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Sunday, November 23, 2008

I Made The Paper

MARIETTA: At GI’s side, she was a doll whole time
By Moni Basu

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Consider this: In a land where U.S. soldiers are dying and women remain covered under burqas, an American real estate agent in a black skirt, pumps and lipstick journeys across harsh terrain for almost a year. Through it all, her smile never wanes.

Now consider this: Connie Engel was thrown from the backs of Humvees and Chinooks, endured the firm grasp of a highly curious turbaned man, and lost her left hand in Afghanistan. Still she kept smiling.

And bobbling.

“Little Connie,” as she came to be known, spent a year traveling in a war zone tucked between socks, measuring tape, water and ammunition in the assault pack of 1st Lt. James Partamian.

That’s because she’s a bobblehead doll that Partamian discovered among samples of bricks and other supplies at BRPH, the Marietta architectural firm where he works. He didn’t know the real Connie Engel, only that the bobblehead was ascribed with that name. When he deployed to Afghanistan in May 2007, the Georgia Army National Guard soldier decided to take Connie along.

He photographed Connie on the hood of a Humvee and by the entrance to a U.S. military base, dust billowing behind her. Back in Georgia, no one noticed the bobblehead doll was gone because the office was reorganizing at the time. That is, until Partamian started e-mailing pictures back to his friends.

“I just thought it was kind of funny. Amusing,” Partamian said.

An Afghan interpreter asked Partamian: “Who is this lady, sir?”

“I don’t know,” Partamian answered.

He had never really thought about it. Who was the real Connie Engel?

When it was time to leave Afghanistan, Partamian packed Connie in a tough box that the Army shipped home. But the truck carrying the box was robbed. Connie never made it home.

On his 38th birthday, Partamian’s wife planned a surprise lunch for him at Chow Baby at Cobb Galleria. He noticed a woman wearing a black suit who looked familiar. He recognized her but didn’t know why.

“Are you someone famous?” he asked.

Someone at the table shouted: “It’s Connie!”

Engel, a commercial real estate agent and partner in Childress Klein Properties, had ordered the bobblehead dolls several years ago to use as a marketing gimmick.

One somehow landed at Partamian’s workplace. He was thrilled to know there really was a person behind the doll.

Through mutual friends and colleagues, Partamian’s wife had discovered Engel.

“To James,” Engel wrote over a photograph of the bobblehead doll wearing a computer enhanced Purple Heart. “I am honored to have joined you in Afghanistan. Thank you for your service.”

She also gave Partamian a gift: a brand-new bobblehead doll.

Next destination for “Little Connie”? She’s heading to Guyana with Partamian, where he and other Army engineers will help build a medical clinic.

Not as dangerous, but still a place Connie Engel will probably only experience through her bobblehead likeness.

Friday, August 01, 2008

What have I been up to...

Mostly smoking cigars, eating... too much.

I've been back at work for a few weeks. It's kind of like I never left, which is weird, considering I've been on the other side of the planet for the previous 12 month, dodging IEDs and RPGs, etc.

Things are really good. My daughter is the cutest, and my wife still loves me even though I smell like a cigar here and there. we're having another child. Yeah, I know... I didn't waste any time.

I did crossfit for a while. Good system, but the HH6 wanted to join the YMCA again and I can't do two gym memberships.

My new thing,(which is an old thing actually)is trying to get back in shape. It's amazing how fast you can turn into a slug when you sit behind a desk all day, and eat office food. So, I'm going to train up for a couple of Half-Marathons in the fall. I'll post my training log here daily... no really.

I'm running in the morning and I will post for accountability after the run.

The blog is back!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Blog Changes

Now that I am back from my 15 month adventure, I'm changing the look of the blog. I'll be checking the links and getting some new ones up.

Oh... I'll still be posting photos from the deployment now and then. Here's a good one for the Homestarrunner fans.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I'm Home!

Sunday, May 18, 2008


I'm home. It was a long 15 months, but now it's over. I really appreciate being home in the USA and being home with my family.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Yeah... I'm done. I'm in Kuwait, waiting... and waiting... and waiting...

for a plane to take me out.

I haven't been able to get onto the blog as much due to army computer restrictions, and my own laziness. It's been pretty ho hum over that last couple of months.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tim Horton's Kandahar Hat

I won a limited edition baseball cap from the Tim Horton's here on KAF. I guess they only made 1,000 of them. This seems like quite a few caps to me, but apparently people (Canadian people in particular) are willing to pay some big bucks for one of these hats.

So... if you are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for this hat... contact me. I heard (and this could be some serious BS) that someone offered $1,000 to some of the staff at T.H.'s for one of these hats.

Quality Partamian bakers from . . . Mexico?

Francisco Rosales, left, and Jose Gonzales, co-owners of A. Partamian Bakery hold up a customer favorite, lahmajunes, that they make from scratch

The crusty owner of the 60-year-old A. Partamian Bakery in the Mid-City area liked the way they cooked his sarma and lahmajune. And he liked the two of them.

So when Partamian died 17 months ago, he gave his bakery business -- and the building that houses its vintage ovens and bread display cases -- to both of them.,1,1950063.story

Friday, March 14, 2008

Still Kicking

I'm still alive and I'm still in Afghanistan. I won't be here for too much longer. The deployment is drawing to an end. I just went down to Helmand Province. I flew down on a British Sea King helicopter. Not the best ride in Afghanistan, but it beats walking.

And no...I didn't see any royalty.

Some of the friends I have made here are leaving. I'll miss them, but I'm glad they're going home. A year is a long time and they need to be home with their families. Also, their departure means mine is just around the corner!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Photo From My Man Tractor

Tractor sent me this photo. I think it ranks right up ther with the egg package.

Friday, January 25, 2008

More Barf! I can't get away from this stuff!