Alright, so I'm sitting here at the RPSC (Raytheon Polar Services Corp) headquarters waiting for the shuttle to take me to the airport to being my trek down to Palmer.
The last couple days have been the usual sort of corporate stuff that you go through getting hired at any company, nothing bad, most people seem pretty good.
They did go over, in detail, about what sort of things are and aren't allowed on the internet connection down there. It is technically a US Government connection, and they're pretty bandwith-limited (although I haven't been able to get a straight answer from anyone on exactly what the connection is like), so they have a whole list of specifically banned apps.
At the top of the list is:
-Skype or any other VoIP services
-Any P2P services, they mentioned KaZaa and Morpheous by name, but basically anything on that gnutella network, and probably bit torrent as well
-Online and network gaming, so absolutely no TF2 :(
-No streaming video (Specifically, no Youtube, or watching any streaming TV shows, even legally, off broadcaster's sites)
iTunes and other legal services they did say are okay, but they also stressed that due to how limited the bandwith is, they ask people to limit their DLing to off-peak hours and not do massive bulk downloads at once.
So given that I won't be able to download TV shows the usual way, anything new that I want to see will either need to be DLed by someone here, and mailed down once a month on some DVDs, or bought on iTunes. So I think I'll be asking for iTunes giftcards and things (electronic ones) if anyone wants to show how much they miss me by heaping monetary gifts my way.
As for if you want to mail stuff to me, I STILL haven't gotten a straight answer on exactly what the mailing address there is for larger packages. But I think flat mail and very small packages can go through the RPSC headquarters here in Denver.
Again, this is FLAT MAIL AND VERY SMALL PACKAGES ONLY! Basically, letters or padded envelopes of 2lbs or less. I THINK that very small boxes might be okay as well, as long as they're small enough that, say, you could fit them into a pocket or small purse.
Anyway, send to:
C/o Raytheon Polar Services
7400 South Tucson Way
The mail is flown down to PA at the southern tip of Chile, and then goes to the station on the monthly supply vessel. So we only get mail once a month down there. The resupply ship leaves from Chile at the end of every month, and they say that to get your mail on that ship, you should mail the package at least two weeks in advance of the sailing. And even then, mail is pretty flaky and can be unreliable. So don't send anything time critical, and ABSOLUTELY no foods and stuff.
Anyway, I'm probably going to be out of touch for about a week, maybe a bit more. I've got a day of traveling to get me to PA, where I MIGHT have internet. But after that it's 4-10 days on the USS Gould to get down to the station, depending on weather and sea ice conditions (the Gould is an icebreaker, but breaking through sea ice is very slow). And even then, it'll probably be a couple days on station going through orientation and training before I can actually get online.
So, you may not hear from me for a bit, but I'll post and update when I can.