19 July 2001
A. There is no set time to come in. People wander in and out whenever they feel like it.
B. I came in at the same time I've been coming in for months. I came in the same time on Monday. I came in the same time today. I guess the only explanation is that The Employer, who usually strolls on in about 10 or 11 a.m., came in before I did for once and therefore had to -- gasp -- check his own messages. Hello? I'm not your damn office manager.
The trip to Thailand is one step closer, as I made my first official purchase this weekend: The Backpack.
(Mine is black, though -- like I'm going to give up that habit)
Its official name is the Eagle Creek Expandable Journey. I just call it HenryPack, the latest in a long line of animate and inanimate objects with a similar name. 
4,100 cubic inches of space. The largest pack I could find that still managed to at least resemble something of carry-on size. It's not a convertible pack (one that includes another, smaller backpack that attaches to the main one), but that's okay. I really didn't like any of the convertible ones -- the main packs on them were okay, but the sub-packs tended to have lousy straps that were uncomfortable in the store, even with nothing in them. So, no. I already know which smaller bag I want to take with me -- my current bag or, if I get around to ordering one, this one.
I've been looking at packs for a while, both in stores and on the Internet, before I finally settled on this one.
The main attraction here was price -- it was only $99 at the local travel store, compared with $150 - $180 for the same or equivalent ones at REI. The local travel store originally had it priced at $149, but when I went in there the other day, it had been marked down. The clerk explained that this was because this particular backpack was last year's model. Previous to this, I was unaware that backpacks had model years like cars, but count me in the know now.
Because of the price, I bought it right away. Besides, the people at the travel store are much nicer than the people at the local REI. Whenever I go in the latter, I get the idea that the people in there can just sense that I am not an outdoors type of person and treat me accordingly. (Of course, the current owner of Hank The Dog (see footnote 1) works there, so maybe I should plan to go in when he's working.)
It's also a nice size, and is the most comfortable of the ones I've tried on. It's roomy enough to hold an adequate amount of stuff, but not so big that I'll be tempted to bring several different versions of my stuff with me. Last time I went to Asia, I brought too much stuff -- one large duffle bag, one suitcase, and some other bag -- and paid the price when shuttling them from train to hotel to train again. Never again.
One piece of equipment down, more to go. It's only three months until I leave, but that's not nearly as much time as it seems. Between now and then, I have to obtain equipment, get my visa, get shots, read background information, and try to learn a basic amount of Thai. Plus go to work, sleep, eat and maintain this site. Looks like I have a lot of work cut out for me.
Is it possible to have a crush on a record? Because if it is, I do.
 My first real work computer (meaning that I didn't have to share it with anyone most of the time), a Macintosh IIsi that I had the copy center job, was named Henry. My first computer that I bought, a PowerBook 180, was called HenryBook.  Then I had a cat named Henry. Then a dog, with the equivalent dog name, Hank.