McCall 2011

It is good to be back after my yearly week-and-a-day September vacation. I wouldn’t have minded more time off but I’m just as happy to have things getting back to what passes for normal around here.

One of the nice things is I came back to only 293 new emails at work. Previous vacations would easily find double that along with warnings to clean out my full mailbox before any more mail would be accepted and before I would be allowed to send email. On the other hand, does less emails waiting mean less people like me or that I’m less important now? Ah, well, that’s life.

The first day was spent loading up and driving up. 125 miles of driving through the gorgeous Idaho landscape and Payette River canyon to the high valley then driving alongside the Cascade Reservoir is a great way to start (and end) this vacation. It gets you into the mood, especially as there were only two other vehicles going my way most of the time. Both ways. A nice, relaxing, enjoyable drive. Then came the unloading and setting up for the week.

Somehow, both of us got sick the next day. Nothing serious, but enough so that neither of us felt like doing much. So we mostly sat or lay around reading. I finally managed to read through my entire Hikaru no Go manga, something I’d been trying to do for a couple years now.

By Wednesday afternoon we were both much better, thank you.

I didn’t do much photography this time. I had planned to get pictures of the Harvest Moon rising over Little Payette Lake and do other astrophotography but the clouds kinda put the kibitz on that. There definitely wasn’t much photography done by anyone that week.

We did have the fox come around several times. The best was when my daughter and her family came up. The twins hadn’t been up close to a wild fox or even seen one before so that was great. Even though I frown on it, I was soundly outvoted and the fox was fed some meat each time. The looks on the younger kids’ face during and after were priceless. They were so excited they could hardly stay still. Having to listen to them talk about it for an hour afterward was totally worth it.

We had no WiFi though we did have phone service. Neither of us missed it at all, and that was really nice to learn. Once or twice I looked something up on my phone but other than that the laptop and tablet were static, stand-alone devices. We just kicked back and read, played games (wife) or wrote (me).

I’m really happy that Sensei’s Library provides users with a snapshot of the entire website. I spent a couple days poking around in the website on my laptop and so hopefully improved my Go skills a little bit even though I didn’t play any games. We’ll see if that actually helped as much as I hope.

One thing I learned that was kind of interesting was that the HP Touchpad handles PDF documents really well. I’d scanned in my copies of Hikaru no Go long ago and had them as letter sized graphics in JPG and PNG files. That wasn’t really suitable for reading, so I spent an hour or so compiling them all into their own PDF volumes (23) then out of curiosity I compiled those 23 PDFs into one single PDF comprising the entire manga series in one single PDF “ebook”. YIKES! Almost 4.5 K pages. I then transferred that to the tablet and opened it using the on-board Adobe Reader. It worked really well: I didn’t have to scroll around each page to read everything. The PDF was automatically sized to display full page, very clear and easily read on the screen. I never once had to resize any PDF page to be able to read it. NICE! I’m not a fan of the PDF format as an ebook, preferring epub but I admit to being impressed with how readable it was on this tablet.

I mentioned writing. Yep, I managed to get some writing in, but nowhere near as much as I’d hoped to do. My original intent was to spend three or four days writing, but I only spent one day doing so. I also found that I much prefer writing outside, sitting against a boulder or at the picnic table. All I will say is that on my current WIP I doubled the word count, and then some. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish up the short story yet. I had planned to finish this short story and start on the next in the group but, alas, that didn’t happen. Once again the Captain got into stuff that I hadn’t planned on and had to deal with. But he has hired two of the crew that show up in the other tales.

I always take a week and a day for this vacation. We always come home on Sunday, but the beauty of having Monday off as well is that we can come back whenever we feel like it, no pressure to be home by a certain time. Then one more day off before returning to work gives me a chance to get back into some kind of daily rhythm before I have to worry about emails, projects, meetings, and work.

Now I’m back, in the mood to work and write and get my HF antenna up and get Dreamcatcher (WWP-19) refitted with her gear and drop her dagger board so I can refinish it and start chatting via PSK-31 over the air and get the Arduino intervalometer built and do more astrophotography and…and….

I wonder what the high desert is like in mid-October? There’s a canyon out there in the Owyhees that would be awesome for some time lapse astrophotography.

Yep, I’m back and raring to go.

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