30 October 2008

Weather forecast for Sackets Harbor, NY (Home)

So while it's about 80F here in Kuwait, I got an e-mail from my mother this morning with pictures of Upstate NY.  It appears that the winter season in Upstate NY has officially started...the kids will be trick-or-treating through the snow in Syracuse, NY, apparently.

Update.  Apparently, the damned are ice skating in hell:  the local schools just called a bona-fide snow day today.  So basically, I went a whole year at Fort Drum with no snow day and a few days after I go to Kuwait, I miss out on a snow day.  O Fate, how you mock me.

A "brisk" Upstate NY autumn.  Friggin' cold.

27 October 2008

Flight from Upstate NY

They say that getting there is just half the fun. I'm hoping that doesn't apply to the flight out of Fort Drum.

Fortunately for us, a lot of local citizens had donated goodies for us as we were about to board the plane. Some people got together and donated a lot of Audiobooks which nowadays come as small iPod-like devices. Some people picked up audiobooks on speaking Arabic, some people got the Bible on Audiobook, and others picked up an audiobook from humorist Dave Barry.

I, however, reached into the bin and pulled out:

I was appalled. Not so much that I pulled out a book of smut, but because I already own this book in print.

Anyway, it came time to board the plane and depart for the Middle East. I sat down in my comfy chair and tried to catch a few Zs. I was having a little difficulty getting sleep as we sat on the taxiway and I considered tapping into my prescription Ambien, which is a sleep aid, but decided against it.

Smart move, too, as the plane wound up with a maintenance issue and we all had to get off the plane. The communications officer wasn't so lucky--she actually took her Ambien while still on the taxiway. Based on her description of Ambien, it supposedly gives a person the feeling that they're incredibly drunk. I was kind of glad that I vaguely remembered the pharmacist saying something
along the lines of "take it only when you're really sure you want to go to sleep".

But fortunately, the malfunction was quickly cleared and it was back on the plane to cross the Atlantic. With one fuel stop, however, which I also used to check my Facebook. Clearly, others had the same idea:

A sign of the times...a phalanx of laptops at a wi-fi hotspot


The ground is nothing but a fine layer of dust which covers a layer of solid rock underneath.  The wind from the ocean picks up the dust, creating a permanent reddish-brown haze in the sky.  I had an extraordinary sense of deja vu--it looked just like any one of a number of pictures of the Martian landscape that I'd seen.  

Kuwait or Mars?