In the last year…

Inspired by my friend Mlah, I got to wondering what I’ve done in the last 12 months… so heres a short list!
-Deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan
-Learned how to Golf
-Flown in the Armys largest plane, the C-17
-Lost 2 pants sizes
-Been in sandstorms
-Shot a couple hundred rounds of an M60 from a Black hawk
-Visited New York City, saw Times Square
-Explored old abandoned Iraqi Tanks
-Saw the home of Abraham from the Bible
-Seen a partial lunar eclipse over the Iraqi dessert
-Learned how to play guitar
-Spent hours in the back of an MRAP with no AC
-Rode a train for the first time
-Attempted (& failed) to calm down a medic who had just tried to save his battle
-Rented a mustang
-Bought a Persian rug
-Watched a gangfight in a restaurant
-Spent a large sum of my battles money in Kuwait City b/c he accidentally got KD instead of U.S. dollars
-Visted the Mall of America
-Saw the Kuwaiti Towers
-Lived in a hotel for three months
-Flown in a Chinook in the middle of the night
-Worked 44 hours straight
-Went to a Wedding
-Got drunk on Borboun Street, New Orleans
-Drove someone elses boat in a swamp, while looking for alligators
-Tried to dress up like a Ninja when I’d had way too many drinks
-Learned from a 33 and a KFB
-Showered with a room full of women
-Watched the skin peel off my feet
-Designed and built a website
-Learned how to invest my own $ in the market

Iraq Timetables – what?

“Democrats have failed repeatedly this year to garner the votes to change Bush’s open-ended military commitment to the war.” There is a reason for that. We made a lot of mistakes when we first entered this war – disbanding of the Iraqi Army, not having a plan past securing Baghdad, our debathification process, etc. Members of our government have come to see the error of our ways and are now taking steps to save this before it falls into the black bit of oblivion. If we continue to attempt to set timetables and force a pull out before that countries ready, are we ready to except the fallout from that? The ensuing chaos and further inflammation of sectarian violence would be catastrophic in the region.

I take pride in humanity and I am not enough of a bastard to watch the collapse of a country due to our errors in the initial handling. Whether or not I agree with why we initially went into Iraq doesn’t matter at this point. We should remain strong, follow through, and present a unified presence to the rest of the world.

Airport Security

Basically these government officials, Government Accountability Office (GAO), did an undercover opt to get a bomb past airport security. And the results were shocking. “GAO uncovered weaknesses in TSA (Transportation Security Administration) screening procedures and other vulnerabilities.” Well, no sh*t. Yes, there are still vulnerabilities in our security measures and I imagine we’ll be looking at more lock downs because of these ‘uncovered weaknesses,’ but I’m starting to wonder at what point is it going to end. When will the heap of flight restrictions on passengers stop. At what point will we the American people say ‘no more.’ No more forcing us to purchase outrageously priced water bottles because we can’t bring our own drinks to the airplane. You reach a point where enough is enough.

Whenever I fly I’m scared to death that I might have accidentally left a tiny pocket knife attached to my key chain. For the smoker, its probably the gnawing fear of finding a lighter stuffed in the bottom of their backpack while trying to pass through security checkpoints. These items can cause series problems for an innocent traveler.

While I do think some high level of security is necessary to prevent tragedies like the world has seen in the last decade, I don’t think we need to take it to the extreme. Every system has ‘weaknesses,’ nothing is full-proof. Lets just be realistic about the level to which we are willing to go and the amount of problems we’re willing to cause the average American. We’re only willing to sacrifice so much before we say stop. Whether or not thats close, I don’t know. But I’m keeping a heads up on the potential ensuing restrictions.

Facebook is better than Myspace.

I’ve been a Facebook user for a while now. But had never given into the Myspace wave. Recently however, it came to my attention that a few of my friends only use Myspace so I had to give in and become the sheep. Here are some thoughts on the two:

Myspace. I can’t lie, there are a few perks to using Myspace. For one, Myspace allows you to use your own code. As a coder (recently acquired skill set) I love the opportunity to style my own site. I also love the creative aspect that Myspace allows. I go to my friends site and I’m able to see a whole new side of their personality. But there in lies the problem. A number of sites, that aren’t properly maintained are chaotic and frustrating to dig through. Not to mention the adjustments that Myspace itself makes to its site as whole and then fails to inform their users, screwing up color schemes and other features on the individual site.

Facebook. Facebook has an overall appeal. The site design is much better. Its neat, clean, and concise. My favorite is the applications that can be added, allowing for more interaction between users then just a comments section (Myspace).

Example: If I so desired I can ‘throw’ a sheep at one of my friends in Australia or a burger through the Food Fight application. Or I can attack or infect the Zombie on my college buddies page. Or compete in TV trivia, or play chess, or Texas hold’em that sits on the site until I log on again.

Also, the groups and the photo-sharing are much better.

All in all, Facebook wins out. I enjoy the interaction and don’t have to deal with annoying color schemes that screw up depending on the browsers. While there are many reasons to choose one over the other, these are just a few of my quibbles and preferences.