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In response to the increasing number of e-mails...

...asking what I've been doing (two so far this week -- a 100% bump over last week), I'll give you a quick synopsis:

Between shovelling snow and clearing away storm-felled tree limbs during my three-plus week leave, I managed to

1. take and pass a Class II FAA Flight Physical -- piece of cake since I'd just passed a more stringent Class I in the Ukraine in November ("This is same flight physical cosmonauts get. Try to keep head from swelling too big to get back through door, da?")

2. take and pass the Military Competency written test for a civilian rating -- a tougher piece of cake (a two-hour exam, finished in fifteen minutes, and *buffing nails on IBA vest* I aced it)

3. schedule an interview with the Philly FSDO -- a painless review of my training certificates, aircraft qualifications, and flight hours which resulted in Yrs Trly receiving a gen-u-wine civilian pilot's license (Rotary Wing, Commercial Pilot, Instrument Rated). It didn't hurt that the interviewer and I had acquaintances in common from the Old Days.

Anyway, I'm back in Kabul, 'cept *this* time, I'm both tutoring Afghan pilots in the sim and going through the wringer to get brought up to speed in the Mi-17. And still pulling my share of gate guard duty.

At least I'm not shovelling snow.

However, since we're chronically short-handed, everybody -- pilots, mechanics, supply-types, even the HR and IT geeks -- pulls one or more shifts on our shortcut from outside the wire to KAIA North.

And what do we do when there are no ANA snowball fights to watch (or participate in)? Well, if we were in Saker's outfit, we'd have made a platoon of snowmen and put reflective belts (aka, target markers) on them. If we were Norwegicans, we'd probably have built an ice castle (complete with working portcullis) as a windbreak. And if we were Canuckistanis, we'd probably have built a combination hockey and curling rink.

But we're none of those.

We're merely fun-lovin' Murrican contractors, the kind that SKK so masterfully limned at her place earlier,

with more than a wee bit of homesickness for the things we left behind and miss the most.

So we sculpted this.

Ah, nostalgia...


Love that *er* "Ski-jump" toilet on the left.

Try to successfully complete a "Nº Two" on a Turkish train featuring one of those. Imagine trying not to soil oneself as it chugs, bumps and rolls at 50 MPH down the tracks. Those stuffed mussels from the prior evening just had to come out, let me tell ya. Ah - The fond Turkish memories.
 So needs to go to Breitbart.

 Oh, and pics of the other sculpts would be nice... 
 And then there's *why* you needed to take a Class II physical while still under the penumbra of a valid Class I.  Which is... instructive.
I'm sure the reason for the 2nd physical was the FAA's lack of desire to recognize the more stringent physical because the Rooskis don't beleive in giving Amerikanskis real physicals.

Looks like JTG's habits might be rubbing off on you Armorer.
Nup, they wouldn't accept it because all the doc's findings were written in Ukrainian. The med certificate itself is in English and Ukrainian -- the US flight doc was impressed.
 Dangit.  I hate it when I do that.

 And it reminds me of the time when the Sweety SWWBO and I were over at Chaos Manner, and Dr. Jerry booted us because we were pulling everything apart and losing the litle pieces while I was hiding under the workbench...
 Now, what was your point again?

The FAA doesn't even accept US Military flight physicals - I do one of each every year...  Although if the Flight Surgeon is also an Aviation Medical Examiner he can do the paperwork for both based on the same exam.

Bill, the FAA is also allowing you to test out of CFI/CFII if you have the military IP school now. I don't know if the school dates are grandfathered or not but you might want to look into that as well.
*stumbling around in the wee hours, here at The Ice Palace... fumbling for the door to my WC... or should I say, my IC...  fumbling around for the.... for the....*

~ trip ~

~ fall ~

Hey! Who stole the ---?

Bill, culling from Holly's comment, I am going to guess there may have been more to that sculpture than a game of Skip to My Loo. I won't ask you to divulge anything that remains classified. But on behalf of  *certain survivors* of a *certain ship* and for your outreach to assist the Mop-Slinger Service: Thank you. This is exemplary.
I keep looking at those photos, hoping I'll be able to figure out where on the airfield Bill is, relative to where I was...they done built a bunch of new stuff.

And that loooks like more snow than they got my entire tour...which happened while I was on R&R, and except for small piles in shady spots, was gone by the time I came back.  'Course, it snowed while I was home in NC, too, so I didn't miss out.

Thai place still good?
Awww, *you* made it exemplary, Mizz Susan. Let the comments flow!

We're on the ANA compound, in the MoI/MoD hangar, HL. Just off Hotel taxiway, east of the AF hangar with all the (grounded) C-27s on the ramp in front of it. When I'm back inside the wire, I'm right across the street/goat path from the USA/USMC NSE. Dunno about the Thai place -- I haven't felt the need for nuking my stomach -- but Ciano's still does a great "keep you wired for 12 hours" espresso...
Bill...has any study been made as to the time line required for use of this facility? If facility is in use for too long it may dissapear...and then where would the participant be.
The first person to actually sit on it with a genuine intent to use it will be there until spring...
Awwww... thank you, Bil, and --


*running from room*

I just saw what you and Fishie said...

No hot coffee on the snow sculpture, please!
Too late! Sorrrrrry!

Here. I'll wipe it off.


Oh, great.

*glancing around*

Um... Bill?



 HEY! Where are you going!!!???? 
BRB. Left my camera in the hootch...
You do that. Don't worry about me. I'll just stay stuck to this snow sculpture, with Holly screaming up at me through the bowels...
Okay -- I'll bring back some anti-freeze, too.

Oh, wait. GO #1. We're not allowed to have anti-freeze.

Some jalapeño wasabi, maybe?
You can use that in the loo? I had no idea!

So kind.  *mutters*  So, so kind....

Sure!  I'll take the plunge. Anything to get me away from Holly!
 Styrofoam, for the seat, is recommended.

 Ahhhh, "The Latrine Queen and her Throne", have a seat, minus any styrofoam. Just chill out!
I have all of your names.

Just you wait until Spring.... 
Dang, picking on the excessively earnest socially-awkward people again. We weirdos just don't get no respect. At least the Armorer has two brains and can turn off the autistic coprocessor when he wants to act normal; some of us don't have that luxury.(Jtg whines)
 Of course weirdos get no respect. But, you can terrorize them. As long as yout Dimocrat, you will be fine. All you have to do is claim immunity under ADA, or do as Armorer does and tell them your Ft. Sill grad. The first gets you sympathy. The second they will start to back away slowly hoping you won't charge them.

Bill, that was mighty tacky of the UKRooski to put write his findings in Cyrillic. Actually, I figgered it was something like that.
There's more info just on the cert than there is on an FAA flight med cert.

'Nuther case of NIMBY, I'd say...
Oh, and pics of the other sculpts would be nice...

There aren't any other sculpts -- I was engaging in a flight of fancy for comparison's sake.

Evidently we're the only bunch here with both the inclination toward the artistic and a sufficiency of pristine snow with which to exercise it. Everybody else was probably hanging out at Ciano's, sipping espresso. I know the Belgians were, at any rate...

Sooo, I'm guessing this is NOT where one goes after Mexican night at the chow hall?  Although, in theory, it *should* be the perfect place....
The DFAC manager is a Brit and the cooks are Indonesian. They don't do Mexican food here.

Or US food, for that matter...
So, no more exploding cheesy bean burrito posts to foist off on us as an excuse for the lack of Argghhh-o-naut cartoonage, eh?
Although, I have every confidence you will find some other reason....