Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What would happen if we leave Iraq right now

Orson Scott Card (author of Ender's Game) has a few well written words to say about the subject.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Iraq and Kuwait take's

I've uploaded all of the movies I made while deployed forward with HMM-764 here, this all takes place during the summer of 2004. They're sitting around gathering dust, might as well share them.

The back story on these movies.

Back in 2003 I started out with a fotopage, I had been reading blogs of troops deployed to Iraq and after a bit of peer pressure, started a regular blog, Doc in the Box. Still using the fotopage to keep the families back home up to date on our deployment, I saw a couple of videos that other units were doing of their trips and said to myself, hmmm, wonder how one of my movies would look? A couple of weeks sitting around doing nothing in Kuwait produced, Kuwait Take One. Sold them for 5 bucks which included packaging and postage, I put the money towards the computer gear fund. It was a shameless use of technology to make the folks back home miss us while we were far away.

Next stop on our trip was Iraq, I added some video clips in Iraq Take One which was followed by Iraq takes Two and Three. Hopefully I've learned something about making movies since then. Enjoy.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Marines offering assistance

Marines from the 24th MEU are providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the Philippines following the mudslide that took more then a thousand lives. One of my fellow corpsmen Sandy deployed out with that group, he’s likely trudging through the mud and with a couple hundred Marines, helping where he can. Getty Images has a huge set of pictures (notice many of them are of Marines helping out, look closely and you might find Sandy), it’s hard to believe a week ago a thousand lives were lost and hardly in the news this week. There's more going on in the world then Iraq.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Unrest in Iraq

But don't take my word for it, Zeyad does a great job covering the story, so do the guys from Iraq the Model, Riverbend also has a post. They sound scared, which isn’t unusual for someone living in Iraq these days, but there is a hint of panic in these posts. Zeyad says this might be the last straw, everyone is talking about how tense the situation is. Someone out there has been pushing buttons to unbalance everything over the last few weeks, what's next on their agenda?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

My connection to the world died one day

A couple of months ago, we had some friends over to play board games, no alcohol was involved. Heather was kicking all of our butts at Pop Culture Trivial Pursuit when one of the guys playing got up to get something to drink out of the kitchen and tripped over my laptop cord.

The computer moved a little and the cord popped out, something I’ve done literally hundreds of times. I paid it no mind.

Later in the night, I plugged the cord back in and opened it up and the battery light was on. Huh? I check the power cord plugged it back in and noticed the plug moving freely. Eep! I pulled it out and noticed it was loose and missing that center wire was missing too. Then I noticed it was still on the power cable side. Oh no!

So a couple of days later I brought the it to a computer repair shop, nope, not worth fixing, we can stick the hard drive in a new computer. Guess the power supply had snapped off of the mother board and no one wanted to take it on. So I brought it home, unscrewed about 40 screws opened it up to see how bad it was.

It was very bad, there was no way I was going to be able to get that plug to work like that again. For a minute there I thought I was going to cry then went hmmm.

I can probably do something with that.

So I butchered the power cord, opening up the strands and following the lines where the original went and in a moment of pure genius, let the mad scientist take over while my conscious mind went into a trance, soldering and in turns giggling like Egor then weeping like a heart broken teenager. When I woke, everything was back together and there were no loose screws around.

It was time to put the plug in and…

It booted up and everything turned on just fine. I went to log in and realized half of the keys didn’t work, dang, I hadn’t plugged the keyboard in properly. After all of that, I was too lazy to take it apart again, my creative juices had dried up so I did the next best thing and turned it into a desk top with a USB keyboard, wireless mouse, speakers and the external hard drive I did a similar hack job to a couple of summers ago.

Good thing that came of all of this? We now have a home computer that won't move and my beautiful wife has bought me a new laptop! Thanks hun, you are the bestest wife ever!

What did I get? An HP dv5000z (Microsoft® Windows XP Media Center Edition), AMD Turion™ 64 Mobile Technology ML-37 at 2.0GHz, 1GB DDR2 SDRAM, 100GB hard drive (4200RPM), DVD±RW/CD-RW combo drive with Double Layer support, 15.4" WXGA BrightView widescreen, 128MB ATI Radeon® Xpress 200M w/Hypermemory and of course wireless. Yippie!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Americans don’t travel much

I consider myself fairly well traveled, but something I’ve noticed when trekking around a foreign country. You don’t run into that many Americans, there’s a lot of Germans, Australians, Japanese but only a few us. What brings this up is that my cousins from Australia are visiting right now. Posted a few pictures here. My cousin Greene gets 6 weeks of paid leave and can take up to half a year of unpaid leave. My other cousin Golden makes it to the United States almost every year and has spent months traveling all around the orient and Europe. The only other American that personally know who’s done close to as much traveling is my little sister, she spent most of a year back packing across Europe and even stayed in a Kibbutz in Israel.

According to my cousins, the world laughs at many of our problems, Janet Jackson’s Nipplegate? What’s the big deal, she showed a nipple. Guess it depends on the viewpoint of where you are standing, compared to many Australians we’re a nation of prudes (have you watched Eurotrip?) Yet match us up next to a middle east country or a country under a dictatorship, we’re the shining beacon of freedom. The grass is always greener on the other side. As a nation I do know we don’t have a good feeling at a personal level about what is going on in the world. We might watch CNN daily but it’s just a news story.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Troubled by mob violence

I am troubled each night I watch the news, when did it become popular for mob violence to make the rules? Is it my imagination or is someone trying to inflame a worldwide civil war between the mobs and every one else that wants to maintain order. My basic problem with protesting is that it’s controlled by mob mentality. There might be a bunch of smart folk in the group but put them together in a march and the average intelligence goes to the smallest denominator. Once tempers are lost everything goes to hell in a hand basket. There’s no reasoning there, either step back and let them destroy what ever real estate they’re gathered on or go in with force.

When did this become okay? Running through the streets shooting rifles in the air? Last week these guys are wigging out about a crappy cartoon that looked like it was drawn by a 10 year old, this week it’s over some leaked photographs. What’s it going to be next week?

What we really need to figure out is how to change their mentality. It’s hard to talk over that chanting of “DEATH TO (whom ever pissed them off that week)”. They’ll listen to us while we’re handing over money rebuilding and once they leave the room they’ll hop into their ninja outfits perform all sorts of crazy acts.

We’re in a place where we can’t afford to make mistakes. Abusing detainees has sure came back to bite us in the rear. We’re not the lynch mobs, we’re professionals. We need to keep our head on a swivel, keep good records and not place our honor as United States servicemen on the line for anybody. We not the bad guys, I know this because I’m not, nor a vast majority of the people I work with and have worked with. We need to keep that in our heads when we’re thrust in a bad situation without the nice veneer civilization around us. Maybe put this thought in your head “Would my mother be proud what I’m doing right now?” Think of all the bad news stories out there about the military, would any of them been in that situation if they had followed that advice?

Eventually all of these bad stories will be that, just bad stories that happened in the past and the mobs won’t have reasons to gather. We can’t control what other people say but we can control our own actions and what comes out of our mouths. Eventually the regular mob folk will notice that maybe we’re not the enemy that they’ve made us to be and get tired of long gas lines, living like homeless people and the comforts of civilization and the voices of hate will lose some of their captive audience.

They’ll be the only ones willing to put up a show, setting up attacks and such.

Well, we all know what to do with those guys.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Gmails new messenger

Have any of you tried Gmail’s new chat feature? If you’re logged on to your Gmail account, you can now chat with anyone logged on to their Gmail account or Google Talk without a separate program or even opening up a new window.

Yahoo also shows you when your contacts are online but you still have to use their messenger to talk. What's cool about this? You don't need to install a program when you use other's peoples computers. Okay so you all know now that I’m really a geek.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The strong shall survive

I never would have thought I would describe a post by Dax as beautiful but he has done a beautiful post about a re-enlistment ceremony that took place at his restaurant. One thing about being a nation at war, people that aren’t willing to put their life on the line for their country aren’t going to be signing up for a second or third tour. It’s 4 and a half years now since 9/11 and the people who are still re-enlisting are the ones you want protecting you. They deserve all of the respect with their willingness to put their life on the line for a second time for your sake.

Our re-enlisting isn’t about politics; it’s about a way of life. Like warriors of the past, we have decided to follow this path. We don’t make the rules, we don’t decide on who we’re going to fight, our elected officials make that decision. They point the way and we’re responsible for getting the job done.

As individuals we don’t always agree with what our leaderships plans, but as a well disciplined armed force, we do as we’re told keeping with the highest values of our military heritage.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

drudgery and endless filing

My brain has gone to mush, getting ready for our upcoming trip and crunching numbers. Get home and my feet have been growing roots in the carpet, just haven’t had any good blog ideas or anything of interest happen in my life other then drudgery and endless filing of paperwork.

For those that don’t know, I’m getting ready for another trip to the Middle East, for which I’m just another small cog in the great machine. My small efforts towards getting my unit ready have probably laid waste to a small forests worth of paper work which myself and my cohorts have to either fill out or review then file away.

Oh the joy of deployments.

With the story about the failed attack on the LA high rise that came into light today, it reminded me of the first skyscraper I went into, which was the Phoenix MEPS, after 9/11. Only a couple of weeks later, I know the group I was with was a bit jumpy. Do you remember the first one you went into?

My wife pointed me out to the story of the 1st Lt that was billed for the body armor that was cut off him by Army Medic's when he got hit by shrapnel. The Army wouldn't let him out till he paid for it. I'll have to think about that before I have to hack off someones vest and make sure the proper paperwork is filled out afterwards. Not to mention to watch out for my own if I get blowed up!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Our rides through Thailand

This is the van we hired for our trip and my faithful traveling companions

and this is a boat ride we took up the Mekong between Laos, Thailand and Burma when we stayed at the Golden Home Resort at the Golden Triangle.