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You're About to be Redirected to the New Home of Ground Control to Major Mom: 1/18/09 - 1/25/09

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I Want One!!!

I've been sitting in the "Desert Eagle Lounge" where the WiFi is okay, enjoying more from the blog Cake Wrecks. Check it out if you haven't already, it's fun and FUNNY!

Anyway, on the big screen TV to my left is SkySports, which airs in Britain (I think) and was showing informercials. I just watched this one with interest. (You can see part of the infomercial at the bottom of the page). It's called the "Titan Vegetable Shaver" and is essentially a multi-functional veggie peeler.

Were it not that the U.S. dollar is so weak against the British pound, perhaps I'd be willing to shell out the 19.95 GBP + 16.95 GBP shipping + handling to the US for it. What would that all come to? About $50 for a veggie peeler?

But the commercial showed how many amazing things it can do! You can back a truck over it! You can use it for cheese, chocolate, pineapples, giant radishes, other strange British foodstuff...

I have only ever ordered one thing off of a TV commercial in my entire life: Aqua Globes for my Mom this past summer. There were so many problems with the order -- they took so long I had moved and changed my billing address on the credit card which resulted in an error come processing time, they were available in stores months before my Mom actually received them. Sorry Mom -- I tried!

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Running Club

There's a Running Club here. But not what you're thinking: it's not a group of us getting together to run, but rather a computer with which you get a login/password. You log your individual running during your deployment.

There are incentive t-shirts starting at 200 miles. There are more gifts if you hit 500 and 1000 miles, but I doubt that's going to happen while I'm here. I might be wrong, but I think I saw a GPS running watch in the glass case displaying the incentives. Probably for 1000 miles!

I'm here for about 13 weeks, so I did some math (again):

200 miles / 13 weeks = 15.38 miles per week. ~2.2 miles per day.

Could I do that?

I think so. I've been here 15 days so far and I've run 36 miles. That's 2.4 miles per day, so I'm cruising right along, right?

I've taken a couple runs outside, but the weather has been a challenge. The temperatures are great -- I do my runs in the morning after work, so it's typically in the 50s here. It's the wind and blowing dust that's getting on my nerves. After my last outdoor run, when visibilities were around 3 miles from suspended dust, there was a film of dirt on my teeth. It was grosser than gross.

For the most part I'm doing this on a treadmill. It's not bad, about what you'd expect from a decent gym...our treadmills here have "Broadcast Vision", meaning you can plug in your headphones and enjoy the station of your choice from a bank of TVs. I haven't talked about the television programming we get here.

So there's my fitness plan. I still haven't gotten into eating habits here yet, mainly because of photography challenges. Most of this base forbids photography, including the dining hall I use most of the time, near the facility where I work. I might just have to paint a picture with words.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Is That What I Think It Is???

Yes it is!!! My family can't even get DQ in the wintertime in Nebraska!

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Ready To Tanqueray?

My next story is NOT about omelettes and my eating habits. I'm waiting for an opportunity to get a picture of an omelette here, but yesterday I had my meals in locations where cameras aren't allowed, so I'll make a special trip to the dining facility where cameras ARE allowed in the next couple days. Hopefully I'll have that story available soon.
On Tuesday morning I came off shift and met some folks with whom I work the night shift for some beverages at the social tent near the facility where I work. We are given a "ration card", which we keep with our ID card and places that serve alcohol use the card to track how many beverages we've consumed in a day. We're allowed to purchase/consume 3 beverages per day here.
Tuesday morning was the first time I'd broken out my ration card after having been in country for 12 days. A British officer made me up a yummy gin and tonic.
A very potent gin and tonic.
After that drink and a couple Savanna Dry Ciders, I made my way back to my dorm. First I stopped and had some breakfast, then wandered* back to my room.
*Feel free to gather from this story that I wasn't quite sober at this point.

From 2009 01 10 Southwest Asia
What you see pictured is an example of two dorm trailers, similar to the one I'm staying in. I don't live in either of the ones pictured here, but you need to imagine over 100 of these buildings all over the living area. Lined up in sets of 12. Not decorated, brown from the dust, only identified by the placard on the front, reading "Building 12345, Billeting".
I walk into my building, go to Room 5, insert the key, and can't unlock the door to get into my room. I really fiddle with the key! After about 15 seconds of this, I look at the name placard** on the door.
Not my room -- not my building! Thankfully, the owner of the room was on day shift and wasn't there.
I eventually found my room, and immediately went to sleep. I'll be avoiding British-made gin and tonics from here on out, I think.
**We're required to put a tag on our door with our rank, name, office, phone number, and what time you're on duty. This is how I know the person in Room 5 of the building next door was on day shift.
Coming soon: Combat Omelettes and my windblown adventure ride across base in the back of a Toyota Tacoma!

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Check My New Widget on the Right!

Now you can see my Twitter statuses, which are also my Facebook statuses!

One Status to Rule Them All!

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy Place

Greetings from a happy place! Today has been a good day. I got some 9 hours of sleep yesterday and the weather I help to forecast has finally calmed down from the ridculousness I experienced my first week here. After this blog post I plan to hit the gym for a nice long run on the treadmill (it's dusty here so I'm not sure I want to be outside much longer).

Let me start with a little history. From my very first blog post, I've told stories of my "kitchen laptop". This is the computer I have with me in the Middle's circa 2000, so I've no qualms if something bad happens to it, except for all the pictures I have saved to the hard drive. When I'm at home, I don't even save things to this hard drive. It's a "dummy" machine, merely for websurfing and until recently, it played host to our home weather station. It doesn't even host the weather station anymore, since the computer here now here instead of at home.

Click Here for more adventures of the Kitchen Laptop.

I'm writing you this post from a table in the Bra NOWHERE NEAR AN OUTLET! These batteries are great! I've had the laptop unplugged for 55 minutes so far and only used 13% of the battery life.

I'd been running into keyboard problems lately and I figured out it was related to the keyboard being cold. So every time I power down the laptop, then turn it back on, it'd be about 10 minutes before the space bar, "v", "b", and "n" keys would respond to typing.

Over the weekend I was sitting outside early one morning with the computer -- the temperatures were probably in the 40s -- and for the entire time I had the computer powered up, I couldn't get those four keys to work. The keyboard never warmed up.

At home, I'd keep this computer on all the time...and the keyboard usually would be there for me whenever I needed it. that I have working laptop batteries, I can keep the computer on all the time...all I have to do is unplug it and walk over to the Bra area for WiFi access. And my keyboard is here for me when I need it.

This is great! I love that I can blog freely whenever I'm off duty...and not wander around with my power cord for 5-10 minutes looking for someone to leave -- like a car driving around a crowded mall parking lot waiting for someone to pull out of a parking space.

The signs with the red stop signs are warning not to plug in multi-outlet surge protector strips. This is at the BX WiFi hotspot, at the Bra WiFi hotspot (next to my dorm), people do that all the time. It's discouraged, but not forbidden.

So I don't have to be one of THESE people anymore!

From 2009 01 10 Southwest Asia

Coming soon: the combat omelette and other changes to my eating habits!

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

All I Needed Was a Little Fine Tuning...

Today at "The Bra", I saw someone typing away on his iPhone. So I stopped and asked, "Excuse me, are you paying for the websurfing?"

(You know me, I'm not going to sugar coat my question!)

Anyway, this guy (a pilot, actually) showed me how to fine tune the settings on the phone so that my data tranissions never ride on the local cell phone network here. So if I'm kicked off the wireless here, I won't get charged for data transmissions on the Q-Tel network.

Since I have my phone with me all the time as my music, this makes it much easier than lugging my laptop to the Bra area everytime I might have a hankering to get on Blogger or Facebook.

In other good news, my laptop batteries arrived today and they seem to be in good working order. They're charging as we speak. I'm so glad I won't be tethered to these outlets so much now.

My final note: went to the base theater to see "Nights in Rodanthe". It's okay. Sadder than I thought, but definitely not "Marley and Me". I guess I should read the Nicholas Sparks book (I think that's who authored it). The scenery (story is set on the NC Outer Banks) is stunning and I started missing the beaches of North Carolina, where our family spent quite a bit of time when Dave was in school. I've read a couple of his books and have enjoyed them.

Until next time!

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