elleflies: (DW: Cybermen Bullshit)
I am slowly but surely talking myself into leaving my job. I have to FIND another job first but at least I'm putting together a resume.

I may be getting sick again... which is just another mark against my current job. It runs me down too much. I am constantly exhausted from flying and would love to live in a world where jetlag is a distant memory. If I really am getting sick, this is the THIRD time this year when I normally only come down with a mild cold about once a year. Ugh.

There are upsides to my current job... not many, but a few.

Such as my last flight... the most gorgeous man I have ever laid eyes on was a passenger on that flight. Every time he walked through the galley he left swooning flight attendants, both male and female, in his wake. Even one of our pilots, who as far as I know is very straight, as he was walking to the back of the plane did a double take over this man's beauty.

He was also a Marine. OF COURSE HE WAS. They are always the prettiest.

I don't know what it is about the Marine Corp but they always have the best looking troops. (If you want good looking military guys Recon Marines and Army Special Forces are the best places to look. Also... the French military. Good God it's like the French have a hotness quota they need to fill.)

On a more shallow note... does anyone know why there are no Rory action figures? I've been hoping they'd come out with one since there are a gazillion Amys and Elevens but there seems to be no Rory on the horizon... My Doctor Who action figure collection is bereft without him.

You'd think they'd get on that... Hell, you can buy a goo pod filled with DISMEMBERED BITS OF THE DOCTOR, but no Rory.

Secondly... Who comes up with these ideas? Collect dismembered bits of the Doctor? WHAT?
elleflies: (Military: Tank Sign)
Going Over There...

Normally when I do the Dallas - Leipzig flights the entire plane enters a coma and 240 soldiers drift off into sleepy oblivion. Not so with my last flight. I have never seen a group so awake.

Granted, the picture above is from a flight a few years ago, but the goofing off and giggling was the same as the flight today.
elleflies: (Military: Tank Sign)
I've discovered over these past few days that I have a type when it comes to men. And it wasn't the type I thought I had.

Generally I tell people that I like my men long and lean. Very DT-esque. Yum Yum Yum. And while, this is a preference, it doesn't seem to be my type.

I found out what my type was when I visited the USS New York for a free tour the other day. I ended up going alone because all my pilot buddies weren't all that interested and my friends all work real jobs (hiss boo).

So there I was alone and waiting in a big long line to get onto the ship. Being the bored, naturally gregarious person I am who suffers from the double whammy of also being from the south I ended up talking to the guy standing in line with me. BAD IDEA. I never ever ever should have done that. There's a reason New Yorkers are standoffish and don't talk to strangers and I forgot and suffered the consequences.

Never Talk to Strangers in NYC )
elleflies: (Military: Tank Sign)

This picture pretty much sums up why I like working with the military so much *g*

For those of you interested in back story... you can find it here
I had a 24 hour work day yesterday. We left the hotel at 3 in the afternoon. We didn't get back to the hotel until 3:30 the next afternoon. It was like... any little thing that could go wrong did go wrong.

We got de-iced 3 times in Ramstein and when we were finally coming back to Germany the visibility where we were supposed to land, that being Leipzig, was zero so we had to divert to Berlin and then drive for 2 hours to get to where we were supposed to be.

It was great fun and all that.

But the really great part was that I got to help corrupt a 19 year old Airman.

Sweet kid: babyfaced, 19 years old and a Mormon from Utah. Poor kid had been a bit sheltered...

So my jumpseat was right across from this poor kid and a bunch of other Airmen and I got to talking about Thailand with some of the Sergeants and the things that go on in Thailand... more specifically the shows.

(If you want to know what I'm talking about when I refer to "the shows". There is a Post Here that should enlighten you)

now we weren't going into graphic detail but it was obvious to all involved in the conversation just what was meant. Except this poor kid. He asked what the shows were and it went something like...

Me: Well... I'll tell you on the ground. I really don't want to talk about it here.
Him: Could you demonstrate then?
Me: *sputters and blushes*
Him: What?

The poor kid had no idea why his buddies were laughing so hard.

Once we landed I pulled him aside and very quietly told him what went on in these shows. They're so cute when they blush *g*

But yes, I had a hand in corrupting a sweet, innocent kid. Someone had to do it.
Little know fact: The United States Military has started employing Anthropologists to embed with the troops and accompany them in Iraq so as to help the troops better understand the culture they're interacting with and to hopefully cut down on altercations as a result of misunderstandings.

I heard about this... oh awhile ago now and thought it was a FANTASTIC idea.

I interact with the troops on a daily basis and most of them are very young, with only a high school education and for many their trip to the dust bowl of Iraq is their first time away from home. The only culture they've ever really known is their own, usually middle class upbringing. They don't think highly of the Iraqi's or the Iraqi culture. A popular refrain I've heard from them time and time again (including my own brother) is that "civilization may have started there but it sure as hell didn't keep going."

And I've heard the stories to back up that claim. I'm even guilty myself of not being overly fond of Middle Eastern culture, but I do try and understand and be respectful while I'm there even though it's not my cup of tea. Unlike the soldiers though, I'm not spending months at a time in a highly charged environment loaded down with weapons and making life or death choices.

Now back to the topic at hand: Anthropologists in the war zone. I think this is a damn good idea. I had no idea the academic community had publicly disavowed it and is treating the woman in charge as a bit of an anthropological outcast.

I minored in Anthropology, as I wanted to minor in something I loved and the impression I got from most of my classes was that Anthropology is about as Ivory Tower as you can possibly get. This inter-anthropological tiff isn't helping me change my mind much.

I like the idea of using Anthropology to help save lives and help other people open their minds to cultures and practices that aren't their own to help influence understanding and acceptance. I think it's a good idea for Anthropology to get out of the classroom and start finding ways to make itself useful in the real world (besides writing research papers about Coming of Age rituals amongst the Apache people of the Southwest. Granted, its interesting stuff, but without much real world value. And yes, I do own the book about it *g*)

Apparently, many Anthropologists don't see it that way.

Now, the reason for my little spiel is this article: Raised Eyebrows Over Keynote Choice

Be sure to read the comments, they're turning into an Anthropological war zone of their own. Highly entertaining stuff.

My impression of this article was that most Anthropologists would be happier if she followed the AAA party line, got out of the war zone, found a teaching job, applied for grants and wrote research papers about the rituals of remote tribes in god only knows where.

I know Anthropology values observation with limited exposure and I find that, generally speaking, a good thing. But in this case I think helping an invading party understand and work together with the local people to be a good that shouldn't be ignored. Someone in the comments brought up the point... imagine if the Spaniards had brought Anthropologists with them when they invaded South America? Who knows what would have happened and what parts of the destroyed cultures would have survived if someone was there to iron out the misunderstandings. If someone was there to observe and explain rather then shoot first and never question.

so yeah, I'm completely in favor of Anthropologists in Iraq helping and guiding the troops through the customs and rituals of Middle Eastern life. I think it's a good thing for the troops to understand a culture so completely different from their own and a good thing for Anthropologists to use their practice in a real world situation. I do realize that for Anthropologists these are ethical dilemma's, but I don't understand how saving both military lives and civilian lives can ever be a bad thing.

I just couldn't help ranting and raving as Anthropology and The Military are both topics close to my heart :)
I made the mistake of forgetting who I was talking to on my military flight last night.

Military guys: Oh, you lived in Dallas. I love those Cowboys
Me: I'm really not interested in football. I prefer Rugby.
Military guys: Rugby hunh?
Me: Yeah, I like it rough
Military guys: *dead silence*

Even in the darkness of a plane landing at night they could still tell my face was beet red. And to make matters worse, one of the guys involved in the conversation had taken my picture earlier that night (I don't know what was up with that group, but they were snap happy and the flight attendants seemed to be their unwitting subjects) as he was leaving he told me "I took your picture. I'm going to put it up in my locker and every time I look at it I'm going to think 'she likes it rough."

Two weeks of the civilian world and I completely forgot that working with the military involves heavy censoring of stuff like that. It's ALWAYS the dirtiest common denominator with them.

On the plus side an extremely cute boy worked up the nerve to walk into the galley and ask for my e-mail. Which I usually don't give out. I was so astonished he asked (lets just say I'm not used to men actually taking the initiative) and he was so damn handsome that I wrote it down for him. As he was leaving the plane he snuck me his e-mail by doing the thank you for your service handshake with the little slip of paper hidden in the palm of his hand. So CUTE.

A few more random things, in numerical order:

1. I've turned into a True Blood pimp.
2. The nice quite ferry flight to Germany I was looking forward to... ended up having 56 crewmembers on board. It was not nice or quite.
3. In a few minutes I'm meeting some crewmembers in the lobby so we can ride camels along the Persian Gulf and go to the souk. I am astonished that I'll actually be doing something relatively touristy in Kuwait.
4. Kuwait is the most drab, boring little country I've ever been to. Hence my astonishment.
5. When it was decided we would do this my first thought after 'yay camels' was 'shit, now I'll have more photos to edit.' Which is not the best thing to think because how lucky am I that I get to do this stuff?
This post is made completely of random. And because random things go better with random pictures... Here, have a photo of military dudes acting dumb (the things they do to entertain themselves... oy!)

In A Pinch

If you didn't notice, he really did shove cups down his shirt. :)

1. Yesterday was an R&R flight which was nice. There were 76 passengers on a plane that seats 273. Even better was the fact that R&R flights have no weapons on board and no battle rattle. yay! I didn't have to fight the "stow your weapons and armor the correct way and I KNOW you know which way is the butt of that rifle, soldier" fight. It was easy peasy, just the way I like it.

2. We're doing a Kuwait turn today. Brutal, brutal trip. I'm jet lagged and waking up at odd hours. This will end well.

3. On the plus side of doing a Kuwait turn, there's a Subway shop on the military side and I fully intend to wipe out their chocolate chip cookie supply as soon as I get there (and woe be it to the Air Force if they beat me to it first.)

5. We're going to be arriving in Kuwait in the middle of the afternoon when it will be a bazillion degrees out.

6. I've been going through the German Rosetta Stone. Wonderful, wonderful program. I somehow ended up with the English Rosetta Stone on my computer and I'm halfway tempted to fire it up, go to the hardest bit and see how I do. This may be an indicator of just how bored I am.

7. My crew amuses me. Out of 8 people, only 2 of us were actually born in the states and out of the two of us: one is a first generation American (family from Barbados). We've got... 2 Guyanese, 2 Slovaks, 1 Trinidadian and 1 Cuban. Mix well and liberally with the United States Military and its somewhat amusing. I love diversity.

8. DW Casting Spoilers )

9. This post was brought to you by the number 3. As in 3 in the morning. When I woke up. When I say "brought to you by"... it's really code for "blame this post on..."

I'm going to go shut up now.
F-16 Fighting Falcon

It's not something I advertise, but I'm a bit of a plane geek. Especially if they're military fighter jets. I've stunned more then one co-worker with my enthusiastic giddiness over these planes. Apparently it's a bit of a surprise when a dolled-up flight attendant starts waxing rhapsodic over planes. Or so I'm told.

Anyhow, this particular gem of a picture (even though it's a bit blurry which makes my heart weep) was taken from the cockpit of a Boeing 757 in Korat, Thailand. We were there dropping troops off and the Royal Thai Air Force and their squadron of F-16's is based there. So while we were waiting to use the runway to take off, this sweet little bird landed right in front of us.

And people wonder why I like to sit in the cockpit during ferry flights. We always get the best views up there.
*whine whine whine*

I don't wanna go to Lagos!

Anyhoo, the point of this post wasn't Lagos. It's mainly because I just found out that the Troop Greeters in Maine have their own website, so I figured I'd give them a shout out because they are awesome folks.

They go out of their way to be at the airport when the troops arrive to just shake their hands and tell them welcome home (or good luck going over). But really it is truly fantastic.

So go visit http://mainetroopgreeters.com or if you want to go straight to the photos go here

For those interested, this is the flight I did today. The 3rd Infantry Division heading home to Georgia.

If you're abnormally interested in seeing me and some of the people on my crew (plus, our truly awful uniforms)...

Click Here )
A few things...

1. One of the pilots I work with has decided that he is my personal cheer leader when it comes to pursuing this crazy Air Force dream.

2. I am so grateful for his support because my family and the rest of my friends really have no concept of what this is like.

3. I have yet to tell The Boy over in Afghanistan about this crazy idea. I should get around to that, as the sooner I tell him the sooner I can get his mocking out of the way (The Air Force is universally mocked by the Army and Marine Corps)

4. In order to prepare for the Officer Candidacy School Test I've had to buy a basic math workbook because it's been 6 years.

5. The Russian man sitting next to me on the flight from Frankfurt to JFK kept looking at my math workbook and telling me "but that's easy!"

6. Which really made me feel like an idiot when 3 of the problems completely stumped me and I spent half the flight trying to figure them out.

7. I am going to Winchestercon if it kills me (Because who knows when I'll see all the wonderful people I met last year and have yet to meet again)

8. I go to Acapulco tomorrow for a 30 hour layover.
I've been really quite lately on the livejournal front. Its not from me just being apathetic towards posting. It's mainly because there's quite a bit going on in my life that has to do with my future.

As in I may kinda sorta maybe possibly be joining the military.

Had the initial talk today, things look good but if all goes according to plan (as tentative a plan as I have) I won't be joining till next year. But... still, it's just all kinda hitting me now.

Yikes. *g* This should be an interesting ride.
I have just learned that the Missionary Position is the only position condoned by the Military for use during sexual intercourse.

To use any other position could land a member of the military in trouble.

Not that they enforce this or anything as most of the guys I've run into seem like they're kinky bastards (ESPECIALLY Marines) and they'd all be in deep shit.

But still... The more you know.
Here's a taste of my last flight:

7 Flight Attendants

3 Pilots

8 U.S. Army Escorts

68 Afghani Nationals from the Afghani Police and Afghani Army.

108 82nd Airborne Troops (U.S. Army)

Put in a plane together. Mix well and throughly.

More details are forthcoming once I recover from it all.
Iraq At Night

I met a Major General (Two Stars) the other day. He was on the plane saying goodbye to the troops we were bringing over to the Middle East (I say the Middle East because some of them were lucky enough to get duty stations in Kuwait rather then Iraq.) Anyhow, my brother is gearing up for his next deployment in March, 15 months somewhere in Iraq, and I couldn't help but think of him this trip as these guys came from a base, Fort Huachuca, he used to be stationed at.

The above photo isn't mine. It was taken by my brother in Hit, Iraq as part of his first 15 month tour in Iraq as an Intelligence Analyst attached to the 1st Armor Division.

Anyhoo, I hate it when I wake up from the sleep of the dead and don't even know where I am, what day it is or what the hell is going on. And I have to work in 7 hours... Again.

*climbs back into bed*
I've had many a soldier comment that when they talk to me about the Military, they're amazed that a civilian (i.e. me) complains about it like a soldier does. That I actually have their foibles figured out and know how they can screw you over.

That's because the military takes great delight in screwing people over and they freaking CANCELED my trip tomorrow. It was easy money too. Fly out on an empty plane to California pick up a bunch of Marines (yay Marine Corp!) and fly back to JFK where I leave the plane full of hotties and go home.

But no.... Thanks a lot! Goddamn military... I was hoping to NOT borrow money off my parents in the month of January. Argh.

And soldiers wonder why I sound like they do...

Christmas Card post coming later. I just had to get that off my chest.
Please stow all weapons...

Most airlines deal with bags, my biggest source of grief is the weapons. They must be stowed with the butt to the aisle and the barrel to the wall, no weapons including rifles, handguns or knives may be placed in the overhead bins (although considering the amount of knives some of these guys have I'm sure a few sneak by us in their luggage). It sounds simple enough but you wouldn't believe how difficult some soldiers find these little rules...

Also, a few things for your listening enjoyment:

The Marines got a huge kick out of Shirley Q. Liquors pre-flight briefing even though no amount of begging on my part or on theirs could entice my purser to play it over the PA. So instead I offer it to you:

Shirley Q. Liquors Pre-flight Briefing for Ebonics Airways

And The Rage Against the Machine version of the Imperial March from Star Wars. We were stuck on the ground for waaay too long in JFK (almost 8 hours) so some of the Marine officers and I pulled out our Ipods and started comparing music. The Imperial March was a big hit.

Take and Enjoy.
Holy Crap! I have a date in Pittsburgh with Mr Awesome (otherwise known as thecutesoldierboy) He's home on R&R and I'm flying out to Pittsburgh on Wednesday to see him before he heads back to the wilds of Afghanistan.


I should also explain the SeXO comment from my last (barely understandable post). You see, there are many many handsome men that trek through our planes, but few of them are so smoking hot that your brain disengages and all you can think is: "oh sweet je-bus here are my panties"

The XO (commanding officer) of our last flight was in the "here are my panties, meet me in the galley" category of men. He was... Just... *grabby hands* Sadly, he said nothing, I chattered along happily to the other officers and he just sat there. Hell, I even planted my ass on the arm rest of his seat and proceeded to have a long conversation with the officer next to him and he still said nothing - not even a polite "please move." It was sad and noneveryoumind that I was slightly intimidated by all the beauty and sheer masculinity laid out before me.

Somehow I managed to pull myself away from the front of the plane and the pretty inhabiting it and ended up in the back chatting with the grunts and telling them about how one of their Sargent's had spent far too much time analyzing my high heels and telling me how weird they looked. It was okay, he hadn't been around women's shoes for over a year, we forgave him for his shoe critiquing ways. Although that didn't stop me from telling the story to the guys in the back, when they asked who this shoe connoisseur was I had no idea. When they asked if he was handsome I replied with "no, it's not your XO"

This sent them into a flurry of (manly) giggles. Apparently the troops were well aware of their XO's staggering male beauty and jokingly referred to him as the seXO behind his back. And thus, he became the SeXO to us too, many a flight attendant found themselves standing in the forward galley gazing raptly as his strong jaw and broad chiseled chest and thick dark hair. mmmmmmm just. so. pretty.

But yes, that's the SeXO and I shall cherish the memories of that flight (and the pretty!) for some time.
I am shallow. Not all the time, but I have my moments. Stick me in a tin can full of soldiers and leave me there for 9 hours at 35,000 feet and you betcha I'm going to be checking them out.

Most are quite easy on the eyes. Some are so smoking hot it's all I can do to tear my eyes away and choke out "chicken or pasta?"

It was all to easy to do on my last trip. Half the crew was male, and good portion of that half way gay, so if it wasn't me spotting the hotties, it was one of my overeager crew members pulling me aside and telling me in hushed whispers to go by 25 F or whatever seat of the moment happened to contain their little piece of eye candy. Not that I minded of course...

But there are times that I can't help but marvel that they pay me to do this. And there are times when I meet soldiers like Pablo.

Pablo is a doll of a soldier: square jaw, deep brown eyes, short blond hair, all kinds of muscles. A real GI Joe type of guy. He's got 14 buddies that sing his praises at every turn: all I heard was "Pablo this" and "Pablo that". If the war in Iraq were to be won by an one soldier, it would be Pablo, or so his buddies say. He's an in your face, scarred up, tattooed, flaunt the rules and kick some ass kind of guy. His rifle is never far from hand and he prefers scuffed up white tennis shoes to sand colored boots. He gets away with it too.

He had his pictures taken with the female flight attendants and in group shots, he's always got one of us girls hanging onto him whilst the rest of his buddies grin happily behind him. Pablo never grins. He stays stern in the knowledge that he is the man. And he even dropped trou to prove it, or more specifically, his buddies dropped his trou to prove it.

I mentioned he was a doll of a soldier right? )

And my god, has it really been three weeks since I posted? Yikes.
Happy Fourth of July Y'all!

I hope everyone is enjoying their day and that there's much beer and burgers and fireworks. I'm skipping the festivities this year in favor of bringing a bunch of boys home for two weeks rest and relaxation after six months tooling around Iraq.

I can't think of a better way to spend my day.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

As evidenced from above, they can get a little loopy sometimes, but this is the joy of troop transport. It's always a joy and a pleasure to start the trip back to the west knowing that everyone is whole and healthy and looking forward to spending time with their family.

Bringing them east is a completely different feeling and one I'm happy to skip on this trip. The picture above was taken during a troop deployment to Afghanistan - hence all the weapons and the loopiness. There's a fair amount of psyching up that has to be done for those trips, from the guys going over there but I'd also say from the people bringing them over too. I stand in the plane and tell them 'thank you' and 'be safe' and my heart is in my throat because I want every single one of them to be on the plane back home where I can say 'thank you' and 'welcome home'

Welcome Home is my favorite phrase to say during Troop Transports.

So in all the festivities and the shenanigans and the drinking, raise a beer high and think of the troops.



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