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Back from Japan

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

Well, we’ve made it back and are enjoying being at work again. If it wasn’t for being able to come back to work, vacation could go on forever! I took approximately 1419 pictures before the “why do you exist?” deletions started occurring. I haven’t had the chance to get through too many of them yet, but the upside is that most of my notes were actually written out instead of being notes, so a possibility exists that I may actually generate a trip report out of this. (We’ll see. :) )

We had a great time but should have taken a few more days. Several places cropped up where we thought “hey, we’d really like to see that” but were unable to due to lack of time. We ran in to several old friends and Uzbeks, some of whom were both. We made several new friends as well, which is always nice. Japan was very polite and friendly overall and quite a nice trip, which I highly recommend to anyone who can make it. It was much easier to get around than we had expected, though there were a few small snags here and there, but none were very bad.

It’s A Small World

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

Apparently I never wrote this one first. Oops.

Sitting in the chow hall the other day — ok, it was well over a month ago. Probably close to two. Anyway, I’m sitting there minding my own business and enjoying the tasty, delicious food that the serving guys just can not give you reasonable portions of, and by that I mean you’ll get 2-3 times what you want unless you’re an absolute pig, idly watching people come through the door, as I do, when in walks a dude who looks awful familiar. And he did, because Jason is an old friend from both the high school and college days! Hell, he was even a Bushido Brother with me and Matt. :)

That was pretty neat, because while you run into people in those various kinds of work fairly often, particularly ones you’ve met IN that line of work, but it’s the first time something so unexpected happened. It was really cool catching back up. Jason mentioned that he’d looked for me recently, but hadn’t found anything. I guess it didn’t help that I moved a lot further out from home than most folks usually do. I’m a lot harder to find, being way over here instead. :)

It’s Still A Small World

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

Yesterday at lunch we ended up sitting near some Army folk who struck up a conversation. As it turns out, the SFC was from Tifton GA. That’s not too far from “home” but even more interesting was that the captain doing most of the talking was from Martinez GA, quite literally down the street from where I did most of my growing up in Augusta. We pointed out several locations of mutual interest, and it turns out we’d both moved north of Atlanta — I moved to Roswell my senior year, he moved to Alpharetta sometime before that. It’s really the same area, since I’d lived way up at the very edge of town, where Alpharetta (I always hated that name) was just across the street from our subdivision. We both graduated from the same high school, good ol’ Milton. Of course he followed me by 9 years (!) so we didn’t play the “did you know sosandso?” game. Of course, since I moved my senior year and was bound and determined to hate it, I didn’t really know so many people in the first place. I definitely threw that whole year away instead of capitalizing on it.

It’s not quite the same as seeing an old high school and college friend walk up (did I post about that?) but it’s still unusual.

A Quick Update: I Am In Dubai Now & Here’s The Plan

Monday, May 30th, 2005

I got a job again. I am in Dubai now, where I wanted to be, and with the group of folks I wanted to be with. I’ve actually been pretty lucky targeting opportunities over the past several jobs, I must say. I’m back in server and system world, so hopefully my skills will un-rust. Guli is visiting the family back in Uzbekistan but we will get her here shortly. We will have an apartment and get to do all that fun shopping bit for all the stuff involved in making a home. Aside from curtains and furniture and crap, there will be manly stuff like TVs, computers, and probably some guns too. Actually, no guns.

Coincidences and Accidents of Timing

It is a good thing to be here. I get to BS with some folks I worked with before, deny their requests, and send them spiteful emails. Since folks come through here now to go out on R&R (even from Afghanistan) I have a chance to see folks even though we don’t work together anymore. As an example, while I and another ex-K2 person Annamaria were going to meet ex-K2 DJ, I happened to spot a guy I was in Mosul with. In typical fashion I snuck up from behind and ran into him. Then later we ran into another former K2 guy Stan in one of the bars. There’s people everywhere! I got another little fuzzy today via email, too. I sent out notification of new accounts to some folks, and the K2 IT guy emailed me to check on something. I knocked it out, and he came back with thanks and “everybody still misses you here in K2. Dude you’re like a legend here.” That’s a direct quote, even. That made me feel good. I must be at least slightly cool or something, but on the other hand everyone has probably just forgotten what a pain in the ass I am.


I suppose you can’t really say I revealed anything resembling a plan there. I guess in a nutshell, we want to go through several vacation locations before doing anything else. Anything else includes kids, since they tend to complicate vacation plans, and also any sort of permanent return to the US. I’m sure it’s in the cards eventually, but I am not yet ready to go back to the 2 weeks of vacation a year plan. Still too many places to go. At some time off every 3 months or so, that will be easier to accomplish.

Another nice thing is to actually have a day off per week, so the concept of a weekend comes back into meaning. Big change from 25 months of no weekend, and 4 months of never-ending weekend.

Outward Bound: The Palace to Dubai

Saturday, January 15th, 2005

Mosul Palace

I haven’t even left yet, and I’m already a bit irritated. As regards stuff, I’m shipping it, taking it, or trashing it. I have good amounts of the first and last, and too much of the middle. One backpack contains electronic equipment such as my laptop, camera, external hard drive, Ipaq with all their attendant power supplies and cables, in addition to some paperwork type stuff such as my document folder, some small dictionaries, and a networking book. See, I had this idea about not being a totally hedonistic bum, and accomplishing something on such an extended time off. Not a major something, but more of a token something. Anyway, I bet that ends up a dead weight.

My other backpack is the clothes pack. It could be lighter, and also less stuffed. However, it’s my own fault, because I have made wildly differing plans in the climatological sense. Central Asian desert in winter vs. the tropical seas in and about Thailand, where they only understand winter in a theoretical sense, and from wild, unbelievable tales brought back by those with Nordic benefactors. Variety is the spice of life, but the bane of the traveler who totes his own gear. I have a jacket with liner. It’s not cold enough to require the liner here, but I’m gonna wear it because I have nowhere to pack it. It will be good in Uzbekistan, since I went with only short sleeve shirts to help the shirts do double duty. Maybe it will be warm enough in Uz that I can leave it entirely, since the thought of toting a jacket around Thailand is pretty abysmal. (more…)

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