Tuesday, April 19, 2005


The worst thing about mornings is PT (physical training). Every Monday through Friday morning we wake up about 0120, rub the boogers out of our eyes, lick the roof of our mouths trying to get that weird taste out and get dressed up for PT. A disturbing number of the people I live with sleep nekkid, not naked, nekkid - naked is beautiful, nekkid is scary. So any how, formation is at 0130, so from the time we get done scratching, we need to be formed up to begin another day in paradise. This is a struggle.

The best thing about the mornings is breakfast. Thanks to the wonderful American tax payer and the gernerous personel of Kellog Brown and Root, we get awesome chow here. You can get omlets made anyway you want, fried eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, hashbrowns, grits, biscuts and gravy, fruit, cereal, waffles, its like the buffet at Shoney's. It rocks!!!

Now this is gone from me. We just had an influx of personel and the lines for breakfast are huge. It reminds me of that old film footage from the USSR where the people used to wait in line for four months for a half of loaf of grub eaten rye. I mean c'mon man! I want my frosted flakes and some expiered orange juice( most of the prepackaged food is borderline expired, but hey, the law of the lowest bidder.)Now, we trudge through the line everymorning, its like Space Mountain without the futuristic music and photos at the end. Egads!

So now, we sneak in through the exit, skipping the hot food, and make a b-line toward the ceral rack, grab some milk, enriched with vitamin R, whatever the hell that is, and go out the other door. The cereal comes in sealed cups about the size of a coffee mug, it takes about two to make a half decent breakfast.

We then head back to our hut, plop down on the couch and watch TV. Dont ask how we got the couch, you dont want to know, and the bodies haven't fully decomposed. So we plop down, and proceed to consume the best that Kellogs has to offer! They're GREAT!

Its funny becasue this reminds me of home alot. I remember early mornings before school, when my mom would wake me up way too damn early, 4 hours before my first class, and I would eat breakfast in the living room. I'd grab the tupperware bowl, you know the one you use to mix cake, the 5 gallon bowl. Fill that bowl up with half a box of cereal, use the whole carton of whole milk, yes, I said whole milk you communist skim milk drinkers. Then watch MTV or Sports Center till the cereal was shoveled away and it was time to get to class. We dont have MTV but we manage to substitute it with DVD's of Family Guy or Friends.

Now breakfast is back to the best part of the day, because its the only real normal time. Everything here is just too damn weird, ignorant, or just plain wrong. Its good to know that every morning for 30 minutes, me and the rest of my section get a little closer to home. Except we wear body armor and carry rifles to school.

Despit it all sometimes, 30 minutes of home is enough to last a lifetime.

Monday, April 11, 2005


Cause and Effect. Action and Reaction. This is the law of the universe. It governs our everyday humdrum lives as we trudge through time on our way to oblivion. This is an absoloute. Man I could go for some Absoloute...

So here's the deal. Action: A Colonel is walking through our main site, the one with all the fun boxes, computer screens, and blinking lights. Anyhow, this guy manages to, with all of his extensive military exprience miss the large black cable runnning across the ground.

He proceeds to do a faceplant into the hard Afghany terra firma.

I'm not sure what transgressed after that momment, but I am sure it consisted of alot of swearing, yelling, and tending to a bruised ego.

Reaction: We have to bury all the cable on camp in three days. I'm not one to give out sensitive information, but im sure that "Shitload" doesn't qualify as quanitative data that the enemy can use against us. So, in short, there is a Shitload of cable here on camp, and we have to dig trenches to bury it all.

This land is practicaly one large mountain. Have you ever tried to take a pick made by the lowest bidder and break through SOILD ROCK!!! Also, its hot here, not Paris Hilton hot, I'm talking child locked in a station wagon at the mall parking lot in August hot. Retarded isn't the right word, but its the right word for right now.

Im thinking about trying to use the Jedi mind trick on the colonel. I've been working on it using small mammals to small effect, I wasn't ready to go right into human testing, but this leaves me no choice.

Colonel: Why isn't this cable buried sergeant?

Me: These aren't the droids your looking for.

Colonel: Who the hell is talking about hemroids?! I want that cable burried!

Me: You don't need to see their papers.

Colonel: Are you listening to a word I'm saying?

Me: We may pass.

Colonel: Are you taking Malaria pills?

I'm pretty sure it will go smoothly. If not, well, there is always truck driving school.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Across the Pond

I just happened upon this while I should have been working, shhhh!

I like to get insight from other countries on how they view America and Americans. However short sighted and ill informed their conclusions might be, they do give us a new twist on things. Like any second pair of eyes, sometimes they catch things that we might overlook due to complacency or sheer idiocy.

Then again...most of the English are just plain gay :p

the light of your failure to elect a suitable President of the USA
and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation
of your independence, effective today. Her Sovereign Majesty Queen
Elizabeth II will resume monarchial duties over all states,
commonwealths and other territories. Except Utah, which she does not
fancy. Your new prime minister (The Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP
for the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a
world outside your borders) will appoint a minister for America
without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will
be disbanded.

A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any
of you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown
Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary.
Then look up "aluminium". Che! ck the pronunciation guide. You will be
amazed at just howÊincorrectly you have been pronouncing it. The letter
'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'favour' and 'neighbour',
skipping the letter 'U' is nothing more than laziness on your part.
Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the

You will end your love affair with the letter 'Z' (pronounced 'zed'
not 'zee') and the suffix "ize" will be replaced by the suffix "ise".
You will learn that the suffix 'burgh is pronounced 'burra' e.g.
Edinburgh. You are welcome to respell Pittsburgh as 'Pittsberg' if
you can't cope with correct pronunciation.

Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look
up "vocabulary". Using the same twenty seven words interspersed with
filler noises such as "like" and "you know" is an unacceptable and
inefficient form of communication. Look up "interspersed". There will
be no ! more 'bleeps' in the Jerry Springer show. If you're not old
enough to cope with bad language then you shouldn't have chat shows.
When you learn to develop your vocabulary then you won't have to use
bad language as often.

2. There is no such thing as "US English". We will let Microsoft know
on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take
account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of "-ize".

3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents.
It really isn't that hard. English accents are not limited to Cockney,
upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in Frasier). You will also have
to learn how to understand regional accents - Scottish dramas such as
"Taggart" will no longer be broadcast with subtitles. While we're
talking about regions, you must learn that there is no such place as
Devonshire in England. The name of the county is "Devon". If you
persist in calling ! it Devonshire, all American States will become
"shires" e.g. Texasshire, Floridashire, Louisianashire.

4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as
the good guys. Hollywood will be required to cast English actors to
play English characters. British sit-coms such as "Men Behaving Badly"
or "Red Dwarf" will not be re-cast and watered down for a wishy-washy
American audience who can't cope with the humour of occasional
political incorrectness.

5. You should relearn your original national anthem, "God Save The
Queen", but only after fully carrying out task 1. We would not want
you to get confused and give up half way through.

6. You should stop playing American "football". There is only one kind
of football. What you refer to as American "football" is not a very
good game. The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world
outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays
"! American" football. You will no longer be allowed to play it, and
should instead play proper football. Initially, it would be best if
you played with the girls. It is a difficult game. Those of you brave
enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to
American "football", but does not involve stopping for a rest every
twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like nancies). We
are hoping to get together at least a US rugby sevens side by 2005.
You should stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an
event called the 'World Series' for a game which is not played outside
of America. Since only 2.15% of you are aware that there is a world
beyond your borders, your error is understandable. Instead of
baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls' game called "rounders"
which is baseball without fancy team strip, oversized gloves,
collector cards or hotdogs.

7. You should declare war on Quebec! and France, using nuclear weapons
if they give you any merde. The 97.85% of you who were not aware that
there is a world outside your borders should count yourselves lucky.
The Russians have never been the bad guys. "Merde" is French for
"5hit". You will no longer be allowed to own or carry guns. You will
no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous in public
than a vegetable peeler. Because we don't believe you are sensible
enough to handle potentially dangerous items, you will require a
permit if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

8. July 4th is no longer a public holiday. November 2nd will be a new
national holiday, but only in England. It will be called "Indecisive

9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and it is for
your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what
we mean. All road intersections will be replaced with roundabouts. You
wi! ll start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same
time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit
of conversion tables. Roundabouts and metrication will help you
understand the British sense of humour.

10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French
fries are not real chips. Fries aren't even French, they are Belgian
though 97.85% of you (including the guy who discovered fries while in
Europe) are not aware of a country called Belgium. Those things you
insist on calling potato chips are properly called "crisps". Real
chips are thick cut and fried in animal fat. The traditional
accompaniment to chips is beer which should be served warm and flat.
Waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.

11. As a sign of penance 5 grams of sea salt per cup will be added to
all tea made within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this quantity
to be doubled for tea made within the city of Boston itself.

12. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not
actually beer at all, it is lager. From November 1st only proper
British Bitter will be referred to as "beer", and European brews of
known and accepted provenance
will be referred to as "Lager". The substances formerly known as
"American Beer" will henceforth be referred to as "Near-Frozen Knat's
Urine", with the exception of the product of the American Budweiser
company whose product will be referred to as "Weak Near-Frozen Knat's
Urine". This will allow true Budweiser (as manufactured for the last
1000 years in Pilsen, Czech Republic) to be sold without risk of

13. From December 1st the UK will harmonise petrol (or "Gasoline" as
you will be permitted to keep calling it until April 1st 2005) prices
with the former USA. The UK will harmonise its prices to those of the
former USA and the Former USA will, in return, adopt UK petrol prices
(roughly $6/US gallon - get used to it).

14. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns,
lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and
therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent. Guns
should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to sort
things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then
you're not grown up enough to handle a gun.

15. Please tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us crazy.

Tax collectors from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly
to ensure the acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776).

Thank you for your cooperation.


I hope you enjoyed the laugh. I know I did.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Entrepeneural Spirit is Alive and Well

The day has gone and night has come to visit once again.

Today is my half day off so not much time to pen my thoughts via keystroke this night, but I will leave the world with an interesting story I heard today.

A US soldier, female type. Was stopped during inspection of her luggage just before boarding her flight to go back home after her year in Afghanistan. She served on the very base that I now have the pleasure of residing on. Anyhow, this soldier was stopped because she had an unusually large sum of money on her, cash, green backs, moula.

Just under 12,000 dollars in cash.

How might you ask does a soldier, female type, aquire such a small fourtune in only one year. Well, we are allowed to cash personal checks but only up to 400 dollars a month. That would put her just over 5,000 for the year. She didnt cut hair like some soldiers do for extra cash. I have a good buddy named Martin who gives me a good line up and a tight fade, I pay him 5 bucks a cut. Maybe she played Texas Hold'em? Perhaps.

No, our soldier had aquired that money via other means. That being "solicitation." If that was so, she would have been making an extra 200 dollars a week via this enterprise.

Granted what she did was morally wrong and against Army policy. Her clientel would also be in violation of policy.

Now I just happened to over hear this story while enjoying some Green Bean Coffee. Is the tale Fact or Fiction...probably a little of both. Irregardless, it still makes for an interesting story.

This story will change from person to person. One day she will be a soldier from Iraq. One day it will be some lowely private, then the next telling will have it being a Company Commander. Who knows anymore.

Nothing here seems real anymore, just lots of scenes drawn in mottled greys and covered in dust.

Two tickets to Paradise

Another week ends here in the land that time forgot. Uneventful and dull as ususal, but that is not nessicarily a bad thing. In a war zone, a quite night is a luxury we are rarely afforded. Most nights are filled with either the errie yelps of the local packs of wild dogs, the dull resonance of a night fire range, or one of our larger instruments of war blowing up a mountain for fun.

A little peace a quite is something I think I will not take for granted any time soon.

Its kind of crazy how 90% of the people in the world will never move 100 miles from where there they were born. Then here I am nestled in a quaint wine valley in the most heavily mined country in the known world. Ten years ago if you asked me where I would be, Afghanistan would not be on my top 10 list, but it might have made the top 25.

I am enjoying the experience though. New people, new places, and new clothing are the spice of life. The worst part about it though is the lack of contact with the locals. They seem like interesting enough people.

The coolest thing happened the other day. I was driving the humvee to pick up some supplies from our ISU-90 (read as large storage closet), and was driving back to my AO (Area of Operation) and I passed a line of the local workers. Im not sure why, maybe it was an instinct or just sick curiousity. I took my one hand the was on the steering wheel and formed my first two fingers into a "V", aka the peace sign or for those BET wathers "the deuce." Then the whole line of locals threw "the deuce" back at me. It was awesome. One of them even had it kind of low and sideways then threw his head back and to the left, very gangsta!

Well back to work. Watch your six kids.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Swallow the Knife

This place is like a huge waitng room, except without the musak.

After only a month, people are already beginning to think about leaving. Soldiers talk about how long till they get out when they get back to the rear. They talk about where they want to PCS to next. Its funny how we have so much time here to think about all these things. Granted there is alot here to keep us busy concerning our duty, but still, there is too much time to think here.

Thinking hurts the brain, and its inherently dangerous when used by the stupid.

So many plans are made here.

"When I get out..." or "When we get to the rear..." or "As soon as these warts go away..."

The list goes on and on. Yet, at the heart of this is the thing that keeps these soldiers going. Hopes and Dreams. Ultimately thats why they joined the Army. Wether it was the hopes and dreams of their parents or their own. They all came here to find a better way of life or escape from their past way of life. In the midst of all this ugly chaos and death, there are the hopes and dreams of these soldiers. So many plans for the future. Its those plans they cling to and nurture, and by doing so make it through to another day.

There is so much bullshit around here. So many idiots and their own misguided and malignant agendas. It makes it hard just to get through the day sometimes, let alone an entire year.

So we go into our own little world and let our sick little minds go wild with fantasy and fiction. Eventually we create some kind of reality bending world to live in like in some M. Night Shamalayan movie. Not quite real, but real enough to be believable.

It's in there that we escape all this bullshit and somehow find our humanity and a sense of realism that reality just can't give us right now.

Because this place is to surreal to be anything but fiction.