15 August 2008

More fun

Just as we were starting to feel ahead of the power curve, it was decreed that we needed to complete more...[can you guess it? I bet you can!]...online training.


I'm also getting a little traffic from a news story about the heat issue.

I've got to admit to being a little uncomfortable with drawing any attention, but this is no fun if we're not pointing out the silly stuff and laughing about it.

That aside, I think we're about done with these journeys to the Land of Internet, so a little silence from here for a while should not be a cause for a alarm. We're not far from the end of this phase of our journey, so there's a light (and good A/C) at the end of the tunnel.

But in exciting news - tomorrow is LAND NAV! The potential hilarity level is high.

14 August 2008

Looking silly

Yesterday, when I discovered I had to spend some quality time on the internet, I borrowed my team leader's car so I could drive to the Land of Internet.

My team leader, somewhat oddly, drives a VW bug. One of the newer ones.

Upon hearing that I was heading to Civilization, one of our captains volunteered to ride along with me. So we loaded up in the VW and prepared to take off. It was then that I first looked down. The Bug is a stick-shift. Not a problem, thougt Abby, so is the Jeep.

But the R...well, it was on the left of the 1. Not way over to the right, after the high end like I'm used to.

But the letters on the knob are like a guide, right? You put the knob in the appropriate pictured spot, and there you are. Right?

Wrong. I tried a couple of times and couldn't get the thing into reverse. So I pulled slowly forward out of the parking space, and all was well. The captain and I reached the land of the Internet, did our respective things, then took off. Or tried to take off.

The car would still not go into reverse. Finally running out of patience, the captain gave in to his Inner Guy and tried to find reverse while I stood on the clutch. Nada.

There was a curb in front of us, which precluded the creeping forward approach. So we opened our doors, extended the outboard legs, and rolled it far enough back to be able to pull out.

A repeat performance at a fast food place where we stopped, and we made it back to Camp Rustic without further drama. I caught up to my team leader later in the evening at a company meeting.

Sir, I asked, does your car have reverse?

He looked at me as though he had just realized he was going to be trapped with a retarded team sergeant for a year.

Umm...yeah. He paused. You know you have to push it down to get into reverse, don't you?

No, sir, I replied. But that explains it.

He paused, since we were having this conversation quietly while the first sergeant expounded at length about something or other. Suddenly, the picture in his head made him look back at me.

Hey, [Abby], he whispered. How did you guys back up then?

I glanced at him, extended my left leg, and made a pushing motion.

My team leader dissolved in giggles. The first sergeant shot him the Look of Death, and I did my best to sit and look appropriately innocent of any part in the loss of military bearing. You learn something new every day - I had never heard of such a thing. Down to get into reverse. How 'bout that?

Another Day

And I am almost finished with the Online Security Form From Hell. I actually shouldn't complain - I have some friends who have the really high-speed security clearances, and I know their process for granting/refreshing/renewing those is truly the Eigth Ring of Hell.

I'm managing to accomplish this while hanging out at a place that sounds like Gandalf Air Force Base. I'm still not sure what thought process led our leaders to do pre-mobilzation training that largely consists of administrative requirements at a camp with zero internet access, but it does give us an excuse to drive over here, where there's coffee, A/C and a good PX.

We keep picking up more soldiers, since we've had some at Civil Affairs school and other locations getting qualified to do a wide variety of things. We just picked up a company supply dude who is a PFC straight out of school. The poor guy showed up without his military ID card, so that adds just one more thing to wrestle with. [sigh] He has no idea how tortured he's going to be once we bring him online.

For the amount of actual stuff we accomplish on a daily basis, we're abnormally busy. That's both a characteristic of the Army, though, and a particular characteristic of the mobilization process. With people wandering in and out, here and there, it can take an amazing amount of time to get everyone to fill out a one-page form correctly. Then, when we get word that it isn't the correct edition of said form, it can take another day and a half to redo it.

Last time I did this, we came to the conclusion that the entire process is set up so that once you've been good and thoroughly mobilized, you're so annoyed you're begging to get on a plane headed overseas.

13 August 2008

Too much fun

The day started out silly, when I signed out a range so we could truck the entire company out to fire four - count 'em, four - rounds from our new-to-us M4 carbines. We acomplished the mission, though, which was to ensure, simply, that the rifles work.

(We could, and I swear this is the truth, get our hands only 120 rounds. Hence the 4-per thing)

The fun part ended, and now I am wrestling with that Mother Of All Nightmares - the online security clearance tool. Yep - Higher finally came back with a response to my request for some sort of written substantiation of this clearance they keep saying I have. Their response - what clearance?

[insert sound of head hitting desk here - repeat]

You know, the one that's a prerequisite for my job, which I've been doing for the last five years???

In typical Army fashion, though, since the whole situation is apparently quite confusing, I am now filling out the whole form again. Because, you know, that's what I do when I go the field - I take a list of everyplace I have lived and worked, along with points of contact at each.

So, I'm off to hate some more and wrestle with that ^%%^$*(& online application.