Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Good Old Fashioned Fuck Fuck Games

I am absolutely pissed right now so bear with me if I jump around.

So back in January I contacted my monitor to get orders to a new unit when my time is up here. I was surprised to learn that I was selected by the Headquarters Marine Corps Special Duty Assignment Screening Team (HSST) to serve on a special duty assignment (SDA). The HSST is a team of senior Marines who screen all Sergeants and Staff Sergeants to see who are eligible to do an SDA. The Marine Corps has five SDAs (Drill Instructor, Recruiter, Security Forces, Combat Instructor, and Embassy Security).

Well, long story short, I was selected for recruiting duty. I was given a recruiters school class date of 4 September. All SDAs require an obligated service time frame which is usually between 24 and 36 months. This ensures that the training and effort they put into you is worth their time. If you get selected to do an SDA, they will expect you to extend your current contract to fulfil the SDA service obligation. If you don't do this, it obviously exempts you from having to do the SDA, but they will force you out of the Marine Corps at the end of your current end of active service date (EAS).

For me this obligation was 24 months that I had to have on my contract once I finished recruiters school. My  EAS was December 2013 before all this went down. From the end of the class date I would have to extend my contract 10 months to meet the 24 months obligation. I was told this in June and I had serious reservations about staying the the Marine Corps and doing recruiting duty. For one, it's well-known that recruiting is probably one of the top two shittiest jobs in the Corps. You work from 8am to 9pm or later every day. For two to three years.

I've always wanted to be a cop. Ever since I knew I had to have a job, that's the only thing I've ever truly wanted to do. My whole life up to this point has been spent preparing myself for it. It's why I joined the Marines in the first place - so I would have something to do until I was old enough and so it would give me a leg up on the rest of the police applicants. I never planned to do more than my original five year contract but I was offered 80 grand and a three-year tour in Europe. There was no way I could say no.

So back in June I was staring at these extension papers and I got cold feet and decided that getting out would be the best option. I could finally go be a police officer like I've always wanted. But the thing was that I didn't want to get forced out of the Marines if I didn't do the SDA. I wanted to get out anyway but I wanted to leave on my own terms. I'm very confident that I'll have no problems getting onto the police department but in the back of my mind I was freaking out because there are only two things I know I will be good at; being a Marine, and being a cop. If for some reason the cop thing didn't work out I wouldn't have the Marine Corps as a back up and I would be completely devastated. There is nothing else I want to do. I would be totally lost in the civilian world if I didn't have option A or B. I would be starting out at whatever company at nearly 30 years old over a decade behind the power curve.

I decided to suck it up and do the 10 month extension and recruiting duty. It was a tough decision but I did it. I gave them an extra year of my life to avoid being forced out.

The last few months I've been prepping myself for school. It's a two-month Marine Corps school which are usually pretty miserable - at least they are for me anyway.

So I've been trying to be optimistic about the whole thing. Trying to take it all in stride when BAM! FOUR DAYS before I get on a plane for San Diego I get an email saying that the obligated service for SDAs changed. Before I can detatch from my present unit I have to sign ANOTHER extension, this time for 13 months because my SDA now requires 36 months after school.

My EAS went from being December of next year to being almost the beginning of 2016!!

I was already iffy about this when it was ten extra months, now it's two years.

Going from planning on getting out in less than a year to fulfil my dream of being a cop to being forced into doing an extra two years AND a shitty duty has me pretty upset right now.

If I deny this extension I don't exactly know what will happen. I will probably be sent back to North Carolina and have to keep the extra ten months, then have to do a year in Afghanistan (which I would actually be pretty happy about), and then get forced out in 2014.

An alternative ending is that I go back to NC, get to go back to my original EAS and they'll force me out  next year.

Or, the most unlikely option is that I fight this and get to keep my current extension and still do the SDA and not get forced out.

At the moment I think I will try to fight it. If that doesn't work I may just throw in the towel and call it quits. "Thanks for playing Marine Corps, you didn't win but better luck next time!"

Thanks for reading. I'd really like to hear what you all think.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Social Networking Brings Out the Kid In Everyone

Ok, so we've all been doing this social networking for several years now but it never ceases to amaze me how fucking stupid people can be. Adults make up about 95% of my total “friend” population on facebook but you wouldn’t be able to tell from looking at some of the shit that comes across my news feed. A simple solution would be to delete my facebook account but being in the military and always away from home it’s the only real way to stay connected with people and as much as I bitch, it is fun to see the stupid shit people do with their internet.  

These are the top five things I see that make me want to physically harm someone.

Status Regurgitation
For those of you who are new to the internet (which seems to be quite a few) this may be the first time you’ve heard this but you really shouldn’t believe everything you see on the internet. Maybe before you re-post the same half-witted nonsense your friends puked all over your news feed do a little homework to find out if what you are saying is true. Often times we see tributes to fallen Marines or soldiers that are inaccurate or political or religious mud slinging that nobody took the time to research properly and then come off either disrespectful or completely fucking moronic. Remember, just because your friends said it doesn't make it true. Before you re-post just use a little critical thinking skills and do a little research. It's so easy to go to and type in a few key words like I've done for you below. 

Cancer Awareness Psedo-activism
Next thing on my list is the cancer awareness bullshit. We’ve all seen it; everything from the bra colors to the “I’m ten weeks and I’m craving a bag of dicks” status updates. Stop that shit. Stop it right now. It’s annoying and it’s not like we’re not already aware of cancer. You would be hard-pressed to find a single person who hasn’t been affected by cancer and thus already well aware. Not to mention the fact that your pseudo-activism hasn’t done anything but become the very cancer of social networking sites.

DO NOT Deny God on Facebook!
Jesus doesn't have a facebook account and neither does god. So you can stop re-posting the “if you deny god on facebook he will deny you in heaven” bullshit. You’re obviously one of those people I used to get emails from back in the dial-up AOL days telling me that if I didn't forward the email to all my friends within 10 minutes I would get haunted in my sleep by some creepy ghost. Better safe than sorry right? Dumb ass. I’m pretty sure your salvation doesn't hinge on a shout out to Jesus on facebook and if it does you've got more problems than you think.

Spelling and Grammar
Jesus Christ people, that red squiggly line is there for a reason; click that shit and unfuck yourself. (Yes, unfuck is one of those words with the red squiggly line but I left it there for emphasis.) Brevity spelling was somewhat of a necessity when cell phones first came out and you almost had to type out every text in Morse code but it should have stopped there. I think most of us accepted brevity as convenience but those who couldn't spell and didn't know punctuation or grammar if you tied them up and spanked them with it were just using it to mask their illiteracy. But the secret is out now. At any given time you have access to several ways to avoid sounding like an idiot but so many are just that lazy.

Emo Status Updates
People don’t get on social networking sites to listen to how your life is so shitty. Sure some people go through rough patches and letting your friends know you’re not doing too well is one thing. But constantly fishing for facebook hugs because you can’t seem to get your shit together is another. Stop polluting my feeds with how you wish you had a better life or better friends and all these melodramatic and highly ambiguous status updates fishing for responses. It’s pathetic. There are people in the world with real fucking problems. Get your shit together and do something with your life like everyone else.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

AIDS Tastes Like Shit

I need to preface this post by saying that I love British people but this country has the tendency to make me say, “Dude, what the fuck?!” I also need to say that the reason I feel this way is mostly because I’m completely out of my element in a different country and being unfamiliar with something usually means you’re uncomfortable with it as well. Kind of like going in for your first prostate exam.


I’m not comparing living here to a finger in the ass but hey, if the shoe fits. Anyway, it’s safe to say that if the roles were reversed and we plopped some Brit in the middle of Kansas, he would likely share the same sentiment.

So, just last night I finally got over my fear of ordering pizza from the Papa John’s in Peterborough. I usually don’t have reservations when it comes to food that makes my soul rejoice but when I feel like my life is in danger, sometimes my appetite just has to get in the back seat and shut the fuck up. 

Living in England has its ups and downs. Mostly downs. No offense to the Brits reading this but I think I know why the pilgrims were like, “Whoa, fuck that place.”

One of the biggest downs is the fact that the English are known for two things: Terrible customer service and terrible food. Often times in England we experience culinary abominations in which the two converge to make dining out risky at best. Now, the food isn’t terrible in the “that food gave me mouth AIDS” way, but more like “that food tastes a bit AIDS-y.” Although considering their customer service track record I could totally see a restaurant employee over here being like, “Hmmm, that food smells like AIDS. Ah fuck it, AIDS never hurt nobody.”

Well, sometime last year I got lost in Peterborough. While trying to find my way back to the city center, I stumbled upon the Arab equivalent of Chinatown. This was the first time I’d seen this many Arabs in one place since I left Iraq and judging by their traditional Islamic clothing it’s safe to say that most of that population was Muslim as well. 

Now, the vast majority of Muslims are very good people but I have a really hard time discerning the good ones from the ones who want to turn me into pink mist which makes me cautious of them all. Having spent more than a year in a middle-eastern combat zone dodging mortars and being shot at, I found myself swerving around potholes and doing 5 and 25s at stoplights. I’m being a bit hyperbolic but this place looked almost exactly like Ramadi and I was actually getting nervous. The fact that I was driving a left-hand drive car didn’t really help either.  
How can you tell which one is the terrorist?

I know, I can’t tell either. 

As luck would have it, In the middle of Ramadi, England I stumbled upon the greatest pizza place in the history of ever – Papa John’s. Now, if you’ve ever lived outside the US you know magical it is when you discover little pieces of America in a foreign country – Nearly as exciting as a double rainbow

So I’ve known about this place for about a year now but I’ve only eaten there a couple of times. Each time I went there I just walked into the place and ordered it right there and I watched them make it as a deterrent to them waging holy war on my pizza. I know it sounds crazy but I get nervous around Muslims; I know way too much about Islam not to. 

Yeah, I said it. 

As I said before, each time I had ordered food there I waited for them to make it while I stood there watching. Being hungry and having a mild case of ADHD does not make this pleasant. Not wanting to wait this time, I decided to take my chances and order over the phone for carry out. 

Still scared of dying from pizza poisoning, I was trying to think of how I would make this phone call. A couple approaches leapt to mind: I could either hide my American accent by faking a British accent but that would be about as believable as a Sprint customer service rep named “John” who lives in “New Jersey” but for some reason can't correctly pronounce words that end in 'tle.' 

Or I could just be REALLY REALLY nice. 

Now I HATE it when people are overly nice, instead of encouraging reciprocity like it should it makes me angry and want to kick them in the sphincter. I commend courtesy but when you take it over the top I start to feel like I’m being patronized. 

But other people are receptive to it. 

So that’s what I went with. When I called I was trying to be the “hey, please don’t jihad my pizza” nice, but it ended up sounding like I wanted to bone him. Totally not what I was going for but for the sake of self-preservation it was completely acceptable. 

Oh well.

Picking it up it was kinda awkward but I guess I did something right.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

How Old People Die

This is the story of the SECOND time I nearly died in a bathtub. This time it was in a foreign country.

Just under a year ago one of my best friends began his two-year tour in Germany. We’ll call him Ed. The last time I’d seen Ed he was leaving for Afghanistan about a year and a half before. Shortly after he arrived in Germany we all had a four-day weekend coming up and it was only an $80 plane ticket away so I decided to fly out to visit him. I invited another Marine who was stationed out here with me at the time. We’ll call him Scrotie McBoogerballs.

Well, Ed originally wanted to go to France but since he didn’t have a tourist passport yet we had to find a country to visit that had open borders with Germany. Austria being the closest, that’s what we decided. The plan was for me and Scrotie to fly into Munich and Ed was going to take a three-hour train there to meet us. We planned on staying a night in Munich and then renting a car to drive across the border into Austria. From there we were just going to play it by ear. 

Scrotie and I flew into Munich and met up with Ed as planned. We checked into our hotel room, got cleaned up and hit the town. The first night was pretty uneventful, save for the kid at our first stop gambling by himself; the bartender and his parents couldn’t have cared less. I tried not to judge him, I just told myself he was trying to make some headway in his college tuition. I guess the same way I justify my support for strippers. Ed and Scrotie weren’t getting along very well which was a bit disconcerting and kind of a buzz kill. 

Yes, that is a slot machine.

The next morning we get in the car and drove an hour and a half to Salzburg, Austria. We got there relatively early so we did the tourist-y stuff for most the day. 

Cell Phone Pic of Salzburg

We started the evening off with dinner at a small pub in the middle of town. When we sat down they gave us a basket of different types of bread as an appetizer. We order a round of beers and start looking at the menu. Not being able to read Austrian German (or German German for that matter), the only thing I can make heads or tails of is the cheese platter. Having an atypical affinity for bread and cheese, I’m not disappointed. The guys laugh at my choice of food considering the long night of drinking ahead of us but I completely disregard their criticism. I wouldn’t understand the implications of that decision until roughly nine hours later. 

We finished up dinner around six and started drinking at another pub. If you’ve ever had Hefeweizen (pronounced Hefeveisen) you know how easy it is to drink a couple liters and not even realize it. That shit is delicious. This pub was a hole in the wall but was the only one open that early. We hung out there, had a few rounds of hefeweizen and then moved on.
At this point it’s safe to say we were slightly impaired. 

Our next stop was at very contemporary looking bar. The inside was nice, decent crowd, seemed like a good place. We pick a table near the window at the front of the bar. From where we’re sitting we have a pretty good field of view into the place. Scrotie notices a pretty girl at the complete other end of the bar sitting by herself. We’ll call her Tina. You’ll know why in a second. We decided that Scrotie should go over and talk to Tina, he agrees. As he walks over, Ed and I chuckle thinking he’s going to be coming back to the table within the next 30 seconds. 

Much to our surprise, after a small exchange, Tina invites him to sit down. Ed and I think “Well shit, go Scrotie.” So about 10-15 minutes passes by and Scrotie is still not back. I look over just as they start to get up. It soon became clear why she was sitting alone. The first thing I notice is that Tina was easily a foot taller than Scrotie. His head barely came up to her shoulders. As Scrotie and Tina start to make their way over to our table I begin to notice she has several man-like features. She may or may not have been a post-op tranny, and not the hot kind like Kim Petras.

They sit down and we make small talk until finally we couldn’t stand it anymore. We held off as long as we could but Ed and I couldn’t resist asking her to hold her hand up so we could size them up to ours.

 This poor girl's pituitary gland had a mind of it's own. 

Trying not to be complete dicks we ask her if she’s a model (we know she’s not). She tells us that when she lived in California (explains her well-spoken English) she tried but they said she was too tall. No way, get the fuck outta here.

After about a half hour Tina says that she’s about to go to a club and invites us along. She says this club is very exclusive and that she would have to talk to the owner to get us inside. Sweet. We all get up, pay our tab and step outside. As we’re walking to the club, I start to feel like everyone is staring. 

This is what it was like.
We got to the club and were waiting outside for her to talk to the owner. Ed decided that it was too quiet outside and felt compelled to scream obscenities at a random passerby. The owner sees this and decides we’re not the caliber of people he wanted in his club. He probably made the right choice. Although considering the fact that he allowed Tina in was kind of insulting. 

So we leave Tina and move on to a really crowded place down the street. This is where the night takes a turn for the worst. We hung around for a while just talking to random people. We start talking with this group of girls who introduce us to several different kinds of shot mixes which was somewhat educational. We introduced them to tequila shots. I don’t know of a single time when tequila was ever a good idea. It turned into kind of a contest to see who could come up with the best shots. Nobody won.  

Somewhere in the middle of this I was approached by two dudes who looked like they belonged at a Star Wars convention.


They heard our American accents and felt it necessary to tell us how awesome we were for being Americans. They asked us what we did for a living and I told them we were U.S. Marines. At this point we had attained rock star status - which in reality is about as cool as coming in first place at a Dungeons and Dragons competition. 

Nobody ever truly wins at this either
While Ed and Scrotie were talking to people who were exponentially more socially adept, I spent the next hour trying to explain the concept of being willing to die for your country to a couple of guys who spend most of their time jerking off to Captain Kirk and texting each other in binary. Needless to say, I wasn’t having much luck. 

Shortly after the tequila shots I start to feel the effects. Over the next half hour I honestly started to feel like I was dying. I then made the best decision of the night and hailed a cab. I told the guys I was done and needed to stop drinking. I told Ed, who was equally inebriated, to get in the cab with me. Initially he got in but quickly decided he hadn’t had enough so he jumped out of the cab right as it began to pull away. 

Back at the hotel room I still feel like I’m going to die. I start trying to think of ways to save myself. Oddly, calling 911 (Probably a different number in Austria) never occurred to me. Eureka! Water, that was it; I needed to drink as much water as I could. In my drunken stupor I also make the connection between drinking water and being IN water and thought both were going to save my life.  So I filled the bathtub with water and quickly got undressed. I climbed in and laid there for a while.

Enter Scrotie.  

A couple hours later, Scrotie is the next one to come back to the room. He walks through the door (Bottom right of the picture) and comes around the corner. The first thing he sees is me lying in the bathtub and from what he can tell, I’m not breathing. He later told me that he was so convinced I was dead that he didn’t even rush to my aid. Just as he makes his way through the bathroom door, I start to snore. Completely relieved, he comes over to wake me up. The way I depicted myself in the bathtub is exactly how I was; spread eagle and butt ass naked, although not quite that skinny. To make things even more awkward, the plug that holds the water in the tub was really bad at its job so by the time Scrotie found me there was no water in the tub at all. He helped me up and made me go to bed. 

So I wake up the next morning, still butt naked and lying next to a slightly less naked Ed who had come back hours after Scrotie. I look to my right and the first thing I notice was the HUGE puddle of things my body didn’t want inside of it anymore. Scrotie wakes up around the same time and explains how he found me sleeping in the bathtub. Out of nowhere, Ed pipes up:

“Dude, don’t you know that’s how old people die?”

Friday, January 28, 2011

Funny/Weird Pictures I’ve Taken Pt. 2

This first picture was taken in Paris, France. I don’t think I really need to explain. 

The next picture was taken in Belfast, Ireland. 

This is where the detour button on the GPS comes in quite handy.

This picture was taken not too far from where we live in England.

I know you're probably thinking that this sign is unnecessary but let me assure you that it is. There are probably more old people here per capita than a retirement home in Florida. 

 Here’s an oddly specific sign out in front of a shop in our town. They seem legit. 

The next three pictures were taken at our house. If you suffer from arachnophobia I suggest you look away. One morning I got up for work and went to the bathroom. As I’m standing at the toilet I see something moving in the bathtub so I look over and this is what I see:

That‘s my shaver cord next to it. The damn thing was so big that it couldn’t even climb out of the bathtub!

This one was just chilling on the wall in front of our house.

These aren’t the only ones like this we’ve seen. There have been at least half a dozen more that we haven’t taken pictures of. I’m starting to think our neighbors are breeding them next door. 

On a completely separate note; we’ve got a couple guest bedrooms if anyone wants to come visit us!