Thursday, August 31, 2006

Gimme Out of Here!!!

Whew, it has been a busy few days. Sorry for not getting any posts up but I was unable due to computer problems and I really didn't have time. Tonight is Thursday AKA Friday night back in the States so I left work a bit early and did some laps and then cracked open an Amstel. I am looking forward to getting back to the US and having 1) a Bud Light and 2) a Keystone Light. I have been drinking Corona, Heineken, Castle, Carlsburg, and Amstel and Fosters for far too long. Give me a nice Bud Light and a warm summer day and I will be happy.

So I am close to making a deal with some dudes. It will make me a shitload of money. I hope it works and should find out what my chances are in about 10 days. I will keep you posted.

So I am going to stop in Amsterdam on the way back. I have it set up. Now I have to book my tickets back. Hopefully I can take an AirFrog 747 first class and get a nice upper deck full bed seat. My other option is a cruise. I may opt to fly to England and hop a trans-Atlantic back to Florida and then rent a convertible and drive to SC. I don't know yet but I am liking that idea. My only hesitation is the cruise thing. If they don't have a singles cruise or a nudist cruise or a hedonist cruise, I ain't taking it. The last thing I want to be is stuck on a floating Motel 6 with a bunch of old farts and kids running around screaming. I can just pop in some earplugs, toss back a Bloody Mary, throw on the complimentary socks and recline and sleep my way all the way home in style on a 747. Maybe I will see if I can get on an A380. Are those flying yet?

Anyway, it has been eerily quit these past few days. Still lots of jets but no booms. Maybe whatever they are doing in Baghdad is working cause I haven't heard an explosion in almost 4 days. Good. I am soooo not going to miss those explosions.

I am also more excited about going back. It was a very hard decision to make but now I am comfortable with it. I have a great fishing trip planned with a buddy in Texas and my dad and possibly a business associate. We are going to go to Mexico (legally) and fish El Salto and Huite. They all but guarantee you a 10 pound largemouth. My biggest so far is 8.1 pounds so I would love to snag a hog.

I have also been in touch with a few buddies and I have no shortage of places to visit in the States and friends to catch up with. I have nieces and nephews that couldn't walk when I left that are now running and playing. I think it has finally hit me that I have been gone far too long. I need to get a normal job and have a normal life. This stuff is great but life don't last forever and I better start a family before I get too old and gray (or dead).I could move to Vegas and find me a “cougar”. :)

So anyway, I was sitting at the chow hall tonight and was reminded of the bar scene from Star Wars. This place is great. You see everyone from everywhere and all sorts of different clothes and uniforms and guns and everything. I will miss the diversity. I am the worst writer but I will try to relay to you a story from Ocean Cliffs. Hopefully I haven't already told this one. Bear with me because it is difficult to explain to someone that hasn't been here.

We used to have Gurkhas guarding the exits. They were replaced with Peruvians (for the most part). The Nepalese and the Peruvians look very similar to each other to the Iraqis. I watched an Iraqi and a Peruvian have a conversation and it went sort of like this:

The Iraqi was making fun of the Peruvian by calling him Buddha and rubbing his belly. The Peruvian was trying to explain that he was Christian by making the sign of the Cross. So the Iraqi decided to rub his “Buddha” belly while he danced around and sang like a native American indian. You know “Hiya yiya hiyayaya etc”.

To this the Peruvian replied:

“You Muslim, you go church 5 times, you Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar,” The he made a shooting gesture and said “Allah Akbar, see baby, bang, see another baby, bang” and pretended to shoot babies with his imaginary gun.

I swear it was the funniest thing I ever saw. Hopefully you guys can get that, I really suck at telling stories.

Anyway, I will miss stuff like that. But I will not miss the danger and I will not miss the heat. I am getting back to SC right when it starts to get cold and I am looking forward to putting on a leather jacket for the first time in years. I have never been one to like the cold, but after this I may change my mind. When I was stationed at Fort Drum NY I swore that I would request the hottest place I could think of for my next assignment and chose and was awarded Fort Hood TX. That thawed my bones. I think I need the reverse now. Some good cold will do me good. Just a little cold though. Heat is miserable, but cold is painful.

Anyway, enough of all that. I bought a movie called Poseidon and I am going to watch it. Hopefully it doesn't suck.


Monday, August 28, 2006

Thoughts on moving

Today I mailed back some more stuff. I am not really happy about leaving Iraq. I haven't lived in the States for quite a while and I am scared that it is going to be too hard to deal with. Some little things don't bother me anymore, like bad driving. Guess what? The whole rest of the world can't drive. I don't want to deal with “Road Rage”. I don't want to deal with people whining because they only got 2 pickles with their Burger instead of 3.

That being said, I have mailed stuff back from all over the world. I have souvenirs and statues and all sorts of stuff from quite a lot of different places that I have almost forgotten. I am looking forward to playing with my junk. I also have a Scintillator that I have yet to see. I am looking forward to seeing movies and hearing the new music. I will get to drive my truck, have my bed, and be able to cook and see my friends and family. AND, there are a lot more girls in the States. I am working on my tan now so I can have a good winter tan when I get back. So I am looking forward to it a bit after all.

I am just not sure what to expect. It is hard to meet people with similar experiences, I don't know if I will be able to relate. Perhaps I should go ahead and get a mail-order bride that doesn't speak much English? Nahhh, too much headache.

I think I will visit Holland on my way back. I have a good buddy there and a chick I met in Romania lives there.

It is just a strange feeling to be leaving. You really get used to this austere environment.

Anyway, we had some huge explosions this morning. Not the creepy kind that sounds muffled which cause you to think it may have been a launch and not the really close ones that scare the shit out of you, it was the medium kind. The kind that you hear in movies where someone is in a basement and you can hear the distant bombing. The kind that gets louder after each explosion so you get the impression they are walking them in you. Anyway, it had been a few days so I guess we were due.

Oh well, here's to hoping everything works out! Maybe I will be more excited when the time actually gets a bit closer.


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Heading Back to the States

Well today was a pretty rough day. I have been kicking around the idea of leaving Iraq off and on for a while now. Today I made the formal request to resign and will be headed back to the States on around the 28th of September. So 1 more month. That will bring me to 32 months total. I have asked to come back after 6 months. I just need about 6 months to clear my head and get back to normal for a bit. It seems silly saying that but I can tell that nearly 3 years in this place has changed me a bit. Some of you will be able to observe my changes from a year ago even.

Anyway, so to make it official I called my Mom and told her I was coming home. I knew that if I told her I was coming back that I couldn't change my mind. And to make it even more official, I began to pack. I am mailing stuff back tomorrow that will hopefully be waiting for me when I get there. It is not like I really need it though. Everything is provided here. All you need is clothes and soap.

I am going to take a short vacation before I go back and hit the Netherlands. I have some buddies there. After that I will visit family for about 2 weeks and then I am moving to Myrtle Beach and getting a flat. And I will chill out and see what happens.

I am looking forward to my bed. I have a huge Cali King size and I can't wait to unpack my kitchen stuff and start cooking again. I am selling my truck and buying a Smart For2. Or an Audi R8, I haven't yet decided. I want to buy a Smart just to give the finger to all the fat cat Arabs and even our own do-nothing government.

Anyway, that is the latest. I guess I will have to change my blog name soon.


Saturday, August 26, 2006

"S" Can't Drive

I just heard that some Fox news journalists are kidnapped in Israel. I heard it on BBC World. Wow! I am so totally out of touch. The other day I got a phone call from Samuel L. Jackson. It turns out that there is a movie called Snakes, and these snakes are apparently on a plane. What is the deal with that? I heard that Fergie released her own album apart from the Black Eyed Peas. Lord only knows what else I have missed. Maybe it is time to depart.

On that note, my contract was extended for 2 more 6 month contracts. I have asked to take the first 6 months off and come back for the second. Hopefully that works out. I need some time to really unwind and prepare myself for another few contracts. I counted the months I have been here. In 1 week I will have been here for 31 months. I have taken leave for periods of at most 3 to 4 weeks, but other than that, I have been here the entire time.

Anyway, life goes on (without me). So today I finally figured out that my roommate is the worst driver on Earth. He thinks he isn't which only makes it worse. I have seen blind Iraqis drive better than him and that is saying something. Iraqis are the worst drivers on the planet.

The other day I said that it was very hot when you walk behind a condenser unit of an AC. Well today I walked past them and they felt cool. That is how hot it is today. So damn hot. Around 120. But the outside heat changes your body. I used to keep the AC at 71 or 73. Now, 71 will freeze me to death. I keep it at about 85 else I freeze. I don't know what is going to happen when I experience something as cold as 50 or 40. I might die from shock.


Friday, August 25, 2006

Burgers and Arabs

So here I am watching Night Rider on ArabSat. It is so cheesy. I can't belive I used to watch this AND like it. I also watched Airwolf (FNG hat and all) and I watched some show about some car that was like invisible but I don't think it was on long. Most of the shows I watched as a kid were recorded and sent to me in Belgium so I missed a lot of them. Growing up in Belgium was great because I got 20 dollars a week allowance and I immediately converted it to francs because it effectively doubled my money. I made sure to buy everything locally and not at SHAPE. I would buy so many firecrackers that it isn't funny. I still have a fascination with them. Every New Years I treat my nieces and nephews to a huge fireworks show. I am particularly fond of the relatively new “Mortars”. You get a 3 foot tube and drop these modules in the hole, light the 4 foot wick and BANG! They rule. I also use a lot of fountains and I love bottle rockets, but mainly I like to shoot those into the pond. Anyway, this year I have decided to hire someone to put on the firework show. They will help me plan the displays but I am lighting the fuses. I hope to have the biggest show in my town.

Anyway, ArabSat. I mentioned earlier about how pathetic it is that these Great Satan spewing Arabs watch nothing but American shows. They hate us so much but that doesn't stop them from watching all our movies. I say we shouldn't let them air our stuff till they behave. Also, go to pretty much any Middle East country and you will see a ton of KFCs, Starbucks, and other Western restaurants. They are packed. I was in England and the busiest restaurant I went to was a KFC and it was PACKED with Indians. “We hate Americans, but we love Chick-Fil-A!” “Quick Ackbar, burn that American flag!” “OK, now pass me a burger and turn the TV to America Plus”. What a joke.

Today is Friday so I got to lay out at the pool. I am getting pretty dark. 1 good thing about 120 heat is that you can get sun a lot more quickly than in the States. 2 good hours gets you the same as 4 in Florida. I will be back in SC in December and I will be the only dude with a tan. I guess nobody will see it because it will be freezing compared to Iraq but oh well. My white ass nearly glows in the dark so that will at least be visible.

I asked my school to put me on an indefinite period of inactivity. I just can't be bothered with school right now and it just too much work. Screw it. What do I need a Masters degree for anyway? Too much work for too little gain I say.

Anyway, sorry for not having pictures. I am afraid to insert my memory sticks into my computer for fear they will be erased. I have to wait till I get a working computer and then I will try again. I am going to watch Mission Impossible 3 tonight at the palace movie theater. I have already seen it but what the hell else am I going to do?


Thursday Night SITREP

I have to keep this one brief.

Today was nice. It was hotter than hell, but nice. A great friend of mine is leaving Iraq in a few days and we had a going away piss up for him. He didn't get that pissed but the rest of us did. Oh well. Anyway, all is well I reckon. My roomie is taking his normal 3 hour dump so I am waiting to pee but I will be OK.

I hung out with some more poms, South Africans, and Zims tonight. They are all so funny. I think that most poms are just like us (me) ((not you liberal freaks reading this)). They are taxed so heavily that it physically hurts. You know in Australia it is the same. In Sydney houses cost so much that they have trans-generational loans. When you die, sonny boy takes over the payments. What a joke. Anyway, in pom land, everything costs the same as it would in NYC, only in GBP instead of USD. You see 9 on the menu after “Nachos” and think fine, well that is really like 18$$$$ FOR NACHOS!!!

So you want free health care for all, get used to paying 18$ for nachos and 10$ beers and 8$ gas. Get real. I say, if you are sick pay for it. Oh but what about the poor blah blah blah.... I don't care.

Anyhow, I am going to bed soon so I will end it there. I will get enough hate mail from that, no need to stir the flames more.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Broken Bones

Today was cool I guess. I got stuck at KBR after lunch. Something didn't explode nearby so they wouldn't let us walk back to our cars. They are so retarded. If there is a T-Wall between me and some UXO that is all I need. So they wouldn't let us walk around a corner to the exit because there was UXO like 100 meters away. What a joke. So we had to stand out in the sun and wait for them to clear the UXO. I wish there was a waiver or something I could sign so that I could walk to my car. If by some miracle the mortar on the other side of T-Walls 100 meters away explodes, I will gladly accept personal responsibility for my personal safety. Nothing is going to happen. This crap happens all time. Something lands therefore we have to close everything. Twice I have been prevented from getting back to my hooch because of UXO nearby. I have a million sandbags between me and the UXO, I am going to be fine. Just let me back in to sleep.

Last night something exploded and the giant voice went off. My coworker and I were BSing and then we tried to hear what the voice was saying. We don't know but think it was something about “We are coming under indirect attack”. Whatever. The worst part is not the explosions, it is the stupid wailing of that damn siren. The only sound on Earth I can think of worse than that sound is that God awful wailing when they sound Islamic call to prayer. That damn call to prayer is so disgusting it makes me want to vomit. A bunch of alley cats howling sounds like Mozart compared to this abominable screeching.

I met an Iraqi named Ramsey today. He had one arm longer than the other so I asked him what his problem was. It turns out that he was in a party that opposed Saddam and Saddam had him tortured. They broke both his wrists and his arm was broken in 3 places. When it healed, apparently it healed incorrectly so it is shorter. They also broke his ankles and legs and tortured him with electric shocks to the groin, hands and ears. He told me he would gladly die to be able to kill Saddam. I hope he gets his chance.

Anyway, my little sis just called. She is a very successful hair stylist and wants me to front her some dough to open a salon. I think I will do it. So nothing else much going on. I will be eating at the British Embassy tonight and then going to the bar. Like I said earlier, they tend to have better food just because they cook for 500 and we cook for 5000. I saw the new US embassy today. It is massive. I can't wait to see it completed. They don't have trailers thankfully. Everyone will have their own room. Hopefully by Jan 08 everyone will be moved in there.

Anyway, I have to run.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Death from Above

There have been a lot more jets patrolling the skies over Baghdad lately. For the last few days or more I have heard almost constantly, the sound of jets flying overhead. It is comforting to hear it. I know that if someone launches a rocket that they will get an immediate reply.

When I was in Qatar I got to watch 3 B1 bombers take off for late night missions. Those are some cool planes. When I get back I am going to buy a print of a B1 flying low over a lake with water kicking up. It is a cool painting but I can't remember the artist. It will come to me. Anyway, as I watched those dudes take off I couldn't help but wonder if they were going to Iraq or Lebanon. It wouldn't surprise me at all if we helped Israel bomb some Hezbollahs. I actually hope we did. No matter the target though, someone had a bad night and probably woke up dead.

They are showing some 92 year old guy skydiving. I miss skydiving. If you haven't done it, do it. It is totally worth it. Also, if you get the chance to rappel out of a helicopter, do it as well.

So now I am watching George Clooney spout on about Sudan. A friend of mine told me the other day that he “Wouldn't go to a comedy show to see Alan Greenspan, why would he go to a political speech to hear Jeanine Garofolo?” Same is true with these movie stars. They are simply that, actors. I could give a rats ass what these uneducated freaks have to say about politics. When I strike it rich, you know what I am going to do? Shut my yap and enjoy my money. These clowns should do the same.

Anyway, here is a nice link. I love the prospect of striking it rich on Iraqi oil. I would love to broker a deal with a refinery to buy some Iraqi oil and I just want 1$ per barrel.

Anyway, that is about it.


Monday, August 21, 2006

No more Girlfriends, finally.

It has been a few days since my last entry. This is because I have been having overwhelming computer problems. I have to use a program called Ubuntu by Linux to even get on here to check my email. I think I am going to buy a Dell XPS 2010 as a replacement. I thought about getting a Mac but that would probably be stupid. Ok, it would be stupid.

Anyway, I am now without any girlfriends. I dumped all of them. Too much headache. I got no time to be taking 1M phone calls and getting 1M Instant Messages the nano-second I log on to Messenger. Forget them. Bunch of stalkers. I need to find a new one, maybe the 1 in South Africa.

So it has been remarkable peaceful with regards to rockets here the last few days. Nary a 1 actually. I am not complaining. I got some encouraging news that my contract will probably be extended as well. In about 3 weeks the temperature will start to go down and it won't be quite so unpleasant. It really is difficult to deal with the heat. The other day, nearly 1/3 rd of all the A/Cs in my facility went down. Oh well, that is what happens when the ambient temperature is hotter than 40000 degrees.

My buddy from Kuwait is back in town. He brought me some good handmade apple shisha tobacco. Hopefully we can smoke some before he goes. I also brought some 15 year old Glenlivet and some 27 year old Tomintoul back from Scotland. I think I will break open a bottle with him. I like both these bottles better than the 18 year old Glenfiddich, but I won't pass on a glass of that.

I was watching this crap about Jon Benet Ramsey and how the supposed killer “flew back in the lap of luxury”. What a joke. The reporters are so shocked that he got to fly back in Business Class. Don't they have anything else to worry about? I am sure there is a good reason why they used biz, maybe it was to keep him away from the prying eyes of the 250 other people on board? Maybe they could bring him on last and the only people that would know are the ones in 1st and biz? HMMM.

I think he flew on Thai Airways. That is a great airline. The flight attendants all wear these cute silk traditional dresses and they give you an orchid with your meal. They are so nice. I love Thailand.

If any of you know about photography, I am thinking of getting a new Sony Alpha 10MP digital camera. Supposedly it has some serious anti-shake stuff in it which is what I need. I have a puny DSC P-200 but my paws are too big for it and when I mash the photo button I always shake the camera and blur my shot. I need a big fat camera that I can hold on to that isn't going to blur with just a slight movement. Anyway.

I gave my boat away to a janitor at my dads school but now they can't find the title so he can't use it. Apparently he has it all cleaned up and ready to go, but can't legally take it anywhere. I have to get with Texas DOT I guess. Hopefully I can do it online. What a pain.

Sorry for not putting any pics, but I can't risk the data that is on my flash sticks. I have to wait till I get a reliable puter. Oh yeah, here is my favorite news chick. Kristie Lu Stout from CNN. I love her style and she has the cutest voice ever. Her or Rebbecca Gomez on Fox.


Saturday, August 19, 2006

More random thoughts

Today was an interesting day. Work was about the same. We had the new guys pop round for some introductions but other than that not much new. It is so funny to see new guys. No matter the job, new guys always have no clue and grand ideas. I have been here long enough to know that most of that crap aint gonna happen. Anyway, they are good blokes and I like all of them so far. They have a lot of power and hopefully it will not get to their heads.

My sister found me a job in the States selling time shares. Interesting. But I am becoming more confident that this contract will be extended so I will stay right here. Hopefully a few of my deals will work out.

So anyway, I was at the pool tonight. People had made floats from empty water bottles and raced them in the pool. It was stupid but fun to watch. A Pom that I was with made the comment that “Yanks are fine by themselves but when you put them together, you had better watch out”. I told him he was just another racist anti-American Pom and that he should pipe down. He didn't and we all had a good laugh.

We really do have a bad rep in the world. I think it is because everyone else is jealous and I am right. How about this for hypocrisy? The most popular channel on Arab Satellites is freaking America Plus! Death to the Great Satan (after Friends and Stepford Wives Club that is)! What a joke. Go to any Arab city and you will find a million PACKED Starbucks. Get a life. What a joke. “WE HATE AMERICA!!! WE HATE AMERICA!!! MAKE IT A DOUBLE DECAF LATTE!!!” What a joke.

This is why I love nukular(TM) weapons. You want some Western culture do ya, well here is 50 megatons worth.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Poolside Ponderings

Well, today was nice I guess. It is Friday so I got to sleep in. I really needed that because of all the sleep I lost whilst traveling. I managed to also get about an hour to tan my white ass by the pool. I can get very dark but I lose my tan quickly. So what do you girls think of tan lines on guys? There really isn't a way to prevent them unless you use a Euro-Trash Man Thong which I would never wear. I like tan lines on girls a lot.

So I am not going to post any pictures till I get a reliable computer. I want a top of the line laptop, money is no concern. I am considering a Macintosh actually. I want a huge monitor , tons of Ram and a huge hard drive. I also want the damn thing to work.

Well, not to much new to report. It is really hot here now. I have my AC on full blast yet the coolest I can get my hooch is about 80F. I like to keep it at 70 but the outside temperature just wont permit that. This sucks, for some reason my backspace key doesn't work while using this program called Oh well, better than nothing.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Back in Baggers

I really don't feel like blogging right now. I have had the most exhausting days I have ever had for the last week. Whoever thinks international travel is glamorous or anything like it is fooling themselves or has never tried it. It is a huge pain. Anyway. I suffered 3 major computer crashes in the last day. My POS Alienware dies when I tried to restart it, total data loss. I wasn't that worried because I backed it up to my IBM lappy, well that one was dead when I arrived in my office as well. Total data loss. Both of my 80GB backup drives melted as did my 60 gig. So the net result is hat I have lost 2 laptops, 3 backup devices, and years worth of photos, documents, emails, videos, and music. I am in a slightly bad mood right now.

The only reason I can get on here is because I am running Ubutu live from the CD. My POS Alienware is in the mail back to doggone Alienware for the 3rd time and this IBM is toast. I am afraid to insert my memory sticks because the last thing I stuck in here, my 60 GB FireLite external drive, got whacked. So I will wait and use another computer and make a backup CD and then try it. So for the time being, I am not going to post any pics. I do have CD backups of most pics so it is not a total loss.

Anyway, I am back in Baggers. Same Same. I really enjoyed the break however expensive it was.

I had a whole long blog about the whole rest of the trip but it was lost when my computer shit the bed and I don't feel like re-typing the thing.

The flight to Baghdad was awesome though! We only had 30 people on board so there was plenty of space. 8 people puked. I have been on countless flights and have only seen 2 people puke (once was when I was flying the plane and my buddy yacked). Anyway, 8 people lost it. 1 guy got so sick that he missed his connection on the air bridge to the IZ. He looked like someone beat him with a bat and then kicked his ass. I couldn't help chuckling. How can people be so terrified of flying? If you are so scared, why do it?

Anyway, back in my hooch now. I am so jet lagged it isn't even funny. I had a great time at the wedding but I do not think it was worth all the travel.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Freaking England - Finally

Foreword- This is a compilation of all my trip so far. I just wanted to get something up so that people wouldn't be bored. I will add updates as required.

This has been one heck of a day. It has been long and tiring and really hopeless. The only good news is that my final flights have not yet been cancelled.

So I show up at the LZ for the first leg of my journey. I have to link up with a British PUMA to take me to the airport. They said everything was fine but then the flight kept getting delayed. I finally made it out at around 1700. So then it turns out that I was not re-manifested on the flight I missed yesterday so now I am on 100% “Space-Available” status and for only the second time since arriving in Iraq, my status as an American is actually a hindrance. The first time, the Iraqis wouldn’t allow me to run around the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (which I have done 1000 times) because it is “Historic”. Meanwhile a crowd of Iraqis are playing soccer right behind it. Anyway, on topic. Because I am a non-UK national and I am not in the military and I am not injured and I am not an actual embassy staff, well basically I have the lowest priority of any person in the building.

Puma landing

View from above of part of the IZ

Best way to view RTE Irish

As far as the helo ride, let me tell you, American pilots are good, very good, and they can do what these guys did, but they generally don’t. The Americans fly darn low and fast, but these guys flew so close to the ground I kept thinking they were mowing the grass. And they bank all the time; we were never in straight and level flight (for the entire 5 minute flight that is). They absolutely smoked it all the way to BIAP. It was the best helicopter ride ever, other than the ones you get to rappel out of that is.

Over 180 Knots at 10 feet AGL

Well, fortunately I knew the dude and he sorted me out right away. 30 minutes later we were onboard the RAF C-130 bound for Basrah. Well the takeoff went well. We started climbing out and since I am a pilot I can tell everything going on by the sound and even without windows I have a pretty good idea which way we are turning. So I heard the wheels go up and then the plane started to descend. I wanted to go tell the pilot he was going the wrong direction if he wanted to gain altitude. Well then 2 seconds later the gear went back down and about 1 minute later we all of a sudden slammed into the runway. (C130s slam, they do not land). I am thinking that this is just freaking great, something broke and the flight is going to be cancelled. I am doomed and I haven’t yet left Baghdad. It turns out that a warning light came on and they just had to open and shut the rear door and then we took off again. There were no real issues.

C-130 J model (bigger and nicer)

6000 Celcius on a C-130

So we landed in Basrah. There is NOTHING here. This place is as barren as well a desert. They have nothing and a whole lot of it. So I go in to try to get on the flight to Brize Norton. Well, I would have been in the right place if I landed YESTERDAY, but apparently on this day, the charter flight originates from Al Udaid in Qatar. SO I am now sitting here at 2310 (the flight was supposed to leave an hour ago waiting on another C-130 to take me to Qatar where HOPEFULLY I will be able to get a flight. If all goes well I will arrive tomorrow morning in England at 1100 and I have a 1300 train to catch to Scotland. I am really starting to second guess my apparently bad decision to attend this wedding. But I did confirm my return tickets and I pushed it back a day so I can at least have 1 meal in London.

Well I was going to write more but I made the apparently bad decision to bring my POS Alienware computer. In the 15 minutes that I have had this thing turned on it has drained 80% of the battery and my lap is being cooked by the punishing heat that this thing is dumping on it. So much for watching this DVD I bought. I wouldn’t even make it thru the first 30 minutes. At least I would have some cooked meat to eat off my legs if I get hungry on this flight to Al Udaid.

Ok, about 1 AM, not sure. It is dark and I can’t read my watch. No Indiglow. I am in Qatar and a very unfortunate thing happened for everyone else which is very fortunate for me. The C-130 crew lost the manifest for the connecting flight. I was not on the manifest. So they lost it and had to manually input everyone. They just inputted anyone that was standing there. Then we moved into the huge waiting area to await the charter flight to the UK. Well it was delayed. There were hundreds of people there and I just couldn’t see how we would all fit without a 747 and I was under the impression that were getting an L 10-11 TriStar which in my opinion, couldn’t hold this many freaking people.

Well we waited and they finally called us to start boarding the busses to go to the plane. After a brief trip we round a corner and a big beautiful 747 loomed ahead with a boarding ramp to its door. I was so happy that I would be riding in style for a change. 747s are the coolest planes yet but I reserve judgment till I see an A380 in person. So we approach the 747 and then drive right past it and go to a DC-10. Not too bad, but really old and it has seats like Air Asia. Fortunately the plane can hold like 350 people and there were only 160 of us so I had my own row.

But there is a twist, we had to stop again in some city named Teeslop or Teespot in England before going to Brize Norton. Oh well, we are on the ground here for about an hour and then we go on. This DC-10 is cool, but they didn’t serve any booze. I could have used a nice nightcap before the rather long flight. It is now 11AM Baghdad time so I have been traveling for more than 19 hours and London still seems a world away. We are trapped on the plane while they refuel and unload some bags.

Most of the guys are British military (99.9%) on this plane. We are sitting at a civilian airport. In the States if a unit were returning from Iraq, people would pack the airports to greet them. I still remember getting off the plane at some airport in Maine and half the damn city was there with flags clapping and cheering. Some dude bought me my Taco Bell while I wasn’t looking and I had so many free beers I nearly missed my plane. It isn’t the same here. People will probably just look oddly at them and wonder why they are in the airport.

Oh yeah, they had VIP seating on this plane but the joke is on them. The seats are exactly the same and the same service (water or soda, Sir?) But the joke is that every seat up there is full whereas we each have our own rows now. They offloaded like 70 people at T-slop or whatever airport it is and now we are in the air headed towards London. I am excited now that end is in sight. I am also dreading the return flight but oh well. This is not an opportunity that comes along every day. So I will be landing at Brize Norton in about 20 minutes and then I have to take a bus to Heathrow. Once I get there who knows? Maybe I will take a cab to my hotel. Also, I am looking forward to the train ride. I have never ridden a train so this will be my first time. The last time I was going to ride a train was from Prague to Zagreb on a Eurail Pass but it was far too complicated so we just bought plane tickets. Time is valuable and I don’t want to waste it trying to decipher some foreign language at a train station. If you are used to it I bet it is easy but obviously I am not used to it.

Well anyway we are starting to descend so I have to put this POS away. Thankfully there is a plug near me and my adapter was just long enough to reach it.

This is going to be a huge post by the time it is all over but I hope you guys like it. I basically just keep continuing from where I left off. Today is the day after the wedding. Sunday I think, the 13th.

Anyway, I managed to link up with my sister in London. I made it just in time to pay the bill and leave. So what happened is that we landed at Brize and I had to wait to catch a bus to Oxford. That wasn’t too bad. Well I didn’t have any pounds so I was a bit worried but they dropped us right at the train station and fortunately the ATM there worked. So I got 200 pounds and bought a ticket to London-Paddington station downtown. It cost me nearly 40 dollars for a doggone 1 way ticket 45 miles away. What a joke. And it took 1 ½ hours. I always hear Europeans raving about how great their public transportation is, but so far I am not impressed. It is slow, crowded and expensive. I came to realize that so is everything else in the UK. (Expensive that is).

Well I arrive at Paddington and roll out to the street to catch a cab to the Sheraton. It was about a 10 minute cab ride and cost me nearly 15 bucks. Well, I got there and had just enough time to link up with the sis and grab a quick lunch and then we checked out and headed to the train station to get a ride to Scotland. We were going to go in First Class but it was 300 pounds, nearly 600 bucks for a 1 way trip. We opted for the 200$ economy round trip ticket that allows us to upgrade to First on the return for only about 40 dollars. So we take the cheap 4 ½ hour 200$ train to Scotland. It was cool. We stopped entirely too frequently but the scenery was amazing. My second train ride and I couldn’t be happier. That being said I am not a big fans of trains. Every time another train passes you it sounds like a mini-explosion. It shakes the whole damn train and it wakes you up.

We had checked our bags in before the trip to Edinburgh. When we get there we notice there is 1 more stop and we have no clue if we should get off the train. I said to her that we aren’t going anywhere without our bags. So we are desperately running around trying to make sure we are near a door so we can hop back on if we need to. Well we finally found our bags and the train left us standing there with no idea where to go. I had forgot to print out the number for the dude that we were supposed to meet when we got there. So I tried to pay a dude 5 pounds to let me use his wireless to check my hotmail, but it was broken so I couldn’t. Then we dragged our asses over to some store and begged some chick to let us use her internet at work but Hotmail was blocked on her computer. SO here we are with 1000LBS worth of luggage and nowhere to go. So I say we need to go to an internet café. So we grab a cab and go to one. I check my mail and got the number but we couldn’t figure out how to call it. It turns out he gave me the wrong number. So it was like 10PM so I decided screw this, we are going to the friggin Sheraton. I am not hauling this crap all over doggone Scotland looking for this dude. We booked in and got some good internet with a reliable phone and more importantly, room service. I did finally manage to link up my buddy later that night and we had some wine at his house, it was nice.

The next day was the wedding. We had to be at St. Giles Cathedral at 1330. Well it is the Edinburgh Festival now and it was soooo busy. We barely made it in time but it was an awesome wedding in such an old cathedral. I will just leave it at that, it was really really cool. I will post some pictures.

After the wedding we had to go to some hotel for the Wedding Breakfast and that was an adventure. There was a pro-Hezbollah rally right out the door. Hundred and hundreds were marching in protest of the Israeli actions to defend Israel. I was in my US military uniform and didn’t want to incite an international incident so we took an alternate route. I will post the pics about the protestors. I never thought in a million years I would see this in freaking Scotland!

So we had an awesome dinner (breakfast) and then we did some traditional Scottish dancing. It was very cool even if you can’t dance (like me). All you have to do really is hop around and enjoy all the hot chicks. I met a girl from South Africa that I am completely enamored of. I hope to stay in touch with her and I have plans for Africa in the future. She is a great girl and I really hope to see more of her. The problem is that she is the sister of the guy whose wedding I was attending so I had to be chill you know? Both her brothers are friends of mine and they are very uh protective of her. (And rightfully so)

So the evening ended with a remarkable final dance by the couple. At the end of the song they kissed each other and to make what was already a pseudo-magical night more so, at the moment they kissed, fireworks exploded in the background above the Edinburgh Castle. It was really spectacular. Today we went to the castle and walked around a bit. It was awesome. If you haven’t been, mark Edinburgh down as a “must see before you die” place. It was untouched in the World War and it has so much history. It is an ancient modern city if that makes any sense. It is vibrant, busy and modern but the structures are so old. It is so cool.

Now I am on the train headed back to London. (In First class this time and I can say that it is worth it to upgrade for 20 GBP but not 200 GBP) We are going to catch a tube to Heathrow and then we are on to the Sheraton at Heathrow. Yes, I only stay at Sheratons. I am a preferred member and get major upgrades and I have tons of points that I use for spas and free stuff. I am very happy with the SPG program. Anyway, we have about 1 hour left so I am going to play some 3D Pinball and listen to some Nelly Furtado. Also, it hasn’t rained on us, hopefully this doesn’t jinx us. Oh yeah, the train has power plugs for computers so I was able to catch up with my blog. And now I am listening to Shakira “Timor”, she is so nice to listen to.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

London Still Calling

Well I am stuck in Baghdad at least 1 more night. My helicopter ride from the IZ to BIAP was delayed and then cancelled. I am so upset. This means that I will only have 1 short day in London to explore. What I will probably do is extend a day or 2 on my way out of England. My sister won’t be able to stay but at least I can have some quality time looking the place over myself.

The way it works here is that you need to be at Camp Victory to travel. Victory is where the BIAP is and they have a civilian and military side. I am flying out of the military side to Basrah on a RAF C-130 and then linking up with my flight direct from Basrah to England. The trick is getting yourself to Victory. You have to go down RTE Irish which is not so fun. Well you could drive thru the city but that would be stupid. So there are a few ways to get there. You can drive yourself (stupid), you can take a cab (stupid unless you are armed, biggest threat would be getting shot by military or contractors), take a PSD convoy (good), take the armored Rhino bus (good, but a huge pain in the ass), or fly via helo (best).

So I got confirmed back on the flight tomorrow and should be good to go. I can’t afford another day delay. The wedding is on the 12th and now the earliest I can get to London is the 11th and I still have to make it to Scotland for the wedding.

Here is a picture of the LZ.

And here is my dragging my sweaty butt back after sitting on it for 6 hours in the blazing sun. Not a happy camper.

Update to my original post.

I forgot to mention that while I was sitting on a metal panel waiting for my flight, I heard an all too familiar sound. It was a rocket flying over me. It was loud so it had a low trajectory. It almost tricked me into thinking it was a jet, but it wasn’t loud enough for that. Anyway, it zoomed right over and exploded west of the LZ in Baghdad. It wasn’t a very loud explosion so it was prolly a 107. Anyway. I just sat there thinking about how appropriate this is. Here I am sitting on the LZ and I will get whacked on my way out. There was also a helo that went down today but I don’t know the details. So then when I found out my flight was delayed I moved to a shadier spot to wait. It was then that I looked up thru the cammo netting to see an Apache popping flares as it crossed the Tigris. I am so looking forward to a few nights OUT of Iraq where I don’t have to worry about death at any second. Not that I am all that worried, if they get me they get me, fine, but it will just be nice to NOT have to worry about it at all. The sad thing is, I will type all this crap, and then my train to Scotland will derail and I will die in a fiery train crash. Oh well. I think I have a better chance of getting killed in Detroit than I do here. I don’t have stats, but it wouldn’t surprise me.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

London Calling

I don’t really know what to write about today. Tomorrow I set off for England and that is pretty much consuming all my thoughts. I am flying via the Royal Air Force and my initial journey begins at LZ Washington where I hop a helo ride to the BIAP. Then I Fly via C-130 to Basrah and link up with a Lockheed Tri-Star (L10-11) for the flight to Brize Norton. Once at Brize, we take a bus to Heathrow and then I am taking a tube to downtown and linking up with my sis. Like I said yesterday I am sooooo damn excited. It will be a great change of pace from Iraq. We were going to hire a car and drive to Scotland but on the advice of some locals have decided to take a train. So my sis is going to buy tickets tomorrow and then I will meet her the day after. She gets in a day earlier because my flight today was cancelled and I have to go tomorrow. Oh well. She will have fun with or without me for a day.

So I am so not looking forward to this flight. I don’t get in till 0400. I hope they have flight attendants. I will bring my POS Alienware with me and hopefully the battery will last for at least 1 movie before I crash. Oh, and I have to wear body armor and Kevlar. I don’t even have a Kevlar. I don’t need it. If someone shoots from the ground, to my plane, and hits me, I deserved to die. I don’t think the threat is that bad. To my knowledge, only 1 civilian has been shot and killed in an aircraft since the start of the war. I will take my chances. At least on US Mil you get the option to wear armor. Oh well, so I have to lug around 2000 pounds of useless armor across England. C’est la vie.

I have to write off Monkey World unfortunately. I just don’t have the time. I am taking unpaid leave and can’t afford to waste a few days for a few monkeys. But we will see. I really want to go there.

Anyway, I won’t be able to post tomorrow probably but I will try to post something while I am in the UK. Maybe they have WIFI on the Tri-Star? I doubt it. The Park Lane does however it is 60 GBP/day so screw that. Who would pay 100 $$$ a day for internet? The Queen? Not me!

Ok, let me find some pictures.

I miss my truck, so here are some pictures of it. Yes, I know how beautiful it is, please do not tell me, trust me I already know. God, I miss that truck.

5.9 liter V8. Nice

A shot of the back of the truck. Yes I know it the most beautiful truck in the world. Stop telling me.

Here is my niece on the trampoline I got her for X-Mas. She is so damn cool! Disregard, won't load. Ok, maybe it works now.

Cool, it worked. She is the coolest and smartest kid I have ever met.


Monday, August 07, 2006

Chilling on a Monday

I am getting ready to go to London. I am sooo excited. I haven’t seen my family since Jan 05 and I haven’t seen my oldest sister since our trip to Prague and Zagreb in the middle of last year. She is only a year younger than me and we always have a great time. She is fun to party with and she has all the good gossip from the US. It is not too easy to call her from here but we used to call each other and watch Paradise Island together, telephonically. That was when I was in Kentucky and she was in South Carolina.

Now, we can’t do that obviously. I also don’t get to watch my beloved reality TV shows. There isn’t a menu channel on the TVs here so you can’t ever plan to watch anything. You just start clicking thru the channels till you find something. Also, programs start at random times so you almost never get to the beginning of a show. I swear I have seen the last 2/3 of so many movies. Anyway, my absolute favorite reality show is The Amazing Race. I would win that so easily with a buddy of mine in Dubai. He has traveled more than I have and speaks pretty good Arabic and Spanish. I speak French and some Arabic so with our language skills we could totally win. We are also both experts in airports and most importantly know how to pick a cab. That whole game is won or lost in cabs. I won’t tell what my secret is to picking them just in case I get on there. Anyway, we have already figured out that we would have to lie to get on there. If they knew our skills they would never let us on the show. We both have nearly full passports that we would conveniently lose so we could get fresh empty ones. Ah well. Hopefully I will get on there and win that 1M bucks.

I feel like I set a precedent by talking about politics in nearly every post but tonight I just don’t feel like it. I am pissed actually. I watch the news and see all this Middle East coverage. I care about Iraq, and Lebanon and Israel and all that, but I care more about immigration and our southern borders. We really have to square that away. Put it to a popular vote and be done with it.

Oops, well I guess I hit some political stuff. Oh well.

Aside from that though, not much news to tell. We didn’t get rocketed again today which is always nice, but it was damn hot. I don’t know the exact temperature it was, but whew. HOT. You know what it feels like when the air blasts you after you open the stove? It feels like that, only all the time, and on your whole body. When you walk behind an AC discharge vent, it feels even hotter. I don’t think this is the hottest place on Earth by a long shot, but it is definitely the hottest place I have ever been. Somebody should do something about this!

Oh, the bathrooms in the hooches don’t have AC. You sweat so bad using the toilet it isn’t funny. What I do now is leave the bathroom door open and my trailer door open so that the room AC flows towards the toilet. I don’t care if someone sees me. It works a bit but you still sweat your ass off. I will not miss this place at all when I am gone. I will miss some of the people and the excitement, but not the Iraqis and not Iraq.

So tonight is a pretty chill night. No parties, no BBQs. Just chilling at the hooch planning my trip. I am trying to make time to go to Monkey World while I am in the UK. I was going to make a donation tonight but I would rather go there and make it in person. You guys have to watch Animal Planet and catch a show called Monkey Business. Best monkey show on TV. They are totally committed to rescuing primates that are sold illegally after being captured in the wild. I totally respect that. If any of you have pet monkeys, call Monkey World and turn that sucker over to them. It is the right thing to do.

Well that’s it I guess.

Here are some pictures from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. These monkeys are wild but they get really close to you and will steal anything you leave laying around. They run up and down these steps like it is nothing. Also, some monk rode an elephant to the top to visit the religious site. Freak.


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Dull Day

Not all days in Iraq are eventful. Some are outright boring and today was one of them. I left work to go to the Embassy but while I was out, a dog sat on a car so they call out EOD. This meant that I wasn’t likely to get back to work for several hours so I just went back to the embassy and chilled out.

I met a few of the new guys. The old unit departed recently and the new guys are now on the ground. They all seem very competent and I am looking forward to working with them. The bad thing is that they make me feel old. You see I was a founding member of their current unit. When CPA went away in June 04, this unit was formed. I have now watched that unit leave, the one after it, the one after that, and now in comes the new guys.

Yesterday I had cheese sticks for the first time in a very long time with mozzarella sauce. It was great! Today at lunch I had jalapeno bites and was happy as hell because it is the first time in over 2 years I have had them. Obviously being Sunday, it was Steak and Lobster night. I skipped the lobster and had a large portion of medium cooked prime rib with horseradish. It was awesome. The food here is better than at the DFACs in the United States. There is one particular buffet style restaurant that I always see at Malls. Is it Piccadilly Café? Anyway, the food here is even better than that. Absolutely no complaints from me.

I am gearing up for my trip to the UK. I booked in the Park Lane in downtown London. My sis arrives the day prior so I am a bit jealous. She will get to see some cool stuff with some friends before I even arrive. Oh well, I told her not to go to Buckingham Palace without me which is my #1 most desired place to see, and I doubt she even knows #2. I desperately want to see the final resting place of Vice Admiral of the White The Right Honorable Horatio, Viscount Nelson, Knight of the Most Honorable Order of the Bath. Bath with 1 “A”. She will never think to go there without me.

Those brits sure love titles don’t they? I think it is cool but silly. Like I would totally accept a title, but I would never be a subject to someone that had one. Ok so your dad was important and now you are a Duke or whatever. Get out of my face. I don’t know why they still tolerate a monarchy, but they sure do love it. Good on em. I am just glad we kicked their asses and made our own country. And they are still pissed you know? They will try to provoke you by calling you a colonial and saying they have bathrooms older than the US. So much jealousy, it is hilarious. They have a GDP of like 2$ and ours is like 13 Trillion. Who is laughing now POM? Hell you would be speaking German if not for us. Side bar, my bad. I really do like Brits, they are easy to wind up. Not as easy as Northern Irish but easy nonetheless.

So anyway, I get to go troddle around in England for a while. I will have to break out my best Southern accent just to annoy them:)

Well, it has been relatively quiet here the last few days with regards to rockets. Nothing to report. Heard a few distant explosions but that is to be expected. I am keeping my ears open to rumblings of a civil war in Baghdad. A few Iraqis have told me it is coming. It would explain a few things. For example, you used to be able to grab AK47s, new, for less than 175$ and now they cost over 400$. Ammo is more expensive today than it was 4 months ago. I think the Iraqis are stockpiling in the event of a civil war. I could be wrong maybe they are just greedier.

Anyway, here is a picture of my scooter. I got tired of renting one so I bought one. It cost me a whopping 1000$ for the brand new top of the line scooter. I forgot which brand it is. I think it is Yamaha. Anyway, I had it tricked out and put blue lights under the back wheels and blue chrome all over it instead of chrome. It rules. I am adding a big woofer and stereo when I get back. This girl is keeping it safe in Koh Samui which is the absolute best place to go in Thailand. I should be back in December or early January provided leave works out favorably.

Here is a cool shot from Kiev. They have so many beautiful buildings there. Here is 1.


Saturday, August 05, 2006

Iraqi Business

Doing business with Iraqis is a lot like wrestling with pigs. The way things work here are that you have to exchange so many formalities and then talk about each other’s families for so long that a 5 minute meeting can last 3 hours. Usually the only meaningful discussion occurs in the last 5 to 15 minutes. It can be frustrating to say the least. I really do think they try to find the most difficult way to do something and then choose that option.

For example. Today I was walking to chow at the KBR compound and I saw some street cleaners. They had these big leaf blowers (which is rare, usually they just push dirt around with brooms) and were proceeding to blow dirt off the street and sidewalk. Ok, great, it is just going to be right back on there in like 2 seconds, but for those 2 seconds it really looked uh, less dirty. So anyway, they decided to do things the hard way by blowing the dirt INTO the wind. All they had to do was start on the other end of the street and work that way to have the wind at their backs, but nope, they tried to blow dirt headfirst into the wind. Duh.

Oh well, I don’t care, it isn’t my job. So anyhow last night we had a decent time at the BBQ. I ran into my date from the summer ball and we had a few laughs. The military unit I work with is changing out and it was a dudes going away party. It is nice to have friends with private villas because the military guys can get out from under the flagpole for a minute. I had’nt attended a party at this villa before and I have to say they cooked some pretty impressive food. If you go to Camp Victory near the BIAP you can usually get some good Angus beef. IT isn’t cheap, but when rent is 20,000 USD/Month, a few hundred isn’t going to kill you ya know? SO here is the bar picture.

After the dinner me and a buddy smoked a decent cigar. Like all Cuban cigars in Iraq (hell everything) this one was a tad bit dry. Fortunately the guy who brought it is a cigar nut so he had done a pretty good job at re-humidifying it. No complaints I guess. Here is the cigar.

Well only a few more days until I get out of here. It looks like I will be attending the wedding after all. I haven’t been to Scotland and am looking forward to it. I am flying my sis over from the States because it is like a dream for her to see the UK and we are staying in the actual Edinburgh castle. It will be a nice break from Iraq. Hell, Afghanistan would be a nice break from Iraq.


Friday, August 04, 2006


This is mainly written for members of the US military. I read on a blog today that a SFC in the Army really hated contractors. He was angry because he saw a difference in how life is for some soldiers and contractors. I don’t mean to sound argumentative or anything, but I would like to point out that many of the contractors in Iraq are Gulf War 1 vets, OIF/OEF vets, Vietnam and Korea vets, former Spec ops and Rangers among others. I did my year here in the Army so I feel I have earned my right to enjoy some of the benefits. I couldn’t even have this job had it not been for the skills I learned in the Army. I feel for any of you that having a sucky time, I really do, but don’t hate me because it isn’t as bad for me. It is after all, what we both knew was coming when we signed up. I will also point out that even in the Army, we look at the Air Force and Navy with disdain for the disproportionate living conditions that we think they have, but we don’t hate them. Does anyone hate the Generals and senior Enlisted guys serving in Kuwait and Qatar and at CENTCOM because they have a pretty nice bed and AC? Of course not. The reason I bring this up is because it affects working relationships. It is not good to have us “hating” each other. I know this is a broad generalization, but I have experienced a little resentment myself from military officers who think I make too much money. (You can never make too much ya know?) Many contractors are currently in the Guard and Reserves and are using the gap between tours in Iraq and the contacts they made here to secure decent jobs. Surely there is no harm in that?

Anyway, I don’t want to argue about it, but I urge anyone in the military to appreciate what I am saying.

Anyway, so last night was Lock and Load time at the Embassy bar. (Sorry to all you military guys that can’t drink BTW, General Order Number 1 is the worst) Try this link… I had another date with Lunatic Chick who will now be known as “A” because she might not be a lunatic. It was a fine evening, we ended up going to Salsa Night at the pool.

Anyway, tonight is a BBQ at some villa here in the IZ. I have to be there in like 5 seconds so I have to keep this short. I have to remember to take a picture of our new car, what a joke. It is so bright yellow that the Taxi cabs are flagging US down.

Anyway, gotta run.

Ok I have a minute so let me post a few pics. Here are the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.

I am probably the only person in history that loves rappelling from helicopters, jumping from airplanes and certainly the only guy that is a Commercial Pilot that is DEATHLY afraid of heights. It took me 15 minutes to work up the courage to walk to the middle of the platform halfway up the Petronas Towers.

Here is a shot down from the crossover platform.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Thursday Night Post

This should be a short one. I am in a bad mood today because I have finally come to the realization that I am probably not going to be able to complete my Masters courses on time. I will probably end up dropping out anyway, I hate that I put up with so much school BS to see it go away because of events here. I just can’t do it right now. Oh well. So I have to pay back my GI bill, I will get over it. Or maybe, instead of wasting my time typing all this stuff, I will get off my ass and type some papers. I have like 15 due tomorrow and in my current semester I am 4 papers behind. Maybe I should just end it there and type some papers. Nah, I hate school. I don’t need it anyway. I make decent dough without a Masters, why do I bother with it? My job isn’t forcing me to go.

So anyway, me and “G” had to give up our car today. We had a nice cool black Suburban but it was decided that we didn’t need such a large vehicle so we had to turn it in for a smaller one. So now we have some POS Nissan. I think it is called a Saloon. I have never seen one before. Speaking of Saloons, everywhere in the Middle East, a Salon is called a Saloon. It really pisses me off especially in Kuwait. You have no brew to begin with and then they have Saloons all over. Oh well, a Nissan beats the bus. I need to get me a job where I have a PSD team that drives me around and stuff. That would be nice.

Speaking of nice, it would be nice if “J” stayed in the Army. He will probably read this and make another joke about me “ass kissing” but so be it. He may also have reasons for getting out that are compelling. He is the guy that took my thermometer picture. Very good officers are rare in the Army. Good officers are common and bad officers are less rare. In 10 years of service I never met an officer better than J. I hope J stays in and gets promoted form Colonel to Chief of Staff of the Army.

Special note to J:

You would be next CSA if you stayed in. The Army could use you and it would be great to see you succeed in that role. I will stop there because I know you are going to accuse me of ass kissing. I am not; I am telling it like it is.

Ok, so anyway, I wrote yesterday that I didn’t want to have to re-type a bunch of crap. Here are some photos of my “desk”. I swear my back is going to be permanently ruined from sitting on the corner of my bed typing this crap. Here are the pictures. I have an “Air Desk”. I think it would be a good desk but my POS computer is too heavy for it. I specifically ordered a bigger base, but even that doesn’t help. This POS Alienware weighs 22 doggone pounds. For real, 22 LBS, do any of you have a laptop that weighs even close to that? Oh, and don’t buy one from Alienware. The thing not only weighs 22 pounds (literally) it is hotter than the surface of the sun, the battery life is about 13 nano-seconds, the customer support speaks 2 words of Spanglish, and the components are too high end and don’t work together. Get a Dell, hell, get an IBM. Just don’t get an Alienware, you will regret it, I promise. Here are the pics I couldn't post yesterday.

So anyway, I have another date with lunatic chick tonight. We are going to meet some co-workers at the embassy Lock and Load bar. It is only open on Thursdays. It’s also pretty boring, but there aren’t a lot of options in this 4km jail house.

Speaking of girls, I have been emailing a girl for about 2 weeks. She works for an EU embassy and wants to rent a room. She has a very weird name that I won’t post. Speaking of that, I have to be careful about what I post. I see some Google hits from such random things. Anyway. So I agreed to call her and arrange a time to take her to see one of the villas so she could decide if she wanted to rent it. I was doing a favor for a girl that works at the Australian embassy; she had asked me to help her friend. Well anyway, the Australian chick is very nice, she was actually the first chick I asked to go with me to the summer ball at the UK embassy, but she turned me down. Some other chick had already invited her. I don’t think she is a lesbo, but I was still disappointed. Anyway, she asked me to sort her EU embassy friend out. So I did. Today I talked to her on the phone and she sounded very hot, which usually means, not hot. Well I was wrong. She is totally hot. About 6 feet tall, blonde, very slim, nice uh body, and beautiful face with a casual elegance that totally gets me every time. A 9.9 in any country. So I take her over to see the rooms and hopefully she will accept my invite to Lock and Load. I would have to blow off lunatic chick but oh well. I hope lunatic chick isn’t reading this.

Anyway, not much going on today. Work was fine other than getting a POS YELLOW Nissan. Who even paints a car yellow? How gay. I feel like I am driving a damn Taxi. Oh well, better than walking. Oh yeah, I try to update my site at 1700 or 1800 GMT+3 time. If you are on the East coast look for updates at around 0900 or 1000 hours. I usually update once a day.

Forget the pics. Internet problems. I will edit them in later.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006


SO yesterday I was right about the rockets. But it turns out that there were 5 but 1 didn’t go off. And they weren’t rockets but I use that term generically for any explosive device that could potentially fall on my head; they were mortars. But normally we get larger caliber mortars, like 120MM. The ones yesterday were just 61MM.

So that got me thinking. Why did they launch 61s? I know it is too early to tell yet so I will monitor all rocket impacts more closely, but I wonder if they are running low on supply? It is possible they don’t have any more so they resort to the puny ones. I don’t yet, but when I find out, I will post the answer.

So anyway, there is an adverse side effect to 61s as well. Because they are smaller, they are much easier to transport and to conceal. The lack of destructive power is made up for by mobility and concealability. (Is that a word?). Anyway. What they used to do in mid 04 was drive around, come to the firing spot, chuck the tube on the ground and then lob a few my way and pop smoke out of there. This makes it much harder for the Quick Reaction Force to find and hopefully kill them.

That reminds me to check on the Rules of Engagement. Last time I checked it was fair game to drop anyone carrying an RPG or a mortar. I hope that is still the case. It was also legal to shoot on sight anyone wearing the Mahdi Army uniform which is all black with a green headband. Man I could never find one. I am still disappointed.

Well anyway, I will monitor some intel and see if my preliminary conclusion remains accurate. It could be just a once off deal or it could be an indication that supply lines are clogged. Maybe Iran are shipping everything to Hezbollah instead of Iraq? Don’t know.

Anyway, it is time for me to go to the palace, I will finish up with some more when I get back. Hopefully they won’t plant one on my laptop because I really don’t want to have to type all that crap again.

Ok I am back. No rockets. While I was walking out of the palace I got to watch some short bald guy slam into a marble pillar. He was turning around to catch the backside of a relatively attractive blonde woman. Well, he turned right back around and slammed his noggin right into the pillar. I laughed so hard. I probably could have warned him, but then I wouldn’t have a story. Besides, by the time you get out of puberty you should have mastered the art of checking out women without slamming headfirst into solid objects.

So anyway, my date with lunatic chick went pretty good last night. We sat under a date palm at the restaurant and talked. Neither of us ate, she had a coke and I had 2 beers, Efes. I also got to smoke a shisha. Shisha is better known by the name Hubbly-Bubbly in the UK, argilla in Kuwait, and in the US, water-bong. Oh yeah, also hookah. They put this really nice flavored tobacco in there and you smoke it. It is nothing like cigarette smoke, it has no nicotine either. Oh yeah, if you smoke cigarettes, don’t, they will kill you. This one Iraqi dude got killed late in 04. They were working on a water tank near a small compound when the welder decided to go to the bomb shelter because some rounds landed. He walked around a huge cement wall but he forgot his smokes. He went back around the wall to get them and WHAM. A mortar got him. Moral of the story; don’t smoke. I guess it could be don’t forget your smokes as well, but I like my moral better.

Also, these Iraqis sure smoke a lot. I watch them smoke non-stop. I met Shepard Smith from Fox news in the BIAP airport and man does that dude chain smoke. At the time I thought I had never seen anyone smoke that much. These Iraqis ALL of them smoke more than him. And they smoke everywhere. Literally, everywhere. I bet the Imams are smoking when they give their sermons. (Is that what you call them, sermons?) Oh yeah, and not one Iraqi has grasped the concept of a “Line”. They will just mob wherever they need to go and fight to be the first one there. It is ridiculous. I have nearly gone to blows with pompous little Iraqi men trying to cut me in line. Seriously, I think it is disrespectful. Who the hell is this dude to cut me? I just usually ask them to get behind me, if they don’t I shove my way back in front of them. I got no time for that. The only exception is on flights. I sit back and watch these Iraqis punish each other to get to the ticketing counter at the airport. Guess what dumb ass, you already have a ticket, you already have an assigned seat, so what in the hell is your hurry? I just sit back, sip some chai, and wait. Once they have destroyed each other to be first and are gone, I stroll up with my business class ticket and get my boarding pass. They even fight after they have a boarding pass. They fight to be first on the bus to go to the plane. Dudes, you have an assigned seat! Simmer down! Then they fight to get thru customs. I watch them and I just laugh because we are all going to be standing at the same spot at the same time, complaining about when our bags are going to come in. Sheesh! They are crazy. Oh yeah, and they drive worse than they line up. Just inside the Green Zone this year about 5 Iraqis have been killed in traffic accidents. I watched 2 motorcycle fatalities in 2 days. Hence the reason I no longer take my scooter to work. That would be just my luck, buying it on a damn scooter in Iraq. Screw that.

So that is about it. The good news is that I found some old disks that have some cool pictures, so I can post them.

This is me standing under the thermometer. It is self explanatory.

This is a Google Earth of the compound I live in. It was formerly a palace Saddam gave to the Republican Guard. It is officially known as the Main Presidential Palace or the CPA Palace. But we decided to start calling it the US Embassy Annex. Only the North wing of the 3 part building is controlled by the State Department and the actual Chancery is located a couple clicks away also in the IZ.

This pic is where my hooch is. Special note to anyone with a mortar or rocket: DO NOT AIM HERE!!! If you kill me I WILL have sex with all your virgins!!!

Here I am smoking some hookah in the kitchen of my old villa.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Another loud day. I was walking to my car at 0920 this morning and heard a massive car bomb explode near one the IZ checkpoints. Those things are really loud. I hope not many people were hurt.

Ok so I decided I was not going to take cover in the Embassy tonight. Yesterday we had like 3 rockets land so I figured it would take them a few days to rearm. Wrong. I was sitting in my hooch at 1620 contemplating going to the Embassy and decided against it. At 1621 I heard 3 muffled explosions that I believed to be missile launches. I was right. A few seconds later I heard a distant boom and a close boom. The 3rd I did not hear so maybe it was a dud. So I changed my mind and headed over to the embassy. I had a spiced chai latte. It was yummy.

When I got back I found my hooch destroyed. Just kidding, it was fine. I would have been fine, but still.

So anyway now they have closed a Checkpoint because I was right, the 3rd launch was a dud over near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This is getting crazy but it is nowhere near as bad as it used to be. We really used to get like 10-15 every day. I liked it more when it was predictable.

Anyway, I have decided to go ahead and go out with the lunatic chick. We are going to have dinner tonight at the Chinese restaurant. Quaint little place. I called ahead and reserved a corner table. I wasn’t going to go out with her, but pickings are slim and she is really hot. Not just Baghdad Beautiful, an actual real beauty.

So anyway, you know I said earlier that Iraqis require a “Saddam type leader”? Well I did. And don’t spin that that to include the use of common BS phrases such as rape rooms and torture chambers. They need a benevolent dictator. Or a King. I wish that Sharif Ali bin Hussein had been put into power when Bremer left. These Iraqis don’t respond to change very well. They are used to being told what to do. Put one guy in charge and let him tell them how to act. As long as you have the Chalabis and Talibanis and Sistanis and so on running massive tribes each with opposing interests they are not going to sort things out.

Here is an example. When I was in the military I used to go on missions across South-Central Iraq including Ramadi, Fallujah, Karbala and Najaf and Hillah to name a few. I actually got to see the ruins at Babil and saw with my own eyes the Shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf. I met with locals in downtown Al-Kut. That is a sidebar, anyway, occasionally you have flats. We would dismount the Suburbans and establish a 360 degree perimeter while 1 guy changed the tire. On a few occasions I was the guy that had to walk about 100 meters behind the convoy to signal traffic to move to the far left lane and to slow down and pass us. Usually I carried an AK, but that didn’t seem to work so well. So the next time I grabbed a chrome AK. That worked better. But you know what worked best in getting their attention? My 9MM Walther. Yes I carried a Walther instead of a Beretta, it’s a cooler gun. Anyway, the only time the Iraqis saw an un-holstered 9MM was when they were about to get shot by an Army Officer. They see that 9mm and they obey your commands. To them it is a sign of power. And they responded correctly to my demonstration of that power. Maybe they could just tell that I really would shoot them in an instant if they tried anything funny.

So, I believe that had we re-established a monarchy with a living descendant of a prior monarch, things would have gone more smoothly.

No time for pictures tonight. I have to put some decent clothes on and grab my date. Wish me luck. Actually, I will attempt to post my Condi pic again.

Woohoo, it finally worked!