Saturday, August 29, 2009

Journal 081009_081609

Shank 29 Aug 09

Weekly journal entries, also known as Jeff's Eating Diary...

It may seem like i am eating alot, since that's what I mostly write about. Oddly, I have actually lost about 30 pounds since getting in country 1 July. Admittedly, about a third of that weight is dysentery related... butt, it's weight loss nonetheless.

10 August 2009

Breakfast: oatmeal/strawberry yogurt, 2 x OJ, Protein Shake, Coffee

Bible Reading: Numbers 5-7

Lunch: Grilled chicken, green beans, cottage cheese, fruit salad, 2 x V-8, water

Dinner: Taco salad, 2 x V-8, water

11 August 2009

Breakfast: oatmeal w strawberry yogurt; 2 x GJ, Protein Shake

Bible Reading: Numbers 8-10

Lunch: Tuna wrap w lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, relish, olives, fruit salad, 2 x V-8

Supper: beef fajita meat, peas, sauted cabbage, water, strawberry smoothie (made at dining facility!) Out of V-8 until resupply.

Today, I decided only to go to specialized focus meetings since most of the rest don’t help me do my job any better (Staff Sync, CUB, BUB).

12 August 2009

Breakfast: oatmeal w strawberry yogurt; OJ, AJ, Protein Shake

Bible Reading: Numbers 11-13

Lunch: chicken breast, tossed salad, fruit salad, diet coke

Supper: beef stew w noodles, potatoes au gratin (wanted some starch for the stomach.) Diet Pepsi

13 August 2009

Breakfast: oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, Protein Shake

Bible Reading: Numbers 14-16

Lunch: Turkey and swiss wrap w lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, fruit salad, diet coke

Supper: Rotisserie chicken / jambalaya, steamed pumpkin, V-8, Diet Pepsi

Bible Study: The Purpose Driven Life, Chapter 27: Defeating Temptation. I need to refocus my attention on other things when the wrong thoughts start percolating. I also should have someone to whom I am accountable with my deep darkies. I am not invulnerable. Finally, I need to remember to resist the devil – God always provides a way out.

14 August 2009

Breakfast: oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt; Protein Shake

Bible Reading: Numbers 17-19

Lunch: chicken wrap w lettuce, tomato, onion, ranch dressing, fruit salad, diet pepsi, pecan pie

Supper: Fried scallops, pickles, tossed salad, ice cream w strawberry drizzle

15 August 2009

Breakfast: Protein Shake


Bible Reading: Numbers 20-22

Lunch: chicken adobo and rice, puto

Supper: Lasagna, Carrots, Succotash, Strawberries

Had a good day: finished the July 09 CIED Summary and Analysis. S2, Maj Violand really likes the product and wants me to include and brief in future CIED WGs.

Other projects I am working on:

- Threat Financing (following the money) - this is a huge effort country-wide. Task Force Spartan is leading the way across Afghanistan at the brigade level to institute a Threat Finance Cell. SSgt Tia Williams is a very smart young NCO who will do well in her role as NCOIC with CWO4 David Slyman as OIC. Slyman, by the way, wants to run for Mayor of San Antonio some day. I wrote a draft organizational charter for Tia and got her pointed in the right direction. One of the things I like about being a contractor/consultant is that I am not "in-charge", but only advise those who make the final decisions.

- Mine proliferation. When the Soviets were here, they left behind millions of land mines which affect nearly every family in the country. These mines are still here. Talibanistas are using those mines against the coalition and local national civilians and security forces. I am trying to isolate who is using them and where.

- We are seeing a rise in the use of home made explosives (HME) in IEDs. Each HME batch has a chemical fingerprint. With the help of explosive forensics labs, I am trying to isolate where these HMEs are manufactured and by whom.

- On a more positive note, I am analyzing survey data from the Afghanistan Perceptions and Attitudes data collection effort. Military patrols are going village to village anyway, so we loaded them with a bunch of 11 question surveys and having them ask the village people to fill them out. Interesting results and breakouts by age/gender.

- Through Ramadan, and I expect ad infinitum, I am working up daily and cumulative significant activity numbers for the Task Force AOR (area of responsibility.)

That's a nutshell view of some of the work I am doing here...

16 August 2009

Breakfast: Ham, cheddar, onion, salsa, sour cream omelet (half), biscuit w sausage gravy, OJ, coffee

Bible Reading: Numbers 23-25

Chapel service: A Request God Grants: The prayer of Jabez (1 Chron. 4:9-10)

Only one life, ‘twill soon be past.
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

The Code of Chaplain Brad West:

1. I will be a man of integrity
2. I will not allow myself to become comfortable, I will take risks and push the envelope
3. I will be self-disciplined
4. I will seek wisdom
5. I will seek simplicity, limit clutter and complexity
6. I will be a compassionate man
7. I will be humble
8. I will be a leader
9. I will be a man of faith
10. I will be a man of honor

Bruce Wilkinson Book: Walk Through the Bible study courses plus the Prayer of Jabez
Bless me Indeed! Ask – Expect – Watch – Give Thanks. (James: Ye have not, because ye ask not.)

Enlarge my territory (what is my impact for God?)

Your hand be with me (Ps 16:11) in strength and companionship

Keep me from evil: Uninterrupted fellowship and usefulness

I need to maintain the desire to make an impact for God.

Lunch: Chicken wrap w lettuce, tomato, onion, ranch dressing, fruit salad, V-8, diet pepsi

Supper: Beef cardonala, chicken pancit, rice, puto (Filipino birthday celebration for MSgt Gonzalez - I gave him a MORS - Military Operations Research Society coin and a copy of Imperial Grunts by Robert Kaplan.)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Journal 080809_080909

So, we have had some casualties within Task Force Spartan that have prevented me from getting on the internet. Whenever a soldier falls, the leadership imposes a "blackout" on all outgoing communications until the famil(ies) are notified. Sometimes that takes a while and sometimes there are more than one over several days.

That said, I will try to do better at keeping the blog going.

August 8, 2009

0500 Workout
Breakfast: oatmeal w peach yogurt; 2 x GJ, Protein Shake

1 Hour Massage by Melody ($30 with tip.) Someone stole her iPod. I reported it to Porvost Marshall Office for her (there is a continuing story here.) Reloaded Roshan network cell phone w $55 = 3+ hours

Bible Reading: Numbers 1-2

Lunch: Grilled Chicken wrap w lettuce, tomato, onion, cheddar cheese, ranch dressing, fruit salad, olives, pickles, 2 x V-8

Supper: Chicken Cordon Bleu, Peas, CArrots, pecan pie w whipped cream, 2 x V-8

August 9, 2009

Lora Call: She waited up for me to call (around 9:30 her time) Tough day for her. She had people coming and going and got nothing done.

Breakfast: Ham, cheddar, onion omelet, biscuit w sausage gravy, fruit cocktail, 2 x GJ (Sundays are my "blow-out" for breakfast day.)

Chapel Service: Brent Sanders gave message: Do we need a mountaintop experience to be close to God? No, we don’t. We need to be in his will to be close to him, no matter where we are physically.

Lunch: Tuna Salad wrap w lettuce, onion, tomato, relish, olives, fruit salad, V-8, OJ

Walked w Rich Gonzalez to Haji mart. He wanted some iPod speakers. Then went to Oasis and walked Melody to Provost marshall office so she could make a statement about her stolen iPod.

Supper: taco salad, 2 x V-8

Finally, thank you to my dear mother and aunt who are concerned about my eating habits. Aunt Linda, you will be happy to know that I am down to a 2 x 6 ounce V-8 habit a day (gotta watch that sodium!) and Mom, i have lost 30 pounds since I arrived in country July 1, so I am not eating "a lot."

Shank August 13, 2009

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Journal 3-7 Aug 2009

3 August 2009


Breakfast: oatmeal/strawberry yogurt, 2 x GJ, Protein Shake

Lora Call: She had her headset on. She was tired from traveling back from Keene, NH.

Bible Reading: Leviticus 13-14; God taking care of his people, teaching them how to live, what is clean and unclean.

Purchased an internet booster antenna for $60 in the hopes of better connectivity when internet restored.

Lunch: Pastrami and Swiss wrap with lettuce, tomato, onion and garlic mustard sauce. Fruit salad. V-8 and GJ

Dinner: Turkey breast, dressing, glazed carrots, fruit salad, 2 x V-8

4 August 2009

Lora Call: Got her on Skype today. She’s ordering webcams for both of us. She’s loving her life at the trailer and with the dogs. She joined WOW (fitness center).


Breakfast: Oatmeal/mixed berry yogurt. 2 x grapefruit juice, Protein Shake

Received some nice validation from Maj Violand, the new S2. He liked the product I gave yesterday and was impressed how fast I had turned it around.

Bible Reading: Leviticus 15-17

Lunch: Fried catfish, cauliflower, green beans, fruit salad, 2 x V-8

Dinner: Turkey Roast, dressing, glazed carrots, fruit salad, 2 x V-8

5 August 2009

Lora Call: Skype is working well!


Breakfast: oatmeal/strawberry yogurt, 2 x GJ, Protein Shake

Lunch: Grilled Salmon, broccoli, peas/mushrooms, 2 x V-8, water

Bible reading: Leviticus 18-21

Got a box from Mom with lots of reading material, nuts and beef jerky. Thanks Mom!

Supper: Turkey Breast, tossed salad, thousand island dressing, strawberries, 2 x V-8

6 August 2009

Lora Call: She’s already in bed.


Called Jaci, Mom: Jaci may go to Colorado w her friend Hannah.

Breakfast: oatmeal / peach yogurt, GJ, OJ, Protein Shake

Laundry $5

Melody made some Nilagong Baka for me today, since I had told her I was sick (boiled beef strips, onion, lettuce, salt pepper)

Lunch: Black-eyed peas, Steamed Mixed veggies, cottage cheese w applesauce, 2 x V-8

From “Expect Good Things” a book sent by Mom:
“Don’t give up, don’t give in to feelings of failure; doubts come and go, just as seasons do… when all that is good seems lost, remember that life is a circle, and promise is on the horizon.”
“Set a gold and keep on track, don’t let life’s misfortunes make you doubt your course… press on, diligence and hard work never go unrewarded, and dreams really do come true.”

Got a box from Lora with my Israeli sandals, some gum and some vitamin C cough drops.

Supper: Small pieces of grilled fish and prime rib, carrots, succotash, 2 x V-8

Bible Study: The Purpose Driven Life, Chapter 26

August 7, 2009

Lora Call: good chat...


Breakfast: oatmeal/mixed berry yogurt, 2 x GJ, coffee

Snack: Handful peanuts

Lunch: Tuna salad wrap, cold veggie salad, fruit salad, olives, V-8, OJ

Got foam mattress from Lora today! Will be some much better sleeping, now!

Snack: Handful peanuts

Dinner: two small lobstah tails, tossed salad, thousand island dressing, strawberries and vanilli ice cream

Journal 31 Jul - 02 Aug 2009

July 31, 2009

0500 Workout

Breakfast: oatmeal w peach yogurt, 2 x GJ, Protein Shake

0615 – 0645 Lora call

Bible Reading: Leviticus 1-5

Lunch: Fried chicken, Black-eyed Peas, Steamy Mixed veggies

TPDL reading: Chapter 7, The Reason for Everything.
It’s all for him. The ultimate goal of the universe is to show the glory of God. Jesus honored God by fulfilling his purpose on earth. We honor God the same way. When anything in creation fulfills its purpose, it brings glory to God. We bring glory to God by worshipping Him. Worship is our first responsibility to God. We worship God by enjoying him. C.S. Lewis said, “In commanding us to glorify him, God is inviting us to enjoy him.” God wants our worship to be motivated by love, thanksgiving, and delight, not duty.

Dinner: Two small lobstah tails on tossed greens w Thousand Island Dressing, Crab Cake, 2 x V-8, triple strawberry delight: ice cream, drizzle, berries.

1900 Staff Sync / Meet with S5: C-IED Initiative/CONOP/Metrics

August 1, 2009

0500 Workout

0615 Lora Call – she was getting ready for the MA/NH dog shows upcoming weekend.

Breakfast: oatmeal w strawberry yogurt, 2 x GJ, Protein Shake

0930 Formation and promotion ceremony in front of Med Clinic

1000 Haircut and massage by Melody. She told me a sad story about how her mom spent all the money she had sent back while working in Iraq and how she had to come back to work here to make more but that the work here was not nearly as good as in Iraq where there was a larger customer base. I told her she should look at going somewhere else… ($25 total)

Bible Reading: Leviticus 6-8 (caught up to yearly plan yesterday – reading 4 pages a day, now)

Lunch: Chicken cordon bleu, niblet corn, collard greens, fruit salad, 2 x V-8; Gonzalez brothers: topic of discussion was age, 1968 assassinations, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

Put together an analysis of Afghani Perceptions and Attitudes from surveys taken in Baraki Barak and Pul-E-Alam. Leadership liked the analysis and format – wants me to keep this project as more surveys come in.

BMR: Ghosts of War (article about Texas battlefields – really good.) “Martha goes to Prague” – gave it to my new Czech friends.

Dinner: BBQ brisket, grilled chicken (these are small portions, now), steamed mixed veggie tales, farfennuggins (just checking to see who is actually reading this stuff)

August 2, 2009

Breakfast: oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt and strawberry drizzle, 2 x GJ, ice coppee ($2)

Bible Reading: Leviticus 9-12

Chapel Service: God’s Answer to Sin (Gen 3:14-15)
My Story: Ephesians 2:1-3, 12, 19; Romans 2:5-8; John 3:36; Hebrews 9:27
His Story (Jesus): 1 John 4:10; II Corinthians 5:21; Isaiah 53:4-6; Colossians 1:19-22, 2:13-15
My Story in Christ: I Thessalonians 5:9-11; John 5:24; Romans 5:9-11; Colossians 3:1-4
We had communion and Chaplain West played a very nice (Scottish?) communion song – want to find out who did.
Spent some time with ‘Milan’ a young Czech officer who was saved 15 years ago in a Baptist church. He speaks little English, some Russian, but is very happy to be in the chapel service. I will sit with him henceforth. We are already teaching each other the language.

Lunch: Rotisserie chicken, cauliflower au gratin, candied carrots, fruit salad, V-8, OJ

Got a box from Lora today: Army coffee cup from Fort Benning, trash bags, a card w two middle agers facing away w no pants on(cartoon figures and something about wise cracks), packs of gum, razor blades, magazines, batteries

Dinner: Beef Stir Fry, Peas and Mushrooms, Corn on Cob (decent length this time – not a cube), mac & cheese, strawberries w drizzle and cookies/cream, V-8, OJ

Hiram G. and I mentored young Rich G. today on how to deal with superiors not in his chain of command: leverage his boss, stay within what he knows, don’t get thrown off balance, walk away (find an exit) when getting too heated. Always remember “Welcome to Wal-Mart” for ISR requests: maintain a service attitude.

Tasking: find correlation between Route Clearance Patrols and IED events.

Lora was at dog shows in Mass and Keene, NH this weekend. Gertie got no points, but Lora likes the distraction. She will show her in the open bitch class. At least in the open bitch class, you know where they stand. It’s those closed bitches you gotta watch out for…

Monday, August 3, 2009

Journal July 30, 2009

July 30, 2009

0500 Workout

Breakfast: oatmeal/strawberry yogurt/2 x GJ

Lora Call: talked for about 30 mins on Skype. She had been home an hour from meeting and had been invited to go out in service next morning. Glad she is involved and people are engaging her.

0830 Brigade Update Brief: room full of snake eaters talking war stuff.

Bible Reading: Exodus 36-40; Moses was careful to write all of God’s instructions for building the tabernacle, etc. to be sure future generations would have the same plans. God commanded Moses to build the tabernacle in order to renew the relationship between God and his people. I like verse 36:2 where “…in whose heart the Lord had put wisdom, even every one whose heart stirred him up to come unto the work to do it.” And 36:5-6 where the people brought more than was needed for the construction. Imagine if Christians today would bring “enough” to the church how much more the church would be able to do.

Picked up Laundry and Melody had made Putto for me! It’s a Filipino bread/cake made with rice flour, milk, sugar and butter. She had heated it with cheese on top. Very tasty! She made two, but I could only eat one and took the other one to the Fusion Center and shared. Putto is about 2 inches tall and 3 inches across and round. Oh, Mira Luna made me an ice coppee to go with it. Spent $5 on laundry and $2 on coppee. Protein shake.

Lunch: small piece of grilled fish (tuna?), carrots and cottage cheese w pineapple chunks.

TPDL reading: Chapter 6, Life is a Temporary Assignment.

In order to keep us from becoming too attached to earth, God allows us to feel a significant amount of discontent and dissatisfaction in life – longings that will never be fulfilled on this side of eternity. We’re not completely happy here because we’re not supposed to be! Earth is not our final home; we were created for something much better.

Realizing that life on earth is just a temporary assignment should radically alter your values. Eternal values, not temporal ones, should become the deciding factors for your decisions. As C.S. Lewis observed, “All that is not eternal is eternally useless.” The Bible says, “We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

BMR: Book review Bonnie & Clyde/ Sea glass / Oldest farm in America: Appleton Farm, Ipswich, MA/Star-gazing (multiple sittings)

Dinner: Rotisserie chicken, pinto beans, steamed mixed veggies, 2 x V-8

Bible Study: TPDL Chapter 25, Transformed through Troubles. Instead of asking, “Why me?” when troubles arise, ask, “What would you have me learn, Lord?”

Saturday, August 1, 2009

29 July 2009

0530 Woke to alarm. Called Lora and talked a bit. She was still up doing stuff.

Worked out.

Called her back and said her goodnight.

Breakfast: oatmeal/strawberry yogurt. Fruit cocktail nectar/GJ/coffee

Mid-morning snack: 1 scoop chocolate whey protein shake w water and water chaser.

Bible reading: Exodus 30-35. God made Moses wait until he finished telling him all the stuff he wanted Moses to build/construct/fabricate to let him know that he had help: Bezaleel and Aholiab (31:2-11, 35:30-35). God filled these two “…with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship… And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he and Aholiab.” God told Moses what to do then gave him pre-motivated foremen to do AND teach. Who says those who do can’t teach, too? What does that say about what God asks of us?

Why did God change his mind about killing all the Hebrews when Moses interceded? (32:11-14)

Why did Aaron make the golden calf? Was he more afraid of the people than of God? (32:21-24)

33:3 – God sends his angel ahead of the people instead of going himself as before because he might “consume thee in the way.” God was fed up with the griping of the Hebrews. He had shown them so many mighty works, yet they continued to disbelieve.

33:11 – “And the Lord spake unto Moses, face-to-face, as a man speaketh unto his friend…” Imagine that.

33:19 – “…and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” I want to be on the right side of those decisions!!!

34:1 – God made Moses hew new tablets of stone since Moses “brakest” the first set. 34:24 – God promised to protect the Hebrews land when they would leave to worship three times a year.

34:29 – God performs the first facial. “And it came to pass, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone and they were afraid to come nigh him.” Another reason to go to Heaven – our faces will shine in the presence of God.

35:23 – Here we are with the badger skins, again. AND people just happened to have some lying around…

Lunch w Gonzalez twins: meatball primavera (broccoli/corn), cottage cheese w applesauce, 2 x V-8

Mid-afternoon snack: Peanut-Peanut Bora Bora bar (7 out of 10)

Also, grapped an ice coppee at Filipino clup. My name is Jepp.

TPDL reading: Chapter 5, Seeing Life from God’s View.

"Character is both developed and revealed by tests and all if life is a test. You are always being tested. God constantly watches your response to people, problems, succss, conflict, illness, disappointment, and even the weather! He even watches the simplest actions such as when you open a door for others, when you pick up a piece of trash, or when you’re polite toward a clerk or waitress."

"We don’t know all the tests God will give us, but we can predict some of them, based on the Bible. Wewill be tested by major changes, delayed promises, impossible problems, unanswered prayers, undeserved criticism, and even senseless tragedies. In my own life, I have noticed that God tests my faith through problems, tests my hope by how I handle possessions and tests my love through people."

Bowel Movement Reading (henceforth, BMR): Book reviews on Thomas Jefferson: Architect (been to Monticello with Lora – cool place), Dear First Lady: Letters to the White House, including one from Maria von Trapp (aka Julie Andrews) to Betty Ford, and The American Patriot’s Almanac: Daily Readings on America, which I would not mind having a copy of. Also, an article on St Augustine, Florida. Both articles from Southern Lady magazine with a distinctly feminine slant. I’ve been to St Augustine, too. Nothing like Monticello.

Heard a car alarm – been a long time – headed for the bunker before I realized what it was.

Rich complained about all the Hajis clearing their nostrils into sinks and phlegming on shower walls. I asked him, “Do you mean to tell me that you don’t wear your rubber gloves when you shower? I have an extra pair if you need them.” He chuckled and turned to Yael Caligiuri, a New York Jewess - married to an Italian, and asked her the Hebrew word for “booger”. Without missing a beat, I said “schmutz” as in “Hey, schmuck, you spritzed schmutz on my schmatta.”Those Yiddish – such kidders. Rich and Yael and all others within earshot pee’d themselves.

First of many bi-weekly pedicures by Melody, today. I took more pictures of the Filipinos: Lorna (who does my laundry), Mira Luna (who does my iced coppee), Melody who does my feet, massage and hair cutting and all the he-she’s who start singing “How do I get you alone…” every time I go in there. Melody wants me to help her find a close male friend she knows from Iraq. Jay Addington, supervisor of DFACs.

Dinner: Fried catfish, cauliflower au gratin, sweet potatoes, V-8 x 2

Attend first of many to come staff synchronization meetings. TF Spartan is test-bed for CIED experiment proof of concept. I hope to be a big part of that and will ask Ed Negrelli for backfill if he has it.