Sunday, October 31, 2004

 

French vs American MRE's

Not many captions to add, the pix speak for themselves. Just to be sure, the French is on the left, and US is on the right. The French package is designed for one soldier for 1 full day, the US plans for three packages per soldier per day.

Score: Presentation FR 1; US 0

Opening the French package looks like a walk through the supermarket, while the US is more brown packaging.

FR 2; US 0 for Packaging Appeal.

Close up of the U.S. "Food"

Meatloaf with Brown Onion Gravy. MMMMMM! (U.S.)

From the French, the first meal of the day is Fish with rice and vegetables, the yellow packet is broth and the red is the heat source.

Here is the US MRE, crackers, the meatloaf, Oh! and a cookie. Yummy.
The second course, rabbit (Tastes like Chicken I hear), with 2 mustard sauce.

I did not do a side by side taste test yet, but will do so in the near future.


Saturday, October 30, 2004

 

IED Strike

Out in the hinterland, read not Kabul....
All survived with minor scrapes.

IED Attack


Friday, October 29, 2004

 

Kabul Halloween Half-Marathon

The Team: Maj Jim; Maj Patrick; LTCOL Ben; and LCDR Paul

The "race" was on treadmills...

And it was a relay....


At 6,000 ft above sea level, running is a bit more difficult...


The "anchor man" good thing he's a sailor....



 

Anyone reading this?

Just curious. Let me know.

 

News About Afghanistan

This is a good link to news about Afghanistan. From the Guardian in the UK:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/afghanistan/0,1284,548335,00.html
There are good stories, and several picture essays.
I will also add this to the Links column.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

 

Thank God it's Thursday

It's the freakin' weekend....In Kabul. Tomorrow is our day off. Maybe I will go golfing or biking tomorrow.
Then I woke up. Tomorrow is just another day in Paradise.

 

Clear Day in the 'Stan




 

The Curse is Over

Cats and Dogs Living together, Mass Hysteria, Boston wins the World Series, I have a bad feeling about this....What next?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

 

Slow Day

I realized that I didn't post anything today. I am settling into a routine out here, and things are losing their newness. In other news, my food standards are plummeting. I actually heard myself say that dinner was good. Wow, took just over two weeks.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

 

Phone Message

This was a phone message on my desk after dinner:

"CDR
Some guy called and wants you to call him back, he says you know the number."


This is what I have to deal with on a daily basis.

 

A Good Day in Afghanistan

As described by one of my co-workers;
The sun is Shining,
No one is shooting at me,
and,
It is all pensionable service.

That about sums it up.

Monday, October 25, 2004

 

More Road Trip Pix

A local girl we met while waiting by the Airport. She was very shy at first, and did not want her picture taken, but she warmed up to us. She spoke no English, and (Duh) we don't speak Dhari.

The girl with our new office mate, Capt Heidi.


 

Maj Jim War Trophy

Major Jim with a War Trophy, the bumper from his truck. Hard to see the blood.


 

Trip to Pol-e-Charki

We went on a field trip today to the Kabul Military Training Center, the home of the Afghan National Army. We went there for weapons familiarization: Read - shoot weapons for the sake of shooting.

(This is the national past-time of Texas I think). At any rate, photos will be up soon. It was a good trip despite the fact we had to wait outside the Kabul airport for an hour for the French contingent to get the ammunition they needed. While waiting we met some local children which was quite entertaining and saw parts of Afghanistan we had not previously seen.

Today was also the coolest day to date, and it was overcast and rainy (kind of like it is every day in Seattle). When the pix are up, I will add more.

This is Mr. Lin, he is our task master.

A Qanooni poster on a taxi. Much like a Kerry poster in the States. (Qanooni came in second).

An ISAF patrol on the day of the suicide attack. They are dismounted downtown. We don't do that. I am not sure if this was the patrol that got hit.

More war damage downtown. No shortage of this. What is amazing is sometimes people will still be living in bombed out structures.

My room at the safe house. I sleep on the top bunk. 40 year olds should not sleep up there. Luckily I have stuck the dismount every day. Hopefully a bottom bunk will open up soon.

Me waiting outside the airport with a herd of goats passing by. How come all the others got pix with kids, and I got goats?

LCDR Paul (the Aussie) with a couple of kids that came up to meet us.

No comment necessary.

A group of little girls aftetr they were chased away by "the bully" his picture is coming up.

One of our French officers with a group of boys.

Burkha on board.

The Bullly. This one would chase away all the other kids. I think we were on "his corner" if he saw other kids getting candy from us, he would chase them away and try to take their candy. It was funny because an Afghan adult pulled him aside gave him a stern talking to, and the bully went away crying. He did return a bit later, and pulled the same crap.

Mmmmmmm fresh vegetables.

Never did see the school but here's the sign.

Little kids would come out and give us the "Thumbs up" as we drove by.

A UN refugee camp.

Our convoy to the range about to go "off roading".

That would be me. At the end of the end of the world. I may as well be standing on Mars.

LCDR Paul and Capt Bill surveying the "off roading damage"

It's not a party 'til something gets broken.

French SUV with a machine gun on top. These sounded awesome when fired.

More French SUV's.

Nice hat.


 

Bored

After dinner this evening (Dry pork chops, runny stuffing, overcooked carrots I took a personality test. Try it here
http://hokev.brinkster.net/quiz/default.asp?quiz=Better+Personality&page=1

This was the result:
Wackiness: 80/100
Rationality: 56/100
Constructiveness: 64/100
Leadership: 0/100

You are a WRCF--Wacky Rational Constructive Follower. This makes you a Paul Begala.You are unflappable and largely unconcerned with others' reactions to you. You were not particularly interested in the results of this test, and probably took it only as a result of someone else asking you to. You have a biting wit and intense powers of observation. No detail is lost on you, and your friends know it--relying on you to have the facts when others express only opinions. You are even-tempered, friendly, and educated. Foolish strangers may mistake your mildness for weakness--they will be surprised.You entire approach to life is enviable. You will raise good kids.

Of the 47090 people who have taken this quiz since tracking began (8/17/2004), 5 % are this type.

I don't think it is that far off the mark. Try it for yourself.

 

I Miss My Girls

That's right, I miss my girls a whole lot. Knowing that I am here for a much shorter time than most people doesn't help. I know that what we are all doing here will go a long way in making the world a better place for them, but it gets hard being out here. So this post is for Rachel and Elizabeth. Dad misses you both, and I will be home soon as I can.

This is Elizabeth, she just lost her first tooth:

This is Rachel, she just had her first horse show:

They really do like eachother:


Sunday, October 24, 2004

 

We Are OK...

You may have read in the news of a suicide attack in Kabul. Rest easy, we are all OK.

 

Noooooo!

ND lost to BC for the fouth time in a row....I don't get it. They lead at the half 20-7 and lost 24-23. It is a good thing I did not watch the game. Between this and the Red Sox beating the Yankees, I think Boston (College and Red Sox) should be added to the axis of evil.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

 

Toxic Waste Side-effect

Planners....PowerPoint Poisoning


 

Thanks

Another anonymous poster, a little less emotional:

"I don't have an account so have to post anonymous. Doesn't matter because I hope you know how much most of us back in the States appreciate what you (and Maj Jim and the rest) are doing over there. Elections! Wow. The bazaar looks cool but I would still be worried of terrorists sneaking in. The important thing is you know you are doing a good thing and I hope you never forget how much so many people back at home are praying for each of you and are thankful for the job you are doing. Pay no attention to the warped media reports. Thank you!!!"

On behalf of all of us here, thanks for the kind words.

 

Words of Sympathy

From an anonymous poster, in response to my "Transformation" post:

"Spoken in the true tradition of a whining Yankees' fan.Not satisfied that they are the biggest pigs in the world, the Yankees and their fans, cannot let the Red Sox enjoy the limelight for one minute. If the unions ever realize that their players can still make their obscene salaries and a salary cap is instituted, the Yankees will lose their advantage and fall from the ranks of "Gods." Amen."

I think I struck a nerve.

 

I'm Full!

Last night at the safe house next door the inmates, er I mean residents got together and made an Italian Dinner with Spaghetti, Meatballs and Sausage. It was awesome. It was also good to have a get together on a social basis.
We even had beer, and if you closed your eyes and imagined real hard, you could almost forget that it was non-alcoholic.
It was a pretty good night. Thanks to Maj Jim for putting that one together.

Friday, October 22, 2004

 

Fridays

Fridays are our "day-off". Of course, it's not like there's much to do. In fact all that means is we come in a bit later and we wear civilian clothes. So we come in and work, albeit at a slower pace.
The other big diversion is the Bazaar. Local merchants are screened and brought to a road just off the compound. There you can buy anthing: rugs, blankets, leather goods, jewelry, Afghan crafts, hand made suits and DVD/CD's. It is a nice break and the prices are very reasonable. You just have to get used the aggressive tactics of the merchants...."Mister, you want (insert item here)? You haggle over the price and walk away happy.
I am told the prices are starting to rise, so economics in Afghanistan is flourishing.

 

Some Bazaar pix


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