Dowbrigade, Signing Off

The part of the Great Experiment concerned with whether it was possible
to continue to work as a webmaster from South America has been a series
of ups and downs.  This week, much more down than up.  As per
the great Murphy, just now, as we are moving from city to city and preparing
to jet off to the mountains of Peru, our main client, a New York public
relations firm which has requested anonymity in this forum, flooded me
with urgent jobs.  A 30 page economic newsletter needed to be edited
and formatted and posted.  Another publication for the New York
branch of a Japanese government agency (the client’s client) had to get
out immediately. A separate Japanese multinational involved with sports
equipment wanted a complete makeover of their web site. Plus press releases,
error correction and photo manipulation.

Accordingly we have been feverishly working blind, making changes and
formatting pages, and using brief snatches of borrowed connectivity to
upload the results of our work. Finally yesterday, after uploading megabytes
of rough drafts, which we knew would have to be looked at on-line and
corrected and adjusted, we broke for lunch (breaded fish and shrimp cebiche).  When
we returned to the job, we clumsily tripped over the iBook’s power cord,
ripping it from the wall and doubling over one of the power prongs! Worse,
once we used a pliers to straighten out the twisted metal, it refused
to work, instead making a pathetic little "clik, clik, clik" sound.

This was the final blow in a week in which out sins and foibles were
on parade just asking for karmic retribution. Our stomach as a wreck
from work-nerves and too much fried food and hot sauce.  We quarreled
with Norma Yvonne the day before she left for Boston, with no way to
make up for three weeks.  And we had an extremely disturbing dream
in which an eight-foot tall, bearded angel came down from heaven to inform
us that we were a worthless worm because we belived that people who
wore certain clothes, belonged to certain clubs or attended certain
were better than those who didn’t. Guilty on all counts!

And now, without our precious iBook, what would we read! What music
would we listen to!  How could we write! What would happen to Bubbles
the Barbarian in Diablo II? We raced to the phone book, and found that
there was but one authorized Mac dealer in Guayaquil, right next to where
we had earlier had lunch. Ran out the door, jumped in a taxi, and arrived
– just as they were closing for the day!

This morning bright and early we went back, and told our tale of woe.
The owner, who was also the chief technician, examined our power converter
and informed us it was officially fried.  Of course, they had none
in stock, but could order one from the states.  Two weeks.  Only
problem was that we were leaving this afternoon for Peru.

Finally, a stroke of luck.  Another client had dropped his Power
book the week before – it was destroyed beyond repair.  But the
power cord still worked, and he was willing to sell it for the bargain
of $75.  Not bad considering a new one costs $120, in the State’s,
God knows what it would cost here. We grasped at the chance like a drowning
man at a life preserver.

So here we are, blogging away with our second hand power supply, considering
the vagaries of karmic retribution.  We know there is a lesson in
there somewhere, if only we could suss it out.  Something to do
with humility, techo-dependence, getting tied up in work even when on
vacation, and plain old pig-headishness. We will try to figure it out
as we hand in the hammock on the balcony overlooking the river in our
sons’ Andean eco-hideout and tourist hotel.

Our posting will be limited to occasional trips to the cyber-cafe an
hour down the valley in Huaraz, which means no pictures or pithy commentary
on news and other blogs.  Perhaps its for the best. Next week, on
the 17th, the Dowbrigade will complete one year of existence. And quite
a year it has been – revolutionary, transformative, all-consuming, inspirational.  But
at times we get so far inside of something it filters everything we think
and do, and we can’t see the world around it.  When we started this
blog, we made a promise to ourself to try our mightiest to post every
day for
a year,
and then
see if it was a Good Thing. Getting as far away as possible from technology,
politics, Blogs and Bloggers may be the only way to reach a fair evaluation
of what this long strange trip has done to our head, our heart, and the
people we care about.

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