Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Wednesday Update

I've been wanting to post an entry for the past couple of days, but our internet in the rooms has been down in the evenings. Our net here is better than it was in the IZ. It's faster and they don't have those ridiculous filters, the ones that blocked me from updating or even accessing my own web site. However, now that my command has settled in to the barracks, we've overloaded their system. So it runs fine until all of a sudden it crashes. And that's the end of your access until the next day. Come to think of it, I better get busy ... it's just after 8 pm and it's about lights-out time for our Net.

So I finally got around to taking a few pictures and thought you might be interested in seeing a little bit of my world. Then again, maybe not. But here they are, anyway.

This is my room. As barracks rooms in Iraq go, this is top-flight. It's in a real building, with real furniture and a real bed. But you have to remember, this is a real Iraqi building ... meaning nothing is quite straight or flat, there's no ventilation (see that a/c unit on the wall? It just recirculates the same stale air). But after living in a shipping container that leaked dust, this is the Ritz.
Of course, being an artist, I have to have a place to paint. Here's mine. I've got an easel on order right now, which will be a huge improvement. Remember what I just said about the lack of ventilation? Well, that means that the fumes from the Iraqi paint thinner don't go anywhere. They stay right here, even when I leave the door open. I put in a few hours worth of painting the other day and felt like I had hangover the next morning. Ugh! I learned later that our windows really do open, so I'll have 'em wide open next time I paint. (And for you artists out there: I haven't found a local source for a decent solvent, so I gotta use paint thinner from the local economy ... and it's the nastiest stuff on earth. All I know for sure is that it's petroleum based - nothing else could stink like that.) On the brighter side, the paint thinner smell is gone now, leaving just the lingering fragrance of the paint's linseed oil, which to me is wonderful ... but then, I am an artist.

And here's a shot of my desk and our workspace. Looks like a bunch of cubes in a monster industrial building, doesn't it? That's because it is a bunch of cubes in a monster industrial building. It was originally one of Saddam's mints ... maybe the one where he made all that counterfeit American money. It's much roomier than our old digs in the International Zone, for which I'm grateful.

I've written several times about our reorganization and transformation flail. My part is done (at least for the moment) and it has reached critical mass up at the high levels where the decisions have to be made ... and should have been made months ago. I've got an idea of what will happen with me, but it could all change in an instant. For now, we sit and wait. We're scheduled to shift to our new organizational structure next week. It would be nice to know what that structure might be, before we do the switch!


  1. Nice to see some photos!

  2. Wow, your digs and office space look far better than I ever imagined any place could look in Iraq. But what I really like is the painting you were working on. Glad you found a place to paint and hope you get your easel soon.

  3. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 09/10/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  4. Thanks for this glimpse. I'm going to forward your site to my cousin who is the curator of art at the Portland ME museum.