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, 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.