Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Odds and Ends

It's begun... One measure of "new-ness" decay is surely when you discover you have not bothered posting about several things because they are too trivial, only to find after a week of no posts all you have is this bundle of trivial items, and then you realize that life is mostly a collection of trivial incidents punctuated by brief moments of panic, joy or grief. That's not meant to be depressing, though I'm sure it will be to some people. Part of growing up is probably learning to accept that life can't always be exciting, new or profound. Our (american) culture tends to celebrate the child and to villify growing up, which is a mistake I think. Childhood was meant to be brief in the big picture of a human life, and prolonging it only leads to perversion and ultimate misery.

Sorry, didn't mean to go off like that, I was just going to fill this post with the trivial little things that have been happening in the past week.

First, I am *not* going to be going to nights as originally told. Things are "fluid" here to say the least. In my first 2 weeks at work I've seen 6 people (possibly 7) leave...many of them unexpectedly. Needless to say this makes manning a 24 hour schedule difficult especially when much of the vacation was already approved 6 months ago. My weekend is going to be Tues/Wed for the foreseeable future.

While on the subject of work, I have experienced my first real negative feelings about the situation I'm in. Let's just say the politics and unreasonable working environment I was working in has been exponentially increased. The feeling of helplessness in the face of remorseless and unblinking stupidity is profound. I am left to contemplate if I can survive one or two years of this idiocy with my sanity (or at least, passion) intact. I'm probably over reacting, but its quite the smackdown. I need to remember that this is temporary, a stepping stone hopefully to continuing to work overseas for a long time in other locations, possibly with this company, possibly with another. One can't blame the company particularly, as it is huge, and the issues reside fundamentally with the nature of contracting work (i.e. you are there to perform a service for another entity, and ultimately do whatever they want even if it makes no sense). The leadership of the contract is great from what I've seen, and hopefully that means things are changing. I've been told things used to be worse...

In the realm of mundanity, I washed my new cell phone the other day. I had spent quite some time and energy procuring a decent price (14KD) for my very basic Nokia with no frills and especially no camera (work issues). Then I did some laundry and forgot to remove the tiny thing from my jeans pocket. My room mate said I should try drying it out in the oven. Apparently Nokia phones are designed to withstand temperatures of up to 150 F. So I tried, for several days, but never got anything other than "contact service" when booting it up. Well, I decided to go out and find a rare item around here: the Motorola F3 I was told by someone else here who had one not to accept more than 10 KD as a price, so I wandered around looking for anyone who had one. Finally I found a place very close to Al Manshar, a little cellphone/computer accessories store. I met Mustafa who was helping is kid brother (also Mustafa) with a homework project. He had one that he wanted to sell me for 14 KD, but I stuck to my guns. Finally he acceded though said that 10KD was a good price a few weeks back due to a manufacturer's special...and though it was his loss he hoped to gain a customer. I said I needed a pair of computer speakers anyway and since he really was very nice I would be sure to check with him first. A few days later I went back and took my Nokia to ask if it could be repaired. He said it might not be worth it, but he'd look into it. While there I bought a set of 2.1 Creative speakers for 10KD (music in my room at last!), and looked at his beard trimmers which I think I will go back for. Anyway...good fun.

I find it difficult to not eat Indian food every time I have the chance to eat out. There are soooo many good Indian restaurants around and they tend to be pretty cheap in comparison. Freshly baked naan and mutton in 10 different varieties...what else could you ask for? I did go back to my favorite shawarma/chicken hole in the wall last night. Hard to pass up half a chicken, hummous and freshly baked puffed flatbread for 1.050 KD.

Oh, yesterday my room mate and I drove up to Kuawit City in one of the company's provided cars (Mitsubishi Nativa - a horrible example of an SUV I'm if I didn't hate the SUV enough). I drove the whole time as he didn't want to and I didn't mind. Our first goal was to go to Salmiya and take the ferry over to Failaka Island where there are supposed to be some cool archeological digs from when there was a Greek ouptost on the island. Unfortunately, after finding the place, we found the ferry closed for the day, but they would be open tomorrow. After that we drove to Marina Mall, which was underwhelming to say the least. There is nothing there to ever see again IMO. We then drove into Kuwait City proper, taking Gulf Road around the coastline. Saw the Kuwait Water Tower from a distance, and then tried to find a place to park and get out to find some cheap lunch in the Sarq souk area, but missed the area and then found ourselves on the outskirts of town near where Camp Doha used to be. We headed back in, and then got a call from KRH Logistics, the local company that works with ITT to sponsor people over and take care of things like lodging, transportation and things. They said they were ready to pickup the car. We said "huh?" Apparently someone had told them the car we were using was free today for maintenance. Oh we headed back to Fahaheel (took about 30 minutes after we got out of downtown traffic), dropped the car off and ate Indian across the street for lunch. Not much of a day out, but oh well.

Spent the rest of the day playing more of Metroid Prime (gamecube version) which frustratingly stopped working just as I was getting to a good part. I've had trouble with the disc before but this was different as it totally crashed the game and I couldn't get it to start up again. Bummer. I moved on to the sequel Metroid Prime: Echoes (still gamecube version) for a while, then popped in Metroid Prime: Corruption (the latest Wii version) which was very fun. Don't know if I can stop myself from playing it now...I can always go back to Echoes later. In other game news I think I'm getting close to being done with Legend of Zelda:Phantom Hourglass on the DS. It's fabulous game and I'm glad I still have the N64 Ocarina of Time to get through on the Wii, as well as WindWaker (gamecube) to provide more zelda goodness while we wait for the sequel to the Wii's Twilight Princess. Looking forward to the first Zelda game designed for the Wii (Twilight Princess was really a gamecube game ported at the last minute to was good, but not designed for the Wii really). I realized that Super Mario Galaxy was out in the states, so I went ahead and ordered it. Rowan should be pleased to finally be able to play it when he arrives. He's been asking about it ever since he saw some scans in a magazine.

In other computer news, I have been restraining myself from buying a new Macbook. This piece of junk I'm using right now is so painfully slow I want to through it out of the window. Some of that is the pathetic internet connection here, but some is the machine itself. That and with the new Macbook hardware upgrades there isn't really any reason to wait any more. Except for the following reasons: I don't really need it yet, huge amounts of money will need to be spent when Kerri and Rowan come over, there may be some new announcements in January when Apple usually does their announcing, and lastly the apple store doesn't ship to APO addresses. So I'm going to force myself to wait. The one thing is that since they don't ship to APO, I might order it just before Kerri and Rowan leave so they can bring it over here and avoid shipping charges.

On the getting Kerri and Rowan over here front, there isn't anything to report. No news on my civil ID yet, and Kerri is working on getting the documents authenticated over in the States.

Kerri ordered next year's homeschool curriculum from Sonlight about a week ago, and it arrived just about 3 days back! Amazingly fast. Definitely grateful that Sonlight ships to APO. We most likely won't get really started until after we have well and truly settled into our new digs, whatever those might be.

I did some looking at cars yesterday at, and it looks like we should be able to find a pretty decent used car (honda or toyota) for 1000 - 2000KD ($3500 - $7000).

Today I slept in waaaaaay too long. I was supposed to get up at 6am, which I did. Then I started the computer and lay back down to wait the 10 minutes it takes to boot up. Next time I opened my eyes it was 9:30! Whoops....hopefully I can get to sleep by 7pm tonight to be ready for tomorrows 3am call time.

I'm planning on a leisurely day of not doing much really...should be fun!

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