Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Doc and Tragic are an item

Alright Ciggy and Brian H, Pictures here. Had a great Christmas and now getting ready to head off to see my other relitives on the far side of the world. Hopefully I'll have a chance to post from over there. Have a happy holiday everyone.

Monday, December 27, 2004

I'm not in Thailand yet

If you have been in a cave for the entire weekend and haven't noticed the biggest quake in 40 years that hit off the coast of Indonesia, last count 23 thousand people dead. This makes whatever else including the war in Iraq look like small beans. I still haven't heard from my cousin that's on vacation out there or the rest of my family. I pray they're alright...

Update 29 Dec 04

My cousen on vacation in Thailand is just fine, latest numbers are 77 thousand, likely to clear 100 thousand soon, Sailom has an excellent list of info if you want to help. Thanks for the prayers, I felt a great deal of relief when I got word that my cousen was safe. I can imagine how most of the world is feeling. Take care everyone.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas!

Finished my Arizona tour with my son Thursday, the little rat made out like a bandit! Grandma bought him a computer and I got him a DVD player (considering how much he drives with me, it's a good deal) I called to wish my sister a Merry Christmas this morning and we were both saying "wish we got that kind of stuff when we were kids". She reminded me of how we used to get fruit and nuts in our stockings, I hadn't even thought about that in years. We were pretty poor growing up, it's almost eerie everybody in our family having money.

Scroll back a little on our life; there were 3 kids and my mom who didn't speak very good English. I remember most of my childhood staying at babysitter's houses while my mom worked two jobs. There was never extra money sitting around by the time I was 10 she had paid off her first house and sold it when I was 11 and we all moved up to Prescott Valley where she bought another house and another, and another; Eventually she sold all the property in PV to buy her restaurant. Now she's doing the buying thing in Paulden AZ and I'm pitching in money too.

Hey if it worked for an immigrant that could hardly speak English.

This time of year, remember those less fortunate and those that are far from their loved ones. Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Mosul Milblogger

Chaplin Lewis tell's a firsthand account of what happened at Mosul, send a few prayers that way if you get the chance, hat tip to BlackFive.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Free for a month

I'm home in Seligman Arizona with my son Collin, just got done with my mom's annual Christmas party which went well, who turns down free food? As usual the women got tipsy on wine, the men told war stories and I added a few words of my own. Some good fellowship, it's a small town with some great people. They've always shown great support to the sons and daughters that they're sending out to the military. Couple of weeks ago I received 50 or so Christmas cards from people that live around here!

Thanks everyone, it made my day.

So at the party we're all sitting around eating, I'm deep in the middle of some war story when I hear from behind me my son saying to my mom, "Grandma, do you know that dad's new girlfriend has pink hair?"

Huh? My head turns around,

My mom looks over at me with a question mark look in her eyes and I say "Her name is ****** and she does have pink hair and she's great."

Then the little rat pulls out a picture and passes it over!

She smiled and said, "I'm sure I'll get along with her great too."

Whew. Went over much smoother then I had planned it.

To my family that could be reading this, don't worry! I'll beat him where it doesn't show up in the pictures (just kidding! I don't hit kids, specially my own, plus this is just another sign that he must be my son, stop grinning you evil boy!!! hah). And yes the above is true and she's wonderful, expect to hear about her more.

*The wording above has been edited for length and to protect the innocent, since it's only my moms opinion that I was worried about that's the only one I'm writing about. My project is to get them used to the idea of her before I bring her home, yes it will happen!

Also need to add a word of thanks to Won, she said some great words of support about my now not so secret girlfriend and but the real thanks goes for paving the tolerance to these folk from the sticks. With an odd ball like her doing that, it's helped the locals see the world through a new set of eyes and be accepting of my new girlfriend.

As you can tell, I'm not much for judging a book by it's cover.

Taking Collin to his other grandmother's house tomorrow and planning on spending the day just visiting friends around town. This will be the last time I'll be up here before April so I might as well make the best of it.

Is it really less then one week?

Monday, December 13, 2004

Hire me and other holiday wishes!

I'm about to change jobs and in case that doesn't work out I've posted my Resume online, I'd hire me!

This is my last week up in the Mojave Desert, sometime before Christmas I'll be looking back at it in my rearview mirror. Whew! Spending some time with my family for the holidays and starting a new chapter in my life. Said my final good by to Doc today, he has a long drive back to Ohio sometime in the near future. Thanks for all the hard work, great medical training and cool techo geek knowledge that you shared. Still think you should go into the writing business! Good luck sir!

I'm taking my first real vacation in years, going to Thailand and visiting the rest of the family on my mom's side. Don't worry there is sure to be some pictures posted here and there. Get back from there and check in at Mira Mar and shipped off to the same place I was before with a new unit and new skipper, don't know how the blogging is going to be till I get there though.

Before any of you get sad for me, I made this choice, the question was asked directly to me. Would I be willing to go forward right after I check in? My answer was "Yes sir". I'm not being screwed, there is a place out there where my skills are needed, I'm not much for bitching about something I volunteered for. Don't be sad for me, save it for the people that are unwilling and fight tooth and nail to stay back. Who do you think is going to come out of this more traumatized? Not me. Not that I would want a chickenshit like that covering my 6 anyway. Good riddance I say!

Regular readers have probably noticed that I am a fairly liberal milblogger, not as liberal as some, but being liberal doesn't mean you're a coward or that you skirt your duties. I'm also a supporter of peace yet also a member of the worlds most elite fighting force. Don't attach stereotypes to us. Military members come from all walks of life and we have different outlooks on the world at large. I believe my core values will hold up with the best of them. I'm a complex person, just like the rest of you. I don't always agree with our missions but I signed on the dotted line and once my name was on that piece of paper, when the brass says jump, I say how high. Milblogs has gave me a place to voice my opinion and I don't hide who I am, I'm a true middle of the road gray person, I don't get riled up by many issues but if I do feel strongly about something you'll probably be reading about it here. I don't attack people but I do attack ideas. And I believe that people do need to get along but we can't get to that point till we take the wackjobs out of the equation. Freedom is being able to say and believe in what you want and turn around is fair play, you have to let others believe and say what they want without harassment. That's the major problem today. It all falls back to people just need to get along. Only takes one terrorist worm to screw up the rest of the apples. The quicker we're out of this after establishing a peace, the better we and the rest of the world will be. It's not going to happen without people like me or the rest of the milbloggers that are willing to put their lives on hold for a long time in the face of possible death. So when you're sitting at the dinner table on Christmas day with all of your family is spread around you, it would be nice to send a few prayers our way, we could surely use them.

And also check out some of the support sites in my links section, my last trip over there, they're great organizations that gave me awesome amounts of support.

Wish you all the happiest of Holidays for I know mine is going to be magical!

Friday, December 10, 2004

Homeless vets from Iraq showing up in Shelters

Hat tip to Em, so far according to the UPI Story there have been only 50 Iraq Veterans that have shown up homeless shelters so far. It's the other numbers they quote that worry me, the article states that there are 500 thousand homeless vets at any given time. Over the past ten years I know personally that there have been vast improvements to how we out process our active duty military members when they leave the the service. The issue that this war is bringing up is how are we taking care of our reservists? It's not a clean process like the active duty has; many of them return, demobilize and do not have jobs waiting. Maybe an improved transition to civilian life program? War makes it especially hard for them, they get called up, head over, return, are set free and are called up 6 months later to go back. There are some great companies out there that support the military reservists that work for them but in general our reservist don't have a job to return to. With the OP Tempo right now, hiring a reservist is shaky business and for the reservist what kind of good job can you find for 6 months at a time? Wish there were some easy answers but I can't think of them, maybe it's something that the higher up's should look into?

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Fast times

Sorry for the lack of posts, my life over the last few weeks has been extremely busy, gone every weekend moving stuff down to San Diego or Arizona, packing at night and working late on medical records so I don't leave replacement dude in a world of hurt. My flight surgeon has been getting the whip out (and he knows it, yeah I know you read this!) and I've been typing physicals like mad way after close of business. Even though time seems to be running out, looks like Doc and I are going to get records to where we want them to be.

In many ways I'm going to miss this place, I've made some great friends and you couldn't ask for a nicer bunch of people. But 380 Marines and one Corpsman? I'm lucky that I'm not being sent to a mental institution, I was going on burn out but recently have gotten my 30th or so wind. Wish I could afford short timers syndrome but the karma from doing that catches up with you later (plus my replacement is a 6'5 gorilla). I'll miss these guys but I am happy to see new sights! Anything is a breather from here, remember when I said going to war was a vacation from this office? I wasn't kidding, Smitty is already looking forward to going to the sandbox.

If any of my guys are reading this, you know where to find me, see ya on the flip side, I think it's going to be a while before you forget me.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Fellow Milblogger's convoy hit by an IED

Or as she says, "I got my happy ass blown up", her convoy was hit by an IED a couple of days ago. Sgt Lizzie, who is one of my favorite milbloggers is recovering in the hospital right now and seems to be in somewhat good spirits (maybe a show so people like me don't worry too much). Her mom says all she wants for Christmas is her two front teeth. Go give her some love, she could use it and Lizzie if you read this, get better soon! Sorry I wasn't around to patch you up.

(hat tip to Cin in Sandy Eggo for the update on Liz, I hadn't been by Liz's blog for a couple of days)

Friday, December 03, 2004

another road trip

Heading down to San Diego to start putting stuff in storage so if you're looking for me, try my cell if you know the number. No adventures are planned, have a good weekend everybody.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Glad I haven't been exposed

Mysterious illnesses are right up my neck of the woods. The New York Daily News ran this story a couple of days ago. Eep? Depleted uranium found in his urine? Pretty sure, that's not good for the body. I wonder if this is going to have an affect on the gulf war cases or was even something we tested for? My guys don't use depleted uranium so it's not something I think about on a daily basis. Thank you Syndi for giving me a new medical paranoia to worry about! At least I already have a cute son in any case:)

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

My lovely sister

I'm a lazy blogger, this I know

Because my blog friends

Tell me so

I was online last night and my sister showed up on my AIM buddy list for the first time ever! Till last night I thought my sister had collected all the brains and the beauty of the family and I was left with all of the junk genes. I was proven wrong.

The conversation went something like this:

Me "Hey Sarah, how are you doing?"

Her "How in the hell did you get in my computer?!?!"

She had never IMed someone before and didn't even realize she had it running in the background. Heh heh heh, I'm still laughing about it, sorry Sarah for exposing you but it was really really funny!

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Thanksgiving in Arizona

I guess my mom wasn't kidding when she said they had been having some rough weather. I drove through the mountains after Kingman and there was snow covering the hillsides, as I reached the other side, moon light was reflecting off the pools of standing water. At least the skies were clear.

Made it safe and sound without any major problems. I'm not going to write about the ones I had because they're embarrassing because they were problems I knew about. Lets just say I made it and went directly to sleep.

Spent Thanksgiving day serving customers my mom's Thanksgiving special but the load was less then half of the usual. You have to understand, most of the people that come for the dinner live out in the back country on 40 acre lots, very undeveloped areas with no paved roads for 20 to 50 miles in any direction. With all of this rain, it's likely that there were other things on their minds. So this made for a seriously mild day of much eating of the staff and I'm sure I'm going to be going home with a cooler full of food on Sunday.

I didn't spend all day lazing about, my mom had some correspondence that she needed typed up, letters to real estate brokers, a letter to the editorial department of the local paper complaining about all the bridges being washed (4 of them) in Paulden where she has another house (the only reason she's complaining is because she had to walk 3 miles though mud and railroad track to get to the highway and hitch a ride) that lead to her other house, confirmation info for hotels, flights and rental cars for our vacation to Thailand and labels printed up home baked products. Sounds like a lot, took maybe an hour and a half with her lurking over my shoulder with a wooden spoon (calm down Won), just kidding about the wooden spoon but not the time.

We closed earlier then usual and I went down to Won's to log on to the wireless internet that they have down there (and eat some more). Plus give her birthday present, some how she keeps getting older then me about this time of year. Sent the emails off to the car, hotel and airline people talked to her family for a while (except for her mom, who had locked her self in the bedroom with the flu, just yelled though the door to her). And went home, well tried to, I pulled out into her drive way and right into one of those lakes I saw the night before and sunk half a tire deep into mud, great.

I did the rocking thing, go forwards then back and nothing happened, damn it. Oh yeah, I have a four wheel drive, popped it into 4 wheel drive and was just about to step out and remembered that I have automatic locking hubs (I have hardly used the 4 wheel drive in the suburban, but in my prior truck it was a weekly basis and it had manual locking hubs). Stepped on the gas and pulled right out, was stuck for maybe 30 seconds. I will never talk bad about automatic locking hubs again, glad I didn't have to step in that crap.

I was pooped after all of that eating, so I crawled into bed and couldn't fall asleep. Ate too much. After seeming hours of tossing and turning everything finally fade...

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving out there, take care!

Monday, November 22, 2004

Friday, November 19, 2004

Okay here's my big news...

Work has been fairly busy this week, getting things ready for my transfer to Mira Mar over the next two months along with my trip to Thailand. Big news on the horizon is that it looks like I'll be heading back over sooner then expected but for a much shorter amount of time. My new skipper down south made the proposition of either going right after I checked in for that shorter duration or wait a couple of months and do the full 6 month tour. Hmm. Didn't have to think about that one much, I'm at ease with being sent off again. The original plan was to room mate with my sister for a couple of months before picking a place to live. Since I have no real connections (or life) down there, I'm probably the best choice for the job. At least this will take me before I have to time to get established and I've been through it once and am comfortable with the drill. As to where I'm going? Can't tell you that but it is the same place I was at before, I'm going to put a sign up, "Home Sweet Home".

I'm not sure how a new command is going to look at my blogging, will have to cross that bridge when the time comes. So far, I haven't had any negative reactions but then again you would have to search pretty hard to find something that violates OPSEC here other then the world knowing my real name. I don't always agree on the command decisions but I haven't spoken one word bad against how the Marines are handling it, I'm in the Navy but have to say Marines kick butt (but don't let me get into the Naval Reserves or National Guard, that's a totally different story).

The next two weekends are going to be hopping, my cousin Jenny is getting Married on Saturday in Chandler and I'm going out to take pictures . Thanksgiving my mom's restaurant is serving her annual Thanksgiving feast to the town and since I owe her some major favors (what's new?) I'm heading out to do some quality slave labor. So if you're in Northern Arizona for Thanksgiving and have no where else to go, come check it out and I'll probably end up serving you. Address is under the "Buy My Mom's Restaurant" link on the sidebar. Take care everyone and hope you have a wondrous weekend if I don't get a chance to blog while I'm touring Arizona.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

A Soldier and His Dog

This is the 'best support our troops' human interest story that I've heard in a long long while. Many people on the right side of the political spectrum place NPR in the category of liberal trash media. Ask them when was the last time they actually listened to NPR? Quite often the answer is never. They're using words someone else put in their mouth. I'm not saying that there aren't very liberal stories played on NPR but there are news stories that are entirely conservative too. NPR tries to take all sides of the story. As far as media outlets, they usually look at the world in a broader scale then you can find anywhere else on the radio dial. Listen to this story and tell me what's liberal about it? There isn't better quality talk radio out there then this. Stories like this make me proud to say that I'm a fan of NPR.

What the hell?

Someone just got to my site by typing in "running away from people who care" on yahoo search, I'm number 19 in the world. Sheesh!

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Just the two of us

No drama, no politics, a great weekend spent with my son Collin, the two of us out in search of adventure. Didn't find it but spent some good quality time together. I have him every other weekend, half of the summer and half of Christmas break. My relationship with his mom has been improving and has finally smoothed out and we're back to treating each other like friends. Five years ago, I would have wondered if it was possible, now it's just a taken. Not to say we have our rough days but I like getting along much more then the fighting.

If they (her, her new husband or Collin) ever need something, I'm there.

My mom has been asking me to go to Thailand with her for years and this year I finally gave in and said "Okay buy me a ticket!" Lot's of arm twisting involved with me taking her up on it. This year for once it sounded like a swell plan, hang out at the beach and relax for a few weeks. Get my mind off the stress that has been flowing like a river around here and be mentally prepared for starting a new life down in San Diego. Hope you all had a great weekend!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Need to contact the Marines?

Got this link from Smash.

How true.

hah hah!

Happy Veterans Day everyone

Thanks for all the support that you showed when I was deployed to Iraq, we couldn't do it without you, take care.

Breaking up

I'm in the middle of a relationship issue that has been going on for the last 9 months or so. I know I am in the wrong but at the same time I'm not.

I'm breaking up with the girlfriend I had when I went to Iraq, to those who read her blog you know what I'm talking about. (I'm not going to link it again) I could get into the reasons for why I'm leaving her (which has nothing to do with secret girlfriends) but I'm not going to. With the bad she's done a lot of good in my life too, moved my books when she got me kicked out of the apartment I was renting and letting her stay for free, she let me use her laptop which made this blog and fotopage possible (it died from over heating which should equal about a third of the cost of rent for the apartment and me supporting her, I came back from Iraq with nothing saved up). It would be disrespectful of me say anything more on a forum that everybody can read. There's more but I'll leave this at that.


People thrive
off the pain of others
I'm not up to feeding
the
vampires

I'm sorry if I'm disappointing people with this break up but it is my choice, my life and you might think it's a bad idea but you are not living in my shoes. When I go to San Diego in a month and a half, she will not be going with me; we will go our separate directions. It's killing me to do this it will waste my life staying with her. I'm the selfish one here, the breaking up is all on my shoulders but I can't carry on with the way we're living.

I would like to say I'm sorry to her but I'm really not, this was a long time happening. I've been avoiding the issue on my blog and I think it's time to come clean. She knows about all of this already, since this is my blog and my readers are important to me, I'm going to share it.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Had a ball at the Marine Corps Ball

My first semi pro photography shoot, pictures posted here. It was a great learning experience and a bit more work then I thought. I hope everyone was happy with the pictures taken, I'm still working out the kinks but all in all I think it went very well. My Marines certainly got a good deal for a night full of pictures, once I get my technique down pat, look out world! Sean the world famous fotopager coming your way.

Have to fix my brakes tomorrow after work, driving though downtown LA, I started hearing a metal on metal screech. Damn, I put new shoes in there last year! The brake shoes were totally gone on one side and the drive back to Rosamond did the rotor in. Maybe there's a reason why I'm not a mechanic anymore, should have fixed it today but...

I'm a slacker.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

After a long night...

Oh god 3:15 in the morning, took pictures till 1 in the morning and since then have had people pour alcohol down my throat, so guess you could say I'm drunken blogging tonight. Was a good birthday, not too many presents but did do my first semi pro photographic shoot and people liked my work, no complaints at all. Well I'm going to pass out, somehow I've been hooked up with the executive suite which is way cool, not as cool as the presidential suite but not too shabby at all. Take care all.

Friday, November 05, 2004

It's my birthday! It's my birthday!

Sorry that's all I'm going to post, Marine Corps Ball tonight and lot's of stuff going on, must go, take care and thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Things that worry me about being in the military

This is an issue that show it's ugly head after every war, people returning back who are suffering from some sort of mental disorder. A report released in July from The New England Journal of Medicine of Iraq combat veterans showed that at least one in eight - between 15 and 17 percent - seemed to suffer from major depression, generalized anxiety or PTSD. My unit wasn't at the forefront and we didn't see heavy combat for which I'm glad but there are small signs in us too. Being at Edwards AFB, there are usually a dozen or so sonic booms a day, for the first couple of weeks after we got back, every time one went off, everybody in the room would duck. Whether we admit it or not most of us suffer from some form of anxiety, mostly mild. It faded fairly quickly for most of us and we went on with life. Not too many people talk about it because of stigma attached to mental illness. Face it being called crazy once most people think you're crazy for the rest of your life.

This story was pointed out to me by a new addition to my Milblogs list, Eddie from To New Frontiers. 1st Lt Goodrum came back from Iraq suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and was turned away from his local medical care facility when he was having a nervous breakdown so he did the next best thing and checked himself into a civilian psychiatric hospital. The problem with mental disorders is that they are internal and mostly a judgment call by the medical staff. We can't go into the head of the patient, to us they might appear normal and calm but internally they're one straw from going stark bonkers.

The problem with the situation above is that he didn't put leave papers in, so he's being charged with being AWOL. I don't know the facts behind the story other then what is in the Washington Post article printed but it is bothersome that someone who is clearly sick is also being charged with a crime that was clearly caused by his illness. If the charges go through, he could be imprisoned and kicked out and the underlining reason for this all left untreated.

Obviously I'm a big supporter of the military but I do think there is a clear need for better psychological counseling available for the returning troops that is easier to get to then the current system. An open door policy that is always available with a minimum of flak or paperwork. These are the people that need the real help when they get back, now while it's still fresh so they can recover and get on with their lives. I for one don't want to see them on some street corner in twenty years with a sign that says "Help a Disabled Iraqi Vet-Hungry-need food".

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Thoughts on Taiwan

At least once a year you see fights break out in their National Assembly, usually making it to some form of Real TV out here, not the real news. I'm wondering what those folk are thinking sometimes. Found this link, it takes the cake of the craziness that I've seen come out of that country.

PS If you have a high speed internet connection, make sure to watch the video too, what a dumb ass.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

the best use of bunnies I've ever seen

full reviews of movies in 30 seconds I kid you not

Democracy at a local level

Once again my weekly post from the laundry mat, so we get here on election day, listening to the Poll results on NPR and somebody has left their laundry filling every single one of the washers! There were some other folk waiting here for a half an hour before us. They asked us if it was out laundry, nope. So all present took a vote and decided to take all of the laundry out and put it on the counter, quite a bit of laundry it was too.

The power of democracy working in every day life. That was 45 minutes ago and the owners still haven't shown up. Sheesh, some peoples kids.

The Marine Corps Ball is coming up this weekend and became known to most of the civilized world that I'm a photographer of sorts and own tons picture taking geek gear. So while everybody is enjoying the festive night, I will be taking pictures.

Maybe this could be what I want to do when I grow up.

This is a list I stole from the Dastard, interesting to think a majority of the politicians that served in the military are Democrats, not that it will make any difference at this time.

DEMOCRATS
Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71.
David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72.
Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72.
Al Gore: enlisted Aug. 1969; sent to Vietnam Jan. 1971 as an army journalist in 20th Engineer Brigade.
Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam.
Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-'47; Medal of Honor, WWII.
John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star with CombatV. Purple Hearts
John Edwards: did not serve.
Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea.
Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68; Silver Star &Bronze Star,Vietnam.
Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-1953.
Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74.
Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91.
Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII, receiving the Bronze Star &7campaign ribbons.
Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76: Vietnam, DFCs, Bronze Stars,&Soldier's Medal.
Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW. Purple Heart, Silver Star &Legion of Merit.
Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd Airborne, Purple Heart.
Bill McBride: Candidate for Fla. Gov. Marine in Vietnam; Bronze Star with Combat V.
Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze Star.
Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57
Chuck Robb: Vietnam
Howell Heflin: Silver StarGeorge McGovern: Silver Star &DFC during WWII.
Bill Clinton: Did not serve. Student deferments. Entered draft but received 311.
Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy.
Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953
John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCS and Air Medal with 18 Clusters.
Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground in WWII. Saved by Raoul Wallenberg.
Wesley Clark: U.S. Army, 1966-2000, West Point, Vietnam, Purpleeart,Silver Star. Retired 4-star general.
John Dingell: WWII vet
John Conyers: Army 1950-57, Korea

REPUBLICANS
Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
Tom Delay: did not serve.
Roy Blunt: did not serve.
Bill Frist: did not serve.
Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
George Pataki: did not serve.
Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
Rick Santorum: did not serve.
Trent Lott: did not serve.
Dick Cheney: did not serve. Several (5) deferments, the last by marriage.
John Ashcroft: did not serve. Seven deferments to teach business.
Jeb Bush: did not serve.
Karl Rove: did not serve.
Saxby Chambliss: did not serve. "Bad knee." The man who attacked MaxCleland's patriotism.
Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve.
Vin Weber: did not serve.
Richard Perle: did not serve.
Douglas Feith: did not serve.
Eliot Abrams: did not serve.
Richard Shelby: did not serve.
Jon Kyl: did not serve.
Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
Christopher Cox: did not serve.
Newt Gingrich: did not serve.
Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as aviator and flight instructor.
George W. Bush: six-year National Guard commitment.
Ronald Reagan: did not serve.
Gerald Ford: Navy, WWII
Phil Gramm: did not serve.
John McCain: Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross, Retired Admiral
Bob Dole: an honorable veteran, wounded, Purple Heart WW11
Chuck Hagel: two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star, Vietnam.
Jeff Sessions: Army Reserves, 1973-1986
JC Watts: did not serve.
Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer.
G.H.W. Bush: Pilot in WWII. Shot down by the Japanese.
Tom Ridge: Bronze Star for Valor in Vietnam.
Antonin Scalia: did not serve.
Clarence Thomas: did not serve

PUNDITS AND PREACHERS
Sean Hannity: did not serve.
Rush Limbaugh: did not serve (4-F with a 'pilonidal cyst.')
Bill O'Reilly: did not serve.
Michael Savage: did not serve.
George Will: did not serve.
Chris Matthews: did not serve.
Paul Gigot: did not serve.
Bill Bennett: did not serve.
Pat Buchanan: did not serve.
Bill Kristol: did not serve.
Kenneth Starr: did not serve.
Michael Medved: did not serve.
Michael Moore: did not serve.
Lt Smash and Blackfive whom I have greatest respect for; of course served.

Make of it what you will.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Happy Halloween Everybody!

I'm Jack Skellington this year for Halloween, just hanging out and handing out candy. Went to a Halloween party last night and posted pictures here. Fairly mild compared to my norm, must be getting old.

If I don't get back tomorrow, don't forget to vote on Tuesday! Stay safe everyone.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

some personal bad news from the front

Got some bad news the other day, back in Iraq at the base I was stationed at, the guy that ran one of the Hajji Marts family was killed by insurgences. Just because he had a shop a the base.

His shop was a regular stop as I walked back to the barracks almost daily. The shop is no more and he will be missed.

The insurgences, whom I believe are foreign nationals mostly, aren't doing anyone over there any good. They're installing fear in everybody, they're not only attacking us, they're attacking the very people that are trying to raise the country out of post war barbarism that seems to be running rampant. These people don't have the good of the Iraqi people at heart, they don't worship Allah, they worship Chaos.

This is the true terrorism, when you're trying to change a country by taking out anybody that can make a difference. Relief workers, people that help the poor? Doctors, Teachers, potential Leaders?

After such attacks, who is ever going to take these people seriously?

Oh yeah, I'm of mixed feeling that this guy is back on the radar, in one way I'm sad that he's not bloody vapor on some cave wall in Afghanistan but on the other hand it takes away the mystery of him being alive or not. He's the target we should be worrying about.

Can you spot the difference?

It took me a while but I finally did

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

I'm a big fat Thief

Oh the wonders of wireless internet, brought my laptop to the laundry mat to type up a blog entry and what do you know? The groomery next door has wireless internet on an unsecured channel. Hmm, now should I feel guilty for using their internet that popped up so nicely on my computer with such an excellent connection?

Not today I say!

I'm are doing the motherload of all loads of laundry, there's 7 of those side load washers here and we filled all of them up. Glad there was no one here when we got here for we caused quite a gridlock. Where in the heck did all of this laundry come from?

The day seems to being running into big projects that were waiting to get done.

Doc Jim, Smitty and I cleared out 20 or so physicals this afternoon, which for us is quite a feat. And a morning full of drawing post-deployment serum samples. Busier then the average day which is good, meaning that we accomplished quite a bit.

Haven't had much to talk about lately or just haven't felt like telling it to the world. Received a couple hundred dollars of studio lighting gear in the mail last weekend and have a week and a half to play with it before the ball. All we need to come up with is a good back drop. Some wheels are turning on that. In any case I'll post some of the final work on my fotopage after it's all through.

You notice on my sidebar I have some sponsored links. In August, the Associated Press did a story where they mentioned this blog. Over one weekend I had 70 thousand or so people check it out, 250 clicked on those links. Guess how much I made?

13 bucks.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to drop them from the sidebar soon. 13 bucks for with 70 thousand visitors? I pay my girlfriends son more to wash the suburban! Well the clothes are starting to come out of the dryer so I'd better start working.

Have a good night and watch out for bandwidth thieves. Heh heh.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Local News about Law Enforcement

I'm always watching for local stories that are of interest.

The Kern County, California, Sheriff's Department ordered plain white patrol units and had the graphics applied locally. In this case: What they ordered was not quite what they got.

This car was driven for 1 week before an officer noticed what the graphics company employee did on the passenger side of the car.

(The employee did this on his last day working for the graphics company before he retired.)

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Sort of a busy week

and haven't felt like writing or posting, too much stuff going on all at once so I have been placing a few things on the back burner, posting pictures of Larry's wedding on my fotopage right now. This is a weekend with my son and we're all heading off to Chucky Cheeses an hour or so. I have a few things I want to blog about but haven't had the time, maybe tonight. Peace out.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Yet another weekend in Prescott

I'm a bad blogger, haven't updated in a few. Still coming down off a great weekend and had to recover from the usual huge load of paperwork that normally awaits me on Monday morning. Yesterday was spent chasing down fires, not much actually work got done. Today was Belly and I filed away at least a 2 foot stack of loose forms (meaning we had a constructive day). Everything went smooth for once and we cut through swaths of red tape.

Last weekend I left for Prescott on Wednesday, spent the night at my moms. Thursday drove into town and offered myself into service of my best friend Larry's wedding, running errands and such. Pretty much ended up being the food driver and up-grader of their computer. Worked out well.

The wedding took place on Saturday, I didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked but I'm getting a copy of the pictures from the professional photographer work. Learned a few new tricks as far as lighting went. It was an outdoor wedding that was picture perfect (which I couldn't take advantage of because I was part of the ceremony, sigh). Afterwards we had the reception at The Hotel St. Michael, corner of the square on Whiskey Row in Prescott, lots of pictures from that. I'll post more of those soon. Then a night on the town where I took one for the team by naming myself the DD (another way of saying that I was wussing out because I was still recovering from the festives the night before).

Took off a bit early to start making copies on CD's of all the pictures I took and start all the video coping. I left them with directions to call me if anyone needed a ride. Better to start then because I'm a horrible morning person. Drove people home till 3 that morning but I made enough copies for all of the people that took part in the ceremony.

Got the new laptop, a Toshiba 3.2 gig Hz, it flies! It's been a while since I had laid money down for new computer gear. I'm very happy with it so far.

Take care all!

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Post that brings it all home...

Sean from Turningtables goes back to the beginning of why we started blogging, a night on the town with Salam Pax. Salam is the likely father to thousands of blogs and through us tens of thousands of grandchildren, when are you going to start paying child support? Thanks for opening our eyes to the world.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

This isn't a political blog

But I think I would vote for the guys that made these. Don't forget to vote next month!

New Milbloggers on my links and plans for my weekend

Brand new milblogger Jay from News from Baghdad, show's a lot of promise. He's only been blogging for ten days but in that short time he’s raised up in my list of milbloggers to watch out for. Check him out, you won't be disappointed!

Thank you Dave for replying to my last post, I couldn't get an email through to you for some reason so I figured, since you're a techo geek, you would be tracking your referrers. Glad you're doing better, when people drop off grid after a post like that, it gets me a little worried. Your story is one that I hear far to often, specially with all of the high tempo deployments going on. Time is the best medicine, best to test the waters for a while.

Other personal news, I'm hitting the road again on Wednesday. My best friend Larry is getting married and somehow or another I've been picked to be the best man. So another side trip to Arizona for me. Hopefully sometime this weekend I can come up with a new laptop, if so you'll probably be seeing a post from me. (maybe I need to change the blogs name to Sean's Roadtrips, far too much driving!)

Also pictures from my adventures in San Diego last weekend can be found here or here.
Take care everybody and thanks for reading.

Monday, October 11, 2004

What really scares the average soldier

Milblogger Dave tells of his wife leaving him when he got back from Iraq. When I was out there, it wasn't the people shooting at us that had us really scared. What Dave writes about has ran through the mind of every military man or woman leaving us tossing and turning in our racks. For us at a personal level, what he’s going through is the true horror of being gone, you come back and the world as you know it has vanished, nobody can put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

My trip to San Diego

Jaybob is a Navy Career Counselor down here in Southern California. He tells of one of his Sailors that wanted to Re-enlist at Disneyland. He was trying to get a free ticket for the 0fficer that was going to Re-enlist the Sailor because the officer wasn't planning on staying after the ceremony. They said no, never mind the good PR that they could have gotten or nice things we would have said about them. Nope, the place has been taken over by a bunch of money grubbing bean counters. I'm not a supporter of the Magic Kingdom.

Had a great weekend down in San Diego. My little sister Sarah and her boyfriend rented a condo on Mission Beach for a week and I spent some time with the two half sisters and seven nephews and nieces that live down there.

Friday, October 08, 2004

San Diego bound

Be back next week, don't think I'm dead because I haven't written anything on the road. Will have stories later. Take care all.

PS Started a group Corpsman blog called Musings of a Few Corpsman Go give a welcome to Stinger Doc Jason, new to the blogging world. Marc, I know you're out there! Should have a few fresh new faces in the next few weeks. Have a great weekend.

I lost my friend last night

I lost my partner last night, my constant companion when I was in a war torn country. Wherever I went, she was never further then an arms reach away. A comforting weight, a window on to the world, a new reality that I could fall into. Without her, this blog would have told a shorter and different story, my fotopage would have been a stark page full of outdated pictures. With her anything was possible, she opened up doors, which a year ago, I didn't even know existed, what I was good at, she made better. I had to leave you alone in the sun when customs was checking our gear in Iraq, ever since then you haven't been right. A quirk here and there, last night, you had a seizure and I couldn't understand what you were trying to say. I was in a pit of despair, with all of my skills as a healer, I couldn't fix you, I couldn't make you whole once more.

Why lord, why?

This morning, before work, I picked you up lovingly and pressed the power button and you booted up.

Sigh.

Any day now, my laptop is on her last legs. I never realized how much I needed her till she was gone. One night of her not working felt like someone had ran over my dog all over again. Six months, she was on my back where ever I went. Even now that I'm back, I still carry her. The video card baked when she was left out while I went through customs, as far as I can see, it's not a replaceable part (IBM A31 Thinkpad if anyone knows any different). I'm glad everything is on the external so I'm not going to lose anything but...

Damn this blows the big one.

I have to buy another one. A couple of years ago, before I was under the leash of the laptop, I hadn't even thought of buying a laptop. That was for somewhere down the road when I had more money. Now the though of going on without one.

I have nightmares about it.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Ben at his sisters wedding

I had thought he was with me in Iraq, how come I wasn't invited?


pictures by Sean
And it looks like he's having a great time!


pictures by Sean

Nothing interesting today

Spent the morning verifying health records and entering data in the computer; always a great joy. My afternoon was much better, visited everybody while reading PPD's. It's nice to get out of the cave every once and a while. Other then being away from home, being in Iraq was much better then the piles of paperwork I go through here. I'm not kidding! My partner in crime from the other squadron, Smitty, is wondering what he got in to. We're not even sure who's going with them next time they go out because both of the reserve corpsmen that went with us are getting out. It's a mystery. I'm also leaving in December to Mira Mar. I'll miss the people here but not the job, it's a lot of weight for one person to handle, sometimes I think too much.

Other news, I confirmed a gig photographing the Marine Corps Ball in November. So I spent tonight trolling the internet for expensive lighting gear. This hobby is getting expensive!
While everyone is focused on last nights debate, I found this other bit of news interesting, I though I had heard it all. Sucks to be this guy.

True statements

You Know You're Addicted to Internet When...

Oh no, most of these apply to me, must drag myself to detox (and the rest of you need to go too!)

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Problems I see when I look at the world

An unbalance budget bothers me because I know what happens when you spend more then you make, we're a country at war acting like we're not. Tax cuts while we're increasing our spending just doesn't seem logical. Even with the tax cuts and the deficit going up, most of the economy is still going down the tubes. The rent has doubled in the area where I'm living at for no reason what so ever in the last 4 years. What happened? What have we lost?

Another thing I'm seeing is a great deal of outsourcing to other countries. Moving jobs away from the US to some foreign nation. Who has called support for some electronic item and someone in India answers the phone? Considering how bad our jobless rate is getting, shouldn't something be done about that?

Afghanistan was a job that we needed to finish before we shifted our attention to somewhere else. Unlike some people, I think we are doing good things there but it's hard when you only have a skeleton crew working to finish it. The reason it's not in the news daily is because there are no telephone lines, no power grid. If you get to the center of the country, it's like traveling back in time 200 years. Who but a reporter from National Geographic wants to write about that?

There is nothing nice or pretty about being at war. As American fighting men our job is to do whatever our leaders say to do. We're just pawns in the battlefield earning our pay. We don't make policy, we just enforce policy that someone else makes up to the best of our ability. The trick we have to do is live up to the image of the white knight in shining armor. Possible, not likely. We're human and out of any group of people there are bad apples. Folk that don't want to be there, disgruntled by everything, having their life placed in harms way, having to deal with people that want to kill them on a daily basis, doing a job that they're not trained for, for an overtly long period of time. Under that sort of pressure, it's just a matter of time before those flaws rise up to the surface and show themselves. And they are dealt with harshly if you watch the news. With half of troops out here carrying around a digital camera, it's hard to keep such things secret. Personally I like the idea transparency in the military, we can't afford to hide such skeletons in our closet. Truth is always the best answer. Yet on the other side of the coin, there are hero's that put their lives on the line daily to save others. Gems that rise above the bloodshed and shine more then ever could have been possible in a normal mundane life. It all balances out in the end. As usual the bad rises and stays in the media eye longer then the good. Good or bad we signed on the dotted line knowing anything was possible.

The divide I'm seeing between conservatives and liberals also scares me, we're becoming a polarized nation. There has to be a middle ground, these aren't black and white issues, just different shades of gray and whatever anyone is preaching, there are no right answers. All we can do is try.

Milblogs update

Check out Ginmar, A View from a Broad, I like the way this girl thinks.

Also Combat Doc and The Questing Cat these people are at the front line and well worth a read.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Spaceship One when I got to work

Pulled into work this morning and there's all of these people standing around looking up at the sky. I look and see a contrail, oh yeah, Spaceship One, I pull off the trusty camera and start snapping pictures. Hey what's up with that little purple blotch in the lower part of the screen!?!? Glad I got that extended warranty on the camera, guess I'll call the place tomorrow. My poor poor camera!

I got a wireless card for the laptop just for my trip to Arizona, since they have wireless internet at the KOA in Selgiman for a measly 16 dollars a month, when I got home I tried setting up a ad hoc network using our desktop to put out the signal from the DSL. I couldn't get it to work so I swallowed my pride and bought a wireless router. Ten minutes after I got home, both computers were surfing the net at high speeds. Should have done this ages ago.

First day back at work after leave is always a bummer, didn't go to bad. Belly and I did the post deployment blood work for all the people that were there and I started filing more paperwork. Sheesh, this is going to take forever, I need more peons to work for me! Just me and Smitty here for the rest of the week, he has his own squadron and pile of headaches to take care off. At least I'm a few steps ahead of him right now.

Heading down to San Diego this weekend with my son, seeing some family down there that I've missed so far in my journeys. My two half sisters and my 7 nephews and nieces. With them, I'll have seen everyone. Whew, busy month.

Take care all.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Video from NBC 12 News

Video clip I was in can be found here on Monday September 27, yes I'm a dork. You need to download Real Player to see it though, it's free.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Week of Vacation

Spent most of the week visiting with friends and family, for a first time while being home on leave, not doing too much slave labor for my mom! Sorry about not updating the blog on a daily basis but being here on my home ground took priority. I was washing off the stain of being in a war zone; I imagine the stain to my soul was much less then many of the military folk that were deployed out though. This blog and the fotopage filled didn't give me the time to mope about. They were the great outlets in my daily routine. With all the good will and support that readers gave me; it was pretty hard to get depressed about life. Of course I didn't run around with a great fear of dying like some people did, there are many positives about doing extreme sports before going to war.

Thinking that you're going to die at least once every time you go climbing makes regular life fairly mundane. If you're a climber, fear of hights and fear of death lose their grip on you because you're facing them daily. That old question that your mom asks you "Just because your friend jumps off a cliff doesn't mean you have to" I lived by that saying growing up. Wish I could have got some good cliff diving pictures this trip out but we're all getting old and everyone has a good steady job that they can't ditch, oh well, there's always tomorrow.

I've missed some of the restaurants in Prescott. My favorite place in the world is a small Mexican restaurant called Taco Don's, my ex partner in crime Mike Baker and I went there at least twice a week, they have the best fish taco's in the known world and I've been around the block looking. Drive no further it's right here. Best scallops I've tasted in years we had last night Chi's Cuisine, oh yes, I am going to have to work all of this off when I get home, till them, mmm.
Went by and paid a visit to my old boss, Will Gober and his family from the days when I was a grease monkey. He's a big redneck from Texas that only takes off his cowboy hat to sleep (I think he does but only Sara would know) and talks with a drawl, behind that slow drawl lies a very shrewd mind that is always thinking about what the future is going to bring. He had sold the shop that I worked at and was getting into the bio-diesel business, something I watch somewhat closely since I have a diesel suburban and still carry around the mechanical inclinations in my head. It's a renewable fuel source that isn't that difficult technology wise to make work. Just have to get more people on the band wagon; everybody is talking about hybrid and electric cars, bio-diesel seems to be on the back burner still. How many hybrid or electric semi's have you seen out there?

What happens when the price of crude oil goes up? Prices of shipping rise and with that the economy bogs down. Everything is shipped by either truck, train or ship and what fuels them? Diesel fuel. With bio-diesel, we wouldn't depend on foreign oil sources for our transportation. Unlike any of the other alternate fuel sources; you don't have to change anything in the vehicle that you're using. Just pour it in the tank, instead of the yucky spell of diesel fuel, the exhaust smells like French fries and is safe for the environment. Do some google searches, it's down the pipeline.

I've spent more time with my little sister this week then any other period in my life since I was in high school. My sister is one of the coolest people I know, while the rest of us stumbled and bounced through life with peaks and valleys, my sister has always been the rock that everything else broke upon, if she would say that she was doing something, it would get done. She backpacked though Europe twice which I have always dreamed of doing. My trips to foreign lands are mostly on military business and I still have a little paranoia that I'm going to be stranded there. Being with the Marines I usually know the names of the bars better then what's in museums (I'm changing as I get older though). A couple of months ago she (finally) brought a baby into the world. The change in lifestyle hasn't slowed her down a bit, she's a wonderful mother and I envy you for the life that you're going to lead Corbin Shaw. I don't say it much but I love you sis.

Tomorrow morning we're going to go hiking and I'll take a lot of pictures, don't worry.

P.S. I hope Mrs. Fain, my old English teacher from high school, doesn't find this blog with all the media attention that it's bringing. Sorry for butchering the English language so bad ma'am, I shouldn't have slept so much in class!

P.S.S. Saw the presidential debate last night but this isn't a political blog. I am voting and I have had my mind made up for a while but as a military member, throwing my views about my current boss and a potential future boss to a world wide audience wouldn't be the brightest thing to do. Believe me there's enough voices out there anyhow.

Take care

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

in the spotlight

It figures that I would hit the public eye when I'm out in the middle of nowhere. I'm off in Northern Arizona doing slave labor thing at my mom's Restaurant and visiting friends. My best friend Larry is getting married to his long time girlfriend Jennifer next month so we had a prior celebration of that union on Saturday night. Not quite a bachelor party because everyone was there but never the less a great time. I'll post some pictures when I get back to civilization, maybe! A lot of new viewers here, don't want them to think too badly of me.

Yesterday I got a call on my mom's cell phone at 8 in the morning. She knocks on the bathroom door (I was about to take a shower) saying channel 12 news was on the phone. Huh? My mom's restaurant is for sale and I had linked it on the side bar. They had found me through the ad, Eep. Anyhow it was Kim Holcomb from the Phoenix NBC station and they asked to do an interview in two hours. I called my command for permission, I know the rules about talking to the media, the safest way to keep a blog going and be in the military is to live by those rules. Permission was granted, considering this is a good human interest story. Kim came up to Prescott from Phoenix and we met at the square in Prescott, she was charming and her and the cameraman did a great job. The story aired in the 4:30 segment, it looked good but they couldn't stop me from sounding like a geek. Oh well, guess my dreams of being a talk show host are out for now

Spent the night at the restaurant last night and this morning while in the shower, my mom is once again at the door to the bathroom. "NBC is on the phone". Huh? I just talked to them yesterday, it ended up being MSNBC, since my mom doesn't have cable or internet she had never heard of them, eep! They wanted me to drive to the closest big city to do the interview and that's 200 miles away and since I was working for my mom it probably wouldn't have been a good idea. So it ended up being a phone interview done by Lester Holt that lasted about a minute. I have this horrible fear of public speaking and I think it was live. Sigh! I did much better with Kim. Since I don't have cable out here hope one of my relatives recorded it, likely I sounded like a dork again.

Milblogs have been popping up in the news more and people don't give me dumb looks when I say I have a blog anymore. I don't think we can replace the regular media but we offer alternate sources of the same information.

A good example is the hurricanes that went through Florida, bloggers like Tammi, give it a personal spin by bringing the numbers that you see on the news down to one. We don't have an editor sitting over our shoulder, we write because we like doing it. Things that are important to us, there's no dead lines or pressure about what we write except from commenters. Sometimes people actually pay attention to what we write.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Blogging

A month ago the LA Times did a brief write up on Milblogs and an excerpt was taken from mine. I saw a small spike in numbers, a couple hundred people stopped by. Then Susan from the Associated Press submitted her story and two days later I have 60,000 new viewers! In numbers that I can relate to, that's everybody that lives in my hometown of Prescott Arizona peeking through my window. Hopefully I'm not standing there naked.

Many of the comments and emails that I've received are from people whom this is the first time ever visiting a blog. My blog is in the blogger subcategory called Milblogs; we take up a small little niche in a little corner of the blogsphere. If it can be imagined, someone has a blog about it.

A vast majority of blogs are basic online diaries that only have a small amount of viewers. Uncensored, unedited and raw, these folk pour out their souls, this is all the dirt that they don't talk about in their day to day life, they're totally anonymous and they put things there that they wouldn't tell their closest friends. People usually find their sites by A. either the author leaving a comment on someone else's blog or B. people coming by through a surf engine. Some of those surfers might have blogs and like what they see and add a link to the blog. And that's how blogging communities are built. The Blog ecosystem is made up of small communities of people of like interest, people that want to share whatever is going on in their heads right at that moment. I belong to several, most noticeably, Milblogs.

Often blogs are started by a blog reader or commenter that has a unique story that they want to share. So the next step is to set one up. One blog that I found though Kevin that I really enjoyed was built around a cameras flash memory card that this blogger had found in the backseat of a cab in New York. On this card there were pictures that went back over the entire year. So he started a blog about it. Each day he would post a picture on the internet and write a fictional story to match the picture, talking about the people in it, he developed entire lives and relationships that had nothing to do with reality. He left a contact email address in case the owner of the flash card showed up to reclaim it. The site had me in stitches until he had to shut it down because of bad comments from people that didn't have a sense of humor. I never say bad things about people that make me laugh. I would give you the link but alas he is gone. Sigh!

Blog sites pop up and disappear on a daily basis. Lack of attention, nasty commenters, too much attention or just the magic of blogs faded. I've had a few bad comments and unless they're attacking me or other commenters with threats, I usually leave them up. I welcome open discussion but prefer it to be civil. I do delete any comments that violate OPSEC or people spamming me. I'm not about to run away from commenters.

I like the circle of friends I've built up since I've started this. You couldn't get some of them in the same room together and no, I don't share all of their views. But we are still able to meet on a common ground. One of the biggest problems in this country right now is everyone is getting polarized to one extreme of the political spectrum or the other and most of the communications that flow across that divide are attacks. Once you close your eyes to what the other half is saying, you're half blind. How can you make a decision for the greater good when you're not willing to even see what's happening to the other side of the world? There are good points to each side and we need more unbiased people that are willing to look at them from all angles. No matter who you are there are going to be people that disagree with you. Believe me, you'll find a lot of them on my blogroll and even I gawk at some of the stuff they're writing.

My links are there for some reason, maybe they show a bit of what kind of person that I am. Personal friends, even ones I disagree with totally deserve a link, people that have been supportive of me, them too. There are some people that I love what they've written or crack me up with their antics, yes. People that make me think and dredge up dirt, add them. Milbloggers whom I frequent and medical people have to stick together. The Iraqi bloggers offer a unique insight on what's happening over there. I can vouch for the reality of most of the bloggers there except for Riverbend who I think is a fake half the time (I'll let people decide for themselves or wait till she actually meets one of the other bloggers). She's pretty anti-American. Salam can you verify her existence? The only reason I keep her up is because she offers a view of what the other side is like.

So I warn you, don't be shocked by what you might find and don't blame me for what they write, I'm just a portal, to the right, one mouse click away, lies the rest of the world.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

People reading the AP story

I'm back in the states, currently on leave in Arizona (having a very very good time). Most of the experiences that from the AP story are in my archives which you can find below my links section on the right. Thanks for the interest and I plan on keeping my blog up even though I am back for now, check out the links in the Milblogs and Iraqi blogs area. There's some quality stuff that you don't see in the main stream media coming out of Iraq currently. I don't agree with all the view points but I do read them because it's best to know all sides of the story. Welcome to the blogsphere and enjoy your trip.

Thanks Ellen

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

getting my office ready for me to leave again!

Sorry about the quirks that you might see here over the next couple of weeks. I'm being stubborn and trying to learn blog techno geek speak instead of just copying a template over. Any thoughts on the date thing floating about the screen? It sort of gets in the way of reading but the coolness trumped common sense.

Working tonight before heading out on leave and right this minute I'm gaffing off what I should be doing to write this (I'm actually supposed to be on leave already but I didn't want to leave before taking care of the harsh work that no one else can figure out). A cold beer would do me real good right about now. Damn paperwork, everyone though I was kidding when I said it's a lot more fun to be shot at then dive through these stacks, I wasn't!

Milblogs updates

There's a few female Milbloggers in the box now

Buffbabe, 1000 Words from Iraq, I think she works public affairs because her she writes about her commander checking out her pictures, she's had more bad commenter’s then good, go show her some love, she's a pretty good writer.

Sgt Lizzie, Life in this Girl's Army, talks about day to day stuff and being a girl in the Army. She has her up and down days and hasn't had that many visitors yet.

Amber from ambotchka, she's a 1st Lt in the Air Force and has been there two months and she’s discovering that life doesn’t change much unless you're in the front lines.

American Soldier who is supposed to be leaving soon and tells about watching the beheading video (thank you, I've seen one and I'll settle for watching it through someone else's eyes from now on).

A Candle in the Dark is written by an Army Medic that has written some well thought out posts that you can chew over for a while

This milblogger is in a CAN not the Box..

Chapomatic is a submariner that tells some great sea stories, ever wondered what the difference is between green and blue sea water? Me either. I've been with the Marines most of my time in the Navy, so most of his stories are like science fiction, does that really happen?

Monday, September 20, 2004

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Hurricane Ivan and my weekend

Wow, I went to school in Pensacola back 92 and saw Andrew first hand off the coast, all of these places are familiar stomping grounds. After seeing the pictures, the biggest surprise is how many people survived, people are taking it seriously down there. Any of my readers from that area, I hope you and yours made it out alright.

Weekend was full of BBQing, hanging out and picture taking. My friend Brandy had a birthday party on Saturday and there was a big trampoline in the back yard with a dozen or so kids. Aspiring photographers always take advantage of a good situations. Sorry about the lightness of the posts to the blog but I had higher callings to attend to. Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Friday, September 17, 2004

Hurricane Ivan

I have several readers from the gulf coast and my best wishes go out to all of you and all of your loved ones. I didn't expect humor to come from that direction of the world for a while but Tammi's blog directed me at this. Is it evil to think to think that's really funny? heh heh. I'm not even going to tell you my hurricane Andrew story till hurricane season is over.

MAMA KNOWS BEST

I usually avoid putting up jokes I get by email like the plague but this one had me laughing

Mrs. Jenkins comes to visit her son Anthony for dinner...who lives with a female roommate Vikki...
During the course of the meal, his mother couldn't help but notice how pretty Anthony's roommate was. She had long been suspicious of a relationship between the two, and this had only made her more curious.
Over the course of the evening, while watching the two interact, she started to wonder if there was more between Anthony and his roommate than met the eye.
Reading his mom's thoughts, Anthony volunteered, "I know what you must be thinking, but I assure you, Vikki and I are just roommates."

About a week later, Vikki came to Anthony saying, "Ever since your mother came to dinner, I've been unable to find the silver sugar bowl. You don't suppose she took it, do you?"
"Well, I doubt it, but I'll e-mail her, just to be sure." So he sat down and wrote:

Dear Mama,
I'm not saying that you 'did' take the sugar bowl from my house,
I'm not saying that you 'did not' take it. But the fact remains that it has been missing ever since you were here for dinner.
Love, Anthony


Several days later, Anthony received a response e-mail from his Mama, which read:

Dear Son,
I'm not saying that you 'do' sleep with Vikki, and I'm not saying that you 'do not' sleep with her. But the fact remains that if she were sleeping in her OWN bed, she would have found the sugar bowl by now.
Love, Mama.


Lesson of the day

Don't Lie to Your Mother.........

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Something odd I've noticed and my planned trip

Any body notice as your surfing around blogs that there are some words underlined? Like the Network on my links? Any ideas? Some virus floating about, What about the the in Rather? Something odd going about.

I'm going on leave to Arizona next week sometime, going to do a bit of healthily slave labor at my mom's restaurant in northern Arizona. She's ready to move on to her next business venture after being in that restaurant for the last 10 years. If any of my readers are interested in opening their own Bed and Breakfast/country store on Route 66, she's selling it for a song. My mom is one of those folk that has to leave everything she touches better then it was when she got it. The restaurant is a classic sign of this disease (it's a sickness to me because I was usually caught doing a fair share of the work). When she bought the place it was a basic large warehouse/garage with a couple of shelves on one side for a dinky store. Since then, she has added a kitchen, a bunch of fridges, more shelves, remodeled everywhere, built an apartment upstairs, added two showers, 10 thousand dollars of hoods over the stoves, a rental gift shop out front.... You get the picture? She's never happy unless she's doing some sort of backbreaking labor, unlike normal sane people that plan these things out, each one of those ideas started out with "what do you think of this?..." The thinking side of my brain would say it's time to run but my big mouth would say, "hmmm, that might work". These small sounding projects always ended up taking up more time then they should but as the loyal son looking back after all the sore muscles healed I'm glad I was there to help.

I can't help thinking that she's selling the place because she's running out of improvements to do and it's probably making her antsy so she wants to punish herself (and me and my stepdad) and start on something new. Alas, sure to be more work for yours truly.

As for my day job, currently trying to get everything back in order before the main body of my unit is due to arrive. Wading through oceans of paperwork, guess that nice 6 month vacation is done, sigh!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

What Is Your Battle Cry?

What Is Your Battle Cry?

Hark! Who is that, prowling across the mountains! It is Sean, hands clutching a studded crowbar! And with a spectacular cry, his voice cometh:

"I'm going to flog you in such an inhumane manner, you will polymorph into your mother!"

Find out!
Enter username:
Are you a girl, or a guy ?

created by beatings : powered by monkeys

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

What we all wanted to do

After 9/11 happened, myself and my best friend Larry were about to drop everything in our lives and go help. After a while reason set in, we couldn't leave the people that needed us. Here is someone who did drop everything. Thanks.

Meme's

Truth Laid Bear did a post on Memes a couple of years ago and mentioned a book by John Barnes called Kaleidoscope Century. It's not a very big book but it's something that stuck in the back of my head like peanut butter. A post-apocalyptical novel that takes place in the very near future and ends well into the following century. It does a perfect job of describing what would happen if terrorists got out of control and the affects of what it has on the world. The main character of this story is one of the bad guys who is just a pawn in some greater game. He and the people that are part of his "group" take down the heads of government, religious leaders, doctors, scientists, anybody that looked like they mattered or looked like they could have a chance to bring order (sort of like the insurgents are doing in Iraq right now). Their basic plan is to go around and cause chaos. The original reasons for doing this have all been lost, the governments and ideals that started it don't even exist anymore, they take bounties offered by opposing parties going back and forth across lines. If no money was offered they did it for just the chaos it caused. Sometimes just doing it for fun. Everything but full out nuclear war goes on and the book gives a grim prognosis for what is possible for the human race. Mr. Barnes catches the raw intensity of what humanity is capable of at it's worst. Anybody thinks that we shouldn't stomp out terrorists should read this book; it will give you an idea what would happen when the rule of law is lost. I'm not preaching a point by saying that we're solving the problem the right way but this book gives you a vision of what would happen if we didn't do anything. I warn you it's not a nice or pretty book and I still get dreams of living in that world because it's not too far of a jump to imagine being there.

The part of the book that TLB's post talks about an idea that happens about midway through the book. In the book, Memes are super intelligent computer virus's that evolved to a point where they can hop back and forth between humans and computers. These meme's spread and eventually every one is running a meme in his wetware. Once again it's a war of which meme should be running the world. This book hits you with such a plethora of bad things that could happen that you'll head will be reeling for quite a while.

Today we have memes but they're mostly just ideas after getting repeated so many times most people know them, it doesn't matter weather they're true or not. Like a song that you can't get out of your head they'll go around for a while till it dies out. If you're like me you'll notice them all over the blogsphere, some are bigger then others. The life cycle of a blog meme is usually like this. On person tells a story that is important to him or her that can either be fact or fiction. Other bloggers read it and like it or hate it. They comment and sometimes leave trackbacks, some write about it on their blogs, some copy it and other bloggers that follow those blogs write about them writing about it, political people get polarized around the story, either arguing for or against and saying that it's true or can't be true. If it touches a subject that big media is paying attention to, they pick up the story, rarely mentioning where it came from and retell it in their own words usually misplacing facts and people but giving it a quasi-factual status because they told it. Then after it has made their rounds someone investigates the story all the way back to the source only to find out that it's real or total fiction (urban myth). Usually ends up being a measure of both. At any time in this process the meme can die, either from lack of attention, someone telling the truth about it or some big event overshadows it plus there will always be someone out there that will believe it's true no matter what anyone says including the author.


For a long time before the Internet the US had a very successful Meme going called the American Dream. The big PX in the sky. A meme that most of the world wanted to be part of but is now is now showing signs of wear and getting tattered around the edges, sort of like Disneyland. The world is shrinking and everybody is starting to realize that the American Dream isn't the same thing as it was 20 years ago; we really don't live in this Baywatch world. 9/11 pushed us further into the worldwide spotlight; showing that life here isn't perfect and we aren't all the shiny happy people Hollywood portrayed us as being. The waves from that event are still reverberating through out the world. We've been at war since then and everyone is wondering what our next move is going to be. While no one knows what's really going on in the higher reaches of our government, ground level any one with a computer and Internet access has a peeping tom's view right into our private bedrooms and closets. The worldview is changing daily thanks to this and the spread of technology and who knows where it's going to take us? The cat has been let out of the bag and nothing is ever going to be the same.

Hopefully it's not the world that John Barnes has outlined.

(btw, thanks Ted for the save!)

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Yet another photo site

Okay, sometimes I know it seems like I'm trying to partition my life into different slots on the web. Well just started up yet another photo page through blogger that leans away from my military life and into my personal. Check out what goes on behind the scenes.

Hanging out Posted by Hello

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Three years..

Three years ago, I was living in a really small town in northern Arizona called Paulden, had five acres to myself with only 4 pigmy goats, 4 ducks and 4 chickens as company. Work was a 30-mile drive into Prescott. I was still at the early stages of the mechanic trade; it was nice having patients that if they died you just took them to the junkyard.

That morning in particular, I had gotten up at 5:30, eaten eggs and toast for breakfast (from my chickens), fed the animals and hopped into my truck. I turned on my radio and knew immediately that something was very wrong. My radio was tuned to NPR, my primary source of news since I didn't have a TV at the time. The normally calm anchor's voices were shaking and were saying that a plane had crashed into one of the world trade centers. They kept saying the same things over and over so I surfed around the dial, the AM stations were even worse, the news people crying on the air, pretty chaotic. Went through the rest of the FM dial too and the rock stations didn't say anything, which still bothers me. The DJ was a cheery girl that sounded like she didn't have a clue what had happened, just a regular morning broadcast for them. I went back to NPR because they seemed to have the best coverage, if I remember their news anchor was rollerblading towards the Towers. I called the important people in my life and told them to turn on the news, my mom just said, "why are you worried, planes crash all the time". Then she turned on the news and felt silly and called me back.

As with the rest of the United States, I was shocked to my core. I finally got to work and no one was working, everybody was standing around and watching video of the planes crashing into towers. I tried working but life had suddenly turned surreal, nothing I was doing was making any difference. My enchantment with mechanics had faded, the radio was blaring overhead, most of the time repetitive, we would listen to a new morsel of news that would come out every hour or so.

Somehow I did some work that day and got off and went to my best friend Larry's house, he had gotten off work and we just sat and watched the news. People were going to New York from all over and Larry being a reserve firefighter wanted to join them, he was so close to just running out and driving east and I talked him down.

Told him he had 2 kids and a life to take care of, let people that can afford to do it, rush off.
A couple of days later I was back at the same recruiting station that I had joined in 10 prior once more signing my name.

How long will it be before the bruise that was placed on the consciousness fades? Do you remember what it was like to walk up to the first skyscraper after 9/11? Your first flight? Everything changed after that date, the world wasn't as safe as it was and a new sense of paranoia had settled in over everybody.

Since then the paranoia has faded a bit and a sense of complacency has settled in. But we're still a different nation that what we were. There are now new fetters on some of our freedoms, most we don't notice till we run into them. Talk about making bombs too much and chances are the FBI will be knocking on your door. The airport security has been replace by flinty eyed people MIB that pull people off to the side for mysterious reasons and feel them up and traumatizing them to airports for the rest of their lives. And for the last 3 years we have been at war someplace or other.

I don't think that this war on terrorism is something we can win by ourselves, there needs to be a worldwide effort to squish it out and change the way people think. Every time an innocent person dies in this fight there is a chance that you're making another enemy that is willing to sacrifice his or her life for a cause against us.

Look at the Chechnya, the Russians are some pretty hardheaded customers and don't deal with terrorists but their situation is turning into a downward spiral. They're getting closer to the point when it's going to be easier to sterilize the area instead of fighting, once you get to that point, all sides have lost. Violence spreads like a plague. Terrorists aren't playing the same game that they were in the past, there aren't any real demands anymore. These wack jobs just want to put on a show for the media and they don't care if they live or die. They just want to make whoever it is they're dealing with look bad, every body gets hurt but they don't care. How do you fight people like that?

There are many things worth fighting, the problem is that we sometimes forget the real reason we started fighting. Once we become the fight, the fighting becomes more important then the objective and the original objective is lost. At that point it's probably a good idea to take a breather, step back and reassess. Let the emotion of the moment fade before you alienate the people that your good intentions are trying to save.

Sometimes you can't defuse the fanatics and they need to be stomped down, the trick is not to make any more while you're doing it. I just hope someone up there has a plan and knows what they're doing and not deceiving the rest of us. Nothing I hate more then throwing money away by betting on the wrong horse.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Support Milblogs

The guy that brings all of us milbloggers together, Grayhawk, is heading out to an undisclosed location (sandbox likely) and seems to be lacking a laptop and digital camera! What's up with that? Show him some love and support for doing such a great job (that is if you have ever looked at his milblog area).

I'm about to hit 30 thousand!

I've updated some of the links on the side, some new milbloggers added, some of the folk that comment on a regular basis and some new people that I have discovered lately. Just a quick post during the lunch break. Some of the blogger's that I follow are maturing into quality writers that I'm proud to say that I was there since the beginning. You might have noticed that I try taking a balanced look at the political spectrum. It's hard to judge the big picture if you can't look at all sides of the debate. So if you're on the far left or right, don't judge me by my links, everyone on my sidebar is there for a reason. Blinding yourself to what the other half sees doesn't help your cause, just as there is not always one answer. I don't state ideology because it's fluid. I'm an independent by choice and try keeping my eyes open to everything that is out there. Thanks everyone for staying with me for this journey.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Our trip and other things of no interest.

We had a great time in Arizona, saw all the usual suspects, lot's of hugging and kissing involved. Played with all the cool toys at my uncles house and thought I hope I'm this cool when I'm an old man like him (that was for his benefit in case he reads this). Got to see my new nephew for the first time and he's already making a good impression with the family. Expect a shrine to him some day in the future on my fotopage, he's a pretty cute kid. My son had blast but he's still only a runner up for being the cutest kid at these events. I can shamelessly say that I have a good looking family so therefore think that I must be adopted. Spent Saturday in the bliss of seeing more relatives then I have of mental capacity to hold names, but held my own. That night spent the night at one of my best friends houses, Lynnae where I saw my other son, Alec (two of my best friends procreated back in the day and produced a kid that must be mine). Sunday drove up towards my mom's restaurant (which is for sale, if you want to open up a bed and breakfast, email me on the side and I'll hook you up). Saw Larry (Alec's dad, other part of the best friends thing) on the way up. Then to mom's house where we met up with her, my step dad and Won for a cookout. Doesn't seem like I had went off to war at all. Sunday was mostly loading up with goodies from the restaurant, used book shopping with Won and heading home to drop Collin off. Whew, busy weekend, would have blogged yesterday but got stuck doing slave labor for my old neighbor, she needed a hand helping move and I'm not a person to say no.

Other things of interest, made the Sunday edition of the LA Times

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-op-warblogs5sep05,1,2718442.story

Sorry no book reviews today, not enough time, but reading Chapterhouse: Dune and A Prayer for Owen Meany at the same time. My reading has gone way down since I've come home but it's still heavier then most. Take care everybody!

Friday, September 03, 2004

A weekend of roadtripping with my son Collin

We're heading out to Arizona for my Grandmothers 90th birthday party/family reunion, looking forward to seeing everyone that I haven't seen in a long time. So expect limited to no blogging till my return. Awesome plans, we're going to have a blast.

Also be trying out some new gear I picked up this week, a Canon Speedlite 420EX and a Canon Zoom Lens, EF 75-300mm 1:4-5.6 III. So expect lots of pictures sometime from the trip (after I get DSL back online) and a full review of my new toys. Take care everyone, it's time to hit the road my friend!

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Warblogging

I'm back, sort of, using dial up, sigh. Another week for DSL to get hooked up. That's not that big of a deal if I only had this blog but it makes posting pictures on the fotopage a huge time eating task. Oh well a job is never done.

I wanted to say a few words about CB from My War's blog going down following the story that NPR did on him. He had written in one of his earlier posts that he had started reading blogs just months prior to starting his own blog which translates into having not read the warbloggers that came out of OIF I. Those guys did everything possible to keep their identities secret, I knew Sean's full name from turningtables because he had left a comment on Salam Pax's fotopage. Not sure what he's doing these days though, he was my favorite warblogger out there in the early days of the war, pickings were slim, there was only a dozen or so out there at that time. Not one of the earlier milbloggers used his real name in association with is blog. Chief Wiggles had his name blurted out by the President on national TV, guess that counts as approval from the highest sources.

You could tell they were all paranoid about OPSEC. They talked about daily interactions with people, how things sucked in different ways, made fun of other bloggers camps, people in their stories were given descriptive names, pretty much a light hearted look at it all. Most of the very early milblogs were bright shinny people of somewhat higher rank then the average Joe. That gave an upbeat look at the war, mostly because they didn't have it as bad as some of the people that were directly in the front lines who didn't have an internet connection. Not that it was easy for them but they had different experiences. Enjoyable but not a full meal, you knew something was still missing.

Then Turningtables showed up, lower ranking Army Sergeant, not happy about being called away from his job and sent to war on the other side of the world (he wasn't in the front lines either). He was the disgruntled guy and people loved him, not a bad writer either, got a lot of people hooked on milblogs. We would sit around and read of his daily angst and be happy that we weren't him (note, my trip wasn't that bad at all and I think of it in a positive way). See, its easy believing someone's writing if he's miserable and has a good way with words. He was also the first milblogger to open up a comments section in Iraq. The fans from both sides of the spectrum flocked to his comments started interacting. Soon, it became a war zone which I think finally stopped him from blogging in the end. His words were raw, real and stuck. Finally I think he burned out from all the attention.

Back to CB, his writing was raw and right to the point; he barely had a censor in his own mind. He has the making of a great reporter, good eye for detail and you could visualize actually what he was going through by his words. Unlike the most of us, we're out here writing online textbooks, it's interesting but we haven't captured the soul of what's actually happening on the streets. Not that I actually experienced any interesting streets from the back of a 46. More of a different view of the battle field. My travels in Iraq were basically boring compared to his day to day life. He painted a picture that you couldn't forget but his pictures were too good and attracted more attention then any milblogger wants. I hope he pulls out of this alright and doesn't stop writing. After everything is said and done and he does sell a book, I'll be in line.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

a week of just chilling back

Almost a week without phone or internet! Sorry everyone, I'm still alive but haven't been able to get online because our phone isn't going to be turned on till Tuesday and our DSL isn't going up for another week. Other then that everything is going alright, moved into the new place and most of our gear is stowed away where it's supposed to go. Today we're doing 10 or so loads of laundry and I'm getting ready to go back to work tomorrow. Slightly hung over from a welcome home party that I went to last night. I have turned into a cheap drunk in the last seven months which I would say is a good thing, didn't take much to knock me out.

It doesn't seem like that much has changed since I left, every time I go out of the country I expect to come back to some great sweeping change but it never happens. There was some cool electronic gear that came out while I was gone and the rent has gone up on most of the housing off base. But not much else, I missed friends and they missed me and when we got together it was like I had never left. I'm glad to be back and will return to regular posting soon.