Monday, June 13, 2005

Update from Afghanistan

Troy has been great about sending out a weekly e-mail and sometimes daily photographs of Afghanistan and his place in it, namely, Bagram. Troy is my best good friend and I would like to remind all of you single ladies or anyone who has a single lady friend that he is a100% single, hardworking lawyer who has a taste for classical music and wine. Okay, enough of the personal ad. Here is Troy's weekly update... with photos. I have edited with paragraph indentations, which he doesn't appear to be fond of, and here is a bit of background from another e-mail regarding "Zulu," "local" and "EST." I have to explain the time thing. As I write this it is 2252 Zulu, 0222 local and 0652 EST. for some reason the Army runs on Zulu time which is 4.5 hours behind the local time and 4 hours ahead of EST. of course the AF runs on local time - making it very hard to know what time things are open here (and working at night makes it even worse) I work from 1530 Z to 0330 Z (8pm to 8am) which I think is 11:30am to 11:30 pm. Still trying to keep it all straight and sleep during the day. Ok enough - write me when you get a chance. Sunday June 12, 2005 10:02Z The run this morning went surprisingly well - I did 3 laps, with each lap faster than last. I was doing laundry in-between laps. It was nice and cool out - almost cold (I could see my breath) perfect for running. For the first lap I wore my new adiddas that arrived yesterday (thanks to the folks!) They still need to be broken in. On the I-Pod now is Phil Collin's "Easy Lover" classic 80s music (with Philip Bailey of Earth Wind and Fire) This week was sort of slow (of course slow is a relative term, slow for here is still pretty busy for the rest of the world) Army term for the week: "high speed" - everything that is good in the Army is "high speed" it has a positive connotation. If you are "high speed" this means you are squared away and going places. High Speed, Low Drag is the saying you hear. On the I-Pod now - Bui Doi, a haunting anthem from Miss Saigon - the name of the kids left behind by American GIs in Vietnam. One issue that I dealt with this week was the what were planning to do with the pile of hexavalent chromium that the Russians left behind. I'm not sure what it's a byproduct of but apparently its nasty stuff. When it came across my desk - in the form of the question could we pay X amount from our O&M funds to have it moved and capped, I thought it odd that they wanted to put the Chromium (the same stuff that Erin Brockovich beat up Pacific Gas & Electric for putting in the water) near our only running water on base - Coyote Creek - named after Task Force Coyote (the previous engineering group - now replaced by TF Sword - where they come up with these silly names I haven't a clue - other names: TF Griffin, TF Eagle, TF Bayonnet, TF Omaha, and TF Strength - respectively: rotary wing aviation, base operations, in charge of southern part of the country, the super secret group that can be mentioned no further, and Strength - I don't know what they do) Sorry for the digression - now playing Talking Heads, "Burning Down the House" - David Bryne is an interesting character - I recall seeing him in Central Park way back in 1991 - rained like hell, but he came out and played anyway. Ok, back to the Chromium - the creek runs into the town that borders the base to the north. The remediation plan just called for them to remove the chromium infested dirt I don't think infested is the right word there, but it will have to do - anyway, they would take the dirt and put it right next to the creek (the one place on base that is sort of nice - there are lots of butterflies over there) and then cap it with concrete. Thankfully I found an Executive Order that deals with what the government has to do in regard to following environmental statutes outside of the country. (Captain Planet to the rescue!) I-pod update: Beatles "All Together Now" from Yellow Submarine - damn, what the hell where they smoking when they wrote this? Lol And, it turns out that we were able to return the packet to the 7 for further review and an environmental review as to just what this chromium will do to the environment if we put it in that location. Watched the movie "Hitch" via a bootleg DVD of questionable quality - silly movie- a few funny parts, but formulaic and about 30 minutes too long. That's one thing I miss here - movies that actually won't make you stupider (or is it more stupid?) for watching them. A viewing of the offering at the shop outside the BX or should I say PX since this is an Army installation: "The Longest Yard" and "Sin City" - hopefully Jessica Alba will be able to bounce back after the disastrous "Honey" (I can't believe I wasted 90 minutes of my life on that) - actually I don't really give a crap about Ms. Alba's career, but she is nice to look at. Attended another "fallen comrade" ceremony yesterday - it's a really somber affair - we line up on Disney Drive and salute the flag draped casket as it drives to the plane for the trip back to Dover AFB. The previous day, we had followed how the soldier was killed almost in real time - its amazing the technology we have, and what we did to the AQAM who killed the soldier - damn, talk about overkill. (Al-Qaeda and Allied Militia in case you were wondering) Giant Voice just announced that there will be a controlled explosion in a few minutes - I guess the Mine Guys found something to blow up I really need to get a picture of them working - with their dogs - yep, they use dogs to help find mines, I saw a few teams of them this morning as I ran. I-Pod update - the Gigue from the Sixth Cello Suite by Bach - a really cool, uplifting piece of music - the final movement of the suite. The sixth is by far my favorite suite - the most complex - its hard to believe that its sometimes only one instrument playing - the Sarabande is for me at least, the most beautiful piece of music ever written. This Gigue is played by Janos Starker - not my favorite recording, but its what's on right now. Bought another bottle of wine this week - this one is a 1982 Pichon Lalande - this is a little of what Robert Parker had to say about it "It has been prodigious from its early days, and in bottle continues to be one of the most satisfying wines of this great vintage, both intellectually and hedonistically." Long live hedonism! Life is too damn short - this is the wine I will drink upon my return to the states. Image hosted by This is along the area that he runs every morning. Image hosted by Locals Image hosted by Hard at work on his birthday! Image hosted by Camels
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