Saturday, December 30, 2006

NINTENDO wii

If anyone of you is a fan of video games (like I am) and has a nintendo wii then let me know. Add me and I will add you. For those of you without a wii then please disregard this post (or better yet, go and get one). They are amazing and fun, for anyone old or young they are great...

My wii friend code is:


7705-9888-9637-0303

Friday, December 22, 2006

Still At Busch Gardens


Tara009
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

At Busch Gardens


Tara006
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

Monday, December 18, 2006

At my Friend's wedding


At my Friend's wedding
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

My wife, son, daughter, and myself in St. Augustine

Memories of Mine

Create a wonderful time for others and they will remember who you were.  The most pleasant and unpleasant memories are the ones which get saved in your brain.  Replaying over and over again throughout your life.  Listen and you will find that silence is sometimes the scariest thing there is.  You need noise, commotion, and people to feel safe, yet at the same time you crave that silence.  Lurking within silence is our own doubts which so often creep out to rear their heads upon the blank sheets of our mental music we create each day.

Let your doubts come out but don’t grab them and hold them close for if you do they find a way of sticking their barbs into you and grabbing hold.  After that you will spend your remaining days with those feelings of underachievement and doubt, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Take maters into your own hands and create the life you want.  Time heals all wounds, but often there just isn’t enough time…

Sunday, November 12, 2006

About me

Here is a small thing I wrote jokingly about myself for my college sociology course.

One of the subcultures to which I belong is that of the nerd. We talk of technology in revered tones, dreaming of Xbox 360s, ipods, and computers like children dream of sugar plumb ferries at Christmas time. We have our own jargon and inside jokes which our non-nerd friends simply just don’t understand. MMORPGs and comic books are things of wonder and yet we share so much with the mainstream culture in which we exist.

Of course we must drive (though many of us think to drive anything but a hybrid is silly) like the rest of society; music, cell phones, beer, and bills are but a few of the endless aspects of our lives. I for one like to stay in shape with weight lifting and of course who could not like rock and roll? Thus we coexist as a part of the greater society which makes us human.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Damage

Build yourself into a mountain. What will come of it? When all is said and done you are still you. Try as you might you will not ever be anything but you. Even in death you will find that your heart is there with you. I look into my own eyes and I find that I look at eyes which I do not know. I can not read the thoughts of such eyes as I have and I am scared. What is to come of such a person? Will you still love me when you find me a mystery? Honor is one of the things I hope to instill into my family.

Listen to your feelings and you will find that you surprise yourself. I love the ocean, yet I was not born near it. History can not dictate what my life will be. I often find myself thinking of times of old, of the age of knights or pirates. Times when war was an every day thing. How did they come home then? Did they have the same misgivings as I do? I pray that things will only improve. Take my soul and see if you can break it, I think you will be surprised at the damage it can take and still remain whole.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Hard Times

22 October 2006

After seeing another commercial for a reality show featuring a soldier coming home and having to make those readjustments back into being a civilian I felt so damn tired.

I don’t think I would mind if it was for the sake of education for the masses, but it was for entertainment. I believe there is a profound difference between showing people your personal nature for their own well being and showing people your personal nature for entertainment means.

I am not trying to disgrace the person who was doing the show, but I am saying that it is a shame that people are willing to promote this for their entertainment. A show about how hard it is to readjust back into civilian life…

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Answered

My prayers were answered. My grandfather is alive and is doing just fine.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Praying

Tonight I learned that my Grandfather is on his way to the hospital. He is being delivered by ambulance through this snowy night in Wyoming. Heart trouble… That is all I have heard. Wishing he will be just fine won’t make it happen, but thinking about him dying is just as fruitless. In the dark I prayed when I got off the phone with my mother (she is the one who informed me). On my hands and knees I was praying.

God, keep my Grandfather safe, please don’t take him yet because we still need him here. You already have my Grandmother and if you could just let him stay a while longer. Keep his heart working and let him know how much I love him. I pray these things in your name, Amen.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

See me on Paper

If you want to see my first published writing then click here.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

All is Well

I am sorry that it has been so long since I have written. My sister had her baby and she named her Vella. I haven't seen her yet (other than some pictures) but I am told she isn't very fussy and she looks beautiful. My wife and kids will finally be joining me here in Tampa, Florida this coming Wednesday. They stayed in Oregon until I found a house (to rent) and had out stuff shipped here. It has been pretty lonely without them but for us it is an old hat we wear. We have gotten good at being apart, but thankfully this will be it for at least a little while. My job is wonderful and I am very happy with what I am doing. I traded in my old Pontiac Grand Am (it was a 97) and now I have a 2004 Toyota Prius. It gets great gas mileage and I bought it still under warranty. That is about it for the moment, I hope to write more here soon.

Take care,

Zach

Friday, September 08, 2006

News about Me

Some news in my life right now is that my Sister is having her first contractions and should be having her baby soon. The bad news is that she is in Oregon along with my wife and kids and I am in Florida beginning my new job. When I find a place here Tara (my wife) and my kids will fly down and join me.

Finally working again.

Take care,

Zachary Scott-Singley

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Time for Change

This is good news for changing times.

Check this out

Help some soldiers out with some music.

http://www.musicfortroops.com/

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Memorial Day

I cried. It was Memorial Day and it hit me so hard, my first Memorial Day since leaving the Army. She watched me and felt helpless as I sat there and quietly broke down in long silent sobs as the memories came flooding back and the guilt started again. My wife didn’t know exactly what to do, she made sure my son and daughter were still playing together in the other room and she held me.

She suggested we go to my father’s house so that I could talk to him. He had served in Vietnam and I knew he would know what I was going through. I drove without saying a word as I turned on the radio to NPR and listened to vets talk about those they lost, they had one vet for each war since World War I. I drove with big rolling tears quietly so that my children wouldn’t know that their father was so weak right then.

I saw my father in his backyard watering the grass and as I walked up to him Tara drove off with the kids. In a heap I crumpled when he turned to me and I couldn’t make it stop. Memories I thought I had filed away came flying back hitting me and without control I finally sobbed aloud as he walked over and extended his hand.

The only thing he said just then was, “you feel guilty don’t you?” He knew without even needing to ask. I was so very grateful for him at that moment. Not to have to talk about it and try to explain, just being able to have someone understand without asking anything was like gold. After a few minutes I calmed down and asked him if it was ever that hard for him. He told me it was. The memories and feeling that guilt for coming back alive while so many others have died both soldiers and civilians. That was all I could think about that day, why me? God, why did you let me live when you took so many others? But it wasn’t God; it was us, mankind that did this.

My father helped me put myself back together piece by piece until I felt complete again and like that it was over. The rest of the day was uneventful, but in the back of my mind I realize that the guilt is still there, it always was I just didn’t see it until that day. I love you dad and I know why you came back alive from Vietnam. You came back because I needed you.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Troubled Times

If the army follows suit then I am in for another tour in Iraq...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Time has Come

Time is fascinating to me. This same area of space can be occupied by so many different objects, but not at the same time. In that same line of thinking time can be so different yet remains the same. Every convoy I went on in Iraq was the longest convoy I had ever been on until it was over and I was still alive, then it was nothing to me anymore.

Look back at your last year. Or think back to when you were a teenager and discovering the opposite sex for the first time. It was just yesterday wasn't it? Yet, at the same time you think, how did I get here? Where did the time go? Scientists see time as a constant, it is just our mind's interpretation of time that changes. Something as simple as a few seconds can change everything.

Time affects us all, and it affects each of us differently. I donÂ’t believe that you can have 2 different people do the exact same thing for the same period of time and have it affect them in the exact same way. One might feel more tired than the other, or perhaps it reminds the other of some event which the latter hasn't experienced.

With time things come always closer to an end. Things begin to die the moment they come into existence, even as they grow the time of their death comes closer. So many say there is just not enough time, yet so much can happen in a single second. Life can change forever in a single second. If you were to compile a list I am sure you would find almost all of the major events in your life happened in a second. The second you saw your child born, or perhaps the moment a loved one went from a breathing living person with thoughts and ideas to a dead corpse, or even the moment the words slipped out of your mouth and you knew there was no taking them back or un-saying them.

The universe can shift for some in but a moment. Seconds, moments, instants, those are the most monumental aspects of time. Decisions are made during those infinite instants, things can never be undone in those moments, and seconds are all that exist between life and death so many times each day. Deciding to swerve right instead of left when the person slams on their breaks in front of you.

War happened in an instant, just as a child is born during that same moment. War is all I can think about sometimes and then all I can see is how easy it can be. To choose to use force instead of so many other things to decide what is right. Time will be telling us secrets as well, things like were we right? What happens after that second is over? It becomes history which is permanent, concrete with its unchanging monumentality.

History is time past. All those seconds which change the universe become one long span which tells us the stories we read about in school. Things like religion, slavery, civil war, love, and hate. War, it always come full circle to war doesn't it? Ask the Iraqis how long the last few years have been. Ask Lebanon how long the last month has been. I can only guess, but I believe they would both answer you that it has been a lifetime. That is their history now.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

What Can You do?

Just a few weeks after returning from a year long deployment in Iraq these men are made to return.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Occupation of the Grass

How do you occupy a piece of land without causing some kind of strife? Take something as simple as standing on the grass. If you simply occupy your spot for a few minutes you have probably already killed at least a couple blades of grass. The patch of grass as a whole will survive no problem but if you do something more intrusive like place a child'’s swimming pool on the grass for a weekend you will find that you have almost killed an entire area of grass, however, with proper care you can still make that section live.

My point is that Iraq is like that patch of grass with our soldiers occupying it. We are beginning to get to the point of no return. I believe that a good sign of that point being reached is that we are on the brink of full scale civil war. Our occupation is killing Iraq and soon there will be no quick fixing of the damage we have caused there. Damage which is continuing to be done because we refuse to get off that piece of grass and as we stand there it dies more each day.

It will not be a quick end. It will be like an animal dying slowly of disease, an animal which doesn't even realize that it is going to die until it is too late to do anything but let it go. At which point do we come to our senses and stop killing Iraq with our helping efforts?

Crimes of War

If you don't like international law, then change it.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Villages

Entering the villages on our way north in 2003 always sent a mixture of fear and excitement through me. As we approached usually one of two things would be happening. The people would ether be lined up waving at us with smiles on their faces or we would be shot at and shelled with mortar and rocket fire.

This village was different though. They were peaking out of their windows and timidly taking steps closer to our convoy, however, that ended rather quickly when we suddenly stopped. I was traveling with an artillery unit and they had just received a call for fire. We were in a small one lane road and unbelievably the Paladins (the US Army’s main artillery pieces) set up to fire right there in the middle of the village.

In my mind I was imagining somewhere about a mile or so, perhaps farther, some of our infantry or armor troops must be getting hit pretty hard to have us set up to fire in this village. It seemed like a dangerous move on our part.

In a matter of minutes the Paladins were hammering out death to hit targets miles away. Vigilant is what I was right then, because I kept thinking that this would be a perfect time to be ambushed, while we were busy killing people we couldn’t even see. Luckily the villagers were not violent towards us or perhaps the godlike thunder of our artillery was scaring them away.

In minutes it was over, and we went on our way as if nothing had happened. All we left behind were the giant shells of our artillery rounds and the spent casing which was used to carry them. Perhaps the villagers thought it was left as a reminder of what we were capable of.

An hour later we finally saw our first glimpses of Baghdad. On the outskirts we could only really see the Saddam International Airport, but it was a wonderful sight. There was a field near what was left of one of Saddam’s Special Republican Guard outposts which we were to call home for our first week in Baghdad.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

At Cannon Beach


100_0495
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

My son Jacob and my dog Benny

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Cannon Beach Oregon


100_0486
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

A day in the Sand, but not in Iraq.

Monday, July 31, 2006

My Vietnam

Looking out of my Humvee window I realized that this was my Vietnam. We were finally made it to the Euphrates and it was like a jungle to me after being in the desert for weeks. Things were quiet as we stopped for the night before crossing a bridge where some of my unit had been ambushed the day before. Sleep came quickly after so many hours of vigilance.

We woke to the sun and baking heat and I decided that I had time to change my essentials (underwear, socks, and shirt). Sitting back inside my canvas Humvee we were waiting for the call to proceed north across the bridge and into Baghdad.

Baghdad, we were finally going to get there after so many days of fighting and driving. The lush vegetation had its own voice, much different than the harsh desert. Sitting there listening to the sounds around me I was hit by that thought, this was my Vietnam, and it was punctuated by an explosion overhead.

The sounds around me changed from those of life to the screech of war and death. For a split second I hesitated and then it struck me, the absurdity of it all. I was sitting under a canvas roof, and I realized that I had to get out of my truck and take cover. Running with my rifle as death rained down from above time seemed to slow.

I focused on a large heavy equipment truck (HET) that was to my right. Without regard to my body I slammed into the ground under the engine block of that vehicle and looked franticly around trying to see where it was coming from. All I could see were the grasses and palm trees which looked so lush and inviting minutes before staring back at me full of shadows and hiding places.

They could be anywhere I thought as explosions continued to hammer the ground around me. This is it, I am going to die, it kept running through my head like the ticker at the bottom of the news, but it was more of a buzzing annoyance than an actual thought. Then like that it was over. Only a few seconds had passed but those seconds were stretched into an eternity in my mind.

After a few minutes we started to get up and look around, in front of me one of the soldiers from my platoon was yelling, "Holy shit, they are going to kill me." Yet he held his ground and kept looking for an enemy to shoot at. I was glad that even thought he was afraid he was still functioning, not locked up in his fear letting it consume him like I had seen it do to some. And like that it was over, we were alive and that buzzing in my head, "you are going to die," turned off, looking back at the truck I hid under I saw that behind the cab was a giant fuel tank. The absurdity of it all hit me, I had been hiding under a fuel truck carrying over 500 gallons of diesel.

About an hour later we proceeded across the bridge, another day closer to Baghdad, another day closer to going home.

Friday, July 28, 2006

3,500 Happy Campers

Life is good isn't it? Just ask the 3,500 soldiers who have had the good news spread to them.

"As part of the Baghdad security plan, all flights out for soldiers currently at the end of their deployment were canceled as of Tuesday, as commanders wrestled how to supply troops for the effort, a third official said."

This is in addition to the fact that we are having to increase the number of troops we have there. I wonder if this is freedom? Do you think the Iraqis feel free?

There is other good news as well. Let us take a look at what that might be. So as violence spreads across Iraq we give the Saudis a great deal on our war equipment. I guess it is only fitting that we give such special friends special privileges. I wonder what President Bush might think of this? He may not have time because he may be sued by Congress.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Wife and Me


100_1091
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Boredom and Chaos

Sitting on the border waiting was one of the hardest parts. The ammunition had been issued and all there was left to do was to wait. We had an embedded journalist with us so I had one last phone call, all of five minutes long, to say goodbye and tell my wife that if she heard no news about me then I was alive. I promised her that I would return. What else could I do? We sat there all that night with scuds from Iraq screaming overhead and our own patriot missiles answering those screams right back.

Early the next day we crossed into Iraq. It was a little anticlimactic because our plains did such a good job of the border forces that all we saw for the first couple days was burning bodies and vehicles. There I was standing with my rifle in hand not knowing how this would change me or even if I would be going home. No plans had been told to us other than, "The road home leads to Baghdad."

Some of the soldiers would try and take pictures of the burning bodies and mangled pieces of steel which imprisoned them as our convoy would grind on like a chain of ants following one behind the other. Chaos and boredom were the words that came to mind. There didn't seem to be any order to the way things were moving yet still we continued. Our job was to give constant updates about where our enemies were located and our targeting would bring red-hot steel rain down upon them. We created our own burning bodies as we trudged north.

When we reached one of our objectives I was surprised to find it in the middle of nowhere deep in the Iraqi sands. There we weathered the worst sandstorm I have ever seen. Day changed to night at around 2 in the afternoon and we were told that specially trained Iraqi forces were going to be attacking us during the sand storm. Dig your fighting positions (also know as Ranger graves) they said, so we did. Some of my fellow soldiers made half hearted attempts but I was taking no chances. I dug mine deep enough that I would be able to survive if I were to be shot at. That night I was sure that we would wake up to a gun battle and I remember also, that I was scared.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Thoughts

You may be surprised that my thoughts often turn towards violence when you hear me speak so clearly of leaving Iraq and of peace. Who I ask you, wants peace more than the warrior who has seen battle? Yet I still turn toward murderous ideas and bloodletting. Reflection on what I have seen is most of what occupies those darker areas of my psyche, for instance the time I lived for 10 days with a dead body next to me, some of the soldiers called the dead Iraqi Fred and would talk to him while on guard duty (“hey Fred, how are you today.” Etc). Or at times I will focus on some person and imagine how I would stop him from hurting my family (often with an ending involving up close and personal fisticuffs of the most violent nature). I have never acted on any of these thoughts but I wonder how many others find themselves thinking them.

There is no question of responsibility, for I most times carry a knife and have never even brandished it to anyone, but there it is safe and snug against my upper thigh in my pocket, just in case… Now I am not a stupid man (on the contrary I feel that I am a very intelligent man) nor am I a foolish man, so why do I think this way? Well, to quote a favorite movie of mine (Empire Records), “who knows where thoughts come from?” These thoughts, however, I feel have a very distinct birthing in my brain which is a short word but it conjures so many images. That word is war. Perhaps you consider me “damaged goods” now because of what I have seen and done, yet I don’t feel this way. I believe that I have grown in so many ways which are impossible to others. Please don’t mistake me now when I say this for I am no combat junkie needing a gun in hand and death in the eye. By taking a look into my own thoughts I feel that I can make something good from what was at times a nightmare. What would life be if we learned nothing from our experiences?

Experience, it is on almost every kind of job description. It is required for almost everything having to do with money, and money, that is the real key isn’t it? What would the world be without it? I find myself linking those two almost interchangeably when looking at the world go by on it’s busy schedule. Now the real question is who would pay me for MY experience? What is life but a series of exchanges, and what do I have to offer other than the things I was trained for? A lot it turns out. So begins today an attempt at reentering our society. Don’t ask me how for the plan is still forming but death can teach you so much about life, and I feel that I know this better than most.

So from the violence that churns around our world comes ideas and from ideas we may grow. Allow me these musings and we shall see where our journey takes us. I welcome you all along for the ride, but I must warn you that there will be (like any good story true or otherwise) darkness and sorrow, but perhaps we shall find something greater than ourselves in the end.

Oh… and take care,


Zachary Scott-Singley

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

This is OUR world?

The way I see it we need to be getting out of Iraq, and fast. Just look at May and June 2006 and you will see what I mean. We can not control that country with our backward politicking and poor planning. Unfortunately it is not the soldiers and paramilitary organizations taking the brunt of the attacks, instead it is the civilians (aka non-combatants). Yeah, we aren't the ones doing the targeting of civilians but what can we do if we can not stop the violence against them, should we stay there and let it get so much worse because of our occupation?

Let us not forget that the entire region is becoming more unstable each day as factions of the Lebanese government (Hezbollah) kidnap soldiers and perhaps forcing the hand of Israel (or so thinks Israel). Now we have Iran getting involved. It seems to me that we are constantly on the verge of war these days and already our hands are full. What is a country to do? I believe that to be a true patriot you must not allow wrongful decisions to continue to be made...

As we look at our future in Iraq we realize that we are there for the long haul because someone doesn't want to even think about a possible timeline of withdrawal.

Life in Oregon

So I must write I tell myself, everyday again like I did before. Who knows what may come of it. One thing that alarms me is my lack of a job, and the fact that I have a hell of a time living with my mother (like I am back in high school or something). Having gone form completely self sufficient with money, home, and family to this is rather depressing. What may come of it? I do not know but we shall hopefully begin (yeah, I said it would begin when I left the army but I am in some kind of hellish limbo) the next chapter of our lives.

Why must it always be like this? Where are the easy breaks and the fame and fortune we always know we will have when we are young? Remember when you could be anything you wanted to be? Yeah… it doesn’t really work that way does it? So here I am sitting alone right now musing upon what could have been and what will become. If I were to list all that I have done I believe it would be more than most yet that same “most” has jobs and I do not. You know what they say though, that going to war gives you great people skills (they don’t really say that, I just made that up).

Failure is something relative I believe, others may see the world crumbling around you and yet you don’t admit defeat. Other times you may be on top of your game and things are falling into place and you find yourself thinking you are at rock bottom. It’s funny how life works. Out of all the things my parents ever told me the truest of them all is that “life isn’t fair.” That goes double some days. So I am glad you have come to join me in my writings and we shall see if perhaps they are some sort of ship to be cast off and on them I will be able to sail to far away lands (or perhaps just to sail to a job).

Fair thee well,

Zachary Scott-Singley

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Sand in My Head

They say every man can be bought, that given the right leverage you can get anything from anyone. To live in the cheap desert where the words “paid in full” come with the currency of blood. That is a life I have left behind but still it rages on, both in the news and in my head. Take a country and begin to pull… Pull until you hear something give, and you realize that you are ripping it apart.

It gets easier to pull after the tear begins, and from the torn middle you will find something extraordinary. Pouring out of that hole you will have a multitude of colors, red for blood, yellow for decay, black for death, and white as well, white for life. You see life does continue.

Two groups who have lived together before are now enemies as we sit here like children with our magnifying glasses trying to see if the scorpion we placed on the anthill will win or if the ants will kill it first. As we do this the rest of the world watches us. What do their eyes see when they read the news? I can not say for I am American, however I can guess.

In my head the sand still stings my face at times, and I still see the red all around. Part of me has these thoughts where I still must be alert at all times. The constant vigilance of my days has changed me from the innocent naïve boy of my youth.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Published!

So… I am to be published. You can look for me in October of this year. I am very excited about it. BANR is going to publish 5 of my blog stories in one of their annual books titled The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2006. I am told that it is a big deal to get published in this book. You can look for my in the "Best American" front section of the book. I wonder if this will change anything about my job prospects… I guess I will count those chickens when they have hatched.

Take care,

Zachary

Monday, July 03, 2006

Independence Day

Tomorrow is our day of independence and a day of national pride. I haven’t thought much about it until just now, as I lay awake in my house with all my family still asleep. The day will be a celebration of WAR where we see explosions and starbursts which are so beautiful. It is not a lie that war can be beautiful; such explosions can be beautiful even when they are real and deadly as the ones I have seen in Iraq.

Such national pride I see around me, especially as July 4 nears. We are a prideful nation aren’t we? Yet the world sees our pride as such a different thing. In the world of OZ to see the emerald city you must wear emerald green glasses, and here we are just coming to the realization that our star spangled eyes don’t cover up everything, do they? We are left with questions.

Are we still a righteous nation? Does America still deserve my pride towards it? I say no, we are not righteous for righteousness is what a fool uses to justify their lack of wisdom and common sense. However, America still does deserve our pride. Pride for what we were and what we can be again. Let us not forget why we were once the greatest nation.

Embrace the love you have for America tomorrow, and enjoy the fireworks. Remember what they represent and from where we were born. Never forget the face of your father and from where we came. Tell a veteran how much you appreciate their service and you will have made their celebration complete. Our military and our veterans are a powerful force which the world fears. I know that the Iraqi’s fear us, yet might doesn’t make right and we would be wise to remember that when we are told the war is over and the flight suit comes off.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A monkey on my back

 

She was carried like this for most of that day, she was hot and tired so I didn't blame her, just wish someone could have carried me... Posted by Picasa

Grand Canyon by Zachary

 

I am rather pleased with this picture I took... Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 22, 2006

At the Grand Canyon

  Posted by Picasa

Day 11 Coming to you from north of Hollywood.

Memorable? Yes this trip will be that. A lot has happened since the flat in Oklahoma City. There is good news and there is bad news… The good news is that we get much better gas mileage and the bad news is that we had 800 dollars worth of camping gear and clothing and such stolen from us. We were staying in Amarillo Texas and I didn’t even think to bring the luggage roof case attached to my van into the place we were staying. To make a long story short it was gone in the morning.

That was in Amarillo Texas. The next day we made it to Arizona and the day after (father’s day) was wonderful. I was able to go and see the Grand Canyon with my family. It was my first time there and I have to say that there are no words that would do such a beautiful sight justice so I will not even make the attempt, you must go and see it for yourself. We spent a day after that still in Arizona and the next day (the 19th) we made it to Las Vegas. That is another memorable story…

We stayed in Circus Circus (it was my first time to Vegas as well) and decided to stay for two days. Over the course of those two days we lost 80 dollars (remember I am unemployed so couldn’t blow much more than that). My wife and I were feeling a little sorry for ourselves for not winning anything and then it happened. Our second night there (the night of the 20th) a fire broke out on our hotel floor at about midnight and we had to evacuate the building until almost 3 a.m. When we finally were able to return to our room we luckily didn’t have any damage to our things. I called the main desk and said that there was no way we were going to be paying for staying there that night because for half the night we were outside waiting for the fire to be safely extinguished. I called again in the morning to make sure that before I checked out there would be no charges for our second night there and was pleasantly surprised to find that they must have accidentally taken off both nights so we ended up staying free. I guess sometimes Lady Luck shows herself in unexpected ways.

My trip should be over in a few days but the memories of it will linger for some time (and hopefully if I am any kind of a father my kids will look back on this trip with nostalgia and love). I lived in Monterey California about 5 years ago when I was studying Arabic and so we will be returning there in 2 days time to stay with some old friends who we haven’t seen since I lived there. My journey will finally end when I stop at my best friend’s house in Sacramento California and pick him up to come with us for the final leg up to Portland Oregon.

Please let me know if there are any of you who live in or near Portland Oregon (my blog email is on the right hand side)… Maybe we could get a beer and hang out.

Take care.

Zachary Scott-Singley

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Day Four Across the United States (blogging from Oklahoma right now)

So we are on day four of our trip and so far we have had a lot of fun. National parks have been our lifeline during our travels because of my dog Benny. You may be asking how my luck is holding out on this trip, well if you are asking, the answer is that it hasn't been holding out at all. Today I almost wrecked my van when a tire blew off of my vehicle... Let me explain a little better, I was driving to Oklahoma City when I felt something explode on the rear of the van, the tire didn't pop, but somehow the tread on the tire blew off of it and it looked like I was driving on a balloon tire all of a sudden.

I had to slow down to 20 miles an hour and limp into the nearest tire center which happened to be Walmart. All in all it the price of the new tire was a few dollars shy of 100 so that was an unexpected expense (especially when gas is so high as well).

Something else I would like to explain is about my home and job. I have neither as of yet, but it isn't for lack of trying. I have gone to job fairs, posted my resume all over the net (ie. monster.com, usajobs, hotjobs, etc). I am willing to relocate anywhere in the US or Europe and yet I still can't seem to find work. Something I have to admit is that I have been putting off telling you all about that because it is something I am embarrassed by. My other friends who have left the military have all found work or perused school and I have yet to become a productive member of society. Another thing is that school begins in August for both my children and we still don't know where we will live or if I will even have a job by then (knocking on wood right now). That is enough of my pity party, I just thought I should be honest with those of you who have been so loyal to me during my deployment to Iraq, my homecoming, and my exodus from the US Army.

Take care

Zachary Scott-Singley

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

TRIP

So it starts this Sunday, what you ask? Our road trip across America, we will be driving from North Carolina to Oregon. It will be wonderful traveling with my family and showing them some of the things that make this country great.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Jake and Naya 2 2006


Jake and Naya 2 2006
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

My beautiful children.

Family 2 2006


Family 2 2006
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

Me and my family

Jake, Tara, Linnea, and me (Zach)

Jake and Naya 2006


Jake and Naya 2006
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

Jacob and Linnea

My children

Sunday, March 12, 2006

A Question Someone Asked Me

Q: Can people win the war?

A: Yes, people can win the war (that is if we are talking about the war in Iraq). My caveat to that is that people from the United States (in particular our military) can not win the war. The people who can are the Iraqis, and that will happen only if they decide they want freedom.

Think about it like this, when you were 16 years old, if your daddy gave you a car you were happy, but it really didn't mean anything to you. If you wrecked it you are back where you started, so you drive it hard and don't really take care of it, however, if you bought your car on your own. You paid for it with your own hard work, and you earned it for yourself then you have a vested interest in that car and you will take the best damn care of it as you can.

The same goes for freedom. You can not give freedom to someone or to a group of someones without them taking it for granted (I am speaking about people who haven't really had it; it is different for a country to be liberated because they are just returning back to the freedom they had before). Look at our revolutionary war, if we had someone else fight it for us and kick out the British we wouldn't be where we are today, there is no way we would have appreciated our given freedom and we would not have been ready to stand on our own legs. The same goes for Iraq. If they really wanted to be free they would have been ready to fight for their own freedom.

That is why I believe that we have the problems with the "insurgency" there. The Iraqis aren't ready to get rid of them themselves because they don't appreciate what our idea of freedom is, and they weren't ready to sacrifice to get their own version of freedom.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Family pictures 2006


Family pictures 2006
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

Here is our latest family picture.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Something Interesting I found in the News

Pace: Torture, Killings Widespread in Iraq

By ED JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer SYDNEY, Australia -

Human rights abuses in Iraq are as bad now as they were under Saddam Hussein, as lawlessness and sectarian violence sweep the country, the former U.N. human rights chief in Iraq said Thursday. John Pace, who last month left his post as director of the human rights office at the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq, said the level of extra-judicial executions and torture is soaring, and morgue workers are being threatened by both government-backed militia and insurgents not to properly investigate deaths.

"Under Saddam, if you agreed to forgo your basic right to freedom of expression and thought, you were physically more or less OK," Pace said in an interview with The Associated Press. "But now, no. Here, you have a primitive, chaotic situation where anybody can do anything they want to anyone."

Pace, who was born in Malta but now resides in Australia, said that while the scale of atrocity under Saddam was "daunting," now nobody is safe from abuse. "It is certainly as bad," he said. "It extends over a much wider section of the population than it did under Saddam."

Pace, currently a visiting fellow at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, spoke as sectarian tensions in Iraq push the country to the brink of civil war. There has been a surge in religious violence in Iraq since the Feb. 22 bombing of a Shiite shrine in the mainly Sunni city of Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, and a spate of reprisal attacks against Sunnis.

The situation has been made worse by extremist Shiite militia operating within the ranks of the Interior Ministry, said Pace, who singled out the Badr Brigade, which makes up a large chunk of the Iraqi security services and military. He said militia and insurgents are responsible for threatening morgue staff in Baghdad not to perform autopsies on bodies of apparent victims of torture and killings. "They are told it is not necessary, and not in their interests," he said, adding that both militia and insurgents were "trying to minimize any chances" that their activities could be investigated and prosecuted.

Pace, who spent much of his two years in the post in Iraq, said he visited the morgue in Baghdad once a week when he was in the city and regarded it as a "barometer" of the level of violence in the country. He declined to provide more specific details about the threats, citing fears for the safety of morgue workers. He said that around three-quarters of the several hundred bodies brought to the morgue each month were categorized with "gunshot wound" as the cause of death -- a phrase Pace says is a euphemism. "Nearly all were executed and tortured," he added.

Iraq's interior minister, Bayan Jabr, is a member of Iraq's biggest Shiite party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, or SCIRI, which ran the Badr Brigade. Badr claims it is no longer an armed militia. But former Badr commanders hold key posts in Interior Ministry commando units, which are regarded by Sunnis as nothing more than death squads. In November, the U.S. Army raided an Interior Ministry bunker in Baghdad and found 158 tortured and starved Sunni prisoners. "They have caused havoc," said Pace, referring to the Badr Brigade. "They do basically as they please. They arrest people, they torture people, they execute people, they detain people, they negotiate ransom and they do that with impunity."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

My Birthday

Today I am 25, but aside from that I want to apologize for the lack of posting. I have been on leave since the end of January and I won't start clearing the Army until March so I have a whole month off (only half a month or so left now). Take care all of you and thanks again for your support.

Zachary Scott-Singley

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Short Walk Through My Thoughts

Sometimes I write and try to make a masterpiece on my first try. Other times it comes to me in time. Today I will just begin and see where my mind takes me. I can't say that I have ever made a masterpiece however, but there is always a first time. My life has been made up of so much having to do with the military these last 5 (almost 6) years. I grow weary thinking about it. For instance there is the story of the mortar.

While I worked night shift my friend who served in the navy worked days. He was going out to watch the night sky one night a few months back when a mortar hit at what used to be his feet and legs. Someone who had been a paramedic before joining the army was able to get there where he was within minutes and he put 2 tourniquets on him, one on each leg above the knee. That was what stopped him from bleeding to death in the crater that the mortar made. He flew out of Iraq that same day and currently is learning how to walk with his new legs. He was but a few years older than me.

I don't know why I chose this story to write about but my thoughts often turn to my friends who weren't as fortunate as me. Mayhap I have forgotten the face of my father but I think not. Things go slower here on the peaceful side but don't ever let that fool you, for like a river through a valley the politicians are constantly wearing away our rights through the patriot act and other such things. Just look at how they deny death benefits for those soldiers who had to purchase their own body armor due to shortages.

It amazes me each day that our friend Dick C. has gotten away with so much and that we continue to allow him to get away with so much more. Wars line his pockets well and take it from me when I say that you can almost see he has found Midas' touch for here he has his war that makes him his gold and who needs anything more when you own people not just things. I speak not from first hand knowledge but from what I have seen and what I believe.

Some may think this is a place where you find no biases but to those I say you are fools. What, my friends, is more biased than my own eyes and opinions? I can think of nothing. So to that I say take this cup and drink from it but know that which you drink is but my knowledge and opinion and nothing more. To those of you who respect it and drink deep I say thank you and to those who but taste and spit out that which touches your tongue I also say thanks. You are kind to have come at all to see what this soldier has to say.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Hardgrove? He I remember...

So here I am again. You think I am doing well? My Sgt Major has said that it is his job to be a prick. What is it when the leaders you are supposed to respect think that their job as leaders means to be a prick? Oh well, I am getting out on April 30th! Then I will be master of my own destiny. So I have an interview here soon, I don't know if this is the right thing for me but we shall see right?

My wife says that I should start to tell you all my stories on my blog and if you like them mahaps I will be published... All in good time right? I think that I will start to tell my stories (some fiction and some nothing but truth). Take care my friends and thank you.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Me and Mine in Iraq


Me and Mine in Iraq
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

I'm in the back row right in the middle (you can only see my head). These are some of the best people I know. They were there with me through the whole deployment and I have been honored to have them at my side during combat.

On the Catwalk


On the Catwalk
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Home at Last


Home at Last
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

Life in the Slow Lane

Things are slower over here. I almost forgot about that... The skys are bluer over here and the days are shorter. I haven't had that same urge like I did last time to carry a weapon (like a knife or pistol) with me all the time either. For me this last deployment was not nearly as violent as my first time in Iraq.

I came home to my life again and it still fits. On some level I was afraid that tempting fate again by going back to Iraq was going to be the end of me. In the back of my head I had a feeling that my luck could run out and yet I am back home again (I had promised my family I would make it back). How do you make a promise like that? Just glad I was able to keep it.

Soon this whole chapter of my life will be closed and I will begin writing a new chapter. I am going to be a civilian in April (the end of April). That is when the army will lift my involuntary extention and will let me get out.

I can't say that I am not scared, in fact I am scared to death. Things have a way of working out though and this will work out as well.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

HOME SWEET HOME

Finally the journey is over and I am back again. They say that life is a circle and I have come full turn. I will expound more but for now I just want you all to know that I am safe and well back in the arms of my lover and wife Tara, and my children have their father back again.

All of you Take care and come check up on me again soon.

Sgt Zachary Scott-Singley