Operation: GTFO (Day 73)

Crossfit: Get Some…Maybe

crossfit scientologyI let 47 talk me into joining crossfit. I know some guys from home who do Crossfit and they’ve sworn what an awesome work out it is. I believe it because both of them are completely ripped. One was always in decent shape, and the other one pretty much transformed before my eyes. Last deployment a bunch of guys got into Crossfit and they all came back sexy (as in body, but not face—nothing can be done for the face. Sorry.)

So, full disclosure: I am a pudgy, lazy somebody who really ought to get back into shape. I say that because you always have to consider the source when you take in somebody’s opinion.

Pros:

  • Although I hate organized PT, I like Crossfit because there are set times with set instructors and set exercises. You know exactly what you’ll be doing that day. You don’t show up and everyone’s like, “Hmm, what should we do today?” It’s not as dumb as organized PT because you don’t have to stand at attention or any stupid shit like that.

    It's really not as easy as it looks.

    It’s really not as easy as it looks.

  • There are a lot of body weight exercises. I prefer workouts that I can do anywhere. I hate having to buy special equipment, or having to go to some place special just to workout. I think I’m the one person I know that works out while on vacation because I tend to stick to exercises that can be done anywhere. As much as burpees suck, I really do like the exercise. I even prefer the way it’s done in Crossfit. The Crossfit pushups are better as well. I’ll be doing those from now on. And the Crossfit sit-ups. Be warned, they’re all painful but they work more muscles and it’s harder to cheat at the exercises. It’s like you have to do it right. Even when you’re at the end of your strength, you’re still getting something out of the movements. AND I AM DETERMINED TO GET STRONG ENOUGH TO DO PULL-UPS.
  • Exercises for time can be done like cardio workouts. Let’s face it: I’m a Cardio Queen (when I’m in shape, that is). If you have to do pull-ups in a certain amount of time, that’s cardio. If you are running back and forth trying to complete exercises, that’s pretty much cardio. I like cardio. I like running, but running every day isn’t good for you and sometimes it can get boring.

Cons:

  • Seriously, guy, put some more weight on that, you pussy.

    Seriously, guy, put some more weight on that, you pansy.

    I hate the weightlifting. I have never liked weightlifting. Every time I start weightlifting I remember how much I hate it then I quit. Is it good for the body? Yes, it really is. Women tend to avoid it because they think they’re going to end up like Arnold, circa 1983. I know that’s not true. I hate weightlifting because I just do. Just like people hate running. I don’t mind working with dumbbells but I hate barbell workouts. Crossfit doesn’t have dumbbells, at least, not as far as I’ve seen.

    Those aren't Crossfit pushups, so just give up.

    Those aren’t Crossfit pushups, so just give up.

  • I hate the sales pitch. If people are interested, they’re going to show up. Some people need an introduction to the product, but every time someone talks about Crossfit they talk about how much better it is than any other workout anybody has ever done. Ever. I don’t know that I agree with that. Crossfit works for a lot of people. Traditional weightlifting works for a lot of people. Cardio works for a lot of people. Being a lazy fat ass works for a lot of people. I think it depends on what a person is looking for, what they are willing to do and what they’re interested in.  Don’t forget that Crossfit is first and foremost a business.  It’s a registered trademark and all the jazz that comes with it.  We’re lucky we’re on a military base with a military manager because otherwise somebody would have to pay to use the term “Crossfit.”  If we were back home, we’d be forking out upwards of $100 or more to belong to a Crossfit gym.  In theory, the workouts can’t really be done everywhere else.  Yes, you can take away bits and pieces of the workout but I don’t know a lot of people who have gym rings set up in their living rooms, or that ab thing or a rower.  Basically, when you go to the workouts they’re going to sell it hard and tell you it’s better than anything you’ve ever done in your whole life because there is no way else to get you to pay $100 a month to look like some of these guys.  Same way with all these fad diets and buzz words like organic and all-natural.  Marketers package this shit like there’s no other way to lose weight or get in shape but whatever they’re selling.
  • I told my kids, Crossfit or prostitution.  It's really about choices.

    I told my kids, Crossfit or prostitution. It’s really about choices.

    The meathead personality abounds at Crossfit.  I’m not sure it really means anything if you don’t like Crossfit, or if you prefer to do a different type of workout.  Some of these guys clearly think you’re inferior if you’re a “gym rat.”  I think this goes into the whole sales pitch thing.  They’re trying to sell why Crossfit is way better than traditional lifting.  Instead of being cool and laid-back about an awesome workout, there’s a lot of arrogance.  The instructors said they experience a surge of new people right after an orientation class, then it tapers off.  One instructor said it’s because some of them probably didn’t have the tenacity to stick with it.  Way to be judgmental.  Maybe they found it boring.  Maybe they felt it didn’t suit their needs.  Maybe they came because they were curious about Crossfit and just wanted to try it out before making an opinion about it.  Maybe they were turned off by your smug attitude.  Maybe they discovered that none of the class times worked for their schedule.  Could be a lot of things.  Some people who want to lose weight and get in shape are intimidated when they go to a gym and find out everyone is already cut.  Someone wrote on the Crossfit page about the “silly Zumba people.” I don’t think it was an instructor who wrote the comment but to each their own, you know.  At least the Zumba people are up and moving, not laying on their fat ass (like me, for example).  Everything is not for everybody.

  • I often feel like I’m forced to lift or do more than I’m actually capable of. I’m not talking about pushing a person to do more, as in, “Come on, you got one more.” That’s motivational. Sometimes you really do have one more in you, but you’re being lazy and you need someone to pump you up. That’s awesome. What isn’t awesome is that it’s my first week and I need to stack 1000 (exaggeration) pounds on everything. Did I not mention that I’m sad and fat and out of shape? Can I actually work on proper form so I don’t injure myself before I start trying to lift the gym? Ooops, I mean, the box. When we went to do the back squats the girl looked at us like we were crazy because we only had 10 pounds on the bar.

    WHY ARE YOU EVEN HERE!?!

    I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!

  • Although I mentioned there were a lot of body weight exercises, there are also a lot of exercises that require special equipment. I don’t consider a pull-up bar special equipment but gymnastics rings, barbells and other shit I have to buy or go someplace to do it. I do better with workouts that don’t require anything. Right now, though, I pretty much suck at everything.
  • As with anything that is athletic and muscle-bound, the amount of testosterone in the building is ridiculous. In the first week, the guy was like, “You guys ready to work out?” Some people were like, “Yeah, sure.” Apparently that wasn’t enough for him. He needed everybody to SCREAM their motivation. Men are very predictable when it comes to stuff like this. You’re not motivated unless you’re screaming like a maniac. Look, I showed up. I’m doing the workouts. I stayed for the entire workout. I also did every single exercise to the best of my ability. I don’t think I need to scream anything, but thanks. When I was in basic training, we had to scream “Hooah” as we ran into the DFAC. If we weren’t motivated enough we had to go to the end of the line and do it again. One time I refused to yell “Hooah.” The drill sergeant asked me why I wasn’t motivated. First, who is motivated to eat slops, and second, is screaming the only way to show you’re motivated? So when it was my turn again, I screamed, “Hooah,” and then I yelled, “I’M ONLY SCREAMING BECAUSE I’M HUNGRY AND WANT TO EAT. YELLING IS NOT AN INDICATOR OF ANYTHING EXCEPT PERCEIVED MASCULINITY.”
Yeah, we Paleo.  Totally.

Yeah, we Paleo. Totally.

Needless to say I had to do push-ups while everyone else was eating. That is how I feel about screaming while working out. It doesn’t actually mean anything.

I guess, for now, I’m going to keep going to Crossfit, maybe once or twice. I’m not pressed and I’m certainly not subscribing to the lemming-like mentality.  I cannot be enthused about anything that is ultra-restrictive and judgmental.  That’s what church is for.

Actually, what I think I will do is pay attention to the WOD and only go on days when it’s body weight-centric, and then I’ll just run the other days. I think I’m going to get my lazy ass to spinning class too. That shit starts at 0500. That’s rough, but I like spinning. I’m already more motivated to get up at 0430 to go spinning then I am to lift another barbell on my neck at Crossfit.  In fact, I’m so excited about it that I might just start screaming.

 

Operation: GTFO (Day 71)

Raise Up! 5-0!

Driving without a license?  I will Ferguson your ass.

Driving without a license? I will Ferguson your ass.

I’m here in the big bad city of Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. A location so dangerous there is one cop for every five persons on ground. It’s that rough, what with all the murders, sexual assaults, and armed robberies going on.

Actually, no, I’m kidding. Nothing happens here except the usual Soldier stuff like fights over the PS4 at the USO, a random beat-down after the Tuesday night bingo game, and maybe someone getting bashed in the head with a frozen water bottle and dragged off to a bunker unknown.

You would think with all the cops here that this is some place out of control, like Ferguson or some shit.  At any given moment there is going to be a riot because of the poor conditions at the DFAC, or some looting at the PX when the iPhone 6 comes out.  Seriously, there really is a cop on almost every single corner, watching, waiting for someone to break the law.

Laws, such as, when a pedestrian is within five feet of a crosswalk, drivers must come to a screeching halt in anticipation this pedestrian might want to cross the street. If the pedestrian does indeed want to cross the street, drivers must wait until the pedestrian is completely on the other side of the street and five feet away from the crosswalk. If you do not wait until they’ve cleared five feet, drivers will be shot on sight.  If the pedestrian just happened to be within five feet of the crosswalk for no random reason, well, just bring traffic to a halt anyway.  It’s okay.  No one has anywhere to be.  The rumour is that a General Officer got ran over because he thought he had bumpers on his ass and just walked out in the middle of a street in front of a convoy of 5-tons.

Somewhere, someone just committed armed robbery, but I got speeders to catch.  Priorities, man.

VBEIDs, terrorists and insider threats?  Not important.  Catching speeders is important.  That’s what I do.

The speed limit on base is 40KPH, unless otherwise posted. Anyone caught driving 41KPH will be beaten to death.  During PT hours it’s 20KPH.  I’m not usually out driving during those hours but this past Sunday I was headed to the office, and the traffic was literally not moving.  I’m thinking, “What the fuck is the hold up?”  Oh, it’s Sunday 0645, so that means 20KPH.  There wasn’t a single Soldier on the road conducting PT.  You know what else is insane?  No one actually runs in the fucking street.  Why  not make it like other bases where it’s a low speed limit when passing troops in formation, or conducting PT, or some such.  If you see some lone guy running on the sidewalk, why the fuck am I at a crawl?  So I can watch him run faster than my vehicle?  Who made these asinine rules?  The rumour is that it’s that same GO who got hit by the 5-tons.  A week before that accident he plowed through some Soldiers on a division run at 100MPH.  They suspect he was drunk off O’Douls but they don’t do DUI checks here so no one will ever know the true story.

And don’t get caught driving without your license. Just ask 47 what happened to her. She still has nightmares about it, poor girl. The bottom line is… don’t get caught without your Kuwaiti license. Ever. You know the one you get at that joke of a driving class, where the instructor didn’t actually teach you anything additional to what you learned from the driving class you had when you were 16—except to say, “Good luck,” if you ever need to navigate a local national traffic circle.  It’s insane how these contracting companies are ripping off the U.S. Government.  You have to line up at 0300 for a class that may or may not be taught later that day.  Despite the fact that everyone on post knows when a huge unit is coming in, the driver’s license people seemingly have no fucking clue and don’t think they should lay on more classes so all incoming Soldiers can get their licenses in a timely fashion.  Not because they need to cruise around Kuwait City, but because they can’t even drive on post without the license.

This guy doesn't stop at crosswalks.  Consider him dangerous.  Shoot to kill.

This guy doesn’t stop at crosswalks. Consider him dangerous. Shoot to kill.

The class is pretty much some guy handing you a book and a test.  He didn’t teach anything at all because “he was busy.”  My class sat down together, flipped through the book and did the test in about 10 minutes.  It actually took longer to fill out the paperwork.  Another Soldier claimed the guy just told him to write his name down on the form and he would complete the test for him.  I don’t know how true that is but I’m inclined to believe it based on what I witnessed with my own eyes when I went to get my license.  I think the point of the examination is to ensure a Soldier knows Kuwaiti driving laws and what to do in case of an accident out in town.  You know how the government could save money?  Fire the contractors who run this debacle and put that shit online like they do everything else.  Bam.  Now we can afford to keep cereal stocked in the DFAC.

SHARP?  Ain't nobody got time for that!

SHARP? Ain’t nobody got time for that!

The police even set up a check point. Not for DUIs, mind you, like they do back home, because you can’t get drunk off O’Douls (I already tried). They want to make sure you have your license. It’s that serious.  Next time I come here I’m just going to photocopy the license I have now, since it’s totally easy to fake these things.  There’s no photo and my license says I’m a 129 pound Asian male.

But you know, since there is all this worry about SHARP, you would think the cops are actually here to create a safe environment for people to go about their business unmolested. I hardly ever see any cops posted up any place Soldiers congegrate.  You ever see an MP at the USO or MWR, just checking to make sure everything is above board.  Do you see them walking around at night by the PCBs, just checking on things?  Nope.  But they’re definitely in the cut, waiting for someone to roll through a stop sign.  So yeah, forget SHARP. Ain’t nobody got time for that.  People need to know they can’t get out of control on base. You go one kilometer over the speed limit, or you drive off when the Soldier is only four feet away from the crosswalk, then you better be ready to pay the consequences.  That’s death by firing squad.

Operation: GTFO (Day 64)

SHARP Is Real

True to form, we’ve begun with the list of stupid rules. I know it’s hard to be in charge of 100 people and know that everything they do is a reflection of your leadership. One thing the Army doesn’t realise is that you really can’t control people. People are gonna do whatever the fuck they wanna do, and it doesn’t matter what kinds of punishments you mete out. There will be people who hesitate in their actions, who consider the consequences, but for the rest, they’re either gonna hope they don’t get caught or they’re just gonna do it and who gives a shit.

Now you guys stay there until you learn how to make responsible adult decisions.

Now you guys stay there until you learn how to make responsible adult decisions.

I detest the fact that, generally speaking, the military does not allow individual Soldiers the attempt to be responsible and that there is a tendency to hold everyone accountable for one person’s actions. Then leadership complains that people do not do the right thing. Well, you never give anybody the chance to do the right thing. You come down hard with the hammer right up front, because you feel like you have to nip bad actions in the bud. That is the wrong way to go. When you come down too hard right away you will get the Soldiers who say, damned if I do and damned if I don’t. You will get an otherwise decent Soldier who feels like he has to break the rules because he cannot succeed any other way. Then you also have those Soldiers who grow up under the oppressive thumb of Big Army and when it is their turn to show some responsibility, they fail miserably.

A lot of you have kids, right? Or you know people with kids. Think of it this way: For all the kids who were kept under lock and key their entire lives, what’s the first thing they did the minute they got away from oppressive adult supervision? Uh, they started acting like assholes. Why? Because their parents never gave them any opportunity to learn to be responsible, so they could excel at being responsible. The parents were like, “They’re kids. They don’t know how to conduct themselves. We’d better keep them in a jailhouse environment or else they’ll ruin their lives.” No, they won’t ruin their lives. You will. And that’s how the Army operates.

Leadership gets all of us together and announces there is a midnight curfew. All Soldiers, including officers have to be in their living quarters by midnight. LOL. Seriously? The reasoning? SHARP is real.

They’re talking about sexual assault and sexual harassment, of course. I really wanted to die laughing, but really, I’m only an E6 and that actually doesn’t mean a whole lot. Because I’m fond of lists, here’s what I took away from that briefing:

  1. Doesn't he know he can't stalk me until after midnight?

    Doesn’t he know he can’t stalk me until after midnight?

    You can’t get sexually assaulted or sexually harassed before midnight. Criminals and perpetrators typically follow all applicable laws and rules. They know better than to harass or attack anyone before midnight. It’s okay for me to walk around as innocent as a sweet baby lamb in broad daylight because nothing bad happens before midnight.

 

  1. If I get raped after midnight, it’s my fault. If I happen to get out of a late movie and I’m walking back to the barracks with m
  2. e and my battle buddies and we get attacked we only have ourselves to blame. Rapists and perverts know it’s fair game after midnight.

 

  1. I am too incompetent to conduct myself accordingly after midnight. Before midnight I’m a genius, but after midnight I turn into a bumbling idiot who runs down the street butt ass naked with the hopes no one will sexually assault me. I don’t know that I should walk with a battle buddy and that I should notify others where I am going in case of an emergency. I’m too stupid to walk from the gym to the barracks, even though the bathroom to my barracks is almost the same distance.

 

  1. These dudes single-handedly took down ISIS; they saved the President from assassination; they also walk their grandmothers to church on Sunday.  But they can't be out after midnight.

    These dudes single-handedly took down ISIS; they saved the President from assassination; they also walk their grandmothers to church on Sunday. But they can’t be out after midnight.

    My leadership failed me. In all my years in the Army no one in my chain of command ever taught me a lick of sense. I never heard of a battle buddy or safety in numbers. I have no idea what SHARP is. I’m a complete idiot because my leadership didn’t teach me anything about protecting myself.

 

  1. I’m being confined for my own good. Even though I have stayed out after midnight on my last deployment (because I worked overnight shift), I really have no idea what to do. Those times I was just lucky. For my own safety, I should probably be chained to my bed. Sexual predators come out from their hiding places after midnight.

 

  1. Almost midnight.  Time to get my sexual harassment on.

    Almost midnight. Time to get my sexual harassment on.

    The Army believes SHARP is more about random rapists then acquaintance rape. Everything I just wrote before was tongue-in-cheek, but this one I’m actually serious about. When we watched that SHARP video at training a couple years ago, I noticed that all the incidents involved victims and perpetrators that knew each other. None of them involved a person walking down the street and some miscreant jumping out at them and raping them in the street. I don’t know the statistics on the incidents of sexual assault in the Army: whether it’s acquaintance or random, but it’s something that I think is valid. I’m more likely to be harassed/attacked by someone I know than some idiot hiding in a bunker, waiting for someone to randomly walk past. At this time I do not believe any of my peers have any nefarious designs on unsuspecting victims, but who’s to say that nothing happens out here on the job site, late in the evening (but not after midnight), or early in the morning, or any fucking time of the day when no one is around?

Or how about that long ass walk to the bathroom? If anyone actually cared about random rape then maybe we wouldn’t be so goddamn far from the toilets. Seriously, I have to pass eight male barracks before I get to the toilets. The living quarters have a key pad for entry, but the bathrooms don’t. Anybody could walk in…. like they did when I was in Iraq….and another time when I was in Kuwait, just two years ago. Dude walked in the bathroom, claiming he didn’t know that it was the female bathroom. This was at 6AM. The dude that was filming through the air vent, that was around 9 at night. So yeah. I guess they didn’t get the memo.

Were it me in charge, I would turn this thing into a teachable moment. Everything in life is a teachable moment, whether you succeed or fuck up. If you’re gonna be hanging around after dark, you need a battle buddy and you need to let someone know where you are. If you want to sit in the USO till 2AM, then hang out there till 2AM. Just don’t go skulking down in the bunkers by yourself with Kuwaiti dinar hanging out your bra.

They say bad things can't happen during daylight, but I'm not so sure about that.

They say bad things can’t happen during daylight, but I’m not so sure about that.

I wish the Army would stop trying to cure the disease by killing the patient. Why doesn’t someone actually be a leader and teach some common sense? You know where sexual harassment happens? At the fucking workplace. Last deployment, the creeper who gave me a gift was at work. He did not show up at my living quarters after dark. You know where sexual assault happens? Everywhere, and at any given moment. A sexual predator is going to take whatever opportunity s/he can to do whatever. You can be assaulted on the way to work, on the way from work, hanging out in the movie theatre, or even here in these PCBs. We have already had two incidents that I know of where a member of the opposite sex was in the wrong PCB. It wasn’t midnight either.

There is no specific magic hour where bad things happen. Don’t ever get lulled into that either. I was never sexually assaulted but I was robbed in broad daylight while walking with a battle buddy. I guess nobody told that guy he wasn’t supposed to attack me until after midnight, or does that only apply to SHARP?

Operation: GTFO (Day 60)

Except for the beer part, this is what I think of when I think DFAC.

Except for the beer part, this is what I think of when I think DFAC.

Everyone Hates the DFAC

My boss came back from one of his meetings and announced that chow hall attendance had decreased significantly. Apparently, the fact that no one eats at the chow hall is a huge shock to Higher. I have no idea if Higher wants to increase attendance or if they’ve just figured out what the rest of us already knew. I guess when you’re a General and can have your meals catered or flown in from a Paris Michelin-rated restaurant you would have no idea what kind of slops are being served to the common Joe. What’s actually more shocking to me is that Soldiers are still eating at the DFAC and haven’t resorted to cannibalism as a viable alternative.

In case anybody cared, I’ve outlined reasons why the chow hall is a fail. I’m sure Higher doesn’t give a shit what I think but since I have nothing better to do at this exact moment, allow me to enumerate:

Reasons Soldiers Don’t Eat at the DFAC

  1. fast foodThere’s enough fast food on post to kill an elephant. Even the health-conscientious Soldier would rather choke down a cantina bowl from Taco Bell over “Taco Tuesdays” dried up ground beef, limp lettuce and funny-smelling sour cream in the chow hall. For the Soldier who prefers cholesterol-hardened arteries, it just makes his decision easier to skip boiled steak night.

 

  1. Get some!

    Get some!

    There are no gluten-free, organic, or restricted diet options. Don’t eat pork? Fuck you.   Vegetarian? Low-carb? Celiac? Fuck you. Fuck you. And fuck you. Vegetarians don’t just want to eat salad, you know. As a person that doesn’t eat pork I’ve gone to the chow hall a few times to find the dinner entrée was either pork roast or ham steak. I opted for a grilled cheese, only to discover that it too had ham in it.

 

  1. Stop giving slops cute names like "Meatballs Mexicana."  Does this even LOOK like Meatballs Mexicana?

    Stop giving slops cute names like “Meatballs Mexicana.” Does this even LOOK like Meatballs Mexicana?

    Everything tastes exactly the same. When you are cooking for a mass audience you do have to be neutral in your spice selection. Not everyone can eat food blanketed in sriracha, but does everything have to be drowned in tasteless cream sauce? Every fish entrée served is smothered in some kind of white sauce. Every pasta dish tastes like spaghetti. There really is no variety to any of the dishes. Let’s look at why this is. Friday is boiled steak night. Everyone knows that. The next night the entrée is “braised beef with noodles.” Hmm, amazingly braised beef tastes exactly like the steak we had the night before. You know what’s for lunch the day after that? Beef pot roast AKA boiled steak with gravy disguise. Every dish tastes like leftovers from the night before. If 100 Soldiers are supposed to eat the DFAC and only 47 show up, what did they do with the food for the other 52? You can best believe they did not throw it away. And stop with the bullshit ass “fancy” names. It’s not Asian Chicken Roast. It’s Chicken from Two Days Ago with Some Soy Sauce. And speaking of sauces, is it possible to get some sauce other than BBQ? There are about 25 varieties of BBQ sauce, and that’s it. I wouldn’t mind some teriyaki sauce, some kind of garlic sauce, or anything to drown out the stale pepper that is dusted over every single dish.

 

  1. FASTER!!!!

    FASTER!!!!

    The DFAC is run like an infantry division. It is not an enjoyable experience to eat at the DFAC. I feel like it’s Basic Training all over again: get it in your neck and get the fuck out. Being deployed sucks; the Army seems to understand that, which is why it provides MWR options for Soldiers. Why isn’t the chow hall part of that whole MWR experience? If you look at most cultures, including the American culture, eating is a social experience. The DFAC does not espouse that at all. You are hit with rule after rule after rule. Don’t show up to the DFAC in your civilian clothes with your sunglasses on top of your head. Fuck you, old man, with your reading glasses on a necklace. The PFC at the door will sic a Rottweiler on your ass. Don’t even think about putting hot food in a small to-go container. You will be slaughtered. What if you want to dine-in but take some fruit or dessert for later? Good luck. No to-go containers allowed at the tables, and if you ask for a plate to dine-in they won’t give you a to-go container. You have to lie, cheat and steal your way out of the DFAC with a handful of grapes for a light snack later on. You want seconds because you’re really hungry? Leave the DFAC completely and come back through the front entrance again. Don’t you dare try to come back through the serving line again; that’s a Class A felony.

 

  1. You're too cool for the DFAC.  Sorry guy, no all-purpose patties for you.

    You’re too cool for the DFAC. Sorry guy, no all-purpose patties for you.

    The DFAC can be inconvenient. Something that really irks me is that bags are not permitted in the DFAC. They say it’s a security measure, but we all know that’s bullshit. I don’t want to get into a whole security thing, so we’ll move on. I want to get chow on the way to work, but I need to carry a bag to work. So I need to first go to the chow hall and eat, then come back to my living quarters to get my bag. It would be much easier to just bring my bag to chow and proceed to work from there. I don’t have a vehicle, and I don’t need one just to carry a bag around. I’m fine with walking. I just want to conduct my business in one swoop without having to walk all over the place just to eat. Same thing on the way home from work. Go home first, to drop my bag and then go back to the DFAC, or leave my bag at work and come back to get it after I eat? It’s just a hassle, so skip the DFAC and popcorn from the USO for dinner it is. And forget about trying to take food out. It would be easier with a bag. I’ve only been here two weeks and three times I’ve seen Soldiers drop food and spill drinks trying to carry out. Just skip the mess and have a Frappuccino for lunch. That’s what I do. Working shifts? Trying to get food for a battle buddy that’s sick or working? You know you can’t get food for that Soldier if you don’t have his CAC. Don’t even attempt to get more than on to-go container. If the Soldier is working and needs his CAC to be logged into the computer, well, he can’t give it to you to get his food, can he? Might as well come with you. Or you know what, forget it. Just get Pizza Hut. You don’t need a CAC for that.

 

  1. Chicken patty?  Veal patty?  Fish patty?  Whatever.

    Chicken patty? Veal patty? Fish patty? Whatever.

    Anything you could want to eat is already gone. Whoever is ordering the food for the DFAC should be beaten. The DFAC has been out of cereal for a week. This morning I received intel that said there won’t be supply of cereal for another three weeks. Three weeks? Cereal is not perishable. It’s okay to store huge supplies of it. When you see your supplies dwindling, how about setting up another shipment so you never run out. We’ve been out of cranberry juice since Day 2. The grapefruit juice on the fountain has also been out of stock since I got here. In about a week’s time there will be a dearth of potato chips. These things seem minor but after a while it adds up and it becomes irksome. I’d been enjoying a bowl of dry Cheerios as a mid-morning snack but now I think I’ll just switch to ice cream and a Cinnabon.

 

  1. 9 of 10 forks will be embedded in a Soldier's stomach.

    9 of 10 forks will be embedded in a Soldier’s stomach.

    Speaking of ordering supplies… this same supply person deserves another beating for ordering the cheapest materials possible. I know that’s the Army way, but at what point does it become ridiculous? I have learned to bring at least three forks and three knives to the table, because guaranteed at least one knife will break while I’m sawing through my three-day old chicken-flavoured patty. I will bet money that I will apply the slightest bit of pressure to my fork with my teeth and a whole tine will come off in my mouth. You can pour yourself 108 ounces worth of Mountain Dew, but only three ounces of coffee in those tiny ass Styrofoam cups. You better not fucking bring your own coffee mug either: you will be shot on sight.

 

    1. It's 1530 and the DFAC is closed.  Since there is all this sand around, I figured...

      It’s 1530 and the DFAC is closed. Since there is all this sand around, I figured…

      You can only be hungry during DFAC hours. Thank God there’s midnight chow, not that I’m allowed to go, but it’s nice to know that it’s there. But forget it if you randomly get hungry around 3PM, or you feel like a late dinner after working out. Maybe you have a funny shift at work. Yes, they’re supposed to let you off for meals, but wouldn’t it be convenient to everyone if you could actually eat when you want to? The limited hours coupled with the ultra-inconvenience of taking food out makes it seem much more reasonable to just head to Nathan’s for a chili cheese dog, fries and a Monster.

To be fair, Soldiers do eat in the DFAC. I go every day. Really, I do.  That’s how I have the right to complain about everything. It would be different if I never stepped foot in the place. Higher, don’t think you’ve scored a victory because you got a handful of Soldiers showing up at the trough. Let’s look at the reasons Soldiers might choose to eat the DFAC.

Reasons Soldiers Eat at the DFAC

  1. They’re forced to. For the Soldier of limited financial means there is nowhere else to eat. There are no kitchens or places a Soldier can cook his own meal. There is no commissary. The PX doesn’t sell anything green. You are trapped and there’s nothing you can do about it.
It's this or Burger King.  Gee, tough decision.

It’s this or Burger King. Gee, tough decision.

And that’s really all I could think of. Really, if the Army would just put a little more effort into the food it serves to the troops it wouldn’t be such a joke. Stop buying the cheapest, lowest quality products. Stop hiring low-wage contractors to cook the food. Ease up on the ridiculous restrictions coming into the DFAC. It’s a great idea to wash one’s hands and ensure clothing is clean, but sunglasses on my head while wearing civilian clothes doesn’t affect anything. Unless you see obvious waste and abuse, don’t restrict how much food a Soldier wants to eat, or how they carry it out. I can assure you, if a Soldier wants a second helping of those sloops it’s because he actually wants to eat it, or he’s bringing it to someone who couldn’t get to the DFAC.

Like a lot of things in the Army, no common sense was applied to DFAC operations. You can’t a write memorandum for everything, or structure everything based on a battle drill. It’s okay to let things just be. I know that in the Army that’s a completely foreign concept. Hence, the reason why no one eats at the DFAC.

Operation: GTFO (Day 54)

The Adventure

I told you to make a LEFT!  You obviously failed land navigation.

I told you to make a LEFT! You obviously failed land navigation.

I’m so glad that we have more freedom than we had the last time.  Of course, they took away all the incentive pay to denote that new found freedom.  I guess there’s a tradeoff for everything.

We were told there was an amazing grocery store nearby, about 45 minutes outside the gate.  So the Shop got together and decided that we’d go out and find this store.  One of us had been before and I was sure I had drove past the place once when I came here in March.  But just because you drove past a place once before doesn’t mean you know how to get there.  In fact, just because you’ve been to the place a few times doesn’t mean you know how to get there, as evidenced by last night’s attempt.

47 uses her GPS to find the place.  We could find ourselves on the GPS, as well as the store but for some reason it wouldn’t route.  Madge had a strip map and CJ was the driver.  I fell asleep so I was no use to anybody.  We had been driving for a while when I woke up.  It’s amazing to me how much Kuwait reminds me of Arizona.  I don’t know why I’m amazed though.  Both locations are deserts.  There aren’t that many differences in deserts across the world; I’m sure one looks the same as any other.

At any rate, we started taking wrong turns after about 45 minutes of driving.  At one point we ended up at the Kuwaiti School of Science and Law.  Don’t know how those two subjects go together, but I do know that you shouldn’t put a speed bump at the end of an on-ramp to the highway.  They teach you in driving school to accelerate to the rate of speed on the highway, so you can merge without causing a 20 car pile-up.  What civil engineer decided a speed bump would be useful on the highway?  CJ accelerate to 60MPH only to have Madge scream at him, “Dude, watch out!”  There’s a giant speed bump right at the merge point.  Who does that?  He slammed on the brakes to avoid fucking up the already fucked up vehicle we’re in, but we still have to merge onto the highway.

Imagine this is at the end of your driveway

Go ahead, hit that bitch at 60MPH.

We took several more wrong turns before 47 realised the supermarket she GPSed was in UAE, an entirely different country.  We weren’t following her directions, rather the map Madge had, but still, let this be a reminder to everyone to actually read your directions before you blindly set off into that good sunset.

We did eventually make it to the store.  It was totally worth driving around aimlessly in the desert.  For whatever reason, although Kuwait is no longer a combat zone, the Army has not decided to upgrade any of its facilities.  Other overseas locations have commissaries and housing that supports cooking one’s own food.  For now, we’re stuck with whatever slops are served in the chow hall and toilet bowl wine.

I felt like the poor kid who recently came into a windfall.  I was in the store with deer-in-the-headlights look like I’ve never been anywhere with electricity before.  I’m gaping at refrigerated items, freshly butchered meat, freshly baked bread.  It’s like if Macy’s had a grocery store.

We spent about an hour in there, but next time I need to make a list.  There’s a lot going on in there and it was hard to remember everything I could want.  I specifically wanted fancy coffee creamer but I forgot because I spent 30 minutes at the hot food buffet.  There was all this exotic food and I couldn’t make up my mind.  Then we spent another 15 minutes just trying to figure out what juice to get.  I said I wanted cranberry but they had pure strawberry juice.  Never had pure strawberry juice before.  Then there was this mixed fruit guava, mango, pineapple juice.  I couldn’t make up my mind.

No, seriously, it's totally the same as real money.

No, seriously, it’s totally the same as real money.

Then they had crepes.  Crepes are kinda my weakness.  They aren’t sold everywhere so anytime I see one I always get one.  I order a nutella strawberry crepe and give the lady my credit card to pay.  She comes back and says it’s declined.  Uh, I have $7 million in my bank account, can’t be declined.  Although I know damn well I have enough money to buy a $6 crepe, I was sure it was more likely my bank was confused about charges coming out of Kuwait.  So I gave her my other credit card, the one I don’t use too much.  This is also declined.  I had to ask 47 to help me out, but her card was also declined.  So now we’re just standing there.  The lady laughs and says their machine is messed up, that’s why none of the cards are working.  Okay, that’s great but I need to pay you.  She asks me if I have Kuwaiti money.  I said no, and that was a fail.  Next time, bring Kuwaiti money just in case.  47 and I are standing there about to get our hands chopped off for theft of goods.  She asked them if they take American dollars and the guy looked at her as if she offered to pay him in goats.  Seriously, his face was comical.  American money is not worth as much here, so I can understand his reticence.  Imagine you’re working at Wal-Mart and someone is like, “Hey, do you take pesos?”  Uh, no, bitch, we don’t.

Luckily, one guy did not seem to mind the American dollars because he gave us the Kuwaiti money and we gave him $10.  Then we turned around and gave the Kuwaiti money to the cashier.  All is well that ends well but I was getting a little nervous.

It only took us 20 minutes to get back to the base, which just lets you know how far out of the way we were in attempting to get to the place.  At least I have some good snack foods and a few things to get me through lunch the next couple of days.

Operation: GTFO (Day 53)

Biggie, Gimme The Loot

My new battle buddy is awesome at bingo.

My new battle buddy is awesome at bingo.

To stave off boredom, the new thing is to play Bingo at the Community Center.  I’m sure none of us would have considered playing bingo back home, because that’s for old unmarried chain smokers with too many cats.  I didn’t participate in any of the MWR activities on my last deployment, and this trek to bingo was my attempt at being more social.  I’m not ashamed to say that it was actually kinda fun.

It was also stressful.  Yes, bingo was stressful.  At the beginning of the game, they allowed us to get two cards.  The guy called the numbers really fast and I found it difficult to keep up.  Then he said we could get three cards.  I started missing numbers and I’m certain that I had a bingo but didn’t realise it.  By the end of the game, we could have up to five cards.  Total chaos.  I’m looking for B-5 across five different cards and he has already called three more numbers.  I came close to winning several times but was not actually successful.

Unfortunately, airline tickets back to the US was not offered as a prize.

Unfortunately, airline tickets back to the US was not offered as a prize.

What is interesting is that the prizes are actually somewhat decent.  They don’t give away shitty ass t-shirts or some shit no one wants.  They gave away Toshiba portable hard drives, Bose speaker systems, gold watches, shit like that.  Okay, yeah, some of the prizes were lame:  Kuwait commemorative gold plate, plain black backpack (which he described as a slingbag and I thought he said slingbacks, as in a cute pair of shoes).  But the kicker is that whatever you get you can take it back to the PX and get a gift card for the monetary value.  Uh, yeah.

Just give me the laptop chill mat and nobody gets hurt.

Just give me the laptop chill mat and nobody gets hurt.

No one on my team won anything, and then we got pissed because one of the AAFES employees won twice.  He got the Toshiba hard drive AND the Sony blu-ray, which my battle buddy (47) really wants.  So we decided that we would just have to jack him in the parking lot.  I told our van driver, whom I’ll refer to as CJ, that 47 and I would beat him up as long as CJ didn’t mind driving the getaway car.  CJ said, “Fuck that, I’ll just run him over with the van.”

This lets you know how serious the bingo game was.  Of course, we decided our careers were worth more than a $100 blu-ray player that all of us could actually afford, but as CJ pointed out, “If we don’t win at bingo, how do we get Christmas presents for our families?”

Operation: GTFO (Day 51)

Real Housewives of Arifjan

Yeah, there's no Army reg for this

Yeah, there’s no Army reg for this

We haven’t even been here 15 minutes and already the drama has started.  I don’t know how we got off track.  When we were at Fort Dix, it seemed like we were all getting along.  Maybe that’s the problem.  You can never really have too many females in one spot.

Apparently, a situation between two females blew out of control.  One female don’t like the other, and the other don’t like that one.  They ended up being roomed together and when another Soldier tried to fix the situation, one of the females in question refused to be mollified.  I’m not even exactly sure that’s what happened, since I heard everything secondhand.  Regardless, the CSM ended up in the mix and it all went downhill from there.  Fire and brimstone rained down upon us and now we all hate each other.

BITCH, PLEASE!

GET SOME, BITCH!

The poor NCOIC tried to have a kumbaya moment, bringing us all together to air out our differences to come to a resolution.  That shit never works.  It began a recon mission to seek and destroy the person who supposedly said something to the CSM.  I kept thinking, who the fuck cares a Soldier spoke to the CSM?  I know there is such thing as chain of command, but the truth of the matter is that no one knows exactly how the conversation with the CSM even came about.  I can think of five different ways how a person ends up in a conversation with her.  I think our CSM is great; she can be a little extra but only because she actually cares.  If she comes up to you with a legitimate question I can’t see how a Soldier would be like, “Oh, not your business, CSM.”  She has the type of personality that just draws things from you, whether you want to be drawn out or not.  Additionally, who is to even say someone actually went directly to her?  Everyone has been complaining about their situation.  We all sit down at lunch and bitch about everything.  Shit gets around.

I just felt like nothing would be accomplished by attacking the person who supposedly spoke to the CSM.  How about moving forward and addressing issues we can fix?

You want guidance?  I got your guidance right here.

You want guidance? I got your guidance right here.

I became really pissed off because it was insinuated that we as NCOs are not providing guidance to the junior enlisted.  I took grave exception to that because all of us NCOs know that when you try to correct anyone they only get corrected if they want to be corrected.  This is not directed at junior enlisted; it goes to everyone.  If you tell an officer, “Hey, sir, you know that’s not authorised,” they just laugh at you like, “Who the fuck are you to say anything?”  If you tell an E4 they need to work on their PT, now they feel targeted.  One Soldier mentioned that she felt like NCOs were “out to get her.”  I was upset by that statement because it made me think what should I do when I see a behaviour that needs correction?  Should I not say anything because I don’t want a Soldier to feel like I’m attacking them, or do I do what I’m supposed to do as an NCO and make the correction?  It’s just everyone was in their feelings and I really did not want to be a part of the meeting anymore.  I could offer nothing substantive and mostly remained quiet.

I already know how I am.  When I get started, I get started and I felt like that was not going to accomplish anything.  We all walked away from the meeting even more disgusted than when it began.  One Soldier was flat out lying.  Another one had this deer-in-the-headlights look like she had no idea what the fuck was going on.  Then yet another one was on her personal soapbox, going on about herself and all this other irrelevant shit.

Obviously, the rules apply to YOU, not me.  I do what I want.

Obviously, the rules apply to YOU, not me. I do what I want.

I was an NCO on my last deployment, but I stayed to myself, choosing to hideout in my little corner of hell.  I was accused of being bitchy, reclusive and anti-social.  I believe these things were mostly true and I said to myself that I would try to do better on this deployment.  I would actually try to make friends and be better as a Staff NCO, actually try to mentor some junior Soldiers as I was mentored by my senior NCOs.  I’m not really into hand-holding and all that sensitive bullshit.  If I ask you to fix your hair, then fix your hair.  Don’t lie and say that I never said anything to you about it.  Don’t give me an excuse about how long you’ve known someone or “it’s not what you think.”  If I’m noticing a particular behaviour, you can believe that someone else has noticed the same thing.  Sooner or later, shit rolls downward and it will catch you in the mouth.  You can either take my friendly advice or get fucked in your own ass.  Please do not come to me with the, “Oh, I see other people doing it.”  What the fuck does that even mean?  Don’t use someone else’s shitty ass behaviour to justify your own.

Okay, I’m done.