Tuesday, July 25, 2006

This is one of the futile efforts we witness daily. The pond scum is thriving in the 120 degree heat and threatening to completely take over the palace lake. So, the U.S. is spending zillions of dollars to try to stunt this emerging threat. Third country nationals are hired to slave out in little boats in the heat to rake the weeds out of the pond. I need to get a better picture to illustrate the futility of these efforts. It's funny in a very sadistic way.

Hi, ya'll. There's not a lot here that is unpredictable, and anybody who has seen the movie "Groundhog Day" will understand when we use that analogy to describe our lives here. Everything is the same, every day. Wake up, visit the bathroom, then shower. Pick out something different than what you wore yesterday, if you can. Walk to work along your standard route, and wave to and/or avoid the same people you wave to and/or avoid each day (for a while, it was the Philippino/Indian?/American construction crew near the Palace who insisted upon very eager morning greetings...which non-morning people like myself are just NOT good at). Do some standard work stuff with the same people you always work with. Go to chow and look at people in the DFAC (chow hall/meat market). Walk back. More work. Walk home. Work out. Shower. Same, same, same. Every single day.

Well, yesterday, something different happened. Apparently, somebody noticed a suspicious vehicle with wires sticking out of it, and security cordoned off the area and called in the EOD teams. I knew nothing of this, of course, because I was in my office in the palace, and the car was out in front of the palace, near the gate. We didn't find out about the possible VBIED (vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, or "car bomb") until LB and I decided to go out to pick up her hand-me-down refrigerator from the overflow trailers. We were stopped at the palace's front doors by the security soldiers and informed of the investigation going on outside. OK. Cool. No problem. We went upstairs to our office cubicle to wait it out.

That is when I started to realize that I sort of LIKE groundhog day. I like my routine. You see, what happened was, the bomb squad took a while to give the all clear, so we ended up blasting through our usual "lunch at 1130" scheduled event. Hungry Coalition Forces members were gathering at the front doors, eager to get out and go to the chow hall. We were hungry, and we were used to our routine, and we didn't know what to do. We were 30 minutes off schedule by the time they signaled all clear (actually, I heard someone yell "Soup's on!" from down below to signify the opening of the flood gates that are the palace doors), and you'd have thought we were all going to die of starvation. Ridiculous. Thirty minutes late and we were completely discombobulated.

The comfort of our bland and familiar chow set us all back to normal, and we continued through the rest of our groundhog day. Aaaaaaaaand....dddddddd....THE END! The rest of the day was uneventful, and you're not gonna catch me complaining. I worked some more, went to Flak Club, worked a little more, watched "My Name is Earl", and went to bed.

Monday, July 17, 2006

AK-47 Bayonet. Standard Iraqi issue. I've given out a few of these as gifts, and I sometimes forget to include the bit about how this bayonet has two hidden uses. This blog is designed to demonstrate the proper employment of the bayonet's other functions.

It’s more than just a knife for slashing and stabbing. It is also a pair of wire cutters and a hammer.


Hold your bayonet with the eyelet facing to the left. Your left hand should be on the sheath, and your right hand should be on the handle, as shown.

Without adjusting your grip, orient the sheath and bayonet as shown.

Now turn your left hand over, so that the back of your hand is toward you. Bring the blade and sheath tips together so that the sheath and bayonet are crossed. Match the rectangular protrusion (male end) on the sheath’s tip to the notch of the same shape (female end) in the bayonet’s blade.

The wire goes between the protrusion at the tip of the sheath and the sharp part of the knife’s spine. Cut in a scissor-like, chopping fashion.


To make a hammer, match the eye hole (where the rifle muzzle would go) with the slot in the sheath where the blade goes.

Grip by the sheath and hammer carefully.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Welcome to my humble abode.

It's my day off, and I am bored to tears. The Slayer AND the Aussie pools are closed, and it's hot, and there's nothing to do. So I thought I'd blog. Haha. If it weren't for boredom, I'd never get a single blog done.

Recently, they opened up a cool new block of trailers here next to the tents. The new trailer section, called Red Leg, is the new "hip" neighborhood. Shane and Chris got rooms there, and I was assured by the KBR trailer guy that I would, too. He said there was no doubt. I didn't even care about getting a trailer until he said that, so, of course, I got my hopes up. See, Red Leg would be ideal, because it is very close to work, it's right next to my old tent neighborhood, and it is near my old familiar showers and toilets.

Well, I got called for a trailer, and it turns out it is in Freedom Village, not Red Leg. Before Red Leg was promised to me, I would have considered Freedom Village ideal. It's better than the other trailer area, Dodge City North, and it is considered a very good "neighborhood."

Well, the internet doesn't work there now, and it is a hike to the toilets and showers from there, so I haven't moved in yet. I am the only person in my tent, and it's rather comfortable, so I'm going to stay. I've an entire 10-person tent all to myself!

So, that's about it.
My mess.

Monday, July 10, 2006



My “Defender Mama” behind the wheel of my new baby. Check out the pipes on Katie!

My parents are total rock stars, and I have pictures to prove it. My mom, Katie, drove 700 miles from San Jose, CA, to Boise, ID with my new Defender. She is now a certified “Defender Mama.” It’s a suitable title, I think. I mean, she’s totally hot, and totally buff, and she can Tai Kwon Do the crap out of anybody with her black-belt skills (seriously, my mom is a black belt). And it’s a good thing, too, because the poor woman got stuck in Winnemucca, NV, in the middle of nowhere, with a busted alternator. She got that fixed, plus a few other problems, and now my Defender is home, safe and sound. My parents have fallen in love with my new baby, and they have spent hours and hours fawning over her and pampering her. They scrubbed her up, even going so far as to hook their power washer up to the water heater so she could be scrubbed with hot water and a moisturizing body scrub. Afterward, my dad, Vaughn, who my friends here say looks like Sean Connery (my USNA friends call him the Silver Fox), even polished her with some sort of canopy cleaner. My parents are the best.

Sean Connery washes my car. OK, fine. It’s my dad, but LB thought he was Sean Connery.

My expedition leader from Drive Around the World, Nick Baggarly, hid this Baltika 9 (the note says “Good job, Nancy!”) in my spare tire cover. The special significance is that that was our favorite beverage while we were driving through Siberia.

From chanda My friend Chanda, also a Drive Around the World teammate and dear friend, helped me acquire my Defender by picking it up from the seller and arranging to help my mom come and get it. She added the blue ribbons and a super-cool beaded keychain. Thanks, Chanda.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Charlie's Angels
Check out the hot chick in the middle!
We had a smashing 4th of July celebration here at the Lincoln Group headquarters. Our pals were able to access a private swimming pool, and they invited us to celebrate with them. We had SO much fun. We swam and had a BBQ, danced, and took silly pictures. As these photos will attest, a good time was had by all.

The Lincoln microcosm…a small portion of the Lincoln Group. Jess, Arnoux, and Nadine.

Kristy gets launched by Shane and Mat. WEEEE!

LB keeps a safe distance from the shenanigans.

Mat, Kristy, Nancy, Brian pose for a self portrait.

The hashers. Not a bad turnout at all for 6:30 in the morning!

We had a special 4th of July hash Tuesday morning, in lieu of our usual Sunday night hash. I am SO impressed with the hares, who brought red/white/blue things galore for all of us to rejoice with. (I’m aware that I ended that in a preposition.) They had leis, and hats, and tiny little flags and confetti, and even a patriotic piñata. The hash was speckled with red white and blue additives, and we followed the trail around the base with Old Glory a flappin’ in the breeze as we ran.

I love it when soldiers accessorize with their reflecto belts.

The hounds are hot on the trail…in more ways than one. (I can name 3 ways. How many can you name?)

The hash on the ground spells NBN, for “near beer near.” The hounds are refueling in the background.

One of our hares (on the right), and a hound. Check out the Uncle Sam piñata and the sweet M16! You won’t see those at most home town hashes…

The instigator. Our hare. I can’t tell you her hash name, because it is a secret.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Flak Club plankowners: Ami, Raja, Nancy.

As I've mentioned in a previous blog or two, I run here each Sunday with the Lost Lake Hash House Harriers (L2H3).
Well, this Sunday's hash was cancelled in lieu of a special 0630 4th of July run Tuesday. A few of us were talking during Saturday's BBQ, and we decided it would be fun to hold a hash on Sunday, regular time, in addition to the 4th of July hash.
I sent a message out to the group, and I informed them of the following:
Hashers, A few of us were talking yesterday, and we decided there should be a hash run today, in addition to the 4th of July hash. To make it easy, we will forego the haring and the hashish and just "run"...
CheyenneDoHer and I are thinking we should do a Lost Lake H2 Flak Vest run. 1.66 miles. 'Round the lake...
Meeting at boxing ring, with flaks, at 1700. Be there or be square...
And here are some replies I received:
Hmmmmm, to "make it easy and forgo the haring and hashish and just 'run'" Sure doesn't sound like hashing to me at all, it just sounds like running. Which is not what we in the L2H3 do, last time I checked. Hope you enjoyed your run...
OK... Let me get my head wrapped around this...A (Former Marine) Female Officer in a largely Army-centric Male environment suggesting that we double-up on the weekend's Hashing activities by suggesting a 'Flak Vest' fun-run... HUmmmm?Now that is HARD! ... I don't know if I should Shamed or (what). Either way, I Like It!!! Sadly- I work nights and can not play. Maybe next time, T.S. I will however, be there with bells on Tuesday Morning!On-On!!!-
At any rate, we decided, due to the success of our flak run, to form a new club. It isn't yet named, but we're thinking either "Can you Flak it?" or "Flak Club." Please go ahead and vote or send recommendations. We meet every Wednesday and Friday at Lost Lake, at 1830...for all you who are reading this from Iraq and would like to play. All levels of skills and abilities. Walkers welcome. Flaks required.
Flak Club founders: Ami, Raja, Paul, Nancy.

The first rule of Flak Club is, you don't talk about Flak Club.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

My new automobile. 1993 NAS Defender 110.

Hello, boys and girls.

For the longest time, I have been desperate to own a Land Rover Defender 110. Well, after searching and searching online for these elusive creatures, I decided to give up my hopeless search. You see, Land Rover Defender 110s were only imported to the U.S. in 1993, and only in a limited quantity of 500. Land Rover enthusiasts think of the Defender as the best and most desirable Rover, so, as you can imagine, they are hard to come by. There's lots of collectors out there, and the 110 is often at the top of their list of desires.

The high demand and low quantity make the 110 extremely expensive, even though they are all 13 years old and a little weathered. Even rust buckets with high miles often go for $40K or more on Ebay motors. So, after months of searching, I gave up.

Recently, though, I was on the way home from the PX with my friends, and I saw one of the Aussie or Brit Defenders. I thought, "Man, I still love that vehicle." I got online as soon as I returned to the office, and instead of looking on Ebay, I searched AutoTrader.com. AND I FOUND ONE IN CALIFORNIA FOR A DECENT PRICE!!!

I made an offer, and he accepted, and now I have a Defender 110. Anyhow, I am psyched to get home and meet my new baby. My mom is flyig out this week to pick her up and take her to Boise until I return from here. Just wanted you all to know about my new addition! Yea!

Check out the details: http://www.airsoftwest.com/defender.html (Two corrections: the tranny/gearbox/etc. was replaced at 120k miles, not 80k, and it is 439 of 500, not 463.)

Saturday, July 01, 2006

M-16s getting friendly at the pool

We had an absolute blast during our first Saturday excursion to the Slayer pool, so we decided to host a BBQ there this Saturday. We invited the IED team, my team, and all of our fabulous friends.

A whole bunch of smokin'-hot boys and girls (the boys insisted) showed up (minus all but 3 of the IED team), and we had SO much fun. The PX was out of burgers, so we cooked filets and T-bones, and it was amazing. I don't want to talk too much about how excruciatingly fun it was, because I still want some of you to feel sorry for us for being here in Iraq. But it was GREAT! We all caught some rays, ate some yummy chow, played catch, and chatted with new friends. We had enough food to feed the whole pool, so we're pretty popular now. The good news is, it's only 5 days until our next pool day! Yea!!!
Business meeting.

No, they aren't Abercrombie models...they're USNA grads.

Hayder mans the grill...mmm....steak!

Shane struts his stuff on the shore...

Me with my Hash buddies, Raja and Pete.