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It's been a VERY LONG week with a few frustrations threatening to overshadow the good things that we encountered.  I really don't have time to go into too much detail right now but I'd like to (briefly) bring things up-to-date and perhaps I'll expand on a few things later on.

It's difficult to decide the most "significant" event in a week where I went on a number of job interviews now that Phuket's schools are (finally) hiring, when we purchased various appliances and furniture for the new house, and my friend Mark returned to Phuket to look for work.  We also had a few nights out with Doug and Caroline (including dinner at Los Amigo's with Jonathan and a fun evening at Ska Bar on Kata Yai) before saying "goodbye" as they left for Vietnam.  They'll be missed.

But this weekend saw a few less-than-fun occurances:

Friday night we had a power outage caused by a lightning strike.  This is nothing new for us; other times I'd have some lost data due to my external hard drive shutting off without any warning b ut that was always fairly easily restored.  But this time something really bad happened — when I eventually restarted the computer I was greeted by the "blue screen of death".  Nothing I attempted worked at bringing Windows to life; not even the "recovery disc" I'd made when I first purchased the laptop (a year-and-a-half ago) worked.  This is Acer's solution to providing XP discs.

Anyway, I eventually booted-up the computer using a Linux disc I'd received in the mail last summer.  It's actually Ubuntu version 6.06 and I played around a bit with it using the Live CD.  I couldn't mount the partitions of the hard drive containing Windows XP but the external drive (crammed with about 270 GB of downloaded but not-yet-backed-up audio and video) worked (but Read-Only so I couldn't play any media but I can burn it onto CD-R's — the DVD+/-R drive isn't working in Linux either).  Unfortunately, my "backup" of digital camera photos (dating back to last October) are on one of the "unmountable" partitions of the main hard drive.  After many hours of attempting to boot back into Windows I was able to get in using Safe Mode (it would hang while trying to download some damaged drivers).  I was glad to see that my photos were intact and I tried burning a couple of CD's (they took more than half-an-hour each in Safe Mode) and copying them over to the external drive (again, very slow and I quickly ran out of space).  As soon as I'm able to burn the remaining photos (23 CD's worth!) I'll try erasing that hard drive and reinstalling Windows (I'll need to purchase that — perhaps I'll go ahead and upgrade to Vista).

For now I'll continue using Ubuntu.  I installed the system after I cleared some space by burning photo discs.  It works okay — I can access the Internet and there are a lot of programs in the bundle that I haven't had time to check out.  But it's frustrating how many of my other programs won't work on a Linux-based system and I'm not that happy with some of the alternatives.  I'm especially missing my iTunes right now...

I wrote more about the computer problems than I'd planned (what else is new?) so I'll briefly mention the other less-than-fun things that happened (so far) this weekend:

Yesterday, my wife lost her wallet somewhere between the house and 7-Eleven.  A frantic search followed assisted by numerous neighbors but to no avail.  Again, this occurred right after I'd given her money to pay bills (hence the trip to 7-Eleven) and to deposit.  Once we decided we'd never see the wallet again I had Tim go down to the police station to report the loss.  I also had her try to cancel her ATM card but the bank won't do this without her presenting her ID card.  However, her ID card was in her wallet.  To replace it, she can't just go to the local Amphur (no...that would be too easy) but has to travel to where she was born — Lamphun south of Chiang Mai.  In fact, she got this ID (with my surname) by making this 2-day (minimum, each way) journey just before Christmas.  She has 30 days in which to do this and she can't get a new driver's license without the ID card as well.  The way I look at it is that the trip will have to replace some furniture we'd planned to buy and (possibly) serve as her birthday gift from me.

And, finally, today was to have been "move the big boxes and non-rental furniture" day and we'd enlisted the services of several friends and one pickup truck.  Of course, it's been raining cats and dogs all day...  Alexander's driving us all crazy because the TV's are packed up and there's nothing to sit on in the living room ("I want to watch DVD!" with much screaming and crying right now).  At least I have more time to work on the laptop trying to learn Linux enough so I don't screw up this operating system.

What a week.  Hope Monday brings some contract offers and sunny skies (and, better yet, the discovery of Tim's wallet).  At any rate, the week to come can't possibly be more eventful than the week just gone.  Or can it?