15 May - 31 July 2009

The last two and one half months have been an active time for me. Perhaps the most active since I spent 88 days on the road trip in 2007. It has been good that I'm engaged and not listening to the daily news although I could not avoid the three day news cycle after Michael Jackson's death; that seemed to have been a 72 hour barrage.

What has kept me busy. Well, the first thing on the list was my third trip to the International Teardrop Gathering in Minden, NE. This year I selected Minden to Minden to Minden as the trip name to signify that I traveled through Minden, NV to Minden, NE and back to Minden, NV. I have been to all three of the ITG that have been held but I noticed that each year it is becoming more of a mid-west gathering rather than International. I didn't notice any foreign representation this year. I wanted to chat with a guy and his wife from Mexico that have attended the past two but they were not there this year. I probably had more favorable comments about my xB and trailer this year than any other time. The MINI was a hit the first year, the xB with my first trailer was a yawn but this year the combination seemed to go over well. You can read about my trip by clicking on the link above.

The more time consuming activity was the moving, adding to and modifying of my web site. Shortly after I had posted my last update for the period ending 15 May 2009, Yahoo announced that they were going to close GeoCities later this year. Rather than waiting until the last minute I started transfering all the pages that made up my site at that time to a new domain. I had 79 journal pages, 7 photo pages and 77 pictures or GIFs on the GeoCities site that I needed to transfer. I also modified the structure of the site when I moved everything over. When I first started on GeoCities it seemed logical that I would use subdirectories as part of my site foundation, but at that time the feature didn't work and I never went back later to check and see if they had fixed it. When I moved everything it seemed a good time to improve the site structure. It doesn't make it work any better or differently but it is much easier for me to find files and or pictures if I need to. Once that was accomplished I wanted to add all the pictures that I had but never added to my web pages. I had bought a scanner some years ago with that thought in mind but there were two things holding me back 1) I'm lazy, I didn't want to do all the work that needed to be done 2) I didn't want to exceed the file space that GeoCities was giving to me for free; pictures use up a lot of space. The new domain has unlimited file space, so they claim, so my excuse #2 was eliminated. To eliminate #1, I made inquiry about the cost of having someone else do the scanning; alas the price was a $1 a picture in quantities of 100. Since I'm much more of a miser than I am lazy I decided that I would do the scanning but I could not get the scanner to work with the Ubuntu Operating System on my new computer. I did get it to work with my old computer that is running Windows 98 but then I was faced with the problem of transferring the images from old to new when the two OS don't talk. I then inquired about the cost of an external floppy disk drive for my new computer and found that $40 and some disk shuffling does the trick. I scan into the old computer, do all the resizing that I want and save to the hard disk, then copy to a floppy the read from the floppy to the new computer. It is not high tech but it gets the job done. I then prepared photo pages with captioned pictures, linked them to the appropriate journal page and linked them to the previous and next photo page. All of this was then added to a modified 'sitemap' page that shows everything that is now on my web site. This was a lot of work and kept me out of mischief for six weeks working about 6 hours a day; 2-3 hours at the library to load everything onto the web. I now have 82 journal pages, 111 photo pages and 520 pictures or GIFs on the domain site and I'm continuing to add more. I have everything from 1996 to date complete and will now start adding trips from around 1970 something. The first trips that I'll add will be my bicycling tours that started in 1985 then I'll do vacation trips, car road trips and one hiking trip. Most of these trips do not have journal notes that I can use but I do have some maps, some trip itineraries and some pictures so I am re-creating the trips the best I can from memory and then adding the pictures if I have any.

I am so 'out of it' as one of my more liberal readers has pointed out that I'm hesitant to even comment on the recent Republican meltdowns. My own Senator Ensign from NV and Governor Sanford of SC both deep in sex scandals and maybe most shocking of all, with the least media attention, Sarah Palin stepping down. I'm convinced that if this had been three Democrats it would have merited no media attention at all. Even though I'm 'out of it' I think I see some signs of buyers remorse with the election of President Obama. I read the blog of an author that I have been following for some time, not a Pulitzer prize winner, who was a raving supporter of Obama prior to the election. He has, in the last few weeks, started to heap criticism upon this man that he had touted as the savior of our country during the campaign. I have also started to see some cartoons from staunch liberals that are no longer complementary of Obama. His poll numbers have been slipping as everyone knew they would but approval of his policies have slipped the most. Yes, the honeymoon is over but we as a people are married to him for over 3 more years. I'm already looking forward to the mid-term elections, as are many incumbents - my other Senator, Harry Reid, for one. If the Democrats loose their control of the House and Senate then I'm predicting a third party candidate will come on the scene in 2012 with a strong position on governmental fiscal responsibility and campaign on the lack of it by both the Democrat and Republican Parties. The candidate will not win but it will make the election cycle much more interesting!