Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Travel Day

I'll be on the road a good bit today. Headed north to Kingman/Bullhead City, AZ for a follow-up, then to Lake Havasu to meet with the recruiter there, then to Needles, CA for an appointment with a kid who wants to work on the railroad ('Till Gabirel blows his horn).

Something I love about AZ, and it's also something I hate, is that the roads are open and quiet. I love it because you can put the cruise control at about 80 and only need to adjust it when going through some dot on the map. The mountains, hills, valleys, and canyons make for some time wasters as well. Although it's been well over a decade I do find geology interesting and I'm curious where some of the stratification in the rocks out here come from. You'll see strips of different colored rock interwoven into the cuts for the highway and I'm curious what happened during that epoch which made the rock look different. Was it from a time when AZ was underwater? Or from a time when AZ was located where the west coast of Africa is now? It's neat and it keeps me attentive.

However I do hate the single lane road. You get behind some RV and you'll be doing 50 for the next half hour until you're lucky enough to pass, or hit a passing lane. Supposedly they're going to work on widening the roads out there to improve the Phoenix-Vegas corridor, but that won't help me today.

I just learned what a Joshua tree was. Hooray learning!

I'll be driving through the Joshua Tree National Forest. I don't know if you've ever seen one of these up close, but they are a really weird looking plant. It's like a cactus, pine tree, and a palm tree got drunk one night and had some sort of plant threeway. And that reminds me of another weird drunken night. Don't look at me like that. It's funny.

Anyway, didn't sleep very well last night so I'm actually going to try and snag another hour of shut-eye. I shouldn't have had that cup of coffee first though.


Apparently a couple folks have had exposure to the Joshua tree. I had no idea. One of the people is a young NCO currently going through the ARC. I can't speak for any other recruiters, but they're just so damned cute when they come out of ARC. All thinking everyone is going to join. The bestest part is the new story being told about how if you write 50 contracts you're allowed to go back to the Army.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Falls Apart

I've been listening to the band Hurt a bit lately. Last night in about a five minute span the lyrics to their song "Fall Apart" made far too much sense to me. While I've often misunderstood the lyrics to a song, I know this isn't perfect for what I've done but the emotion in the song works for me.

I'm going to be the death of me. I know it.

In brighter news sometime commenter Christina has her own blog. She's a massage therapist in Vegas. No, not that kind of Vegas massage therapist. Her first post on the page is about breasts.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Got home from the ATC last night. My third ATC and hopefully I've got just one left. The previous ATC was salvaged by the fact that, while it was boring it was in a town with plenty of casinos. This year's event was located about a block from the battalion and 15 miles from my house.

We got some kind-of-useful training and were introduced to a new bit of software that prepares a very pretty looking chart. While the value of the pretty chart may be dubious to recruiting it's something different and it gives me a new toy with which to play.

I've been to a couple of conferences in my time in the Army. Training conferences during my time in Retention and as a unit Full Time Support. Each of them required me to pay a registration fee, usually around 10 bucks for each person attending. My time in recruiting has seen me spend between 28 and 34 bucks per head. WTF. When I spend $34 bucks per person on a meal I want a full meal, free refills on soda, and there'd better be a couple of brews on the bill. Instead on the table is a slightly undercooked thigh of chicken, water, and a salad that's five leaves of lettuce, a single cherry tomato, and a slice of cold apple pie. Luckily I wasn't SGT Cheeks who paid for two meals but only received one since his wife had to go out of town at the last moment.

Oh well, Monday the fun starts all anew.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


I'm not a media hound by any stretch of the imagination. The extent of my media savvy consists of four years of journalism in high school and a semester of Journalism 101 in college. But it is a subject I've touched on in the past. And it seems that people far smarter than me, who are better writers, and justly have a far greater readership have seen it too.

I have made it my policy to avoid politics as best I can. I don't think it's a proper topic for a writer currently in the service to announce their voting preferences. Besides, if my seven readers can't get a good idea of how I vote based on my writing, or the fact I have lived (Hi mom!), or are currently living with them (Hi Mrs. SFC B), well, then, you're just not paying attention. However I do believe that the War on Terror currently being fought in Afghanistan, Iraq, and around the world is a topic that, while political, is not a political topic (it's a difference that makes sense in my mind). In my opinion the motives for the war, the prosecution of the war, and the direction of the war are all topics that need discussion in the public. However it is also my opinion that someone who thinks the war needed have been fought in the first place is, as I'd mentioned before, someone who is just not paying attention.

I admit to having been caught off-guard by the extent of hatred in the muslim world for the west in general and America in particular (I dislike painting with the broad brush of "muslim world" but, well, it's accurate). I knew that there were a lot of people there who didn't like America but I foolishly thought it was a localized thing. You know Saddam, Iran, and the Palestinians. I was aware of Osama because of the attacks on the embassies and on the Cole, but aside from that he was a face on the FBI list. I was more interested in Whitey Bulger because living in South Boston I was actually treading in the ground of a mobster.

9-11 changed that and it also opened my eyes to a very ugly side of reality. It's that reality which we've been at war with since that dark day.

I doubt there's a military force which can reasonably be expected to stay on the battlefield against the full might of the United States military. While there are larger forces or forces that are just as well equipped or trained, there is no force that is as large AND as well equipped AND as well trained. And for good measure also has the capability to project that force around the world. I've read many pundits who believe that China is the next big military threat, and that may be true, but the Chinese are not stationed off the US coast while the US has had bases in Japan and Korea for decades, and supports a Chinese providence/ quasi-country in Taiwan.

However while we'd be able to run the field on just about any scenario in a "war game simulator" we're a little less skilled in peace-keeping missions. Or, well, we were. There are valuable lessons being learned in Iraq, and changes are coming in the form of updated manuals which will hopefully lead to better actions. The one phase of the war where we get kicked up and down the battlefield though is in the media. Wow, do we not do a good job in the media.

As Greyhawk talked about not only are we losing the propaganda war, the news agencies are AWARE that they're being used, and they make no mention of it at all. This is not being some naive "useful idiot" like during the Cold War. CNN's airing of an insurgent produced sniper video is possibly the first step to a Tokyo Rose. Now, if they're going to play right into the hands of the insurgency could they at least possibly show what also happens to snipers attacking US trooops?

I'd mentioned earlier in this post that I took some journalism classes. I did that for about a year before switching to history as my major. History was something I'd always enjoyed, and I actually know a bit about. Granted, it's been nearly a decade since I actually studied history, but I do remember a couple lessons. Recently President Bush was interviewed and he remarked about similarities between Iraq and Vietnam. Not the quagmire analogy which sets so many "anti" types hearts aflitter, but the fact that a stunning military success, and a stabilizing situation is twisted in the media to show only a crushing defeat. One of the lessons I took from my History of Vietnam class was that the Tet Offensive was a terrible military defeat for the NVA and the Viet Cong. They failed to achieve any of their tactical objectives, and the Viet Cong were almost crippled by losses suffered at the hands of the US and the South Vietnamese forces.

That fact had stayed with me all this time because it was something that went against everything I'd learned about Vietnam up to that point. When the Tet Offensive was discussed for a day in my high school history class is was simply the "turning point" in Vietnam. No discussion of why it was a turning point. It was a turning point because some talking head at a news desk made it so.

Yes, I know it's unfair of me to lay such blame of such a complex event on a singluar source. But really, I don't think it can be much starker. If the media exercies a bit of caution or restraint Tet is not treated as proof of an enemy too strong to be defeated and a wall of stark black stone is not a memorial to honorable men whose memory was spat upon by their contemporairies.

Michael Yon's struggles with the military approving his embedding are a sympton of the events all those years ago. Since Vietnam the military has been involved in an adversarial relationship with media outlets. Neither side is without sin. While the media is likely to play fast and loose with security us in the military are sometimes guilty of being overprotective of information even to our own detriment. Yes, the enemy is out there and the enemy is listening, but so are the families of hundreds of thousands of Soldiers, and the millions who support them, and they will not get the truth about what happens in the War on Terror from the mass media. They simply won't. The mass media is too beholden to a need to reach a large audience to care about the well-being of a single unit. But that single unit can maintain a web site which will allow them to keep in touch with the family back home. And those family share with others and from the grassroots level CNN's actions as a tool for insurgent propaganda can be countered.

A military agency that protects embed slots like they were having to pay for them out of pocket does not help that cause.

Anyway it's late, I'm tired, and later today my fantasy football team will match up with SSG Tomas' in a battle for a strangle hold on second place in the league.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Maynard James Keenan of TOOL lives in Sedona, AZ and has a vineyard!

Fricken' sweet!

Mrs. SFC B and I are planning a trip north now.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


As it seems to always be the case my time at MEPS on Monday was not productive. My time on today was shaping up to even worse, but the clouds parted and a ray of sunshine shone through. My motivating applicant signed his contract and life was good. Granted, it was good a day too late to mission box, but it's not like I didn't need a contract this month too.

Lest I be accused of sand-bagging, the difference between him enlisting today and yesterday was about 100 incentive points and anywhere between $100 and $600 dollars in my checking account. I wasn't sand-bagging. But as I said, I needed a contract this month so now it's done and I can work on the next one.

I've been tired a lot lately. The early mornings for MMA training catch up to me during the day. And then recently I had a lot of early Tuesday-Thursdays to take care of recruiting things. But when I get home I don't fall right asleep.

Recruiting has become this all-encompassing part of my life. There are so few times when it isn't at the front of my mind. Thinking about people whom I'm working. Thinking about how I can go about getting a particular job they want. Thinking about the work that I need to do, yet don't want to. It really is a drain. Even on a good day when a contract enlists it's a 12 hour day. In about the past month and a half I've had a handful of days where I literally didn't get home until the day after I went to work. I have the newest GOV in our lot at a little under a year old, yet I've put more miles on it than some of the vehicles that we've had for two years. I drive constantly and everywhere. If it's west of I-17 and north of I-8 I've probably driven through it. If it sells Coke I've probably stopped there.

I want to think there's a light at the end of the tunnel. I've even fooled myself once or twice into thinking the tour is drawing to a close. But I know it's not. I don't have orders, and to think that way is to set myself up for horrific disappointment. The sort of disappointment that will result in me sleeping it off in the bath tub because it makes cleaning up easier. I know I shouldn't drink to escape my problems, but thinking about getting extended in recruiting made me go to the fridge and get a long neck.

mmmmmmm... frosty cold.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Lazy Sunday

Been chilling out at home for most of the day. Despite a bit of worry during the first half of the morning footballs games my office fantasy football team managed to jump to a big lead that should hold. Steve Smith is ungodly.

I've got Weird Al on the iTunes right now. Straight Outta Lynwood has the usual assortment of parody brilliance and filler. My favorite track from the past few Weird Al albums have been his polka mixes of the rock/pop/hip-hop top tunes from the year. This one is no different.

I've got a 09L going downtown in the morning. MEPS caused the usual pain and suffering by forgetting to let us know that my applicant required a waiver for flat feet until after the doctor had left for the day. So he should have joined on Friday but he'll join tomorrow, Mission Monday. It's going to be a long one. But it will box the station, and also lower our mission for the month allowing us to overproduce for the next month. I think if all goes right we might box the Reserves for the quarter next month. If that happens nothing will change. Will still be working long hours because there is no such thing as being "ahead".

That's my advice for any new recruiters out there reading this. You will NEVER be ahead. Ever. When you think you are, you're not. You're behind on something, and that something is what will become the new "most important thing to do to produce."

Gmail's spam filter seems to have been fooled again. I'm getting a lot more email about me winning the International European Lottery. All I need to do to collect my $17,000,000 Euros is provide my checking account info and PIN number.

Sweet. The Interceptor will be mine!

Speaking of, I hope the dealership where I'll buy my Interceptor doesn't read this blog. 'Cause if they do then they'll know I'll pay seriously extra money to get the VFR in the classic Interceptor colors. I'd hoped to get one in Honda Red, but that was before I knew they were brining the red, white, and blue back. That single-sided swing arm and dual underseat exhaust makes me feel tingly in places best left untold. And that's before the paint job is taken into account. Suffice to say I likes it.

However what I don't like is when a published story gets very basic military structure wrong. Army Lawyer pointed out a story in Marie Claire where they interviewed Lynndie England, the grinning fool in the Abu Gharib photos. The article is the hard-hitting journalism one comes to expect from Marie Claire, and while it doesn't paint a wholly sympathetic picture of England, it does manage to show her to be painfully naive at best and sluttingly stupid at worst (I don't like that description but it really is the best I could come up with). However the writer makes, in my opinion, a simple mistake that betrays a horrifying lack of knowledge about the background of her subject.
The army put England on its reservist list.
The Army did not put England on its "reservist" list. She enlisted into the Army Reserve.

I've had a couple of reporters read this blog. Let me put this out there for the next one. I'm hoping this will come off as simple. There are "services" and there are "components". A "service" would be the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, etc. Components are the active and the reserve parts of the services. Regular Army, Army Reserve, Regular Navy, Navy Reserve, etc. The Army is made up of the Regular Army, the Army Reserve, and the Army National Guard. The Reserve and the Guard are both reserve components.

England did not get her name put on some waiting list or some sort of military line outside the club. She enlisted into a particular service and component with the obligation inherent in that choice. That she turned into the play thing for one of the long time members of the unit is just another example of the depressing breakdown seen in this case.

When Abu Gharib first broke back in 2003 I was still assigned to the 94th RRC. At the time I talked with the others in the office and I remarked that this event is the sort of thing that will destroy the war effort. That regardless of what actually transpired (at the time the only things known were what the pictures contained) the images make for such a simple and damaging narrative that the only thing people will remember will be the pictures, and the pictures tell a very graphic story. When a member of the US government later wen onto the floor of the Congress and said that Abu Gharib was opened under new management I knew my prediction had been borne true. Somehow the questionable embarassment of detained Iraqis was equated to the tortue and execution of tens of thousands of prisoners, and the war effort was set back.

There is a movie coming out about the story of the picture of the raising of the flag on Mt. Suribachi. Part of the movie focuses on the surviving members of the group that raise the flag on Iwo Jima and their part in the war bond drive. While I'm sure a more educated historian would point out that the bond drive and and the propaganda effort associtated with the picture had a minimal impact on the actual outcome of the war, that one simple picture became an enduring symbol and helped keep the American people supporting what was a very slow and bloody campaign. I'm curious if 50 years from now a movie won't be made about the actions of England, Graner, Karpinski and the rest won't be made into some movie. Who am I kidding, I'm sure there is a script in the works right now.

Maybe if I was someone who hadn't been in the miltary for over a decade, and still had an ounce of sympathy for people who do painfully stupid things, I'd feel bad for her. But I am and I don't. The actions of those MPs have done horrific damage to the work being done in Iraq. They were in the wrong to have done what they did, they were doubly wrong to have recorded it, and triply wrong to have sent out the evidence to the entire world. They deserved their fate, and probably worse.

Anyways... it's late and I've got to get up to take someone downtown in the early morning.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Army Strong

It seems I'm the latest in the recruiter-blog world to comment on the new slogan. While "An Army of One" never appealed to me at any level, "Army Strong" while short and simple strikes me as almost overly simple. Almost a "fire bad" level of simple. Far be it of me to question the result of a $1,000,000,000 contract with an ad company, and it's not like I can think of anything better. However, where "Army of One" kicked off with the commercial of some specialist running in the opposite direction from the other troops talking about what an individual he was, the "Army Strong" campaign kicks off with a really good video.

The video seems inspired by the "motivating" videos which I've usually seen shown during Army graduation ceremonies. Usually montages set to "Proud to be an American" or "American Soldier". However rather than paying royalties to Toby Keith, Lee Greenwood, or Daryl Worley, the new video uses it's own intense instrumental piece. I have no idea what the name of the piece is, or who performs it, but it's very ochestral and it works for me. It sounds like the opening to some blockbuster Hollywood war movie.

Aside from the score I was very, very, very glad to read this in the video:
There is nothing on this green Earth that is stronger than the US Army because there is nothing on this green Earth that is stronger than a US Army Soldier.
The Army, in my opinion, has done a less than stellar job in showcasing how powerful and elite it is to be a Soldier. With that sentance I've been given hope that maybe the next commercial won't include some kid smarting off to his mom about college money or some other kid being an obnoxious prick to his new co-workers.

November 9th will mark the official start of the "Army Strong" campaign. Maybe they'll release some cool logos which will be added to my regal, purple background.

Help needed

Normally I won't pass on stuff from other blogs, I like to come up with my own insanity and stupidity. But Holly over at Politics of a Patriot is a special case. She's done some good stuff for people in uniform and it would have been rude of me to not pass her request on to my other six readers (Hi Mom!).

OK, I have a favor to ask. There is a young soldier (a 23 year old Tennessee National Guardsman) named Sgt. Kevin Downs. He was blown out of his tank in Baghdad a year ago and left with no feet, mangled arms, and burns over 60% of his body. He is a Tennessee boy. Everyone else in the tank was killed. His condition is not good. A surgery to improve the use of fingers on one hand inadvertently caused previous skin grafts to break down, and the grafts on his legs are cracking as well and may require beginning over at square one.Kevin is tired and low in spirits. He needs our prayers and support through cards. Would you please send him a note or card to let him know you are thinking about him? Remember him in your prayers as well. Now I am going to ask a special favor from me. Would you please send this to as many people that you can in your e-mail addresses? I would love to see him get cards from everywhere and hopefully he will know that people all over the country appreciate him leaving the safety of his home and country and fighting for our freedoms. I love America and know that it could very well be one of my family members. Thank you for all that you will do. God Bless.

His address is:
Sgt Kevin Downs
Brooke Army Medical Center
3851 Roger Brooke Dr.
Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234 USA

Sgt Kevin Downs
PO Box 118
Kingston Springs, TN 37028

If you're the letter qriting sort please pass on some good tidings to SGT Downs.

Monday, October 09, 2006


Today is the second anniversary for Mrs. SFC B and I. I wish I could say I had something wonderful planned, but I don't. I did last year and it didn't go well. However I highly recommend everyone drives a Porsche Boxster during their life.

Mrs. SFC B and I first met on the first Thanksgiving after 9-11. It was a weird time in my life. A relationship was drawing to a close. I'd been hit by a car while on my first motorcycle. And I was drinking Scorpion Bowls at a Chinese buffet on Thanksgiving Day. Not exactly traditional. Mrs. SFC B walked in with a mutual friend. She was cute and I was very dorky, however she decided to talk with me and asked about the shreadded shoulder on my jacket. It was because of the aforementioned accident. Any possible connection was blocked though when another mutual friend decided that was the moment to show the world what he'd had for dinner (pimentos were involved). 151 is a harsh mistress.

Time passed, we never talked and I, honestly, hadn't thought about her. There was other things in my life at the time. Christmas rolls around and then New Years. It was at a New Year's Eve party where I saw her in full light and she was gorgeous. I can't explain in detail why she was beautiful to me because, well, Mrs. SFC B will hit me if I do. Suffice to say I thought she was heavenly. As I prepared to leave I summoned the courage to ask for her number (in a very suave way if I say so myself) and she was drunk enough to actually give me her real number.

Our first date was at a Joe's American Bar and Grill and it was as akward as any other first date I'd ever had, yet for some reason she didn't block my number and move three states away. This was different and encouraging. Over the next few months we went out several times. She dug my new motorcycle and the fact I was a man in uniform. To this day I tell male prospects that chicks dig the uniform.

Our wedding was an interesting event. The day was beautiful and seeing her in her dress, walking down the aisle made my heart go a bit a flitter. It's not like I'd never seen her looking stunning before, but that was a moment where... well... I'll remember it long after I've forgotten my own name. I don't remember much about the ceremony after that. Some poetry was read; I didn't get it. I don't even remember my vows. I'd written them myself and spent the night before the wedding memorizing them, but the effort to say them slowly, clearly, and correctly also wiped them from my memory. I'm very sad for that loss. Photos were taken, lots of photos were taken, and that is also fuzzy. The next clear moment I have is the first dance.

I'm going to take a serious beating in the office for admitting this but the song we first danced to was "Your Song" from Moulin Rouge. My memory goes from wonderful loving thoughts to sheer abject terror at the thought of having to dance in front of my friends, family, rater, and senior rater the moment Ewan MacGregor goes "My gift is my song." However by some miracle I made it through without hurting anyone.

The cake was delicious. Three layers, green frosting, and something with rum. And to my uncle's delight Mrs. SFC B and I didn't do the "mush cake into each other's faces" thing.

I love my wife. I don't always show it as I should, and I've often been weak and petulant and made a fool of myself. I'm a terribly fortunate man to have found Mrs. SFC B. When she smiles it's a brilliant, bright thing capable of lighting up a dark room. The cheeks rise, the lips part, and an expression of pure joy comes from her eyes. I'll go to great ends to get her to smile. Her eyes, when not radiating joy, are a shade that's from the coffee family. Maybe her eyes are coffee colored because her blood is about .05% coffee after a life getting Dunkin' Donuts through an IV. Her ears are capable of hearing things in music that I didn't even know existed. Her passion for music, and her knowledge of music are both endless. She knows songwriters for Christ's sake. Where I'm happy with whatever comes on the radio her iPod is filled with this eclectic crap that would make some over-self-important independent newspaper music reviewer blush at its exhaustivness. I think I made up a word.

Today is a day which I lack the imagination and resources to properly showcase my feelings for Mrs. SFC B. While searching though images which capture the essence of my love I found the below image. It's perfect. I saw it and was held in rapture. A dawn like that might be seen once and I was lucky to find a way to see it every day.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Way too much man hugging

Well, for those who aren't on my MySpace friends list I'll go ahead and share why the past three weeks have been a lesson in physical pain. For some bizarre reason I've allowed myself to be convinced to get involved in Mixed Martial Arts.

Yes mom, I'm fully aware that this is, hands down, the stupidest decision I've ever made.

Peer pressure is a horrible thing and the arrival of our newest recruiter, SGT Cheeks, brought an interest in MMA out into the open. It turns out that several recruiters in the office were actually very into MMA, UFC, and the like. However until SGT Cheeks arrived that wasn't something very openly discussed. SGT Cheeks brought this out because in his previous assignment he was actually a competitve amateur fighter with a couple of fights and victories to his name. To make things worse he's also a good teacher and was seeking people with whom to beat upon mercilessly train. Our pet Air Force recruiter and SSG Tomas eagerly volunteered. I did not. The last sane thing I'd ever done.

After a day or two of hearing how good a workout the training was I figured I'd show up and give it a go. After the first workout every sane cell in my brain had been deprived of oxygen leaving only the crazy cells to make decisions. I agreed to come back for more. So every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the past month I've driven to Luke AFB to have my face ground against mats for 90 minutes. I actually like the mat grinding because it's far better than having SGT Cheeks try to sit on me, or SSG Tomas touch me with his strong hand.

In the month I've been doing this I've learned many, many things. Like how far my elbow can bend until it almost snaps tendons, how much it sucks to be strangled, and that the best treatment for tendonitis is alternating hot and cold. I think that last one is a lie, but no one will give me Cortisone for a comparison. Bastards.

The only thing I have going for me is that I'm about fifty pounds heavier and six inches taller than everyone whom I train against. It keeps me from being totally humiliated in training, however if I ever get into an actual tournament I'm sure the only sound that will be heard over my wheezing breathing will be the sound of my arm breaking from an arm bar.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


I hate when Darth Commando beats me to something. His latest post is something I'd mulled over, but he writes it better than anything I was working on. Damn him. Damn him to Dantooine. That he stole it from someone else who'd stolen it from someone else is just rubbing salt into the wound.


Sorry for the light posting lately. Just not much happening. My post this morning about hurting was in reference to a bit of tendonitis I've developed since starting some mixed martial arts training. I'm far, far, far from ever thinking of actually being competitive, but it's fun, it's a hell of a work out, and it lets me occasionally beat up an Air Force recruiter.

I've been working with a 09L applicant and it's getting close to the time when he'll be ready to join. As we walked back to the car after he worked out we talked about the Army (of course). He said some things that absolutly motivated me. I asked him to put the words into writing and he oblidged. I also asked if he minded if I posted his statements and he said I could as long as I removed some identifying information. I didn't have a problem doing that since the only person I'll confirm the identity of is myself.

You asked me why I wanted to join the Army. It is simple. I want to join because it is the right thing to do. This country (SFC B: America) has taken my family in and did everything it could for us. We live in a nice house in a safe neighborhood. We have jobs and money and cars and we don't worry about what we do. Me joining the Army is not a popular choice for some people in the refugees. They tell me I'm going to be harming my own country (SFC B: Iraq). They are wrong. I'll be a translator. Americans are very smart, but they don't understand our language like they do Spanish. They (SFC B: Soldiers in Iraq) are getting attacked and attacking because they don't know who to talk to or how to talk to them. I can do that. I will be helping America and helping Iraq.

My father was a wanted man in Iraq. It's why we left. He said things about Saddam and he was wanted. We came here with nothing and we were taken care of. My father has gone back to Iraq and has said things are 100% better. (SFC B: The town they're from) is very safe and the people are happy now. Things work. There is electricity and markets and my father even bought a house for us for when we can go back. The only people who made this happen were America. Saddam was taken out by America when no one else would do it.

People in my community tell me I should not be in the Army because I will get killed. I tell them "So what?" (SFC B: Punctuation added) if I do. I will have died doing something good and my family will understand and they will thank me and know I was doing something I wanted to do. But I don't think I will be killed. I will be with the Army and not just someone who isn't in the Army. I don't know if I will want to go back to Iraq if my family does. I like it in America. I want to get my citizenship and go to school. But I think I should be in the Army because if I don't I will get all this without earning it.

Anyway, he told me that and I asked him to write it down so I could add it to my Interview Book. He actually says some more things but they're off my topic so I didn't include them. It was such a wonderful thing to hear for me. I get very jaded out here dealing with people who have no idea how good they have it, or understand the sacrifices made to get to this level, and are being made to keep us here, and will be made in the future to improve our lives. It's frustrating. And yet while I get told to "F**k off" by some punk taking English 101 for the second time at a community college so that they're not kicked out of the house by their parents, this young man from a culture that is nearly alien to me has the simple motivation to "do something good". It got me a bit psyched up really.

Tomorrow will be the last day before a long weekend. There is a prior service who will be joining for me next week who will, hopefully, box the station for the month with about a week left. Should be fun.


Arms and back are killing me. More details to come when things don't hurt so much.

*UPDATE* Unrelated but I do like the song. The video isn't totally awesome, the Asian chick is weird and I think the kid who played Atreyu in The Never Ending Story has a bit part as one of the whisper-screaming faces.


Keeping on a music kick I changed the lyric thingy I have going on to the right. Gary Allen's "Life Ain't Always Beautiful" is, to me, a song that is the reason humans created music. I'm sure that I will get massive disagreement from music snobs like Mrs. SFC B (NIN is overproduced) but it's a song I like damnit.

Now, someone who is a bit too big on overanalyzing things might have noticed a theme with me highting "Hate Me", "Pain", and "Life Ain't Always Beautiful". Let me assure you I don't need to have my shoelaces taken away. I just understand what can make music like that be created, so it's something I like and it keeps me grounded.