Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fashun (7 of 104)

Man I wish I was a woman and stupidly wealthy. I would so rock the latest fashions...

Maybe in my next life...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

We're not gonna make it (6 of 104)

Either I need to write more or admit that I may not make my "two blogs per week" for 2008. But what the hey. I haven't really had anything to say.

So I'll rant. Today we are absolutely bombarded in our lives with silly little complications that -more than likely- lead to our being nickle and dimed to DEATH. Being a little stupid and sloppy, I recently failed to make a payment on a credit card (I've been busy!). So I went to the bank showed them my credit card and made a payment directly. A few days passed and they called me to say I hadn't made a payment. I told them I did and they said maybe it didn't post yet. So they called again today and I finally figured out that THEY ISSUED ME A NEW ACCOUNT IN 2003 AND I DIDN'T EVEN FUCKING REALIZE IT!!! So now I have one account with a big credit it on it and I'm still behind on the second one. So I called them and explained the problem and do you think they could just easily take the credit off of one card and transfer it to the other. Of course not! That would be way too flippin' easy wouldn't it?

The point is that there are so many damned pin numbers and accounts and things to keep track of that I simply am on saturation overload. I have to carry two credit cards for my job. And just try to not have a credit card these days. You will quickly find out that oredering anything is difficult nevermind the simple daily tasks of purchasing gas and groceries. What the hell?

There really are only three alternatives for me.
1-Timetravel back to about 1929
2-Go live on a commune and grow my own food and never own a car ever again
3-Get my shit together and somehow manufacture more hours in the week to make sure I'm on top of all this stuff.

Looks like I'm screwed.

My dream is that Jasper will grow up in a world that has figured out that the common man is simply overwhelmed with account numbers, credit applications and good old fashioned information. This utopian environment will also see real live people who speak good english answer phones when you have problems. As a result people will have less stress, be happier and not try to kill each other on their evening commutes anymore.

Sadly, there is simply too much money to be made by smokescreens, bad customer service and good old fashioned sensory overload to the point of apathy towards your own financial well being.

Insert gigantic scream here.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

What we came for and a hike (5 of 104)

We finally got a good day for taking data! Finally. After three miserable days up here on the mountain and two days where we didn't even bother coming up, we have clear sky and are getting our calibration done.

When we decided not to come up yesterday morning I first went back to bed and slept for almost two more hours. Then I woke up with Kris and Jasper and we headed over to Volcanoes National Park for the day. Unfortunately it was a bust. First of all, vast major huge portions of the park were closed due to high sulfur emissions (I guess they don't have interest in sufocating tourists...) and second of all it was rainy and very foggy and visibility was so crappy we couldn't even see the caldera floor! What a waste! On the bright side we did get out and about and get to see alot of Hawaii where the real people live and got away from the whole resort thing (which neither Kris nor I are really into that much).

After we got the instrument set up this morning and verified it was running well, I set out for a little hike up the volcano. Okay, there is no such thing as a little hike starting at 11,150 feet. It wasn't an epic slough to the top either. Instead it was roughly three and a half miles up the volcano and back. That's about halfway to the top. I really just wanted to do it as a primer for a full on assault of the summit if I feel up to it in the next three days or so. There is still plenty of snow up there (see picture above) but it was easy to get around and didn't slow me much. The hiking is unlike anything else except maybe hiking across bare granite. The "trail" is simply a line cairns (locally known as "ahu") that you have to follow. The up and down over the lava varies from scrambling to easy walking but it's all abrasive. I took quite a few miles off the life of my boots this morning. I really wanted to keep going but I promised John I was going to be back by a certain time so I eventually had to force myself to turn around and head back down. There will very hopefully be a follow up story to this one where I get to the top! (BTW I carried my cell phone, GPS, pen and paper for taking notes, lots of food and water and a very good sense of my own limitations so there should be no worry about me finding my final day atop of a beautiful volcanic mountain. Hmmm, not that that would be a bad way to go!)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

MLO (that's Mauna Loa) (4 of 104)

Well we're here on the mountain today. The major weather that's in our way is moving off to the East but more crap is coming in. Because of this we need to try to take data whenever we can. We really need to take data during the sunrise for this calibration data we're trying to get here. Unfortunately we had monstrous clouds blocking the sunrise but things cleared up after awhile and we are getting some data with the sun just barely riding above some clouds.

I was really feeling crappy coming up the mountain this morning and afraid I would be worthless at best and throwing up at worst. Luckily I'm feeling better now though not so hot. The altitude is bad enough but the drive up makes me feel kind of sick too even though I'm driving.

Kris and Jasper are off to take a submarine ride today! How cool is that?

We had some technical difficulties his morning but I got past that and we're in business for a little while longer here. I'm not looking forward to the drive back down but I am looking forward to being back down at sea level and a nice afternoon nap.

Aloha! And mahalo for your comments (HINT HINT). Ask questions. That gives me something to write about.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Aloha. Mahalo. How do you say rain? (3 of 104)

Well here we are in Hawaii. The big island to be more accurate. Yesterday was a solid "4" travel day where 10 is pure hell and zero is teleportation. I'll take it! Jasper was a really good kid and did an amazing job keeping it together through airports, TWO mechanical delays on the tarmac, delays getting luggage, and a long line for the rental car. Whatta kid! That's not to say the day wasn't without drama but it was survivable. We all finally collapsed as a little family unit.

Here is a nice condo in Waikaloa. It's about twice as big as our little house at home and pretty nice. There's a pool pretty close by and the beach is within walking distance too. I went up the mountain today with my coworker, John, so I missed out on the beach experience. I did get to go alternate between freezing and boiling with Jasper at the swimming pool/hot tub.

I unpacked the instrument and fired it up and everything is working fine so that was a HUGE load off my mind today. The problem now is the weather. We NEED absolutely clear sky to make our calibration measurements and the forecast is looking really bad. Of the ten days we are here we need three minimum good days. In all the years these guys have been doing this they've NEVER had to extend a trip. John is a meteoroligist and he thinks we may be the first on this trip. I suppose the good part of that is that I'll have more time to spend with Kris and Jasper. Of course there is a pile of work that I was planning on doing from the mountain top while we let the instrument do its thing so I'll either have to figure out a time to do that during the day or I'll have to leave it for later...

That's it. No adventures yet. Jasper is such a gregarious little guy. He goes up to just about anyone he sees and tells them just about anything that pops in his mind. The only problem is that I'm not nearly so sociable so I end up on the awkward side of things.