Monday, September 21, 2009

Rain and Fire(ing)

Dear Reader,

I apologize for the delay. I had the coming soon notice to show my sister that I haven't quit the blog. The delay is due to a rapid influx of events in my otherwise dry and desolate experience here. I will only blog about two/three of them for now and probably the others later when I don't have much else to talk about.

1. Rain - It rained for the first time last week! It was awesome. I sat in bed and listened to it and the whole time I thought about going outside to see it but I never did. It was kind of a mixture of laziness and preserving the enjoyment that kept me inside. Next time I'll probably go outside and see it for myself. The following day was so refreshing and cool. It almost felt like home for a second.

2. Fire - The Dr. for the interpreters went to Paul Smith's College in the Adirondacks! We got along instantly because I'm very familiar with Paul Smith's as LaVida uses their canoe point and I've had a few adventures there. One thing led to another and we started talking about cigars somehow and then he gave me one he'd just ordered. It didn't have a band and he said it was from Drew Estate which supposedly has flavored humidors in which the cigars just sit and absorb the flavor. Anyway, I'm not much of a smoker, but it was the best cigar I've ever had. Take a look at them on You can get the good ones for cheap by ordering the rejects. They are the same quality except for some minor aesthetic deficiencies.

3. Firing - The highlite of my week thus far was firing an individual. I know most people dread firing someone unless if they hate them and I don't really hate anybody so I understand that this isn't normal. I will explain. One of the interpreters was not working out for his team. There was no place else to send him and he had to be replaced. I had no choice but to release him. As we were driving over to the office to finish off the paperwork I was able to ask him some questions. I could see that he was very upset about losing his job, but he was still open to conversation. The cool thing about it was that I could empathize with him pretty well and even without having experienced anything like him, I could see where he was coming from. I saw that he needed some positive reinforcement and that he didn't really understand why he had to go. This allowed me to provide him with some tips of how to do better next time and encourage him to not give up. He was very receptive to this and realized that I wasn't a bad guy. By the time he was leaving he was thanking me for all of my help! This was by far the most rewarding experience I've had here thus far. It's a wonder what a little care and kindness can do for a crappy situation. This is especially convenient because I've always wondered what I'm going to do with my life and now I think I could be good in human resources. It's at least something to look into.

There you are, some good length to make up for the delay.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Happy Labor Day / Big Mistake

Dear Reader,

Happy labor day. NOT! Haha, there's no Labor Day in Iraq. It was another 12-hour work day. Though, I suppose in a way it was still a celebrated holiday here, ableit unconventionally. In fact, it was probably one of my favorite days here so far. First, I woke up at 0630 to run, but I ended up going back to sleep until around 0930. When I got up and went outside to go to the shower CHU, I noticed it was not as hot as usual and although it was still blindingly bright, I also noticed a slightly dimmer tint. There were clouds! Yes, I saw my first clouds in Iraq today; it took two months. They were nice light wispy clouds as shown above. Second, I went to lunch and passed by a normal crappy looking lunch line with normal crappy cafeteria dry meat and stewy veggies. I didn't think much of it until suddenly I stumbled upon a carver! He was carving out massive slices of prime rib! It was not only the biggest prime rib I've ever eaten, but also the most delicious. I was very impressed. There was also a cake which said 'Happy Labor Day' and patriotic streamers strewn all over the ceiling. I think if I had seen the cake before the prime rib I would have been pissed, but since I saw it after the prime rib I thought it was a very happy labor day afterall!

The big mistake.

I posted the wrong address below and on facebook! I realized this after a facebook chat with a friend who was wondering why it was taking so long for a letter to arrive. I put that address up too early before I got my final address and never updated it! Agh, the blunder! the anguish! No worries though, I've still been getting some mail from Mom, the Army, and a few online orders. I'd love to get your letters and I'm sorry for the trouble. I know it takes me like a week to write a good letter and the thought of it never arriving makes such effort seem pointless. I updated the address below and the address on facebook. I'll put the correct address here again for good measure.

John Bradley
APOAE 09393

Anyway, I hope you all had a terrific labor day, even if you didn't get prime rib.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Dear Reader,

So as of Saturday, I am officially a Veteran. This isn't exactly what I had in mind when as a small child I thought of one day being a veteran. I guess you normally wouldn't think of an Army war veteran as somebody who spends their day working at a computer and heading out to meetings. The only enemy fire I ever take is someone drilling me about my powerpoint slides-- and even that could be far worse in the safest US workplace. I suppose some people are relieved by this, but I have to confess I'm fairly dissappointed. It just seems that I could be doing the exact same thing I do here back home. Still, there is something cool about being deployed and I am still proud to be a veteran. It's good to know that although I'm not patrolling the streets of Baghdad, I'm still contributing my time and effort, albeit on powerpoint, word, and excel. Now I have a cool new medal to wear on my dress uniform and I can wear a combat patch beneath my right shoulder.