Saturday, February 28, 2009


As you know if you're a regular reader, wind plays an important role in my life. It kicks up the seas so I get seasick. It messes with the satellite internet so I can't check email. Or make phone calls. Or upload photos. Here is the error message I've been getting when it's blowing more than 20 (which has been most of the week):

Web Acceleration Client Error (506) - Suspected Recent Satellite Link Outage

The satellite link was operating properly up until the most recent web page request, but the last request could not be successfully sent across the satellite link to the Web Acceleration Server. Possible causes for this include recent changes in weather conditions or equipment problems in the Network Operations Center. Trying again at a later time may result in restored service due to either improvements in the weather conditions causing the service outage or rectification of a network problem in the Network Operations Center. If this problem persists, please contact your service provider for additional assistance.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Back to a new grind

Thanks to having non-compete status from my year+ as an AmeriCorps Vista volunteer and the Park Service's Centennial Initiative program, I now have a seasonal job as an Interpretive Park Ranger! Surprisingly, one of my past background checks actually suffices and I don't have to get re-fingerprinted.

My first week of work was spent trying to get computer access, uniforms and what a surprise -- keys! This is the start of my second week of work, begun aptly enough by chumming the fish. (At least I wasn't wearing a nice new shiny uniform that got all nasty.)

Only 123 days (out of 129) to go!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Top 10 Rules for living at 1644-A

Here are a few items we were admonished for at our Key West shared housing unit. (These are all in addition to the "helpful" advice blasted at us, such as don't use V05 shampoo, don't drink tap water, don't drink Coke, don't eat any meat except Greenwise brand, don't drink any milk except Greenwise brand, etc.) Fortunately, we have since moved into a different, friendlier apartment at 1645-D.

  1. Don't leave the dryer door open.
  2. Don't move any of the bricks blocking the doorway. (They are there to prevent evil/negative energy from entering the household.)
  3. Don't move any crystals placed around the house. (They are strategically placed; similar to the above.)
  4. Don't bring food into your bedroom. (I won't even comment.)
  5. Don't have any guns in the house. (We're both taking a concealed carry class soon.)
  6. Don't scratch the pans. (Like we've never cooked before.)
  7. Don't eat the blue tortilla chips. (Like we eat other people's food.)
  8. Don't leave the bread bag on the kitchen counter. (I thought kitchens were for food storage.)
  9. Don't leave dirty dishes in the kitchen for more than 60 seconds.
  10. Don't leave the grill dirty and make sure you spend at least 15 minutes cleaning the exterior after use.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Air conditioning

Ever since we moved into this 6-month old housing unit, the air conditioning has not worked. Robin spent an entire month trying to get a part for the A/C. It finally got here, but that didn't work, either, because the circuitry blew out.

A friend of Robin's is a licensed air conditioning dude with a company just outside of Miami. He made the trip out here yesterday. He and Robin ended up installing a new A/C unit and hooray, after 2 1/2 months of trying, we now have air conditioning!

Now we are in the "testing phases." Here are some excerpts from all the manuals that came with the unit. The first two are my favorites:
  • In the CHAOS mode, the wind blows like natural breeze by automatically changing fan speed according to the CHAOS logic. (Huh, I didn't know there was any logic behind CHAOS.)
  • You cannot switch the indoor fan speed. It has already been set by the Fuzzy rule. (Huh. I guess it makes sense that you can't change something set by a Fuzzy rule. I wonder what a Fuzzy rule is. I think there are a lot of them.)
  • Being exposed to direct airflow for an extended period of time could be hazardous to your health. Do not expose occupants, pets or plants to direct air flow for extended periods of time. (Hmmm, maybe it wasn't good to be standing right in front of it when that puff of stuff came out when it started.)
  • Do not drink the water drained from this product. (Duh!)
  • This limited warranty does not apply to damages resulting from running the product in a corrosive atmosphere. (Great, the person who purchased these did a great job researching.)
  • Do not let the air conditioner run for a long time when the humidity is very high. (Ditto the above comment.)
  • Do not install the product where the sound or hot air from the outdoor unit could be offensive to neighbors. (Sure hope it doesn't piss off the birds.)
  • Do not install the product where it will be exposed to salt spray directly. (Now that's gonna be tough on a windy place surrounded by the ocean!)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sonic boom day

So far today, there have been 6 sonic booms that I have counted and it's only noon.

One of them was so loud I thought a chunk of the fort by my house dropped into the moat.

I'm glad we're spending $6 million/side x 6 sides = $36 million to preserve it.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Top 10 features of $328,000+ government housing

I live in a pre-fab housing unit inserted into a fort casement (about 900 sq ft). This unit is less than one year old and was installed under government contract at a cost of approximately $328,000. (I still don't have all of our moving tubs put away but as soon as I do, I'll post pictures.)
  1. Paint so cheap it rubs off with your finger and is so thin you can see the brand of the drywall and where it was made. (Robin got his elbow and arm covered with paint one time when his arm hit the wall getting out of the shower.)
  2. Air conditioning that doesn't work at all. (It's only been really hot a few times and mostly at night. Robin promised to get it fixed by March before it starts getting really hot.)
  3. Light switches wired the opposite way they should be.
  4. Only one exit/entry with no way out in case of fire or other calamity. (Unless you count jumping off the second floor balcony into a moat filled with crumbling brick and two feet of water...I'm thinking seriously about investing in a fire ladder.)
  5. Random holes punched in the drywall that were never finished off with the electrical.
  6. No pulls on any cabinets or drawers (and half the kitchen cabinets open the opposite way they should, too).
  7. A hole in the ceiling over the shower where they never installed the light fixture.
  8. Two kitchen cabinets unusable because they ran the plumbing right through the center of them.
  9. Plastic molding that no longer sticks to the walls and is peeling off two to three feet at a time.
  10. Remote controlled ceiling lights and fans but the remote control doesn't work right and the wall switches don't work unless you press a series of buttons on the remote control in the proper order. (It takes about 3 minutes to turn on and off the light or fan.)