Thursday, October 4, 2007

Hail and Fairwell

The military has a never ending history of traditions. Some are fun, some tedious, and many involved alcohol. The new touchy, feely version of the military is getting rid of these rituals. The Navy has a heritage very different from the Army and Air Force. Surprisingly, all share the Hail and Fairwell party. Everyone kicked in $10 to have buffet style hors d'oeuvres (thanks Google, don't I feel smart now). The event started at 3:30 and lasted under 2 hours. It was a great opportunity to meet everyone, give the new guys (me) a little roast, and give the old timers their minute in the spotlight.

I went back to see Sally, my realtor. It turns out that the furnished unit on the 16th floor had been taken, and that the owner of the 26th floor unit didn't want to hold it for long. I was going to try to play hardball and negotiate for a TV and faster Internet access and do more due diligence looking in other areas. I'm staying at the Dragon Lodge, a ridiculously nice hotel with the crappiest service ever. They're not rude, but very un-accommodating. "Do you have toothpaste, the airline took mine?" - answer: "We sell toothpaste at the gift shop". "Do you have complimentary breakfast or coffee?" - answer: "The restaurant on the other side of the lobby opens at 6". Question (at the front desk): "Can I use your phone to call my Sponsor"? Answer: "That's a cell phone, you need to purchase a phone card to call that number". It's not like my room isn't $200/night. They're the only game in town and it shows. But I'm in no hurry - I can stay extra days while I'm househunting and Per Diem covers a little more than my meals and Internet access. The thing is, I get excited every time I think back to that tower apartment. As I weigh the pros and cons, I can't consider living elsewhere when this choice is available. Oh, I almost forgot, the "normal" Internet access is a 100 megabit connection. It will be interesting to see how much bandwidth our building has to the backbone.

Today I went back to look at both units (16th and 26th). The building is amazing. Only one famous building, KLI 63, comes to mind as taller and more striking, but it's miles from work. I would be amazed if walking from my bedroom to my office desk took much longer than 10 minutes. A major subway station is right out front. The building has a workout area that overlooks the main street and an indoor golf range/putting green that you can use for about $2. Parking is great. There aren't as many little shops and restaurants as I would like (many areas are much better) and I haven't seen local markets, but that's a relative description. There are probably 10 restaurants, a bakery, and lots of little shops within a large block. You couldn't count how many are within a mile. The 16th story unit had very nice upgraded trim and granite, but the view of my 2604 :) takes the cake. It has many windows facing both north and south. Nearby towers partially obstruct the view but it's not a big deal. Hopefully I'll provide pictures by next week. My description simply won't do it justice!

Next week the boss will provide us a detailed breakdown of who will be in charge of which projects. My first few are few highly necessary ones that involve inventorying and processes that doesn't sound exciting. However, my boss has made several comments that I have the job that he wishes he had if he wasn't managing. The contractor that I'll be primarily working with/under also got his MCSE in NT 4, was a Microsoft Certified Trainer, recently passed his CISSP, manages/programs all our Cisco stuff, and seems to be very technical in many areas. We got into some specific geek talk about virtualization applications and he shot me down pretty good. I like the guy already. Additionally, my command seems very interested in getting me to many training classes in addition to jump school. They already plan on sending me to a local Security+ and Network+ boot camp style class. Later I will be able to travel back to the states for conferences and other work related events. I will be encouraged to take leave en route, but will be effectively limited to 30 days off peninsula per year. There will be times that I will be working absurd hours for work, in March and April, for example, but I should have a pretty accurate long term schedule. I'm also told that we get to work shorter days in between to make up. They just finished one of those right before I arrived, which explains the overly relaxed command climate; the big man made Monday a "training holiday" and is giving us a 4 day weekend - apparently well deserved.

I found out that the Air Force and Army officers that I work with have the option of extending overseas for an extra year or two, which pays them a few hundred $/mo effective immediately. I like Korea enough already that I was seriously willing to commit to a 3rd year for the extra money. Unfortunately the Navy only offers this to enlisted members. I'm told that I may be able to extend another year if I wish by asking my detailer...great...

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