Sunday, June 29, 2008

Quick answer session...

Okay, I didn't realize how political I sounded in that last entry. I didn't mean to be. I hope no one has gotten the impression that I think we are wrong in being over here. I don't know what I think. But I love that it has gotten others thinking. How many times can I type think???

Long story short, I am still undecided on the whole issue. I've actually talked to a few native Iraqi's and their opinions are largely positive on the whole thing. Granted, I haven't talked to any of the insurgents or those fighting the troops, and I don't plan to. Therefore, my sample is skewed. Overall though, the sentiment I get over here is that Saddam needed to be taken down, they needed help doing it and WMD be danged. The differences of opinion comes from our continued occupation, and that's a matter I don't know how I feel about quite yet. But I love talking about it. Shocker, Beckie loves to debate current social issues. Man, if they made this into an episode of Law and Order (ripped from the headlines), I'd be even more excited.

Mom, I don't have access to a library, that I know of. This base is miles long, I can't even ballpark it. Lets just say it houses 15,000 people (soldiers and civilians) and we are not crammed in here. But I do get mail, so if you own 1000 Suns, feel free to send it. I've been wanting to read that.

Juli, anyone who wants to read this is more than welcome. I'll try to proofread better.

And if anyone knows how to post others blogs on the side of my blog, shoot me an email with simple instructions. I'll move on to pictures once I have that accomplished.

Today was a long day. I wanted to get out of there much sooner, but as it always happens when you expect something, things didn't go as planned. A bunch of projects came in that needed to be proofed and input and that is a slow, tedious day. Plus, I think my supervisor wasn't feeling good, so he was rather short with me. And the thing of it is, I still don't know enough, so I feel like I deserve it. I just wish I was more experienced.

I also watched Sabatour last night, one of Hitchcocks earlier works. It was so good. I feared that since I rarely hear about it, and it doesn't make "Best of Hitchcock" list, it might be a bit subpar. But it was delightful. I loved the female lead in it and the small character parts. There is a bearded lady and an end scene on the Statue of Liberty, just to entice you. I've only brought my Alfred Hitchcock collection (thanks again mom, dad and elise) and Lord of the Rings in terms of movies, so I'm afraid my entries about film will largely be centered on this. I am considering indulging in Planet Earth, the BBC documentary. If anyone's seen it, please feel free to give me your personal review.

Love you all...sorry this lacks the usual wit (I'm worn out)


Friday, June 27, 2008

Abandoned by Saddam's old Stadiums...

Okay, first off, I plan to start commenting on all of your blogs, as I love that you all have taken an interest in mine, and I need to reciprocate. It's a delight to come on here and see that the words I've typed are not merely practice, but hold some relevance as there are people out there who read them. Thanks, y'all.

Second, today I ventured out with my boss/supervisor/only person I work with regularly Dave to go to the post office. He was dropping me off while he went to the PX for supplies. He refuses to eat at the DFAC and gets basic groceries weekly at our large PX, which is like a small grocery/convenience store. It's what I imagine general stores were to developing towns out west in the 1800's. This gave me my first realized look at the landscape surrounding us. I caught glimpses on my way from the airfield my second day, but I was in such a misery-haze, nothing really registered. What's out there you ask? A whole lotta nothing. I mean, we stayed on base (which is huge), so I wasn't expecting a middle-eastern market or a mosque, but maybe some vegetation or hills. Nope, just flat, barren brownness. What's sad is that I'm pretty sure this was a lively area before the days of the Iran/Iraq war. But most of it got destroyed in that struggle, and abandoned until U.S. occupation. We took one look around and said, "yep, it's depressing and barren enough for us to build the second largest military base in Iraq."

Continuing on, the drive was fascinating, if not aesthetically pleasing. Dave went to drop me off at what he thought was the post office. I went up and it looked awfully sketchy. I managed to stall him while i took another look around. While he waited, I went into this building that had clearly been abandoned and ransacked. By whom, I'll never know. It was eerie walking through the halls, looking for a sign of a post office. In hindsight, clearly nothing of value was in here and I was wasting my time, but I like to exhaust all my options before dismissing them, so I followed the hallway down. There were discarded mattresses in all the rooms, a lot of broken glass, broken wooden furniture. It reminded me of a dorm. It made me think of that place in the movie "Children of Men" where Clive Owen helps the last pregnant woman on Earth give birth, but without the people. Very desolate. I went back out and told Dave he was completely wrong, and we managed to find the real post office.

Once there, I got my work done rather quickly and went outside to wait for Dave. I was literally 100 yards away from one of Saddam Hussein's old stadiums where they originally had sporting events, then soldier marches, and finally, mass Iraqi-civilian deaths. It was pretty destroyed from the war, but enough of a structure remained to get an impression. When I go back, I will take a picture so you can see it. It's just so fascinating and humbling to be amongst all this history, (mostly tragic), but not really understand what you are surrounded by because its been turned into an American army base. I feel like we are missing out. I mean, they don't even name the streets anything remotely related to Iraq. They are all military based names. It just makes you wonder how hard we are trying as Americans, to understand the true nature and plight of the Iraqi people. It's like all these military bases are Little America in Iraq. For some, that's a comfort, but for me it would be nice to see a blending of cultures while we are staying in their country.

On another note, each time I see a truck drive by with the medical cross on it, I start whistling the theme to M.A.S.H. I really think they should air re-runs of that on their Army Television Network. It just makes sense.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Confuse in Tikrit.

Hmmm, I thought I just uploaded a picture, but I'm not sure it worked. Technology is confusing. I'll try on the next post. Until then, this is going to be a dull, text-heavy blog.

There is this guy who works in one of the trailers, who wears your standard uniform of sturdy pants, a shirt and boots. However, he wears a long-sleeved mock turtleneck type top, and then, wears a fleece sleeveless thing over that. You know how those "trendy" outdoorsy types do on their weekends, it's kinda like that. The reason why I point this out is because it is 130 degrees over here. It's like he is so attached to his image, no amount of heat advisories will stop him. He probably wears that fleece thing in the pool.

Sadly, the picture I tried to upload was not of him. I think he might get suspicious if I try to take his picture without even knowing his name. I only know half the names here. Everyone knows mine. Everyone is also super nice. I seriously cannot recall a group of people being so genuinely kind in my life. I mean, I'm not making life-long best friends here, and I don't imagine I will. But the basic friendliness I get really makes things easier. That, and the fact that they haven't blocked gmail from my computer. When that day comes, it's gonna be ugly. (I don't think that day is coming, I'm merely speculating for dramatic effect).

One thing that is surprisingly frustrating is the way I have to word emails. Because everyone I work with is government, I have to be careful in my rhetoric. That's fine, I know how to be polite and clear. But even that's not good enough. I mean, there are certain commanders who take issue with my saying, "communicates with district staff." They would rather hear "collaborates with district staff." Tomato, tomahto. There's a war going on and that's what you nitpick about??? So, I fear this is going to drive me slowly up the wall and at the end of this year, I'll either be a pod person like them, or an anarchist. Just a heads up to those I love...

Until later...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I jumped on the bandwagon and bumped my knee...

Hello family. I know this has taken a long time to create. I'm counting since I got to Iraq, but you may be counting longer. Let's agree to disagree. This is largely created because of peer pressure. No, I'm kidding. I felt it was time because I am going through a unique experience, and while we are keeping in touch in other ways, this felt appropriate since it seems the place I can catch up on all of your lives. For instance, I only know how Sarah's summer is going because of her entries. I also know that Elise, Kirsti, and Emily have been on vacation because I have yet to see a recent entry from them. Although Emily is leagues better at posting. So, it further lets me know that Elise doesn't have her own computer and Kirsti spends her time looking at Federer fansites.

So, this way you guys will know pretty instantly when I'm having a bad day, or good day, or want to vent about how the small healthy options section at the DFAC never, ever changes their entree choices. Seriously, I like the baked chicken now, but it is going to get old. And I'm scared of their alternate, the baked fish. No fish should be shaped like that.

I hope to get some pix on here by next week. My computer is being frustrating and I think my free security stuff isn't doing it's job, so I may have to shell out some dough for official protection.

Anywho, I hope I didn't join too late and you all can work me into the familial community. Plus, by creating this, I now can comment on your blogs!!! Be prepared for some heavy judgement and passive-aggressive remarks. It's what I do.

Love you all,