All I want for Christmas.....

I got this in an email (which as I learned later, was ripped off from this great blog: go visit, that's an order!), thought I'd share it with you:
here goes:

Christmas wishes from Iraq....
====
What is the typical Iraqi Christmas wish list?
(I won't list 'peace', 'security' and 'freedom' - Christmas miracles are exclusive to Charles Dickens), let's see:

1. 20 liters of gasoline
2. A cylinder of gas for cooking
3. Kerosene for the heaters
4. Those expensive blast-proof windows
5. Landmine detectors
6. Running water
7. Thuraya satellite phones (the mobile phone services are really, really bad of late)
8. Portable diesel generators (for the whole family to enjoy!)
9. Coleman rechargeable flashlight with extra batteries (you can never go wrong with a fancy flashlight)
10. Scented candles (it shows you care- but you're also practical)

When Santa delivers please make sure he is wearing a bullet-proof vest and helmet. He should also politely ring the doorbell or knock, as a more subtle entry might bring him face to face with an AK-47. With the current fuel shortage, reindeer and a sleigh are highly practical - but Rudolph should be left behind as the flashing red nose might create a bomb scare (we're all a little jumpy lately).
===

And a New Year...

Tomorrow's it!

Well boys and girls.. tomorrow's the big day!
Christmas time is upon us, and the time of festivities is nigh!
Here's to a VERY merry christmas to all the good souls out there, and to the bad ones as well!
btw: who won the Nobel peace prize this year? never got round to watching it on satellite.. maybe i'll hit the net for it...

In here its a LITTLE bit better than last week, the gasoline shortage is somewhat less (i.e. you can find blackmarket gasoline to buy) , and the electricity is somewhat better!
I'm filling up my time by studying for the inevitable mid-semester exams coming round 4th of January, and playing some PS2..
does anyone know how to catch Fabienne in Driv3r? just asking...

the other day there were some american soldiers in my university, which is not uncommon since the local command post for that area is just behind my uni!
Anyways, as I was saying, a couple of hummers and some soldiers on foot were going round, they came right next to where I was walking, hmmm... I don't have any xenophobic tendencies as some people told me somewhere, but the only thing in my mind at that time was: "OH BOY, if some idiot tries something stupid like attacking the troops, we're gonna be mincemeat!"
thank God, nothing happened, and as the soldiers passed by, one of them said hello, so we (a couple of friends and myself) politely replied back.. (we said hello... Duuuh.)
borrrrrrrrrrring yes I know, but that's the way it is!

ON ANOTHER COUNT:

Many thanks go to the esteemed people at the ministry of higher education for cutting off ALL funding from my university, it goes that my university before the war was named Saddam University, now, that name does not imply in any way that its holder was either a student nor a faculty member, it only meant that my university was under direct supervision from the presidential council, therefore, and UNLIKE ALL OTHER UNIVERSITIES IN IRAQ, there were no bribes, no payoffs to pass, people had to STUDY to pass, professors did their best at ALL times, and did not tell the students to p*ss off and go buy their lectures or pay them in cold hard cash to succeed, we were something else back then, THE ONLY FULLY-FUNCTIONAL UNIVERSITY IN IRAQ IN WHICH PEOPLE DID STUDY.. and this brought on many a thought of hatred and jealousy from other universities...
anyways, going off the point there,
Now, after the war, since there is no more presidential council and stuff like that, and everyone is fending for himself, the brainless spiteful people in the ministry decided to cut all funding and salaries from us, now, some professors were not paid their dues since LAST YEAR, and many resigned to go work in other places, some even got work in the states!
this came to mind when I noticed that the number of attending professors at the university is decreasing rapidly, after enquiring, I was told the stuff above..
so, I would like to thank (without specifying names) all those aforementioned people in true NEW IRAQ spirit and congratulate them for keeping the cycle of hatred and spite alive and well!
THE NERVE!
When the head of the department tells you that next year there will be no more classes because they cannot pay the professors to attend, you suddenly feel overcome with joy..

I am witnessing the death of my alma mater.. A feeling I do not recommend for anyone.

(note: in Iraq, most universities -excluding a few- are government sponsored, education is FREE.)


Merry Christmas to the world!
and THEN SOME!

hmmm... and by the way, I'm cutting out on cigs tomorrow! here's to a smoke-free 2005!

see ya round the new year!

13

One week remaining!

Yay so I had time after all!
a breakdown of what happened since my last post:
I took two exams, did well in both (sure hope so!)
A friend had her cousin kidnapped and still not returned till this moment
The gasoline shortage is now a bit lessened somewhat
I started smoking again then I quit then I came back then I quit then... argh... my excuse at the moment is that "I did NOT inhale" ....well said.. well said..
hmmm...nothing much to be told...
oh, thanx for all of the people who commented here!
steph, have a happy happy holiday!
kilr0y, thanx for taking time to understand what I meant..
and Justin, welcome aboard!

its people like YOU all that help me be a better person, please do not hesitate to tell me when you see anything you don't like.. I don't promise I'll change it, but I promise I'll give it a second thought and if your point of view prevails, then it will be changed!

MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!
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Merry Christmas!

Yes... I know it's too early to start breaking out the eggnog but since I cannot guarantee posting here from now till the next year (I've said that somewhere before) I want to congratulate all of you kindred spirits on the coming of christmas and the new year!
I hope it will be a better world, a brave new world as they say!

thank you all for visiting THEN SOME! from time to time, I know i've been a lousy blogger but that was the best I could do!
here are some of my new year's resolutions:

1- lose some weight (already working on that)
2- keep on blogging here.
3- pass my courses with a good average.
4- improve my guitar (I have a crazy solo I've been wanting to pull since ages! maybe next year!)
5- go visit my significant other (Halfway across the globe... that visa will be a nightmare to obtain!)
6- find a job.
7- being a better person and friend.

see ya round (hope to be sooner than I predicted..)
13

Words of the Wise..

Again I stand corrected and in silence, for now I know that young people do NOT know S**T..

Please share with me the following lines I found so deep, they were a reply to all my prior b*tching and fuming about how life sucks..

thank you for enlightening me, Papa Ray..

" Well, I am almost 70 years of age, I am a Texan, an American and I am against violence also.
I have first hand experience with violence.
As a child, I was picked on and put upon almost every day because I was small for my age. Growing up I was in many fights, just to try and protect myself, not by choice.
When I was 17 my Dad was killed by a man who was drunk (later was ruled insane)and it killed my mother with grief a year and half later.
I joined the US Army at that time, for valid reasons I thought at that time. I had a few good years of serving in a peace time army. Then came along the famous Viet Nam "Conflict". It was not even a "War". By that time I had a lot of training and had made it to a "Non-Com" rank and was in charge of a squad of soldiers.
We killed in order not to be killed. We didn't kill any women or children or old people, but we saw many killed by our Air Force. Bombing is an equal opportunity killer. It took me many years to get my head straight from that little "conflict". It taught me that violence only brings more violence.
But as long as the world is how it is, violence will be a large part of it, no matter how many hate it.
I won't bore you with my war stories and of my problems or accomplishments. But I do want to give you some truths that I have learned over my long life.
Take them or leave them, your choice.
You have to stand for something or you will amount to nothing.
Being opposed to violence is good, but you must protect yourself and yours from violence however and whenever you must.
You can not protect yourself and yours if you depend just on the "authorities". You must be prepared to do it yourself.
If you want the good things in life, you must be ready and able to pay for them. This does not mean with just money.
If you are faced with problems in your life, depending on others to solve or take care of them will result in you not only still having the problems but thinking less of yourself.
Here is a few other things I've learned:
I've learned that you can get by on charm for about 30 minutes. After that, you'd better know something.
I've learned that you shouldn't compare yourself to the best others can do, but to the best you can do.
I've learned that it's not what happens to people that's important. It's what they do and how they react to it.
I've learned that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartaches for life.
I've learned that no matter how you feel about it, there are always two sides to everything.
I've learned that it's taking me a much longer time to become the person I should be, and I'm running out of time.
I've learned that it's a lot easier to react than it is to think, but not a smart thing to do, unless your talking about driving.
I've learned that you should always leave loved ones with loving words, It may be the last time you see them.
I've learned that you can keep on going and doing long after you think you can't.
I've learned that we are responsible for what we do, no matter what the circumstances.
I've learned that either you control your attitude or it controls you and if you let it control you, you are going to have big problems.
I've learned that life can be as hard on you as you make it, poor decisions, no planning and a bad attitude will make it that way.
I've learned that heroes are people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.
I've learned that learning to forgive takes a lot of practice.
I've learned that there are people who love you, but just don't know how to show it.
I've learned that some people will be your friend only as long it is to their benefit.
I've learned that money and material things is a false way of determining self worth.
I've learned that sometimes when I'm angry, I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.
I've learned that true friendship is very hard to come by and the same goes double for true love.
I've learned that just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to doesn't mean they don't love you.
I've learned that no matter how much I want something, it won't matter to others.
I've learned that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had and what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've had.
I've learned that you should never tell a child their dreams are unlikely, few things are more cruel, and how awful it would be if they really believed you.
I've learned that no matter how good a friend you think someone is, the only real way to find out is when you need them.
I've learned that it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.
I've learned that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief or even care.
I've learned that our background and experiences may influence who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.
I've learned that just because two people argue, it doesn't mean they don't love each other.
I've learned that sometimes you have to put the person ahead of their actions.
I've learned that it takes years to build up trust, and only a little while to destroy it.
I've learned that the more we try to teach our children, the less they seem to learn.
I've learned that you shouldn't always be so eager to find out the truth. It could hurt.
I've learned that the clothes I like best are the ones with the most holes in them.
I've learned that words said in haste and anger hurt everybody and help no one.
I've learned that it's not what you have in your life, but who you have in your life that really counts.
I've learned that two people can look at the exact same situation and see something totally different.
I've learned that people with a little religion are almost more narrow minded than those with a lot.
I've learned that people who don't read and learn will stay ignorant and narrow minded.
I've learned that even if you don't agree with someone, you should listen to their viewpoint.
I've learned that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is love them.
I've learned that no matter how you try to protect your children, they will get hurt and you will hurt also.
I've learned that your life can be changed forever in a matter of minutes by people who don't even know you.
I've learned that even when you think you have no more to give, if your child needs you, you will find a way and means to help. But sometimes helping too much is really a hindrance.
I've learned that prior planning prevents piss poor performance.
I've learned that even with prior planning, unexpected things will always happen.
I've learned that if your going to do something, give it all your effort, do the very best that you can.
I've learned that even if something awful happens to you, you can always learn something from it.
I've learned that sometimes happiness is right in front of you but you can't see it.
I've learned that credentials on the wall doesn't mean they know what the hell they're talking about.
I've learned that the people you care most about in life are always taken away from you too soon.
I've learned that I should have taken better care of myself, but I wasn't smart enough at the time.
I've learned that someone can love you, but not be in love with you.
I've learned that it's hard to to decide between not hurting people and standing up for what you believe is right.
I've learned that the more you love someone, the more you can hurt them.
I've learned that the more you love someone, the more they can hurt you.
I've learned that the more I learn, the more I seem not to know.
Anyway, at your age (I know because,believe it or not, I was your age once), you know everything and ol' folks don't know shit, but I just wanted to pass on some things that I learned the hard way.
Live long and prosper !
This is my post
Papa Ray
West Texas
USA"

Thank you again, wise man.. I am in your debt.
13

Hello again!

Hmmm... let's see.. first things first:

In my last couple of posts I noticed I became too relient on bi*ching about my life here and how everything was shot to s**t and all...
I apologise, for yet again I stand corrected..

I was made to look again at my life and what I want of it by the words of the wise, or as he calls himself, Papa Ray..

thank you for teaching me that no matter how much you think you know, there's always someone around the corner who had more experience, more knowledge than yourself.

When I said at Najma's Blog :
"I am NOT with the americans and NEVER will be.."
I meant that in here, if you do not bomb the s**t out of everyone in the streets, then you are considered a traitor and in line with the american troops, so I was making this point clear.

also, I was angry because a day earlier, a friend got hit by a truck carrying U.S. VIPs.. the driver no doubt had instructions NOT to stop for anything, which is his right to do, because no matter how the media paints the scene, the americans are on hostile grounds, their enemies wolves dressed in sheep's clothing..
No matter how you explain it or try to justify it, it still remains complex.

The Iraqi people are NOT the ones doing the killings and beheadings, for that we have to thank our neighborly countries for either loosening the control on the borders, or admitting said animals to Iraq knowingly.. s*rew them either way.

BUT.. since these idiots are either Arabs or from the middle east region in general, they look pretty much like most Iraqis here, hence the ease of which they hide among the population..

So, can a soldier read minds?
can a soldier differentiate from a smiling face and a smiling face with a hidden gun?
can a soldier know if the route he's travelling on is booby-trapped or not?

NO.

Najma once said that the "Jihadists" do their stuff where the americans are, if they are in the cities, they will blow s**t in the cities, if the americans go into the deserts, they will follow them.

I do not agree.

the animals doing this s**t (I will NOT call them Jihadists, Jihad is another thing entirely, i will come to that later) are too scared to fight in the open, they use the cover of houses and narrow alleyways because this is their method, HIT AND RUN.

bystanders are the ones who get killed no matter who's winning.

anyways, why do I always say I am not with anyone and never seem to do anything to change the situation?

because in Iraq NOTHING changes.
officials are still taking bribes even though their salaries multipled by a factor of 100!
cops are STILL on the take! (they even sell blackmarket gasoline after they confiscate it)
you cannot find a job at any place if you didnt have the proper "party" connections (i.e. you belong to one of the major political parties, s*rew your credentials!)
instead of only one family ripping Iraq's resources and wealth, we have TWENTY-SOMETHING!
Any one who grabs hold of any position in the government starts thinking how to make money out of it..

This is the insider's view.

believe it or call me a ba'athist dog calling for saddam's return, that is your choice to make.

by the way, I do not want him to return, that was one nightmare I do not want to live through again.

what is my solution?
if I had one, I wouldn't be so confused..

I pity the poor souls who have to stand guard (be they U.S. troops or INGs)
no one is on their side.
not even the ones they're trying to protect.

Lost souls knocking on heaven's door.

see ya round
THEN SOME.
13

Where I have been:

Yes, I'm here.
No, I didn't get killed or hurt or whatever (a lot of people are going: AWW CRAP..)
Maybe, I'll manage to come here again in the next few days.

sorry folks for my irresponsibility, but i've been up to my ears in college stuff..
Had an Advanced MPU Architecture exam the other day, did ok, managed (along with the whole class) to postpone our Modern Control exam for three weeks or so (two left now) and pulled a muscle in my right thigh, because of which I walk like frankenstein's monster, doctor said it was like a minor tear in the muscle which could get more complicated, big deal... oh do NOT ask me how I even manage to use the toilet seat! (cannot bend my left leg OR EVEN MOVE IT, I drag it around like a log connected to my hip)
Oh they should dish out a prize for the guy who invented DEEP HEAT RUB!!

anyways, although i'm living now on norgesic and other various painkillers, generally i'm ok, better than my friend who got hit by a GMC Yukon carrying some VIPs some days ago, he had multiple (five) compound fractures in his right arm (which he uses to write) and is now unable to do the exams.. c'est la vie.
he's ok though, still breathing, so he's fine by ANY standard down here!

hmmm..
what have I to say more?
what happened these days?
nothing much, same old same old.

there is fighting now in our area, i hear shooting and explosions near by, i wonder why they didnt cut the electricity yet.. i should wrap this up quick...
well..
see ya round.
man i'm too drugged to be PO'ed but somehow i am!

ARGH LET ME SLEEP.
oh yeah, we GOT HOT WATER! hell yeah!

oh and the weather:
its ok, something in the twenties (celsius... DUHHH) and although I get my @$$ frozen in the mornings (my university is just on the river.. CHILLY!) but i manage to stay warm.. how? by thinking warm thoughts! like about the day when I will skip this dump for good! hell yeah i'm sweating buckets already!
i wanna get out.
i'm BORED.
nothing changes around here..

killing
maiming
sticking it to someone on the highway
gasoline shortage
electricity shortage
killing
maiming
stic... oh i'm too friggin tired to go on.

I WANT TO WA... ooh big booms getting close!
i wonder who's getting killed?
God have mercy on the dead.

hmmm..
so like.. what is more to say?

oh yeah.
THEN SOME!
smell ya round.
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