I moved from chair to chair in the waiting room of some random nowhere building at Old Madigan, some World War II era medical facility.


I slide over into the next chair. I have to get another anthrax shot. Another syringe full of god knows what pumping some biohazard cocktail into my government property body. Eventually. Joes carry on their normal conversations, about anything, everything, about who cares what. Slide into another chair.

This same experience over and over again, with an only slightly varying end. Lines. Waiting. Some process we don't fully understand. Or care about. The line moves slowly, and soon enough more toxic bile is being spewed into my bloodstream. My dear god, we're getting deployed.

Duh. Careful what you wish for. Now suck it up.


A Vague Sign

So today some movers came to put some of my crap into storage. Clothes I set aside, extra gear issued to me, my shitty guitar and amp, things I won't bring with me or to my home.

Probably should start taking this Iraq thing seriously huh?


I Love You, YouTube

Remember the protesters at the port? I guess its still going on. Here's a few videos for you. Its messed up, but I laughed at a few parts. Ever notice how even pacifists have to have some kind of enemy? Funny how that works.

Plus, you'd think they'd be able to find a better way. This obviously didn't work out for them. Why the fuck would you antagonize tired, annoyed armed riot police, who are watching over a fuckton of Strykers and equipment or whatever? And then act surprised when they use force? Congratulations, you're making asses out of yourself. Gathering together and being loud isn't going to stop the war. Some people will agree with you, and probably eat tofu and do pilates and read Nietsche to each other, others will find you incredibly annoying, and others still just won't care. I used to love the show COPS. You always knew what team to bet on.

Please, someone stick a sock in this loud judgmental self righteous bitch's mouth. You'll know who I'm talking about. They claim to be protesting the war, but all they're doing is mouthing off to the riot police. How stupid do you get? Let me start slapping a pit bull around for a while and see what happens. Then I'll call it an atrocity when he locks his jaws on my scrawny arm.

Five and a half minutes into it, listen to that girl scream. They just want someone to rebel against. And they have horrible singing voices too. Six minutes, thirty five seconds: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Ok, so we didnt see any barricades thrown supposedly right? I still have no sympathy for them. Like I always preach, if they aren't going to take it somewhere where they can actually accomplish something, they need to stay in their coffee shops and keep their pseudo-intellectual opinions to themselves.

SURPRISE: YOUR MORONIC ASSES WON'T STOP WAR. And that's what makes me so livid. Not only do you fail miserably at what you claim to try to do, but you make such asses out of yourselves, you make the whole cause of peace look bad.

So all WE are saying, is shut the fuck up. Suck on that teargas until you learn your lesson. Rough shit isn't it? We were gassed in an enclosed space though.

420 protesters think The Usual Suspect is an insensitive asshole.


The Very Likely Whiny Little Baby

I visited Madigan three times. Once Saturday, one Sunday, and one Monday. The first day, I had some evil pain in my armpit, and thought maybe I had a small muscle tear from all the pushups I cry while having to do. The PA lady saw my smallpox vaccination and asked if there was a lump. I explained that I had been too girly to palpate it much, considering putting on deodorant made me want to weep like an infant with an ear infection.

So what does she do? She jabs it, guessing EXACTLY where it hurts. She asks if it hurts while laughing a little and I screech, "YESYESYESTHATSIT!" I couldn't stay mad though, because she was really cute. Can I say that on here?

Anyway, it was a badly swollen lymph node, from the smallpox shot. Just have to suck it up. My temperature at the time was 99.7 (Fahrenheit I think). As I walked back to my barracks (yeah, I walked the three miles or whatever distance it was to Madigan Army Medical Center. Some dude from Ranger Batt offered me a ride, which if you ask me, is pretty cool. So I took him up on his offer. Once I was back in the barracks, I rested and lounged a bit, and my temperature slowly climbed. So of course I slept as much as I could.

My roommate left for good (medical discharge, after the arduous 6+ months that process took) Sunday at noon, and I felt a little too shitty to even give him a decent sendoff, but it wasn't such a big deal since we know we're more likely to keep in touch than we would with many other people.

By Sunday night, I had to have a friend take me to the ER. My fever was so high, I literally could not figure out how to sleep. My mind was scrambled, thick gooey paste of overheated stupid blended up and simmered in a big frying pan of suck. I couldn't connect mental images to verbal words. I was sucking, bad. Unable to function. I got a friend of mine to take me back to the ER.

My temperature was 103.7. They gave me some aspirin to break the fever and when I was finally seen (felt like eternity) the same PA lady at first said that fever is likely to accompany the infection from the smallpox. Then she asked if I had throat pain. Why yes ma'am, yes indeed I do, and I don't particularly like it. She looked inside my mouth.

"Yeah.....you've got strep."

Yet again huh? Great. She gave me penicillin and the usual aspirin and ibuprofen.

I woke up this morning feeling intensely rough. My throat hurt so bad I couldn't even eat. I looked at my nasty ass tonsils in the mirror, and they weren't hard to find, you believe you me. They were huge, practically high-fiving, covered in white pus, which I could taste at all times. I'd try not to salivate to keep from enjoying a mouthful of Oh My God That Hurts. I was on quarters, didn't have to work today, but the aid station was closed, so I had to go to Madigan a THIRD time. They never told me what my temperature was, and I really don't care. It rises and falls with all the pills I take. I feel like Keith Richards.

I don't like to seem like an asshole, but when you're sick, some things you really aren't in the mood for. I was grateful for this little boy who was quietly playing a GameBoy. Ignoring my wimpy agony, I silently wished him a prosperous life. A thousand blessings upon ye, child.

But not all little kids are quiet. Some are extremely talkative and out of control. Each word this particular kid spoke was like a vicious shot to the dome from Butterbean. To make matters worse, after I had been waiting for an hour, they had only screened one patient. Eventually things started rolling, but that miserable sense of purgatory returned the way it always seems to.

A tour of schoolkids came through, no idea where they were from. I made eye contact with a few of them. To them, it probably seemed like I was scowling. I was. The NCO leading their tour says, "And this is the Emergency Room. As you can see, its quite busy today." That kind of rubbed it in just a little bit.

After being screened it really didnt take all that long for me to be seen by a physician. He called it tonsilitis. Its always this way. Thats one thing I hate about army health care. You almost NEVER see the same doctor twice (though I DID see the cute PA twice in a row, very nice). So one diagnosis is strep. The other is tonsilitis. And its not the same thing? Hell if I know. I explain to the doctor that I couldn't eat because my throat was re-enacting "300". I'm to continue the penicillin, and now I had tylenol with codeine, which does a great job of knocking me out. Little loopy right now actually. Might explain why I'm jumping around so much. In fact, I think I might have posted part of this earlier.

I bought a bunch of chunky soup, the microwavable kind, and the Cup of Noodles things. I ate half of a Chunky Soup, and threw a little bit of it up. That was a bummer. Had to blow my nose, chunks of beef shooting out all over the place. Thats probably pretty gross.

I've been spending the rest of the day alternately napping and working on cleaning this room and getting everything in order, since I now have my own room. Woohoo! Gotta go to the aid station tomorrow morning at five. Bleh. Hopefully they put me on quarters for another day. Ok, its Whiny Little Baby's bed time. Codeine makes me snore softly. Cool huh?


Bud Light and Ibuprofen

No, its not a hangover cure, kids. I didn't buy much beer yesterdat, and I drank even less, so I've got a couple to chill with. The Ibuprofen is the best I've got for my wussiness.

I'm sore from the usual PT crap. I woke up this morning and had this massive pain in my armpit. Felt like a torn muscle or something. That's what I was worried about anyway. After a trip to Madigan and a nice long wait, 30 seconds of examination revealed that my vaccinations gave me a slight fever, and a very swollen and pissed off lymph node. They offered me Motrin. Thanks but no thanks. SweetTarts are more effective.

No Knock Me On My Ass and Put Me In A Pleasant Zombie State pills for me, and I'm not going to go bum some off of any friends, for fear of getting neck deep in shit. So its a couple Bud Lights and an Ibuprofen, Rainbow Six Vegas and an early night for me. I'm also in the doghouse for not wanting to go out drinking tonight. Kiss my disease-ridden ass, I'm a stubborn little baby. Go watch Borat.


Road Not Taken

So there I was, hanging out with a young lady who was spending her spring break in the area to see me and some old friends. We ended up going to her old college and eating in the cafeteria type deal (they don't call it a chow hall). As I sat there and looked and listened, I was hit with two revelations.

Everyone looked like someone I knew from before. Everyone looked slightly familiar, though I had never seen any of them before in my life. I had this feeling of everyone being essentially the same, coming from the same molds. Just different make and models of people. That if I were to go to a completely new city and find myself in a place where plenty of people of my age group hang out, I would have the same experience. I could go on, but I'm sure everyone experiences this, and it is not at all interesting.

The next one: I half listened to a few conversations that the kiddies were having and they were all so casual, cordial, normal, and politically correct. Conversations that could be aired on NBC anyway. No one was being loud. And I realized that I'm just so accustomed to being around my fellow infantrymen that innocent conversations like this are almost alien to me. It was pretty funny.

We throw the F word around like a football. No subject is taboo, nothing is safe. I remember just the other day, my roommate mentions, "I love how quiet POGs get when we're around."

POG - noun - [pOHg]
Personnel Other than Grunt, non-infantry or non-combat arms [debatable]

Its true. We're loud, boisterous, obnoxious, we feverishly cling to a complete disregard of social graces, we shun sugar and spice and everything nice. We are caged animals with swollen egos, we are your typical male times ten. We're Tucker Max and John Wayne, and a whole lot of Al Bundy. We are rowdy, loud, foulmouthed monsters of society, the civilian world's discard pile, and we swarm like hordes of debauchery and all things rife with asskickery. Good GOD I am pumped now. I'll need some time to readjust when I get out. Until then, I hunger for red meat and beer and loud metal music and guns and women.



Ha, I've already heard from several family members who remind me of more of us from the ol' clan that serve/have served. Rest assured, I'm not forgetting anyone. When things calm down, I'd like to actually try to "interview" each and every one of them. I guarantee some pretty good stories would come from it.

Hahahaha, I'm almost afraid to ask some of them. Its gonna be awesome. I might have to buy a lot of beer to get the stories rolling. So you guys back home, see if you can't dig up a few stories for me, and in the mean time, if anyone else out there wants to share something, please do.

See And Hear

This is a clip sent to me by Membrain. Interesting.

Wow, isn't that neato? Guess that's what we missed when we were parking our big green monsters and filling out tons of paperwork. Couple more questions.

Q: Who the hell ever made the decision to put velcro all over these new uniforms?
A: HAHAHAHAHAHA, I have no idea, but I agree, its stupid. Granted it IS more convenient than those old pain in the ass buttons, but velcro isn't the most tactical sound. We need silent velcro, like in the film Garden State. And yeah, its always awesome when you pull your uniforms out of the dryer, and its nothing but one big ball of ACU patterned cloth velcroed together from every angle. I like to think of it as a uniform of transition.

Q: Have any other family members served in the military? Or are you the maverick?
A: Not in my immediate family, but I have plenty of aunts and uncles and beyond that have done their time. I should hunt them down (not that they'd mind) and pick their brains about some of their experiences too.

Now, HERE is how you voice an opinion. Without bias or political alignment.


Afterthought For The Protesters

Like I said, its great that you're doing what you believe in, and I'll keep this one brief.

Let me just say, use your head. Its already been established that we don't make these decisions. We carry them out, its our job. I've been reading what the protesters have been writing, and for the most part, I am completely happy to leave them alone to their views. But locking hands and blocking roads? Come on.

You don't want us to be at war? Surprise, sur-motherfucking-prise: neither do I. But its way too damn late to shit a brick about it now. We're committed, and fit has hit the shan in a series of big runny fecal fastballs for four years now. We shouldn't be there? Doesn't matter now, we ARE there.

You stop vehicles from being shipped, equipment from going where it needs to, or soldiers from stepping onto the ground to help their comrades out, and you are fucking the troops over. What is that going to achieve? The boys and girls in the White House aren't the only ones who should be rethinking their strategy. If you REALLY want to change things, you've got to figure this all out and take action that WILL benefit everyone. Right now, all you're getting is a little attention and maybe some small feeling deep inside you that you achieved something.

Yeah man, you really stuck it to the man. You showed the world. These are your days all right, you grabbed life by the balls with your sign in the other hand. You clenched your teeth and shook your fist and let the heavens know exactly what you feel deep inside you. But nothing came of it.

I'm not saying don't stand up for what you believe in, God no. But in some cases, it does seem like a portion of the anti-war crowd really loves hearing about more dead and wounded soldiers, just because it makes the President of the US of A look bad. Let me tack a nice bland understatement on that: That....is....stupid.

So please, go through the right channels, don't try to screw us over. Believe it or not, we ARE here for all of you.


A Drive

Rockstar energy drinks. Maybe slight mental fatigue. Slipknot kicking your ass through the comm system. Convoy. Close proximity. Flashing lights. Moving with a sense of purpose. Police escort.

The energy drinks and the Slipknot are extra fuel to this fire of excitement, even though we weren't actually doing anything cool. The blocked off intersections, the red and blue flashing each way you look, following the vehicle in front of you closer than you probably should be. Riot control police in full gear. A handful of protesters, who are honestly barking up the wrong tree. Just to throw it out there, we don't make the decisions.

We weren't supposed to talk about what we were going to do last night, even though I'm sure the media knew. From what people tell me, they've taken some kind of interest in soldiers and this little conflict again. I said nothing about what we were off to do, and still the protesters had a better idea of where to go than I did.

And here is where I shrug, yawn, and say oh well. I float like leaf down river of life.

I was going to close this post up and leave it slightly cryptic but obvious enough to the google-savvy, then I tested a little something out and came up with this almost INSTANTLY. Its from a little website called InfoshopNews.org. [My editorial remarks in brackets just like this cute little sentence.]

People Needed in [Somewhere] to protest Stryker Brigade

[Because its too expensive to go to the White House, or Pentagon, where decisions are made. I wonder how many of them actually vote?]

Anti-War ActivismLess than half of the Stryker Brigade has parked in the [omitted by me] with more coming tonight, March 3. We NEED people to come down (direction provided below). I cannot communicate the seriousness of this quickly and so, please, realize that machines that kill people are getting ready to move out [whereas explosived that kill people are still being planted along roadsides. Why doesn't anyone protest that?]. The sheer reality of it is overpowering [No shit, how do you think WE feel?]. To those of you who read the news items that come in to this sight regarding Greece or Denmark should know that we are not doing nearly enough in this country [and this is not going to change anything] and if we do nothing as these machines roll right in front of us we do not deserve any respect from the people in the rest of the world [says who? What do you care what the rest of the world thinks? You can't please everyone]. If you absolutely cannot make it, keep looking for updates. This is all spur-of-the-moment and we are doing the best that we can but we need more help and more radical input [Totally].


URGENT: 9:30 tonight - [Somewhere]
author: Edward Letkavic
Mar 03, 2007 19:22

Poeple are meeting at the [somewhere] at 9:30 tonight to disrupt the war machine [everything went smooth as butter. I didnt even see any protesters until we were leaving on buses. And they were just standing there. I thought maybe they were carrying on cordial conversations with the riot police dudes].

It was decided at the meeting held today in Tacoma that people should meet at the [someplace] at 9:30 tonight to disrupt the war machine.

It's not only possible but quite probabale we can delay or even stop the shipments from coming through Tacoma[HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA ah hahaha hahaha.....ohhh hahahahah......AHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA oh man hahahahaahahahh....oh wait, there's more... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHA AAAAAH HAAAHAAAHAAAHAAA....]. All we need is a large presence. That was perhaps the most frustrating thing last year during the Port of Olympia protests: people were not there when we needed them the most. All we needed at one point was 100 people total to take non-violent direct action to stop the military convoys. We should really take advantage of the privaledge we have - if this were Iraq, we'd got shot from being even a mile away from a large US military presence. If the weapons ship out, PEOPLE WILL DIE... [news flash buddy, that's inevitable. If these DONT ship out, people will die. Its all one of two sides of the same shit-smeared coin].

(There should be a lot of folks there tonight. Bring instruments, warm clothes and blankets, cameras... for good times.) [I saw like...four people I think.]

Also, bring still cameras and video cameras. [I brought mine, but at the last minute I thought that it could probably be seen as disrespectful if I were taking pictures of them, so I just left it in my pocket and went about my night].

Here are the directions:

[Second star on the right, straight on til morning].

If you can't come at 9:30, come later. We'll still need you.

-tear it down-


Ok, now don't get me wrong, for being the little smartass that I am. Its cool that these people are passionate about this, and their hearts really are in the right place. They are exercising a right that we swore to defend. Some will argue that this conflict has nothing to do with our rights, and that may be true.

"....your only job is to bring the guy to your left and the guy to your right home safely, and complete the mission. You are not IN the political fuckin' arena."

Soldiers don't make the call to go to war. We never know the whole story, the big picture. It isn't our job. Its not that we're mindless tools, its just that we aren't politicians. We don't wear suits. We wear body armor that makes your back ache. Its not blind service. Soldiers seem to question all of this shit more than anyone else. But we still do our job. Why?

Well here's why, pull up a chair and get ready for a nice cold dose of truth. Here's the deal: No matter what your opinion is, or how many romantic notions you have of world peace and third world countries being magically transformed into wonderful prosperous societies, there is always going to be strife and conflict. Its part of being human. War is not some new invention. Its older than the wheel. Its just a part of life. Now you may not like that, and with good reason. But your feelings on it aren't going to change it. At all.

Habib the pissed off Iraqi who has no job and pretty much nothing to live for is still going to accept a donation to his family, at the expense of his own life. He's still going to hop into some piece of shit car and floor it, and crash it into what he thinks is the target some rich dude told him to blow to fuckin oblivion. One less nobody who otherwise would not have cared, and the fuckers that propagate it, well they live on to hire another poor sucker to die for their cause.

Lets just imagine the troops being pulled out right now. I'm no political scientist, but I'm confident enough to say that the people of Iraq would still continue all the sectarian violence that's been going on for HOW long?

So peek out of your opinionated shell and accept the fact that this world is fucked, and fucked hard. Its backassword and doesn't make any sense at all. Nothing in this world makes sense. None of it is logical. SHIT HAPPENS. Protesters trying to stop us from completing our mission, that's only going to result in us waiting quietly while the police do what they have to do to get them out of our way.

On that note, the police seemed to have done an excellent job. There didn't even seem to be any tension. Now, I didn't hear it, but one of my friends had later said that there was a woman with a bullhorn, but spoke only briefly. In a way that kind of bummed me out. I kind of do want to hear what they have to say.

If you want to change all of this, don't get in our way and try to make us look like bad guys. That just makes everything worse. Instead, vote. Go to Washington. Write letters to congressmen, that will be skimmed over by some lackey and thrown away. Target the political leadership, and hit their economy. Boycotts are stronger. But then again I dont imagine you guys buy too many rifles or protective vests, or fancy Oakley eyewear (atleast not the ballistic kind).

Here's what a soldier is. And what a soldier is not.

A soldier is not some robot, or some creation that just popped into existence. No one was ever born a soldier. A soldier is a regular person. A soldier bitches and gripes and complains and jokes and drinks and looks for great times full of tomfoolery and dumbfuckery. A soldier is that person you went to high school with. You probably never even imagined him in uniform. A soldier is that kid who used to deliver your paper. A soldier watches the same TV shows you do, listens to the same music, comes from the same cities, goes to the same schools, drools over the same women (or men). We don't sit around waiting to go to war or ruin lives or destroy shit (well...we won't complain about blowing stuff up either). But when we have to go to work, we suck it up and we do it.

We can't quit or jobs or tell our bosses to go fuck themselves. The government has us by the balls with a Stallone death grip. From there, you either get your ass in a bunch of trouble doing dumb shit, or you go along with it and do your time.

We aren't morons. Some of the most intelligent guys I've ever met are right here in my unit. We are regular people, with a much different job. Don't protest to us, it can't change anything. Bark up the right tree. And fuck it, kudos for doing what you believe in. That's what a real American does if you ask me.

A real American voices how fucked up this is, because that's his right, possibly even his duty.

A real American tells the first guy to shut the fuck up because he feels its justified, because that's his right, possibly even his duty.

A real American is passionate about something, anything, and bites down hard on it, and locks his jaws like a pit bull and wrestles it to the ground and gets everything he can from it.

Regarding this, you guys say tomato, I say the tomatoes are over that way, pal.


Couple More Responses

-Any books you've read that have left a lasting impression?

I'm not so sure about lasting impressions, but then again I don't read a lot of books. I might later on though. Nothing really life changing I don't think.
-Have you held a job that you know you'd never want to do again?

Yeah. I used to work in a call center for a warrantee company. People would call up to bitch at me when their products weren't working. They would tell me that they'd never again shop at whatever store the particular call was related to. Funny thing was that I was in no way affiliated with these stores and businesses. Our company just handled the warranties. It was miserable. I sat in a cubicle for eight hours a day, working weekends. My shift was always 3PM to midnight. No social life whatsoever. I ended up walking out of that place.
-Any side effects from the shots??

My arm hurts today. So far nothing else though. We'll have to wait and see.

Stab Me, I Am Army Strong!

So today I had oh so much fun chilling out at the motor pool, playing with my Stryker with its bird cage full body halo, checking it for deficiencies, and then dispatching it for near future use. Totally awesome, and I mean that in the MOST mundane sense.

Then I went to Hooters and ate lunch and it was mediocre, and the waitresses pretended to care that we breathed so that I would give them a three dollar tip.

The action continues!

Then we went to a series of buildings, where we did the psych eval, and got me some injections. That's right, ladies and gentlewomen, I enjoyed a nice dose of small pox first. But let me back up a little bit.

It starts off with a little paperwork. And a lot of sitting and waiting. And plenty of watching The Best Of Chris Farley a la Saturday Night Live. We L.O.L.ed our way to bliss as we counted the hour or so away. Then we moved to the next waiting room, and received a briefing. All I gathered from it is:

Though you are still somewhat contagious, should you touch the injection site, or should someone else touch it (if you are dumb enough NOT to keep a bandaid on it) you can still have intimate relations. What I heard was, "Keep the damn thing covered and leave it alone, and don't let her or any other numbnuts touch it, and you're clear to go at it like stoned test bunnies."

By the way, my mom reads this.

So after a LOT more waiting, and a line that followed the design of musical chairs, I was finally able to answer a gauntlet of questions, then get a quick vision test. Thanks to a couple lucky guesses, I qualified as 20/20, regardless of my estigmatism or whatever. Go down the hall and get stabbed.

I hand my paperwork off to another desk person and get another brief. Same shit, different toilet. I expose my skinny little girl arm, to be martyred in the name of vaccination. We get injected with so many biohazards it seems, that its like clockwork. My turn comes up and I sit down in the chair. I watch as the weird needle object is dabbed against my arm. There is NO pinprick feeling whatsoever.

"What? Well then what does it feel like?"

Take your finger, and poke your upper arm a few times, as if trying to get your own attention. That was it. I seriously wondered if she even penetrated my skin. By then, she's covering her work with a band-aid.

Well holy sheepshit, that was easy. Next is the other shot. What other shot?


Thats right, remember that big scare, with all the letters coming from Trenton, NJ? With the white powder? And everyone shit their pants? It was the anthrax. Not the band, the crazy disease. And now its time for them to inject that crazy crap into my body. WHOOO!

The sergeant (E5) giving the stabbings is a bigger dude with a raspy voice. Reminded me slightly of Henry Rollins. I sit down.

"Ok, sergeant, I promise to try my best not to cry."

"Good. I promise to do my best not to cry either. If they see us crying together, it might be bad. Brokeback Washington."

I laugh. This guy is totally ok in my book.

He asks me the usual stereotypical question as he readies his disease ridden needle (at this point, I couldnt give a shit less about needles, pretty used to them). "Where are you from originally?"

My automatic reply, "Montana."

"No shit? Where in Montana?"

I respond with my home town, then mention that I've lived in a couple places around the state.

He retorts with, "Well that's pretty ironic."

Waiting to hear some inconsequential remark about some town I never even visited, I ask, "Why's that?"

"Cuz I don't know SHIT about Montana." The needle hits me in the arm and the post 9/11 terror disease becomes one with my lanky body. I laugh. I kind of saw that one coming. He instructs me to stretch my arm out and all that, maybe do pushups, massage it, keep it loose. I feel nothing at this point, but have heard enough to listen up.

Thirty seconds later, the spot he shot up starts to burn. Forty seconds later, I feel a charlie horse announce its presence. I tuck my shirt back in and throw my ACU top back on. Thats it for shots, I already have the hepatitis alphabet, typhoid, flu, other shit that I never bothered to remember, tuberculosis, the works. I'm pretty much immune to everything except for the common cold, which finds me every three to four months. Funny how that works.

Tomorrow, my arm should be thoroughly cramped and sore, from what I've heard. Yippety doo. I also have to work. Doing stuff.



Cheese Grater Meets Nipples

Flinching already? Well here's the deal. We went for a nice little run this morning, and when its cold out, this is what happens.

Increased heart rate and bloodflow as well as physical exhertion and an increase in respirations generates body heat. PT shirts are made of cotton. PT jackets are some weird polyester or some other windbreaker crap that no one cares about.

Liquids turn cold quickly. Cold sweat against a warm body. Cold sweat soaking into a cotton shirt. Cold wet cotton shirt rubbing repeatedly against my poor nipples. By the time you realize it, its too late. You already know that as soon as you get into the shower, razor blades are going to pour onto your little red tenders. I've actually seen one guy come back from PT with blood spots on his chest. That was cool.

Q: Top five favorite movies.
A: Its impossible for me to pick absolute favorites, but I CAN name a few that I really like. Anything Tarantino or Tim Burton, Trainspotting, Punch Drunk Love, A Scanner Darkly, Heat, Collateral, Lost In Translation. I can seriously go on forever.

Q: It's FRIDAY! Does the end of the week hold the same meaning in the military, or is every day,including the weekend, the same routine?
A: Usually we have weekends off here in the states. There's still a chance you can have CQ (sit at a desk for 24 hours and tell people when their pizza arrives). Once in a while you will have to work though. Thats usually during a field problem, or coming back from one, or preparing to fight forest fires, or for whatever reason where you're on a tight schedule. Or even if its something as simple as something that can only be done on that day. But almost always, it means its the weekend, and the barracks are going to be empty.

Q: What was your worst high school experience? No fair saying 'all of it'!
A: High school was awesome. I'd do the whole thing over if I could. But now I'm too old for the girls, so sometimes I guess you just have to let go. As for worst experience, I'm not too sure. I don't really hang on to the bad much. I think the most memorable was the conflicts I'd have with teachers I didn't see eye to eye with.

Office Skills, 2nd period, junior year

Me: Excuse me, does one indent when writing a memo?

Bob Hope's Kindergarten Teacher: It should be in your book.

Me: Well yeah, I know that, but it isn't very clear. There's several different types of memos and I can't find a clear answer with this particular one.

The Old Lady From Titanic: Well I guess you're going to have to figure it out.

Now here is where I lose my patience, as I am filled with teenage angst and self-righteous rebellion.

Me: Excuse me, do you teach? Is that what you get paid to do? I'm curious. Do you or don't you? I'd really like to know, because right now, I'm stumped on some minor detail that applies to a skill I'm never going to use because I'm never going to chain myself to a desk and rot in a cubicle as some pitiful yes-man. Are you going to help me, or should I just steal the answer from someone else?

I got in trouble for that one. There were a few other ones too. I was going to graduate a semester early my senior year, and I had a B in both of my English classes. One of the teachers failed my senior research project because the citations or note cards or something weren't up to par. Regardless of the fact that the points the assignment was worth should have only dropped me to a C or maybe even a D, it was an automatic failure. And then she wondered why I gave up in the class. I remember one day she asked me why I was so mean. Hahahaha. I think every year I had one main authority figure that I butted heads with. It was a lot like in the movie Donnie Darko, when the health teacher is shoving some new age crap down the students' throats, and Donnie argues about the logic of it, and when he gets nowhere, finally tells her to shove the cards up her ass.

Q: Has joining the army changed you, and if so how?
A: This one may be explained over time, but I'll give it a shot.

I suppose yeah, it has changed me, in many ways. I probably don't see it as vastly as people back home would. I never really drank before the army, but then again I was 19. I don't play guitar as much, and I'm not as tidy, both of these I blame on my constricted living conditions. That, and when you get off work, all you really want to do is relax and take a breather before it all starts up again.

I don't have quite the same sense of humor before. I looked at my first few posts, and they were really geared towards....well god knows what. A lot more random weird quips in them. I'm also definitely mouthier. I think that developed halfway through basic training. You get sick of everyone, so pretty soon you just start telling them to fuck off.

I gained some weight too.

I understand a lot more about hard work, and about how little things are more important. About how a good friend is the best thing to have in any shitty situation, and no matter how bad a day sucks, it will always end. The small stuff isn't so important.

Maybe more on this later. Like I said, the third person perspective is the one that sees all the changes.