Thursday, August 18, 2005

This Heat Goes On, And On, And On, And On

18 August 2005

Nothing too much doin' over the past week or so. Temps have stayed pretty steady in the 120's with no rain in sight. I kind of played with an old Kings song for my title today; only a few people would notice, but only if you are familiar with their song, "This Beat Goes On/Switchin to Glide". One hit wonder from 1980, I think.

An interesting thing did happen to me when I was running out at Lost Lake this morning. I'm finishing off the last quarter mile and almost to the wall before getting over to the trailers. All morning there had been quite a bit of gun-fire going on outside the base, but I didn't think anything of it. It is actually less startling than incoming mortars, so you really don't pay much attention to it. Besides, on any given morning, you hear gunfire from the range over at Camp Slayer or outside the walls north of the base where I think there is another gun range (or maybe that's Sadr City, who knows?)

So as I'm passing this open field on both sides before I get to the wall by the trailer parks, out of the blue I hear a few things "whizzing" and twittering through the air. They weren't like any dragonflies I've heard before! I don't have any idea how close one has to be to bullets traveling through the air to hear them "whizzing" and twittering by one's ear, but they were close enough this morning. I looked at the Marine that was walking across the street and just commented, "I heard that!" If you've heard it, it's already too late to hit the ground. Probably just some stray fire having ricocheted off something or another. And NO!, I'm not going to start wearing my helmet to go out running!

I do have to say however, that Hollywood definitely got the sound right. It sounded just like I remembered in the Omaha Beach scene in Saving Private Ryan. That is probably the only reason I knew what it was as soon as I heard it. I've never heard that sound before in real life. Just when you think life is becoming mundane...

When I moved into my trailer here in North Dodge, I knew that it was one of the new trailers I was moving into...and that it was new for a reason. You know, the old Sesame Street jingle? "one of things is not like the others...." If that didn't give it away, the shrapnel markings in the concrete walls around the trailer should be enough to give it away. But, if you're still not following me here, it was new because it was one of those that had been hit during the previous year by mortars or by shrapnel.

I knew that I was moving into "Mortar Alley" as we affectionately call it. Didn't need any street signs to broadcast that one. Talking with my neighbor, I found out why my door takes some jimmying to get open. Apparently, after this new trailer was set in place and we had all that rain this last Spring, the trailer started to sink on one end. The aluminum edging on the top buckled some and his door didn't open at all at one point. Finally, KBR raised the end up to level things out.

But seriously, the location isn't too bad now. Life is and has been quiet. What more could you want than the unobstructed view we have of the field of maybe ten or so "black water" tanks? Life is good. In case you don't know; black water tanks are like giant, steel, above ground septic storage tanks. They are dug into the ground probably about six or eight feet with eight feet more above ground. The sucker-trucks come and suck them dry every couple of days or so. It's a pleasent experience to be around when that is in progress. :p

But then again, if you really want to see something horrifying, step into the chow hall for midnight chow! I can't believe they try to convince us that this stuff is edible. It's like they dug this crap out of the garbage from earlier in the evening and slop it into big containers to dish out to us at midnight to see if we'll notice what crap it really is. Breakfast is probably the best meal of the day. They haven't seemed to find a way (yet) to cause too much damage to eggs, cereal or fresh fruit. Although they do try to redeem themselves once a week like today when we had seafood at evening chow. The lobster tails and steaks don't usually suck (unless they overboil the steaks or cook them so long that they look like boot leather!)
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