Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Why the TV execs are against the troops

So, a thought just struck me. I am about to come home for a brief break before heading back to work here, and there's one thing I miss almost as much as McDonalds food - television. Specifically, I really miss watching the Daily Show and Colbert Report at night to get my daily intake of news and insanity. And I just realized - that's not going to happen. Because of this stupid writers' strike, there will be no John Stewart pointing out the random insanity of our country's political leaders. There will be no Stephen Colbert mocking the hypocritical blindness of pundits and talking heads. Now - let me clearly state: I am totally for the writers on this one. Don't anyone (and I'm talking about you, Ann) take my words out of context and manipulate this into how the writers are against the troops. The execs, desperately holding on to their profits at the expense of the actual creative talent (IMO), have created this situation. So - I state this clearly - the television execs are against the troops. Because trust me, after the football season ends, returning soldiers want to sit down in front of the TV and veg out like every other American, and escape. And definitely not into reality TV - there is way too much REALITY over here to get any sense of happiness from watching a bunch of spoiled brats locked into a house fight over some prize/woman/man/(whatever you get out of Real World). So I call on the studio execs to step up, show their national pride, show their support for the troops, and give the writers a little piece of the internet pie.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Awesome quote

Don't be silly, large penis is always appreciated.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Packing a Duffel Bag

So, there are some people that claim that packing a duffel bag is like playing a game of Tetris. I have to disagree. The reason for this is not because of the sheer amount of spatial relationships you have to consider when packing a duffel, that is very true, and somewhat similar to Tetris. However, in Tetris you don't get the chance to start over and start a new pattern to see if you can cram more crap in by shifting things around. As my friend Sean once pointed out: "Everything in the Army is just a little too small." You can almost get all of your stuff in a duffel. And if you decide to pull something out, it usually ends up looking like a half-deflated balloon, and there's something about the top latch on a duffel that makes you worry that unless it is packed tight and snug, the bag will open up at the worst possible moment, and you'll be one of those unfortunates whose clothing comes out separately from your bag at the airport.

Instead, I think that packing a duffel bag is a lot more like trying to figure out how to power up a lunar module without shorting out the electrical system and stranding three astronauts in the "depths of space" (trademarked phrase by the way). You have to figure out which combination will optimize the regular volume of the duffel compared with the irregular volume of all the items that go in the bag. Fail to come up with the right combination, and you're stuck with a leftover boot, shirts, or possibly even a helmet. I have packed and repacked dozens of duffel bags over the years, and this always holds true. The bag is just a little too small. But you unpack and repack it, hoping against hope that maybe if you shift your boots 90 degrees, put your books in vertically instead of horizontally, and maybe, just maybe, you can cram two more pairs of socks inside the helmet and open up some space for that last shirt . . .

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Why Iraqi Bootleg you ask?

Well, it all starts back in 2004, the first time I was here. This was back when bootlegs were everywhere, sold in markets, on FOBs, and by little kids who zoomed around the Green Zone, before it changed its name to GSAVE, oh wait, sorry I mean International Zone, on mopeds offering regular bootlegs and flicky flicky to any soldiers who might be walking around. Hooray for capitalism.

But back to my story, some of these bootlegs were good, some were bad, if you were lucky you got one that was stolen from a master (usually French for some reason - my copy of Dodgeball says the four D's are detour, deplace, depose, detour). However, what I found very interesting was the fact that whoever mocked up the "cases" for these DVDs had obviously never spoken English, and they just sort of cut and pasted things from the web that seemed to fit. I started collecting them, especially the ones with particularly funny blurbs. The Holy Grail of this quest, which I only saw once, failed to buy, and regretted it ever since, was a copy of Passion of the Christ, which was described by one critic (apparently) as "Absolutely Hilarious!"

So, at some point while here, I am going to start collecting images of some of the funnier bootlegs that come across my path. One for instance, was the complete seasons one through seven of Star Trek: The Next Genrelation.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hot Chicks and Airports

So, anyone who has ever been to an airport has noticed that there are always a larger proportion of attractive women there than there seem to be at other place. I'm sure part of it is the unattainability, plus I have a theory (backed up by science, strangely enough) that traveling increases your sex drive...

But, I am happy to say that this rule applies even here. I spend a few nights a week at the airport here, helping out some people, and every night I walk in and there's just hot chicks everywhere. Now - the mitigating factor here is that most of the people who work at the airport are Air Force, amd anyone who's been in the military knows that Air Force chicks are the hottest, follow by Marine chicks, then Navy, and finally Army. The last two switch sometimes, depending, but it's like the Air Force recruiters will look at a recruit and say "Yeah, um, you might be better suited to the Army..."

It's something about Army butt, too. Marine chicks may not be as pretty, but they are still active, even if they're in an Admin position. Army chicks who have admin positions develop the military equivalent of secretary butt. I'm sure it happens to the men, too, I just don't really check out men's asses all that much.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Some things never change

So everyone loses socks. You lose them somewhere, whether its in the laundry, before the laundry, walking back from the laundry room, something. I, personally, have a serious problem with this. What's interesting to me is that I lose socks in exactly even numbers. So, for example, I currently own four different types of socks, each very distinguishable. In the picture below, I will call them, from left to right: regular, reinforced, red mark, and new balance.

Now - why the picture you ask? Because, and I swear this is true, I have somehow managed to lose one, and exactly one, of each of these four types of socks. The picture here is one I took after getting my laundry back from the KBR facility and sorting out my socks. How is it, I ask myself, that I have the unique ability to lose one of EACH pair of socks, and somehow still have the same number of sock types that I'm supposed to? I mean, if the guys at KBR really want to steal my socks, don't you think they could at least have the decency to steal a matched set so I don't notice? And frankly, so I don't walk around feeling lopsided because my left sock is significantly thicker than my right???

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The surreal nature of life in Iraq

Yeah, so here's a picture:

This is what makes life here so strangely surreal. First of all, it's a cloudy day, so the dark thing hanging in the sky (smoke) doesn't seem too odd at first, because maybe its a storm cloud. But no, if you look closely, its a huge plume of black smoke, billowing up from somewhere to the north of us. So - maybe its inside the wall, maybe outside. But no one, and I mean no one, seems to even register it. I look on the news, no mention of it. Just this huge plume of black smoke, happens everyday. Well, not everyday, but you get used to seeing things on fire here, so you just give it a miss. Very bizarre. So, I jump in my car and head out to find it. Actually, I was on my way to somewhere else and I kept getting closer, so I just drove out to the wall to take a look. Turns out it was someone burning trash. A LOT of trash:


Thursday, September 27, 2007

So, apparently you suffer the heat and sun of August so you can get to September. Well - the end of September. In the past couple days it has been absoutely gorgeous. You wake up around 5 (I wake up around 5, sometimes earlier), and its around 70 degrees, with a light breeze. And basically, from 7 until about 11, the mornings are calm and quiet, and the sun isn't too hot, and it's simply wonderful. And in the evenings, its a bit warmer, but after 110, 90 feels like a cool spring evening. The sun sets and the moon is rising at the same time, so they're both the same shade of orange, its pretty amazing. I have a picture, but I'm afraid that one is just for my partner, and she'll have to give anyone else permission to see it.

Now, one other funny thing. What the Army chooses to tell its soldiers it can and can't do really make me laugh sometimes. Consider this picture:

- this is an honest to God sign that was hanging up in the cafeteria. I can understand a few of the things on here: No Face Washing - this can get nasty, not to mention a little disgusting as it moves on to the No Spitting - which frankly you're gonna wantto do if you wash your face with the water in the chow hall and it gets anywhere near your mouth. That gets to another of my favorite signs, which I will put up here in a couple days, the one that says "Potable Water Do Not Drink" and the large number of tanks and trucks that say Non Potable Water - and its obvious that the "Non" was sprayed on later - what happened to our Potable Water?

But the No Foot Washing is the one that I really like. Who would think they could walk into the chow hall, take their shoes off and start washing their feet? Did someone try this? I wish I could have seen THAT!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Laundry Bags

So, here's the deal with laundry bags:

I arrived, and forget to bring a laundry bag. No problem, I think, I'll pick one up. So, first thing i do when I get here is go to the PX. Guess what, they don't have them. After speaking with three employees, who all give me the same blank looks ("What's a laundry bag?") I get a response from one employee: try back in fifteen days. Well, that's gonna be a problem, since I only brought 12 pairs of underwear, and I'm currently wearing pair 4. So I go to the local bazaar on base: no laundry bags. I go to the small PX, no laundry bags. Three other local stores, no laundry bags. After discussing this difficulty with my girlfriend, she agrees to send me one, but then tells me that Kmart has them online. So I go to kmart.com, and order a laundry bag. Well, turns out Kmart is sold out (I guess other people have girlfriends). So I go to Amazon, turns out that because laundry bags are listed as an "outdoor" item, they won't ship them to an APO address. Apparently, there's a conspiracy to keep people in Iraq dirty and smelly. (By the way, mine is not the only travail with the laundry bag scenario, I know of three other people personally, and I only know about eight people here - you do the math).

Oh yeah, and while I'm on the topic of the PX: last time I was here they only had Full Screen movies, no widescreen, and I figured it was because AAFES knew that soldiers would have no other option, and they could make a deal with the DVD companies, since no one else would be a stupid pan n scan DVD. Well, now, someone in their amazing intelligence, decided that the best clothing to have available at the PX in goddam Baghad, Iraq (temperature 120) are long sleeve shirts and heavyweight t-shirts. All that stuff you saw on MASH, well it still holds true, only now their making the soldiers buy the incorrect equipment.

Enough for today.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Do blind people sit when they pee?

so - at 3 in the morning, you wake up with an overfull bladder, because you've been drinking so much water, and you stumble out into the night to the port-a-john which is where you have to pee (hooray Iraq), and since you're not really thinking you forget your flashlight, and you get ready to pee and realize, it is absolutely, completely, pitch black inside this big plastic box. How do you aim? Frankly - I just let loose and hope for the best, I figure the heat'll dry out anything that goes astray, anyway. But what if you're actually blind? How do you aim? Do you sit down?

More later.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Temperature at Lunch - 126

Well then, this'll be my first, hopefully of a few. I am sitting in my office (for lack of a better term) in thewonderful, glorious, city of Baghdad. Well, not exactly in Baghdad, as that would be a little too dangerous. But quite near it. Sorry, that's one of the things I won't be able to mention. Other things I can't really mention: precisely what it is I'm doing, why I'm doing it, or what I've accomplished. And finally, please don't ask me what I think about what's going on over here. I have a very limited job, focusing on only a couple things, and if Ivory Tower ever described anyone, it's me at the moment.

But, I can point out some of the silliness, some of the weirdness, and constantly point out the heat! (Did I mention it was 126 yesterday?) I don't know if anyone can imagine that without having actually experienced it. It's HOT. combine that with the wonderfully functional A/C units we have here, and it's quite an experience.

Yesterday, the A/C in my tent stopped working, so when I got home, it was about 110 or so inside the tent. That was an experience. So hot that you just don't want to move. I sweat through my t-shirt in about five minutes. What other wonderful amenities to talk about? Oh yeah - toilets. For about a week and a half, I had to use the Port-a-Johns just outside the tents. That's another wonderful experience, when you start sweating because inside the box is hotter than outside (did I mention 126?). Luckily, I found out that there are flush toilets a few minutes walk away, so that's sorted. You know, you never really appreciate the joy of indoor plumbing until you've lived without it for a week. And I don't know what's worse, going into a latrine at the end of the day when it reeks of sweat, piss, and shit, or right after its been washed, when there's water dripping on you (they just spray itwith a hose), and there's the incredibly acrid odor of the cleaning agent that gets in your nose and just burns.

Well, I think that's enough for one day, I'll write about the wonders of laundry bags in a little bit.