Archives / 2004 / September
  • Proof Time In Iraq Goes By More Slowly Than in US!

    FYI, clocks in Iraq are falling back an hour tonight (Oct 1st at 0100).  I figure this post won't be much help to any soldiers over here who will be undersleeping tomorrow (it means an extra hour of sleep for everyone except those with duty tonight), but it might help some of you in the states expecting your deployed loved ones to be on at a particular time to plan accordingly.  Time difference until the US changes their clocks will be 7 hours off of Eastern instead of the 8 that it is at this moment. more

  • So Called 'Critically Needed IRRs' Not Even Filling Open Positions

    I've been receiving an alarming number of emails recently from IRR-activated soldiers who are just now reaching their units in Iraq, only to find that the unit had no idea they were coming and has no slots open or jobs for them to do in their actual MOS.  This was the case for several of my peers when I arrived in country -- there was myself and another Engineer officer, plus 6 Field Artillery officers all coming into country together in July.  Of the 8 of us, the two engineers are the only ones doing jobs in their field.  Three of the FAs are doing admin work and the other 3 are filling other 'excess' roles.  I had thought perhaps this was because we were among the first … more

  • How having troops in Iraq protects people in the USA

    I think many people who favor the immediate pullout of our forces from Iraq believe that our presence here is not protecting US citizens from attacks (and surely many have other reasons for wanting us to leave, but I'm just going to address one at the moment).  I believe that our presence in Iraq is, in fact, protecting my family and friends and others back in the USA.  Yes, our troops are being attacked daily here by insurgents and terrorists, but we are paid, trained, and equipped to deal with these threats, and I think every one of us would rather face these threats here than see innocent and defenseless civilians targeted in our homeland.  Don't think that's a realistic … more

  • Black Scorpions

    Things are going fine here.  Getting settled in, have everybody here now that's not on leave. Was out talking to my commander and the other LTs in the company tonight and when we got up to leave (after dark) we picked up our helmets and one of the other guys got stung by a black scorpion.  It was 3-4 inches long and about 2 inches wide with legs.  First one I've seen.  It just got the guy on the finger and it didn't look very bad.  I guess the black ones aren't too venomous compared to the little clear/yellow or red ones.  Still haven't seen any camel spiders, but I guess there's plenty of those here as well.  Hopefully I won't have any really close … more

  • New Home

    Moved to a new home a few days ago.  On the trip here our convoy was hit by a roadside bomb, injuring two of my fellow soldiers.  Both will return to duty soon, though, as neither was very serious.  It was a wake-up call, though, and for me it was the closest encounter with enemy action I've had thus far.  We're getting settled into our new accomodations, which were pretty rough when we got here but are already turning into something liveable.  One thing we engineers can do is build stuff and scrounge for things.  This base is much more spread out than where we came from, so I bought a cheap bike today and have been using it to get around.  I love mountain … more

  • Central Perk, Iraqi Style

    A few weeks ago a new building completed construction at FOB Caldwell.  The Hickory Cafe (30th BCT's tagline is “Old Hickory”) provides a Starbucksesque atmosphere and serves a few flavors of coffee that the chow hall doesn't.  I guess it's run by a guy who runs a few coffee shops back in the US, and everything is based on donations.  So, slowly but surely, the base is gaining some comforts of home.  Still no movie theater or swimming pool, but we have coffee... more

  • Making DataReaders Less Evil

    I admit it, I've never been a big fan of the DataReader.  There are two main reasons for this.  Firstly, I'm a big fan of caching, and DataReaders cannot be cached.  Thus, even if they are, say, 2x as fast as a DataTable the first time, the cached DataTable is 10x faster whenever it's read from the cached (these numbers are made up just like 87% of all statistics).  Another reason I've shied away from DRs is that I prefer to build systems in tiers (that 'N-Tier' buzzword you've heard about), and I think it is a very bad practice to delegate responsibility for cleaning up resources from one tier to another.  It's just asking for trouble (using a DR to fill a strongly … more

  • Awesome Rock Band (local to northeast Ohio)

    An awesome rock band for anybody interested in such things is Redshift.  Their song Infamy got a ton of play time on local stations back a couple of years ago (about a year after 9/11).  At the time I really liked it because I could relate to it from my army experience and the whole war on terror.  Now that I've been called back into the Army, it's all the more compelling (to me, at least).  Their other songs are good, too; my second fav is Holes of Light.  Their website is and you can download some of their music as MP3 there (including Infamy and Holes of Light). more

  • New Domain, More Bloggers

    I've registered and mapped my domain to it.  If you're just interested in me, you'll want to go to  The main url at will show posts from a growing number of army bloggers.  I've set up three this weekend; guys in my platoon or whom I've met since getting called up.  I expect that number to grow as word spreads of free blog space for soldiers. more

  • Mail Call and WebSite Info

    For those wondering how long mail takes, I got 2 letters and 2 packages today (9/10), 3 of which were sent on 8/26 and one on 8/28.  So 13-15 days. I had some time today to play around a bit with the look my section of the site (click here if you're on the home page) -- let me know how you like it. Also, I'm going to be renaming this website to and opening it up to other Army bloggers in the near future.  If you would be interested in having a free blog on which to write about your army experiences, please contact me using the link in the menu.  It may be several months before I'm ready to open it up to more than a handful of people, but I'll save your contact … more

  • More Stuff To Bring

    Here's some gadgets that are nice to have: 1) Laptop.  Yes, bring one.  They're great for watching movies on and you may have the opportunity to use it for email, webcam, computer games, etc. 2) MP3 Player.  If you like music.  Something tiny that runs on AA batteries would be my first choice (vs. a larger iPod or what-have-you).  I have an IRiver. 3) GPS.  The Garmin Rino 120 is a decent one, but any will do as long as it has MGRS capability.  Small is good; long battery life is good.  More important for squad leaders and above than enlisted soldiers.  Military GPS's are available but are big and bulky. 4) Thumb drive / memory … more