23 May 2008

the shit's so deep you can't run away

Today after formation, Signal-R suddenly interrupted a conversation to notice my tongue piercing and gave me a rash of shit about it, "Sergeant" (love that condescending tone... takes me back to the arguments we got into at Dix and then once in Kuwait - on the fucking range, no less). He then proceeded to point out the high level of brass here (really? I hadn't noticed... and truth be told, there is WAY less here at Striker than there is in the IZ... but I digress...) and told me that if some SGM catches me, it'll put "everyone" in a "world of hurt."

Ok - I know the policy on body jewelry, I shouldn't have this in while in uniform (and more importantly, I suppose, in formation), I get that, I admit that. But spare me the doucebaggery. If a SGM catches me (unlikely, but possible I guess), he's not going to seek out Signal-R (who is not even in my chain of command) in particular and demand to know why he didn't do anything about it. Even if this hard-charging theoretical SGM came and found MY SGM, he could alway deny knowing about it and promise to take care of it. And maybe I'd get counseled (oh no). So Signal-R's playing of the "think about the unit" card is bullshit (it also implies that I CARE about the unit... but that's another story...).

A silver lining to the horseshit (in my increased annoyance, I just upgraded the conversation to horseshit: less commonly heard than bullshit, so therefore worse): EBRI and M5 both deflected a little of the above rash of shit by piping in and trying to distract/lighten up Signal-R. In light of that and in light of other recent events, I will admit that I judged both prematurely and unfairly, and for that I apologize. Sometimes I don't know decent people when I see them, and sometimes I see "decent" people despite glaring examples on the contrary (isn't that right - ?).

Also - only a few more days of being stuck with this group of imbiciles and then I am free! Three glorious months and then...! SAB, please don't fail me... my sanity depends on it...

- Green Day "Walking Contradiction" -

19 May 2008

you gotta give the other fella hell

Had a pretty good day today, all things told. I know you can only kind-of see it, but [above] this is me getting my eyebrows "threaded." Is that the word? You can read about the process here if you want to (gotta love Wikipedia!), but basically it is two strands of thread that are rolled over your hair and pull it out. It was more painful than waxing, only because it took longer, but the woman at the salon (named Cleopatra's Saloon - but I think she meant 'salon') was really great. Before she started, she asked me when I'd last had my eyebrows done and I laughed... so she handed me a tissue.

I needed it.

Unrelated, but been thinking a lot about this whole promotion thing - and I will not be screwed over twice. Z is staying in Iraq so - good. I'll be an E6 before he gets back.

- Guns 'n Roses "Live and Let Die" -

18 May 2008

mother, do you think they'll like this song?

I'm having a hard time selecting a song for today's blog. It's usually pretty easy - listening to my iPod on shuffle as always - and my iPod always seems to know just what kind of mood I'm in. For example, last night (back at my hooch) I was feeling irritated and my iPod chose three angry Metallica songs for me, back to back. Sometimes I feel my iPod might be the perfect guy for me - knowing how I feel without me having to tell it so, and selecting songs to make me feel better.

Did I just seriously say that?

But today - my iPod is really letting me down as far as knowing which song would compliment this blog.


Found a great, funny article about being a vegetarian - please check it out if you have some time. The author talks about the strange looks and head shaking he experiences when he tells people he doesn't eat meat. [I am not above admitting when I suck: a couple days ago I ate a chicken quesadilla - it was delicious, but I still feel terrible about it!] I laughed through the entire article, because there were situations he described that have happened to me - and my meatless life is only a fraction of how long his is. [Again, sorry about that chicken...]

So I just had the best sandwich since I've been in Iraq, I think - pinto beans, tomatoes, lettuce, olives, mushrooms and cheese in a pita flatbread - soooooooooo good I almost want to go make another one. Mmm. Only took me 9 months to perfect it. Delish.

My iPod just picked a song for me... is it just me, or is it slightly creepy considering what I just said about our relationship? (shudder)

- Pink Floyd "Mother" -

17 May 2008

please excuse me while I tend to how I feel

This will be bland. My fingers do not work today.

I saw SAB in the PX this morning, before he left... he promised (again) to do all he could to help me get what I want. He also sent an email a short while later with his contact info, so I can keep in touch and follow up once I'm back in the states. Good stuff... as it turns out, I need this more than I realized.

So then I got back to my desk and started watching the movie I bought at the PX...

Got a phone call, and a little piece of me broke off and blew away (really, Tree?). Is it possible to feel the moment the air is sucked out of your chest? Possible to feel your tear ducts swell the moment you find yourself unable to swallow?

Fuck you. Fuck everyone.

Mama, they try and break me...

- Metallica "Hero of the Day" -

16 May 2008

she loves to move, she loves to groove

Ok ok ok ok ok ok okokokokokokok I'm ok! And everything is going to be ok.

I shouldn't be getting too excited yet (it's wayyyy to early to get my hopes up) but I don't care, I'm fucking bouncing off the walls - I'm crazed!

I thought about what he said some more - woke up restless this morning - couldn't shower fast enough! And then I went to work in PTs even though I knew I was going to ask to talk to SAB in person - can you see that I didn't even have enough time to get my uniform on? So I got in, logged on, sent him an email... he said he'd meet me in the Green Bean right away. And as soon as I told him that I wanted to come back here, his face lit up with an idea. I won't tell you what it is just yet - mostly because if this doesn't work out, I will be crushed and any reminder will just make it worse - but if you see me, ask me and I might whisper it to you.

We have all been afforded the same opportunities. Fuck yes.

- Journey "Any Way You Want It" -

15 May 2008

always living in the final hour, there is always sweet in the sour

I am elated, dizzy, glowing, spinning - I am vibrating so fast now, I am a blur against the dusty sky - can you see me? I'll always exist in the places that I loved: I'll be there at the counter of the Green Bean, ordering my usual spiced chai latte. You'll see my wet hair and tired eyes, makeup-less face turned toward the screens to watch the BUA every morning. I'll be there out front, between the pillars, a cigarette frozen in my hand, watching the birds dip and chatter into eternity. I'll be out by the pool, enjoying dinner beneath the palm trees. You can find me leaning back in my chair while collecting my thoughts, then rocketing forward to fire off a perfect email, the perfect response. I'll throw a blue football at you if you aren't paying attention, but mostly I'll be there in the MOC juggling the phones, putting out fires, networking, keeping it together. You might see me hurrying by in the hallways of the palace with my camera gear and body armor, cursing at my watch. You'll catch a glimpse of me on the front balcony, listening to my iPod and pointing out flares over the landing zone. Later I'll be walking slowly back to my trailer, enjoying the sandy quiet of night.

And you'll see me at the Rhino stop, crying, because this is the tragically unfit ending for the greatest thing I have ever been a part of.

We've all been afforded the same opportunities, he said - and I agreed with him without really considering it. Today I thought about that a lot, and decided that I'm a damned fool for not pushing harder. OWT at Fort Dix is good, but not good enough, and I never should have been content to settle for what is easy.

...but for now, grit my teeth and make it through. Falling to fucking pieces is only making it harder. I'll get this right next time - MNF-I hasn't seen the last of me.

- Wolfmother "Joker and the Thief" -

14 May 2008

little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear

I've... I've been pretty substandard lately. Laziness.

And that's really the thing I hate most about myself, I think. I'm not very good at self motivating. I don't even really feel like writing right now, to tell the truth - but I always feel so much better after I write. Same thing with going for a run. I feel good once I get going, and feel great afterward, but it's so hard to get started. And smoking! I can already feel physically better after 3 or 4 days of not smoking... but putting down the lighter is sometimes too hard.

Ok - enough being negative. What are some good things going on right now?

1. Yesterday afternoon I discovered that I'm not half bad at ping pong.

2. I have moved into transient housing (blech) but the upside is I no longer have a roommate, and my room is right by the pool (yay!).

3. No indirect fire attacks so far today.

4. TOA is tomorrow (finally) and already I'm on a relaxed (read: non existant) work schedule.

5. The photo of me and the CG was waiting for me in my inbox when I got in today!

And now I feel like going swimming... I'll try not to have a cigarette on the way to the pool.

- The Beatles "Here Comes the Sun" -

12 May 2008

before she sleeps in the sand

I'm irritated as fuck and I can't find the write today.

I was just thinking - if I ever meet Bob Dylan (doubtful), I will give him a hug and offer him a cigarette. It's rediculous how cool that guy is.

I'll come back to this later. Blahhhh.

- Bob Dylan "Blowin in the Wind" -

10 May 2008

it's too late - ready or not at all

Found out today that our TOA has been postponed - now what? Are we ever leaving, or what's the story? This is like the moment of anticipation right before you get a shot - there's the needle, turn away, should I wince yet? Hold my breath... still nothing... look over at the nurse, she's put the needle down and is doing something else - breathe easy for a second, but I know the shot's still coming - oh, she's picked it up again, pulling up my sleeve, look away-

TNM is basically trained. I'm going to (try to) let her do it herself today. I know she's capable - just hard to let go, you know? I've gotten so proficient - I feel like I'm spinning an elaborate spiderweb, or conducting an orchestra - up here, attach a strand, pull down here, cellos - a little louder, weave through these, get this just perfect, dip and weave and hum and create and mix and look! there in the sunshine, drops of dew and music notes have attached themselves to my web - isn't it beautiful? Now take it down, carefully, and tuck it away - a new day and a new symphony-web to create -

I fucking LOVE my job! I'm not good (really good) at many things, but this I am very, very good at. I guess that's part of why I don't want to give it up?

Time to stop stalling and get in the shower. Have to be at work in an hour.

- Green Day "Waiting" -

09 May 2008

when I was down, you just stood there grinning

Today - today! Today was fantastic! Today was one day closer to getting the fuck out of this psychotic place. That's not really fair - if I could spend all my time in the MOC and not have to worry about unit bullshit (and all sorts of other bullshit), then I think I could stay here forever. And I really mean that with all of my heart.

I'm actually starting to feel myself getting resentful of our replacements. That's crazy! I want them to succeed, obviously, because the public affairs mission over here is a very important one... but - for example, yesterday, The New Me (from this point forward to be referred to TNM) changed the way I'd been upkeeping the press desk inbox. Granted, my system wasn't perfect, and I was really the only one doing any significant deleting out of the inbox (too long of a process to explain - just stay with me, people), but TNM has been here, what, three days? That's MY inbox, bitch! And that's really how I still kind of feel about it. I keep trying to talk myself down out of it - I'm fucking leaving, this is going to be her show pretty soon - but I'm... having a really hard time with this. I've made such great relationships with so many spectacular public affairs professionals - I want to be special. I don't WANT to be replaced. I'm going to bawl like a little fucking girl on our last day - whenever that is.

And that's the other thing. TNM and TNMD (figure it out) are basically trained up. Tomorrow I'm going to just hang out in the MOC and see how she does. But I still don't know when we're leaving - and I really need to have something to brace myself against. I'm afraid one day we'll get an email from the SGM saying 'pack your shit, we're leaving tomorrow.' I'm not ready! Where did April go? Where did 2007 go? This place is MINE, my fucking HOME, I know how everything goes and what to say and who to talk to and I'mnotreadytoleavenotreadytoleavenotreadyyoucan'tmakemeyoucan'tmakemeleaveI'mnotreadynotreadynotready.

And I hate crying. Why am I crying over Iraq? I've spent the last year of my life crying. I'm not sure I'm going to make it.

This sucks. (understatement) :/ (also an understatement)

Disclaimer: This is unrelated:

If one more fucking person asks me why I didn't answer my phone, I'm going to throw it against the fucking wall. Yes! Yes, I'm a fucking hypocrite, and I don't give a FUCK. I'm here another two weeks or so, maybe less - can I be happy for awhile? Kthanks.

It's Positively Fourth Street, my friend! (look it up)

I'm going out for a cigarette.

- Bob Dylan "Positively Fourth Street" -

08 May 2008

a black fly in your Chardonay

Tomorrow we may go swimming. I told him I'd talk to him tomorrow and gave him my email address. Despite all of these things, he came off really genuine, and even a little sweet. He probably even listens to Toby Keith. He didn't say it, but I'd bet he came from a small, blue collar town and believes in hard work and pride. I feel like I should hate him because of how much he loves the Infantry, because he has a tribal armband, and because I'm certain he bleeds red white and blue. He has a really defined jawline. I'm making him sound gay, but he's not gay. He told me I speak really well, and couldn't belive I went to a public school (??) and was very interested in my toenails. He told me about his sisters and confessed that he likes Enya - and Nickelback (shudder). He told me about his job over here and how he used to be in the Marine Corps (he's NG now) and that he enjoys fighting (professionally - if there is such a thing). And anyway, we were just talking. This is just a random guy - I only know his first name. Really, though, I do try very hard to be likeable, and I guess that could be taken as flirtatious (is that a word?). I guess that might be part of it. 63 says I'm too nice to people, that I'm a flirt, and that I need to learn how to tell people to fuck off. Why does this happen to me? I actually had a really nice time. Someone I didn't know came by my place tonight and talked to me for over two hours.

- Alanis Morissette "Ironic" -

07 May 2008

if you call, I will answer

it's not that bad - i'll stop before it gets any worse
tomorrow i'll quit
this is it, this is the last time
if it ever feels like this again, it's done
or as soon as this is over (just let me get through this), i'll stop
one last chance to feel better - i mean it this time

...i think i must know how addicts feel

make excuses, make excuses, make excuses
make excuses so you don't have to
deal. . . . . . . . . . . .
with. . . . . . . .
reality. . .
the mess you created.
and you know you have no one to blame but yourself.

i have always loved you - this is why you will kill me.

...but if i could, i would go back and take a huge eraser to the day i met you. i thought you had a nice smile. i never asked for this.

- Barenaked Ladies "Call and Answer" -

05 May 2008

take your protein pills and put your helmet on

1. Finish packing, throw shit out

2. Train replacement

3. Stock up on cigarettes

4. Take pictures of everything I'd been meaning to

5. Save crap from computer on thumb drive

6. Get everyone's contact info

7. Mail home laptop

8. Clean IBA

9. Finish packing (seriously this time)

10. Stand on the roof one last time

11. Charge iPod and camera

12. Buy more cigarettes

13. Say good bye

- David Bowie "Space Oddity" -

04 May 2008

hey man, free rides just don't come along every day

So... probably I'm going to hell over this... (if I'm not already for laughing at the My other car is a VBIED bumpersticker outside the Green Bean... haha, still hysterical) but I'm writing a press release about the mock-street corner-dedication to W and S. You might remember them as the two most broken people in our unit (and that's really saying a lot)... now they will be memorialized at Whatman Square, down the road from the CSH. I hear someone even got a street sign made for the corner. Anyway, I drafted a press release for the ceremony (there will be no ceremony) and changed all the names of the guilty, so if V doesn't post this on our last day here, I will. Although... I'll probably have to fuzz up the unit name some more before I post it, because even with name changes, you could still figure out who I was talking about.

And you know what's surprisingly hard? Writing really good quotes. I can spout talking points like nobody's business, and while they are factually correct (if you ignore the IO), they sound canned. I am incapable of giving a good, genuine sounding quote. I would be the worst subject for an interview because I'd be trying too hard to get the perfect quote, get my soundbite just right, that it would sound fake. I'm starting to notice that I unconsciously slip command messages into my normal conversations now. What is wrong with me? I've been in public affairs too long. Blech.

Also - the live version of "Melissa" by the Allman Brothers is waaaaaaay better than the studio version. Just in case you were wondering.

- The Offspring "Why Don't You Get a Job?" -

02 May 2008

let me forget about today until tomorrow

Go away, world. I'm not ready to deal with you today. Go away and shut the door behind you, but gently; I don't want to feel the draft from your departure - I don't want to be reminded that you exist at all. I've cried enough over you lately. Go.

When I woke up this morning I knew I wasn't prepared for the sun, or your harsh criticism. I don't want to see anyone, can't bring myself to form words for you. My heart is feeling too faint, my fingers are tired, and I don't have the energy to talk anymore. I'm too old to play today. My knees and hands are swollen and sad; let me rest awhile.

I just can't take your judgement today - so go away. Maybe tomorrow I'll feel stronger, maybe my friend St. John will have me feeling bolder, maybe it won't seem so bleak, looking out over the destruction and not knowing where to even begin. Maybe tomorrow I will be able to see the horizon... and I wouldn't mind a little of your sunshine.

- Bob Dylan "Mr. Tamborine Man" -