Tuesday, November 29, 2005

LTC Kurilla

In case you haven't heard, Bruce Willis is planning on making a film about the war in Iraq. The unit he intends on depicting is the 1st Batallion, 24th Infantry - otherwise known as "Deuce Four". The role that Mr. Willis plans on playing is none other than LTC Erik Kurilla, the Batallion Commander.

I actually have some ties to LTC Kurilla. A few years ago as a Sergeant in the Soutern European Task Force, I worked for him as his JOPES NCO. I remember him as a larger than life figure, someone who was obviously being groomed for greatness. He wasn't liked by everybody (and you know who you are!), but believe me, he is the kind of man we want leading our soldiers in battle, as evidenced by his actions in Iraq. About a year after he left, he called back down to Italy and asked if I would be interested in working for him again as the US Army Europe Commander's communications chief but I told him I was happy in Italy. I always wonder how different things would have turned out if I'd taken him up on his offer.

Anyway, I'll definitely see the film as soon as it comes out. To read more about the movie and LTC Kurilla, check out these links:

News Release About the Film

Micheal Yon "Deuce Four" blog (Scroll down to see LTC Kurilla)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The X Man is crunk.

We're driving home from doing the grocery shoping today and I put L'il Jon in the CD player and cranked it up. The X Man started going crazy in his booster seat like he was club or something. Kid's got some moves.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgivng Wrap up

Well, the wife's first Thankgsgiving dinner was a rousing success. The turkey was juicy and delicious, the stuffing was exquisite, and the pumpkin cheesecake was like buttah. Our upstairs neighbors have now experienced a real American Thankgiving dinner. Here is the dinner in pictures (click on photo to enlarge)...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Turkey Adobo?

So the wife has decided that she wants to make Thanksgiving dinner for the first time. She has the whole thing planned out and is very excited about it. Only problem is, it's pretty much just us and the X Man. We're planning on inviting the neighbors but if they decline then there'll be a lot of leftovers.

So far, I think the menu includes turkey, stuffing, squash, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. She's looking for other stuff to make so if anyone has any suggestions, post them here...

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Wanna talk to me free? Get Skype dammit!

While I was in Germany a couple weeks ago, a colleague turned me onto this thing called Skype. Skype is a free VOIP program. For the technologically disinclined, VOIP means "Voice Over IP", which basically means you can talk over the internet using your computer.

So here's how it works - you can download the program free from the website (www.skype.com), then you can call any other Skype users in the world absolutely FREE.

The best part is that you can also call people's phone numbers as well for a ridiculously low cost of about 2 cents per minute. If all you're doing is calling other people on Skype, then you never have to pay a cent.

To give you an idea, I charged my account with an initial 10 euros (about $12). In the past two weeks, I've called back to the States numerous times and the wife has called Hong Kong a couple times as well. We usually talk anywhere from 10 minutes to 45 minutes each time. Right now I still have over 4 euros on my account. And the sound quality is amazingly good.

Obviously the drawback is that you have to have a computer and internet connection to use it, but if you have those then you should get Skype. And if you DO get Skype, be sure to email me so I can give you my username and then we'll be able to talk anytime, for as long as we want...wait for it...ABSOLUTELY FREE.

(Of course, if you're one of the many people who stumbled across this blog by doing a Google image search for dirty words...please don't bother emailing me, I don't want to talk to you...)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Pizza Pizza

Pizza is of course an Italian institution. The pizza here in Italy is nothing like it is in the US though. When you get a pizza here, you get a small/medium size pie all for yourself as opposed to the US where you get a large pie that everyone has to share - assuming that everyone can agree on the toppings. We eat quite a bit of pizza here as you can imagine. There are a couple pizzerias in town and they're all good. My personal preference is pizza with olives and sometimes mushroom. The wife prefers something with a lot of vegetables and one or two kinds of meat:

BTW, the best pizza in Italy - and probably in the world - is in Naples. That's where pizza was invented, and a good authentic Neapolitan pizza is an art form.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Happy Veterans Day

Today is Veteran's Day, the day where we pay our respects to all the past and present veterans of the US armed forces. I have the upmost respect for anyone who has raised their hand and wore the uniform. Without them, we would not enjoy the freedoms we do today.

One of the greatest honors in my life was when I was able to participate in a Memorial Day ceremony at the American Cemetary outside of Florence, Italy. American and Italian vets and civilians alike turned out to pay their respects. It was a great honor to be able to play a part in that:

As many of you know, I finished my time in the military last year. If you'd like to see some pictures of me when I was still in the Army, Click Here

If you live in the US, remember to thank a vet for their service.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


Yep, the cold & flu season has caught me. I'm currently in the third day of a cold and it's getting progressively worse.


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The X Man might be a genius.

The X Man: Is this the face of a genius?

This past weekend I took the X Man upstairs to the neighbors to have my coffee and banter for a bit. While there, Giampietro takes out a piece of paper on which he had drawn several pictures of various objects such as a car, a train, an airplane, a boat, a chicken, a cat, etc. He pointed to each one and the X Man identified it. Some in English, some in Italian, but he got every single one correct. Now, this in itself is probably not that unusual. However, at one point he pointed to the car and said "auto", then grabbed his toy car, put it next to the picture of the car and said "auto, due" ("due" being "two" in Italian). I was absolutely floored. He's not even two years old yet and he can count. I looked at the neighbors and they were smiling - apparently, this was not the first time. Giampietro informed me that sometimes when they're going up the stairs, he counts out loud with each step all the way up to 8 (in Italian).

I had already planned a future as a pro soccer player for him, but maybe I need to rethink this...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

I am the World's biggest dumbass. Bar none.

I got to Germany last Sunday, got off the plane, got down to the rental car counter and promptly realized that I forget my drivers license in Italy. So no rental car. I had to take the train to Heidleberg, then take a cab to the base that I was staying at. Then, because I had no car, I was forced to beg rides each day from one of my colleagues. And perhaps the worst part, I was forced to spend all my time in my hotel room and wasn't able to go downtown and eat at my favorite Thai and Indian restaurants.

Things were looking up towards the end of the week when one of my colleagues, Frank, informed me that he would take me to the airport on Saturday. I've known Frank for years and he and his wife are planning a trip to Italy next week and so they wanted to pick my brain to get as much Italy info as they could. He picked me up at the hotel and we had brunch at their house before leaving for the airport around 2 to catch my 4:30 flight. We pull up to the terminal and to my absolute horror it dawned on me that I had forgotten my jacket at Frank's house. In my jacket were my credit cards, military ID, airport parking ticket, car key, and worst of all, my breath mints.

I went into the terminal to see about changing to a later flight which I was able to do - for an additional two-hundred-FREAKING-euros.

So it is official. I am the biggest dumbass in the world. I'm starting to worry about myself.

What the hell is wrong with me?!