Wednesday, August 20, 2008

home sick

So I've sucked major ass at keeping up with tracking things on here. But I have been tracking them on and still measuring the hell out of everything I eat and so far I've lost 4 pounds and am 4 away from my goal, so I'm not going to beat myself up over this one.

I caught Joe's germs and have been home sick with the grossest head cold ever. I slept for about 14 hours last night. It was a little ridiculous. The nice thing is I am able to work from home so I don't have to take a sick day and I've been WAY more productive from here anyway. It's amazing, if they knew how much more I got done OUTside of the office I think they'd beg me to stay away.

In other news, my brother has been out to sea with the Coast Guard since sometime in May. He comes back in November and I've been trying to figure out where he is, although most times he can only tell me country names, not what he's doing there. Although, I put my old hack journalism skills to the test and was able to find out on my own that he's made stops in Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe, Ghana and Senegal to train and collaborate with the host nations' navies and coast guards in support of the Africa Partnership Station program.

Yesterday I searched the military sites online and managed to find out that he was in New Guinea training their Navy back in July, which explains the stuff he told me about Africa. And I found out that the "Dallas is deployed to the region under the direction of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet supporting Africa Partnership Station (APS). APS is an initiative aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and other collaborative activities in order to improve global maritime safety and security" which made me feel better, like he was safe and things really are, as he said okay. Although, I only half believed him because I found another article which said that there have been several engine room fires on board his ship while they were deployed in Africa. The Coast Guard Cutters are so old and overworked it's ridiculous. The branch is like the red-headed stepchild of the US Military, but because they tend to only deal with hurricanes and drug runners, instead of - as they are now - dealing with wartime situations, money doesn't get allocated to them.

Bobby and I spoke over email about a week ago and I know that he's near Italy on the island of Malta and had a few days off the ship. I even managed to find a picture of his boat off the coast of Africa and another one in Gibraltar So I was feeling better again.

Then today I was watching CNN, as I do every morning, when I nearly choked on my coffee: "Two US Navy Ships and a Coast Guard Cutter are being sent to Georgia for humanitarian aid and relief work"

And these are the snippets I've been collecting on this all morning:

"Concerns over the military tensions in the region may already have influenced some neighbors. American officials said Turkish officials had denied the United States’ request that an American Navy hospital ship, the Comfort, be allowed to travel through the Turkish straits en route to Georgia. A Bush administration official, who asked not to be identified because of the delicacy of the diplomatic discussions, expressed hope that American officials would eventually persuade the Turks to let the ship pass.

The conflict began Aug. 7 when Georgian troops entered the breakaway region of South Ossetia, which has strong ties to Russia, and Russia responded by sending its own troops deep into Georgian territory. The Kremlin has said Georgia provoked the conflict in South Ossetia, whose populace is hostile to Georgia, and Russian officials have referred to Mikheil Saakashvili, the Georgian president, as a war criminal. Mr. Saakashvili has contended that Russia is determined to turn Georgia into the kind of vassal state that existed during Soviet times."

This amid news reports that Russia is not honoring the UN's cease fire policies. And now I can't even think straight. I am praying to God that my brother's ship isn't being redirected here but I have no way of finding out. The best I've been able to come up with is that they are still in the Strait of Gibraltar working on mid-deployment updates for the ship.

So much for my earlier statement about productivity at home :(

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