emails started coming in just minutes after I retired. So my boss had to update the release files this time. Maybe now he gets what a pain in the ass it is. The development team’s server is in China and it’s a huge bitch to download files from it — it’s slow, it keeps disconnecting, and it doesn’t support resuming failed downloads.

    Apple’s getting excited for me to get my new computer, too — because when I do, it means she gets to play with my laptop all day. Right now she’s bored! 🙂

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