Monday, June 30, 2008

exercising with a gas mask

saw a guy on the elliptical trainer yesterday wearing a gas mask.  not sure what he was trying to accomplish.  he wasn't going too fast by elliptical training standards.  i'm sure he thinks there's some advantage to wearing the gas mask during a 30 minute easy-moderate effort workout.  couldn't find any studies on gas mask fitness with a couple of google searches.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

garmin 405

my garmin 405 + HRM and foot pod came in the mail last week.  this watch is cool.  it pumps out a lot of stats.  i'm a white guy, so i like stats.  the foot pod allows me to run inside, where there are no gps satellites, and still tracks my mileage, so that my indoor runs are not stat-free.  the treadmill has become increasingly important with this latest heat/humidity/stink front.
so far, i've used this watch 3 times...first time was outside on a super humid day.  the virtual training partner kicked my ass that day, as it was difficult to breathe...damn it was hot.  but, i calibrated the foot pod for indoor use.
2nd time was at spin class last night...just used it for the HRM.  the garmin is overkill for that, but my polar HRM is broken.  this class was more of a richard simmons style spin class rather than a coach troy jacobson spinerval workout.  (i had been using dave a's spinerval dvds every a good setup in the gym, where i use the gym's 50" LCD TV and spin bike w/ my speedplay pedals for a 1 1/2 hour workout.  i'm still afraid of the 3hr video...hope to get there by the end of the rotation.)  back to the spin class...instructor's a nice guy, but has a richard simmons type philosophy to working out...lots of dance stuff incorporated into the spinning.  it was a good workout, but i don't know if i can handle too much of it.  
since i spun last night, was able to give the watch its 3rd test...the treadmill in the gps-less gym.  the footpod worked well.  over a 6 mile run, the distance on the watch was .08 miles slower than the treadmill.  it seemed like there was more variance as i increased the speed...when i ran at a 8 min/mile pace, variance was negligible.  when i increased to a 6:30 mile, the variance increased substantially. 
the watch saves a lot of stats...did a quick review to see my mile pace, HR stats, etc.  i had hoped to upload it to the computer, so i could give you lots of graphs...pie charts, bar graphs, line graphs, scatter plots, etc.  however, the ANT agent is not mac-compatible at this time, and the folks that control the local computer network have draconian security policies that don't allow me to install the garmin training center software.  i'm going to find a work around, most likely using someone else's computer to hold my data until i leave in october (garmin promises compatibility by november).  at that time, i can inundate everyone with unnecessary stats, once again impressing you with my whiteness. 

Saturday, June 28, 2008

getting out

made it downtown again this friday. driving out was another adventure, fighting crazy traffic...too many cars with too many wild drivers. the main highway is full of tcns playing frogger. these guys try to cross 5 lanes of 100kph+ traffic...some don't make it.

highlights of the evening:

-got a new bag of coffee beans at the starbucks. they finally have coffee again.

-dinner at an iranian restaurant...had some kickass lamb & rice. almost ate the gormeh sabhzi (just like afrooz used to make), but couldn't pass up the lamb. got some strawberry juice as well...this is some good stuff. it seems pretty common, since this is the 2nd place i've had it...avocado juice is on the menu. i'll have to try next time...never knew you could juice them.

-picked up a few food items at the carrefour...quality jam, made from real fruit. i'm not sure what those little packets in the chow hall consist of...mainly sugar. got some good cheese, since that's another thing that's lacking here. had to pick up a good yogurt drink, for the probiotics...maybe that will help with the digestion of all this high quality food. saw that they had strawberry juice, so i couldn't pass that up.

avoided the chow hall's mongolian bbq night. the last time they had mongolian bbq, it caused a major battle in my gut. i was one of many victims of the bbq, as the clinic was full the next morning. speaking of the chow hall, here's a little bitching just so i can make anonymous feel good about himself.

1) the first image is of a corn based salad. it's either tuna-corn, chicken-corn, or turkey-corn. i asked 3 different people what was in the salad, and those are the answers i got. i tried for myself. all 3 meats could be tasted in this mess. like all the salads here, it was heavy on the mayo.

2) this is a full meal. the pb&j is standard. i get little packets of pb and little packets of j from the large bin...the j is usually grape. the bread is stale. occasionally there's one item that makes the walk over to the chow hall worth it. on this day it was the strawberries. the cookies are usually good too. on this day, the highlight of the meal was brocoli/canned mushroom salad. this one was heavy on the thousand island dressing.

(it took 1 hour to upload these pictures. the world of warcraft room is busy today. i love this place.)

yesterday they served shrimp-mayo salad...just some shrimp bathing in mayo with paprika mixed in.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


if anyone knows the difference between 'o'brien potatoes' and 'bollenger potatoes', please let me know.  i can't find anything on all the potato pages on the internets.  the google didn't give a good answer. 

chasing the stink

smell update:
you can categorize odors into 2 broad areas--inside odors and outside odors.
inside odor:  there are several here, most relate to tcns (guest workers) and bathrooms.  the tcn smell is usually noticed when they're in the hall, cleaning the building at work.  the worst time to smell a tcn is when he's serving at the chow hall.  the smell is essentially b.o. to the highest degree.  the bathrooms can get pretty bad here, especially in the building where i work.  there is no a/c in the bathroom, and occasionally a tcn comes in to use it...that's the perfect storm of smells.  i walked in today and it smelled like a couple of tcns got liquored up on mexican night.  you could smell the bathroom from 50ft away easy...could even smell it in the office, so i walked over to the chow hall for about an hour, to give the smell time to blow over.
outside odor:  i went for a run this evening, and ended up 'chasing the stink' every night, it was still hot when i was out running.  no smells at first, but about  1.75 miles into the run, right before the 2 mile turn around, i found the source of the shit smell....or at least found the most concentrated shit smell around.  i couldn't actually see anything, because it was in the middle of the desert...nothing was around, but the smell was powerful for the next 4 or 5 minutes.  between the heat, concentrated dust, and shit clouds, i don't know why i continue to run outside.  this can't be healthy.  the only thing worse would be to set up a treadmill next to the bathroom at work.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

weather/smell report

it's 110 outside today.  actually getting used to the high temp, but this current weather pattern has brought in a smell wave.  we're getting really bad smells outside at night.  last night, the smell of stale puke was pretty strong...smelled it wherever i walked.  the smell was gone during the day, but tonight the smells have pushed back's more of a mix between the stale puke of last night and fresh baked dogshit.  the dogshit smell is starting to overpower the puke smell, so the stale puke front must be pushing out....pungent.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Lunch Photo Gallery

The first meal is yakisoba. This is one dish that is hard to mess up, although the recipe used here does not stick close to the dish's Chinese/Japanese origins. Since it's usually served after spaghetti & taco day, this meet and noodle concoction is merely a leftover combination of the two. Despite the fact that it doesn't look good, nor does it stay true to the form of yakisoba, this is one of the few hot meals I'll eat.

The next meal is my standard lunch…pb&j. I'll eat the salad of the day on the side, so long as it's not the chow hall specialty "shrimp-corn salad", which resembles cat vomit. Shrimp corn salad may have been the culprit of a massive diarrhea outbreak last week. So, for it's unappetizing appearance, rubbery shrimp texture, and diarrhea causing properties, I've yet to try the "shrimp-corn cat vomit salad". On this day, there were no tasty salads available, so I ate pickles on the side. The meal next to it is Dave's meatball sub. This one has been known to cause gastrointestinal damage, so I've avoided it as well.

One meal I wish I had a picture of was the pizzaburger. It's only been served once, early in my tour. This was before I became disillusioned, and was still eating a lot of cooked meals. The burger was the standard of the standard grayish chowhall burger hue, but it was covered with pizza sauce, white cheese and pepperonis. This gut bomb tasted just fine…would make great drunk-food…but it caused an instant eruption, literally destroying my stomach. It cleared me out until dinner time, when I ate a healthy portion of chili-mac. After that day, I went on the pb&j and cereal diet.

Here's a collection of drinks I picked up at the local grocery. From left to right, we have Freez, Rani, and Bandung. Freez looks like a wine-cooler, but is nothing more than a fizzy lemonade…it was ok. Rani is banana-juice. I like banana juice, so it went down smooth. Good stuff. Bandung is "Rose syrup milk". This is the worst thing I've ever tasted, except for the Bud/Clamato crap. If you milked a flower, this is what you'd get. I should've known by the smell that this wasn't going to be pleasant. I drank without looking at the liquid. It looks like Strawberry Quik…one of the most disgusting liquids ever made. Had I poured it, there's no way I would've tried it. It took the rest of the day to get the taste out of my mouth.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

forward this to everyone you know

important facts everyone should know about barack obama

starbucks....out of coffee

asked a contractor to pick up some coffee for me from downtown.  they only serve maxwell house here, and my stash of real coffee is running low.  he went to 2 different starbucks to get some beans for me.  both are out of beans.  a coffee shop without coffee...great.  i suppose i'll have to spend my $3.50 per diem on lattes at the green bean.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

a dog in the fight

bbc did a story on office lingo...most of these are british versions of popular office jargon.  my personal favorite of all time is "i don't have a dog in the fight"  or "that dog don't hunt".  used to keep a notebook full of these buzz phrases, but lost it several years back during a paradigm shift.
the current buzzphrase that i hear a lot is "sight picture" must refer to a picture that can be seen, rather than an unseen picture.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


'Warcraft' Sequel Lets Gamers Play A Character Playing 'Warcraft'


i have some free time at work, so i've been constantly looking for ways to upgrade my countdown spreadsheet. developed 2 graphs. first is the simple, percentage of deployment complete...the 2nd is a salisbury steak tracker. the guys at the chow hall have tried to pull a fast one, by changing the name to "swiss steak" it more of a continental europe feel. it's the same left over hamburger drowned in gravy.

Friday, June 13, 2008

biodegradable douche bags

i wish some of these shows were on afn.  the planet green network sounds awful.  really, what do they hope to accomplish?


interesting developments in the world of beer economics.  i'm sure joe couchpotato wouldn't like a bunch of belgians owning his beloved bud...hell, joe couchpotato couldn't find belgium on a map, so maybe it's not that bad.  but, when joe couchpotato finds out that french is spoken in belgium, they just may have to switch their allegiances to miller.  i've been drinking a lot of stella artois out's the same price as bud heavy, so there's no incentive to patronize the king.  if inbev's purchase of anheuser-busch helps distribution of stella and beck's, thus lowering their prices in the states, i may have to give up on the king altogether.  i'm sure there will still be some price differentiation.  most bars and restaurants call american brewed beers such as killian's an import, just because it has an irish sounding name.  now, if budweiser is belgian-owned, could it be treated the same way?  seems to me that it will have more of a stake to the "import" claim, as it is a foreign-owned beer brewed in the states.  it does concern me that rising grain prices will affect beer prices. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


how can you f-- up chili mac?  the one chow hall meal that is almost impossible to screw up, and they managed to do it here.
i've now eaten pb&j on stale wheat bread for lunch 6 times in the past week....ate cereal the 7th day.


this is what happens when you send chocolate covered macadamia nuts to the desert

antarctic condoms

if 16,500 condoms are sent as a year's supply of condoms for 125 people, that equates to 132 condoms per person.  knowing that condoms are rarely used for solo endeavors, if you pair everyone up equally, that's 264 condoms per couple.  further, some will likely be celibate for the year, unless the antarctic is some wild orgy.  it appears that's what it is, if this is indeed a year's supply of condoms.  if they are evenly distributed and usage is consistent throughout the small community of 125, on average everyone is having sex every 1.38 days.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Bilderberg 2008

they held bilderberg 2008 in chantilly, va...damn.  would've loved to see alex jones out there protesting the meeting of the world's elite.  they typically vet presidential and vp candidates.  alex et al believe they make the decisions on who will be president, and operate as the puppet of the illuminati.  good stuff.  it would be interesting to see alex on the bullhorn doing what he does best...fighting for the common man, exposing the corrupt world government controlled by david rockefeller, queen beatrix of the netherlands and other powerful people that transcend national governments.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


went downtown yesterday to see the indiana jones movie and eat dinner.  movie was good, always like seeing a lot of good action, where lots of commies die.  anytime they tie in roswell, area 51, mayan and inca civilizations, you know it's a good time.  theater was nice, but smelled like cibodass (cigars, body odor and ass)....i guess that beats the smell of budussy.

Friday, June 6, 2008

running, mirages and hip hop

decided to give running outside another shot.  this time i went at 9am...started off fine, running along the wall where i had some shade...after 1/2 mile, i was in straight up desert, and it was miserable.  today it was more like a sauna, 105+ and humid.  my pace slowed down significantly.  i looked behind and thought i saw someone chasing about 1/4 mile to the turnaround and thought i saw the person approaching...after about a minute, the person disappeared.  i consider that my first mirage...4 miles in the felt like i finished a marathon.  i was spent.
tonight, they're pulling out all the stops to cool down this hot arabian night.  first, we've got swiss (aka salisbury) steak for dinner.  then, to top off the evening, we've got a rapper coming in from downtown....i'm not going to give his name, or review it tomorrow, out of fear that he belongs to some radical sunni muslim crip sect, and one of his leader's will put a fatwa on me.  it would be especially bad if he found out that i swore my allegiance to the bloods in '93 thanks to my roommate jp--ifg for life dawg!  also, i'm down with the shia, like my homeboy nuri al-maliki.
i'm not sure what he's going to rap about...i was listening to some old school rap during my run in order to gear up for this event.
first song i played was nwa's 'f**k the police'...will tonight's rapper really say 'f**k the mutaween'?  that's a surefire way to land in jail.
i also listened to public enemy's 'fight the power'...will he say 'fight the emir'?  again, another way to go to jail.
this is probably going to be rap of the 'hip hop you don't stop...everybody say ho!' type of rap, i'm sure.
or even worse, it will be muslim rap...the middle east's answer to the abomination that is christian rap.
i'm getting excited...let the okay times roll!

more from the r kelly trial

another good week at the r kelly trial...not sure what's more convincing, the shaggy defense, or the little man defense. 

Thursday, June 5, 2008

swiss steak vs. salisbury steak

if anyone knows the difference, please let me know...i think they're trying to sneak another salisbury serving in to the rotation.
i'm now eating cereal for 2 meals per day, breakfast and dinner.
i eat pb&j for lunch.

Monday, June 2, 2008

running with a blowdryer

next time you get on the treadmill, turn the heat up in the room, set up about 100 hair dryers, point them at the treadmill, set a big pile of sand between the treadmill and hair dryers.  turn on the hair dryers.  then run.  that's what it feels like running here at 6pm.  i struggled to do 4 miles at a 8 min/mile pace...the cold bottle of water i carried was hot about 2 miles into the run.  i was drained afterwards.

my only alternative is the treadmill.  i like to avoid the treadmill, as i produce more sweat than your average american.  i'm afraid the sweat is going to pile up so fast on the treads causing me to slip off the treadmill...and the worst part of it is this af pt uniform that traps in all the sweat.  they let us untuck for working out purposes, which is a good thing, but i have to retuck before walking back to the room...retucking a cold sweaty shirt into your shorts is quite an experience.

the bar got some stella artois this shipment...i rate it a solid 'a'.  it's still hot and humid, even at i gots to get my drink on real quicklike.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

day off

woke up at 7...went to have breakfast, discovering a cereal shortage. the only thing available was corn flakes. looked for some yogurt, there was none. went for a bagel--all out. the fruit tray was also empty. what they did have was a giant tub of gravy, and tray after tray of sausage and bacon.

roommate sleeps in on sundays, so i tried to quietly call home, then took the computer out to attempt some skyping...they do a good job of making that difficult here. after about 2 hours of trying to stay out of my room, so my fighter pilot roommate can get his much needed rest, i gave up and decided to take a dump in our bathroom...i'm sick of using the communal toilets for my sunday morning trips to the bathroom, in order to avoid waking anyone's 10am...time to get up. called home, until jack woke up.

went to the gym...lofty goals of 2 hours with a spinervals video on the big screen. had the tv set up, went to put the pedals on the only spin bike in the gym, discovered someone decided to screw up the, i moved over to a nautilus electronic lifecycle machine, and it was jacked i eventually ended up on another lifecycle, one where i couldn't watch the video...ended up doing an hour listening to a NPR podcast about 'the end of food.'

that got me to thinking about how much food is wasted here...last night, we had a cookout. i requested enough food for 30 people. from the limited menu, i selected chicken, burgers, potato salad and baked beans. at first i thought i should've requested more, just in case someone wanted seconds. we ended up with a giant tray full of chicken (about 50 piece), a huge bag of frozen burgers, a bushel of baked beans and a 50lb tub of potato salad. food service rules here don't allow us to return unused food.

so 3 of us grilled...outside, in 110 heat...not fun. even after everyone stuffed their faces, we had a shitload of food left. the food wasn't good at all...the chicken was someone rubbery and had a weird glow on the inside, and the burger was low grade beef that probably contained a lot of filler. considering there are food riots going on in several countries, i felt pretty guilty throwing out about 40lbs of potato salad, 2/3 bushel of baked beans, unripened sliced tomatoes, wilted lettuce, and graying onions. someone might have liked that.

after the gym, went to the chowhall. was hoping for a quiet meal, but that never happens. meat loaf was served. got me to thinking that i should count meat loaf as salisbury steak. there's really not a lot of difference. salisbury might be a little purer of a meat product, as meat loaf usually has some filler. both look pretty disgusting. i'll take a picture some day...believe me, there will be plenty more opportunities to take pictures of this shit.

did some laundry...finished a book...watched an episode of 'curb your enthusiasm'...walked over to the room where everyone plays world of warcraft, because it's too damn hot to sit outside, built a facebook account, updated the blog...that's it. my day off.