Friday, September 28, 2007

Back in the saddle again

I have returned from a four-day jaunt to Naval Station Great Lakes next to Waukegan, Illinois. For those unfamiliar with the Navy, this is the site of the Navy's basic training and several of their initial training, or "A" schools. Navy Personnel Command sends a team of people to different Naval stations around the world to discuss different aspects of retention and retirement and the programs going on effecting those things. Since I am both new to this command and the Navy, my boss had me tag along to get a feel for how we communicate our programs to our Sailors and what programs we emphasize.

Good in theory.

I flew in to Chicago O'Hare and was picked up by a co-worker who had gone up a few days earlier with his wife. He's getting stationed there and went ahead to scout the area out. This was nice in that it meant no driving in Chicago for me. But in the long run wasn't a very good thing. This particular Naval officer had his own agenda and I was just an obstacle to him.

We were supposed to go to all these different briefings over the course of two days. Each briefing is geared toward a select audience, but is the same information, just presented differently. So, when it was suggested that we skip a couple here and there, I didn't mind. I didn't realize that he meant to skip most of them. That wouldn't have been so bad had I been mobile. But he had the rental car and was always off checking out schools and sports programs for his kids.

We had planned to go into Chicago proper and it never materialized because he was always off doing his own thing. I guess I could have taken a cab and the train, but I didn't. Oh well. I got a Vienna Chicago dog at the airport, and that's what I was really after anyway.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Off on another trip

Limited presence as I'm once again heading out of town for a few days. Take care.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Back in Black

Well, today I finally found out the results of my MRI from Monday. Apparently I have a moderately ruptured L5 disc.

I'm not sure what "moderately" means in this context. I'm not sure if it's the middle, like "minor, moderate, major," or exists on some grander scale. I do know the effects of it on my body, however.

The treatment the doctor has suggested is an epidural block -- an injection of cortisone into that area of my spine. Which sounds a little scary, but infinitely better than surgery. I think the reason it sounds scary to me is that I saw my wife get her epidural for each of our children. Kind of freaky, to be quite honest.

But it's outpatient, shouldn't take longer than a couple of minutes and hopefully will cause the pain to go away, swelling to go down and things to get back to normal.

Whatever normal means.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A big package

Guess what I had waiting for me when I got home today?I had quite the cool package awaiting me. A buttload of tools!
Many of you who are frequent visitors here or at many of the blogs I frequent know the commenter The_Real_JeffS. Well, Jeff recently finished a home remodeling project and had a bunch of tools he was looking to get rid of.
When I mentioned here that I was short some tools for a project, he offered to send me whatever tools I wanted from a list he sent me. It's quite one things to think of all this stuff in the abstract, quite another to have them laying out before you.
Additionally, he sent me a copy of his home remodeling DVD. I haven't had the chance to watch it yet, but I'll let you all know how it is.

I tell you, I have been criticized in the past by friends and family alike that the people you meet online aren't "true friends," and they are correct in that the relationships are far more measured than those in the "real world." However, I have met some really great people out there and Jeff is right up top.

Thank you and you'll be seeing the products of their use as I get around to more projects.

Your In All

I work in a pretty large office building (relatively, for your average military installation). There are three floors and about 800 people work in the buildling. Each floor has a similar layout and offers similar conveniences: breakroom, vending machines, fitness room, and bathrooms with showers.

These bathrooms are correspondingly large. At least the men's rooms are; I can only guess that the female latrines are similarly equipped. The men's room features a shower area with six shower stations, lockers and changing area. There are 10 sinks. There are seven toilets. Seperating the sink area from the toilet area is a seven-or-eight-foot-high wall. Mounted on this wall are urinals -- five on each side.

Now, in the morning or right after lunch, there may be six-to-ten people in the latrine on our floor, at any given time. Otherwise, there's not many people in there at the same time.

So why ... dude ... did you find it necessary to come take the urinal directly next to me? Why? There was no one else in the bathroom. That means nine other urinals available.

Obviously this guy never attended man school.

Far Power Hell

It's amazing how sometimes we get into a rut and something comes along that rocks out senses. What's more interesting is what that something is.

The last several weeks I've been on a rockabilly/oldies kick. Been listening to a lot of old Booker T & the MGs and Jerry Lee Lewis as well as the Reverend Horton Heat. RHH is a good fall back band for me whenever I burn out on whatever I've been listening to most recently.

The other day I was sitting at the computer and really wasn't in the mood to listen to anything I had been listening to. So, I set media player to random and let it select my music for me, but pretty soon I was clicking next, next and next. Rush wasn't doing it for me, neither was Danzig. The Ramones were OK, but not what I was after. Then a chainsaw buzzed up my spine. The opening notes of Cowboys From Hell started playing and it was electric.

It was like my body knew how to react to the song. I felt propelled out of my chair. I had to stand up and move to the song. I didn't have my guitar handy, so I busted the Ibenhad Air Model.

I'm rocking along with the song when I notice my two-year-old son is watching me from across the room. He's got a huge smile and runs over and starts moving along with daddy. It was a moment that, in retrospect, is similar in my mind to something tesco posted yesterday.

I honestly don't care if my kids like any of the stuff I do. I want them to like whatever they want to. I want them to feel passionate about something. If that something isn't something I'm fond of, so be it. But it sure is nice when it is.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wunderkraut has Ken's number

Or maybe it's the other way around.

What is that noise?

Sheila has started her magnum opus: An episode-by-episode breakdown of the Quantum Leap series. Episode 1 has taken three entries, if that tells you anything about her passion for this project.

I have always loved this series and love her work on this. One of the things I've brought up is the classic sound that accompanies the leap. I think it's one of the most memorable sounds in all of television. And on that note, I was inspired to ask a question of my visitors: What do you think are the most memorable TV sounds?

I've already mentioned the Quantum Leap sound, but there are others. I think perhaps the most memorable, in our current TV generation is the Law and Order “duhn-duhn!” For my parent's generation, there was the Hee Haw donkey.

What do you think?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Whiny bitch

I think there are a lot of variations of this term out there. Some far more vulgar. Some more polite. From "Are your panties in a bunch?" to "Is there sand in your vagina?"

There was one we used in the Army pretty often and was just vulgar enough. You have to say it with the right amount of fake whine for it to be properly effective: What's the matter? Does your pussy hurt? That usually shut a whiner up pretty quickly.

I hadn't thought about any of this in a while, but today I passed a couple of Navy guys (Navy guys ... imagine that), and this junior enlisted was complaining about something and his NCO says, "What's wrong, you got a meow ow?"

The more I hang around the Navy, the more I like 'em.

In a crypt-like rocket, or something

I work a pretty cool schedule. Over the course of two weeks, I work 8 9-hour days, one 8-hour day and have one day off. My day off is every other Monday. Yesterday just happened to be my 13th anniversary.

I wish I could say that we did something romantic or nice, but honestly, we didn't have the money to go out and do anything. We planned to have a nice meal at home, but neither of us felt up to it by the time cooking time rolled around.

The wife hadn't felt good much of the day and my back was giving me problems. Though there is some progress. I spent yesterday afternoon in a coffin. Well, in an MRI. I don't know how many of you have done that, but it is a bizarre experience. Very confining and all these weird, loud noises going on around you, your mind starts playing tricks on you after a short bit.

Hopefully, I'll find out later today or tomorrow what's up.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Oh yeah, big government is a good idea

Because, you know, you get well thought out and logical things like this happening.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I am generally not very paranoid, but there are times I worry.

In my new job, there is a pretty steep learning curve. I am learning the lingo and protocol of a new service. I am learning the ins and outs of a new publication. And I am under a pretty tight deadline to get this new publication to press.

So I worry about how well I'm doing this job. And while my supervisor and boss tell me how happy they are with what I'm doing, I can't help but worry if that's lip service or if they're really pleased.

I just wish I had some time to ease into things a bit more here. But it seems that every job I ever take there's a degree of "baptism by fire."

I hope I don't get burned.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Six years

It's kind of trite. I wasn't in New York. Heck, I didn't know anyone in the towers and everyone I knew in the Pentagon was safe. But it still hits me like a ton of bricks every time I think about it.

I was on active duty, stationed at Fort Polk. Like most the time, I was outside having a smoke. I heard the thump of rushed feet on the stairs inside and the door behind me opened. "A plane just hit the World Trade Center!" my NCOIC, eyes wide, told me.

It took a moment to parse. "What?" I asked.

"A plane just hit the World Trade Center," he said again, measuring his words for impact.

I threw out my smoke and we both ran back upstairs to watch events unfold on CNN. We watched the smoke pour out of the building and wondered aloud as to the reasons why something like this happened. We speculated about it being an accident. We watched, horrified, mesmerized, until the second plane hit. Then it sank in. We were attacked. We are at war.

That carries a certain weight when you're an active-duty soldier. War is a soldier's business. And it's a shame that our country has grown so weary over such important work.

I think of the thousands of people who lost their lives that day and I think of the duty I swore to so long ago. Even as a civilian I feel that same sense of duty to my country burning deep inside me. This wound that was thrust into us heals unequally, individually. Mine is no longer open, but is a jagged scar. One that demands I never forget.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Delivery update

I worked Friday and Saturday nights. Friday night was not very cool. I had to ride with another driver and didn't do any deliveries by myself at all. So I scored no tips and it was kind of uncomfortable riding with someone else. His car doesn't have air conditioning which made it that much more uncomfortable.

Last night, though, wasn't too bad. It was fast, and every time I went out, there was another order waiting by the time I got back. I had to keep driving out to the middle of nowhere, which means I didn't get as many deliveries as I could have, but it wasn't too bad.

I should be able to stick with it the two months (or so) that I need to.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The only hustle I dig is of the kung fu variety

Back home, back at work and back into the regular flow of things. Also, today I start a second job. I am becoming a delivery driver for our local Domino's Pizza. Hopefully the job won't last too long; it's just until we get some finances ironed out.

In the meantime, I have to adjust to the Domino's delivery way of thinking. Apparently that involves a lot of "hustle." Well, I don't hustle. I might move with a purpose, quicken my step, even occasionally sprint (to stop a child from doing something dumb), but hustle isn't really a thing I do.

Since tonight's my first night, I'll let you know tomorrow how things go.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Home again, home again, diggity dig

So it's time to head home. Wish I had some interesting tales to tell, but nothing much has happened. Went to class. Went to the hotel.

Yesterday, I did attempt to go somewhere to get some snacks for today and wound up having to cross the Potomac during rush hour. Thanks Garmin. Actually, I'd have been dead in the water without that little GPS, but only yesterday did I realize that it measures distance from where you are at to your destination as the crow flies, not as you'll be driving it.

I'm in Alexandria. I punched up "grocery" and found one two-point-one miles away. I drove across the river into Maryland because, as straight-line distance goes, it was pretty close. But it took a while to get there. And then I wound up going to a Rite-Aid anyway because that "grocery" was really a liquor store. In the wrong part of town.

On my ride back, I came through Old Town Alexandria, which is only three blocks south of my hotel, and passed everything I wanted to stop at. Should have just walked down the road some more.

Oh well. It was nice to get away a couple of days, but I'm very ready to get home.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Once more unto the breech

Again I blog from class. Last day of it, though. Gotta say, I honestly think this is a waste of training money. I really should have gone into the level two course. Oh well, another trip to DC won't hurt my feelings.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Back to class

So, I'm blogging from class. Well, to be more precise, class hasn't started yet, so I'm blogging while in the classroom.

We training on the PC version of the software, but are running XP on new IMacs. I gotta say, so far I'm pretty impressed. But it's not going to make me run out and buy a Mac.

I'm here from 9-4 and hope to get out to see a little of DC again after class.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Going on a trip

I'm heading off to DC for a two-day class on Adobe InDesign. I have extensive experience in Pagemaker and Quark, but have used InDesign briefly. It's what we use here, so my bosses asked if I wanted to go to a course. So, of course I told them yes. I was going to go to one nearby, but we were told that if we wanted more bang for the buck, we should only enroll in this company out in DC.

So, that's where I is going. Sometimes working for the government is pretty cool.