Thursday, December 30, 2004

Good news of the past year

Nice to see at least one news organization takes the time to report what has gone right this year. The trends are promising, too bad this will not be played on the evening news.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Amazon Relief Effort

I posted a donation link to the American Red Cross via Amazon to the right. It really has been remarkable to watch the donations come pouring in. Over 3 million dollars in donations through Amazon in just 2 days! Give Freely.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Tsunami's in Hawaii

To help assuage fears of a tsunami in Hawaii I did a little research. The US has 2 Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (Hawaii and Alaska) along with a natural warning systems in place that monitors receding water and tide measurements. They did detect the 9.0 quake and called 26 countries to warn them, but they had no system setup to warn everyone.

The US tsunami centers get information from the National Data Buoy Center, whose network of buoys measure the size of waves. The Indian ocean does not have any of these buoys. It requires an earthquake of at least 6.5 to start a tsunami.

Hawaii has not been hit by a Tsunami since 1964. Before that time they averaged about one every 7 years.

March 28, 1964: Good Friday earthquake in Alaska sends out a wave swamping much of the Alaskan coast and destroying three villages. The wave kills 107 people in Alaska, four in Oregon and 11 in California as it sweeps down the West Coast.

May 22, 1960: A wave reported as up to 35 feet high kills 1,000 in Chile and causes damage in Hawaii, where 61 die, and in the Philippines, Okinawa and Japan as it sweeps across the Pacific.

April 1, 1946: Alaskan quake generates tsunami that destroys North Cape Lighthouse, killing five. Hours later the wave arrives at Hilo, Hawaii, killing 159 people and doing millions of dollars in damage.

June 15, 1896: The Sanriku tsunami strikes Japan without warning. A wave estimated at more than 70 feet high hits a crowd gathered to celebrate a religious festival, killing more than 26,000 people.

Aug 27, 1883: the eruption of the volcano Krakatau generates a massive wave that sweeps over the shores of nearby Java and Sumatra, killing 36,000 people.

Thomas Hamill

I went to Barnes & Noble across the street this morning and hunted for a book to read. I have not read a book recreationally in at least 2 years. After searching for about 30 minutes through their horrible arrangement I picked out "The Escape in Iraq." The book surprised me, Thomas Hamill took the job in Iraq to literally save his farm. He reminded me alot of Dad with his no nonsense, quiet, and humble nature. He definitely had alot of common sense and handled himself extremely well in some very difficult circumstances. His numerous Iraqi captors were generally decent and gives me new hope and insight into the Iraqi people. Many of his captors wanted to let him go and even told him so. It was a good fast read with a fresh perspective about the Iraqi people and how an untrained civilian can overcome even the worst situations in captivity. It did not sound like he ever showed fear, tried to appease his captors, or lost control.

Intellectual Morons : How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas

I wast tempted to buy this book:

"Ideology acts as a mental straitjacket. It prevents adherents from seeing reality, encourages zealotry, and justifies dishonesty. It makes smart people stupid."

"Why has ideology taken such a powerful hold over so many smart people? Humans desire meaning in their life. With the decline of
religion among the well-educated, intellectuals increasingly look for meaning outside the church, temple, and mosque. Ideology can fill this void. It bestows an easy-to-understand explanation for the way the world works. It supplies a moral code, membership in a community, and a vocation. The new religions exalt secular saints, enforce dogma, punish heretics, value self-sacrifice, and sanctify writings. In short, ideology serves as a proxy religion for people who view themselves as too smart for traditional religion. And since worshiping a god is an impossible task for the self-obsessed, the intellectual moron worships himself—man—and the ideas that will deliver us all into salvation."

"It is folly to blame “bad” ideology for the current degraded state of the public square. The problem isn’t necessarily Left ideology or Right ideology, but all ideology. Anyone who abandons rational analysis for the dictates of a governing philosophy is bound to be led astray. To the ideologue, what matters is not whether an idea is good or bad, harmful or beneficial, or true or false. What matters is whether it can serve the Cause."

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Fahrenheit 911

I couldn't sleep so I popped in F911. I have had the DVD for several months now, but never got around to watching it. Some how I knew I would need it. It surprised even me and I had very low expectations. I feel confident I could disprove or at least shed serious doubt on every single accusation Moore makes. But, that isn't even necessary, others have already done it far more eloquently than I ever could. Moore falls back on his recurring theme "scared white men" that made him so popular with bowling for columbine. Lawyers and white men seem to be the only PC targets to ridicule these days. I would hate to be a white male lawyer.....

Back to the movie. Conspiracy theories abound, too many to list. I'll pick one, the Saudi's link. At least I think that is one of the main themes.

Since we started importing oil from Saudi Arabia I believe every President has had direct ties with the Saudi's. For fun I ran a google search on Bill Clinton to find a link to the Saudi's. I was surprised to find a tie to the Saudi's after 911 in about 15 seconds.

"In 2002, Bill Clinton traveled to bin Laden's hometown of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to address a group of Saudi businessmen. He was paid $267,000"

"Hillary Clinton makes $750,000 in payments from three Arab nations with ties to the 9/11 hijackers in 2003, including a $267,000 speaking fee from a group funded by the family of Osama bin Laden."

and I am not a professional at this. I could go on forever, I won't. The underlying issue that gets over looked is what I want to write about.

Why is Michael Moore, a shock jock film maker, a proven liar (repeatedly), an extremist, a propagandist, a.... (insert colorful adjectives here) given the benefit of the doubt repeatedly and legitimized by comments like "there's also a heck of a lot of truth in his film?" You know if you give 1000 monkeys 1000 video cameras they could come up with a heck of a lot of truth too.

Fahrenheit 911, sparking anti-americanism near you.

Holiday Disasters

It has been a year full of natural disasters. The latest Tsunami death toll keeps climbing.

To top it off we have a 1:42 chance of getting hit by an asteroid in 2029.

Update: NASA downgraded to 1:56000 already.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Waiting for santa

Just getting ready for bed at Gram's. Someone in the neighborhood has an unsecured wireless network that I have jumped on with my laptop. Doing some more work on the family tree without much success. Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

As chris noticed comments have to be approved before being allowed now. Some people were spamming me. Many different ways I can prevent it, this is the least painful I hope. All these spammers do is set an automated program to leave a link to their site in the comment sections of 1,000's of blogs. Then when Google arranges search hits it counts number of links to websites to determine popularity. If all that makes sense you spend too much time on the Internet.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The New Media

From Mark Glaser
"For way too long, it has been the mainstream media (MSM) that's played God with the American public, telling everyone what's news and what's not, what to play up and what to downplay. But 2004 was the year the power started shifting, that the Little People, if you will, started to tell the gods of media what the public really wanted."

Time's blog of the year Powerline is being credited with taking down Dan Rather. The future looks even better. It won't be long before people start video blogging.

A first hand account from a chaplain in Mosul puts things in perspective and includes a follow on attack on the hospital where the victims were taken that no one is reporting.

This would make an awesome Senior Project

This would be fun for any techies out there: How to build an Apollo Guidance Computer. It was the first integrated circuit computer and the flight computer that was used to land on the moon.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

My Christmas Present

I bought myself The Complete Far Side by Gary Larson which arrived today. It was only 54$ on amazon.com last week on sale with free shipping (21 lbs, that is alot of book). The ultimate coffee table addition.

Ebay Earnings

I was surprised to sell all 8 of my ebay auctions. I made 225$, alot more than I expected. What a great way to get rid of junk. Very well done and completely automated. All 8 buyers paid me within hours through paypal and I shipped everything the next day. If I had a scale I could have printed my own postage and just dropped them off at the post office. Much easier than I expected.

Freedom

Russia has been downgraded to "not free" by Freedom House. They have a great article on who's who among the oppressed and the free in the world. Read it all the way to the end if you want to know what freedom has to do with terrorism.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Super Size Me

Speaking of documentaries. I am watching a good one; Super Size Me. The guy is crazy. He puts himself on a mcdonalds only diet for 30 days. Everyone needs to watch this and stop buying fast food.

Last time Rikki and I had fast food was when the power went out because of one of the hurricanes. We went to KFC across the street that still had power. We hit fast food places (excluding subway) 2-3 times a year. Usually when we are travelling and can't find a subway.

Moore propaganda

I heard through my sources that someone showed mom & dad fahrenheit 911 a while back. I hope that same someone also takes the time to watch Fahrenhype 911, Celsius 4111, or Michael Moore Hates America. I haven't seen any of them yet. I am not a big fan of Moore's propaganda. I try to avoid it and stick to the facts so I do not need to see the above movies that deconstruct it. But if I do see some propaganda I try to balance it out with other points of view. I wish more people would do the same thing.

What I have done is spent alot of time on the Internet reading. The truth is pretty easy to find if you take the time. I prefer a well written document which includes verifiable sources and facts.

Michael Moore should go back to making movies like Canadian Bacon. He has chosen his niche and is making a good living with plenty of adoring fans and popularity. He is living a perverse American dream. That is why so many people hate him. He is using the freedoms and opportunities given to him by this great country to help destroy it. He has that right.

Abe Lincoln: "America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."

Something you won't see in the old media

About a week ago when Donald Rumsfeld fielded questions from military members a Mr. Wilson asked a harsh question given to him by a reporter about why their humvee's were not armored. What you won't hear is that of his companies 830 humvee's only 20 were not armored and those 20 were scheduled to be armored the next day. The day after he asked every humvee for his unit had armor. Of course this isn't important to the media.

The real problem resides in Congress, they have only approved funding for 29,000 of the 35,000 vehicles that need armor. John McCain and several other senators have placed the blame on Rumsfeld. I thought I liked John McCain, but he is blaming Rumsfeld over a problem he has direct responsibility for. McCain's job includes direct oversight of DOD expenditures.

"and that... is the rest of the story."

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Marathon 101

4 months ago I decided to try a marathon. The first 2 months I did great. Running 5 times a week and building up to a 10+ mile long run on the weekends. Then I struggled with the Marine Corps 1/2 marathon on a hot and humid day but managed to finish. I continued my training a few weeks and then came down with a nasty cold that put me down for a week. Then I was off to Hawaii and I.... didn't get much running in. Following that I put alot of time into passing my NATOPS test and checkride. So my training fell to the wayside. I did manage to do a 10 miler last weekend and a handful of short 3-5 milers during the past 2 weeks. But, I was not in great shape for a 26.2 mile marathon. Oh well. Unlike my 1/2 marathon experience I was more careful in my preparation the 2 days prior to the full marathon.

Two nights before I got plenty of sleep (yes, 2 nights before is important) and the day before I ate well and planned on pasta. Once again, Rikki only had macaroni and cheese. I didn't make that mistake again though; we went to olive garden. I stuffed myself with salad, bread, and shrimp scampi. I was up at 5:30 this morning to get ready for the long run. I only had about 6 hours sleep, even with a Tylenol PM. I had a shake, banana, plenty of water, and a snickers marathon bar (much better than those nasty power bars). I pocketed my ID card and a spare key for the truck, clipped on my ipod, grabbed a hooded sweatshirt (it was 42 degrees out) and my sunglasses then headed out the door. Start was at 7 am and it was just getting light out. The marathon was on our street so I had a short drive.

Almost forgot, there are certain precautions to make for long distance runs. The only one I did was put those small circular band-aids over my nipples. Running several miles (especially in the cold) will cause some nasty chaffing and even bleeding from the friction of your shirt. I don't think it would have been a problem. But, bleeding nipples are not something to take chances with. Many runners wear spandex or... apply vaseline anywhere there might be friction or rubbing. Even places like your armpits can chaff severely if you have any skin on skin rubbing (made much worse by the salt in your sweat, you can use your imagination for the other trouble areas).

I do have one major regret this time besides my lackluster training the past few months. My Nike shoes. They are 3 years old, used through my senior year of cross country and have lost most of their cushioning and support. I should have bought a new pair months ago. More on this later.

I wore my mitre shorts, technical long sleeve shirt, and a hooded sweatshirt for the race. The technical shirt came with my race packet, I didn't know what it was either. It is just a special polyester that is extremely breathable that sucks the moisture away and lets it evaporate quickly. So during the race my shirt never became soaked in sweat. Everyone else wearing cotton was drenched. I was impressed.

The race started out slow because of the congestion. There was probably close to 1000 people there, The 1/2 and full marathon started at the same spot. I was worried in the beginning I would cramp up or have a problem with my shoes but things went smoothly. About mile 3 I had warmed up enough to ditch the sweatshirt, I threw it on a fence and hoped it would be there when I finished the race. I hit the first water station and slowed to a walk to drink, I can't run and drink. I am thankful for the construction boom because there were porta-potties scattered all over the place with all the homes going up. I stopped at one around the 5 mile marker, I was overhydrated. I started taking 2 waters or gatorades at the water stations a little worried I would get as dehydrated as my last 1/2 marathon. It wasn't necessary. I ended up stopping to use 4 porta-potties during the race. Around mile 8 they had bananas, I grabbed half of one for some energy. Around mile 12 I was surprised at how well things were going. I had never felt that good for that long of a run. The cool weather helped. It stayed in the 40's throughout the race even with the sun and clear skies. My feet started to get a little sore and burn, nothing severe. I passed the 1/2 marathon finish and the number of runners quickly dwindled.

My legs were doing surprisingly well. Mile 15 and 19 they gave out gel packs. They are a quick energy fix. They definitely helped, my stomach was empty. By mile 20 my feet were still the only thing bothering me. They were getting worse. I was still enjoying the run though. I had not needed to start zoning or digging up my deep motivators to keep going yet. Mile 22 things were really hurting and I had to keep reminding myself I was finished as a "student" and would be going to Hawaii to keep myself going. I could feel the blisters forming on my feet. Mile 24 a few blisters had popped and I could feel my big toenails seperating (lack of support on the toes causing my toes to bend back too far). The last 2 miles were excruciating. I slowed to a crawl of a jog but I willed myself not to stop and walk. The last mile was definitely the longest of my life. But I made it and the crowd at the finish helped me pick up the pace again. They announced everyones name as they crosse the finish line and I got my medal!

My legs were tired, but fine. The only problem was my feet. I took off my shoes and socks and walked on the grass. I was surprised to see no blood. Though as Rikki was quick to comment my feet were swollen. Numerous blisters and my big toenails are starting to darken. Afraid I might lose them. I got up and stuffed myself with the free food around the finish line. Vegetable soup, Panera bread, power bar, chips ahoy cookies, and another banana. They had free massages if you wanted to wait in line and a medical tent, I didn't bother. I drank 3 propel fitness waters. They were really good, sweet taste without the overpowering flavors of gatorade. I hobbled back to the truck and drove to pick up my sweatshirt, it was still there. I headed home for a long hot bath and icing of the feet. I feel pretty good though I should have taken a nap. We'll see how I'm doing in the morning. Another goal accomplished.

A series of unfortunate events

We went to the matinee to see the above movie. It was good, but I think it was more for kids. Jim Carey was his usual self. I imagine the book is much better.

After the movie we went to Olive Garden, it was early and the place was still packed. It is right across from the mall and everyone was doing their last minute shopping.

Friday, December 17, 2004

The Ebay Craze

I am working on some house cleaning before yet another move so I decided to put some old electronics up for auction on ebay. 8 items all with a starting bid of .01 and no reserve (minimum price to sell). I am already impressed with the results. I am not expecting to sell everything (especially our old motorolla phones) but it is better than pitching them into the dumpster. I did not even bother to put up our old printer on ebay. There were a few there already and only one of them was selling.... at 1$. I've looked around for charities or other places that would want it, could not find anyone. I will put up a note by the mailbox saying it is free, maybe someone will want it.

I would expect to start seeing "Ebay" stores replacing all the pawn shops and even moving into areas that have never had pawn shops before. These professional ebayers will charge a slight fee to sell your goods for you and run a store front for a small portion of their sales. Many small stores have made the transition that... ceptuples? (100X, 1000X) or more their customer base.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

New Toys

We stopped off at Office Depot today and bought a new printer. We went for the no frills 50$ HP 3650. It seemed pointless to buy an expensive printer loaded with extra's we would never use. Also a major deciding factor is ink replacement costs. Pretty sad when the cost of a new printer is equivalent to replacing the ink cartridges in our old HP 812C.

I also spent several hours picking out a new cellphone. Rikki and I wanted to stick with Motorola since our Startacs have worked flawlessly for the past 3 years. Verizon has been pushing their LG phones, they always seemed cheap to me. But after several hours reading reviews on the Internet I decided on the LG VX7000. It is sold out at Verizon Wireless Online. It is loaded with everything you would expect from a new phone minus that annoying speakerphone. The 7000 recently dropped in price from 249 to 149 and we worked a deal to get the 2 phones for free after a 50$ mail in rebate. Rikki had a blast setting up her phone, doing it all herself including her own ring tone "Rikki don't lose that number." I of course chose what I have been using for my IM sound since ICQ came out; the Monty Python sound bit "Message for you sir."

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Come on down!

I emailed a friend that is heading over to Hawaii to VP9 ahead of me. Turns out he has been on leave for the past 30 days and enjoying a road trip. He stopped off in California and went to the Price's Right. He won the showcase showdown! and told me to watch Jan 24th. I actually laughed out loud and scared the wife and dog when I read that. Unbelievable.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Complete!

I finished my checkride with a bang. Well, it was more of a soft thump when the bird hit the nose cone of the plane. The flight back home, inspection for damage, and another takeoff extended the flight from 4 to 6 hours. All went well, except for the bird that tried to play chicken with a 50 ton plane. I will have some free time now and no longer have the axe of "checkride failure" over my head. It feels good.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Cold War Lessons

Paul Nitze died in Oct. at the age of 97. I am not sure how I missed it in the news and on TV. He was the author of "United States Objectives and Programs for National Security" more commonly known as: NSC-68. His work set the standard for how to win the Cold War. I am sure an NSC-68 equivalent for how to handle the current conflict has been written and I look forward to the day it is declassifed. We are in the middle east for the same reason we fought the cold war. Straight out of NSC-68:

"The fundamental purpose of the United States is laid down in the Preamble to the Constitution: ". . . to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity." In essence, the fundamental purpose is to assure the integrity and vitality of our free society, which is founded upon the dignity and worth of the individual.
Three realities emerge as a consequence of this purpose: Our determination to maintain the essential elements of individual freedom, as set forth in the Constitution and Bill of Rights; our determination to create conditions under which our free and democratic system can live and prosper; and our determination to fight if necessary to defend our way of life, for which as in the Declaration of Independence, "with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."

Todays enemy is not as clear cut as communism. It is difficult to choose our fights, mistakes have and will be made. But, one lesson that I think has been learned. In the current war on terror it is better to act than react.

Friday, December 03, 2004

A cure for ageing!

It sounds too good to be true... so this probably is.

MSN Blog

Microsoft is going to be releasing its own blog software. It will allow blogging for the masses! I guess better Microsoft than AOL.... but AOL probably won't be too far behind.

If I didn't have 1gb worth of pictures on my blog/webpage I would just use a web based blog service and not my own server.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Angel on the loose

Rikki and I were sitting on the couch watching TV. It was nice out so we opened the glass sliding door out to the patio. The patio is screened in so Angel ran out there as usual to stare menacingly at the lizards, squirrels, and ducks. Several minutes later we hear Angel barking.... from a distance. Rikki and I look at each with the exact same expression of shock on our faces and head out the door. Angel is out by the pond barking at some poor old lady that must have tried to pet her. I yelled at her to come back and she did. I'm surprised she stayed around.

Turns out she went through the screen door. But, we were sitting about 5 feet away and can hear when she pushes on it. So she must have quietly "pulled" the screening out of its indent (If she tore it or pushed through we would have heard it) and then jumped over the lower part of the door without hitting it or making any sound.

Blogs!

"Blog" is the merriam-webster word of the year!

I really can't overstate the importance of blogs forcing free speech into many countries that do not have that right. For example 5 bloggers in Iran were jailed because of their opinionated online journals. Anyone can start a blog now (look at me) and I rely on local bloggers around the world to provide me with the local news and bias. For example check out this Iraqi blog.

The number of blogs continues to grow exponentially (about 5 million now). There are blogs covering pretty much every common topic now. The news bloggers brought down Dan Rather and are doing a far better job at fact checking main stream media than was ever possible. Of course there is a large amount of garbage to weed through (like this blog). But there is a huge amount of information out there that was unavailable in the past, be sure to take advantage of it.

Oh yeah, if you are looking for a site with lawyer cartoons... look here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Office Pranks

If I had my own cubicle at work it would be worth the time to do this to my colleagues.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

The UN Scandal

moveamericaforward.org has started a petition to kick the UN out of the United States and halt funding until a full audit can be conducted. I was tempted to sign but isolationism is not the right thing to do. The UN is losing credibility and it is becoming even more ineffective. I hope they can help with the Iraqi elections and legitimize the winner and the country. But, with member countries like Iran and Syria I am not sure they will even be able to accomplish that.

The UN is a great organization in theory and I think it really could do better with more oversight and transparency. But, the corruption is so deep it will require some major house cleaning.

I used to be a liberal until I realized how elitist intellectuals in their ivory towers are only good at pontificating and rarely act on anything they believe. The biggest problem I foresee is moral relativism preventing future actions. I will have to find a few good examples. But things like this abound: In Iran a nine year old girl can be sentenced to death. This is wrong, there is nothing relative about it, yet many support Iran's right to execute immoral laws. Thankfully Iran has not sentenced anyone to death by stoning in some time. But it is still an option in their legal system.

Enough ranting for now. Too much studying makes me write crazy things like this.

Another Scientific breakthrough

Paralyzed woman walks again after stem cell therapy

Friday, November 26, 2004

T-day

Rikki and I just returned from an enjoyable thanksgiving with Graw W. Everything went well, the traffic down and back was minimal and only took about an hour (with minimal usage of ludicrous speed). Gram made a feast for the 7 of us (Lawrence, Roger, Betty, & Gene). There was enough food to feed at least thrice our number. Everything was great of course and the leftovers were even better. I counted 5 pies for desert and there may have been even more. Rikki brought the chocolate pie with oreo cookie crust. Gram also made scotcheroos and had some of Mom's fudge (the strawberry jello salad recipe was also from Mom, very good). Once reaching satiety we wobbled out front and watched Angel and Misty tear up the lawn. Angel had not been out in the open to run in a while so she took full advantage of it. The copious amounts of triptophan we consumed sent everyone home and forced us to take a short nap. The rest of the day was spent relaxing while Angel basked in all the attention she could get. She is such a ham. Lawrence took a great picture we will turn into christmas cards for everyone.

We spent the night but left the next morning. We would have liked to stay longer but Rikki had to do her christmas shopping (all online) and I have 3 final events to prepare for that will require all of my attention (1 test, 2 flights). Gram sent us off with leftovers and a few recipes. We were invited down for Christmas and we plan to go back down to work on the family tree once I finish up with my training.

Thanksgiving may now be my favorite holiday. Every nation should have a holiday to give thanks for what they consider is important in their lives. I give thanks and am eternally grateful for life's opportunities and the ability to share them with my family and friends. I am also indebted to everyone who has sacrificed to make my life so rich with opportunities. Thanks Rikki for keeping me going and putting up with the Navy. Thanks Mom & Dad for getting me to where I am today. Thanks Chris & Tobin for setting a high standard and torturing me as the youngest to prepare me for survival school.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Hawaii

The hotel was very nice. The rooms ranged from 275-1000$ per night (government rate was about half of that). Of course the students got the cheap rooms and the instructors got the nice 600$ rooms twice the size of ours plus a balcony. For breakfast we walked down to the Halekoa the Navy will put us up in this hotel until we get into base housing. The hotel is for military only so we made it into the breakfast buffet. The food was great, especially the fresh fruit, and was only 10$. On the way back we walked along waikiki beach . The next few days we spent touring the island. We hiked diamond head, drove up to north shore, tried some shaved ice and fresh shrimp, and watched a Hawaiian wedding on the beach.

I would write more but I'm burnt out. I got back tuesday morning at 0200 and was scheduled for my instrument checkride at 1 p.m. and then scheduled again this morning at 0500. I think I have finally caught up on sleep but need to hit the books again.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Hawaii Bound

My day started with a 0600 brief for the 6 day cross country flight to Hawaii. We had a full crew of 21 including 2 instructor pilots and 3 of my classmates. The plane was packed with all of our luggage (even a surfboard, but surprisingly no golf clubs). I should have packed more, I tried to keep it light. It took a little longer than expected to complete the preflight. The plane they gave us was not very promising. But everything worked out and we were off deck only about 30 minutes late. The first leg was 6.5 hours to North Island California.

A quick refueling and we were off to MCAS (marine corps air station) Kaneohe Bay (our future home). 7.5 hours later we landed just over our max crew day of 18 hours. The total flight time of 14 hours is a little longer than it will take by passenger airline, we are slower and do not fly as high. We were met by the squadron duty officer of VP-47 and were given 5 rental vans to make the trip across the island to honolulu. Due to the -5 hour change we made our hotel about 9 p.m. exhausted. We checked into the Sheraton Moana Surfrider hotel right on waikiki beach and called it a night.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Hawaii Fever

I caught a miserable cold that put me down for 3 days. I went to see the flight doc yesterday. He gave me something for my congestion and some antibiotics for my throat. I actually cancelled my first flight ever this morning. I was feeling better, but still in no condition to fly. It was with the XO, they still went and did other training. My extra precautions were to ensure I would be ready for my cross-country flight to Hawaii tomorrow. I feel alot better and think I will be able to handle it without much trouble. Tomorrow is going to be a very long day. I should have Internet access at the hotel so I will be able to post more. This is what I really wanted this blog for, to keep in touch while on deployment/overseas.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Busy Life

Hubby has been posting a lot! I have been so busy lately that I just haven't bothered with it. I have been doing more research on our move to Hawaii and my To Do List seems to grow and expand everyday! I found an online group of Hawaii women and have been asking them questions like crazy! Thank goodness for them is all I have to say! Thank you Hawaii ladies!
Work has been a little hectic. They know that I am leaving in January so I have been trying to get as many office procedures that weren't started that should have been in the last 4 years going. On top of that I am trying to find my replacement and that is not working out as well as I thought at all. I have spoken with the VP-30 Officer Spouses leader to let her know to please spread the word and I haven't heard a thing. I went to FFSC to talk to Spousal Assistant Specialist and he retired so I left it with the receptionist there and I haven't heard from anyone that way either. I REALLY am trying to fill my position with another spouse because the church is more than open to that but my replacement has to be there for a year. Keeping my fingers crossed that something works out!
Nathan is involved in a Christmas play with the squadron. I went to practice with him 2 weeks ago and offered my services. It was taken 2 days for help with stage setup; I will also be setting up the seating arrangement for selling tickets in the auditorium. I also offered to help set up the cast party at the social hall at the church. They need a place to have it so I will check with Pastor and make sure that is ok.
Dance is going well! My flexibility is still not where I would like it to be but the body seems to be toning up nicely, at least I think it is. I would like a nice 6 pack on the stomach but I don't think that will happen. I will have to work out more than once a week and I don't know if I want to work out everyday of the week. We will see!
Outside from all of that I have been reading The 9/11 Report. I highly recommend that everyone out there read this book. Of course there is a lot of information in the book about all the things we haven't heard via the media and how much of it was hush-hush per say. I don't know if that is really the right term to use. Of course there is 125 pages of background info and preface to the book. I am currently on page 71 of the report itself.
I think that is about it right now!

Friday, November 05, 2004

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

4 more years

My prediction was good, I wish I had put some money where my mouth was. I could have made some on calling this race. Bush won the popular by 6%. Kudos to Kerry for conceding. Next election.... Iraq! Now that Bush doesn't have to worry about casualties effecting his popularity I expect a full court press to prepare the country for elections.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

GO VOTE!

I was up at 6:30 this morning and waiting in line by the time the polls opened. My districts polling location was the apartment complex we live in so getting up and walking over was convenient. I was #94 in line to vote and was impressed with the workers and the orderliness. I had to go through a second "screening" because I registered by mail within the last year. After showing my voter registration card and FL drivers license I was directed to a second table where the lady looked something up on the computer. I think it was probably a list of felons and dead people. Glad to see the extra precautions. It was a scantron ballot. Just fill in the circle then feed it into a machine. I feel confident in that system. So no major excitement. The guy in line in front of me was a Navy air traffic controller. He works for "Sea Lord," the people that manage our training areas off the coast, so the 45 minute wait wasn't bad. I can imagine the line is going to be horrendous tonight. Go Vote!

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Happy Halloween!

It should be a quiet night for us. Not expecting too many kids so that means I will be eating candy for the next week. We are both fed up with the politics on TV, but I have to try and predict the last minute "surprise."

Democrats:
I'm guessing the democrats (with the support of the media) will push their scare tactis with a "late breaking story" to sway voters: "blah blah blah scandal blah quagmire blah draft blah privatize social security blah." I expect it will fail and the media will get a significant backlash for biased reporting.

Terrorists:
I said after 2001 we probably wouldn't have another attack on American soil for 3 years. I chose 3 because I figured it would take that long for people to start to forget and the country to start letting down its guard. I don't think that has happened yet! But, it would be naive not to expect something on election day. The real question is whether it will be from terrorists or from a home grown radical trying to sway the election.

Foreigners:
This is something I had not thought of until recently. Many foreign countries have their own desires for the US. Maybe they will try something to sway voters. They already have.... and failed. Maybe they can come up with something that actually works...

Republicans:
The republicans could sway the vote very easily by announcing intelligence of terrorist attacks on polling places and raising the threat level. From my own experience this would mean fewer Kerry votes because they do not have the motivation to risk their lives to vote anti-bush. Bush has far more staunch voters than Kerry.

No matter what happens I hope there is a clean winner to prevent the months of recounts and lawsuits. So everyone better get out and vote.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Friday, October 29, 2004

Second Life Expansion

Earlier this year I started playing a new game Secondlife. It is one of the many Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG for you geeks). It really isn't fair to call it a game, since you can do whatever you want there. The content is created by the players and I have managed to make some money off the game since it has a real economy (about 100$ a month, not bad for a game that I paid a one-time lifetime membership fee of 9.95$). Secondlife has and will continue to push new technology and innovation in very unique ways. This game is revolutionary enough to attract some new investors even when the company wasn't looking for investments. At a town hall meeting yesterday the CEO (former CEO of realmedia) announced that a major venture capitalist company came to him and has agreed to invest 8 million dollars into Secondlife. One of the investors is the CEO of Ebay. The exponential growth has been ridiculous and now they have the money to really push things. This should be interesting. If you want to try out the game use my link. It does require a credit card, they do not allow minors. I get credit if I refer someone!

Full story here!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Water Survival

Another early day with a few classes on more of our survival equipment and a brief on what we would do in the pool. At the pool we demonstrate we can still do the 4 basic strokes: side, breast, back, and freestyle. Then we changed into the gear they provide: flightsuit, boots, gloves, helmet, survival vest and the fun begins. I jump into the front of the line and go first in the parachute drag. You start on a tower on one side of the pool and put on a parachute. They then hang you and a pulley drags you off the tower into the water and across the pool. The point is to quickly turn yourself onto your back and undo the chute harness. Last time I did this the chute stuck on my survival vest and took me almost the full length to get out. This time it went much better.

Next I had to tread water and manually inflate my survival vest. It is a pain treading water with boots on, but I managed. Even after the helpful advice of the instructor in the pool "you aren't supposed to swallow any water sir." The instructors are all over the place for safety. After that I had to do the helo hoist, with simulated prop wash so you can't see anything. All you do is hook the cable they drop you onto your vest and get pulled up to the tower platform. Then it was another parachute drop. On this one you are dropped off the tower a few feet and stopped abruptly simulating the parachute opening. Then you inspect the chute, inflate your vest, remove your gloves, raise visor, pull the 4 string release so you can steer the parachute, and finally get ready for water entry by undoing 2 of the 3 parachute harness fastenings. The worn and abused fasteners they had for training were sticky. I had to actually pull myself up by the risers to take the weight off my left leg to undo that one. Some people never got it. Then they drop you in the water and you have to roll out once again.

After that we went to the underwater maze. It is supposed to simulate how you find your way out of an aircraft by going hand over hand (always keeping one positive contact). This was easy first time. Second time was blindfolded which is a little more exciting. No problems though.

Finally we get to the helo dunker. It is just a large tube that seats 8 and is supposed to simulate a helicopter. They drop it into the water with everyone harnessed into the seats and once motion stops we have to find our way out. First time they blocked the primary exit and made us go to the secondary. Second time we did it blindfolded. 3rd time was blindfolded and they flipped it upside down (to simulate a helicopter crash, helo's are top heavy due to engine and rotor being on top so they usually flip over). I really hate this one. There is no way to prevent water going up your nose. That and the air bubble that gets trapped in your helmet tries to pull you out of the seat and chokes you. Of course the helmet I chose was a Large when I normally wear a medium, not much of a selection. At least the harness releases were worn and easy to get out of. I am also glad that this is the older and slower dunker than the one they had in Pensacola. The final dunk was a simulated ditch and the water only went up to our chests. I played the injured guy and they dragged me out of the tube. To finish we had to swim 45m and tread water for 5 minutes.

It really is a good experience, but not something I would do for fun.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Pressure Chamber take 2

My water survival training is good for only 4 years and since Hawaii does not have a training facility I had to go through it all again! Of course I have some good stories. Most of the day was spent in classes. How to use our survival gear, first aid, pressure chamber, Parachute landing fall practice and VR training. The VR (virtual reality) trainer was pretty neat. They suspend you up in the parachute harness and put some glasses on you allowing you to look in any direction. First inspect your chute to see if it opens (never does, then you have to correct the line over, do all your procedures, steer into the wind, and land. An interesting demo, but still only 90's technology. The parachute landing falls were good practice. Remember that trip/roll I did, same concept. Our chutes bring us down at about 20 fpm, which is the equivalent of jumping off a 2 story building. So more than likely you are going to hurt yourself. If you land improperly you are going to break something.

The best part of the training was the pressure chamber. Last time I did not do so well and had to go on oxygen early. The training is supposedly to simulate a high altitude and low oxygen environment and the onset of hypoxia (not enough oxygen in the blood to stay conscious). It allows people to actually experience the symptons they get when becoming hypoxic. Good training really since it can come on fast in an emergency decompression etc. and if you don't get on oxygen quick you will pass out. They even had a heart rate and oxygen saturation (amount of oxygen in blood, no idea how it reads that) finger monitor that I used. I started at 52 bpm and 98% saturation.

To start off they cover up the altitude readout and pressurize the chamber climbing up towards 20,000 feet (about 1/2 atmosphere). Navy requires us to go on oxygen above 10,000. They have us look around at color/line charts. Read the lowest line we can etc. One of the symptons is loss of color, blurry vision, or tunnel vision. I felt good, we have our oxygen masks in our lap and can put it on anytime we think we are experiencing hypoxia. The guy next to me goes on right away. They then have us work on a grade 4 MCAT test (required in 4th grade FL schools). I notice I've slowed down a bit and had to concentrate to answer basic questions. Then I started to play patty cake. They would tell us to hit thighs 3 times, clap 2, go out 1. Then change up the numbers, I started out great, but soon had to concentrate and slow down. Looking around I saw a few people getting a little blue, my fingertips were too. Checking the capillary recovery by pressing down on my fingernail tip and seeing how long it takes to go from white to red (refill with blood) I noticed it was about 2 sec vice about 1. I was still doing fine when I go across the isle passed out (oddly enough a marine corps warrant officer). They got him on oxygen and reassured everyone to continue. I still felt okay, checking my fingertip monitor I noticed my heart rate was up to 76 bpm to compensate for the lower oxygen saturation (84% I think it was). I did fine through the whole 15 minutes at 20k and they told us to put the masks on and breathe 100% oxygen. I quickly recovered with the oxygen back to 55 bpm and 99% oxygen saturation. With some controlled breathing I got it to 49 bpm and 100% saturation. Pretty interesting, those long runs have definitely gotten me back into shape.

We finish up the rest of the day with classes on survival techniques. Tomorrow we hit the pool.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

NU Alumni Flight Station

I had another tactics flight, this time with CDR Lee Boyer. Never flew with the guy before or heard of him. He was stationed with my online (instructor for the familiarization flights). It was a typical flight, out to the warning area, we got off late because of plane issues. Once up in the area flying in circles so the guys in the back could do their thing he asked where I went to college, turns out he graduated Norwich in 93. So we had plenty to talk about. He knew Mr. Tyner and the college started allowing civilians during his time. Not many NU grads in the P-3 community. He also trained Seth Liebman (00') in Kingsville for jets. Said there is one P-3 skipper and a few other NU alumni out there. He is the only in VP-30, the largest VP squadron. Was interesting to hear about NU during the civilian tradition. He was in Kilo which was just revived this last year, a command sergeant major.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Team America

I went to see this on recommendations from a few of the blogs I visit. The majority of the media and big reviewers gave it a low rating because it hit a few nerves. Trey Parker and Matt Stone (South Park fame) are the Eminem equivalent for the movie industry. I didn't find the movie offensive. Maybe I have been desensitized. Kill Bill was much worse. The puppets were impressive and fun to watch, I was never a thunderbirds fan (did we even get it up in VT?). It does deserve the R rating and many parts are just silly. It does have an important story and the metaphor it uses to explain the 3 types of people was very good (not something I'll be writing here). We went to the first showing at 12:10, only about a dozen people showed up, much lower turnout nation wide than expected. I think it will pick up with word of mouth advertising, I expect the media and actors it belittles are trying to squash it.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

A nice trip

Our vacation down to Orlando was a nice change. The Holiday Inn Express we stayed in only had 2 rooms left so we were stuck with a smokers room. They recently steam vac'd the place and it hadn't dried yet so it had an unpleasant smell of smoke and mildew to it. Rikki was right about those cinnamon buns, they were not THAT good. The AC in our room sounded like a small jet engine and only had one functional setting: full cold. So we would go to bed at night and wake up frozen.

Arabian Nights was not as good as Medieval Times. But, I had no idea what to expect, I am not horse savy. For $50 a person I was expecting Mr. Ed and I better not see the carrot. I have to admit it was impressive to see a standing backflip between 2 galloping horses and they were magnificent animals.

I took a break from running, 5 days. I really regret that. Getting back into it was tough. I was really lazy and a few days ago I tripped on the sidewalk. I felt really stupid. The worst part was the uneven and broken up pavement was the texture of coarse sandpaper. Luckily I turned the fall into a roll or I would have completely ripped my hands up. Instead my wrist elbow and knee got most of it. Some good chunks of skin missing. The humiliating part was the blood red and oozing gash on my wrist that I went to work with. I tried to cover it up with a band-aid unsucessfully. So my instructor notices it and asks what happened... I was tempted to make up something good involving an old lady and a 18-wheeler with no brakes. Instead, I told the truth and felt really stupid. "Yeah, I fell while running this morning." Next we go to the plane and right before I give the planeside briefing the Nav instructor notices and I get to explain again. They then jokingly decided we would fly at 500' and not 200' that day based on my dexterity.

Friday, October 15, 2004

My election predictions

Bush is going to win by at least 5%! Someone asked me a few days ago so I guessed. I hope Bush wins. If I am wrong and Kerry wins I plan on selling off what little I have invested in the stock market and expect the economy to go back into a recession (not a really bad one, the President does not control the economy. But the market hates uncertainty and that is one thing Kerry is great at). Another major drawback if Kerry wins was noted back in may by Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit.com:

"I think it's fair to say that if Kerry wins, he'll win based on anti-Bush sentiment among Democrats and swing voters. But although the anybody-but-Bush vote might be good enough to get him into office, once he's elected it will evaporate: the dump-Bush voters will have gotten what they wanted, and they won't have any special reason to support any particular policy of Kerry's -- or even Kerry himself. . . .

So Kerry might find himself elected, but with support that rapidly fades away, leaving him subject to Washington crosswinds and a slave to his party's interest groups. That's pretty much what happened to President Jimmy Carter. He owed his election to backlash over Gerald Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon, and the lingering residue of Watergate. But that turned out to be an insufficient base on which to govern. Carter's own party (especially, though not only, rivals like Ted Kennedy) cut him to ribbons. We lost ground both at home and abroad as a result."

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Trip to Orlando

Thursday morning Nathan called me and told me that he was going to be able to make it to Orlando with me this evening. I was so excited! I immediately tried to call Troy and Kalah but no answer! I finished at work and rushed home so that I could change, finish packing, eat and get the dog’s stuff together; although at this point I wasn’t sure where we were going to leave her. Nathan walked in the door and got ready. I tried to call a friend that lives here the apartment and nothing. Nathan tried to call another friend that lives here in the apartment community too and nothing. I then tried 2 local kennels and was told that they were booked for the weekend. GRR!!! Nathan tried Troy’s cell and he was stuck in Washington. He gave us Kayla’s cell number and Nathan talked to her. He told her our situation so the plan was to drop Angel off in their back yard with all of her stuff. Oh My! Talk about crazy! Nathan had to jump the fence to get her in there! I felt guilty that evening. Angel had to spend 2.5 hours in her kennel in the back yard and Nathan got to say goodbye to her but I didn’t. It really wasn’t easy walking around the back of Troy and Kayla’s so Nathan walked around the back!
Thursday afternoon we drove down to Orlando. It took us only 2 hours to get to mom and dad’s hotel. We picked up a room key for my parents room in the lobby. As we got ready to take the elevator my mom surprised us by coming out of one. We both got the big choke-hold hug. I called to check in on Angel and make sure that she was doing alright. I also let Kayla know that we would be back some time on Monday. We chatted with mom for a bit and then got ready for dinner. Dinner was at 6:30pm. Mom and dad had to sit at the head table so we sat at a table in the back. Dinner was Spinach Stuffed Chicken. I didn’t eat much of it since my chicken was still pink. After dinner we went back to the room with mom and chatted some more. We took all our stuff and headed downstairs to try and find out if there were any rooms available and/or if they could direct us to where we could find a place. They made a recommendation and we made some calls. We found a hotel with 2 available rooms! So we headed out and agreed to meet mom for breakfast.
Friday morning we met mom in her room at 9am. We headed to the Mall of Millenia which is where mom wanted to go and we thought that we would eat breakfast there. There weren’t too many options so we decide to head to the plaza across the street and try to find a place to eat there. We miss the light and exit so we headed to IHOP. All three of us had a huge breakfast. We then headed to Target so that mom could do some Halloween costume shopping. Then we headed back to the Mall of Millenia and walked around there. It is absolutely beautiful in there! There was even a Swarovski store! We took a look and found that one of the designer’s was going to be at the store to do some signing. Too bad it is going to be on a Tuesday! Otherwise Nathan and I would take some of the pieces that we have by him and get them signed.
We then head to Harry P. Leu Botanical Gardens. There were a lot of paths that were closed due to trees down on the pathway because of the hurricanes. The vegetable garden was pretty much non-existent. The Rose and the Herb Garden were beautiful! I am surprised that they don’t have more problems with people taking things from the garden. It was pretty hot so we took mom back to her hotel and then we headed out to go take a nap. We planned to meet mom and dad back at the hotel for dinner.
Dad had a headache and didn’t get any sleep on Thursday night. Friday night was staff skit night. The skits were on financial contributions to Tau Beta Pi. Dinner was Steak and Baked Potato. My steak was still red so I sent it back got another. After dinner dad had more meetings so we headed up to the room with mom and we sat down and watched the debate. Dad wasn’t back yet so we planned to meet at 10am with my Uncle and his girlfriend for brunch. Mom wanted to sleep in because she and dad will need to be up with the birds on Sunday morning. Dad wasn’t back yet from any of his meetings and it was late so we just headed out.
Saturday morning Nathan and I both slept in. We got ready and headed out to pick up mom. Uncle called mom and dad to let them know that they weren’t going to be ready till 10:30am. So we just hung out with mom and relaxed for a little bit. Uncle called again and said he would be at the hotel in about 6 minutes. We headed down to the lobby. Uncle picked us up and we headed into Old Downtown Orlando. Uncle wanted to find a place where we could eat outside. So we spent some time walking around the area to find a place to eat. I got some cool pictures that I will also post. We sat down around 11am to eat. At about noon we decided to walk around the Flea Market. We then took a scenic drive around the area. Uncle invited Nathan and I to stay with them for the rest of time in Orlando but since check out is supposed to be at 11am at our hotel we thought it would be silly to not stay at the hotel for the night. We told him we would give him a call and let him know. We took mom back up to her room and told her that we would meet her for dinner. But she remembered that she and dad had to sit at the head table for the evening. So we were going to be by ourselves for the evening.
Saturday afternoon we headed back to our hotel for a nap. Got up to shower, iron and get ready. Headed to hotel and waited for mom and dad. They were already inside so we had to wait to get our tickets. Dinner was Steak and Chicken combo and lots of awards and presentations. Dinner also started earlier tonight than the other nights. It was at 5:30pm. After dinner we headed back up to mom and dad’s room to hang out for a little bit before mom and dad had to go to a final meeting. It was nice to finally sit down and really talk to my dad. At 9:30pm mom and dad headed out for the wedding and we said goodbye. It wasn’t as hard to say goodbye knowing that we would see them again in January. On our way to our hotel we stopped to get some gas, water and chocolate! The plan was to head to the hot tub. We got to the room and changed and brought our stuff down to the hot tub but it was full of kids when we went down and so was the pool. So we headed back to the room. Just hung out and watched the news and got an update on Mathew.
Sunday morning we got up, showered and headed down to the lobby for breakfast. Holiday Inn Express Cinnamon Buns are not that spectacular. I just stuck to cereal, bagels and english muffins. After breakfast we went back to the room to finish packing up and put everything in the truck. We checked out and I got some directions. Then we headed to my Uncle’s. When we arrived there, a 20 min. drive, we checked the internet and made reservations for Arabian Nights. We decided to head out and go to Downtown Disney since we knew that was free and we didn’t need to pay to go there. We walked around for 2 hours and then stopped at McDonalds for a shake and ice-cream. After that we headed to AMC Theatre for a movie. We watched The Forgotten. Very cool movie!
After the movie we headed to the dinner theater. The show started at 6:10pm and we didn’t get out until 8pm. It was a wonderful show and had a patriotic closing. There was a lighting of candles for hope for soldiers who are out protecting freedom. It was very patriotic! After the show we headed back to my Uncle’s to get the news on the game. Go Pats! After getting an update we say goodbye to Uncle and Debbie and head to bed!
Monday morning we sleep in a little and then we headed out! We stop off at Dunkin Dounuts on our trip home. We make it home a little after 11am. We stop and pick up Angel! She was very excited to see us! It was a very nice get away! Below are some pictures of our weekend.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

1/2 marathon 101

So, I got this crazy idea in my head during the olympics that I should get back into shape by running again. My initial ground school training at VP-30 limited my time but I was getting better at procrastinating so I decided to go for it. I downloaded a novice training schedule for a marathon off of the Internet and found a local marathon to prepare for. The training was for 18 weeks, whoops only 16 weeks to go and the fact that the training schedule suggested you should be running about 10 miles a week for the past year before attempting (no big deal right?).

I dive right into the training, all motivated and happy for a physical challenge. 4 weeks go by and I even manage the 10 mile long run.... barely. For the hour plus runs I use a camelbak. I was very impressed with it. Allows me to keep hydrated with 2 liters of water and to carry cellphone, ID, and mini-Ipod. My only problems is the typical sore feet (my shoes don't have enough arch support for me, nothing a few pieces of cardboard couldn't fix) and this horrific blister over blister on my left pinky toe (no blisters anywhere else, just that one toe... it has always been that way).

At this point I feel confident I can tackle a half-marathon. A quick search on the Internet finds one. The inaugural marine corps half marathon on Oct 2. Why not! 30$. With 4 weeks of running behind me what could go wrong. One last thing I should mention before covering the run. A VERY important part of any training is your diet. I did not do too well in that category. Remember that post a few days ago I mentioned Dominos gave us a free medium pizza? Well we ended up getting 2 mediums... and I had pizza the two days prior to the race. But, I was smart enough to know I should have some carbs the day before.... But we didn't have any pasta... we had macaroni and cheese though! That is pasta! So my diet the night before was pizza and mac & cheese.... that was my biggest regret.

Race Day: I only get about 5 hours sleep (Rikki ran into the room around midnight turning the light on to tell me a dead body was found in our dumpster... more on that later.) I wake up and down a slim-fast shake, I didn't want much in my stomach while running. I glance at the temperature and head out the door. 74 degrees... warmer than usual, but not bad. I should have checked the weather channel (regret #2). I show up 45 minutes early at Alltel Stadium (home of the Jaguars), pick up my race chip (transponder that records your start/stop time when you run over these nifty electronic mats) and pretend to stretch while I urinate by my truck since the line to the portapottys are several dozen people long. I was over hydrated starting the race. 10 minutes prior I head to the start line. All 700+ of us line up on the wrong side. The shift takes a while and the 7 a.m. start time comes and goes. The sky is clear and the sun is rising. I did not want to run in the sunlight. It was then that I notice the humidity is worse than normal (regret #3).

The gun fires and I start off at a decent jog, I tag along behind a father & son pair, one with blue body paint and white stars and the other red and white stripes.... how patriotic. My aspirations were never high. My plan was to finish the 13.1 miles, if things went well I wanted a 9-10 minute mile (a very slow jog). I pickup the pace with the initial race starting rush and pass a few people. Then the first surprise hits me. We are going over 2 bridges.... wait those bridges are hills! I haven't run a hill in 2 years. Not that big a deal, but I could feel the difference. The first mile went fast of course, piece o'cake. The second bridge was under construction and I was glad to see a porta-potty. I used it, way over hydrated this morning. Mile 2 and our first water station. I grab the paper cups of water they were offering. I tried to drink while jogging, maybe a 1/3 went in my mouth, the majority down my front. I didn't try that again. The heat and humidity was starting to get to me by mile 3. 4 was another water break, I slowed to a walk while I guzzled the cup of water. Miles 5, 6, and 7 became painful. I broke out my sunglasses and they immediately fogged up and started picking up sweat droplets. I took them off and looked for a dry article of clothing to wipe them off on.... I was drenched. I had never sweat that much before. The sun was up and not a cloud in the sky, the temperature was rising. Mile 8 I finally hit another water station. They were supposed to be every 2 miles. I was very thirsty. I walked again, grabbing 2 cups of water and 1 of powerade. I also grab a gel, I've never tried one before. It is just easily digested energy for runners. A must for marathons. My time was fine, maintaining at least a 9 min mile. My feet were sore and my left pinky toe was burning. Mile 9 and 10 was running back to the stadium directly into the sun. The pavement was starting to hurt more with every stride. My feet were not ready for the combined heat and pavement. My knees also weren't ready for the small hills. But that was nothing compared to how thirsty I was becoming. Mile 11 the end is in sight... I thought. At the final water station I grab 3 more waters and pick up the pace as people cheer "1 mile to go" I was excited that I must have missed the 12 mile marker. half a mile later of my faster pace I pass the 12 mile marker and would have cursed at those people if I had the energy. Everything was burning at this point, the pain in my feet over coming my dehydration and muscle fatigue. I make the 13 mile marker and pick up the pace once again for the final .1 mile. I cross the finish line to a large crowd and hobble over to pick up my medal, a free marine corps mug, a water bottle, and to drop off my chip. After 3 liters of water and a banana I stagger towards my truck, stopping at another porta-potty I realize I have never been so dehydrated in my life. I make it to the truck stretch barefoot on the grass. No obvious blisters on my feet, just intense burning. I actually felt good at this point. Another liter of water later I put a towel in my seat to soak up my sweat while I drive and head home. There were still 100's of runners coming in. That was when the stomach cramps started. They were not horrible, but they lasted for a while.... the rest of the day. After getting home I check weather.com and find out the humidity was at 90%. No wonder I struggled. I needed about 3 times as much water during that race.

I did complete it! I was number 180 out of... 500+ finishers. Alot of people fell out and 100's stopped and walked. My crawl of a pace was just above a walk. This has definitely prepared me for the next one! It can only get easier... right? Pictures are pending...

2 gallons of water and a day later I am doing okay. A little sore, my feet are fine, and no blisters. We went to the beach this morning but didn't stay long. It stunk of dead fish and seaweed. Leftovers from the hurricanes.


Oh yeah, the dead body.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Free Pizza

After Dominos refused to deliver to a cell phone I visited their website and left a complaint. Turns out they should have offered us the chance to verify our address, i.e. stop by and attach an address to the cell phone number. Since they failed to do that the manager gave me a free medium pizza and verified my number for me.

Monday, September 27, 2004

The Bahamas and Air Force One

I was lucky enough to get a bonus flight. It was a flight for the student navigator. I did not have a graded event so I was just able to enjoy the flight for a change. We flew south down the east coast and then over the Bahamas. Miama center controllers were the busiest I have ever heard. The extra traffic from the presidential debates probably contributed to it. When we came back to Jacksonville I got a chance to practice my right seat duties. We usually fly in the left seat so I had never reset the flaps and trim during a touch and go. I messed it up with the flap handle so we ended up stopping. I asked the tower if we could do a 180 and taxi back for takeoff. They responded curtly with a "clear the runway." We did and started taxiing back when we saw Air Force One land. I almost made Air Force One wave-off. The president was not onboard, if he was no one else would have been airborne. They must like keeping the plane on military bases for safety and extra security.

Tumbling Dominos

Rikki Made a list of our great luck with storms the past 2 years:

Pensacola: TS Hanna, H Isadora, H Lili
Corpus: H Claudette, TS Erika
Jacksonville: TS Bonnie, H Charley, H Frances, H Ivan, H Jeanne

I can only imagine what is going to happen in Hawaii!

To top it all off we tried to order pizza tonight to celebrate the return of power and our revival out of the stone age. Rikki calls Dominos to use a coupon and they tell her to call back on a landline. They won't accept orders from cellphones! So, no more dominos for us, we called pizza hut.

Jokes

A friend sent this to me via e-mail and I had to post it here. It was just too funny not to post.

Craig and The Tazer

My friends are fond of saying that my last words on this earth will be something akin to, "hey y'all, hold my beer and watch this!" Well, I have outdone myself once again. No doubt you will see this true story chronicled in a LifeTime movie in the near future.

Here goes:

Last weekend I spied something at Larry's Pistol and Pawn that tickled my fancy. (Note: Keep in mind that my "fancy" is easily tickled. I had gone into the Star Market to pick up some milk yesterday and I bought a superball in the checkout line -- 50 cents. What a bargain! It tickled my fancy-- still does. That thing bounces soooooo high, and it has provided me with hours of entertainment. It just doesn't get any better than that, now does it?) I'm so easily distracted. That dang superball is so much fun.

So what were we talking about? Oh yeah, I bought something really cool at Larry's Pistol and Pawn last Saturday. The occasion was my impending 49th birthday and I was looking for a little something extra cool. What I came across was a 100,000 volt, pocket/purse-sized Tazer gun with a clip. For those of you who are not familiar with this product, it is a less-than-lethal stun gun with two metal prongs designed to incapacitate an assailant with a shock of high-voltage, low amperage electricity while you flee to safety. The effects are supposed to be short lived, with no long-term adverse affect on your assailant, but allowing you adequate time to retreat to safety. You simply jab the prongs into your 250 lb. tattooed assailant, push the button, and it will render him a slobbering, goggle-eyed, muscle-twitching whimpering, pencil-neck geek. If you've never seen one of these things in action, then you're truly missing out--way too cool! Long story short, I bought the device and brought it home. I loaded two triple-A batteries in the darn thing and pushed the button. Nothing! I was so disappointed. Upon reading the directions (we don't need no stinkin' directions), I found much to my chagrin that this particular model would not create an arch between the prongs. How disappointing! I do love fire for effect. I learned that if I pushed the button, however, and pressed it against a metal surface that I'd get the blue arch of electricity darting back and forth between the prongs that I was so looking forward to. I did so. Awesome!!! Sparks, a blue arch of electricity, and a loud pop!!! Yipeeeeee . . . I'm easily amused. Okay, so I was home alone with this new toy, thinking to myself that it couldn't be all that bad with only two triple-A batteries, etc., etc. There I sat in my recliner, my dog Molly looking on intently (trusting little soul), reading the directions (that would be me, not Molly), and thinking that I really needed to try this thing out on a flesh and blood target. I must admit I thought about zapping Molly for a fraction of a second and thought better of it. She is such a sweet doggy, after all. But, if I was going to use this thing to protect myself against a mugger, I did want some assurance that it would work as advertised. Am I wrong? Was I wrong to think that? Seemed reasonable to me at the time.

So, there I sat in a pair of shorts and a tank top with my reading glasses perched delicately on the bridge of my nose, directions in one hand, Tazer in another. The directions said that a one-second burst would shock and disorient your assailant; a two-second burst was supposed to cause muscle spasms and a loss of bodily control; a three-second burst would purportedly make your assailant flop on the ground like a fish out of water. All the while I'm looking at this little device (measuring about 5" long, less than 3/4 inch in circumference, pretty cute really, and loaded with two itsy, bitsy triple-a batteries) thinking to myself, "no bloody way!" Bloody way--trust me, but I'm getting ahead of myself. What happened next is almost beyond description, but I'll do my best. Those of you who know me well have got a pretty good idea of what followed. I'm sitting there alone, Molly looking on with her head cocked to one side as if to say, "don't do it daddy," reasoning that a one-second burst from such a tiny lil' ole thing couldn't hurt all that bad (sound, rational thinking under the circumstances, wouldn't you agree?). I decided to give myself a one-second burst just for the hell of it. (Note: You know, a bad decision is like hindsight--always twenty-twenty. It is so obvious that it was a bad decision after the fact, even though it seemed so right at the time. Don't ya hate that?)

I touched the prongs to my naked thigh, pushed the button, and Holy F**king Chit! DAMN!!! I'm pretty sure that Jessie Ventura ran in through the front door, picked me up out of that recliner, then body slammed me on the carpet over and over again. I vaguely recall waking up on my side in the fetal position, nipples on fire, testicles nowhere to be found, soaking wet, with my left arm tucked under my body in the oddest position. Molly was standing over me making whimpering sounds I had never heard before, licking my face, undoubtedly thinking to herself, "do it again daddy, do it again!" (Note: If you ever feel compelled to mug yourself with a Tazer, one note of caution. There is no such thing as a one-second burst when you zap yourself. You're not going to let go of that thing until it is dislodged from your hand by a violent thrashing about on the floor. Then, if you're lucky, you won't dislodge one of the prongs 1/4" deep in your thigh like yours truly.) SON-OF-A-BIAAATCH that hurt! A minute or so later (I can't be sure, as time was a relative thing at this point), I collected my wits (what little I had left), sat up and surveyed the landscape. My reading glasses were on the mantel of the fireplace. How did they get there??? My triceps, right thigh and both nipples were still twitching. My face felt like it had been shot up with Novocain, as my bottom lip weighed 88 lbs. +/- an ounce or two, I'm pretty sure. By the way, has anyone seen my testicles? I think they ran away. I'm offering a reward. They're round, rather large, kinda hairy, and handsome if I must say so myself. Miss 'em . . . sure would like to get 'em back.

Yours Truly,
Craig

Hurricane Jeanne

Ok so Hurricane Jeanne actually hit us yesterday around noon. We lost power at about 4:30pm yesterday it flickered once then it shut off permanently. We finally got it back about an hour ago. A total of 17 hours without power. Not bad at all! Better than Frances where we were without power for almost 2 days. The ponds here did flood and almost reached our patio which scared me a little. The people across the pond from us were not so lucky. I think that the water might have reached their patios. There were some limbs down instead of branches and twigs. The winds were a lot stronger than with Frances and the rain was constant and steady. We were all lucky no problems with any of the cars or truck! Below are some pictures from after the storm.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Getting back to normal, knock on wood

At least I hope things are. Our run of bad luck seems to have passed finally. Rikki's car was screeching for the past week because the new alternator belt was not tight. I called the shop that replaced it (RPM Automotive, never heard of them before) and they tightened it up for free. I flew down to Key West on my Fly 7 (copilot ride) today. The flight went well though I feel rusty because I've been in classes and sims. My 2 approaches and landings were.... decent. Which is better than I expected.

Looks like another hurricane may be on its way. I haven't heard from friends in Pensacola/Milton so I expect they are still powerless.

Rikki is lucky we don't live in Iran.

You know there is this other blog called "Winters' Wanderings" I link to that hasn't posted since April. Makes me think he might actually have a real job and a family to take care of or something.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Beautiful Weekend

Well for the first time in almost 4 months we had a rain free, lots of sunshine weekend. Hubby and I took advantage of all this sun and low humidity. Saturday we slept in and then got up and had breakfast. After we got ready we decided to go out for a day! We headed to the Avenues Mall where we hadn't been yet. Just walked around the mall and talked to a Verizon Wireless Rep. We are debating on upgrading our phones and signing another 2 year contract. We also are debating whether to wait till we get out to Hawaii. We leave and head out to watch a movie, Hero. I don't recommend that movie to anyone. Not that interesting. After the movie we head out for lunch. After lunch we head home but on the way home hubby stopped at a scarpbooking store for me. YAY more military stuff! I may even take a class there. We got home early in the afternoon but it was a nice day out of the apartment.
Sunday hubby went for his 10.5 mile run! I slept in. Was up and showered and had breakfast ready when he got back. After we eat and hubby showers we decide to head to St. Augustine. I have heard that it is beautiful down there and I was really interested in going to the Light House. Admission to the Light House was free for Military and dependants! So we saved the $14 on tickets :) After climbing the 200+ stairs to get to the top of the Light House we go to the Light House Museum. Unbelievable how much work the Coast Guard put into remodeling the Light House. Below are some pictures from the Light House.
After going through the museum we ate lunch at a picnic site across the street from the lighthouse. We then drove to downtown. We walked by all the shops bought some Swarovski Crystal and then an ice-cream cone for the walk back to the truck. We made it back home early in the evening. There was a lot more to explore and see but after Nathan's run this morning he was tired and I was worried about Angel. A very nice weekend indeed.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Horrible Week

It was not a good week last week. It started with Hurricane Frances and no electricity. The guy that has been staying with us went to fill his car with gas on Tuesday after filling it, it moved 5ft and then his car died. Good thing he was on base and filled up on base. He just brought the car over to the auto shop. So he came home with no car. Well he needed to run an errand on Wednesday and since his was still at the shop and I didn't have work I told him to take my car so that hubby could have his truck to get his things done and go to work. Well he starts the car and comes back in. He tells me I need to go check out the car. Apparently it was smoking insanely. Anyway Nathan and I walk out there and I start it. It started fine. No smoke or anything. But it did smell funny. We couldn't see anything wrong so we assumed from the wind that some leaves probably blew up near the engine and just burnt. So he takes the car and calls an hour and a half later. We thought that he got his errands done and was letting us know he was on his way back. Well it turns out he never got his errands done and that the car died. So Nathan and I head out there to go get him and check the car. So Tony tells us that the alternator belt broke. So we all jump in the car and drive to the nearest auto shop. We buy the belt, $21. We drive back down to the car and the guys think that they can change the belt. We tried for an hour but Nathan needed to get into work so we left the car where it was. The plan was to go back and try to work on it more after hubby got home. So when he gets home I head up with him to try to work on the car. Nathan tried for another hour to put on the new belt before he finally said lets take it to the mechanic, after me nagging about it for an hour. So Nathan drives the car to the mechanic and I follow in the truck. The mechanics were gone but one of the managers took a look for us and told us the belt change was more complicated than we thought. We leave the car with them and they schedule to change the belt first thing in the morning. Tony got a ride home that night. Thursday no work so I go get a hair cut. Nathan and Tony go into work together. Nathan calls and said the mechanic called and said that alternator was dead and needed to be replaced. They would call him back when it was ready. In the mean time Nathan gets home and then I get a call to go into work. I took Nathan's truck to work. When I got home we left to go pick up the car. It was $370. Yikes. I drive the car home and it overheats. Nathan looks at it and thinks the fans aren't working. He played with all the houses and fuses and checked the fluids. Fluids were low so we drove to WalMart to pick up some and when we got home filled up where needed. Tony came home with his car in the evening. Friday Nathan took the car to work and I drove the truck. I was a little concerned driving it to work and it overheating or breaking down and not knowing what the heck to do or even being late for work. I never got a call from Nathan saying he was stuck and needed a ride so when I got home in the afternoon he was home and said the car was fine. Thank goodness! GRR!!!! What a week!

Friday, September 10, 2004

Florida Postcard

Rikki complained about the "we are here" being in the wrong place. So the whip cracked and I jumped.

A rough week

Things just haven't been going that well lately. Rikki's car died on Tony when he was going downtown one morning (his car got some bad gas and had to be flushed). Turns out the alternator belt broke. No big deal I thought. I've replaced one before. So after several hours of trying I caved and brought it to a shop (Rikki hasn't stopped the "I told you so's yet.") The alternator was frozen. So 400$ for a new one. And 2 days with 3 of us and only 1 car... my truck! What a pain. To top it all off Rikki went for a haircut... 45$!!! It doesn't look like things are going to be getting much better. Ivan is going to cause problems, I found a good postcard to send everyone though.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

The New Media

I gave up on getting my news from the major media a while back and rely on the Internet for a less biased view. These unpaid and unafilliated home bloggers are in the thousands and are beginning to change the media world. They often find things the media and intelligence agencies miss. The new blogosphere should help reduce some of the horrible media bias.

Puppy fires back

This puppy decided not to go quietly.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Hurricane Frances

Things here were horrible this weekend. Friday I went into work early because I knew that we were going to feel the effects of the outer bands of the hurricane. I couldn’t sleep so I was up anyway and said heck I will go into work early and come home earlier so I can spend time with hubby. We got an update from EOC here in Duval county no evacuation order was given and everyone down south was driving through our county. Saturday morning another EOC update and we were told there was no need to evacuate and that everyone should stay in their house until the storm passes. Let me note that the path on Friday night they gave us was different than the path we saw on Saturday morning. Saturday more rain and some wind. Hubby and I decided to go out for ice-cream before the weekend was totally lost. Saturday night getting bad and Sunday even worse. We lost power off and on, on Sunday and maybe had a total of 6 hours of power for the day. I got to watch the leaves fall in the front yard and then I saw and heard some branches break and fall to the ground. Sunday I played cards and lit candles and then had fun trying to set up a radio where we could have some kind of connection to the outside world. Thank goodness for all of those battery coupons nana we had all the batteries we needed. Poor Angel, she really didn’t want to go to the bathroom on Sunday. Monday calmed down and tornado warnings. GRRR!!! I have never been through a Hurricane this bad and it was a Category 1 when it hit us Sunday. The tornado warnings were the worst part if you ask me. I have never been so scared, especially when we didn’t have power and couldn’t see a physical map with longitude and latitudes lines so we physical see where they were. Angel finally went to the bathroom when the winds calmed. This morning at 4am we finally got electricity but that is only because they hooked up a generator to our apartment community. We just saw the power flicker a couple of minutes ago so maybe they fixed the problem and took us off the generator. I didn’t go to work. I was so stressed and I wanted to get the apartment cleaned. It was stuffy and sticky from the thick humidity on Monday since we had no AC and I had to open all the doors and windows. Tonight I went on a cooking frenzy because of the lack of cooking early in the week. Nathan was excited I made bubble bread :) There is only so much peanut butter and fluff that one can eat and so many granola bars. It was nice to have a real meal. Below are some pictures we took during and after the storm.

Monday, September 06, 2004

No longer in the dark

Power came on at 4 a.m. We survived yet another hurricane, of course the power was out for over 24 hours so we'll have to empty the fridge/freezer. I will finally be able to sleep now that we have AC back.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Can't take Rikki any where

Rikki had a craving for chocolate and ice cream (no she is not pregnant) so she talked me into going to Baskin Robbins. Tony joined us and while we sat down outside enjoying the treat he asked "what is with women and chocolate" to my shock Rikki replied "it is a substitute for sex" I recovered from this direct attack at my man-hood by responding with "that is why she is so skinny."

Hurricane Frances is stalled well south of us. We have not seen any of the bad weather yet. The ground is saturated from alot of rain this week, so flooding could be an issue. I haven't seen any shortages at the grocery store or gas stations, we saw one store boarded up. Early this morning it looked like a ghost town.

I bought a new toy earlier this week. I finally broke down and purchased an apple mini-ipod. I'm not a fan of apple, but no one else has come close to matching them for a good mp3 player in the last year. I am surprisingly impressed with it. One of the few gadgets I have bought and felt like it was worth every penny. It is very well made and extremely easy to use. I hooked it up to the computer via firewire and downloaded my 230 mp3's in a few minutes and only used 800mb of the 4000mb capacity. It also charges via firewire. It is lighter than my old mp3 player (plus 62 times the storage) and the belt clip actually holds when I run with it. It can also be used as a hard drive, plays games, and can read text files. It is a quality product. Why no one else has jumped on this market confuses me.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Hurricane Frances

2.5 million people were ordered to evacuate florida today. According to our "evacuation map" we live in an area that is not required to evacuate even if the hurricane hits us directly. It looks like Frances will be well south of us. Squadron evacuated the planes the last 2 days, so another long weekend off for me.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

The RNC

Arnold gave a great speech at the republican national convention last night. Too bad he can't run for president. I am surprised at how well the republicans are doing. I never thought Kerry had a chance, but he is doing worse than even I expected. Don't mind the polls... I ask everyone who quotes polls if they or anyone they know has ever been polled.... the answer has always been no. I think Kerry's campaign can be summed up by what I yanked off instapundit:

"The even worse news for Kerry is that despite the exceptional job his campaign has been doing at executing political hari-kari, the Bush team hasn't even started to attack him yet. . . . Kerry's recent Swift-Vet-driven collapse is the political equivalent of a boxer being clocked by a random spectator on his way to the ring."

On another note, I hope the French are realizing they are not safe from terrorism just because they appease/surrender at every turn. Terrorism reached a new low in Russia today with the rebels taking a school hostage. The United Nations security council held a meeting, and of course.... did nothing. They won't even denounce the terrorist since some members of the council are muslim and would veto it. Can they be any more ineffective?

Friday, August 27, 2004

Good Joke

I am copying and pasting a joke that was sent to me by another Navy Wife. I think that you all will like this. I was laughing when I read it but after Nathan read it and I saw the expression on his face it made me laugh hysterically. Enjoy!

Lizard Birthing Story

If you have raised kids (or been one), and gone through the pet syndrome including toilet-flush burials for dead goldfish, the story below will have you laughing out LOUD!

Overview: I had to take my son's lizard to the vet. Here's what happened:

Just after dinner one night, my son came up to tell me there was something wrong" with one of the two lizards he holds prisoner in his room. "He's just lying there looking sick," he told me. "I'm serious, Dad. Can you help?"
I put my best lizard-healer expression on my face and followed him into his bedroom. One of the little lizards was indeed lying on his back, looking stressed. I immediately knew what to do. "Honey," I called to my wife, "come look at the lizard!"
"Oh my gosh," my wife gasped. After a minute, her diagnosis was "She's having babies." "What?" my son demanded. "But their names are Bert and Ernie, Mom!" I was equally outraged. "Hey, how can that be? I thought we said we didn't want them to reproduce," I accused my wife. "Well, what do you want me to do, post a sign in their cage?" she inquired. (I actually think she said this sarcastically!) "No, but you were supposed to get two boys!" I reminded her (in my most loving, calm, sweet voice, while gritting my teeth together). "Yeah, Bert and Ernie!" my son agreed.
"Well, it's just a little hard to tell on some guys, you know," she informed me. (Again with the sarcasm!) By now the rest of the family had gathered to see what was going on. I shrugged, deciding to make the best of it. "Kids, this is going to be a wondrous experience," I announced. "We're about to witness the miracle of birth."
"OH, GROSS!," they shrieked. "Well, isn't THAT just Great! What are we going to do with a litter of tiny little lizard babies?" my wife wanted to know. (I really do think she was being snotty here, too.) We peered at the patient. After much struggling, what looked like a tiny foot would appear briefly, and then vanishing a scant second later.
"We don't appear to be making much progress," I noted. "It's breech," my wife whispered, horrified. "Do something, Dad!" my son urged.
"Okay, okay." Squeamishly, I reached in and grabbed the foot when it next appeared, giving it a gingerly tug. It disappeared. I tried several more times with the same results. "Should I call 911?" my eldest daughter wanted to know. "Maybe they could talk us through the trauma." (You see a pattern here with the females in my house?) "Let's get Ernie to the vet," I said grimly.
We drove to the vet with my son holding the cage in his lap. "Breathe, Ernie, breathe," he urged. "I don't think lizards do Lamaze," his mother noted to him. (Women can be so cruel to their own young. I mean what she does to me is one thing, but this boy is of her womb, for God's sake.)
The vet took Ernie back to the examining room and peered at the little animal through a magnifying glass. "What do you think, Doc, a C-section?" I suggested scientifically. "Oh, very interesting," he murmured. "Mr. and Mrs. Cameron, may I speak to you privately for a moment?" I gulped, nodding for my son to step outside. "Is Ernie going to be okay?" my wife asked.
"Oh, perfectly," the vet assured us. "This lizard is not in labor. In fact, that isn't EVER going to happen. Ernie is a boy. You see, Ernie is a young male. And occasionally, as they come into maturity, like most male species, they um....um....masturbate. Just the way he did, lying on his back." He blushed, glancing at my wife. "Well, you know what I'm saying, Mr. Cameron." We were silent, absorbing this. "So Ernie's just...just...Excited," my wife offered. "Exactly," the vet replied, relieved that we understood.
More silence.
Then my viscous, cruel wife started to giggle. And giggle. And then even laugh loudly. "What's so funny?" I demanded, knowing, but not believing that the woman I married would commit the upcoming affront to my flawless manliness.
Tears were now running down her face. "It's just...that...I'm picturing you pulling on its...its...teeny little..." she gasped for more air to bellow in laughter once more. "That's enough," I warned. We thanked the Veterinarian and hurriedly bundled the lizards and our son back into the car. He was glad everything was going to be okay. "I know Ernie's really thankful for what you've done, Dad," he told me. "Oh, you have NO idea," my wife agreed, collapsing with laughter.

2 - lizards - $140...
1 - Cage - $50...
Trip to the Vet - $30...
Memory of your husband pulling on a lizard's wacker -
.....Priceless...

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Fly 4

This last week has been a change, a flight or sim every day. It seems I am either over-loaded or bored, no happy medium. We went down to Patrick Air Force Base friday for some touch and goes. We flew over port canaveral and got to see the space shuttle hangar, landing strip, and launch pads. The view was spectacular. Every house a mansion with a swimming pool it seemed. I have another flight tomorrow along with a friend from Norwich stopping by. He just finished up flight school for the sh-60b seahawk and will be stationed in Jacksonville for his first squadron. He'll be staying with us while he looks for a house.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Bonnie, Charley and Work

Thursday afternoon Bonnie blows through town. I was able to get to work and make it home before we got hit. While sitting down watching Fox News an alert popped up across the bottom of the screen. I turned to our local station and Tornado warnings every where. A cell that could possibly spawn a tornado was reported 8 miles west of NAS Jax. The cell was moving northeast and people in the downtown area were told to take cover. Then 10 minutes later just north of Downtown Jacksonville funnel clouds were reported by local law enforcement. Not too long after that the local station got a call from a woman who stated a tornado was on the ground! The tornado remained on the ground for a couple of minutes and then dissipated. Then another cell merged with the one and a couple of minutes later just east from where the first tornado touched down another one came down. This tornado was more damaging than the first and remained on the ground longer. Amazingly no one was killed but that was the scariest thing ever.
Friday morning I was up early and decided to go into work early because I wasn't sure when the weather was going to change. It always changes and rather quickly when it does. I was in at 8 and stayed until 10:30am. A major thunderstorm came through and caused the lights to flicker. Believe it or not this storm was from the cold front that was stalled out over Jacksonville not from Hurricane Charley. I wasn't going to be able to get much done if the lights stayed out for a while so I decided to leave and go home. On my way home I noticed some low clouds. I didn't think anything of it except that I wanted to get home. When I got home and turned on the local news there were funnel clouds spotted again and right at the area where I drove through. Oh Wonderful glad I am home and I can't believe I might have seen a funnel cloud. At about 2pm we started to get rain from Hurricane Charley. The weather didn't change too much and I stayed up till 1pm to make sure that we were going to be ok and I wasn't going to have to sleep in the tub. I was awoken at 2pm from hearing the fire detectors going off from loss of power. Lots of fun. I covered my ears and went back to sleep. So not too bad! We survived and everything is ok.