Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Voyage Home

So I am currently sitting in the kitchen in the house that my roommates and I will share. It is 2:58 in the morning and I wanted to be sure that you all knew I made it home safe. The trip home was largely uneventful. RFG, Barbie The Mexican and I decided to not sleep the entire time we were in Kuwait, which turned out to be close to almost sixty some odd hours of varying amounts of stupidity... We mainly played board games or played cards, man oh man did we play a retarded amount of Pictionary, and a lot of pool. We played like a total of almost thirty games of pool and the Mexican and I started to get pretty good. Well we were so tired that we at least thought we were doing really good. We did anything and everything we could to whittle away the time in hopes that we would sleep most of the 22 hours of flight time. It worked for Barbie And RFG they hardly moved unless we were refueling the mexican and I were not quite as lucky but we did get some sleep.
So it is official we are home in one piece. I have survived yet another year in that horrid country and lived to bore all of you with the tale.
I would like to point out that this welcome home ceremony went better than the last. Although there wasn’t anyone there for me directly I was greeted warmly by RFG’s Wife and daughter as well As Jeff & Doris (good friends of RFG’s) so that was nice. I am a little bummed as I write this latest installment as the one person I had hoped would be here was not able to be. Obviously I am referring to Rocky or "Squeakers" as I have taken to calling her. She will be leaving for Iraq tomorrow. Sept 27th 2006 I think that I will continue to write the sandbox files while she is over there as I will be in a different position during her deployment. Instead of the one living constantly in danger I will be the one fearing for her everyday. Luckily I have a better grasp of what she will go through on a normal daily basis and hopefully I will be able to help her out with anything she might struggle with during her deployment.
Well I’m wiped I will write you all again soon... but until then Yahoo Free at last! Thank God Almighty I am free at last!
Quote of the Day:
"In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved"
Franklin D. Roosevelt:

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Happy Birthday Tracers!!!

I have a little bit of time, I thought now would be as good as time as any to tell you all when I should actually be home… As of right now we should be home in the early evening of the 25th which messes up my time scale a little bit. Apparently there is some back up in Kuwait causing us something like a two day delay… We were already asked to not even leave Iraq until the 22nd, A day later than we had been told. But enough of that… Today is my baby brothers 22nd birthday. And I wanted to wish him a very happy Birthday, not that he has the time to read my blog… but the sentiment is there all the same.
I have been way under the weather the past few days, and to be honest I’m really not feeling all that well right now. I’m sure it is a combination of poor sleeping and little food consumption. I am so excited to be back in the states with family and the woman I love that I can hardly do much more than sit in my room and think about it.
On a random side note Jennifer Love Hewitt’s new show Ghost Whisper is heart wrenching and very well written. I was able to see the first half of the first season and I was hooked. The basic premise is simple, Melinda (Love’s character.) can see and speak to dead people and she helps them complete what ever it is that they need to in order to cross over. The reason I bring up the show at all is that I hope that my marriage is some what similar to Melinda’s. Melinda and Jim are newly weds and are very loving to one another, they are both supportive and understanding even when one or the other is being a crabby pants. Their relationship is truly one of the highlights of the show. At least for me any way…
My time is running short, but I wanted all of you to know that am finally on my way home.
Random Movie Quote….. "The Boondock Saints"

When I raise my flashing sword and my hand takes hold in judgement. I will take vengeance upon mine enemies. And I will repay those who haze me. O lord, raise me to thy right hand and count me among thy saints. Whosoever shed last blood. By man shall his blood be shed. For immunity of god make he man. Destroy all that which is evil. So that which is good may flourish. And I shall count thee amoung my favoured sheep. And you shall have the protection of all the angels in heaven. Shepherds we shall be, for thee, my lord, for thee. Power hath descended forth from thy hand. That our feet may swiftly carry out thy command. So we shall flow a river forth to thee. And teeming with souls shall it ever be. In nomine patrie, et fili, et spiritu sancti. Never shall innocent blood be shed. Yet the blood of the wicked shall flow like a river. The three shall spread their blackened wings and be the vengeful striking hammer of god. Now you will receive us. We do not ask for your poor or your hungry. We do not want your tired and sick. It is your corrupt we claim. It is your evil that will be shot by us. With every breath we shall hunt them down. Each day we will spill their blood until it rains down from the sky. Do not kill, do not rape, do not steal. These are principles which every man of every faith can embrace. These are not polite suggestions, these are codes of behaviour. And those of you that ignore them will pay the days cost. There are varying degrees of evil. We urge you lesser forms of filth not to push the bounds and cross over into true corruption, into our domain. But if you do you, one day you will look behind you and you will see we three. And on that day you will reap it. And we will send you to whatever god you wish. And shepherds we shall be, for thee, my lord, for thee. Power hath descended forth from thy hand. That our feet may swiftly carry out thy command. So we shall flow a river forth to thee. And teeming with souls shall it ever be. In nomine patrie, et fili, et spiritu sancti.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

My Favorite Escape

It seems to me that every now and again time slips, which is to say I am rarely aware of how many days have passed since we last spoke. Or since I last spoke to you as it were. I will do my best to remember all that has transpired since my last post but bare with me as there are far more memories than there are words to describe them. I should tell you that my Ka-tet (as Stephen King’s character Roland Deschain of Gilead would call us.) or team, if it pleases you, are all doing as well as can be expected. RFG, Barbie and Lucky Charms had an interesting encounter a few days ago but I know very little of what transpired. Suffice to say that they are fine. I do know that while they were on a patrol they had an unknown vehicle get too close and had to deal with it. They handled the vehicle correctly given the parameters of the Rules of Engagement. There were no injuries. I honestly don’t know the details but when I do I am sure I will share them with you all.
As for the Mexican he is doing fine. I run into him every couple of days or so. I think he was having a hard go of it for a while, but I believe he has found what ever it was he thought he had lost. This, if he and I have as much in common as I think, was probably only his sanity.
The Invader is as big a pain as ever, today while I slept he did his best to make as much noise as humanly possible. We have found a somewhat peaceful middle ground where we no longer fight and bicker at every given opportunity. Mainly because I speak to him as little as possible and use as little sarcasm as I can which for me is ever the accomplishment. And there is the fact that we see each other one day in six. Today happened to be his down day and I can not blame him for the noise he made as most of it was necessary. As he was merely cleaning and organizing his side of the room. The 15th is scheduled to be our billeting pre-inspection, one more little thing that must be done before we leave this God forsaken country. I just wish he would have chosen to do it while I was at work.
Hard Hat is as high strung as ever, recently he is not one of my favorite people as he does not seem to be able to fight for his soldiers when it matters. He is one of those that is far more concerned with covering his own ass. To be fair we have given him a couple of reasons to want to cover it recently. Last week we were outside the wire on one of our patrols and in an effort to stay awake began playing catch with a chem.-light. Unfortunately as we were directly in front of one of the security cameras and only a mere 400 meters away from the fence. They watched our entire game. Which more or less evolved into a makeshift football game in the dark. I’m sure if we had been wearing our gear (flack vests, kevlars and silly little things like that.) It wouldn’t of been a big deal. But out of the four of us that were actually playing, two of us were not even wearing our dcu tops. (We were in our brown under t-shirts.) Obviously the higher ups were less than pleased. And then as though we weren’t in enough trouble we did something that can only be described as very stupid. There is a building on the out side of the wire that is sort of an oddity, no one really knows what its purpose was before we bombed it. But it is suspected that it was some type of chemical lab the Iraqi’s used prior to the war. Anyway over the last three years this building has been written on by pretty much every unit that has passed through. And as we are about to leave we decided to leave our names as well. We wrote a lot of different things.. I left my initials “AJJB” and the obligatory confession of where my heart lie. (I.e. “Rocky” and James 4-ever) Anyway suffice to say that the powers that be were less than pleased. And made a big effort to show us just how disappointed they were. They put us on the fox patrol until we hand over the security detail to the new unit. Which is more or less a punishment but really it’s just an inconvenience. The fox patrol limits our freedom at work. But doesn’t really affect anything more than the fact that instead of eating at the d-fac we eat out on the perimeter. Which is what I did for the six months prior to us taking over all the other patrols. So it really wasn’t too big a deal.
“Rocky” and I have been talking about the future a lot recently, we talk about marriage, and we talk about the idea of children. She is adjusting to her new career and I think she is starting to actually really enjoy her job. She hasn’t had it easy, but I know she will continue to do well. Today she had some weird problem with her voice. It was sort of like laryngitis except her voice would only squeak. I told her I am going to start calling her “Squeaker” but I don’t think she would appreciate that very much. I wish I could put into words how excited I am about our relationship. She is truly beautiful both in body and in spirit. She is wonderfully unaware of how amazing she is, I believe she is aware that she is attractive but I don’t think she realizes how she affects everyone she encounters. The thing that never ceases to amaze me is that she chose me. Self esteem issues aside I honestly never dared to hope that I would one day meet someone this amazing. And never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that someone like her would be able to love someone like me. Truth be told I had actually accepted that maybe the single life was an authors only choice. (Never mind that every one of my favorite authors is married with a family of his or her own.) The point of this little rant is that for the first time in a very long time I am excited about my future, no strike that, I am excited about our future together as man and wife.
So in a completely different train of thought I wanted to talk about the book I am reading right now. As you are probably aware I love to read. I have since I was very young. It has always been an escape for me, similar to my movies. Anyway I told you about the Dark Tower Series a couple of times before. The fourth book in the series was the inspiration for the “Riddle Me This” section of this blog. I am currently reading the final book in this series. This book is huge. At 835 pages it is not the largest book I have ever read but it is daunting none the less. The reason I bring it up now, is that last night the damn book actually had me in tears. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a stranger to becoming emotionally involved with characters that share their stories with me. But for the life of me I can not think of any story that has ever had me fully in tears. I have laughed with their jokes and even worried when their situations seemed dire. But I have always been able to separate their fiction from my reality. The Dark Tower series took Stephen King nearly his whole life to complete. It infects many of his other works. And I am sure that as he wrote two of my friends deaths within a fifty pages of one another he to wept. Stephen King broke a lot of writers laws with his Dark Tower Series. For one the author himself makes not only an appearance in two of the books, but a huge impact forever changing the characters involved. And secondly he openly speaks to the reader as the author, apologizing for the fate that he placed upon our companions, not in an authors afterward as some might but right in the midst of the story. I have not yet finished this adventure, I have a little less than three hundred pages left. But I know that this is one of the most powerful and exciting stories I have ever read. I am not going to tell you that you have to read these seven books but I will tell you that you should. And hopefully you will agree with me when I say that while some stories are a distraction some truly are an escape.

Random Quote of the Blog.
Do to the current power struggle in our government I thought this was appropriate:

"A second flood, a simple famine,Plagues of locusts everywhere; Or a cataclysmic earthquake I'd accept with some despair. But no, You sent us Congress...Good God, Sir! Was that fair?"--John Adams in 1776
And the Countdown continues....
8 Days

Friday, September 01, 2006

A Runaway Tongue

Please forgive me as I have not slept in something like 27 hours. I want to get this blog out because I have a lot to say and very little time in which to say it. First of all I want to send my heart felt sorrow to Rocky, She lost her sister in an accident two days ago and is understandably emotionally distraught, not to mention the fact that the Airmen she is in charge of, well, they aren’t the brightest in the bunch and there for make her life that much more complicated. I don’t really know how much I am allowed to say but to give you a little insight into how difficult things are for her the other day one of her enlisted airmen shot another airman in the foot because the guy wouldn’t give him a stick of gum. A freaking stick of gum! I wish there was something I could do or say to help her but all I can do is provide an ear to listen and a voice to console. I want to apologize publicly for saying something really stupid to Rocky like three days ago, I won’t go into details but trust me it was really stupid. And she will know what I am referring to as there are so few opportunities for me to say anything stupid. Actually the more I think about it I have been saying a lot of stupid things lately I got Hard Hat into a whole Heap of trouble over something I said on the radio. “….let me explain, no there is too much let me sum up” (a quote from my favorite movie.) the long and short of it is he wasn’t where he was supposed to be and I mentioned that very clearly over the radio. He was supposed to bring us food and instead he was with his girlfriend. I said we were all waiting for him and that he was AWOL and man did they get cranky…. Shoot I’m getting the boot I’ll write more soon…

Random Quote of the Blog:
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling that thinks nothing is worth war is much worse, the person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of ever being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

John Stuart Mill
Thank you Rocky for the quote!!!