Sunday, September 14, 2008

Home sweet home…for the next 115 days or so…

Directly across from my room pictured here, is a great bumper sticker: "Balad…now that's my kind of trailer park!"

Couldn't have said it better myself.
The emphatic note to "TURN OFF YOUR ALARM!!" was there when I got here. I'm not the offender in this case.

Today's my first day off…and I'm at work. Just to use the computer though…

While I brought my laptop, it's much easier to just head into work to use this to compose the post, email it to my hotmail account, and cut and paste it to blogger when I get to the morale trailer. Work computers don't have access to the blogs, but the morale computers do…another concern is the movement of computers from a/c controlled rooms, through severe heat and back to a/c controlled rooms. A female major on the trip over here fried her laptop at our staging location doing just that. I can't wait for the wi-fi to come online on our portion of the base.

Anyway, the day goes a little something like this:

Out of bed late (0530!) and I treated myself to a triple mocha from the local "Green Bean" coffee house and headed to the rec center to catch the last part of USC beating on OSU. After that was over a quick trip to the shoppette to pick up some toiletries and I was on my way back to the pod. Deciding to not waste my time here, I've ventured into a physical fitness improvement program. So toward that end I put in 12.5 miles on the bike today. It ain't running, but it's much easier on the knees. Quick shower and shave (we are ALWAYS in uniform here…so we will ALWAYS be clean shaven), then off to my weekly treat. I've decided to allow myself one guilty meal a week…Taco Bell. Five regular tacos later, my craving for TB has been satisfied.

If you're shocked we have a TacoBell, don't be…We've also got a Pizza Hut, Cinnabon and Burger King as well. Another base here in the AOR has a Starbucks, a chinese chain and Popeyes, along with all the stuff I mentioned we have here.

Americans are famous for bringing the "comforts of home" with us to war (and overseas too!). They remind us of home and are morale boosters. Knowing I can look forward to Taco Bell each weekend makes this place just the tiniest bit easier to handle.

Not that it's all that hard here…so far. I won't go into details likely to raise concern but it is definitely a war zone. This base is constantly changing and to help focus our efforts, the wing commander just outlined his three main focus areas for the year. Priority number one is fostering the "joint" atmosphere.

Joint is up close and personal here. The Army is here in full force, the Navy is around as well. I've seen a few Marines, and have been told we've even got eight Coasties running around here somewhere! Add to the mix a bunch of DoD civilians, KBR contractors, other contractors and the local/third country nationals and you have an environment that could be an advertising poster for diversity! I had lunch the other day with a Navy Ltjg who runs the customs shop here. They're famous for finding all the stuff people try to take out of the AOR…

Anyway…Off to organize my pod...

The cap to my day off will be a serving of cheesecake at the DFAC tonight…ain't life grand?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Off to the sandbox...

After a 24 hour delay (broken airplane in Norfolk kept us at Shaw for an extra day) I'm finally enroute.

I'm in the Starbucks of the Navy Exchange at Norfolk VA. My flight won't leave for about 4 hours, but one last skinny vanilla latte sounded pretty good.

Brought Angels and Demons along for the ride. Very interesting that CERN and the super-collider are in the news lately and figure prominently in the book's beginning...


Short post to let everyone know I'm on my way...

More to follow...

Special note to the kiddo: Remember RULE # 1! ILY!

Friday, August 29, 2008

I like this one...

The Presidential election was too close to call. Neither the Republican candidate nor the Democratic candidate had enough votes to win. There was much talk about ballot recounting, court challenges, etc., but a week-long ice fishing competition seemed the sportsmanlike way to settle things. The candidate that caught the most fish at the end of the week would win the election.

Therefore, it was decided that there should be an ice fishing contest between the two candidates to determine the winner. After much of back and forth discussion, it was decided that the contest take place on a remote frozen lake in northern Minnesota .

There were to be no observers present, and both men were to be sent out separately on this isolated lake and return at 5 P.M. with t heir catch for counting and verification by a team of neutral parties. At the end of the first day, John Mc. returned to the starting line and he had ten fish.

Soon, Obama returned and had no fish. Well, everyone assumed he was just having another ‘bad hair’ day or something and hopefully, he would catch up the next day.

At the end of the 2nd day John Mc. came in with 20 fish and Obama came in again with none.

That evening, Harry Reid got together secretly with Obama and said, ‘Obama, I think John Mc. is a low-life, cheatin’ son-of-a-gun. I want you to go out tomorrow and don’t even bother wit h fishing. Just spy on him and see just how he is cheating.’

The next night (after John Mc. returns with 50 fish), Harry asked Obama, ‘Well, tell me, how is John Mc. cheating?’

Obama replied, ‘Harry, you’re not going to believe this, but he’s cutting holes in the ice.’

Experience Counts

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Waiting to go...

It's almost time for my trip across the pond and I'm on leave enjoying the last couple of days before I head out. Erm and I headed to Myrtle Beach this last weekend and enjoyed a night to ourselves and this weekend should be a great one, spent with all the kids.

The new camera is still fun...200 pictures taken to date, but I've not gotten very adventurous yet, sticking with the "easy" mode. I've yet to record a single video except the first one below, but will do so over there.

I've spent quality time with the kiddo playing Rainbow Six and football on the XBox or PS2. Work is pretty much over for now and I'm restless at home, but enjoying the "honey-dos" prior to taking off.

Sean started middle school yesterday and likes it. I told him listening to 6-7 different voices each day is better than listening to the same voice over and over again. He agrees...

That's all for now...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Click here to play Make-A-Word word game, and TRY to score better!

I finally did it...with a little help...

Sean and I finally MASTER(ed) the Make-A-Word...

I'm so proud!!

Can you do better??


Finally got MASTER on my own...

Just thought you should know...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Long time coming...

It's been quite a while (can't really count the "I'm 47% Nerd!" tests as posts, can you?) since I last posted.

Why does that make me feel guilty?

Well, to recap the last six months...

I went to the USAF school I mentioned in my December post and yes, it was hard. Very hard. We lost 4 of the 12 that started the class. As one of the instructors was so very fond of saying: "This is AMMOS, not EMMOS!" AMMOS stands for Advanced Maintenance and Munitions Officer opposed to the Easy Maintenance and Munitions Officer School. Suffice it to say that many nights were spent studying and the most telling indicator of all would be the number of trips downtown (the school is at Nellis AFB, NV...VEGAS, BABY!):


Yep...5 trips downtown in four months! I've been TDY to Vegas for a week and been downtown more often than that!

Many nights working late, a couple of nights with no sleep at all. There was the night when our paper drafts were due the next morning and we were leaving for one of the four TDYs from our TDY location and ALL of our class was up all night writing. 3 am emails asking for coffee and references to or locations of various formats and the like make for entertaining reading when you're rested. Needless to say the plane ride was spent sleeping!

As for the course itself...worth every minute. All the abuse (I've never been told I suck so many times in my life...and that was in the first two weeks!) makes for great learning. Try to imagine an environment where each and every single thing you do is graded. Briefings, exercises, tests (I could write an entire post about the tests alone!), physical fitness training and your ability to teach first and foremost, are all evaluated, daily. All weaknesses are identified and fully exploited. If you have a "scab" (read that as: personality trait which would make you defensive) it is picked at incessantly. But, and this is the real point, it is all done very professionally. I particularly appreciated the manner in which feedback is given. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Little time is spent on the good. More time on the bad, the most time on the ugly.

By the end of it all, you're worn down. You're ready for graduation and looking forward to the opportunity to put some of the new things you've learned to the test.
You can't leave without taking something with you...the tatoo is of the image that dedication or what? (Yeah, it's fake...but it was a great gag!)

So as I'm driving back to the house in SC, somewhere in Texas, I get the phone call from my boss: Congrats on've been tasked. You're headed to the sandbox in August.

Time to get to work!

Just in case you're wondering...the T-shirt says: My drinking team has a hockey problem.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

Trying to figure out how to post this...very interesting to me...Thanks Dad, for the link to the quiz!

Here's a link to my results:

I'm using a library computer to access email and check the blogs this am...not having much luck manipulating it to do what I want...

Just in case the link doesn't work, the results are as follows:

80% similarity with John McCain
74% similarity with Rudy Giuliani
70% similarity with Mike Huckabee

I find that pretty interesting...and kind of encouraging.

More always...later is relative!