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.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Four days of Comic-Con

And our feet are sore and we’re seeing the world through new eyes. Stepping into Comic-Con is like stepping into a world of alien beings, where the strange is the norm. One crowd stopper was the girl with the M16 leg in the Grind House booth, here’s a picture of me in my Browncoat outfit and her (I wonder if she's a combat vet?) More of her can be found here

Collin liked all of the Halo stuff.

I’m still putting together the video clips and will hopefully post the video tomorrow, more pictures can be found on my fotopage.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Comic-Con 2007 San Diego California

This is one event that I’ve been wanting to go to for years and finally for the past two days I’ve been wallowing in a sea of geekdom. Me and 123,000 of my closest friends moved in mass down to the San Diego convention center to check out what’s what in animation, science fiction, fantasy, horror, movies, video games, toys, publishers and the strange and believe me, there are some very strange things.

After two days of walking around almost all day each day, we think we might have gone over the half way mark. Trying to see the entire convention on a day pass is plainly impossible, glad we had went for the 4 day pass. There is just too much to see, each day we’ve come home loaded down with all sorts of interesting swag.

I met Maddox from The Best Page in the Universe and I got to shake his hand and no, I didn't immediately go and wash mine, I've actually been reading him since 99 or so. I got a Hellboy book autographed by Christopher Golden and a bunch of other free books autographed. We watched the first showing of Marvels movie, Doctor Strange, great show!

I’m still going though information overload or else I would write something more intelligent. Tomorrow I’m looking forward to meeting Kevin J. Anderson and seeing the first episodes of Heroes and Battlestar Galactica but for now, I leave you with the pictures I have posted here.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Toad the Wet Sprocket at the OC Fair

A couple of weeks ago in passing, I entered a contest on the Toad the Wet Sprocket’s myspace page to win concert tickets to see their first show that they’ve performed in over a year at the Orange County fair and last week I got an email from Wahoo’s Fish Taco’s (people who sponsored the prizes) saying that I won.

So last night my son and I drove up there. The last time I saw them in concert was in September of 1996 with Neil Young. Collin was almost 3 and I was stationed at MCAS El Toro and married to his mom. The reason he knows Toad is because I gave him an MP3 player last year that had a bunch of their music on it.

Toad as always been one of my favorite bands, their music resonates somewhere inside of me but its sound has defiled easy description and a most people have never heard of them. I told my coworkers, “I’m going to see Toad the Wet Sprocket!” And every single one of them said “Who?”

Toad the Wet Sprocket’s music is sad and bittersweet, it’s hard to drop them into a genre, they’re a mix of REM, Jar’s of Clay, Nickel Creek and old Jimmy Eat World. Their music invokes loss, love and life mixes everything together into a rush of beauty. Most of their music is about something being wrong but somehow they get it just right. It’s strange that I can get such joy out of such sad music.

Great show guys, you’ve always been able to touch home with me.

Now we're heading down to Comic Con, expect pictures.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

KCET Milblogger Podcast

A couple of months ago, KCET’s Juan Devis, left a comment on my blog, he’s the producer of KCET/PBS Television’s New Media division of Southern California. He does a show called Web Stories “KCET’s multimedia webzine exploring the stories , culture, and attitudes of the people who live here”. This months project was on how new media technologies had changed how the war was being covered. The focus was on the local Southern California Milbloggers and the stories we had to tell.

He was requesting an interview for a podcast, so one afternoon, with approval from the PAO, he and I had a talk that lasted for a half hour or so and the fruits of that conversation can be found here.

Juan also got interviews from Lex, Army Girl and Colby Buzzell.

On that page, Holly Willis writes about Milblogs and compares and contrasts the difference between Michael Herr’s “Dispatches” about the Vietnam war and the phenomenon of Milblogging. One of the clearest essay’s I’ve seen on the subject, definitely a smart lady.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Back in the day

My old roommate, James is heading out to Iraq and he left his 8mm camcorder in my care (if I transfered his 8mm to DVD) and I started going though some of my old 8mm tapes and made the following video of me and a couple of friends climbing around Prescott Arizona back in the early 90's.

It's hard to imagine being that young again, I miss those days sometimes.

New X-files Movie?

Yay! According to David Duchovny he's about to get his hands on the script and the movie might be out next year. Yes, I'm a X-files geek from way back in the day, I wonder they're going to have a booth at Comic Con next week?

I'm going with my wife, son and father-in-law, sure to be some great fun, don't worry, there will be pictures.

The 300,000 visitor to Doc in the Box goes to….

... someone from Rochester, Minnesota who came this way from Helen Chen's blog, they only stayed for a second but the second was long enough to put me over the mark. Thanks!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

DITB mentioned in an Armed Forces Journal piece

Called “Web tangle”, a good article and they mentioned me in good terms.

I wrote a post about how the blocking of certain high bandwidth websites affected us from the front. Here’s the quote they used.

“Sean Dustman at Doc in the Box (http://docinthebox.blogspot.com) observes, "Out
of my 3 tours, there was a maybe a month of time when we were able to get to
these sites from work before it was cut off to our entire base. So we went to
the internet cafe if we wanted to upload pictures and blog posts. ... Know what
happened for that month we could visit those websites [from work]? It slowed
everything ... to a crawl, pages wouldn't load and there were people who wanted
to get official work done and it took forever or the .mil sites would time

And I still stand by it. While it would have been nice to be able to visit these sites from the comfort of my own office, we just don’t have the bandwidth on the government network.

Then there’s the security aspect, if you’ve been on myspace long enough, how many people do you see that have had their profiles hacked or fished? There’s some dirty code going on out there and the internet is full of such brier patches.

Also quoted was Cpl M from A Soldier’s Perspective where I also got the hat tip about the article, thanks for the ping.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


visits to this blog in the next day or so.

If it were miles, that would be the lifespan of a Toyota.

If it were people, it would be the population of a medium sized city such as Tampa, Toledo or Anaheim.

If I had got a penny for every view it would equal 3,000 dollars and if I only had a nickel..

And for me

today or tomorrow

It's just a 3 that has a lot of zeros at the end:)

Off with it’s top! (Building flight hazard in San Diego)

If you’re a local out here and pay attention to the news, one of the big stories is an office tower built next to Montgomery Field, the city gave the San Diego firm Sunroad Enterprises permission to build it but the FAA said the 12 story building is a flight hazard. There’s a lot of bickering in the local government here about how this happened with lots of finger pointing both ways. Sunroad has agreed to cut 20 feet off a 180 feet of the tower by October.

I really didn’t think much of it, driving by the building, it doesn’t look that big. But a couple of days ago, I was providing coverage for a change of command at the flight line and what do I see across the way?

Actually the only thing I saw on the horizon was that building, you can see by the picture below (and if you click on the image, you can also see why I need a new camera, I'm not kidding, my sensor is all blotched up from too many trips to the sand box). That building is huge, it’s strange that you can’t see anything else that direction considering we’re in the middle of southern California.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

New camera window shopping

My entrance to the online self publishing world was in June 2003. My Marines were going though training and until someone got hurt; my job was to sit on my thumb. So I started taking pictures to pass the time and Marines asked for copies of the pictures. Where else can they get someone to follow them out into the field, run besides them and take pictures of them doing exciting things at cost?

Well that lasted 2 or 3 months and became a full time job of developing, getting the prints, delivering pictures and breaking even so I told everyone, I’m just going to post them on line and you can print your own pictures. That's when the fotopage came into being, I still had a film camera and was getting CD's made of my pictures, being a broke enlisted guy, it took me a little while to gather up the spare change to get my digital camera, it was a HP Photosmart 935. I had a lot of fun with that camera, I stretched what it was capable of to the limit, just look at the 2004 pictures on the fotopage, but eventually, being in my pocket in a 120 degrees was taking its toll, I started seeing defects in the pictures, little smudges like finger prints on pictures of the sky, parts started sticking eventually it died.

Before this happened, I had picked up the photographing bug and was selling CD's of videos I made to my Marines at 5 bucks a pop. Business was good and eventually I saved up enough money to buy a Digital Rebel and I was a picture taking fool. Back in OIF3, you were still allowed to take backpacks everywhere so it was easy to carry around plus I was flying a lot more seeing things that the average Joe rarely got to see. The only problems I had with it was it's size, huge, and that I had to carry around a separate video camera.

I was in Thailand in January of 2006 with my wife when the Rebel died, well the autofocus did and with the small viewfinder, it's sort of hit and miss for my pictures to be in focus. Which cut down on my pictures (it's still not working).

In the middle of my third trip out, since my HP was long since moved on to the next world, I was in search of a new pocket camera. One of the new base rules was you weren’t allowed to take bags into MWR or the Chow Hall and carrying around a DSLR around my next made me look like a Japanese tourist (I’m half Thai by the way). I don’t need any extra help with the being a nerd, I’m totally happy with my current level of geekdom. I didn’t need a big camera around my neck to let total strangers know too.

The exchange in Iraq had a weakness for Panasonics, most of the cameras they order where that brand, no idea why. I ended up getting a 5 megapixel 6 optical zoom model, the DMC-LZ2. They only had two left and the way things are at the exchange, I might not get another chance at picking a camera up. It was a good price, took movies and had a 6 zoom on a pocket camera, how could I go wrong? Amazon gives it 4 stars and DP Review gave it Recommended review. I should have read further into the review, the movies were in a .mov format which you needed Quicktime Pro to edit and the only way to get that was to download it and I couldn’t plug my laptop in anywhere on base. The images were somewhat over exposed and the color balance was terrible, the HP I bought 2 years prior took better pictures and the low lights on this camera weren’t even worth mentioning.

The lack of pictures posted my third trip out were mostly do to this crappy camera taking shoddy pictures and not being able to carry around the Rebel (and it’s hard to use the manual focus on the fly with the small view finder, I need better eyes).

So the camera I'm looking at is the Canon S3, it dropped down below the 300 dollar range, not too big nor too small, takes great movies and has good reviews. I already have SD cards and the rechargeable batteries, now just have to talk the wife into letting me buy it.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Who are you going to call?

I’m taking over as LPO on Monday, picking up the new responsibilities and I need to pass out my collection of old ones. The torch is moving on to a new crew with a new social dynamics. We just got some new bodies and we’re loosing the usual crowd. Starting with a fresh slate has always been tough, it’s strange to think that I’ll be the guy at the helm this time around. Hopefully I don’t disappoint, give me time.

I’m already the guy to call if anything goes wrong. Need a ride at 2 in the morning? Who’s always going to answer? Me. Aircraft Mishap? Yup, I know what to do. Locked out of your car? Same guy, I can get into most vehicles in under a minute (when I was a mechanic, sometimes customers would only give us the key to the ignition and we wouldn’t find out till the morning, we finally drew straws to see who would invest on the vehicle entry set and I drew the short one but still have the tools). I get called for everything and anything, with my back ground of remodeling homes and being a mechanic, I’m the first person all of my guys call for anything because I can usually fix it and if not, I can tell them to stop wasting their time and get a new one.

I’ve also became the one to come to for advice, since I got out once, I know the ins and outs of the post military system, especially the GI Bill and how long you can expect to wait for your first check after applying. Relationship troubles? As the watcher of literally thousands of Marines and their relationship highs and lows, you get a pretty good feeling at what’s going on and there isn’t much I haven’t seen, I rarely take sides but I offer honest advice for making it to the next day and the day after without getting the entire chain involved.

We send a lot of Marines and Sailors to see the Chaplin, but sometimes the story they need to tell is something they don’t want to tell to a man of god, so they come to someone who won’t judge or talk about it to anybody else. Even though I tell stories in my blog, I don’t tell their story unless they want me to share it or I’m seeing the same exact story played out though a lot of people.

If someone is a danger to themselves or others, I know what to do and how to get help for them without having to call a dozen people because I’ve been there. Having one Marine die when you could have done something is one too many. I’ve already had that one and believe me, I’ll live with that knowledge for the rest of my life. I don’t want to do it again.

Finally getting to that point in my life where I can have a go at fixing anything living, mechanical or spiritual. But it still sucks being the go to guy at 2 in the morning.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I don’t enjoy fireworks anymore

I missed the 4th last year being in the middle of an Iraqi vacation and I didn’t notice any problems the year before watching the fireworks with my soon to be wife and son. But this year, I noticed that part of my brain was looking for hard objects to hide behind and another part was subconsciously doing measurements of size, direction and how much ground shake there was. I guess I did carry some baggage back with me from Iraq.

Man, I used to love fireworks and the whole season, the great hometown tradition of Prescott Arizona was the 4th of July water fight down town next to the square. People would load into the beds of pickups with a arsenal of water slinging gear such as water balloons, squirt guns in all shapes and sizes and a good attitude. Then around my class graduation in 1991, the local powers that be shut down one of the most enjoyable signature events of the area.

We spent the 3rd with my wife’s grandmother for her 84th birthday and the 4th over at my step sister’s house in Lake Elsinore. Seeing the family is always good.