Saturday, August 27, 2011

TV Fun

One of the few things we have to keep up moral is satellite television in our rooms. We have seven Armed Forces Network channels (news, sports, movies etc.) and several Arabic channels with English programming, and a smattering of Arabic channels.

There was an advertisement on Armed Forces Network (AFN) that they were switching to satellite and viewers had to move their satellite dishes to align with the new satellite. They provided instructions on their web site complete with a video. I printed out the instructions and watched the video. They really made it look easy. I knew otherwise.

We had about a month to realign the dish, of course we waited for the day before to tackle it. The dishes were on one trailer but to align them you had to climb on the roof of another trailer about two feet away. This really made for awkward work, that and it was very hot on top of the roof.

Unfortunately as soon as we loosened the bold to adjust the dish we realized tiny adjustments was going to be impossible in fact not only were we dealing with left + right adjustment, but also up and down. The channels were separated between two dishes and now all of the channels were out as we had lost the signal. Much grumbling from everyone followed.

It was decided to adjust the dished at night, mainly because of the heat. Two guys on the roof, one guy watching the satellite signal and calling it out on the radio, as soon as the signal locked in, they would tighten the bolt holding the dish in place, done. At least that's the way it was supposed to be.

As soon as the signal was locked in, and the guys on the roof tightened the bolt, we lost the signal.
This went on over and over again for an hour. Finally over the course of two nights we locked in the signal on both dishes, everyone was happy.

I had a bad feeling that something was bound to happen. Sure enough the signal on one of the dishes kept slipping Now the signal is gone on four channels, one of them being the sports channel and we are hearing it left and right from the football crowd.

Nobody is motivated enough to go through this again.

Another Day Off

I live Saturday to Saturday here. It's my day off and I do just that. I sleep in and the only time I go to the office is to get the keys to the truck so I can go to the Iraqi shops and look around. I get some snide remarks about taking a day off, most people work seven days a week. The way I see it, the world is not going to fall apart if I take a day off. That and I'm sorry, but I'm not paid any extra for it. Is "Doc" a team player? of course. But we are limited to XX amount of overtime hours we can submit and we all work over that XX amount, I know I do. I had to work last Saturday for a few hours, my day of, will I see that as overtime? Nope.

Speaking of overtime I was talking to this Department of Defense civilian (GS) when I was in Kuwait about overtime, I told her how many hours we were limited to. She is "limited" to 60 hours of overtime per pay period, down from 70, down from 80, down from unlimited. Back in the wild west days you could submit for as many hours of overtime you could claim. The wild west days are going away.

We currently have free wifi Internet access, this is going away. We'll have to pay. Some of us get use of a wash and fold laundry service (me), this is going away. There has always been a rumor that we'll have to pay for meals. Yes, it's a whole new Iraq!

Just returned from the Iraqi shops and they are pushing hard to sell whats on their shelves as because of a new contract they have to leave the base soon. It's sad as they provide just one little added diversion for already very bored people and of course we provide them income.

Yesterday marks my third month I've been in country. My next R&R break is a little ways out, first week of November, but hoping it will get here soon. Planning on going to Dubai and staying at a nice hotel and enjoying the beach.

The Army has been packing up and leaving more and more, which means more office space for us and some equipment. We recently acquired the USO building. Complete with a small movie theater and game (XBox etc.) stations, less the game systems and 32" televisions, but the movie theater has everything there.

Well back to my usual day off activities, watch a movie, read and take a nap!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Book Corner - Finished Reading

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time
by David Relin
349 pages

I really though this was a feel good story about this guy building schools in remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

And then I Googled his book and this was one of the top results:
Questions over Greg Mortenson's stories;contentBody

End of story. Not a good read.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I have to apologize for letting the Doc Report fall by the wayside. I guess living in this "Groundhog Day World" doesn't provide much material to blog about. That and I just shouldn't publicly blog 99% of the stuff that goes on here. Nothing that's classified, but it would just disappoint a few folks.

So there's not much to do here. Lets see, you can go to the well equipped gym, throw darts, play pool on the pool table that is outside getting dirty, watch movies, surf the net, work. Yeah, that's about it. Okay, there are some small shops that sell the assorted knock off name brand clothes, carpet and some electronics, but one visit is enough.

So with that we tend to linger longer during dinner. It's not uncommon to see a table with empty dishes on the tray, people engaged in conversation, it's something to do.

Every night there's a new conversation to keep everyone engaged. The subjects cover everything from cars, homes, kids, jobs, and on and on.

I have this routine during the meals. When I am through with my dinner I dump my tray and plastic dishes and flatware, then go and get my dessert and coffee and go back to the table. I don't like having my dessert with dirty dishes in front of me (plastic or otherwise).

Afterwards I usually go play darts with a few guys. I'm not good at it, but it keeps me out of my CHU.

And that's dinner here.