Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A letter to the President

What is going on with this country? At times I feel so helpless, like there is so little I can do to turn stuff around. And then I realize that despite my lack of millions, my bluecollar job, and my anonymity to the powers that be, I still possess the same thing they do--one single vote. And until I can wield that power to vote, I will vent my frustrations to the government in a series of letters to the President (or Congressmen/women). Some I may send, some I may just write because they are seriously ticking me off. This is the first one (oh, and I sure as heck sent it):

Eva Alvarado
***** ******* Road
San Diego, CA 92127-1360
July 27, 2011
The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500
Re: Proposed Military Pay Freeze
Dear President Obama:
The following letter is in regard to recent news reports that the President's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is proposing a three-year freeze on military pay and housing allowance, and an increase in out-of-pocket medical costs in order to cut the federal budget deficit.
I am also writing in response to a proposal to privatize military retirement. As an active duty member with 9 years in the service, I find it reprehensible that all this time I have spent away from my family--my husband and daughter on deployments (6 total, one year-long IA) will be for just the possibility--not the guarantee--of retirement.
I understand that we are in troubled times and that there are cuts that need to be made, but these troubled times were created because of corporate greed. Outsourcing has led to American jobs being cut, which has had a terrible trickle down effect on our livelihood as Americans. Do we really want to leave our retirement up to these same fat cats that have contributed to the demise of our economy?
How many of us are going to trust our retirement on the Stock Market? The military is not a corporation, so why are corporate retirements plans in store for us?
GSE2 (SW/AW) Eva Alvarado

Eva Alvarado sent this message using the Capwiz·XC system on the Web site. To learn more about's issues, please visit

(I hope it wasn't too rude. I also went to my congressman, representative, their housemaid, and the presidential puppy. Just kidding about the housemaid. She has no time for that level of shennanigans) 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The end is nigh, the noise is high

I leave this place in five days. Five. days. I haven't packed anything but cold weather gear and the end to the cruise book is close, but not quite. I've spent 90% of my last 2 weeks hunched over a computer doing layout and ignoring the fact that there are still a billion things left to do before I leave. Like packing. And sending stuff home. And doing that LPO turnover binder. And finishing the cruise book. And the meeting with the XO. And mentoring a junior sailor. And working out. And calling the guy about the thing for the order form things. And sleeping eventually. And maybe eating something besides tuna packets and candy. Oh, and this sore throat that I'm sure will develop into something more sinister right before I leave. It's all noise. A series of clangs and clacks and booms of lists that demand that I pay attention this way, no that.

And then I call home...

And eventually I talk to the Bug. And then all I hear is her. Her sweet soft voice and occasional exclamatory remarks mute the noise brought on by the lists. I know that everything here is irrelevant, because all I hear is her...

And then I hang up and the noise resumes. But only for five more days.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

On dreams, memories, and death

I haven't dreamt about my sister in a long time. When she died, I would dream about her at least once a week. Then the frequency of the dreams waned until just now I realized that I haven't dreamt about her. I'm beginning to forget the sound of her voice. My memories of her have begun to fade, like the dissipation of cigarette smoke. All that's left is a sense of longing and regret.

Is forgetting a way for our mind to heal? Is the loss of memories a numbing salve for our brain? We hurt and after time we forget. All that's left are scars from the past. But scars fade with enough time, and given enough time, so do memories. I fear that my memory of her is fading as the years go by. I'm rambling and with enough emotion, my writing suffers. But I need that emotion. I need to remember her, no matter how much it hurts. I need to remember her because if I don't, then she'll really be gone.

It's time like these when I actually wished I believed in the afterlife.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Deployment--a manifesto

There is a string that ties me to you and you to me.
A string that no one can see,
A string that keeps my wandering soul from wandering too far,
A line that keeps me grounded, a northern star
that guides me back to where I came from:

A place in time where your neck smells like blankets on a Saturday morning.
The gum in your hair, exposed skin on your knees
The moment when you realized you shouldn't have climbed that tree
But you did anyway (No, wait that was me)

The heart in your toast
The char in your heart
that results from the feeling that I'm not there
(I am, I swear)

There may be things that you may not count on, but count on this--
I will leave.
But no matter how many times I may leave you,
I will never go farther than the string between you and me
And I will always return

Monday, February 28, 2011

The C Word

As always, I am up to the brim with things to do. My Plan of the Day, To Do List, Tasker list and dry erase boards (yes, I have more than one) have all been piling up on my desk and wall, taunting me with their unchecked boxes and their unfinished statuses.

I look at the pile of paperwork to my right and the unanswered mail, the unwritten reports, the lonely study texts gathering dust behind me, the half-empty cruise book layout that requires tending and all I can think about is Henry Miller and his gratuitous use of the word cunt. Life around me is growing moss from total disuse while my mind wanders to tawdry and illicit scenes that one simple and vulgar word can imply.
Why do we place such importance to words that define our genitals? Why do words like “cock,” “pussy,” and “cunt” excite and alarm us? Has our society become so Puritanical that we are programmed to flinch at the mere mention of our reproductive organs? Why is it okay to say reproductive organs but it’s not okay to say cunt? And why has that word become an insult?
I can’t help but stay lost in thought, stuck in my mind’s eye as I sit here and wonder the whys of the etymology of our sexual organs. I think back to times of clandestine trysts when life was colorful and dangerous and loud and raw. When times were uncertain and love happened and came and went in a span or hours, days, maybe even weeks if you were lucky.  There was abandon and noise and turbulence brought on by a mere surreptitious glance from across the room.
Life was dangerous. Love was dangerous. And the C word was more than just a word. It was an invitation.

Not there’s a new C word that I have to focus on: completion. As in the completion of these damn tasks.

Monday, February 21, 2011

New music at the PX--A Review

I never really expect to find anything good or interesting while wading through the usual mainstream douchiness that is displayed in the "music" section at the PX. I usually thumb through the cds out of habit, not really expecting to find anything that doesn't involve Katy Perry or some other lame-ass pop doyenne making money out of Autotune. I have on a few occasions been pleasantly surprised. A few months ago, I came across an OK GO! album, a Franz Ferdinand album, and the new Hole (released out here about 9 months after the US release, but oh well).

Yesterday, during my usual pseudo-distracted search through the cds I came across the new My Chemical Romance album (released in November). I was somewhat disappointed after their attempt to mimic Green Day's American Idiot level of epic-ness (and their obvious Pink Floyd The Wall rip-off) in The Black Parade. I had heard one of their singles on Sirius when I went home during R&R and I wasn't impressed. The introduction to Sing sounded too much like Incubus, which totally pissed me off because one Incubus is one too many. But, like a faithful fan of MCR, I still held hope that this time it would be different...
So I bought the album.

It was epic.
The intro threw me off a little bit. 29 seconds of smooth-talking hipster traffic reporter followed by an explosive EARGASMIC song that did the job of waking me up for a little uninhibited underwear dancing in my PCB. Their sound is similar to their first two albums (energetic, unrestrained, and emotional) but the vibe is more energetic and effervescent. MCR has replaced the EMO-ish lyrics with something a little more adult, a little more exhuberant, a little more eclectic, while still maintaining the integrity of the sound that drew the fans in the first place.

I haven't skipped through a single song and I'm happy to report that my relationship with MCR has been restored. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Blue toenails, scuffed knees, and a whole lotta hurt

Running is the only physical activity that I can do pretty well (with my clothes on....OH!).
I hate running. And on that note, I have come to have a love/loathe relationship that is just about as disfunctional as the myriad of relationships that I have--through the course--of my life grown accustomed to. In other words, I get hurt and keep coming back like an absolute fool.
Take last night for example--my marathon training plan is scheduling me to do my long runs on Saturday. Yesterday was the Saturday of my week 5 which meant I was in for a good one. 10 miles to be exact. And despite the fact that I have flat feet and the coordination of a drunk 5 year old, I decided--what the hell.
So here I am, a day later. My purple toenail has become blue, my ankles feel like I've been walking with weights, my knees feel ancient, and I have a considerable amount of exposed bloody skin on my knee.

So next Saturday's 12 miles...this time it'll be different, I swear. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day in the desert is like any other holiday on deployment--a shadow of the real thing. Red and pink and purple decorations pepper the hallways and offices are stacked with chocolates and other sweets. So it has become like a standard second grade Valentine's Day. Gone are all the things that make this holiday interesting--dressing up for a date, drinks, dinner, sex, and yes...heels. Instead I wear steel toe boots that at times weigh me down with the knowledge that there is no way on earth I could ever look sexy in them. A set of cammie tops and bottoms that are disproportionately baggy and my hair pulled back in a tight militant, unattractive bun. I can't wait to feel feminine again.

trite: a rant

This deployment has been a series of peaks and troughs, wavelengths of high and lows that have at present left me exhausted and at times indifferent. I started this blog because I wanted to see the transition of what would become of me and I see that nothing has changed except that I am still the same emotional mess I was when I began. Except now, I have forgotten what is important to me.
I wanted to conserve that piece of myself that missed my life back home. I wanted to preserve myself from missing my home--my family and friends and way of living. In doing so, I fear I have become but a shell of indifference. A robot, a golem, a machine who has replaced loving and the feeling of being loved with work and projects and minutiae of day to day activities.
My day is filled to the brim and none of it fills me. Nothing fulfills me and it has almost become a torture to see pictures of the Bug because I know that when I talk to her, I am irrelevant too. Life goes on at home while this Neverland keeps me preserved in a formaldehyde jar of day to day crap.
Work, study, homework, run, and there's no room left for emotions, there's no room left for love, there's no room left for my human side because allowing the human side to take over would destroy me.
I was hoping to update posts with silly drawings and comical illustrations. But today, this is all I am--trite.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What this deployment is definitely NOT like

When people hear that I'm deployed to the Middle East, most of the time, they give me this look of sheer admiration. Like I'm personally hunting down Osama Bin Laden myself as I wade through seas of insurgents, knocking them down, dozens at a time:

What they don't realize is that when I'm not working on the Public Affairs sector of the command, I stand baking under the blazing asshole sun--inspecting engines, transmissions, and all sorts of vehicle parts for contraband and dirt. Yes, dirt. Outside. In the desert. Where there has never in the history of Kuwait, EVER been a shortage of dirt.

Running Challenge: Day 2

October 2, 2010

It's my day off. My first REAL day off. Don't have any edits to do, no meetings, no appointments, nothing. Allow me to explain; I haven't taken a day off for the past month while I've been clawing to secure myself into the coveted position of Public Affairs (see blog: Effed in the A).  Knowing that I would be off the next day, I stayed up all night doing all the corrections for the kilo cruisebook and worrying about Julio's car accident, which turned out to be not as bad as I thought.
Now that my first issue was distributed (and very well recieved), and the cruisebook was finished, I could finally relax. Sleep in. Not worry about getting up at all. But I must run. I have a whole day to run.

6:00 a.m. BEEP BEEP (it's actually nice outside, get up and run)

8:00 a.m. BEEP BEEP (get up before the earth feels like it's going to burn you alive)

10:00 a.m. BEEP BEEP (now it's too hot, you fucker. why don't you at least stretch a little?)

12:00 p.m. BEEP BEEP (really?!? it feels like Satan's ass out there. fuck no)

1:00 p.m. wake up, eat a couple of Ritz crackers and some ghost marshmallows. watch Jon Stewart on my computer. nap

2:00 p.m. start reading a book, contemplate on walking to the gym. denied. contemplate on walking to the latrine. ...
......nah, too hot.

3:00 p.m. okay, now I'm really hungry. I polish off some more marshmallows. Hunger crisis averted. rack exit no longer necessary

5:00 p.m. It is imperative that I peel myself off this bed. gym? not until I eat some real food.
shower, change, call friend
...wait on friend....
...freak out about possibly losing keys that house the command camera...

7:00 p.m. make it to Zone 1 where there is some sort of pathetic Oktoberfest celebration. Eat a brat. feel sick. head back.

9:00 p.m. Too sick to run, bedtime sounds better

Running Challenge: Day 1

October 1, 2010

I’m ready for this challenge! I’m positively beaming with positive positive-ness!!!! Nothing can stop me! I am a running master! I am the queen of the track! My legs were made for gliding across the pavement like a gazelle! I will win!!!!!! I will CONQUER!!!!!!!!

I ran over 5 miles. Yeah, that's right punk.

I am challenged once again....f*ck

September 21, 2010

So I agreed to a challenge via Nike+ to outrun the boys in October. I figured this would be a great motivation to keep me on track, plus it would give me some bragging rights. Needless to say, there was a lot of shit talking on Facebook over who was going to outrun whom:

Justin McMillan>Ryan Harvey: I created a challenge on Nike+. It starts October 1st. If we lose to a couple of girls, our penises will implode in defeated agony. Brigid, Eva, you’re going DOWN!

p.s. How did the Fire-breathing Dragon-Fighting Warrior challenge go?

Ryan Harvey: Yeah! Let’s do this! We’re not losing to a buncha GIRLS! He-man Woman-hater’s club ASSEMBLE!!!

But yeah, the challenge was cool. It was hard because I had to ride a fire-breathing dragon across a lake of fire, but I’ve been training pretty hard-core. It took me an hour and 6 minutes but I finally managed to explode a Minotaur’s head with my powerful swing.

Eva Alvarado: Aw, man, I wanted to be a werewolf, but the name was taken by your stupid face… Bring it on Bitches!!!!

Ryan Harvey: We are the Werewolves!!! And we can eat witches in a single bite! Kettle bell!

Eva Alvarado: I will eat your face in a single bite!

Brigid Edwards: The witches are going to shove your dignity up your stupid butt-face!

Eva Alvarado: Yeah! And I will unleash a thousand Rabid monkeys of doom up in your shit!

So now I’m stuck with this stupid challenge that I HAVE to win because I can’t keep my mouth shut.

What happened to the time?

I've been so preoccupied with studying, working out, working, and the Public Affairs thing that I totally forgot about writing awesome and depressing stuff. Well, that is NO MORE!!!! Stay tuned for something incredibly EPIC

Monday, August 23, 2010

An Army base Food Review (and the magic of chocolate pudding)

What is it about a well-made cold chocolate pudding that can deconstruct the woes of the day?

The dining facilities here may have a varied selection of foods, but they all have something that throws me off. The main courses are heavy and over-seasoned. The side lines all contain greasy foods; even the sandwich bar is undesirable. The meats look odd and the breads are always stale. And although the dessert selection may contain a variety of cakes, pies, and ice cream, they all seem off-putting. Everything either looks or tastes unfamiliar. Like a copy of a copy, retaining the main properties of the aforementioned foods, but without the secret ingredient. Even the fruits are unripened, ruined by the thousands of miles of frozen or refrigerated travel.

But the pudding…oh, the chocolate pudding!

With its smooth, creamy texture, the perfect dose of cocoa powder and real whole milk. The perfect amount of sweetness, the perfect texture, the perfect chocolate pudding. Eating, no, enjoying this pudding brings me back to my grandma’s kitchen. The smells, oh, the way her whisk beat any idea of lumps out of that combination of cocoa, milk, sugar and eggs. And the way the final product was poured into her signature crust. And how the chocolate pudding always tasted better off the whisk or the wooden spoon.

So despite the over-salted and dry pot roast, the soup-sandwich pizza, the stale bread, the mashed potatoes with the potato flakes still dry in them, the over-cooked vegetables, the undercooked rice, the tart peaches, and the incredibly undesirable wheat “tortillas,” there’s still chocolate pudding.

And that makes it okay.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A week in retospect and an homage to Prometheus.


The first week at Camp Hell on Earth was both emotionally draining and mentally numbing. Stuck in a job that requires zero mental stimulation makes for a somnambulant and zombie-like state of mind. While the sun beams down with ambitious resolve, I am reminded of poor Prometheus, chained to a rock on a mountain while a giant ass-hole eagle pecked out his liver every day. And then every night it regenerated so that the next day he would go through the same hell. Until one day, Hercules rescued him from this hell.

And so it is…so maybe I’m not chained to a rock while my liver is pecked out by a psychotic bird with a taste for offal, but I’m still stuck in what seems like daily torture. Between missing my family to the daily discomforts that this place has to offer, it’s only fitting that I wish for a hero to come and rescue me. But as Regina Spektor said “I’m the hero of the story, I don’t need to be saved.” The only thing that can save me at this point is myself and a little bit (about ten months) of time.

So perhaps I’ll get used to the sweltering heat, the loneliness, the separation, the meaningless work, the stupid people, the sand, and everything else that comes with this wretched place. Perhaps I’ll forget what it’s like to walk barefoot in the fresh dewy grass, or the smells of farmer’s markets, or the feel of sea spray during those EWTGPAC morning beach runs.

One thing is certain: I’ll never forget the warm scent of Helena’s face, the way her soft ringlets curl around my fingers, the way her nose wrinkles when she smiles, and how she throws her head back when she laughs, as if this one moment in time is the funniest most amazing moment ever. And as long as I can remember that, no amount of sun, work, or stupid people can really keep me chained to that rock.

Take that, stupid bird.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

My first day off


No work, no bullshit muster, I am free to do as I please today. So, while all the other females are snuggled in their racks sleeping like little Narmy sailor babies, I am tick-ticking away at the possibilities of things I can do.

After getting my wireless card, calling the Bug and Bear back home, talking to the guys at headquarters about my work situation, finishing my book, and uploading all the blog posts I couldn’t load up due to lack of wireless, I sit here. The coffee buzz from this morning is beginning to wear off and I forget what the whole point of this monologue was. Ah, yes. It’s my first day off. And even though this place is about as pleasant as cancer, it’s always nice to have a free day.

This is not a porn blog, but I just got effed in the A with a giant D.


If you know you’re going to get screwed over, you can prepare for it. You can brace yourself, shut your eyes and wait for it. You’re mentally ready, so that it’s no surprise to you that, hey, you’re about to get effed in the A.

As many of my friends know, I’ve been working on cross-rating to MC since the opportunity for me to spearhead the Public Affairs program opened up in my last command. Thanks to my experience in journalism during my pre-Navy years, I had been doing pretty well. Even though I was denied the JO rate when I joined the Navy (due to my lack of American citizenship), I had high hopes that someday me and the printed press would one day be reunited in the loving arms of some Naval organization. The complacency and later love that I developed for my current engineer rating has evaporated after years of waiting for advancements that would never come.

In other words, it was time to move on.

So when I found out that I wouldn’t be doing customs inspections out here, but actually working for the Public Affairs Officer, I was more than elated. What better opportunity to display your journalism chops than out here, in the Middle East, where all the good stories are? Sure I had to deal with an undesirable base, a top-heavy command, and a place isolated from all my friends, but I chose it. Why? Because this was headquarters! Sure I would be traveling from base to base all the way up Iraq and maybe even Afghan, but it would definitely bring my journalism aspirations for the Navy to fruition!

I must admit, I was a bit sad upon leaving all my friends as we all scampered to our designated bases, but I was also a bit excited to be starting this job that was preselected for me.

And then we arrived to the new base. We were told it was at least 20 to 30 degrees cooler than Camp Virginia. It was 140 degrees. We were told there would be a barracks waiting for us as soon as we arrived. I’m living in a TENT. I was told I’d be doing public affairs. Nope, washrack for me.

In the daytime.

At 140 degrees.

I’ll be checking dirt. Not the kind of dirt you dig up for an awesome story that could potentially bring scandal and give you a book deal.

No, dirt.

On vehicles.

In the middle of the day.

At 140 degrees.

Well, shit. I think I just got effed in the A.

The dispersal of friends and the dread of change.


Today we leave Purgatory and I don’t know whether we’ll end up in hell or, well, a less hell-y place. We were held here in Camp Virginia for a few days to “get acclimated” to the weather and time change and the heat. I’m still not acclimated to the latter. I don’t think anyone could really embrace this climate. It’s like embracing an ulcer; you never really do get quite use to it.

After the initial process in Camp Virginia, my whole battalion has split up to go to the various camps located throughout the country and the region. Sadly, most of my friends have been separated from me and I find myself starting from scratch. Of course, I end up getting stationed with most of the people I thoroughly dislike. The one good friend that is accompanying me is only there temporarily. Great.

Saying goodbye is bittersweet. On the one hand, there’s the prospect of change, the idealism of finding something new, the excitement of transformation. On the other hand, there’s the sadness on leaving friends and even foes. Because even though you don’t like them, there’s a good reason why you don’t and you are aware of it.
I will miss my friends, though. I will miss the shenanigans and the stupid jokes. I will miss the random meetings, the meals together, and laughing for no apparent reason aside from the fact that we were just absolutely immature and incredibly entertaining. Will I find new friends out here that are just as witty and ridiculously funny?

Every deployment is like this. We find each other, we lose each other, and in some rare cases, we keep each other until the end.

I hope this is the same.

I run through Tartarus


I ran almost two miles in 130 degree weather. Yep, that’s about it.