Friday, February 06, 2009

russian through the list

One and a half check-offs today.

Not the Russian playwright type. The "I'm going to Mexico" type.

Today's mail brought news from Washington, DC that Hillary Clinton is willing to grant me the authority to cross the borders of This Great Country -- and then get back in without hiring someone who sounds as if he should be trying to catch The Road Runner.

I will spare you a photograph of the first page showing my new travel visage. Let's just say that if I ever end up on a wanted poster, Elmer Fudd is going to have a very difficult life.

This means, of course, that I can now head over to the Mexican consulate in Portland and start the process of getting an FM3. I am still not certain that I will go through the full process before I head south. But I want to, at least, find out how many burning hoops this puppy can jump through.

I may also have made a decision on a laptop. Assuming that I do not work on contract after going to Mexico, I will need a laptop primarily for email, internet, and manipulating blog material. I toyed with simply getting one of the inexpensive netbooks. But they do not give me the computing power I need for my blog.

I also realized that I could leave my DVD player and CD player behind if I could rely on a lap top.

Here is the plan: I will buy a small notebook (probably a 13" screen). I will then bring my flat screen monitor along with some auxiliary speakers.

I went to Best Buy two days ago to actually feel laptops. I am glad I did -- though my wallet may regret my caress fixation. After picking up and manipulating about 15 potential matches, I decided that the Sony Vaio Z series meets my needs. That is my new love at the top of this post.

I am going through my cooling off period. On Saturday morning I am driving up to Portland for a brunch with some members of my high school class. That will give me an opportunity to look for a better deal at Fry's. If I do not find one, I will most likely consummate this deal at Best Buy -- for the price of about 8 netbooks.

And so the pieces are starting to fall into place. Much more requires doing. But it is happening.


Calypso said...

Elmer, er Steve,

A couple thoughts on the computer: I have a laptop that is music and video central as well as my scribing stick, banking tool, designing tool and overall good friend when in a foreign land.

If you get a small monitor laptop - you will have an insufficient video card to drive a larger monitors (as I do - a 24" Samsung top of the line and or a 22 inch HP top-of-the-line).

I suggest you get a full blown wide screen with a lot of memory and a big hard drive (or two). Then when you connect the big LCD you will be able to drive it to video satisfaction. You will be disappointed with a light weight video driver card.

Additionally I have three 500 gb outboard hard drives. So I have nearly a terabyte of storage. Sounds like a lot but with it you can store hundreds of DVD sized films and thousands of cd sized music albums (do they still use that term “album”?).

Last time I looked in the States they were pushing 750 GB outboard drives - maybe they are bigger now? Better to have a few rather than one HUGE one - redundancy is critical in Mexico.

Get yourself a good sound system (or two) to feed with the laptop. I have several Bose Roommate II powered speakers and two really grand Klipsch powered speaker systems with sub-woofers. Not great but very good listening systems (remember we have two places here).

A top of the line HP laptop that can be had for about $1500.00 from a reliable commercial seller on Ebay will be well worth the extra dough in the long run I think.

Also I have sold 6 laptops down here - returning for new ones in the U.S. with no loss of money upgrading as I go - but it does get to be a hassle moving data - just saying...

I recommend not getting your FM3 until you make at least one trip if not more. Here again I have made MANY trips and found the attitude about bringing stuff down when they think you are bringing it back is far easier. You would be amazed at the stuff we have dragged down here – Never have filled out a list or gone through any hassles with tons of stuff (literally).

In our case Anita has an FM3 (needed it to buy land here etc. there are advantages to having one) I still come in on a tourist visa FMT.

If you muddle through some of my Blog entries (there is a search engine)you can find lots of stories about border crossings and FM3/FMT stories (read the comments as others have helped).

I could go on but this is after all for comments not tomes...

American Mommy in Mexico said...

This is a big one! Computer is mucho important.

Michael Dickson said...

So you still are thinking of continuing your job down south!

Linda Lou said...

either I received the email and deleted it because I didn't recognize the subject or sender, or just didn't get it. feel free to send it again. have a great day! linda lou

Larry Lambert said...

Steve - Consider buying a UPS, also. If for no other reason than the voltage regulation.

Larry Lambert, Mazatlan

Steve Cotton said...

Calypso -- The Sony I am thinking of buying is overpowered for a notebook. But I will ask my brother (the computer technician) if it will power my large monitor -- hadn't thought of that. I would like to ensure that I have both. Costco has some great deals on small (in size) hard drives with a huge storage capacity. I may pick up two or three of them. I have already learned the need to back up -- even in the infrastructure-friendly environment of Oregon.

As for the FM3, I fully understand your logic. My problem is the dog. As he ages, I will find it difficult to drive him to the border to renew an FMT. And, because I will have the truck tied to my FMT entry, I will not be able to fly out and fly back to renew my FMT. There are all kinds of ways of getting around that issue, but they all involve being less than fully truthful. You and Anita have worked out a great system that keeps you within the requirements of Mexican law.

AMM -- Once I make the laptop purchase, I know I will be well on my way.

Michael -- The chances of me taking any work south is probably less than 10%. If I buy a powerful laptop, it will be more for running the monitor rather than manipulating legal documents.

Linda -- The email is on its way to your AOL account once again.

Larry -- I should have mentioned the UPS; I am buying one. I could have used one in Oregon this December with all of our power outages. In Mexico, it will be imperative.

Babs said...

A terabyte - Wow a new word, to me at least. It sounds like Calypso has enough computer power to be running a money making enterprise.
The FM-3 is so easy to get and then it's done. If you call Portland, they'll tell you what you need to bring......Just DO it!

glorv1 said...

Looks like things are moving very rapidly now Steve. Counting the days? By the way, that post you did a few posts back about blog thievery is true. I've run across some of my paintings on other blogs,so I emptied out my blog. Take care.

Michael Dickson said...

Ah, so there´s still a ten percent chance of your wanting to keep your old self. I´d put my money on a higher percentage. Amid all the fluff here of which computer to take, I urge you to seek therapy.

I spot powerful identity issues. A therapist, with luck (time you do not have), can help you leave behind the Legal Eagle and become Just Ole Steve on the Beach.

It will take much effort.

I have my doubts.

Steve Cotton said...

Babs -- I will take the day off and drive up to Portland. The consulate will not give out information over the telephone. I have been getting a lot of contradictory information from people who have even been to the consulate. But inconsistency is something I need to acclimate myself to.

Gloria -- I just started my little countdown. As of today, I have 30 work days remaining. In 69, I should be on the road.

Michael -- I have a project coming up this week that will remind me why I really want to retire. And it is well-timed because it will almost certainly reduce that 10% to nada. The fact that no one has mentioned the contract to me in at least two weeks is a good indication that the idea is dying a ntural death. If you are putting pesos on the barrel head, I will buy a piece of that action.

Alan said...

Steve, I like Michael would have bet the percentages much higher than what you stated. However, your last comment, has caused me to rethink you may be able to leave with no regrets and no deadlines to meet. But I do like the naming of you best, Just ole Steve on the Beach! Enjoy your get together with high school friends, amazing any of them have lived as long as you have. Must be that Powers water! Alan

Steve Cotton said...

Al -- At one point I thought the contract would be forced on me -- and I would willingly take it. It turns out that the break is going to be clean. Getting rid of the deadlines will be a relief. Turning loose of the mirage of being needed will be more difficult. But it will happen. And I will be satisfied to be Old Senor Cotton and his perro viejto.

Michael Dickson said...

There are many ways to be needed, Steve, and I recommend highly that you find at least one. If not, you could well join that large club of folks who die within six months of retirement, those guys (almost always guys -- it´s a male club) who are so psychologically welded to their "work" that life without it is quite incomprehensible. You, of course, would go to Salvation Army headquarters in the clouds.

You must be needed in some way but not by a law firm. Find something or someone with a beating heart.

Alan said...

Steve, Michael has nailed it again. Instead of wedded to your work, he used welded! How true and at the same time sad. I know you will find your (non-bleeding)beating heart person or cause and will flourish in that setting. It is tough to realize the old job will get along without you, but remember they never even missed me this last 9 years. Alan

American Mommy in Mexico said...

Steve, You will be fine - no - you will be great.

There is not ONE right path -- only the path that fits each unique, individual amazing person.

It would not be a very interesting world if we all chose the same way of doing things.

Your Expat profile in MX will look different than all others. Thanks goodness!

None of us does it the same nor should we.

Steve Cotton said...

AMM -- Great point. When I started this process, I thought I could get answers from the people who went before me. Then the contradictory answers started pouring in. I quickly learned that I was receiving advice, not answers. Some fit me; some did not. The FM3 being a perfect example. And it will all work out in the end.

American Mommy in Mexico said...

Answers vs Advice - this is a great way to view things.

2+2=4 is Answer

But life's questions are rarely this simple.

Advice is very important and valued. But we take the advice to create the unique answer that fits us.

Like this concept!

Steve Cotton said...

AMM -- And I wish I had incorporated that notion into my decision-making process while I was thinking about selling the house. I ended up wasted a lot of psychic energy for no purpose at all -- other than I know more now than I did then. Wow! I may not have been a waste.

Michael Warshauer said...

Steve: a UPS isn't very useful when the power goes off and you have no Internet connection. After all, with a laptop, you'll still have several hours left of non-Internet fun and games/tasks. (Your choice.)

A power outage is CFE's way of reminding us to pick up a book.

As a retired cook and baker, I can still exercise my talents by inviting friends to dinner. What does a retired lawyer do?


Steve Cotton said...

Michael -- I am more interested in the effect that power outages have on the operating system. But there are always those reruns of The X-Files that simply call out to me in the dark.

As for power outages, retired lawyers plot on how to transfer money from the pockets of utilities to those of The Deserving Oppressed. Don't you know, we are the very essence of modern Robin Hoods? He He.

Michael Dickson said...

Power outages are dicey. Where I lived for over two years before building my house, we had power outages and spikes frequently. I lost a TV, two answering machines and some other stuff during that period.

However, the lights rarely go out in our house now, just three miles or so away, and we´ve never had a surge that damaged anything. I use surge protectors just in case. But, point is, it can depend on where you live.

Retired lawyers, of course, sue people. It´s a tough habit to break.

Steve Cotton said...

Michael -- I will start my Mexican sojourn in the summer. From experience (and my research), I know that I will experience frequent power outages -- usally, with each heavy summer rain storm. A UPS will help me fight that battle. And it will help to minimize power spikes as well as voltage falls. It will be a pain to haul it around, though. And I suspect it may be the first victim of a power problem. After all, it is designed to take the bullet aimed at my laptop. A secret serviceman in electronic armor.

I am hoping this retired lawyer merely dreams of placid days learning a new language and appreciating where he is.