Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Pirate Looks at Forty (Four)...

Here I am, about to stare at 44 years on this great Earth, and it gives me cause to pause and think about everything going on around me; namely the Iraq War, my failing knees, the rocket attack we had last night, and more immediately, the half hour I just spent praying to the porcelain g-d...from what I have no idea.  Rarely does one get to experience a good puker like that WITHOUT consuming mass quantities of alcohol, or German Beer, at least.  Only I had been drinking Pomegranate Crystal Light, so it looked quite red.  Smelled a bit like wine, so I was having flash-backs to the last time my stomach hurt this bad....Only this time I am armed with anti-nausea medicine and Immodium.  We shall see.  But enough about my insides becoming my outsides.

I would like to make a prediction...Iraq has a government formed within a month.  Just a prediction that is not based upon anything.  It is amazing how much progress we have been able to make, locally, while Nationally they have almost regressed.  It was kind-of the opposite for so many years here.  We were making so much progress, nationally, that we did everything for them, locally, so that when we turned things over to them they just kind of stared at us and wondered when we were going to either do it for them, pay for them to watch us do it, or pay for what they were going to do, then move in and fix it by paying some more for it.

As for the Rocket attack here last was loud, it went boom, it was well outside of anything that could have done me any bodily harm, and that was about the end of it.  The interpreters that were outside playing dominoes made more noise trying to get under cover when their table came crashing to the ground as they scrambled to get out from under it than the rockets did.

I have to lay off the touch Rugby for a week or two because of the failing knees.  It seems like my left knee has gotten jealous of all the attention the right knee was getting for the surgeries, so it has decided to beg for a good scoping.  Not much they can do without an MRI, and the closest one (beside Israel) is probably in Germany.  I think that I will wait.

Less than an hour to go until I turn 44...still not sure what I want to be when I grow up.  Who says I have to grow up, anyway?  I still wear pajamas to work, albeit with a pistol and sometimes body armor, but compared to the old "starched" BDUs, the ACU is like wearing pajamas!  I may have, however, successfully hidden the fact that tomorrow is my birthday from my entire team.  Wish me luck.

I just realized that I missed a good photo op of the Ruby Red stomach contents all over the latrine...oh well, maybe next time?!?

Later Gators.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda...But Dint

     I used to look forward to reflecting on what was going on here in Iraq.  Really, I did.  Now I just count the days until I get to get on a Helicopter to start my long, shower-less journey home.  I actually have more time on my hands these days, maybe because I have everything figured out, or maybe it is just because I remain ignorantly bliss that everything is going OK.   Who knows, really?

     I am getting injured more and more, doing absolutely nothing these days.  I have a huge gash in my right index finger at the middle knuckle...from making my bed!  I have a piece of wood under the mattress, and took a chunck out of my finger trying to tuck in the blanket.  Really?  I deploy thousands of miles away, in a war zone, and my my most bloody injury is from making the bed?  Then there is my left knee.  Everyone remembers my great (or not-so-great) right knee and its multiple surgeries, but this is my left knee.  This knee does apparently does not like to walk around on all of the large gravel that we have here to keep from walking on mud when it rains.  I can barely walk at times, and then others I can run without any pain at all.  Strange.  I am sure there is another scoping in my future, anyway, sometime soon.

     Not sure if anyone has really gotten into watching Hawaii 5-0, the new version.  But I find it pretty good.  I have a guy that gets all of the new shows downloaded for me, without those agonizing commercials in there.  When you get deployed, and watch any AFN at all, you go through three stages of development.  1st Stage:  You kinda like that there are no commercials, and you find the little info breaks refreshing and new, and, amazingly enough, informative!  2nd Stage:  You actually start to grow extremely tired of the annoying breaks in the action to have some dufus tell you how you should dress when going over to a friend's house in Germany.  Third Stage:  You have watched enough TV sent to you from America, with commercials, to really start to get annoyed again...but this time because of all of the restaurant commercials that make you crave real food, especially when they have snuck your food court out in the dead of night!  That's right folks, no more Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Subway, Cinabon, Popeyes, and most of all, the Coffee shop.

     I do have a new favorite fruit drink...It's called Rani.  They have many flavors, but Orange and Strawberry Banana are my two favorites.  There is real fruit floating in there!  It is as thick as syrup, and probably has about a 2/3 sugar to 1/3 juice ratio, but it is oh so good!  They also make a drink called the Three Jewels, which is even THICKER, and tastes pretty good, too.  It is called three jewels, but apparently has Orange, Apple, Pineapple, and Banana in it.  But no real fruit.  Made by the same guys, though.

     Not sure if anyone was aware of this, but we are suffering through the great microwave popcorn famine of 2010.  Luckily, a few friends have pitched in to send me some provisions to get me through these last weeks without going crazy.  It is so good to crunch on popcorn again.  I guess it is better than crunching on candy...or chewing, or whatever you people do with your candy.  Another thing that I am missing is Gummy Bears.  I purposely did not bring any back with me from R&R because the Sather AFB PX had a whole dedicated to nothing but the Golden Bears themselves.  BUT, when I got there, they had removed them, and had nothing even gelatin-related in the whole place!  And I even turned down a few bags in Leipzig Germany.  

     I better get going, it is after 2300, and I started this thing at about 2100.  Best save some more for later.

Until next time...


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Finally Back to Posting...

As most of you noticed, I haven't been posting much lately...well, by much I mean, not at all.  There was a reason, kind of.  I headed home on the 16th of September, and didn't return until last night.  I didn't want to jinx the trip by posting about it.  Just suffice it to say that I had a great time visiting with everyone, and made it back safely.  I did have some funny experiences, but mostly just great visits with family and friends.  Even met some new ones.

Here are my top observations about life in the 1st world that I found strange upon returning to it:

1.  Driving faster than 35 mph.  That is about as fast as we are allowed to go, so driving faster than that just felt weird.  It wasn't hard to get back into the groove, but it still feels funny driving that fast, especially since I can't figure out why we are all in such a hurry to save 3-4 minutes on our commute.

2.  Riding in a car going faster than 35 mph.  This wasn't just weird, it was down-right terrifying!  They don't make Awe-Shit handles strong enough for me to have been home longer than a couple of weeks.  There is nothing like trying to crack a smile at someone else's driving while your knuckles are turning white from holding onto the awe-shit handles so tight you start to lose feeling in your arm.

3.  People are still not willing to spend money.  Its hot in the desert.  REAL HOT.  I am making decent money, and my spending power is through the roof right now over here.  So when I see a problem that I can throw 50 bucks at to make go away - I throw 75 at it to make sure it never comes back (and stimulate the local economy as well).  Not in the states.  You guys are still willing to put in man hour upon man hours of work just to save a buck or two.  I know that we are in a recession, by it seems like you have forgotten how to spend money - AT ALL.  Spending is good for the economy - JUST DO IT!

4.  Broadcast and Copyright laws.  I get a lot of Satellite channels.  Lots.  I can get just about any movie on DVD for 2 bucks, even BEFORE it comes out at theaters in the states, sometimes.  I can see just about all sporting events for free, and can get just about any software title for $5.  That could be why I have so much extra bank laying around to throw at logistical problems...I'll have to investigate that theory.  It is just funny to me to pay 15 bucks for a DVD or even more for a Blue Ray.

5.  Respect for intellectual property rights.  I missed this.  I understand, first hand, how the Iraqis lack of respect for this has both stimulated their own economy, and hurt their international trade options at the same time.

6.  No odor in the morning.  Well there was an odor when I was home, but it was of my own doing, not some local burning tires, or some oil field on fire, or just general shit burning in the atmosphere.  It was pleasant to wake up to nothing but the smell of fresh air.  It still felt kind-of weird though.

I will add to this list as I think of more things that I felt were weird about the US.  I would have approached this the other way, but that is kind-of what this Blog has been about in the first place - the weirdness that is Iraq.