27 February 2009

I am poison crazy lush

Had a weird/bad dream(s) last night... one person and two animals died. I won't name the individual in case by some weird way I jinx her, but she is an old friend from high school who I have only seen sporadically since then. If you are reading this and wondering if I am talking about you, I'm not. I doubt she knows this blog exists.

Anyway, I was informed of her death over the phone. When I called a mutual friend of ours to let her know, she didn't seem surprised that [redacted] had died. "Oh yeah, she was really sick. They didn't expect her to make it." All nonchalant.

Later, in the same dream or the next, my dog Jake died (he's been dead in real life for a few years now - two?). I was at my parents' house but only my mother was home. She asked me to help her bury him, so I did. We dug a hole out by the garden, but by hand, not with shovels. The soil was really loose though, so digging wasn't a problem. Also the soil was a pleasant (but unusual) red, but not like from blood or anything, more like the color of red velvet cake.

We finished up and went back into the house - and found that one of my cats had died as well (unlike dear Jake, both my cats are alive in real life), and evidently whomever found him (this was unclear in the dream) decided to store him in the fridge. In a plastic grocery bag. And he was in pieces (why???). So back to the garden to dig another (dismembered-cat-sized) grave. I cried as I placed the beige plastic bag into the little hole, and then we covered him with velvety red dirt.

I woke up sweaty with a tight throat.

So anyway, now I am enjoying a cup of tea (my second one today) and watching the rain out on the lake. You know those moments you wish you could bottle and save for another time? What a bizarre, bizarre day.

"I've got my own time;
got it all today"

- Bush "Greedy Fly" -

26 February 2009

thought you had all the answers to rest your heart upon

Sunday: Family Guy
Monday: House
Tuesday: American Idol
Wednesday: American Idol
Thursday: Hell's Kitchen / The Office
Friday/Saturday: (stare at each other bleakly)


Today I was outside on the back deck smoking a cigarette, talking to my parents, when my wedding ring fell off and slipped between the boards. 30 minutes and a broken coat hanger, a chopstick, some electrical tape, and a bread-tie later - SUCCESS! My ring was safely back on my hand and the universe was set right.

Ok, so it wasn't my *real* wedding ring that fell, it was the shitty one I took to Iraq with me (in case I died and some shifty medic swiped it) but still! Pretty traumatizing. 

Luckily my parents were there on the phone to talk me down from the crisis: "Bend a paper clip!" (none in the house) "Use a bobby pin!" (haven't owned a bobby pin since high school) "Piano wire!" (wtf?)

So now I feel like fucking MacGyver. Rock on.

"well you can pin yourself back together,
to who you thought you were"

- Bird York "In The Deep" -

17 February 2009

now I'm bored and old

The most magical moment of my life:

Tree and I went to NYC for Valentine's Day to see Wicked (it was beyond fucking amazing) and wandered around the city for a few hours before the show. We stopped in Central Park and walked through the vastness, checking out (and mocking) statues. [If you've seen my MySpace photos, you've seen some of my work.]

So I was standing checking out a bust of Beethoven, trying to decide whether I should jump the fence surrounding him to get a photo mocking his stern expression (there were a lot of people at the park and I didn't want to get us kicked out) when a squirrel crept up to my left. As I watched with a held breath, he lept up on to the fence and tightroped over to me - and LICKED my fucking HAND. A wild forest animal. Licked. My hand. Itlikedmyhand! Like I was Snow fucking White or some shit! The Squirrel Whisperer? Yes? No?

Do you see? Magical! My heart nearly exploded! Smiley face!

[This is unrelated:]

And, in an ongoing love-hate hate-hate relationship with MySpace, they removed the links to this blog from my page, instead sending clickers to a screen warning them that this blog is (a) phishing for their credit card numbers or (b) spam, or both. I kind of take offense to this. Did someone from MySpace actually go and LOOK at this blog? Maybe they saw my post describing how much they suck and decided to take up arms against me. Ha... you underestimate me, dear naive social-networking site. Mark my words, MySpace fucks, you haven't seen the last of me.

By the way, they never did take down the ads calling me a giant fatass.

"I just want you to know that I
don't hate you anymore"

- Nirvana "Serve the Servants" -

10 February 2009

now look at all we've won, with the saber and the gun

Let me start by saying that this is not a milblog. The Army is my life, but not my Life. I have other things capturing my attention, other thoughts in my head that don't have an ACU pattern. Paradoxically, the Army is so BIG in my life, I couldn't possibly separate it from the rest - there would be only little scraps of paper. For either reason (or both), this cannot and will not ever be a strictly Army blog, and I will never register it on milblogging.com or submit a post for The Sandbox. [I am not criticizing either of these sites, they are just not for me.] And while I'm not actively trying to hide this blog from anyone in my past, current, or future chains of command, I'm not actively advertising it either. I just don't think any of those individuals need to know what things make me intimately happy or about my emails from MySpace or which memories I miss the most

That said, sometimes things within and about the Army force their way into my consciousness in such manner that cannot be ignored. Currently, this is the alarming dipping into the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) that is happening more and more as repeated deployments exhaust the traditional active and reserve forces. Until recently I have only read about it in passing - take a look here (13 Stoploss) and here (Army of Dude) for some particularly heart-wrenching examples - but this week I got to meet three Soldiers who are living this nightmare.

I'm a public affairs instructor at a mobilization station that supports OIF. I was recruited for this program because I recently came home from theatre. My MOS (46Q), along with my sister MOS (46R), is in short supply for a great number of reason that don't relate to this post - but I'll spell it out at a later time, I promise. In any case, the units that have been coming through our mobsite have been more and more short-staffed. When my own unit mobilized (and this was in June of 2007, mind you), we'd agreed to fill our vacancies with infantry, forward observer, signal, chemical, aviation, and ordnance Soldiers. Call it desperation, but at least everyone we took with us was a drilling member of the National Guard. No surprise brown envelopes.

This unit we have on ground has three Soldiers who were pulled from the IRR, and not one of the three has a public affairs MOS. They are all 42As, admin Soldiers, with no military or civilian experience in working with the media or operating a professional still/video camera. And worse, there is no time to send them to school to get qualified with their (surprise!) new MOS. So they get to stop getting on with their lives and deploy, and do a job they didn't enlist to do and won't receive adequate training for. We have them for 10 days. Training for 46Q is 60; it's the same for 46R, which these three Soldiers will be expected to perform as in theatre. Here's a fucking camera, now go be like AFN. WTF?

It would be like telling me I had to deploy as a light wheeled mechanic or a laundry/shower specialist or a chaplain's assistant. A Soldier is a Soldier is a Soldier, except not really.

And troubling is the fucking apathy toward Soldiers who face this. Just today I had a conversation with two people referencing the three Soldiers I just mentioned, and one of the responses I got was, and I quote, "I don't feel bad for you Soldiers; you all signed on the dotted line." Are you fucking serious? Maybe I, maybe we agreed to be Soldiers, and it's true, we agreed to a number of sacrifices. But when do these sacrifices stop? These three have done their time in the job field they were trained in. Because they "signed on the dotted line," they now deserve what they get? How about protecting those who have already protected the rest of the country?

And for the record, and for those who don't know me, I'm not in the IRR, nor will I be in the near future, if ever. I'm in my second enlistment contract, and I'm sure I'll do 20 years. I'm not outraged/dismayed for myself, you see - it's my brothers and sisters who serve and have served who I'm worried about.

"oh I must have killed a million men
and now they want me back again"

- Phil Ochs "I Ain't Marching Anymore" -

02 February 2009

but somewhat golden like the afternoons we used to spend before you got too cool

Have not had much to blog about lately, but I hate waiting a long time between posts and then have to type one of those horrid update lists.


I am now exactly (as of yesterday) 6 months into my tour with First Army. I'm now in the narrow window in which a decision needs to be made: do I stay here and continue this thankless mission, or do I move on? I've always believed a door will open when I need it, and I have faith that if I decide to move on from this mission, there will be something else for me. But what? Whenever is the devil you don't know better than the devil you know? Remember when I was looking forward to THIS job??

I'll keep you informed, faithful readers, but I've all but made up my mind already...

You ready for a mindfuck? - I've been home from Iraq 8 months yesterday. EIGHT MONTHS. Iraq used to hang on my lips, wrap around my shoulders, hold my hand - for a time (wasn't it always?), Iraq defined me. I was significant because of Iraq. Do you see that? I was superior because I was there, and all my sarcasm, my mood swings, my snootiness, my dark humor, everything was justified because I was in fucking Baghdad. Now I'm nothing, a regular worthless human. Now it feels a little like a dream. 

...Tell me, why does that depress me?


Also - if you hate me for whatever reason I don't understand, if you don't want to talk to me anymore, if you're so caught up in fixing your life that you couldn't possibly have me be a part of it (lest I mess it up like before, right?), please just let me know. Trust me, that will be a million times easier than to hear, "my phone is fucked up" or "our internet got shut off" or whatever. There are no other phones in the greater United States? I think my head just might explode.

"but when I say let's keep in touch
I really mean I wish that you'd grow up"

- Brand New "Mix Tape" -