Friday, January 14, 2011

Shameless Plug for my Band

Greetings; if you have enjoyed my accounts of my adventures in Iraq, I invite you to visit my band's blog that I just got up and running. The band's name is Blue on Blue and we are working on a full CD release by June of 2011. Please friend us on FB and follow the progress.

the URL is:


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

WOW! This blog is Getting Ready to go Over 12 Thousand Hits!

When I posted my final entry on the Spooky-in-the-Sand Blog back in April upon returning from the desert, I never imagined its popularity would continue. I logged in to take a look at another blog of mine tonight and briefly glanced at this one only to discover that the hit counter has been working overtime since April.

I remember the count back then to be somewhere in the mid 5,000 range. I'm absolutely amazed that since then, it has racked up another 7,000 hits! I'm excited that the blog has grown some legs and I hope that it continues to be both entertaining and educational to its readers.

Please bear in mind that the theater of operations over there is in a constant state of flux, so business as I reported it has probably changed slightly or significantly since I left it six months ago. That being said, there are still some great take-aways for those of you preparing to deploy on IA or GSA orders.

I wish you all the best of luck. Keep your heads down and stay safe.

God Bless
Spooky sends.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Peace Out, Iraq

Unfortunately, the internet service didn't want to cooperate with me during the last 90 days of my stay on Camp Victory. As a result, I wasn't able to post or moderate comments. I want to apologize for the lengthy interruption in the posting.

While for most of the tour, time really flew by, that last 90 days seemed like somebody sucked the power back, dropped the gear and put the flaps to 30 degrees (to put it in aviation terms.) I found myself getting frustrated over all sorts of little things, like the soldiers who would walk 3 or 4 abreast in the middle of the streets and would refuse to move out of the way for oncoming traffic. While the preponderance of the responsibility for pedestrian safety rests with the driver, there is something to be said for situational awareness among pedestrians, not to mention a sense of self preservation and common courtesy, all which seem to be lacking in a vast majority of people working on the bases in Iraq these days.

It's always frustrating when you work in a customer service oriented field and you have to answer common sense questions day in/day out. These were grating on my nerves as my time wound down to the point where I would just let all of the "new guys" field the phone calls. This worked great especially since I was the one they would ultimately hand the phone to since I had been there the longest and could, therefore, provide the responses.

To top it all off, 3 weeks ago, I was bouncing a golf ball in my room. As time passed, eventually, I missed a catch. It took a weird hop and smacked my laptop screen breaking the LCD. So I have no laptop until I get home and can fix it.

So here I sit in Kuwait with less than 2 days until I board the plane to come home and no laptop to watch movies on. A couple of days ago I looked back through this blog to see what I was doing last year at this time and I was writing from Ft Jackson. I believe this weekend coming up was my sendoff weekend where Ash came up to visit me one final time.

What is interesting is that some of the events of the past year seem like they took place a long time ago...even ones that happened within the past 60 days. Others seem like they happened just yesterday, even if they were experiences from Ft Jackson and Udairi last year. I don't have an explanation for it, I guess that's just the way it happens.

I've been thinking alot about what's next. I don't have much of an answer to that question at all. A lot depends on whether I select for Department Head. I do know that I plan on staying with NASC in Pensacola for a while absent of DH selection and doing a lot of vacationing. In fact, I am enjoying the blog thing so much, I want to keep one going as Ash and I travel around the U.S. and the world. With the new GI bill taking effect in August of this year, I'm going to pursue my Masters in Program Management/Acquisition (I know, sounds like someone finally came up with a career field more painful than accounting.)

I guess I'm realizing that the time to retire from the military is fast approaching. Hopefully, I will get one final department head job before I have to call it quits.

I want to thank all my readers who kept me going on this thing, even through my long absence from posting. My next post will be from the States. I should be able to upload some pictures at that time of the homecoming, etc.

Until then, Peace Out, Iraq.

Spooky Sends

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Technical Difficulties

My fellow Blog-readers,

I have not forgotten you. I have been attempting to finish my Christmas post which had an original planned air date of 25 December. Thanks to the near-worthless third world internet capabilities over here, I have been unable to upload an image that is an integral part of this post.

Thankfully, this internet service is not very only costs me $65 a month and provides me with a remarkable connection speed comparable to the 28KBPS connections of the old days.

I will continue to work this issue and will post my Christmas post when I finally get some cooperation from this ever-so-stubborn ISP.

My apologies

Monday, December 15, 2008

Incredible National Anthem

From Anthem

Five very young girls perform our national anthem in a perfect five-part harmony. I don't know who shot this or who the girls are, but this is too good to miss.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Holiday Season Photo Album

Squat and Warlock. We didn't adopt Warlock....Warlock adopted us. cats have a funny way of doing that.

Clowns!! I work with clowns.

One of the clowns likes to play this blue guitar-like thing...most likely a guitar.

The Jupiter/Venus Astronomical event that happened at the beginning of December over Al Faw Palace. I can't quite figure out what that one is in the middle. Any guesses?

No, I'm not looking at the previous photo caption. We are caught in a downpour in a HMMWV with a gigantic open hole in the roof (gunner turret.)

Chief checking out our surviving Sea Monkeys. Anyone who has grown these knows they're just Brine Shrimp, but they're pretty neat on many levels. These have survived two rather substantial attempts on their lives. One, I eluded to back in August when I talked about the "revenge" our Culourophobic friend took on Squat through them. He didn't really. His accidental spilling of the sea monkey habitat came as an unfortunate coincidence right after he was freaked-out by the clown pictures taped all over his computer monitor. Not two days after we rescued the sea monkeys, one of the girls from Engineering and Fielding stopped by for a visit and thought their habitat was one of those "snowy village" globes. Without hesitation she picked it up and began to shake it. Sea monkeys flew everywhere, all in the room were agast, Squat got pissed and banished the girl from the room, and we all undertook yet another mass-casualty rescue attempt. The second time, only one survived. He is a pretty good size now and recently, a new one popped up out of nowhere. This leads us to believe that they reproduce asexually.

Monday, December 1, 2008

JCCS Training Family Portrait

I remember 6 months ago to the day, I posted a picture of the temperature gauge outside of our Battalion TOC as my way of welcoming June and the official start of summer. The temperature on the gauge displayed a reading well into the 100s.

At that point, the arrival of December was one of the farthest things from my mind along with the forthcoming reality that I would extend my stay out here for 90 days.

In very quick fashion, December first is upon us. Gone are the days of triple-digit temperatures. The climate is now more reflective of Southern California along with some rather intense thunderstorms thrown into the mix. These storms serve to usher in much cooler weather and create sloppy muddy conditions that are slow to dissipate. Temperatures dip into the 40's in the mornings making showering before bedtime a much more attractive option.

The other day, we took a photo of the training team out on our patio known as the "Crows Nest." I'm sharing this picture with you here, but it contains some oddities that require explanations.

Our Mobile Training Team returned yesterday from a week-long journey around Iraq stopping at a number of Forward Operating Bases in order to spread the kind of Holiday joy, love, and cheer that only JCCS-1 can provide. During the trip, one of our Chief Petty Officers (We have given him the callsign "Ted" since he bears a slight resemblance to Ted Bundy) drifted off to sleep in his tent for the night. Just prior to falling asleep, he had eaten an apple and dripped apple juice all over his hand. As he slept, a field mouse or rat discovered his apple-hand and took a nice juicy bite out of it.

This, of course, woke Ted up out of his comatose slumber. He grabbed his hand and realized it was bleeding profusely from the wound. He went to the medical facility immediately. The practitioner at the medical facility listened to Ted's story, took a look at the bite, and pulled this cookbook style medical publication from the shelf that may-as-well have been titled: 1001 Conditions and their Treatments. He thumbed through until he found "Rodent Bite," read the blurb beneath the title, and then prescribed antibiotics to Ted and sent him on his way.

When he told me his story this morning, I asked him if they had given him Rabies shots. His answer was that they told him Rodents aren't common carriers of the disease. Now, I've always been one to err on the side of caution and, if a wild mammal bites you, you should immediately get a pre-emptive rabies treatment. The other Chief with him took him aside and strongly urged him to go to our medical treatment facility here on VBC and explain to them what had happened and that he thought he needed the Rabies Vaccination.

I'm glad our other Chief did this and Ted went because this was the closest I've come in my military career to giving a direct order to someone in this senior a paygrade. Anyway, apparantly I wasn't out of my mind in my thought process because he returned from medical with a full compliment rabies vaccination and a follow-up shot schedule. Crisis averted!!

Once the seriousness of the situation had been quelled, it all gave way to some friendly facetious and sarcastic ribbing (Naval Aviation Style.) The comments started flying about them giving him his Distemper and Kennel Cough shots while he was down there along with neutering him and applying the all-too-familiar Kanine Lampshade to his neck to keep him from gnawing at his stitches. Taking it one step further, our Department Head, who has a BS Degree in Photoshop, turned our musings into a pseudo-reality.
From Left to Right: Squat, Me, Chief P, Bluto, and of course, Ted.

The other items I should probably explain are the clown noses which are a continuation of the Colouriphobia joke at the expense of our recently redeployed team member with the infamous "fear of clowns." The cigars are courtesy of Bob Williams who has a website called "Support Our Troops Online." Thanks Bob!! Much to our dismay, the beer is non-alcoholic.

I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving and is looking forward to a wonderful Christmas/Honnikah season!