Wednesday, August 31, 2005

E-mail from a fellow (but cooler blogger)

To those of you who might not know Colby Buzzell, he was an infantryman who had served in Mosul, Iraq around the same timeframe as yours truly. He started a blog called "My War" and it had some of the most honest and vivid description of a GI's life in Mosul, as well as some of the most honest accounts of some attacks/ambushes which happened to his combat group.

He had gotten into trouble with his chain of command for allegedly violating OPSEC (operational security)and so he stopped updating his blog for a while. In the meantime, either by word of mouth or other forms of referrels, Colby's blog got the attention of some publishers and plans were made for him to publish "My War, killng time in Iraq", and I think it should be out by the first of October.

After reading him for the good part of my deployment to Iraq and afterwards, I decided to send him a e-mail, and it went something like this....

Hey CB:
You don't know me, but I was attached to your old brigade while in Mosul, you were posted at FOB Marez while I was posted at FOB Freedom, I did unit supply and you were infantry. Just wanted you to know that your blog's really awesome and I read it every chance that I'd get. Looking forward to your book release (I've preordered mine already) and I'm just just glad that both of us made it back from hell on earth.
Take care!

I thought that Colby probably would set my e-mail aside or delete it since I'm not much of anyone important. Then, after a day, I got a reply from him! (excerpt below)

Hey man,
hows it going, thats cool that you were attatched to my old brigade
back in mosul, Who knows, we probably walked right past each other
while I was over at Freedom the several times that i was there. Thanks
for your kind words on the blog, I really appreciate that, especially
from a brothe rin arms who served in the same AO as I. I really means
alot, and thanks for pre ordering the book, FOB Freedom is mentioned
several times in the book, and hopefully you'll like it. Not alot of
people know about mosul, and I'm hoping that this book shows people
what we went thru and experienced up there. All you ever hear about is
like, Marines, and Falluja, and Baghdad, you hardly ever herd from
mosul when we were there. Anyways, thanks again for emailing me and
ordering the book, I hope you like it, and feel free to send me an
email when you get it and let me know what you think.
thanx again

Now, wasn't that just the shit? That he referred to me as a "brother in arms"?

Go and check out his blog if you hadn't done so already....

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Monday, August 29, 2005

The weekend and then some...

I got to spend a good weekend with my folks and my sister, whom, to my suprise, did not actually talk my ear off! My grandfather is doing much better, thanks to those who were concerned, and my grandma is battling her old-age related hearing problems and some patterns of obsessive-compulsiveness.

We spent the weekend going out to eat, watching Chinese t.v. on the satellite dish, and grocery shopping. Hung out with the cousins, ages 11 to 16 and enjoyed a few bouts of thunderstorms in Houston, which had sort of a mild summer compared to two summers ago.

Flew back home on a small commuter jet that was delayed in picking up passengers. While we were preparing to land, I can see storm clouds nearby, as well as the setting sun. It was kind of scary and neat, the cloud made the sun have the misty appearance to it. Maybe the pilot was inexperienced or the conditions for landing were not good, but I swear that we could have almost landed 2x, but each time the plane would pick up and ascend again, attempting another approach. Of course, some on the plane were getting a bit nervous, and yours truly had to pee, really badly! This bald headed tough looking guy sat next to me and started commenting about how unusual it was for a plane to make multiple approaches to the runway, and I just couldn't help it so I told him about this one time that a friend of mine's C-130 engine having been hit by a mortar on its way up (they all survived and made it to Kuwait, by the way). I know, probably not the most calming thing to say to someone who might be feeling a bit nervous (to say the least), but at least I thought that I'd cheer him up with the conclusion of the story.

We then finally landed after about half an hour of circling around in the sky, and while the plane's taxing, a lot of people on board took out their cellphones and said to their friends/relatives/mistresses/lawyers/pimps/johns that they've survived the flight!

The GF picked me up from the airport, then we ate at Chili's (I still dont' know why they salt their food so much!), and went back home to watch the hurricane coverage ( it has been said that New Orleans as we know it could be gone.) until it was time for bed. I slept good and sound, lucky to not have been a news item on the evening news.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


End of summer snack relief, brought back from Houston.

Friday, August 26, 2005

My porn star name

Your Porn Star Name is: Albino Kitty

The "come to Jesus" meeting

There was a meeting held by one of the directors of the place that I'm currently working at noon today, with myself and a bunch of other reservists. The meeting was about what is going to happen to our employment after the end of the fiscal year, which will be on the last day of September.

Basically, our director told us that they really liked the work that we are doing for them, but since they don't know if funding will keep on flowing, they are going to extend us for 90 days and try to look for funding in the meanwhile so they can keep us working into next year. Nothing is really a gurantee though, maybe for the directors of that place, but not for us reservists.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not bitter, and I've always known that nothing lasts forever. I told one of the other reservists there that I feel like that we're a bunch of temps wearing uniforms. If they don't get enough funding for next year, I won't shed a tear because it was a good run for a job and it probably will be time to leave KC anyways.

One of the reservists is getting ready to go to Iraq/Afghanistan/GITMO (he doesn't know yet where he'll be deployed to), and I hope that he'll be safe and come back intact and relatively healthy. They've already got two other people deployed, one to Iraq and another to Afghanistan.

If you have not done so yet, please go and read Michael Yon's blog, it has been so far the best combat reporting ever done from Iraq. I wish that Mr. Yon was there when I was deployed, he's a great writer. There was one reporter from the Tacoma, Wa. area who shall remain nameless, who was the the imbedded reporter to the brigade that I was assigned to. He (the reporter) was not a guy who was curious about anything at all and didn't show much of any interest in what's going on around him... too sad.

Going to visit the folks this weekend, so I will wirte more when I get back, in the meanwhile, please take good care!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Marketing myself so I can maybe retire one day

I've mentioned before that I am so far liking this job that I've got right now. As far as job security is concerned, if all things work out right between the reserve unit (the unit that has me on their roster) and the powers that'd be here, I'll be okay for at least another year, I think.

I've been toying around with the idea of possibly becoming an reserve officer, for job security (whatever that means) and for another thing, it might possibly be mutually beneficial for both the military and myself. (The extra language skills) I contacted the air force, who are probably doing so well in recruiting that they can afford not to call or e-mail people back, I talked to someone at the navy and found out that if I cross over, then I'll lose whatever clearance level that I have and will have to start all over again, and since I did not come from a navy environment, my chances of becoming commissioned in the navy was like less than 20%. I've since detected a certain pattern with officer recruitors, that is they'll always tell you to go enlisted first and then apply for a commission, or in the case of air force, they just won't call you back at all. Now I've spent almost a decade being enlisted and not nearly as naive as I used to be, so no thanks to the navy.

I remember when I was a bit younger, I used to think that I'd pick up something really useful in the military, college, life, etc. and make it really marketable to others so I'll never have to wear uniform again or try so hard to maintain (in this case, to improve) my physical fitness level. I don't mind staying in the military, but I also don't mind putting that part of life behind me. I don't think you need to display your patriotism by being in the military, and that's just how I see it.

I'm open to just about whatever, but as long as they don't come at a cost of the GF and the kids, you know?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Life in the Midwest

My sister and I call each other just about everyday, and also e-mail each other at various times during the day. She is calling me more lately ever since her divorce earlier this year and we'd just chit chat about what has been going on during the day, plus some family stuff. Lately, I just don't have that much to say to her about what has been going on during the day. Sensing that, she'd try to fill up the silence with whatever that she tell me about what has been going on with some other people at her work.
I like my current job and I think that the people at work are some of the nicest group of people that I've ever worked for. It's true that I'm not a huge fan of military setting, but the above characteristics sort of compensate for all of the above, and not to mention that I got to goto Japan and Monterey,Ca.!
Yet for rest of the time I'm kind of feeling desperate, feeling trapped in this open space, really wide space full of corn and hay. At least I'm a little bit older, imagine some kid, 18 or 19 years old and have to be stationed here for the army or for school, what would they have to do? I'm not sure living here is making me like other people more. The GF said that I'm not as nice lately to others, not that I'm out there doing stuff that would piss people off, but I'm a lot more nonchalant about them than I used to be. Things are just so blah here, plain, gray, and unexciting. I am sure that the Midwest is a great place to raise kids, I think that depends on what kind of kids you've got.
We'll see, maybe some big revelations would come and we'll grow to love and even miss this place when we are away. We still don't really have friends except some token ones from the cyberspace. The GF is more worried about it than I am, because I'm used to it. Sometimes, popularity breeds contempt.
Okay, I'm blabbing here, but you get the point.

P.S. Just finished watching the final episode of "Six Feet Under" and I think it almost couldn't have ended it a nicer way. Rarely had I seen a show that is centered on the themes of loss and yet it's also about life and hope. Kudos to Mr. Alan Ball! The GF already knows this, that I also think that Peter Krause is hot!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Back from Monterey

Got back from lovely Monterey this past Friday afternoon, and I flew back from San Jose with some of my supervisors, who are some of the smartest and nicest people that I've gotten to know, so the trip back was good.

I had first been to Monterey pre 9-11, for a language competition for the armed forces. They've since cancelled the event due to the fact that all the Arabic linguists in the services are now serving in the theaters of war. Monterey is a picture of this ideal place to live, it's not prone to extreme weather changes, and even though it can be a bit chilly there, it'll never snow due to its unique geography. I think if I live there now, that would spell the end of my so called working career as I know, I mean, who would want to work when you live so close to the beach?

The GF joined me out there, and I think she enjoyed the town also. When I am attending the conference that I've been sent to attend, she'd drive around town in the rental car. We had lots of good foods, lots of seafoods and some ethnic foods, that's a definite plus, when the places which you travel to have great foods!

Now we are back in the Midwest, it seems almost depressing. I know that life in Midwest will not be forever, and if were not for the trips that we've taken, either together or alone, I'd probably go insane. I know that you guys and gals have heard me complain about that before, but I just cannot help it that the combination of unstimulating places and people simply make a bad combination. It has been hard for the GF to find a job also, and I know that it is not because she's underqualified.

I took a look at strykernews while typing this entry out, and I cannot say that I know of anyone in the new stryker brigade, heck, I hardly know the people that I was over there with anymore. It's easy to began to feel complacent, I mean, it'll almost be a year since I had gotten back from Iraq. It's so easy to dwell on how boring life is in the Midwest, and that some aspects of my personal relationships are not perfect. I think sometimes I just need to snap out of it and remember that I got out of that place with my life and the whole experience was not that bad. I'm not getting nostalgic, I would not want to re-live that time all over again. I'd hate to leave the GF, the families, and my dog and cats all over again. My dog and I got gray together while I was over there! (He's not even 6 years old yet!)

I think I felt especially appreciative of that fact when I walked on the beaches of Monterey with my barefeet!


Monterey waves

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Off to Monterey!

The GF and I will be off to Monterey, Ca., for about a week. I will be attending a conference for work, and she will be checking out the local beaches and sceneries. The weather over there is expected to be near perfect and I hope that I'll have some chances to stroll the town somewhat.

Will take some photos and post them when I'm back.

You folks take good care!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Some clarifications

The GF called my attention to the blog "Trying to Grok", it's a blog written by a young military wife currently stationed in Germany. She started her blog to support her husband while he was deployed in Iraq, and since her husband returned from his deployment, her blog has transformed into a kind of right-leaning opinion blog.

Mrs.Grok's last few entries have been about females in the military, not whether or not they should serve or even take on combat roles, but about how slutty we can all be. The impression that I've got is that we are all people who uses sex as weapons against men to get them to do what we wanted them to do.

Mrs.Grok's got a point, there are a lot of females in the military like that, but there are also a lot more of them in the civilian world, we just don't hear as much about them. When I was out there, I've seen both types of women, those who just cannot keep their legs shut, and also those who just wanted to work their shift, and not get involved with anything of that sort. I wasn't an angel out there, but I for one did not use that to my advantage. Now I hope that Mr. Grok did not himself step across that line while he was out there, but even if he did, we'll never know. Men are really great at having sex just for the sake of having sex and nothing more, not to say that there are not women like that, I just don't think that there are as many.

I'm just saying that everyone makes mistakes, and unless you've been there, you'll think for a minute before rendering a decision or verdict. For that reason, I don't think that I'll be reading a lot of Grok from day to day.