Life in the EOC

First, be sure to read the Radio Response website. I am the primary author there, so reading that is as good as reading this. Except there I have to be a bit more professional and circumspect.

A few days ago I moved to Bay St. Louis. The work was really heating up down here for IT generalists (as they charitably call people who aren’t allowed on towers…). The cynic would also point out that once the Bay St. Louis team’s lodgings were upgraded to include air conditioning I consented to go to Bay St. Louis.

Look, I’m a datacenter guy, not a tower monkey. I don’t DO hot.

It’s been nice working here at the EOC. There are interesting people to talk to, when you feel like it. There is hands on work to do out in the community. Today at the feeding center, we had several people come up to us and respond positively to the news that any day now there would be free internet and phone calls where they eat three meals a day. We picked that site because we knew that it would reduce the necessity of marketing; the food brings them in, the free long distance keeps them coming back.

My schedule here works like this… at 6:30 or so our team leader here (Joe) turns on the lights and I get up. I go to breakfast and a morning meeting at 7am to get an assignment for the day. I sometimes get partnered with someone, sometimes I work alone. Depending on the work, I head back to the EOC at lunch for a sack lunch. Today I ate on the run because the network was coming up around lunch and I was too excited to stop and eat. We work until sunset and eat back at the EOC. I spend the evening on “office work”, then shower and hit the sack. I’m working too many hours, but each hour is interesting, so I’ll keep at it until there’s a reason to change it.

It has been hot and humid, but the weather changed a bit as Rita came into the gulf. We started to get some breezes, and the air turned less humid. I think it might be because the wind is coming off the land instead of off the sea, but I haven’t taken the time to really check.

The National Guard folks are rotating out. Some are coming to replace them, but not as much. Earlier in the week, then it seemed like Rita might come this way, they were packing up pretty fast. That was a little worrying, except that they have so much more crap to move than we do. I can just get in my car and drive north. They have a day of packing to do first.

Today we got an infusion of fresh blood and brainpower from the folks at SoCalFreenet.org. One of the guys wrote the wireless book I took to Guatemala with me. This place is really attracting a great crowd. Hopefully we can keep the volunteers coming. It will get pretty tough to keep making progress if it dwindles to just Mac and me!

There’s been no news on an FCC grant, or any other money. We have a dedicated guy working on it, but the wheels of government turn slowly. If you want to throw a hail mary pass, drop your representatives to congress a line and tell them Radio Response is the kind of people’s initiative that should be rewarded with modest support. We don’t want much, just our gas money paid for. We’re already getting food and shelter from the EOC (though we had to work hard to prove ourselves to get that). What we’ve done so far has an input of well under 1/10000 of 1 percent of the total amount budgeted for Katrina response. All we are asking for is our 1/10000 of a percent.

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