Thebastidge: Weather recon
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    ********************Southwest Washington Surplus, your prepping supply store********************

    Wednesday, October 04, 2006

    Weather recon

    It rained this morning, apparently for the first time in over six months. I didn't get to see it: it only lasted about 10 minutes. You wouldn't have known it half an hour later. This evening, a wind blew up a dusty haze, fine as smoke. The flies are getting more aggressive.

    The evenings are cooling off enough that people are hanging around outside at night now. Before, everyone would head straight into their hooch to get in the air conditioned space as soon as possible, even after dark. They've got (sober!) karaoke going on as I type this, over in the pool courtyard. Couple/three dozen folks sitting around in the dust beside the pool watching people embarass themselves on stage out of shear boredom.

    My blisters are finally almost gone, and I think I have my boots broken in. Which is good, I have another mission to go on sometime early next week; probably won't be posting much for a few days while I'm out in the field. Feel free to email me and chat though, I may have intermittant access to answer emails, and honestly, it's one of the few diversions we have over here. I even signed up for to look up some old high school buddies.

    For everybody who's asked if I need anything- I appreciate it greatly. Most of my basics are taken care of, and I don't really dig junk food; but various flavours of jerky are not only acceptable to me, they're good as gold in the semi-barter economy we have going on here. For some reason the PX doesn't seem to stock much. Now if they'd just get some damn bicycles in...

    Went to the gym last night and tonight. Arg. My fat is sore. I can't even claim to have sore muscles in this place. Coming from a software company, I got complacent; I was in as good or better shape than most. Here I'm a flabby old dude. There are a million gym rats over here- these dudes are freakin' huge. There seems to be more fitness freaks than when I was on active duty. It probably helps that in a combat zone like this with restricted movement, there aren't many options for entertainment, and the gym is set up very well. Most of these guys have boxes of supplements and protein boosters that they buy online (the only way to buy most luxury items, and an indulgence that is easily justifiable.)

    There's a funny split between officers and enlisted though: most of the officers are runners, and most of the enlisted are bodybuilders. I see some of these officers running during the day, which is just stupid: 'mad dogs and Englishmen' come to mind.

    I've been hitting the Arabic lessons on CD a little bit. Here's where my linguist training both helps and hurts: I pronounce things well, so they assume I know more than I can actually understand. Ach well, just keep chugging along until it all works, I guess.

    I actually have tasks to do at work, unlike some of my co-workers who are basically on call for install work that comes spaced out. I'm working to assist in the NOC doing backups (er... yay?). It's something to do, even if the remote access to the servers I'm working on means I open a file folder and then go read the news for 5 minutes until it catches up. Boredom and ennui will be my biggest challenges in this job, along with klee[ping my techincal skills in shape to get another job after this. My work on installs consists mainly of imaging a bunch of desktop computers and making sure they join the domain properly, collecting end user agreements and creating a few accounts local to each site. So much for site surveys and systems engineering. Pretty much any simian who has seen a keyboard could do this job, if they were willing to put up with the conditions attendant upon the location.

    ("Conditions attendant upon the location"? I think I just needed to use an intelligent-sounding phrase there to reassure myself for a moment.)

    And I'm spent.


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