Thursday, May 31, 2007

damnit. i just get caught up with most of my t.v. viewing and now it's almost time to go back out the door again...

this is a great example of why earl dvd's will be going over with me. i like to call them "sanity savers"




and of course now it's the summer and damned rerun season. great viewing time and i can't catch new stuff.

and for you star wars fans:

Sunday, May 27, 2007

this weekend...



it's not over yet, but it's been pretty great so far. i took thursday and friday off and one of my oldest friends came in from out of town to see me. we've known one another for 20 years and it was a great time. the only bad part about it is that she's left already. 8(
outside of just seeing an old friend, one of the best parts of the trip was just taking time off to enjoy colorado. you get so wrapped up in work and school and whatever else that you start turning a blind eye to the greatness around you. or i do at least. and she'd gone on the internet and come up with a list of things that she'd like to do and we just tried to knock as many things off the list as possible.


if you know how much i hate spiders and creepy crawlies you know how big of a deal that was for me.


the rest of the weekend looks pretty tame in comparison. homework, housework, catching up on sleep and movies...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

whoopsie...

i did the link to the post that courtney posted last year wrong. the correct post is here.

Monday, May 21, 2007

plugs for a good cause...

for some reason i have problems hitting people up for money. it annoys the hell out of me when coworkers bring in things from their kids' schools and guilt me into paying for things i don't want and don't need.

however, through the miracle of the internet i can use the anonymity of the forum and plug away guilt free. :) because i know that you guys are smart enough to surf away if you're not interested and you'll just come back tomorrow (i hope).

courtney's trying to raise money for the AIDS walk in Boston. One thing that she did last year was post this, which did a great job explaining why she's so passionate about it. so if you can contribute, please do. and even better, if you can throw up a post on your blog directing readers that are unique to you to her website so they can register as well that'd be awesome!

thanks!

Friday, May 18, 2007

there are two lessons that i should've learned by now:

a) be careful what you wish for because you just might get it
b) no good deed goes unpunished

i've been in the army in some shape or form now for just over 12 years (my anniversary was the 8th). without a doubt this current group is the smarted group of soldiers i've worked with in my career, especially the junior guys. many of these kids work in highly technical fields, are members of management and almost all of them are either in college or have their degrees in hand already. sometimes this is a great thing. it's nice to be standing in front of a group, explaining something mildly technical about the radios and see heads bobbing up and down instead of a glazed over look in the eyes. it's great to have them grasp some relatively simple concepts on the first pass. but usually it's a huge pain in the ass.

a couple years ago i was with a different unit and this one came looking for me. they knew they were going overseas and wanted a seasoned communications guy with them. they made it very clear that i was just tagging along for the trip overseas and then i'd have to find a new home upon our return because officially there wasn't a slot on the unit's roster for me. i came into the slot as a somewhat unknown entity. i was the only communications guy so i didn't have a "team" working for me and there were some other guys in the platoon that outranked me, so i went downrange with no direct reports and little responsibility. most of the other guys in the platoon hadn't been on active duty before and hadn't been downrange before and it wasn't long before i was giving gentle guidance or outright taking over jobs to make sure things were getting done. by the end of the trip it became pretty apparent that we weren't doing proper professional development of some of our younger soldiers and we were just perpetuating problems. i was advising and making suggestions for improvements and by the end of the trip i spoke for the commander or the first sergeant but for political reasons official leadership changes weren't made.

when we got back i found out the my security clearance had been screwed up by the guys who'd stayed back here while we were overseas and i wasn't really able to switch units until that was sorted out. by the time it was straight, this new trip popped up on the radar and i kinda got slated for it and now all of a sudden the changes have been made and i'm the guy in charge of the little group. it's time to put my money where my mouth is and prove that i know what i'm talking about. i've got a solid year + to try to make improvements and make this work. the good part is that my boss knows what i'm trying to do and has faith in me and is a good source of support and knowledge when i need it. and he'll give me a swift kick in the ass when i need it too. one of the guys who was downrange with me last time and who i consider a best friend is going with me and in alot of ways we're interchangeable. technically he'll quasi report to me and the majority of the youngsters will report to him. and he understands what i'm trying to do and i'll have his support as well.

i've got my hands full though. of the guys that are going down range, i'm second oldest. all of them but one other failed their last p.t. test. so that's gonna be a big problem. there are some smart kids. once i get them to realize that a) they're not as smart as they think they are and b) smarts are great but at a certain point you have to move out and do the job they will be some awesome soldiers. right now they want to question every order or come up with a "better" way of doing things. the don't realize that there's the right way, the wrong way and the army way and sometimes (when you're really lucky) the right way and the army way are one and the same, but usually they're not. and usually the army way is the way to do it for a reason. sometimes that reason is really stupid. but sometimes it's something that a guy who hasn't been downrange before can't see in his head yet. until we leave i'll have three people in the group that technically outrank me but that i've been placed over, and they've already started to grumble. downrange a couple of them were more than happy to stand aside and let me do the work, but now that we're home they're embarrassed by it. so it'll be fun in a pain-in-the-ass/what-did-i-get-myself-into-way if it works and a huge disaster if it doesn't.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

make a difference....

my sister died of cancer back in 2005. the original shape of the evil was breast cancer, but over the years it morphed into something else. i don't do anywhere near enough to fight the battle, and keep promising to do more. "someday" when i'm less busy, make more money, etc... there's always an excuse. so i like it when easy ways to do something pop up. run in the komen race? i need to run anyways and this gives me an excuse to train. buy a brand that i already buy during the right month? too easy. well, there's a new one. and if breast cancer isn't your fight, there are several other causes that they support. so if you use msn messenger and aren't doing this already, follow this link.

and if you've got couple extra bucks to spare? go over to courtney's site and sponsor her in her walk. it doesn't have to be much, every little bit helps.

thanks.

Friday, May 11, 2007

edw tagged me

the rules are:

Here are the rules: Each player starts with 7 random facts/habits about themselves. People who are tagged need to write on their own blog about their seven things, as well as these rules. You need to choose 7 people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they have been tagged and to read your blog!

now i'm not gonna tag anyone, but i hope some of you who haven't been tagged yet will play along!

my things:

1 - i hate the idea of showering in the morning. if i'm gross enough that i need to shower in the morning, i need to shower the night before. it's less to do with the showering and more to do with my weirdness about my bed and wanting it to be neat and clean.

2 - right now when i run around the neighborhood i refuse to wear any army branded stuff. it's because in my mind my level of fitness pretty much blows and i don't want to discredit the service. in a couple more months where i'm closer to where i want to be i'll probably wear some here and there, or not make such a point NOT to wear them.

3 - i'm stealing one of edw's. i LOVE to sleep. when i'm deployed or during training it's kinda like a time machine. when i'm home i'm just so busy all the time i'm always tired. i don't feel the least bit guilty sleeping til noon on a weekend. except that it screws up my sleep schedule and monday hurts. a friend is visiting at the end of month and i'm taking 2 days off of work. she's got explicit instructions to not be polite and let me sleep. it's her vacation so when she wakes up she needs to kick my door in and yell "get out of bed jackass! no f'ing slacking on my time!"

4 - i read comic books and watch cartoons. alot.

5 - i have a bag fetish. part of the reason for this is because no backpack/briefcase/kit bag manufacturer has consulted me when designing a new bag. dumbasses. some of it that i get bored with stuff. and am an impulse buyer. but i have way, way too many backpacks.

6 - i hit the snooze button for about 30 minutes to an hour before i actually wake up. (i'm cheating. i'm having problems coming up with 7 things).

7 - i used to wear neon barrettes and i LIKED it. i should probably explain this a little better. once upon a time i was a long-haired hippy. i was working on a car or the motorcycle and my hair was falling into my work, getting in the gas or oil or grease or whatever. frustrated i went inside and found a rubber band or a paperclip or a something and used it to hold my hair back. i went back to work on the car, needed a part and went to the store. and got teased for my hair being cliped up. and didn't really care. i've gotten to a point in my life where i still have to prove stuff to myself, but not to complete strangers. sure i get flustered talking to an attractive girl. and once i form a relationship with someone, i want to please them. but i'm not quite the nervous little puppy dog i used to be, going out of my way to achieve some kind of acceptance. i'll probably always strive to get my dad's approval. but i'm getting older, i've got less mentors and there are less people that i try to get an "attaboy" from. although i do still like'em. anyways, it just kinda irritated me and so i took to wearing bright neon hair clippy thingies when i was working on a computer or the car or whatever. and it amused me to no end when i'd get the weird looks or snickers.


so there you go. let's hear yours.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

calling cadence can strike fear in the hearts of some. others realize it's a rare privelage that very few get to experience. there's something unique about standing in front of a formation of anywhere from 3-100 troopies, all waiting to act on your commands. and when you start calling cadence, and they're motivated and respond loudly it rocks you. i've got a couple staples, some for running, some for marching. some are happy, some sad to remember our fallen brethren.

some where there's a mother
who's crying for her son
he's an airborne ranger
and all the medals he's won.

but don't you cry him no tears
he don't need your sympathy
he's an airborne ranger
who fights for liberty

somewhere there's a lady
who's crying for her man
he's an airborne ranger
off in a foreign land

but don't you cry him no tears
he don't need your sympathy
he's an airborne ranger
who fights for you and me

somewhere there's a little girl
who's crying for her dad
he's an airborne ranger
that she's missing so bad

but don't you cry him no tears
he don't need your sympathy
he's an airborne ranger
who fights so we can be free

one day came a chaplain
and this is what he said
i regret to inform you
your airborne ranger's dead

but don't you cry him no tears
he don't need your sympathy
he's an airborne ranger
that's all he wanted to be
he's an airborne ranger
who fought for you and me


Sorry for your loss JL4. Sorry for all our losses.
Here's hoping he grew up playing in the woods like we did, a born soldier. That he finally found his niche as a soldier and was feeling complete and fully alive over there.

Saturday, May 05, 2007




this is the basic watch i bought two years ago. a tissot seastar 1000. about a decade ago i started shutting down battery operated watches. i'd put one on, it'd fail within a day. take it off, it'd start back up within a couple of hours. so i started wearing mechanical (windup) and mechanical automatics (mechanicals that have a counterweight in them so the movement of your arm keeps the watch wound-up). unfortunately really good automatics aren't cheap and the ones that can be had for less than $200 would gain or loose a little time over the course of a month. i'd always said as a graduation present to myself i would buy a rolex or an omega or something really nice. two years ago before i deployed i decided it was taking way too long to get to "graduation" and so i'd buy myself something less nice than a rolex or omega, but nicer than the seiko's i'd been wearing to date. seemed like if i was going to go to iraq i should at least treat myself a little. i saved a little more money buying from a place i found online and bought the watch relatively sight-unseen. i'd had tissots before (hand me downs) so i knew i'd like it. what i wasn't prepared for was to have it become a part of me.




the watch it HUGE. it's heavy. part of the danger of buying the watch over the 'net is that i got an older model with less luminous material on the minute hand so it's hard to read at night. the newer models have a fully luminous minute hand instead of just the tip. i'm a skinny'lil guy so it looks like i'm a kid playing dress up with it. it's still not as accurate as i'd like but i don't want to part with it to have it adjusted. for the last two years the thing has been a constant companion. if you look closely there, you can just see it on my arm for the swim certification test. if you look really closely you can also see the rifle that struck the bottom of the pool and almost broke my nose. why they couldn't have either done the cert in open water or a better pool... i don't abuse my things, but i definately use them. if i spent money on something, i'm going to get my money's worth out of it. i try not to buy showpiece items that i can't use for anything. so i wear the same watch when i'm putting on formal wear as i do to go get muddy in.


so now i'm about 1/3 way through my last class. it's time to shop for that graduation present for myself and i'm finding myself not wanting to replace the old girl. i had a smoking deal on an omega last month. one of the jewelry stores in town had them 1/2 price. but i just can't justify it. nor do i want to. i tried on some battery operated watches recently and it appears as if my pox on them has lifted as well. they weren't shutting off. people have given me all sorts of them over the years because i'm a "gadget guy". i've got watches with digital compasses and barometers in them and all sorts of pretty lights that are so unbelievably light weight and i don't want any of them. i'm happy. she's not quite as pretty as she used to be, a year+ in iraq and all the training before and after has been hard on her (and me), but she just fits.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

i'm off to dallas today....

should be back saturday. hopefully i'll have time to post because there's a couple of them perculating in my head for once. nothing exciting, but just "moments in time" to capture for when i'm looking back at this later.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

when we got to iraq, we had time to talk to the people we were replacing. the company 1SG said that the army on paper was the perfect organization, it was the people that messed it up. there are very clearly defined rules and regulations and manuals that explain how to do or govern almost everything, and there are books that very clearly state the principles that soldiers should embody so that when they're in a situation that's not clearly defined, they would still take appropriate action. i've heard that sentiment about tons of stuff. "communism would be perfect if people didn't screw it up", democracy, and the various religions.

i grew up catholic. i'm pretty sure that i haven't seen in the bible that it's okay to cover up for priests when they abuse little kids. i'm fairly sure that the intent wasn't to have people stay in really crummy marriages and make both spouses and any kids involved miserable. or to start wars in the name of one God or the other. people have interpreted things they want to and run with those personal definitions. i'm guilty of this as well. some call it "cafeteria catholicism". i take what i like and leave what i don't. i haven't stepped into a denver area catholic church since i first got here and heard how intolerant they were of different groups of people.

i'm fairly comfortable with my religion, and the comfort of it has gotten me through some amazingly tough times. and as much as i've moved around, i love the sameness of the religion. in a weird way, it's like a chain resteraunt or store. no matter where i am, when i see a catholic church, i'm fairly certain that it's going to be similar to churches i've been at before. and when you're alone in a new place, that's comforting. so as much as i like the religion, it kinda bothers me when i hear about people who had terrible experiences growing up in the church, because someone perverted the teachings and made them or their loved ones miserable.

my mom is thai. when she was growing up her dad was well off and she went to french run private schools. i'm not 100% sure why, but her parents let her go through the catholic religious education in the school while they were buddhist. i don't know if that was a requirement of the school, or if they did that because they didn't want her to be different from the other kids.

my dad grew up catholic and was going to be a priest but had problems at the seminary. he joined the navy, went to vietnam and then ended up in thailand where he met my mom. he fell in love with both her and the country and started a life long study of buddhism. in his mind, catholicism is his religion and buddhism is the life philosophy he follows. he's studied both on his own in depth, and i just kind of go into sponge mode when he starts talking about both of them and listen to what he's learned without actually doing the studying myself.

one thing that's interesting, is that originally as i understand it, the catholic church was supposed to be less a priest in front preaching to the masses and more small gatherings of people, studying the teachings of Christ together, talking about the trials and tribulations of life and helping one another try and figure out how to live better lives and be better people. i kind of think about it as an a.a. meeting without the addiction. it's funny, because i think people kind of naturally seek these types of gatherings out. but i think that in today's twisted society, it's become harder to actually have those kinds of discussions. well, maybe not to have them, but to start them. whether it's fear of being ridiculed that keeps us quiet, or if we'd prefer to think pretty happy thoughts instead of dwell on bigger, deeper ones, i dunno.

we've joke around about having a little mutual blog incestuous love fest going on here. it's funny reading some of the blogs and some of the comments going back and forth between bloggers and seeing some of this happening without people knowing necessarily being concious of it. bloggers inspiring other bloggers to be better people, to achieve heights that they might not have tried to reach on their own, to explore new things....

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

in defense of a couch potato

once upon a time i was engaged.

she broke up with me.

i was feeling totally crappy.

the premiere episode of "friends" came on.

and for however long i laughed my ass off and forgot about everything.

i love sitcoms.

the end.


okay. not really the end. not only was it funny, but at the time i also identified with ross' girlie angst. when frasier was on i could identify with alot of his dating issues. drew carey understood how much bosses and co-workers suck. al bundy? he's just a god. "*m*a*s*h*" gets the day to day suck of dealing with military bueracracy and pompous asses while being far away from home and occasionally being shelled and the value of true friends. "square pegs", "freaks and geeks", "undeclared" and "that 70's show" all did a great job of capturing what it's like to be a kid in a boring little town with nothing to do. cheers was a group of surrogate friends. i don't relate to anything on "scrubs", but sarah chalke is hot.