Friday, October 31, 2003
... ok... there SHOULD be some bats flying around on the page, but I'm not seeing them... HAPPY HALLOWEEN anyway!
Thursday, October 30, 2003
... just like old times!
Well, Hugh and I are sitting in the operations center, at 2:21am, swapping old stories, and sharing files. Normalcy has been restored, and the world is, once again, spinning true. So here's the latest: Hugh is going to fill my slot here, while I go off to Turkey to finish my original project. That should get me back here by mid-December... barring anything "unusual" (which is a relative term, lately). I'm supposed to leave for Turkey sometime early next week. That's about all the info I have at this point, other than the fact that our equipment is already sitting there. The next couple of months is going to be very interesting... (another relative term...) That's all I've got time for right now. I'll post more this weekend! Love2all!
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Monday, October 27, 2003
Sparing you the spam!
Col. Hagan (his cell phone plays the "Hogan's Heroes" theme song... too funny) just showed me a great website, and I wanted to share it with you all! The Interview with God Be forewarned, there is no punchline. Just a lot of beautiful pictures, and an interesting "interview".
Sunday, October 26, 2003
Ok, latest happenings...
Nothing too exciting to report, save for a few minor "incidents": As I have adequately chronicled, the drivers in Kuwait are just short of suicidal. They drive with complete indifference to the other drivers that share the same road (and often the same lane, sometimes at the same time), making for some fairly interesting adventures in driving. So a few days ago I was driving to work in the morning, and after about the fourth time of being cutoff by someone who appears completely baffled by the concept of "lanes", this guy swerves into my lane (at 60kph), then brakes to avoid hitting the car in front of me, causing ME to slam on my brakes. I honked my horn (which they only seem to use here to point out the fact that the light has changed .25 secs ago, and you should have ALREADY been in the intersection when it happened... apparently...), and in response, I got a LEFT hand "shooing" gesture from the driver I honked at... Let me explain to you why this was an insult (as it has been explained to me... so excuse the colorful language...). The toilets here ALL have, at the very least, a spigot with a shower-head attached to it nearby. This is to wash their hand off when they're done wiping their ass (with their left hand), which they don't (traditionally) use paper to do. For this reason, to offer someone anything with your left hand, and especially to gesture at them, is considered an insult. I'm told that more "modern" Arabic people use toilet paper, but there is still a fair number that are "traditionalists"... I haven't been in a public bathroom yet that hasn't had both TP and the shower-head thingy... So, this champion driver has his left hand out the window, gesturing at me. I throw BOTH my hands up, in a "COME ON" gesture, and he slows down to a crawl. Now he's REALLY pissed me off, so I start to pass him on the right hand side. He turns on his blinker (I was impressed he knew where it was...), and starts to pull to the right. I go back to the left, and accelerate past him. We both got a good look at each other as we passed, and it was obvious we wouldn't be bridging any culture gaps together. I resisted the urge to flip him off with my RIGHT hand (the one I use to wipe MY ass with), and just drove on. He flashed his lights at me a few times (another favorite driving tactic here: meaning "move over please", or "get the hell out of my way", depending on the mood of the driver...). I got on the highway, and headed to the port. I noticed he was going the same way, but didn't think about him again until I saw him take the same exit. The offramp comes to a four-way lighted section, which was turning yellow with a truck approaching on the crossroad; slowing down but still rolling, anticipating the light changing. I rolled thru the yellow as it turned red, and as I finished my turn I saw the guy run the red light in front of the big truck, causing the truck driver to slam on his brakes to avoid sending my pursuer on to Allah. I drove on to the checkpoint, not changing my speed. I was very interested to see how brave this guy was when he pulled up to a military gate, and noticed several M-16's, M-4's, and an M-249 pointed in his general direction. There is a turn-around point right in front of the gate, and he pulled off there as I was showing my ID. I should have told the guard to get the license plate, but I didn't want to have to do the paperwork that probably would have resulted from an "Incident Investigation". So, I drove on to work, and this guy turned around and (presumably) went back to causing traffic problems, and all is good in the world. Of course, I'm a little more paranoid when I'm driving around now... hehe In other news, Hugh is on his way back over here. He's either going to fill in for me while I head up to Turkey (for my original project), or he'll go on to Turkey in my place. More on that later, as I'm told. Today is Shelley's birthday, and all of her presents from me are still sitting here. Yes I know, I suck. I ordered her a cartouche, which is normally an Egyptian thing, but the local stores do them (with the english name on one side, and arabic on the other). Anyway, getting this thing has been a huge fiasco, and I'm wishing I had just sent everything off, and sent her the cartouche later. Anyway, call her and tell her happy birthday, will you? ok, that's all I have time for right now. I'm not even going to say anything about the pictures, I know you're all sick of hearing the excuses! =) Love to all!
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
The Meaning of the Name: Geoffrey
... I never really looked this up, just always really liked the name. I just found this: The meaning of Geoffrey Origin: Anglo-Saxon Meaning: Peaceful gift. Origin: English Meaning: Peaceful. See also Jeffrey. Origin: French Meaning: Divine peace. Origin: German Meaning: Derived from one of three Old German names, meaning district, traveler, or peaceful pledge. Famous bearer: Geoffrey Plantagenet was father to King Henry II; Geoffrey Cbaucer wrote 'The Canterbury Tales'. Origin: Teutonic Meaning: God's peace.
Saturday, October 18, 2003
"Where are we going, and why am I in this handbasket?"
I'm not sure what the cause is, but the effect is increased traffic, and proportionately: traffic ACCIDENTS. I saw FIVE (5) different accidents on my way to work this morning, involving about 12 vehicles. Bear in mind, my drive is about 15 minutes (took me over 30 today), and I am usually guaranteed ONE good smash-up on the way... but never have I seen five! One had rear-ended a flatbed trailer doing at least 60mph, burying the car up to the windshield. Another had rolled off the road, into a ditch, and landed on it's side. There was even a brand-new mercedes that looked like it had been going UP the off-ramp, and had hit two cars before smashing into a concrete pillar. Ramadan begins 27 Oct, and that might have something to do with it. Everyone is getting a little bit wild before they're expected to behave themselves for a month straight. I was on the phone with Shelley the other night, standing out on my balcony, when I heard several bursts of machine-gun fire, and a single red tracer in the sky. This was in the MIDDLE of town, so needless to say it made me go... "huh!" One of the more interesting things (besides automatic weapons fire in the middle of a populated area), was the fact that red tracers are (supposedly) only used by our troops... So anyway, I was SO close to getting pictures up last night, and the damn 'net connection dropped. I just went to bed, read for a while, then fell asleep watching a movie. My life has become very exciting that way ... =) Ok, back to work! More later! LOVE TO ALL!
Thursday, October 16, 2003
... for you gamers and website designers out there ...
I know that more than a couple of the regular visitors here are gamers and/or website designers, so I wanted to point you to an amazing site I just found: Naughty Dog, Inc. As seems to be the norm, problems and projects tend to surface here at roughly the same time, making for interesting days (and nights). The past few days have mostly been "work 6-8 hours", "sleep 4-6 hours", repeat. As you can imagine, this starts to take it's toll on the body, and I'm very fuzzy around the edges right now. I need to crash for about 12 hours soon, but I doubt that's gonna happen before Sunday. Yes, I'm eating healthy, taking my vitamins, and enjoying my work, but the past 96 hours are a blur. Oh well... Also, for those of you that care, I got a brief - VERY brief - email from Hugh today, basically telling me he's coming back into the field, and will tell me more as he finds out... nothing about his new progeny, which is typical of Hugh, and just irritates the HELL out of all of us. I hope you're reading this Hugh! :P I just finished "24 - Season 2" ... wow. I know I said I was boycotting Fox Broadcasting ... and in a way I did... I borrowed these DVDs... But this was just amazing! And now I guess Season 3 is starting up. The way they ended the last season I think will make it very difficult to follow (as with the first season), but if you get a chance, and haven't seen the others, tape Season 3 and SEND THEM TO ME!!! I have a lot of soldiers hooked on this show, and they would be eternally grateful, I can assure you! I also used some of my downtime to work on the photo albums, and will put them up this weekend, en'shallah. Ok, that's all I've got for now. I've got to get something to eat, since I won't get another chance until late tonight. Love to all!
Sunday, October 12, 2003
It's Good to be Loved!
Despite the opinions of my so-called "loving wife" and "friends"... I am not getting old and forgetful... I've just been really busy lately, and haven't had the time to regale you with the complete details the event deserves! It was a very "cool" moment for me (as a soon-to-be daddy), and I wanted to be able to give it my complete and undivided attention!!! ... What was I talking about? OH YEAH! So I'm standing outside our operations center talking to a few other people (about something important, I'm sure... like what we're going to do for dinner...), and my phone rings. My phone has some very interesting tones, so people always look at me funny. Fortunately, I'm used to that... So it's Shelley, and I know it's like 4:30 in the morning there, so I'm already wondering what she's doing up. She tells me the baby was hungry, and woke her up, and now he's kicking her. She wanted me to "have a talk with him", presumably about his behaviour... I think she has a theory that if we start giving this kid direction at an early age (ie, in utero), we stand a better chance of keeping him on the straight and narrow. Most of you knew me growing up (and someday, I might actually get there...); do you think this guy has any shot at being well-behaved??? He's still fetal and he's already giving her a hard time! Imagine when he's mobile! OK, so I wander off behind a container (you know, those big metal boxes they put on cargo ships), and start talking to ... well... Shelley's belly. I tell him to settle down, and wait until he's actually OUTSIDE her body to start being difficult. I can only assume he ignored me (since I have no real leverage... it's not like I can ground him or anything ... "and you'll just SIT in that womb until I say you can come out, you got me mister?") Oh yeah... this is gonna be fun...
Friday, October 10, 2003
... for those of you ...
... that are tired of checking my website, and finding nothing new, I have added a mailing list to notify you of changes. Just put your email address in, and you will get an email each and every time I feel the need to post something here... =)
Thursday, October 09, 2003
What are we going to do today, Brain?
... same thing we do every day, Pinky. Try to take over the world. And according to this, I'm well on my way. This graph shows the percentage of visitors this site gets from different timezones. It's fairly self-explanatory, and not a real surprise (majority of hits are from MST), but there are some hits over here that surprise me. I guess the admins upstream from our link here in Kuwait have noticed traffic to my website, and are checking it out too. Anyway, I guess we'll top 1000 hits since July 19, 2003 sometime later today, so that's something of a milestone. Must mean I'm popular to some people, I guess ("you like me! you really do!"). I'm heading off to work now, then I'm PLANNING on coming home and getting some picture albums posted. Same policy as usual: no promises! :P I also wanted to explain the email situation a bit better. The first difficulty is the fact that the 'net connection in my apartment is not very reliable. It tends to go up and down whenever it wants... When it IS working, the distance factor makes downloading mail a very lengthy process. 100 messages can take over 15 minutes, and I get about 250/day. The majority of that is crap, and my spam filter only catches about half of the junk. Finally, the last difficulty is the fact that this 'net service here doesn't provide an SMTP server, which is required for actually SENDING mail out... I know, doesn't make sense to me either... but I'm working on a solution for that as well. So the best bets for getting mail to me right now are my and accounts. The Hotmail account will only get to me if you're on my address book, and very few people are. That one gets more spam then my gvcn account, and I got tired of having to login every couple of days just to look at junk mail. So if you've sent me an email, the chances are good that I've gotten it, but replying isn't always an easy prospect. I'm working on it! That's all I've got for now. I really am going to work on those pictures... I know you're all getting tired of my rambling, and want to start seeing the pictures... Love to all!
Wednesday, October 08, 2003
Well... that was depressing!
I just re-read my post from last night, and I sound depressed! For the record, I'm nowhere near depressed, just really tired. We've got a lot of things that need to get done, and just not enough hours in the day to do them. Anyway, I just wanted to post real quick and put up something a little more cheery... btw, has anyone noticed the "mood indicator" at the bottom of the page? I need to put it up on the left column so it's more visible, but that's something else I haven't had time to fix yet either. Now that I've finally got my computer system setup and online in my apartment, maybe I'll actually fix this thing up, and get some pictures uploaded. As usual, no promise! :P Anyway, here's something that made me smile today, because hoping for snow here just seems pointless, ya know?
Tuesday, October 07, 2003
... as Shelley's tag says, my email has been a bit spotty out here. The biggest problem is that I hadn't cleared the mail from my gvcn.net mailbox in so long, it was taking forever to download all the messages that had accumulated since I left Colorado on Aug 10th. There was over 10,000 emails in my box, and that didn't include the times I would login on the webmail and delete all the spam I noticed. To make matters even worse, the 'net connection at the apartment is spotty at best. So it took me the better part of a week to clear that box, and sort thru it. There's still over 4,000 emails I have to mark as spam. I've GOT to find a better solution; I refuse to give up my firstname.lastname@example.org email account to the spammers. I will find a way to beat them, damnit! So my recommendation right now is to send mail to either my SGrattan@tamsconj.com or email@example.com accounts. Doesn't matter which one, they both are getting forwarded to me here, so there's no downloading issues. I'm getting ready to go to bed, it's been another long day. We've had an "Information Assurance Manager" in our midst for the past week, and I just dropped him off at the airport an hour or so ago. I was all set to dislike him before he showed up, but he turned out to be ok, and we share a lot of common interests. I even loaned him my Firefly DVD, so you KNOW I must think he's a decent guy. (he's probably reading this, so I won't be able to deny that statement later... ). Well, there was dozen other things I wanted to share, but I'm just running out of energy. Still have a lot of projects that I need to finish, and am running low on stamina. I need a day to "recharge", but just don't have the time at the moment. blah blah... I'm rambling, so I'll just say good night!
Saturday, October 04, 2003
..."to where the river flows"
The concert last night was pretty good, a little slow starting out, and it was funny listening to people around me who didn't know who Collective Soul was recognize songs like "Gel" and "Shine". Several of the songs were a little "changed" for the live versions, and I don't usually like the "live" versions as much as the studio recordings; but the version of "December" was really good. "Where the river flows", however, really wasn't that great. They ALWAYS open with that one in Grand Junction (rivers, junction, etc...) December: Why drink the water from my hand? Contagious as you think I am Just tilt my sun towards your domain. Your cup runneth over again. Don't scream about Don't think aloud Turn your head now baby Just spit me out Don't worry about Don't speak of doubt Turn your head now baby Just spit me out Why follow me to higher ground? Lost as you swear I am. Don't throw away your basic needs, Ambiance and vanity. December promise you gave unto me December whispers of treachery December clouds are now covering me December songs no longer I sing I had another "surreal moment" the other day, as I was leaving for work the other morning. I was thinking that I'm probably one of the few people in the History of the World that has ever had thoughts like "I really hate it when the maid folds my shirts instead of hanging them in the closet." and "The Beef Ravioli in Meat Sauce MRE* is pretty good!", in the same day. * For those of you that don't know, an MRE is "Meal Ready to Eat", and it's a complete nutritional package of a main course, snacks and side dishes, heavy-duty plastic spoon, a hot and cold drink mix, dessert and snacks. Most of them are pretty good (read: fairly edible), some of them are just plain nasty (the Jamaican Pork Chop and Noodles, for example). I'm sending Shelley a care package back for her birthday, and besides her birthday gifts, it's got a bunch of Kuwait and Iraq stuff (like a 25 Dinar bill from the Central Bank of Iraq). Ask her for a look at some of her goodies! Ok, I'm off to work! Love to all!
Friday, October 03, 2003
... want to see me make Shelley jealous?
HA! Now that I have your complete attention... GUESS what rock band is playing tomorrow down in Arifjan? COLLECTIVE SOUL!!! That brings our total times of seeing CS in concert to two each! :P