Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Made it safe to San Jose

The traffic driving up here was actually went smoothly after I expected to drive through the storm of the century and lots of accidents. It did rain but not till after I was on the Grapevine and then it wasn’t too bad. Glad I missed the big one. I suffer a fear of getting snowed in while on leave or away for the weekend. It happened to me once in the 90’s but I did make it to work on time but the dread still sticks with me. Laugh all you want, just let me enjoy my fears. Have a great weekend, I’m signing off for now and going to spend some quality time with the wife.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holidays, it’s time to drive

I got back from 29 Palms last week and within an hour of getting in my warm home, was struck down with a cold. It was freezing out there in those non-insulated, non-heated tin shacks, in fact, I almost got snowed in on the drive home (note, it’s pretty easy to snow in a Californian), I don’t remember it ever snowing in this part of the Mojave Desert.

(here's a picture of the ride home from my cell phone)
The rain has hardly let up in the last week and in 2 days, I join the hordes of holiday travelers making their way from one place to another and I’m sure the weather is going to make the entire endeavor a nightmare for some. One of the fears I’ve developed well since I joined the military is getting trapped someplace by the weather. Now in the days of cell phones, it’s not as big of an issue as it used to be, everyone I know is in my contacts, social networking of another sort that doesn’t involve the internet.

The plan is, I’m driving up to San Jose on Christmas Eve to spend it with the brides family, pick up the son on Sunday and come back to work on Monday. Tuesday afternoon start my leave and road trip it over to Arizona with the runt and sometime during these drives, introduce him to Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book on Audio and see how well that settles in his head. Sunday, he flies home to be replaced by my wife who is coming in to take over as my road tripping companion.

In all of this, I’m sure there are going to be adventures, sorry readers about the blogging dead air. My writing tends to go out the window when my head is filled with snot. 29 Palms was a good experience and I think I learned my lesson on the trip and don’t see the need to repeat it for a while.

Merry Christmas all, may there be warm hugs awaiting you at the end of your journeys from missed friends and family, I know there will be on mine.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

29 Palms

I’m off in another land, another desert but this time with less internet access. I have a Sprint wireless card and Sprint seems to be the only carrier that works out here at Camp Wilson (a camp located in the middle of 29 Palms) even so, the service is really spotty. A common sight to see out here are small clumps of people that at first glance look to be smoking but when get closer and see that they’re all talking on cell phones and waving them in the air to try twisting that last little electron out of the ether. These little gatherings are hotspots that Sprint receives service even so, still not strong enough service for my broadband card. Hopefully I’ll be able to drive over to the main side of the base and log on and post this.

One thing about the Marines that doesn’t change much is Camp Wilson. It’s like going back to the 50’s, living in can shaped structures (quonset huts), cots, multiple sleeping bags in the winter and a sheet in the summer. Nights are cold and his place has never seen climate control, just layer on more clothes at night and take them off in the day. It’s difficult to dress to cover all of the bases because the wide temperature fluctuations.

Changes? The exchange is a little bit bigger and has the largest selection of beef jerky I have ever seen, in all seriousness, I think beef jerky takes up a 5th of the store. And someone thought it would be funny to have an ice cream truck drive by with music playing, I'll post pictures later. The only improvements on being here instead of Iraq is that you can drink a beer at the warriors club and in general the people out the front gate don't want to shoot you. Sleeping conditions are generally a little bit better forward, they're trying to keep us happy out there, 29 Palms was built to get us ready for whatever they could throw at us. Some things never change.

At least I’ll be home by Christmas hanging out with the lovely bride and son, for now, I’ll just try keeping my guys healthy and concentrate on making it home safely.

Mini Reunion

(I wrote this a week ago but this was the first time I've been on the internet)

One of the wonders of social networking is the ability to gather people who share a common element. Before my trip to Prescott, I had told two classmates that I would meet up with them on my next trip out and left a comment about that on Facebook. Other people from my graduating class started pinging in and so we decided it was as good excuse as any to set up a meet on the day following Thanksgiving. 8 of us gathered at a local watering hole called The Outpost Saloon. My 3 beer limit went out the window and I had to call an old friend to give me a ride home, thanks Theresa, I owe you big!

In a couple of years, our 20th is going to be coming into view. I wish we had Facebook and Myspace for the 10th, with a couple of messages back and forth, it was easy to set up this little gathering. Looking forward to testing the power social networking with the 20th. Here’s a picture of the gathering, we all had a great time.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Mario Kart Love Song

When you're trying to explain the why of playing video games to your wife, this guy does the best job I've ever seen, now if only I could carry a tune.