Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day


Memorial Day is not about those of us here now.
It's about those who were here and are now fallen.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Economy Is Bad Kev....

Jay Leno does a little thing on his show where he talks about the economy with his band leader, Kevin Eubanks. Of course over here our jobs are secure and we don't have a chance of being evicted. I read the news everyday though of how things are going back home.

We often hear about the American Dream of owning a home. I just got this news from my credit union. The American Dream Program is a saving program they have for first-time homebuyers that I am participating in. I guess they couldn't afford to offer those interest rates anymore though so they aren't taking any more applications.

I have been thinking a lot about returning to the US when we are done here. I currently don't know where I'm going to live or work when I get back. Well, technically I do know where I'm going to live but I am still looking for a place of my own.

I have always thought that it would be cool to be an astronaut. However, my body has repeatedly reminded that is not a good career choice for me. There is something about carnival rides, and I can only assume a space shuttle ride, that makes my head spin. Not literally because this isn't the movies but you know what I mean. Anyway, my body seems to have done me a favor because you would be surprised what the astronauts are doing for work now because of the recession.

It doesn't seem like astronauts would be good at this job though since they all wear diapers anyway. It's possible this is a local contractor with the same acronym as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. I'd keep the kids away from Space Camp this summer just in case though.

Save your pennies,


It isn't so much that hard times are coming; the change observed is mostly soft times going.

- Groucho Marx

For those of you that have sent mail and packages during my deployment I want to tell you how much I have appreciated it. I'm going to have to ask you to stop sending any packages now though. We are going to be moving soon to some other housing and will have much less personal space. I can tuck some letters away here and there but I won't have any room for the packages or the things they bring.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I'm sick of Iraq. I quit.

This post has been a long time coming. I didn't realize that so many things have happened in the last few weeks until I went to put this update together. 

Just to be clear, I'm not the one who quit. The hard drive on my computer decided that it had worked enough in Iraq and it quit on me. I wish it would have asked me first because if I were to schedule a time for my computer to break I would have chosen a different time. I made some attempts to resuscitate it but that will have to wait until I return home. I was able to get all my files off of it but I had no way to post pictures online for a while. 

I ordered a new computer that I am up and running on now. For those computer geeks out there it's a Asus Eee PC 1000HE. I don't know how they came up with the name but I really like the computer so far. I will blame any typo's in this post on the 92% sized keyboard but it's actually remarkably easy to type on. The whole computer fits in the cargo pocket of my pants which is kind of cool but it has little practical purpose. 

For those of you wondering why Santa is wearing a cowboy hat, you are wrong. That man is Charlie Daniels and he recently brought his band to play a concert for us. He is specifically wearing a Calvary hat and wearing the Marine's desert uniform.

We don't get many bands to come by our base since it is a smaller base and we always seem to have sand storms whenever a band is supposed to fly in. We actually had a sand storm this night also but he made it in before the storm so they just moved the concert indoors. 

Our squad was sitting in the front row since we packed our dinner and got to the concert two hours early. I say 'was' because the Brigade Commander showed up and asked if there was assigned seating or not. They told him there was not assigned seating but we also got kicked out of our seats about five minutes later. I'm thinking that he pulled some strings and assigned himself and his entourage a seat. 

The whole band stayed around after the concert to sign autographs and take pictures with everyone who attended the concert. Inman and Entinger decided to pose as "Charlie's Angels."

I just did a regular pose with him. As regular as you can pose with an M4 Carbine I suppose. It was a really good concert though and I'm not sure that you have really lived until you have heard Charlie Daniels sing "How Great Thou Art."

If you are wondering what you are seeing in the picture above then you are thinking the same thing I was when I took the picture.

It was a beautiful, sunny day here at Q-West then someone said, "Looks like a sand storm is coming in." This is a pretty normal occurence here but it got dark much more quickly than normal.

We climbed up on top of one of our CHU's to get a better look and this is what we saw. The wall of sand blowing in was probably about 200 feet tall and moving quickly. We all took some pictures and video then took shelter in the CHU's. I've seen a lot of sand storms but I've never seen one roll in like that. 

I talked about this picture in a previous update. It is of us changing a Heavy Equipment Transporter (HET) tire in the rain. Of course, it stopped raining right as we were tightening the last lug nuts. 

This is SGT Ely posing with his blown-out tire. This was a non-combat related incident but the tire came apart so nicely and completely that we had to take some pictures. This actually happened on the same convoy as the HET tire and they were both steer tires. I believe those were the first steer tires we have lost on a convoy and they both happened on the same mission.

This might look like a picture of a fire truck to you but those of us here at Q-West know what it really is. 

The Q-West Weightlifting Club has a little hobby of putting out fires also. They give them those nice trucks so they don't have to walk to the gym from the fire station where they live. I half expected them to just come lift the dumpster for three sets of ten reps each when they arrived but they did extinguish the fire. 

We aren't exactly sure how the dumpster caught on fire but we don't think it was caused by the 55-gallon can of saw dust that was put in the dumpster. And it certainly wasn't because someone thought it would be a good idea to empty the ash out of the burn barrel two hours after the flames went down. The investigation is still pending.

The best news in the last few weeks is that I am back on the road and out of the office. Or I suppose you could say my feet are off the desk and back on the pedal. I did what I could in Operations and tried to improve things as much as I could but I really missed the road. My replacement was actually looking forward to a little downtime to study for some classes so it should be a good fit for him.

As for me, I am ecstatic to be back out running the roads. We have switched to running nights now so the temperatures don't affect us as much. It works out really well until you have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the "night" and you open the door at noon. You are instantly bombarded with the noontime heat and light which is a rude awakening. It is also like driving on all new roads to operate at night so we are learning how things look during the dark hours. 

On the lam from the office,


I had to stop driving my car for a while... the tires got dizzy.
       - Stephen Wright