Brought that I don’t need: Sleeveless civilian PT shirts (not culturally sound)
Am really glad I brought/bought here: Laptop...iPod...Dental floss
- My wife, family, and friends (goes without saying)
- Wrestling with my dog in the living room
- High-bandwidth unrestricted internet (1.5Mbps down, 507kbps up)
- Giving my dad technical support [...]
- “This Week in Tech” Podcast (I don’t have a clue what’s going on in the world of tech. I’m going to return home to find a 1080p plasma screen in the door of my refrigerator and my wife will say “Oh, that old thing?”)
- Normal vehicles (non-HMMWVs)
Don’t Miss: Traffic, Taxes
For some reason, I browsed some military blogs today, finding Milblogging.com a helpful resource.
I learned what some acronyms stand for -
SVBIED: Suicide-Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device. Yikes.
FOB: Forward Operating Base.
OIF: Operation Iraqi Freedom (guess I should have known that one).
Wordsmith at War talks about his army officer tech job in Iraq:
As far as my own Battalion is concerned, we have it pretty good. I manage an internet café that offers 6-8 VOIP phones and 10-14 laptops. We keep it open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We also have an AT&T phone center close by. You simply walk in, sign a roster, and start communicating. There are 5 other internet cafes on our base, and soldiers are free to utilize any of them. [...] We have all these new types of communication technology, and I like kowing how to install, operate, and maintain them. As a Signal Officer, I must say that I love my job.
A Marine's reaction to returning to the U.S. (with a cute photo of happy family):
...Eating the airline chow and watching a few movies seem to make you feel guilty for sitting on your butt for so long doing squat. The airplane landed on the east coast as the pilot stated “Welcome back to the United States Marines” and the plane erupted in cheers...
...Seeing other people in clothes that weren’t desert color...
...This man was chasing a soccer ball behind me and ran up on me as we watched a game. Not a good idea for him as I turned quickly and began to grab him thinking he was a threat. Hey, give me a break he surprised me ya know?? Good for him I didn’t have a weapon. After a little explaining he understood and all was good...
...I cant drive for s*** and I'm terrible with directions around town now. Curbs? Red light…….what red light? I need a 50 cal mounted on my suburban!!...
...Patience……..Im working on it. Coming from having things done by well oiled professionals to well,..... kids…….skreeeeeach! Nothing really has stressed me out as everything here isn’t a life or death situation...
...Having a nice toilet, shower and many other luxuries around the house are great but I do think of the 289 killed and over 2100 wounded we left behind. How their families felt as we returned and they didn’t...
We truly don't realize how much we have been given here in America. We take so much for granted and our perception of the world is so conditioned by the lifestyles that we have been blessed with. And at the risk of sounding pious, you never can fully appreciate what we have until your comfort zone is completely shattered and you are given the opportunity to see how the other half of our world is being forced to live. It's one of those things that I can try my hardest to explain, but my words will always be found lacking. It's not the lack of rounds cracking over my head, it's not the awkward silence when I lay in bed at night or the absence of walking down the street without my rifle that I notice the most...it's being able to watch others go through their day without a care in the world. They have no worries about running over an improvised explosive device planted for coalition forces...they have no concern about returning to their home to find it commandeered by insurgents and their families taken hostage.
...We were supposed to come together and leave together. Now, we are a man short and it hurts. I am going to miss this. This brotherhood that I have. It is not self-serving. We do for the good of the group. There are no favorites. If we lose one, we are weaker than we were before. We look out for each other and genuinely have one another’s best interest foremost in our minds. We are warriors and have a warrior’s bond which no nine-to-five could ever begin to offer. I will miss the life of a warrior. To be able to place my life in the hands of another, and have him place his in mine.
* Heard about it on the car radio on the way to an errand
* My husband called to say people at the office had special glasses for viewing the mooon-covered sun and to make I sure I knew about it (though I didn't have any such glasses).
* Saw a man leaning on his car in the parking lot of the mall, watching.
* Saw a girl at Emily's school carrying home a round eclipse viewing instrument with a happy face printed on it. It looked happier than she did.
* Found out that at Emily's primary school (an educational institution, I understand), the children were kept INSIDE DURING RECESS because of the eclipse. Hmmmm. Not only didn't they get to see the eclipse (perhaps by sharing some viewing glasses?), which is both cool and educational, but they didn't even get to have a proper recess on a perfectly nice day. I may not understand the situation, but I am under the impression this is because they didn't want to children to hurt their eyes looking at the sun. Wouldn't the children's eyes be more hurt by looking at the sun on any given day when there isn't an eclipse? Okay, I can see the logic about them having more desire to gaze skyward today if others are looking, but it still peeves me a bit.
* Asked Jason after school if he saw the eclipse, and he said no. Then he changed his mind after I explained about the moon crossing in front of the sun, and he asserted that some other kids at the collège had the special glasses and they shared them around, but he hadn't know what he was looking at (due to the language difficulties, I guess). Just knew it looked neat.
* At dinner we compared our different experiences relating to the eclipse.
* I didn't tell anyone that I had had the crescent shape of the eclipse seared into my retina for a minute or so at 11:30am because, against all the rules and advice, I had looked directly at the sun for a half-second with regular sunglasses on. I guess maybe I need to go back to primary school and be kept in at recess. No self-control whatsoever. And now my husband and son and mother, who all read this blog, can berate me. The rest of you can just shake your heads.
Ever since Wednesday morning, three days ago, I have been contemplating whether to say anything here about the election. I don't even have a politics category on my blog because I don't usually talk about it. I hate confrontation (uh-oh). I start getting hot, sweating under my arms, and removing unnecessary layers of clothing if someone even seems slightly annoyed with me over the phone. So now I find myself a bit at a loss for words on this subject, for a few reasons. Perhaps it all stems from the problem of being a conservative person in a liberal state who reads mostly blogs that at are least somewhat liberal. I don't want people I know to dislike me, write me hate mail or dismiss me. Yes, I tend to crave approval from authority figures that I respect and just about anybody else. But I think the time has come to confess that I literally jumped up and down with joy when I heard Kerry had conceded and Bush, my candidate, had won decisively. There. Now I've come out of the closet. I am sorry that my joy is at the expense of a little less than half the country's sorrow. Please love me anyway.
I have also wondered whether it is just my personal blogroll that is skewed, or whether bloggers in general tend to be more liberal/Democratic, because the only blog responses to the election that I saw were reactions of disgust or sadness. This despite the fact that over half the voters requested that Bush win over Kerry. I just wanted to put in my two cents' worth of opinion: I'm very, very happy that Bush won. At the same time, I am genuinely sorry for those of you whom this grieves. May we be united on other grounds.