Sunday, June 29, 2008

So far so good - workwise(29 of 104)

So far the work here in Canada has gone well. The instrument is working quite well. There was a flight yesterday overflying forest fire plumes and apparently it was pretty brutal between the bumpiness and the cabin smoke smell. It was the kind of day that makes me happy I don't fly. There will probably be more of the same today but a longer flight.

We're staying in the military housing here and eating at the mess hall. That's okay. It's not the finest accomodations but it works. We aren't permitted rental cars either so it's almost like being in the military!

The biggest bummer is that I seem to be in the midst of my first full-on gout attack. My Dad got it at my exact same age so I guess it was bound to be. It really sucks though since walking is excruciatingly painful and I'm walking up to five miles a day between the distance across the ramp to the plane and going over to the mess hall and the dorm. I've been taking a ton of tylenol and using icy hot and that knocks the pain down a little but not nearly enough.

Gotta get my ass to the plane!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Oh Canada (28 of 104)

No flight today. Today was mostly about getting settled in up here and (for the scientists) doing flight planning for tomorrow etc...

The plane landed in major rain downpour yesterday so, despite eleven hours of travelling, I had to hit the ground running here to drain some rain water, take the skins off the instrument and check for water damage. I did a complete test today and found no problems so I think we'll be okay for science tomorrow. Of course I really won't know anything until the plane goes up high and the potential for ice screws us up. Hopefully all goes well.

The setup here is less than ideal. We are living in military housing, and (worst) eating at the mess hall. Yay. I suppose there will eventually be an opportunity to get out and explore but the work usually comes first and the off days are few and far between.

More on the experience etc... later on. For now I'm tired. It's been a long first day of trying to push round pegs through square holes...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Flying (27 of 104)

All I wanted to do from about 9 years old to about 18 years old was fly planes. Unfortunately the reality of a very crappy inner ear and finances never made it happen. But working with the airplanes in my job now is pretty damn satisfying, even if I never leave the ground.

We had a successful test flight on Sunday though there were some problems with my instrument. I fixed everything with the help of my programmer yesterday and now today there is an 8-hour science flight over California for the California Air Resources Board.

The time spent on the ground during the science flights is always Hell for me. I'm usually a nervous wreck worrying about the instrument. For my own health I really need to stop doing that. It really does no good to worry.

But I do.

I'm sort of ready to take off for Canada on Thursday. When the plane gets back tonight we have to do a little work loading and such. It looks like I can't avoid coming into work tomorrow but it will be a short day so I can hang out with Jasper in the afternoon. Then it's off to Canada for almost three weeks. I'll be flying on a commercial plane while the P-3 flies up there at the same time. Of course they won't have to mess with security lines, rental car lines, baggage claim lines etc... Lucky bastards...

Friday, June 20, 2008

yay (26 of 104)

Got to the plane at 6 this morning and hit the ground running. Had great support and got the instrument all installed already! Yes! That felt good and makes for a very relieved little Roy.

Soooo found a price I couldn't refuse on Craigslist yesterday and pulled the trigger on buying a 1995 BMW 318ti. That should fit the bill and should give me a solid 28-30 mpg in the process. I hope the dang thing holds up!

Trying to pick a name for the car but it hasn't presented one yet. I'm thinking Rosa (a decidedly pink shade of burgandy), Gustav, Otto or Karl. I don't know. I might let Jasper name the car but usually he just sticks a y on the end.

Me: What are you going to name your new toy Ocean Liner?
Jasper: Ummmmm. I don't know. How about Ocean Linery?
Me: That'll do.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Back to Business (25 of 104)

Ug. Here we go again. The NASA P-3B arrives here today for us to re-integrate our instrument and begin another field campaign. Last time I had to fly to Wallops Island Virginia (three frickin' times) so I'm happy to stay local this time. The only bummer is we don't have hangar space! That means working outside in the plane and the forecast is for 99 degrees tomorrow. I love this job sometimes...

So Friday and Saturday we sweat and curse and then Sunday will be a test flight then Monday or Tuesday will be a local science flight for the California Air Resources Board and then Wednesday is a day off and then Thursday it's off to Cold Lake Canada (in Alberta) for two and a half weeks of science and mosquitos and "black flies" (whatever the hell those are that everyone seems to be concerned about!).

I'm going to try to blog much more frequently on this deployment and try to capture the experience. Usually I'm so burned out and tired after a day in the field I really don't feel like opening up my computer but it would be nice to capture things this time. I imagine it could potentially become quite boring!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Careers (24 of 104)

I do not believe in absolutes but I do believe in breaking things down into simple terms. When my brain goes into this mode, I find it entertaining to try to capture it. Usually, having written it down, I realize it's either not a very original thought or that it's not as deep as I thought it was.

Anyway here's what started developing in my brain yesterday.

There are three types of career mind-sets. A few people fall into just one category and most are a combination of the three with one dominant. Which are you???
A) Drive: This person has goals, and the measure of success is quite high. The main drive to this person's career is position, title, well-defined metrics and earning peer respect. Driven people probably work way too hard.
B) Reward: This person is driven more by having a work atmosphere that is rewarding in that the coworkers, work production and schedule are all in line to minimize stress, maximize home life and give them a reason to not hate going to work.
C) Pay: Maximizing income is the driving force for this person. They'll take a promotion for pay only. They'll take a job they don't want for pay. They'll stay at a job they hate if the pay is good.

I think I'm probably mostly a B) person with C) being my next driver (sorry to say) and A) being the least important. But this is probably the kind of thing you really can't judge for yourself. Hell the whole excercise might be flawed. I'm sure there are other things that drive people in their day to day pursuit of work.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Why bother counting??? (23 of 104)

I had a pretty dang cool short week away with just myself and my son. I think both of us really really needed the big chunk of time away together. There is no doubt that this will be a regular thing from here on out. We've sort of done this type of thing before but it was usually with Kris going away and our staying home.

We went up to Kris' family's cabin (how funny to go leave the cabin I live in to go stay in another...) and had a great time sleeping in, swimming in the creek, hunting for newts and crawfish, wondering around exploring, taking jeep rides and generally just chilling out. What a blast.

So my father's day present was that I got to be a father! What more could I possibly ask for? Well, the monster nap on Sunday afternoon was appreciated.

Monday, June 2, 2008

More Car Foo (22 of 104)

Note: If you read this and you know the movie from the poster on the right, you are a righteous dude (or dudette).

I like to think of myself as a moderate "car guy." I can't quote engine sizes and the subtle difference in taillights between different model years and I don't know all about every new car coming out and I don't even have a car magazine subscription (though I do have a couple 4x4 subscriptions). But I do love cars. And as a car lover, I find a deep -deep- satisfaction from a clean car. So why, then, would I choose to live two and a half miles down a dirt road? That's just masochistic!

I spent almost FOUR HOURS cleaning my wife's car yesterday. The exterior still looked like Hell since our well water is rather mineral-rich but the interior was well vacuumed, windows were spotless and dashboard, plastic, seats and such were dust-free and clean.

While I was cleaning it occured to me that probably the most frustrating thing about being married is having to share a car. I grew up with parents who were both quite fastidious with the cleanliness of our vehicles. So my parents were in cahoots when it came to keeping dog slobber, cereal, gold fish, hay and goats out of our family cars. I love Kris for the fact that we have reason for all the above to get into her car but, man, it's hard on the brains!

S0 question of the day: How many goats have been transported in your family car? I bet we've hauled more than you have!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Thanks, Mr. Grothe (21 of 104)

I failed 9th grade science. There. I said it. Roy the engineer failed the intro to chemistry and physics class. Oh well.

Maybe my career has been all about trying to make up for that one class that just caught me at the wrong time in my life and put the exactly perfect combination of distractions in place that lead to my one and only "F"?


I test drove a '94 325is yesterday and have abandoned all hope of being satisfied with the 318. Ug. Being a competent member of the planet and trying not to waste gas yet being a automotive lover are being really hard on my brain!