Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Oops... Happy Belated Birthday...

... to this website! Looking back at the archives says I started this on April 01 of last year. Since then, there have been over 3000 visits (I started counting in mid-July). Not bad considering how boring most of my posts have been!

Anyway, thanks for visiting, friends and family, and strangers too! (Some of you are stranger than others...)

Love to all!

Monday, April 26, 2004

Today's Surreality brought to you by the letters "R" and "L" ... and the number 4

As I'm driving out to the site this morning at about 3am, the "different planet" feeling was in full effect. In addition to the usual floodlights and industrial area chimneys billowing smoke and fire into the air, a lightning storm was rolling in (first one I've seen in the 8 months I've been here). The result was an incredible visual show. I wish I had the ability to adequately describe the scene... or better yet the camera equipment to capture it. :)

Other than the unusually long and odd hours I'm working, the only thing I really have to report is that Shelley went back to work today. Sounds like it went off without any problems; sounds like Ryan did fine at the daycare also. In case I didn't already mention it (I don't remember), we found a great daycare person while I was home. We met her (she does it out of her home), and she was great with the kids, and very organized. We both feel very comfortable with her.

I will leave you with something to laugh about: Go to Google and type in "weapons of mass destruction", but don't press enter. Click on the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button. That button will give you the first most relevent page that you're searching for. In this case, it's pretty funny. If you're already been emailed this, I just want to point out that it's not Google that did this, it's some website in the UK that is selling T-shirts and links to Amazon. It's clever, actually. Wish I had thought of it...

Also, as I'm typing this, I can hear some crazy woman on the television screaming "Vote John Kerry for President"... she's one of the pro-abortion psychos. I believe a woman's body is her own, and I think abortion is more of a moral battle than a legal one; but I'm glad these rabid fans of abortion are in Kerry's camp and not Bush's. I don't know why Bush feels the need to run a campaign targetting Kerry's inadequacies as opposed to Bush's strengths. I'm not very politically motivated, but anyone with half a brain can see that we (the US of A) are not in a place where it would be a good idea to hand over the control of the country to anyone, ESPECIALLY John Kerry. All I've seen him do is stick his foot in his mouth, which is probably where he should just leave it. [/end rant]

Sunday, April 25, 2004

A bit overdue...

Been a while since I posted some C&H, but I've been saving them. It truly is disturbing how many of these I can personally relate to...

Also, we had another sandstorm last night, this one hitting us at about 8:30pm. Made for a very interesting drive home, as the new photos show.

And after you look at the sandstorm pics, this is much more appropriate...

(By the way... everyone HAS figured out that some of the photos have descriptions if you just hover your mouse over them and don't move it, haven't you?)

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Mother Nature at her best!

Ever wonder what an approaching sandstorm REALLY looks like?

Now you know!

The pictures are at the bottom of that album... we saw this coming on the horizon, and it took about 20 minutes to get on top of us. The pictures barely capture the sheer spectacle of this thing. The sky looked "bruised", and when it reached us, you could literally see the huge plumes high overhead, and the dust fell for almost an hour afterwards... then the humidity hit. Yuck.

Friday, April 23, 2004


New pictures up in the Latest Photos... I'm not sure why Shelley insists on giving us pictures with Ryan's head at that angle... hehe

Also, since my connection speed varies so much here, it's hard for me to tell if this page is loading slow. Could someone out there let me know if you're waiting a LONG time for the webpage to come up?

Have a great day!

Thursday, April 22, 2004

... oh boy ...

I could have sworn this was coming out in early August, but I just got an email that it's coming out June 11th? I was REALLY hoping to catch this in a theatre...

Random Rambling

Just got a few minutes, thought I'd share a few random thoughts with you.

First... I just got this alert... anyone in GJ care to confirm this?

Second, I added yet another email to my growing list of addresses: I'm telling you this only because of the controversy that is surrounding it. Google is venturing into the "free webmail" market, and is taking a lot of flak for it. They are giving each user 1000MB (which sounds better than 1Gb), which is MUCH more than anyone else that offers free email services (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc). The reason some idiots are up in arms over it is the way they plan on targetting the advertising to their users.

The other email services all have banner ads plastered all over your screen. The thing that makes Google Mail (Gmail) different is that the ads will actually be targetted based on the content of your email. All your email will be scanned looking for "keywords" to give you advertising that is more likely to be of interest to you. For example, an email mentioning buying flowers or a car would produce advertising from florists and car dealers. The ignorant masses have declared this to be an invasion of privacy, and are literally trying to have laws passed against this type of thing from happening. Namely Senator Liz "Laguna" Figueroa, who feels it her personal responsibility to meddle in affairs she obviously can barely comprehend.

Liz and the "nearly two dozen privacy groups in the US and Europe" that "have demanded that Google suspend Gmail's launch until privacy issues are adequately addressed" are missing a fundamental point here. Gmail is a FREE SERVICE, and NOBODY is forced to use their service. If you have concerns about the "expected privacy" of your email, then DON'T USE THE SERVICE. As a matter of fact, maybe you should read ALL the Privacy Policies and Acceptable Use Policies for your current email service, no matter what it is. For your info, all ISP's already have the right to retain and read your email.

Personally, I completely support the concept of targetted advertising, whether it be email, radio, or TV. I would love to live in a world where I only had people bugging me to sell me the things I am actually interested in buying; like computer games, gadgets, etc... as opposed to the current glut of spam I get concerning enlarging my penis, refinancing my home, online casinos, and "Free 8 cup Thermal coffeemaker and mugs from Gevalia".

The same argument has been raging about the use of of "cookies" on websites. A cookie is a small file placed on your computer to remember who you were the next time you visit a website. It can remember things like your username, password, and preferences for a website. In some cases, it can also report what websites you've visited. Some people are just appalled at this! They don't want people to know where they've been, that's "NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS"... even though the majority of them don't go anywhere interesting ... like me. I go to the few gaming websites I have time to visit faithfully, the occasional news sites, Amazon, eBay, etc... If the advertising that I will be looking at ANYWAY were actually informed about me, instead of just throwing a random image in the hopes of catching my eye, I would be a much happier person. As it is, I have NEVER indicated to ANYONE that I was shopping for penis enlargement methods, yet I get at least a dozen offers a day on ways to do just that...

(ok, I promise, no more penis references ... at least in this post.)

And the last thing I wanted to share with you has been a recurring theme for me: the media's propensity for only showing the bad things happening in Iraq. As I've said repeatedly in the past; here in Kuwait we constantly hear of a lot of good things happening up there. Well one of the ways the Iraqi have found to tell their stories (that isn't controlled by anyone else) is by blogging ... the same way I'm getting this to you. Check out the link for some good reads!

And lastly, I promised you something unique to my area with every post. I realize my last post had unique pictures hidden in the Latest Photos album, so I thought I'd leave you with this picture:

Fortunately, this was taken up in Iraq, and not here. If it were here, I'd be carrying an aluminum bat with me everywhere I went. My loathing of spiders is a well-documented fact.

Have a great day! Much love to all of you!
Related Links

Weather: AccuWeather

Gmail: Washington
Post Article
News Article

Iraqi Bloggers: USA
Today Article
Family in Baghdad
the Model

Camel Spiders:
Urban Legends

Monday, April 19, 2004

New Pictures!!!

LOTS of new pictures uploaded! Like I said earlier, all new pictures will be in the Latest Photos album, before they get shuffled into their appropriate album.

Nothing much to report here. Just keep checking back for my next post... I've got new software for posting to my 'blogs, so it's making me get a little more long-winded.

By the way, for those of you that keep forgetting to bookmark my 'blog, and emailing me asking me what's the address AGAIN... I've made it a little easier for you. :)

The new address is (don't click on it now... you'll just be seeing this page if you do... hehe) I also grabbed for the family website. That means my bid for total geekdom is nearly complete... Think about it, my email addresses now are:,,, (really ANYTHING will reach me... yes... even, ... you get the idea. I even have the OTHER blog that was hinted at a few weeks ago, with it's own domain name. Nope, sorry... still not going to post the address here... my MOM reads this 'blog... no way I'm going to let her see read the other one.

Anyway, thanks for stopping in! Love to all!

Thursday, April 15, 2004

My Surreal Life ... revisited

When I first got over here, I spent a few posts commenting on the surreal quality of my life in Kuwait. The day-to-day things that happen in your life, compared to what happens in mine; are so diametrically opposed as to seem like they are different worlds.

Though there are also similiarities... those aren't as amusing, so I'll focus on the differences.

I'm going to attempt to tell you about something unique to my day with every post from now on. I may not ALWAYS manage it, and I may have to resort to the "easy ones" occasionally, like this:
Can you figure this one out?

But I'll also leave you with this event in my daily life: simply driving to work. My drive to work is between 15-30 minutes from leaving my front door to walking into my little workspace. I leave the apartment and take the elevator down to the basement, where my vehicle is "usually" parked. Sometimes it doesn't work out that way, sometimes all our vehicles are in use, but for the most part, the truck is mine.

After I pull out of the underground garage, I have a decision to make. Basically we live in the slums. Our building is kept up relatively well, but the amount of dust, dirt, sand, and trash that is blowing around in the streets must be seen to be believed. Anyway, my decision hinges on whether or not I need to get something to eat on the way out to the port. The streets are designed to keep a flow of traffic around the heavily populated areas, by using one-way streets, turn-arounds, and roundabouts. I know a lot of you living in GJ have seen a recent popularity in roundabouts, but I can assure, it's a global thing. Every country I've visited uses roundabouts, some to points of craziness. However, New Jersey still holds the records with the "Triple Circle of Death", as I liked to call it... some of you can attest to it... it really exists. Do NOT go there if you can avoid it...

Ok, I'm getting off track here. So no matter whether I need to eat or not, both choices will eventually lead to the first of several major north-south roads. Many of the entrances to these freeways have signs warning (in Arabic, of course...) NO LEARNER DRIVERS. They aren't kidding. If you have the least bit of hesitation while navigating in heavy traffic, you will quickly find yourself in trouble... These roads are not for the faint of heart. Of course, they all have these signs too.
They're not kidding...

So, I navigate the freeways to my site. For security reasons, I'll be vague, but the port we are stationed at is owned and operated by a local Kuwaiti family. As a result, the brass must frequently visit them for social events. This isn't a bad thing, however. I've been to several of the gatherings, and they are very intelligent and friendly people. They welcome all the soldiers into their diwayniah, and have frequently insisted I come back "any time, no need to come with the Col". I have yet to be able to take them up on this, but a lot of them are computer nuts and gamers to boot... so I will have to work that in one of these days.

So since the port is owned by the local commercial companies, but a lot of the traffic is military (both Kuwaiti and US), they must share the defense of the gates. The procedure changes often, for better security, and is sometimes a big inconvenience. However, we have learned that the occasional McDonalds delivery to the gate guards will get you a place WAY in the front of a long convoy... trust me on this.

So access to the site is limited, of course. On any given day, this simple trip to work will result in passing Bradleys, M1A1 Abrahms, M249 towers, HETTs (heavy equipment transport trailers), Humvee's, Chinooks, Blackhawks, countless soldiers with M-16s, LMSR (naval ships), and endless numbers of locals. Not to mention the slew of vehicles that I have no idea what purpose they serve...

More to follow soon! This simple little post took me three days...

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Pictures will be unavailable ...

... for a little bit. The service I use is doing maintenance, so all the linked pictures and random pictures will not display until they're done. It should take less than 24 hours, so I'm not going to bother to remove or replace them.
Thank you for your patience. We now return you to regularly scheduled programming...

Monday, April 05, 2004

April Sucks... update.

Guess we did get a picture. It's a big one, but well worth the time...

Weather is GREAT! Wish you were HERE!

Sunday, April 04, 2004

April Sucks

So far, April has completely sucked... Let me recap my last four days...

April 1st (April Fools Day): Major power outages. On the first day we take over the power generation part of this contract, the generator dies. Now there have been other generator failures in the past, but they weren't fixed, just swapped over to another generator... a backup. Now our backup was failing due to negligence on the part of the people that USED to have the contract. We put our last critical spare in place. Later that day, the BACKUP backup also starts having issues. Our power person slaps a quick fix on the FIRST failing backup, and gets it back online. While the original backup is working, she fixes the other one (or so we thought...). In the meantime, the low voltage fries a major component of our satellite. We put the last replacement for THAT part in place...

April 2nd: In the morning, we slap the BACKUP backup into place, and prep the original failing backup for transport to Kuwait City. While we have it ready to go, the BACKUP backup (hereafter named BU2) begins failing again... instead of rehooking the original (BU1) up, we decide to run a long power cable to another generator running a similiar setup. The logistics involved are too boring to list, but believe me they were impressive. After this was accomplished, we held our breath and powered up. Relieved that nothing had died (like yesterday), we called it a successful mission ...

April 3rd: We had a fire. I'm not kidding. The new power source works great! The problem was during this whole shuffle, we had taken a UPS (uninterruptable power supply... battery backups) off of Bypass mode. Unbeknownst to us, (but knownst to someone else, I'd bet) it was on bypass for a reason. The connection on the other end was too wimpy to handle the draw... thus... FIRE! Now... while this was developing, I had to drive my truck to our sponsor for "registration and insurance" crap. I was told I had an appointment at 8:30am. I arrive there at 8:45am, and nobody knew what I was there for... I know, maybe you're thinking that if I had been there on time, they would have known... safe guess, but you're wrong.

The person I was supposed to meet was not even there. Hadn't even been there yet. When I talked to him on the phone, he didn't even know I was coming. But he was "glad I was there, and they would get the paperwork started". It's 9am ... At about 10:30am I give them the keys and the registration to the truck, and I go downtown with a local Kuwaiti contractor to pick up some stuff for the site. I get back about an hour later... and still nothing has been done. About 20 minutes later the guy walks in, and of course he's too busy to tell me exactly what's the deal. I settle into the leather couch, text message Hugh... and fall asleep for 30 minutes. I wake up and ask if anything had happened during my respite, and nothing had been done...

About 15 minutes after that one of the guys in that office hands me a phone, and it's "the guy" telling me they need more paperwork, and that I'll have to come back. In other words, I've just wasted four hours. So I leave, and notice that at least my truck got washed (which will be a moot point tomorrow... just wait). I'm half-way home (usually only a 30 minute drive) 20 minutes later due to heavy traffic, when their office calls me to tell me "you forgot the registration"... hmm ... I gave them the keys and the registration, they gave me the keys back... I ASSUMED they put it back in the truck, and even thought I should have checked... but no... I'M the dummy here...

So I tell them I've wasted enough time there for one day, and I will pick up the registration when I bring my passport (for them to screw up) in the next couple of days...

I get back to the apartment to pick up Hugh and eat some Thai food... then we get the FIRE call...

So I've lost several hours of my day, but I have a nice clean truck until ...

April 4th: Today it rained mud. Again, I'm not kidding. The day started a bit overcast, but around mid-morning it starts turning ... brownish. The clouds are a dirty brownish color, and you can only see about 500 yards before things start to get "dirty/foggy". A CPT and I were outside talking when we realized there was a very fine dirt/dust falling on everything. It was literally "snowing dirt"... but as the day progressed, it turned over to a rain, and made a huge mess. I didn't get any pictures today... I really need to start taking more pictures!

Anyway, I've got to finish a long overdue email to Shelley. I actually get to sleep in tomorrow, so I'm going to finish this and that email and go to sleep!

Love to all!

PS, dont' forget to the check the photo gallery frequently! I've made some changes, and there are quite a few completely new ones! I'm also getting them organized better, but that's a slow process.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Getting organized...

At least I'm TRYING to get organized. I'm going to rotate photos out of the album below called "Latest Photos". The box below will show random pictures out of it, like the link on the right... Wish I could figure out why some of them are sideways...

The original album is just getting too big, and has had over 300 visits!