24 June 2010

Toner and the Commo Guarantee

The crappiest part of this whole experience has been living with the idea, that I will have to let the next months of my family's life slip by through conversations that sound much like how you would describe your child growing up to someone who is blind.  Actually they don't even sound like... more like conversations that are e-mailed and IMed like.  It's not that I mean to be particularly depressing, it's just a part of this whole thing I am not happy about living with.  It's a harsh mindgame to wonder what your missing at home and if you'll be able to squeeze back in the middle of a dynamic that has had to go on without you.  It's weird to think about coming back as a sort of third wheel and interupting a process that has by necessity ventured on without your intervention.

Anywho...  For everyone who's read the RollingStone article about General McChrystal, I am wondering what's going on here/there (for those who haven't you should - It's an interesting look into the military and the nature of our current conflicts in the easy to love RollingStone style).  We haven't been able to get many details due to internet outages and what not, but basically from what I understand, President Obama was displeased about the contents of the article and General McChrystal is no more.  Personnally, I didn't see anything particularly tragic about the piece, but the military and I have drastically opposing viewpoints on freespeech rights with respect to soldiers.  I thought General McChrystals candor was refreshing and the level of insight that was provided into the cogs of the war machine was something that we should all be exposed to (at least in the sense of having it explained in a manner that makes sense).  That being said, I still think he should have left the Burger King in Bagram open.

In terms of life here in "the suck" (seriously I go home everynight drenched in the rankness of White-Out and air conditioning *Credit to the Maintenance Team for the dig*) things are hectic as usual.  The theme of the week has been internet outages and the perpetual lack of computer equipment (if anyone wants to open up a store here that specializes in the sale of HP Toner cartridges, you can make bank).  We've introduced "the Commo Guarantee", a process in which our Communications Team will promise that a problem will be fixed in the next 24 hours only to repeat the same promise again once the 24 hours runs out.  While this might sound annoying, it's actually nice to have a time to look forward to even if it does turn out to be a total untruth (no hard feelings for the Commo people, they do a great job).

We broke our civilian trucks (we use them to get mail and parts and it's a necessary issue of contention within the TOC) and we're waiting on parts.  Fortunately, we were told since the trucks were completely inoperable we were the top priority tier.  Top priority tier puts our estimated turn-around time at somewhere around September (not kidding).  If anyone has a radiator and a thermostat housing for a Ford Explorer just sitting around, I know a quick way to make a bunch of soldier friends.

Special K's comic strip featured in an earlier blog post has seen particular success and we are all awaiting further editions.  I intend to post more in the future, but unfortunately the humor is a bit esoteric.  We all think it's hilarious though.  I'd explain it, but you have to live it.

We are losing some of our fellow soldiers to a far away land known as the United States as the military continues to scale back operations here in Iraq.  It's not fun watching some of the soldiers that we have come this far in the process with being sent back home (not to mention it's hard not to be a lot bit jealous).  As the unit slims down, it becomes more and more obvious how far we've come in just a short number of months.  At times this surreal existance seems like reality and an end doesn't appear to be a natural part of it.  As we watch our friends mentally prepare to head back into the real world, the rest of us try to prepare for this whole adventure lurching forward and beginning again in a new way.


Bethany said...

What year is the explorer?

Ben said...

Have you considered writing a story about the 328ths adventures thus far? Change the names a la special K to conceal the guilty and maybe shop it around hollywood as the next hurt locker. I've even got a title for you if you can get me an EP credit, "The Deception Closet". Love from the border, Blass