Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010 Telethon

My buddies over at are trying to raise money to keep their site on the air. For the largest rate in the Navy, they offer everything that you need to make it in this rate, study guides, forums and the latest news. The corpsman world is a much better place with them in it and if I have any corpsman readers or supporters out there, drop by, check them out and if you can afford it, drop a couple bucks. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Veteran's Day

I have an old friend, he's a veteran of 3 great wars that took place well before my time. He's still carrying the scars from battles that I can barely comprehend, today an old memory festered up and he had a break down and his daughter brought him to the local VA for some help. His last last war was 4 decades in the past, half of his lifetime ago yet the wounds that were left in his mind are still fresh. Two strangers came up to him to wish him happy birthday, you see, he's a Marine, one of these people was a young man who had only been in the military for 5 years, extended for that fifth year got injured and was now getting treatment at the VA. He walked with a limp and his military time was cut short, showing the visible scars of a more recent war. With a handshake, they both knew that they were brothers.

Veteran's Day is made up of ranks and files of people like these, people who have been willing to lay their lives down to protect those at home. War leaves behind many scars and costs that at the time we don't add up till later (or sometimes sooner) in life.

My friend Darrel who runs writes in his latest post "In war, there are no unwounded soldiers". I might not have agreed before I started my whorl wind tours of Iraq but I've seen to much, lost too many friends and carry my own wounds. I agree, they're not much now but I wonder in 40 years, if my child will be taking me to the VA because I've had a breakdown over something that I've repressed from today?

So tomorrow, call that Veteran in your life, shake their hand, give them a hug and be thankful that they were will to stand up when the call was sounded.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Super Margot!

Our new dog Margot's favorite thing to do, fetch toys that I throw across the room and make a massive leap onto the pillows on my battered couch, to think, just last month I was thinking about getting a new one. I think I'll hold that off for a while.

Monday, October 11, 2010


My wife is going to grad school up in San Jose and she got this idea in her head that I'm too lonely down here in Lemoore by myself during the week and needed some company. So after a couple of weeks of searching around online, we went out with Gatsby (our 5 year old faithful mutt) to check out some of the selection she had found. I figured I would let Gatsby make the final choice since he's really the four footed boss around the house. We met the first two dogs on the brides list, Venus, who was a was a shy little black and white dog who had a great liking for eating cat poop (3 pieces while we met) and Margot, an Australian Cattle Dog, who was a bundle of energy just a little bit smaller the Gatsby. Gatsby and Margot got along like 2 peas in a pod so the choice was made.

Since then, they continue to get along good, it took less then a week to get her potty training back (which was better then Gatsby) but she has a real problem that I'm really trying to shake. If it's an object small enough to lift comfortably, she'll chew it up. This list includes, books (all of Sherri Tepper), wires, power supplies (one of my externals), shoes (2 sets of Vans, my killer bunny slippers and an old pair of my wifes boots), CD's, white out, medical tape and the total destruction of stuffed animals. Bitter Apple doesn't seem to work so instead of despairing, she's given me an excuse to make some lifestyle changes. My house is becoming doggy and baby proof and neater at the same time, good changes but I do miss the use of that external.

Here's the latest family picture.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Old Stomping Grounds

One thing about being in Lemoore, it makes it harder to get home. It's right at the cusp of being too far to drive and too close to fly. 9 in a half hours makes huge difference in how I schedule thing but when I finally get to the end, it makes it that much sweeter seeing the smiling faces at the end of the journey. In my elder age, I'm not the fly by the wire speeder that I was at 20, now I ponder my moves and am fearful of what tickets can do. When Google maps says something is going to take a certain amount of time to drive, its fairly close to the mark I hit.

We just got back from one of my fly by trips to Arizona, a week isn't much time when you have friends and family scattered across an entire state and considering that I do come by a couple times a year, I don't expect them to drop everything when I'm driving through their town. Never the less, our trip was packed, spent the first couple of days in Chandler staying at my uncle Larry's, he has an apartment at his hanger which he makes available to family such as I when we're in the area and we are really appreciative!

Part of my uncles collection of Things

Where we stayed

While there, got to see my oldest friend in the world, Leslie and her husband Scott. I met Leslie the summer before 6th grade and she was the coolest person on the block because she had a couple of quads and an empty field besides her house that had a track. We went out to dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings where she met my wife for the first time and seemed delighted with the company. Good people!

The next couple of days were spent hanging out with the pop, my step mom Diane , Uncle Larry, Aunt Michele and Aunt Mary and Uncle Gordo had just flown in from Australia and there was a good night of tale exchanging.

From the left, May, Gordo, Larry, Michele bride at the bottom

Bride, Dad and Diane

Next Prescott where I got to hang out with my bald but beautiful sister who was in good spirits even with the tough times she's going through.

I spent an afternoon updating her computers and setting up her account (which is my account and has entirely too much money sunk into it). I went over to my second oldest friend Jason's house and passed on my old 30 gig Zune (I had 4 Zunes but only room for 3 on my account). He's a music freak and had yet to own an MP3 player, me giving him the Zune was my coin tossed into the pool of karma. I couldn't think of anybody who would have got better use out of it then him and I just installed a new battery. Hmm, maybe I need to blog about my love of Luddites sometime soon.

While hanging out with my mom, her neighbor came by with a laptop that was made in 2000 that was new still in it's plastic that he picked up at some auction that he wanted to use to track his different jobs and wanted me to make it do that for him. Hmm, a spreadsheet would probably be albe to do that. Excel was out of the question because it cost money so I figured I would plug it into my sisters high speed internet and update everything and find something free. Alas, I get to my sisters and find the laptop only had a phone line. So I went online with my computer, found a great free spreadsheep program called Gnumeric, read the directions and used a little bit of computer savvy and downloaded the program to a disk and installed it on the dinosaur and placed a different file with the names for each month of the year on the desktop, it would track the job, with names, supplies, add the money and miles traveled at the end of the month and his accountant should be happy.
Sunday, I introduced my favorite city girl to some light climbing at the Dells with Larry and Jennifer. At first it was a little spotty, it's hard to introduce someone who's walked of flat ground 99.9 percent of their life to clambering over rocks, by the time we left, she was getting her footing. Both of us being not used to that sort of exercise felt it the next day.

The above picture was taken using the Canon setting Color Accent

Me and Larry

Larry and Jennifer

Finally back to work on Tuesday, it's hard to cram all of the people that I wanted to see in just a week. Hopefully next time I can get a little more time out there.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

112th Corpsman Ball NAS Lemoore

What happens when the color guard isn't guarding their weapons:)

We had a great time

Some of my Lemoore Crew, HM1 Lochowicz, Me, HM3 Kirkeeng, HM2 Mattson, HM3 Gordon.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Key West

I’m out in Key West for a couple of weeks of training, well my unit is training and I’m providing whatever medical coverage they need and perhaps fishing when I get a chance. This is my first time to the Keys and on first impression, it reminds me of Guam, white buildings, palm trees everywhere and the humidly. Medically, so far, all I’ve had to take care of are sunburns and some other minor ailments. It feels like I’ve fallen into some strange time warp were everyone is running around in flip flops and get off at 3. Not us but the rest of the island.

Downtown is sort of a cleaner mini Bourbon St, except there are a lot more string bikini’s and bikers both on bikes and motorcycles. Key West might be the best designed bicycle city I’ve ever been in, just about every rode has a bike path besides it, often abnormally huge bike paths so people can ride side by side. Sitting down on the side of Duval St. It was strange seeing mini parades of bikes with people in costume riding by playing music. Some odd ducks out here not that I mind, there are days when I’m sort of one. Everyone seemed laid back, it must be the heat telling the lizard part of the brain that it was alright to hang out and chill on that rock over there. Like Bourbon St, there were come clear lines where the gay and straight bars are, not that the customers were paying attention to such lines. Overall, I give this place top notches for places to people watch.

The military bases are scattered to the winds, one base is the airfield, another has the clinic, one the exchange and another, the billeting office, I couldn’t imagine trying to be stationed here without a car. Our unit has duty vans that run on a loose schedule with phone numbers posted of the drivers but it’s still not that easy getting around.

Much of my off work time has been taken up with fishing, something that I don’t get to do much in Lemoore since I spend much of my weekends hanging out with the wife and she’s definitely not the hunter/gather type. While she likes exploring, she likes to leave the wildlife where they’re supposed to be, in the wild. Myself, I grew up poor and my mom took us fishing every weekend and if I would have thought about it, would have realized that fishing was another source of food for the family. I just enjoyed doing it. Send me to a place with water and lots of fish, I’ll find a way to put a pole in the water.

Last weekend, I got myself and some of my fellow sailors on a liberty program. The military partially sponsors single sailors and geographical bachelors E-6 to go out have fun, for a nominal fee, if you meet those criteria, you can get out on a trip. I saw on a calendar that there was a deep sea fishing trip going out last weekend for 20 bucks, I passed the word, gathered the names, money and arranged transportation and off we went. At the end of the day, I was worn out. Good times.

After eating fish at least once a day for the past week and a half, I would have never thought it possible but I might be reaching the limit of how much fish I can handle. In closing, I’m looking forward to seeing my wife’s florescent locks and breathing dry air, I’m looking forward to showing this off to my wife someday soon.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Drink Water and Breathe

If you would have told me a couple of years ago that my luddite little sister Sarah would have stepped in the world of blogging. I wouldn’t have believed you. But she has, in some part of her mind, like me, she wants to leave a mark on the world in case something happens. I know the feeling, it’s the same feeling I had before heading out into a far distant and scary war zone. In case I died, I wanted to leave a record of me behind so I wouldn’t be forgotten.

Now she is going into her personal war zone, she went in last month to get an excisional biopsy (which means they take out all of whatever it is they found) on a mass in her right breast and when she woke, the doctor told her in that gentile voice they use to say such things, that she had cancer. On April Fools day she drove down to Phoenix for a follow up and learned at she had stage II or III ductal carcinoma which is the most common kind of breast cancer. Weeks pass and more tests show that it has moved into some lymph nodes and there’s something on one of her ovaries.

Suddenly, she is scheduled for surgery and tonight, she’s alone in a hospital room taking blood thinning medicines and she’ll be under the knife tomorrow where that kind sounding M.D. is going to put her on the chopping block and core her like an apple in hopes of getting that alien presence out of her body.

Just yesterday she turned 36 and it seems like it was just yesterday when I was letting her drive my car for the first time and the day before that when we used to sneak out of the house together. I love you sis and we are all pulling for you to pull through this, I’m here for you as I have always been but this time, don’t crash the car.

If you want to read her blog, it's at Drink Water and Breathe

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Mangosteen, Flavor of Vietnam restaurant review

Tonight, I might have had one of the best pieces of fish in my life. My wife and I are spending Valentine’s in San Francisco and we’re staying an older place called the Embassy Hotel. Usually our plan is the Marine Memorial but they were sold out this weekend and I didn’t plan ahead well enough. The hotel is a bit aged, you can see by the furniture that they did have a hay day but have since dropped down a bit in the star power. One thing I like about the hotel, it’s located in the middle of little Saigon, an area that I’ve wanted to check out for a while with a ton of restaurants that are enough off the regular tourist beat that their prices are a bit lower.

Walking around tonight, we picked a place called Mangosteen, they had a bunch of very positive reviews on City Beat on the wall so we went in to see what it was all about and I ordered a spicy bass dish and Heather ordered a seafood curry pot. This place breaks away from the rest of the pack in tastiness and the prices were very reasonable. We’re going to have to come back and try out more menu. With 2 beers the bill came out to 33 bucks and we were barely able to finish it.

Tomorrow, we’re going to hang out with one of my old military buddies, “Chains”, the guy who got me into computers, roller hockey and punk music.

Work has been amazingly brain draining, 600 or so people, it takes a lot of effort to keep up and make it look good. The work is paying off but it’s a never ending job, and no matter how well you do, there are days were everything seems to fall apart. Well little things that don’t matter fall apart and when you’re running that fast, you don’t have the time to slow down.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Remember when..

I got my first cell phone in 1999 through Quest and they immediately lost all of my information and every couple of weeks or so, I would call asking for a bill and to be moved to a higher minute plan and they would say my number wasn’t on their system and they couldn’t help me. This went on for almost a year till eventually I got a monstrous bill for a couple thousand dollars. I had been keeping track of my calls, people who I had talked to and dates and told them that this was their screw up and worked my way up the chain of Quest till eventually I got satisfaction and a bill that was much reduced.

Since then, there has always been a cell phone in my pocket. Going to school, many long commutes, moving from place to place, having a constant contact with the world for a single guy was the way to go. My first clamshell phone in 2002, I was excited when I got a cell phone that would hold play MP3’s in 2003 (it did a lousy job), 2005 my first camera phone, first QUARTY keyboard in 2007 (I actually have a blog post from that phone someplace here, it’s the Rumor post). Now I’m on my second Blackberry much to the dismay to many of my IPhone using coworkers and my son who thinks how cool it would be if I could get him an IPhone. Face it, I’m a mobile electronics geek, connected, will travel.

Right now, I’m driving up with the bride to San Jose for the weekend and reached into my pocket to call my dad and it was empty. Oh man, I left the phone in my uniform pocket. I keep looking around and patting my pockets (for the fifth time). So, this weekend, I’m unconnected well other then this blog post and maybe a status update on Facebook.

When I discovered the phone missing, my brain seized, for a second, have you noticed how attached we have become to our electronic appliances? I remember the day when I used to keep all of my phone numbers on a single piece of folded paper that fit in my wallet that went through 4 separate generations over a decade and a half. I still have all of those pieces of paper but they’re now living in a photo album. I also used my brain, I had dozens of phone numbers floating up there waiting to be called up, patterns I could use to pull them up, now? I don’t even remember my dad’s number, over the years I’ve picked up so many numbers, just dropping them willy nilly into my cell phone with address when I was able and now, I can’t remember anything. My phone, like many of yours, has become part of how we recall information.

A decade ago, I couldn’t imagine how much stuff I use my phone for, I track all of my appointments, I keep numbers and notes about what I did that day, email responded to instantly, want to share a scene? Click. Need to find someplace? Press. A different ring for every event in my life, it’s not big brother who controls what I do, it’s a little slab of plastic and transistors which I keep in my pocket.


I'm hitting 6 years of cyber babbling here next weekend