Posts Tagged ‘Volunteers’

Fallujah and Bin Laden — things I never thought I’d say together

May 2, 2011

Just a couple things – it’s late, I’m tired, and all that good stuff.

1.  thank to all of you for the nice notes and emails today, regarding the recent military operations in the Afghanistan / Pakistan areas, in order to capture / kill Usama bin Laden.  I do appreciate your kind words and well wishes.  The jokes of the day was, of course, “Thanks, but you do realize I am in Baghdad, and that’s nowhere near Pakistan, right?”  All jokes aside, it’s good to see operations go smoothly, it’s good to see our Joe’s make it in and out OK, and it’s good to see that they hit the objective and the target was there.  Intelligence drives operations, or so they say.

2.  Fallujah.  Wow.  thank you, all of you, for all that you have done to help with Fallujah.  With it being rather remote, bundles will surely take some time to make their way to Fallujah.  But that’s OK.  You all are awesome for helping.

3.  I’m gonna take a short pause.  I’m going to have to let my foot off of the gas for IBOL for this month, and work on, well, work.  No, it’s no bin Laden’s fault; my battle buddy is on R&R, and I’m swamped.  Asking people to put bundles into the mail by the end of April was no accident; I saw this train wreck coming even back then.  So, bear with me while I bear down and try — try! — to do the work of two.  This should be interesting — the wailing and gnashing of teeth you hear is likely me.

4.  OMG, OMG, OMG.  June will being the next round of IBOL.  The big push, pre-Ramadan (which kicks off around 01 August, depending on the moon — really).  Why is it OMB?  I won’t be IBOL.  Yep — sealed the deal.  We’re pushing stuff to Afghanistan.  Maybe a little bit more to Iraq, we’ll see, but we have AWESOME plans for Afghanistan.  Get ready to get giddy, it’s gonna be a ball.  If you’ve enjoyed the secret projects, or enjoyed helping Iraq, or found solace or goodness or reward in helping with IBOL, I suspect you’ll find the same or more when you hear how this is going to play out.

But first, some sleep, some work, a little bit of food, and even some running.  Yes, besides all this, I am back out there running, and making noise about making a run at the Kauai marathon in the fall.  I’m too busy these days to run a fever, yet somehow I got it in my head to train for some longer running.  Egads.

But sleep.  That’s next.

And thanks.  Thank you all for tagging along on this mighty adventure.  Thank you for helping out in ways I never dreamed possible.

Super Secret Project 4

April 28, 2011

Hiya, everybody.  So, here we are, coming down to the wire for getting bundles into the mail for Fallujah.  End of the week, if you can — getting things in the mail by the end of April means stuff should make it out to the far reaches of the world, or Fallujah, by mid to late May.  So, there’s still time if you’re putting the final touches on something or are just really, really quick about it.

And if you’re not super quick, and you’d find yourself missing that deadline?  Fear not.  I’m closing up the details for the next go around.  We’re take a small pause with the ending this month, catch our breath and, for me, sleep a little bit, and then kick off the next surge.  Will it be good?  Nope — it’ll be awesome.  Stick around, check in from time to time, or, if you’re brave, there’s an email subscription option over there on the right side of the page — you’ll get updates to the blog right there in your email in box.  Think of it like the flood of AOL CD’s you use to get in the mail, just not annoying or bad for the environment.

So, we have one last thing to talk about.  SSP4.  Time to be straight about it.

Super Secret Project 4 has been about babies.

Really.  Babies.  Yes, the hard-core killer Army guy behind IBOL has a soft spot for babies.

Who: The SSP4 Platoon
What:  Receiving blankets
When:  Now through the end of April
Where:  Kurdish region and Kirkuk to start, for onward usage across Iraq
Why:  Because helping babies is pretty awesome.  And by pretty awesome, I mean totally awesome.

Jessica from preemptivelove.org contacted me about IBOL a while ago, and pitched the idea of doing something together.  Preemptive Love operates out of northern Iraq, but they also do work in an Nasariyah, near my beloved marshes. It’s worth going to their site to read about what they do.  Anyway, they have access to different places, and different groups.  While IBOL3D has been about helping widows in places like Fallujah, SSP4 is about the little ones.

So, we came up with a plan.  With some recruited volunteers, folks have been sending their hand-made receiving blankets to Kirkuk, for onward movement to the Preemptive Love folks in Sulaymaniyah.  Jessica and crew will bring them along on their medical missions, and share them with families and new babies.  Which is pretty awesome, I think.

To all of you who helped with this, thank you.  These types of side projects are kinda fun.

And for all of you who helped out, by all mean, now is the time to come out of the woodwork and leave a comment about.  Share your stories, share your photos, tell tall tales if you must.  Because there are a lot of you, and a lot of neat stories that you’ve shared in emails about what you’ve done with this side project.

Sorry about that

April 10, 2011

We now return you to our regularly scheduled program.

Sorry about that, folks.  Army and Iraq and all that stuff sorta got in the way this week.  I have been delinquent in posting news here.

News.  What to say?  Well, let’s start close to home.

This was an interesting week here in Iraq.  On Friday, Iraqis took to the streets to protest the continued US presence in Iraq.  CNN says that the day was chosen to mark the anniversary of the fall of the old regime, but I don’t think that really captures it.

It was the Shia that came out to march.  I am sure that some marched to commemorate the death of the late Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr.  Some probably marched over Bahrain, and the conflicts there.  Some probably even came out to protest the operations in Libya (even though it’s a Sunni popular there).   There’s nothing simple in Iraq, not even people coming out to the streets to march in a protest.

But beyond Iraq, it’s been a week of continued strife and turmoil in across the Middle East.  Egypt, Syria, Tunisia — there are still tensions and troubles throughout the region.

I do hope you’re following along.  Read what you can.

Now, as for IBOL news. well, let me say thanks.  I had been hoping to make a side trip out west this week, in the hopes of stopping in to Fallujah to say hello to the crew there (and to see if any bundles had arrived).  It was good and bad that the trip was scrubbed — good, in that my was bonkers this week, but kind of a bummer in that I was hoping to stop by and see them.

And I have one more stick in the fire.  I saw this article online, and am trying to reach them.  Trying.  It’d be nice to find a way to lift and shift IBOL to Afghanistan, without me having to actually go there.  (Don’t get me wrong — I’m sure it’s a nice place, but it’d be nice to stay at home for a little bit sometime).

So, stay tuned.  It’s 3 more weeks of this round of IBOL, pushing much needed stuff into Fallujah.  We’ll see what happens after that.

Oh, and yes — Super Secret Project 4 is still ongoing, and SSP4 is still awesome.  I think we have a platoon of volunteers, but if you want in, well, now’s about the time to chime in.  Time is running out.

Really?

March 29, 2011

So, tonight I caught my breath and caught up on emails I needed to sent to people.  Knowing that I wanted to write a short note for here, and not knowing what I would say, I logged into WordPress to do fun maintenance stuff like approve comments, wide our Ecuador’s economy, etc.

And there’s one place where I see what people were searching for when they came to the IBOL webpage.  Two caught my eye tonight.  “define octoberish” and “funny rumors to start.”

Both of these crack me up.  Did you know that Octoberish is a comic online?  Yeah, me neither.

As for “funny rumors to start”, I am at something of a loss.  I only know of a couple of rumors, none of which I think I started.  There was the one about me being 600 years old.  And the one about me being a modern Jane Fonda (you need to see this video).  Oh, there were the Ten Funny Rumors about IBOL from a couple of years ago — maybe that’s the connection.  Funny stuff.

No matter.  Whatever brought you here, welcome.  Stick around a while, watch some silly video, read some semi-amusing anecdotes, and have some fun.

The Super Secret Project of Awesomeness

March 24, 2011

Thank you all for the awesome response!  Quite a few people have taken the bait and asked for more details about SSP4.

Here, let me share some more.

  1. If I tell you here on the blog what it is, I am probably lying.
  2. OMG, we’re all going to each make a diorama in a shoe box, of a scene from American history.  We’re going to mail them to second graders in Iraq, so they won’t have to do it and can just skip that rite of passage.
  3. It’s going to run through the end of April.  There’s time.
  4. I toss around a range of number sometimes — 100 to 150.  I think small.  By all means, feel free to show me that I think small.
  5. This is again about access — we’ve figured out a way to do something good and neat, in a way that is pretty easy to do but without a military role, would be next to impossible I think.  Three hooahs for the military, huh?

So, keep ’em coming.  Spread the word some.  if you think it’s a good idea, I bet others will, too.  And it’s not astro-physics (and please, if you are an astro-physicist, correct me if I am wrong) — this is in the realm of do-able.  And kinda fun.

SSP4: Operation Dimple

March 23, 2011

For those of you who are IB♥L veterans, and who remember way back to the olden days, Super Secret Projects (SSP) have been little things I’ve done on the side during IB♥L.

  • SSP1 was working with Sew, Mama, Sew! to make bundles available online for sale, so geeks n0n-stash owners like my brother could still help with IB♥L (it was AWESOME!)
  • SSP2 was working with quilts.com and the Houston International Quilt Festival, for a massive surge at the end of the original IB♥L (it was AWESOME!)
  • SSP3 was a small group of less than 30, surging supplies into the Tikrit area (Saddam’s hometown and the seat of his powerbase), to help kids from an orphanage get ready for the new school year (it was AWESOME!)

It’s time for SSP4.  I am looking for a platoon of volunteers (meaning about 30), who are interested in making a few things to help out some truly awesome people.  It’s not really IB♥L related, because it deviates from the regular IB♥L formula for success.  And it’s going to mean working with fabric (flannel?  fleece?) to make something, or a few things, before putting them into the mail.

But I can assure you — it will be AWESOME.

Does this sound cryptic?  Do I have your attention?  Leave me a comment or send me an email (since I know a lot of you have my address already) and I’ll send you the details for what I have been jokingly referring to (with my inside voice) as Operation Dimple.  It’s going to be fun.

Turning off the spigot

March 13, 2011

Folks, I’m turning off the spigot.  Shutting off the valve.  Closing the tap.

For the 500 Bundle Challenge, I think we have it.  In going back over the emails, the notes, the comments in Facebook and all that, it sounds like the 500 are all on their way.

If you’ve talked to me about mailing bundles but have not done so yet, of course, go ahead and plan to mail them.  I just think I can account for 500, to include the ones people have said they are going to mail.

From here, I need to finish up for details for the next iteration of IBOL.  I have ideas, I have your feedback, I have a plan.

And yes, there are other things in the works.

Oh, and thank you.  Thank you for the bundles,  thank you for the kind words, thank you for the emails and the laughs.

The business of bad news

March 8, 2011

At a morning meeting, after lots of talk of doom and gloom, my boss shifted gears and pointed out that we really can be in the business of bad news.  Attacks, people injured and / or killed, people wounded, homes and lives destroyed, and people ripping at the fabric of the society.

Tell me some good news, he said.  Think of something good that’s going on right now, something that will life our spirits.

Before anyone else could react, one of the guys says, “My son said his first sentence.  He said daddy is on the phone.”

I thought it was totally awesome.  It totally made my day.

It’s not all doom and gloom, not all bad news.  Too often, I fear, we hear only those things, as the tension they bring are a magnet for attention and an asset for the media.  But kids say their first sentences.  Sons have their first dates.  Daughters draw flowers and horses and make things that sparkle.  And cats, well, cats do whatever cats want to do, and that’s usually pretty awesome, too.

For all the mischief and mayhem, all the attacks and violence and trouble and turbulence, today was still a pretty awesome day, in so many ways.

Where’s the reward in all this?

March 8, 2011

Have you asked yourself that?  Someone has, I am sure.

Here it is.  It’s a little something for you, and the one in your life who carries the heavy IBOL boxes to the mailroom and squashes bugs sometimes, and even for the kitteh — because really, if you’re eating it, it must be good, and if it’s good, it was actually put on this earth for the cat.

So, yep — here it is.  It’ll leave you with that warm feeling inside, like you’d just done something awesome that only you know about.  Something awesome, when no one else was even looking.

This is just one more small way I can say thank you.  Thank you for all the kind words.  Thank you for the great stories, and the heartwarming tales from your lives.  Thanks for the bundles, and the emails, and the notes and the pictures on the sides of the boxes.  Thank you for helping to make IBOL what it is — not a project but an effort.

Giant Registry of IBOL Awesomeness

March 7, 2011

I have been doing some records keeping, sending emails out to people.  As you all have left comments and asked for the address, I have created the Giant Registry of IBOL Awesomeness.  So, Sunday was mass email day, and this week is going to be lots of emails with lots of you about lots of things, to include some small talk about bundles, widows, cookies, reading glasses, the new movie Sucker Punch, and obligatory talks about the therapeutic value of cats and ice cream.

I love the Giant Registry of IBOL Awesomeness.  It’s full of awesome people.