Now that I’ve been in the theater for a month (I’ve been gone since Jan 3, but the initial weeks of training unfortunately don’t count towards the 179 days), I thought I might post a few “top 10” lists over the next few weeks. For starters, I am posting the top 10 personal items/gadgets I have appreciated since arriving. These are in no certain order.
1) Bose noise cancelling headsets – Absolutely essential, especially in wifi areas where there are lots of people around you talking, Skype, etc. I can be listening to music and completely drown out the noise around me.
2) Laptops – Yes, laptops plural. I am using my MacBook Air for basic email and Skype. I use my PC laptop for getting stuff done (ie., writing papers, project-related work). I have both up and running at the same time so I can still multitask with the best of them.
3) Kindle – Given my plywood box room, space is at a premium. 20-30 books on my Kindle is priceless.
4) Ipod – Essential for music and listening to sermons while on the treadmill. Bruce, you will be glad to know that you are filling my ear for about 45 minutes a day. I am working through late 2010 at the moment and should be caught up to current by the end of my deployment unless you start preaching more than 2 sermons a week!
5) Sprint HTC Evo Design 4G – I had to upgrade from my previous EVO 4G because it didn’t have international capability. Other than my new phone being slightly thinner, the functionality is the same. Surprisingly, international data service here is actually working well (and only costing me $40 a month for unlimited data, which is not bad) so I can stay engaged in mostly real time (ie, my security blanket still works).
6) Portable hard drive – This is actually one I don’t appreciate yet because Amy is sending it (one item I forgot to pack). However, given the slower internet, it’s the best way to transfer large files from one computer to another, especially movies.
7) Laundry detergent sheets – We are fortunate to have our own washer and dryer in our office (shhh, don’t tell anyone). I didn’t realize they made “detergent sheets” for washing clothes until Amy packed some in my bag. They look and work similar to the dryer sheets I am used to using, at least in our home. However, they work great and are very convenient. This is one of those instances where it’s just like the slogan says, “No Mess, No Spills, No Heavy Bottles. Laundry Simplified.”
8) Cold weather parka and gloves – It’s cold here. I almost turned this item down in Manas because I thought the lighter jacket I had would be enough. I have worn the cold weather parka every day. My fingers say thank you every day.
9) Heated blanket for sleeping – We have a window heater in our room, but without insulation and mostly shoddy construction of these B-huts, it’s quite drafty so gets cold at night. My setting is 8.
10) M-9 hand gun – I just feel cool wearing it (not really but makes for a final top 10). I will never have a weapon on me once I get back home so I might as well enjoy feeling like a little boy again, “locked and loaded”. Actually, we don’t carry a round in the chamber, but the magazine is loaded. I pray I never need it. On a related note, Logan, our 5 year old, asks me frequently if I’ve killed any bad guys yet…ah, the mind of a child.
Here are some of the other categories I am thinking about generating top 10 lists for over the next few weeks:
Places to Go
Things To Do
Food to Eat
If anyone has ideas for other top 10 lists you’d like to see, feel free to add as a comment. If I can come up with 10 things in that category, I will add it. I hope everyone has a great week.