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?