4.30.2007

Careful What You Wish For, Dickhead

As always, without disclosing too much, irony smacked me on the cheek. We WILL be going on missions. How often, I don't know, but I'm guessing we'll get a balance of both worlds. Infantry one day, POG the next. We'll see.

Nothing major new. God bless my ballistic sunglasses. With these majestic adornments, I can stare at the females (few and far between) without it being too obvious. How junior high can you get? Its awesome. A friend of mine and I are still wondering when its finally going to happen. When we get slammed with an EO complaint.

For those of you who watch My Name Is Earl, you may recall the Dibs game Earl and Randy play, which ultimately determined that Earl could not pursue Catalina. Sucks to be him. Anyway, like the adolescent morons we are, we decided that this is a good way to pass time in the chow hall, or anywhere else on the FOB. Upon spotting a woman, one must declare, "Dibs." Where this lacks any logic or reason is the fact that no one TRULY has dibs, and it determines nothing. Its more of a "I have a better eye for women" thing. Don't judge us, we're very bored here.

Now, in this game of dibs, normal standards and self-respecting man-laws do not apply. If the woman spotted would normally be considered utterly untouchable, it doesn't matter. You still call dibs. Getting a chuckle has never been this easy.

Actually, I kind of wish the girls would play this idiotic little game amongst themselves so that I wouldn't feel like such a creep, an asshole, a mysogynist, or god knows what. I'm sure we could easily be misconstrued as sexist, which would be a real bummer.

No matter though. At the end of the day, doesn't matter how many Dibs you called. You're still another blank face behind sunglasses in the same uniform as everyone else. They should build an equivalent to Tacoma's "gentleman's club", Fox's. Put it right here on the FOB and hire "contractors". They'd make a killing.

And I'm still talking out of my ass.

I'd do better to go eat chow, regroup with a friend or two, and hit the gym. I may not be actively fighting terrorism, but dammit, I'll fight the battle against this Napolean Dynamite type frame. Wish me luck.

4.28.2007

Surreal?

You may or may not recall me mentioning that once in a while I'm hit with the brief realization that I'm in the army, and it kind of surprises me. Well the rabbit hole has taken a sharp turn with a very steep dropoff.

An example of my inner dialogue if it were a two person discussion.

-Holy shit, I'm in Iraq.

+Nah, no way. This is just another field training exercise. Three weeks and its over.

-Kuwait was three weeks.

+No dude, that was NTC or something. Just a big elaborate gag and you Joes are the butt of it.

-That gunfire earlier, that wasn't a range.

+Bullshit. You've been hearing that for two years.

-What about the sirens?

+21 years.

-No man, this is it. This is the..."Super Bowl."

+Have you BEEN to the chow hall? Its the Tortilla Bowl and that's it. There probably IS no Iraq.

-No no, this is Iraq. Its sticking to my boots right now.

+You still should have gone to college.

-Fuck you.



It downpoured yesterday. Yeah, there's an interesting bit of news for you. When Iraq decides to rain, it doesn't fiddlefuck around like Fort Lewis. It was Forest Gump's "big ol' fat rain". And now the dirt (its more dirt/dust than it is sand around here) turned into mud. Mud that won't dry. Mud that stows away on your boots and adds ten pounds to them. Mud that gets all over the floors inside your tent, where one fuckwad managed to get everyone sick. The tent where you have to live with more roommates than you honestly want to count.

PSP deliver me from boredom. Nintendo DS deliver me from monotony. iPod deliver me from the droning noises. MWR gym deliver me from excess energy to keep me awake at night.

Latest pseudo-rumor I've been made privy to states that we mortards may hardly ever (if not NEVER) leave the FOB. Instead? Radio watch? Guard a Hajji shop? What? So I went through 14 weeks at Benning to be a fucking POG? So I threw away four years of my own life to sit in a fucking tent and read Parade Magazine or something equally nauseating? You're going to deploy me just to shit in my hand and pat me on the back and send me off to perform some menial task?

We've been the workforce of the platoon. Any time the office guys needed shit moved, of course WE were called to do it. The trend was set, and we became detail-bitches. This entire enlistment has been one Fuck You after another.

You can't have airborne. We didn't feel like putting it in your contract.

We mislead you about 11X. Looks like the dice didn't land in your favor. Instead of the 11B that you enlisted for in the first place, we're going to give you the bastard child MOS, 11C.

Oh, you don't look like you've received the Oz treatment enough (and yes, we mean the HBO version). Here, let's make you a driver.

Well fuck-a-doodle-doo, this little bastard still has a little bit of pride. Let's step on his nuts once and for all til they burst like grapes. How? Simple. We'll keep his ass on the FOB and have him make sure everyone signs in at the rec center. Or we could have him relieve those poor National Guard bastards at the chow hall, who check your ID and make sure your weapon is on Safe. Let's really get this son of a bitch. Crush his spirit and wring it out for all its worth. This shit is hilarious huh? Hahaha.



Well, intangible demons of Fuck-Youdom, I may still have one trump card. A couple of senior NCOs in line platoons have made it clear that if one were so inclined, one could elect to roll out with them.

Don't get me wrong, I don't have some masochistic death wish or anything, but if you aren't going to use me, don't waste my fucking time.

4.26.2007

Welcome To The Jungle

Alas, ladies and gents, I have arrived. This is what I enlisted for, both those wonderful illusion-filled years ago. First off, Kuwait was hotter and sandier and totally devoid of vegetation. I've seen a few trees around here. Not bad I guess.

The plane ride was fucking miserable. Sparing the details, it was cramped, the "seat" was killing my ass, no room to move...you know what? Ask me about it once this is all said and done. Don't want to say too much about how we got here or anything like that. Just have faith in my earnest admission that the plane ride sucked enough to redefine the true spirit of suck.

As for where I am now, well its a lovely place called Somewhere, Iraq. Our nice neat little two or three man housing buildings/trailers/whatever don't even exist yet, so we get to kick it in big tents. More or less open bays with bunk beds and wall lockers. Sound familiar?

Its a long walk to get anywhere, you're pretty much better trying to catch a bus. After you wait a half hour for the next bus, you then get to experience the sinking feeling in that happy little heart of yours when it parks momentarily, jam-packed full of soldiers ready to raid the PX. I hope you like walking.

Coming here, its like being a new private all over again. Like when you first came to basic...no, not that. No, its more like when you first came to your unit. If you're like me, you came with a few guys you went to basic with, so you atleast know them. And you're all neck deep in this bizarre new experience together.

Everyone else around here seems to know the ins and the outs of this place. The NCOs that have already been deployed once, twice, thrice, or more, well they seem to be pretty much automatically adjusted to it. Its us young, dumb, and ugly green guys that walk around wide eyed, heads firmly emplaced in our rectums.

There was some cook riding the bus yesterday, and she seemed so eager to be the one who was "In the know", informing us noobs, I had to turn away to hide my smirk and bite the inside of my cheek to keep from opening my big mouth. She was even throwing around words like "negative" instead of no. That was my breaking point. I started responding to everything she said with, "Oh? Hooah!" I earned my Smart-Ass tab long ago (coincidentally, I had one MADE in Kuwait).

So far, we don't really do much. I went to the gym, and it was oh so magical. Supposedly if I show the least bit of willpower, I might gain some weight out here. The internet center that everyone knows about is worthless crap, with a capital terrible. Internet explorer kept crashing on me, it was to the point that I couldn't even respond to a message on myspace (fuck off, you have it too) from my roommate back at Lewis.

"That sure sucks. What about the phones?"

At this point, I would rather chew my own feet off and run a marathon on bloody stumps over a track of broken glass than try to have a conversation using that miserable excuse for an outhouse. The lines kept cutting out every two minutes or so. Unanimously, seven or eight soldiers would sound off with, "Hello? Hello??? FUCK!!!!"

I was fortunate enough to be informed of a small MWR facility slightly tucked out of view, conveniently un-advertised to the common joe. Its the middle of the day, and there's almost no one in here, and these computers, along with the connection, aren't too bad. This pleases me.

Ok, and now I get to the part that you all REALLY want to hear about, you sick twisted, warped fiends. Have I seen any action yet? Anything going on?

Well, like I said, my worthless ass hasn't done a damn thing except check the fluid on my vehicle and buy bedsheets. But I've seen a column of smoke or two, probably from carbombs or something. I've heard what I'm almost positive was a mortar round impacting. And now and then, usually at night, you'll hear small arms fire break out, and sirens. I was walking back from dinner I think, and it was already dark by the time we were near our tent. Then machine gun fire opens up, and I thought absolutely nothing of it. I've been hearing rifle ranges for the past two years or so. Then it dawned on me. I looked at my friend and remarked that someone out there was probably getting legitimately fucked up.

Welcome to Iraq.

4.22.2007

Ku-Wait[ing]

Good god, I've been here for ages. I could almost go stir crazy around here. Sure, there's things to do, sort of, but its not like they interest me much. If I had a place to store it at the moment, I'd buy an accoustic guitar off of one of the local workers here on camp. They haggle, its awesome. Not like in the states where everything is electronically tracked and all prices are set in stone, plus tax, scan coupon here, type in the SKU number when the scanner acts up. No, not in these shops.

Ibanez accoustic six string guitar complete with peripherals: $325

Shop owners offer after I mess around with it for a couple minutes: $250

Price I would snag it for if I had some means of transporting it: $200

Fuck MasterCard. Haggle.

I'll buy a guitar after I'm settled in, over in [OPSEC! HAHAHAHA!!!] Here's what I know so far, which is also tentative in every way imaginable.

We're going to a FOB called [OPSEC] located in [OPSEC], Iraq. We'll probably spend a decent amount of time learning important...stuff...from the boys in [OPSEC]. We leave in [OPSEC OPSEC OPSEC]. We'll probably be gone for atleast fifteen months, like the newspapers say, which is a long time.

I've been hearing rumors, nothing new normally, but different rumors this time, and too many different variations to really believe them in detail, and for now I can't really say anything anyway. And here is where we come to the point of this post.

It just sucks not knowing what the hell is going on. Everyone back home, all the families, you know they're going through it, funny thing is, so are we. The ONLY dependable thing I have on any given day is uncertainty. That's about it. Everything else can change at the drop of a hat. Yeah, it isn't too hard for me to adapt to most situations, but that doesn't make it any less shitty.

I don't know the specifics of where I'm going to live, what kind of conditions, where everything is going to be, what comforts I'll be afforded, what I'll be doing for work, anything. I don't know when I'm going on leave, I don't know when I'm going home, I don't know a damn thing.

Since I've been gone, I've left one or two brief voice messages on my dad's phone just because I said I will, and other than that, email is really the only way I talk to people. Its not that I don't get the opportunity to use the phones, I get plenty. Its that I HATE phones.

"Hey, whats going on?"

"Nothing. You?"

"Uh, yeah nothing I guess, not much. How was your day?"

"Good."

"Oh...well that's good."

Its just rare that a phone conversation actually takes off and goes somewhere, and even THEN, it in no way, shape, or form compares to actually being AROUND the person you're talking to. You can't hang out over the phone. It doesn't really make things any better, its just...weird. But I probably SHOULD do it for their peace of mind. The other excuse is that I'm on the other side of the planet, and sleep schedules are completely swapped. So that's my excuse for not doing a good job of staying in contact with people. Hell, even online, no one is on messenger the same time I am.

Inside these internet cafes, its crammed full of Joes, almost all of them logged onto myspace. Hey, it works. Keeps you in touch with people. Can get you in trouble too, but such is the nature of the beast. I never go to the USO. They have carpet, so you have to take your boots off. My feet sweat a bit and doesn't take too long before my socks smell like a bucket of rancid ass, so I do humanity a favor and leave them on throughout the course of a day.

I don't go to the MWR tent to watch movies because one: I don't remember exactly where it is, and two: I don't really care enough to take the time to get there. So I pretty much just chill. I eat, check my email, maybe buy something from one of the PXs, and hang out in our bigass tent. About fifty or so guys in each tent, to throw a random guess out there.

I decided the hell with even TRYING to follow the news. All it does is piss me off. Too much killing, all for reasons I couldn't give two shits about. You won't ever see me killing in the name of any god. A god should be able to handle that themselves. Not going to kill someone for being different than me. But I've said enough already, one little rant isn't going to change thousands of minds. Its all just part of this horridly fucked little world of ours, and this side of it apparently has its share of up-fuckage. I'm just here to do my job. I'll be an idealist in my off time.

Not totally sure what my job is though. Right now, I guess its just sitting around, Ku-Waiting while one part of the world tears itself apart, and we're about to be sucked into it. Let it come.

4.17.2007

E.T.

We took our strykers out to the middle of nowhere to fire off some mortar rounds because someone told us to. Plenty of hurry up and wait. From now on, always assume that anything I talk about is riddled with HU&W. We had to stop our convoy a couple times for camels crossing the road. I blew my horn (not the wussy one, the other, monstrous trucker horn) at them, and one lethargically turned his head and looked at me with a very pronounced, "Fuuuuuck you" look on his face. You're better off killing a person than a camel around here.

We were all driving with our hatches open, why I don't know. So naturally all sorts of sand is getting in our eyes, and I'm supposed to drive this damn thing? It was even getting inside my goggles. Bummer man. My life is sooo hard, omg lol.

I slept and played Need For Speed on PSP while my guys fired rounds downrange. Fast car noises, tires screeching, me yelling swear words at my pixelated competition and boasting my unyielding superiority in every respect, and the occasional BOOM accompanied with the rocking of the stryker. I didn't even bother to watch any rounds being hung, not even to see the fireball shoot out of the tube. Yawn. I have more important things to do, like PSP.

On the way back, we ended up sort of off-roading. I mean, it was part of our designated path, but the terrain wasn't exactly a hardball road. Long story short, I gunned it a bit. Hitting bumps, rocking the vehicle around, iPod cranking out random songs that I listen to. We came to a series of bumps or burms or whatever you want to call them. Half the truck airborne at a time, like those monster truck shows. Then I hit the third one. There is no question about it, the whole big green monster was airborne, all eight wheels, with decent hangtime.

In midair, just as the descent begins, I ask myself, "Did I just do something REALLY stupid?"

THUD! Mud shoots up all around us and we're still rolling, didn't seem to lose a differential or anything. I was, in layman's terms, fuckin JACKED.

This post was gonna be good, I swear. But I'm tired. They always make us work. Apparently that's what you do in the army. And I get sick of these internet cafes pretty quick.

Besides, busy lately. I should be sleeping.

4.15.2007

Picking Sand Out Of Your Nose

Yes, yes indeed, it DOES happen. Especially during the storms. And supposedly we haven't seen anything yet. Oh how awesome.

We've gone to a few rifle ranges, doing neat little things like that. Wearing lots and lots of costly gear that burdens us and makes us all make those precious pouty faces you all love.

At first, it was all sorts of sunny here, blazing hot (but not as hot as its gonna get, they keep on taunting us with similar phrases and ominous warnings). Other times, the wind picks up. A lot. And sand? Well its pretty light. Light enough to be blown all over the place. Light enough to be picked up on the bastardly wings of the bastardly wind and pretty much turn the air into the same color as the ground. You breathe it in, it gets in your mouth. It crunches between your teeth. It gets behind your eye protection. Makes you irritable. I mean like diaper-rash-irritable.

One night, wind included, a lighting storm broke out. You know in the movies, how the lightning is constant, and looks really cool? And you say to yourself, "Yeah, too bad it never actually does that." Well it did. It was all around us. It was awesome. At most, it would be ten seconds between flashes, but they were almost always more frequent than that. On every corner of the horizon. And almost no thunder. It was surreal.

Then the rain hit.

"Oh, but you're out of Fort Lewis, you know all about rain."

Fraid not, kids. Not rain like this. Fort Lewis has that wimpy constant drizzling rain. This was big ol' FAT rain. This was angry rain. This was rain meets super-pissed-off-wind meets lots of sand. Mud darts flying at us from the side. Wind so loud we can barely hear each other yelling. Trying to lay waste to silhouette targets through walls of moving dust and lifelessness. Yeah, good luck cowboy.

The next couple ranges we went to, we encountered camels. Everyone taking pictures. Joe and his buddy standing in front of camels. Look ma! These ain't just fairy tale aminals on my cigarettes anymore! They make noises like Scott Stapp from Creed if he had a really hoarse voice and only spoke in a strange hybrid of vowels. Its funny.

We did a little more urban combat type training, and since all the medics were in some class or something, guess who they had cover down on that job? A couple CLS guys. Having been through it four times, and being a driver, they had no problem designating me.

Everyone was given what's called SimRounds, or Simunitions or something like that. They look like normal bullets, namely the shell casing, but they have little tips of paint at the tip. Its basically like shooting pellets at each other. And yeah, there was the same old Good Guys vs Bad Guys game.

Anywho, I'm hanging out in the humvee with my good ol' pal, we're reading out of Tucker Max's book, I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell and BSing, when one of the guys comes up to the vehicle and says he needs to be fixed up. He's got a small split on his cheekbone that's bleeding. Turns out he got shot right in the face with one of the sim rounds (and though they had facemasks, I guess it just wasn't enough. Caught the cheekbone perfectly). So I dab at it with an alcohol pad and provide idiotic assistance to an E6 that was also interested in patching ol' War Hero up. Yeah, after going through all the classes, it dawned on me that I had never even gone through a CLS bag to familiarize myself with where everything is. So I'm fumbling around looking for necessary Boo-Boo Fixer Uppers, looking like a complete dumbass. Oh well, atleast it wasn't paint in the eye.

That's all for now, I gotta drink more water, its never enough, and go do whatever they tell me to. Blogging from Tattooine, this is The Usual Suspect signing off.

4.08.2007

De-Loused In The Purgatorium

The sun can burn pretty bright, even through veils of dust in the air. That's right, its pretty hot here on Tattooine. Drink lots of water, that's the idea round here. Flies love to attack you. Three hundred and sixty degrees of seas of nothing but sand. You can see forever. And you come to find that forever is pretty much where blank sky meets the abyss of sand.

Doesn't matter how often you blow your nose. You get those big ol' black dirt n dust boogers. The poetry inside the porta johns is inspiring, though the use of the F word isn't quite up to the level that amazes me. Lots of Chuck Norris worship. The cult is spreading throughout the army I guess.

Those of us in the know spread the blissful knowledge of the existence of the holy book, I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell by Tucker Max.

This is the cradle of civilization?

4.03.2007

not From The Heart Yet

Here is another night straight from the source, halfway through a night of drunken debauchery, the strip club ignored for the sake of forsaking monetary expentature for my own entertainment. No need to ridicule someone else to accent the fact that I made a VERY dumb/difficult/respectable decision.

A bar crawl later, me expertly dodging shots and drinks like Tenchu the assassin, brings me to the unclear visual adventure that drags us back to the same unfamiliar yet Poor Excuse For Home Living Quarters. I survive the tidal wave of drunken OH SHIT THEY ARE SENDING US TO IRAQ, and come out giggling.

My night is not over, at all. It will most likely result in me MAYBE, MAYBE, MAYBE, MAYBE showing up for first formation at 0630 AM still good and drunk. Did I mention MAYBE? If I dont show? A counseling statement? What are they going to do? DEPLOY ME?

Come on. I stand steadfast by my decision since day one. Even though I have learned about all the discrepancies and heaps of bullshit that the army commercials and Black Hawk Down movies omit, I am still not ashamed of my decision. I am still immensely proud to come from my military lineage, which by the way, I was never fully aware of until I signed my poor excuse for a high-school-graduate life away. Without including the sour grapes they all incurred (the first Five to email me about this will be the ones to collect the cash if/when I am wrong/forget) I trample other last names at any given point, even if it falls on indifferent ears, to announce where I've come from.

I cant give you the Shakespearian heatstopper you all want, and Im not even trying. Im beyond prober punctuation on this slightly destroyed keyboard. Heres the deal. I have reached the precipice of what Ive strived for this entire time. I signed up to be a fucking man and not an idiot protester for no fucking reason, to be someone who ignores the fact that maybe, just maybw our government is fucking up, and raising one feeble right hand to help out these other poor bastards who are carelessly enlisting for whatever reason.

I was never here for me. Come on, if it were all about me, Id be using my coniving verbal skills to talk my family into "loaning" me a few bucks, as it were.

Come on. Here is the real deal.

I was inspired, and quasi-patriotic, and fooled by the media-bullshit, and a few other things, and bottom line, I decided, in my nineteen year old infinite wisdom, that I should do this.

Well sorry folks, none of you invented time travel.

So here is where I suck it up, as my family knows Im likely to say, and drive on. There is NO changing anything now. Nike commercials dont sum it up.

Just fucking do it. Get it over with. Suck it up. Be what you said you would be. Fulfill your oath. Dont ever let anyone see you be less than what you promised to be. Fulfill your promise, get out if thats your thing. Just fuckin do it, and dont bitch. Theres plenty of time for that.

But since Im not partial to any particular side, also know that my best friend, former roommater, medically discharged, is having a hell of a time with the VETERANS AFFAIRS.

Supposedly its even worse than dealing with the normal army. Hopefully someone out there can help.

That aside, Im out for now. Vote one of these days, and vote smart.

4.01.2007

Two Minute Warning

I just came back from leave yesterday. Same thing it always is. Busy. Really busy. I slept for a couple eternities once I got back. I hate it when everyone makes a big deal about all of this. The center of attention isnt always the most comfortable place either. But what can you do?

When are you going?
Can't tell you that one.

I don't know, I guess I don't have a lot to say about it all. The flight home was made easier thanks to a flight attendant. Out of curiousity, I ordered white wine. She did a good job of keeping my plastic cup full. Probably the most relaxed and happy buzz I've ever had.

I stole this post's title from some blog I saw a while back. I don't spend much time thinking about things ahead. I have plenty of time for that later. Nervous? I don't know. Don't think about it.

Beyond that, I really don't have much to say. This could be some ginourmous epic post, setting the standard of fired up passionate writing and really summing everything up, but I'm just not feeling it. Maybe I'll put something up later.