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Backup For Workgroups? Hardly

Unfortunately, the saga continues.

When Backup for Workgroups finally had completed the entire Emergency Restore operation, I rebooted my computer and was immediately greeted by a blue screen upon startup. Nothing worked. Totally gone. Not even any safe mode worked. The only option left to me was to reinstall Windows XP -- which of course killed my entire registry, and that means reinstalling every single application on my computer anyway, typically.

Needless to say, I feel a little stumped.

There should be some utility to export the Software section from HKEY_CURRENT_USER and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. So at least that survives.

Endlich Zurück von Poland

We're finally back from Poland.

I was gone for seven days and personally, I think seven days in Poland is just enough. Now don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with Poland in itself, it's just that when hardly anybody speaks English (a bit of broken German works sometimes) it gets to you after a while.

But, all in all, it was nice. Gorzów Wielkopolski was a nice city. My good friend Bob fell in love with a nice girl, I myself hung out at McDonalds a fair bit of the time, and the weather was nice. Everything nice and cozy. And cheap.

Going back, we stopped in the German city Greifswald for some food and a hotel night's stay; and interestingly enough, Greifswald turned out to be a partner city with Lund in Sweden, and thus every German that my sister ever met came from there. (My sister studied medicine in Lund.)

And I got to speak some German: We were looking for a pharmacy, since I needed some motion sickness medication for the ferry back to Sweden (I didn't enjoy the first trip over very much), and when the pharmacy staff didn't understand my English, I switched to German and was able to explain myself. They even thought my German was good. (I blush with pride.)

But, all in all, I'm probably not going back anytime soon. Continental Europe is nice... but... America is just really much nicer. :)

90 Degrees And Counting

This past week has been very warm in Sweden - not surprisingly since we're in the middle of July, though. Outside it's a steady 80 degrees, but inside my apartment it climbs to about 90 during the day.

Swedes are generally ill-equipped to handle heat like this. After all, most of our housing is suited for the subzero temperatures in winter, when the north wind howls around the corners and bites your face. So hardly anybody as any A/C units at home, and everybody is kind of adapted to temperatures that's between 30-50 degrees anyway. So when the heatwaves come, we're ill prepared.

I keep telling myself that I should be used to this: I've spent time in Florida. This is normal. 90 degrees is cool. But then again, Floridians have A/C everywhere so you can always cool off someplace - if nothing else in the supermarket stores where you usually end up with pneumonia if you spend too much time in there.

Anyway, it'll all be over soon anyway: Before long, we'll cool down to 70 degrees, and then it's back to the cold and dark long haul through winter again. Always something to look forward to. ;-)

Supporting The Troops

Sometimes I get an urge to do something for the American troops stationed throughout the world ... like I really want to do something for them, support them and encourage them, since I so deeply sympathize with what they're doing.

So a few nights ago, I sent an email to an organization called ASA (America Supporting Americans) and wrote down some of my thoughts and how I stood with the U.S. forces and wanted to thank them and support them.

The response so far has blessed me and overjoyed me.

The President of the organization wrote back and said so many beautiful things, and how she wanted to post the message on their site and forward it to others who had recently experienced loss in the war on terrorism.

I also got two letters from the U.S. Marine Corps - one from a Staff Sergeant in Camp Fallujah, II MEF (FWD), Iraq; another one from a Sergeant with the 8th ESB, 2FSSG - telling me how they appreciate my support and how they earnestly believe a safer Middle East means a safer world.

It's the least I could do.

SF Alpha Geek: Jumping With The Brits

"Remember, if the fooking cable breaks and I tell you to go, don't bother looking around and asking 'Pardon?', because you'll fooking be talking to yourself!"
...yelled the instructor as Special Forces Alpha Geek was about to jump from a hydrogen balloon over a field in Britain. It wasn't that that the balloon was filled with hydrogen (remember Hindenburg?), but the 600' cable that kept it anchored to the ground could possibly fail. The balloon then had a tendency to rise very sharply into the air, and it would be wise to jump before your low-altitude jump turned into a stratosphere jump.

This month, SF Alpha Geek is running a little mini-series on his experiences in jumping with the British Airborne (part one, interlude, and two).

It's a hilarious account on the differences between training with the 82nd Airborne, on the Special Forces Q-course, and with the British - who, for unknown reasons, insist on handing out lemon drinks and cookies before each jump.

I don't think I was ever cut out to be in the military - or at least not in the Airborne infantry - but it sure makes for fun reading; if not for all the cultural differences. For instance, while the Americans (as seen on Band Of Brothers) perform all kinds of equipment checks and get warnings at different intervals, the British simply yell out "Action Stations" and then "Go, go, go"; adhering to the belief that "you rigged it, you ride it", and if you choose to fall a thousand feet to the ground because you didn't pack your parachute correctly, it's your problem.


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