Tuesday, September 28, 2004

in the spotlight

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, September 27, 2004


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, September 25, 2004

People reading the AP story

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

Thanks Ellen

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

getting my office ready for me to leave again!

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

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

Milblogs updates

There's a few female Milbloggers in the box now

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

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

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

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

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

This milblogger is in a CAN not the Box..

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

Monday, September 20, 2004

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Hurricane Ivan and my weekend

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

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

Friday, September 17, 2004

Hurricane Ivan

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Lesson of the day

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

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Something odd I've noticed and my planned trip

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

What Is Your Battle Cry?

What Is Your Battle Cry?

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

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

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

created by beatings : powered by monkeys

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

What we all wanted to do

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


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

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

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

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

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

(btw, thanks Ted for the save!)

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Yet another photo site

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

Hanging out Posted by Hello

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Three years..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 10, 2004

Support Milblogs

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

I'm about to hit 30 thousand!

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

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Our trip and other things of no interest.

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

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


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

Friday, September 03, 2004

A weekend of roadtripping with my son Collin

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

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