October 23, 2007

All Nighter

Well that took way too long. I got the laptop configured such that I can live with it. But it took all night, by which I mean my alarm clock is going to go off thirty-two minutes from now. It's going to be a great day, I can feel it.

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The last few days have been exhausting, as I and my staff (one guy) packed everything we needed. It's done now– everything is boxed and palletized, and is either at the pier already or just waiting to get forklifted onto the helicopters for the flyon tomorrow morning.

That meant I had to finish getting packed too. So all my gear is now in no less than three seabags, and it's sitting in the hanger waiting to get lugged onto the birds and, later, lugged to berthing. That's going to suck.

With all the work and long hours and stress, I've not been sleeping as much as is healthy. What makes it amusing is that this month's safety magazine theme is "Fatigue". Gee, ya think? I'm going to try to go cold turkey on caffeine tomorrow night, and it's going to be ugly.

With everything packed up, I finally had time today to bust out my new laptop. I feel terrible- how could I own a computer and not even power it up for three full days? And now that I've got it running, it's going to be another night of little sleep, because it needs some serious lovin'. It's got Microsoft Vista Home Basic, and so far I'm not impressed. Sure, it's got weak laptop hardware, but the thing runs like a dog. Plus, it's a consumer laptop, so it's loaded with many megabytes of worthless crap. So right now I'm burning up my internet connection downloading all the software I actually want for it, and I'm going to have to spend an annoying chunk of time deleting all the evil crap that Hewlett-Packard saw fit to preinstall on there. Plus, it didn't come with an install disk, it came with a recovery partition, which means part of the precious hard drive space is wasted to save them the cost of a mass-produced DVD. So I'm using the utility to make my own DVD and I'm going to reclaim that partition.

To make myself feel better, I'm having a celebratory last meal before the boat. Ben and Jerry's. Mmmm... B&J makes everything better.

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October 21, 2007

Shopping and Packing

I wanted to get all the way packed this weekend, but I stood duty all day Saturday and that destroyed my schedule. I could have finished today, except I spent some time laptop shopping. I didn't find the perfect laptop, but I got one I can live with at a price I could live with. More details may follow, but at the moment I am falling asleep.

Tomorrow's going to be a long day, as we pack the shop up. Everything getting trucked to the pier has to be loaded before we can go home Monday. Should be fun! I don't think it'll be terrible, because we've done this before; but there are only going to be two of us packing, instead of six. C'est la guerre. Hmmm, non, ne c'est pas la guerre. C'est dommage.

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October 19, 2007


We're going to a place where malaria thrives, so all the people expected to go ashore are taking prophylactic doxycycline. It's no problem, I've been on the stuff for months at a time.

Sure, the label says it can cause sun sensitivity and rashes, but no one I know had a problem. Until now. Within a day of his start, poor LCpl Drews looked like a smallpox case. He had hives all over his torso. It looked nasty and apparently itched like crazy. So they switched him to quinine, and he's slathering himself with some skin cream until the swelling goes away. Poor guy.

I to have some new drugs, but I'm happier about these. I've had a fungal infection under the nail bed on my left big toe for a year now. To get meds for it, the military policy is that there has to be a positive culture from the stuff. (Apparently it's an expensive drug, about a thousand dollars per patient; and there are signs of resistant fungi developing in the wild.) Getting a positive culture was problem, because it's tough to culture nail bed fungal infections: if they liked to live exposed to air on petri dishes, then they wouldn't live in the nail bed. So I couldn't get a script to cure it, and it kept getting worse.

The squadron flight surgeon finally came through for me, and he argued the pharmacist around. So now I've got the three-month series of pills that should clear it up. Yay.

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October 15, 2007

A Matter of Timing

They moved my departure time up by a week. That is, departure to back on the boat. Which is bad, because I had just enough time to get everything necessary done with twelve-hour days every day. Now, I dunno.

So I really should be at work, instead of home eating lunch. Then I realized that when I get overstressed my productivity actually drops, as my brain starts chasing its own tail. So I said "Frell it!" and went home for some nice Kraft Mac and Cheese.

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October 11, 2007

Driven to Distraction

No big news today, just some slice-of-life.

I still don't have my own car, but I've been driving around base in various borrowed vehicles. While the left-side-of-the-road thing is doable, I am still having trouble with the turn signal being on the wrong side of the steering column.

When cooking in the barracks, I'm limited to a microwave and a hotpot. Today's attempt to hard-boil eggs in the hotpot (for making deviled eggs) was not altogether successful. They came out woefully overcooked. You may also be amused that I don't have any cooking knives, so I use some ferocious-looking combat blades to slice my vegetables. For eating, I have the mighty titanium spork, a truly wondrous tool.

With no car to drive to work, I wait for the bus every day. I fill up the time reading. Whenever I'm reading something appropriately Marine and manly, no one so much as glances at the book. Today three people asked about what I was reading, Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. It's an epistolary novel Regency fantasy mystery romance. Which means it's pretty much everything a Marine is not expected to read. While a reputation for eccentricity can be helpful, one has to be careful not to cross the line.

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October 09, 2007


They're moving a third person into my room. I'm a damn NCO, I don't rate a triple. This is making me irritable. I may not be able to put a stop to it, but I'll try.

UPDATE: Well, that was a total failure. The current barracks manager is from the other squadron that we share the barracks with, so he doesn't really care. Not that a manager from our barracks would care either. Barracks managers in the air wing get that job when the squadon command no longer trusts them with sweeping the floors.

Plus, the manager managed to break our door lock when showing the new guy in. Broke is closed, that is, so we were locked out. After a tiring day at work, with the knowledge that I had to get packed right now, being locked out was bad for my composure.

The barracks manager wasn't doing anything effective about it; he basically told me to suck it up until the locksmith came tomorrow morning. That idea didn't thrill me. I called a Captain for backup, and we ended up breaking into my room through the (second story) window.

The new guy is moving in, and I had to move all my stuff around to make room for his stuff. He's got way to much of it.

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Into the Box

Before our first trip to sea, we packed obsessivly. List after list after list, putting stuff into it's place a good month in advance. Now? We've done this so many times, we just toss it all in a day or two before it gets loaded. No inventory lists or anything, we know what we'll need. So we don't take as much anyway.

On an unrelated note, today the spouses' club brought lunch to the hanger, which they do about once a month. Today's theme: Oktoberfest! Which was kind of unfortunate, because we can't have beer during working hours, and the only food that they all made was sausage and saurkraut. I'll pass, thankyouverymuch, so I'm back at the barracks with my own meal.

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October 08, 2007

Take the Cannoli by Sarah Vowell

I've been reading Sarah Vowell's books backwards. I'm running out though, as she's only written four so far. I just finished Take the Canolli, which, like her other works, is a collection of essays. It's an eclectic mix- the history of the USA via a particular intersection in Chicago, following her anscestors on the Trail of Tears, and coming to terms with her father's gun collecting.

Ms. Vowell has a distinctive voice, shaped by the radio, where most of these essays were first performed. The breezy conversational style works very well; reading this book is like listening to some of my old college friends holding forth on a favorite subject. Her nerdy obsessiveness and trivia-collecting seems quite familiar to me, somehow.

Yet she got better as she went along. Take the Cannoli is good, but The Partly Cloudy Patriot is much better, and Assassination Vacation is also superior.

So, I recommend checking this one out of the library, and buying TPCP and AV.

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October 05, 2007

Here It Comes Again

Hey, it's a weekend! We're getting a 96, a four day weekend- we don't have to be back at work until Wednesday. Hooray!

Except that I'll be working a half-day Saturday. And Monday. And maybe come in for a couple of hours Tuesday.

I just wish that while working professional hours, I was making professional pay.

Also, there's a typhoon brushing past the island too. So while there's a gigantic tug-of-war going down on Sunday, the weather is expected to be lousy.

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