Thursday, March 20, 2008

Waking Up in a Hurry

In 2004 I ordered some brand new CHUs (Containerized Housing Units) for Camp Taji. I had been told that the Division HQ was going to move from Camp Liberty to Taji and to get ready for VIP housing. We spared no expense and dolled up some hard structure 2 story buildings for the Generals and ordered one man, wet CHUs (wet means it has its own toilet and shower) for the other VIPs. Keep in mind that most personnel on post lived 2 -4 to a room. These were full 12x40 trailer houses that would have made Brittany Spears homesick for rural Louisiana.
Well........the Division never moved. They stayed in Baghdad. Their loss, our gain. I moved my staff into the 1 man wets. I had my own living room, bedroom, shower, toilet, and TV. I was in hog heaven after living in GP Medium tents, the Hotel California, and sleeping in an Excursion. This was heaven and I wound up living in that CHU for a year and a half.
My first night in I tucked myself into that brand new full sized bed and went off to sandman land. You know how it is the first night anywhere. You don't really get a good sleep because it is a strange place. You don't know where anything is and just don't feel fully comfortable. I finally dozed off and went nappy.
WHOOM! I was tossed out of bed amidst a crash of thunder. I knew that we were taking incoming and I jumped up out of my destroyed bed to run to the bunker. Keep in mind. I'm in a new place. I did not run to the door. I ran into the door. I hit it so hard I knocked myself backwards and into the destroyed bed again. I then just went to the floor and waited for the next round. I knew that if one had hit this close it was most likely that the next one would land farther away. I waited. I waited some more. I then started to get puzzled.
There was no second round. There was no alarm. I got up and made a crab walk to the door and opened it. Nothing stirred, all was well. I stood up and found the light switch and flipped it up. The room instantly was ablazon with light and I noticed that the bed was all askew but everything else was fine except my nose which felt like it was broken.
I lifted the covers and pulled up the mattress and found out what happened. My big ass moved around during the night and caused the slats to shift which dumped the box springs, mattress and me into the floor. That was the crash and bang I heard. Not incoming, just me and the bed hitting the floor. I drug the mattress into the corner and made a pallet on it. Needless to say I did not sleep well the rest of the night.
Big Lou and Bob thought it was pretty damn funny too. I took a a lot of heat for that until Big Lou had the same thing happen to him. Funny how he reacted to that and got the carpenters to make new slats post haste.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My Saudi Arabian Adventure Blog

OK, I started two new blogs. One is called 'The Magic Kingdom' and it is all about my time in Saudi Arabia. You can find it at:

The other one is called simply "42", I will use this one for personal ramblings and observations plus my past travels like my 2001 trip to Russia. It is located at:

Happy reading! I just hope I can write enough to keep it all interesting.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Winning the fight, one doll at a time

Here is another Good News Story just completely ignored by the MSM. This is how we win. We show compassion, honesty and our human side to the children. The adults may revile us but the kids won't, especially these kids. For the story go to

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I seen that train a rollin.....

I got an email this morning stating that Camp Taji had a train come in. This is the first train to come in the gates since 2003. I remember the last one. It was a Turkish built model and they were going to use it to haul a flatbed car with a couple of T-55s for war trophies for some National Guard units. The locomotive went south to Baghdad for something and the bad guys promptly blew up the tracks. We never saw the locomotive again.
Well, I saw it this morning. It appears to be the very same locomotive that was there in 2003.
This is another sign that things are getting better but did you hear about this in the MSM? Of course not. No one died, no political candidate could use this as fodder for the gristmill. It is non news except to those of us who have been there. This is the kind of news I like hearing.
For a link to the website with photos try:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Before I left I bought those fancy, shmansy laptops at CompUSA. The Mrs. and I finally figured out how to link up via Skype and we have been happily webcamming away at night. T-Man thinks it is way cool and he and I conduct our Jedi Light Saber combat via the WWW. he and I back up a few feet and twirl around making "whoosh" sounds while we swing our "Air Sabers". The dogs hear me talking and head for the door thinking that I am at the door to take them for a walk.
I always wanted to do that in Iraq but the insidious firewall there prevented me from being able to do so. I still can't do it from work but since I have Saudi Internet in my room it has none of that protection and I can stream video away. Of course my Norton has stopped two Trojan Horse viruses also that the insidious firewall in Iraq would have blocked. I guess you have to understand security to understand why they do it that way. To have real security you give up some liberties and freedoms. I can deal with that on a temporary basis but not permanently.
I'm at a point right now where I already have to make some decisions. Since this gig is TDY I have to decide what my future course of employment will be. I have several offers on the table. I do NOT want to go back to Iraq and will use that as a last resort unless they pay me scads of money. I do not want to be in any dry country unless it is a set up like here where I can get a beer at least once a week. I'm also really sick and tired of being in hot places all the time. I really desire some seasonal changes other than "Summer" and "Hell". Of course there are working hours too. I don't want anymore 7 days a week, 12 hours a day gigs.
I guess what I really need is for a short war to break out in Poland or Norway. It will then be a Peacekeeping mission with a NATO base so we can have open canteens like Sarajevo had. That or would some one please look for oil in the Bahamas or New Zealand?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

I'm here, where's the beer?

OK. It's kind of weird now. No base. No uniforms. No weapons everywhere. No convoys. No PX. No DFACs. No women. Lots of sand and dirt. I knew it would be different but in a weird way I miss the action zone already.
It's OK though. I actually got a day off the day after I arrived. Seems the Saudis have an inviolable law which states that no one works on Friday. This means that the country basically shuts down on Friday. A bunch of the other guys took off for Bahrain for libations but I stayed and slept.
Anyway, I live on a compound that reminds me of a dingy Motel 6 but it's groovy to me. My own room, my own shower, a fridge and TV. Sort of cool but no AFN, just Saudi satellite TV. The Internet in the compound is controlled by them also. I couldn't even get onto Fox Sports because they list it is "Pornography". Seems they take offense to the fact that there are pictures of cheerleaders. I guess that means we won't get any USO shows from the Redskins cheerleaders either.
Oh well, more to come.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Wireless Blogging

I am sitting in the Admiral's Club in Austin, Texas writing this. My flight is delayed so I sit here, linked up and with a cold Shiner Bock beer at my side. I won't get much beer for the next 90 days and maybe none so I am taking advantage of it.

I remember a couple of years ago sitting in the British Airways club in Dubai with Dave from daves-not-here. He pulled out a monster laptop, went online and started a blog feed. I told him that he was such a geek that I needed to go sit somewhere else. Well here I am 2 years later being a geek. I do also remember that Dave moaned about his monster laptop as it was so big to haul around. That does not really bother me as I need all the help I can get reading. Besides, i bought this one more for entertainment than anything else so i don't mind....yet.

My wife, son, and father in law took me to the airport. This trip is a little weird. I am going to a place I have not been to for over 20 years, to an unknown situation, to work with people I don't know. I also found out late that there are very few Americans involved in this operation and that I will be one of a fistfull of Yanks in British controlled operation. I'll be OK. I actually like English Football so I can talk sports with them.

Chat later when I get where I am going.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Bad for CompUSA, Good for me

I was driving down highway 183 in North Austin on Wednesday on my way to the deli and saw a signboard dude with a sign stating that Comp USA was going out of business and had everything 50% off. I went in and they had everything 50% off except laptops and CPUs which were at varying percentages off.
I have been wanting a new laptop to take with me to Saudi Arabia as the company firewall does not allow streaming video so no webcam action will work. I had been hesitating because I am kind of tight with my money right now but I found an HP Pavilion dv9620 for $739.00 This was marked down from $1200.00. I bought it, a wireless router ( Since it is a wireless laptop that makes sense, right?) and a docking station. I came home fearful that Mrs. MiG was going to be all twisted up. Nope, she wanted one too. Since the store was being mobbed by techies from the Central Texas area I hustled in and found one more identical model new in the box. I bought it too. Now we are both armed with wireless, webcam, 17 inch screen laptops with a remote control for the DVD player.
My sister came over and we showed them to her. Her boyfriend is still in Iraq but he calls her every night. She told him what I had bought and he wanted one too. I warned my sister not to be disappointed as stock was running low but we went and were there Saturday morning at 10:00 when the doors opened. Seems they had a little surprise for everyone. They had brought in laptops from all the other stores that closed and they were 50% off. She wound up buying two of the same computers I had bought for her boyfriend. He will leave one in Iraq and one here in Texas and just carry a hard drive with him. This means that we bought 4 of these identical laptops for our family. I didn't seem weird though as I saw one guy who had 6 laptops he was buying for family.
I found two of those big planter speakers for outdoor use sitting in an aisle. They are the type that have a big speaker in the bottom and you actually place a plant in it. Two of these would be perfect for the deck we are going to build. They were marked $379.00 each and I got them for 80% off.
All in all I bought 2 computers, 2 speakers, two logitech wireless keyboard mouse systems, two laptop stands, two laptop coolers, a photo printer, a business card reader, power supply, surge protector, two cases, docking station, 3 digital picture frames, 4 video cameras, wireless router, two PC wireless PCI adapters, a wireless adapter for our printer, and several different software packages plus three video games. All in all I spent about 40% of retail for all of this. I am a happy camper.
My credit card has not seen this much action in a long time so it means that tomorrows flight to Saudi Arabia now has a bigger purpose. I gotta pay for all of this!
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