Wednesday, December 26, 2007

This will be my 4th trip

But I have nothing on Dave Earney from Daves-Not-Here and flythemig29 of Those Wacky Iraqis, 4 years, 2 months, 2 days, 21 hours over in Iraq and that's just for flythemig29. I know Dave was out there before my first trip over and has only came home on vacation. Imagine.

They're both Contractor's who decided to stay. Go over and give them a warm welcome home.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas weekend

And I’m sitting at home reading. If you’re a reader, I’m probably one of the best kind of friends to have. If I get caught up in an author it’s not rare for me to buy everything they’ve written or at least an entire series.

There are few addictions in my life that have carried me as far along as reading. It started out when I was a kid and my mom used to ground me to my room for some offense or another and during one of those I picked up a book that I had brought home for homework. I was 7 or 8 and it was Where the Red Fern Grows. My mom told me that I could come out.

But I had no need to. I had found a new friend to play with who would never get boring and could always take me on new adventures. My eyes had became a window into another world and the pages gave me a escape, not just from pain but from everything. I could open up a page and fall into the book.

Over the years, it’s been both my greatest addiction and my savior, times when then it seems like the world is out to get me, I could step away and not have a care coming back refreshed. It’s also became a crutch that I had to control, there are times when I need not to disengage from life but did anyway because I needed to see the next page or go over the next hill.

This weekend, I’m giving in to that habit. I was going to leave town but my S10 is in the shop getting some driveline problems fixed and I can’t afford to road trip with the Suburban. Next weekend my son is coming out for a week and I need to save up my change for that trip.

Plus, I’m still far away from being a hundred percent physically. The bleeding in my lungs has stopped but I still have a nice case of pneumonia and don’t want to do anything that could tear whatever is plugging up that hole. I miss my wife and miss my family and it’s hard to believe that I’m here in the states and that this will be the first Christmas that I will not be spending with anybody.

At least I’m glad I have that shield to protect me.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas S.O.P. for all Marines

TO: ALL Marines
FROM: Goode, U. B., Commanding Officer
RE: Operation Order 12-15-04 for: Official Visit of LtGen Santa Claus

1. An official staff visit by LtGen Claus is expected at your house on 25 DEC. The following directives govern activities of all Young Marines, during the visit.

a. Not a creature will stir without permission. This includes warrant officers and mice. Marines may obtain special stirring permits for necessary administrative action through the Battalion S-1. Officer stirring permits must be obtained through the Deputy, Post Plans and Policy Office.

b. All personnel will settle their brains for a long winter nap NLT 2200 hours, 24 December. Uniform for the nap will be: Pajamas, Cotton, Light Weight, General Purpose, OG, and Cap, Utility woodland pattern, with ear flaps in the extended position. Equipment will be drawn from the supply room prior to 2130. While at supply, all personnel will review their personal hand receipts and sign a Cash Collection Voucher, DD Form 1131, for all missing items. Remember, this is the "season of giving."

c. Personnel will utilize standard "MRE" ration sugar plums for visions to dance through their heads. Sugar plums are available in "MRE" ration sundry packs and should be eaten with egg loaf, chopped ham, and spice cake to ensure maximum visions are experienced.
d. Stockings, Wool, Cushion Sole, will be hung by the chimneys with care. Necessary safety precautions will be taken to avoid fires caused by carelessly hung stockings. 1st Sgts will submit stocking handling plans to S-3, Training prior to 0800, 24 Dec. All GySgts will ensure their subordinate personnel are briefed on the safety aspects of stocking hanging.

e. At first [sign] of clatter, all personnel will spring from their beds to investigate and evaluate the cause. Immediate action will be taken to tear open the shutters and throw up the window sashes. On order OPLAN 7-98 (North Pole), para 6-8 (c)(3), dated 4 March, this office, takes effect to facilitate shutter tearing and sash throwing. SNCOs and NCOs will be familiar with procedures and are responsible for seeing that no shutters are torn or sashes thrown in house prior to the start of official clatter.

f. Prior to 0001, date of visit, all personnel possessing Standard Target Acquisition and Night Observation (STANO) equipment will be assigned "wandering eyeball" stations. The Company GySgt will ensure that these stations are adequately manned even after shutters are torn and sashes are thrown.

g. The Battalion S-4, in coordination with the National Security Agency and the Motor Pool will assign on each Sleigh, Miniature, M-24 and eight reindeer, tiny, for use by LtGen Claus. The assigned driver must have a current sleigh operator's license with roof top permit and evidence of attendance at the winter driving class stamped on his DA Form 348.
Driver must also be able to clearly shout "On Dancer, On Dancer, etc."

2. LtGen Claus will initially enter house through the Company Office.
All houses without chimneys will draw Chimney Simulator, M6A2 for use during the visit. Draw chimney simulator on DA Form 2765-1 which will be submitted in four copies to the S-4 prior to 23 DEC. Personnel will ensure that chimneys are properly cleaned before turn-in at the conclusion of visit.

3. All SNCOs and NCOs will be rehearsed in the shouting of "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" or "Merry Christmas To All and To All a Good Night." This shout will be given upon termination of the visit.

Uniformity of shouting is the responsibility of each Company GySgt.

Semper Fidelis,
GOODE, U. B.,
Commanding Officer

(h/t Gunny V)

I’ve been admitted (I wrote this in the hospital)

A while back, I came down with a cold, the normal sniffles and coughing, no big deal till about a week ago; I woke up in the middle of night in a coughing fit which felt like my lungs were covered in slime. I bent over the side of the bed and coughed it all up into a trash can and felt fine. I turned on the light and the trash can was covered in blood. Yuck.

But there were no other symptoms so I went into work the next day and told them in my understated way that I had coughed up some blood in the night. Thinking maybe it was a bloody nose or such. You know us medical guys, unless we’re really hurt, we usually don’t worry about it. No problems or coughing that night and my cold had been cured (somehow the blood in my lungs had cleaned out the cold is my theory).

The next night, I got a tickle in my lungs and coughed up another couple of teaspoons of blood. Each night was like that, my lungs would get gargly and I would hack up a couple of tablespoons of blood. Thursday, I gave myself a PPD test (test for tuberculosis to you non medical types) and talked to a few of my doctors (I’m working with 8 during this training).

I told them it wasn’t a big deal, get an X-ray on Monday and follow up with someone in San Diego when I got back. Well Saturday rolls around and I had an attack that morning and coughed up about a half cup of blood into the trash can. The PPD was negative at least. Clearly, this had my doctors concerned and we debated about going into urgent care, I told them to hold off and we could handle it on Monday morning. Maybe that would be the only attack that day, I went home after lunch, was doing my laundry and coughed up another half cup.

Mildly shaken by the loss of so much blood in a day, I finished my laundry and called the doc who was covering that shift and told her, "Yeah, I think it’s time for a visit to the emergency room". I caught a ride there checking in at 3 and was put into a room, they gave me a emesis basin which I immediately filled to the 100ml spot with blood and had a new EMT stick me for an IV (which I ended up using for my entire stay). Now I had something to count how much blood I’ve been coughing up, by the end of the night I had filled 4 basins to the 100 mark. They drew 10 or so tubes of blood, then did an EKG, a chest X-Ray, filled a bottle with pee.

Being the leading enlisted medical dude and nice guy I am, I’ve had tons of visitors and well wishers. In fact, a group of my folk came by late last night and serenaded me to sleep (a very tipsy group of doctors and corpsman, it was Saturday nigh). How can you beat that?

At one that morning they decide that they’re going to admit me and I’m to have a CT scan the next day and I can’t eat solid food and eventually stick a camera in my lungs. Our theory so far is that I’ve broken a blood vessel in my lungs and every time I do anything strenuous it breaks open and blood leaks down.

Update #1

Today my boss came by with the book I wanted to buy and later (when I can eat again) is coming by to give me a carnie asada burrito. My biggest complaint right now is that I’m starving, haven’t had anything solid to eat since yesterday morning for breakfast and am eagerly awaiting a yummy monster burrito. They came in this morning to tell me I can’t eat anything at all. I’m beginning to get why people complain about hospital gowns, trying to keep myself covered while moving around seems to occupy a fair portion of my ambulatory time.
It is a bit worrying coughing up blood and being on the other side of the medical profession. I think this is the longest time I’ve ever been in the hospital. Well hopefully I have something that can be fixed. Well I’m going to take a nap till someone comes to tell me to do something.

Update #3 Sunday afternoon

Just had my first CT scan, let me share the experience with you. They set you on this sliding bench that goes into a donut, I’m sure there are pictures of them online. It pulls you in and this female voice says "take a deep breath and hold it" and you slide out. The second time it pulls you in, all of this machinery starts spinning around and it feels like you’re in a time machine. Once more you hear, "take.." and you slide out.

Before the third time, the tech comes out and says she’s going to inject you with iodine dye and the common side affects are your whole body feels warm, feel like you’re going to pee, you get a funny taste in your mouth, pain in your arm or nothing at all. She hooks it up, runs behind the barrier and power drives half of a soda can’s worth of this evil fluid into my arm, I can see the vein change color and immediately I go hot and it feels like there’s molten lead in my veins, my groin feels hot like someone poured a cup of hot pee on me. The machine has slide me in and says "take a deep breath and hold it", I do with difficulty because the funny taste that I got in my mouth was one of my mouth watering which is a precursor to hurling. The tech come out and I ask, "is that all?", she says yes and tell her I’m about to vomit. She grabs a trash can and I throw up the 2 containers of Jell-O I had for breakfast and dry heave a bit more, this causes me to go into another bloody coughing fit.

Bleh, CT scans are for the birds, hope they found something.

(Doc brought me the carnie asada burrito from a place called Burrito King and Paul, they’re not all that, the burrito was huge but I’ve had better)

Update #4 Monday night at 11

The nurse comes in and tells me the doc can fit me in for the Bronchscopy sometime in the morning and nothing by mouth after midnight. Meanwhile, I’m totally caught up in Kevin J. Anderson’s Metal Swarm. If you haven’t noticed, I don’t go crazy in boring lonely places, as long as I have a good book, everything is peachy (thanks Doc Davis for picking it up for me). I pushed because well, I’m dumb and couldn’t stop reading, it was 2 when I finished went to sleep (I was already in bed).

Update #5 Tuesday morning at 5:45

The lights go on and I imagine I’m back in boot camp again, a bright and shiny nurse comes in with the most cheerful voice says, the doctor can fit you in right now. I say wait a second, brush my fangs and use the restroom and a pair of orderlies comes in an wheel me away. We get down there and I’m talking to the respiratory therapy nurse, she belongs to the local Navy League. People are coming in, an X-Ray tech with a C-Clamp shaped X-Ray machine, there’s a craftsman tool box full of medical stuff, one of the techs gets a syringe and tells me its lidocane and squirts it into both nostrils. It goes in my left nostril and stops because that nose is stuffed up so I make sure to let him know to use the right one. Finally the doctor comes in and shakes my hand says good morning and the nurse is preparing a to shoot something into my line and I say "is this where I’m supposed to start counting backwards".

Then I’m talking to her again and everyone is gone. I look around and it’s like I time traveled and my throat and lungs are sore. I look around in bemusement and they wheel me back to my room and I finally take them up on the offer for morphine, well since they were offering, I don’t want them to think I don’t appreciate it. This is where I make a couple of phone calls and remind people I work with how to pack things and call relatives and friends. But I don’t remember doing any of it. Doc Davis visits I think but I’m not really sure about that but I do remember my mom and my sister Crystal visiting that afternoon. I’m flying high but not that high.

Update #6 Wednesday

Three of the local Chiefs come by for a visit while my mom and sister are there. One of my corpsman has packed up my room in the suburban in hopes that I’m going to be discharged. The Doctor comes in and tells me the TB test is negative from the stuff he collected from my lungs and that I could be discharged for follow up care in San Diego. Mom buys us lunch and I drive the Beast (I'm afraid to let other people drive her because she bucks) back to San Diego where I sleep in my own bed.

Things I did during my time there, I read The Road by Cormac McCarthy, a extremely well written post-apocalyptic book about a man and his son. I can relate, the man spends most of the book coughing up blood. It made me sad and miss my son, very bleak novel, I highly recommend it. I also asked each of my nurses for a sponge bath, sorry, I've always wanted to ask for one now I had lots of chances. No I didn't really get one, I had a private shower in my room and I wasn't having any problems with my walking.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I was in the hospital

and my cell phone doesn't like playing with blogspot so I posted over at MySpace, have a larger post on my laptop but here is what I wrote from a small cell keyboard. Oh, I'm back home in San Diego, thank you Bethanie and Terri, two great nurses at the Yuma hospital for making my 4 day stay somewhat enjoyable. I'm out now and we never really did figure out why I was coughing up a cup of blood a day, just stopped bleeding one day. Hopefully it doesn't come back.

December 17, 2007 - Monday
I'm in the hospital
for coughing up blood over the past week. Maybe the years of hard living have caught up with me. No it wasn't that, I had a cold and the coughing most likely broke a vessel in my lungs. I came to the ER because I had coughed up a cup or so of blood in the space of a morning. By the way, this is the first blog post that I've made from my cell phone! Since Sat they have taken 20 or so tubes of blood with new samples drawn with new sticks every 4 hours, EKG's, X-rays and yesterday a CT Scan. My body did not like the dye one bit, they injected me and I turned hot and instantly wanted to hurl. CT's are for the birds. Anyhow other then coughing up blood I'm doing fine, they're planning on sticking a camera into my lungs and believe me, it doesn't sound sound like fun. Sorry about the typos if there are any I can only see 3 lines at a time and don't have spell check. Merry Christmas in case I keel over or some such thing, hopefully I get out of here before Christmas. A larger post on the laptop.

December 18, 2007 - Tuesday
Survived my Bronchscopy
and am still kicking despite being rather stoned, going to sleep now and stop worrying:-P
(side note, took them up on their offer for Morphine)
Might be out tomorrow
which doesn't mean I'm in the clear but it that I'm probably not going to bleed out. I went through a proceedure called a bronchscopy this morning, was up late last night reading because I thought that they would be scoping me before lunch but was woken up at 5:45 by the nurse saying that they were ready. Huh? So they took me down, brought in an X-Ray machine that looked like a c-clamp, the doctor came in and I was talking to the nurse when...... everyone except for the nurse disappeared and my throat was sore. Had I been abducted? They wheeled me back to my room and I took them up on the morphine they had been offering me all week. Whoowhee! Well I just got a 4mg shot of the stuff so I'm going to end this before I start getting wacky, have a good night everyone and thanks for the support.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Bonding experiences

I’ve found over the last few years that I’ve fallen from the path of being the average military party animal but having lived in those shoes at one time, it’s given me a vast understanding of the lifestyle and now coming into a leadership role. Part of my job is protecting the people around me so most nights, I’m taking one for the team and being the designated driver.

I couldn’t count how many times in my past where I wished that there was someone there who would make sure I got home (there were nights when I didn’t make it). Being in the military and in a foreign city, most of the Marines and Sailors I know go out and tear up the town. This trip is no exception.

But unlike the years when I was a junior ranker, now if you get in trouble, chances are, it’s going to kill your career. This is where I come in, I don’t condone the over consumption of alcohol but I have been there and chances are I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if some of my senior leadership wasn’t there to cover my back when I needed it. Eventually, I outgrew the party lifestyle and settled down.

So we went out on our bonding experience as a group, running into people we worked with. One of my junior guys had a bit too much proving his manly hood to his doctor and needed a ride home early.

No problem, he was standing and talking, two good signs. I loaded him up and took off back for base, the entire time his slurring was getting worse and worse. I gave him a large plastic cup and said if he needed to throw up, to use the cup. He looked at the cup and threw it out the window then stuck his arm out and laid his head on it, proceeded to barf all over his arm. Great.

He was still talking and kept telling me the building number he lived in, I went down every street and couldn’t find it so went into work and grabbed the recall roster I had typed up and gave out to everyone (and gave out my last copy from my wallet to someone else) and found his building. Took him up to his room and finding someone to watch him.

Vomit all over my black leather jacket from manhandling his large body back to the room, check. Vomit down the side of Lexus, check. Vomit on my shoes, check.

I took the car to the gas station and washed off the side and my leather jacket. Don’t think the splatter marks on my shoes are going to come out though, sigh.

You know what this is?

Karma.

I got back to the bar, told the story of the trip back to base and soon thereafter, I drove everyone home, checking a last time on the wayward one to make sure he was still breathing. He’s lucky it’s a kinder gentler Navy and I was acting the part of the responsible one or he might have woken up with a body part shaved.

In reality? If I have saved one life, one career or shown someone a better way to treat those around them, then I’ve done my job as a leader. I’ve seen lives lost and careers go down the tube over one dumb judgment call, one moment of craziness. Do I want that happening to any of my guys? No.

It’s better for me to reel that fish in now then having to go stand in front of the old man in the morning, explaining how I let my guy be such a dumb ass.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Doing Pre Iraq Training

It's funny to think that I have better internet connections when I'm forward in Iraq but it seems to be true. I'm in a sandy desert city where the only place where I can plug my laptop in is at a Boingo wireless booth which has a terrible connection (actually had better connectivity in Thailand). So if I don’t respond to emails or comments, that’s why.

It’s actually relaxing out here, my move is done, the paperwork for getting all of the supplies ready is over with which leaves me with just patient care and catching up on the basic admin stuff with being a corpsman. The cool thing about going to these multi unit training events is running into people from the prior units you worked with.

The days just keep counting down and soon I’m going to be at my second home on the other side of the world. It’s hard to believe this will be my fourth trip out there, well somebody’s got to do it I guess.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Moving

Moving out of housing is finally done. Whew, what a long and painful experience. I’m beginning to realize how much of a consumer society we are, even with selling my big furniture I didn’t realize how much stuff we had. Both of us come from a family of hoarders, I admit it. I was hoping to fit all of the rest of my stuff into an 8X10 storage room. That didn’t happen. I did fill the storage room up to the ceiling all the way to the door but discovered that I had enough extra stuff to fill up another storage room of the same size easily. Crappy chairs, busted up barbeques and piles of junk, all went into the dumpster. I hate to admit it I filled up most of a dumpster. All of the stuff I had left over from the garage sale went to the thrift store, 500 or so books and a couple of good sized boxes full of dishes and pots and pans that I never used.
My half sister just lost her house due to flexible interest rates and going into the hospital in the middle of it and I had invested a major portion of my time into helping her out. It all came together in the last few days. I was rushed, many late nights of packing and cleaning, trips to the storage room.

Finally on Thursday night, I got a crew of my guys, Joey, Allen, Marlene and Lukasz (thanks if you read this) to help with the last pieces of big furniture, I wouldn’t have been able to get it done without their help. I’m too old for an all nighter but I pulled one off anyways, from the back of the house to the front, bringing 3 additional truck loads of stuff to my new place, cleaning and packing up the rest of the junk then went to work in the morning where I had to drive to Camp Pendleton to pick up medical supplies for the trip I’m going on next week.

Got back yesterday afternoon, vacuumed the house and swept and mopped the laundry room and the place was inspected which I passed with no problem. I’m thinking I need better time management next time around (I say this every time).

After 11 hours of sleep, I’m back in full form, just have to unpack and get my truck cleaned out.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Rumor

I have a rumor and I won’t share it.

A week and a few days ago I was at Knott’s Berry Farm having a grand old time riding a roller coaster called Ghost Rider and the forces of gravity reached up from the center of the earth into my jacket pocket, grabbed a hold of my cell phone and flung it off into space never to be seen by me again. Which left me disconnected from the world for days, DAYS I say!

On the long drive home that night, I called the phone company to disconnect my phone. With my niece Kate in tow, we got home and logged on to the Sprint website and started shopping around for a replacement. Considering how many texts I’ve been getting lately, I wanted to upgrade to something that had a keyboard.

So with Kate’s advice on what’s cool, we picked out LG's Rumor and wonder why I waited so long, I can check my email whenever I want throughout the day and texting or emailing is a breeze.

What’s really cool? I had a two dollar a month contact back up plan, a couple of minutes after activating the phone, I had all of my phone numbers back. That's worth a couple of hundred dollars in itself.

My issues so far? It doesn’t have a multiple text delete tab, it’s not EV-DO, (Evolution-Data Optimized, which is sort of like broadband for wireless), it uses the old regular network. You also need to buy a separate USB cord to hook it up to the computer a but even with those issues, its worlds better then anything I've ever owned.

Have a happy Turkey Day everyone.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

If I don't come up for air

It's because I'm moving this weekend. Times getting short and everything is coming together, lots of stuff to get done before I go to Arizona for Thanksgiving and only little bits of time to do them in. Happy Thanksgiving everyone if I don't see you before then.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Valour IT

(this post is staying at the top till 15 November 2007)

Is an organization who provides Voice-Activated laptops to our severely wounded troops. So far they have distributed over 1500 laptops to our wounded. I know these guys personally and the entire effort is a labor of love.

This Veterans Day holiday, don’t forget the men and woman who have made the life that you live possible. Valour IT gives directly to those who have sacrificed their limbs and livelihood in defense of our nation.

When I won the Navy Milbloggie of the Year back in June and they gave a thousand dollars to the charity of my choice and I picked that the money should go to Valour IT.

Put it this way, every other charity out there gives support to people who are less fortunate, going though hard times, impacted by acts of god, have caught some terrible disease. Basically people who were just unlucky to be born where they were at, be in the path of something that swept over their home because of fire, flood or weather or made wrong life choices and need help to recover.

Valour IT is helping people who made a conscious choice to jump into harms way defending the rights of the rest of us. It doesn’t matter what your political views are or if you support the war or not, without them, the country you love wouldn’t exist. Helping these guys is really just part of taking care of our own.

I know if I had my hands blown off, I would love to have a voice activated laptop but knowing me, I would get by with a pencil between my teeth if I had to.

codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,0,0"
WIDTH="200"
HEIGHT="150"
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ALIGN="">




quality=high
bgcolor=#0000C0
WIDTH="200"
HEIGHT="150"
NAME="gauge"
ALIGN=""
TYPE="application/x-shockwave-flash"
PLUGINSPAGE="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer">

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Changes in attitudes, changes in latitudes

Most of my Navy career, even though I was I charge of most of the medical departments I was at, I was usually following some kind of direction from the chain, there was always a higher echelon to fall on. There were tough times but usually the guy making the calls was somewhere above me. Most of my mentality was spent going with the flow but now I feel like a rock in the middle of the stream. The water is hitting me and I’m trying to wrestle it in to a smooth flow so the ripples don’t show on the surface.

There just seems to be awfully lot of water coming down that creek this week. I’ve discovered the higher you get, the more choices you have to make for those around you and most of those answers don’t seem to be the ones that you can just reply with a yes or no. I’m making it but I’m earning that raise.

Other news, I’m moving out of my place this weekend and getting ready for a small deployment to sandy desert city for 3 weeks of pre-deployment type training and in one day in the not too distant future, you’ll be reading the words that I have typed from the other side of the world.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Knott’s Berry Farm Veterans Tribute

Yesterday I went out with my niece Kate and one of our friends to Knott’s. Every year from the 1st till the 22nd of November they let anyone with a military ID or a vet in free with one guest, 12 bucks a piece for up to 6 additional bodies. Its one of the best deals for Military in Southern California, these guys take care of us. If you go, make sure to thank them.

Had a great day and made a video of it, well mostly a great day, Ghost Rider ate my cell phone, note to self, wear something with zippered pockets when riding roller coasters, 250 or so contacts down the drain so if you know my number, give me a call in a couple of days so I can put you back in and when I got out to my truck, someone had hit my mirror leaving it hanging by the wire. Oh well, it all balances out in the end.

Happy Veterans Day everyone, remember the reasons behind this holiday and next time you see a vet, thank him for his service and the sacrifices he or she made. This day isn’t about politics or about the current conflict, it’s about a group of people who believed in their nation so much that they give up their personal freedoms to give you the chance to have yours.

Here's the vid below or the direct link.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

What some other people are saying about Band of Bloggers

Just a Grunt wrote this

My good buddy Kasee wrote this and then did this great round up this morning here

MoFiZix Gr4FiX had this to say

But Wait, Hearts and Hates Colby, hah.

We all know ALa loves Colby, she rounds us all up including calling me the awesome Doc in the Box and dropping a picture of her and Colby, thanks:)

Pilgrim thought they did a good job

and that's it for my round up this morning. I problem myself and other bloggers say with the show is that they didn't included the screen names nor the name of the blogs. Other then that, it was great, looking forward to the next chapter.

Well, I'm off to Knotts Berry Farm to take advantage of this months free military thing they do every year:) Have a good weekend, next showtime is at noon my time (check your local listings first).

Friday, November 09, 2007

Just finished Band of Bloggers

and am very happy with what they did. I was a bit worried about how the show would turn out but they did a great job putting us all together, it would have been nice if they had included links to the blogs so we could click on over to who the show was about but since they didn't here's what I have and how I know them or don't know them in the last few.

Of course Colby Buzzell from My War Killing Time in Iraq is here, currently he's living up in San Fran and is actually making a living out of his writing. We were both included along with Dagger Jag in September 2004 article by the AP (Dagger Jag has since shut down) and over the period of a weekend, I had 70 thousand hits. You'll notice going around the sphere that chicks seem to did Colby, if they are a fan of milblogs, his book is usually at the top of their favorite books, my wife is a big fan of his too. As far as milblogging circles go, when someone is asked to toss out the full name of a milblogger, it's usually Colby, Matt of Blackfive or me and I don't get a fraction of the readership of those guys.

I've read Rusten D. Currie of Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum since I started blogging, he's an amazingly gifted writer, haven't met him in person though.

Lt Paul Rieckhoff founder of Operation Truth, National Guard Soldier from Florida. Don’t really know much about his group.

Sgt Chris Messick A Line in the Sand he lives up by Long Beach, we met during a prior interview together and he's also buddies with Carla from Some Soldiers Mom.

Tonight was the first time seeing and reading Spc Kate Hoit from My American-Iraq Life (wonder if she listens to This American Life?), now mostly blogs over at Over and Out. Her links have crashed when she moved to new blogger, so I can't say who we know in common. What I've read so far, she seems quirky and funny.

And if you google Spc Edouard H.R. Gluck, you'll find his pictures everywhere but it doesn't show if he has a blog, I'll keep looking when I wake up more..

And my friend Won thought SPC Jeff Tanner was pretty cool (they look alike) but I don't have a clue to where he writes though. You have to remember, many bloggers out there didn't blog under their real name and it's hard bringing the two together.

The show goes beyond words, they painted images to match what the speakers are saying as they were interviewed, the words were all ours back by images and video we had given them. They channeled that and meshed all of our stories together giving a snapshot of what we went through in a fairly seemless manner. Enjoyable stuff. It's on all though the weekend if you missed it. The show goes down smooth no matter what you think about the war, good stuff.

History Channnel tonight!

and all weekend, I'll be on a show called Band of Bloggers, here's the schedule

Friday, November 09
08:00 PM
Saturday, November 10
12:00 AM
Monday, November 12
12:00 PM
Monday, November 12
06:00 PM

Happy Birthday Marines!

Tonight I attended the MAG 16’s Marine Corps Ball celebrating 232 years of faithful service to our country. Let me tell you a secret, I always get stage fright going to these things. Must be something I’ve carried over from being so nerdy in high school. I always complain about going till I get there and have without fail, have had a great time.

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Navy Birthday Ball and comparing the two will have to say, the Marines know how to get down and party. This ball topped all of the other balls I’ve gone to by far, it wasn’t the biggest but it was the smoothest. Great crowd, everybody was on the dance floor and having a good time. The food was excellent and the ceremony was flawless.

Well I could tell stories but I hear that a picture is worth a thousand words, I have 68,000 words over here.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Sometimes real life takes over Cyberlife

In a nutshell, I've been busy with life, not the interesting fun kind but the dreary mundane paperwork, heavy lifting lots of driving life. And each time I come home, my brain has been drained and my blog writing has suffered. It don't mean that I'm quitting blogging by any means just that blogging has gone on the back burner while I take care of my present life.

Here's a snap shot, the housing crisis that's going on? My sister was caught up in the middle of it and then got sick and had to have a fairly intensive surgery that put her out of commission for a couple of months and she lost her house. I've been the go between in getting her set up in someplace cheaper in Arizona with her kids and helping them move. Last weekend, I drove a 26 foot U-haul full of their stuff across the desert one day, unloaded it the next and on Monday (my birthday) drove back across the desert. You have to take care of family.

My unit is about to get a Commanding Generals Inspection (which I should have worked on last weekend but was driving), so when I'm not making long long road trips, my work hours have extending far into the night plus I got pulled to work an EMT crew for the fires which pulled me away from my regular job. The records look good and I probably have the prettiest CGI binder on base but that's only because I'm actually pretty good at this stuff but they are far from the perfection that I normally expect out of myself.

I'm in a leadership position right now but for jobs like this, I like keeping my fingers in on the pulse of how everything is going, I have some great corpsman working for me but they're all have their own squadrons. They're a good crew and do an amazing job but they are already working their tails off. I'm not going to pull them from their primary duties to work on mine when I know I can do it and still make it shine.

My Chief has got pulled away by a family emergency and believe me, I'd rather be doing what I'm doing now, then be in his shoes, he definitely could use some prayers. I'm shouldering many of his tasks with the help of another Chief but even the both of us aren't quite equal to the job he handled. I'm hanging but I'm finding all sorts of moving parts that are involved with getting a MAG ready for deployment.

And I'm moving too.

This all adds up to a thin stretched out Sean who doesn't have much time to write and is sometimes a little snappish. Being in the military, there are going to be times like this, they don't last forever, you just have to hold on till its over without flying apart and if you do it good, you'll shine and it will show on evals. Like everything else, I'll get by this and go whew, glad that's over with.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Band of Bloggers

I just received this from a producer over at the History Channel

BAND OF BLOGGERS on the History Channel on Friday, 11/9, at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT; with an encore presentation on Monday, 11/12 at 6 PM ET/3 PM PT. Check out this very special hour and support our troops! You won't be sorry.

And what the History Channel Website says;

Explore the impact of blogging as a new medium for immediate and raw information. In the midst of modern day combat examine the unfiltered and raw evolution of military blogs and bloggers. Listen as soldiers who during their recent Iraq deployments reflect on the important connection they had with their blogging and how the band of military bloggers has revolutionized the way we understand combat. Experience firsthand, unfiltered accounts of the pain, the hardship, and even the simple beauty found in Iraq; stories that often go unseen in the media's coverage of the war.

I did an interview and I gave them some of my video footage. Check it out if you're around, hopefully I don't sound too dorky.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Maybe the tide has turned?

Over the last 3 days, half a million people have moved out of their homes and headed for the beaches (and stadiums and hotels and friends couches). And so far the count of deaths is only 5 which is absolutely amazing, only one person from the fire (I think that number is going to go up as they search houses though). According to Cal Fire, 276,823 acres and 1300 homes of San Diego county have gone up in smoke since Sunday morning.

The powers that be lifted the ban on Scripps Ranch and I found my house was none the worse for wear and not a piece of scorched earth in sight (view blocked out by all of those big dry trees) and the sky was almost clear. I was actually prepared to lose everything to the fire, had good insurance, everything was packed and had a plan of attack of what I was going to do when it was all over (no I wasn't thinking big TV thoughts!) but it only seems like disasters only happen to you when you’re not prepared. I know a lot of people out there are hurting right now.

Being the cheap guy that I am, I think insurance is a waste of money till there’s a huge fire coming down my street. Believe me, in SoCal, it’s not a waste of money and I know if I didn’t have it, my house would be a gray cloud floating around on the Santa Anna winds out into the ocean. That’s just how my luck is.

It’s still not over but I think the worst might be behind us as the winds die down. While this could have been a madhouse, it seemed like the entire city pulled together to help each other out. I’ve always complained about how it seemed like a lot of folk out here didn’t know their neighbors but I can’t say that anymore. I'm impressed with all of the footage of fire fighters going into peoples houses getting out their belongings and the police that have been patrolling the roads, even though we are in the middle of a huge disaster, we're still keeping the rule of law. There isn't footage flying all over the internet of people looting buildings. Great job guys, this chaotic evolution went off like a well oiled machine.

I’m looking at the KPBS map and they’re saying that the Witch Fire (the one closest to me) is only 1 percent contained. Hopefully that doesn't flare up in the middle of the night.

Looking for information?
City of San Diego Offical Website has the latest offical updates (I can pay my parking ticket there too? Neat!)
You can find a list of San Diego houses destroyed by the fire here
And the Rancho Santa Fe homes here
Sign on San Diego Blog has hourly updates.
2-1-1 San Diego has some good info (if outdated but does have phone numbers)


Here’s a list of places to go to volunteer or give money

San Diego Red Cross
San Diego Volunteer
San Diego Food Bank


I wish you all the best, I'm going to try getting some shut eye in case I get pulled out to do craziness in the middle of the night. Take care all!

Map of the San Diego Fire

(I had to take the regular map down because it was locking up the blog)

View Larger Map

(Thanks KPBS for putting this map together, it's the best one on the net)

Stayed the night in the comfy suburban, when I was in Iraq, I missed sleeping in the beast. The fire isn't to my place yet (I think) but it is on two sides.

Work, came in and made a lot of phone calls to make sure everyone is alright, so far no one has lost their place yet but we do have a couple of people stuck on the other side of the fire line. Still getting the records ready for the inspection that's going on next week of my unit. The team musters again at 1.

If you're have to leave your house, don't forget your cell phone charger and your laptop, this is where you wished you had a car cell phone charger too (I do). Think about where you're going to be sleeping tonight or today, sunscreen and make sure you have plenty of drinking water.

Stats so far? 300,000 people homeless, 700 homes plus homes burned and 245,000 acres up in smoke in just 3 days. The Cedar fire had only 50,000 people evacuated but unlike that fire which had 22 deaths, we've only had one death so far. It looks like it might be slowing down a bit but that could all change.

Some other bloggers I know out here FBL is feeling the heat, some houses in her area have gone up, I know Lex has a house someplace out here too. Dagoddess's family all had to move, she might have lost her last place which isn't to bad since she doesn't live there anymore.

Some other fire post can be found at Cat Dirt Sez, The Moderate Voice, Howling Point and Criticalmas. Blatantly stolen from the San Diego Blog :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Update on the fire

Since I really don’t have anywhere to go and nothing to do, I have volunteered to take part in a rescue recovery team, I’ll be working the ambulances with some other corpsman doing whatever they want us to do. No word on my house yet but I see the sky glowing over there, hopefully it’s just streetlights shining in the smoke if not, then guess, I’ll have to start going over my insurance policy. Don't worry about me, lots of people have it much worse, I have places to stay, was planning on thinning down my load, might shed some tears over the books but it will give me a reason to start my collection again.

The team is on standby right now and I’m staying on base for the next few days with a cell phone next to my ear. No hero stuff yet but who knows what tonight and the next few days will bring, when I get back to my own internet, I’ll post the pictures from the Navy Ball.

Here’s pictures from my trip to Disneyland on Friday with my niece and Kevin the foreign exchange student. Well I'm going to go catch some shuteye while I can.

San Diego Fires

First off I’m safe and sound but can’t say the same for the rest of the area. I live over by Poway and according to this headline “Witch Fire roars across Poway, Rancho Bernardo” with hundreds of structures destroyed and so far, 250 thousand people evacuated and that number has probably gone up.

I got home last night and packed up all of the important things in my life, you know, clothes that I actually wear, my laptop, external hard drives, pictures, digital cameras, uniforms and shoes and went to bed and coughed all throughout the smoky night.

This morning with red blurry eyes, I woke up to a Mars like sky
smoke was everywhere and it felt like I had smoked 3 packs of cigarettes and I don’t even smoke anymore. But being an ex-smoker, I was probably better prepared for it then the average folk.

You can get fresh updates at the signonsandieog.com, KPBS, San Diego County Emergency Homepage and an excellent map of the fire here. Google News is worth a look if the other sites have been clogged from time to time.

I’m listening to the radio and it says that they’re even evacuating parts of Solana Beach, the fire has jumped the border into Mexico, sounds like they’re evacuating just about everything north of the 56 and east of the 5. Thats a huge area and his fire is moving fast.

Oh man, now they’re evacuating my neighborhood too.

Here’s the quote;

“10-22-07 2:11 p.m. Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for Scripps Ranch south of Scripps Parkway, north of MCAS Miramar, west of Hwy 67 and east of Interstate15”

Fallbrook is under mandatory evacuation orders now too, telling people to go though Camp Pendleton to the Orange County Beaches because the 15 is closed. The main evacuation point for San Diego is Qualcomm Stadium, Del Mar Fair Grounds is full and they've filled up the 1800 horse stalls already. Military personal who are evacuating should contact a military housing facility for lodging, if you leave a comment, I can send you the email on that.

My house is located in an oasis of dry eucalyptus trees stretching as far as eye can see (not far because there are so many trees).

Glad I grabbed my guinea pig Daisy, even though she’s a loud and smelly little beast, she’s been my companion while I was lonely and I would miss her. Everything else at my house can be replaced (I have renters insurance which I feel no guilt about using). Trying to look at the bright side of things, at least I won’t have to move everything into storage in a couple of weeks when I move out of housing.

Well I was planning on starting with a clean slate in life after my wife left, guess it might be even cleaner then I thought. My life is beginning to sound like a sad contry song, lost my wife, my dog and maybe soon my house at least I have my laptop and guinea pig.

Friday, October 12, 2007

MCAS Miramar Airshow

Being a medical dude, one thing all of us get stuck doing is working the airshow. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, on Friday and Sunday usually 0530 till 1600 (5:30AM till 4PM) and Saturday 0530 till 2200 (5:30AM till 10 at night, bleh).

This year being a first class I got pulled for other duties, namely cooking hotdogs at a hotdog stand. We had lots of volunteers this year from all sorts of different medical commands so a lot of the senior enlisted are being pulled to run fund raising booths.

Today wasn’t quite so busy as tomorrow is going to be and I’ve posted a bunch of pictures HERE. If you’re at the airshow, look for me at a hot dog booth across from the F-35. I’m off to get some rest, have a good weekend.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Arizona trip with my Cali family

My half sister might be relocating in Arizona so we went out there so I could show them around the area. If anything, I do know all of the secret spots, might as well share them with the fam.

One of our stops was on the way home to the sand dunes at Glamis, something you don’t see everyday, here’s the video I took.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Watching Pushing Daisies

You probably don’t know who Bryan Fuller is but he’s the guy who has been the brain behind some of my favorite shows of all time, Heroes, Dead like Me and Wonderfalls. And with Pushing Daisies, he doesn’t disappoint.

It lays out a little bit like the movie Real Big Fish, the characters are colorful and larger then life. The story circles around this guy named Ned who owns a pie place called The Pie Hole, Ned’s not like the rest of us. He has the gift of life, he touches anything dead and it comes back to life, if they stay alive for over a minute someone else drops dead and if he touches them again they die and he can’t bring them back.

I would like to say this is different then anything else you’ve seen before but it’s not, if you’ve watched anything by Bryan, it’s all alike. Genius that is, watch it, it doesn’t disappoint.

Next is Bionic Woman

Zuning out

In honor of picking up first class (and finally getting paid for it), I finally got a video MP3 player. Costco.com had Microsoft Zunes on sale for 149, I’m sort of an apple phobic, a couple of years ago, I plugged an external hard drive into a Mac to share some of my music with one of my guys and it reformatted it. When I plugged it back into my laptop all it read was a big 0.

I got back all of my music but had small playlists on one gig MP3 players, just waiting for the proper deal and it came.

First thoughts? I can put the WMV’s I made on it and the picture quality is amazing, haven’t used the WiFi functions though, have to find someone else that has a Zune. It did come with a 14 day pass to the Zune Marketplace of which I’ve taken full advantage off. It has a solid heavy feel to it, it’s covered with a clear plastic lining that looks rather tough and the buttons are easy to use even when you have a covering over it. One complaint I have is that it slows my computer to a crawl when it’s synchronizing, the laptop is almost two years old (HP Pavilion dv5000 with a gig of RAM) but it still does the job. I wish you could delete songs while using the Zune when it’s not docked, I’ve loaded 5000 or so songs on there and some of it is just crap. It would be nice to have a trash button.

It’s leaps and bounds over anything I have owned before and much less touchy then the Ipods that I used, road trips are going to be great! Well I got to strap it on and get back to cleaning, have a great weekend everyone.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Rock Down to Electric Avenue

Another fine music video from the front

Selling my Earthly Possessions (Garage Sale)

I’m trying to get rid of the bulk of my capitalist consumer driven existence this morning and know what? Hardly anyone has came by. I’ve only made a hundred bucks and it’s almost noon. At least I can say everybody who’s stopped has bought something.

Over the last few year (decades probably), I’ve gathered all sorts of uninteresting clutter in my life. My family has a history of hording on both sides and I’ve inherited the gene, it’s a sickness I know. At least I don’t get too emotionally attached to this stuff and an sell it without shedding tears. Now if I can only get some people to come by and take it off my hands.

What do I have for out here for sale? A quarter of my books are on shelves, kitchen table, a bunch of old electronic stuff, an entertainment center, golf clubs, 3 TV’s, my studio lighting set, china cabinet, clothes, Christmas stuff , kitchen doodads, pots, pans, China and cages for various creatures. Thing that I’m planning on selling on Craigslist are an uber nice black china cabinet/dining room set (I have to clean off the table of the junk I took off the book shelves so I can get good pictures first) and a black Italian leather couch set, probably a mirrored coffee table too. Its just too much to carry around moving, it’s hard to be high speed low drag when your gear takes 3 people to move.

I’m not going to advertise the garage sale here, don’t want any hostile critics taking out their angst on my person. It’s just strange, this morning has been a ghost town around here, every other garage sale I’ve had has usually had a line of people waiting for it to open. Today? A scattering. Look, I’m even blogging waiting for people to come by, what kind of craziness is that?

Well look at the bright side, if I want to have another one, everything is set up and ready for action without having to do the loads of work that I put into this one.

(no just because I'm getting rid of my stuff doesn't make me suicidal, those people give everything away, I'm trying to make some cashola)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

HOPE

Sometimes the world is the limit...

JCB Music Video

I normally don't do Cute but being a father, this video hit the spot. It's unlike anything I've ever seen and it cheered me up. Great job man!

Watch it, believe me, you won't regret it, here's the youtube version, not as cool as the full sized one on the link above.



Don't click if you're using dial up though.


(H/T Swan)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Have a set of Balls

Of which, I'm going stag, is still going to cost me 110 dollars for just the tickets to both of them plus whatever it’s going to cost to get the uniform ready. A very nice group of ladies offered to have a blog drive “Dream date with Sean” to get me a date. At any other point in my life, I would have jumped at the chance but right now? It wouldn’t be fair deal to my date. Not that I’m a bad date or anything, I’m just not ready to toss myself into the wild winds of dating. I’m still hung up over someone else and what would happen if I ended up going with some amazing girl who ended up being crazy about me? I would fumble the ball.

I’m sure that I will have fun on both nights but don’t imagine that I’ll even think about hooking up with anyone, it’s too soon and the wounds are still a bit leaky. Next year though, well that could be another story, depends on where I’m at.

Thank you for the great comments, they made my day. It’s nice to know there are still people out there that think about me that way.

Heh

Monday, September 24, 2007

What am I doing tonight?

Watching Heroes of course, after a TV drought of almost 2 months, I have turned it on. Too bad I won’t be around to finish the season, if you haven’t heard, it sounds like I’ll be making my 4th trip back in the Sandbox.

October is going to be a busy month, one of the bad things about making First Class is that I can’t hide out from the big events. Fall is Ball season and it looks like I’m going stag to both the Marine Corps Ball (early November) and the Navy Ball (late October). I’ve been peer pressured into going to both.

I wasn’t planning on going this year but the higher ups on both my Marine and Navy chains of command didn’t take the argument that I didn’t have a date. So I’m probably going to volunteer to be the designated driver to the drunk folk who can’t afford to pay for hotel rooms ($140 or so bucks). Might as well give the junior folks rides back to the barracks or where ever they need to go since paying for a room for myself would be a waste.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Robert Jordan, Rest in Peace

Readers who have been here for a while might have known my love for books, but my favorite series was by a guy named Robert Jordan (aka James Oliver Rigney, Jr), he wrote a massive series (7000 plus pages) called the Wheel of Time that entranced millions over the years. A couple of years ago he was diagnosed with amyloidosis, a disease that causes the walls of the heart to thicken. In the bio located in the back of his books, he wrote that he “intends to continue (writing) until they nail shut his coffin.

It looks like that time has come, he was working on the 12th and final novel of the series when he died Sunday at the medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Myself and I’m sure millions of fans around the world were hoping he would survive to finish it. I’ve spent literally months living in the wonderful and complex world that he created and now? It feels like other aspects of my life, something cast off and left undone.

The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.

I’ll miss you and hope that someone out there can make something of the words you have left behind.

James Oliver Rigney, Jr. October 17, 1948 - September 16, 2007

He was a graduate of the Citadel with a degree in physics, did two tours in Vietnam and is survived by his wife Harriett, his son William and brother Reynolds and my prayers go out to all of you and I mourn your loss.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Another homecoming

The planning for the trip started out with discovering a nail in the sidewall of one of my rear tires, no problem, plug it enough to get me to Costco and grab a set of new rear tires, out of there in an hour and load up the fridge. Arrive only to find that they were out of my size of tires so I hit up Big-O and 2 hours later I was back home ready to man handle the fridge.

One of the good things about being the guy that everyone goes to for help when you move is that eventually you get smart and start collecting tools to make moving those big objects not such back breaking chore, of those, my favorite is my wheeled furniture mover and with it’s help, I was able to make short work of the fridge.

Once loaded, I packed odds and ends around it and beat feet out of San Diego, the clock said it was 7 when I left and 2 when I pulled up into my mom’s place. I’ve made this trip more then anybody in his right mind should, I crawled onto the couch and the next morning the roosters crowed me awake at 8. Damn country life.

Took a shower and called my buddy Justin, who had kindly offered to store my fridge a couple of weeks ago in his garage along with some beer that he had sitting around. Well it saves me paying for storage and in reality, my mom really didn’t need another fridge, she has 3. We all came out ahead, well actually, he did, I just broke out even. No stickers man!

After lending a very brief hand with some water leaks on his travel trailer, I went to another appointment with a friend whom I haven’t seen since 1993, Minnie. She was the best friend of Heather number one (I haven’t wrote about here yet but I seem to have bad luck with all of the gorgeous Heathers in my life, #1 was the girl I went to Prom with and thoughts of her took up a sizable portion of my conscious mind for a couple of years, she’s now happily married to a guy named Frank and just had her first child)

Minnie asked me to help make her myspace shine so we met at Hotel St. Michael’s, there’s a coffee place downstairs that has free WiFi for paying customers. I’m mildly worried about my new first impression to her. I was wiped out from driving most of the night before and my inner voice sounded like one of those adult voices in a Charlie Brown cartoon. Yet she force fed me coffee and I hacked out something to make her myspace look bit better, far from my best work but my brain wasn’t firing with all of it’s cylinders. Don’t worry hun, I hate it when I do shoddy work, I’ll reach into my bag and work on your place when I get home and am more awake and people will make “aahhhhs” and “oohhhss” when they visit.

We parted at 6 vowing to meet in an hour or so at Prescott Brewing Company with her husband and another couple that I see way too little off, Nathan and Aimee (it ended up being a little over an hour and a half). It was supposed to be more people then just the 5 of us but one had hurt his back at work, another was out of state and the other one had just finished putting tires on his trailer and wasn’t up for anything (slackers and pudwackers). Instead of a large loud dinner, it ended up being a small intimate thing, beer was flowing and me being the story keeper, I gathered up the loose ends of the other side of the mysteries that have plagued me in the dark hours of the night.

You might have noticed, one of my daily food groups is information, I’m a junkie, I eat it and the digestive process of my mind labels it and sticks it into a corner of my large head to regurgitate at a later date either in writing or over a beverage with some buddies. I know curiosity killed the cat but I can’t help myself, I was the kid that always asked “Why?” not just about the physical world but the social chemistry that make people make certain decisions in their life.

If you’re lucky in your life, you have a person in your group of friends that carries your story in their head. Someone who will never forget you no matter what happens and will be interested in your life. I’m the one that talks to everyone, not just here on the blog but in person. I couldn’t imagine being different then the way I am and after watching people, I know I’m far from normal. I tend to reach down or up into someone’s life, put a hand on their shoulder and shake the be-Jesus out of them and dredge up the things they haven’t thought about in years. It shocks some into seeing beyond the new lives they’ve built up and reminds them of the history that has faded into grainy pictures into the background. This past week was Minnie’s turn to be pulled back in my fold.

Seeing Minnie tonight cleaned up an entire corner of that project I have growing in my head. She’s grown in to an amazingly beautiful adult and hasn’t lost any of her natural cheeriness. Her enthusiasm is contagious and my tiredness left me. We were perched at the corner of the table and the stories were flying back and forth, the world rotated off the movements of our lips and for a little while, everything else went away. After timeless period of time, we took a breath and played musical chairs and I was talking to her husband Ryan.

Minnie, I have to hand it to you, you did well, you picked mate who complements the person that you are and totally adores you, great choice. Within a couple of minutes of meeting, Ryan and I were talking like old buddies, he slid right into the conversation without any hesitation and I added a few new pieces to the monument. He’s definitely a cool cat.

Not to forget Aimee and Nathan, we have a unique relationship, we used to double date. I was going out Aimee’s best friend back in high school and Nathan was my buddy. Since I had the only car at the time the four of use went on some interesting adventures together, they have see a side of me….well lets just say it’s a side that’s been rarely seen. Lot of good memories were rehashed.

Much beer was drunk that night and Minnie even talked me on the dance floor to two-step at Matt’s Saloon. Good times and I’m eagerly awaiting the next meet up.

Oh and pictures from that night can be found here.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Kuwait Take One

This is the first video I made in 2004 while attached to HMM-764, it covers most of the first month of deployment. My first and longest time Kuwaiting, we were the first reserve CH-46 squadron to go into Iraq and had to unpack our helicopters and make sure they were fully ready to fly which took a good part of a month. Be careful, it might cause a teary eye or two.

Arizona no longer taxes the Military

It's the best news I've heard all day, this is a quote from MyPay

The state of Arizona no longer taxes military pay for military members (Active Duty, Reserve and National Guard). myPay no longer allows Arizona state tax changes.
This is the other good deal for Arizona Residents that serve the military, you can get two vehicles exempted from paying for registration, fill it out this form for each vehicle and have your commanding officer or Staff Judge Advocate to sign it and bring it to the DMV the next time you stop into Arizona for a visit or have someone with your power of attorney. And if you're Arizona National Guard, you need to fill out this form.

I’m sure other states have such deals for the military but you need to research them.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Taking the kids around Watson Lake

I went home to Prescott Arizona over Labor day the original plan was to go hiking around Thumb Butte, well that didn't work because the parking lot was closed so I decided to take my friend Jason, 3 of his kids and Keven the foreign exchange student from Thailand out to Watson Lake. Below is the video

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My personal connection to 9/11

I’ve done enough posts about 9/11 that had to do with me so I might as well tell you guys about someone I know. Back in the early 90, right out of Field Medical Service School (the place where Navy Corpsman learn to play with the Marines and about combat medicine), I was assigned to VMFA (AW)-242 at MCAS El Toro and also assigned to the unit right before we left was a wet behind the ears doctor, Lt David Tarantino.

So we went on our wild far east tour and came back and he transferred to a hospital for his residency.

9/11 happens and I drop everything and go back into the military and a couple of months into 2002, I’m in the barracks room of one of my Marines glancing through a Playboy that was sitting there and suddenly there’s picture of Doc standing at a party at the mansion in his dress whites, he had picked up LtCdr since the last time I had see him. Hugh threw a party for the Firefighters and heroes involved in saving lives that day.

Doc was at the Pentagon when the plane hit and rushed into a burning room to save a guy. You can find that story here and here and pictures here (they do a great time of telling what happened and I would do a disservice to the tale telling it again). Definitely the stuff heroes are made out of but then again, part of our job is being a hero when the time comes. He was able to answer the call. I’m glad he made it out alright and I'm glad to call him friend. It’s a small world.

Memory

It’s funny how memory works.

One of the guys I work with, I won’t mention names, was telling me a story about living out in the country. I guess where he lived, there where cats everywhere and these feral beasts got into everything. I didn’t realize that that city folk, when they got tired of their pets, would take them out to country and let them go and some how a fair number of the cat family took up resident around his house.

Back when he was 4, he was out playing in a small children’s pool, you know one of those blue round ones you see at Walmart? And in his young mind, an idea popped up. He started running around in circles in the pool, making a whorl pool in the center and tossed 4 of these cats in. He knew his dogs could swim but wanted to see how well the cats did. Using his hand as a paddle, he kept the water moving like a merry-go-round. He thought the cats were alright because they kept moving with the water going around in circles. He was still making them go around when his uncle found him and he realized that 4 cats were dead.

Go forward in time more then 2 decades, he’s grown up into a well adjusted, responsible adult that most people could never imagine hurting a fly. There’s a big reunion where he takes his wife and kids to meet the rest of the family. And making the rounds with his wife, what’s the statement that kept popping up without fail? How is Iraq? Navy? How is your family doing?

Nope.

“I remember when you were a kid and killed all of those cats”.

Once you earn the name cat killer, you’ll can never live that down.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Sandbox, Dispatches from the Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan

A long time ago in a land far far away, I got an email from a guy named David, he’s the web manager of Doonesbury’s Town Hall and asked me if they could use a post of mine titled “Cranky Old People” in their new multi-milblogger website called the Sandbox. And you know me, my given answer to such requests is “Sure”. I put the words out and if someone wants to use them go ahead, just stick my name somewhere in there and if you feel the need to pay me for my writing, I won’t turn down money offered.

Well a couple of days ago (time flies), my few pages (pages 18-20) were included in a book published under the title “The Sandbox, Dispatches from the Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan” and any day now, I’m supposed to be getting 3 copies to do with as I please. Thanks for including me guys and next time I’m forward (this springtime maybe), I’ll make sure to do some more posts for you.

Check it out, there's some great writing in there.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Roadtripping with the Tool Box

I got the tool box loaded up only to realize I had no idea where most of my straps were so I went out and bought another 7. Just to be safe. Had to take the tailgate of the truck off because the ramp wouldn’t fit, I could have put the ramp on top but that would have acted like sail and I would have needed even more tie downs

(I had more tie downs then this when I actually left!!)


I left around noon and traffic was actually smooth leaving San Diego and going through Riverside the in Banning, the heavens opened up. I haven’t seen rain in almost a year and ran smack into some kind of microburst, I hit the water and went from doing 70 to an immediate 35 miles per hour, like doing a belly flop into a pool.

My tool box!

Fifteen minutes later, the rain was gone but I could see thunder clouds covering the horizon. I pulled over and opened the box up and no water had got in. Guess the blanket separating the ramp from the drawers was also keeping the water out. I went though 2 more thunderstorms on the way home and a twisty ride up a very curvy road.
(pictures of thunder clouds)

Spooky, but the tool box and I arrived safe and sound and unloaded the tool box with a minimum amount of effort (thanks to the handy-dandy ramp).

Had a great time in Arizona, saw more friends then I can shake a stick at. Thanks for being there; (in order of appearance) Larry, Jennifer, Alec, Kevin, Some Soldiers Mom, Noah, Ronnie, Tammie, Molly, Jason, Debbie, Shannon, Narissa, Nathan, Aimee and Darlene, also my mom, Albert, Sarah, Dad, Diane and Aunt Lynda. You guys give me a great place to ground myself out when I need it. Thanks, I really did need it this time around.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Pictures of hiking around with Jason and his kids

by Watson Lake in Prescott AZ. My mom has a foreign exchange student named Keven staying with her, I took him along too. Pictures can be found here. More posts on the trip as soon as I get home.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Arizona Bound and meeting Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert

I’m getting ready for a road trip to Arizona, I won’t be long at this house and my tool box is way too big to move around being a single guy. It’s paid off and maybe someday in the future I’ll be able to make full use of it. I could sell it and get a nice wad of cash but unless I’m rich in the future, I’ll never by anything that comes as close to being as nice.



Arizona’s going to give me a chance to touch base with myself, the last month has tried my emotional balance and I could use the stabilizing influence of friends and family. I am getting better, haven’t came close to crying in over a week.

Well the last time was at the book signing a week ago tonight with Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert (son of Frank Herbert). They were doing a signing for Sandworms of Dune, last book in the Dune series. Great stuff to read when you’re in the middle of an alien desert on the other side of the planet, it gives what you see out there a spiritual aspect.

Kevin’s read about my life lately on myspace and out of his 3 thousand odd friends has put me near the top. He knew how much I cared for my wife and could imagine the devastation that I was going though. At the signing at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore he greeted me with a hug and some words of condolences and my eye began to tear up. There were more things I wanted to say but I was a little choked up and told him thank you and that his books were enjoyed by many military folk in my reading circle. It’s funny how a kind word from an almost stranger can tear down the walls you've built.

By the way Kevin and Brian, I finished off Sandworms and wanted to let you know, it’s a great read. You guys did an amazing job pulling in all of the loose plot twists and tying it together in a nice neat bow. Frank’s a hard act to follow but I don’t think he could have picked a better pair to do it then have the two of you to fill in his odd shaped shoes.

I’m eagerly awaiting Metal Swarm this fall (not storm).

Thanks for the closure guys!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Life with Gordo

My uncle from Darwin Australia, Gordo flew into San Diego on Thursday. If you’ve a long time reader, you might remember my cousin Greene from Australia. Gordo’s his dad. I saw him last in the mid ‘90’s, I was the corpsman for VMFA (AW)-242 and my squadron went down there for training in an operation called Southern Frontier. I spent 3 months of my life hanging out with him, Greene, his sister Golden, my aunt Mary and them showing me what Australia was really like. Some great memories and times, the all visited us in the states later and we went to Disneyland.

Since Gordo has arrived, I haven’t had much internet time, he’s trying to break me of my melancholy like attitude and it seems to be working. We’re going around and I’m showing him the sights. Last night we went out and watched Superbad and The Bourne Ultimatum, I think his son Greene (who’s a police officer in Darwin) would relate to Superbad quite well.

Today, we’re going to hit downtown looking for some straps for his backpack and he has never stepped foot inside of a Fry’s Electronics, sure to be a treat.

Breakfast consisted of my semi-famous dutch baby pancakes stuffed with potatoes, ham and mushrooms. Future girls in my life, expect lots of breakfast goodness, it’s nice to have someone to cook for.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Why do I blog (short answer to Bane)

It's the vent out of my normal life that won't burn in a fire or disappear if I die which is somewhat important considering my line of work. If I keel over from a chunk of lead falling sideways though my delicate flesh, my son can come back one day and say, hey that's my pop. How many people out there don't get a chance get to know their parents before they die because they lacked communication skills? I know I won’t have that problem. There are gaps in my life here but the important stuff won’t be forgotten.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Out on a Limb

A totally shameless plug for my brother-in-law, Steve's business, Out on a Limb. Not that he needs my help, his work does all of the talking.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Question...

How many of my readers became Corpsman after reading this blog and how many unknown blog children are have I seeded? I received a letter of support from a reader who's going through FMSS (Field Medical Service School) who joined and became a Corpsman after reading about my life here. Thanks Rob, I haven’t mentioned but your letter made my day and that day in particular was in need of some making.

I know I’ve had a couple of rough weeks and I apologize to you guys for dragging you though my emotional gutter with all of those depressing heart wrenching posts but I am getting better. It not often in ones life that you get dumped by the girl of your dreams and it takes longer for the image to fade of someone you thought of as a goddess, it doesn’t help that I have 3000 plus pictures of the girl sitting about and days of video footage. What am I going to do with all of this stuff?

For some odd reason, I have people out there that look up to me and I don’t plan on letting any of them down. So I’m picking up my chin and working on moving on, there is more life out there and before too much longer, I’m planning on living it again. Thanks for reading and the kind comments.

I wish I had an iPhone

Being the tech geek that I am, yes, there has been a part of me that looked at all over those iPhone owners out there with envy and longing, I wanted to reach out and stroke their new little toy and make the buttons light up. But if you’ve read me for a while, you know most of my tech investment over the last few years has gone towards cameras (have I mentioned that I needed one?), computers and external hard drives, the basics that I need for blogging. As far as cell phones go, I’ve always gone for one of the cheaper cell phones that Sprint is offering, you know, that one they’re promoting that is next to free for signing up for 2 years? Yup, that’s mine. Every MP3 player I’ve owned has been has are definitely non-Apple in design and unique. Face it readers, I’m a cheapskate and I didn’t buy more then what I needed to business.

Then this beautiful piece of art comes out that does everything, plays movies, music, surfs the web, makes phone calls, takes pictures has a sleek beautiful interface and that has my secret little boy inside jumping up and down yelling “mommy, I want that!” I could blog, check out the news, map directions even more important, I could be cool and maybe it would make me happy for a while but that's the flawed logic of a child.

Being an adult, I’m much better at slapping that child down, “WHACK!!”, which I did using the logic of “Holy crap, a 600 dollar cell phone, how many cell phones have you broken, lost or dropped out of cars?” Lots, I tell you. I would cry great crocodile tears if I broke a 600 cell phone and believe you me, after the past couple of weeks, I don’t need to be crying about anything.

What brings this up this lovely Saturday morning? I saw this story on Computer world titled “Top 10 – plus one – funniest iPhone YouTube videos”. If you have half an hour to spare, check them all out. Want to see if an iPhone blends? Oh yes, a very great site that guy runs show called “Will it Blend”, now I know what I want to do when I grow up. You want to be one up on the cool kids with the next great Apple product? Well the secret is there. What about that gorgeous VLogger girl iJustine who got a 350 page phone bill? Not all bloggers are as nerdy and geeky looking as I. Problems you can encounter using an iPhone while driving? These videos won me over from the dark side and reminded me that, hey, I really don’t need this phone right now.

Mr Cheapo camera phone is still working just fine.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Are you a fan of

Postsecret? If so click play.



I'm taking a course on Navy Leadership all of this week, great course that's filled me full of ideas. I'll probably post about it tomorrow.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Chargers Game

I actually had a great time, was standing in the end zone making sure people didn't stand in front of the camera. Best seats I've had to any game ever, I needed it. Sorry about the small crappy pictures but they can give you an idea how close I reall was, they were taken on my old school cell phone. Oh the Seahawks won.




Chargers vs. Seahawks

Instead of spending my Sunday at home facing the world though my computer screen, I’ve volunteered to do security at the Chargers preseason game. So if any of my readers are watching or are there, I’ll be running around in black slacks and a red shirt doing whatever they have us do. We're gathing funds for our Christmas party and if I don't do it, how am I going to talk my guys into it?

I seem to be doing okay today, woke up and knowing that she wasn’t there. Maybe it's all of the kind words from my readers. It’s still sad but I’m thinking it’s a situation I can live with. Maybe it’s just time to be single for a while and concentrate on my future. I’ll have to see what that holds for me.

Her leaving did close down all of the doors that I expected to live a month ago but opened up a plethora of others that I wanted to try but wasn’t able to because I was married. I’ll just have to see.

Any San Diego locals out there want a guinea pig or a hamster? Free with cages to a good home.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Okay here's a cheery post

The wailing must end sometime, I made this video of climbing Thumb Butte with my buddies and 2 of our kids fourteen years after that other Thumb Butte video. I still sound dorky and have found out that a small palm sized camcorders are very shaky. I did have a great time and look forward to my next trip up there.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Climbing Thumb Butte 14 years later

On leave in Arizona, I gathered some of the old gang to climb Thumb Butte 14 years after the videos below were made, pictures can be found here. We all were a little older and slower but we were well able to keep up with the young ones, it was the first time for my son Collin and Larry's son Alec. It took a little bit of work to get my son up there but the results were worth it. Thumb Butte has always been one of my groups rites of passage. It's a mountain that sticks up out of the middle of Prescott Arizona.
Here's the part of gang who were able to make it from the left, Dan, Larry, his son Alec, me, Jason and my son Collin. A beautiful day the will live long in memory, thanks for coming guys.

Us climbing Thumb Butte 14 years later

Pictures can be found here

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Getting ready for an Arizona run with the son

Collin are hitting the road tomorrow to go see the family. After the craziness of Comic-Con, I Opted for something a milder, such as converting old 8mm to a digital format and editing some of it to post online.

The result of my day of making movies, the first is a really short clip of when I could still fly, I'm too slow and chunky for such things these days (and I don't have a rope).


The first is a clip of my good buddy Larry and I at Granite Dells in Prescott Arizona doing some rappelling. If you listen long enough you can hear his ditty that he made with one line “Sean Dustman plummeting to his death…" and his shoe falling off twice. He also pulls some tasteless pranks such as screaming about the rope not hitting the ground when I'm on my way down and offering some friendly greetings to the guy from the next video, Dan.


The second clip is an earlier day rappelling with Dan, not as wild but the close up of his knees shaking is pretty funny.


The third is with Dan and my ex wife getting stuck and unstuck in the snow in 1997, I had totally forgot about it till I saw the video, anyway, it shows what I look like without any hair and my favorite old Nissan.