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Postcards from Tradocia

Living with Determination

El Shrimpo off the starboard bow

El Shrimpo off the starboard bow

The Taste of Adventure has arrived at the camp, piloted by Colonel Sanders’ younger seagoing brother, Captain Sanders.

If only it were so – I’ve been in this brown place for five brown months and it’s starting to wear me brown down. The colorless unanimity of the place is in perfect harmony with the dull routine of our jobs here, such that everything – my clothing, food, entertainment, job duties, conversations, sleep schedule – is smeared into one huge tan existence. Yet the routine is comforting, and somehow helps the time pass more quickly. Routine turns everything into a milestone, such that the remaining time here can be measured in trips to the gym, miles run around the perimeter, Mongolian BBQ nights, or any other behavioral metric.

Last night we played Guitar Hero in the tent on the nice 50″ plasma TV our guys rescued from Iraq, which is by far the best thing out of the mountain of scavenged crap that our Hoarding Warrant found. My eyes glazed over after the second container full of stuff came back from the war zone, and I became convinced that he had lost his mind or gone rogue or something and there’d be some kind of Colonel Kurtz moment with him ensconced in a desert hideout, surrounded by a pile of old routers and air compressors.

Anyway, playing Guitar Hero reinforced the fact that I’m an insufferable snob when it comes to music games, in that I only want to play Rock Band and can’t stand Guitar Hero. It’s the aesthetics of the whole thing; I could go into detail but everyone laughs at me when I describe it so I’ll leave it at that. It was still fun to jam on the plastic instruments, though the drums were sorely missed, as was the booze. Playing also made me realize that I have a strong emotional attachment to the various Rock Band games, having played countless hours of the game with many friends, in many locations. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Rock Band changed my life, however absurd that might sound, and it’s a topic that bears full exploration at another time.

Meanwhile, a war is still going on, and as such some of our future replacements came to visit us this week. It was called a “pre-deployment site survey” or PDSS, which is a fancy term for a five-day binge of PowerPoint, shaking of hands, and driving around Kuwait. One of the officers that came with the PDSS was a trainer, responsible for planning the mobilization training for our replacements, and he was eager to ask me questions about our SharePoint site. No problem – I love playing show-and-tell so he sat down and I asked him what he wanted to know. Ninety minutes later, I had basically broken down our whole operation and given him a copy of all of our SOPs, forms, documents, you name it. Luckily I pay attention when I’m performing the monkey’s job of advancing slides in staff meetings, since for all he knew I could’ve been some Asperger’s-afflicted computer guy who didn’t know shit about anything. I kept trying to point him at the actual subject matter experts for each thing – why are you asking me when I don’t do that job? – but he just plowed onward, evidently deciding that I was indeed the “main effort.” True enough, I guess – Walter doesn’t call our shop the “S-Delobius” for nothing.

1 Comment

  1. The Taste of Adventure indeed! God, I love other countries’ attempts at mimicking US advertising. Sounds like the deployment is going as expected. I’ll bet you’re pumped about coming back for R&R in a few weeks; I know I’m ready for a break from flight school. Flying the OH-58 A/C has been a blast though, and I’ll be sad to say goodbye to the old scout soon after I get back in January. State says I’m supposed to get promoted to 1LT at the end of January/beginning of February, but we’ll see how that goes.

    Sure wish we were going to be back in MN at the same time brother. On the bright side, it looks like I should be done with flight school as scheduled and be back in MN NLT than 1 JUN 12. We’ll get the [Rock] Band back together and jam out soon enough. Until then

    Winter is coming

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