The trick with being in a place that has a lot of dust, ridiculous temperature swings, everyone carrying assault rifles with them, and a 50/50 chance of ice cold water in your shower is that you have to find ways to be optimistic. It helps to be able to check email, catch a tape-delayed football game at the USO tent (especially if you can check the score on the internet and see that your team won the game!), read, or watch movies on the laptop. I understand that they do salsa dance lessons three times a week, so I have to check that out! One major purpose of the band, in fact, is to improve morale of the troops, and we hope to be up and running soon so we can do that. In the meantime, it's interesting how one can have a little fun here.
There are many latrines on the base here. I'm sure that contributes to the particular smell that permeates many sections of the post. Naturally, there is a fair amount of graffiti in the latrines, most of it unprintable in a blog intended for family reading. But I did come across a couple of things that I found surprisingly deep:
Artificial intelligence is neither good nor evil. It cannot love or hate you. But you are made of molecules it can use for something else. Nice to see that geeks are everywhere.
Chuck Norris stepped on an IED and blew up the trigger man.
Yesterday, we had a five-hour long briefing. A British Major General told us that many orders that are put out are written in Dari, a variant of Persian (Farsi) that is the most commonly spoken language in Afghanistan, and then back-translated into English. This leads to some amusingly archaic wording, such as: Coalition forces should avoid vexing the locals.
Given that this is just the first week, I expect to have more where that came from!