Saturday, December 18, 2004

Random Thoughts With No Particular Focus

The Army, Ah what can you say about the Army. If the Army wants to do something their not supposed to do they simply title the action something else. For example; (I'm not sure a semicolon is the right thing to use here) If something goes wrong in a mission we don't retreat, the Army never retreats, instead we perform retrograde maneuvers. If they want to physically punish you for something they don't put you through physical duress or anything, they perform corrective training. Let's pull a purely hypothetical situation out of thin air. If they (read someone in particular higher in rank than I am) plans poorly, for multiple weeks in a row, they don't actually take away your day off, for multiple weeks in a row, so you can fix stuff, they just move your day off to a new day to be determined later. And when that day is decided upon, they move it further.

In this blog I would like to share some seemingly random thoughts. In order to make it easier to follow I'll start out with a brief outline of the contents. There will be times that none of it makes sense but just take the good with the bad and hopefully you'll fell a little more informed on the other end. I know I'll feel a little more relieved having shared it.

Part 1. Thoughts about a song I like.
Part 2. Thoughts about my boss.
Part 3. News about my internet connection.
Part 4. Being in a foreign country.
Part 5. Christmas so far.
Part 6. Update on my roommate
Part 7. Differences between church back home and here.

Part 1. Thoughts about a song I like.

There is a band I like called Third Day. I got to see them in concert a while ago and they are great. On one of their albums they have a song that talks about the old saying "If you can't say nothin good don't say nothin at all".

Part 2. Thoughts about my boss.

This part left intentionally blank.

Part 3. News about my internet connection.

A cat 5 cable showed up in my room through a hole in the wall someone drilled the other day. It runs behind the row of trailers where I live. I only noticed it because I tripped on it in the dark after walking back from the shower the other night. I plugged it into my computer but it doesn't recognize that there's a network on the other end. Today as I was walking to the computer lab to post this blog I traced the cable to it's source. There were a couple of guys working on some satellites so I struck up a conversation with a black haired flaminco dancer....Wait a minute, I struck up a conversation with them and found out the network should be up in the next two or three days. That will be very cool.

Part 4. Being in a foreign country.

Everything about this place is foreign. In my job I deal with a lot of information about the local populace. I expected this to be a foreign adventure but there are many things I didn't expect, everything is foreign. The smells, the interaction with the people, the plumbing, the electricity, everything is so different. Some of the electrical connections are a British type of a three pronged plug kind of like our 220 volt plugs. Some of them are a different type with two small round barrel type plugs. The toilets don't actually flush like our do. They just fill with water and eventually flows out of the toilet. So if you have to use more than one square of toilet paper the toilet won't be useful until the cleaning people come in and do whatever it is they do to clear them out. So if you have to do anything besides pee your better off in the Port-o-podies. Regular readers will know that I actually prefer the port-o-podies, but it is still winter, we'll see when it's 140 degrees out. I'm not sure what the news back home says about the upcoming elections but they aren't anything like what we think of as elections. Back home we have to major parties and only a handful of parties that don't actually stand a chance, and it's a good bet that the loser won't just kill the winner after the elections. Well, here there are basically three major sects that break down into about 150 different parties. Most of these parties would just as soon kill the members of the other than to lose an election to them even if they are in the same sect. It will be interesting to see how the elections go off and then see how the results play out.

Part 5. Christmas so far.

I think I already mentioned that my wife and some friends back home sent me presents to open one each day until Christmas with some clues about the gifts. The clues had to do with the Lord of the Rings. The first clue "Treebeard" was a small Christmas tree. The second clue "Treebeard's jewelry" was some lights and decorations for the tree. The third clue "Helms deep's beginning" had me confused. I figured the first two out no problem but couldn't get the third. In case you've been off planet on vacation for the past three or four years and aren't familiar with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Helms Deep is a large fortress used for protection. Well, Helms Deep's beginning turns out to be bricks. More specifically in this case Legos. They sent me some little Star Wars Lego ships. I really enjoyed these. I open the gifts when I get off of work and I've put one ship together each night for the past two nights. I've got one more to put together tonight. I know it may sound silly but it's been great. This war isn't terribly demanding on me physically, but mentally it is non stop. There are times I get off of work and call my wife and I can't even connect sentences because my mind is numb and I'm so tired. To have something as simple as Legos, that have nothing to do with this war, to spend some time on is great. The fourth clue was "Scrolls" I figured it was a book and I was right. The book is called "Black" and it's by an author named Ted Dekker. I read another book by him recently called "Three" and it was great. I would highly recommend it. When I get the internet access in my room I'll try to figure out how to put a list on the side of this page so I can list the books I've read while I've been gone. Even though your dead tired at the end of your shift you have to populate your mind with something other than the war. Reading works well. Today's clue is "Elfish Tunes" which, coupled with the shape of the present, is probably a CD. I'll let you know how the rest of the trail unfolds. I'm really happy with the idea they came up with to string Christmas presents along for 12 days. It really gives you something to look forward to each day. Also, Some friends and family put some money together for me to buy a guitar while I'm here. They do sell them here but they're very expensive and very poor quality. It was cheaper for me to order one from one of the online music stores and have it shipped here. I ordered the guitar and some other little gadgets to help move along the idea of having an albums worth of music by the time I leave Iraq. That may be a larger task than I have time to accomplish. We'll have to see.

Part 6. Update on my roommate.

I took my roommate to the TMC (Troop Medical Center) the other morning for him to ship out to Germany. He'll be there for a while while they treat him for some nerve damage in his back. So, for the time being, I once again have a room to myself.

Part 7. Differences between church back home and here.

The differences in church back home and here are purely physical. God is still God here or at home. The difference here is I go to church in a tent surrounded by concrete bunkers to protect us from mortar attacks while we're in church. Our Chapel shares some real estate with our Paladin Guns so during service the ground shakes as we send artillery down range. And I don't know who coined the phrase quiet as a church mouse, but they aren't really all that quiet. Oh yeah, everyone has a loaded weapon. They are building a permanent building for the chapel and they hope to have it done by Christmas Eve. I'll post some pictures once I get the internet access in my room.

Well, If you followed all of that you should be commended. Once I have a little easier access to the internet I'll try not to use the shotgun method of communication and try a more focused approach. But with time being of the essence there you go.

Thanks so much to the people back home that have sent cards and packages. That's a morale booster the effects of which you'll probably never understand. Also thanks to the people and organizations that send boxes and cards to units to distribute to the soldiers. The delivery of the mail is the happiest time there is. The sacrifices you've made to give some cheer to the soldiers here is appreciated by everyone here without exception. Thanks aren't enough to communicate how this makes us feel, but Thanks.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was glad to have a new post to read. You sound busy. The 12 days of Christmas....how fun! We went to your son's b-day party last week. He is so funny! Patience is not a skill he has yet acquired when it comes to receiving gifts. He kept trying to peek in the bags, so we had to guard them. Your wife says she had to put the Christmas gifts away because he keeps getting into them. He's so cute. I got a Christmas gift from your wife and I love it so much! I told Mike "this is what I want for Christmas. I just didn't know I wanted it until I got it because I had never seen it before." I love my Princess Di bracelet! Anyway, take care and I look forward to reading your next post. So glad to know you're doing well. Hope you love your guitar and create all kinds of cool music! M. Pads Coach

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just thinking about your words of appreciation for all the people back home have done with the cards and gifts etc. you have received. It is just a way of us showing our gratitude for the sacrifices you have made and continue to make daily. Thank you for giving to keep our country free. We know how much it means to you because you mean that much to us. TM

8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you provide us a list of items the soldiers around you would appreciate....practical kinds of stuff? We have been given lists but don't know if the things on the list fit the Camp Victory environment. Some items seem to be seasonal too. Hey what is the weather like and likely to be like in the next several months? Any reading materials, not too heavy, that we could send too? We'd love to send some of our snow to you. NW Indiana has lots of it: Michigan City 24", Valpo 16, Chesterton 13. Chicago has snow but not nearly as much.
Bless you! KLM

8:39 AM  
Blogger Gloria said...

Hi Garth! This is Gloria from Church - wanted to say Merry Christmas and that you are in our prayers. We pray for you and all the soliders every Monday night at our Intercessory Prayer meeting. Plus I have that yellow ribbon tied in my car and pray daily! Your daughter was so cute in the Christmas play! I sat behind your wife as she was filming it so I'm sure you'll get to see it. It was very good! Everyone involved put a lot of time and effort in it and it was obvious! Have a blessed Christmas!

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I offer sentiments of accord w/two of your "random thoughts" and one response to a statement of rhetoric:

Sentiments of accord - The Third Day song you mentioned is one we should consider more often than we do! The connected thought regarding your boss was appropriately placed as next in line after the comment about a song you like! Bravo!

Respone to a statement of rhetoric - no, there should not have been a semicolon in that second sentence...but you're at war so I don't think anyone back here is gonna use it to form any major opinions about your overall character or writing skills.

Trailing thought - "Star Wars" Legos given via/a "Lord of the Rings" theme! Barring the whold war thing, I'm down-right envious!

6:03 PM  

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