Monthly Archives: November 2015

Capitol Movement Dancers at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti

Me? I can pretty much tear up a dance floor. Just ask my wife. I usually start with the water sprinkler, then the pull start lawn mower, maybe pick some cherries and finish off by reeling in my wife with the fishing pole. Those moves just never get old.

Turns out some people take dancing very seriously, like it’s their JOB. I can only imagine that turning a dime as a fully clothed dancer can be a frustrating career path. Low and behold, people are making it happen. Twenty-or-so of them from Capitol Movement Dance Company took the long trip out here to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti to put on a show for the troops. I went, not because I’m into dancing, but I feel compelled to report on it in this forum, and also to show support to them for going this far out of their way for us.

Some ladies from Capitol Movement Dance Company entertain the troops, one in particular, on board Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.

Some ladies from Capitol Movement entertain the troops, one in particular, on board Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.

In my younger, more immature days, I confess I probably would have been a hater. Bashing dancers for such a silly career. I’m much wiser now so have a couple more mature observations to share.

  1. Those cats can change their clothes like Superman. After each skit they would duck into a tent and in less than a minute be back out in a totally new getup.
  2. The physical requirements to be a good dancer are probably obvious to most, no doubt they could probably roast most of the warriors out here in any physical competition, with the exception of straight up duking it out. BUT, what people like me probably don’t catch is how sharp their minds are to remember an hour worth of dance moves, all choreographed and performed in unison.

In closing, I’m not a hater. Kudos out to those young men and women for the hard work they did to get where they are as professional dancers, and for coming all the way out here. The show itself, not really my bag, but I’m pretty sure my Aunt Nettie would be talking about it for days if she saw it, so it was probably pretty good. Thanks again, MWR!

Thanksgiving at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti

As a men and women joining the military, in broad terms, we think of it as a job application. In reality it’s much more than that. I recall my footloose and fancy free days as an ensign on USS First Ship. Duty on the holiday’s blows, no doubt about that, but my Skipper was on board with his family serving holiday meals to the crew. I’m not even sure it occurred to me then, but in taking the oath, we commit ourselves to a way of life, the job is just part of it. Though I’m no Skipper out here, I had the distinct pleasure of serving Thanksgiving dinner to the crew along with many Camp and HOA commissioned and non-commissioned officers.

Seeing how the thousands of people here on Camp Lemonnier are my family for Thanksgiving, we had a friendly family chase around the base this morning we called the Gobble Wobble 5K. I will say that my training routine has me pointed in the right direction. I held a 7:30 pace to come in a touch over 23 minutes. Hat’s off again to MWR for hosting a great event with tunes at the starting/finishing line, a timer for those who care about their pace, road guards and a joyful pancake breakfast following the race. Eating in sweaty PT gear alone is a bit of a treat out here.

Lastly, and not an insignificant point, is that our chain of command was gracious enough to offer us a day with no scheduled activities, or a day off. Some guys still had to report to the office, but most of us get to take advantage of the holiday. Trust me, it’s a big deal, having the day off was in question right up until yesterday.

As an independent observation, I’ve found that some people just don’t know how to handle independent time. They consider themselves bored and seem more comfortable when someone is telling them what to do. I can’t say whether the military fostered that mentality, or if that mentality is naturally drawn to the military. Regardless, from my own perspective, the time off is an opportunity for me to focus my energy on personal fulfillment. There is so much more to life than ‘the job’, even in light of my observation that our job is really more of a way of life.


Warrior Bod: On Running, to include the barefoot movement.

The funny thing is, I’m not a big fan of aimless running. I love running during a Frisbee game, or soccer, but not just for the sake of running. Trail running is that grey line, I can dig trail runs. One thing that helped make running more fun was barefoot running, so let’s start there.

Shocker: I’m a fan of the Tim Ferriss 4 Hour Body. This book holds my highest recommendation to get yourself feeling fit. If you decide to join in please tell Amazon you love me by purchasing through the link on this page. Continue reading

Friday Funnies – Investing

Fellas, let me know if you’ve ever had this conversation:

Woman: Do you drink beer?
Man: Yes

Woman: How many beers a day?
Man: Oh, about 3.

Woman: How much do you pay per beer?
Man: Well, $5 I ‘spose, with tip.

Woman: And how long have you been drinking?
Man: Geez, 20 years maybe.

Woman: So a beer costs $5 and you have 3 beers a day which puts your spending each month at $450. In one year, it would be approximately $5400 …correct?
Man: Sounds about right.

Woman: If in 1 year you spend $5400, not accounting for inflation, the past 20 years puts your spending at $108,000, correct?
Man: Correct.

Woman: Do you know that if you didn’t drink so much beer, that money could have been put in a step-up interest savings account and after accounting for compounding interest for the past 20 years, you could have now bought a Ferrari?
Man: Do you drink beer?

Woman: No.
Man: Where’s your Ferrari?

Mail Call!

Let’s talk about getting mail in Djibouti. Thing is, DJ is the end of the line. Nothing stops here on its way to somewhere else. Frankly, nothing comes here if it doesn’t have to, mail included. So, it takes the longest path of most resistance, sometimes.

I ordered something from Amazon 17 days ago. It was shipped in two boxes, the first one got here last week, the other one left Dubai 6 days ago, according to the tracker, but still not here. Word on the street is that the range of delivery times is 8 days to 3 weeks.

One other important note. Every box that shows up here is beat to hell. I’m pretty sure the delivery is contracted out to Ace Ventura. I had a bottle of hot sauce break in my last care package, but thankfully it was packed smartly so it was a non issue.

There is a US post office on Camp Lemonnier. They have boxes and work like a typical stateside USPS. That’s not where we as individuals get mail, though. Each shop has a mail rep who picks it up and then distributes it to each cell. I trust we lose a few days in that process alone. Postage is same as home for boxes but letters and postcards ship for free. We just write the word “free” where the stamp would go.

In the pictures below I’ll share some great ideas for care packages. It’s like Christmas when these packages show up.

How Bazaar?

Sunday Funday.

For those of you in ‘merica, a bazaar is like a flea market of sorts. In this case local artisans were able to bring their goods onto camp and swing them to squids for twice what they make in town. And naturally, they bring camels. Man will we pay for camels. No rides this year but for a modest fee we can get our picture taken with one.

Three dollars well spent.

Three dollars well spent.

We joke, but based on what I’ve heard about the city this might be legit…the locals can come in here and make the equivalent of a years salary in this one day on Camp. There was also a story about an African at the last bazaar that walked his camel here in what turned out to be a 45 minute car ride away. Granted, the roads here suck, but still. Would you walk your camel 20 miles for a years worth of dough?

Apparently these bazaars happen a few times a year. This one was marketed as the one for the holidays, which is true, but with hindsight what it is, I have a different perspective. See, here’s the thing. I spent two years in Asia and found all sorts of ways to spend my money. I came home with twice the amount of stuff that I left with. As my wife and I moved around it all came with us, but stayed in the box wherever we went. Now that we’re acquiring all that good kids stuff we’ve been going through the boxes to make space. It’s just not our style to put up scrolls, and wooden elephants, and vibrant oil paintings. So let’s just say I didn’t go nuts at the bazaar, but I am grateful that MWR made it all happen. From a diplomacy perspective, the enthusiasm of our hosts is directly proportional to how much money we spend.

Accessing the Oracle

After you’ve been here a bit it’s easy to forget that before we got here we really had no idea what to expect. So, for the sake of those coming downrange, here is how Internet works on CLDJ.

Two main options, listed in order that they are generally acquired:

  1. MWR Hotspots – The first thing your sponsor should do when you get here is get you an MWR account. It’s fast and easy. MWR has several hotspots on Camp; Subway, Green Beans, etc. When you set up your account you get a username and password so you have to sign in every time you need it. The speed is tolerable for texting and checking emails but a wee slow for Skypeing and FaceTiming. So, you will likely get the urge to buy your own internet.
  2. Purchasing a plan – All the CLU’s are wired, but you need to purchase a plan from the mafia. They offer three plans where price is linked to bandwidth. People complain about it being high dollar, I paid about $350 for 3 months. So I’ll pay about $1000 this year for the Oracle and that gets me the chance to see my daughter and wife every night, so I’m cool with it.

Other notes / potential FAQ’s

  • I haven’t heard of any blocked sites with the purchased internet plans. The computers in the work spaces have lots of blocked sites.
  • If you purchase a plan you need a router, Cat 5e patch cable (LAN line), and a plug adapter. When I got here the NEX was sold out of all of them. So, tell your sponsor to hook you up, or bring your own.
  • Maybe it’s obvious, but if you need to plug in (i.e. don’t have a wireless card) you’ll need to purchase a plan for your CLU and plug into the wall socket, or the router if you have one.

I’ll happily field any other questions, just leave them in the comments section below.  Cheers!

Friday Funnies

I think it’ll be fun to add a series of Friday funnies. If you’ve never responded to a blog this will be a good one to throw a “hahaha” down, or better yet, bring me some of that good stuff. Got jokes?

One day God was looking down at earth and saw all of the rascally behavior that was going on…

So He called His angels and sent one to earth for a time.

When the angel returned, he told God,’Yes, it is bad on earth; 95% are misbehaving and only 5% are not. God thought for a moment and said, ‘Maybe I had better send down a second angel to get another opinion.’

So God called another angel and sent her to earth for a time.

When the angel returned she went to God and said, ‘Yes, it’s true. The earth is in decline; 95% are misbehaving, but 5% are being good…’

God was not pleased.

So He decided to e-mail the 5% who were good, because he wanted to encourage them, and give them a little something to help them keep going.

Do you know what the e-mail said?

Okay, I was just wondering, because I didn’t get one either.