Does anybody know if roaches poop? Because I keep finding little turds by my sink, and I’m trying to figure out what may have left them. I’m pretty sure it’s not mice since there are enough feral cats around here to make rodents a non-issue, so I’ve narrowed the culprits down to either roaches or crabs. I haven’t seen a crab in my room yet, but there was one scratching at my door the other day. (“Let me een! I weel pinch you!”) I have, however, been visited by a few roaches, one of whose final view would have been the Harry Potter book hurtling toward him at great speed.

Roaches are everywhere! Dan left his NCAR mug in the lab overnight, and one managed to squeeze through the little sippy slit and was there when he opened it up the next day on the airplane. Apparently one also got itself into a beer can he left out in his room the other night, so he was awoken by this scrit scrit noise of distressed trapped drunken cockroach. These stories have made me vigilant!

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Tuna log, part 2

Not too much to add to the tuna log since we’ve mostly been having repeats from the list below. We did have this bizarro dish at lunch the other day, with the standard tuna pieces covered in some sort of white sausage and biscuits-type gravy. Weird, but not totally bad. Actually, the variety of preparations is doing a pretty good job of masking the fact that we’ve been eating tuna twice a day for the past two weeks (although I’ve not given up on tuna omelettes yet). Still, I think I’ll be forgoing most fish by the time I get back!

Edited to add:  A new one! Add Salisbury Tuna to the list!  Also, yuck.

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In honor of my hard down day, here are a couple of links for you to enjoy.

The Comics Curmudgeon is consistently hilarious, especially when he’s lambasting the horror that is Gil Thorp. Thanks to this website, the average age of Mary Worth readers has been reduced by at least 20 years!

Sticking with the comics theme, the guy who writes Sally Forth has a great blog, which is always funnier than the actual strip. My favorite posts include:

How not to start a cover letter” ex. “I believe I possess the essential job qualifications, experience and commitment that you not only seek but also demand for this significant position. I shit you not.” and “Mother always said Baby Jesus has a plan for every person in Christendom. I believe His plan for me was that I become your Assistant North Eastern Regional Manager of Sales Development, New Media.”

Also great are his suggestions for a new band name for Hilary (the daughter in the comic strip). ex. “Ron Weasley Harding”, “Dog Day Afternoon Delight”, and “Interpol”.

And another fun video. This is what the kids call a “mash-up.”

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It’s a hard day down

There are three types of days here: flight days, maintenance days, and hard down days (no access to the C-130 = forced day off). Right now we fly three days a week, with 2 maintenance days in between each flight and a down day thrown in there for good measure. It’s a much more difficult process to plan these weeks than I ever would have expected, because we have to somehow merge the needs of the scientists with the needs of the crew, which don’t seem to match very often. Most of the scientiss here would happily work 7 days a week with 4 or 5 flights, but are held back by the rules surrounding how long the crew can be on duty and how many days out of the week the airplane can fly. It’s basically the flight crew that allows us this non-insane schedule, and I am very grateful for them and their hard down days.

Tomorrow is our hard down day, so I’m trying to decide whether to go snorkeling or not, because the last time I burned myself to crispy crispness. I think it’s supposed to rain anyway, so I might be in here blogging all day! For the record, the snorkeling was very nice, but not nearly as impressive as the Great Barrier Reef. But the day was spectacular because it was just so secluded and peaceful.

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So the one commercial flight into Christmas Island picked up a half dozen PASE people yesterday and left an equal number in their place. You would think that it would be nice to have new faces to see and people to talk to, but most of us still here are actually kind of sad about it! And not for the obvious reason that we’re stuck here for another 1-4 weeks, either. The plane took away a few people who were on the ferry flight out here, and we had all bonded, in a way. I guess being deprived of oxygen really brings people together. (Some of you have heard that story already, but let’s just keep it short and say that I now know what abstract terms like “cabin depressurization” and “emergency descent” feel like in real life.) For the past couple of weeks I’ve been spending a lot of my down time with the flight crew, who provide a welcome escape from the resoundingly eggheaded atmosphere. Of course, this means that I’ve been subjected to more Kenny Chesney than ever before. Oh well.

Maybe I’m just complaining because the plane took away Kurt, who was distractingly good-looking.

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Research Flight 4


Just got back from my second research flight (and boy are my arms tired har). Unfortunately things didn’t go so well– only 1 out of our 3 intruments worked the way it was supposed to. It was actually kind of comical because I noticed one major problem about 3 seconds after Dan climbed out and they closed the aircraft doors (because of limited space, only one person from our group can fly. Today was my turn).

I did manage to fix a couple out of the medley of malfunctions, so that’s why I look so happy in this picture.

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Casady International Airport


Casady International Airport

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Not at all PASE related

Posting this just to see if it works. I heart YouTube.

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Research Flight 2

Buzzing the hotelBuzzing the hotel, part 2Buzzing the hotel, part 3

I’ll admit that I did not take these pictures, for the simple reason that I was on the plane while they were shot! This was our landing approach to Christmas after a 9 hour research flight last Saturday, and apparently the pilots decided to pull a Top Gun and buzz the hotel for the pleasure of a group of Australian fisherman. Fortunately one of our programmers heard the C130 approach and ran out with his camera. Next time I have to go up to the cockpit and get pictures from the inside!

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Tuna Log, part one

There isn’t really any farming here on Christmas Island except for the government supported coconut groves. The soil is all hard crushed coral, and the groundwater is way too salty to support any kind of agriculture. Actually, this island was uninhabited until something like 1915, when the Brits (I think) colonized it with natives from the Gilbert Islands to man the coconut plantations. Anyway, the staples are fish (tuna, trevally) and imported rice, and everything else is imported from Hawaii , Fiji or Australia. Needless to say, every meal includes some sort of tuna, and the hotel cook is, well, creative. Here’s the official tuna log for the past two weeks. (Compiled by Chris Webster programmer and tuna connoisseur.) The all time record was last Wednesday night, when we had 5 different tuna dishes to choose from.

In 12 days:

Tuna Sashimi
Tuna Sashimi marinated in soy & scallions
Tuna Ceviche

Tuna Curry
Stir-fry Tuna
Sweet and Sour Tuna.
Tuna Chop Suey
Tuna Fried Rice

Blackened Tuna
Smoked Tuna
Tuna Salad
Black Bean Tuna
Pan Seared Tuna
Poached Tuna w/ Capers
Grilled Tuna
Tuna w/ grilled onions & gravy.
Tuna nuggets
Popcorn Tuna
Tuna Kebobs
Tuna Stroganoff
Tuna Loaf
Tuna Patties with gravy

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