Friday, December 30, 2005

Best Milbloggers of 2005

36 hours to vote for your favorite milblog over at Milblogging.com. Currently I'm sitting fat and happy at number 3 for Navy blogs which suits me just fine, fairly mundane and happy year. When the corpsman in bored, everyone is happy. All you need to do is sign up for an account and click on your favorites. Easy as that.

Who's on my favorite's list? Lt Smash, Michael Yon, Blackfive, Some Soldiers Mom, Lex, Greyhawk, Rusten Currie, Dude, Where's the Beach?, ArmyWifeToddlerMom and Major K to name some. If you vote or not, JP has a great collection in interesting milbloggers.

I didn't get squished!

After days of worrying about how I was going to get that 630 pound tool box out of the back of the truck, I rolled it off smooth as silk. I did spend an hour building a strong ramp before though. Now I just have to finish filling it up and cleaning the house before I cook the prime rib I got for Christmas from my mom and the turkey I got for 1.50 using the 15 dollar coupon I got from my partner in crime at work, Chris. Hope everybody shows up or we’re going to be eating leftovers for the next month!

Tragic, Dodger and I wish everyone a wonderful and happy new year, may the next one be better then the last or at least not suck too much!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A long weekend and what to do?

We’ve made it back to San Diego safe and sound and I have a four day weekend coming up and not too many plans other then a get together to with some friends to consume a prime rib I got for Christmas and a turkey left over from a gift certificate.

So I’m looking about the internet for cheap things to do in the area. We’ve spent our wad and other then cleaning, San Diego is too nice of a place to waste days off doing nothing.

Hmm, San Diego blog pointed me out to this excellent review. Heh, it’s too cold out to do that! Why did he put that out in December? That’s definitely a springtime story not that I would ever be caught doing that kind of stuff.

I’ve been known for my surf photography and the waves are going to be huge the next few days.

Wally tells of eight San Diego places to avoid, hmm, I've been to all but one of them. He does have a good list of Extreme Activites that include such cool things as Kayaking the La Jolla Caves, riding those Balloons I see over Del Mar every time I drive home from work or hang gliding over the naked folk by Blacks Beach. Some nice stuff over at Local Wally's.

I'm sure we'll figure out something, of course we could just vegg, it has been pretty busy around here and we do need to get ready for the honeymoon next months. Honeymoon you say? Where am I going? Alas, I can not speak of it at this time, but I will try to keep posting when we get there. Operational security and all of that jazz.

Happy New Years everyone!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Tool Box Odyssey

After spending a week with my son in Arizona it was time for the homeward journey.

This is where the odyssey of the the tool box started. From 1999 till 2001 I was out of the military and working as a Mechanic. The biggest goal of a starting out Mechanic is not fixing cars, it’s gathering tools. I started with a couple of small tool boxes on a rolling stand, one day our local Snap-On sales devil came by with a 20 year old Snap-On tool box which he was willing to take payments for (on hindsight I should have just bought the 700 dollar Costco one). When I got it, my tools filled it up about half way, each payday being the pack rat that I am, I added a tool here, another there and in seeming no time. I had filled it to the brim.

For a time I was a happy camper but unknowingly to me, I was an unhappy camper and needed more. After a year of funneling my money towards the Snap-On guy, he was starting to figure me as an easy mark. He pulled in one day with a brand new tool box, cherry colored, unlike any other Snap-On tool box ever made, it had a wireless remote and alarm system! This box had been damaged in shipping and a corner was buckled up but Clayton said he would take 2000 dollars off the asking price and throw in a stainless steel top. I was sold…

That tool box was my bride, I loved the damn thing. For 6 months I was an extremely happy mechanic then September 11 happened and caused me to question my life. I had a way cool tool box, a nice job with people I liked but it felt like I wasn’t making a difference in the world so I came back in.

This left my tool box in limbo, as much as I love my mom, she doesn’t show the same values as I do and would have sold it for 500 bucks (or given it away like my first edition comic books to the next door neighbor kid). My suburban is big but even with the wheels off of the tool box, it wouldn’t fit in the back. I thought of my dad but he didn’t have the room, then I thought of old coworker/uncle’s brother in law Jimmy. When I was going to school in Phoenix, I worked at a place called The Thing Shop for my uncle. I made convertible tops and seats for VW Things, Jimmy worked across this table from me and had the most immaculate tool box (he secretly waxed his tool box when people weren’t looking). Jimmy had a high respect for tools and a 3 car garage and most importantly, I trusted him. So I called him up and asked if he wanted a couple year loan of my baby.

4 years pass (3 of those paying off the tool box), the first place I lived were the barracks, then to a couple of apartments, no place I would trust to keep my tool box. Finally I’m married and living in a nice place with a two car garage down in San Diego and it's time to reunite with the Box. Jimmy deliveres the tool box to my uncles and we loaded it up in the back of my pickup with a forklift.

Collin and I drove back trying to get an early start because I wasn’t sure if the truck would fit in the garage with the tool box in back of it. The plan was to go to Home Depot and buy the wood to make a ramp to off load it (with the stainless steel top it weights 630 pounds). Got home 15 minutes after they closed and found out that yes, it does fit in the garage (whew!) Will post pictures of the offloading (if I don’t get squished) but first have to give the son a ride up to Sacramento then have Christmas dinner with Heathers family.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Holidays around Prescott

My son and I are road tripping around northern Arizona (lovely wife has to work, sigh) Visiting the family and staying at my moms house. Our mornings have been taken up with different construction jobs and nights with visiting friends, relatives or shopping. Yesterday I put a roof on a garage and my son dug holes for my mom.
Last night we went out Christmas shopping. Thursday we’re heading down to Phoenix to see my dad and uncle Larry and pick up my tool box (if it fits in the truck).

Today I went out to lunch with fellow blogger Some Soldiers Mom

and her husband at the Iron Springs Café and they showed me their house afterwards. I’ve lived in Prescott most of my adult life and the view from their balcony is the best one I’ve see of Thumb Butte anywhere (big mountain that sticks up like a thumb, here's the picture).


Fellow milbloggers, if you haven’t met these two, you’re missing out. Good people, some of the nicest folk I’ve met in a while. Another plus to being a milblogger, you get to meet a lot of great people. Now when's our next West Coast milblog meet up?

Well I’m at my sister’s house and she just got done feeding my new nephew so it’s time to hang out with them. Merry Christmas all!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Night of Stories

My wife’s grandfather is down visiting for the weekend, he’s a retired Marine with 30 years worth of stories. A Veteran from WW2 at Midway, the Korean War, he was at the Chosin Reservoir and Vietnam till 1968, he’s been in the shit. Last night we went out to dinner with him, her uncle and aunt, pretty good time. Grandpa Ken is staying at our house for the weekend and the others are staying at a hotel. We got home from dinner last night and had 3 hours of story time where my wife and I were entranced. I’ll have to get some of these together and put them on my blog (and take more notes next time he talks). He’s a bottomless source of information and I wish he lived closer, it’s amazing listening to his stories. Needless to say, I think I’m very blessed with the new family.

My son is flying in tomorrow and I’ll be making a trip out to Arizona with him on Sunday, lovely wife is stuck here next week doing slave labor, so it will just be the boys. The holidays are here and it’s time to make the best of them!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 12, 2005

My confession

Confessions of a Military Recruiter did a post where he's talking about enlisting recruits with law violations, on this note, I have my own confession to make.

When I originally enlisted in '91, I had one of those law violations, namely, Trespass on Town Property, my best buddy and I and his 11 year old little brother snuck into the community pool in the middle of the night. His little brother didn’t even want to go but we dragged him along anyway. Next thing we knew we were in the town slammer with my irate mom taking charge of us and a court date in a couple of months. When the date arrived, the judge said to my buddy “do you have anything to say?” And he said “no Sir”, I came up and he asked me the same thing and I replied, “Sir, we’re both going into the Navy in a few weeks and if we get charged with this, it will affect our entire life for basically pool hopping. In a couple of weeks we could both be gone and you will never have to see us again.” So he dropped all charges and said if he ever saw us again, he was going to throw the book at us. Meanwhile the little brother went to Juvenile court and was found guilty of trespass and had to do a hundred hours of community service. Poor kid, I still feel a bit of guilt about that but it is ironic.

Don't forget, fast feet and a quick tongue can get you out of most things. Keep your head on your shoulders.

Oh yeah, I think that was my idea.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Tagged... Five Weird Habits

Some Soldier’s Mom has tagged me... and I'm supposed to describe Five Weird habits I have... I have many more then five of them but these are the ones that are popping up right now.

1. I’m like a boy scout when it comes to my suburban, it’s always prepared for anything, if the end of the world is about to happen, I’m the person to be with (in my big old suburban). I’m usually carrying around enough tools to make a small car from scratch, rebuild a computer or set up my own battlefield hospital.

2. I curl up into a ball when I sleep, my wife says I also hum songs and talk, I don’t know about that but have been known to snore.

3. I read way too much, I’ve sat in one spot reading for 24 hours before, I’ve got a life recently and have been hanging out with my wife so my reading has gone to hell. I feel like Thurgood on the last line of Half Baked.

4. Multitasking when I drive, I get bored driving, I like using those glass wipes to clean while I‘m in motion, I want to talk to people on the phone, I like NPR and Audio books to keep my mind occupied, I wish I could read and drive at the same time but would probably cause me to die in a fiery crash, I used to be a fast driver but driving a really slow suburban has cured that from me.

5. I get compulsively addicted to things, the real reason I stayed away from TV for so many years is I don’t want to get attached to shows, stick with reading I say, it's easy to keep a book in your pocket. I’ve had the problem lately of my wife introducing me to these awesome shows in sly ways (you know? Slipping them underneath my defenses.) Hooking my like a fat fish, this week it’s the Showtime’s Dead Like Me. Sigh! Enjoying the show though:)

I’m not going to press this forward but it is a good tag.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Bloody Mary’s

I’m reading the late Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt and I’m surprised how alike we look at the world. We’re both slackers about deadlines and make fun of everything. I was particularly struck by one chapter that he talks about only ordering Bloody Mary’s in Airports, which happens to be my flying drink of choice along with my old flight surgeon, Bruce and a number of other medical people I work with. But yet we never drink them anywhere else. Why is that?

This book is a compilation of notes taken off of the numerous Mac’s Douglas owned over the years and put together by the who’s who of his life. Salmon dives deep into the strange psyche of this master storyteller and gives us the reader a brief glimpse at what makes him tick. This book is about Douglas the man, not the author of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and as much as I love the Hitchhikers series, I’m more impressed with him now. If you’re a fan or not, I highly recommend it.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Christmas fun anyone?

This Santa game is just wrong, don't play it, really I mean don't play it! (now why can't I stop playing it?)

When I grow up, I want lights like this on my house for Christmas.

Thanks for sharing these with me B

If you don’t agree with us we’re going to beat you

Paul Mirecki, University of Kansas religious studies professor, had a course scheduled to start this spring called “Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies”. Instead on Monday he got ran off the road and beat by two men in a large pickup truck. Guess these thugs were supporters of “Intelligent Design”.

Professor Mirecki has given in to these thugs and has since resigned as the Chairman of the department of Religious Studies (my wife minored in that subject at San Jose State) and asked the university to cancel the spring class. Is this any different from the folks that scare people away from polling booths because they don’t agree with them? Fundamentalists of any sort that act this way are repugnant, how many steps are they away from bombing abortion clinics or the terrorists that lay road side bombs? The same thought process is there. What ever happened to turn the other cheek?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Congrats Sis

This morning I was working at a cell phone dead spot and my sister left me this message....

“Hi Sean, it’s your sister Sarah, you’re an uncle again, little Mason Drake was born at 12:25 this morning and he’s 9 pounds 6 ounces and 21 inches long and he absolutely beautiful so I’m calling to let you know that the baby’s here. Hope things are going well talk to you soon, goodbye!”

Look forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks, good job!

Monday, December 05, 2005

So what's up with blogger tonight?

My blog has been my main launch page for a while but something seems to be wrong with blogger this evening. So I'm just chilling here with the beautiful lady and putting up the Christmas tree and lights to outside of the house and chilling I am, it's 41 degees out! What's up with that? I thought I was in San Diego, not the arctic. It's not my fault that some of you guys live in places where it Snows! I've been spending so much time over the last few years in hot desert temperatures, I'm used to the heat. I feel for the guys that come back from Iraq into the snow and ice of the north.

Hey blogger is up again but my love has just turned on The Triangle, yes Michael I am now rotting my brain out but it's looking pretty good so far:) For a non TV watcher I seem to be watching a lot of TV lately. It must be that TV drought I've forced on myself for the last half decade, making up for a little bit of lost time.

Back to the show...

Oh if you need to repent online, there is now igod, check him out.

5 things

AFSister has tagged me with answering 5 things you probably don't know about me

I’ll go for the easiest one first, my first car was a 1978 Chevette, primer gray, bought it when I was 15 for 500 bucks doing lawns one summer, had it for 3 years and it was one of my favorite cars.

I was married for 5 years to a girl named Lisa. Sort of a shotgun wedding, we have an 11 year old son named Collin. She’s remarried with another child and we’re getting along good these days.

I have a associates degree in Autotronics from Arizona Automotive Initute which I don’t use very much anymore but do have a really cool (but expensive) Snap On tool box.

I used to be one of those crazy rock climbers, have got slow, fat and weak in my old age.

My wife found me through Webcrawler looking for Penpals in Iraq and her first comment on my blog was “I can’t believe you can read in the back of a helicopter, I get sick trying to read in a car”. If you're looking for military penpals check out Soldier's Angels, Books for Soldiers or Adopt a Platoon.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Source of Ebola Virus Found

Researchers in the Congo have identified three species of fruit bats that are acting as the reservoir for the Ebola virus. Twenty-two percent of the bats tested were found positive for genetic traces of virus. Even more interesting is that this produced no symptoms in the infected bats. This has been driving scientists nuts for a while and for good reason, in 1976 it appeared in 55 villages near the head waters of the Ebola river killing 9 out of every 10 people infected.

When people catch Ebola, it's like wildfire, killing a lot of people really quick but burning itself out before it is able to spread very far. AIDS on the other hand, stays in your system without disabling you allowing you to go about you life infecting people for years and years before it kills you off, that is if it kills you off. People are surving longer new medical treatments.

Back to Ebola, the identification of bats as the natural reservoir offers an excellent explanation of how the virus appeared simultaneously in those 55 villages in 1976 and puts part of that mystery to rest. What does this mean? Just interesting I guess, I've watched too many Discover Channel and National Geographic specials about Ebola growing up.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

An uncounted blessing

A little over a month ago, I caught some sort of bug and spent a week lying in bed reading and watching the tube. My wife would come home from work, make me some soup and turn the TV to Charmed each night at 5 on TNT. Me being the loving husband that I am, didn’t argue and let her have control of the remote. As it turns out, TNT plays 2 hours of charmed each week night. Not a show I would normally watch but after watching 10 episodes that week, I returned to work the week following and found myself coming home from work and plopping down on the couch next to my wife to see what the Halliwell’s were up to that day. Over the period of a month and a half, I think we went through the better part of 4 seasons at two episodes a night (not including watching the current episodes on Sunday night).

The day before yesterday, we got back from Arizona following a seven day fast away from the sisters (they were playing golf on Tuesday and Wednesday on TNT last week, bastards!) Got home from work, we made a mad rush to the couch and clicked on channel 27...

... Huh? Are they going through some kind of time loop? Everybody looked like they were still in high school. What’s Shannon Doherty doing on the series? Isn't she supposed to be on that 90210 show? All of the bad guys look like Power Rangers! Where’s my Paige? They had started the series over.

No! NO! Noooo! My wife has turned me into a Charmed junky!

While disappointed (and teary eyed), this has turned out to be a blessing in disguise, I am no longer wasting two hours each day watching the show and able to pull myself away and do other things around the house, perhaps even blog a bit more.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Thanksgiving and the Grand Canyon

Made a road trip over the holiday weekend with my wife and the new bug to Arizona for Thanksgiving with my mom and a very pregnant sister. Saturday made a side trip with my best friend Larry, his wife Jen and my other son Alec to the Grand Canyon, pictures here.

Great weekend, didn't cook a thing, slave labor for my mom was mild and did not involve injuring myself and Grand Canyon impressed the everyone that went (first trip there for all of them). Fairly packed weekend and I missed seeing some folk, hopefully get a chance to see them in December when I come out there with the first born

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Google searches

Okay, how in the heck did I become #1 on Google for "bossy cow syndrome"? So what if I called my mom a bossy cow, once! And I did tell her about it. (it was actually her brothers and sisters that called her that, I just put it on the blog). I'm not too worried about her reading this, the only time I've seen her on the internet is looking over my shoulder (I will laugh when she does find it). My other site is still number one for "Dustman" and I'm number 11 for "STELLA OBASANJO FORTUNE ". Thing about the internet and search engines is you have to be careful about what you write. Talk bad about someone and it will come back and bite you.

Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving! I'm off till Monday.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

I’ll be making a road trip to Arizona over the weekend and wanted to share a few things I am thankful for this holiday.

First off, I’m very thankful for my awesome wife. She has filled my life with wonder and joy, I don’t even know how I even survived before I met her. Each morning I wake up just to look at her for a minute and thank god for bringing her in my life (except for the other night when she tripped over that box in the middle of the night which made a huge racket and almost scared me out of my skin)

Second I would like to thank my very supportive family and friends who have stuck with me through thick and thin. Sometimes I wonder how I lucked out having such cool relatives (including my new ones on the wife’s side). I look forward to the fine fellowship we will be sharing this weekend.

Third, the brothers and sisters who have been on these globe hopping journeys with me and have put their lives on the line on my behalf, thank you. A little blood, quite a few beers, lot of sweat and much dust, each day we go forth and make history; one day in a far off future, historians will lay judgment on our work.

And finally thank you my readers who have stuck with me over the past 22 months, I know my politics are ambiguous at best, my writing mostly poor and my life lacking in any sort of excitement lately, thank you for sticking with me. Two hundred thousand plus visitors! This up coming spring, I’ll be journeying out to spend my third Easter in a row far far from home. I didn’t sign up to fight wars but I put my name on the dotted line to save lives and when my Marines go into harms way, believe me I’ll be there with them (keeping of course!)

Have a great turkey day everyone and be thankful for what you have.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I'm not sure I would have left the 8th grade

I've been watching CNN's coverage of Debra Lafave she's the 25 year old teacher accused of having sex with a 14 year old student. I bet the only regret that kid has is letting the cat out of the bag. I know I’ll probably get grief about saying this but a vast majority of males have had fantasies about hooking up with a hot teacher. What’s going to happen next? Playboy center fold?

(note: I'm very happily married and wouldn't trade my wife for a 1000 Debra's. In theory I think what Debra did is wrong because she was in a teaching position but I think punishment should match the injuried parties not the crime itself and unless his parents are forcing him to say Debra is evil, he's not going to say it. Why do you think this didn't go to trial?)

Time to Nominate the 2005 Weblog Awards

Once again it's time for everyone to put in their nominations in for the best of the blog-o-sphere for the 2005 Weblog Awards, Kevin of Wisbang gathers the nominations for 37 categories and then the voting starts on December 1st. There's even a spot for best military blog! There's two more days to nominate your favorite blog.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

This American Life does Milbloggers

The title of this weeks show is called "Strangers In a Strange Land" and can be found on the This American Life website and broadcast somewhere between Nov 18-20th on your local NPR station. There are pieces from Colby Buzzel of My War, Trueman Muhrer-Irwin of Rebel Coyote, he was injured in November 2003 by one of the early IED's, Capt Chuck Ziegenfuss of From My Position... On the way! and Michael from A Day in Iraq. The online version should be up in a couple of days and I'll be listening.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Out with the old...




The car my wife has been driving around for the last 5 years just breathed it’s last breath and we’re donating her organs to charity. She was an old friend who had brought Heather and I together (but old and ugly as dirt). It was sad to see her go and my lovely wife shed tears when she turned her in. But like all good things, it was time to move on.

Her dad has been picking on her for years over her crazy love for boxlike Oldsmobile’s and I think between her dad and I, we have broken her of this twisted love.

She’s been admiring a certain kind of car for years, the image of this vehicle has been floating around in the back of her head. After mooning and fantasying about this for all this time from afar, she’s now the proud owner of ....

...a 2002 Electric Green Volkswagen Beetle Turbo S!

This is the newest car either of us have owned, drives nice and it even has this cool rear spoiler that pops up at 30 miles per hour to hold it down around corners.

Love you Pumpkin and I'm just glad to see the smile on your face, good choice, there isn't a car that fits anyone better then this one does you.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Saturday at Knott's

I have a secret to tell, my wife has never been on a big roller coaster so last Saturday we gathered up 2 of my nieces and made a road trip to take advantage of the Knott’s Berry Farm’s, Tribute to Veterans, good deal, with a military ID, you and a guest get in for free from November 1st till the 24th. Her car had just decided to take a dump so we were stuck driving up there in my extended cab S-10, not the best road trip vehicle but it's only an hour drive away (the burbin is polky).

Got there and it was packed, we ended up parking at the far side of the parking lot. We started off slow to get a feel of the place with the log ride and I said, "lets go on the next ride down this way…."


Which was this ride called the Supreme Scream, a 254 feet tower that drops you at 50 miles per hour while your feet dangle over nothing. Me and my younger niece Stephanie used peer pressure to get her sister Kate to go, the lovely wife showed no fear at all.

That is, till we were about half way up and she said “Sean, I am now having a panic attack”, saying this took us almost to the top where the ride stopped and I replied, “I think they heard you and stopped us” Woosh we fell down and there was screaming.

It actually was a bit spooky, once down on the ground, Kate spent a few minutes punching Steph and I in the arms.


Next stop was the Xcelerator, a O to 82 mph in 2.3 second ride. The line was huge and we stood in it for 45 minutes and were right up next to the gate when the ride broke. Figures.

This is where the wife put down her foot and wanted to go on a kiddy ride. Alright (silent sigh), we went over to Fiesta Village where they had a ride called the Hat Dance (like tea cups but with a huge Mexican hat on top), does the same thing spins about a big circle and you can turn the wheel to spin it faster. And we did. We were hungry but that soon went away and we stumbled around till we somehow ended up being steered into a ride called Montezooma’s Revenge which was Heather’s first loop to loop roller coaster. Yes, we all screamed.


Now we were ready for anything and anything was a ride called The Silver Bullet (my name sake) which opened up last Christmas, a huge inverted roller coaster that can stand head to head on anything I’ve ever been on (maybe not X at 6 Flags but it is close). Of course there was more screeming.

Couple more rides after that but they were mostly slower rides. Had a great time, might go up there again soon.

Kara and David

What a train wreck, I’ve been reading the blogs of David Ludwig and Kara Beth Borden. While interesting, what is more interesting is the takes of all of the friends on their buddy lists. From people that worked with David, went to bible study with both of them, friends that live down the street and heard the shooting, show’s how interconnected everything is getting these days.

What went wrong here? Sad and dumb. Show’s anybody is capable of this kind of craziness. Two nice kids, hormones and a single moment of emotion cut a huge swath right down the middle of this Christian community. I don’t feel guilty about posting their blog addresses, David has already had 92 thousand visitors in the last two days, I don’t think my 200 or so is going to add much.

Here's some people that know them from Lancaster (work, friends, church) and some other home schoolers with Xanga sites that have posted about this, Ryan, Cristen, Matthew, Jess, Zachary, Kayla, Jessica, Phil and Ryan. Please don't go to these pages and flame these poor kids.

update: Kara's Xanga and myspace site have been pulled, guess she's back on line. Her best friend Kayla's Xanga has also been shut down.

update number 2: To those still following this story, OptyMyst has started a blog focused on Kara and David. Good foot work!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

If this blog were a car, it would be time for a replacement

My sitemeter sometime today is going to roll over the 200 thousand mark! Unlike the first hundred thousand, I did the second without the AP sending 70 thousand visitors over at me in one weekend. Wonder how many Matt, Chuck and Greyhawk get everytime they get a story gets written about their site? They're all over the news.

Plan on heading up to Knott's Berry Farm tomorrow, every year as far back as I've been in, they've had at least one month, every year, Free for the Military, Seaworld does it too. You'll never see anything like coming out of Disneyland or Six Flags, it would spoil their bottom line. Have a great weekend every one, don't forget why you're getting this long weekend and how many people gave up their lives so you can enjoy it.

PS we're still ahead of the Army guys, keep up the good work!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Valour-IT update

Looks like we've sunk the HUGE Army team again!
Couple more days of poking fun at our sister services for a good cause, if you haven't met Chuck of TC Override, he was injured in Iraq and lost use of his hands (for a while anyway) project Valour-IT started when he put a request on his blog for someone to donate voice recognition software for his laptop and Soldiers' Angels took the idea and ran. Today his wife Carren was interviewed on MSNBC and the video is already on the web, good job Carren, way better then me!

Thank you to everyone who has donated, we've surpassed our goal and spread the word and I’m sure there are some happy campers at Walter Reid, we know Chuck is.

Happy Birthday Marines

230 years ago during the American Revolutionary War, a resolution of the Continental Congress resolved to raise two battalions of men who were to be used as landing troops for the newly created Continental Navy. These gentlemen were called the Continental Marines. Every year since that date on November 10th, Marines gather around and pay tribute to a long legacy of steely eyed warriors. Months are spent getting ready, chow halls serve lobster and steak, dress uniforms have been dry cleaned and large amounts of money have been dropped on the mounting medals and buying ball gowns for dates. This is the event that every Marine looks forward to.

The Marines are world renowned as “America’s 9-1-1 Force” and over the last few years have re-enforced that image. Whatever the problem, they have proved that they are the premier fast-response task force, from house to house combat in Iraq to providing humanitarian assistance to thousands of people in the wake of the South East Asian tsunami, when called, they have been there and will continue setting a standard of excellence second to none.

Happy Birthday Marines!

Semper Fi

Saturday, November 05, 2005

It's my Birthday today!

I'm 33, it was also my wife's birthday on Halloween, actually started feeling a bit better today, hopefully I'll be well enough to work on Monday. Not that I don't love lying about in bed all day but it's much more fun when I'm not coughing up large chunks of lung butter and having crazy fever dreams. Root canal, pneumonia, Heather's car went poop for a couple of days, had a staph infection on my eyebrow, oh wait didn't write about that on the blog. Yeah a while back ago, part of my eyebrow rotted off, just a small part. So in case you meet me in person some time in the future and I tell you some crazy war story about a knife fight with a bad guy in Iraq to explain the ugly scar, just tell me I'm full of it.

It has been a crazy month but I'm just thankful to be married to my wonderful wife. I could search for a 1000 years and not find someone that suits me as well as her. So even being sick, I couldn't be happier.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Project Valour-IT is back in time for Veterans Day

Notice there’s a HUGE button on the top of my sidebar. The lovely Mrs. Smash is leading the fund raising drive for the Navy Team and we’re blowing all of the other services (scroll down to the bottom to see the current numbers) out of the water which I think is odd considering Army milblogs out number the Navy 6 to 1. If you haven’t read up on Project Valour-IT, they provide voice recognition laptops to troops who have lost use of their hands in combat. Veteran’s Day is coming up, let these Vet’s know that we haven’t forgotten about them. It's a tax-deductible donation and eligible for employer matching funds.

Greyhawk has the numbers, a post everyone should read (even though he's leading the Air Force team)

Matt from Blackfive is leading the huge Army team

Holly Aho is leading the Marines which I almost joined but that would look bad because I'm still a squid

Lex wants your five dollars

Donors may also send in donations to:

Soldiers AngelsValour-IT Fund
1792 East Washington Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91104

Good cause and I know I would like to have a voice activated laptop if I get my hands chopped off on my next trip out there!

Update Saturday night (it's my birthday too!)

Sgt Hook is going to needs 2 dollars from everyone if he plans on closing the 1200 dollar gap with the Navy. And the Marine team isn't above using bribery! I'm going to go pop some meds and hit the sack, have a good weekend!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Blah, nothing going on here

I’m trying to come up with a post but my brain has been stuck in la la land from a couple of different sources. Couple of pounds of snot clogging up my head and lungs and some very snazzy medications that my kind doctors kindly given me have mushed out all of my higher thought processes. The only thing going on in my life has been going up and down the stairs and running out of breath that goes with that. My laptop is still on the fritz and I’m not going to tackle that job on narcotics. I can tell you when I started feeling sick the first time around, on the 9th of October, I went out boogey boarding with my sisters boyfriend (also took some cool surfing pictures) that night I developed a low grade fever and sore throat. The next weekend was laid up and was better the week following till this sickness showed up last Saturday.

Guess this has been a pretty bad week, my wife’s car took a dive and I was unable to work on it (every time I bent over my head felt like an over full water balloon). So we brought it in and discovered that she had a cracked sparkplug from her tune up 6 months ago (no I didn’t do it). But for two days she got to drive my diesel suburban, she’s the first person other then me to drive it. It’s big and oh so slow, I was afraid for her and every other driver on the road. She did great and didn't run over anybody.


I’m going to try going back to work in the morning (fingers crossed), hopefully this isn’t some evil spell set on my by an ex.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

It's Halloween and if you sound like Darth Vader...

….something is very wrong.

I got over that horrible cold a couple of weeks ago, my house was decorated with a bunch of Halloween stuff and I was expecting to have a great weekend. Mine and Heather’s birthday is coming up this week so we decided to throw a Halloween/birthday party with everybody dressing up. Instead of this well thought out plan, I started feeling froggy and feverish that morning, by the time of the party, I could only handle 2 beers and wasn’t in the party mood (the party did go over well though). Sunday rolled around I was laid out in bed.

Go to work on Monday, my head was feeling like a balloon with a marble rolling around inside. I leave the building every time I have to cough bits of lung butter. Yes I was paranoid about washing my hands and using hand sanitizer but my coworkers couldn’t hide their sigh of relief when I went home a bit early. It’s Halloween night and also my brides birthday, our first birthday together as a married couple. I’ve discovered something that sucks about having your birthday on Halloween, it’s difficult to make dinner plans and give out candy at the same time.

I wake up Tuesday morning to my bride telling me I’ve kept her up all night with my hacking and loud breathing. At work they kick me out and tell me to go to sick call and when I step in the exam room, the corpsman there tells me that I sound like Darth Vader. Great, the Doctor spends a few minutes listening to my lungs and sends me over to X-ray where we discover that I have pneumonia that can even be seen by my untrained eye from across the room. I am told to go directly home force fluided and given some heavy duty antibiotics and a goodie bag full of other get well meds.

It’s Wednesday and I’ve been lying here on the couch, still sound a bit like Darth but breathing a bit easier. Hopefully I’ll be better soon. Free medical kicks butt.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Radical Wackos

Has anyone noticed that there seems to be a worldwide movement of radical Muslims against any religion that isn’t theirs or against other Muslims that aren’t radical enough? 3 school girls beheaded? What’s image does that put out to the world.?

“Look, my religion says it’s alright to be serial killers and behead young girls”


India and Pakistan have opened up the border in 5 places, something war hasn’t been able to do in decades. The prospect of peace upset the terrorists so much that they immediately set off 3 bombs in New Delhi that killed 62 people.

The president of Iran wants to wipe the Jews off the map and at the same time wants the peaceful use of nuclear power. Wasn’t he identified as one of the guys that took over the American embassy in 1979 for 444 days?

The Pentagon just let out the numbers of how many Iraqi’s have been killed by insurgents, 26,000 killed since January 1st, 2004. That doesn’t include the numbers killed by coalition forces. That’s 13 times the number of Americans killed.

There are many out there preaching for peace but the people that we’re fighting don’t want peace, they want a world wide revolution and chaos. Burn all of the books, death to infidels, women are traded for sheep and stoned on a regular basis. Every inch we give them, they’ll take and crush the opposition. If you don’t agree…

Off with your head!

Does that sound familiar?

I’m all for staying at home and doing peaceful non wartime activities. I don’t agree with our reasoning behind going into Iraq and I’m not afraid to admit it. But the only thing that will be accomplished by backing out now will be to let the radical wackos to take over and isolating ourselves from the rest of the world.

We’re needing out there. Tsunami, Pakistan earthquake, our own hurricane. Every time there is a fire in the world, who are you going to call? We are not only the police, we’re the firefighters too. We're the largest fastest rapid response force in the world and I don't remember the last time we said no to relief effort for a desaster. Have you heard of a single radical that lifted a hand to help? These aren't good people.

I don't want these wackos taking over a house, let alone a country. They don't do anything for the common good and even if I wasn't in the US Military. They would love to lop off my melon just because I'm not one of them.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Blocking of Commercial Email

The Navy and Marine Corps as of 18th of October has blocked all overseas access to commercial email accounts from government computers. Which I thought was going on the last time I was over in Iraq but we had an internet café on base that was run by a civilian company. But from what this article says, they’re also blocking the same sites at MWR’s and Libraries. I’ve had my same hotmail account since the early 90’s when they first started and have since moved all of my emails (except for work) to some form of internet based email. Not that I didn’t like my service providers but I moved around too much and changing email addresses every year or so wasn't worth the grief. It was too much of a hassle to change my email addresses for 200 or so people and all of my bills.

The problem I see with this is the last time I went over there the junior Marines didn’t have personal email access through a mil account and the Marines on the ground doing the house to house rarely saw a “work” government computer, just the computers at the internet cafes. If hotmail, gmail and yahoo’s of the world are cut off, what forms of contact with the outside world do they have? Plus most of them don't have the paid accounts with the storage, the accounts are sure to lock up after filling up with spam which I know will take a day or two just to get back in order upon return stateside.

Yes, I know, we’re a bunch of wusses compared to even a decade ago when hardly anyone had email and the only written communication was with pen and paper. I'm sure there are old farts that are thinking “back in the day we didn't have any of that…” Well we’re not back in the day, we’re today and most of us military folk are now high speed, low drag, internet surfing, blogging, emailing geeks who do everything; pay bills, entertain ourselves, write letters, fall in love and out of, watch stocks, live, though this medium. Being stuck with one email account that will be shut down following the deployment? Sounds like a nightmare for us that live and breath online.

No more emails from Stella

Maybe I’m one of the few close dear friends of Stella Obasanjo, you see we've been sharing emails back and forth ever since she offered to share her fortune with me. You ask, who is Stella Obasanjo? She's the troubled wife of the Nigerian president. In late 2001 after that Towers Towers event, she started sending me these desperate emails, saying that she wanted to leave her husband and asking if I (being total stranger at the time), could help her. Each morning I would come to work eagerly, hoping my ship had came in and she would be sitting at my desk with a suitcase full of cash and plane tickets to Fiji and we could ride off into the sunset (of course I dropped these dreams once I met my beautiful wife).

All I need to do for eternal love and wealth is hold her money in my account, oh what bliss, free money!

I still had fond memories and would have enjoyed introducing her to my wife (who would have also been glad for the excess cash but not the sharing of my body), but now those dreams have been dashed for she passed away at the tender age of 59 from complications undergoing plastic surgery in Spain. Guess my ship isn't going to come in (well, that ship anyway).


(In case you don't know what I'm talking about look here)

Friday, October 21, 2005

Burning of Bodies

To say I’m mildly upset about the military burning bodies of the Taliban fighters is an overstatement. The Taliban have no respect for any other religions, I remember back in 2001 before 9/11 when they blew up the Buddha’s of Bamiyan, these were 1800 years old statues and the largest examples of carved Buddha's in the world. These guys aren’t getting my pity about religious rights. Well, maybe once they learn the meaning of religious tolerance and start practicing it, I’ll start caring. I've been searching my mind and the internet trying to find one good thing they've done and I haven't come up with anything, well anything redeemable. Yeah I know we're supposed to be the good guys, but I can't help it if I don't feel bad about burning a bunch of dead jerks.
(update)
According to Jason at CounterColumn and what I've read the Geneva specifically allows for the cremation of enemy dead for reasons of hygiene. (hat tip Mike)

Concerts and Hurricanes

Couple of months ago, my wife bought us a set of tickets to see Gwen Stefani and Black Eyed Peas. Gwen puts on a good show, two concerts this month, saw Green Day and Jimmy Eat World a couple of weeks ago. Good stuff!

Spending this weekend at home cleaning and decorating for Halloween, my wife’s a Halloween baby and my birthday is a few days after, might have a little get together next weekend. We’re both over our sickness and getting into the holiday footing.

Watching Wilma lately?
Weather is going crazy down there, strongest hurricane to ever hit the Atlantic basin. Which still makes it the tenth most intense storm in the world, the number one slot goes to Typhoon Tip in 1979, it was so big that if it had hit the US it could have touched both Mexico and Canada. Now that would be a nightmare.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Milblogging news

New post from Eric of Dagger Jag, it's been 10 months since he's posted and will the wonders never cease? Sgt Hook posted too! Eric is from the same batch of OIF 2 milbloggers that sprung me out and Sgt Hook is one of the original crew, looks like they're both getting back in the game. Other news, T-bone and Risawn have some great pictures to prove to the rest of us that it's way cooler to take R&R in Europe (T-bone has some good points about Rome that I over looked when I was doing pro's and con's in my vacation hunting equation). Thunder6, Sgt Long, Phil, Ma Deuce Gunner, Steven Kiel and Major K all offer their views direct from the ground in Iraq following the election. Myself? I've been laid up with SARS or avian bird flu all weekend. Hardly made it out of bed. Airshow I was supposed to work? The closest I got to seeing planes were the shadows going by the window, hopefully I'll be better soon.

Chair-Force?

I usually don't make fun of other services because I usually end up having to work with them so instead I'll let them do it. Chair-Force is written by an Ex Senior Airman who pens himself Joethefat. I was at an Airforce base for 3 years, how in the heck did I miss this guy? Funny stuff, over 4000 members on his message board and a healthy following of junior Airforce folk.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Just Another Soldier

Jason Hartley does NPR, good interview, check out his book, Jason was one of the brightest milbloggers coming out of Iraq till his blog was pulled, looking forward to reading it after I finish Robert Jordan's, Knife of Dreams.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

What does NAVY stand for?

I heard this back in 91 when I was going through boot camp, Never Again Volunteer Yourself, well yesterday, I lifted my right hand and said these words

I, Sean Dustman, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

Volunteering myself for another 4 years of Naval service. It’s been sort of a rough week for me, my laptop has temporarily (I hope) kicked the bucket (yes thousands of pictures are on it), I have caught some sort of horrible upper respiratory infection that is causing me to rot away (I passed it on to my lovely wife, so she’s rotting too) and had the second part of my root canal on Tuesday, (the one where they get a bunch of 21 millimeter files and scrub out the inside of the tooth all the way down to the root, fill it back in with a hot glue gun and tell me to come back for a filling next week, blah). Hopefully I didn’t suffer brain damage from being unable to breath during the procedure but I’m glad the worst of it is over.

My doctor sent me home this morning with a sack full of meds, mumbling something about getting all the patents sick so I’m at home lying in bed with my wife who called in sick today. Hopefully I’m somewhat better by tomorrow, 3 long days ahead. Have been volun-told to work the Miramar Air Show this weekend. We show up at 5:30 in the morning and usually don’t get out of there till 7 PM or so. Hopefully I don’t become a casualty!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Where do you find a 6 foot tall Thai guy?

Went to the movies tonight and caught Serenity once more and the house was full, 20 or so empty seats in the house! Saw a great preview of the movie Jarhead, one of the best previews I have ever seen, my wife asked if they made a movie of my life over there who would play her? I said Gwen Stefani of course and she replied with “real life imitating art imitating life”. What would my story be called? Devil Dolphin!

Really, I’m a total geek and my life is beyond mundane, you can look at my book collection and see nerdness seeping off the shelves. I’m just glad I was able to find another nerd like me to share my life with.

I hate dental...

Back in one of my endless vacations to Iraq, I bit into a date and cracked a filling which caused this mind numbing pain which I resolved to take care of the next morning at dental. Next morning came about and there was no pain so I promptly forgot about it and went along with whatever kind of work I had made for myself. Half a year goes by and I’m getting ready to do my enlistment stuff, one of those little blocks is a dental screening which I was a little over due. So I went in there and they took X-rays and said, “Hey, you have a cracked filling here and from what it looks like on the X-ray, maybe a cavity underneath it”.

Okay, set myself up for an appointment to get it fixed and alas, I came back in at the appointed time. I’m sitting there in the waiting room waiting for my appointment and the dental tech calls me into the X-ray room for some more shots and passes me over to the X-ray tech.

The X-ray dude says to me, “Ahh, in here for a root canal?”

“Huh? Root canal? No just for a filling.”

“The guy that brought you in here is the root canal tech, everybody he brings in here gets a root canal or a root canal work up, which means you get a root canal.”

Suddenly the image in my mind of that nice fellow that brought me morphed into and executioner. Oh no, I’ve been brushing twice a day, flossing, all the things that you’re supposed to do!

The Root Canal tech came by and took me one of their dental rooms and lays me down in one of those futuristic chairs that holds your head below the rest of your body and the Dentist came in. Young guy, probably younger then me, he looks at the new X-rays and says “Yep, that cavity goes all the way to the nerve.”

So they stick that rubber wedge in my mouth and my mouth doesn’t open very far because of some genetic reason. So my mouth is opened to beyond what is humanly possible, they start putting little clamping things around the tooth then get a dental dam that separates that tooth away from the rest of my mouth and sticks this suction thing down my throat.

He turns on the drill and I spend the next hour or so trying not to choke while he and the tech jam out on the local rock station. Blood is rushing to my head, I can’t swallow and there’s a set of hands doing loud painful things in my mouth.

“UGH!!!” What the hell was that, he says, “just yanking out this nerve”. After a seeming eternity with more drilling, he puts in another clamp, steps back for 30 seconds then unclamps it and starts taking apart and removing what seems like a pile of torture instruments. At last the bite block comes out, oh sweet relief!

He says, “here is an appointment card to finish up the root canal”

“What? I need another root canal?”

“No we have to fill in this one and cap it.”

Arrrgghh! I’m all against torture but I think all we need to do to those insurgents is take care of all of their dental problems without telling them what is going on (sort of like what happened to me), they’ll be talking in no time. Just kidding, I don't really hate them, they did a good job but man oh man, ouch!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Published Milblogs

There’s a flood of War Memoirs coming out of Iraq over the next few weeks and NPR’s Talk of the Nation did an audio story with guests, Colby Buzzell of the blog, My War and book My War: Killing Time in Iraq (rank # 2703 at Amazon) and Nate Fick, Author of One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer (rank #364 at Amazon).

Another blogger whom I know personally is also coming out with a book. I met Jason Hartley the author of the blog called Just Another Soldier and the book that goes by the same name (#12,306 at Amazon, I'll be reading his before any of the others). We passed through the processing plant of Udairi Kuwait in March of 2004 at the same time. Before we even knew we were within a mile of each other he has already published a picture on his blog of me. I’m in the 6th picture from the bottom, the guy with the backpack and 9mm strapped to his leg. Jason’s blog was shut down right before we met and he was sending his posts out by email, eventually his commander found out about there and things went bad. Me unlike him, I had support for my fotopage and blog from my command, my pictures were cleared by the base PAO and I had a couple thousand or so hits a day on my fotopage just from family members who actually knew me.

I’ve never had any trouble with my blog from official channels but my story wasn’t very raw and you would have better luck with a crystal ball then getting OPSEC out of me. Most of my stories were very close and personal or very far away and out of my realm of influence, ponderings and such.

I’ve been asked by other parties about writing a book about my experiences but to claim that I did many things that were earth shattering and interesting would be a lie and the interesting things that I did do had lots of dead folk around, "Where's the fun in that?"

Some day I’ll dig down and raise those demons and maybe on that day I’ll start putting together my experiences into a book. But for now I am merely a blogger who has a couple of readers and compared to the quality of some of the other milblogs out there, still think I’m a lousy writer.

Just enjoy putting my thoughts down, maybe tell of what might be interesting that day, making me happy or ranting about something. Here and there I’ll throw my support behind some cause (such as Soldiers Angels or the movie Serenity) I believe in. Mostly this is a release of what's going on behind my eyes, my lack of blogging lately is probably due to the lack of emotional build up and I'm sure everyone out there is tired of stories of how much I love my wife. I’m not in this for money or for popularity, I just like the idea of being able to throw my unique voice out there in the wind and see what kind of response I get back. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Warming up

With warmer ocean temperatures and stories of melting ice caps, I would think the idea of living below sea level a bad deal. No matter what your thoughts on global warming are, the ice caps are melting and I’d side with a scientist any day over a politician concerning this stuff. Logic prevails because it’s just a matter of time before the next big one hits. Know what happens when ocean water warms up? Every degree of higher water temperature increases the potential for the formation of a hurricane and with greater sized areas of warm water, the hurricanes that are formed are sure to be large healthy beasts that, like Godzilla, will go over the works of man and toss them about like toys.

At least in California, all we have to worry about is earthquakes, wild fires or if you’re living on the edge of a cliff, your house mudsliding down the edge.

I wonder how much damage to the environment all of those trashed oil platforms are doing? Not to mention the loss oil production. If we had started drilling in the artic when they wanted to, instead of two birds in the bush, we would have the one in the hand.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Happy Birthday Mrs Smash






Went out for a little happy birthday get together with the Smashes, Joanie, Gracie, Dave, my wife and a mystery blogger who will not be named to BJ's Brewery.

We had pizza (which I've been making from scratch lately, mine might just be a little better) for dinner and for dessert a huge pile of ice cream on top of a pizza sized peanut butter chocolate chip cookie (a.k.a. love handle pie) , below is a picture of Mrs Smash making her wish "hmm, now what do I want?" (sorry couldn't find one where you didn't look silly ;-P)


Above is Gracie and my lovely bride.






As usual when we all got together a good time all around. Next event we our plan is to have Firefly playing in the background.

You see what bloggers are saying about Serenity? I'm not the only one out there that thinks it's the bomb Rotten Tomatoes as of right now is giving it a 86%, critics give it 78% and Users are giving it 93%. Not too shabby!

Orson Scott Card who is one of my favorite writers also has a few words to say about Serenity, what are you waiting for, go buy tickets.

Moment that touched me in the movie? The look on the face of the girl sitting next to us with tears running down her face reflecting the screen.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My totally shameless plug for Serenity

Updated:

(rewrite of a post I did Monday night)

I received an invite to preview Serenity a couple of days ago along with a hundred or so other San Diego bloggers and Browncoats. This might have been the biggest effort by a motion picture company to use bloggers get the word out before a movie. I know if you see it, you won’t be disappointed (well most of you anyway, there are some with an inborn dislike of Sci-Fi).

After being on the wrong side of a multiplanet wide civil war, Captain Mal Reynolds and his battle buddy Zoe, buy a ship from a junk yard, assemble a crew to run the beast which he names Serenity and they all set off to make money any way possible and in the process, try sticking it to the man any way possible (is it just me but does this remind anyone of Cowboy Bebop? Wonder if Joss ever saw that?)

From there and into the mind of Joss Whedon the show blossoms, tight plot line, the series runs like a dream. Each episode a work of art and now the movie Serenity which draws many of the mysteries to a close yet at the same time acts as a good welcome into the ‘Verse to the non-Browncoat. Each show can be a stand alone or as part of a bigger tapestry.

Action, comedy, a couple of romances that have been brewing, the movie will make you laugh and want to cry. The special effects, fight scenes, battles, the movie kicks some serious butt. Joss couldn’t have put the movie together any better. With a comparatively shoe string budget which is way more then he’s used to, he weaved magic. The movie meshes seamlessly with the series. Not that it isn’t great as a stand alone but after you are done seeing the movie, you’ll want to see the rest. At least you can fill your craving with a quick trip to the video store and 14 episodes later (800 minutes of Firefly total…) Afterwards, the question sure to pop up, when is he going to start the series again.

To show how much of a geek I am, I was the only one in the theater wearing a brown coat and I was with the cute pink haired girl.

Here are some other reviews if you don't trust me:

Massawyrm (I have to agree with Beth, this is the best damn review ever)
Beth
The Primary Main Objective
… (Heather and I sat next to Kevin)
LT SMASH (Scott was our Firefly Sacrificial Virgin, the only thing he knew about the movie was that it was free and a bunch of SciFi geeks were talking about it, good review)
Blackfive
Blogcritics (hat tip for some of these blogs from the great Blogcritic)
TBOTCOTW (The Blog of the Century of the Week)
Whitney Matheson, USA Today
ResurrectionSong
XDA
IMAO
Salt Lake City Weekly (MaryAnn Johnson)
Instapundit
The Vodka Pundit
Internet Freedom Trail
Game the World
Ga Mongrel
G. Bob's House o' Blog

"Fox, where good TV shows go to die." my wife 27 Sep 05.

Friday, September 23, 2005

What happened to Firefly?

In 2002 Fox pulled the plug on one of the best Science Fiction TV series ever made and there was a great sigh heard all around the world and grown men (and women) wept. Now it's time for the Brown Coats to rise again and join the crew of Serenity.

Joss Whedon, the Oscar® - and Emmy - nominated writer/director responsible for the worldwide television phenomena of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly has finally got his featured film directorial debut, Serenity. The film centers around Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a hardened veteran (on the losing side) of a galactic civil war, who now ekes out a living pulling off small crimes and transport-for-hire aboard his ship, Serenity. His crew is a bunch of under dog outcasts, complex, very human, flawed and will transport you to a dark existance 500 years into the future. I would be doing this amazing series a disservice by using my poor writing skills trying to explan the twists and turns that the crew go through or how tight the plot is plugged together. This is by far Joss's best work (sorry Buffy fans!)


If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out the Serenity Movie website. The TV series out on DVD in all of the stores and in less then a week, the rest of us are going to be flocking to the nearest movie theter wearing our trusty Brown Coats. The series has been my best entertainment buy this year, come out and join us on the 30th and you'll know why they can't take my land.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Sunday, September 18, 2005

How many times do you get a second chance in life?

I’ve been a constant visitor to New Orleans since the early 90’s, there are weeks of my life missing due to being extremely inebriated, I’ve been in every shop on the French Quarter but there have been times when I’ve become lost and suddenly within the passing of a street found myself transported into the twilight zone. I’m a person who’s been to house parties in South Central LA (admittedly completely out of his element), see the worst of what the West Coast has to offer, been shot at in Iraq and have never been as scared as I one time I turned down the wrong street in New Orleans. One morning after a night of good times, a couple of buddies and I were driving about checking out the sights without a map. Hung over from the night before, we weren’t at our sharpest, just turning down roads that looked interesting when we noticed that there was trash and broken tree limbs in the streets, boarded up windows and the normal sounds of traffic has faded. We’re driving down a street that’s wide enough to have five lanes but the paint is faded, there’s not another car on the street that’s moving. Huh? I look at my buddy in the passenger side seat and because I’m looking that way, I see a large group of black men pouring out of a house and running towards my car, some of them had bats in their hands. I stomp on the gas, my tires squeal and we’re gone. What in the hell was that? Between one heartbeat and the next, my safe world had changed, since that moment I’ve been watchful of where I go. I have developed a mild amount of paranoia about stepping into the unknown, especially in strange foreign cities.

I know Katrina cost countless people their livelihood, but for some folk who were living in that twilight zone existence, this might be a blessing. An opportunity to start fresh with no baggage, there’s an entire nation who’s willing to pull these people back into the light. I hope that neighborhood got washed away and there’s not one brick standing on another. I hope that the people who were living in that borderland place decide not to go back to New Orleans and take advantage of the help that is offered to start anew. I hope they’ve been scattered into the four winds so when I finally take my wife down there, which I will someday when they rebuild, I won’t have to worry about wandering into that nightmare neighborhood again.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Best of Craig's List

Craigslist is a great place to find deals on the internet or sell something. During the hurricane the site has gained much fame for helping find missing relatives, finding jobs of those misplaced, housing and has a nice list of Katrina support sites. Today I found the holy grail, if you haven't been reading the Best Of you're missing out, some good humor going on there. Warning not for the best materal for reading at work.

Other news, haven't been called up to go to New Orleans and discovered that my wife makes excellent Sweet Apple Pork Chops and her pumpkin pie with oreo crust sticks to my ribs in a unmilitary like manner. Must work out more.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I used to think Katrina was a cute name..

Like the days following 9/11, half of the country is glued to the news. Satellite pictures, blogs, weather channel, Fox and CNN, I’m starting to feel News Saturation sinking in again. Katrina has been the most documented natural disaster in history, satellite pictures up within a day, hourly accounts through blogs, personal photos, unlike 9/11, there was something new happening by the second. Stories of horror, miracles, anger and sadness, strangers showing goodwill, acting like animals, total chaos being rebuilt into a semblance of order. Clearly someone dropped the ball.

All of the different facets of the human condition seen in the past week. American government officials breaking down and crying for help on live TV, thousands of people saved from roof tops and a picture of a storage lot full of buses underwater. Hope dashed as levees started breaking in the middle of the night, a week later and 60 percent of the city is still under water.

Unlike with the twin towers, I know people who are missing and my units other corpsman, her roommate still hasn’t head from her mother, this is touching everybody I know. My roommate is from Louisiana (his family is fine), one of his friends is coming to stay at our place till he gets back on his feet.

Meanwhile, the military all over the country is geared up to move forward at a moments notice, there is already 60 thousand troops in the area, I know my guys are ready to go. I’ve spent weeks in New Orleans and love the place, it carries a lot of weight in military circles as the place to go. Now I don’t know if I’ll every be able to go to that place and the only thing to hold in my head are the memories and photos. I’ll always regret no being able to take my wife there while I had the chance.

Donate to the Red Cross or check out Instapundit, Glenn has a huge list of places to donate.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Playing at the Beach

My first try at coloring my wifes hair.

pictures by Sean

Whew

Katrina was very bad but not as bad as some of the forecasts predicted. There’s still a lot of healing to be done on the Gulf Coast and I’m hoping the nation can come together in helping those folk out.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Big one for the Big Easy

I’m watching the Weather Channel’s coverage on Hurricane Katrina. I’m a huge follower of natural disasters lore, dark humor is part of being a medical guy. I’m looking at that bottom little number where it says pressure, 902 mb and dropping. Camille at it’s worst was only 909 mb and is the name everyone in the hurricane community uses as the Boogyman killer hurricane. Andrew’s worse was 922 and it's con. Already this is the second most intense hurricane to hit the United States, the most intense was an unnamed storm in 1935 that hit the Florida Keys. This also make Katrina the fourth most powerful storm in history. 175 mile per hour winds with gusts with gusts to 215? That's craziness! Get out of there! In 2002, an American Red Cross estimate found 25,000 to 100,000 people would be killed if a major hurricane hit the New Orleans area, they were talking about a category three hurricane.

Jack Army is packing bags (thanks Tammi), here are some New Orleans bloggers takes on what is going on and a few that haven't left.

This is what National Hurricane center says about Category Five Hurricanes:

Winds greater than 155 mph (135 kt or 249 km/hr). Storm surge generally greater
than 18 ft above normal. Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial
buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown
over or away. All shrubs, trees, and signs blown down. Complete destruction of
mobile homes. Severe and extensive window and door damage. Low-lying escape
routes are cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the center of the
hurricane. Major damage to lower floors of all structures located less than 15
ft above sea level and within 500 yards of the shoreline. Massive evacuation of
residential areas on low ground within 5-10 miles (8-16 km) of the shoreline may
be required. Only 3 Category Five Hurricanes have made landfall in the United
States since records began: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, Hurricane Camille
(1969), and Hurricane
Andrew
in August, 1992. The 1935 Labor Day Hurricane struck the Florida Keys
with a minimum pressure of 892 mb--the lowest pressure ever observed in the
United States. Hurricane Camille struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast causing a
25-foot storm surge, which inundated Pass Christian. Hurricane Andrew of 1992 made
landfall over southern Miami-Dade County, Florida causing 26.5 billion dollars
in losses--the costliest hurricane on record. In addition, Hurricane Gilbert of 1988
was a Category Five hurricane at peak intensity and is the strongest Atlantic
tropical cyclone on record with a minimum pressure of 888 mb.

This storm is 20 miles per hour higher then the minimum for making a category five storm, the differences between the other categories? One to two? 21 mph, two to three? 14 mph, three to four? 19 mph, four to five? 24. Anything greater then 155, there is no category 6. The guys who made the scale considered anything higher then that to be absurd.

I’ve turned up a few in New Orleans and love the city. But knowing how some people down there think, there’s probably thousands holed up for hurricane parties and they're having problems finding designated drivers. Not the smartest move but with the gridlock getting out of the New Orleans, maybe turning up a beer would be a good idea.

My prayers to everyone affected.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Milblogger Bar-B-Q

Started off the day making sure the house was in order and prepping the vegetables and meat for the curry, first person to arrive was Ted from Game the World with a package of very good cigars. I’ve been a blogging friend with Ted around a year now, he’s from Palmdale, I discovered his blog while I was stationed at Edwards AFB looking for local bloggers. This was a first time actually meeting him in person, writes some intelligent well thought out stuff without falling into left or right side of the political spectrum. Sorry about the hasty welcome Ted, was in the point of cooking where a lot of stuff was happening at once.

Orlando (my wedding photographer) and his wife Shannon showed up, who are total non bloggers, just passed invitation to him at work on a whim. They were a little bit out of their element, sorry guys, I’m sure it was instructive though.

Next to arrive were John and Beth, who are both fairly heavy hitters in the milblog community, a launch from them usually equals a couple hundred hits. Very affable couple and it was an honor having them both in my house. They also brought some excellent Bar-B-Q sauce from Kansas which I didn’t notice till I had almost finished Bar-B-Qing, I have a one track mind while cooking.

Mr. and Mrs. Smash showed up with potato salad and I think beer, but not sure.

Next was Kevin from The Primary Main Objective with his very beautiful Italian girlfriend and more beer.

Lex brought an 8 pack of Guinness, which ended up being the first beer to be finished and told some crazy sea stories that the rest of us were in awe of.

After a call to Joanie (Da Goddess), I started cooking the rice; she had Gracie (our favorite reader) in tow. She had a vegetable tray. Beth, Joan and I also played around with each others cameras too. Nice hanging around other photo bugs, I'll have to go on one of Joans photo trips in the near future.

With everyone settled and the food not about to catch on fire, I excused myself to man the grill and let everyone mingle. Remind me next time to get the gas grill running, works much better for chicken. After a half hour of sweating in front of the grill, dinner was ready. No one had dug into the food yet and since I was the cook, might as well break the ice and dig in, most of the boys moved outside and the ladies talked inside. I can’t comment on their conversation because I didn’t really overhear much over it, you’ll have to read Joan’s or Beth’s blog (when they blog about it).

This is was probably the highest concentration of milbloggers to ever meet in San Diego and certainly the most Navy milbloggers in the same building, I’ve noticed maybe 20 naval milbloggers on the map, the real number is probably closer to 40 or 50. Between the bunch of us, we probably pull have 10 thousand readers per day. Not to shabby.

Ted and I were hanging to the sidelines because we were the babies of the group (also we were smoking Ted’s excellent cigars, of which he left some in my expert care, sorry Scott about smelling the place up). The conversation flowed smoothly. Few things I noticed about each of us milbloggers, we all had great stories that we could never blog about. Flying into mountains, almost shooting a coworker by accident, chopping down trees, many close calls that can be told as sea stories but never set down in ink. Some of these stories told either have people who read our blog or our bosses involved, cross into OPSEC issues or are just embarrassing to ourselves or the people we work in a very real life sense of the word.

Much of the talk was over my head, not meaning that I couldn’t understand it but out of my realm being an enlisted medical guy. Battle field tactics, river warfare, weapons, ship to shore battles and such. Not that I didn’t enjoy the hearing it, definite good learning experience, but I mostly set back and listened. As John says, you learn more when you shut up and listen. Lex, what the heck does shooting your wristwatch mean?

We also talked about various soldier support charities we’ve supported at one time or another. The one that we’ve been throwing our weight behind currently is Project Valour-IT, they buy voice activated laptops for wounded troops who have lost use of their hands enabling them to keep in touch with their families (or blog) while in the hospital. Eventually the sun was shining fully on the porch blinding us men so we moved indoors to join the lovely ladies.

My wife was suffering has a cold (no don’t worry she didn’t touch the food!) after a long day and cold meds she was pooped and needed to lie down for a bit. Kevin noticed that I had a copy of Team America (unrated) sitting on the floor and said that his girlfriend had never seen it. Enough said.

While everyone was singing along (Mrs. Smash doing the hand signs), I slipped away to post some pictures and steal Joan’s blog title. Which in fact is a misnomer, while it did stop all intelligent conversation, conversation was far from over. Not unlike what you would have heard if I had shown the same movie to a room full of Marines.

Good times had by everyone I think, the list of things that I am not good out stretches long but I can organize a good party with the best of them. Can’t wait for the next one!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

How do you get a group of milbloggers to shut up?


Put in Team America!














Now who wants to watch Team America?














America F.... Yeah!!!






"Your Curry and Bar-b-q kick butt Sean!"



Us Sandy Eggans put together a milblog/blogger Bar-B-Q today with me hosting the get together. Guests included the Smash's, Neptunus Lex, the Donovans, John and Beth, Da Goddess, Kevin from The Primary Main Objective and Ted from Game the World plus Gracie (our favorite blog groupie) and some folk that I work with plus my beautiful wife. Will write more about it later once I sober up.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Range and weekend plans

Coving the range for the latter part of this week, which is a welcome break from verifying health records. Some of my fellow corpsman look at this as a horrible duty. Not I, half of the reason they look at it that way is probably because they can’t keep themselves entertained, I do not have that problem. My job out here is pretty much hang out incase something does happen, figuring these guys are firing live ammo. Our range here at Miramar is nice compared what I was used to. When I was with the reserve side of the house, we were using the one out in Barstow. Which is fairly close to being in Iraq, really hot or cold, windy, being exposed to the elements and no shade. Here, nice air conditioned soundproofed office, friendly range staff and electronic scoring. No more hanging out in the butts while people are shooting over your head. Showtime is at 0615 and get out of here around 2, hopefully.

Sorry about the lack of blogging, I’m suffering a mild case of writers block. Probably due to all the paperwork flowing through my hands right now at work, too much stuff on my mind and it has drained out all of my independent thought. Busy weekend ahead which I will write about after it happens due to milblogging OPSEC (psssttt, we're throwing a Milblogger Bar-b-q!!!). Will write about it afterwards. Any Sandy Eggan bloggers want to come, drop me a line.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Have you thanked your Soldier's Angel lately?

Sorry about the lack of posts this week, my cohort and I are getting the squadron ready for a medical inspection sometime in the near future. Lots of record reviews and data entry. After this, it will be easy sailing till our next middle east trip in the spring.

If you haven’t checked out Soldier’s Angels recently, now’s the time to do so. They have some amazing projects going on, Project Valour (Voice-Activated Laptops for OUR Injured Troops(I could use one to blog while driving but am unwilling to lose my arms)), Armor (buys Kevlar blankets to line the floor boards of vehicles), Blankets of Hope (Sewing circles provide handmade blankets to the wounded), Operation Top Knot (baby showers for families of deployed service members) and uncountable others. If there's a way to make a forward deployed soldier's life better, they're probably doing it. I know me and my guys got lots of care packages and letters from them. There were some unhappy campers out there who where cheered up by the support that they received from Angel's. I’m sure there’s endless stories of how they’ve improved someone’s life, my personal story other then the piles of care packages and support letters? I ended up marrying one of their members and couldn’t be happier. These are good people.

If you are in the Military or know someone over there, you can sign yourself in to this world of free goodness here, if you want to help these fine folks by Adapting a Soldier, making a blanket, sending care packages, donating a computer, A/C or just throwing some cash their way, sign up here. Everything helps.

A very heartfelt thank you Patti

Update:
John of that Argghh!!!!! place has a huge list of people that are supporting VALOUR-IT, Soldiers Angel's just bought their first 3 laptops for our injured troops, if you have been surfing the blogsphere this week on the right, left or center, you can see, it's been getting quite a bit of attention, thanks John. This project was inspired by CPT Ziegenfuzz, fellow milblogger and author of TC Override, he suffered injures in Iraq to both of his hands and is unable to type (for now, we miss his writing so much we're making him blog from his hospital bed!). It's a good cause, put your money where your mouth is and support your troops. This isn't about politics.