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Feck feck feck

Okay. Sequence of events basically went as follows:
  1. Windows Vista is a piece of freaking shit and was blue-screening left and right and I couldn't figure out why, so I put Ubuntu on my computer as a second OS. Was shiny. And fast. And easy to use, more or less. Win.
  2. I kept Windows around, just in case, until a few weeks ago when it downloaded some updates that didn't sit well, choked, died, and now it won't even load in safe mode. FAIL. Piece of freaking crap. Ubuntu was still working gloriously. Win.
  3. Friday, I went to run a conference call for my advisor, using Skype. Had not ever used microphone in Ubuntu, which I didn't even think of until that morning. Microphone driver, or whatever, kept crapping out and I kept having to restart, and conference call basically didn't happen. Research team from all over the world was not pleased. Advisor was not amused. FAIL. Plus, I couldn't get into a WebEx training thing last week because it doesn't work in Linux. Advisor told me I need to get Windows working again or else. Fail.
  4. So now I am backing up 100 GB of files, onto two external hard drives (because I am too paranoid to just do it on one), which is probably going to take me like five hours, and then I get to hope that my magical D partition that supposedly contains a copy of the hard drive I started with works, and that I didn't forget to back anything up. This shouldn't kill Ubuntu, but I'm paranoid that it will and so now I'm scrambling around trying to figure out where Ubuntu stores all my crap like my lecture notes, because I never bothered to figure out how its file system works.

Basically, none of this is the end of the world but it is kind of stressful. I hate it when my computer doesn't work right--it makes everything else so complicated. And even though I have no rational reason to believe that I will lose all my files when they are backed up on not one but TWO hard drives, the thought of reformatting my main partition makes me want to curl up in the fetal position and cry.

Other annoying things from today, that were not awful, but put me on edge for the rest of the day:

I use this Ubuntu program called KJots to take notes in class. It's essentially a really basic version of OneNote--no bells and whistles, but way faster and it does pretty much everything I want it to do. EXCEPT, as it turns out, undoing things. MAJOR MAJOR HUGE FAIL. Today I somehow managed to highlight 2/3 of my Ecosystem Ecology notes by, like, brushing the side of my hand on the trackpad or something and they were gone before I knew what happened and I COULDN'T FECKING UNDO IT and I just about died, right there in Ecology. I got the kid next to me to email me his notes, but I was taking these WONDERFUL, SUPER DETAILED notes because this stuff is really complex. AGGGGHHHH TECHNOLOGY FAIL. KJots, you have failed me. I don't really want to have to go back to OneNote, but if you're gonna be like that...

Then I chatted online with my friend Harun in Bangladesh for a while. I hadn't talked to him for maybe a month, and he was like, "How are you?" and I was like, "Fine, how are you?" and he was like, "Fine..." We talk about some normal, mundane stuff. And then, suddenly, he was like, "Oh, by the way, I am moving to Canada. Oh, and I got married." Both of which are really GOOD, awesome things, except they're both so sudden, so I was kind of thrown off by them both and spent the next hour musing over how everything is CHANGING and if I ever go back to Bangladesh there won't be anyone there to visit... But now I can visit Harun more easily and slightly more cheaply before (thought it costs like $800 to fly to the city he'll be living in...FAIL). Okay. So that was weird. Cool. But weird.

Anyway. I am drinking BEER, which is making everything better, and I am going to go veg with my roommate and watch Dollhouse on Hulu and episodes of Freaks and Geeks that we got from Netflix in between backing shit up, so it might not turn out to be a completely awful day. But my computer better be working perfectly tomorrow, or I am going to scream.

Sep. 1st, 2009

So it's September 1st and I am NOT moving, thank GOD. This will be the first time I have ever lived in one place for more than a continuous year since I graduated from high school (I suppose I lived in one dorm room two years in a row, but I had to move out for the summer and then back in, so it doesn't count). Though I didn't live here over the summer, so I haven't actually lived here a year, but my stuff stayed put, which makes a big difference.

My parents moved when I was nine years old, and then I left and went to college when I was 18. So I lived in my first house for nine years, my second house for nine years, and then I've spent the past nine years in four dorm rooms, six apartments, one long-term guesthouse, and my parents' place. I've moved 17 times since I left home for college. Ugh. So I am SO GLAD to be staying put this fall.

I am celebrating by fixing up my place. It used to be that I didn't give even a tiny little crap what my living space looked or felt like, but over the past few years I've come to really appreciate a living space that looks and feels inviting and warm and neat. I concentrate better in spaces like this. It doesn't have to be all Williams-Sonoma or HGTV, but I do appreciate functionality and a lack of clutter and pleasing aesthetics over a bunch of furniture and crap that's just been tossed in a room. So. Today, on the day that I am NOT moving, I am putting up curtains and purging crap and organizing and hanging and rearranging. I'm trying to get everything feeling nice and soothing before school starts, so that when I have free time I can spend it doing whatever I feel like doing, instead of feeling like I should be doing something around the apartment.

And sorry to be kind of shallow here, but OMG my curtains look so awesome. Especially considering I got them for dirt cheap at Ross. The whole shebang cost more money than I ever like to spend on what is, in truth, Superfluous Junk ($25 for curtains and $14 for curtain rods at IKEA), but...they look so pretty. It's like my apartment is inhabited by Real Adults. Or at least one Real Adult (because my roommate still has his Corner of Chaos...but I edit it out of my vision whenever I behold my gorgeous living room). Oh, curtains!


School starts next Tuesday. I was supposed to start my research assistant position this past Monday, but my advisor, super-duper organized guy that he is, didn't have anything for me to do, so he emailed me this busy work assignment that he kind of did for me in the process of explaining it in the email. So I've had gobs of free time to hang curtains. I meet with him and some other project staff tomorrow, though, and things will probably start moving then. I'm actually pretty excited about my position. I will get to learn Drupal, which I've been wanting to do, and I think it will be interesting and fulfilling, yet flexible and low-key. Um, yay? I'm also taking two terribly Objective and Straightforward classes this semester, and nothing further (except seminars), which means that I very likely won't be responsible for coming up with any earth-shatteringly-brilliant ideas of my own, which sounds lovely.

All for now.

Jeebus on a cracker

Okay, well the only positive thing I can say about the past couple days is that I am HOME, thank GOD.

I have:
  • Food poisoning, STILL--well, maybe not anymore because I went to the doctor pretty much the minute I got back yesterday and got antibiotics; but I am still weak and malnourished from basically not eating for the past 8 days. Everything I did eat either got thrown up or, uh, came out the other end in a more or less undigested state. I have lost SO much weight in the past week that it's gross; at the doctor yesterday I was 9 pounds lighter than at my physical in June, and I'd guess that over half of that has been in the past week. Ugh.
  • Pinkeye. Got that Monday. It's all oozy. Sweet.
  • Some virus/cold thing that has filled the back of my throat with blisters, according to the doctor. God dangit.

I had a 17 hour layover in Toronto, which I split between a little corner of baggage and a bench outside of Starbucks, trying to sleep. I felt SO ASSTASTIC by the time I got back that I was almost wishing I'd just pass out so someone would have to rush me to the hospital and I wouldn't have to be responsible for my own mobility anymore. Antibiotics and my good friend ibuprofen are helping quite a bit right now, and I'm slowly increasing the capacity of my stomach (yesterday I'd eat about three spoonfuls of oatmeal and feel like I wanted to vomit), so I am definitely on the up, but CHRIST, what a shitty fucking week.


I love home--just the concept of it, and the fact that I have one. Sometimes when I'm abroad for long stints I forget that there is a place in the world where I actually speak the language fluently, and know how things work and how to get around and get the things I need, and understand the nuances of culture and communication... And when I remember that I'm actually from someplace--that I, too, am a functional, self-sufficient, competent adult somewhere in the world--I'm filled with such joy that this alone makes going abroad completely worth it. Seriously.

So needless to say, I am very happy to be home. Especially because I've been so sick, but even if I hadn't been, I'd still be very, very happy.

Morocco kicked ass until I got sick. Spain prior to going to Morocco was very good overall as well. Apart from the past week, I had a really wonderful summer, and I'm so glad I went. Overall, it was good travel--good while it lasted, good in retrospect, and good in the way it makes me feel about coming home. So the sick sucks, but it's probably still been worth it.

But now I must nap.

Good god

I have just spent the past 3+ days being sicker than I've ever been. I ate a sandwich from a street vendor my last night in Morocco, and either the sandwich was bad to begin with, or the leftovers went bad in the 12 hours they sat around before I ate them for lunch the next day, because holy shit, I have been sick. After initially (pardon the graphic-ness) crapping and puking out everything in my body, which had me up at least twice an hour for an entire night, I ended up so weak that I could barely walk. I couldn't keep anything in. Drinking water made me queasy. Finally this morning I figured out where I could get some powdered oral rehydration stuff (the pharmacy, duh; I blame it on my dehydrated brain), and drank a ton of that, and now I'm drinking juices and broths and guzzling water like it's about to become illegal and barely peeing at all, so I think I am getting better. But I'm scared to eat anything, because I've thrown up everything I've eaten for the past four days, and I am SO HUNGRY.

The worst part of this is that I was in Granada, and I was SO looking forward to seeing Granada, and I hardly got to see any of it because I was so miserable. I went to the Alhambra yesterday, and did my best to see what I could, but I didn't much enjoy it because I was so miserable... Granada looked like such a bad-ass city, and it was the first city we've been to in Spain with actual respectable food (or at least according to cele8stial, who actually got to sample it), and I didn't get to eat any of it. I had a tapa thing last night, which I threw up 12 hours later (it was still identifiable), and that was it. Argh, the agony of it.

Now we're in Madrid. I was worried that I wouldn't even be able to make it here today, but the rehydration stuff helped a lot... At this point I think I might feel good enough to do/see a couple things over the next two days, but I'm not going to push it. I leave from here on Wednesday, and I am SO GLAD to be going home after this. I'm pretty much totally worn out from traveling at this point.

Tomorrow maybe I will keep myself entertained by going to the laundromat. Oh sweet washing machines, how I've missed thee...


I have nothing to say to the internet anymore. We occasionally spend big chunks of time in internet cafes moving pictures off our cameras (we have nice cameras that make huge files, and we take tons of photos), and I get SO BORED sitting here... This is the longest I've gone without regular internet access since I first had it, and it's amazing how little I miss it. Ugh, so bored right now.

We just left Fes this morning. Holy god, that city is incredible. The entire walled medina is like a snapshot of life 800 years ago. Most streets are too narrow for even a motorcycle to navigate safely, and transportation of goods and people mostly happens on foot or by donkey... I have never been anywhere like it. I think it is the most amazing place I have ever been.

Now we are in Meknes, the city next door, and it is kind of asstastic. We leave to go back to Spain the day after tomorrow, and I think I will be ready to go. Morocco is very cool, but I'm kind of sick of being perceived as a giant walking dollar sign.

Except we ran into this huge group of Americans in a cafe yesterday, and the whole time we were there listening to them talk, I was like, "Oh my god, I can't go home..." It was this little hole-in-the-wall cafe with mostly locals, and REALLY good food, and this one guy kept going, "Hey Marty! You know what would make this even better? Tabasco sauce!" They were SO loud, and totally unobservant of the people around was embarrassing. This has been a really pleasant break from stewing over the things I hate about where my fellow countrymen are leading the so-called free world, so I think that in this way going home will be really weird and probably discouraging.

I am so over this internet cafe. We can has be done moving pictures now please?

Jul. 30th, 2009

Morocco: Effing HOT. As in 115-123 degrees yesterday (depending on whose account you believe).

In spite of this, I kind of love it here. It is just a really neat country, and we have gotten to see some really incredible and fascinating parts of it, out in the desert and in the mountains. We've slept outside on roofs the past two nights, Wednesday in this gorge where they turn off all the generators at midnight and it's just mountains and stars, and last night at our hotel here in Marrakesh, where everyone just sleeps on the roof anyway, because it's too hot to do anything else (and booking bed space up there instead of a room costs you less than five bucks). We'll be staying in the same kind of place in Fes tomorrow. I LOVE this, and am totally going to miss it when I go home. I've gotten used to being outside all the time here.

Some guy exposed himself to me in a park today, and it is a mark of just how much I've chilled out this summer that it didn't really bother me after the initial shock. As I was leaving the farm in Spain last week, my host mentioned to me how much my posture had changed since I arrived, and said her sister had noticed it too; I have carried stress around in my shoulders and back for as long as I can remember, but one month of being here has left me limp like a rag doll. It is MAGNIFICENT. I feel so good after this summer.

I'm looking forward to coming home, though, when it happens (two weeks from now). This trip has been awesome, but it has been awesome in a way that makes me anticipate, rather than dread, the life I'm returning to. It's been relaxing, illuminating, clarifying, invigorating...exactly what I needed out of this summer, and I suspect that I'll still be discovering ways this experience has changed me months from now. It's gone deeper than I thought it would.

In other news, I got these linen genie pants here (they come to mid-calf, and I think they are super cute, unless my fashion sense has been warped by Andalucian fashion norms, which totally still condone Hammer Pants) and they are SO COMFORTABLE that I am considering getting like five more pairs and living in them for the rest of my life. Also, today I found vegetarian street food, and it was OMG so amazing.

Okay, I am off to enjoy a windy night's sleep on the terrace.

Jul. 26th, 2009

Everytime I get online everything about home feels so weird and far away.

This trip has been one of those rare chances to put everything about my normal life on hold. It has been lovely in many ways, but it's weird to sign online and get a whole pile of updates at once...two of my friends in Bangladesh got married since I last checked, with a third in line. Even this feels like too much to process at the moment.

We are off to the desert to ride a camel. Hope I don't fry.


...has weird keyboards that are a pain in the ass to type on. Hence, this will be short. So far it is really cool, though, and I like it a lot. Something about gritty third world cities makes me feel alive like nowhere else.

Anyway, have to go.


My mom is fine. I still haven't talked to her, as she is apparently super groggy and only awake for a few minutes at a time, but she came through just fine and the surgery appears to have worked, so. It's all good.

Thanks for the thoughts, everyone.


My mom is having surgery this morning... It's a pretty basic procedure, but not without risk. If you are of the sort who does such things, can you please send good vibes her way when you read this?

Spain is still good, still low-key. It is pretty lovely to not have any really complicated responsibilities for once, though I think I will be ready to leave the finca when the time comes. We are probably leaving next Saturday, and heading straight to Morocco (camel safari!!), and then making our way back to Madrid by way of Granada. Should be fun, but I do miss my life and my friends too.

The less time I spend online, the harder I find it to organize my thoughts in front of the computer so I don't have a heck of a lot to say. Hope you are all doing well.


Vagabond Harboring Homebody Tendencies

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