Friday, December 29, 2006

in response to my last post law girl said something about needing to write it. and i guess she's right. i did. i remember reading a (don't laugh) trixie belden book a million years ago and something significant happened and her little brother kept repeating the story to anyone who would listen. and it annoyed the hell out of her, and she had to be reminded by her parents or older brother or somebody that it was just his way of processing it. i haven't told everybody this story, but people know about it. and it happened along time ago, but i still just had to get it out there again. i probably didn't need to share it with all of you and maybe that's not fair to put it out there in a public forum, but it helped hearing (although i'm sorry they went through it too) about other people's experiences.

my sister and i talk about the difference in my mom and dad. originally she was breaking down and he was the stoic one. he still is, but we were thinking that would help her "get over it faster", whatever that means. a year later we're much smarter about the whole affair.

anyways, thanks for letting me get it out there and for the responses. it was a quiet christmas. being snowed in and what not really just let me catch up on some "me" time.

hope all of you had a good one and got everything you wanted.

Monday, December 25, 2006

christmases past...

i really can't remember the last time my whole family was together on christmas. the first year i was in the military i flew home for christmas, but i can't remember if both my sisters were there or not. i couldn't make it home the next couple of years because one year my sister had just gone through some serious chemo treatments and they thought she was too weak for us other kids to come home. she had no immune system and they were worried we'd bring home bugs. the other years i had various military obligations that prevented me from making it home. two christmases ago we were finally going to do it. it was going to be a huge family thing, my mom was incredibly excited to have her whole flock together again.

so two years ago my dad went to see his doctor. he'd had a quintuple bypass a couple years before and he wasn't feeling 100% right again or he had some questions or something. so he talked to the jackass and the guy basically put it in his mind that he was dying. now every one of us starts dying the instant we're born, the question is "when". and this guy made it sound like it was fast approaching for my dad. he and mom had a trip to thailand planned over thanksgiving for months and had bought the tickets and everything so they went ahead and went.

while they were there, he couldn't stop obsessing over the news from the doctor so he came home early and made an appointment to go to the mayo clinic. when he got home he got the word from my sister that she had gone to the doctor about a persistant headache and the word came back that it was a tumor. they thought that she should go to NYC and see a specialist sooner rather than later. dad called mom and got her moving back home quickly. they went in through her nose and cut the tumor out of my sister's head. there was alot of concern because she was a photographer and the tumor was near her optic nerve. they thought she might lose eyesight and possibly sense of smell and taste. they got most of the tumor out and sent her home with instructions to come back for a checkup. when she went to the hospital in s.c. for the follow-up they found out that the tumor had come back and was now growing at a pretty incredible rate. they sent her back up to NYC for an immediate operation. by this time my mom was back and she rushed up to NYC to be with her, and my little sister went out there to help take some of the strain off my mom and to arrange alot of the little details.

a couple days before christmas they cut the top off of her head and dug around in there and got what they could out of there. the night before christmas things started to go bad. fluid was building on the brain and causing pressure and the drain they'd put in her skull wasn't working quite right so they were going to have to back in. my dad couldn't go to new york because the monday after christmas he was supposed to go to mayo for an angioplasty to check his heart out. he thought he was dying and was hoping they'd find something out to give him a couple more weeks or months or years so he could be there for my sister and the rest of the family. but it was killing him not to be there. christmas eve mom called me and asked if there was anyway i could make it to phoenix to sit with dad and to take him to his appointment. it was too late to get a flight home and it's only a 12-14 hr ride so i decided to get a good night's sleep and start driving the next day. i took off and had a fairly catastrophic break-down at the new mexico/colo border. i had no idea what to do and needed to get home, so i left the car and started hiking down the street to a state weigh station. i was hoping to get a ride to the next town to try and rent a car or something. while i was in the weigh station i called my dad and asked him if he could start calling around to try and find me a rental car in albuquerque. the very first trucker into the weigh station after i got there was going to phoenix. i'd never hitched a ride before in my life but figured that must be a sign. two weeks before i'd been in a military school in seattle and had met up with a friend. i'd left my cell phone in their car and was literally lost without it. i didn't have a chance to call my dad to tell him i had a ride to phoenix before the trucker pulled out. so for about the next ten hours he had no idea where i was or what was going on with me.

i finally got into phoenix and had my dad come pick me up. stepping into that house was one of the saddest damned moments in my life. mom had decorated the whole thing. it had never been like that before. stockings everywhere, the works. dad didn't have the heart to tear it all apart by himself so we started to take some of that down after i got there. he's since said that without a doubt that was one of the worst moments of his life. he thought he was dying, he had no idea where i was, he thought his oldest daughter might not make it through the day...

dad went through the procedure at mayo and they told him a totally different story than his normal doctor did. yes, he was having problems and there was some blockage but it wasn't unfixable. it could be treated with medication and if it got worse it was possible that they could use stints. he wasn't going to die that day, and his heart wasn't going to fail on him anytime soon. two days later, against medical advice he flew out to new york to be with them. there was a slight possibility that the change in pressure from flying might've affected the plug they put in his leg from the angioplasty apparently. my sister pulled through that patch and made it until october. there were some rough weeks at the end, but she had a great spring and summer. so last year was their first christmas without her and i was in iraq. i'd made it home on emergency leave when we lost her in october so i couldn't come home to be with them that christmas, so on top of the pain of losing her, they were worried about me. to be honest, i had it easiest of the whole bunch. my sister and i had parted ways years before so the loss didn't hit me as sharply and i was able to throw myself into work. we had alot of kids over there who weren't getting mail so i was rushing around trying to arrange gift packages for them on top of my normal duties and was just really able to drown out alot of those feelings.

in the buddhist religion there are some things that have to be done on the year anniversary of someone's death. my parents have taken some of my sister's ashes back to thailand this year so that my grandmother can honor some of those things. it's hard, but in talking to my little sister who went with them, apparently this season hasn't been all doom and gloom.

past christmases have kind of sucked lately. mom still doesn't know about me hitch hiking and probably never will. i'm the only person that dad talks about the sadness of that christmas with. i'm sure that mom and my little sister were having a similar experience in nyc. she never got her hope of having all of us kids under one roof again for another christmas. but it sounds like they're healing and hopefully christmases will start looking up, beginning with this one.

i hope everyone is safe and happy, or at least content and at peace. i hope everyone can look back on the last year and find something to be thankful for.

merry christmas ya'll.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

gift certificates...

... so. gift certificates get a bad rap. i'd like to say something though.

my little sister is one of my absolute favorite people for ONE simple reason. she gets me what i want for every event where gift giving is appropriate. i frequently ask everyone who asks me for gift cards. they really are what i want. i'm not trying to save them trouble. i'm not trying to not be a pain in the ass. i really, really want a gift card. get me a card from barnes and noble, target, the harley davidson store, lowes or any of a couple resteraunts that i like going to. why? because i frequently won't buy dvd box sets or cd's or hardcover books for myself because of guilt over spending the money. but for some reason if i've got a gift card it's different. so when that new hardcover book comes out that i really, really want i don't have to wait another six months for it to come out in paperback. and there were some lean years where a target card got me through some tough spots. or when i'm CRAVING the mongolian beef from p.f. chang's it is a wonderful present to me.

my mom drives my dad insane. she collects alot of clutter. they actually own two houses. this big house that used to hold the whole family but now only holds the two of them but is still filled with decades' worth of crap. and a new house that they plan to retire to someday. dad would absolutely love to just sell the old house with everything in it. EVERYTHING. and it's going to kill him to have to pack up alllllll the junk from it and move it into their retirement house. he loves the simplistic feel in the new place. so for years they've asked that no one get them anything for christmas. and he really means it. if there is something that they need/want they go out and buy it. they have no secret desires for trinkets. all the stuff that people give them just adds to the clutter. so my little sister and i started giving them gift certificates as well. for nice resteraunts and for movie theaters and concerts and stuff. and that's perfect for them. because they both work conflicting schedules they don't get alot of time together. so that's all stuff that they can do but because they're somewhat frugal might not normally pay for themselves.

so. don't immediately assume that people would be offended by them. they're not impersonal. and it really is better to get someone a gift card than to get something that's completely unwanted.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

i was tagged...

This is a Christmastime assignment from LeeLee. She tagged me, with the following instructions:

1. Grab the book closest to you.
2. Open to page 123 and go down to the fifth sentence.
3. Post the text of next 3 sentences on your blog.
4. Name the book and the author.
5. Tag some people.

Ok here's mine:

tortured. it was one of those words that could rip right through the soul and make kidnapping sound almost benign. jack lowered his eyes.

it's from "got the look" by james grippando.

i'm not going to tag anyone. this is a voluntary tagging. if you read this and want to do it, just let me know so i can come read your blog.

there isn't much i hate more than "mandatory fun". don't have christmas parties, etc. and expect me to be there unless you're going to pay me for my time. otherwise leave me the hell alone. not that i'm anti-social or anything. and i'm talking "work" parties here vs. "parties thrown by friends". but we had to have a little organized fun this last weekend for the military. i didn't really mind this one so much because we've got some people going down range again and this is probably the last time i'll see some of them before the leave.

i rarely a) get dressed up in my class "a" uniform and b) want to have a picture taken. this was one of the rare times when both happened, so of course there was no-one around. so yes. i took my own damned picture.

Monday, December 18, 2006

it might be the headcold. but this cracks me up for some reason.

Friday, December 15, 2006

i'm a bad blogger...

sorry there hasn't been much from this corner lately. i've wanted to reply to alot more than i have, but blogger was being difficult because i haven't switched to beta yet. i haven't written alot because i've just been swamped. job hunt, car hunt, school, work, army obligations and army guilt-trips, etc, etc.

hope everyone is having a great time getting ready for the holidays.

Friday, December 08, 2006

i've always loved motorcycles. convertibles or jeeps were the next best things. but i've also been known to be doing 80 down the interstate and stick my head out the window while driving if i was in a sedan. i've always hated being enclosed in a normal car. when i was wanting a road bike dad and me got into a huge argument. so i got a jeep as a compromise.

i'm not quite sure why, but for some reason i got made the operations NCO for our company and our detachment in iraq. i also did alot of the planning and training for the detachment. when we first got into iraq, four of us took off on this whirl-wind tour of iraq. we had to go to all these remote sites around the northern half of the country to inventory the equipment that we'd be taking over from the people we were replacing. we set out in trucks and the rest of the guys flew out later. the very first night after we got there when we first left the wire we got shot at. because we racked so many miles up so fast and had the experience we were the ones that turned around and trained the rest of the guys in the det. i used to obsess before a mission. i'd be lucky to get 2 or three hours of sleep because i was just constantly trying to play possible scenarios out in my head and how we'd respond. i'd try to remember all the planning that we'd forgotten so i could do whatever needed to be done in the morning. whenever something bad happened to convoys i'd look over the reports, talk to as many people in similar positions as me, just trying to sponge up all different sorts of tactics and procedures. i'd take all of this stuff and train out guys. we were constantly refining our operating procedures, up til the last minute before we left the country. i think some of my guys hated me, they didn't understand my paranoia.

i spent a year trying to come up with every possible way to destroy a humvee or lmtv and then tried to come up with ways to avoid that. or if it happened to figure out how we'd respond to save as many lives as possible and keep from losing any more. it's kinda silly, but i can't turn that off now. i hate riding in a car now. i didn't love it before, always felt confined, but it was at new levels when we first got back. i still don't want to wear a seat belt. feels like i can't get out of the vehicle fast enough if something happens. i'm not a nervous wreck or anything, i can do it and have a pleasant little conversation with whoever is in the vehicle with me, but there's definately a nervous little itch that i can't get rid of. blah. silliness i know. i just wanted to explain why i'd rather ride a motorcycle when it's 26 degrees outside than ride in a car.


-me and the motorcycle had a run in with black-ice the day before yesterday and lost. in true bonehead fashion i sacrified my body for the sake of the bike. we're both fine because it was a low speed accident involving me and the ice and accelerated by the UPS truck that didn't see me and started to turn in front of me causing me to jerk while on the ice. i probably would've lost control on the ice anyway, that just sped it up a little. really starts the day off wrong though.

-spent 5 hours yesterday on the motorcycle yesterday. that was a good way to get over any possible insecurities caused by the spill the day before.

-this last weekend while scraping knuckles on the galaxie and trying unsucessfully to get ahold of the guy i've been trying to get who's supposed to be a mechanical genius and was supposed to work on my oldsmobile i decided "screw it, i'm getting a new car". originally i started out looking at wildly expensive new stuff, then reigned myself in. i have no idea what's going on with my job, etc. i don't need a new car, don't really want one, and it's not a wise move. so i started looking at used.

-i've absolutely HATED looking for used cars just as much as I hate looking for new jobs. i've been just a few minutes late on a couple perfect cars several times in a row now. and my wants keep shifting. one minute i just want the bare minimum. just what i need to get back and forth to work on days i need to carry something larger than the motorcycle can handle or on snow/ice days. then other days i want a bigger truck or a nicer old camry or something. right now i've got my mind set on an isuzu amigo, even though you can't find them here in denver usually.

-i was having a talk with an army buddy the other day. he's convinced that PTSD is manifesting itself in him and alot of guys we know as a lack of energy/motivation. not quite depression, but an inability to do anything other than the bare minimum. these guys who had all these big plans are having the hardest time just waking up and dragging their butts into work. i can see this in alot of them. i'd like to say it's in me so i'd have an excuse. but i was lazy as hell before the deployments. i'd rather read a book or sleep than do homework or anything so i don't have to do the work. there are two things i need to do to really help myself on the job hunt. finish my security clearance paperwork and finish these last two classes for my degree. easy right? not-s0-much. someone want to come tutor me on this trig? and by "tutor" i mean pretty much do it for me?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

damned taggers!

julie tagged me, so here goes.

"According to the rules, each player of this game starts with the title "Six Weird Things About Me." People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own six weird things and state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose six people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says, 'You are tagged!' in their comments and tell them to read your blog!"

1) i hate the use of the word "meme" in alot of cases. i don't think a list of things about me in particular constitutes "cultural information". but maybe i'm wrong.

2) i regularly watch cartoons. so much so that catch-phrases will work their way into my vocabularly. from "jinkies" (velma/pup named scooby doo) to "please and thank you" (kim possible).

3) i can pretty much sleep anyplace/anytime except for in bed at bedtime. because of this i must live in the batcave. dark as can be, door closed, fan on RIGHT next to the bed so it both provides white noise and vibrates the bed a little. removing external distractions only helps a little bit.

4) i'm incredibly phobic about revealing too much info on the internet and becoming a target of opportunity. either identy theft, someone who's anti-u.s. and picks me or my family or friends because i reveal something too much and they know i'm military or whatever. and yet i blog and spill my guts frequently.

5) for a period of about 7 years i shut down battery operated watches. wear one, it'd die. take it off, it'd start back up. and it'd usually die at the same time every day. so i got addicted to automatic watches.

6) i like sharp cheddar cheese on apple pie.

i think i'm going to tag new reads with this. of course they might hate me and never read again. so maybe i should go with old. hmmm. no. new. fun to learn more stuff about them. i was going to tag that damned irish, but she's on hiatus.

i think we'll shoot for erika, amy, crystal, celeste, (not new but i've never seen him do something like this before) jl4, and to make sure she's still kicking, law girl.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

i'm going to hell...

i've got nothing against homosexuals. a person's sexuality really doesn't affect me at all unless they're shooting me down or continuing to pursue me (yeah. cause THAT happens) after i've said "no thanks". i'm such a walking disaster area in so many ways that i'm WAY too busy worrying about myself and getting myself out of trouble to worry about someone else and their likes or dislikes.

so i realize that they're a minority. and i should be sensitive. especially as a kinda-sorta-not minority myself. (no, not the computer geek minority. the half-thai one.) but i can't stop saying "gay". "that's so gay". "gay it down". "gayness". "don't be so gay". must. stop.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

women continue to confuse...

i worked retail in high school. the youngest assistant manager in the history of one fashion retail company at the time. i really liked it, and fed off the energy of dealing with people and thought i'd make a career of it. i really enjoyed the fashion retail stuff and started to take some fashion merchandising classes and retail management and design courses in college. then alot of stupid stuff happend and i did a 180 and was a machinist and lab technician in a r&d lab.

so once upon a time when i was getting huge discounts and cared i was fairly fashion conscious. then i had to start paying full price. and THEN i turned into my dad. "what the hell am i paying these people so much money to advertise for their business?" and then i started dressing for comfort and dependability . my current fashion tastes are what i like to call "boring-rugged-casual".

why do you need to know all of that? you REALLY don't. but you're stuck here and i'm telling the story and now you've read so much that it's pretty silly to back out without knowing where i'm going with all of this right? i was just laying some ground work. while i don't dress to impress now, and while i really dislike alot of current male and female fashion, i could metro up with the best of them if properly motivated. i can accessorize and color-coordinate. i know what periwinkle and coral are. and more importantly? i'm a guy. i've spent the better part of 33 years checking women out, noting what gets a positive and what gets a negative response. i've had thousands of in-depth discussions with other guys. i'm an expert on what looks good on a woman.

so with all of that, why do women listen to other women before they do a guy? i've always found this funny. with the exception of a couple girls who've gone shopping with me and know my dirty little fashion-sense secret most girls i know will listen to other girls first. who's attention are you trying to get? i told someone the other day that i wouldn't wear the combination she chose. i was trying to be polite by saying that it wasn't really flattering to her figure. the truth was it made her ass look huge. huge i say. HUGE. but i was instantly laughed at and told that my opinion didn't matter because she'd received several compliments from women about her jacket. hey, i don't care. if you want to look like you have a huge ass when you're already self conscious about your weight, go ahead and wear whatever you want to wear. and you're right. the jacket does look cute. but the really fitted waist on it only makes your hips look like they swell like crazy. and that just draws attention to the cut of those jeans. and when you wear them with those really high heeled boots it just makes your legs look extremely narrow, which again... draws attention to the hugeness of the assness. i would've been more than happy to point out that a different set of shoes or wearing the jacket with a similar shade but different cut of jean would be a much more flattering combination but after the immediate laughter...

i'm all about dressing for comfort. if i tell you "hey, that doesn't look so hot" and you say "yeah, but it feels great so i don't care". amen. carry on with your bad self. or if you've got a weird style you like? go for it. but it's always amused me when girls who are hunting for guys still ask girls for their opinion. when i'm trying to impress a girl, i ask another girl who i think has similar tastes to the one i'm trying to impress for imput.

of course, i've never understood why on most men's magazine covers, we have a woman. we ooh and aah over her and that's why we first pick the magazine up. after we flip through it we may find other reasons to purchase. rarely is it a guy on the cover unless it's a fitness mag and that's the ideal to work up to, or unless it's such a great story about the guy that we're interested. but the female magazines tend to have the "ideal" woman on the cover. i frequently hear the stories about how men impose these incredibly unrealistic expectations on women, but i sit back and see alot of self-imposed expectations. sure, huge breasts grab your attention like a car wreck, but that doesn't mean they're every man's idea of perfection. i see women buying barbie's for their daughters and snatching those magazines off the racks. i know i'll never look like the guy on the cover of men's fitness, so i rarely buy it. weirdness.

Friday, December 01, 2006

"i do whatever pops into my head. i'm like a monkey."

this made me happy.