Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dreams and Goals, TOPs and LOLs


I have been having some really weird dreams lately. Last night I was trapped in a strange tower. At the top of it was a room filled with gears, cogs and other strange machinations. No doubt the 'steampunk' part of my brain was working overtime. At first it looked as if there was no way out and then I spied a strange panel with a faint glow on the wall. It looked like it was missing a gear. I looked around the room again. Lying in the middle of the room was an old top hat with a rusty gear affixed to it. I picked up the hat and ripped the gear from the old felt then popped it into the wall panel. Suddenly a trap-door appeared on the floor in the middle of the room. At the same time a giant cork-screw gear in the room began turning. The walls and the cieling suddenly began closing in on me. I leapt for the trap-door and as I jumped down I began sliding down a long winding tunnel alarm began beeping and I woke up.

I have even crazier dreams than that sometimes and I keep a dream journal online called REMLAND.


As much as I hate being away from the wife and kids, being deployed does give you the benefit of a little extra 'me' time albeit the fact of course that Iraq isn't exactly Happy Time Fun-Land Supreme.

I want to get promoted, lose some weight, restore the previous glory of my once mighty abdominal muscles (my abs had their own abs), read a hundred books (2 down), write a couple books (working on one right now), have a little extra fun with my job, pay off some bills and learn some conversational Arabic.

I've got a Nintendo DS that doubles as an e-book reader (with the use of a special R6 game card) and I've got enough e-books to last me a life-time. I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy. So far I've read two books by Robert Heinlein, Citizen of the Galaxy and Have Spacesuit, Will Travel. If you don't know he's the guy who wrote Starship Troopers and one of my favorite authors. The movie was okay but the book was ten times better. I like stories that intermingle genres and that have an equal amount of action and humor. I'm also a big fan of Piers Anthony, author of the famously funny Xanth series and also an awesome book called On A Pale Horse about a guy who accidentally kills Death. On my last deployment, I wrote to him and I got a box full of books including a signed auto-biography which was super cool.

I finally found another rock of sufficient size and weight to complete my rock collection. So I now have two rocks that are both about 30 pounds although one is slightly heavier. I put each one in a laundry bag and I call them my "PT ROCKS" rocks. I've been Rocks-ercising with them, doing curls, lifts, and other stuff. I actually got some burn on earlier tonight. :P

I also started writing a book called F.O.G. V.S. F.O.E., a somewhat humorous story about a boring file clerk in a bureaucratic re-visioning of heaven who becomes a rogue angel to put a stop to a demonic plot. It's actually a re-write of a super-shot story I wrote some years back. I might post a preview of it later.


No not a spinning top. This morning was our Brigade's official Transfer of Partnership ceremony with the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. We were at the gate early this morning to round up media but they came a handful at a time and we had to bus them back and forth. It was a regular circus type affair. We had members of the Iraqi Army, Police and local community as guests as well. As luck would have it I got stuck on the last bus behind a long and slow-moving convoy while trying to get back so I wouldn't miss the beginning of the ceremony. Sure enough I did. But our tenacious photographer SPC Shantelle Campbell was on the scene getting the money shot of the Brigade colors being uncased.

Col. Hank Arnold (left) and CSM Michael McCoy (right) unfurl the Dragon Brigade's colors.
(photo by SPC Shantelle Campbell)

I can't confirm this but I'm pretty sure if you combined our Brigade Commander and Command Sergeant Major they might possibly form another Chuck Norris. Unfortunately, the paradox of having two of Chuck Norris inhabiting the same plane of existence would inevitably bring about the end of the world or Chuck-ocalypse ending all life as we know it.

After speeches and media interviews we entertained our guests with tea, cake, ice-cream and finger food afterward. I've seen so many cakes cut since I've been deployed I'm starting to wonder how much the Army budgets for cakes and pies. I know it probably doesn't sound terribly exciting when I describe it but I'm not a big fan of ceremonies.

The other day I was at a conference and it ended with an American and an Iraqi in what I feared might become an endless loop of thanking each other. But finally one of them relented and it ended. I was almost envisioning having a leg-locking moment. I've seen this happen before. When we were on a parade field for some big ceremony in the Marine Corps one of the short scrawny guys in our unit locked his legs out and fell flat over, mouth agape and taking a big bite of grass and dirt as he hit the ground. He was in the rear of the formation and our Medics quickly removed him from the scene. Some guys have all the luck.


We get time off here and there but working a 7-day work week can get to people quick. Unfortunately, there are only four of us in the Public Affairs Office so shift-schedules are pretty much impossible. Not to mention it's pretty easy to tap out a 4-person shop. Anyway, the other day I swore I was going to X out all the days on the calendars and replace each day with the the letter 'M' because here...everyday is Monday. :P

Don't worry. I'm not losing it. It's actually that quirky sense of humor that keeps me going most of the time. Speaking of which...

OPSEC aka Operational Security is all about keeping military information secure. I've noticed a few computers around our brigade sport sideshow screen-savers with little OPSEC ads or messages on them, similar to WWI and WWII propaganda posters but on a much less over-the-top scale.

AFN, Armed Forces Network TV also runs PSA's (Public Service Announcements) about OPSEC and can come off as kinda funny sometimes even un-intentionally. That's not to say OPSEC isn't serious business. It's a vital part of all military operations but, it never hurts to have a laugh as long as you remember the message.

So with that in mind, I made a few unofficial OPSEC posters of my own. I guarantee gandering at these will cause people to ponder OPSEC at least twice as often on any given day. (Also, cats are awesome and as we all know everyday is Caturday which actually supercedes the everyday is Monday rule)


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