22 October 2007

I'm Somebody Now!

I know it's been a little while but, honestly, there isn't much going on. It's a good thing, though. On wednesday, I flew up to Baghdad for a conference. It was my first time in a helicopter and it was pretty fun. It was only a 10 minute flight and it was straight and level the whole time but it was still a lot of fun. Like conferences are wont to do, it bored the crap out of me. It was all stuff I'd seen or known about already. On the plus side, it was 3 days of flushing toilets and picking up some supplies.

The day I arrived, one of the other EWO's in my brigade told me about a pizza joint on Camp Liberty (all part of the Victory Base Complex). I was a little sceptical about the quality except for the fact that it's been at least 8 weeks since eating any good pizza so anything better than microwave is pretty good in my book. It was a worm-hole moment that night. There I was, sitting at a wooden table on a patio listening to 80's and 90's music with a bunch of friends eating the best pizza I've had in about 2 months. I felt like I was back in college again, almost. Beer was missing and in its place were guns - many, many guns.

The strangest thing about the whole trip was that while I was enjoying the change of scenery, I kept counting down the hours until my flight back to Dragon. Compared to Dragon, the VBC (Victory Base Complex) is like a big city with traffic, crowds, and long lines. I was telling everyone how I missed the quiet of Dragon and all that was here. We have everything you could need out here and nothing you don't minus a few luxuries. I have my own room. There are plenty of showers and hot water (not always the case at the VBC). The mess hall is open 24hrs so you can grab a drink or snack whenever the moods strikes and you don't have to pay for it. So, we don't have a Burger King or Green Beans Coffee or an Exchange. We have internet available and plenty of movies and games to go around. It's about as good as I can imagine it getting.

One good thing I took away (or rather sent away) from my little excursion is a gift for my dog. The exchanges in the VBC have stuffed camels with camoflaged hats on them. So, in keeping with our tradition of getting Lucky a new friend from everywhere we've lived, I sent him one of the camels. It hasn't arrived yet but I'm sure I'll find out when it does.

The big news is that I'm somebody now. I feel like Steve Martin in "The Jerk" when he finds himself in the phonebook. I have an address... FINALLY... This is all because my new unit has taken over. They say they will be making some changes/additions to the base pretty soon. Who knows, in a few months, I may be saying how I miss the quiet of the VBC but I doubt it.

I know a lot of you have been asking for my address and if I need anything. Well, my address can be found with any of the people holding the following positions in my life: Self, Wife, Brother, Mother, or Father. They will be able to give it to you.

I don't necessarily "need" anything but if you are itching to send anything, please keep these things in mind when you pack up the box:

  • Alcohol and "adult videos and literature" are prohibited in Iraq. There are no exceptions... unfortunately.

  • Things that can melt, will, ie chocolate, butter, freezer pops, the polar ice caps, etc. This also goes for things that spoil like milk based products.

  • Dust is in the air and can move through walls. If you are planning to send anything homemade, extra wrapping is a must.
Also, these things will ALWAYS be well received:

  • Snyder's Sourdough pretzels (I don't know how I've lived so long without them.)

  • Clif Bars - Carrot Cake, Cherry Almond, Oatmeal Raisin Walnut, any chocolate flavor

  • Myoplex powdered drink mix (chocolate) and shakers.

  • Cigars. They don't have to be fancy. The bundled "seconds" will burn just fine.

  • Anything from my Amazon wish list (can be found here).

  • Recorded episodes from the second season of Heroes. I was somehow able to see the first 2 episodes and now I'm going through withdrawal. (Josh and Jon, I know you two know how to do this so get to work, chop chop.)

  • DVDs and PSP games. The things that keep us going.

  • Anything. Get creative... well, don't go overboard. Shira's class sent me letters and pictures. Probably one of the best packages I've ever received.

That's all I can think of at the moment. In the mean time, check me out:

That's one of Saddam's "thrones". And this is the infamous "neck burn":

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