Tuesday, December 16, 2008


So I met my first truther the other day. If you're not familiar with truthers they are people who believe that, in some form or fashion, the US government was either responsible for or complicit in the 9/11 attacks. The theories range from the-government-planned-and-orchestrated-the-killing-of-3,000-people-so-we-could-go-to-war type to the knew-about-it-but-did-nothing flavor.

I find it quite delusional and seriously fail to see how any rational person could buy into it. I just find it unbelievable that the government (and not the shapeless formless blob that people envision when they here the word "government" but the entity that runs this country that is made up of you know, people) would be able to make such a leap as to kill 3,000 of it's own innocent citizens but then leave well enough alone the handful of people who have "exposed" their grand scheme.

What I had read about but hadn't experienced is what it's like to talk/debate/argue with a truther in real life, face to face, mano a wacko. If you haven't read Bill Whittle's Seeing the Unseen Part 1 & Part 2 then stop what you are doing and go read it. He mentions the same thing I discovered... a truther will not disprove you, they won't even try. They bring up something... the towers where brought down in a controlled demolition. You counter... the WTC towers were an order of magnitude larger than any other building that has ever been drought down under controlled demolition, and those took months to rig not two days. Instead of offering some type of quasi-logic to disprove that they just simply move on "oh well, what about the fact that no plane parts where found on the Pentagon lawn?!?!" It doesn't matter what you say to them or what mind blowing logic like "the picture they show of no plane parts on the Pentagon lawn is 1 of about 4 while there are hundreds that show plane parts all over the place" they will simply move on. It can be quite a frustrating experience. The funny thing about it was he wasn't even an American. He was from an unnamed European country. Go figure.

So anyway after a couple of those back and forths I simply gave up and went to bed confident in the fact that I am not a retard and he is quite contently crazy under the guise of "asking questions."

Friday, December 12, 2008


... I'll jump on it too.

1. Started your own blog. Yup.
2. Slept under the stars. Uh huh.
3. Played in a band. I actually opened for Hootie & the Blowfish once.
4. Visited Hawaii. Lived there for quite a few years of my life.
5. Watched a meteor shower. Nope
6. Given more than you can afford to charity. After Katrina
7. Been to Disneyland. Nope
8. Climbed a mountain. Several
9. Held a praying mantis. Yup
10. Sang a solo. Nope
11. Bungee jumped. Nope
12. Visited Paris. Been there but never got off the plane.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. Nope
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. Several
15. Adopted a child. Nope
16. Had food poisoning. Nope
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty. Nope
18. Grown your own vegetables. My mom has had a vegetable garden for as long as I can remember
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France. Nope
20. Slept on an overnight train. Nope
21. Had a pillow fight. Yup with rocks in the pillowcases.
22. Hitch hiked. Nope
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill. Of course
24. Built a snow fort. Yup
25. Held a lamb. Nope
26. Gone skinny dipping. Yuppers
27. Run a Marathon. Half marathon once
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice. Nope
29. Seen a total eclipse. Sure have
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset. Many times
31. Hit a home run. Once when I was a kid
32. Been on a cruise. Nope
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person. Sure have
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors. I lived in the same town my dad was born in for a while.
35. Seen an Amish community. Nope
36. Taught yourself a new language. Kind of
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied. Not possible
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person. Nope
39. Gone rock (wall) climbing. Yuppers
40. Seen Michelangelo's David. Nope
41. Sung karaoke. No way
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt. Nope
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant. Yes
44. Visited Africa. Egypt is part of Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight. Many times
46. Been transported in an ambulance. Nope
47. Had your portrait painted / drawn. Nope
48. Gone deep sea fishing. Many times
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person. Nope
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. See #12
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling. Dove a lot when I was in high school
52. Kissed in the rain. Nope
53. Played in the mud. Of course
54. Gone to a drive-in theater. Once to see Ratatouille
55. Been in a movie. Came close once
56. Visited the Great Wall of China. Nope
57. Started a business. Always wanted to
58. Taken a martial arts class. Three lessons because I won them
59. Visited Russia. Was scheduled to once but it got cancelled
60. Served at a soup kitchen. Nope
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies. No but I've eaten a lot
62. Gone whale watching. Not on purpose but I have seen them while out diving
63. Got flowers for no reason. No
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma. Many times
65. Gone sky diving. Nope
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp. Nope
67. Bounced a check. Yes
68. Flown in a helicopter. Many times
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy. I had a really cool Millennium Falcon but my mom gave it to a charity.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial. At about 2 am once. Lucky I wasn't mugged
71. Eaten Caviar. Nope
72. Pieced a quilt. I used to help my grandmother with hers when I was a kid
73. Stood in Times Square. Nope
74. Toured the Everglades. Nope
75. Been fired from a job. Nope
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London. Nope
77. Broken a bone. Three
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle. Nope
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person. Nope
80. Published a book. I have about three half written ones
81. Visited the Vatican. Nope
82. Bought a brand new car. Once and I'll never do it again
83. Walked in Jerusalem. Been to Israel but not Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper. Once when I was about 8
85. Read the entire Bible. Several times
86. Visited the White House. See #70
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating. Several times
88. Had chickenpox. Yup, still have a scar from it
89. Saved someone’s life. Nope
90. Sat on a jury. Nope
91. Met someone famous. Several
92. Joined a book club. Those things are stupid
93. Lost a loved one. Not a close one
94. Had a baby. Three
95. Seen the Alamo in person. Many times, I used to live in SA
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake. Nope
97. Been involved in a law suit. Not unless you count a divorce
98. Owned a cell phone. Several
99. Been stung by a bee. Once when I was about 6 hours away from civilization, lucky I'm not allergic
100. Read an entire book in one day. A few

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Monday, December 01, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Random Thoughts

I had the privilege of visiting one of the main shindigs here and as is the customary Army way there are the invaluable reflective belts EVERYWHERE! As I was walking around I was reminded of when the new PT uniform came out. As some of my friends and I were reviewing these new uniforms someone commented on the fact that it includes reflective material on it. A comment was made about the fact that the uniform was being pitched as precluding the need for a reflective belt due to the reflective material. It's just funny and very Army like that despite the presence of reflective material we still wear reflective belts with the PT uniform. I am convinced that if the Army had a PT uniform with a yellow reflective stripe across it or even if the whole stinking thing was made of luminescent material we would still be wearing that stupid reflective belt. Maybe it's a conspiracy? PXs are frequently out of stock on numerous essential items but they never seem to be out of reflective belts, at $7 a pop. Coincidence? I think not. Could it be....................Satan!?!?

Some of you may or may not remember from before my hiatus but I am a musician. I play three instruments now and am in the process of learning a fourth. I have written and recorded a few songs but haven't done anything with them, mostly because I'm just not satisfied with them. I have a handful of half written songs laying around my computer, some partially recorded, some not. I have some simple recording gear here with me but it's of sufficiently low quality so as to only allow me to get something down so as not to forget it. The problem is that I feel like there is a really great song inside me and I just can't figure out how to get it out. Some of the stuff I have written I like but I know that it's not "it." They are not what I know I am capable of. If only I could figure out how to let it out. I talked to my brother who is an artist and ten times the musician I am and he has the same experience in all of his creative ventures. Must be all musicians.

I just downloaded the new Guns N' Roses album Chinese Democracy (piracy, guilty, arghh.) I have only listened to it once and haven't really gotten to know it yet but my first impression is that it's not bad, not bad at all. Now I want my Dr Pepper.

I just discovered 30 Rock. Filed under intelligently funny shows that I easily get addicted to.

Ditto for It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. If you haven't discovered that show then do so now.

This is simply brilliant.

Again, as some of you may remember, I am a big fan of Britcoms. I have recently discovered one called Green Wing. It's like an over the top Scrubs that would never be allowed in the states. It's awesome. However one thing I've noticed is that most British TV shows seem to only last a few seasons. Like two or three. Whereas American TV goes for eight or ten. I find Brit humor so much more intelligent and witty. Too bad they seam to burn out fast. Then again I'm not sure anybody could keep up Fawlty Towers type antics for too long.

When I went on hiatus I saved all my posts from my blog before I deleted them. I was thinking about re-posting some of them. Preferably the more profound (hahaha) ones. Your thoughts.

Friday, November 07, 2008

AOL Redux

So I get an email the other day that says my XBox live membership is due to automatically renew in a month. Huh?!?! So I go online to the page for my account and what do you know there is no option to not automatically renew or to cancel. According to their FAQ to do that you need to call. Well here is the dilemma. Believe it or not I have internet access here but no phone access. It's only every now and then that I get to a phone. So I fired off an email explaining my situation. I was very polite and expected some kind of help. Here is the reply I got.

Thank you for writing to Xbox Live. We are sorry to hear that you want to cancel your Xbox Live subscription. As much as I would like to help you over email, all cancellation problems are being addressed through our phone support line. We at email support line do not have the capabilities to pull up your account, since this issue has a degree of sensitivity. Be advised that by canceling your subscription, you will lose any remaining time on the service in addition to your gamer tag and game rankings.If you still want to cancel, please call our Xbox Phone Support. We may require personal information for verification which cannot be divulged over email. When you call, immediate action will be given to your inquiries or request.

My response

Did you even read my email? I am in Afghanistan! I DO NOT HAVE ANY MEANS OF USING A PHONE. If I can bank over the internet you can cancel my lowly little xbox live account over the internet. Thousands of businesses are capable of identifying me over the internet, I'm pretty sure Microsoft can.Your website will even let me add another credit card or change any other aspect of my membership but it won't let me choose not to automaticly renew or cancel. Yea right, I'm sure that has to do with "personal information being passed over email." While you may not have the ability to help me you need to forward this to someone who can. If my membership is renewed and I am charged for xbox live when I have no means of using it then I will never ever purchase another piece of Microsoft software again.

Their response

Thank you for contacting Microsoft online support for XBOX. I am (Name) and I will be helping you today with this issue. I apologize for the inconvenience. I understand that you are from Afghanistan and need to call Xbox Customer Support to cancel your account. You may call any of the numbers listed below that is nearest your region:

My response

Apparently you did not read my message either. I am not from Afghanistan. I am an American serviceman deployed to Afghanistan. I HAVE NO ACCESS TO A PHONE. DO NOT RENEW MY XBOX LIVE MEMBERSHIP!!!!!!!! I AM GETTING TIRED OF REPEATING MYSELF. This is all strangely reminiscent of the whole AOL cancellation debacle. You all have no security issues with me changing a credit card or any other sensitive aspect of my account online yet for me to not want to automatically renew is too sensitive to pass over email?!?! So, (Name) for the last time, pretty please with a cherry on top let me make myself perfectly clear, I WILL NEVER PURCHASE ANOTHER PIECE OF MICROSOFT ANYTHING IF MY XBOX LIVE MEMBERSHIP IS AUTOMATICALLY RENEWED!!!

What is wrong with people! So frustrating.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Thanks to all you folks who are still around. I was kind of worried nobody would care anymore. What's that old anti-war saying about what if you hosted a war and no one showed up...

So yeah, um, Afghanistan, yeah. Well, I'm involved in the contracting process here. Basically myself and a few other people contract local companies to build schools, roads, clinics and the like. It is a very dichotomous experience. For those of you about to look that word up it means that there are two equal parts to it. It is both extremely rewarding and extremely frustrating at the same time.

It's very rewarding when a project is finished and the people are grateful for it. Especially schools or orphanages. Unfortunately it frequently happens that you finish a project and a week later the locals are complaining that it's not good enough or that Ahmed the villager thinks he is an engineer and says that a building made of stone, cement and rebar is going to fall in after a stiff breeze. That aspect of it is endlessly frustrating. Some of these villages are full of the most selfish ungrateful people I've ever met in my life. However some are full of some of the most beautiful people I've ever met.

I have very little sympathy for most of the adults here. They choose to continue a life of hate and violence. However, my heart breaks for the kids. They don't choose this life. They just have to live it.

When I first got here I would take lots of pictures of the scenery because it really is beautiful. It reminds me of parts of Utah and Arizona. However, I find that I hardly ever take pictures of the scenery any more. Now almost every picture I take is of a kid. Unfortunately I broke my camera the other day so I am picture-less until this gets here.

Oh well enough rambling. Here is one of my favorite pictures that I have taken since getting here.

Thanks for showing up guys and gals.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I guess a little back story is in order. There is a reason that I have been gone for the last year and a half. So here we go.

In the span of about 3 months my whole life fell apart.

It started when I found a cigarette butt in my truck. It was of a brand that neither myself or my wife smoked. Things that make you go Hmmm. Very shortly thereafter my wife left me for another soldier. I begged her to stay, said that I forgave her and that I wanted to make it work. She wanted nothing to do with it and divorced me a few months later.

Needless to say, I was a wreck. My performance at work went into freefall. I just didn't care. I showed up in the morning for a few hours and then went home to my new tiny apartment in the ghetto and didn't answer the phone. I would see my kids on the weekends and the whole time they would talk about Mr X who my son referred to as his new daddy.

When I got home I would open a beer and wouldn't stop until I passed out. I did that every single night. I lived off of Ramen noodles and beer.

My brother came and stayed with me for a couple of weeks and frankly I don't think I would have made it through the whole ordeal if he hadn't been there for me. I am forever in his debt for that.

My chain of command gave me three days of leave to deal with it. After that when my station's performance wasn't up to snuff I was told "I know you're going through a tough time BUT get over it," and "some people deal with crisis by throwing themselves into their work, maybe you should do that." I think it goes without saying that they gave my problems a cursory nod and then went right back to beating me up about the mission. Never mind that I was still making mission running the largest station in the state it just wasn't the 150% or so that the crook before me was making.

About two months after the whole mess started the recruiting command that I belonged to took a very, very minor indiscretion on my part (and I mean minor) and used it to kick me out of recruiting. I was relieved as Station Commander and made a normal dirt bag recruiter. The funny thing is that although I was no longer considered qualified to stay in recruiting I was still on numbers. They had no problem getting a few more bones out of me as they were kicking me out and ensuring that I will never get promoted again.

The most ironic part of it all is that for the last couple of months that I was in recruiting they had me run a station while the SC was in school. While I was running that station we had our ATC and I was not invited because "I was being relieved."

I always suspected that the recruiting command used my minor indiscretion as an excuse to get rid of a Station Commander who they thought had been ruined by his personal circumstances. I suspect though that it was more like they didn't want to wait for me to work through things. In classic recruiting style they wanted it now, not in a little while and my career was a small thing to sacrifice to "get it now."

In reality they did me a favor. I hated every minute that I was in recruiting. I hated it before I converted and I hated it after. However I put up with it all because I thought (and still do) that it was important. That if I didn't do it then somebody else would have to. They relieved me of that burden. I no longer had to sacrifice myself for the greater good. Thank the Lord almighty. The prospect of never getting promoted again is much more palatable then the thought of finishing out my career in recruiting.

So I was sent back to my original MOS and moved to another Army post and shortly thereafter deployed to Afghanistan. And so here I am, in the desert and loving it. I stopped drinking (obviously,) quit smoking about three months ago (haven't cheated once,) started going back to the gym and getting things back on track spiritually. I've lost 20 lbs, am right with God and I've never felt better in my life.

About a month ago my ex-wife started e-stalking me, asking me to take her back. I politely told her that I don't want anything to do with her and honestly, it felt good. Although I told her that I forgive her (I do) and that I'm not bitter (I'm not) it kind of signaled to me that I am truly over it. Up until that point I would begin to think that I was over it all and then I would spiral back down into a pit of self pity and depression and longing for her. This time I had none of those feelings and found it very easy to make the right decision.

I say the right decision because I think that's exactly what it was. I firmly believe that we decide who we love. When we "decide" to love (in the romantic sense) people who are seriously flawed we are compromising common sense and standards for petty emotions, emotions that will one day fade away. Then we are left with those character flaws that, sadly, rarely go away regardless of claimed "changes" etc. Don't get me wrong, I don't expect to find a perfect woman with no character flaws. However, I do expect to find someone with minor ones that I can be comfortable living with when the emotions fade. I can't be with someone who cheats. If she were a complete stranger who I did not have a history with but had done what she did I wouldn't want to be with her. Maybe she deserves a second chance but it doesn't have to come from me.

As for the recruiting command I hope one day they will realize that not only do they not have to chew people up and spit them out in order to make mission but that one day it might be the downfall of the Army. What's sad is that more recruiters will lose their careers, families and sadly their lives before they figure that out. To me that is a travesty and the movers and shakers of recruiting should all be ashamed of themselves. Despite some small mistakes I made during my time in recruiting I sleep soundly every night and have no problem whatsoever shaving with my eyes open every morning. Frankly I don't see how they do.

Monday, October 06, 2008


While I enjoy being here very much today is just one of those days where all I want to do is go home. I miss my kids. I miss my life, what life I had that is. I just want to get back to it and start over. That's something I haven't had a chance to do since everything fell apart. This is probably all spurred on by the fact that a lot of the people I have been working with the last few months have been replaced. I had grown quite close to a few of them. Since I last posted regularly to this blog I have become much more sentimental and emotional. Not sure if that's a good thing or not. Oh well.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I'm Back

I'm on the way back folks.

Big changes coming soon.

Keep an eye out.