Friday, May 30, 2008

Things to send.

I have gotten quite a few people asking if they can send things out here to me. Short answer, "Yes, but not what you would expect." It is actually pretty hard to get a lot of things that normally I wouldn't have expected to be difficult... and there are a lot of things that I would have never thought in a million years could so easily be come by. This little camp has half the nations of Europe here, and each country brought their own little PX type store... though as far as I can tell, European military PX's sell absolutely nothing that is useful. Like Tape... or glue... or scissors... or M-4 mags... or even channel iron. What can I get around here? Digital cameras, Adidas soccer gear, all manners of chocolate, and designer perfume. Very weird. It is more like the Europeans think of war as a good place to go duty free shopping... I suppose since most rotate through every 3 months, it kind of is. Anyways, Kodjo is hooking me up with arts and craft supplies, Bro is hooking up the tactical gear, my mother seems to be trying to rot my teeth from 8000 miles away! Thanks to all of you.

The problem is that I never know what I need until I need it yesterday. Who would have thought i needed glue sticks... until... yea...

Anyways. The only thing I would really hope anyone would send that I can imagine ahead of time are books and mixed music CDs. The only music that was on my computer when I left was four songs by OAR and the Piano Pat CD. My container mate doesn't appreciate the true genius that is Piano Pat out of my little computer speakers... and even I am done with OAR now. I have also read all the books I brought with me. So, anyone that wants to influence my mind and tastes in music, now is your chance.

Also, if anyone needs designer perfume and chocolate, let me know, I can get that right out to you.

By the way, does anyone have about 30 feet of 1 inch steel pipe that has been sliced length wise... just wondering. That would be handy too. For demonstration purposes only.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Most surreal moment of my life...

But first, a few pictures of the country side...

So, today, I was up in a helicopter getting a look at a few check points and doing some practice air to ground gunnery. Mostly this involves flying low over random Afghan villages and shooting up derelict russian tanks that are rusting out in the desert. I land from this, walk into the squadron building. What do I hear? I hear some gunfire and explosions on the TV. Hey! the electricity is on! I go into the room to see what they are watching...


Fucking Rambo 3!

I am not even making that up.

I was watching Rambo 3, in the alert room in Afghanistan, with a Squadron of guys flying russian helicopters, just after flying russian helicopters, low over Afghanistan, shooting up derelict tanks. It was like looking into a mirror, of a mirror.

The weirdest part was that the movie was dubbed over in Dari... but there was only one unemotional monotone voice for all the characters. It nearly short circuited my brain.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Animal Themed... from the internet.

This first link... requires instructions. Read them all, then follow them.

1. When you first open it, read the paragraph, look at the pictures, then write down your reaction/thoughts/what ever comes to mind.

2. After you have done that, then you can read the comments. I don't want your mind to be polluted by other's thoughts before you have a chance to form your own.

Now that you have read the instructions, GO HERE


Monday, May 19, 2008

Some comments...


First of all, the Mi-17 continues to amaze me... no make that astound me! I was in an LZ in downtown Kabul today. We landed and were on the ground for a few hours. During the time that we were on the ground a very significant wind came up. A god damn tail wind of course. This was a pretty tight LZ... no room to turn around. Obstacles all sides. "So, What's your plan for getting out of here?" I ask my counterpart...

"I take off... you land! Heh heh heh..." is the reply.

Hmm... my point is not coming across... I try again... "Which way you take off? Direction take off?" (hand movements indicating take off) I ask again in my best cave man english.

"This way of course, I take off..." is the answer. He is pointing directly out with the tail wind.

The flight engineer and i double checked some numbers. We did have plenty of power, OGE +... and it would be a quick peddle turn to get us back into the wind if things got bad... So I figured lets see how this feels. (I was expecting the wind to drop our lift, scare the shit out of this guy, then we could have a practical discussion of tail wind take offs. Well son-of-a-bitch! We came up over the obstacles, got hit with the full 20+knots of wind right up the tail... and what happened. Abso-fuckin'-lutly nothing. We just kept climbing and climbing. I didn't even feel the wind hit us. I looked at what serves as the torque indicator and it wasn't even off the peg! This is at 6000 feet elevation and 34 Deg C going strait up with a 20+ knot tail wind. The russians can sure build a helicopter!

.....................Brake Brake.....................


In my previous post I made the comment that I am not totally opposed to marriage, or something along those lines. What makes me make that sort of statement is some of the people I meet around here. I was this place, doing this thing... and I met a few other Americans. I started talking to one of them and asked, "How long have you been here?" I was expecting an answer somewhere between 2 and 18 months. What he answered was Jan of 05. Holy shit man! What the fuck would make you want to stay here voluntarily for more than three straight years! My only conclusion was that he must have absolutely nothing to go home for... nobody that he cares if he sees somewhere else... Nothing. I meet a lot of these cats, but I sure don't envy them. I know they are probably piling up insane amounts of money somewhere... but why? I am not opposed to the odd 6 months in Colombia or Africa every once in a while, and I can see how one gets sucked into this lifestyle. But there are a lot of dudes out there with no one to write home to. I guess what I was saying is that I am not sure I want to be a 45 year old bachelor with no ties to a home anywhere... even if it does involve flying unmarked helicopters low over trackless dessert and two week R & R's to Tieland every three months!

.....................Brake Brake.....................

Speaking of bachelors. Effectively, there are no women here. I know they are in their homes and neiborhoods, and logically there has to be females here, but not in anyway that interacts with me. For all the advantages of a totally MAN oriented society, (I am imagining all the cyber slaps and dirty looks I am getting from all the females that read this) there are several notable disadvantages. The biggest has to be that the entire society has the "single male" standards for bathroom cleanliness. Now being a single male, I know that I have had some grungy bathrooms. But at least in America, every once in a while you know there will be girls around and you should clean your bathroom... at least a little bit... or at least spray some lysol and wave a sponge at the toilet...

(yes girls, you saw my bathroom in its clean stage... sorry but it could be worse.)

Anyways, now imagine all the bathrooms in your country are never going to be inspected by a girl and were never inspected by a girl... ever... for the last 500 years...

"Wha-oh!" (Yes.. that is a hyphenated compound sound effect. It pretty much says it all.)

.....................Brake Brake.....................

Lunch today.

Sorry for this subject order, but I liked the last transition, what can I do? When I eat lunch at the base, the food is European cafeteria type food. When I am out... it is Afghan food. The Afghan food is usually better. Today was one of those days!

So for lunch today I had rice, some greenish vegetables, a banana, and goat yogurt. I know what you are all thinking... I was a little wierded out by it too... where the hell did these guys get bananas from!?!?!?!

I have no idea.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Islamic Law, best law!

I know at the end of my last post I said I would explain why it is cultural suicide to not reproduce to the max possible... but I had a conversation with some of my Afghan counterparts that is worth sharing.

In a previous post from what is now a few years ago, I discovered that perhaps the Muslims have their shit together when it comes to women... This idea was furthered today by this conversation:

BG = Afghan squadron commander
N = Me.

(You have to imagine this done in an Afghan accent... then also clarified by an interpreter...)

BG: Are you married?

N: No

BG: Why you no marry... you not try?

N: That isn't it.

BG: Many women... all women like the Islamic Law. It is best law. Women want the Islamic law. Everywhere, Europes, Americas, all women. Is best law.

N: I don't know about that. I have never met a woman that wanted Islamic Law to rule her life.

BG: Yes! All women want!

N: (Facial expression of disbelief)

BG: Islamic Law say that man and woman together for ever. Always together! The woman takes the authority of the man. She want him strong and tell her what to do. Always to many things in mind of woman. She can not think. Need the man tell her what to do.

N: You might be on to something there man, I know a lot of girls that can't think strait for all the thoughts in their head.

BG: It is obvious!

N: I am still not so sure that they want Islamic Law...

BG: Yes! It is the best law for woman. Woman want to know they will alway have the house, the food, the clothing... Most important thing to the woman.

N: You might be onto something here...

BG: Yes. In Islamic Law, woman always has the house, the food... it must always be the case... it is the law! The man marries the woman. He must give her these things. Forever he must give. This what woman want.

(this is not an exact transcript, but it is pretty darn close)

This got me thinking. First of all, the bit about to many thoughts in the woman's mind. That is spot on. Almost all girls I know have so much shit tumbling around in their heads it keeps them on the verge of insanity most of the time. I am not totally sure that they want to be told what to do all the time... but it actually might be plausible on some very deep level.

The second bit seems to be stating that women's highest desires are for security and stability. I sure as hell can't argue that one. How many women stay in "Secure," and "Stable" situations when don't want to, or shouldn't? I have heard many many girls say, "I want someone who will take care of me..." or something along those lines. Of course there are notable exceptions, but they do seem to be exceptions. I would say the vast majority of girls want someone stable who takes care of them... if the girl is in love with him, or if he is a nice guy, or if he is loyal to her that is just lucky for her.

This leads to several conclusions/options for my own life:

First and indisputably, I need to start telling girls what to do more often. Both because it is probably best for them and deep down they like it anyway.

Second, I have a choice to make. I could either get stable and find some girl to take care of... (I am not totally opposed to this idea... I could see wanting to chill for the rest of my life after this business over here.) or I can go around and get all these secure and stable chicks pregnant and let some other sap raise my kids! I suppose there is a third option, I could appear to get stable, take care of one chick, then go around and get other married chicks pregnant. Sort of the best of both worlds.

Anyway you look at it, "Islamic Law, is best law for woman!"

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Advancing the Science of Morality

I was thinking about things today. Actually about if it is morally right ever to kill another human for any reason. (This was for the most part an academic discussion in my head.) Anyways, I was thinking about the US government's view on this. Let me set up a scenario for these thoughts.

It is against the law to do research on embryonic stem cells because they can be considered humans at the moment of conception. Thus using them for experiments is equalized to killing human. OK, I can accept that line of logic.

On a parallel thought, I am over here with the real possibility of being intimately involved in the killing of another human being. The argument is that it is better for America if that guy is dead... and depending on the way the situation develops, significantly better for me personally if he is dead. In this situation it is considered by the same government to be not only morally acceptable, but in-fact beneficial.

So, now we have a government that bans research on embryonic stem cells because they are humans and have the right to life. At the same time, it grants authority to kill different human beings because it is advantageous to our way of life, or it is in my own defense. In-fact, there is even clauses in our Rules of Engagement that specifically note that I have the "right" to self defense.

From that I can conclude that if it is in my survival interests to kill another human it is legally if not also morally acceptable according to the government.

Now, in this right to self defense... am I morally OKed to kill a person that is about to take an action that will, say, leave me paralyzed but alive? According to this line of logic it is!

OK, now lets take the fantastic leap that some Taliban got the drop on me... and now I am paralyzed. Why would I not be just as morally and legally OKed to kill a different human (the embryo) to restore my body? It is in my survival interests. How can there be any different value? I would say there isn't.

Conclusion: If it is in my interests to kill another human for the continued survival abilities of myself and my genes (read that children) or the capacity to make children, (read that wife, babies momma, or chick I am shagging) it is morally acceptable to do so. In-fact, If I continue this line of thinking, I may be morally obligated to do anything necessary to survive to propagate my genes!

Secondary conclusion: Either the though that it is wrong to kill embryos is incorrect, or the thought that it is acceptable to kill your enemies is incorrect... but they both can't be true.

Next installment: Why curtailing your own population growth is a culturally suicidal decision.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Mustaches, savoring the flavor of bacon

I was in one of the squadron buildings talking to some of the pilots here and I noticed that all the Afghan helicopter pilots seemed to have mustaches. This isn't that unusual, helicopter pilots are to mustaches like beans are to farts. You start with the first and soon after girls are grossed out by the second! All that aside, I have been getting quite a few complements on my mustache from the Afghans. I was talking to one of the interpreters about it. He said that all real men must have a mustache. Logical enough. Been here a week and already I am the focus of Mustache envy! (One can assume I am keeping it on the ragged outside edge of in regs.) Apparently in about 20 years, it will be time I should start to grow my beard...

Being NATO, each country seems to get assigned one particular aspect of what happens around here. Americans work with the Afghans, the Belgians make ID's, The Czechs brought the nurses, and the Germans drive armored monster trucks... Well when they where dividing up who does what around here they put the Danish in charge of the food. I will say that the baked goods are excellent. You will never have such a light and flaky crescent for breakfast at any other cafeteria... but everything else is a little... well, have you ever been to a Danish restaurant? Put it this way, there are shit loads of Italians around here, but you almost never see them in the chow hall. They must be making their own food some where! Obviously they should have put them in charge of the food! Nobody I have ever met has a bigger opinion on food that the Italians... and nobody does it better. That's the big problem with this war! (Miss use of assets?) NO! Bland bacon!!! (How can you you even do that? Crappy bland bacon? I would have thought it was impossible!)

Sunday, May 04, 2008


This place is insane... luckily it seems to be my kind of crazy! (Those of you that know me well will appreciate what that might really mean!)

In less than 24 hours I have already been on the flying schedule... and cancelled twice! The flights have canceled for standard scheduling SNAFUs and a very weird Thunder-snow/dust storm combo. Lots of mamatus clouds!

I have an address that actually comes to me for the first time in about four and a half months. If any of you cats want it, just send me an emal and I'll give it to you. (I don't think I am going to be posting that on the internet, but I promise I will write actual paper letters to anyone that sends me one.)