Rabbit Bites, Schwalbe Tires, Clikstand, and Camera Repairs
Thursday October 16, 2014
6:30 a.m. Bird Nest Guest House
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Some events of note took place yesterday. For one, the rabbit that I have such an odd relationship with actually bit someone hard enough to draw blood. An actual Western family showed up here at the guest house yesterday afternoon – a family with two young boys. I watched them arrive and I wondered what it would be like to be so young and be experiencing things like going to Malaysia. And I wondered what it would be like to be parents of young boys and exposing them to the weirdness and dangers of travel in foreign countries. Then later on, the mother saw the rabbit in the kitchen. She got excited and went to call in her boys to see the rabbit. The boys came in and one of them asked about petting the rabbit. Was it safe? The mother assured him it was, and the boy bent down to pet him, and the rabbit lunged at him and sank its teeth into the front of his leg. I thought about warning them that the rabbit had nipped at me a couple of times, but I didn’t want to interfere or ruin their fun. And I thought the rabbit was just mistaking my leg for food. It doesn’t seem to be the brightest of creatures. But perhaps it really knows what it is doing and likes to bite.
Another event of note was the arrival of my tires. I saw on the DHL website that they had finally left Europe and arrived in Hong Kong. Then they had gone to Kuala Lumpur and finally were listed as out with the delivery truck. By pure luck, I returned to the guest house just in time to be there when the dude showed up at the door. I had been wondering how they would package up such unwieldy objects, and I got my answer with my first glance – they just stuck them inside a thick, black plastic bag and taped it shut. I was glad of that because I was worried that they were going to twist them badly and try to stuff them inside a small box. These are not the type of tires that you can fold.
I was happy when the package arrived, but I was still convinced deep down that something would be wrong. I assumed that I had ordered the wrong tires or that they had sent the wrong tires or had sent the right tires but in the wrong size. But everything looked good. They were Schwalbe Marathon Mondial 26 X 2.00 touring tires. I still have concerns, of course. I’m concerned that they will be too small. My huge mountain bike tires are not listed as much bigger at 2.35 inches, but they LOOK much bigger. These Schwalbe Marathon tires look considerably smaller, and I’m worried about pinch flats. I’m also worried that they won’t fit on my Sun Rino Lyte rims. I checked online and people said that they fit, but who knows? I won’t know that for sure until I try to mount them.
Lastly, I got through to a helpful soul at Olympus, and I got the low-down on my camera. I spoke to a man, and he was very thorough and his English was clear and understandable. In terms of actual repairs, he didn’t have to do very much. The jog dials on the grip weren’t functioning, and he said he fixed that. I actually doubt that he did, but we’ll see. The jog dials would work sometimes and then stop working. I think he fiddled with them and got them to work and left it at that. My guess is that they will stop working again. He also cleaned the sensor, of course. That was one of my biggest concerns. He updated the firmware. Finally, he tested the camera. I had told them that since I smashed the camera against the concrete seawall, I had the nagging sensation that things weren’t working that well and that the pictures weren’t as sharp as before. This dude said he had taken pictures and tested everything and the camera was in perfect condition and was working fine. I have plans to go pick up the camera this morning.
I haven’t heard from the bike shop, so I don’t know what is going on with the seatpost. I’m not going to worry about that today. Today is about the camera.
With the success of ordering the tires online and having them delivered, I went back on the Internet and ordered a Clikstand for my stove. The purchase is not a wise one, but I don’t care. I’ve been thinking about the Clikstand for a very long time, and if I don’t get it, I will be obsessed with it. I even got the super-expensive titanium version. Half the point of this Clikstand is that it is very small and compact. The other half is that it is light. And so you might as well get the lightest possible version – even if it comes with a titanium price tag. I’m suddenly becoming more concerned about weight. A much lighter saddle, much lighter tires, and now a much lighter stove base for my Trangia. I’d love to continue the trend, but it’s not clear that it would really have any effect. The true culprits in terms of excess weight are my pannier bags and pannier racks, camera lenses, tent, and perhaps sleeping bag among other things. Fiddling around with stove bases and saddles might save a few ounces here and there, but that won’t do much in the face of all the extra pounds of weight elsewhere. Still, something is better than nothing, and I’m slowly making progress. I also have the new super-light water filter to replace my giant heavy one. So that’s also good.
It appears that my obsession with bags and gear will never leave me. It’s part of my DNA. At least I come by this obsession honestly. I can trace it back to the earliest years of my childhood when I was trying to put together a spy belt just like Harriet the Spy – a kit that contains all the most essential items for survival and life. It’s ridiculous how much pleasure this can bring. I find that I’m endlessly pleased – finally – with the new Lifeventure wallet that I bought. It’s a great wallet and I smile with pleasure every time I take it out. It’s such a big improvement over that stupid wallet I bought in the Philippines. It’s nice to make purchases that I don’t instantly regret.
With my sudden interest in online purchases, I did some more surfing and realized that my favorite bike mirrors could also be delivered here. I already purchased a mirror in a bike shop, but I don’t like it at all. I bought it only because it was the only bike mirror I could find. But now that I have confidence in ordering online, I can go crazy and get the stuff I really want. I’m even thinking of getting a smaller mosquito net. I love my mosquito net, but there is no question the damn thing is huge. That’s what makes it wonderful. But it also takes up a lot of space and adds weight. LifeSystems makes some interesting mosquito nets, including a box-shaped net. That’s the kind I like. The wedge nets don’t really work. Unfortunately, the box nets require four attachment points to hang them properly. I often have trouble finding just one attachment point for my current net. But people online say that things generally work out. If they can’t find a place to tie the ropes, they just use duct tape. Simple enough.
While surfing, I also stumbled across a case that might work very well for my Olympus lenses. I currently have every lens in a separate Lowe Pro case. They work well, of course, but they take up a lot of room. Having a bunch of lenses in one simple case would save a lot of space and weight. But I realized last night that going that route would mean I wouldn’t be able to carry just one or two lenses. I would have to take them all. Or nearly all. I don’t think I would put my beloved and very expensive 75mm lens into this case. It’s too heavy and too big. But it might be perfect for the smaller lenses. And perhaps carrying all of them at once would not be such a problem. The case is actually not of high quality and so is not expensive. It is something I could order without risking too much money.
While doing all this online shopping, I tried putting a Kindle into my Amazon shopping cart. Of course, I was told that they couldn’t ship it to Malaysia. That prompted me to write them another email complaining about all their shipping restrictions.
I’m still uploading pictures. I have pictures uploading constantly whenever I’m in the Internet café. It’s barely making a dent in the number of gigabytes of data I have to upload, but the progress is steady. It’s probably time to set the camera to a smaller file size. What, realistically, is the point of saving such huge image files when I only ever look at them on Flickr, SmugMug, and Facebook on a computer monitor? Do I think National Geographic is going to call me and want copies? So why take such big pictures? (Why take any pictures, really?)