March 2005


Original article posted by chamblin:

We are getting so many neat new things it’s incredible. National Guard units never get anything except for hand-me-down. My new body armor actually came shrink-wrapped! It’s nice too. It weighs less and is more effective than the stuff we had before. All of our new gear uses a new system of straps and loops which makes it totally customizable. I can put stuff wherever it is best for me instead of where the Army decided it would look cool. I got a new helmet, too. It’s got movable pads on the inside and a complex strap system. It feels more like a bicycle helmet than anything. It’s also 2lbs. lighter. Woo-hoo! I got a new rain suit that is actually waterproof. I got nice desert boots that I don’t have to polish, I got some nice new thermal underwear. It’s all black, so when you dress up in it and put on the cold weather balaclava, you look like a ninja. I have pictures.

I also got a digital camera. But I had to pay for that. It’s been a lot of fun.

There are a couple of things I got that I’m not so thrilled about. The first is a smallpox shot. All of you old people who were around when that was mandatory know what I’m talking about. For the rest of you, it’s like an infected mosquito bite. From a radioactive mosquito. With three heads. It’s driving me nuts! We’ve been ordered not to scratch it. Bad things happen if you scratch it.

The second thing I got was a sprained toe. Someone fell on it while we were riding in a track. So I got put on a profile, which is the Army’s version of a doctor’s note. Since I can’t train, all I’ve done since then is guard things. I’ve had time to read and write, but I’m almost out of stuff to read. I’m going mad. Mad!

I have a fun story to tell. A friend of mine who is over in Iraq now got attacked. His HumVee was going down the road when they passed a parked car on the side of the road. This car had many hundreds of lbs of high explosives in it. Some one detonated it when he was right next to it. As the top turret gunner, he of all people should have been killed by this. However, not only did he survive, but the only damage to the vehicle was a flat tire. Everyone was fine. It’s not because of our armored vehicles. It’s because of his personal righteousness and faithfulness to God’s commandments.

PSALM 91

1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

I actually had a couple of days off not too long ago. I did some shopping and went to a movie. It’s called ‘Robots.’ Very good. Much like Shrek in its style of humor, but without all of the dirty jokes that only adults get.

It’s a good thing I got some days off, too. I was about ready to mutiny. Funny story. We were in a bus and the driver had to stop to get fuel. I told him that if he drove all the way home, I’d buy the gas. He said, Nuts to that, I’ve got the Army’s credit card! Then, everyone on the bus cheered.

All in all, it hasn’t been all that bad. The MRE’s (a.k.a. ‘Happy Meals’) all have candy in them. Remember to write the man who stands as a bullet sponge between you and Haji. Defending Truth, Freedom, and the American Way,

Blaine.

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Original article posted by Greg:

For english class last night we did listening comprehension. I told them the story of Jack the Giant Killer (I don’t know who it’s by) and then The Juniper Tree by the Brothers Grimm. You can probably look that one up online then imagine my voice reading it. It will be fun.

I told them to write down questions they have while I tell the stories. Nobody wrote down anything. It turns out that everybody was too caught up in the story to think of english. So I guess it wasn’t a good exercise.

Well, to the point of the posting, which is this: Elder Hamblin has a birthday coming up soon. I wouldn’t mention it so outrageously early, except that there may be some misguided souls who are about to shop so that the item or items can be shipped to my location in taiwan by the universally recognized date of Elder Hamblin’s Birth.

To such souls I say, “Stop your misguided ways!” while dressed up in a big blue plastic muscle suit with antennae.

Or I would if I had one.

Any outpourings of love in form other than candy and letters should be safely deposited in a room in a house in kanab, utah. Ask my parents, they know where it is. While pondering my excess of worldly ‘stuff’ I have realized only one thing is lacking and that thing is a projector. For watching movies on walls. All else I desire, including an impressively powerful sound system, already has been granted me. Therefore, gracious friends who desire to give gifts should be directed to either the ‘donate’ button on the left, or to placing a projector directly into the aforementioned room.

Friends in Iraq need not participate unless directed to do so by conscience or angelic interposition.

I mentioned recently that we’ve been having some success in finding people to teach. One such person is Zeke.

Yes. I gave him his english name.

Anyway, Zeke Chan is a great kid with more pride than you could choke something off of The Lord of the Rings series with. We invited him to read and he said he’d think about it. We asked him to pray and he outright refused. Then, when it was clear to all that his reading and praying were his choice, he read and prayed.

After two weeks he’s already finishing up the book of Mosiah. Which is a plus.

I asked him if he thought these things were true. He said he does not and will not believe it until God shows him some evidence.

Which is a minus.

But he’s still progressing, and he’s been coming to church. So we have hope for him. The question is whether or not he will allow himself to say that God may actually know more than him about any given thing.

I suppose that’s the question for everybody.

Say, let’s do a check right now. Does God know better than you how to do the things you do? Do you think he could help you do even better?

Well, just a check.

We’re also teaching a Zhang family right now. This is going on 3 months for them. They’re really amazing and really accepting of ideas. But they haven’t yet been willing to sacrifice.

Check: Are you willing to give up something you like if you felt that God promised you something better eventually?

Well, just another check. But of essentially the same thing.

My apologies go out to two people in particular: Blaine and Kayeleen, both of whom I am indebted to and to whom I promised mail. Mail is forthcoming. Mail is produced in multiweek sessions. additions made weekly in length of about 2 paragraphs. Look forward to decent letters in about 1.5 years.

My congratulations to two sisters in particular: My sisters. Both of whom are awesome. And both of whom are able to watch movies that I can not.

Not that I care about movies.

Or books.

I continue to get along well with Elder Brockman, and hope my overbearing style doesn’t make him feel bad towards me. He’s a really willing and kind person. Really humble and teachable. It’s cool.

Well, I’m out of time, or nearly close enough.

Et sputum ominous,
-Elder Hamblin

Orginal comments:


Nickname: Cornelius
Re: It’s time to get down to business, folk.
Yes Greg, I’m sure an Angel is going to appear and tell me, “Your friend does not have enough earthly possesions.” If it makes you feel better, I’m buying a laptop. For me.

I forgive you for not writing in a while. I may not forgive you for not writing Kayeleen. She needs your letters more than I do. That’s all I have to say about that.

If you want to know more about my life you must submit a request in writing. It helps if you give lots of details of your own. It might influence the length of what I write to you. Have a good time.

Original article posted by chamblin:

During the last four days we did urban combat and, thanks to many hours of playing CounterStrike, I understood immediately most of the concepts that they taught.

During the four days we ran through many exercised. Our platoon rotated between building search, inner cordon, and negotiation/prisoner search. I will explain these in some detail.

The first thing that happens is called an inner cordon. What we do is roll up to a place in all of our big, armored vehicles and surround it. This is pretty easy. If anyone shoots, we shoot back. Very simple.

The next step is negotiation. A team gets sent in to ask nicely for whatever it is what we want. If we don’t get it, they leave quickly.

The last part is room to room search. This is where all the action is. When we did this one at night I ws th first man in for the whole platoon. It was very exciting. I can’t give you a lot of details, but if you’ve ever played CounterStrike on a team that really knew what it was doing you may understand. I missed the day building search because I was at a class on medevac with a chopper.

The next day we had one exercise. The instructors called it “Vietnam Day.” They took everything they could think of and threw it at us. This includes a live medevac from a hot LZ. My team put a bunch of people on litters and loaded them on a chopper. I got to ride on the Huey also. It was really cool.

Today I got my weapons switched. I was carrying the standard M-16. Now I have the M-249 SAW. Again, I must give a CounterStrike analogy. Those of you who play are no doubt familiar with the machine gun that’s so expensive and powerful it has its own category. Yeah. Those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s like taking a garden hose to a water fight where everyone has squirt guns. It’s mine now. I asked to have it and all my buddies said I wa crazy. Mostly because its really heavy. I told them that: #1. I know I’m crazy, and #2. Everything the Army “gives” us is heavy. If I’m going to a water fight, I want a garden hose. I don’t know what these guys are thinking.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Remember, the slow knife penetrates the shield. That’s about the best piece of advice I have to give right now. Think about it. It’s done wonders for me.

Your soldier of… Something,

Blaine.

Original article posted by Greg:

That’s what we in the business call a hook. It’s meant to draw you in
to the article where I can talk about completely unrelated and unfunny
things. It’s like thinking you’re stepping into a tanning bed, then the
door opens and Darth Sidious says something like “Arise and take your
place at my side.” and you sound like James Earl Jones as you say,
“Okie dokie.”

It’s enough to make any of us write a letter to the editor.

Which you should also do. And then post it on here. Because we are
the editors. And we like letters.

I’ve had an interesting time lately thinking about people I know. It’s
not been all fun and games, either. Well, let me be honest – it kept
me up for quite a while last night.

I had planned on writing quite a bit about life and how people ought to
write me, but I figure we’ve got enough ‘need for letters’ just from
Blaine’s postings on the site. Not that it’s bad, just that it might
get old if I started in on it too. And he probably needs it more.

But still, there are some people who have written very little in the way
of either letters or postings to me for whatever reason, perhaps some
strange philosophy on how frienship is supposed to be – and it doesn’t
include anything written down, and it’s not good. There are some
people I care a lot about who I have no idea what’s going on in thier
exclusive lives. And it’s been too long. I make my efforts through the
site. It’s pretty much all I can do. That’s why the site is here.

Well, you decide if you are one of these people who needs to write me
and if so, please remedy.

Today, went to lake.

New missionaries tell me things. Nevermind what. Suffice it to say
that I have gained a burning desire to have a projector in a years time.

The work has picked up the past week or two. We’re seeing some real
miracles in our ‘finding’ efforts lately. Now we look forward to
finding miracles in our ‘teaching’ efforts, and our ‘actually baptizing
people’ efforts.

Here’s hoping you don’t become a robot.

-Elder Hamblin clang clang

Orginal comments:


Nickname: squishous
Re: THE HORRIBLE TRUTH ABOUT SOYLENT BEIGE!
Isn’t soylent biege a color? like a soiled diaper kind of color? I really want to know the truth, because if it turns out to be a pukey form of green and purple or some shade of slimey pink then I need to call my decorator right now.

Mindy says to tell you hi. and she wishes you all the best. (I think she always liked you better anyway) LOL.

Have I told you that I joined an online gaming clan for Medal of Honor? I doubt I mentioned it, its a bit embarassing how far into geekdom I have fallen. Most of them live in the Netherlands, a few in France and we even have a Canadian. And, they are all facinated that I have a friend in Tiawan serving a mission. Most don’t understand what exactly a mission is, so I told them to check out six mile, and now they have more questions than I can answer. (mostly about Ravenpaine, who I do not know and , therefore, cannot begin to explain) So if you feel like giving a shout out to |RES| then by all mean bellow away. thanks for writng here and for being there.

-Russ


Nickname: Stephanie
Re: THE HORRIBLE TRUTH ABOUT SOYLENT BEIGE!
Note: Due to cosmic malfunctions, this is not really Stephanie. It is Mickelle. Although I doubt being one of the friends who would ever have the clout (is that the word I’m looking for? I doubt it.) to keep you up at night, your entry did make me respond. (Well, that and I was chatting with Steph online and could actually get her password from her again.)
All is well in Provo. Just like last time I noted. Scott loves school. He’s going into Civil Engineering. We end up discussing road construction every time we drive up to visit my parents. Ah, the things you do for a spouse. He takes Calculus at 8 in the morning and spends most of the day applying the math to ..civil engineering type stuff. And apparently it’s fascinating. He’s had both of the twins get married within the past 11 months so now all the sibs except his youngest sis (16) is married. It’s fun and makes me feel all sorts of old. I’m really learning to love his family. Sometimes one or two of the girls makes me feel awkward, but I love his mom and dad so dearly. And it is sooooo important to be able to say that when you marry into a family as close-knit as his. I’m planning a visit to spend time scrapbooking with his mom after school gets out in June. Scott has to stay home and work, but oh well. He wouldn’t want to scrapbook anyhow.
We keep talking about bringing a child into the world and then think better of it. Well, not really better of it. (I can’t be as half-kidding in writing ’cause then you’d never know exactly how serious I was. But I don’t really know how serious I am, either.) At any rate, we both agree that babies are good things and we like them but neither of us feel like it’s our time yet. Sometimes I wish it was our time, but usually just because I’m sick of working. Teaching is long hours some days. And you ought to have a child for the right reasons, you know. My mom always said she had me ’cause she was sick of doing the dishes, but I sure foiled that plan. I’m pretty sure having a child so I could stop working would be anti-productive as well.
School is so complex I cannot begin to describe it. Cannot. It sends me through so many emotions — much of which are stress and guilt related — that I don’t even want to go there. But I do enjoy it and class is seldom boring. At least, not to me. But I’m the teacher. I think the kids get bored sometimes. It is, after all, school. However, they know they can get away with more than they should if they make me laugh. I love them. I will miss them. Anything that I REALLY do consumes me, and they are in my conversations — I can’t talk about anything else — and in the way I spend my time and in my dreams (most literally). They are making me a better parent for someday. And that’s what I always wanted.
I don’t really write anymore. Not on OD, anyhow. (Yours is still around, if you were wondering.) And my private journal suffers somewhat as well. I wish I did. It felt like there were so many things to explore and figure out when I was single. Now everything seems either so decided, simple, or obvious — or so private — that it doesn’t merit writing about. I need to change that.
I find marriage continues to be glorious. I am happy and spoiled. You know me — I’m too high-maintenance to not be. But he handles me with ease and regular cheerfulness. I am learning to serve him but I doubt anything I’ll ever do could compare to all the service he has rendered me. I have been blessed far beyond what I deserve. I tend to moan and whine too much as God teaches me lessons in his way, but I am taught time and time again that he will not leave me comfortless. Life is good.
Now, there’s a right long letter from me. I hope it gets to you, as I am not leaving it on the most recent of your entries. Let me know if you never see it.

Mickelle

Original article posted by Minty:

My World Is Upside Down

Hair matted in a curtain
hangs limp and prophetic
mattress duster tickles ears
and eyes survey late dawn room

Scratch click of the door
faded blue upside wrong
amazon.

“Get up.”

Fine.

My world is upside down.

Yellow bus smell mates-
with cold morning scent
ear muffs sing.

I sit.

Crank and sputter of the ill-
engine. And the bag lady
too small to dodge.

Smoke and blood.

My world is upside down.