Monday, October 31, 2011

Still posting

Just been doing it over at lately.

Monday, January 28, 2008

so. i finally figured it out...

i was taking a shower a few minutes ago and figured it out. and luckily i didn't forget about it while i was freezing my ass off on the way back from the shower.

so. the address thing. it's not because i don't trust anyone or i'm scared i'll pick up some weird stalker or something. it's because i don't like asking for things. if you're a good friend and we're driving down the road together and a really cool motorcycle goes by i'll joking say "oooh, buy me one". ditto the macbook air. but it's okay to ask for one because i know you'll not really buy one for me.

anyways, i don't make anywhere near as much money as i'd LIKE to make, especially at my civilian job (i'd like to make enough to spoil myself rotten), but i make more than enough usually. so last night right after i typed my thing about hot/cold bandages i surfed over to and immediately ordered some. it wasn't that i wanted anyone to buy me some, i just wanted them last night. it was just how we were raised. it was rude to ask for things. and as i grew up, and mostly put myself through college, and bought my own house while people around me my age and younger are sponging off their parents, i started to take pride in that.

i've asked for stuff in the past. last deployment the internet sucked, and i didn't have ready access to it initially. so it was "hey chris, go find this style earplug only with a cord on it and buy/send me a pair please", and the deployment before it was "dad, please go find me some l.e.d. flashlights, one red, one white that take standard batteries please". at first i thought the difference there was a) one was family and b) the other knows that i'd send him anything in a heartbeat if he deployed, but that's not it. the difference is that i know that they'd ask if they ever needed anything. and the "need" thing. i don't really NEED anything that i don't already have. from time to time there are things that i want, out of boredome or for creature comforts. because we really are spoiled as americans. we've got a small shop here, and if i can't find whatever i want there, i've got an okay internet connection. i can order something and have it shipped to me without putting anybody out. i'm making good money, it's not like i can't afford it, so there's really no good reason for me to ask for things. if i did, i'd just be a mooch, trying to take advantage of the situation and your generousity. with the exception of tastykakes.

so. the flipside? lori tells me that people NEED to send things. and that i'm an ass for not letting them. okay, i might've paraphrased with the "you're an ass" part, she's much too polite to say that, but i got her drift. so i really, really appreciate all the offers. seriously, i must be maturing because i finally understand what my parents meant when they said "it's the thought that counts" when we were kids. "no it doesn't. it's a crappy present. i don't want socks. i wanted a thundercat! screw the thought!" and i'm not trying to be coy and i'm not slyly asking for things. i'm an e-6 with a fair amount of time in, making decent pay. there's that poor e-1 with a wife and 4 kids who are home struggling to make ends me. he's the guy that i'm publishing my list of ideas to buy things for. or the kid stuck way out in the middle of nowhere, with a semi trailer for a PX and no internet connection to speak of. or the kid who's away from the hometown where he grew up, with no familiy to speak of who never gets any mail and who is really starting to feel lonely and unloved and maybe a little unworthy. those guys need carepackages from groups like lori's and

so thanks alot. and sorry if i'm coming across as an ass or sending mixed messages.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

another alibi fire...

so, just because i'm wanting one now, another care package item would be the medicated patches that are self adhesive. instead of the old fashioned ben-gay, these new patches stick in place all night when you're trying to sleep. my dad introduced me to them years ago when we hiked the grand canyon and i loved them. i've seen different brands besides icy-hot. one thing that i do if it's my knee acting up is put the patch on, and then wrap around it with an ace bandage. i think the bandage applies some gentle pressure and also keeps the patch from peeling off in the night if i toss and turn.

they're not miracle workers. if something is really wrong, the guy's still going to have to go to the doctor, but if your soldier is an older dude trying to show the youngsters who's top dog, or if he's clumsy or just doesn't know when to quit, these can go along ways to relieving muscle pain. that being said, some of the heating pads and ice packs aren't the worst things either. these are pretty slick as well.

Friday, January 25, 2008

holy good and bad all rolled into one...

i had to fly last night to drop some get some gear to a team. i have a huge problem with motion sickness on helicoptors which sucks because it should be so much freaking fun most of the time. last night was absolutely breath taking. alot of flying in the mountains, and almost zero light pollution. so the snow was showing up because it was reflecting the moon and starlight. and these mountains are just gorgeous. on the way out, i was relatively center of the bird and warm as can be. on the way back i was right next to the gunner doors so i froze my ass off. that kicking your windchill up by a factor of a hundred plus mph. by the time i got home in the middle of the night i was so cold, that even after i walked a mile or so, it still took me over half an hour under the blankets to stop shivering.

because of my motion sickness i wore a transderm scop patch last night. it didn't really work. i puked in the snow when we got where we were going before we did what we did, and i puked on the side of the helipad when we got back. today my vision's been all kinda funny and i just don't feel "right". not like i'm going to throw up necessarily, but not 100%.

all in all though, i got to see something amazing last night and it was worth the little bit of discomfort.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

first pleasant memory...

besides the arrival of my under armour jacket. speaking of which, if anyone is looking for a birthday present, or lives somewhere where ti's going to be cold for awhile yet and is looking for valentine's, let me recommend the under armour derecho jacket. nice fleece jacket that's also waterproof and windproof. and somehow just works and being warm when you need it to be, and not when you don't. i'll wear it all day in the office under my uniform top and not feel hot, and then walk back to my room at night in the WAY below freezing weather and winds and not feel cold except for my exposed skin. looks good too. today it was a little warm inside and we were unloading crates of ammunition and explosives and putting them in our arms room and that got a little warm, but that was excessive.

anways, last night four or five of us were working late, trying to take care of some stuff for the teams and meet some last minute suspenses when one of the guys found some quiet riot .mp3's and played them. so the bunch of us were just laughing and joking and singing and bopping to the music while getting our work done. moments like that are just nice. when you feel like you're a part of something bigger and better than yourself.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

interesting article...

I just found out that two guys I deployed with last time are in pretty bad shape. One is in a 6 month resident PTSD program with the VA in California, and the other is doing an out-patient thing in Colorado. Neither can hold a job steady. Then a 3rd guy in Chicago has been foreclosed on his house, failed out of college and is starting alcohol treatment programs. None of them is over 25 I don't think.

Friday, January 18, 2008

cold as heck here. -20f last night with windchill (sorry for those of you on the metric, i'm too tired and lazy to do the math to convert and the internet is too slow here to find a place to do it for me). But with the cold comes the beauty. These pictures don't do it justice. Gorgeous mountains. They have a rappel tower built here, we climbed to the top to get these pictures. There's more that I probably shouldn't email because there's stuff about the base in them. The wind at the top was ferocious. We lasted about ten minutes up there, then went scurrying for cover.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

t.v. series...

i'm looking for some new t.v. series to watch. i keep watching "sports night" over and over. i've seen some of the buffy and smallville series. i was thinking about "hill street blues", when that was originally on, i was too young to appreciate it. "st. elsewhere" and "trapper john, m.d." have been recommended, but i'm not sure if they're on dvd. i love "weeds", and last trip out caught watched "dead like me".

anyways, i'm open to suggestions. although i'm gonna go ahead and pre-emptively say no to "lost" and "heroes", "desperate housewives" and "sex and the city".

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

alibi fires...

when you're on a military range and everyone else is done shooting, but you've still got rounds left, they call you an "alibi fire". a couple months ago i posted about things to send soldiers deployed and have a couple of alibis to add to the list. betty crocker makes these things that they call "warm delights". the only thing you have to add to them is water. they come in their own sealed little mixing/serving bowl. you add some water, stick it in the microwave for a little over a minute and you've got yummy goodness.

the other thing that's pretty good is going to wal-mart or any camping/sporting goods store. they've got dehydrated meals there. add boiling water and you're good to go. and they've got alot more varieties than your normal ramen noodles or cheesy mac. those are usually pretty decent tasting, they're light weight, and there's such a wide variety that you're likely to find someone's favorite comfort food.

if you're going to send something like that to a loved one, consider also sending a nalgene bottle or something similar. they've got handy markings on the side to designate the different water measurements, but serve multiple purposes and seal tight to keep dust out unlike normal measuring cups. camelbak also makes a really nice bottle these days.

speaking of camelbak, both them and blackhawk market an in-line water filter. if your soldier is complaining about the plastic taste of water after a couple months, think about sending them one of these. they have to cut the hose on their camelbak and put the filter in place, but they've got carbon filters in them or whatever and help the water taste better. they're a little expensive though. if you want a cheaper solution, the "elixir" camelbak tabs (r.e.i.) sells them add flavor to your water but contain no sugar to gum up the bag.

okay, hope this helps!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

okay, THIS time i'm actually asking for a favor..

Back story:

Okay, so I'm a professional computer geek, both in the civilian world and when I play G.I. Joe. So people are ALWAYS asking for recommendations. More often than not over the last couple of years, whenever somebody asks what kind of laptop they should buy, I recommend buying an Averatec from Sam's Club. every once in awhile, someone comes along who's perfect for a MacBook, or for a high end system for gaming, or they need some super tiny Sony thing for seriously packability, but 90% of the people who ask for suggestions, just want something relatively simple, that they can get online with, type some emails on, maybe do some spreadsheets or word docs on and that's it. The Averatec brand fits the bill at a great price, and Sam's Club has just taken care of me time after time. I'm on my third deployment now, and every time I've had a computer problem.

The first two deployments Sam's Club bit the bullet and took a loss for me. The first time I had a KDS laptop and the fan stopped working so it'd overheat. I was still stateside but away from home at the time, and the manufacturer wanted me to send it in for 2-3 weeks for repair, or let them charge my credit card $1500, they'd over night me a replacement, and then when they received the original they would return the $1500. I wasn't financially in a position to do that and was using the laptop for school and to stay in touch with friends and family and didn't want to lose the laptop for 3 weeks. I emailed Sam's Club, and they told me to take it to my local Sam's Club and ask for the manager. When I got there, he was waiting for me, and told me to go take my pick from what they had in the store. Even though they were selling the laptop at a cheaper price than when I'd bought it, and I'd owned it for 5 or 6 months, they still let me trade it in for the same value that I'd paid for it.

The second deployment was a similar situation. I had an Averatec, was home on emergency leave, and all of a sudden my laptop stopped recharging the day I was going to leave the country. I stopped into Sam's Club, and the manager said I'd had the laptop for 8 months, and so if they swapped it, they'd have to eat the loss, they couldn't return it to the vendor. She asked me to call the vendor first, but said if they balked to come back in. I understood, went into the parking lot and called Averatec. Averatec issued me an RMA, but said that they couldn't ship to an APO address. So I would've had to ship it to a friend or family member, and then have them ship it to me overseas. I went back into Sam's Club and they swapped it on the spot.

So last year I bought an Averatec. A couple months ago I started having a problem with it and sent it in for warranty repair. I did this in OCTOBER. It's January and it still hasn't been returned. Apparently the parts were help up by customs and couldn't be released. I've called and spoken to them on several occasions asking what is taking so long. Today was the last straw though. Ten weeks later, without my laptop and no offer of sending me a refurbished laptop, of expediting my repair, nothing. I spoke to the original person and asked for a refurbished laptop and she said she couldn't. I asked to speak with her supervisor and he couldn't. I asked why, and he said they weren't authorized by their corporate office, and so I asked for a corporate phone number to lodge a complaint. He refused to give me a corporate number, saying that his department was authorized to speak on behalf of the corporate office. "Fine, then authorize the release of a refurbished laptop to satisfy me as a disgruntled customer." "Sir, I already explained to you, I can't do that." "Well, then you're not authorized to speak for your corporate office."

At no time did I curse, scream or berate anyone. I didn't yell and tried not to raise my voice, although it's very difficult to keep frustration out of your voice. But what pushed me over the edge? At no point did either individual apologize. Although they're authorized to speak for their company, they wouldn't apologize. No "Sir, we apologize for the delay, but..." I realize stuff breaks. I realize stuff happens. If someone has taken ownership for the situation and apologized for my inconvenience it would've gone a long ways towards making me feel better. 10 weeks is still unacceptable for a warranty repair, but "I'm sorry" is a great place to start making things better. And don't tell me that "most repairs only take 7-10 days" because that really doesn't make me, the guy who's been waiting 10 times that long feel better.


So the favor? Well, of course if anyone has the phone number for someone at Averatec, please feel free to share that, but the favor I'm asking is this: If you know of anyone buying a laptop, please share my story with them. And suggest they go with any brand but Averatec. I'm sure there are horror stories out there for any computer company, it's impossible to please everyone all the time. But I warned them, that they'd lose me as a customer forever and I'd spread the word as much as possible, and I'm doing it. If you're bored and want to waste time, feel free to just spam everyone you know with the link to this. If you know of anyway to get the word out...

I actually had to buy another laptop before I deployed. I didn't really have the money to spend, but it's just too hard not to have one. I justified it in my mind because once it was repaired and forwarded to me, I was going to load VMWare on it and play with a bunch of different servers OS's to keep my skills fresh until the deployment was over. My plans have changed. If the thing ever shows up it's going to the range with me and a video camera. I'm going to put some really big bullet holes through it, as well as some Afghanistan sand and it'll be sent back to the manufacturer with a copy of this story.

I'd still highly recommend Sam's Club as a possible place to buy a computer from. They may not have as wide a selection as the electronics stores, but if you just need the basics, they've usually got something to fit your needs. They've got a generous return/exchange policy, much more than you'd find at CompUSA or Circuit City and incredibly reasonable extended warranties.

It'd be interesting to know how many other people have been waiting months and months for warranty repair.

well, it's a little harder to write than i'd like it to be. there's the normal problems of time and inspiration when you've actually got it. but then there are things i can't talk about for various reasons and the odd fact that all of this feels kinda tired, even though we just landed. different country, different operation but alot of similar stories that have already been told.

i'm making my way through alot of blogs i haven't visited in awhile, commenting when i can, and sitting there with my jaw dropped and no appropriate comment for some. i'm catching up with my reading though, honest.

the phone number experiment was cool. if you've got yahoo and 3 bucks (the monthly fee for a phone number is something like $2.99) i highly recommend trying it. thanks to everyone who called. every single call put a smile on my face! there were a couple honorable mentions:

-paperback writer... she gets the prize for longest, most rambling. it was funny and i loved it! somehow or another she sounded exactly like, and nothing like what i though she'd sound. figure that one out.

-leelee... probably the most pleasant surprise. of the people who i thought would do it or not, i'd kinda put her down in the "not" column.

-courtney... best drunk dial

-paige... best tease about teasing

i'd also like to take a minute to thank everyone for offering to send baked goods. i was just telling a story, but all the offers really, really meant alot! thanks!

Monday, January 07, 2008

hopefully the great gortex fairy shows up soon

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

sooo... no one has my address yet

so you know this isn't me trying to guilt anyone into baking. this is one of those "more for me to look back upon later" posts. anyways, we didn't really get "Christmas" this year. i mean, we got it, everyone gets the 25th of December, but because we were so busy and flying and blah-blah-blah it was just kinda there. and then it was past. and we didn't really notice it or miss it much. i'm sure the other guys who celebrate the holiday thought about it quietly like me, prayed for family and loved ones and said "thanks", but there wasn't alot of hooplah. and to be honest, that's really, really nice in it's own way if you're Christian. amazing to take some of the commercialism out of it and quietly reflect upon it.

anyways, we were just cruising along, when all of a sudden the people that we're replacing started to bring out their leftovers. they're going home, so they just decided to share. all sorts of homemade fudge, cookies and different candies and things. and we devoured. and what's funny about it, is that most of us are a little older and have been out of the house for awhile. so it's not like this is the first time we've been without. mom's have kinda slacked off on their baking when the kids moved out and when they come back to visit, don't do as much in the kitchen. or they visit us and we're helpless. so we were all eating lots of sweet treats. and then they were gone. the look of sadness on everyone's face as they turn away from the empty goodie table is really kinda funny. i guess when i go home, i'm gonna have to raid mom's recipe box and learn to make alot of this stuff for myself. the one thing i haven't seen yet are the homemade uhm. whatever you call them. they taste just like peanut butter cups. i remember one of my aunts making them. in the glass pyrex 9x13 or whatever pan. the peanut butter on the bottom, and then the melted chocolate poured and spread on top. and then when it FINALLY cooled off enough to eat, fighting for the edge pieces because they always had more chocolate from where it clung to the sides of the pan. and how it's crack and break into little pieces once it hardened.

on the plus side, the PX here started selling electric blankets today! i got one for me and my buddy. whoo-hoo!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

i have a phone number, kinda...

so one day samantha was mentioning on her blog that she was always tempted to post her phone number on her blog, just to see who'd call and what they'd say/sound like. i can pretty honestly say that i was never tempted, although i do know someone who's got their # on their facebook page and i was always tempted to call them out of the blue and prank call, except that i can never keep from laughing and i always ruin it.

anyways, i was screwing around here, trying to play with skype and yahoo voice to see if there was an easy way to call home and check my voicemails on my cell phone. especially since i want to start the job search a couple months before i go home and want to be able to put a resume out there with a phone number on it. and i found on yahoo that you can purchase a phone number that anyone can call for something cheap like 25 bucks a year. of course i haven't been able to use it to check my voicemail on my cell, because the internet connection sucks so bad that i can't get my pin typed in in a way that my voicemail system understands, but when i call my cell phone, i can hear it clearly. so i might as well get some entertainment out of it.

so, all rambling aside... 720-259-7279 is a number that you can call and leave a voicemail on. but if you do it, you've got to let me know who you are. it'd be neat to put a voice with the names...

i'm way, way behind on checking out peoples' blogs. sorry.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

okay, so i'm still alive and everything is still okay, but we're freezing our asses off. i haven't been able to breathe through my nose for like, six weeks now. has anyone used an infrared space heater? supposedly they do a good job heating, but take less electricity. we live in buildings where the wiring isn't quite up to code and preventing said building from burning down is the name of the game. it was about 13 degrees when i woke up this morning and was marginally warmer inside than outside. and if you haven't used an infrared space heater, but have a recommendation?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas Everyone!

hope everyone is doing well. we got into afghanistan at about 11:10pm, Christmas Eve. we've moved into the buildings that are going to be our home for the next year, met most of the people that we'll be replacing and gotten out and walked the base today. it'll be okay. definately not all of the creature comforts of home, but we knew that before we got here. right now the heaters in our "house" work during the day when it's warm but not at night when it's freezing. we'll figure it out though.

anyways, just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and let ya'll know we made it here, safe and sound.