Wednesday, August 31, 2005

In a picture mood

This is my older brother Heath and I from when I was on leave. Were standing on the Historic Lyndon Bridge over the Rock River. Right down the road from my parents place. I am the guy NOT wearing any army clothes in this pic :) most noticable by my ussual orange glasses.

Now you can probably tell why I would want to go home if you compare these 2 latest pictures

Platoon Picture Time!

Here is a picture of my platoon we took this morning out in our motorpool. If you know what I look like you can find me in the front row. A couple guys aren't in the picture because they are on leave but this is us... Yeah we're hardened war vets... jk

Hurricane Katrina and Iraqi Stampede

The latest headlines I have seen for Hurricane Katrina state there are 110 dead so far. I am glad that the initial number is so low. Thousands of people could have been killed. Maybe that number will rise but lets hope it doesn't. It is too bad that we, the National Guard, are not home to help with the clean up and rescue efforts, but we are definitely needed here a lot more. The people of the USA are willing and able to help themselves in times like this. While conditions in Iraq seem to be getting better the people are still scared; as is to be expected after what they have gone through the last few years. Today when I was in the chow hall I saw on the news that 635 Iraqis were killed in a stampede that started when someone apparently said that there was a suicide bomber in the crowd. More people died from fear today than a massive natural disaster the other day.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Mars is Spectacular!

"The Red Planet is about to be spectacular! This month and next, Earth is catching up with Mars in an encounter that will culminate in the closest approach between the two planets in recorded history. The next time Mars may come this close is in 2287. Due to the way Jupiter's gravity tugs on Mars and perturbs its orbit, astronomers can only be certain that Mars has not come this close to Earth in the Last 5,000 years, but it may be as long as 60,000 years before it happens again.

The encounter will culminate on August 29th when Mars comes to within 34,649,589 miles of Earth and will be (next to the moon) the brightest object in the night sky. It will attain a magnitude of -2.9 and will appear 25.11 arc seconds wide. At a modest 75-power magnification Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye. Mars will be easy to spot. At the beginning of August it will rise in the east at 10p.m. and reach its azimuth at about 3 a.m.

By the end of August when the two planets are closest, Mars will rise at nightfall and reach its highest point in the sky at 12:30 a.m. That's pretty convenient to see something that no human being has seen in recorded history. So, mark your calendar at the beginning of August to see Mars grow progressively brighter and brighter throughout the month. Share this with your children and grandchildren. NO ONE ALIVE TODAY WILL EVER SEE THIS AGAIN"

This is an example of an Urban Legend (One of my worst pet peeves) I received in an email at the end of last month. You always get emails like this with some outrageous claim that seems impossible. There are too many examples to point out. And I am too lazy to post another one.

There are so many on the web though that there are whole websites dedicated to proving them wrong.

Now I don't want to share with you who it was that sent me this email. Because he knows who he was. Right dad :p But come on... Mars as big as the Moon in the night sky? I admit I fell for it at first but I didn't go as far as to forward the email without proof.

Most of the time when you get emails claiming that you will get money from Bill Gates if you send the email to all your friends or a little fairy will dance across the screen if you send this message to 10 people or Yahoo! will shut down your account if you don't forward the email to everyone in your address book... You can pretty much tell they are fakes. If you can't, just copy some text from the email and do a search with google or something. You will know pretty quick if it is a hoax. As a matter of fact I have a pretty keen eye for these hoaxes and the only one I was wrong about was this email about a Giant Liger (half lion - half tiger) named Hercules I guess he is actually real Watch out Roy! According to Napoleon Dynamite it's bred for its skills in magic. Which I would have to call B-ll Sh-t on. Sorry Napoleon.

Anyways, do your part. If you get an unbelievable email there is probably a reason. Check out for your answer if you are unsure. The example I posted above has been in circulation for over 2 years now. Just to let you know though.... if you are into star gazing the Earth will be very close to Mars in October if you really want to check it out try then. You might as well look up while you are out smashing pumpkins and egging the ever loving crap out of [insert your worst enemy's name here]'s house. But don't let your guard down by staring at the sky the cops will be watching you. Actually just don't do that... cause I probably have a lot of enemies and I don't want my place egged. Besides it's more fun to chase around little kids with a chain saw with the blade removed... Wait... don't do that either. Better to just stay in your house and do nothing on Halloween because now days kids aren't allowed to have fun. Why am I talking about Halloween?

I will save Halloween for October...

Anyways I hear that there is a nasty Hurricane heading towards New Orleans. It will be fun to watch the stupid news reporters try to get the "scoop". I really despise the media these days... I do hope none of the dumb ass people that decide to stay get hurt. There are always those people that are too stubborn to leave. That City is probably due for a bath (good word Heath better than my baptism but both serve the same purpose) if you ask me anyways. Not that I have ever been there but I think that may have been where Girls Gone Wild was born.

As far as news from my neck of the lack of woods... The constitution was "finished" today. Lets hope that everyone can try to agree on it. Because I have been working my butt off for that thing! Well not really... That's only a half truth. I have finished reading Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer (not Brad Pitt), an awesome read! and am starting on Wizard and Glass the forth book of the Dark Tower Series by Steven King. Then, I plan on reading, The Talisman and well lets just see if I get that far...

It's still dry as a bone here. The weather has been a cool 85 degrees or so at night with about 115 during the day every day. I wish the Hurricane was hitting here instead.

Two last things...

  1. It's the 29th here... and Mars wasn't spectacular!

  2. and sorry for dogging you out like that before dad :p

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

It's that time again...

Time for me to ramble on. Nows the time the time is now... I almost didn't start writing this. It is really hard for me to get motivated to write. I think the newness of everything has worn off for me. Nothing really to exciting is going on and the heat keeps me in the building confined to my room. So I am not really experiencing too much outside of the missions I go on either.
Recently they started a midnight chow here on our FOB and I try to make it when I can because it is a really good thing for us. If not enough people go to it I am afraid they may take it away. Not that it would matter if people from our platoon would go to it. I am sure it was something that the larger unit on our FOB enstated and if they don't want it it won't matter how many of us go to it.
Last night we were on a mission that began early in the morning. It went on late into the night and past midnight. There was a lot of time where we were doing nothing but waiting so I got a lot of reading in. I read more than 2/3 of Seven Years in Tibet in one day. I have read more here than I have read in my whole life. If I could get myself to read in all of my down time I could have quite the library under my belt. Anyways I told someone I would go to midnight chow with him so I better get going.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Sandstorm - Reason #2

Photo taken by SPC McDaniel

The last few days the internet has been on and off due to a sand storm that was blowing threw. Since we have a satellite internet system its really affected by the weather. Plus our service is not the greatest because they have not come to align our dish with the equipment they were supposed to use. This was a view from the front of the building I live in from just a couple days ago. It was strange waking up and the whole sky was orange. I kept thinking my eyes just weren't adjusted. I didn't know that this was just what color everything was. I woke up early and no one else was around to verify that I wasn't losing my sight so it was a little scary for a while.

Haven't been in the mood to post lately... Reason #1

I haven't been in the mood to post on here lately. Although, there were a couple times when I was going to post or would have posted but for some reason out of my control I was unable to.
I guess there is a little bit to catch up on now. First I want to post that article that I mentioned in the last post:

Peeved over pet peeves

For those who would have me remove my sunglasses from my head; for those who fought soldiers to have backpacks (even Camelbaks) removed from the dining facility; for those who fought the wear of the booney cap; for those whose main concern was the wear of the physical training uniform in the gym; for those who would have National Guard units remove their state flags from the Pods; and for those who are concerned about what we wear on our way to the latrine, you are the problem.

Not one of the above rules will help me accomplish my mission flying troops over Iraq any more effectively. Not one will lift anyone’s morale, nor make them a soldier who is better at what they do, nor make anyone of us any safer.

Those pet peeves are the work of idle hands.

We will remember those pet peeves when the deployment is over and the stop loss lifts. I may remember those rules with my feet and maybe I’ll take the rest of the pilots with me.

That’s not a problem, right? The Army doesn’t need us.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Rob Erlick
Logistics Support Area Anaconda, Iraq

This guy wrote what 99% of us are thinking. Everything he talks about in this letter to the editor of Stars and Stripes are the types of things that me and my fellow bloggers from my platoon calls "Stupid Rules" and that wasn't even the tip of the iceberg.

Anyway... for a totally different subject. When I was on leave I went to Six Flags in Gurnee to the new water park they have there. The weather had been hot (upper 90's) since I got home and from what everyone tells me it has been hot a long time apparently there is a drought in the Midwest if you haven't heard :p. I had a feeling though, since we planned this day in advance it would rain - considering all my vacations or planned days to be outdoors are rained on. I can't remember one time in the past where I have went on a trip or planned a picnic or went camping where it hasn't at least rained enough to ruin the day. Maybe I am cursed? I can just picture an exgirlfriend getting together with her friends to put a hex on me... you know... the kind where they gather round a glitter filled garbage can lighting pictures of me on fire and tossing them in it while praying to Princess She-ra not She-ra from the Masters of the Universe... the goddess of revenge or something to ruin any of my fun and maybe they had her had a touch of motion sickness too.

Sorry, thinking out loud... I do that in person too

Anyway it rained the whole day we were at the water park which wouldn't have been bad by its self but it got down to 66 degrees too, which is 66 degrees cooler than I have been used to... or so.
All that just to tell you why I think I got sick when I was home and felt like crap for the first week I was back. (Reason #1 that I haven't posted)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Back on Vacation

I think I have made it back to my FOB in record time... I was half hoping I would get stuck somewhere overnight. I think it took about 63 hours to get here. Thats not too bad considering most people are taking about 6 or 7 days to get back lately.
I have decided I am never going to ride another C-130 without taking Dramamine first. It worked great I didn't feel sick at all. On the way back to the states I did everything I could to keep from loosing my lunch.
I have missed out on a lot of stuff going down since I have been gone. I can't talk about most of it though.
The guys had told me through instant messenger when I was home that there was a lot of stupid rules coming down lately... They were right.

Someone posted an article on the bulletin board called Peeved About Pet Peeves and I am trying to find a copy of it online to post on here because it sums up my feelings about these stupid rules exactly.