31 March 2006

Excuse me sir...

Just wanted to drop a quick note for something that happened today that I thought was pretty funny before I went off to bed.

I went up to the helpdesk to pick up a memo that the helpdesk supervisor had been given by one of our customers who was requesting some special service and as I was trying to gain access to the backroom I was stopped by the guy who was sitting behind the desk.

"Excuse me, can I help you?"

"Oh, no thanks, I'm just looking for [the helpdesk supervisor]," I say as I continue along my merry way to the back part of the room.

"I don't think she just lets people go back there."

(I should point out that this guy is a new addition to the team and was doing a marvellous job of keeping nosey people he didn't know out of his boss's hair.)

At hearing this I started to explain that I was the helpdesk supervisor's supervisor, but one of the other guys in the room who I'm familiar with beat me too it.

"He's her supervisor, it's ok," this guy says.

I smiled, extended my hand to shake his and introduced myself. I then walked back to see his boss.

27 March 2006

Reality Check

Today I was on my way to the PX to buy some foot powder and browse the nick-nacks to see if anything caught my eye that someone back home might enjoy when I heard the familiar sound of a Blackhawk helicopter overhead. This is an extremely common occurance out here and as such I've grown accustomed to their flight patterns. What caught my attention about this was that this bird wasn't flying in the pattern. When that happens it usually means that it's a medevac. Sure enough, this one had a big red cross on a white background stenciled on the bottom and sides of it. This wasn't the first medevac bird to fly over on it's way to the nearby hospital, but as I watched this one fly over I was overcome with a great sense of sorrow and sympathy for whomever was being flown to the hospital. I stopped there where the bird flew over me and said a prayer asking God to take care of the person on board.

Following shortly after the medevac was a pair of Apache attack helicopters. You can't imagine how much I wanted to be one of those pilots so that I could find the badguy responsible for injuring the person on the medevac bird. Violent images of what I would have liked to do to this particular badguy crossed through my mind for quite some time. It's hard to not go into detail about exactly what I would have liked to have done to the badguy. Every time I see a medevac fly over I always say a prayer for the person on board, but there was something about this one in particular that caught me off-guard and seeing the Apache so shortly afterward really got me going. I still have quite strong feelings about the whole thing.

If you've been paying attention to what I've written, you'll notice that I never assumed that the person being medevaced was a US troop. Our medics care for any injured person be they US or coalition military, Iraqi Army/Police, civilian, even the bad guys. Try this on for size:
Read the article "Soldier gets shot and lives to save the life of the insurgent who shot him"
Watch the video "Soldier survives gunshot"

26 March 2006

Me & McCain

Yesterday I was sitting at my computer and I got word that, among others, Sen. John McCain was going to be visiting the embassy. When I got up to the embassy to the room where the good Senator was going to be making his appearance I found that some of the other political figures accompanying were already making the rounds smiling and posing with the troops. As I scanned the room looking for Sen. McCain, I noticed a number of important looking guys in suits running around, but sadly I didn't see Sen. McCain. One of these important suits was handing out calling cards left and right to those troops who were standing around waiting for Sen. McCain to arrive. As he approached me and offered me a card I took it and said "Thank you sir." He never looked up to make eye contact and moved on much as he had done to the 20 or so Soldiers that he had approached before me.

Shortly after this I saw someone, who was obviously one of the suits worker-bees, carying a box and mumbling "Where'd he get to?" As I glanced at the box I had to do a double take since I thought I had read "Feingold" written along the side of the box. I had to think for a second, where had I heard that name before? Then I remembered, oh yeah, he's that guy who's trying to censure the President. Odd, I must have misread it.

Not long after that I saw a flury of action at one of the doors and people began to crowd around. Then in came Sen. McCain and just about every troop in the room clamored to shake his hand. He was instantly surrounded by smiling faces and he shook every hand that was offered. Thanks to my height I had an interesting view of the area around and outside the crowd. All of the suits that had been making the rounds were now trying to scrape up the leftovers of those who hadn't started their orbit of Sen. McCain. I too kept myself as near as possible hoping to get my picture taken with him and, if I was lucky, to get an autograph. When I had finally worked my way to the front of the crowd I stuck my hand forward, got a good solid handshake, picture, and he even autographed the back of one of my business cards.

Click to enlarge

Once I had my picture taken I worked myself back away from the crowd to let someone else take their turn. Afterwords I went to the nearby chow line and made myself a sandwich. I took a seat at a nearby table and began eating. As I ate I overheard someone next to me talking with his buddies about the politicians that we had all just met. What caught my attention was when he said, "Yeah, that Feingold is a little guy."

Wait, who was that?

Feingold! I hadn't misread that box. That got me thinking, did I meet him? I started to think back to try and picture a little guy in a suit. I thought about the guy with the box, no he was a pretty big guy, and didn't look anything like the guy I've seen on TV. I kept thinking and it popped into my head. He was the guy handing out calling cards! I couldn't help but chuckle.

25 March 2006

The Desert Fox

Funny thing happened yesterday. I took my RC car out for a spin in an open area and while I was turning donuts with my little off-roader, lo and behold, a small fox starts chasing it. I was stunned at first, trying to figure out where the heck this thing came from, then trying to figure out what it was doing. Turns out he just seemed to be curious of my car. I started driving it around and he kept chasing after it. For about 15 minutes this little fox played with my car, sneaking up to sniff it when it stopped and jumping with fright when it peeled out leaving a cloud of dust in it's wake. I kicked myself as I didn't have a camera to take a picture of it.

As far as work goes, the last couple days have been pretty quiet. Had an issue with one of the events that has some high visibility (a.k.a. lotsa brass) and everyone was running around like they had their hair on fire and needed me to put it out... and you know how I put out fires *grin* In the end it was all for almost naught. Someone said about 3 sentences to someone with a lot of rank who nodded and said, "Ok" and it was over. I got my head patted and moved on to my next meeting.

22 March 2006

At it again

I did it again. Today at lunch I was passing through the pages of the Stars and Stripes on my way to the comics section as I usually do and as I turned one of the pages my eyes came to rest on this picture. On the horizontal stick was written the name of a young Soldier who died over here in Iraq. I paused to read the story that went along with the picture and found out that this photo was taken at an anti-war rally where many people had similar popsicle stick crucifixes bearing the name of a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine who's died during the course of the war.

How incredibly disrespectful and devisive. Not only do these people have the audacity to use dead troops as fodder for their petty politics, but the best they can do in their pathetic attempts is popsicle sticks. "This war is unjust! We're needlessly losing America's best and bravest ... just like the one whose name someone wrote on this confectionary by-product that, at best, I'll throw in the trash after the protest, but most likely I'll just drop it in the street somewhere once it's served its purpose."

I know this won't have its desired effect, but it will make me feel better to say it. If my name should end up on the KIA list, don't disrespect me by using my name in a similar manner. While I wish very much that I were at home with my wife (and very shortly, my child!), I'm honored to be doing my part for my country and for this country. And though I would get to go home and be with my family again, if I were to be sent home before the job was finished here I would never forget the dishonor and disrespect that would show to the people of Iraq and my fellow Soldiers.

Let us do our job.

21 March 2006


I did some poking around today on the internet to try and find a certain rifle that I saw a troop carrying today and managed to track it down. It's the Fulton Armory M14 Enhanced Battle Rifle (pictured below)

Picture this with a scope mounted on it. This rig as it stands runs about $2300, but after I accessorized it, it came closer to $3000.

In all likelihood, this will end up on the list of really cool stuff that I've always wanted to buy, but when it came time to put the money on the counter I pulled back and did something smart with it. Yeah, when I win the lottery, this is one of those things that I'm gonna get. While I'm at it I may as well work up my lottery wishlist. Understand that I'm going to indulge myself here for a second and focus on things that I want to get for myself. Nothing kind or thoughtful or sweet, just that visceral, basic "Zog want!" impulse. Now that I've sufficiently caveated this as a completly selfish, self-serving list, here we go:

(in no particular order)
  • Fulton Armory M14 Enhanced Battle Rifle ~ $3000 (add for ammo)
  • Custom built (by me) computer ~ $4000 (add for internet & games)
That's about it. These are the things that I would want to buy strictly for my own benefit/pleasure. Naturally, with a kid on the way, it will likely be a long time before we have this kind of money to just spend on me. Oh well, I guess it's important to have goals ... or whatever you want to call these.

Makes me think, are these things that I simply want to have or want to use? What's gained simply by "having" these things. Nothing comes to mind. If I were to have these things, what would I "do" with them? I'd shoot things with the M14 and, potentially, use the computer at work and, more likely, to play computer games with. The trick is to hook up with someone else to play computer games or shoot things with. Lucky for me, my sweetie is a good shot. Just need to get her a rifle. =) Start lookin sweetie, I'd recommend a .22LR =)

Step 1: Make hammock

Step 2:
Step 3: PROFIT!

That's right folks, hammock v1.0 has been successfully tested and found to be in working order! I put the netting together over the weekend and just got the spacers to keep the ends from rolling over on me. I would post a picture of it, but it's dark out and my phone camera sucks so it wouldn't show up, but I'll be sure to take a picture of it tomorrow in the day and post it.

In other news, I guess it's the 3 year anniversary of the war. Yippee! Where were you 3 years ago? I was at Wazzu watching on TV as Baghdad was shocked and awed thinking, "I wonder if I'll ever have to go to Iraq?" Now I'm walking through buildings that I watched get blown up on almost-live TV. Funny how things work out like that.

I remember being on campus in BDUs every Wednesday. On one particular Wednesday there was a protest (suprise, suprise) and people supporting both sides turned out. Since I was in uniform I had to just keep my mouth shut and keep walking. As I walked past the supporters I got some smiles and thumbs up and as I passed the opposers I was offered pamphlets that had more information about the war in Iraq. After I had passed both groups I overheard a couple women talking about the supporting group saying, "If they're so in favor of the war, why don't they join the Army?" Upon hearing this I stopped and looked at the two. After making eye contact with both of them I smiled, shrugged, and held out my hands to say, "What the heck do you think I'm doing?" One then said to the other, "Yeah, like him."

That was a good day. =)

Sort of in the same vein, I've been feeling a bit down lately. I'm reading a book that Katie got for me, I can't remember the title of the book, but the book deals with helping men find their manhood. Sure I'm a big bad Soldier in Baghdad, Iraq, but I look around and see these troops coming back inside the wire in their HMMWVs with bullet strikes across the windshield after having traveled down Route IRISH for the third time that day and it makes me feel like I'm not doing my part. I find myself wishing that I had tried harder for a job that would involve me kicking down doors and slapping cuffs on bad guys. I see FoxNews specials about ground-pounders in Fallujah looking into the camera saying, "We told them to surrender, but they said they'd rather die. So they're gonna die," followed by images of a building exploding. I compare that to the highlights of my day, things like, "I'm sorry sir, but your request doesn't justify installing several thousand dollars of equipment so that you can see the guy you talk to on the phone next door." Deep down, we support troops all secretly hope that some crazy set of circumstances arises that would put us in a position to save our buddy or shoot a terrorist or spot an IED before it detonates on our convoy.

For me, it's not so much that seeing these guys makes me feel like less of a man, it's more like I don't feel like I've earned the respect that is given to war veterans. The guys who stand guard at the checkpoints in their body armor in 130 degree weather for hours on end, they've earned that respect. The guys training Iraqis to patrol the streets fight insurgents, they've earned that respect. Sure, the work I do is important to the war effort, I just don't really feel personally responsible for much of it.

In the end, I'm putting my skillset to work to help the fight. It may not be what ya see on TV and I may not be able to see the change that I'm affecting and I may not be a trigger man shooting bad guys, but you better believe, I'm going to make sure that those guys who are doing those things don't have to worry about commo. I like to fall back to the pacifist line of thought that if you contribute in any way then you're just as responsible as the one who does the killing.

So pay your taxes, fly a flag, and to those guys strapping themselves into their trucks and sleeping in the dirt, shoot a bad guy for me. I'll make sure that you can call home and tell mom all about it.

Here are the before/after pictures of the hammock



18 March 2006

Male call

So there I was, sitting at my desk minding my own business. From out of nowhere the door behind me is flung wide open and in walks a Soldier striking an intimidating pose while cooly removing his dark sun glasses. This Soldier is on a mission and in order to accomplish this mission he needs to extract information from the mail handler (now is an appropriate time to giggle) who works in my office. After looking up and confirming that the mail handler *still giggling* is in the room, this Soldier loudly asks,
"Hey, how big is my package?"
After a few seconds of stunned silence and an exchange of confused glances with the others in the room, we all simultaneously burst out laughing as the realization of what he just said settles in on the Soldier. "Uhh, that didn't come out exactly as I had intended," he says trying to recover from such a classic blunder. It has no effect on our shared amusement as we continue to roll on the dusty floor holding our stomaches and kicking our feet as we laugh uncontrollably at the misfortune of this poor, unsuspecting, and otherwise respectable Soldier. After much laughter, a few tears, and some assorted mumbling it's made appearant that this Soldier was actually trying to ascertain the contents of the box he recieved in the mail as he is expecting several of differing sizes. Much to our delight, and his dismay I'm sure, we all can't help but make reference to his question at every available opportunity.

This then is one of those moments on which deployment ledgends and stories are built and I would be remiss in my duties as a Soldier if I didn't do my part to help archive and perpetuate these ledgends.

17 March 2006

Outside looking in

Recently I've started feeling kind of like I'm stuck in an aquarium and some ill-mannered, overweight brat with a cheeseburger in one hand and mickey mouse ears on his head is tapping on the glass near my face. Ironically, I'm the cause for this feeling. With the recent headlines discussing the plot to take over the embassy and the seating of Iraq's new government and the Samarra patrol I've been reading a lot more news and other people's blogs to see what other people are saying about it. I need to stop that. In the military commo world we call it the "10-mile screwdriver", in the sporting world it's called "arm chair quarterbacking". While I was reading these articles and blogs I came across some postings that made me acutely aware of how many whackos there are out there spouting off (I'll pause here for a moment to hope that I don't have three fingers pointing back at me).

It really frusterates me when people start talking about things that are happening here like they were sitting in the room with the planners. Like they were there when PFC Doe was walking the streets of Ramadi with the Iraqi police patrol. Like they were riding shotgun when SPC Smith shot the grill off a vehicle that tried to rush a checkpoint. Like they had been sitting next to some poor staff officer staring at a computer screen for 12 hours at a time waiting for green dots to turn red and then has to file a 10 page report that explains why the green dots turned red. Like they were hiding behind the concrete wall with SGT Jones after he got knocked out of his HMMWV when the IED blew up as he tried to make sure that his driver and gunner were ok at the same time that he was trying to locate the source of the RPG and AK-47 fire. Like they were in the cockpit with CW2 Jackson when he determined hostile intent and fired off a burst of 30mm into what used to be a person.

I made up these Soldiers names, but the scenarios are very real. These are the kinds of events that are faced every day. These arm chair quarterbacks have no idea. I'm not asking that people stop debating the larger political issues, I'm just asking that people don't use troops as fodder for their politics and that people who haven't been here on the ground don't make blanket assumptions of what it's really like or what the decision process is.

Pardon me for a moment please, I need to get back to my tactical roots; if all you know is what you see on TV then shut the !$*& up, you have no %#&*ing clue what you're talking about. Thank you.

16 March 2006

My own little patch of paradise

I've decided that being in a war zone is no reason to be uncomfortable or without the small pleasures of life. I'm not going to be able to accomplish this alone though, there are some things
that I just don't have access to.

This is where I want to build my own little escape. Think of swinging hammocks, big shade umbrellas, coolers full of ice and beverages, some steaks on the grill, and me relaxing in the hammock reading a book and fanning myself as I doze in the warm Baghdad breeze.


I still need to check around here to see what I can scrounge up to help make this happen, as you can see we already have the barbecue, dunno about charcoal though, hmm. Anyway, I'll poke around over here to see what I can draw from to help bring this to life. I'll probably be able to get most of it.

As for the help that I'll need; ideas! Any ideas or suggestions for what to add to the area to make it more comfortable would be greatly appreciated and don't let the fact that it's in a war zone limit your thinking. Currently, this is the designated smoking area and this likely won't change, but it's not like there's a cloud of smoke clogging the area 24x7. The more serious impact is that this means that this area isn't exclusively mine, it will be a common area so I can't put up a big screen plasma or anything that may get liberated.

Ahhh, to be a pogue in a war zone!

While I'm thinking of it, if you want a cool sticker, patch, or dinar with Saddam's head on it send me your physical address and I'll drop it in the mail with a short note. I can send letters free of charge so don't worry about stamps =)

15 March 2006

This whole Al-Qaeda thing

As I sit here thinking I'm listening to Fox News talk about the situation here on the ground. It drives me crazy to hear people who've never been here talk about this place like they helped build it. The host of this particular segment asked one of his guests if he thought that civil war in Iraq could be avoided. The guest responded that he thought there already was civil war and proceded to open his mouth and confirm my suspicion. Not only are the claims of these knuckleads blatantly wrong, but they greatly discredit the efforts of the Iraqi security forces and political/religious leaders. Newsflash, coalition military aren't the ones keeping the peace on this one. Can you imagine the impact if there was even a hint of favoritism on the part of the coalition? STOP using these brave Iraqis as pawns in domestic politics.

As for the Al Qaeda plot, let me just say that I sleep just as well knowing about this as I do not knowing about it. It's a success story. Bad guys had a plan to do bad things and good guys did what they're supposed to do and stopped the bad guys. For those who may worry about me, rest assured that I have plenty of ammo and am a pretty dang good shot.

Close call

Wow! Talk about dodging a bullet. Naturally I can't get too into this one, but suffice it to say that this went down in my back yard. Makes for some really good conversation with my buddies out here. 421 bad guys would have created a VERY target rich environment. *grins* "A day without blood is like a day without sunshine, pilgrim." This kind of stuff makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside =)


14 March 2006

Happy Fourmonthiversary Day!

Quick note before I hit the rack for the night.

Today, 14 March 2006, is the four month mark for me being away from my sweetie. Only 8 more to go!


Crazy day

Today was flippin crazy! It started when I woke up the first time. I just switched cell phone bodies and the alarm on my new phone is somewhat unique. Keeping it simple, my alarm went off and when I went to snooze it I realized that I accidentally shut it off. Realizing this I reset my alarm for ten minutes later. Unfortunately, if you don't back all the way out to the front screen, it doesn't set. So I woke up an hour later, luckily for me all that meant was that I missed breakfast and a shower, I still had about a half hour to get myself cleaned up to make it to my first meeting. After that I was moving from room to room, applying varying amounts of urine to whatever fire was in each room.

I did take about a half hour for lunch, got myself a big sandwich in the embassy. After applying a few more drops of urine here and there I got a phone call informing (reminding) me about a going away ceremony. The Soldier for whom the ceremony was for is someone that I really owe a lot to, so naturally I kicked myself because I hadn't arranged any kind of going away gift. I ended up dipping into my box of stuff to send home and pulled out some custom unit patches that we got sewn onto a piece of cloth with the new ACU pattern. The senior leaders of my unit then signed the cloth with a sharpie, each leaving a personal note. When it came time to present gifts to this Soldier I managed to get the attention of the master of ceremonies and give him the signal that we had a gift that we'd like to present as well. Two other organizations were in line ahead of me and after they presented their extravagant (but not unwarranted) gifts, I stepped up with my autographed hanky. I figured it would be best to play it up that we are a tactical unit and that our focus is on getting the job done, not making it look pretty. I think I managed to squeeze a few chuckles out of the crowd. Anyway, after the ceremony I managed to bump into this Soldier on a more personal level and he had very nice things to say.

At this point I'm afraid I'm going to have to backtrack a bit. Prior to getting the reminder, we had a rather large fire pop up that singed more than a few hairs on my fifth point of contact (that's a bum for those who don't speak Armyese). Sufice it to say that this was the kind of fire that requires more than a few phone calls to my boss and several other levels of bosses. Once we had sufficiently whizzed on this one we all started to try and figure out why it started. Then came the reminder phone call. Murphy then took hold and rekindled the fire... minutes before the ceremony. I was about ready to stand on someone's head and neck, I just didn't know who. Luckily for me, I work with some really talented and smart people who do the majority of the application of urine for me. Thanks to the professionalism and forthought of the people I work with, the fire didn't singe any hairs this time, we only felt the warmth on our behinds.

When these kinds of things happen, I usually inform someone who informs someone who informs the big boss (no, I haven't been watching the Sopranos). Murphy was having a field day with me today, because the big boss was in my AO (area of operations) to attend the afore mentioned going away ceremony. So rather than have a few layers of friendly faces between me and the big boss, today I was standing tall before the man. I layed down the facts as I knew them and prepared for a broadside. None came. Instead, I got a couple thoughtful nods and was told, "Good work, keep me posted." We're having a meeting with those responsible for starting the fire (not a real fire, I'm still using the analogy) during which I fully intend to place my sole on an adam's-apple or three, it depends on how many they show me.

It's funny, one of the guys I work with is from the UK and he's pointed out how frequently we "Yanks" make reference to bodily functions and fluids; crapping in someone's hat, pissing up a rope or on a fire or on someone's Wheaties. It's motivated me to come up with more silly sayings. Any suggestions?

13 March 2006

The cheddar...

... cheese of course. I recently got myself set up with business cards and went full-bore on the cheese, see the pic below

(NOTE: After I had posted a pic of the card I started thinking about the info on it, not exactly stuff I'd like anyone having access to, so I took it offline, if you'd like to see it just leave a comment below and I'll send it to ya if I know ya.)

Now I too can be important and whip out a business card when I happen to meet other important people with business cards and casually say, "Let's do lunch" or "Have your people call my people" while snubbing those without such basic items as inferior beings. Everyone knows that without a business card, you're not important.

12 March 2006

Miss M2

Business traveller, on the left is what I travel with when I'm on business here in Baghdad. From top to bottom; IBA (Individual Ballistic Armor, a.k.a. bullet proof vest), M4 rifle with 210 rounds of ammo, ballistic helmet, video camera, Garmin GPS, laptop computer, external hard drive. Not pictured is my M9 pistol with 30 rounds.

On the right is my vehicle of choice, an uparmored desert tan BMW. If you have to roll through the streets of Baghdad, you may as well do it in style. Not really. But I did see this beemer in Baghdad. While I did take everything in the first picture with me, I sadly wasn't able to take the BMW on my recent trip to Victory Base. I was at Victory for the last couple days to attend a logistics conference at my battalion. Nothing really useful came out of it, it was all stuff that we covered during the ADVON (advanced deployment) so I tried to just enjoy not having any real responsibilities and getting some extra sleep. While I was there I took some beginner boxing classes and oh man, does my back hurt. I guess sleeping on cots doesn't help any either. In any case it was nice to relax for a bit. While I was out I picked up some presents to send back, don't anyone get your hopes up though, it's nothing to hoot about.

Good eats & good drinks, on the left we have our coffee bucket. We have a foot locker (about 3 feet long, one foot tall, one foot wide) full of assorted coffee that our friends and family have sent us.
On the right, our pet scorpion, Fluffy. We found fluffy scuttling along past our office door one evening. As you can see in the picture, I bravely picked him up by his tail with my Gerber. Seeing as how he was minding his own business and wasn't bothering anyone, I made sure to not crush his tail when I picked him up. We ended up setting Fluffy free, but of course we took a ton of pictures.

Miss America blasts the terrorists! Yes everyone, this is actually a picture of Miss America firing a M2 .50 caliber machine gun at terrorists. She's a pretty good shot too, knocked off 12 in the first burst. It doesn't matter if the background repeats or stops after her picture, this picture is authentic. Yessir, 100% authentic...

09 March 2006

Late again! *smacks self*

I think I'm going to have to set myself a meeting reminder for when I need to post updates to this dog-gone thing. I get ideas for things to write about during the day, but can't get time to type them out so when I do get time I'm usually getting ready to rack out.

The last couple days (weeks?) have been jam packed. Not so busy that I'm overworked, but busy enough that I don't really get to sit around and think of what I could be doing. I've been sleeping a lot more lately, I guess it's a result of work. Time I would have spent playing video games or watching TV I now typically spend sleeping. Last Saturday afternoon I went back to my trailer at about 1700 or so to watch TV and relax a bit before dinner. I woke up Sunday morning at 1000. The rest of the day it seemed like my brain was mis-firing. I couldn't remember if something happened yesterday or last week. I got 6 hours of sleep Sunday night and when I woke up Monday I felt like a million bucks. Weird, it seems like the more sleep I get the worse off I am.

On more interesting news, I got to take a trip out into the red zone today. Some of my troops needed to head out to a building just outside the green zone. It was a short walk from the gate to the building, pretty uneventful, only got shot at a couple times... just kidding. People were smoking and joking all over the place along the route. Once we were in the building it got more interesting, there were locals all over the place. Did my best to look big and scary and I guess it worked, no one asked any questions about why we were there or what we were doing. So I get my red zone stamp on my passport now.

Check out our unit logo =)

If you look close you can see the composition of the skull and lightning bolts. We're trying to get this put on T-shirts for the unit.

03 March 2006

Me & Saddam

Yeah, so I got to hang with Saddam, or 'ol Sadi as he want's me to call him. He's a funny guy always patting his head and rubbing his stomache, he's really talented! After sharing a few bags of Cheetos and Pop Rocks I built up the courage to ask 'ol Sadi about the hidden stashes of gold and wouldn't you know it, he leaned close and whispered, "..."

Yeah, ok, I'm making it up, though I really did edit my picture into the background of this one! So when I come home with a few extra bars of gold in my rucksack, ... just look the other way, mmmkay?

Man, these last few days have been really busy. From the time I sit down at my desk (~0830) until I go home (~2030) I'm working. Researching networks, calling customers, breaking my foot off in people's rump, sending emails, making powerpoint slides, fending off silly questions. To handle the constant flow of stuff to do, I organized a system to track what I do so I don't set down in my rack at the end of the day and wonder what the heck I did to get so tired. What I do is I have my recurring appointments logged in my Outlook calendar and every Sunday I print out a schedule for the next week with some space on the side to list tasks as the arise. This is a pretty useful system and it creates a record of what I did so I'm not left empty handed, although high-visibility tasks don't really get recorded since I tend to focus on getting it done as opposed to recording that I did it. You know, that whole mission thing.

I got a package from my dad a couple days ago and boy was it a hit! In the box was about 7 cans of coffee and about a dozen big bags of peanut M&M's. It was a lot of fun to take those bags of M&M's around to the different shops, knock on the door, poke my head in, toss a bag at the first person to make eye-contact with me and run away. Chalk several happy troops up to Dad! =)

Before I left the States for Germany I had my heart set on getting a "money-green" Chevy Avalanche. Well, when my brother (seen in the reflection on the tailgate above) went and bought a new one and crushed my hopes and dreams *sniff* (the pic above is Rob's truck, he took the pic to show me the sticker he stuck on his bumper that I sent him that says "PASSING IS NOT ALLOWED, AMERICAN CONVOY AHEAD" in both English and Arabic.) Moving on, I've been thinking a lot about coming back to the States when my time in Germany is up and when we do come back we'll have to buy a new (to us anyway) car since the one we have now won't meet American specs. After doing some research I've convinced myself, and I think my sweetie, that the vehicle of choice for our return to America is going to be a Honda Civic Hybrid. I know, I know, it's a foreign car, but all of the hybrids made by American companies are either too expensive or too little and I do want to get a hybrid. It seems that a political figure finally got it right. Hippies like hybrids because they are friendlier to the environment and the rest of us should like them because they help seperate us from our dependance on foreign oil. I think one of the reasons that this hasn't caught on sooner is because hippies and the rest of us are a bit weirded out that we have common ground and don't quite know how to agree on something. Those hippies all smell like patchouli anyway ... and they need a haircut! *mumbles*

02 March 2006

Cool stuff

Here's the first "contractor" weapon that I've been able to take a picture of. It's an AR-15 that's been modified with the following from left to right: Collapsable stock, flat-top upper receiver, a side-by-side magazine holder, holographic reflex sight, vertical hand grip, and shortened barrel. This kind of rig is designed for putting out a lot of firepower quickly to shock the badguys long enough to get away and for being maneuverable inside a cramped armored vehicle.

Below is a picture of something I created. I took an existing animated graphic and put it into a powerpoint show with the text surrounding the character in the middle. I printed out this picture and taped it onto the screen of my computer so that on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning when people stop by and say, "Where the heck is LT?" they'll see this and hopefully back slowly out the door as I glare at them over the top of my glasses and call the stapler a liar. =)

This is the animated pic that I used =)