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.


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