4.26.2003

Well, Okay then.

I am in the new hotel, I have high speed access to the internet, my room actually smells nice, I got a little gift basket when I checked in, the beds are comfortable, I have an icebox, a microwave and an ironing board and iron. There are laundry facilities just at the end of the hallway and I can quit my complaining now.

Actually had a great day today. The work is progressing well and we are making the most of the situation and having a good time in our scanning room. I am getting to know the folks in this office better and we all went out for Mexican food and 99 cent margaritas after we finished up tonight.

Earlier today a few of us took a long lunch and went to the airshow at the Nacogdoches Airport and I tell you what, it was one of the best airshows I have ever seen and we only watched about 2 hours of it. At one time, they had at least 40 airplanes in the air - everthing from Stearman biplanes, T6 Texans, Mitsubishi Zeros, F4U Corsairs, a B-25 Mitchell, L-17s, T-34's, P-51 Mustangs and a MIG zipping around up very high and many more planes than I can list. After the big procession of planes, they had sky jumpers and an Apache helicopter demo. Everyone was standing around watching the Apache when they wound it up and took off - people were scattering and little kids were screaming and hats were flying, it was truly awesome. There were even a couple of A-10's there to represent the modern era. One of the guys with us is a pilot and he was able to provide good commentary on most of the planes. It was a beautiful day and there were all kinds of booths and beautiful gals selling lemonade and NASA had a shop set up there with great stuff for everyone to buy. It was a great distraction and very enjoyable although I wish I had a lawn chair and a cooler of beer to enjoy while watching the show and getting sunburned!!

The rest of the day flew by and we got a lot of work done and the jokes were flying about one thing or the other. Aout 10 of us hit the mexican join after we finished and that was a lot of fun. One of the gals is organizing a late-night board game extravanganza for tomorrow or the next night so that should be fun too.

I have finally been able to read a few of my favorite blogs over the past couple of days, but I still have a long ways to go. I am also working on a wrap-up blog on the Shuttle Recovery Project, I have a lot of thoughts and feelings I want to express about all of this, the most amazing project I have ever worked on. There has been a show running on the Discovery Channel recently that covers the search and debris recovery project, make sure to catch that if you can. A lot of my new friends are on there and it shows a lot of things that most folks will never get to see unless they watch the show.

Ok, I am going to lay down and read for a bit and work on my Lewis and Clark book.

Good night!!

4.25.2003

Hmmmmm,
Well, this work isn't as interesting as working at the data centers and command posts int he smaller towns, but I am working with some interesting folks in this building. 
 
I said before that Lufkin is the main field office, and I found out in the past day or two that this is where all of the astronauts work who came around to visit.  They are set up in an office downstairs.  I am still looking for where the Rodeo Queens work....
 
Not too much to write about.  I am using a crappy gubmint computer to scan all of these docs and I am in a conference room that used to be a bank vault with about 6 other folks all doing the same thing.  The work is very very very boring, but we have some interesting discussions.  In fact, tonight at the one of the buffet restaraunts here in town, two of the folks here are having a contest to see how many shrimp they can eat.  There is even a trophy that will go to the winner.  UPDATE:  Just heard that three people are going to be competing now!!  Exciting!
 
I am planning on working until 10 or 10:30 tonight, I figure that as long as I am here, I might as well make some money and get the work done.
 
My hotel in Lufkin sucks.  It looks like something out of a bad 70's movie and smells like it too.  I think I could toss the bed in the lake and paddle it across - I swear it dips about 10 inches in the middle!  Didn't really matter last night though, I was very tired and could have slept just about anywhere.  I am going to move to a different hotel tomorrow though.  One of the gals here is taking off for a few days, she had reservations until the 28th but is heading out earlier so I get her room for a few nights and then I will shift to another room for the rest of my tour in Lufkin.  The new place has an ironing board and laundry service which are very important when you are out on the road for as long as I have been. 
 
Boy, I am rambling now.  No cool shuttle debris to talk about, no new Rodeo Queens (damn, I wish), but I guess I need to get out and about in this big town and see what is available as far as restaraunts and bookstores and things like that.  I had just found a sporting clays course in Palestine right before I had to leave, so hopefully I can find something like that around here and take off for a few hours some afternoon and have a little fun.
 
Well, my scanning of this document is complete so I need to get back to it. Oh, the new hotel has high-speed internet access so I will be able to write from there too - you will get to enjoy and laugh at what ever crazy thoughts are zipping through my head after working 16 hours!  Wooooo!
 
Bye.
 


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4.24.2003

Gloom, Despair, and Agony on Me

Oh
My
Lord
 
I am now in Lufkin Texas at the main office.  I am now a well-paid scanner/operator.  My fate is to sit in a windowless room with 4 other folks and scan field log books into PDF files.  It takes so long between scans that that I could read a book so I will have to find a bookstore tonight and stock up on some good reading.
 
Some of the folks I worked with at Palestine are here and we had a good lunch today, caught up on how things went after I left.  Sounds like things got kind of interesting but I won't go into details.
 
This slooooow process will give me time to blog to my heart's content, so look forward to some long and rambling blog entries over the next days.
 
 


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4.23.2003

Coffee King of Texas

Wrapping things up here today then heading to Lufkin either tonight or tomorrow morning.
 
Kind of a funny thought - it feels like I am heading off to the big city. 
 
Palestine was about 10,000 folks, same as Nacogdoches, Jasper is around 8,500 and Lufkin, where I am heading, is about 30,000.  They even have a mall in Lufkin and I bet, if I look around a bit, they probably have a coffee shop there somewhere. 
 
In Palestine we had Judi's Java Joint, which had really good coffee and was a great place to hang out for a bit in the mornings and talk with the NASA folks and others from the base that would stop by.  In Jasper, there is nothing like that so I had to go to WalMart and I cleared out their supply of "Starbuck's Double Shots" which are pretty damn good and do the trick.  I could drink the coffee that someone brews up here every morning but I need stronger stuff.  I have made some friends out here with my case of "Double Shots" - they know where to go now when they need their coffee fix in the morning or during those doldrum hours in the mid-aftrernoon.  I guess that makes me a dealer.  I don't charge anything yet, but once I get them hooked and they tell their friends about their "coffee connection", business could be very good.......heh heh.
 
Someone missed out on a HUGE opportunity out here.  If I knew about the lack of good coffee, I would have rented at least a dozen portable coffee stands and would have placed at least a few around each Incident Command Post.  There are anywhere from 1000 to 1500 people at each site that would have been potential customers.  I could have hired every Rodeo Queen in the area to work the stands too.  I would be a wealthy man right now.
 
Ok, I need to start packing stuff up, not sure when I will be able to check email or post anymore, it might be tomorrow morning or afternoon.  Take care everyone and talk to you soon.
 
 


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4.22.2003

The best dreams are the ones that incorporate things you hear on the radio or TV while you are sleeping.  That has happened to me many times, some bit of news about one thing or the other gets plugged in to the dream and always puts a wild spin on things.
 
This morning I woke up way too early, around 4 AM or so and I thought I would get another hour or so of sleep before hitting the shower, but I turned on Fox News before I laid back down. 
 
In the dream, I was at a Funeral Museum (weird) with an old friend/girl friend of mine and I remember being in the gift shop and buying a few things and then I also remember being fascinated with an incense burner that had extendable legs on it.  I asked about it and they said it wasn't for sale, bummer.  The next thing I knew, I was in a larger building that had the look of an airport terminal with long hallways that ramped up and down like they do at SeaTac.  I was walking along and ran into my dad who was there seeing the sites too and there was some kind of presentation that everyone wanted to see in a large auditorium. 
 
I chatted with my dad for a bit and he went to the snack bar and that is when I saw Bill O'Reilly walking down the hall.  I walked next to him for a bit and chatted about things and we talked about his black eye but he wouldn't go into details.  He wandered off while I was trying to find a piece of scrap paper to get his autograph on and I never did find a piece. 
 
I met back up with my dad at a waiting area outside one of the auditoriums and that is when one of the gals from Palestine showed up.  She is a geologist back east and in the dream, she had returned home and decided that she wanted to join the army, so she was shipping off to Iraq to join the 82nd Airborne.  She didn't have to go through any training or anything, she could just head on over to Iraq.
 
That is about when I woke up and of course, Fox News was still going.


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4.21.2003

Winding Down....wiped out

Phew, I am bushed today.  It is all finally catching up to me and I need a good day of rest but I am going to keep on keeping on.  We are out of here on Wednesday and I am moving to Lufkin to work there for a bit, I think I mentioned that already.  All of the days and nights are really blending in together now but folks are rotating out now, heading home to their real jobs and their families.  I don't know how some of them do it, and it is funny that some of them have a hard time leaving here.

After they demobilize and turn all of their gear in, do their paperwork, time sheets, expense forms, etc., they still hang around, talking and chatting and they end up leaving a couple hours later.  Many of these guys have been here since early February and they have become very close friends with the other field folks out of this office as well as becoming very attached to their Forest Service crew from the ICP.  One gal found out she had to rotate into working at the collection center one day - the last day her crew was working in the field - and she just about flipped out.  No one knew that her crew was heading out but if they had, they wouldn't have scheduled it that way.  She ended up going out in the field with them and someone else worked in the collection center.

Ok, I gotta go, more later, got lots to do.....



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4.20.2003

'nuther thunder-slapper

The sweet sounds of rolling thunder overhead, sigh............
 
 


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