Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Care package Ideas

Things we're short on up here.. Powered external speakers, we've become quite the movie watching bunch. It's impressive how many people brought laptops with them but no external speakers. There's been a number of people that have fried their electronic gear plugging it into the 220 volt/50 hz power supply, not so bright people thought powerstrips that we plug our computers into are also power converters (if you look on the cords of laptops it says input 100-240volts,50-60hz, output 16v 4.5 amps they're built to be plugged in anywhere), so far these not so bright young Marines (not me) have lost a number of speaker power supply's, battery chargers, clippers and power strips. I'm not sure how I became the expert on this, I'm the doc (but could be my electronics degree, the flight surgeon has a degree in electrical engineering, we're not your average medical folk). In the US the power is at 110-115 volts at 60hz. 60hz which for some reason isn't as harsh on the heart, out here we're using 220 volts at 50hz, half the time when you plug something in out here it kicks up sparks. These guys come to me saying their charger for their gameboy PS or battery charger hasn't worked since they brought it out here. And I say "hmm, you plugged in at the tent to charge it right?" and they say "yeah Doc", and my common response is you need to buy a new power supply and a power converter, that toast, you let the smoke out of the box. The power grid just doesn't seem stable. 50 Hz is one of the frequencies the heart is most sensitive to, so at anytime I expect to run to one of my guys that was fiddling with the plug and has knocked himself out. So things in care packages that would make our life extremely cool, external speakers, power converters, electronic gear that can run at different voltages, dvd movies, games, books (specially Robin Hobbs new book Fool's Fate or maybe The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger) drink mixes, beef jerky always goes well, flashlights, homebaked goods that will survive the trip, the BX out here isn't too bad but there's still big holes in the inventory. A projector that hooks up to a computer or dvd player would be way way cool but I'm trying to talk to O's into sponsoring that, I'd feel pretty guilty if I received one in the mail (Bill Gates if you're reading this, that's on my wish list, heh).