Saturday, December 29, 2007

i have a phone number, kinda...

so one day samantha was mentioning on her blog that she was always tempted to post her phone number on her blog, just to see who'd call and what they'd say/sound like. i can pretty honestly say that i was never tempted, although i do know someone who's got their # on their facebook page and i was always tempted to call them out of the blue and prank call, except that i can never keep from laughing and i always ruin it.

anyways, i was screwing around here, trying to play with skype and yahoo voice to see if there was an easy way to call home and check my voicemails on my cell phone. especially since i want to start the job search a couple months before i go home and want to be able to put a resume out there with a phone number on it. and i found on yahoo that you can purchase a phone number that anyone can call for something cheap like 25 bucks a year. of course i haven't been able to use it to check my voicemail on my cell, because the internet connection sucks so bad that i can't get my pin typed in in a way that my voicemail system understands, but when i call my cell phone, i can hear it clearly. so i might as well get some entertainment out of it.

so, all rambling aside... 720-259-7279 is a number that you can call and leave a voicemail on. but if you do it, you've got to let me know who you are. it'd be neat to put a voice with the names...

i'm way, way behind on checking out peoples' blogs. sorry.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

okay, so i'm still alive and everything is still okay, but we're freezing our asses off. i haven't been able to breathe through my nose for like, six weeks now. has anyone used an infrared space heater? supposedly they do a good job heating, but take less electricity. we live in buildings where the wiring isn't quite up to code and preventing said building from burning down is the name of the game. it was about 13 degrees when i woke up this morning and was marginally warmer inside than outside. and if you haven't used an infrared space heater, but have a recommendation?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas Everyone!

hope everyone is doing well. we got into afghanistan at about 11:10pm, Christmas Eve. we've moved into the buildings that are going to be our home for the next year, met most of the people that we'll be replacing and gotten out and walked the base today. it'll be okay. definately not all of the creature comforts of home, but we knew that before we got here. right now the heaters in our "house" work during the day when it's warm but not at night when it's freezing. we'll figure it out though.

anyways, just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and let ya'll know we made it here, safe and sound.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

greetings from ireland...

well, we're off. the most miserable flight ever. flying on military cargo planes is so much better. constant 110v power for the laptops or game systems, you can stretch out on the floor and sleep... the only problem is the noise. this charter flight bites. the seats are so tight and close together and the a/c isn't working right and it's just been miserable. that's okay though, we're finally underway and the sooner we get it started, the sooner we get it finished.

we've already gotten our beers. i'm walking an interesting line with some of my younger troops. some of the other senior nco's went drinking and racing and chasing with their younger guys and think i should've done it with mine. felt it'd be good for esprit de corps. and they're probably not wrong. but my guys don't have the maturity for it yet. they can't see me acting stupid one minute and then block that out and turn professional again the next morning. so they did their thing and me and my right hand man did ours. one of these kids is really an immature, spoiled little brat who i'm fighting at every turn. but i'm trying to reward and recognize the good to balance out the constant punishment of the bad. so he's underage in the states, but legal here, and he was surprised when i bought him a pint. hopefully it starts to sink in with him. but i imagine it's going to be an amazingly long year.

not sure when/where the next stop will be. hope everyone is doing well!

Friday, December 21, 2007

well, we've survived the "muic" (mobilization unit inprocessing center) experience. we've been poked and prodded by the medics, subjected to full days of powerpoint briefings, spent two weeks out at the mock base and now survived a couple days of pass time. guys have gone out and drank mass quantities of booze, been thrown out of strip clubs, eaten way too much unhealthy food, spent way too much money in gear shops and just generally been stupid. now we're all back, back in uniform, ready to go.

the last two times were significantly different. so many people hadn't deployed before that there was a nervousness in the air. this time so many of the old-timers are so nonchalant about things that even the guys who haven't been deployed are calm and not so worried, and hiding any problems or fears well. weird to see how low the energy level is. or what a different type of energy it is. there's still the normal locker-room mentality and joking going on. some of the really good nco's are quietly training their guys everyday. turning normal situations into a learning opportunity. there's just none of the anxiety that i've witnessed in the past.

Monday, December 17, 2007

it's beginning to look alot like christmas...

it seems like every year that i say "Oh my God, it's Christmas already!?! It doesn't feel like it at all!" but that's never been more true than this year. when we first got here i bought a printer/scanner from target. it never printed from the beginning. i finally got a chance to take it back and swap it out yesterday and it was amazing to see the stores crowded with holiday shoppers. that's going to be the odd part about having the couple days off. we'll go see movies and hit the targets and walmarts for those last minute items for our shaving kits or whatever, and we'll run head-on into all the holiday preparations.

alot of these guys don't want to think about Christmas because they're missing it with family. we're in north carolina. it's chilly, but it's definately NOT a white Christmas. we've been so busy, most of us can't tell you what day it is. personally, i'm not a scrooge, i've just forgotten all about it. it'll be interesting to see if the mood finally settles in.

one giant bruise...

we got out of the field night before last. by the time we got the trucks unpacked and all the sensitive items accounted for it was bedtime. amazingly enough we got to sleep late. i think i got seven hours of sleep, maybe eight. and we all woke up stiff and sore and achey the next morning. for some reason when we were waking up at 4:30 and only had cold showers and were in the rain and the wind we were fine. but the minute we got into hard buildings with hot showers and soft mattresses instead of cots all our aches and pains caught up with us. i don't know if it's a matter of always being tense or what.

i wasn't too bad. no real tenderness or pain. all the months of rucking and walking around with body armor on at home had me better prepared than alot of guys. but when i was stripping down for a shower and caught a glance of myself in the mirror i was amazed to see all the yellowed bruises all over my body. they were just running together in some spots.

we're getting a couple nights off here, that'll be nice. nothing really planned. i don't need anything much, i'm not dying to go drinking or to the strip clubs or anything. but it'll be nice to catch up on sleep.

hope everyone is doing well...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


it's crazy.  our average schedule is lights out at 11:00pm, do reports and work by flashlight and the glow of laptop screens until at least midnight, then wake up the next morning at 4:30.  we do p.t. of some type everyday, either hand to hand combatives, ruck marches or old-school running and calisthenics.  then we're go-go-go most of the day, frequently in full body armor which takes alot out of you.  i don't think i've gotten to bed earlier than 11:30pm the last two weeks, and i know there've been several times when I'm up until 1:30 or 2:00.  and yet i've got more energy than i know what to do with.  i don't feel tired until i've got more than two seconds to sit down and catch my breath.  and then all of a sudden i pass out. 

i actually saw the majority of our unit sleeping on blacktop two days ago.  transportation to our next appointment was hosed and it was going to be about 20 minutes until buses arrived.  everyone immediately sat down in the middle of the parking lot, leaned up against their rucks and passed out.  and woke up 20 minutes later without any complaints of sore muscles or anything like people normally would from sleeping on such a hard surface.

my hands are getting tougher.  the skin is getting thicker and more resistant to nicks and cuts.  when i do get a nick it seems like it's healing faster now.  the little aches and pains in my shoulders and lower back are going away.  we run hard in the morning, and my speed and endurance is increasing significantly.  we will work hard, i'll feel the legs tightening up and a couple hours later the pain's gone, instead of nagging me for the next day or two.

i was prepared for the big stuff mentally.  leaving home, shipping overseas, leaving friends, family, job, etc.  but i'm getting back into the game on the little things.  pre-combat checks and inspections of my troops.  calling in every turn on the radio when we're rolling on the road, writing stuff down and keeping track of hundreds of little, little things.

we were pretty close to the top of our game before, but that transition from civilian to soldier is almost complete.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

well, still alive. the warm weather has helped alot. my nose is cleared and i can breathe again. we're still in the tents. i'm tempted to write stuff about it, but some of it isn't complaining for the sake of complaining or sympathy. some of it's for historical record for me. just trying to remember what was going on when.

we might finish some of our training early and we might get a couple days off. but if we do we're going to be restricted to the immediate area. so i think bloggers should fly in for an early christmas dinner. :) it'll be nice though. go get a hotel room and get a nice shower and sleep in a nice big bed, get a nice dinner or two and just kinda screw around and get away from some of the guys for a little while.

anyways, hope everyone is doing okay. my google reader hasn't been working well and my connection sucks. i'd like to get over and read peoples' blogs but i can only do what i can do.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

so they've shipped out to this tent city that's supposed to be close to what we'll see in iraq and afghanistan. of course it was largely planned by people who haven't seen either. it's incredibly realistic for an army-mock up though. the bad part of it is that in a short amount of time we'll actually be there for real. instead of sending us here six months ago so that people who haven't seen it could experience it and know what to prepare for, they wait until right before we go and stick us out here. talk about demoralizing. at this time we should be going into town, getting the last bit of gear we have, and doing what stupid army guys do. drinking beer. the young kids should be spending two months worth of pay at the strip clubs, half convinced that if they tip big enough she'll go home with them. buying books, arranging college courses, seeing movies, eating at good restaurants. heading out to the beach one last time. whatever. but instead we're sitting here with cold showers, sleeping in underheated tents, waiting in line for the understocked px to open and blah-blah-blah. i'm not complaining. it's really not that bad. for most of us we've just dropped into the old routines, and we just do what we do. but you see these units that don't deploy as much as we do and it just freaks them out and kills their spirit. and where we're only here for a couple weeks because we train so much and are really close to the top of our game, some of these are your "weekend warrior"/bumbling idiot types as reservists and guardsmen are portrayed in the movies. they're going to be here for MONTHS before they go.

someone asked me tonight how we're doing, if there was excitement for the mission. oddly enough, there really isn't. i had a friend who went to the army's sapper school 3 times. i assumed the first time would've been the hardest, that the next two would've been easy because he would've known how to prepare. he said it was exactly the opposite. because he knew what was coming up, and how hard/challenging it would be, there was no fun or excitement for him. he dreaded it, but because he was a leader, in a leadership position and his unit was going through as a group, he had to pump himself up and appear motivated for the troops. they had no idea what to expect and were excited, even though the training was kicking their asses everyday. kinda the same here. the guys who haven't deployed at all are kinda taking it all in with wide eyes, but the rest of us are yawning our way through some of this (don't take that to mean we aren't taking the training seriously, we are.). just kinda eager to get there and get it over with.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

still alive...

still in the United States... relatively healthy (although i'm hobbling on a sprained ankle, let's keep our fingers crossed that i didn't rebreak one of the bones in the foot) and happy. i was desperately hoping for more sleep tonight. my boss said on monday that he wasn't staying up til midnight anymore. so now i do. we get up at four something or another depending on what's going on that day. so i'm a little sleep deprived. but i had to do laundry, so that's keeping me up. however i've delegated some of my work down, and trained some people in some reports, etc., so they'll be able to train the next crew of people that need help. still working with my problem children. good times all around.

hope everyone is okay.