28 May 2013

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16 August 2010

Busy weekends

I had Mom down last weekend - her visit to the current Lovely Location means she has, with the exception of Iraq, dropped by and visited everywhere I've been stationed.  Kinda cool, that. 

This past weekend, I did the quick flight home for Dad's 60th birthday.  I'd make more "old geezer" jokes, but my definition of "old" has changed in the past ten years... funny how that happens.

29 July 2010

First, the promised rattlesnake pic:

Righto.  Snakety snake snake.

I had a drawn-out discussion with one of my buddies here post snake sighting.

You should have, he chimed in, whacked it.  Good snakes are dead snakes.

Now, I will upfront say that whacking the snake was really not an option unless my buddy and I wanted to chase it around and run over it with the truck.  We had just finished an excessive walk in excessive heat - I don't think either one of us would have been up to getting out of the vehicle and moving nimbly.  Also, being as we're in New Jersey, we were woefully unarmed and did not even have a Big Stick with us.

(the mental image of a couple of exhausted and footsore soldiers chasing a snake, smacking at it with heavy rucksacks is kinda amusing, though)

However, the Official Bad Dog Position is as follows - we whack nothing without a reason.

Things we will/do whack include (but are not limited to): things we're going to eat; invasive species; critters that are actually damaging property; critters that are actively threatening our people or our pets; terrorists; and people who are threatening our immediate well-being but do not qualify as terrorists.

Scary animals, alas, are not on the list.  And make no mistake - I find snakes scary.  Rattlesnakes at least have some courtesy in their habits, and given a good warning buuzzzz, I will give them space to go on doing snakey things. I like to think those snakey things involve eating vermin and, possibly, biting bad New Jersey drivers.

I would not shoot a bear merely for possessing the ability to eat me, and so it seems rude to whack a snake simply for being what it is.  However, lest I classify myself as fuzzy-headed, I will offer the caveat that bears in the garage, mountain lions on the back porch and snakes in the woodpile lose their immunity if they don't go on their merry way once notified their presence is unwelcome.

28 July 2010

The bitter end

The really boring adventure that is ANCOC raws to a close. Not that it hasn't been great, but i can't wait to get back to my real job.

I hurt this morning. I grabbed one of the boys yesterday afternoon, loaded about 40 pounds of crap in a ruck, and went for an eight-mile trudge. It was hot, but neither the distance nor the weight was the problem. The problem, folks, is that apparently rucking in the Pine Barrens means rucking in SAND. Your Author is feeling a wee bit old and creaky this morning.

in really NEAT things from that outing...i saw a rattlesnake. It was crossing the road as we left. I shall post the camera phone pic a bit later. I'd only recently discovered that there ARE rattlesnakes in this fine state, and was kinda thrilled to see one.

27 July 2010


Six years ago, I passed through this same training organization to be reclassified as a civil affairs type. The Army was pouring us into Iraq, so our group of trainees was large. They divided us into eight or ten separate "classrooms." At the end of the class, the students with the highest averages, it was decided, would compete to be the "Distinguished Honor Graduate." They decided to have a "board."

Boards, in general, consist of subject matter experts quizzing you on whatever the relevent topic might be. Usually it's a healthy portion of random Army trivia for promotion and Soldier of the Quarter  boards.

So there was SGT Abby, with all of four months in the Army.
Maybe, I suggested to my instructor, someone ELSE should do this board thing, since i really didn't know very much about the Army.

Nonsense, he replied. This was a CA board, to evaluate our performance at CA school. It would be CA FOCUSED.

Liar. it was entirely Army-trivia-focused. If the Marne Corps had not provided me with excellent "military bearing," it would have been awful. As it was, the board members merely looked perplexed by the presence of someone who couldn't SPELL "Army."

Let's now return to the pesent, and the conclusion of THIS course.

You four, explained the instructor, have the highest averages in the class. So, tomorrow at 1030, you'll go before a board...

Oddy, one does not seem to be allowed to opt out of these "opportunities." We know that, because we asked.

22 July 2010

Making Progress

ANCOC involves two written tests. We just finished the second one. Now, one more week of doing...something and I can go back to my Soldiers. I keep telling myself that after this, it's a long time before I have to do any more NCOES.

14 July 2010

Getting eddicated agin

So the leadership sez to me, a couple months back, Abby - we've got an ANCOC (advanced non-commissioned officer's course) seat available, and you're first in line for it.

And I sez to the leadership, I'm not eligible for promotion again for another year and half, I don't really need to go right now, and I have a lot to do, and-

And sez the leadership, shut up and get thee to ANCOC.

So, because I am an obediant sort, if a little bit contrary, I find myself enrolled in the course.  Sigh.  They're right - one's professional education must be a priority.  And, although I'm just barely into it, the course actually seems pretty interesting.  Plenty of theory, not so much memorize-and-regurgitate.  Clever and engaging instructor, bright and interested students.

We shall see.  Fascinating tidbits from today include the fact that the biosphere contains muskrats, and pestilence sucks.

07 July 2010

Morning routine

Our previous first sergeant liked the gym, and set up us on a pretty good schedule.  Whenever we're not doing something useful, we all head over at 0800 and do gymish things for about an hour.

I hate PT, and all things gym-related, but I really couldn't start out the Abby Regime by announcing that henceforth we'd start work at 0700 in order to be at the bar by 1430.  Wouldn't be seemly.  So I stuck with the previous schedule.

I didn't mind the gym when it was cold.  And when the weather's nice, I just stick my head in, count my wayward sheep, and head outside for a long, slow job (and occasionally a nap under a tree).

But in case y'all didn't notice, it's hotter than the seventh hub of Hell here right now.  Yesterday I ran a little over three miles and seriously thought about flopping over and dying.  So today I had 40 quality minutes on the treadmill.

Treadmills are, for the record, really designed for people with better balance and coordination than your author.  Injuries narrowly avoided by timely use of the handrails?  Two.

03 July 2010

I wanted an eyepatch

But since I'm spending the Fourth in the People's Republic of New Jersey, where I'm fairly certain anything more dangerous than a sparkler is illegal, I don't think there's a whole lot of fireworks-oriented tomfoolery in the offing.

The downside of spending so much time in such a male-dominated environment (I am one of three chicks in the battalion, and the only one in my company) is that one ends up engaging in a lot of dude activities. Long story short, it seems there's some sort of Ultimate Fighting thing on TV tonight, and much effort and many phone calls have gone into the best place to watch said Ultimate Fighting.

At least there will be beer.

02 July 2010

It's been a while

But you know what?  It's been kinda nice to disappear on an undeclared hiatus because life has been good and I've been busy rather than because things are dark.

I'm still training troops at the place that sounds like Court Licks.  Actually, I'm not doing much training - circumstances demanded our real first sergeant go take over another company, and so I'm flailing around trying to fill his shoes.  Challenging, but in a good way. 

Writing here is something I'm going to try to get back in the habit of doing.  For a while I just didn't have anything to say, or nothing worth putting into words.  Recently, though, the writing impulse has come back.

So we'll see.  I'm going to try to share some thoughts - and maybe a little griping.  I find I miss the interaction with the Bad Dog Faithful.

Y'all have a great 4th of July.  We've actually got a holiday with no units in our pipeline, so I think I may go try to find something dangerous and irresponsible to do with fireworks.