Tuesday, May 22, 2007

22 May 2007

Tuesday afternoon. Summer is on the way. It was blindingly bright this morning, but I did not feel like wearing my sunglasses. Sunglasses are an important working tool in this environment. Heat is blistering, but I do not spend much time outdoors. The internet had a glitch, but eventually caught back up.

Decent lunch today, chili with spaghetti. The Rec Hall installed a sno-cone machine, and believe me, when you come in from the hot desert, a sweet/cold sno-cone is a delight. I hit up some of the lodges back in Virginia, to donate some additional syrup. Some individual already pledged to send some more syrup. God bless the Masons, they sure know how to support the troops.

After three weeks, with no mail arriving at all, some packages finally made it through. I ordered some personal items from drugstore.com, and somehow they flubbed the zip code, but the address on the order reads "FOB Sykes", so I think the post office, will eventually send it here.

The firm is going through some changes, and they have decided to end "automatic renewals" of the contracts here. No matter, the firm is going to examine each individual's duty performance, and make a decision. I am certain that my work performance is well in line with company standards, I get no complaints. Back in June 2006, when I asked for second year, the supervisor approved it, with a comment "You have done exemplary work, in an austere environment". While I agree 1000% with his comment about my doing exemplary work, I do not find Iraq all that austere. Fact is, there is a lot to like about Iraq.

I have spent 9 1/2 years of my career in foreign countries. I have been in worse places, and in better places. On the positive side, I have a decent CHU (containerized housing unit) which is the trailer where I live. I have a decent shower house, 50 yards from the front door, with unlimited hot water, and it is almost always vacant, no waiting to get a shower. I drop my laundry off about 100 yards from the trailer, and it gets washed, and I pick it up the next morning. The chow hall is excellent, only thing they do not have here is fresh eggs, I have not seen an egg in two months. The Rec Hall is great, plenty of space to chill out, and watch TV.

The job itself is fine, the equipment is indestructible, and operates with virtually no problems at all. I have only three interrogators, and one FDU (Field data unit computer), and one SARSS computer (down at the warehouse). As long as the internet is up and running , the equipment pretty much takes care of itself.

The firm wants photos of my equipment, and I told the senior engineer, I will take all the photos he wants, as soon as the firm provides me with a camera! We had a camera back at Al Asad, and we got some photos, but we never up-loaded any to the firm, to my knowledge. Unless the firm asks for something, why make waves?

The only thing I would like to have here, is a working Masonic square and compasses club. We are on a "gag order", and not permitted to advertise or put up any posters or flyers. Every other club on base, can advertise all they want to: The women's empowerment group, the model airplane builders, the domino tournament, all kinds of weight-lifting and physical exercise group, but not the masons. I hope the First sergeant here gets a transfer, and the new first sergeant is more amenable to the Freemasons.

I got to see the Preakness Stakes race on the television, I was rooting for "Street Sense", who ran one hell of a race, and then lost by a head. Well, he is an excellent horse, and even though he is not the winner of the Preakness, he will go on to a stud career. Imagine, retiring at the age of three to have sex the rest of your life.

I sent out contact cards to all the people in my address list, 100 cards in total. I am anxious to see how many actually respond. I sent the cards out when I was at Al Asad, and I got a couple of responses. Since the cards are free, and the postage is also free, why not try it again?

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