Friday, July 21, 2006

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dogface

Well, she's back . . . I got an email today, pointing me to a few posts (in the comments on this blog, apparently devoted to trashing some guy called Ducktape Fatwa - visit if you want, but if you're like me, you'll want a long soapy shower afterwards) by militarytracy (you remember, the one who celebrated the deaths of contractors in Iraq on dKos, apparently on the grounds that they made more money than her husband did.)

It seems militarytracy a) knows me, and b) has found my awful secret - I'm not really a soldier (I seem to recall my drill sergeant expressing the same opinion, years ago.)

My post about her comments on Daily Kos made it into a running battle over on the Ducktape Fatwa site. Militarytracy's response:

Hey Catnip, that blog you linked to isn't a soldiers blog. The guy has never served in the military but adores special forces. He's part of the 101st fighting keyboardists, you know those guys who are the war loving bloggers. I stand by what I said and I think just about every soldier I know would stand with me. Dynacorp, Blackwater Security, Custer Battles they have all murdered innocent Iraqi civilians at will and there is no recourse. My post from Kos was attempting to explain to other posters who these contractors are and how they conduct themselves in Iraq, which is above the law. Markos was one of the first people I ran across who understood what the contractors were doing and how horrible it was, but I guess he would since he lived in a war torn country as a child. I pick on the war bloggers when I have PMS, it's a personal problem.

He's a skydiver Catnip and he claims to have done jumps with different forces from all over the world, you can pay to have those experiences. It's part of his worship of special forces thing, he arranges to have jumps with them. He would never put his real ass in the line of real fire though or sign on a real dotted line and maybe get killed. Lots of cheerleading though and love of the bloodlust. He doesn't recognize the difference between a soldier and a soldier of fortune (mercenary) either, that was why he was offended by what I wrote about the contractors that were killed in Fallujah. He thinks that once you have been special forces you are GOD and anything you do to anybody after that is an act of GOD and if you were a mercenary when you did it that's even cooler.

Let me make a few points - first, everything in my prior post about her personal issues with contractors still applies. She's still speaking about things that she knows nothing about, and, judging by her posts, she's still a reprehensible human being.

Second, although I'm tempted to quote the old Airborne saying that starts "I don't care how many skydives you've got, . . . ", I won't. Skydiving is not the same thing as jumping (skydiving is, in fact, much closer to Military Freefall - I'm not going to express an opinion as to whether civilian freefall jumping is more or less dramatic than a military Airborne operation, but its a very different attitude. I will say that I think I would know if I knew Tracy, since I'd probably be appearing as a witness in a commitment hearing. And as far as "once you have been special forces you are GOD", hey, Tracy, you said it, not me.

But, more important, while I appreciate the "heads up" about what's being said about me (and the opportunity to make a few snide remarks), I really don't care. Life is too short to get drawn into the personal problems of someone like Tracy.

It is an interesting problem, though. Since I'm not going to publish my name, rank, or current unit of assignment, a reader here can choose to believe that I'm in SF, and that I've put my "real ass on the real line" or not. For those who enjoy what I have to say, welcome. For those who have concerns about whether I'm making it all up as I go, I can only refer you to the subtitle of this blog.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Well, I'm back

. . . to what I'm sure will be a deafening silence. (Hey, is this thing even on. . .I can't hear anything . . .)

For the two or three people out there who had their brother in law configure an RSS feed of my blog and now can't turn it off: Hi, I'm back, although I don't know how much I'll get to post over the next few months.

I apologize for the sudden hiatus and a year's silence - between (what turned out to be) a truly disastrous business venture last year and a failure of an unrelated, but theoretically also for profit project for technical reasons, I was a bit overwhelmed and unable to keep up the blog (although for a while I strongly considered either turning it into a book or a "will manage software development for food" site.) Especially since the whole thing took part across a backdrop of personal problems that came to a head with my return from Afghanistan. Fortunately. I had managed to put my life back on an even keel by February. I could tell it was February when my life cme back on line, since that was also the month that I was ordered back on active duty in the Army, where I remain today and for the foreseeable future.

As time permits, I hope to resume posting the stories of my military life, as well as whatever rambling and irrelevant political or personal digressions I might make from time to time . . . (the "fresh-brewed" tea crap that Lipton has in the those new soda fountain dispensers that are supposed to look like tea urns, tastes nothing like tea - or like anything else that any rational human being would want in their mouth. There, I said it and I'm glad I said it: Where I come from, sweet tea, brown and syrupy almost smoking from the cold as it's poured over the silver white of cracked ice, with a sprig of fragrant mint, bright and green in the top of a sweating glass, is a man's birthright.)

However, please don't hold me to a schedule. It looks like my life might be busy and eventful for the foreseeable future, so I don't know how much time I'll be able to spend here.

I am grateful that the blog didn't go to waste, though. Fortunately, it's unused space became home to that most prolific of all life forms in the blogosphere, the comment spammer. Since this army of mindless bots were my best readers (hey, that's cool, my blog was kinda like Daily Kos for a year), I suppose I owe them a response to all the neat information they posted here (I would have gotten to it earlier, but I was, metephorically speaking, shoveling the crap out of the yard :)

for those who would like to sell me golf equipment: If you actually knew anything about my golf game, you wouldn't be trying to sell me golf equipment - you'd be paying me to start taking tennis lessons.

While I'm glad that so many people are concerned about my impending demise at the hands of black mold, please don't post comments to that effect in the same week that I watch The Blob on late night - like I don't have enough to have nightmares about.

And, thanks for the info on discount GPS equipment, but I get my GPS equipment from the US Government, where there's - believe me - absolutely no discount involved.

And let me just me suggest that, that when following a link for discount SKYDIVING equipment, remember that caveat emptor isn't just a good idea, its a good idea in Latin, OK?

Sometimes I felt like a real sense of community was emerging among the blogbots. I'd see comments praising my insights, and then attempting to take the conversation to the next level by redirecting it to what seemed at first to be a irrelevant concept, but with medidation and reflection, became clear.

Some of it rose to the levels of poetry and philosophy - asking the age old questions: Who are we? How do we interact? How do we deal with disappointment? And asking with a spare elegance so rarely seen today :

Hello ##NAME##, surfing the net today for information on ##LINK## and found your post. ##TITLE## wasn't even what I was surfing for. Your post cerainly got my attantion, but can see why I found your post on related information. Keep up the good work.

Hi there ##NAME##, I am out searching for the latest information on ##LINK## and found this site. Although ##TITLE## wasn't what I was looking for, it certainly sparked my attention. I can see how, I came across this site when I was looking for related information. I am glad I stopped by today.

Finally, To the guy who offered me free adult website hosting about a dozen times - no thanks, in the first place, although there very well may be some pictures of me or my team in various states of undress and / or drunkenness, I very much doubt there's a paying audience for them - but I will tell how one of them came about, if anyone's interested. In the second place, while the army is all about helping the entertainment industry present the military as a fun place that any eighteen year old would love to hang out in, they inexplicably frown any suggestion that there's any screwing going on 'mongst the troops. So, tragically, no second career as a director blending the adult movie genre with the war movie - no Blackhawk Goes Down, in other words.

Although, it's a thought. I did have one person who wrote me to accuse me of writing "war porn", since I didn't wallow in the fear, or misery, or loneliness of combat when I wrote. Well, yeah, true enough, and I didn't dwell on those things at the time, either. If you do spend all your time thinking about how awful those things are, then you start getting all poopy-faced and ultimately, it can take all the fun out of the fear, misery and loneliness experience.

After all, there are two kinds of combat incidents that become war stories: ones that suck while they're happening become adventourous or amusing war stories, while those that are still going to suck a year later become horrifying or touching or inspiring ones. I try to stay away from those when I can, both in the field and on the printed page.

Whoops, another digression. Maybe a year away has made me less disicplined about interrupting my own internal monologue and abusing my audience with completely pointless asides. My old English Teacher, with only fading memories of the less metaphoric uses of the phrase, would no doubt consider it as indulgent self abuse, since I'm abusing the audience only out of the selfish belief that my unformed raw thoughts, unfiltered by learning, culture or even the discretion that thought teaches. My psych teacher would leap up and claim that no, I was abusing the audience through the instrument of my own ego in the hopes of creating a dynamic with an audience that had learned that it liked to be abused, in order to bask in the reflected glory of the presenter. Then, the audience and I would leap up and order, beers and ales, sherries and cognacs, brandy and whiskey, and would bring about a bond our own way.

I'm thinking about writing a book about my experiences, and, if I go on in this vein, I'll be making some smart and caring girl a fortune after her close association with me. There's a fortune for a girl who can make sense out of me,and more important, who can make me make sense out of me. They call these women (no,no, not wives, no jumping ahead) Story Editors. If I find one that I like and that can tolerate me, maybe the project to turn bits and pieces of this site into a Real Book will go forward. Or, if not, maybe I do have a career in war porn:

SCENE: An army barracks with row on row of identical bunkbeds and footlockers. Here is an environment where all individuality is withheld, suppressed, waiting to come crashing out. The lighting is dim and shadowy, with the fans that move the sultry air creating shadows that cut the night like a whip. Soldiers are in various states of undress. down to skivvy shorts and t-shirts in some cases. The platoon sergeant, however, is still fully dressed, the creases in his khaki shirt and green wool pants still sharp, albeit a bit wilted. He pushes his campaign hat back out of his eyes and speaks:

PLT SGT: Some night, private, if your out there in your fox hole and you see it, sudden like, thumping down in front of you, you'll have to throw yourself on it:you've no choice,really, it's for the squad, for your mates that you do it.

PRIVATE: But how will I know?

PLT SGT: No worries, my lad. I'll know. You can trust old sarge!

PRIVATE: God, Sarge, does it hurt, does it hurt bad?

PLT SGT: THere are things you can do to ease the pain. Your in a good squad, lad. The boys 'll help you there. After all, it's better that you all should know how to respond for the good of the squad.

OTHER RANKER: Some lads are prepared with special cream that makes it less painful or gets it over quicker. Others try to contain the explosion with their hands instead of doing more certainly but more painfully by driving it into a crevice of the body."He sighed wistfully."Really depends on what you relationship to the squad is, does't it?"

PRIVATE (Slow, slow pause, followed by his gaze panning around the barracks and lingering on the PLT SGT's chest, with all the metals.)

PRIVATE: Sarge, this isn't about the throwing yourself on a hand grenade bit at all, is it?)

So, do I have a future in this or what???
Of course, I couldn't focus on developing the war porn business immediately, since madness invaded the SFAG blogsite and submitterbizz, once a well liked and restrained bot went spastic:

Hi Special Forces Alpha Geek, If you would like to send your ad to the best opportunity seekers please click here multi-safelist blaster. multi-safelist blaster

After the 25th comment, I started to see their point.

I suppose that I can sum up by saying that I'm ecstatic to have a list of the best quality urban products - products that the urban community should be grateful for. I know that I am. With this list, I can quickly decide who to avoid based on accoutrement and attire instead of actually having to talk to them to discover that they're absolute pillocks.

And last, for those automatic comment spam posters who came across my blog by looking for information on road construction safety equipment, all I can say is I'm sorry that the blog wasn't exactly what you were looking for, but thanks for posting the link entitled road construction safety equipment that actually goes to a website on interest free credit. I'm sure glad that someone has exactly the information you want. Now fuck off.

Appropos of nothing, word verification is turned on for comments. People who can either a) pass, or b) fail interestingly a Turing test are invited to email me with comments about how to manage comments here on this site.

Oh, and by the way, if anyone out there is glad I'm here, thanks - I'm glad I'm back.