Saturday, May 16, 2009


You can love or hate President Obama, but you can't deny that the man is very good at this political thing.
Click Here!

One of the Republican parties only real contenders for the 2012 election, and he taps him to be a part of the current administration. Meaning when 2012 comes around he will have worked for the administration for 4 years, and all of his political 'street cred' will be 4 years expired. Very smart, he's slowly assimilating all of his political enemies into the administration. Now if only we could do something about that Limbaugh guy...

Another interesting news story:

Click Here!

While most of the 'evidence' is anecdotal, it raises some interesting potential problems that most people would never think about. Maybe this needs more attention from the public?

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Today we had a formation. Well, not us exactly, but the military had a formation. They've been here for about a year, and it's a tradition to hold a formation/awards ceremony where they hand out all the medals and commendations that have been earned over the course of a year. Usually everyone gets recognized with medals, or at the very least a letter of appreciation or a battalion coin.

The company that I work for provides the life support for pretty much all the bases in Afghanistan. Specifically my group of 5 provides all the power, water, electrical work, plumbing, carpentry, and heating/air conditioning for this base. Some days it's easy, many days it's not. Since we are pretty much in the middle of nowhere we have to be very good at our jobs, and we've done a lot of things that we aren't exactly supposed to do in order to keep things running out here. We can't exactly run out to the nearest store if we need parts or other equipment. We've spent quite a few late nights fixing broken power and water lines(usually ones that the military has broken), and even doing things that are beyond our scope of work just to keep the soldiers happy and make their jobs easier.

So it was a bit irritating today to watch everyone else on the FOB(Forward Operating Base) get recognized except for us. There are two other contractors on base, one providing security, and one doing TS (Top Secret) things. They were all given unit coins and we were ignored. Ouch.

I honestly don't care about coins or awards. I have a box full of coins, letters of appreciation, and medals from my time in the Marines, and each one of those was earned through lots of blood and sweat and pain(no tears!) I'll probably never look at them again. Although my job is arguably the most important it doesn't take much so I don't work that hard. But for the other Americans and two Indians that I work with it was a slap in the face. They've worked very hard to keep these guys happy and to have a years worth of work completely ignored is almost unforgivable. They were pretty unhappy today, and it happens that all of us are leaving to go on R&R in the next 20 days, so they've all decided that they are going to do as little as possible until they leave. There was a lot more swearing involved when they said it though.

But we're professionals, and we'll continue to do our jobs. It's just nice to spend a day complaining and pretending to not care.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Opium Joe

Days like yesterday I hate being a civilian. One of our local workers was out assisting in the recovery of a military vehicle when he was hit by a roadside bomb, and almost killed. He was contracted to operate a crane on base, but he was always willing to go and do anything that was asked of him.

Now I'm not big on bashing the US Army. At least not in public. Here in Afghanistan there are a lot of rules and it's tough to operate. CNN is always watching and ready to report even the slightest incident in a manner that brings them the most ratings. Truth has taken a backseat to the dollar, but that's another issue. So I understand the pressures they're operating under, and I understand some of the questionable decisions that are made here. But this was a different story.

Let me give you a brief background on the situation here. With IED's (roadside bombs) it's been a constant game of adaptation. The enemy creates a bomb, we create better armor. When the IED's started to become more prevalent, they were using detonation systems where the truck would have to drive over a set of contacts that would set off the bomb. After a while the US military figured out what to look for and how to avoid it. So the enemy adapted, and started using IED's detonated by electronic commands. Someone would hide nearby and press the button at the right time. It allowed for higher casualties due to the ability to target soft targets and civilian vehicles. So the military developed jamming systems which would block the electronic signals from reaching the detonator. So the enemy went back to primarily using the contact detonators. The military response was to build stronger trucks, and that's where we're at now. The unit I am with now has been hit multiple times with little to no injuries due to the new trucks.

Now here's where the incompetence comes in. They let the crane, the unarmored, civilian vehicle lead the convoy. If an assault had come from the front, how would the convoy protected itself, since they had placed a civilian between them and the enemy? The insurgents here have no problem killing civilians, so why did they put him there? He was putting his life on the line to help them and they didn't even try to protect him.

The worst part is that there is there is nothing I can do about it. When I was active I could have asked questions, forced people to answer them, and gotten things changed. But that's not my job now. So I just sit here and hope that in the next two months their incompetence doesn't get anyone killed.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Real Picture!

DSC_0845, originally uploaded by sjtaylor2016.

Look, I posted a real picture! This little monkey was our pet for a while. The Marines on base bought her and took care of her for a while, then they went home. So we took over her care for a while, until some soldiers decided they wanted to get a pet as well, so the Army made us get rid of her. She was maybe 6 inches high while sitting, and weighed about 2 pounds.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Orange juice: pulp, or no pulp

People are surprisingly passionate on this issue. Back when I was a church goin' man, I was part of the official 'friend shipping committee.' Kind of funny since I'm basically an asshole, but maybe I was nice back then. It was in my pre-Marine days. I don't remember. Our ward was dedicated to young single people, and we had a high rate of turnover throughout the area, since there was a lot of apartments. People moved in and out all the time, and we were responsible for teaching new members first classes and making them feel welcome. Of course at the beginning of class we had everyone introduce themselves and asked them random questions. My question was always, "Orange juice, pulp or no pulp?" I've noticed that guys tend to prefer pulp, and women no pulp. But there was some heated discussions on the issue, sometimes they would last most of the class. Weird that people would care about it that much. I personally prefer the no pulp version personally. And you?

Friday, April 10, 2009

I'm not a morning person

I don't like mornings. From years of being in, and working with, the military I'm used to getting up early. I'm adept at waking up and being on the move quickly, and I kind of like it that way. But I'm not a morning person. And I don't really like being talked to in the morning. Not for at least the first four hours. All of my past roommates(boo roommates!) have been the same way, so at the most we would grunt at each other in the morning. It was a perfect arrangement. But these roommates...I want to kill them. Don't get me wrong, in the middle of the day they are great guys. We're even planning to take a vacation together when we get done here. But in the morning...From the second they wake up in the morning it's just a constant stream of inane chatter. I don't think their eyes are even open, and a flood of words start issuing forth from their mouths, and I can think of nothing other then ways to shut them up. I could handle, "morning, sleep well?" or, "wow, I just had the craziest dream." But no, it's things like, "HEY, BASE1, COME SIT ON MY DICK!" "HEY, CARPENTER1, YOU CRAZY COCKSUCKER, SHUT THE @#$#@ UP!" And the witty banter just gets wittier from there. So am I wrong to want to kill them?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Someday I'll figure out how to post real pictures in this thing!

Afghanistan may be a horrible place, but it's got some great scenery.