a heartbreaking work of stagnating geniality, e-rocky-confidential chronicles the experiences of a young man playing a small role in america's ongoing military undertaking in the mideast.

Friday, July 30, 2004

In Pursuit of Regularity…

There’s really an abundance of Iraqi blogs, and it can be difficult to keep up. The original rising star, whose name may or may not be Salam Pax, seems to have laid his site to rest, but he was just the beginning (not that his was the first Iraqi blog, necessarily— I have no idea— but it was certainly one of the best, and he’s the one with a book now published in umpteen different languages). The author’s erstwhile co-blogger Raed is posting his own (apparently less optimistic) blog these days, and Salam has been out there collecting data on the casualties of war.

My current favorite is written by Zeyad, an Iraqi dentist with a stunning command of the region’s history and an enthusiasm for English-language satire. He’s got a run-down of the newest crop of young bloggers (which I’ve yet to investigate) at his site, Healing Iraq.

Coming soon (yes I know you’ve heard ((read)) that one before) to the e-r-c:

1) An attempted compendium of blogs that have recently become friends of this one!

2) Conversations with Arabic interpreters!

3) Horrific tales of skin lesions and interminable foreign films!

4) The overly hyped conclusion to “A Week of Living Dangerously”!

and more exclamation points than you can shake a stick at! (Take that back— I’m sure your anti-exclamatory stick-brandishing skills are formidable.)

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

For Those Who Care Enough to Inject the Very Stressed 

For my twenty-ninth birthday I received a syringe full of anthrax in my left bicep, sweetly delivered by a pixie-like medic in pigtails and horn-rimmed glasses. This occurred approximately 22 hours ago, after an all-night shift manning the shelter while listening to the Flaming Lips’ earliest, most aggressively spaced-out recordings— which  I’d received in the mail just before going to work, sent to me by my friend Kevin, who does exactly what I do at another encampment just a little bit north of Baghdad.

I’m ten hours ahead of those of you on West Coast USA time, so this post should register on July 28— my birthday, and also exactly a month since my most recent post. 

Why have you not been blogging?— I imagine you, imagining yourselves ask me, if only we were sitting somewhere having a conversation.

Why indeed. How much time do you have? How much time do I have? Right now: about ten minutes.

My hard-drive is loaded with half-written screeds and quips, and my disk drive is thoroughly shot. Today, for the first time in over a month, I can take my computer with me as I leave the shelter, and I’ll be able to noodle and polish and maybe show up for work tonight, where the internet connection is, with a few tales of goofiness and tedium and sweat and steel, ready-made for your consumption.

Observation too random not to be included here: last night as I entered the dining facility, I passed a sign that read “Happy 229th Birthday.” Ahem… huh? Really: Despite those solipsistic, somehow-still-clinging-to-the-underbelly-of-my-consciousness childhood suspicions that the world does in fact, in some ominous way, revolve around me, I don’t imagine the sign had any relation to my birthday. It would have been fun to locate the person in charge of the DFAC to protest that they got it 200 years off, but I just don’t have the energy for properly cretinous behavior anymore. Is it possible that the sign has been standing in that spot since June 14, the 229th anniversary of the inception of the United States Army, and I've been too oblivious to notice it for over a month? Hmm. An equally plausible explanation: In the early part of June, some general or sergeant major decided that he would like to see such a sign; a local was commissioned to do the work; and due to some intractable set of factors the sign only went up yesterday… perhaps.

Wouldn’t it suck if I became really sentimental, and started going on about how nice everyone has been to me on my birthday, with all the gifts in the mail and emails and everything?

Yes. That would be a shame. But still: thanks.

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