Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up (4-Day) - (Korea) Days 180-183

Looking up at part of Lotte World. There are a number of levels, the bottom has an
ice skating rink. On the very top there are "hot air balloons" where you can ride
around and see everything from the top down.

Saturday: I slept in until about 0900 and then did my weekly load of laundry and video chatted with my wife and kids. I also called my dad to make sure he was OK after all the tornadoes hit. I heard on the news that some touched down in Arkansas as well. He said the closest one was about 3 miles away from him and that everything has been fairly well for now. I also checked my LES and found that my separate rations finally went through. Paperwork that should have taken a week or two ended up taking 6 months. It also took me going back to the company on 4 separate occasions. Luckily I had backup copies of all the documents. I also sent numerous emails to the guy who I turned everything into the second time at our company. Finally I will not have money taken out of my check anymore, and I received back pay for the last 6 months. What a pain in the butt!!

I did some schoolwork until I got a call from the young hawaiian asking if I wanted to go to lunch at the KATUSA Snack Bar. We headed there and had a pretty good lunch (love that place…good food and it's cheap). We then walked to Itaewon and I did a little shopping. I was looking for souvenirs for family back home. I wish I had more cash, I could have spent a lot! There are so many odd shops and street vendors out selling pretty much everything you can think of and plenty of stuff you would never think of.

I then headed back to my room and started doing more homework. After a while SPC Roy came over and we went swimming. Unfortunately the hot tub was out of order, so it was only the pool with no relaxing ending. We then came back to the room to change and headed off to the Main Post Club here on post to eat dinner, have a few beers and play some pool. Pool wasn't cutting it and SPC Roy needed to scratch his ping pong itch. We headed over to the Moyer Rec Center and played ping pong for a while.

Once I got back to my room it was time for more schoolwork…will it ever end??? When I finished I watched "Bloodsport". It's a great old Jean-Claude Van Damme action movie that I hadn't seen in some time. It's about a guy who participates in the Kumite which is a full contact mixed martial arts tournament. (Kind of like an early version of the UFC, but with no rules). Ironically the bad guy in the movie is a South Korean. I also forgot the movie is based on the life story of an actual guy named Frank Dux. Pretty impressive!

The entrance to Itaewon. The place looks so different during the day!

A performance of dancers in Itaewon. I guess during the summer they
always have something going on here.

Sunday: I woke up around 0900 again and made a pit stop at Starbucks before heading to PFC Pickle's room to watch the UFC. So glad they play them for free here on AFN. It was a pretty good show with the main event of Rampage vs. Hamill. I've always been a Rampage fan after seeing him as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter. He cracks me up. He put on a good fight and beat up Hamill.

I headed back to my room and video chatted with my wife for a while before starting schoolwork once again. I then headed to the gym to work out. PFC Pickle and the young hawaiian met me there. We were going to play basketball, but they had setup the court for volleyball use…grrrrr. We decided to lift weights instead. While lifting weights a guy was in there who I in-processed with when I arrived here in Korea. He said he already found out where he'll be heading and ironically it's Ft. Lewis which is about 30 minutes from my hometown. I wonder when I'll find out where I'm going. I was told not to even ask until July 1st. I guess time will tell.

The young hawaiian wanted to go see The Hangover 2, so we all ate dinner and met up to head off post to the iPark Mall. Unfortunately when we arrived we found out it wasn't playing. I thought the young hawaiian had checked, but he just assumed it was playing. SPC Roy actually met up with us at the theatre and said "Plan B" was to go drink. So we headed to a nearby restaurant and ate some chicken and drank soju. We then headed to Itaewon only to find out my favorite bar (The Rock and Roll Bar) is closed on Sundays. We ended up in a very poor excuse of a bar called "Spy Basement". We were the only ones there and the waitress was very old, she couldn't get any of our drinks right. What's funny is two of us were only drinking beers. We played a few games of pool before heading to another bar where we had another couple of beers before calling it a night. PFC Pickle stayed the night in my room using my roommate's bed since he was gone for the weekend.

This is one bar in Itaewon that I do not want to visit...
although it may make for some interesting photos.

SPC Roy on the left and the young hawaiian on the right playing pool in "The Spy Basement"

Sometimes the bathrooms in Korea are fully functional, but they lack privacy.

Sometimes the bathrooms don't want you to put the toilet paper in the bowl...
then it gets a little stinky!

Monday: I woke up about 0830 and started to get ready. PFC Pickle and I then headed to the food court for lunch and headed our separate ways. SPC Roy rented a car and picked me up. We then headed to the office to pick up our KATUSA and SPC Mick who had to go in to turn everything on for a ROK meeting in our conference room. (This is the meeting that pissed me off a few days ago when I found out we had to come in on our days off…I get to go in tomorrow). We headed off to a theme park in the middle of Seoul called "Lotte World". The theme park is about half inside and half outside. It has a couple roller coasters, some water rides, some big drop rides as well as a number of other smaller rides. It kind of rips off Disney in a few areas…their main castle looks very similar to Disneyland's Cinderella Castle. All in all we had a good time. SPC Roy brought his young son and I helped him watch him which was fine because I had a bit of nausea. I believe this was caused by riding in the back seat on the way in (motion sickness), or too much soju last night. It was probably the combination of the two. I went on a few rides, but was happy just people watching and checking everything out…am I getting old??

When we left we headed to a Thai restaurant…that was until SPC Mick spotted a TGIF. I thought we should eat anything except American food while here, but SPC Mick was pretty excited about it. It turned out to be pretty good, and I was able to get some ice cream over a warm brownie so I can't complain. We then headed back and dropped off SPC Roy's baby. Once we were baby free we headed to have some more drinks. I actually didn't want to drink at all after last night, but I was out voted. We drank a huge pitcher of beer and or course there was more chicken ordered. (SPC Roy tells me Koreans do not drink unless they eat as well).

I got home late, but stayed up a while…..I had plenty of schoolwork waiting for me.

The trolly in Lotte World. Just like any other theme park, there are a number
of employees dressed up.

Looking down at part of the inside portion of Lotte World from the "hot air balloon " ride

Outside with me posing in front of the castle centerpiece.

Tuesday: I woke up around 0900 and video chatted with my wife. I was planning on going into work at 1000, but got a call from SPC Mick telling me I didn't need to go in until noon. I video chatted a while longer. It is my second anniversary today (well in the states, since I'm a day ahead it was actually yesterday for me). 2 anniversaries and I haven't seen my wife yet. I'm hoping the third time is a charm and I get to spend it with her.

I headed to work and opened the conference room up, then turned on the system. The meeting didn't actually start until 1300, so I actually sat around watching TV for an hour waiting for the ROKs to arrive. I could have come in around 1245 and had time to spare. Once they arrive and were good to go, I took off. I headed back to my room and had lunch while video chatting with my wife some more.

I headed to the PX and then to get a haircut, but the place was packed. Everyone decided they needed a haircut today. I left, I don't have time to sit around for that. The rest of the week they will always be at least one or two people just waiting to cut your hair as soon as you walk in the door. I headed back to my room and did some schoolwork.

SPC Roy came by and we went to the gym to play basketball. The gym was packed, so we decided to go to the bigger gym "Collier Field House". This gym is much bigger with the main court and side hoops as well. The only problem is that it's located across the post, so if I don't have a ride I never go there. We started shooting around and about a half hour later the young hawaiian came in with one of his co-workers. We ended up playing 2-on-2. They beat us pretty bad the first game. SPC Roy didn't want to play again, but I told him we needed to beat them! I got on fire and from then on it was over. I lit it up and there was nothing the young hawaiian could do to stop me. We beat them 11-2 (one point per basket). Of course we had to play one more game as a tie breaker and we beat them again pretty bad. It gave everyone a good workout and we left happy because we kicked some butt.

We celebrated by going to Pizza School and grabbing some pizza and eating in my room...an end to a pretty eventful weekend.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Traffic Director - (Korea) Day 179

A photo I snapped during the Memorial Day ceremony. Some of the UN honor guard
with ROK honor guard behind them. You can see the 8th army headquarters in the background.

Work call this morning was at 0800. We setup for a pretty big meeting in the secret conference room. After we setup it was the same old situation, people coming in and wanting to change their seats. I let CPT Hooah! deal with all that and left to do my job as a door stop.

After the meeting started I went up to our conference control room and watched the NBA playoffs once more. Only this time we were able to watch the entire game. During the 3rd quarter CPT Hooah! wandered up and acted like he was going to hang out, so we took off to the food court for lunch. SPC Mick paid which was very generous and we watched the rest of the 4th quarter while sitting in the food court.

We headed back to the office and I did a little SkillPort before being called down to be a chauffeur for our supply sergeant and her KATUSA. OMG it was very annoying. She didn't exactly know where she was going and we must have done about three circles around the post. I would go exactly where she told me and then get frustrated that it was not where she meant. Finally she found what she was looking for and then we headed back. I headed back to my lair (the conference control room) and watched a little TV waiting for a meeting to end.

Once this particular meeting was over we all had to head out and do traffic control. There was a ceremony going on in the field in front of our office and part of our job is to make sure no cars drive up during the ceremony. The ceremony was a memorial day ceremony and had the band, the honor guard and some of the united nations honor guard as well. When I heard about it, I thought there was going to be a number of people, but it was basically only for the command group and their family. There was a small bleacher with some soldiers in it, but that was about it. I thought it was going to be a much bigger event.

After the event we headed back to the office where I did some office work. I updated the events calendar and then started teaching SPC Mick how to do "read aheads". This is a pretty easy task that I do once a week. It involves copy and pasting information from the previous week's meetings into one sheet for easy viewing…that nobody ever uses…lol.

We then cleaned up the office and took off. I ate dinner in my room and watched a TV show before starting on my schoolwork.

Overheard Quote: "I have a question about a person…and it's complicated" (My roommate stated this…and I asked "does it involve a girl?"…of course the answer was yes…lol)

Freeze - (Korea) Day 178

SPC Mick taking a nap on the floor of the conference control room.
He's using a stack of napkins for a pillow...lol

Work call this morning was at 0500. We setup for a small meeting in the top secret conference room. After that we didn't have to do anything except wait, so I headed up to my lair with SPC Mick. SPC Mick fell asleep on the floor, but for some reason I couldn't fall asleep. I stayed up and watched late night talk shows. I'm not sure why they show them in the morning over here, but there they were. I watched The Tonight Show, Late Night with David Letterman as well as some others that I've never heard of. Just as I was about to fall asleep our sergeant called and had us come down stairs to see him.

Our sergeant called us all into his office and told us he would be doing the board prep and such today since he never got around to it yesterday. I went ahead and printed out my 10 SkillPorts for the week to show him and then headed back up stairs to watch the NBA playoffs. My viewing pleasure was interrupted when our supply sergeant came up and had everyone gather in the conference room. She gave us the weekend safety brief and because it's a 4 day weekend we had to talk about the significance of Memorial Day and such. We then had our "Don't Ask…Don't Tell" brief. The basics of it is that we are supposed to treat gay people normal and can get into trouble if we sexually harass them. No big change except now gay people can be open if they choose to and not worry about being kicked out. One interesting fact is that their partners are still treated the same as a straight person's girlfriend or boyfriend. They don't get any extra benefits or anything like a married couple gets.

After our briefing our sergeant bought everyone lunch from the Navy Club which was awesome. We sat and ate lunch and finished watching the game. These playoffs have been a lot of fun to watch I have to say. I then found out that not only does someone have to come in on Monday, but Tuesday as well. The ROKs are having another meeting and don't care that it's an American holiday. So this means I'll be coming in on Tuesday for a while. It just sucks that our officers don't care because it doesn't bother their holiday. Our sergeant said he would make it up to us, but it kind of ruined the plans we all had for this weekend. I'm not holding my breath either about it getting made up either…I've heard that one before.

I then had a little time to work on a SkillPort for a bit before getting called down to the sergeant's office. This is where he gave me my monthly counseling statement and then had us each come in and practice for the board. We had to enter and salute, then follow any directions he gave. It's a stressful situation and when asked to recite the soldier's creed I started, then went totally blank. I don't do well under pressure I guess. I finished it with a little prompting from our KATUSA of all people. I've said it hundreds of times, but I just froze…crazy. I then had to sing the army song which was kind of weird…singing to my sergeant in a tiny office. I hope I didn't hurt any of their ears. After that I was asked questions regarding military justice which we had been studying. I answered all those with no problems thanks to my handy dandy iPhone app that I had been using to study.

I think this was good practice. I'm going to need a lot of it because I totally suck and doing stuff like that in front of people. I was nervous doing it just in front of my own sergeant. I guess we'll be doing more of it which will be good…if we do actually follow through and keep doing it.

We then cleaned up the office and left early (around 1530) which was a nice surprise. I headed to my room and took a nap, I was dead tired from getting up so early. I then ate my dinner and watched a TV show. There was a knock on my door and to my surprise it was PFC Pickle. He was fresh back from his leave. He looked a lot better after his nice little vacation back home. He had a lot of issues to clear up with his wife and I think they made a lot of progress. He seems happy and it looks like things may work out between them. We headed to the food court where he ate dinner and I had ice cream. We then purchased a 6 pack and headed to his room where he showed me a lot of pictures from his trip home, then we watched a movie.

We watched the movie "Taken". I love this movie! A great fast paced action thriller starring Liam Neeson. His daughter gets kidnapped while vacationing in Paris and he uses his former spy skills to kick some ass and rescue her.

I also downloaded an interesting album by Aaron Lewis. I've been a fan of his since I first heard him as the lead singer of Staind. Staind would be considered a hard rock band and they have some pretty heavy songs out. The last album they came out with was quite a bit mellower and this solo EP that I got called "Town Line" takes a total left turn from his normal music. He goes country! It's interesting to hear this former heavy rocker doing country songs. What drove me to get it was a country remake he did of a former song called "Tangled Up In You". It's not a bad album overall.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Shart Happens! - (Korea) Day 177

A sign that is found posted all around any classified areas

Work call this morning was at 0700. We had to setup for a KUB in our conference room at 0800. We left SPC Mick in there to cover that meeting while the rest of us headed down to the secret conference room to setup for the weekly Wednesday meeting that I cover. As usual, I flipped slides for both the unclassified and the secret machines. I could tell you what it was all about, but then I'd have to kill you!

As soon as I got out of the meeting and headed up to our conference room I got a call from SPC Roy. He said he had an emergency he needed my help with. OK…what's the problem. Well it turns out he had another accident and sharted. (Check out the official definition at Urban Dictionary). He ruined his underwear and needed to use my shower to clean himself and put on some new underwear. A similar incident happened not too long ago. I told him he should stop thinking those are farts that are coming. I went to his office and gave him my room key.

We setup for another "meeting for two" in the top secret conference room. It seems like a lot of work for just two people…grrr. After that I left for lunch to my room where SPC Roy was just finishing up, so he gave me my key back and then took off. I was able to video chat with my wife for a bit before heading back to work. These early mornings have made it hard to do so before work, so this has been nice.

When I got back to the office I did a little SkillPort and then we setup for yet another meeting in the secret conference room. Once that was over I headed up to our conference control room to check out what was on TV. This has to be the worst time of day to try and watch TV here. There seems to be only news which has been replaying the same thing over and over, or soaps. I started flipping through the Korean channels and found an intense ping pong match going on. Holy Cow!! These guys were freaking nuts! They would get some rallies going back and forth that were just amazing. Each of the guys were standing about 4 feet from the end of the table and smacking that little ball back and forth.

Finally the meeting ended in the secret conference room and we cleaned that up. We then cleaned up the office and prepared to leave. Our sergeant who I thought was on autopilot until he checks out did a change of course. Now we are going to evidently have some training. Not sure if it will last continuously, but we are supposed to start studying the Army Study Guide book that we printed out earlier. We will also be doing some push-ups and sit-ups in our conference room. Lastly we will have to recite the soldier's creed and sing the army song. It's been a while, I'm going to have to brush up on those.

I headed to my room, ate dinner and watched some TV shows. I was going to head to the gym, but I don't want to be all sore tomorrow if we'll be working out in the conference room. I did my schoolwork and then started reading the study material. We'll see how tomorrow goes.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Roy Rage - (Korea) Day 176

In the 8th army headquarters looking down at the entrance.
The 8th army logo is that pinwheel on the floor.

Work call this morning was at 0600. I've come in earlier than that before, but this time it was for a meeting of only two people. So all four of us came in to get a meeting ready that was only going to have two people in it. It was in the top secret conference room and there was the commander involved (the four star general), which is why the full setup was required.

The nice thing about coming in so early was that I had plenty of time to re-image the conference room PCs that had the security incident happen. Technically they are calling it a "data leak" not a security breach, but security breach just sounds cooler. This so far has actually turned out to be a good learning experience for me. I was able to image some machines for the first time and get everything back up and working correctly. We were able to take two hard drives out of other machines that were not being used. We will probably have to have the original hard drives (where the data leak occurred) destroyed. They are currently locked away in our office safe.

I then was able to catch a lot of the NBA playoff game. A bit later we had to setup for a meeting over in the 8th army building. We don't setup a lot of meetings there. Their building is actually nicer than ours and our building is the headquarters for USFK (United States Forces Korea) and United Nations Command which is pretty ironic. After we setup I headed off to lunch. I already had a major headache from not eating. I had two pop tarts first thing in the early morning and this meeting didn't start until 12:30, so I was getting pretty hungry.

I ate lunch in my room and was able to video chat with my wife which is always a nice treat. When I headed back to work I was able to finish up my remaining SkillPorts for the week. I think I'm going to be the only PFC who is maxed out on military education promotion points! Our sergeant then came up and told us he had some bad news for us. He said one of us is going to have to come in next Monday which is a holiday for us. The ROKs want to use the conference room and the officers in our office told them it was no problem. This isn't a problem for them because they will all be having the day off, spending quality time with their family and enjoying all of what the holiday has to offer them. They will probably be kicking back and taking it easy. They may even stay in their pajamas all day…the sky is the limit. For one of us though, we will have to come in on our day off turn everything on, then wait around until the meeting is over to shut everything down and lock up. After contemplating playing rock, paper, scissors for it SPC Mick volunteered to do it. We had actually all planned to go to an amusement park here in Seoul, but decided to put it off until Tuesday because of this. I really think the officers should have told them "sorry, it's a US holiday and nobody will be here". I know if we needed a ROK to come in on one of their holidays it wouldn't happen.

Speaking of stuff not happening my sergeant and I headed off to our company to make sure some paperwork got done. I picked up a copy of my approved leave form and also a copy of my weapons card which shows my score from when we went to the range. The weapons qualification and the PT test are supposed to be updated to our ERB, but that never happened. So I took a copies to our battalion S1 shop and had them input the information. I also had them input the certificate of achievement I received from the exercise earlier this year. Now my ERB is almost up to date. Once I've been here 6 months I can have them add the Korea Defense Service Medal as well as the college credit hours I've finished so far this year. My sergeant says I should update it all the time I have something. I was going to wait until I got my bachelor's degree, but he said it's better to add each credit as you get it.

When I got back I filed all my paperwork in my "I Love Me" book. The we cleaned up the office and took off. SPC Roy gave me a call and asked if I would accompany him to run an errand. His father-in-law needed some paperwork picked up from the used car lot where he sold his car. This place was across town and was going to take a while because of all the traffic. I thought SPC Roy was going to lose it a couple of times because of all the crazy drivers. A guy cut him off and it led to him pulling in front of this guy and stopping in the middle of the road. SPC Roy got out and yelled at him for a few, then got back in the car and we headed off again. While driving in Korea you just have to assimilate I guess. He hasn't been able to. The drivers here are all crazy, you just have to deal with it and move on. I can say that because I don't have to drive in it everyday…lol.

We stopped at an E-Mart when we finished. This place is like a Super Wal-Mart on steroids. I was able to pick up some treats to send back to my family and we also picked up some dinner to eat when we got back to my room. After we ate I checked in with school and then went to sleep.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Clean Up - (Korea) Day 175

Special K and our office car at the car wash. The normal car wash is under construction,
so we had to use the bus car wash...lol. Notice the elevated platform on the other side
of the car so people can wash the tops of the buses!

Work call this morning was at 0700. We had to setup for an early meeting in the top secret conference room. After that we started preparing for another morning meeting in the secret conference room. It ended up being a pretty busy morning trying to clean up the top secret conference room and then setup the secret conference room afterwards because of the close time proximity between them.
After that I had some time to work on some SkillPorts, but did not have enough time to do the required 10 yet. I think I was able to finish 5 though. We then headed down and cleaned up the secret conference room and set it up for a meeting that was coming up. Special K and I stayed behind and had our KATUSA and SPC Mick head off to the DFAC. Special K and I picked up a sandwich at the Sweet & Treat and ate them quickly up in the our conference control room. We had to get down to the secret conference room and I had to assume my door stop position while Special K prepared to call Stand-by for the commander. SPC Mick ended coming back before the meeting started and relieved me of my duties so I could go finish my lunch.

Once I finished eating Special K and I headed out to pick up some wine and a birthday card for a ROK master sergeant in our sister office. We also took the office car to get it washed since it was pretty dirty. Once we got back I tried to wrap up all the technical issues that I've been working on. The big one of course was the "security breach" on Friday. It's turning out to be a pain in the butt. The entire incident was all on stand-alone machines that are not connected to the network so it shouldn't be a big deal. There is talk of an investigation and on and on. The hard drives are locked up in our secure safe, so the machines are not working at the moment. Luckily we had no meetings in our conference room that required them, but we have some planned tomorrow. I have to try and get this fixed. Our IMO made some calls and I believe the talk of investigations and such will not happen. There will just be an incident report that I sent the information for today. We were told that it would probably be faster to just get new hard drives and put them in the machines. I'm going to see what I can find tomorrow…one thing is for sure, this is a big mess that needs a lot of clean up!

After work I changed and did a little shopping. SPC Roy met up with me and wanted to chat a bit. He finally passed his PT test and is super happy. He's been doing a lot more PT since leaving our office and he has also taken his diet seriously as well. We may be heading out on a road trip again this weekend, but if not we'll at least do a little celebrating.

I then went back to my room and worked on my schoolwork. This marks the end of week 3 of my 5 week class. I watched a show and now I'm going to sleep. The show I watched was Survivor. I was a bit behind, but I'm so addicted to that show. I was happy to see "Boston Rob" win finally. He cracks me up!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up - (Korea) Days 173 & 174

This is near the Moyer Rec Center. "Area Subject to Flooding" SPC Roy said last year
his car was parked here and within a couple hours after a typhoon hit, the entire parking lot
was flooded, his car was under water...and ruined!

Saturday: Slept in until about 0830 and then did my normal routine of laundry and then schoolwork. SPC Roy called and wanted to know if I wanted to go swimming with him. We headed to the pool and swam for a while then sat in the hot tub for a while. He then took me out to lunch at Oasis (the Mexican restaurant in Dragon Hill Lodge). The food is OK, but it's not like a real Mexican restaurant. We both filled ourselves up a little too much. We thought about playing some basketball, but when we started walking with all the food in our bellies we knew that it wouldn't be a good idea. We decided on ping pong instead. There is free ping pong and pool (billiards) at the Moyer Rec Center here on post. We headed over and played for a while. I can say that I've now beat two Asians in ping pong since coming to Korea!

We hung out for a bit in my room before he had to take off. I did some more school work and went to bed somewhat early. I had started to feel sick and a bit down as well.

Sunday: I woke up Sunday not feeling very well at all. I had taken NyQuil last night, but still didn't sleep that well. I started in on my schoolwork again. I have to say that I'm finding this class extremely difficult. It's not that I'm a bad student, I graduated on the dean's list when I got my associate's degree and I graduated at the top of my class in AIT. I am just having a difficult time in this particular online class. I received my first F that I can remember on a paper. The instructor said she's not confidant I fully understood the assignment….ya think?? I felt pretty much numb all day. I was sick, I'm having trouble in my class, and I'm homesick. I was pretty much hating life all day wondering what the hell I'm doing over here.

I ended up working on schoolwork for most of the rest of the day trying to get the next paper ready to turn in. Hopefully I made enough corrections to my project that I will not get such a horrible grade this time. Our team project is also in shambles. Our team is not communicating at all and there is not much I can do about that. I do my part and hope everyone else will do theirs as well.

I was able to video chat with my wife for a bit, then I took a nap and watched some TV shows afterward. I had a lot of plans that I was going to do today, but didn't end up doing anything except stay in my room the entire time feeling sorry for myself. What a waste of a weekend!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Security Breach!! - (Korea) Day 172

Yellow Dust! This is our office car the day after there has been a lot of yellow dust in the air.
When it's in the air you don't really notice. The city just looks like there is a lot of smog.
When it all settles is when you really notice it. Makes me not want to go outside
and inhale all this crap!

Work call this morning was at 0800. For some reason Special K wanted us in that early even though our first meeting was at 0945. Usually we come in an hour before the meeting or at 0830 whichever is earlier. We all arrive a bit early and by 0810 we had everything setup and prepared for the 0945 meeting. After that we just sat in the conference control room watching TV and waiting for the meeting to start.

I stayed in the control room during the meeting and watched the NBA playoffs once again. I watched all the way until lunch time and then headed to my room. My roommate was still asleep because he had CQ last night, so I made sure to tip-toe around and be extra quite. I know it sucks to have your sleep interrupted.

When I got back to work I checked my email, surfed the internet, and printed out my 10 SkillPort certificates for my sergeant. We had another small meeting that went on in our conference room, but we didn't have to do much except flip slides. I came out when the meeting had just started and didn't think much of it, I thought it was just another meeting….boy was I wrong. We were told that after the meeting was over we could clean up and leave early for the day. SPC Mick left for a CQ briefing and was gone for the day. Special K had me go with him to the shoppette to purchase some beer for him. I had our KATUSA take over flipping the slides for the meeting. Special K had met his allotment for alcohol this month, but still needed a couple cases for a trip he was planning this weekend. So I purchased some for him since I don't buy too much alcohol and never hit my limit. Special K took off for the day.

When I got back in the office I was confronted by our IMO and the air force sergeant in my office. They asked who loaded the slides on the computers for the last meeting. I said SPC Mick did before he left. Well SPC Mick didn't ask if it was classified or secret material and it turns out that it was. In this case they have to bring their own laptops to display this information. It can not go on our unclassified computers in the conference room. Now I had to take out the hard drives and put in a trouble ticket to have them securely wiped and re-imaged for the machines. Until this is done the hard drives have to be stored in a safe with the other classified and secret material. What a pain. Let's hope this can get done first thing Monday morning. I called SPC Mick and politely reminded him not to put classified or secret material on our conference room computers. Grrrrrr.

I then went back to the office and found out that someone had broke a key off in a door to a very small conference room in our building. Normally this would be a project for Special K, since he was already gone they gave it to me. I had to find a building on post and take the pieces of this key in hopes that they could create a new one. They printed out a piece of paper and told me to go to another building. I took it and left heading off to this other building. When I arrived the guy looked at it and signed the paper and then told me to head off to yet another building. He had to copy a map of the post and show me how to get there. I arrived and handed the locksmith my piece of signed paper and the broken key. He made two copies and then met me back at my office to test them on the door. Success! What a pain in the butt though!!

I cleaned up the office and left at 1700…so much for leaving early, but I can't complain at least I wasn't leaving late. When I got to my room I ate dinner and watched a movie. The movie is called "Locked Down". The movie is totally a "B" movie with pretty bad…errr terrible acting, but I wanted to watch it because it was presented by TapOut and had a number of UFC fighters in the movie such as Kimbo Slice, Rashad Evans, Cheick Kongo, & Forrest Griffin. The plot is a little silly as well, but that of course is not why I wanted to see it. I wanted to see the fighting action. The story is about a cop who is framed and sent to jail. This jail happens to have cage fighting events and the cop happens to be a great fighter. Throw in a couple half naked chicks and you got yourself a "B" movie. Funny to watch for the MMA fan, but I wouldn't recommend it for anyone else.

After the movie it was schoolwork time. I spent a while doing schoolwork and plan to spend a lot more time tomorrow as well. I am glad I only have two classes left this year, I'm looking forward to a break. I'm starting to get a little burned out.

I am also getting a lot of headaches lately. I think it's from the sit-ups I did during my PT test a little over a week ago. I know i was yanking on my neck a lot. It could be because I'm sleeping wrong on my neck or something as well. Whatever it is, it's causing me to eat Excedrin like they're candy. I hate it. I felt like having a beer tonight as well, but I've already used up my quota when I purchased all that beer for Special K earlier. I don't feel like going out to a bar either. Let's see what tomorrow brings.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ego Trip - (Korea) Day 171

95 Subway sandwiches our protocol office brought to the secret conference room.
This is the area we waited for over an hour until they decided to take a break for lunch.

Work call this morning was at 0730. There was a big meeting all day from 0900 to 1600 in the secret conference room. We setup for it and our sister office "protocol" brought in extra coffee for everyone. The whole ordeal was a mess. The seating chart was made and we setup accordingly, but assistants started coming down and complaining about their officer's seats and such. They were all acting like little kids not wanting to sit next to certain people or they were too far back or too far to the side. Give me a freakin' break! All this crap should have been taken care of before the final seating chart was made. Now there was a bunch of switching and maneuvering up until the last second before the meeting. It was pretty stupid!

After a couple hours I guess CPT Hooah! got a call with people complaining that they didn't have water available for the people that didn't drink coffee. All of a sudden it was an emergency on our part to fill a number of water crafts and rush them down to a side table. (All of this kind of stuff is supposed to be scheduled with the protocol office before hand. They supply bottled water etc. for these situations).

We were then told to come down at 1100 to be ready so when they break for lunch we could go in and remove all the coffee crafts and cups. We were also to help protocol setup subway sandwiches for all of them. We ended up sitting in the hall for over an hour waiting for them to go to lunch. This caused me to miss the last half of the Bulls/Heat game! Even worse our sergeant ordered us all lunch from the navy club and it arrived at 1130 while we were still down there waiting…and waiting…our lunch getting colder and colder.

Finally the door opened and we setup, then left. I was able to eat my cold lunch and watch the highlights from the game….grrrr. I stayed and watched TV for a while, then did some office work and updated the events calendar. I took SPC Mick with me to TMP our office car. We were going to wash it as well because it was pretty dirty, but the wash was closed and the alternate wash had 3 buses waiting to use it.

When we got back we cleaned up the conference room from that big meeting. There were two big garbage bags full of crap to haul up to the dumpster. Once that was done we cleaned up our office and then took off. The rest of the night was pretty normal for a week night…eat, schoolwork, and watch a couple TV shows.

Mick's Mom

What happened to "AN ARMY OF ONE!!!"    Wouldn't you hate to go into battle with these guys!!!!   They all sound like spoiled school children....don't touch me! don't touch me!     SAD!! SAD !  SAD!

Thursday, May 19, 2011 - 10:56 PM


The funny thing is that these were mostly generals and some colonels. The seating chart is very sensitive to many and the SACOs in our office that have to create them deal with crap all the time. What should be a simple task for each meeting turns into a big event. This time it just seemed a little out of control because there were so many generals and other high ranking officers. Everyone thinks they're more important than they really are.

Friday, May 20, 2011 - 11:07 PM

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I Make a Great Doorstop - (Korea) Day 170

Hard to get a good pic since it all happened so fast. We had a little birthday celebration
for our sergeant major today. The supply KATUSA is on the left, our KATUSA, our sergeant
major, seaman behind her, and our sergeant on the right.

Work call this morning was 0730. We had a big meeting to setup for in the secret conference room. After setup was complete I did my usual job as a doorstop holding the door at the end of the hallway open for the generals to come in. All that expensive 25B schooling is being put to great use!

I then checked my email and did a little German SkillPort. After that I took the office car and drove to the ACS (Army Community Services) building here on post. The US Embassy sets up shop there every Wednesday and allows people access to their services. I came to try and get my passport once again. My wife mailed me my birth certificate and my previous passport which was ancient. I used it when I was an exchange student back in high school. Everything went much more smoothly this time and they said that when my passport arrives they'll give me a call and I can come pick it up.

I then headed back and sat in our conference control room and watched the NBA playoffs. What a game! Dirk and The Mavericks did a great job. I'm pulling for them since they have the old white guy as their point guard. He's older than I am and still playing in the NBA…incredible!!

I went to lunch with SPC Roy and we picked up some food to go from Quiznos and headed back to his office. He wanted me to check out his new online classes and tell him what I thought. He's just starting and wanted to make sure he was doing everything correctly. It's funny he's going to Pierce College online which is actually located about a half hour from my hometown in Washington State. It's near Ft. Lewis and they offer some great online choices for military.

When I got back to the office we all cleaned up from the morning meeting and then I headed back to the conference control room where I surfed the internet and got bored, then fell asleep. I woke up to one of the SACOs from our office (a Major) tapping on the wall next to my cubby hole. WTF who forgot to lock the door to the control room? He asked where everyone was. I had no clue since I was sleeping, but I told him everyone was downstairs…that's the only place they could be I guessed. He seemed satisfied and then left. Totally ruined my sleep, now my heart was beating and I was wondering if I would be getting in trouble for this. I guess we'll see.

We ended up setting up for another meeting at 1500 in the secret conference room. After that we cleaned the office and then just hung out and waited for the meeting to end at 1630 so we could clean it up and leave at 1700.

I came back to my room and ate dinner. I watched a movie I got from the young hawaiian over the weekend. I had never heard of it, but the name intrigued me. It's called "I Am Number 4". Turns out its about aliens living on earth and being hunted down and killed by other aliens. It turned out to be not bad and they had a pet dog who looked just like mine…too cute!

The rest of the night was the norm…me doing schoolwork. I checked my balance for tuition assistance. We get a total of $4,500 a year to use for free as long as we keep a 2.0 or above. I've used $3,000 so far. I'll take two more classes and then I'll be done and have to wait until next year to start again. That should work out perfect. I'll take one more class before I go on leave, then take another when I get back. After that I'll be starting to get ready to PCS out of here, so I'll be a little busy doing that with no time for school. I'll have to double check, but I think I should be able to finish my bachelors degree in 2013 at this pace.

the wife

sleeping on the job and getting caught is never a good thing.

Thursday, May 19, 2011 - 12:21 AM


Yes...this I know, but I was so tired. I was sitting at the desk with my hand on the mouse, but since I was asleep the screensaver had turned on. It must have looked pretty funny.

Thursday, May 19, 2011 - 09:46 PM

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Baby Got Back - (Korea) Day 169

Our coffee and water "to go" setup. Sorry...when days are this slow
I don't really have much to take pictures of!

Work call this morning was at 0800, a little earlier than normal…but not too bad, I still had time to video chat with my wife. We had to come in for an early meeting in the top secret conference room. The meeting was a video conference and only consisted of three people, but all four of us from our office came in for it…lol.

We had nothing scheduled for the rest of the morning. I did a little 25B work swapping the new laptop in our office with the colonel's laptop. The air force major in our office wanted the new guy to have new equipment when he arrives. It was pretty simple stuff, I just had to install a couple drivers and printers and it was good to go. I then went up to our conference control room. I checked my email and explored around a bit on AKO. I then did a little research on a ribbon that I heard a rumor of, that we get for serving in Korea. I found out it's called "The Korea Defense Service Medal" and you get it after serving 30 consecutive days in Korea after July 28th 1954. It's funny that it seems like so much of everything I find out is by rumors or hearsay. I then have to ask a number of people more questions or do research on the internet to find out the facts. I now have to go to our S1 shop and ask them to put it on my ERB record so I can actually wear it on my dress uniform.

I went to lunch in my room expecting to be able to video chat with my wife, but when I arrived my roommate was fast asleep. In the mornings I talk even if he's still sleeping because he'll talk after I'm trying to go to sleep at night. I thought I'd be nice and let him sleep during his lunch break though. After lunch I headed back to the office and we setup for a meeting in the secret conference room.

There was nothing else scheduled until 1630. Unfortunately there was nothing on TV and I ended up just being bored. I surfed the internet for a while and channel surfed trying to find something…anything to watch on TV with no luck.

We setup for a KUB in our conference room. This meeting was scheduled for 1630 for some reason and wasn't scheduled to end until 1730. It was for a journalist exchange program and right after it started I knew it was going to be a long meeting. I've worked with journalists for my entire career and one thing I know they do is ask a lot of questions. They asked and asked, and the general hosting the meeting is a talker and took his time answering all of the questions. Needless to say the meeting went over and we didn't start cleaning up until 1800. Before it was over though I told our KATUSA and SPC Mick that I would stay late so they could go to the DFAC and eat dinner. SPC Mick got up and made his way past the sound system. His butt started rubbing against the controls as he passed and all of a sudden their was a shrieking sound in the conference room. A high pitched deafening sound screeched from the speaker system. Our KATUSA quickly turned the sound down and fixed it. The meeting stopped for a second as everyone looked around and I started laughing so hard my head hurt. CPT Hooah! happened to be sitting next to me waiting for the meeting to end and had fallen asleep. One minute he was snoring and the next his head flew up and he looked around and said "What was that?". I explained to him that it was SPC Mick's butt. It's pretty sad, but SPC Mick's butt incident was the highlight of the day.

After they all finally left, we cleaned up the conference room and locked up. I then headed to my room and ate my dinner while watching a couple TV shows. I checked in with my school and then turned in for the night.

Monday, May 16, 2011

SkillPort Mania - (Korea) Day 168

Kind of hard to tell with this picture, but our KATUSA was found asleep in our
conference room on the floor in front of the sound booth. We were wondering where the heck he was.

Work call this morning was at the normal time…0830. There were no meetings scheduled in the morning so all I did was SkillPorts. The difference this week and from now on though is that our sergeant now is requiring us to complete 10 SkillPorts a week. This is doable, but it means that we will not actually be able to go through the lessons and learn the material. All I did all morning until lunch time was go to the answers at the end of each course and skip the content. I answer the questions and if I miss any, I copy down the correct answer and then take the test again. I would say it's not what the army had in mind when they put this out for promotion points, but we have to do what we have to do. I finished 8 by lunch time.

For lunch I headed to my room and ate while video chatting with my wife and my kids. My son loves that he has an iPod and can use Skype to call me…I love it too :). When I headed back to work I was able to finish the last two SkillPorts needed for the week. Now that I have those behind me I can concentrate on other things. I did some office work and checked up on some of the help desk tickets I submitted last Friday.

We headed down to the secret conference room to help setup for a retirement ceremony for a colonel. We only had to put in name tags, but our Major in the office wanted all three of us to stay around in case anything else was needed. We were his security blanket. We hung out doing next to nothing for about an hour. We helped bring the food down which by this time of the day was smelling very good. It was almost 1630 and the ceremony was about to start. I headed to my usual position…holding the door open down the hall for the general when he comes (a.k.a. a doorstop).

To my surprise there was an honor guard there already performing the task. There were a number of honor guard in their dress uniforms for the ceremony. I just stood around and spoke with him for a while. He has been here in Korea for 7 months and can't wait to leave. In fact he just found out he'll be going to Fort Carson. Wow…maybe I'll find out where I'll be going in two months or so. I'm curious, just not as curious as I was in AIT. I have places I would love to go, but most important I just want to be with my family.

After the generals walked through I headed back up to the office with my co-workers and we cleaned up. We had to wait around until the ceremony was over at 1730 so we could go clean up. When we went down we were asked to have something to eat from the left overs. It was some pretty good stuff…meatballs, yaki mandu, and gimbap as well as some other stuff. We indulged until everyone left and then cleaned up. We helped carry all the awards and plaques to the colonel's car and then finally left.

I got to my room a little after 1830 and watched some TV shows, did some schoolwork, and then went to sleep.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up - (Korea) Days 166 & 167

Spicy Ramen which was very good and spicy. I ordered a #2 on a 1-3 scale of hotness.
I'm pretty sure I could have handled a #3

This weekend was a pretty laid back weekend. I have plans for ones coming up, so I'm not bummed out or anything that I didn't do much.

Saturday: Woke up around 0830 and did laundry. I hate the dryer here (you may hear this every weekend until I'm outta here). There is only one dryer that actually has heat and it was in use when my clothes were finished washing. So I stuck mine in a dryer that just spun my clothes around and blew cold air on them. I kept checking and as soon as the clothes in the good dryer were done, I took out their clothes and placed them on top of the dryer. I then stuck mine in there so they could actually dry. A half hour later they were good to go and the other person's clothes were still on top. I started laundry at 0830 right after I woke up and wasn't able to finish until about 1230…good grief.

I was able to video chat with my wife though and then do a lot of schoolwork. I usually try and reserve Saturday to finish a lot of my schoolwork. The young hawaiian gave me a call and asked if I wanted to see "Fast Five" (the fifth installment of The Fast & Furious movie series). It is playing at the iPark Mall which is not too far from post. We left with another friend of his and headed out towards the mall. When we arrived we found the theatre in the mall (it's a huge mall). The way they sell tickets for the shows is interesting. You take a number and wait until your number is called. There is no line, just a small crowd of people waiting for their number to be called. We waited patiently and then purchased our tickets when our number finally showed.

We had about an hour before the show, so we found a place to eat in the mall. I had some spicy ramen which was excellent. (I did find out later that it comes out just as hot). We went into the show which was being shown in 4D. There were no 3D effects at all, but what we did experience actually made you feel like you were in the movie. The seats move during certain sequences and may even jerk or jump when a car slams against the wall or something. We could feel air blowing and different scents came for instance when they were on the beach. There were also little parts of the back seat that would move, especially during a fight scene when a person was thrown against a wall. The whole experience was pretty cool. I've been to similar ones at Universal studios and DisneyWorld, but this was the first normal movie that I've been to in 4D. I would recommend it for sure. It brings a new level to the movie watching experience.

The young hawaiian got a call from a a girl (that is a friend) and planned on going out with her to some club later on. He asked both me and his other friend if we wanted to join them. We both declined. As for me, the club scene is just not my scene. I also do not want to stay out until 5 in the morning either. I don't mind going out for a few beers, but not anything crazy like that. I chose to head back to my room and relax while watching a couple TV shows.

Sunday: I woke up around 0830 again. I had all intentions of even sleeping later, but my bladder and my body wouldn't have it. I got up and video chatted with my wife for a while. I then cleaned my room. Sweep, mop, and wipe everything down. I only clean my side and the bathroom, I don't touch my roommates side.

I got out for a bit and headed to get my hair cut. I went to the food court and had some ice cream, then headed to the library just to check it out. I haven't been to it yet and wanted to see what they had to offer. After that I headed to visit the young hawaiian who was on CQ duty at his barracks. I took my laptop so we could swap TV shows and movies. I asked him how last night went and he said he stayed out until 3AM. That seems pretty early for his usual weekends, but then again he did have a CQ shift today. When I asked him how the night went he said it was full of lies and deception. He's starting to get worried that he's going to forget everything he's told this girl. The girl is 27, so he told her that he's 26 (he's much younger). He also told her he's not in the army, he's a contractor with the US government. He lives in an apartment off post (but his roommate's parents are over, so they can't go there). Oh and he told her he's half Korean. When she asked about his last name, he said he took his mother's name. The guy is in pretty deep now…it's going to be hard for him to keep everything straight when he's around this girl…lol.

When I got back to my room I watched a movie the young hawaiian gave me. OMG! The movie (based on a true story) is called 127 hours and is about a hiker that goes out and gets stuck in a canyon. His arm is crushed by a boulder and pins it so he is trapped. He ends up cutting his own arm off in order to free himself. It's pretty crazy, I'm not sure if I could do that!

I now am under the 200 day mark for my stay left in Korea, I can’t wait to be reunited with my family!!!

Overheard Quote: "They don't even have normal people on the billboards here, you know black or white...they are all Korean!" (A black lady in the young hawaiian's barracks who was complaining about being in Korea. She couldn't believe that all their billboards and advertisements had Koreans as models. She felt that they were not very inviting to foreigners)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday The 13th! - (Korea) Day 165

Special K manning the BBQ near the protocol building. He had to use a
plastic fork to turn the steaks until protocol finally let us borrow some tongs.

Work call this morning was at 0830. We only had one meeting scheduled today and it was at 1400, so I spent the morning watching the NBA playoffs. The Bulls destroyed the Hawks. Of course they are not The Bulls of old with Michael Jordan, but I'm starting to like this Bulls team.

I then grabbed Special K and had him help me find and fill out the leave form. I asked my sergeant about it and he told me "oh yeah…fill it out it's on the computer". I'm not a 42A, I have no idea what forms to fill out or anything. So Special K pointed me in the right direction. He showed me where the forms were located and made sure I filled it out correctly. I then printed it out along with my LES statement and a copy of my PT Test and turned it all in to my sergeant. He signed it and then told me to turn it in to the company. I'm glad to have that all finished with. Once it's all approved I'll finally have a date to look forward to where I can see my family and friends. I can't wait.

I then headed off to lunch in my room where I was able to video chat with my wife. After lunch I headed back to work where we setup for the meeting in our conference room. Once that was done I went with Special K and we took our office car to get it washed. Our sergeant told us that our sister office (Protocol) was living the life today. He said they were having a BBQ and a lot of them left early. He was a little upset that they didn't invite us, but decided to make the most of it. He had me and Special K stop by the commissary on the way back from washing the car and told us to "pick up some meat". Special K and I found some thin steak and some seasoning. We didn't' know how much time we had left before all the heat was gone from the BBQ, so we headed straight there and started cooking. The steaks turned out perfect and our sergeant made his way over to join us. That was some good stuff!

As I was thinking about relaxing the rest of the day, I ended up getting technical requests from various people all of a sudden. I had to put in 4 help desk tickets after doing a little research and troubleshooting. So much for kicking my feet up for the rest of the day….lol. It turned out fine though because our sergeant had us clean up and we left the office by about 1600.

I promptly went to my room and took a nap. I woke up and watched an episode of "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" before settling down and doing some schoolwork. Once I finished with that I watched the last two episodes of Spartacus. Now I can't wait to watch the original series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand".

This concludes a Friday night (a pretty boring one spent in my room)

Overheard Quote: "I want to speak English when I grow up" (My KATUSA roommate said this and was totally serious. He was talking about how he likes English better than Korean.)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

PT Test - (Korea) Day 164

One of the photographers took this photo during our colonel's ceremony the
other day. Our colonel is in the middle next to some of the ROK soldier's in our
sister office. I'm in the back row with SPC Roy to the left and CPT Hooah! to the right.
Our supply sergeant is on the bottom right.

This morning we had a PT test scheduled at 0700. Our KATUSA and I were picked up by Special K and we met our sergeant at one of the areas they conduct the test here on Yongsan Garrison. The place is located in Camp Coiner which is actually a portion of the post here. A couple of sergeants met us there to do the grading. There is a little grassy area that we settled down in and each of us performed the push-up portion and sit-up portion of the test one at a time. We then ran on the road in Camp Coiner. They do not block the road off at all, which I soon found can present some challenges. Each lap is 1/2 mile, so we did 4 laps to finish our 2 mile run. During my run I had to be mindful of traffic as I was inhaling the exhaust fumes with each deep breath. At one point a bus heading to the DFAC turned right in front of me forcing me to stop and go around it. I hit the side of it with my fist out of frustration, I couldn't believe I'm trying to take a test and have a freakin' bus cut me off. I ended up doing OK. My unofficial results are 55 push-ups, 42 Sit-ups, and a 16:20 2-mile run. In my old age group this gave me a score of 221. Not the 240 I was hoping for, but not too bad for all the pizza and ice cream I've been eating. I also have hardly done any exercise since being in Korea. Our KATUSA failed his sit-ups, so I'm sure we'll be doing a number of sit-ups here in the near future.
We then headed to the gym to get our height and weight measured. After that we headed back to our rooms to shower and get ready. I video chatted with my wife for a bit and then headed into work about 0945. All day I was sore and tired and so was Special K. We may be getting too old for this! We had no meetings in the morning so I watched some NBA playoffs for a while before setting up a meeting in the secret conference room. We then all headed out to lunch at the food court. We had to make sure to get back before the meeting started, so I could be a door stop (hold the door open for the general) and someone else could call stand-by when he walks in.

Today was the last day of our colonel. I helped him back up all his documents and email to a DVD before he left. He had a ton of email. O6s and above are not given a mailbox restriction on the email server.

One of the SACOs in our office found that the Wikipedia article pertaining to CP Tango was changed. Someone with a sense of humor changed the second paragraph to:

"It is also rumored to be holding an alien spacecraft from AREA 51, and the lone surviving Bigfoot which was taken there for his safety from extinction.

It is composed of highly trained Army Special Forces, Army Rangers, and a few select members of the Black ops group CAG. These service members were hand picked by the President of the United States and are authorized to shoot on site. Command Post Tango is patrolled by 6 trained "Counter Affronted Tigers". These CAT's are rumored to be fed black gun powder to make them more aggressive. These soldiers are rumored to be working on a top secret "Laser Weapons" to defend the world from the alien invasion expected in December 2012."

Around 1600 our sergeant said we could leave early if we clean up the office, but when we were done he gathered us all around and was talking to us for about a half hour. We ended up only leaving about 15 minutes early…lol. When I got to my room I had to lay down for a bit and rest. I then ate a snack and watched another episode of "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena".

I started schoolwork after that. This class I'm currently taking is a bit tougher than previous ones. I'm finding it hard to get motivated to to work. I block out time each night, but I have to force myself to start studying. I can't wait until I have my degree, I'm already tired of going to school. It would be different if I was in an actual class, I've always excelled when in a classroom environment. When I'm taking classes online though it's much tougher for me....uggg!

Overheard Quote: "I'd rather have a chick with an arm missing, a foot missing, and be retarded than be with her anymore" (Our sergeant isn’t too happy with his wife right now)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pizza Party - (Korea) Day 163

Special K ordering our 9 pizzas at one of my favorite places in Korea..."Pizza School"

Work call this morning was at 0730. We setup for an early meeting in the top secret conference room and then setup for another meeting in the secret conference room. The morning schedule was a little busy, but there were no meetings planned the rest of the day. We have a PT test planned for tomorrow morning, so I've been drinking water like a camel all day. I've always been told to hydrate well before a PT test, so I"m doing my best to do so. The problem is that when I have to go pee it hits me like a freight train and my bladder feels like a dam that's about to burst. Each trip to the bathroom brings with it great relief, then the cycle starts over again.

Our office decided to buy pizza and have sort of a pizza party lunch with our sister offices. We weren't celebrating anything, I guess it was just for the heck of it. Special K and I headed off to Pizza School which is located about a block away from post. They have a number of pizzas for only 5,000 Won which is a little less than $5, so we bought 9 of them. We then headed to a shoppette on post to get soda. On the way back in Special K realized that he left his ID card in his computer. We had to pull over at the gate and he had to get out and input his social security number into the system. Once that is done, his picture comes up and the guards allow him to enter. We then headed to the office so he could get his ID, then to the shoppette for the soda. By this time the pizzas were done, so we went back and picked them up.

We had lunch in our conference room with the lights dimmed and season 1 of "The Unit" playing on the big screen. We had most of our office, our admin office, and a KATUSA from our supply office there to join us. I ate a lot, I can't resist the spicy chicken pizza. I ate so much that I don't think I'll be eating dinner.

After lunch I worked on some SkillPorts for a bit, then our sergeant said once we cleaned the conference room and the office we could leave. When we were on our way out the door he said tomorrow's PT test was cancelled. All I could think was crap…all that water I drank and all the hurried trips to the bathroom were for nothing. Also I can't turn in my leave requests until I pass the PT test, so I would rather do it sooner than later.

I got to my room a little after 1500 and actually had a chance to video chat with my wife for a while which was nice because I didn't get a chance in the morning. I then rested for a bit on the verge of taking a nap, when my phone rang. It was my sergeant telling me the PT test is back on for tomorrow. Holy cow…make up your mind. I better start drinking some more water…

I did my schoolwork and then watched a new mini-series that I borrowed from my sergeant. It's called "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena". I guess it's a prequel to "Spartacus: Blood and Sand". So far it's pretty darn good. Similar to the mini-series "Rome" it is a mixture of "The Gladiator", The History Channel, and soft porn all rolled into one. Lots of nudity and blood and guts…what more could a guy ask for. There is only 6 episodes and I watched 2 tonight. I can't wait to see them all.

Special K demonstrating a choke on a ROK soldier from our sister office

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Vanishing Act - (Korea) Day 162

A pretty crappy photo (because I took it of the monitor in our control room) of the
ceremony for our colonel. Check out those flags...and how shiny the glass on the head
table is! Our control room is actually behind the screens in the background.

Work call this morning was at 0830, we setup for an awards ceremony for our colonel in our conference room. I arrived first and started the cleanup and setup of the conference room. I vacuumed and windexed the glass on the head table. I then moved all the flags to the center of the room and turned on the a/v system. By the time I finished that, SPC Mick was setting up the name tags for the seat reservations. The flags never stay straight so we have to rip pieces of paper towels and stuff them in the base to get them to all line up, it's a pain in the butt. When we finished I watched a little basketball until shortly before the ceremony when we had to head out to call stand by. Once that was finished I went back to watching the NBA playoffs.

I went to lunch with SPC Roy who wanted a salad. He's in the process of trying to lose weight and pass his PT test. So we went to the Dragon Hill Lodge and ate at their Mexican restaurant there. He had a salad and I had the lunch buffet. It was decent, but let me just say that Korean's can't do Mexican food very well. I'm really craving some good Mexican food.

After lunch our sergeant, Special K and I all headed over to STB-K (Special Troops Battalion - Korea…yes I'm special). This is where we go to get any paperwork updated. It has all the "S" shops for our battalion. We headed to S1 where our sergeant got a copy of his orders, Special K and I both had our ERB updated. We both had a number of correspondence hours from before 2011 that are not showing up on our ERB. We also gave them our certificates we received from the training exercise to have them add it as well. Each certificate is worth 5 promotion points with a maximum of 20 points. I'll get another one for the August exercise too. I then headed over to our company just for kicks to check on my separate rations. This is something that was put in as soon as I arrived here and it seems my packet has vanished in thin air. The specialist I asked about it said he was going to battalion at 1500 and would check on it. He made copies of all my paperwork and said that he’d get back to me via email by 1600 for sure. (Never heard from him again the rest of the day)

When we got back I watched some more NBA playoffs. Can I say holycow!!! The Oklahoma City vs Memphis game had 3 overtimes which was just crazy! I then did some real work and updated the events calendar, then worked on some SkillPort. Before I knew it, it was 1640 so I headed down to clean up the office and leave.

Once back in my barracks, I ate a small dinner and watched a TV show. I then checked in with school which is all I do on Tuesdays (gotta have a break once a week). I then watched a movie called Centurion. I had actually never heard of it before, but I borrowed it form my sergeant to check it out. It turned out to be pretty good. It reminded me of "The Eagle" which I watched in the theatre here on post. It's about the trouble the roman army had expanding into northern England. I thought "Centurion" was actually better than the "The Eagle" though. A small band of roman soldiers get stuck behind enemy lines after their ninth legion gets decimated. They try to make it back only to be hunted down by the enemy. Lots of blood and gore in the fight scenes. There is also something hot about chicks wielding swords and chopping people's heads off.

Overheard Quote: "Stickshifts and balls everywhere" (Special K describing working in our office which is all male)