Friday, September 29, 2006

randoms

-thanks for sharing your musical tastes. i'm on my third laptop in 3 weeks, but i think it's finally the "one" for the next year (or more hopefully). so i'm going to get serious about getting my music together and on my mp3 player.

-work bites. i've spent today on conference calls with lawyers. i'm a geeky computer tech. i shouldn't ever be having such calls. 'nuff said.

-i've been without my motorcycle since saturday. with only 2600 miles on it, they've had to tear the heads off of engine because it burned over a quart and a half of oil since the 1000 mile service. i'm going to be really happy to get my bike back, but i'm a little upset that it took so long for them to do the repairs and that it's had to get cracked open so early in its life. i don't smoke, i don't drink coffee, i'm a pretty boring guy. riding that bike is one of my few vices. i'm jonesing bad to get it back.

-we're coming up on the 1 year mark for losing my sister. she had stopped talking to me years before so i'm processing the loss much differently than the rest of my family. it's interesting to watch them. we've been a family for so long that some members of the family are having problems communicating. one person will say something and instead of actually hearing what that person is saying, the others are assuming they know what's being said and are tuning it out. it's amazingly weird to kind of watch this happening from the outside.

-did i mention that work bites? for some reason my new boss continually assumes i'm being negative. we'll have a conversation. the first ten minutes are a discussion of how what i said was incredibly negative and unsupportive of the department. then we have another ten minutes where i explain what i meant over and over and finally a light bulb goes off and we're good and on the same page. this isn't necessarily full biteage, but it does wear you down eventually.

-if you're looking for someone to add to your blog "must reads" i recommend erika. she's not trying to solve all the world's problems or anything. but she's funny and talks about life without whining. and she draws awesome stick figures on the computer. i'm jealous of her mad skills.

-is it weird that two of the quotes i keep returning to are ones i got from comic books 20 some odd years ago? "given the choice i'd rather laugh than cry any day" when asked how they could make jokes at such a terrible moment and "today's as good a day to die as any and the company is better than most" pops in my head when i'm realizing i'm about to do something really stupid.

-i realized i've still got some pent up anger. a couple days ago some serious rage washed over me. i don't know what triggered it off but it's just anger over people having the nerve to try and kill me. and it's totally irrational, they were doing what they believed to be their mission in life, i was doing mine. but there it is.

-i will be going to washington d.c. next weekend to see old friends and run in the army ten-miler. if you knew how bad my running was right now you'd be laughing with me while you read this. what's even funnier is that about an hour ago i agreed to run a leg of the denver marathon the following weekend. possibly two legs.

-there should be more, but i have to get back to work.

Monday, September 25, 2006

more of my favorite commercials...

questionable music tastes...

one of my biggest problems with working out is time involved. i can muscle through the pain and all of that stuff, but my brain just starts wandering and boredom sets in. with running, there's not really much i can do about that. for whatever reason i can't run to music. i think it's largely because i try to get in step with the music and end up screwing myself up. i should probably give some of the new mp3 players a shot though, some of my problem in the past with running to a walkman was probably discomfort of the huge honking thing, cd's skipped, tapes were large and radio stations didn't keep the beat up.

we've got to "SOF Certify" next month, which means a p.t. test, a swim test and a ruck march. none of these events strike fear in my heart, i've been doing them long enough. i'm having some problems with my run, mainly because i'm still not acclimatizing to the altitude for some reason and because shin splints are still kicking my ass. but i ice those down every night and take ibuprofen and i can muscle through 2 miles, no problem. the ruck march just takes work. you just have to get out on the road and log the miles. put 55lbs of dumbells in a backpack and go. you have to toughen your feet up, get all your little stabilizer muscles from your feet to your neck used to moving around with the weight and you're fine. the biggest problem for me, is again boredom. you just walk and walk and walk at a quick pace for two or three hours.

i knew last night was going to be a problem, and i'm in the process of switching out computers so i just had a couple minutes to throw a handful of songs on my mp3 player before i hit the road. i was going for humor, nostalgia and tempo. so what'd i pick?

"never underestimate 15 beers, a little enlightenment and the power of rob base and d.j. easy rock"

-"joy and pain" by m.c. rob base and d.j. easy rock
-"it takes two" by m.c. rob base and d.j. easy rock
-"last cigarette" and "anything, anything" by dramarama
-"i know what boys like", "square pegs" and "christmas wrapping" by the waitresses
-"i like candy" by bow-wow-wow
-"i hate everything about you" by ugly kid joe
-"deeper shade of soul" by urban dance squad
-"sinnerman" by nina simone
-"just a friend" by biz markie
-"another one bites the dust" by queen
-"if you want blood" by ac/dc
-"ring of fire" by social d

that got me through in good time last night. i'll probably take tonight as a run night, but either tues or wed i'll have to go out again. hopefully i'll have access to all my tunes by then. feel free to throw out suggestions for work-out tunes.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

poh-TAY-to/poh-TAH-to

love is interesting. it's funny the semantics we can get caught up. once upon a time i was talking about re-establishing a relationship with someone i had dated in the past, then they had moved away and broken ties. we were going to be back in the same geogaphical area and there were still feelings there. for some reason, it was EXTREMELY important for me to not talk about the future too much because i was insistant that we take things one day at a time. i didn't want to mention "living together" or "marriage" or any of that stuff because i felt enough time had passed that we might've changed. sure, in general the feelings of love/lust were still there, but could we still sit in the same room for an hour or two together without irritating the hell out of one another? had sleeping habits changed? was there residual resentment from the way things had ended earlier? i just refused to make these statements about the future.

to her, this was bad. this was refusal to commit on my part. this was me being my normal, flakey self. sure, neither person was moving for the other, circumstances were bringing us close together, but there was still an emotional investment that she wasn't willing to make without something bigger from me. at that time we weren't thinking very clearly or logically and we couldn't expess things clearly enough for the other person to understand. we were just getting hurt and defensive and it turned into a huge, ugly mess. in hindsight, i can see what she meant very clearly. and when i sit and think about it and her, i know full well that she is/was a strong, independent girl. if we got together and it wasn't working, she'd have no problems telling me so and calling the relationship off. my stubborness was probably unfounded.

the flipside to that is so was hers. in the past i'd been been willing to drop everything and follow her when she moved across country. i'd proven committment there. i'd never cheated on her and i didn't take dating lightly and she knew that. considering that she was the one who'd had doubts before and called it off, she probably could've been a little more understanding about my cold feet and hesitation.

we were getting so hung up on words or lack-thereof. it didn't work out, and obviously that was for the best, if we couldn't communicate over something like that, and we'd had our shot once before and failed it, it probably wasn't meant to be. but in the heat of it, it was so painful and brutal to be arguing about something that seemed so simple. the "leap of logic" that neither one of us could help the other make. i couldn't get her to see that i wasn't saying i wasn't open to ideas of a long, happy future together, but that i just needed to take it slowly. that i wasn't playing games with her, and that i wanted something to work. she couldn't make me see that she just needed me to say some words to reduce her nervousness and that she wasn't going to hold me to them if we were both miserable.

law girl's blog has made me relive this series of events in my head. i'm not comparing my past to her current situation, or taking sides or anything. i'm not discussing her particular situation, i don't know enough about it and have only seen the one side. just saying that things that she has written about have triggered the memories.

which brings me back to the love being interesting thing. i've seen situations where someone can't come out and say the word. there's some traumatic issue in a past that prevents it. or they're stupid. or whatever. but their actions show the love and affection. which should be enough, but it isn't. that proclamation is needed. between couples. between parents and their kids. between siblings. between grown men and women on a battlefield. it's amazing the power that that word carries. not just the emotion. not just the actions that stem from those emotions or lackof. but the power the utterance of the word itself. remember the first time you said it to your one, true love? or heard them say it to you? weak in the knees, swoony elation. and how much you need to hear it from them in the tough times? you need that assurance that even though you're pissing each other off that you still love one another and you'll get through it? it's amazing the first time someone you really love dies. and you can't remember the last time you told them that you loved them. it changes the way you address the loved ones who are still living fast. you make sure to end every phone conversation with an "i love you", just so that they know.

damnit.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

i am a dork...

i realized this as i was doing 80 down the interstate this morning, front up on my mask, singing at the top of my lungs, a little bit of spit streaming out the corner of my mouth because of the wind, completely euphoric. normally i have to go through a near-death experience to feel that way. craziness. i've been shot at 3 times here in the states. there were several stages after that, but one of them was that complete thrill to be alive. there were several situations both times overseas. the first time i jumped out of a plane and was on my back on the dz looking up and seeing the planes exit the area and watching other jumpers hit the ground and the realization that i'd just done something really stupid and survived. this was nice this morning. it was a beautiful, crisp day, not a cloud in the sky and just a great feeling. and the motorcycle does it for me.

a couple of days ago i took it to the dealer. it's only got 4000 miles on it and it's burning oil. this did not thrill me. while i was there, the guy who sold me the bike came out and talked to me. i felt a little guilty because my bike was a little rough and dirty and said something about "it needs to be washed" and he looked and me and said "no, it needs to be ridden. your bike is my favorite one in the parking lot right now because you're not spending a beautiful day bolting more chrome onto it or wasting time polishing and washing it. you're out riding it." he's right. when i first saw a similar bike two years ago i immediately lusted after it. i rushed home to look it up on the website and find out what it was. the extra wide rear tire, the low slung handle bars, the orange racing paint job... i dreamed about it the whole time i was in iraq. it's not one of the bigger, badder harleys, but they don't talk to me the same way this one does.

this is my baby. i'm not going to abuse it. but i've come to terms with the fact that it's going to get scratched. "there's two types of motorcycle riders. those that have been down and those that are going down." well, i've already been down a couple of times, but that doesn't automatically mean i'm not going down again. i've had to accept that as well. in ten years my bike might need an engine rebuild, a tranny rebuild and a fresh paint job, but as long as it got that way because i was was howling like a moronic coyote and laughing my ass off and just feeling ALIVE, it's money well spent.

gotta go. time to ride...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

updates

-so, i just wanted to say thanks to everyone who told me about their friend/romantic relationships. it was interesting to read all of the stories and it was kind of refreshing to read about the happy endings.

-the desktop is glued, filled and sanded. i've got to sand the legs and the front of the drawer and then i'll finish it. this weekend i've got to go back to the reserve unit. i hate to say it but i could use a couple more months off. it's funny, when i was on active duty all the old timers used to make fun of reservists and guardsmen, and without knowing any better i just assumed they knew what they were talking about. but (and not just because i AM one) now that i've seen them in action i have to take my hat off to them. the reserve/guard system isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, there are serious gaps and weaknesses in the training, but when it comes down to it, it takes a considerable amount of dedication for these guys to do what they do. it's easy to be in shape when part of your daily schedule is to work out every morning and your coworkers razz you constantly if you don't do well with the physical challenges. and "one weekend a month, two weeks a year" doesn't sound like much, but the reality is that makes for a really, really long two weeks, or a long month. the higher up the ranks these guys climb, the larger amounts of paperwork and planning is required to be done unpaid on personal time. and the way the world is today, i know reserve guys who've spent way more time in combat zones in the last ten years than any active duty guy can touch. the unit that i'm currently hanging out with has ALWAYS had at least one group of people deployed over the last ten years. Anyways, i was definately wrong before.

-i had a two hour interview with the ceo of that company today and a rep from a consulting firm. i wish i had a better feel for the interview now that it's over. i don't feel like i tanked it, and i don't feel like i slam dunked it. so i'm kinda on the edge of my seat until i hear from them again. sounds like a neat company and a great opportunity though. be interesting to see what the thought of me, and if an offer is made, what all it includes.

Monday, September 11, 2006

third post of the day...

Jim McKee posted last week about flirting with someone and making their day. It's amazing what a kind gesture can do for someone.

The first exposure to this that I can remember came at an early age. My dad was restoring a 1950 Cheverolet convertible and was looking for parts. We went to a classic car swap meet and he'd ask this guy or that guy about parts. One of the guys he talked to was an old coot who started rambling on and on about stuff that we'd already heard about all day. No new information was relayed. Being the easily bored kid that I was, as soon as we were out of earshot I started complaining. Dad cut me off and told me that it had cost him nothing but time to sit there and listen to the old guy ramble on, and that the old guy probably left the experience feeling pretty good about himself and how he'd really helped that young kid get parts for his car.

We had several other conversations like this over the years, and the gist of them all was basically that if you can just let someone feel like they're helping you, or if you can say something truely nice about someone, why not? The worst it'll cost you is a little bit of time, and maybe a little embarrassment but you can totally make the difference in someone's outlook of their whole day.

I'm shy by nature with strangers by nature, so it's hard for me to practice this. And it's easy to get out of the habit. I get so wrapped up in myself, pondering the lint in my bellybutton and feeling bad about how life's kicked me that I forget to look around me. But if I see a guy driving a car I like, I try to make a point to tell him so. It's fun to watch their chest puff out a little and the swagger they get when they walk away. Sometimes if they're just climbing into the car, they'll chirp the tires a little and toot the horn with a wave.

One of the times that sticks out foremost in my mind is from way back in the college days. In one of my classes there was a slightly older woman. Not old by any stretch, but not the normal 18 years old drunken college kid either. It was an evening class and she'd come rushing in, invariably a little late from work. A beautiful woman but she always looked a little frazzled. We did group work in that class and the poor woman got paired off with some of the dumber/lazier people in the class and you could tell she was really the one that pulled the whole project together. The class was a philo class, so there was some group discussion and I always enjoyed debating her. She was quick. That class ended and the next semester I had her in a poli sci course. Pretty much the same routine. Always late, always looked way overworked and underpaid. And always one of the ones who contributed most to the class. The last day of that class the instructor left the room for some reason and we started comparing schedules and making chit chat. all of a sudden there was a little more spark to her. she seemed really severe and focused in class and in the debates and this just kind of rounded her out more and made her more of a person. She made mention of being exhausted and a little worn down from the schedule of school and work. As we were leaving the building I remembered thinking that she was a pretty neat woman and Dad's advice rang in my ears, so I told her how much I'd enjoyed having her in both of the classes. That she'd taken two classes that had the potential to be extremely boring and had made them kind of interesting because of our arguments and her point of view and I hoped she hadn't thought that I was picking on her because I so frequently countered something she'd say.

The effect was amazing. She just stopped, looked at me for a few seconds and started laughing. Said that she pretty much looked forward to debating with me in class and frequently came up with arguments that she maybe didn't fully believe in just to see how I'd respond. But the smile and widened, less tired eyes were worth it. She ended up being one of my best friends for years. She is a smart, funny woman with tons of common sense who has given me great advice over the years. I miss her, but as so often happens life intervened and we lost contact.

The funny thing about taking that extra moment to say something nice is how often people aren't expecting it and don't know how to respond to it. Guys look at you funny, like you're a salesperson trying to make an opening. Girls automatically assume you're hitting on them. General conversation between strangers seems to be so rare in the cities these days that it just shocks people. The girl I mentioned above made a quick point to mention her husband just to let me know she was married when I first said that to her. It's really sad how much we've walled ourselves off from one another.

P.S. I meant to write this on Friday. But what kind of strikes me today as I'm writing this is the 9/11 thing. Courtney asked the question "Where were you, and how will you remember?" on her blog. I had originally said that I'd remember it by thinking of the guys who are deployed, but I think the other thing I'm going to try and do is get back into the habit of saying nice things. It was kind of neat how after 9/11 we were a country united, and sad how just 5 years later we're so quick to attack each other again, based on sexual preference, political affiliations, etc. I'm going to go back out and try to get that community feel back in my little corner of the world.

how i spent (some of) my weekend...


i've got a thing for old speakers. i repaired a set last month and they sound great now. a couple weeks ago i went to look at a pair and the guy had not one, but 2 sets. so i bought them both. i want to try and fix them, and then i want to try my hand at selling a pair or two of what i've got on ebay. as we were loading them in my car we were talking about why he was getting rid of them and it turns out he was having a garage sale the next day because he was moving. he started pointing out things he was getting rid of and he had this really classic looking solid oak student desk. it was pretty rough, but the price was right. the top had one crack that ran the entire length of the top. i glued that back together and clamped it on saturday and i now seem to have one solid desktop instead of two pieces. sunday i applied the filler. i'd wanted to sand it and start the staining process but life interrupted. i'll hopefully start that after work this week. it'll still be kinda rough. you can't do much with the nicks and gouges from the chairs and years. but hopefully i'll be able to get a nice, solid finish on it and have a good piece of furniture.

I took this on the first anniversary of 9/11 in Afghanisan. When I was younger I was kind of a screw-up. Not a bad kid, just no sense of direction, etc. I'd dropped out of college, ammassed a decent sized credit card debt and was just looking for silly ways to sabotage myself in life, in love, etc...

I frequently wonder how many people shock themselves with the realization that they're a grown up. I might've even mentioned it here before. There are times when I look down at the ground, and am kinda surprised how high up I am, like just an instant before I was only six years old and half my height. People at work frequently look to me to explain the way things work, either in the I.T. field, or business in general. Wow, I've actually done alot of weird jobs in my day and picked up alot of general knowledge about manufacturing, inventory control and the related accounting processes. Not an expert by any means, but I can walk someone through the concepts and show them how we can help them streamline things.

This day was one of those moments. I couldn't believe where I was, what I was doing and all the events that had changed the world and led up to this event. Terrible, terrible sadness and anger tempered with self-pride that I had been called to serve and had answered.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

so i was going to write a post today that was kind of trigged by something jim mckee wrote on his website. but it was an insanely long day and i wrote a response to something that jl4 wrote that was so long it was rude. and i'm kinda typed out. so i won't do justice to the topic that jim triggered.

so what was going on today? i'm an i.t. geek. about 2 years ago my company grew enough that we needed a new email solution. at that time we presented solutions "a" and "b". we weren't really tied to one, but as the guys responsible for the health and security of the network we liked solution "a" a little better. much more secure and stable. all the same features, just in a slightly different way. well, the boss jumped on "a" when he saw the price. never looked at any of the demos we set up. we rolled it out and the first time he used it he hated it. this is the head of the i.t. department. we offered to give him the same email client he was used to using, so that it would be transparent to him, but he wouldn't do it. so less than two years ago we spent a decent amount of money on one solution, and because he didn't like it, we're now rolling out solution "b". for a ton more money. so now we're scrambling to get it deployed and to secure it because of unrealistic time limits imposted on us. and i'm the project manager as well as lead worker bee. joy-joy.

before i went to iraq i bought a new laptop. something small and light to be easy to carry. when i came home in october it failed. sam's club was awesome. although wal-mart scares the hell out of me, sam's club has been awesome to me. even though they lost money on the deal, the took back the laptop, absorbed the loss and let me swap it for another. the new laptop hasn't been such a good thing. since i've had it the case has cracked, the keyboard has failed the power supply has failed, the trackpad has worn so smooth that it couldn't be used, the system board failed and the media wasn't included in the box when i bought it. a couple weeks ago i sent it in for the trackpad repair. when it came back the screen had two or three tiny cracks in it. i contacted the manufacturer and asked them if they were going to cover the repairs of if they needed to file a claim with the shipper. they told me to ship it back (AGAIN!). i sent it back and it came back today supposedly repaired. well, in addition to NOT being repaired, it's missing memory. i purchased a 1GB memory upgrade that's now missing.

of course i called and complained and in their defense, they offered to replace the laptop after all of the problems i've had. i don't know if this means i get a new model or if they've got refurbed models of of what i've got sitting on the shelf someplace. but the condition of this was that i had to provide receipts for both the laptop purchase and the memory purchase. do you know how hard it is to come up with receipts that you took to iraq with you? let me say how wonderful new egg is. even though i bought the memory over a year ago they still had a receipt i could print out online. and sam's club? they can't find an individual receipt for the laptop so they're going to print out my ENTIRE purchase history for me. hopefully that'll be ready tomorrow or sunday.

i ordered a heated liner for my motorcycle today. a couple years ago when i was mobilized for the first time i commuted between denver and a base about an 1.5-2 hrs away. great ride during warm weather, but there were winter commutes when it was so cold i'd have to stop every 15 minutes or so and warm my hands by putting them on the engine block and i'd have to scrape frozen condensation off the inside of my face shield from my breath. i'm loving the sportster and the ride to and from work helps relieve so much stress. i don't want to give that up just because the mercury is dropping a little. for my sanity the 200 bucks is hopefully money well spent.

so after a 13 hr work day, and a run and assorted pushup and situps and dinner and the long-assed reply on jl4's site my brain is pretty much tapioca.

night.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

just a question...

i hate blogger somedays... just typed out the explanation and the question and lost it. so here we go again...

did you ever have that special someone in your life that you felt you were perfect for, and they were perfect for you, but timing just kept you apart for years and years? you were probably best friends with them, but when you were single, they were dating and when they were single you were with someone? or you both talked about it and decided that the friendship was too perfect to risk? or friends or family or life or fate just kept you from taking it to the next level? i'm not in this situation now, but we were talking about it at work the other day, and it seemed like at some point in time, everyone had been in that type of situation. but none of us had ever made it happen with that person. we moved, they moved, sometime in all of those years dating other people one or the other person found someone that was more right, whatever...

so the question is, have any of you ever played that round and round game with that person and then eventually ended up with them? was it as good as you always thought it'd be? were they the one forever and ever? or did the reality fail to live up to the fantasies? had they seemed more perfect than they really were because they were unattainable? just curious.