Wrapping it up

OK, more photos on flickr. They mostly encompass the last couple of days on the island, including the impressive Air Force cargo plane that came to haul all of our stuff off the island, and some pictures of cats. I am not immune to the cuteness! Now I challenge you all to think of Lolcat captions.

One last picture:

The world’s first public library

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Back

OMG You guys!

Yes, I’m back. Yes, I’ve been back for nearly two weeks now and have been blatantly ignoring my blog-related responsibilities.  Please direct all complaints to customer support.

I’m currently updating my flickr account with the last of my pictures from Christmas Island, and will post more here later on.

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So long, and thanks for all the fish

Well, I only have two more days in paradise!  I just got off our very last research flight (#14), and tomorrow we start packing up for the flight home on Sunday. Which is Saturday, your time. I think.  The interwebs will disappear into the ether sometime tomorrow, so this will be my last entry for a few days until I get to civilization (aka Honolulu).  This blog will continue, but most likely with less discussion on tuna.

So, to update:

Last web search that found my blog: “why are there always flies in my room”

Tuna log:

tuna with black bean sauce (good)

tuna with corn flakes, ranch dressing, and cheese (really bad)

We’ll see what they have tonight!

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Welcome, Chesney fans!

One of my favorite things about this blog is looking at the “blog stats” page.  And my favorite part of the blog stat page is the list of search terms that people have used to find the blog. I’m guessing, considering some of the search terms, that the random folks reading my blog were really search for something else and came across my silly ramblings.  For example, the person searching for “pictures Kenny Chesney airplane” probably wasn’t too impressed with my post about being forced to listen to his music.  But I think the person most let down must have been the guy today who was looking for “roach poop pictures.”

Sorry to disappoint, buddy!

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Banana

It’s very strange spending so much time on such a small island with a small population.  Aside from the internet, it really feels like I’m living somewhere in the past, where easy communication and travel are luxuries, even to the people with status.  For instance, there is a major issue with the latest fuel shipment (for the whole island, not just for us).  All fuel has to be tested and certified, and somehow this batch got through without going through those tests. So the fuel is sitting here in the tanks, but they can’t give it to anybody.  This has several implications, most pressing for us is the shortening of current research flight (Brian is off flying right now) and the postponement of future flights.  But the bigger issue is that the monthly government supply ship was supposed to arrive today, but was diverted because they wouldn’t be able to refuel once they got here.   This has put the who island in a tizzy, and supplies are certain to begin running out pretty soon.  I think the first thing to go will probably be the beer! (XXXX, by the way)

We also have been having ongoing issues with fueling because the guys who drive the fuel truck may or may not show up on flight days, so out project leader has to go find them and roust them every once in a while. To make matters worse, one of the airport’s fire trucks needs a new fuel pump, and planes aren’t allowed to land without 2 working fire trucks.  Fortunately there is a large supply of diesel mechanics on the island right now, thanks to PASE. I guess they got the fire truck up and running, although there is some question whether or not the trucks actually contain any water.  I guess I should be impressed that there actually is a firetruck on this island at all!

Anyway, when I was driving back from the airport I stopped and took a bunch of pictures of Banana, which is the settlement right next to the airport. There’s a mixture of traditional huts and concrete, but it’s kind of hard to tell how well the people are living.  There’s definitely no running water or electricity, but most of the inhabitants must have generators, since a lot of the buildings are lit up at night.  This is a strange place.

banana-preschool.jpg

quick-stop-video.jpg

hut.jpg

store.jpg

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Flickr, part 2

Hey all- I updated my flickr account! Go check it out!

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Silent Library

Trust me, this one is best is I offer no explanation.

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I aspire to be a cool nerd now

Hey! Sorry I haven’t posted much lately, but work has picked up a bit. Using my advanced scientific observation skillz, I have determined a correlation between the increased workload and Dan’s departure/Brian’s arrival. Not that Dan was slacking off or anything, but Brian is definitely a tinkerer, and he has a long list of things to try to improve our data collection. I guess he doesn’t buy into the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” cliche. But I can’t complain because he did bring me a great care package from Nicole, with enough puzzle books in it to last me until the end of time! Thanks, Nicole!

Last week was the big changeover in personnel, and it has really shifted the whole atmosphere of the project, surprisingly. All of the big partiers have left (like the group who brought beers to the science meeting), so we’re a much more subdued group now. It also seems like the socialization is more in small groups as opposed to big events like it was before. (I feel like a sociologist, here!) It’s just like high school cliques! There are the nerds, the super-nerds, and the cool nerds. OK, maybe not like high school.

I promise to post more pictures soon. I have some good ones from the luau the other night. The dancing is really funny- it’s pretty much the laziest traditional dancing I’ve ever seen. It’s pretty much all arm movements, with a tiny bit of hip action every once in a while. The performers are the hotel staff, and they are entertainingly amateur, full of mistakes and confusion. Every week, it’s like they’ve never danced in front of an audience before! But in a way, that makes it even more fun.

OK, now I’m just rambling. I’ll post pictures soon!

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But, people like the tuna log!

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Research flight 6

Oy! Tuesday morning (Monday for you western hemisphere-types) we flew the first night mission, with takeoff at 2:00 AM. The night flights are essential because most of the processes we’re studying are driven by photochemistry, so the transition from night-to-day is important to record. It just means that we don’t get much sleep! My pre-flight sleep was also disturbed a bit by the presence of Alan (named after our esteemed mission scientist), a humongous spider that appeared in my room after dinner, and who was just too scary to try to kill. I decided that if I didn’t bother him, he wouldn’t bother me, although it was a bit difficult lying in bed in the dark wondering what Alan was up to at that very moment.  I posted a picture below. I actually thought about putting something in the frame for scale, but just could not bear to put my hand near the pincers. I would estimate Alan is about 5 inches in diameter.

Alan the spider. Click at your own risk. Especially you, Nicole.

Edited to add:  I have found Alan the spider online!  Apparently it is a male Huntsman or Banana Spider, which are harmless and like to roam about and eat cockroaches.  In that case, Alan the spider is welcome in my room anytime. As long as he keeps his distance.

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