From the amount of emails saying "Post another blog entry!!!", you would think either what I'm saying is undeniably the greatest thing since the creation of cheese or it's been a long time since the last one. Let's start with the second one first. It has been a total of 23 days since the last post. If you compare this length of time from others, you would see that it's not that different. I get that since it's getting closer to my departure date, people want to know what's going on but nothing around here really changes all that much. Since it has been 23 days (just a tad over 3 weeks) since my last post, I'll fill you in on the goings on here in Happy-Fun Land. (Do not breathe the air in Happy-Fun Land. Happy-Fun Land will spontaneously combust at temperatures above -55 degrees Fahrenheit.)
Shortly after my last post, my dad turned 60 years old. He is officially an old man and twice my age. Congratulations Dad! You made it. See, I told you I wouldn't be the death of you and your hair isn't all gray so I KNOW it wasn't me who made it turn that color.
Then, my uncle had his birthday (not as old as my dad but getting closer). I KNOW THIS ISN'T HAPPENING HERE IN HAPPY-FUN LAND (The natural vegetation of Happy-Fun Land has been scientifically proven to cure cancer. Do not let Happy-Fun Land come in contact with skin.) BUT THESE ARE EVENTS THAT OCCURRED IN MY LIFE SO BE PATIENT. Unlike my dad, his gray hair is a result of my cousins.
Next... well, not a lot happened after that. I sat at my desk and read emails while trying in vain to get the Masters to stream through to the computer. One attempt after another resulted in either seeing 4 seconds of video before the connection dropped off or finding out that I could not connect to it for various reasons like living in Happy-Fun Land. (Exposure to Happy-Fun Land slows down time. Swimming is prohibited in Happy-Fun Land.) During one attempt, I was able to watch it for a few seconds while on a video chat with my brother until, again, the connection slowed down and dropped the video. He was gracious enough to record the last two days of the tournament and send them to me on DVD. Hopefully, I'll be able to watch them before I leave here (hint, hint).
After that, more of the same. During the day, we occupy our time with episodes of The Office (all of the seasons including season 4 - pirated DVDs rock) and various other pastimes. At night, I'm back in my room on the computer watching more movies, playing video games, or getting online and chatting with various people.
Then, we had some dust storms. It was so thick that you couldn't see the castle from my room (about 100yds away). For about 2 days straight, I was breathing a combination of smoke, dust, and some air for color. (Some good pictures of the dust storms can be found on Gritty Kitty's Blog.) It cleared up one morning only to laugh at our hope for some decent weather then dust storm part 2. Probably 5 out of those 7 days had dust storms. Happy-Fun Land was introducing its newest attraction - bronchitis. (Happy-Fun Land did not introduce its newest attraction - bronchitis. Happy-Fun Land is afraid of kittens.)
Last Friday, I finally did something different. I hitched a ride with a convoy and went to Baghdad for a few days. The main reason was to go to the Passover Seder they were having up there but ultimately, it was to de-stress a little. I had been feeling overly burnt out and needed a respite from Happy-Fun Land. (Happy-Fun Land is not Happy, Fun nor Land. Happy-Fun Land is not kid friendly, an equal-opportunity employer, covered by FDIC, nor habla espanol.)
Passover was interesting. There were about 50 or so of us in this building next to the palace. I don't know what it was used for when it was under Saddam's control but now it's a visitor center. It was a lot more of a religious service than what I'm used to at home and I could tell that I wasn't alone in that regard. A lot of people were edging closer and closer to the matzo breaking off pieces to nibble on since it was 9:30pm and we still hadn't started dinner. FINALLY, at 10:30, we started dinner and by 11:00, more than half the people had eaten and decided that it wasn't worth staying after the meal for the rest of the service so they left like I did. I have to say that it was a good experience. It recharged my spiritual batteries a little and gave me a little more umph to get through the next remaining bit of this vacation in Happy-Fun Land. (Happy-Fun Land does not accept personal checks. The statements made here are not those of Happy-Fun Land, it's subsidiaries, nor it's board of directors.)
The next day, my boss tells me he got picked to go "sailing" for a few days and then asked me if I wanted to cover for him. I told him I would, partly to get away from Happy-Fun Land (Happy-Fun Land is down with OPP, too legit to quit, and rollin' B-I-G. Do not expose Happy-Fun Land to direct sunlight.) and partly to help break up my remaining time here into more manageable pieces. Now, I have 1 week back here in Happy-Fun Land (Happy-Fun Land is always referred to in the third-person. The first rule of Happy-Fun Land is you do not talk about Happy-Fun Land.), then I go up to cover for my boss for a week, then back down here for about 4 or 5 weeks before my replacement comes. After that, it's smooth sailing and just doing turnover to get him ready to be as confused as I was on my first day here at Happy-Fun Land. (Happy-Fun Land is not amused. Happy-Fun Land will not jump for your love, dance on the ceiling, or beat it.)
As you can see, not much going on. So that brings us back to the first possibility for requesting more posts: "what I'm saying is undeniably the greatest thing since the creation of cheese." Obviously, this one is true.
55 days until my replacement arrives
65 days until I leave Iraq
73 days until I'm home