Archives

Technically a hiatus.

Happy New Year’s wishes to all, though this blog ends the year on a bit of a sour note. My computer revived while in the States, but, now that I’m back in Afghanistan, it seems to have failed again–while another December blog post was in the process (among the only files that was not backed …Read more…

DUST: Bringing the basic training obstacle course inside the wire.

The integration of pedestrian infrastructure into the expeditionary base environment in Afghanistan has proven far less contentious than one might expect. A culture that prioritizes short-term efficiency over long-term functionality (at least partially evidenced by my article on building code violations from nearly a year ago) would seemingly scrutinize exclusively on infrastructure that accommodates gargantuan armored …Read more…

Taking the sewer less traveled.

It probably doesn’t seem like the most savory topic, and it’s already my second blog post to reference the porcelain god. But wastewater removal is such a fundamental infrastructural component to sustaining dense developments that it is impossible to ignore or make light of it. For nascent settlements in resource-poor parts of the globe, it …Read more…

DUST: Pedology 101, Part II – Just add water.

In the first half of this post, I explored my limited familiarity of Afghanistan’s pedology—the physical characteristics of the soil that allow scientists to place regions into different taxonomies, governed at least in part by a variety of temperature and moisture regimes. Without using any more terms that strain my word processor’s spell check feature, …Read more…

DUST: Romancing the (war)zone.

Deh Dadi Spann First Visit 050

In search for an innovative blog topic, I’ve been sifting through my photo albums, new and old, in order to put my growing understanding of life in a conflict region’s military base within the context of other atypical American settlements. It’s going to take some time to ponder over all this—not something I have much …Read more…

DUST: The shoe may fit, but does the foot fit the stair?

In planning, as in any undertaking, when a certain prevailing goal asserts itself as the principal one, other objectives and their respective goals all too frequently become subordinate—such is the nature of prioritization. A no-brainer. In a conflict zone, urgency often triumphs over pragmatism. In Afghanistan, a dozen different units can lay claim to territories …Read more…

DUST: What does the flag capture?

My suspicion is that I have less to say on this subject than I’d like to think, but I’m still feeling my way around in terms of the appropriateness of featuring certain material on this blog, so in the meantime it is best that I linger on the fluffier subjects. And I can’t help but …Read more…

DUST: Never mind the bollards.

No translation necessary.

Readers and friends have been nagging me for another, more detailed article on Afghanistan. I wanted to get a blog post out before the end of the month, and tomorrow I leave for an indefinite amount of time to explore yet two more bases (my fourth and fifth since I’ve been here in the Afghan …Read more…

Sweeping the dust bunnies.

Much thanks for your patience as I adjust to the technical challenges that life here in Afghanistan affords. I’m currently working at Kandahar Air Field, and only within the past twenty-four hours have I (after much difficulty) procured an open Internet connection. And by “open”, I mean that it is unrestricted: obviously through work I …Read more…