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Sol 77 : Thank you!

I received two of the best presents of the season this last week, and I invoked the unspoken deployment rule. I get to open anything that comes here without waiting for Christmas. 🙂

My parents sent me a Celestron Telescope, model 127 EQ. I have already used it to look at the moon and the moons orbiting Jupiter.  Yesterday I also got another surprise, a NASA cycling jersey from ThinkGeek. I love it, and I’m going to put it to good use at the gym.

I also hear that a few of my friends at ASU and in ASU SEDS are sending care packages. I look forward to these gifts of “meat and electronics”. Thank you all!

Red Mars 09 The Crucible

Sol 61 : Patches & Driving

English: SpaceX's Dragon capsule. Mockup?

English: SpaceX’s Dragon capsule. Mockup? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today was filled with scrubbing Excel databases, fixing scanners and troubleshooting e-mail problems. I also picked up these patches from a local shop.

I received a package from April today containing two awesome books, The Pocket Ref. and the book of secrets from ThinkGeek. I have had a lot of trouble putting them down! Check them out.  She also sent me a sweet Occupy Mars shirt from SpaceX’s new online store, as well as some hygienic products, Thank You!

I haven’t been driving in the capital recently, but now with 5 drives under my belt, I am only 1 qualification drive away from a Combat driving or Aggressive driving licence, something like that. I also have winter versions of those courses soon. Fun! I love learning new skills.

Goodnight all!

Red Mars 03 The voyage out

Sol 4 : A bit of creative writing to take the edge off

Oh Horton plaza, how have the mighty fallen. Back in 2008, when I out-processed from my active duty career, the outdoor mall nestled against the NBC building was vibrant and classy, with a great food court, a nice book store and a number of interesting shops featuring in their displays a truly interesting plethora of items, now contrasting with the run down canyon of empty food stalls, pop clothing, abandoned movie theater opposite of the obligatory and parasitic Hot Topic and Gamestop featuring the same generic products you could just order online from Amazon and ThinkGeek. Uck. Bookstores are truly dead when they sell VHS on spinner racks next to the stack of well worn used sci-fi novels across from displays of plastic Cosplay gear that seems to pop up in the weirdest places in San Diego. A random assortment of “for Dummies” books covering topics such as ‘geting rid of Spam’ and “Internet Explorer 7′  finally convinces me that there isn’t anything I want in a this collection of establishments. Soon a skate park will be installed here when the Nordstrom relents and moves uptown.

I contemplate with serious but detached analysis that I am becoming more detached and analytical, building shields around my mind, getting my heart ready for leaving everyone I care about and to make friends no one can guarantee me I will even know the following week. It’s in the training, there’s a pamphlet on it, the chaplain briefs it; on the way your mind will naturally adapt to new and stressful environments by distancing you from the ones you love. You realize you will just have to hope your family will understand. You can tell them what your thinking, but they will get it or not and there is not a damn thing you can do about it but preserver and open your tri-folder looking for your next appointment in the morning.

There will be more waiting. A brief. You’ll eat another club sandwich at the base bowling alley. A smiling Corpsman will take your blood and you will make small talk. Its not a bad day, but the way it deceptively feels like just another normal day, while you know normal days are numbered and growing few gnaws on your complacent-ness and you feel the hyper-awareness of an animal knowing it will soon be in a life and death situation boot up and begin to assert itself. Its all normal. Its all planned, see right there on the check out sheet. Check. Check. Check. Ding.

Done. Ready. Todd