Plans for August

I think I need to make plans for August. . . and while I'm at it, the rest of the day.

To start, the rest of this day, I will slump around in a vegatative state while my limbs attempt to recover.

Yeah, I'm going to do NOTHING and it will be EVERYTHING I ever thought it would be!

*yeah, I'm a fan of Office Space, so sue me*

This month I think I'll be doing a lot of art. I plan on actually updating my webcomic at least twice a week through this month, and I went nuts and signed up for about eight different art exchanges.

Then my WACOM drawing tablet, or rather the stylus, up and died. It cracked down the center. Now I need to get a new one, however it looks like they don't send to APO addresses, so I'll have to get it sent home and my family will have to send it to me. However, they are out of stock!

But I was looking at some of these other drawing tablets, and considering how much time I've put into my drawing tablet, and how much I love the darn thing, that if I shouldn't just invest in a new more expensive one? I use this thing so often, why not?

Anyway, its an excuse to use my expensive colored pencils I recently invested in until I get a new tablet. Yay for that!

August will be a little weird, we've been having soldiers in and out for leave and whatever else all this summer. September will be a little hectic for me.

And I also have that guitar I need to invest in. . .

And I also vow to update my blog more often, about a variety of things. My brother mentioned how he misses my commentaries on Politics but I'm afraid politics has to stay out of the blog until I get home.

I guess I should go eat some food (I didn't eat much yesterday other then power bars and things of that nature) and then I need to get ready to hobble over to the Chapel to attend church. See how LT G is holding up, he went on the hike too.

Big Duke Aftermath

Man, last night I slept like a baby. . .

. . . Today I can barely move. . . just a grumble in agony as I tried to move from my bed to my chair so I could surf the internet. Yeah, because I wasn't going to Bulgaria, I got my internet refreshed.

But now I have to console aching muscles and blisters. Good thing I did the mountain climb on a Saturday so I could use Sunday as a day of rest and recouperation. As that is what Sunday is supposed to be about.

Now I have to go shopping for a Guitar. I think I'll put up a poll seeing which one I should get.

No more mountains for me while I'm here. But I'm still glad I did it, even if I hurt and at times while I was climbing it I was wondering when my brain had decided to vacate the premises during the time when I thought this was a good idea.

Oh well, I guess I better go get a bite to eat.


Climbing Big Duke

Ok, so my weekends shot, right?

Wrong! Fortunately for me, I had a back up plan. It was an unintentional back up plan to boot. See, there is this mountain in Kosovo that overlooks our sector. Its official name is Lubojan, but the soldiers seem to prefer to call it Big Duke. Anyway, when we first got here, we were told that they might give us an opportunity to climb the Dukedom, just for bragging rights if nothing else.

This is Duke, back when there was snow on top. . .

I was bent on climbing duke ever since. And the first opportunity we got conflicted directly with my Pass to Bulgaria! GAAAHHH!!!

Well, since Bulgaria has since been blown out of the water, for this weekend at least, I fell back on plan number 2.

I found out what I needed to do so that I could climb Big Duke. Because we don't take rifles to Bulgaria, I found out I had to get my weapon out of the safe because I would need it for this climb up the mountain. Then I had to make sure there was a slot for me to go in as this is rather last minute.

Fortunately for me, two people in my task force had to drop out. So I slid into one of their places instead.

Which meant, I had to be prepared to leave Bondsteel at 6 in the morning. So I was up and eating breakfast, ready to go by six. Then I headed for the TOC. And ran into a snag.

I wasn't on the Mission Request. Enter Explative here. For a moment I didn't think I would get to go and was gettin prepared to back to my room and sulk about how rotten this weekend was going to be when the Sergeant in the TOC fixes it for me. Now I'm in the Clear! WooHOO!

Time to head over to the busses. Where we wait for an extra fifteen minutes. . .

. . . and when the busses do come, they take us to Brezovica. . .

Which is a Ski Resort, not the start point for Lubojan. But oh well. Kodak Moment!

We were supposed to be up on the mountain ready to ascend by 0800, or something like that. After getting the location squared away and everything in order, we were at the Sawmill at 1000.

Then came the ride up, which is in a POLUKR Deuce and a Half, as this is a POLUKR sponsored event (for you civilians, POLUKR is Polish Ukrainian, and a Deuce and a half is a really big truck) and so we load up into the back of one of these things and head up the mountain.

That road is not meant to be driven on. Especially in the back of a Deuce and a Half. Its this really beaten dirt road with ruts and turns every which direction and I think some people were asking for some Preperation H by the time the 30 minute ride was all said and done. I just laughed, I thought it was a riot.

So we get to the top of Lubojan, to our start point, and I'm looking at this at first and thinking "hmm, this isn't bad."

The following picture is me at the start point, the end point is the tall point in the background.

It is further then it looks. . . and it's steep!

So off we go! Loaded down with food, water, and an Amber M16 (magazine loaded, no round in chamber). Along with a video camera and a digital camera. This is a kodak moment through and through folks! From start to finish!

Well, we started our ascent at about 1115 or so, give or take a few minutes. The first little uphill battle already had me breathing hard but I was determined to finish this! I've wanted to claim Duke since I got here. So as you can see, the pathway behind me is laid out, I just need to head up.

So we started heading up, everyone at their own pace. And I was drinking LOT'S of water.

It still had me smoked very quickly, but not smoked enough to take away from the photo whoring. . .

Man I was already hurting at this stage, as is evident by my posture. But no, I wasn't going to quit, see the little black dots to the right of my head? Those are the start points, which is the vehicles that bussed us up this insane mountain. Are you getting an idea of how steep this thing was? Yeah, it was steep. . .

But don't worry, I reached the pinacle, I mean, it felt so close, I felt like I had gone so far, and I could see out into the horizon of Kosovo smog. . .

. . . only to discover, um, not quite!

Yes, I hadn't reached the top yet, but I was through the tough part, now I had a bit of an easier walk going to the next hill as we were gifted with a ledge to walk along. But this did not make the last leg of our trip that much easier. This thing was uphill the entire way. And my feet were seeking revenge by producing blisters. . .

But I did make it to the top! It was my goal, and I swore to succeed! They even had nifty little certificates of achievements to hand to us upon completion!

Only thing is, um, it doesn't have my name on it. Somebody told me to pose with it anyway, as nobody can read it *true* but because this was a last minute thing, I didn't have one made for me. The Pols said they would make me one and send it to me, so cool Beans! After all, I did make it to the top!

This is a ridgeline of mountains (obviously), and Brezovica is somewhere to my rear. I don't think you can see it.

I was so freakin' dirty. And sweaty. And altogether smelly.

I had an orange for a snack. I reached the summit a little before 1400 (2pm for you civilians)

And just to reiterate the Kosovo Smog. Yes, that is smog behind me, not landscape. I think that's Bondsteel on my Left Shoulder, but I might be wrong.

And to make it known that I indeed conquered this mountain and it didn't conquer me!

I was the champion! I had climbed its summit! This mountain was now mine!

Oh wait, we still have to go down, don't we?

Um, my feet are soar and I'm tired. And I have to now hike DOWN this thing to the little area to the right of the screen. Oh well, its all down hill from here, right?

I learned the hard way that going down hill can be just as painful as going up. I acquired more blisters, on other parts of my feet, and my former blisters were getting worse.

And because we were going down, I took advantage of my battle buddy's photography skillz. . .

But anyway, I made it all the way down in just under two hours. I had stayed on the mountaintop itself for a little over an hour (and proceeded to be eaten by bugs, which had me wondering what bugs were doing all the way on top of this mountain.

And then, when we got to the bottom, we were bussed back, soar and tired, in the back of a Deuce and a Half, on a rickety road, for the next 30 minutes.

My feet got even with me in the shower by letting my blisters all pop. But honestly, it was worth it. For bragging rights and whatever else, (plus I got a T-shirt!), I can now say I climbed to the top of Mt Lubojan.

Man I'm beat!

Excrament Happens

I need to make an icon. on that icon there will be a pile of crap, all brown and smelly looking and just plain disgusting looking. Below it, all it will say is "happens".

Tis the story of my life . . .*sighs*

At frist it was just the strep throat playing its way and making me feel like dog doodoo three days before I'm supposed to go on FMPP (Fighter Management Pass Program) so I nipped that in the butt right away with a shot and got myself on some Penicillan medication because there was no way I was going to miss my trip to Sofia Bulgaria with my boy. . .

Well, sometimes other things happen, and the whole program gets scrapped anyway, regardless of what you do. Anyway, I was supposed to leave at 2 in the morning and was fully intending on going when I get the message at the briefing that FMPP has been suspended until further notice.

That was a shock to our jugular. What? We're supposed to go in 8 hours! Why does this thing have to happen on OUR watch? That, and I still haven't been!

There are a variety of reasons why Sofia has been suspended, but they are hopefully going to look into getting it started again. Meanwhile, they might even consider some other places for us to go. I've heard Thessoloniki (I know I butchered that) Greece and Dubrovnik Croatia both mentioned, but no guarantees. Chances are, we'll just go back to Sofia when the current issue is all sorted out.



At Least the Boy Thought It was Cute. . .

Something has made me very pleased. . .

So pleased that I thought I would post about it on my blog. . .

I pulled my hair back and wore it in a pony tail type thingee today. . .

Yes, definitely blog worthy. Will share pictures of my makeshift pony tail in the near future.

In other news, my wireless internet expired today *sob* and I don't feel like re-upping it only to leave in two days. I'll get it back on Wednesday.


Meet the Family

Being here in Kosovo, one of the toughest things I've had to endure is being away from my family, as I am privileged with having a very close one. I'm the youngest of six kids in a tight nit group, my oldest sister is only 8 and a half years older then I, so we have a special bond in being so close. Really, we are a family that enjoys being together and it is one of my greatest blessings that I have realised since I've been here.

This is the last picture taken of my entire family, it was taken two days before I shipped out to Fort Lewis on this deployment, back in November. Since our entire family was there, we decided to take advantage of having one of those rare family portraits done, as now that every one is an adult, sometimes its hard to round us all up.

Of course, I'm the only one with a major presence on the internet, but still, I don't want to give my siblings or my parents any unwanted attention, that and they have expressed worry in the past (before my fifteen minutes of fame) of having pictures of myself on the internet. Well, that's come and gone for me, unfortunately, so I don't see any problem in showing other pictures to interested passerbys. However, because I don't have the immediate approval of my family to post their mugs on the internet, I had to do a little alteration to the picture.

Shiny happy people.

Unintentional Diets

I woke up yesterday with a soar throat. Along with some other symptoms that came along with it. Hoping it was just a one day thing, I went to work and tried to suck a juice drink, which produced some pain when swallowing. When lunch came around, they had the grill on and I couldn't resist the hot dogs. For some reason, the hot dogs here are really good. But it still hurt to eat.

I didn't even try to get dinner.

Because I didn't eat much yesterday, I went to get breakfast despite the fact that I had no appetite. I had one bite of oatmeal and a couple of spoonfulls of yogurt. And then I decided I needed to head over to sick call.

Sick call is one of the perks about being in the army. Most of the time I get sick, I just call in sick to work and take the day off. I think I have a pretty decent immune system now because of the many times I refused to take medicine. But since I've been here, I get the opportunity to have perscription meds. Which make me feel a lot better real quick.

Still, in the too much information department, on top of the soar throat, I found the last couple nights I couldn't sleep, waking up multiple times in the middle of the night to do of all things, spit. I have excess spit and phlegm buildup in my throat, it hurts to swallow so therefor I haven't been eating much, I have a headache and when I do down something, I suddenly feel nauseaus. And I'm either to hot or to cold. Yesterday I checked the back of my throat and I felt like something was growing back there. Somebody suggested I rinse my mouth out with Mouth Wash and brush my teeth more then normal and that should help. It made my teeth nice and clean, and freshened my sick breath for a moment, but not much else.

Sick call diagnosed me as having Strep Throat. Sure, I have to get sick before I head off to Bulgaria land, aint that always the way. . . they say I should be good by the time I leave, but still, I have to have this nasty crap?

Still, it makes one hellava diet! The strep throat diet. Hmm, there has to be some benefit for feeling like crap!


Miscellanious Ramblings about Everything and Nothing

So I'm still window shopping for guitars, and otherwise neglecting things. Like Blogs. I made up for it by updating both.

Meanwhilage, being stuck on Bondsteel with only a couple of opportunities to escape off post over the last few weeks, I finally signed up for another VetCap. Yay! I think I'll take my video camera and start recording things of importance. I swear to make a DVD or something to send home to the folks so they can see what's going on in the life of their youngest offspring. That, and I think it would be kind of fun.

I get to go to a foreign country and party hard on Go Cart Tracks and Historical Museums while wandering about the city of Sofia Bulgaria. You have no idea how excited I am to get out of this place for a couple of days at the very least.

But still no news on the PM Train Up in Germany being a go or not. I can only cross my fingers and hope that it all comes through for me.

And yes, Nate and I are still an item. Why do you think I've been neglecting this thing so much?

My mom just wanted to make sure. . .



Out of sheer boredom, I looked up how far I was from home. I'm 5767 miles away roughly, as the crow flies.

Then I remembered I have to turn in a vehicle. Ok, break over. . .



I'm thinking of taking up another hobby. See, the Chaplain's Assistant SSG J is offering free lessons on the Guitar, and it makes me very much eager to learn how to try to play it. I've only played a couple of instruments in my lifetime and none of them stuck. I played the Violin when I was eight for about six months and loved it, despite the stereotype of most kids hating Violin practice but I had to discontinue it for a number of reasons. Then of course, there was that time in Fifth grade where everyone bought a Recorder and learned how to play that, in which I proceeded to drive my family insane through a variety of various shrieks and whistles, as anybody would wager to tell you that a Recorder makes only noise. In Seventh Grade, I took a quarter of Band and learned how to play the Trumpet, and I had a lot of fun learning how to play that, but being a seventh grader with other things one wants to do for electives, well, it didn't stick.

I've always wanted to learn how to play an instrument really good, considering I can't sing if my life depended on it, having absolutely no vocal talent to speak of, but I love music and would love to do something.

Unfortunately, if I continue with Guitar, I will likely have to invest in one. So I have to come to a decision of what kind of guitar I want. And what I want to do with it, and will I even stick with it after this deployment is over? I really want to, but just for the sake of learning how to play something do I want to do it.

And lessons are free, I just have to provide the guitar!

I think I'll go window shopping for a bit to see if I can find a good one to come up with.


Must Take Breather

Wow, today has been busy, in its own bizarre and uninteresting to the outsider looking in way.

Basically, its dealing with a lot of paper work.

Meanwhile, my Highers, which roughly translates to Bosses, were complimenting me on how good I've been doing and how I've risen to the bar that they would expect me to be performing.

I then had to tell them not to tell me that, because it never fails, when they tell me I'm doing a good job, I then screw up.

It never fails.

Like they placed me in charge of the vehicles, all two of them, and sure thing, First thing I do as Official Vehicle Coordinater, I turn in one vehicle with the dispatch belonging to the other.

*sigh* Let's see if this doesn't jinx me, Knock on Wood, eh?


Latest. . .

Well, got Harry Potter yesterday, read through it and am now ready for book seven to come out.

I guess I could go into my own little review on what I thought, but I think I'll pass. Let's just say that there was something missing about the books. Maybe its the knowledge that Harry's growing up and all, you know. Things change, people change, what not.

Anyway, I added something to the sidebar, but i don't know how long that is going to last. It's my 'latest' bar, telling everyone what my latest movie or what ever I'm doing is. I'm not sure how often I'll update that, if I keep forgetting, I'll most likely just take it off again, as I tried to do something similar to that before.

I'm just thinking of some other things to add to it. What really started it was the desire to put something up to show that I'm drawing or whatever. And by drawing I mean really drawing.

Anyway, that's the latest edition to the web. I'll look around and see what else I can't dig up to put on here.


Kajukenbo, One of the Finer Things in Life

One of the things I have decided I will definitely continue when I get back to the states is Martial Arts, some form or another. If there is a Kajukenbo Dojo in my neck of the woods I'll probably see if I can hook up with them there. But anyway, this week I officially got promoted to Yellow Belt though I have to fine tune my forms a bit more.

They still tell me I have the best kicks in the class. Heh, go ME!

Nate, who I have lately affectionately refer to from here on out as The Boy, is a Red Belt in Tae Kwon Do. I've kind of finaggled him into doing Kajukenbo wiht me, though he was a bit reluctant at first because he didn't want to mix arts, and Tae Kwan Do is primarily Leg Work and Kajukenbo basically goes by hit them til they fall using any means necessary. That's what I like!

Of course, when it comes to sparring, they still have rules. And I need to learn how to stand up straight. I'm horrible at slouching. My posture is awful.

Anyway, we went to class yesterday to find nobody there. Sifu had surgery recently and is on profile so he can't teach us, and the assistant instructor, a black belt proficient in an art that combines Karate with Kung Fu that I forget the name of, was on his spiritual retreat to Greece, it left me and the Boy to our own devices. And I was busy modeling my nifty new yellow belt. It looks pimpin with the Black Uniform.

Well, since nobody was there, we decided to work on forms. So the Boy became my instructor for the rest of the evening and started teaching me different kicks. The Crescent Kick drills made me feel a little weird, to say the least, but I had fun, and it kicked my heiny into shape. I can picture doing these several times a week. I would have sexy legs!

Mayonnaise white legs, true, you can't change some things, no matter how much you try to expose your skin to the Tattooine like sun of Southern Kosovo, but sexy in their own right.

We also started sparring. Sparring is fun, if I didn't stop laughing in the middle of it. We kind of switched off in the defensive and offensive manuevers after I learned that I'm not that good at sparring straight out at this point and need to work on some finer things before I reach that level. Needless to say, the Boy kicked my butt. But its all good, I'm still learning this and more importantly, I'm having fun with it and am committed to becoming better.

We'll spar as a class hopefully tomorrow. Can't wait. Maybe I'll have learned a thing or two that I can take with me when they pit me against somebody who is undoubtedly better then I am?

One can only hope. I'll try to get pictures later.

Money Makes the World Go Round, Unfortunately

Blogger's been in a real funk recently. Hmm, I wouldn't know anything about Blogger doing that. But anyway, enough of that, onto more important stuff. . .

Single Soldiers should not be exposed to large sums of money (and by large sums of money, I basically mean a regular paying job with no sign of monetary responsibilities, like, say, rent. And food) Because single soldiers will buy things they don't need, because there is more money in their bank account then they are used to.

Case in point? The batch of colored pencils that just shipped to me in the mail. I couldn't help it, they were so pretty. But what was rather funny about the batch of colored pencils is the box they came in was rather large, and I know the customs form only said "colored pencils" or something of that nature, and I'm sure the people at the mail desk saw that this unusually large box of colored pencils was heading to Kosovo and immediately grew suspicious.

Because it has no customs form. And it has been retaped. Meaning, somebody checked to make sure that the box actually contained colored pencils and not, say, anthrax. I guess I would be suspicious too. I mean, i didn't expect the box to be that big. But they are the best colored pencils money can buy. They're PRISMACOLOR©, and I'm a sucker.

Anyway, I found myself getting greedy recently, trying to figure out how I can make MORE money without selling my soul to the devil, er I mean reenlisting into the United States Army and getting stuck in a contract that will leave me miserable. And I know that, if I can refrain from the impulse splurges between now and when I get home, I should have a bit of change in my pocket to buy things I actually need as opposed to want, and I should live comfortably.

In other words, I'll have some debt, but the necessary debt, like a car payment, insurance, and rent, and not like, say, mass amounts of credit cards used on impulse purchases of things I didn't know existed but couldn't possibly live without. Only to find later that I probably could. Coming home should be a breeze, if I can keep my wallet under control.

which means I need to make a list of things that I keep thinking I want when I get home. Which means I need to further seperate that list into things I actually need vs things I just want.

Things I actually need include a car. And a handgun with a concealed weapon's permit. That's necessary for the stalkers. What's more necessary is the knowledge of them KNOWING I have a handgun with a concealed weapon's permit. Somebody suggested a .40 Kahr.

Things I merely want includes an ATV. And a Potter's wheel. And an AR15 complete with Grenade Launcher attachment to further elaborate on the whole 'redneck gun lover' image that some liberals have me painted as. And a plane ticket back to Europe.

If I go into depth on this list, You will soon discover that the list of 'merely wants' dwarfs the list of things needed desperately, or just needs but too boring to think about.

And I need to remember that I want to go back to school. But first, I've got to fine tune this whole business of what I want to do with the rest of my life. It all starts there.

If I go active duty, there is no way I'll be getting that ATV. *sigh*

Meanwhile, I think I'm going to get out my nifty colored pencil kit and do some drawing. Then maybe I'll post some of the finished products online. And see if these colored pencils were a wise investment or if I should have just told my parents to dig through my stuff and ship the ones I had there to me.


This Post Knows No Title

Yeah, so I've been a little quiet on this front. I guess I'll just give a rundown of whats going on. . .

Harry Potter comes out on Saturday. And here I am having to wait on the mail to get my copy. BWAAAHHHH!!!!!! I think I'll have to take a break from the internet until I get caught up in fear of spoilers, and everyone I know rubbing it in that they've read it and I haven't. To much to bear.

Went to Monteith today, and on the way there an interesting an interesting event occurred that was actually kind of funny. In its own strange way.

We were driving along route Stag when I came to an intersection. Because I'm on a priority road, I don't have to stop but there is a blatant stop sign at the intersection for anybody wanting to cross Route Stag. Well, a little Volkswagen Golf slows down enough to make the turn without rolling over, cutting me off as he turns along the road heading the direction in which I just came. I just stare at this dude as I cross the intersection only to look in the opposite direction the guy came from to see two police officers next to their vehicle, taking a smoke break, and WAVING AT ME!!! Not thirty feet from where it happened.

Yeah, that's law enforcement of Kosovo.

Anyway, one of the amusing things I've discovered about dating in a War Zone is finding unique things to do. Other then, you know, make out. In bunkers. You can go into any given bunker here on Bondsteel and find something unusual in it. Like, say Bunker 2050. Has a blow up Mattress inside of it. Yeah, you know whats going on there!

Um, I'll pass thank you. Anyway, me and the Boy decided to do something different so we took my laptop to Freedom park, laid out a blanket and sleeping bag in one of the gazebos (yeah, sounds like an combat zone, huh?) and watched Night of the Living Dead, the original version. Which I have never seen. And Nate hates Zombies so it was amusing. Its actually fairly amusing to listen to him talk about Zombies.

That was better then watching King's Ransom, which was amusing but far from quality entertainment. But another interesting thing to do is check out what other people do with their limited free time. We went to one room occupied by Task Force Tornado soldiers and they have a huge campaign going on with WarHammer. I know one JAG officer spends his time making Rap songs about Bondsteel and Kosovo in general.

Or you can watch videos of what the natives do out in sector. Like the night vision imagary of a couple of Kosovars doing something interesting to one of their farm animals. I think I'm going to see if I can get a copy of that video. Its rather amusing. TO say the least.

I think I got my illustration fix out of the way. Maybe Now I can start updating my webcomic regularly.

Next up, Planning my European Vacation. And deciding on what I want to do when I get back to the states.


Pimpin' my Other Blogs. . .

Jon in Vector Control reads my blog. Since he's such a cool guy and he let me hang with him for a day and work with him, I promised him I would put some stuff on my blog about it.

However, Vector Control seemed like a Milblog thing, and since I've been largely neglecting the good ol' Milblog, I decided to post about it there.

So I'll direct you to that post if you so care to read about it.

I've also been doing a lot more drawing, but not so much realistic drawing, but rather illustration. In fact, I've been doing A LOT of illustration lately (though I'm still neglecting my comic *sob* One of my illustrations I recently did I was really happy with. I even put the much neglected background into it.

I do something a little different with each one. i think its my excuse to get better at my illustration techniques with good ol' PhotoShop. And it gets boring drawing the same thing over and over again.

Debutantes in Boots

I got interviewed by another blog, Steal the Bandwagon. Mostly I was asked questions about the military and what its like to be female in today's army and offered my advice and so on and so forth. It was kind of fun and all, thought I would link to it and let you all tell me what you think.

The Interview.

The Fourth in Kosovo

So, another holiday in Kosovo has come and gone. And I am now back at work.

It was nice to get a two day weekend for once (we work on Saturdays) but not entirely.

Monday started with a Formation to Celebrate the independence of our great nation, which also had dignitaries from Kosovo and some of our other multi-national allies who attended. Fortunately, the last couple of days have been overcast, unlike the hot Tattooine type cloudless skies that have been beating down on us for the last month or so.

Still, the formation was the last place many people wanted to be. Most people expected to have the day off, so that just means a chance to sleep in. You don't know how much this little luxury means to a lot of people.

Anyway, in the middle of the Star Spangled Banner, a formation of Apaches flew over our head, Eight in all, five in the lead and three in the rear and did a cool little formation thing. Wish I had my camera, but alas, I was in formation.

The rest of the day, I was a bum. Meaning I didn't do a whole lot of anything. I wanted to play with fire works but we are in a combat zone known to many as Kosovo. No fireworks for us. I came up with a great idea of firing tracers up into the sky all at once, but that would have probably not been a good idea. *note sarcasm*

One of my friends suggested this to get my firework fix. I did a lot of clicks to get a grand finale going a couple of times, so I'll take what I can get. You know, you take for granted things like Fireworks on the Fourth Of July until you are in a place where you can't see them. And to think in the past, I got into my Bum phase and just wrote off the whole firework experience so I could do something less important.

They had a lot of activities going on all weekend, I wanted to get in on a few of them, but I had a PT test on Sunday where I strained my leg running that 2 miles, and now I'm having difficulty moving. But the sacrifice was worth it, I passed the PT test and now have to heal my leg so I can shave two minutes or so off my run. I already improved my situps by 18.

And then it rained all Sunday and most of the activities got canceled. And somebody threw a grenade in Pristina and now all unneccessary missions have been canceled until further notice.

Yesterday was actually a really pretty day, overcast which helped things cool down and it looked like it wanted to rain, but refrained. The Multi-Nationals came and competed against us, we had a Tug-o-war competition and the Greeks kicked our butts. It was rather funny watching them wave their flag around and chant "Hellas! Hellas!" over and over again as they creamed all of the competetion. And they kicked butt in Soccer too.

Yes, nothing like celebrating Independence day like getting your butt kicked by people in other nations. Hah.

A few British soldiers even showed up. We asked them if they were celebrating the Fourth of July with us. The irony was a little, well, Ironic. We chatted with them for a little while, they were pretty cool and all, and we even offered to buy them some drinks (non alcoholic of course, seeing that Bondsteel is a no drinking zone). All but one declined.

Then of course, I called home and talked with my family for a while. That felt good. After a while, since phone calls are limited, I went to my room and chatted via Yahoo IM. A few technical difficulties later, I was forced to go to bed finally, as I had to get up early for work. Today.

I realized how much I really miss the states. It will be good to be home, but in the meantime, I'm enjoying myself here as best as I can.


Latest On Kosovo

Update NOTE - Since current events have made Kosovo a hot topic again, this post is gaining a lot of attention. So here is my disclaimer.

I was stationed in Kosovo in 2005 at Camp Bondsteel in South Eastern Kosovo. I dealt with the Serbian and Albanian populations of Kosovo while I was stationed there, and we were not allowed to ask them about their opinions on the events of Kosovo. I never wanted to take sides, and the US Forces there were to treat the matter with neutrality and not take sides.

This is merely my opinion on a matter from my observances back in 2005. I am not a journalist, you are reading a blog that is filled with my opinions. I personally see that both sides have a stake in Kosovo, and there was never a peaceful resolution unless the Serbians and Albanians could come to some sort of agreement. Unfortunately, Milosavich's ethnic genocide of Albanians during the 1990's is what brought Americans into the matter and Kosovo to it's present state.

Again, these are just my opinions. I personally am neither for the Albanians nor the Serbians, I think both sides have an argument to be made, which is why the situation in Kosovo is as volatile as it is.

If you have a problem with my opinions, please feel free to post your thoughts in my comments, I will not delete them and I will eventually read them.

~Risawn, February 2008

"Down here at the bottom of the world they don't tell us anything. Got any news on this?"
- Murray

Apparently CNN has some news on Kosovo. . .

PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) — At least three blasts rocked the center of Kosovo’s capital on Saturday, and one targeted the U.N. mission headquarters.

An Associated Press reporter saw at least three U.N. vehicles set ablaze in the parking lot of the U.N. mission headquarters in Pristina.

There were no immediate reports of any injuries after at least three near-simultaneous blasts, said Hua Jiang, chief U.N. spokeswoman.

The second blast happened near the building of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the OSCE, which is some 100 meters (100 yards) down the road from the U.N. compound.

The third blast went off near the Kosovo government building which also houses the province’s parliament and damaged it slightly, said Jiang. She did not say what caused the blasts.

Police sealed off the areas after the explosions.

You wanna know something that's funny? In a strange sort of unfunny way?

This was the first time I heard about it.

The basics of Kosovo, it's split up into four sections, MultiNational Brigade (MNB) Northeast is run by the French, Center was in control of the British but recently transferred to the Finnish, West was controlled by the Italians but merged with Southwest and is controlled by the Germans. East is controlled by the Americans.

Pristina, which is where the UN Headquarters are located, is located in KFOR MNB-Center. We go up there from time to time, because KFOR Main is located there.

This isn't the first time the UN Headquarters have been bombed. The UN is dawdling with what they want to do with Kosovo, as whether or not Kosovo gets transferred back to Serbia (which will cause the Ethnic Albanians to riot and go to war against Serbia), given Independence (which will cause Serbia to get upset as they don't want to lose Kosovo which is a huge part of their culture and history) or just left a protectorate of the UN for a few more years until everyone decides to get along (which will cause both groups to get impatient, and probably cause the Albanians to Riot).

I predict, and this is just my opinion and has nothing to do which side I'm for or against, as America has tried to portray themselves as a Neutral Force between the Serbians and the Albanians of Kosovo (Serbia itself has recently been declared neither an Ally nor an Enemy, but rather a 'competitor') where our task is to keep the peace until the fate of this land is decided. But I predict that Kosovo will eventually get its independence. Ethnic Albanians are 90% of the population of Kosovo. And Serbia wants to join the EU so they need to play Nice.

And the Albanians here love Americans. I think it is the one predominantly Muslim region in the world that really loves the Americans. They have a freakin' shrine to Bill Clinton, I kid you not. He is their hero. . .

It was predicted that there would be some tension about this time here in Kosovo due to people getting impatient with the UN. KFOR has a mission slightly different then the UN's, our job is to keep the peace, pure and simple, while the UN decides what to do.

The people of this country are bombing the UN headquarters (which is thankfully fairly far away from the US Base Camp) because they are growing impatient with the UN. We haven't had very many problems with the people of Kosovo, other then they drive like maniacs. That's where most of the danger in this region is, on the road.

I went more into detail in those whole issue with my milblog, Foxholes and Dogtags, on the tension between the two groups. Fortunately, besides perhaps the Organized Crime problem, we haven't felt much conflict with the people here. They are just getting impatient and want their independence, and mostly they want the UN to make up their mind. They were supposed to have talks in June, those got delayed until October. The whole thing is a mess.

Whatever the case, this isn't going to be an easy fight, one way or the other. It just takes a lot of patience from both sides, and a freakin' lot of understanding and coming to terms between two groups of people who have for centuries hated each other and hold 600 year old grudges.

But otherwise, the Americans have just been chilling. . . guess I won't count on that trip to Pristina this week though.

Hat Tip - Murray and Little Green Footballs


It's the Rubber Woman!

Dude, what I wouldn't give to have this kind of flexibility!

But I don't think I would like to fall like that though. She seems a little to limber at times.

Hat tip - Heta

Another slightly disturbing video, but funny, if you have sense of humor. Especially a conservative sense of humor. So wrong in so many ways.

I laughed so hard. *dude, that video is old, how did I miss it?