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Those Magnificient Men and Their Wonderful Machines

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004

Last night I was talking to my fiancee and happened to have my window open. There were several small bangs and a bunch of small arms started up. I told her I’d call her back and meandered to one of the bunkers in true “this ain’t necessary but it’s the game we have to play” fashion. Nobody else seemed to notice except my neighbor, which was not surprising, but still…they were shooting at our watch tower about 100m away. I watched a tracer bounce off the tower and head off away. Terry and I talked for a couple of minutes and gave up. I walked back into my container and started the long and drawn out dialing process again, trying to think of something innocuous I had to do so she wouldn’t be scared — folks back home always have a strange concept of the danger. Anyways, I’m dialing

BOOM!!! (more…)

Back in the Middle East

Wednesday, August 18th, 2004

I’m out of Malaysia and now in Dubai. I may be stuck here for a little while maybe, don’t know. There is a halt on civilian air traffic right now, and we can’t fly milair at this time either. I won’t have any of the write-ups posted until I can get back to Mosul and download my notes and pics to my machine there.

In a nutshell, had a good time after I got over KBR screwing me so badly, got engaged, hung out in the water, and my pasty whiteboy self got sunburned. Peeling now, but as it always goes I can’t peel effectively on my back, but I am compelled to try. Malaysia is pretty cheap, I recommend it.

Never Take Their Word For It Part II

Sunday, July 25th, 2004

These people are hopeless. They can’t “provide” travel except from Dubai. This project is very poorly run and the staff is not helpful. I find it’s best to distance yourself from relying on other people where possible. Nobody is going to look out for your interests like you are, and they may not bother to look out for you at all. Lucky for me I am resourceful. If I understood the hyper-fast speaking Indian (?) guy at the Uzbekistan Airways counter I called, I just show up and I got me a ticket. Gonna be a busy trip, but a good one. I go Mosul Palace back to Mosul Airfield, fly down to Baghdad, then later on to Dubai where I take custody of myself, arrange a few things and then on to Tashkent I go…

One week, and I am there!

Decisions and Value Judgements

Wednesday, July 14th, 2004

I decided something today, and there is something associated with that that I am as of yet undecided on.

I was in my container this morning, and heard a whistling whirring noise. This is when I decided to check out my floor. I think I need to clean it. It’s getting to be just like home, I am spreading clothes out all over the place. Primarily that’s just because I only got the damn footlockers here two days ago, and I am still in “put this here, or there” phase. Still, with my new container-home, and my stuff finally arriving, it’s almost like living in a real place.

So anyway, when nothing came through the walls I stepped outside and meandered to the bunker. We started doing the accountability thing over the radio. I was standing just outside the entrance to the bunker with two other guys. BANG WHOOSH WHIRRRRRRRRR “oops! IN! IN!” WHIIRRRR BOOM! Shocked We developed a united sense of purpose. That was the first time I’d ever actually heard the launch before. They tossed another two at us a couple of minutes apart. The fourth one went whir but not boom, and I think they may have felt discouraged, because they stopped firing after that. I’m all for stomping on some aggressive shithead’s sense of self-esteem. I mean, I’d rather have large (or small, that works pretty good too) holes poked in them to let their anger drain out onto the sidewalk with all the crap that makes them dangerous, but sometimes those little small victories are all you get.

The part I can’t really decide about is whether I prefer rockets over mortars. Rockets give you some kind of lead time, since they make noise coming in. With mortars, shit just blows up, and you don’t get much chance to do anything about that first one, or warning on follow up rounds. On the other hand, mortars tend to be a bit smaller. I’m on the fence on this one. On the whole of course, I’d rather they just knocked that crap off.


Sunday, July 11th, 2004

There are so many kinds:

– Consider the people who act like children. I swear these have got to be the easiest jobs in the world, particularly given the pay. Therefore people have to get into all sorts of not getting along / reindeer games bullshit. It’s like working with a bunch of kindergarten kids sometimes.

– Finding out someone who you went to a lot of trouble to get away from can still affect you here truly sucks. They can’t prevent me from doing what I want to do, however they can make it where I have to go to extra time and trouble stealthing my way in. They give people too much control, and your friendly support drones have a habit of doing the stupidest things to involve those people, when they don’t need to be involved.

I can rant about this, but if my request is rejected, it’s best I don’t say anything else yet. Sorry, I know that doesn’t make much sense to you.

– Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner mortarman is back on the prowl. What a pain in the ass that guy is. Just have a sandwich on your meal breaks like everybody else, pal. The random nature of these things is the irritant. The other day some poor guy picked the wrong time to climb down out of his watchtower to take a leak. Generally they don’t hit much, but sometimes…

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