Monday, January 28, 2013

The Days of My Week in Afghanistan

Here is a little insight and a little slice of life from the great beyond:

It's good to have a schedule. Schedules make time go by faster. If everyday brings another thing to look forward to then everyday is another step towards the day I eventually make my way home.

In order to shine a little light on my life over here, I figured I would share a little bit of my schedule, so you can see what my week is like. There isn't much that varies one week from another; they all just kinda blend in. So I find variety in the days. Something to look forward to in a world with no weekends. Oh, and on a typical day, I work 12 hours, morning to night. Sometimes more, depending on the work at hand. But rarely, if ever, less.

This has been my schedule since November, when I landed at my new base.


Monday is laundry day. For three hours on Monday morning I go back and forth to the morale office/laundromat and wash my clothes. Sometimes I'll bring a book and read while I wait for a washer to open. While things are flipping and bouncing in one of the community washers I might go to the shop for hygienicals or other items. Then when my items finally get into the dryer, I head back to work for an hour or so. Then I pick up my stuff, drop it off in my room, and go back to work.

An interesting story from Laundry Day:

We have an option to drop off some laundry with a drop-off service. A few weeks ago, I dropped off a bag to a few of the locals who work at the drop-off place. While there, I heard a local radio station. I asked them if they spoke the local Dari dialect, as I learned some while in Kabul. They said "yes". A few weeks later, I said few words to the guy behind the desk. He smiled. Another person behind the desk said, "did you understand him?" to his co-worker. The dari-speaking worker said "Of course, he spoke Afghani and I am an Afghan." Then he smiled at me again.


Tuesday is gym day. I've been trying to go two days a week again. I tried three times a week for a bit, but then stopped for over a month. So I am back to twice a week. Not sure if that will make me stronger, leaner, meaner, or buff, but it gives me something to do. And I want to run the Tampa Gasparilla 5 or 10K sometime when I get back.


Wednesday is my half-day. Back at my old base, 1/2 days were Friday, but here I had a choice and I picked Wednesday. Several reasons went into this pick. One, Friday was already taken and we needed someone in the office. Two, I can work out long on Tuesday and recover Wednesday. Three, it's the middle of the week and I only have one 1/2 day.

For those keeping track at home, a half-day means I only work six hours instead of 12.

Interesting fact about half-day Wednesday: Both Christmas and New Year's Day fell on Tuesdays this year. My boss gave us free days those days, meaning we could sleep in and do whatever we needed to do (talk to family or whatever). So for two weeks in a row, I almost had a normal weekend.


Thursday is gym day 2. Not much to say about day 2. It's the day after day 1. There are no interesting facts about Thursday, either. Sorry.


Friday is Hawaiian shirt day. Hawaiian shirt day might be a played out cliche in the states, but in Afghanistan, only a handful of us do it. So it's like a tribe thing. I've even gotten a few compliments on my "tropical camouflage".


As it is back in the states, Saturday is Florida State University shirt day - even when not football season. I gotta represent. On each base I have been to, I've run into a few FSU fans who compliment my Saturday attire. Being that I'm surrounded by people who like talking about my Army time and my time working in Tampa, to find a Seminole fan is a real treat.


Sunday is Sneaker Sunday. Because I wear low hiking boots most of my days here, I like to let them air out on Sunday by wearing my running shoes all day. I'll throw baby powder in my boots Saturday night and not put them on again until Monday morning. It's a nice change of pace.

Sunday is normally also Skype Sunday, the day I try to leave the office a bit early and talk to my folks for a little while. Or if the roommate is asleep (how can people actually go to sleep before midnight?), I type while my family talks. The style of communication takes some getting used to, but it's better than nothing.

Well, that's my week out here. Being that it's Monday, today is laundry day. Gotta go, I have socks to check on!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Drunk times, horrible writing, and a good luck wrench

I was going through some old emails in my oldest email account and I found this from November 22, 1999. Hard to believe I wrote like this. Granted, I wasn't the smoothest guy on the block, but I guess in my defense, I was a 22-year old in my first semester in college. Thank goodness I grew up.

Yo geeknik,

Man your weekend blows the shit out of mine. All I did was get drunk on Friday night and ended up puking all over myself, not very cool but I did it in my own room so it was cool, woke up early Sat to get Metallica, Kid Rock, Sevendust, Creed tickets for Dec 28 in Miami. 56 fucking dollars. Ugh. Then I watched the Florida-Florida State game. A really big deal here. People live and die on college football here. Its nuts. A dude I have the coolest story to tell you, well maybe not as cool as your story about your weekend but oh well. I went to Subway to get something to eat right before watching football Sat and as I was pulling away this guy walks up to my car and asks me for some change. I give him some pennies and nickels and shit and he tells me that he is an alcoholic and that the money will go straight to beer. I told him as that was a noble cause that I don't mind supporting in the least bit. Then he went on about how he had a job yadda yadda. Then he told me that he got drunk and sold his bicycle the night before. He had this wrench and since he didn't need it anymore he gave it to me for the 42 cents I gave him. Since I got this wrench I've had nothing but good luck. I keep it in my pocket now. Its a small little wrench so its cool. But dude ain't that a cool little story. Maybe I'll have luck with the chicks now. Who knows? I hope so. Oh well dude thats my weekend. Not as cool as yours but cool nonetheless.

The Supreme Geeknik

I have some fond memories of that wrench and even fonder memories of the Metallica concert. Getting that drunk? I don't miss that at all.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Flight of a Super Airplane book review

Brian Spaeth’s Flight of a Super Airplane is the second book in what maybe a series of Super Airplane books. It is Spaeth’s fifth book and the second I have read, the other being the first Super Airplane book.

Flight of a Super Airplane is a humorous action book, a literary combination of the Airplane! movies and Michael Bay blockbusters.  But it is far more than that. Spaeth writes in manners and uses character devices that very few writers use, making FOSA not only action-packed and funny, but an interesting and unique read.

Spaeth winds and unwinds and tangles and untangles multiple intertwining storylines between a plethora of different characters, including himself. Yes, he is in the book. And a main character to boot. So the story definitely has some Walter Mitty to it, unless Spaeth is indeed capable of fighting Bruce Willis for 20 minutes.

One of the best things about the Spaeth books is his use or reference of many of the same characters in each. Having been a fan since his Who Shot Mamba? movie, I was pleased to see reference and mention to Calvin Stadiums, the star of that film. As well, Spaeth, who acted in Mamba, references himself playing his character in the movie. So author Spaeth wrote about the character Spaeth remembering his role in a movie the author Spaeth actually acted in where Calvin Stadiums played himself, although Stadiums is a fictional character played by a real-life actor.

Confused yet?

That’s all part of the fun.

That said, Spaeth’s writing might not be for everyone. He openly admits to lazy writing and even lists some of the purposeful grammatical errors he makes in the book. I think that is irony, but I am not sure.

To recap:


Flying cars


Hot girl on girl action


Bruce Willis

And a neurotic author with hidden muscularity.