Sunday, January 31, 2010

First Day Viewing Training

Today I finally got to do what I was sent here to do...advise and assist.  Well, mostly, I told this guy that speaks Arabic what I thought, and he told it to the Colonel, who in turned told this guy stuff in Arabic, who then told me something in English.  We could have been having two completely different conversations for all I know.  I have learned how to pick out numbers and days, pretty I know when they are talking about those things...kind of, anyway.  Their days of the week sound a lot like numbers, only one off from what you would think they should be.

I did take Rosetta Stone Level I Arabic through unit III, only to find out that Arabic is a level IV language, and, according to my DLAB score (an army test to see if you have the ability to learn languages) I am not even capable of learning a level II language (like Spanish).  Tomorrow should be a fun day...will tell more about it after it happens.

Later all.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Finally Arrived at Camp Savage

I have finally arrived at Camp Savage at the Shaibah Training Center.  I will be the senior advisor to the training center.  Finally got a room that I can spread out in.  Not sure if I will be in this room for two weeks or two months, but will only have to move a few CHUs (Containerized Housing Units) down if I do move.  Still do not know what I will be doing in two months, but will make the most out of my time here.  Food is excellent, anyway.  Internet is slow, but free.  At least I will be able to write a little each night.  Got to get some rest, have to be paraded around to meet everyone in the morning.  Later.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Well, Basrah is...well, pretty bad.

So far, this is the worst place I have been. I am not even considering the fact that the put a Lt Col up in a 50 person tent for two days, because that doesn't bug me to much. While I am on the subject of bugs...lots of them here. For some reason there are flies and mosquitoes in the millions flying around. Good thing for the moth balls, eh? Did you know that moth balls come in many colors? Neither did I. Kinda fun to watch after you flush, though!

The PX is kinda close, but everything else is about a 15 minute walk from where I am staying. Dining Facility is average. Lots of overcooked food. So far I have found that the smaller the size, the better the food.

I am becoming quite the traveler of the theater. So far I have been to Ali al Salem in Kuwait, Victory Base Camp, Camp Stryker, BIAP (Sather Air Base), Phoenix Base, Union III, and now Basrah in Iraq. Maybe now I can get to where I am going?

Anyway, it is now time for dinner and I have a long walk ahead of me...later!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Test to see if I can upload jaegerbombs with this new haircut...
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Monday, January 25, 2010

Moth Balls?!?

OK, so who remembers the way that our grandmother's clothes storage used to smell?  I know that I remember that faint smell of moth balls...I thought that for some reason all of the moths had either stopped eating our clothing, learned to not worry about moth balls, or we (as a nation) just decided not to use them anymore.  After a week in Iraq I now know a few things about Moth Balls.  1)  If you put about a dozen of them in a urinal, the flies won't bug you when you pee (nor would ANY instinctive animal), 2)  My grandmothers closet didn't smell all that bad (A dozen moth balls per urinal with about 3 urinals per latrine trailer smells so bad you feel like the moth balls are in your mouth), and 3)  We must have shipped all of the US's supply of Moth Balls to the Middle East (They seem to have an endless supply).
While I am on funny smells...At most of the Baghdad locations they do not have potable water except in the dining facility and medical what do you think that we shower with and wash the floors with?  I think that they actually take the shower run-off water and use it to mop the dusty floors.  They have this obsession with keeping the floors from getting that "dusty" look, even if it means using some rather dirty water to mop it up with.  One slight problem:  IT STINKS!  The hallways (which get mopped every day) stink like the latrine should stink (which it doesn't, it stinks like moth balls)...and our rooms smelled fine (which only get mopped...well, I never saw them get mopped).

I am currently at Camp Stryker.  Home of one of the largest eating facilities I have ever seen.  Food was only average, but was it HUGE!  Building was about the size of EGHS Field House, or any High School Field House, for that matter.  PX and shops were pretty big too.  I picked up a bunch of bootleg movies to keep me entertained on this odyssey.  I am one of two officers in a 24 person transient tent.  Other guy is a doctor. Oh well, better get to watching "The Lovely Bones."


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Football Night

Get to stay up late and watch the playoffs tonight!  Tomorrow I begin my second Odyssey within an Odyssey as I start my journey to my ultimate destination...which will only last about a month or two, then who knows.  Game begins in 7 minutes, so good luck to Colts and Saints...I will enjoy drinking my two "Special" beverages while watching the super bowl if you are the two teams in it.  Later.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Wish I Could Remember to Write Every Day...

Still not getting to a computer every day to write, hopefully that will all change soon.  Just a little about my experiences so far.  My favorite place to visit so far was Kuwait.  The place where we fly in/out of is a lot like the Bar scene from Star Wars... a bunch of folks from all over the galaxy all wheeling and dealing for a flight to somewhere, anywhere.  The thing is, you could probably just hang out there for a month or so, and no one would be the wiser.  They have a McDonalds, KFC, Subway, 24hr Dining Facility...everything there is 24/7 (which if you stay up for 30 straight hours you learn is not necessarily the case).  The Green Bean Coffee Shop is pretty convenient, especially if you are on one of those aformentioned 30 hour non-alcoholic can actually get drunk on hope there...the hope that you may, indeed, get on that next flight out when they have the roll-call, only to find out that there were no spots at all.  But if you come back in 2 hours, maybe you'll get on the next one...

Once I figure out how to get photos on here I will start publishing some of the pictures I have taken (which is very little, actually).  I miss everyone, and I especially miss my family.  I watched Invictus (finally) yesterday, so I have my rugby fix for a while.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Finally Here

I am finally in Baghdad...I could tell you where, but then I would have to kill you.  Not much going on for me yet, still trying to figure out where I am (ultimately) going to reside.  Just know that it won't be here.  Have to use these MWR computers to check email, and have to get all my business done in 30 minutes or less, depending upon how many guys want to use the computers.  Slept for almost 12 hours yesterday, something that I haven't done for quite some time.  Rooms in the transient quarters I am in don't let in much light, so sleeping during the day is only a pillow away.  Should find out where I am headed in about a day or so.  Either way, I am sure it will be a cool job in a cool place with lots of interesting people that don't want to hear anything  I have to say...Smoked a Cuban cigar last at least I can cross that one off my bucket list.  More.  Later.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Supposed to be my Last Day in the States, but...

Well, the normal (when I say normal, I have no frame of reference...suffice it to say that we always had to ask from about Tuesday forward what group we were in) group of people who fly overseas will be leaving today.  But for my Detachment, that would seem absurd at this point.  For some reason, all of us were bumped to an R&R flight.  Don't know what that means, but I can pretty much predict that our flight will be much less comfortable and much more crowded than the guys flying today.  So, that means another weekend in beautiful Columbus, GA!  Woohoo!  Could be worse, the guys from our unit that showed up a week prior to us are still here as well.  Oh, well, off to breakfast with our Commanding General.  Later taters.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Days 1, 2, and 3 at Ft Benning

I am highly encouraged after beginning the in-processing here at Ft Benning...The Hurry up and wait mentality of the Army is alive and well!  Got up at 3:40 am to make sure I was in line to have some guy rubber stamp my paperwork for something that I already did in November, only to have to wait for the rest of the people on our bus to complete it...then they took me to another place that I didn't need to go, only to get redirected to the Medical processing.  How does the song go?  I got injected, detected, collected, inspected and all kinds of things...anyway, I now have smallpox in my left arm, Anthrax and H1N1 in my right arm and some crap in my left forearm that looked like a giant mosquito bite after they injected me.  Some kind of test for TB.  Tonight is my last night in a hotel with my wife here, so I must end it here.  Much love to all, much love!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

One Day Closer

Still sub-freezing in Alabama.  Not as bad as up North, but not typical for the South...I have often played golf in January, but I guess it is not to be.  Ate a Harry's burger for lunch, so I can check that off the list.  If anyone ever finds themselves in Birmingham (Hoover area, specifically) I highly recommend you get a burger from Harry's Place on Hwy 31, they are so good.

Job in Theater is still relatively up in the air, still trying to find out what I will be doing.  I am just going to treat it as an adventure, and hope that whatever it is I am asked to do will be something that my long and meandering experiences have prepared me for.

More to follow...

Final Week Of Freedom

The week started out with a bit of weird news...instead of mobilizing thru the 641st like I did in November, I get to go through the Ft Benning CRC...a unit that is so huge that I have heard they treat PVT to COLs all the same (hope I at least get a room with a shower and bathroom).  Just another change in the endless changes the Army Reserves have to offer.  I am sampling the local BBQ tonight for dinner, since I am sure it will be a long time until I have proper Baby Back Ribs again.  At this point I just look forward to getting over there to get to work.  I have a clue where I am headed, but since it is set in warm jell-o, I am not going to reveal anything yet.

The big thing that is going on in my mind right now is why it is so cold in Alabama?!?  Not that I like it hot, but at least if I was able to play some golf this week, I could check that off my list of things to do before I deploy (even though I played at the beginning of December).  These ribs are delicious, btw.  Jim 'N Nick's, right next to my hotel...pretty awesome.

I am re-reading Forrest Gump for the 4th time, which I downloaded to my phone.  It should keep me in good spirits and pleasantly entertained until I get to Ft Benning.  I love that book, and highly recommend it, especially if you liked the movie...the book is waaaaaay funnier and totally outrageous.

Time to get ready for the two hour season premier of Heroes...