Saturday, July 28, 2007

And still I wait

Boxes? Check.

Everything packed? Check.

Someone to watch the kids while we pack? Check.

People lined up to help us pack? Check.

Truck? Um ... Truck ... ?

Fuck U-Haul guys. Fuck them in their non-logistics scheduling gaping void.

I reserved my equipment almost a month ago. Apparently, they don't understand what "reserve" means.

So, we wait.

Friday, July 27, 2007

On the next to the last day ...

Today is out last full day in our apartment. I pick up the truck tomorrow, load up and get on the road. The apartment-bastards aren't refunding my security deposit because I'm leaving early in my lease, so they will get little to no cleaning or repair work from me. Screw 'em.

My two-year-old knows something is going on. I mean, of course he realizes we're boxing up his shit, but he seems to sense the impending finality of the things we're doing. He's become overly attached to a certain routine and gets really pissy when he can't sit in his chair and watch TV when and where he wants. One more day.

Again, I'd like to thank everyone for their kind words and support. It'll be a few days before we're back up and running, but I will be letting you all know how things have gone.

Until then ...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The closing

Today I am a-twitter. We are awaiting our closing paperwork which is arriving via Fed-Ex and should be in sometime this morning. We just have to sign and notarize and get it back in Fed-Ex tomorrow and, for all intents and purposes, we are home owners. Wow.

Thanks to everyone for the well wishes and prayers. This has been a stressful and convoluted process. But it's finally getting close to an end.

UPDATE: Well, I ran home to wait for the Fed-Ex guy while the wife had to run the kids to a friend's house. The package (book, really) came while I was there. GAH! It's really here now.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Killing all the flava

My family often eats fast food. For whatever reason, we have never been big home cookers. My wife is a very good cook. I dabble in the kitchen and shine on the grill, but we just don't do it as much as we should.

But I think we're going to be heading back to the oven.

The other night we picked up a bucket of KFC and even though I've never felt it's the best stuff, it's OK. But now that they've killed all the trans-fats, man ... it just sucks. Anyone else experiencing this? It's like the grease leaves some kind of horrible, bitter aftertaste. I'm noticing this trait in other fast-food joints that are kicking the trans-fats. If this continues I guess we're going to have to cut out these joints. I'm not going to pay their extortionist prices for worse food than they normally put out.

Lists, lists

The Guardian has a list up of the 50 greatest comedy films.

I can't argue with what's on the list, but perhaps the order. Really happy with most of the top 10 choices.

What do you think?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Zero hour approacheth

My house is in shambles. But it's a good shambles.

Boxes are both neatly stacked and strewn, likening my residence to some mythological labyrinth. But I can see the way out of this maze. Things are getting better.

I accomplished much this weekend. I took down our girls' bunkbed -- it's one of those large, wood models with a full bed on top and a single trundle bed with built in desk and closet -- and that's always a major chore. I was also able to clean out my storage area and get my computer room cleared out and organized. Now I actually feel like we'll be ready to pack come Saturday.

Pack come Saturday sounds weird. I've spent less time here than any other place in my career, but I feel as though I've invested more in it. It'll be strange to move, but exciting as well. I can't wait to get into my house.

Now begins the last week of work last-minute, "Oh yeahs." That is, everyone I've ever known here will suddenly remember they need me to do something for them and only I can really do it. Oh well, it's not like I'm not expecting it.

Friday, July 20, 2007

And the beat goes on

Training goes well.

That is, I am training the other people in my office to do my job.

I have never had the pleasure of having this happen to me, so I am very happy to be able to do this for someone else.

When I went on vacation last month, I spent a significant amount of time training a coworker to do my job for two weeks. However, he is not the same person who is going to be moving into my position. This is actually a good thing. Not that he's not a competent person, but the other employee has more of the skills needed to fill the job. It feels good to know that I'm leaving behind a well-trained person and another person who can do the job in a pinch.

And yet, I, again, move to a job where I'll have no bleed-over training and it'll be all OJT. But I revel in it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Meme again

Another Caltechgirl meme, this time via Ricki.

1. Situation ::
2. Theme song ::
3. Kelly ::
4. Club ::
5. Swerve ::
6. Couch ::
7. Bigfoot ::
8. Arbitrary ::
9. Inventor ::
10. Blazer ::

1. Situation :: Room
2. Theme song :: Where Eagles Dare
3. Kelly :: Kelly (See WWE)
4. Club :: Dead
5. Swerve :: for unattentive drivers
6. Couch :: potato is the first thing that comes to mind, thouch creatively I want to say Tiger, Ottoman Dragon
7. Bigfoot :: funny commercial (messin' with Sasquatch)
8. Arbitrary :: my blog posts
9. Inventor :: Tesla
10. Blazer :: Chevy

That's it, for what it's worth.

Time's caught up with you

I was having an interesting conversation with the wife last night about judgment -- being judgmental of other people based on their actions. I would like to not do that. I mean, I have no problems with judging actions. My problem is with judging the person and filing that person away as "bad," as the case may be.

This morning I was revisiting that concept as I took care of some box collecting. For some reason, the judgment idea came through by thinking about Hannah Montana.

Having two girls, ages 8 and 6, Hannah Montana (Miley Cyrus, yes, that’s Billy Ray Cyrus’ daughter) is very popular in my home. And, I gotta tell you, I don’t mind. Not the music or the TV show. Not that either are all that good, but they’re tolerable. The TV is actually pretty entertaining now and then, but that’s primarily due to the kid they have playing Hannah’s brother. That kid is just hilarious. Hopefully he has quite the career ahead of him.

Anyway, I was thinking about HM and then started thinking about how she’s pretty much followed the mold set before in the past few years by other Disney and Nickelodeon TV/Music crossovers. There’s Raven Simone and, probably more popular (or more pertinent to my conversation here), Hilary Duff. My kids aren’t quite old enough to have been taken in by Hilary, and now that she’s a bit older, I don’t really want my kids to have anything to do with her. Which is sad, because in retrospect, watching the show with cousins, etc., I seem to remember her show and early music as being pretty morally sound. It seems that when she got her first chance to go ho, she took it. Or, ho-ish.

But I’m being judgmental there. Aren’t I?

That’s where the question comes in: We are obviously required to make judgments -- both of people and things. Where does the “judge not, lest ye be judged” line start and end? It’s easy to say “hate the sin, love the sinner.” And I’m trying. But, limiting your children’s access to some of these performers and events requires you to be judgmental.

In the short term, I guess I’ll just do my best to judge actions and not people. In the long term, Miley, I implore you, please don’t go ho.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Bouts of busy

I got a lot of things done yesterday. Lot's of phone coordination. Being a first-time homebuyer, there are so many things I didn't/don't know about. But after a few phone calls, I was able to knock out a lot of stuff.

The worst part of this process is when something pops up that you want to do and don't have the time. Or the ability.

In my office the other day we were discussing Afghanistan and Iraq when one of my coworkers asked me if I'd ever written down all my memories from "The 'Stan." And I replied, honestly, "No, not really."

"You really need to do that before the memories fade away too much," he said.

And that go me to thinking that it's something I do really need to do. So I now feel pressured to get that done. But it's very difficult when there's so many other things going on. But, barring severe head trauma, it'll get done sometime.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What a drag it is getting old

So, packing and moving, moving and packing. Guess what has to happen? My back goes out.

I have battled lower back pain for about 10 years. This time is a bit different though. My lower back is OK; I'm experiencing sciatica.

I went to the doctor yesterday and he gave me a great painkiller and some anti-inflammatory pills. The pain pills are pretty strong. So, not only does it help deaden the sciatica, but it also helps me not care that I'm nearly as packed as I'd like to be.

Hopefully I'll get some crap done tonight.

Hydrocodone rocks.

Monday, July 16, 2007

50 ways to leave ...

The packing goes ... slowly.

Friday and Saturday I emptied our storage shed. It's nice that our new house has a garage, because we have a lot of crap. But we're faced with the same worry this time around as we have every other time we've moved ourselves -- will we be able to fit everything in the truck?

Every time we've moved ourselves, we've faced this problem. And every time we've moved ourselves we've had to leave stuff behind. I think the thing this time around is going to be packing the truck. If I run across problems, I'll have to rethink and repack. I don't look forward to that.

Right now, though, there's a lot of stuff left to pack. I really miss having movers move you.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


This started out as a comment at It Comes in Pints? weekly FTFO thread, but I feel it deserves its own space here:

Acquiring boxes for moving can just fuck the boxity fuggin' fuck off. If you're trying to accumulate boxes through the charity of friends and by picking them up from stores, you're in for a good time.

We've had very good luck with friends, but that will only carry you so far. In the past, we've picked up a lot of boxes from Wal-Mart and other stores. They have, in the past, even had them set aside for us to come pick up. Not so much now.

Our luck getting boxes from stores has generally been -- "No, we crush 'em," or, "You need to call in advance." But when you call back you get another person who says, "No, we crush 'em."

So, I finally went to Wal-Mart this morning around 5:45 a.m. While I was still told they have the boxes bundled to be crushed, I was told that I was welcome to any empty boxes still out on the floor. Fortunately I was there early enough to get some. A good many actually.

But still ... they're fucking boxes people! A store is throwing them away, I want to reuse them. Is that not recycling at its finest? I have had two different people who have moved in the past month and both told me they would let me have their boxes when they were done moving only to have them change their mind: "Oh, I'm sorry, we paid for these so we're going to keep them."

Oh, really, you're going to keep boxes. What the fuck are you going to do with them? Are you going to design a new living room set? I mean, store 'em if you can, or whatever, but fuck you for promising me something, something I was really relying on, and then backing out. Fucking indian-giving mother fuckers.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy

Packing sucks.

Sometimes, though, you run across an item that makes you pause for a minute.

Here's the most beautiful boy in the world wearing his dad's old beret.

His will probably be green.

Do you rememeber the time

I gots nothing today, so here's a meme thingy I stole from Ken. I can't pull up Caltechgirl's site at work, so I don't know the rules exactly. I think it's the mu nu thing. Stupid Marine Corps servers. So, I'm going to guess at the rules.

The questions:
1. Happen ::
2. Terribly ::
3. History ::
4. Master ::
5. Petrified ::
6. Moan ::
7. Attack ::
8. Picture ::
9. Students ::
10. Potter ::

My responses:
1. Happen :: stance
2. Terribly :: boring
3. History :: Gunny Ermey
4. Master :: debater
5. Petrified :: forest
6. Moan :: back pain
7. Attack :: of the Killer B's
8. Picture :: Nikon
9. Students :: ignoring
10. Potter :: clay

My #5 is the same as Ken's and I had to think to make my #8 different. I love his #7, To - may - toe, heh.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The wonders of the Magic Eraser

I just got this e-mail from the wife:

Man, (The Boy) really looks at the world as his canvas. You should see him
looking at the fridge with a crayon in his hand---it really looks like he is
thinking of how to best mark this blank boring canvas. He carefully decides how
to color. Mom reminds him paper only-- Then he turns and looks at the floor.
Wow---this is unmarked too. That boy is stubborn.
Those Magic Erasers are amazing. And expensive. And I'm not going to be getting rid of them any time soon.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Thunderbolts and lightning

I can't event begin to tell you how happy this makes me.

Thor was always one of my favorite Marvel characters. They ended the series recently prior to the whole Civil War fiasco. Now Thor's back in his own title again.

I sincerely hope he is the one who puts an end to this World War Hulk nonsense.

Now ... on with the thrashings.

Happy, happy, joy, joy

Go visit Word Girl. Fantastic news.

Dag, that messed up

Um, I call bullshit.

THERE is a reason why some people gag at Barbra Streisand songs and Barry Manilow can chase teenagers out of car parks, a Sydney academic has found.

A University of NSW music psychologist Emery Schubert argues these responses are caused by a differential affect gap (DAG) - a discrepancy between the emotion expressed in a song and the emotion felt by the listener.

OK, so far so good. I can agree with this.

His research found young listeners placed a 57 per cent gap between their emotions and the emotions in Eric Carmen's 1998 schmaltz-fest I was Born to Love You, but only a 4 per cent gap between their emotions and John Butler Trio's Pickapart.

There you go! That's where the BS lies. Young listeners. Seriously, if you wanted unbiased results, you'd have to have a pretty random sampling from multiple age groups, social and racial backgrounds.

"Young people" are responsible for the success of Paris and Nicole. 'Nuff said.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Where have you been?

My parents are in town and over the weekend we went up to Atlanta to see my uncle and aunt.

Which is kind of wierd because I haven't really seen any of my dad's family in more than 20 years. Well, I did see this uncle and aunt when I first moved here and my parents came to visit us. My uncle and aunt came down to see my mom and dad. Anyway, fist time I've been on their turf in more than 20 years.

It's wierd meeting people you're related to, who look similar to you, that you don't know.

However, the biggest thing that came out of the weekend ... ? If I ever harbored any secret desire to live in Atlanta, those hopes were dashed after seeing the prices of all the new developments popping up all over the place. Holy crap they're building some expensive homes out there.

Back to normal today. Whatever that means.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Where is my mind

Ever had a few consecutive days where you just haven't been able to think straight? It's like you have some abstract concept of what you want to say or do, but making that leap to actuality is very difficult.

Perhaps I'm coming down with the crazy.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

It's a beautiful morning

Hope you all a good July 4th holiday.

We had a pretty good time. My parents came in from Louisiana and we went over to some friend's for a cookout. All in all, a decent time.

Our base held its Independence Day festival on June 29. It's always a big event with lots of fun, games and fireworks. Here are some shots I took of the event:

This shot's a pretty good illustration of the fireworks for the event.

This one is probably my favorite shot, and it's the one I put in the paper. You can really see the crowd here.

Those who remember my Independence Day post from last year might remember I wasn't too happy with how my fireworks pics turned out. My blog buddy (and amazing photographer) Uzz gave me some advice last year and I put it to good use this time around. Shooting with a very slow shutter speed on a tripod, I held a flash in my hand and manually fired it to illuminate the crowd in front while still capturing the fireworks.

The technique worked well, but I wish I'd found a better spot to shoot from.

I took a WHOLE bunch of timed exposure shots of flags flapping in the wind. I just liked the effect. I didn't know if, or how I'd use them. I wound up making a collage that I used as a backdrop on the page I laid out for the Independence Day stuff. It turned out pretty well.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Some folks inherit star spangled eyes

And I am one.

Happy Independence Day to all my fellow Americans.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I walk the line

So, there's been a whole lot of stuff going on lately that's very good blog fodder. Most of it, though, is stuff I don't really care about. Some of it is stuff I care about, but makes me too mad to talk about too much. And a couple of them are things I'd rather not have known about at all.

I guess it's a defense mechanism ... rather than talking about some of these things, I just ignore them and hope they go away. The story where I have most hoped this would happen is the Chris Benoit story. Yes, I am a wrestling fan. And yes, I was really shocked by the event. But what really pissed me off was the WWE's treatment of the event.

They ran a memorial episode on their Monday night program -- not realizing at the time they were memorializing a murderer. But, you know, it was almost forgivable given their history of quickly memorializing wrestlers. But I WANTED Benoit to be a victim. I wanted it to be a tragedy for him and his family. It was upsetting that it has turned out the way it has.

But I haven't talked about the story because I want to forget. My opinion is shared by many who have been far more vocal about the situation. What has got me really upset is the WWE's position since it became evident that Benoit's story was a double-murder/suicide. They are going to kill wrestling entertainment.

The WWE has recognized their drug problems in the past. But they aren't being so forthcoming this time around. They have pretty much written off the entire incident and that is a mistake. By closing themselves off and attempting to resume normal business, they are opening themselves up to further speculation. The kind of inspection that doesn't go away with time. It festers and becomes something cancerous.

There is a suspension of disbelief that you must affect to be able to enjoy wrestling. The shows are about the silly good vs. bad, not about wrestling. But now every time I see John Cena, Bobby Lashley, Chris Masters and the like, I can't suspend my disbelief. I can only think, "Man, are they ever juicing."

See, that's the thing about suspending disbelief -- sometimes you must embrace reality. Sometimes you have to step out of the fantasy and accept that your made up world is getting a bit dangerous. I think this happens to a lot of people who are in the fantasy/entertainment business.

It's a tenuous balance to be sure. To both give us and them enough reality to keep things "real" but keep the fantasy and aloofness up enough to keep the interest piqued.

It's time for the WWE to accept the real for a while. Otherwise they aren't going to be around much longer.

Monday, July 02, 2007

He sees things from under glass

I used to have this mental image of what being a military journalist would be like. This image popped up shortly before I left Okinawa for Fort Huachuca, AZ.

For some reason, this romanticized image was persistant. I pictured myself pulling up to cover stories driving an old Scout and carrying a dusty, weathered leather satchel. Don't ask me ... I know it was my image, but I'm not sure what inspired it.

I did get the leather satchel. And I did shop for a couple of Scouts. But I never bought one. And I never really put the satchel to use in a work environment.

It's weird how you have some idea, some stylized concept that is about as far from reality as you can get. But at the same time, it is that idea that keeps you going, keeps you sane through the stress.

So I have all these thoughts about how things will be with the house. Things I want to do. Things I picture doing. I hope that I'm not being overly unrealistic.

While it's easy to think that you're just along for the ride, I think the difference in romanticized dreams and realistic concepts is how much impact the event is going to have on your life. The more important the event, the more important the concept, the more realistic our aspirations.

That's my mileage anyway.