Thursday, August 30, 2007

introducing...


J-B Weld! Almost as good as duct tape!


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

recommendations...

BigWhiteHat has a post about the saddest song he's heard on his blog.

for me it's always been "fire and rain" by james taylor.



when i was a kid, moving around all the time it related to all the friends i lost touch with over the years. which is recommendation #1 for the day. if you've got netflix or one of those services and you haven't seen it yet, you need to stick "running on empty" with river phoenix in your queue. as a kid that was just a movie i could relate to so much. (no, my parents weren't wanted by the fbi).

as i've gotten older that song still means all the people i've lost touch with, which is really more tragic now than it was then, because now it's because i'm a lazy ass or something has happened where we're just not as important to one another. 25 years ago it was a little harder to communicate with kids once we moved from someplace. in today's day of cheap long distance, instant messaging and email if i lose touch with someone... but the song also means everyone i've lost over the years, that i'll never be able to say the things i should've said to. at least not in this life.

second recommendation? "chiefs" by stuart woods. and if you can find it on videotape, the miniseries. it's one of the few books that i've liked as a movie better, but just barely. he does ALOT of character development and backstory in the novel so in some ways the pacing of the mini series is just a little better. if you enjoy reading fiction and want a good end-of-summer read, it's a great one.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

randoms



another old video for courtney

-so. how do some ideas get past so many people when they're clearly bad? when i was at fort bragg i used to eat at fazoli's fairly regularly. single guys in the barracks didn't have kitchens, the dining facility closed at 6:00pm and it was just cheap and easy. especially when i was doing alot of racing and it seemed like a decent way to carb load. i don't eat there so often now and walked in the other night and was surpised to see that they were charging $0.25 for "endless breadsticks". walking past all the seats to my table and seeing how few of them had the indicator on the table to designate that the patron had purchased the breadsticks was humorous. it's hard to believe they couldn't bury a charge into the meals to cover the price of breasticks and continue to appear as a service oriented, friendly establishment instead of appearing as a greedy company out to nickle and dime you to death. before that actually became policy and the signs and all were printed don't you think someone would've had to say "hey, is this REALLY the image we want to portray?"

-the watch that i love? one of the pins popped out of the band. i couldn't stand the thought of sending it away for weeks so i tried to j-b weld it. so far so good. not sure that j-b weld is the recommended way to repair a fine swiss timepiece, but oh-well. it's kinda funny, my dad grew up during some really rough times. like bread and butter sandwiches and glad to have them rough times and so treats all of his possessions carefully. so carefully that he rinses his car with purified water so that it doesn't get mineral spots on it when he washes it. he also fixes pocket watches and clocks. i was asking him if he had pins in his desk that would fit it and while he was looking i mentioned that i was expecting a lecture from him for beating up my nice watch. he said hell no. i bought it, i should wear it, that's what watches are for. sometimes he confuses the hell out of me.

-i'm still hella pissed about this lack of training. it's a leadership thing. how dare you send troops into a dangerous situation without proper training. i fully agree with rumsfeld's quote of "you go to war with the army you have, not the army you want". if i was told to get my troops ready to get on a plane to go into a combat zone in 18hrs or less, i'd say "yes sir" and drive on with my mission. but we had training set up for other soldiers. we had the time, the equipment. it was a lack of planning that prevented us from having enough people on the ground to train everyone who is deploying. so now i'm going to have to take a lot of personal time and money to buy ammunition and call in favors to borrow weapons and get civilian range time to train my guys and get their comfort level up. and it's not out of the goodness of my heart. sure, it's the right thing to do. but it's also entirely selfish. my safety may soon depend on these young guys and i want to make sure they're up to snuff. i'm not 100% sure about the rules of ranting against the military in a public forum, but i have to say i'm very disappointed that we're an army that's been at war for 7 years now and we're still making the training mistakes we're making. the whole focus of the army is wrong. we're worried about a new dress uniform. some peoples' priorities are a little messed up.

-it's nice to be stationary for a couple days. my poor yard's a mess and the small mountain of laundry facing me is intimidating. so's the amount of paperwork i have to do to get reimbursed for all of travel lately.

-if you were going to get a graduate degree today and it was going to be for the purpose of forwarding your career (although if you're one of the lucky bastards who found a field that coincides with all that they love and so the graduate degree would both forward their career AND be something that they're amazingly interested in and WANT to learn...) what would it be in and why?

-i finally completed all coursework for my undergrad. now i'm just waiting for the jackasses to finish grading the final for the last class. i swear they drag the process out as long as possible on purpose. but i'm putting in my promotion packet for the next step and will be able to include the degree. took me long enough.

-i'm a geek, but i'm in love with this pen.

-i'd love it if people would take the self-porn photos off their computers before they gave them to me to fix. just saying. well. okay. if hot girls ever give me their computers to fix they can leave it on. yes. i am a pig. oink-oink.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

a new one



the song i can't get out of my head this week. i have NO idea what the video means, but...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

so i'm back. but i'm leaving in a couple hours.

the weekend was good. great training. for everyone but me and my guys. so yes, there's a little bitterness about that, and we'll discuss that in a minute. got home safe'n'sound on tuesday without wrecking another car. maybe the jinx is lifted. came close once, but...



i've got several things i want to write about in the future:

-an absolutely wonderful someone who called "country" and "southern rock" the same thing.

-my earlier post about reasons not to date someone and people who are single past 35 or so.

-people who haven't learned the "don't judge someone unless you've walked a mile in their shoes" lesson in reference to non-catholics who bash the church, non vets who bash the military, etc...

-songs that stick in our heads from our "musically formative" years.

-those snapshots in time that remind you how far you've come and how old you've gotten


so. there are many ways to group people in the army. one method that the army likes is splitting them into two groups know as "combat/combat arms" and "combat support". the logic used to be you were either a trigger puller or else you supported the trigger pullers. commo guys like me, mechanics, medics, cooks, intel, supply guys and many others would all be known as combat support. great in theory. the reality of it though? as a commo guy i trained just as hard as the combat engineers i supported. learned to use alot of the same weapons and explosives that they did and could've been sent into combat with them. the bad guy wouldn't see my little antenna sticking up and say "wait, he's combat support, shoot the other guys first!", they'd see my antenna and say "oooh, shoot him first, cut them off from everyone else so they can't call for help". so it'd be in my best interest to shoot back and be just as effective as the combat engineers or the infantry guys i'm supporting. same goes for all the other support guys. and now, in iraq where it's more guerilla warfare instead of battle lines support guys are just as much at risk as anyone else. and guys who work in jobs that aren't as needed in this war as others are being retrained to perform infantry tasks. the lines are definately getting blurred and the army realized it and created the "combat action badge" to be awarded to non-infantry guys who are engaged in combat and perform well.

apparently no one has told my high headquarters about any of this though. we went out to cali to perform "battle focused training" for the "deploying soldiers". we've been doing this training here on our own for months, and have been doing it very effectively, but our battalion wanted us to come to california and go through it there as well. we were under the impression that they were going to be training us and were looking forward to going through the training lanes. when we got there we were told that we were still going to be training ourselves, that they were just there to "coordinate" and "observe" and "validate" our training. they wanted the headquarters section (me and my guys) to train the rest of the crew instead of going through the training with them. why? because they were "more at risk".

we were doing convoy skills training. in iraq the headquarters section put 2 as many miles on the vehicles as most of the teams. we were on the roads more and in many ways at much more risk than the teams. the teams usually operated in the same areas with close support whereas we supported ourselves and were frequently way out in hostile territory. some team guys were in much worse situations than i was. some weren't. and we have no idea what's going to happen this time around. but my guys are just as much at risk, and just as much in need of the training as the others.

we sucked it up and supported the others. it was still good for my new guys. they got to see alot of mistakes being made and hopefully learned from them. i did some good training, because while everyone else was focused on grading the guys on some of their psychological operations task i was watching what they were doing from a tactical standpoint and caught alot of (and corrected alot of) mistakes they were making tactically. i also got to put my guys in "leadership" roles and send them off on their own to make mistakes. so i got to develop some level of trust in their ability to act correctly in my absence. basically i'm going to end up having to carve out time and train us up on our own. which sucks. but to be honest we'll probably be tighter-knit for our troubles.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

i'm out...

off to california so they can kick our asses for four days. military training. according to the training schedule there are a couple of nights with less than 4 hours allotted to sleep. and sometime in that 4 hrs there are leaders' meetings, weapons cleaning, personal hygiene, and whatever else has to get done to be ready for the next day's training. then i go to phoenix to pick up a replacement car. should be back here monday or tuesday.

behave!

Monday, August 13, 2007

so here's a question...

i was watching "friends" the other night and it was the episode where chandler starts dating the girl, finds out she's got an artifical leg and is freaked out about it, gets over it and is ready to date her and then she finds out that he has a triple nipple and leaves him.

we've all seen the movies... girl meets guy, girl falls for guy incredibly quickly, guy confesses he's dying from some disease, girl stays with guy anyway and has the most amazing couple of weeks/months/whatever that makes it all worth while. or something else along those lines. love conquers all. a few minutes of love is worth a lifetime of pain. so on and so forth.

so in real life what makes someone an insensitive, selfish jerk? we're getting ready to go out the door again. there's a young guy i know who went on a couple dates with a girl, then life interupted. they kinda run in the same circles and he's found out from others that she's still a virgin. they've talked about it some and about going out on more dates and she's definately dropped the hints that she's more than interested. he, on the other hand, doesn't want to get into a serious relationship when he's months away from going out the door and will quite honestly tell you that while he doesn't have any immediate prospects wouldn't mind sex for the sake of sex before he leaves. but being the good guy that he is, he feels totally guilty. if they'd steadily gone out on dates and he liked her and it came up that she was still a virgin, he'd be okay with that and might've waited for her. but knowing what he knows now, and being where he is he really doesn't want to date her.

i've know a guy who refuses to date a girl if she's not taking anti depressants. says he can't deal with "typical female mood swings". there's a girl who has broken up with a guy when she found out he was bi-polar. one guy refuses to date anyone else who suffers from migraines. said he did that for years and it just drastically changed his life. he'd spend a week or more every month tending to his girlfriend and just doesn't want to go through that again. even though he knows that not everyone's migraines are that frequent or long lasting, he's just made the rule and so far is sticking to it. says he feels like he's regained all this lost freedom since they broke up. doesn't have to tiptoe around his own house, or live in the dark because the bright light hurt her head more. does that make him a jerk? or does he just want what he wants? and is that okay?

it's one thing when you've committed to being with someone through thick and thin and you're years into that relationship and life happens. yeah. you might be an ass for bailing on someone when life kicks them in the nuts. your husband of 20 years has a heart attack? might not be the best time to tell him you're leaving him. but you're in the first couple weeks and someone tells you they've been diagnosed with cancer and have a short life expectancy and you can't deal? are you shallow for leaving? or just honest? you feel their nubbin and it grosses you out? that okay? someone confesses to being a recovering drug/alcohol addict and you know for a fact that that's not a battle you want to help them fight...

are there any times you've passed on a relationship for something and you felt bad about it? would you look down your nose on someone for breaking up with someone for any of these reasons? look down on a friend for doing any of these things?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

came across this quote today...

and i liked it. robert duvall has always been one of my favorite actors, so it's always nice when you read something like this and realize that they really do embody some of the traits that they portray, like common sense.

"One guy asked me, 'How can you be an actor and be a Republican?'. I can vote either way. But how can you boil it down to political affiliation? All the atrocities against blacks in the South were committed by Democratic sheriffs."

and as a freebie:


"They should keep their mouths shut." - on Hollywood political activists

Friday, August 10, 2007

lovely...

my blackberry pearl just fell into the commode.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

someone just brought in a couple of photos that they'd taken of me in iraq. this was one of them, was trying to figure out when and where. well, okay, with the date stamp i didn't try TOO hard to figure out the when, but i guess it was on a trip up north when were scouting for a site to conduct weapons training for some guys we wanted to educate quickly. i think i was pulling security here while we were halted. that was a weird day. everything was alot more laid back up in the northern part of the country because the violence was so much less. it took us awhile to calm down and relax. and of course, the minute we relaxed because everyone said we were safe up there, someone tried to kill us on the way home.

it was a good day though. a good crew of guys on the trip if i remember correctly, we made it through all the badstuff okay, we saw some of our guys that we hadn't seen in months and it's always nice to be able to see your friends with your own eyes and know they're okay.

Monday, August 06, 2007

kids in america



i haven't been able to get this song out of my head for weeks. which isn't all bad. it's striking a chord right now for some reason.

Friday, August 03, 2007

last night my dad popped up online to inform me that one of our family friends had passed away wednesday night. at first it didn't really impact me that much, he was an older guy and i thought of him more as mom and dad's friends and as that "nice old guy". but the more i've reflected on it through the night, the more i've realized the influence Earl had on my life. he was the guy who gave me my first canteen, canteen holder and pistol belt. he saw me out playing g.i. joe in the yard in savannah and called me over. next thing i knew i had REAL army stuff. a g.i. backpack, and a real army issue tent! that was the first night i slept outside by myself (or tried to, i'm pretty sure i was back in the house by midnight). many summer days were spent with that gear.

it was him, not any drill sergeant who taught me to keep my canteen clean and dry when not in use, as well as all that gear. that was all the old canvas stuff which would rot in a hurry in the southern humidity if not well cared for. Earl's the man who showed me the trick of soaking the canteen holder in water and letting the evaporation of that water cool my canteen. he didn't talk much about his service and i never heard war stories from him, but he reinforced my parents' teachings of good manners, attention to detail, selflessness and all of the other traits that have helped me be successful as a soldier. is he the reason i joined the service? no. but he's definately one of the reasons why i've found my niche there. and finding that niche is so rare that it's something that i'll always be grateful to him for.

it wasn't all army stuff though, many a night was spent with them at our dinner table or vice versa and that togetherness is always a great thing. there were the treats that he and his wife shared with my little sister and i. i had my first slice of grasshopper pie at their house i believe. in the summer when their grandson came to visit i had a new playmate right across the street and it got to point where we didn't even knock when we entered their house. i still have an atari setup at my parents house that they gave us and we spent countless hours playing, inside and out of the summer heat. earl played jazz clarinet and it was a joy to listen to him out in the garage playing while we were racing and chasing in yards.

as usual, it's one of those instances where we didn't realize what we had or how lucky we were until it was too late to say "thanks". one of those lessons i find myself relearining, over and over.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

today was a better day...

first day back to work. kinda a "fuzzy" feeling because i'm still a bit sick, dehydrated and spent 5 days not eating much of anything, but all of those problems are rapidly getting better. tomorrow will be even better. and then it's the weekend. and hey, as bad as it was, it was only a 2 day work-week. that's not so bad.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

today was not a good day...


Vaya Con Dios Ted.

hah. whoops. i didn't connect all the dots...

so it's not just that i knew the guy that had me worried about screwing up with the funeral, it was the monster strep and the fact that i've lost about 8 lbs in 5 days and am weak as a kitten. i was going to be on the casket detail but was still contagious today so i couldn't be there for the rehearsals. so i think i'm just an usher and driver tomorrow. which is good. in going to get a haircut today i almost dropped the motorcycle doing a u-turn i was so shakey. not to sound like a whiney-cry-baby but that really kicked my ass.

so i've got to wake up in about 2 hrs to go do this thing and of course can't sleep. we've all been texting one another talking about stupid crap and avoiding the fact that we've got to do this tomorrow.

blah. thanks for the support though.