Yep, I'm up at one the morning. I'm currently trying to swing myself around to schedule I'll be following at work. In theory, I would be finishing my shift about now and getting ready for the 40 minute bike ride home. That last bit is somewhat problematic for me, as I listen to the rush of the rain outside; not only will I be taking my choice of hazards travelling late at night, but then there's the potential for rain to be considered. I guess I'll have to start packing a light rain jacket, one of they types that can be stuffed into a small bag. I'll also have to pick up a high vis vest or the like. Yes, the bike has lights and reflectors, but I don't think I want to solely rely on them for visibility. I gotta say, though, I think all the added exercise will do me a world of good. I sometimes feel exceedingly slothful sitting around counting trucks.
'Course, I've still been losing weight, so I can't be all THAT slothful. I've also noticed that I'm becoming rather vein...y. At least my legs are (okay, the arms a bit, too). Yes, I've noted weird networks of veins on the backs of my calves in the recent past, and now surface veins on my thighs, but I think the topper was when, a couple of days ago, I noticed huge ass veins on my feet... by the bulges through my socks! I am curious as to what I'm gonna look like by the end of biking season.
In other news, it looks like I'm going to have to shell out a semi-substantial amount of cash to replace the hard drive on my notebook, which has given several startling indications that it will be giving up the ghost in the imminent future (like often failing to initialize on boot up - THAT is worrisome!). Thankfully, I've been able to use Seagate Diskwizard to back up my ailing drive to my external drive, as well as create a bootable recovery disk to sort out the restoration once I've gotten a new drive installed. The only consternation is going to be choosing the right hard drive. The folks at HP say that my system is only rated for a piddly 30 gig drive (currently running 20) at 4200 rpm. Hmm... Meanwhile, going to the online memory shops and punching in my 'puter's model number gives me a range of drives much bigger than that. I suspect that I can actually purchase a bigger drive, but I may have to fiddle with EZ Disk to create a suitable drive partition that my 'puter's wee bios can handle (I've had to do the same with some legacy tower systems).
'Course, some might ask "Why go through all that hassle instead of purchasing a newer system outright?" Well, frankly, it's going to cost me a lot less to replace the drive than it is to replace the system. Everything else is in fine working order. The screen is in great shape, I've got a full keyboard (the paint isn't noticeably worn off of them, even) and everything else seems to be working well. Yes, it's an older system that's vastly outpowered by even the bottom end stuff put out today, but there's some good stuff to being an older system, like having a DVD player that can be rendered region free with a simple software application and, more importantly, running Windows XP instead of that wretched Vista crap (Why must all new systems be offered with Vista as if that would be a desirable option? Heck, even my somewhat IT illiterate parents came to a quick disliking of it.). The system does pretty much what I really need it to do (or at least will do once the USB 2.0 card I ordered last week finally comes in - then I can watch media off my external drive without it hesitating over a USB 1.1 connection), so why replace it when I can fix it for a lot cheaper? Newer systems can wait till I've got a number of paycheques under my belt. (I've got at least two major trips to save up for, after all.)
Meanwhile, I'm still trying to figure how I will resolve 'winter'. Yeah, it's really nice and all to be riding my bike during the summer months, as it is FAR less expensive than any other means and gets me in shape at the same time. But in only a few months time, the roads are going to covered with annoying things like snow and ice, which make biking rather treacherous. I've got two real choices as to how to resolve this problem: buying a car or moving closer to work.
The first solution, unfortunately, involves a number of hassles such as trying to find a cheap used car that will actually be reliable, getting financing for the thing despite my horrid credit rating, dealing with maintenance, fuel purchases, insurance, registeration, etc., etc., ad nauseum. The bennies would include being able to go wherever the hell I want on a whim, like say the beach, or visiting relatives in nearby towns. More importantly, a vehicle would make it MUCH easier for me to get to the various schools I could find myself substituting at. As it stands, from where I am now, any excursion into town takes quite a bit of time. Worse still, some places, such as *sigh* the beaches, are simply unreachable, as there is neither public transit or even reasonable coach service to them. Granted, I could compremise by purchasing something like a scooter. Now, true, those can't be used in winter, either, but, frankly, I don't see myself wanting to visit all that many beaches in winter.
Of course, the whole plan of purchasing a car hinges on being able to remain at my uncle's property once my folks have returned to PG for the winter. (This is not an unreasonable expectation as he has to keep the place heated anyway and methinks it might be a lot less hassle for him if there was someone in residence looking after the place.) Staying at the property would be nice in many ways, given the space and the peacefulness. However, I'm not really interested in having to fork out for both a vehicle AND rent, so if I have to do the latter, the former is out.
Speaking of the latter, I'm actually leaning towards moving into town. Yes, it is quite likely that my rent, utilities and what have ye will amount to more than owning a vehicle, but it's far less hassle for me to acquire a new place. Putting myself much nearer to downtown will also help me to get out a lot more, as there will be far more to explore within walking distance. And, yes, I'll be able to reach work even when vehicle traffic is brought to stand still. (Northern Boy is well used to wading through snow.) I wouldn't be able to own a large vehicle for extended excursions, but travel by Greyhound to a large chunk of my relatives wouldn't cost an extraordinary amount (except for maybe some knife resistant armor) and, as I mentioned earlier, a scooter can help me reach the places that transit and coaches don't, so long as I stick to the times of year I'd rather be visiting them anyhow. As for getting to the various schools, with a bit of planning and forethought, I should be able to manage with the local public transit system, even if it is a cludgy way to do it. If all else fails, as it may on some occasions, there's always the fallback of using a taxi.
I also have to admit, I got rather attached to having a space to myself during my last year and a bit in England. So, yes, moving into town seems the more likely.
But, yep, I've still a lot of thinking to do.