Thursday, July 10, 2008

Jan 10th 2007, Wednesday: 128 days to go...

(16:51) Today we got our paychecks. I didn’t know we were paid for this service. Since we’re considered as privates we got around 9 dollars (13 YTL) for the first month. Also, tomorrow we’ll probably have our draws.

Another highlight of today is, a high-rank commander called superior-liutenant (I don’t know if this rank exists in other countries) came to me and asked if I am the aikido guy. I said yes and he said he wants me to train him. So if I stay here, I hope I’ll be his trainer so maybe things won’t be that boring. But still, I wanna get outta here to a distant, much calmer place.

Jan 9th 2007, Tuesday: 128 days after midnight...

(22:20) I feel a lot better now. I managed to eat. At night I watched the match of Galatasaray with my friends. I’m hoping I’ll draw a place away from here and everything will be better.

Commanders are getting stricter and more offensive as the recruit training comes to an end, but that doesn’t discourage me at all. We still keep laughing & smiling and joking, even while we’re getting punished. Because whatever they do, they can’t do one thing, they can’t slow or turn back time. They only got 2 days left, after that they’re no longer commanders. That’s why nothing can keep us down anymore…

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Jan 8th 2007, Monday: So many days to go...

(12:17) Army is definitely the most unbearable when you’re sick. I got sick because the idiots close all the windows and the door and turn the air conditioner’s heat all the way up, even though the heaters are already on. I don’t wanna sleep in that dorm another night, with sick people coughing, snoring, stinking, turning the radio on at 2AM, talking outloud, and blaming the short terms for everything. I totally changed my mind about telling the world about how they’re treated in the army. I don’t give a shit anymore.

I don’t wanna have another meal, or drink another cup of tea, waiting half an hour in line and fighting with the stupid cook who can barely speak Turkish, or people who constantly cut in line to get a totally lame meal. I don’t wanna hear another insult from anyone. Being sick makes me emotionally vulnurable, so I feel I’m dying here. On Friday I’ll go to a hotel with my family, and on Sunday evening I have to let them go. I don’t know how I’m gonna endure leaving them when I need them the most. Please God, give me strength to go on. (18:21) I should have been in a lecture class right now but I’m in the bed instead, because I’m so sick I don’t even care if they realise I’m missing and punish me. I also gave up eating because I don’t wanna fight for a dirty spoon and a spoonful of so called “food”. I don’t know what’s gonna happen if I give up eating beause of my sickness. I took one of the antibiotics dad gave me. If I were at home, I’d simply go to the kitchen and eat the soup mom made for me, and take the pills dad gave me. But I’m here, sleeping alone in my bed with a bunch of other sick people. I miss being sick on my own sofa. I miss mom, I miss dad...

Jan 7th 2007, Sunday: 131 days to go...

(15:42) Last night was probably the last time I took a shower and changed my underwear as a private. On Friday, the recruit training will end and we’ll all have our oath and become corporals. On Thursday, we’ll have a draw and see where in Adana each of us will continue the army service.

Today on newspaper I saw “Internet Celebrities”. Geriatric1927 and Brookers were among them. I felt really down that I’m not out there to make more videos for Youtube. There was also a Turkish celebrity “Mahir Çağrı”. If you search his name on Google, you’ll have some information about him. He’s an ex-celebrity who I totally dislike. I don’t know how but, on 1999 he became a phenomenon, even celebrities like Meg Ryan were among his fans. I can easily say that I’m way better than him, but I got no backup to pimp me of course. What the hell, I got 67 subscribers and around 10 true fans, I managed to have that with noone pimping our videos, which is a big accomplishment in my opinion since I think I still have the most subscribers among Turkish users. There was even a trio of Youtubers which made 2 videos and were on newspapers and on important TV shows, they still couldn’t make as many viewers as I did. And I wouldn’t care if they could anyway.

Jan 6th 2007, Saturday: 132 days to go...

(15:30) This morning was the first time we had sports training. It was very light, probably another showoff that they gave us sports training. As I told before, short-term soldiers like me are nothing but an artificial army just show that we had our military service like everyone else. We’re gonna be sergeants in short time anyway. Long-term-soldiers who couldn’t graduate from a university, especially commandos are the ones who get screwed so terribly that it’s like they’re no humans and they have no rights at all. Some of them even die in this training and they’re just labeled KIA and sent home. In here I can clearly see that people in Turkey and probably in the rest of the world have no equality and it bothers me alot. Some of them has noone but a mother and a father, and noone cares if they die or not. Just like I saw in the training today they make the commandos run for km’s with 2 or 3 heavy weapons on their backs and they make you crawl like a snake the whole training ground if you fail to run on time. I’ve seen Tough C punishing them like that. It’s obvious that sergeant majors are not treating us the way they treat them because as I told you, we’re more audience than soldiers. What we have to deal with the most is being imprisoned and lack of comfort, and believe me it’s bad enough.

Also, something surprising happened this morning. On the bulletin board, I saw a greeting card with a long messagesent to all soldiers of the brigade. I looked at the envelope, and saw that it’s coming from an elementary school from İzmir. In fact, I’ve seen the school in my neighborhood. I was delighted and recorded tha address right away. Once I finish the recruit training, I will definitely send a card back.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Jan 4th 2007, Thursday: 134 days to go...

(12:28) I had promised myself that I’m not gonna let anything upset me anymore, but things always go one step beyond my imagination. 2 nights ago the air conditioner turned the whole dorm into hell. I had to sleep with my underwear but even that wasn’t cool enough to fall asleep. And last night someone turned his radio on at around 2AM. And again it was only me who woke up at that loud noise. I’m not even counting the snores or the person next to me coughs on my face in his sleep. All I know is I don’t feel pity for some of the long-term-non-university-graduate soldiers anymore. More you keep them inside the barrack, the better. I can’t believe I have to try to sleep in that dorm for 8 more times until I finish the recruit training to be transfered to somewhere else.
I don’t remember at which interval, but I managed to have a dream too. I was looking out of a closed window of a small house. A 30 cm tall bullfrog came to the glass and started singing & dancing just outside the window. All of a sudden, someone took it down and started gutting it alive with a large knife.
But you’d be wrong if you think I’m about to break down or quit fighting or hoping. In fact, I wanna add something to what I wrote previously about committing suicide. There used to be times I thought I completely screwed up, that I’m not gonna make it through the day, like a very important exam when I see the test paper and I know none of the answers. At times like these, I remember what the chess tutor of “Chessmaster” game, Josh Waitzkin told. “DO WHAT HAS TO BE DONE”. Do what has to be done. No matter how screwed up you are, do what has to be done. That’s one of the very important rules to always keep in mind. You know none of the answers? Write the smallest bit you know, and also write what you don’t know. You’re imprisoned in an army training camp for 4.5 months and you know you’re not gonna get any sleep at night? Sit down and write a letter to your friends.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Jan 3rd 2007, Wednesday: 135 days to go...

(08:42) I used to play a PC game when I was in Junior High (which means around 13-14 years ago). Of course it was very primitive. Maybe you know, its name is “Budokan”. I still have it in my latest PC and still play it sometimes. In the game basically you choose a weapon and practice with it with an opponent. The place you practice is a room in a Japanese house, with all those wooden windows, doors, and floor. The door is wide open and you can see the sun setting on a clear sea. I think it’s the best place anyone can ever be. Most of the time army training here gets so boring it slows down to a halt. Or sometimes people get stupid and arguments come out of nowhere, like everyone’s trying to make my day harder. But I leave this world, and go to that Japanese house. I imagine myself practising aikido at the sunrise, or meditating after a tough training. I wonder if I’ll ever have a similar experience, I wonder if I’ll ever have a house like that, and how...

(14:00) While cleaning the training ground this morning I realised I missed something else. I missed sitting in front of TV all night, drinking a black coffee with alot of sugar, watching old TV series and studying Japanese all at the same time. I also missed playing chess online, or simply playing a favorite computer game while the TV is on, eating popcorn.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Jan 2nd 2007, Tuesday: 136 days to go...

Just as if it’s not enough to cope with the obstacles of the army, now I also have to cope with the stupidity of the other soldiers. I have to face the reality of Turkey since I came here, some people, no, MANY people are unbearably stupid no matter where they graduated from. I also realized the fact that many Turks don’t know shit about Atatürk and his real value. That’s why they keep talking to each other saying what’s so great about him. And in the military they give extremely shallow information about him. Like, I bet no one in here knows that Atatürk was chosen as the soldier of the century by foreign commanders, because he’s the only commander who GATHERED an army himself as well as he commanded it.

I’m afraid army’s gonna get a lot harder if after the recruit training I’ll have to deal with these people rather than ignoring them. I’m sure it’s the same in every country, but I just can’t believe how many TOTALLY USELESS waste of oxygens there are around. Just around me right now there are at least a couple, I can understand from what they’re talking about. Anyway...

This morning I talked to a friend about inter-rail. It sounds so tempting to get on a train and visit other countries, especially if you’re a prisoner. I don’t know if I’ll have the money to do it this summer, but I WILL do it. This year or next year, I’ll break out of the borders and visit a few countries with my friends, and shoot videos, I WILL.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Jan 1st 2007 Monday: 137 days to go...

(16:33) A few days ago I saw the photo of a beautiful 24 year old girl on the newspaper. She was a lawyer, had a wealthy family, and for no apparent reason she committed suicide. As her last letter she said she’s slowly going insane. I just can’t get it out of my mind. I keep thinking that if I were there, I could both save her and tell her there’s much more to get from life. As long as you’re alive, there’s no reason to end your life, though I can understand why she would get depressed like that. It’s either she broke up with the love o her life, or failed the job of her life. There used to be times suicide seemed like the only logical way, but now I know there’s always a way out. I kept thinking about her for the last week during the training. I’m so sorry I wasn’t there to help her out, because I KNOW I could. When your life is jammed, you know what to do, format & restart. If you have faith in life, you can get over everything. You can quit your job and start a small one. You can find a better lover because there’s always someone who deserves you more. Anyway, you should never think of something like that. Don’t forget, there’s ALWAYS a way out.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Dec 31st 2006 Sunday: 138 days to go

(11:00) Today was the most bitter New Year’s Eve for me. No, not because it’s the first holiday I’m spending away from home, away from my family and my loved ones. It’s because I had a really bitter time at the bathroom this morning because of the extra-spicy-uncooked-meatballs I ate with my friends.

Yesterday I decided to get rid of the depression and join the activities my friends have. At 2PM we gathered on the soccer field and had a 6 vs 6 match with 12 players from all around Turkey. Right after the match we joined the rest of the 3rd team (the team I’m in) to eat a very traditional Turkish food. It’s raw meat, mixed with various types of spice, and it’s so spicy that the meat cooks inside the spice.

We gathered around a table and started eating. It was so fun watching people get red and sweaty as they eat. It was an unforgettable meal, with 36 different people coming all around the country. You know, Turkey is not like any other country. People in each city, east, west, middle, north, south, southeast, they all have different characteristics, very different lifestyles and very different accents. To tell the truth, that experience was worth all th pain I had to suffer. It opened my eyes even wider. I always wanted to represent the Turks on Youtube, but now I know no one alone can represent Turks by himself. You may find any type of people anywhere you look.

(13:12) Things to do when I finish my military service:

* Take a vacation until September.

* Attend all the camps my hiking club prepares.

* Buy a canoe.

* Fix my bike and restart riding.

* Re-install and play M.A.X., worms 4, and old PC and arcade games.

* Restart playing chess.

* Continue my Youtube videos.

* Read “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”

* Buy a music keyboard and restart making music.

* Buy a telescope and continue observing stars & planets.

* Go to aikido lessons by a ship across İzmir Bay.

* Watch anime, Prison Break & Lost

* Rent all the movies I missed here. Watch older movies with my friends.

* Study Japanese harder & finish reading my astronomy notes.

* Restart playing FRP.

* Try to start caving.

* Restart swimming in the pool of my campus.

* Start studying bokken and continue studying Jo.

(15:15) I told you I was gonna tell you about the speech Tough C gave at the night training. The topic was “sound discipline” and he made us run with our rifles. After we came back he started his speech. I realized that when there are no ladies around, even the teachers start talking slang language. Every one word out of two was a curse, though not offensive. In fact he was so successful at making us laugh with every word he said just like a stand-up comedian. After a few minutes of laughs, he said “if real soldiers would make as much sound as you did while walking on the mountains of east, terrorists would recognize them from a km away and would say ‘look a squad of idiots are coming. Let’s fuck them to death instead of wasting bullets.’” After waiting for us to finish laughing he said “Except they really fuck the soldiers to death” and the laughter instantly turned into a stone cold look on our faces. And then he told us the ways terrorists kill our people, and added that these are not things he heard, these are how he actually lost some of his friends. He told how the captive soldier begs for death after getting mutilated slowly day after day.

(18:46) What I got used to:

* Getting up early, wearing army clothes, lame food, snoring people in the dorm, pooping to Alla-Turca toilets, having shower once a week with ice-cold water.

What I couldn’t get used to:

* The intense stink of some long terms as if a sweaty dead horse pissed on them. The continual thought of being imprisoned which still prevents me from enjoying anything. Taking a 3 minute warm shower by getting in line. Being away from girls. Being away from my family.

(21:50) It’s almost New Year. I watched a very funny movie called “Shaolin Soccer”. Right now I’m in bed, here it is calmer and more comfortable. After 2 years, I’m spending a New Year’s Eve without my friends, and for the very first time without my family. So there’s no need to miss my sleep. I think it’s also gonna be the very first New Year which I didn’t see the midnight.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Dec 29th 2006 Friday: 139 days after midnight...

Today, we got on buses, and got outside the barracks for the first time in 18 days. The reason was to go to the shooting ground which is near a large prison. For the first time we loaded real bullets to our rifles, and shot 6 bullets. The gun didn’t recoil to wound our eyes or nose as everyone was afraid of, but the sound was piercing. After 3 succesful shots, my ears were almost deaf so I stumbled my last 3 shots.

After that our substitute commander made us sit down and tell jokes to him. He’s a low rank commander who doesn’t like to work unless his superiors watch him over. So that’s a good characteristic for us.

By the way, let me tell you about the 3 commanders of our team. The main commander is a sergeant major which is I think the best superior in here. He’s a real soldier who has experience in warfare just like Tough C. Let’s call him “Our C”. He teaches everything better than everyone and he’s not too tough on us. He definitely knows the difference of college graduates.

Second commander is a dickhead who’s stupid and therefore has to shout and punish in order to cover his incompetence. Of course he can’t do anything while Our C is around. The third commander is the one we had today. He’s the lowest rank of all, and mostly harmless.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Dec 28th 2006 Thursday: 139 days after midnight

We’re being tested with all aspects of military. First it was heat & sweat, then it was dickheads, yesterday it was extreme cold. I don’t know how weather is changing so quickly. Yesterday I thought my hands were going to shatter to pieces, I still have open wounds on my hands. And today was the easiest day of all. The weather was good, we did practically nothing. The abominable commander is excused for a few days so the substitute commander did nothing but pretend to make lessons.

Dec 26th 2006 Tuesday 141 days after midnight

(20:40) Today was supposed to be a very tough day but as you can see it’s over. It was our turn to clean the dining room after the breakfast, lunch and dinner. We also had to take a night lesson. And the lessons themselves are stressful enough thanks to barking puddles. Cleaning the dining room didn’t turn out to be such a tough task unlike many people told us. I switched my mind off and swept the large room, refilled the water-bottles, re-arranged the chairs.

At night it was fun. We grabbed our guns and started running on the training field like commandos, hehehe.

At the end, Tough C made a speech to finish the training. I’ll tell about it later, probably on the weekend, because I don’t wanna rush it up.

Dec 25th 2006, Monday 142 days after midnight

(20:41) Days are supposed to go faster but they’re slowing down constantly. My brain is getting numb because some commanders are trying to make my days harder by shouting, insulting and punishing. When they go home they’re probably telling how they went tough on college boys, and what’s more they’re getting paid to do this shit.

But you know what? Here’s what I have to say to them. You think you’re satisfying your ego by screwing us up, but you’re nothing more than barking puddles. I will finish this recruit training and serve military, and go civilian, talk to people all around the world, represent my country on Youtube, visit places you’ll never see even on TV, date with girls your imaginations can’t handle, will be known by more and more people everyday, while you live in your scum, like a lifeless bug who bites anyone who gets in the way. You’re doomed to live here your loser life, and no matter what you do, I’ll leave this prison one day and wave at you from the bus...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Dec 24th 2006, Sunday 144 days to go...

Tomorrow is mom’s birthday. Of course I won’t be there to celebrate her. I won’t be able to celebrate dad’s and my sister’s birthday either. However for the New Year I secretly bought gifts for them before coming here. I put the gifts in my room in a closet. On December 31st, I’ll call dad and tell him where the gifts are. It’s surely gonna cheer them up.

The window of the dorm has a pleasant scenery of the highway. Accross the highway there’s a river, a large bridge, and the rest is all green. It’s a perfect picture of freedom. Just near the entrance of the military, there’s a digital sign which shows the temperature of outside. The sign instantly took me back to Zalau-Romania. It’s so different in here, every memory comes back to your brain, all your five senses, so easily. It’s like a blind person sharpening his other senses. For a few minutes I felt like I was actually there. Let me tell you a little bit about Zalau. It’s a town in Romania where I stayed for a while to be with my girlfriend.

I had stayed in a modest but decent hotel room, where there’s a cable network in rooms and two beds even if you pay for one. I had spent most of my time in that room, waiting for my girlfriend to leave work. In front of the hotel there’s a big square. In the middle of the square there’s a similar sign which shows the time and temperature. So sometimes I’d get bored, take my old walkman and take a walk past that square. I’d then pass by churches and old small houses. The weather was ussually cloudy and since it often rained, there would be a soft coolness and the dense smell of fresh rain. Every building would have a Romanian flag in front of its window.

There was also a park with an amphitheater. So wherever there was a concert or similar organisation (like “Zalau Days” at the beginning of August), this park or the square would be the place to do it. The names of the shops (like “American Fastfood”) would show the country was no longer under the shadow of communism. The faces of people were quite different than the Turks. They all had this calm facial expressions, probably because nobody is trying to get on them and ride their asses. Unlike Turkish people where we always look aggressive and aware. The Romanian girls ussually had a sad and innocent look that would make you wanna love them. The town was so small, the buses had only one route, so you wouldn’t have to read where it’s going when you get on a bus.

Of course it’s harder now to visualise all this while I’m writing here on the training field, sitting under the sun and watching commandos and short-term soldiers playing basketball. Gotta put this notebook back in the locker.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Dec 23rd 2006, 145 days to go...

(14:40) It’s been 12 days since I came here, but nothing’s getting even slightly better. I don’t wanna take this shouting and insulting anymore. I don’t wanna watch jackals howling at lions for no apparent reason just because they have more military ranks. I wanna shout too. I wanna scream “GIVE ME BACK MY FUCKING FREEDOM! GIVE ME BACK MY FUCKING LIFE! GIVE ME BACK MY FUCKING LIFE!” But I can’t. And the only thing to keep my sanity intact is the 15-minute-breaks they give between training sessions, where I sit on a tire on the field, inhale the fresh grass, and look at the fence, and what’s beyond it, the buses taking people to their homes, the children playing basketball, the planes taking people to their cities, the birds flying freely, and the trains, passing occasionally just near the training field. Sometimes I stand up and wave at the people in the train, and children wave back at me, and they go away, and then the whistle blows. And we go back, marching with rifles...

Today I also realised it’s been 12 days I haven’t seen a girl. This was one of the things I was worrying about before coming here, would I go crazy without seeing girls, without listening to music, without internet, without everything that gives flavour to my life. But right now... I think of none of these. EVEN MUSIC. I even doubt I’ll listen to music when my family comes and brings my discman at the end of the recruit training (Jan 12th). All these things were worthy when I was enjoying my life. I don’t want to enjoy anything knowing I’m not a free person. All I long for right now is a bedroom which doesn’t stink, a comfortable bed with no snoring sounds, a place to call home, clean clothes, a decent bath, some real food and spoon or fork to eat with, and knowing that I’m free. Anyone who’s reading this, know the value of your freedom, no matter who you are, if you’re free to do whatever you want, then you’re fortunate.

(16:56) I forgot to tell, people are surprisingly interested in me being an astronomer. They keep asking me the names of the stars they point at, and questions about the universe. You wouldn’t know what might help you make friends.

What I also found out that, being a college graduate doesn’t automatically make you a mature or even an educated person. I can’t believe how stupid they can be. Some of them make fun of me that I’m an astronomer ‘cause it doesn’t make money. Some of them claim that they don’t read book AT ALL. How can someone not read a book? Of course these guys are graduated from very simple universities with the sole purpose of having an easy & short military service. The question is, do they deserve it?

Two commandos are reading astrology on the newspaper, here in the lounge, with 50 people sitting tightly next to each other. One of the says: “My sign says I’ll go to a crowded place soon” Other one replies: “Then you’ll probably have a permission to go downtown”

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Dec 22nd 2006 Friday; 145 after midnight...

(20:29) I’m glad to say that the days are passing faster every day. Today we got our rifles and did simple training. Standing and waiting to get the rifle was of course killing, I was barely standing up after 3 hours. Damn.

Also, two completely opposite groups, the uneducated and childish commandos and university graduate adults are slowly blending into each other. I remember myself waking up to a nightmare on the second day of the military, getting scared of everything, choking between the walls. Each day we’re becoming more and more sluts of the military. We’re starting not to care about imprisonment or the stupid work the commanders make us do, and we’re enjoying our stay, laughing at every opportunity possible. And my language is becoming more and more offensive everyday. I never cussed in my life as much as I did in these 10 days. I just hope I’ll be able to get back to normal when I’m out.

Just like we’re looking like them, the commandos are looking like us more everyday. Yesterday one of them took my friend’s book and read the first page. He said he liked it but his friend said “You don’t have enough brains to read that book” The guy objected but, he said he doesn’t know the meaning of “monotone” & “clichet”. After searching, they managed to find someone who knows these words,

Monotone is , like I wake up every morning at 5 and...”

“Dickhead you wake up at 6:30”