Memorable Quote to LIVE by:

"If you're going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it, or else you're going to be locked up." Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Post-Christmas Iraq 27 Dec 2008

Hi Ho! Merry Bah Humbug and all that rot… Christmas is OVER  thanks be to God!  OK, granted the holiday is supposed to be a celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ and all, but to those of us here in Iraq its just another day, especially those of us who are missing our families… especially my kids.  Christmas #4 away… God this’s lame, but hell, I had a good time despite the “missing my fam” thing.

Specifically, I managed to get a flight out to Spiecher on Christmas Night.  Now this in itself was a phenomenal thing in that I finally got to have a ‘birds eye view’ of the country again.  My first flight left out of Victory kind of late.  I’m not going to give specifics as there’s just too much danger in giving out info like flight times and locations and such… “Loose Lips Sinks Ships” is still a realistic fear.  Case in point:

While waiting for a flight out, I saw a ‘gentleman’ come walking up to the helipad.  I use the term ‘gentleman’ in the respect that he was in a Brooks Brothers suit jacket, and the rest of the outfit, from his arrow shirt to his Bally shoes screamed “Washington D.C. Bigwig” and was bec’ fin.  As in tres chic.  Well, what the hell he was doing travelling with us ‘commoners’ was beyond me.  Usually dudes dressed like him are chartered their own birds, complete with heavily armed gunship escorts.  Well, Mr DC as I’ll call him, well, he was obviously expecting the aforementioned treatment, and obviously, he wasn’t happy about flying ‘coach’ with us common swine.  He was on a cell phone yelling at some poor bastard and lambasting the shit out of them, switching from Arabic to English and back and forth.  Thing was he then started telling “Look, the flight leaves at “X” time and will be landing at “Y” time at helipad “Z”.

Whoa.  Big Time NO-GO!!!

See, the Dirty Haj have the ability to tap our cellies.  Lets face it, the cell phone towers are out ‘on the economy’ outside of the wire, and you and I BOTH know that the Dirty Haj use the technology.  Shit, the Second Battle of Fallujah, the FIRST thing the fucking Jarheads did was waste the cellie towers so’s the Dirty Haj wouldn’t have their normal means of commo.  And it worked… quite well from what I understand.  The First Battle of Fallujah, they DIDN’T do this, and the Dirty Haj had better co-ordination because of it.  The second time, fuck the locals and whoever else it upsets.  Them towers got nuked first.  So to continue…

I waited til Mr DC was off the phone, and went over VERY politely and asked him if his cell phone was a NSA (No Such Agency) secured cell.  He looked confused and told me no, at which point I delivered a VERY POLITE but firm admonishment to him about Operational Security, and that if I was going to be flying with him, I didn’t want him broadcasting to the fuckin bad guys all the info they need to bag us…  I mean if he wants to kill himself, then fine, fucking go for it, but I’d rather make it home to my family.  I also mentioned that since he WAS so high on the food chain, (State Department I later found out… like the Mo’Fo’ in Charge) that the Bad Guys were probably LOOKING to bag him, and please in the future don’t be so fucking clueless.

As I was delivering this, his PSD handler (Personal Security Detachment) listened in, and was nodding like the whole time.  He thanked me (politely right back atcha!) and rolled to get his bag.  Later he came over and apologized pretty well for having been a dumbass, and that he was embarrassed that a contractor pointed this out to him, and that he should have known better.  Either way, he was cool, and I got to correct someone WAAAAAAAAAY up on the Food Chain!!!  God, it made my day so to speak… so to continue yet again.

The flight was long one.  On a UH-60 Blackhawk.  Good bird… just really REALLY cold at night in the winter.  The only heat comes from the turbines leaking in through the roof.  The other drawback, we had to still wear full battle rattle.  In my case, an HUGE ass heavy fucking body armor of Dragon Skin and Level Four Titanium Plates.  Wears on the back (send some Percs Mom!!!) and leaves me sore for days after. So anyways, the info that was wild was this…  Baghdad is ALIVE and doing GREAT!!!  The whole city, with minor exceptions, was completely lit up, and despite past things, there seemed to be an assload of vehicles, civilian, type many each boogieing around the town.  Two or three years ago, the only thing you might see were HMMWVs or tanks tooling around after dark, and if you DID see a car, it was usually blown to hell by the Good Guys because the Bad Guys were the only ones who’d be breaking curfew.

Yeah, the city was lit up like New York or LA (unheard of in 04 or 05) and the people were out and about.  Despite the Masshole Mediaheadache lying to you all, the people and country are coming back, and the infrastructure is coming back, as well as the power and other shit too.  Case in point, they are now installing and almost done with the installation of all of the light poles on the way to Baghdad International Airport.  The Army cut them all down back in 04 as the fucking Dirty Haj like to place shaped charges against them, and blow them up on convoys coming by.  Now?  Not so much.  They’ve been setting up the new lights and even installed an irrigation system so that the route (Route Irish mind you, 2004’s voted “The Most Dangerous Section of Highway in the Known Universe… one hell of a title eh?) this so that the route will be green again and lush on the way to and from Baghdad.

(In Dice Clay’s voice)  Dan Rather?  Yeah… I FUCKED him!!!!

For real… No mention of this.  No mention of ANYTHING positive STILL!  I’d have to say, that when it IS all said and done, that I’m forming a group named “Iraq Veterans Against The Media” and promote senseless violence on ANY member of the media, print or television.  Assault them on the streets… beat the fuck out of them.  Firebomb their businesses… after all, they pretty much encouraged the Dirty Haj to do the same to the troops during the entire fucking war, so I say, like Karma, Payback is a MOTHERFUCKER.  I mean how quickly would they buckle and bend?  Even the government would be for this…  at least the current administration.  I’m buying that web domain name too.  I’ll build the website on the side as another project, and I’m going to stock it with an exhortation in “weasel-speak” that I lift from the Earth Liberation Movement website… “weasel-words” in that I personally am not responsible for what happens, but if something does, I’ll condemn it per se.

But otherwise, the trip was cool.  I got to visit old friends and we got bombed on shitty tequila.  I ended up holding Gina’s hair (not the wife but the friend) while she hurled her guts out… she hasn’t had much along the lines of booze as of late, and the Tequila was a bit of a kick in the head.  I ended up keeping her from barfing all over herself, and because of that, and that I got her in her bunk without too much hassle, I consider it a night well spent.  Problem was, the next day I was hungover as the tequila was REALLY BAD.  I normally don’t feel a hangover, but that day, Yepper… it was ugly.

The flight back was uneventful.  I flew back on a CH-47 Chinook or “Shit-Hook” and that was great… fast, warm and I bought myself a set of ‘in-the-ear’ headphones for my MP3 player that aren’t available here on Victory, and wore those as opposed to regular earplugs.  Yeah… flying on these birds, there ain’t no soundproofing, and earplugs are mandatory unless you never want to hear properly again.  These lil earbuds allowed me to jam the fuck out to a killer soundtrack of Rob Zombie and other ‘combat style’ music, (read Heavy Metal and such) and it kept me from going deaf from the helicopter itself.

Otherwise, been back now about two days, and going to be trying another bounce over New Years with Lil Country to supply him and get all sorts of deranged out in TQ.  It’s a bitch to get to TQ, so I’m gonna try bright and early on the 29th and 30th to get out there.  Hopefully It’ll work.
Mom (my mom that is) wants me to place my mailing addy up here so those of you who want to mail me some stuff, can.  Those of you who WOULD mail me stuff know my ‘real handle’ and I’m not posting that, but the mailing addy is XXXXXXXXXXXXX
The Intrepid Reporter (Big Country) My real name
No porn drugs or booze…  Well, booze if you can get it to me LOL!  Beyond that, I’ll place some more pics from outside the wire like I’ve been promising in the next posting.  I’ve been busy as fuck as we all know, and that’s just how it rolls.  Until then, I remain the Intrepid Reporter, Big Country.

Friday, September 27, 2019

All You Wannabe Pyromaniacs

All You Wannabe Pyromaniacs
Steps for the Build.  Now mind you:

(You, yeah you… not so much…)

For the sake of clarity, Parts will be in BOLD BLACK
Tools will be shown in BOLD RED

So Step One:
I started off by doing accountability of ALL the parts.  Once I had them together, I literally started from the top down.  First thing, Take the Main tank, the 20LB Large Tank, and using the 1 ¼ INCH WRENCH remove the Tank Fill Valve.  Depending on which model you bought, there may be a spinning black plastic guard.  This does NOT need to be removed.  In fact, I suggest leaving it on there to assist in protecting the Tank Fill Valve

Step Two:
Using the Yellow Teflon Tape, wrap the threads of the Tank Fill Valve on the upper part of the valve.  DO NOT WRAP THE BASE OF THE VALVE.  This’s because it’ll make it impossible to remove it from the tank when you are trying to refill the Main Tank.
Gather the following parts:                                                 

1/8” Male NPT To 1/8” Male NPT X 4.5” Length
1/8” Male NPT To 1/8” Male NPT X 3” Length
1/4” Male NPT x 1/8” Female NPT Reducer
Female Quick Disconnect x 3/8” Male NPT        
Male Quick Disconnect x 3/8” Male NPT
And do the same.  Wrap all of the threaded sections of the gathered parts with between 2 ½ to 3 turns on the threads.  Make sure its neat and tight and that you cut it away -cleanly-.  Put these aside for now, but have them ready for:

Step Three: 
Parts Needed:

320 cga Female To 1/8" Female NPT
This is made up of 3 individual sub-parts including a Large Brass Nut, a Small Brass Nut, and a Plastic White Washer

From the set aside parts, get the 1/8” Male NPT To 1/8” Male NPT X 4.5” Length 
Paintball Universal Fill Adapter

Take the small brass nut from the 320 cga female to 1/8" female NPT  and thread it onto the 1/8” male NPT to 1/8” male NPT x 4.5” length  Tighten as much as you can by hand.

Take this assembly, and insert the tube into the Large Brass Nut like so:

Once you have this ready, the Large Brass Nut should be hanging relatively loose.  Get The Universal Paint Ball Fill Adapter,  and insert the other end of the 1/8” male NPT to 1/8” male NPT x 4.5” length
Into the 1/8th hole in the side of the Fill Adapter.  Once its hand tight, get the 11/16” Deep Socket ½” Drive and the 1/2inch drive socket.  Slide the Large Brass Nut off of the Small Brass Nut and insert the Small Brass Nut into the 11/16” Deep Socket ½” Drive and -FIRMLY- crank the 1/8” male all the way into the Paint Ball Fill Adapter.  Make sure its nice n’ tight, as this is a potential leak area where the propellant gasses are going to be feeding the Flammenwerfer.  Once its good, slide the small nut back into the Large nut, insert the Plastic White Washer into the Large Bass Nut to secure the small nut inside.  Click it in place so the tube is locked in place.

Once this’s completed, you should have an assembly that looks like this:

The next step is a Pressure test.  I suggest doing this first so that you know you ain’t got no leaks.  Especially before you start drilling on the tank itself, because once that’s done, chasing itty-bitty air leaks is a stone bitch (as I found out the hard way.)

Step Four: Air Pressure Assembly Test

Reassemble the Tank Fill Valve onto the tankBe careful re-threading it on the tank.  The tank is aluminum, and if you cross thread it, say goodbye to about $100.  Once you have it on, (being careful of the plastic guard, give the Fill Valve a slightly more-than-hand-tight spin.  You -don’t- want to crank down on it.  Just enough for the rubber gasket to fully engage.

What You DO need to get ready is the 1-1/8” wrench.  You’ll be utilizing this on the Large Brass Nut to crank the assembly nice n’tight.  The Universal Filler Valve needs to be vertical with it’s valve on top.

Once thats locked in and EVERYTHING is tight, grab a 24oz CO2 Tank
And take it down to the local paintball store to get it filled.  Should be about 5 bux to get it filled.  This’s why I like to have a few extra (2X for a total of 3) on hand.  Once it’s filled, bring it home and get s dish with some soapy water for a leak test.  2:1 ratio dawn detergent so it’ll blow nice bubbles if/when it leaks.  Install it into the Universal Filler Valve.  Make sure that you have both valve(s) closed BEFORE you install the CO2 tank.

Insert the CO2 tank into the Universal Filler Valve first.  Look and listen to see if it is holding pressure.  If so, Open the Valve.  Watch the seams on the junction points.  Dribble some soapy water on it.  Observe.  No bubbles = good.  Open the Main Tank Valve.  You should hear the tank fill with CO2 and become pressurized.  Be VERY CAREFUL while doing this.  I recommend Eye Protection and leather gloves in case -something- ruptures.

If there are no apparent leaks, Turn off the Valves in reverse order.  Remove the CO2 Tank SLOWLY.  Bleed off the CO2 CAREFULLY EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.  Fuck around, and you’ll find out the hard way.

OK Enough for now.  Watch for the next steps after a while.
The Intrepid Reporter
Big Country

Baghdad December 2008 Retrospective

Well Good Morning to the fanbase!  This's a email I sent out shortly after getting Back To The Saddam-a-Go-Go (love that name!)  Some of the readers noticed that I had referenced a job in Yokohama Japan. 

The whole ugly story there is a shitfest of epic proportions in and among itself.  It really deserves its own I.R. report.  The short of it:  I got a job in Yokohama Japan in later 07.  It was dependent on contract award... They got the contract.  My employer at the time, whether willfully or accidentally did the "monkey fuck" and screwed up the "Get the fuck out of Kuwait" thing... Visas (not the charge card) Cancelling Civil IDs allllll sorts of shit to leave country legally.  And because of the timeline fuckup, I lost the gig...  like I said, more to follow.  A WHOLE lot more... as well as the "How to put together the Flammenwerfer.

Anyways, for your enjoyment,

Been a few weeks since I last posted, but what the hell, it's been a busy few weeks.  Work continues with me putting in about 14 hours a day (I contracted 40 a week) but shit, I'm supporting Joe, and because of that I'm good.  I mean it's not always about the money.  (waitaminute, did I say that? There goes my 'mercenary street cred!')  Currently, my gig is doing the logistical side (mainly tracking and issue) of the new VSAT terminals the Military has bought.  It’s something that the Army needs, and if my small contribution helps to keep the mission up, and people alive, then hell, I can't ask for better than that.  Most of the guys that we are dealing with are people who are far out on the edge of nowheresville.  Essentially the idea is that we're providing Sat Equipment that allows them to communicate with higher.  Any more info would be dangerous, so I'll leave it as that... Needless to say The Old IR of Note and Fame is digging being back in the thick of things, and proud of being able to help out the Joes and Joe-ettes who are on the tip of the spear.

And as I have found, that spear here is dull.  Not in a bad way, but sort of from 'high use' as one would say.  Meaning that I either very foolishly or very bravely (your pick here, as I know what my Mom would say) decided the other day to take a trip outside the wire.  Now mind you, the areas I went to are very familiar to me, as 'back in the day' of 04 and 05 I used to roll through there regularly.  Also, when me and Lil Country rolled, we'd be up armored wearing our shit, minus helmet, and carrying a vast array of insane weapons to 'repel boarders.'

Now... sheeeeeeeet... not so much.  I went out, with some trepidation mind you, without so much as a sidearm or automatic weapon, and my body armor and helmet have been living on a rack in my house since I got here, despite the ONE time I >might< have needed it.  Yeah... As they said in "Full Metal Jacket" something about the "Crazy Brave" or some such shit.  Anyways, I digress...  Yeah I rolled out ECP 5 (entry control point) and went out into the "wilds" of Route Irish.  Route Irish back in 04 and 05 was so bad that the exact quote in Newsweek Magazine was "...the most dangerous section of highway in the known universe." 

Now, not so much.  The Iraqis have replanted all of the trees in the middle center between the highway that were uprooted after the Dirty Haj had used them to hide IEDS.  The road was littered with Billboards advertising I have-no-fucking-clue what as they are all in Arabic, but the fact that every 500 meters or so a billboard was present, whereas back in the day, they would NOT have been there.  It's like the country has come back to life.  The walls that Saddam put up around what’s now called Camp Slayer are decorated with MAD paintings showing what appears to be the past, present and future of Iraq by the artists point of view.  The thing that cracks me up the most is that in the 'future paintings' is they show a monorail like you'd see in Disney as part of the future... Wishful thinking I know, but still it shows the hope these jokers have.   I'll stop next time as I now know I won't get killed out there and I'll post the pics of the paintings, provided I can... as I never know when the Dirty Haj may appear, and I'd probably feel better once I get a 'Roscoe' or two on hand... never get complacent, and as my Dad and Robert Heinlein would say "Watch out for Stobor!"

But on this trip, I rolled to BIAP.  The Baghdad International Airport is now a major hub of travel here.  More people coming in than going, which is a major change.  Lots of 'returnees' as they call them at the guard post.  My Ugandan isn't too good, but the guards english was good enough, and he told me that more and more they see the Iraqis coming back from their self imposed exile.  Good on them if they can manage. 

I also found the ONE bar thats around here.  The "Sinbad Bar and Grill" where, contrary to General Order #1, a dude can find Heineken one liters for $6 bux USD.  God Bless Consumer Demand!!!!  They also have all sorts of booze, from Johnny Blue to Red, and Jack and Beam as well, and a goodly assortment of rums and even Dom if you got the geld for it.  I was madly impressed.  The place is vaguely reminiscent of a John LeCarr Novel, what with the CIA-NSA-CID and other types of Personal Security Detachment types roaming through, and it's located at the Baghdad International Airport Hotel and Convention center.  (Please ensure you check your weapons with the concierge as no guns are allowed in the bar.)  I thought the sign was a nice touch.  Me, I had a beer... Only because I was driving, but DAYYYYYUM if'n that wasn't a premium beer!!!  The Hotel is supposedly doubling as a whorehouse, but I didn't bother to check that side of things.  I figure Mama got enough for me when I get home, and why tempt fate?

So anyways, I then rolled into Baghdad Proper.  Up Route Irish, and I saw a couple of convoys doing the 'daily-daily' run in and around.  My biggest problem cruising the neighborhoods was I didn't have anything to throw to the kids... kids kept running up truck EXPECTING goodies.. I ended up throwing Life Savers Big Mints and then when those ran out, cigarettes and receiving big smiles... It was so nice to see it like that... back in 04-05 they would have thrown rocks, or grenades even.  Now, it's back to the "Capture of Baghdad Mode" again, and we're better for it.

Then, after, back to base, where I was welcomed to the air raid sirens.  Nothing like the sound of the air raid sirens going off to pucker one's bunghole tight.  Turns out "THIS IS A TEST"... wish they'd announce that BEFORE they run the siren up... instead I find myself scrambling for the armor and helmet (amazing how quick one can don 75 pounds of BS when one needs to?) only to have the All clear test message sound.  Really nice of them to run it first, thereby inducing heart attack #3...

Things here besides the Army scaring the living shit out of me are good.  I'm in a groove and digging it.  Living in my old house has been somewhat of a nice thing, as it's not on any known trajectories for incoming (The Haj usually launch from the same areas... part of the reason we haven’t had any real incoming with the exception of that one) and I'm comfortable.  Rest assured, the Intrepid Reporter is NOT complacent by any means however, case in point the scramble for the body armor.  Nice to have the 'good stuff' with me this time and having all my own gear is also a smiley face.  Happiness would truly be achieved if I had my Trusty Roscoe on the nightstand, but eh, who needs it?  Not like The Haj are coming 'round here anymore... Hell, the Iraqi Army LIVES in my neighborhood... how the world changes eh?
But for now, after having made it back, I stil have more work do to, so I gotta cut it short, so Look for me later.  Until then I remain, The Intrepid Report, Big Country

Thursday, September 26, 2019

A Little Perspective

Gooooooooooood Mooooorning Vietnam.... er... sorry  Great movie, wrong context.  (although our current political divide -seems- to be headed to the riots/bombings and a bit of the old 'Ultraviolence' that Alex and his Droogs were so fond of...)

OK so the old I.R. has been looking at the current "Non" situation with Trump and Company... the whole histrionics being pushed by the Mediatards and the Dummycrats...  I still don't see what thew big fucking deal is?  Trump called a fellow Leader, asked him to check out the possibility of corruption in HIS country, and let him know if everything is kosher (((heh.))).  Now just because one of the possible subjects of said corruption is currently gimping along in a political race against the Cheeto Emperor, everyone is losing their collective shit?  In fact the actual target of said corruption is the Gimpadates son, not him specifically... that being said the Gimpadate -has- been shown to have a hand specifically interfering in the 'Krainian Politics back when the Gimpadate was the Veep to protect his Spawn.

Add on that the complaint is of a "Well I know a guy who talked to a dude, who heard from his secretary who's fucking her boss who heard a conversation about Trump talking to this dude and
maaaan it was whack!!!!" situation...

Queue Obscure Movie Quote:
Dark Helmet: "I am your father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate."
Lonestar: "What does that make us?"
Dark Helmet: "Absolutely nothing!!!"

UPDATE: I was not a witness to any of it!" (updated 12:48 EST)

Which is the crux of the matter. -Someone- heard from -someone- that a conversation -might- have taken place. Back in July no less. Why didn't they pop off now? OK: Bear with the I.R. on this one...

I personally think this ENTIRE current pile of Bullshit is to get rid of Slow Gropey Joe Biden. I think that over the past few months, Joe ain't been doing too well... there was an Expose some years ago about the Pharmacy in Maryland? that supplies the White House, the Senate and the House ALL their medications... the expose came out b/c -someone- broke in, and copied/stole a bunch of current Politico's medical records, or at least what meds they were on.  Some of it slipped out into the news, but was quickly spiked by the Powers That Be and the mediatards...  One of the interesting tidbits was that Old Slow Joe was/is on anti-dementia meds... Powerful meds.... and judging from his fuckups as of late, he's getting worse.  Add on that -IF- and thats a big if, he'd be the oldest chief executive ever elected at 78!

THAT right there is the issue.  I think they went to Joe (Pelosi and the rest of the fuckos) and asked Joe to back off... let Hiawatha or one of the youngin's get a run at it.  Joe probably told them to pound sand and this's the result.  Get an obscure unknown to float a impeachable-possible event, get the media in a foaming-at-the-mouth-TDS lather, and we're off to the races...The targeting of Trump is tangential...The real target is Biden.  Ginning up enough outrage that can be proven demonstratively false, but enough dirt to fuck up Biden's candidacy, especially if the 'Krainians decide that Mr. Former V.P. needs to be questioned and "Oh By the way, yer son is off to the Gulag!" then Joe is toast... hell he may be anyways...

His problem is that -he- doesn't understand he's a has-been... he LITERALLY embodies everything  the current younger crazy socialist Leftist Demoncrats hate.  Boomer, check, white, check, dumb, yep.  Part of 'the man/system' for 10,000 years... oh yeah.

Stay Tuned!  Opinions always welcome!
The Intrepid Reporter
Big Country

Kuwait 2008 Big Country Versus the Bat Part II

When we last left off, the Olde I.R. was still in Kuwait working... what follows is from 25 August 2008....

The IR on a Day Off:
The weekend again, or at least a reasonable facsimile of one… a rude awakening of brain power and such, and I figured what the hell, I’ll start peckerating agin at ye ole keyboard and see what bullshit rolls on out of my head and into this strange little box on my desktop… Yep… LOVE the feeling of weirdness that’s come over me…  I mean really… what an Odd Thing this is to be sitting in from of a small plastic box that closely resembles a light bright toy from the seventies, albeit with a higher resolution and picture than those fucking little annoying pegs could come up with… Granted, the screen on this is a hell of a lot easier to change, and for this I am thankful…

Yeah…. Bit o’madness in the air… Air raid siren in downtown wailed and scared me ‘cause I had forgotten that the Kuwaiti Kit Kat Klub was holding its weekly “The Iranians are coming! The Iranians are coming!” drill.  “Just a flare!!!” as DiNero said in ‘Apocalypse Now’… me, I’ll take my apocalypse later… much later, preferably with mayo and extra bacon on the side. (Cue Homer: Mmmmmnnnn Baaaaaacon.)    The other bits that struck me as odd and that I’ll comment on before I get to some continued humor is the whole bit of dealing with plastic boxes… Specifically, the port-o-john. 

Mother Nature, to put a fine term on it, ‘represented’ the other night and I was forced to utilize one of the omnipresent portashitters they got set up all over base.  Now any of you who have been here or to a Major Sporting Event, (or even a Riot ) has known the lush odor of a Portajohn and all other entertainment contained therein.  One of my absolute favorite pieces of graffiti written in acid-black indelible was “C Co. 2-227 Trans:  Only 3 more days til 3rd ID chicks are ugly again!!!”  Now to explain as the poindexter in the back is waving his arm, the reason that’s so fucking funny is that it was obviously written by a short timer who was on his way back to Germany to redeploy, and that because they were in Iraq, the chicks who normally wouldn’t even rate got to act like and get treated like princess as the poontang was in such short supply… this essentially means that when they go home, the Lee Sisters, Ugly, Homely, and Beastly will be back in the “Wallflower” mode… LMAO!!! sorry… it’s funny as hell to me.  Anyways

What hit me is that in the past 5 years I’ve spent more ‘quality time’ in a plastic box communing with the Gods of the Outhouse than I have in or on porcelain.  It struck me as funny as hell as I had to artfully insure I didn’t get the “Blue Water Backsplash Blues” meaning if it was a real growler, the splash of it making ‘touchdown’ throws the blue stuff up, and if you ain’t lucky, you get what’s known as either “Smurf Ass” or literally “Blue Balls.” (quick side observation:  Would chicks call it the “Bluebeard The Pirate Clam?”) Yeah… that sucks when it happens.  And it strikes me as how funny it is that I’m sitting in the fucking desert at 3am, in a plastic box, taking a dump in 130 degree heat, and I’m hoping to high heaven that I don’t come out with blue stains on my nether regions, I start to laugh…  I know I know, not that funny, but still, what do you want?  This my email and I’ll write whatever comes to mind LOL 

Yeah, well the absurdity of it gave me the giggles.  The really funny part was when I got done and popped the door to outside and there were like 4 Indians standing outside staring at the large American who was laughing his oversized ass off inside the Plastic Box of Poo…  Moe, Larry, Curly Joe and Shemp are standing there, (or would it be Pankosh, Punjab, Mahatma, and Pravit?) staring at me like I’m completely off my fucking rails.  The look on their faces made me laugh even harder and louder as the whole ludicrous situation doesn’t translate into Hindu too well, not that I can even expect to try and make them understand what I was laughing at.  Hopefully when I go in on Monday, they won’t be waiting for me with a straightjacket, but who knows… Anything is possible.

Well lets see… oh!  Update on the Bat Story… when we last left our Intrepid Reporter, he had been traumatized by his run in with the Goddamned Batman… er… make that the Bat.  Well.  I thought that once “Mister Fuzzy-Musty Batfink” had flown the coop, that should have been The End and cue the credits.  Nope… not with my happy ass. 

Seems Mister “Flying Bag’O’Skin” scratched my nose, be ever so small, there was a little cut on there.  Me?  I been hurt worse than that brawling with a kitten.  I ignored it.  Now, cut scene forward two days later:  The Intrepid Reporter in the shower whilst getting his scrub on, finds a swelling in his right armpit while lathering up.  OK… No biggie.  4 days later, said swelling is now a hot painfully swollen mass that resembles a golf ball and is right shmack dab in the area that my Lymph Nodes are.  That night, I was talking to my Dad and he goes and, what with his current medical conditions and shining “Lets put on a happy face” bedside manner tells me “Huh… sounds like bubonic plague to me!”

Gee… thanks Dad.

I kinda took it at face value as the Old Man’s always going to go “worst case scenario” and I appreciated his concern.  I blew it off until the next day, when said lump exploded on me and I was all feverish and sweating and man did the thing like detonate.  Now not to be gross about it, but it bled bad, and I figured “Hell, let’s check the ole online MedRx diagnostic page and plug in our symptoms!”  I had a fever, headache, swollen                  –something- in the armpit that hurt like hell, and was sore all over. Add in a generally shitty feeling like I was 40 pounds of shit stuffed in a 30 pound bag and you get the idea.  I plug all this in and then I get back:   Bubonic Plague as Option #2.  The first was some obscure Lymphoma that had a slew of other symptoms listed as well as what I had, so I was sort of stuck on this as the #1 wasn’t likely, but Number 2?  Shit, after my run in with the Goddamned Bat, it was entirely too possible that I had been exposed.  I mean c’mon, this is a third world shithole, despite its attempts to dress up.  As my old Drill Sergeant used to say, you can’t spit shine a turd.  But as I was saying,
“Bubonic plague symptoms appear suddenly, usually after 2-5 days of exposure to the bacteria. Symptoms include: High fever, Smooth, painful lymph gland swelling called a buboe, Commonly found in the groin, but may occur in the armpits or neck
Pain may occur in the area before the swelling: Chills, General ill feeling, Muscle pain,
Severe headache, Seizures” end of snip..  My reaction?  “Awww FUCK!”

Well, needless to say, the more I read, the more fucking freaked out I became.  Now those of y’all who know me know I’m good with some things, bad with others.  THIS is DEFINITELY one of the ‘things Big Country is BAD on…’  I mean put me in a firefight with the Muj or Haj, no problem.  I’ll kill ‘em all, and let (insert deity of your choice) sort ‘em out.  What I DON’T deal with is bugs and suchlike.  ESPECIALLY one with “prognosis with treatment is a possible 50% mortality rating.”  Needless to say, I boogied to the hospital toute fucking sweet.

Now:  The hospital I went to was the same one I went to when my leg was shmacked up.  I figured it’s the best bet across the board, and I should already be ‘in the system’ there as I didn’t want to fuck with any paperwork or other bullshit.  Now a quick word on the hospitals.  The Obamamessiah is talking free universal health care.  Fine N Dandy.  Just as long as HE and HIS family are in the SAME program that he wants US to use… just like the Brits… what with socialized medicine that means I should be ready to be seen by next October, provided funding isn’t cut, they MIGHT be able to squeeze me in by 445pm local time…IF he was to have his way, the private sector will be fucked.  It’s the last thing we need in America… enuff ranting, so anyways.

Here thankfully, the healthcare is “Cash and Carry” and once I went into reception, they printed up all my shit, got an imprint of my Visa, and I was off and running.  Total time, to include blood work STAT in the lab and be seen by an Infectious Disease doc?  Like 55 minutes.  To include a quickie test for the Plague… guess it’s a fast and simple thing and the doc told me that  they have this as occasional outbreak what with the Indonesians and Burmese workers here… guess some places ARE worse than Baghdad in many respects.  Total cost to me?  Including meds and such to treat my infection?  Try like $125 which I can submit to my insurance to get paid back to me.  Fuck socialized free healthcare. LOL!!!

Yeah, all the panic and bullshit for a blocked sweat gland.  That’ll teach me to use a deodorant I suppose.  Better to sweat it out naturally and inflict my stench on my coworkers, not like I like the fuckers anyways and anyhow!

So, I’m left now with continuing this saga on my day back to work.  Last night was quiet… real quiet.  We’re in “Calm Before The Fucking Hurricane” mode now, what with it being on the news that we’re leaving Iraq NTL (no later than) 2011.  This to me mean there gentle readers, that when the drawdown starts, and if and IF (boldface 24 point CAPS here now) I am still unfortunately present on this contract, all them trucks, tanks, heli-O-calopters and other such militaristic tools of the trade that I’ve been so deft at handing out over the past 4 years will literally and figuratively come back to haunt me, in one way shape or form.  The reason being is I’m no longer, like I was before; doing issuing… rather I’m on the receiving end.  That’s how I get to see all the toasted up wrecks and worn out deadbeat beat to death trucks ectectect.  Well, since the surge, that WORKED mind you,  we’ve seen a cut to damned near stop in incoming equipment.  My hunch is that when they say “Time to Go Home!” Every swinging dick or piece o’ poontang (gotta be an Equal Opportunity Insulter here) North of the 39th Parallel is going to Pack Up, bit a Fond “Fuck You I’m Out!” and drop their shit off on my yards like a Democrat donating to the Salvation Army.  That is, frequently dropping  off unwanted shit that’s wore the fuck out.

“Yep… come one, come all to Big County’s Surplus and Vehicle Sale!!!  It’s the OIF Fire sale… Over Instantly and Fast!  C’mon down!  Bring the Kids!  Get a Grenade! C’mon down!  Specials this week:  Buy ONE M1114, get the SECOND of equal or lesser value for half price!  Empty shell casings at NO EXTRA CHARGE!”

At least I’m sure that’s how it’s going to feel.  They haven’t told us shit… Last to know,  mushrooms and all that.  Oh… ok Poindexter whining in the back wants to know “Mushrooms?”   Yeah… mushrooms ‘cause they keep us in the dark and feed us shit.  May I continue now?  (Somehow, I think this literary exercise is going to get me locked up one day, seeings I’m pretty schizophrenic these days what with the questions and self answering…but fuck it… according to the Military and my loved ones, I’m fucking cracked already.)  So yeah.. Big push to go the fuck home means a LOT of work here for me.  If it helps get the Joes and Joettes home sooner, so mucho the better.

Although, of course we’re headed in Ramadan… as you recall (those who were tuned in Last Year at this time) we are rapidly approaching the High Holy Roller Days of that ubiquitous animal: The Desert Roaming Towelheaded Weirdbeard.  Yeah, this is the time when the Hajjis really get stoopid so to speak… No food from Dawn to Dusk.  As long as BOB  (The Big Orange Ball) is overhead, then we’re on a no-food-no-drinking-no-sex-no- nothing environment.  Now, seeings I ain’t got no wimmen laying around, no big deal, the no booze thing I can handle too…  But no fucking McDonalds or ANY stores that sell food being open?  Holy shit man… and I’ll have to deal with this for a month?  Even the fucking Druids take a few days off here n there for good measure.  Last year was worse to a point as I was on Days for a while, which meant NO off post food…  everything closes down literally… they roll up the sidewalks til dark,, and then run all night as opposed to the days… no wonder these people are so fucked up… the circadian rhythms are all out of whack, never mind the low blood sugar.

So anyways, It’s off to the rack I go…  This week is shaping up to be a Grand Old Version of a Ball-suck… the Global Program Manager is in route here to show face (read kiss ass so no one else fucking quits) and him, I got no use for him after this past 19 months of this Steaming, Heaping Pile of Fly Blown Still Fresh Dookie that he calls “a high paying job.”  Hope that Japan gig comes sooner rather than later, or I’m gonna suddenly find myself running out of places to hide the bodies…

Peace til Then, It’s the Intrepid Reporter Boring you as always:
Big Country

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

First was Pieces, Now Tools...

Good Evening Y'all.  Big Country here with the oft requested continuation of the absurd and out-STANDING weirdness that is the Flammenwerfer Experience!  Tonight, we feature the tools I used to construct the pile o'parts I listed previously for your gratification.  The list with the links attached are NOT the common stuff a dood or doodette might have laying about in "Ye Olde Toolboxe" So I linked them for convenience.  The stuff w/out links -should- be in yer basic home/car repair kit, and if not, then shame on you.
Again, for the more forgetful of y'all:
Other than that, stay tuned and have fun!

1/2” Dewalt Pilot-Point Drill Bit
37/64” Drill Bit
3/8"-18 NPT Thread Tap
7/32” Dewalt Pilot-Point Drill Bit
Thread Tap 1/4”-28 NF
Teflon Tape Yellow

The Rest Y’all should have if you’ve got a basic toolbox.

1” Wrench
7/8” wrench
¾” Wrench
½” Drive socket Wrench
3/8” Drive socket Wrench
3/8” Drive 8” Extension Bar
11/16” Deep Socket ½” Drive
15mm Deep Socket 3/8” Drive
9/16” 8-Point Socket ½” Drive
5/8” Socket ½” Drive
½” Socket 3/8” Drive
Pliers, Needle Nose
Center Punch
2mm Allen Wrench
Cutting Oil
Flathead Screwdriver

More to follow on the “How Do I Do That?”
By the Intrepid Reporter
Big Country

Kuwait 2008 Big Country Versus The Bat

Konnichi wah Y’all
That’d be jap oh heeno for “Good Evening Ya’ll”  Yep, the Intrepid and Bored Reporter here to fill in the blanks (again) not that a hell of a lot has been happening here.  Truth be told, It’s about as exciting as watching paint dry ‘round these here parts, so if this seems a bit on the light side on info and fun stuff, so be it. 

As you can tell, I’ve sorta been in a kind of a funk lately; see’n’s how there is nothing wild nor exciting happening here in Kuwait.  Well, nothing locally exciting, well, then again, maybe it is, maybe it ain’t… as you can see the old IR is in a sorta kinda contradictory sort of mood.    Long and the short of it, well really, the long of it is I’m still waiting to hear about the Japan Job. 

Now for those of you who haven’t heard, I got the job in Yokohama North Dock with a new company.  The IR scored huge with this one folks…. British Aerospace Engineering, better known as BAE.  It’s the second largest contracting company in size and money, and its waaaay exciting to think I might have a shot at staying with them for a while.  BAE is better known for its current production of the JSF, the Joint Strike Fighter which is the Navy’s new toy.  I got to see one in the Dulles Annex when I went through there with Ryan and Doctor D and as far as companies go, it’s considered to be a real “brass ring” to get hired with them.  I got lucky… they needed an AWRDS clerk/pc puke and I got the gig. 

OK the geek in the back is asking “What’s AWRDS and why did you get the job?”
To satisfy this, I gotta explain in simple terms.  AWRDS stands for Army War Reserve Depot Supply System. (Or something to that effect… I’ve been downing some “Evil Green Nasty” so I’m short on the old memory tonight) But anyways, it’s the ‘new’ supply tracking software and it was created and owned by my current company Stanley ASSociates.  And yeah, I did capitalize the ASS in this.  More on this in a bit.  Anyways, some how some where the Army decided it’s going to use AWRDS to track any and ALL equipment… from the M1A2 Abrams Tank, to literally small bags ‘o bolts.  Stanley ASSociates licenses other companies to use it and they do… all over the entire world.  It is, for my geekdom friends out there it’s an SQL Based DB with some really easy to use and intuitive GUIs.  It has to be seeing that an 18 year old supply clerk with nothing but a GED needs to be able to use it.  Now, by no means am I COMPLETELY literate in using it.  I do have a pretty good grasp, and, having worked for the past 18 months with it with the company that created it, I was a prime candidate for the job in Japan.  Now I did get the job.  I’m just waiting on contract award (meaning that BAE is rebidding and we’re both, me and BAE that is are waiting on the word on it)  They’re going to be needing an AWRDS puke, and I got the gig as I stated before.  Now I wait.

It’s like that classic Russian story “Waiting for Godot.” 
“”Should we wait longer?” 
“We shall see.”

It’s so dragging out to have to wait.  I’m a bit stir crazy as I want out of A) The Middle East and B) Out of Stanley.  Throw C) the local situation deteriorating, and I got my “three-fucking-strikes-it’s-time-to-pop-smoke” award.  The Main reasons for both are A) Iran and B) No way am I ever going to move up any more in my current enslaver…er… make that company.  C) I’ll cover in a few…

To explain part A specifically… I’ve had a couple of you audience members give me shit about wanting to hightail it out of here on account of Iran and the Head Weirdbeard  Moosestuffer I’madinnerjacket.  Terms like ‘Pussy’ have been bandied about.  That’s cool… I can see the rationale in your minds, but let me explain further, and see how you’d look at it. 

Luck to me, well,  I have come to the realization that LUCK is a finite thing.  Only so much of it in yer life, and then shit happens!  This especially in my case.  I wasn’t nicknamed “Big Country The Mortar Magnet” for no reason… I’ve burned through a whooooole lotta good luck… generations worth of previously untapped Irish Luck is what I attribute it to. I’d be lying to say that things are peachy fucking ducky over here.  The military has in the past 6 months built large numbers of bunkers on base (where there ain’t been none before, to include 2001 til now.)  Nothing secret about it.  If anything, the bad guys are well aware of the buildup.  To me, the military doesn’t spend money UNLESS there’s what we call a Tom Clancy moment.  For the geek in the rear of the room and editorial sake, that means a “Clear and Present Danger.”  Now do you get it?  The fact of the matter is I’m working on a target that’s 100 miles across the Persian/Arabian Gulf and that’s well within range.  Again, nothing secret.  You can go to Google maps and even pull up my workplace on it in full glorious color pictures with a resolution that can actually show individual tanks and trucks.  All courtesy of the French satellite imagery, mind you.  Don’t that just about cover it?  Dirty frog bastids.  Add in enough aircraft carrier strike groups and the assorted support bullshit, and I’m willing to bet I’ll shortly be able to walk from Mahboula Beach here in Kuwait to the Eastern Shore of the Straight of Hormuz with out getting my combat boots damp.  Yeah, we see by the latest news that 2 US carrier groups and 1 British Carrier Group and even the Fucking Cowardly French are getting in on the act.  There’s already 2 full carrier groups here, so it’s getting fucking crowded out there…  That’s a whoooooole shitpile of large floating objects people.

But I digress, per my usual ramblings.  Yeah, the bunkers, the regular air raid siren drills, shit like that adds up to a real “Fuck.” Moment.  I mean they didn’t have any sort of protective stuff on base until around November of last year (remember all the saber rattling?)  It’s not the actions of the US per se that has me nervous, but the fucking Israelis.  The Iranians have said flat out they’d hit “any and all American interests in the region.” And to me, they’d have to hit us, seeing we’re the biggest base and have all the cool toys that the Army needs to fight a war with.  I figure if they hit the base, it’ll be game the fuck over.  I even have a plan, seeing that the odds are in favor of a chemical or gas attack.  That’d be per doctrine the easiest and smartest thing to do.  Area Deniability.  Cover my work area with chem. Or gas or bio and all them toys are rendered fucking useless until they can be decontaminated, not to mention that all of us poor dead fuckers who’d be trapped and gassed on base.  Real pleasant right?  My plan is that if anything happens, I’m boogying before it can.  I didn’t live through 22 months of Bombs Over Baghdad in the club formerly known as the Saddam-A-Go-Go to get wasted as collateral damage to a foreign policy that’s gone insane.  Hell, I still haven’t hit Tokyo Joes Bar n Grill.  THAT’S where I want to be.

Part B of the equation is that I’ve hit the proverbial ‘glass ceiling’ here… or maybe it’d be better calling it what it is, which is that I’m “not down with the brown.”  Yeah… only 3 of us are white dudes and I’m the only redneck.  This is out of 54 people.  I heard we might get another honky… er… Caucasian in, but for now… makes for lonely times I’m here to tell ya.  It’s not discrimination de facto, more like de jure.  I mean others got promoted up to Analyst 2 at their six month marker.  Me, try 14 months, and with not a single negative action on my record.  There is just no way in hell I’ll be allowed to be a manager here, not with the current crop of rejects in charge of this house.  That and the money sucks donkey cock.  And that I’ve made a pest of myself in demanding to be treated as an equal… yeah, drama in the orifice, who’d a thunk it?  It’s actually sort of funny because I get away with making all sorts of fucked up comments though…  My favorite is that when they give me a shitty assignment: “Hey BC… we need you to find this tonight…”  That usually means that I have to scour an 8.5 square kilometer box o’ sand to find one individual item (usually a truck) and the 8.5 sq km is full of 2500 exactly duplicate trucks.  At night.  All night.  Damned near every night.  I usually will do it, but I throw out there the line “This’s a ‘white thing isn’t it?”  Gets ‘em every time. 
So yeah, cold feet?  You bet your ass on that one.  Shitty Pay, Shitty Company, fucked up future circumstances waiting to blow...  I mean fuck this with bells on man.

I mean come on.  There’s no jobs that pay worth a fuck in the States right now, and Japan?  Hell.  Land O Da Rising Sun?  I’m digging the idea of hitting Roppongi and Shibuya and looking for Austin Powers fine friends Fook Yu and Fook Mei.  Get me outta here ASAFP.  I mean given the choice of looking at the local women, who here currently either resemble Ninjas and/or Imperial Guards on the Death Star, and for that matter most of the broads who AREN’T uncovered, well, lets just say that 98% of them you practically WANT them to cover up or would pay someone to cover them.  Who knew Arab Wimmen can braid their mustache hairs? It’s the Lee Sisters on Patrol… you know…  Ugly, Homely, Beastly… the whole gamut.  Now in Japan… Hoo hoo hoo…  Tiny Japanese girly girls in miniskirts?  Shit, I have better stop now before the wife crawls through my CAT 5 cable and stomps a mudhole in my ass.  Like I said, given a choice?  Hands fucking down its time to Cowboy Up and Slant Down.

Part C) is that the Peasants are revolting.  (Cue Mel Brooks: “You bet, they stink on ice!”)  Yeah.  All is not well here in Kuwait.  The ‘foreign guest workers’ so euphemistically named in the local English newspaper have been getting a mite ‘uppity’ lately, and having the bad form to be in open revolt.  Leastways they were last week… up until the Kuwaiti Ministry for Public Safety (read Gestapo) unleashed a battalion worth of Kuwaiti Special Forces on the rioting crowds.  Between the billy clubs and CS, they handled it really fucking quickly.  All the ‘foreign agitators’ were arrested and deported posthaste back to whatever third world shithole they spawned from.  Now, turning off my ‘snark-o-meter’, what essentially happened was a whole bunch of Indonesian and Bangladeshi workers got pissed off at being pissed on, and subsequently went on a 4 ward rampage demanding their rights (the bounders!)  They burned a bunch of cars, one police station, and generally made it look like the LA Riots.  Us Americans weren’t in much danger that I can tell, but still, unsettling to see it.  Seems the fair rights they demanded was less work (they currently work an 14-18 hour shift daily) and fair pay, (they were promised 60 Kuwaiti Dinars and month but actually only see 12 KD a month) after their sponsor company gets through railing them.  It’s kind of like that song:  “I owe my soul to the company store…”  The company that enslaved them I mean employed them takes out $$$ for food, housing and their work visa.  It’s a titanic screwing if you realize that 60KD as of current exchange rates is equal to $228 dollars using the conversion of $3.80 to the KD.  They get left with 12KD… that’s like $45 US by the time they are done getting fucked. 

Yeah… 7 days a week, 18 hour days at ball breaking work, and they LINE UP back in the home country for the opportunity to work here.  It’s when they got fucked over so openly that the strikes and riots started.  That scared the piss out of the Kuwaitis as they are wholly incapable of working at anything other than buying Lamborghinis and counting their cashola.  The concept of the peasants revolting spurred not a debate of “How can we improve things?” but “Do we use non lethal means first to try and calm things before sending in the Tanks?”  Like I said, ugly in capital letters, 24 point boldface if you will.

Ok… lets see… bitched about work, bitched about waiting… bitched about the riots… HMMN… Lessee… OH!  I remember one now.  This is called :
Now what with all the Batman hype and shit with Heath “OD” Ledger and the Joker and all that, I had my own little run in with the Goddamned Batman’s little fuzzy and flying bag’s o’ skin and I figure I’ll tell it now.  Yep.  Larry and I were out labeling trucks (1am local time) and Larry, for those who haven’t heard is my current work partner.  Well, we only had one can of glue between the two of us, and we’re just diddle boppin along, taking turns huffing said aforementioned glue. (Nothin like a good 3M Buzz to make the night glide by!)   So we go up to the back of this big ole truck, and Larry hits the metal gate or something… I dunno what.  Well, the metal does what metal does and it made this nice ringing “BONG! sound. 

No sooner than the ringing of the metal starts then this blur of ‘something’ blasts out of the back of the truck.  I think the truck was a 5 Ton, as the gate and deck was up at my eye level… nothing small about these trucks to say the least.  Well anyways, this dark blur comes bailing out of the back at warp speed and hits Larry in the head with a squeak.  Said flying object rebounds off of his squash, and before I can move, whackum!  I get a face full of bat. 


Yup.  Lil Bastard comes DIRECTLY at my face at warp factor five and slams in my grill.  Before I can even register it, the poor lil fucker gets hemmed up immediately in between my Ball Cap brim and hangin on my glasses.  His (or Her) little funky body is pressed clear up against my face, and it’s musty little leathery wings are slapping me on either side of my face and head.  It’s squeaking to beat the fucking band and me?  I did what anyone would.

I fucking screamed like a bitch.

And not a girly scream either.  Nope.  This was a Full Throated “HOLY MOTHER OF GOD I HAVE A BAT ATTACHED TO MY FUCKING FACE” kind of scream.  I got the shit slapped out of me by its wings, and as it was fighting me, I immediately ripped off my hat.  Good thing I did because as it flew off, I get to see my Partner coming up to me with his Mag Light (the Rodney King Signature Edition) hefted up like he’s gonna club said aforementioned flying fucking rat off my face…  

Rather he thought he was.  

Thankfully, and unlike what would have normally happened (meaning as the bat flies off, Larry caves in my grill with a mongasso flashlight) the bat took off like, well, a Bat out of hell is an apt description, and Larry stopped in mid-club.  Good thing too… got me a hunch the dental bills would have damned near ruined both our days.  Me for having get a new grill built, and him for having to pay for the grill replacement.  Yeah… He then of course starts giving me shit about it… “Man, nice scream.  How’s yer underpants?”  I’m like “Shut the fuck up…” I’d like to see how HE would have reacted if the damned thing  had gotten hemmed up in HIS face. 

Leastways, I didn’t get bit, and I didn’t, for the record, shit myself. Close but no cigar but  it was definitely a near thing.  Goddamn the Bats AND Batman. 

So… that’s like the height of my entertainment for the past few weeks.  Bat Attack and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting. 

Did I mention waiting?
That’s it for now, I’ll try to come up with something else in my next email.  Until then, I remain
The Intrepid Reporter
Big Country