Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Growing pains

I started this blog last month. I Was using the name Aero (Short for Aeromancer) Only amuirin started calling me Rao. That's fine it's the other name I commonly use as well. Both are back from when I played Everquest and I some times use one when I should have used the other and vise versa. Now I'm not all that happy with Blogger. Some things you have to get third party aps to increase it's functionality. So Since I've tried Blogger for a month I decided to try Wordpress for a month. I've also gone with a different name there. Something maybe a little more appropriate to what catches my attention and makes me want to write. So I hope you all bear with me during this.

With that I give you The Age of Geek

I'm still adding this and that. I haven't worked with Wordpress before so it may take me a bit to get use to it but that is part of the fun too. I have to figure out why 2 posts didn't transfer over and why Muppets only had a title and no body.


I like pie.
Just about any pie will do.
Apple pie, pear pie, strawberry rhubarb pie,
made with grandma's recipe and fresh from the oven.
Blackberry pie, with fresh blackberries you just picked and the perfect crust, firm yet flaky.
Lets not forget Chicken Pot Pie, nor any Pot pie for that matter.
Home made pies, restaurant pies, or store bought pies.
The 2 for $1 pie pockets at McDonalds are tasty treats as well.
What about cheese cake. It's not really a cake.
Served cold, warm, or piping hot. Don't for get the ice cream.

Insomnia is mine enemy still.
This is what you get when my sleep deprived mind decides to post after being up for 24 hours.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Rick Emerson Radio, The Age of Geek

I have not listened regularly to music radio in years. I was tired of listening to the same songs over and over again. Personal music players and Personal Computer storage has advanced enough that I can put 500 songs on a device that is just a little bigger than a US quarter, clips to my shirt and doesn't skip. So why would I want to listen to the same thing day after day, interspersed with lame commercials about divorce attorneys, cheap cars and credit services? I wouldn't. That's where old tapes and talk radio come into the picture.

In the mornings on the way to work I would listen to Mark and Brian or occasionally tune in to Stern. When we moved back to Oregon in 99 I found the Rick Emerson Show, at the time the show was nationally syndicated. At one point the show was canceled but came back on air in Portland in 2001.

In 2005 the show was again canceled by Entercom. There was a gap from 12-3pm. It wasn't just a radio show because a lot of us had a weird emotional attachment to the show. The fans bonded by the show were having none of it. Arron Duran, of Geek in the City, along with Joni DeRouchie came up with the Coffee Cup Crusade. Asking listeners to vent their anger with E-mails to Entercom's sponsors and Coffee cups sent/dropped off at Entercom's offices. (Arron actually has a great blog about in on his site. Coffee Cup Crusade.

Well It worked. CBS Radio heard of the fans devotion and responded by hiring The Rick Emerson Show. This was the best show ever. Pop culture, Local Portland personalities, the Hot Producer, relatable host, and charming yet enigmatic newsman. Emerson's style, interest in all things geek and the ability to derail any topic with anecdotal musings.... March 13 2006 people cried, t-shirts were made, and the show reappeared on the dial this time on 970am.

What draws us to this show. There are no wacky, contrived personalities. Rick, Sarah, Tim, Richie and guests all seem to be as true to life as possible.
PortlandLfe nailed it with this opening to their article: "Geeks tune in to their time"
Listeners calling in to Rick Emerson’s radio show recently were given an unusual choice if they wanted to win a pair of concert tickets. They could either identify one of the band’s songs after listening to a few notes, or answer a question about the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons.

Caller after caller misidentified the song until, finally, one listener chose the D & D question.

Emerson asked, “What dice are required to play first-edition Dungeons & Dragons?”
“Four-sided, six-sided, eight-sided, 10-sided, 12-sided and 20-sided,” the caller answered without hesitation. “Although you actually need two 10-sided dice to play properly.”

Emerson, laughing, was impressed: “Why am I not surprised that one of our listeners would know that?”

On December 8th 2008 Tim Riley, the shows straight man, news anchor, and yen to Emerson's rants, interruptions and questions was let go. Mr. Riley's departure from the show was saddening, but CBS allowed the show to actually have a "Goodbye" day. (very uncommon in the radio industry) Rick, Sarah and Tim described the situation siting financial reasons. Fans were able to call in to state their admiration and to say goodbye. The station went so far as NOT to delete every iota of web content. (Bravo CBS/KCMJ)

You listen for hours a day, (even if it's in the background) to someone for years. People who make you laugh, think, suggest a good book or movie. People you E-mail with news nuggets, ideas, questions and answers. It's difficult to let them go. Luckily it wasn't the whole show being canceled again. Mr Riley actually has a news blog that he is writing to daily. He is missed but not forgotten by many of his fans, including me.

The show goes on. Instead of the Laid-Off Mr. Riley, the show asks other laid off news personalities to come in and do the news hour for one day. These personalities responded with an almost unanimous "yes!" Other local personalities brought a new perspective to the show People like; former screen editor of Willamette Week David Walker,review author Dawn Taylor, former KWJJ news director Chuck Knopf, and former editor of PDX magazine and more recently the editor of LivePDX Liz Hummer. You will find it hard to find anything on these folks as for some reason radio and news organizations find it necessary to sanitize info, pics, screen callers, and forget anyone no longer associated with their organization.

The Rick Emerson Show (also acronym'ed as RES.) also does watches. Usually during the news hour. Usually with a theme song put together by staff or fans. Some celebs or even groups could have there own watch. Confused? Just look at a partial list, you will get it.

Clergy Watch - clergy doing bad things.
Penis Watch - injury to the male genitalia
Cannibal Watch - Self explanatory.
Corpse Watch -grave robbing, defiling, and sometimes - "grave buggery".
Snuff Watch - celebrity deaths.
Hick Watch - hardworking rural folks doing strange things.
The Jock Watch - Funny sport stories.

Specific persons have had their own watches. Britney, Bush, Whitney, Tanya Harding and Saddam. There are many more not listed yet are still a part of the core programing. Usually being advertising at the beginning of each show to let listeners know they have a story coming up in "log watch". Yes stories involving logs that usually cause injury. (Both Rick and Sarah are fearful of log trucks)

There are many regular guests on the show. Most are Portland area bloggers, radio personalities, A few are nationally know. Mr Skin comes to mind.

CNN correspondents call into the show to discuss current events, each with there own theme, usually chosen by Rick. Most seem to enjoy calling in and the Portland audience. Sometimes showing up at Listener parties.

During the shows various runs there have been 12 listener parties. Occasionally maxing out the venue and drinking ever drop of alcohol (the venue was warned). It's a place to meet fellow fans, local celebs, bands and guest speakers. Happening infrequently but they try for once a year, on a Thursday. Thursdays so fans can call into the show and rave about the fun had by all to Emerson, who is usually horse and hungover.

Listeners have taken snippets of the show and made YouTube videos. Oscillating Fan and White Wheat Sourdough English Muffin Bagel.

Emerson occasionally goes into controlled rants. You can usually find these on the YouTube as well. I even threw a few together so as to have a visual to some great radio moments. What a Geek Believes.
and 8-8-08 The first pretty much tells everything in the title. The second is more an address to the world. Emerson asked fans to have everyone tune in and listen even if they were not normally a listener. Delivery truck drivers stopped there rigs, opened the doors and cranked up the volume. Other fans put their radios in the windows of their homes, hooked radios up to the company PA system or broke tuning knobs off other radios after tuning in.

If any of this has peaked your interest and you live near enough to Portland you can listen in on 970am If not you can Listen live Or even listen to or download the RES pod casts An alternate source is the Tegianzone Not updated often but each day is condensed into one file and the size is reduced by about 75%. I spent a lot of time in Iraq listening to these pod casts. Getting them the day after they aired caught me up on local news and gave me a few chuckles. I even used MySpace to comment occasionally on the show. In someways this kept me sane. Oh I would have found something else to do the same but I prefer the RES.

Best Show Ever

Superbowl Ads

My one word response to some of the ads during this years Superbowl. Why only one word? I could tear them apart and write 3 paragraphs on why I liked or disliked each, but that is only my opinion. Your favorites maybe totally different than mine. If you haven't seen them head over to Hulu to review or refresh your memory. Anyways on to the the list.

The Elec Baldwin Hulu ad.... Refreshing

Budweiser: Clydesdales Stick.... Waiting Heeere's Money.... Sad

Star Trek: Trailer.... Anticipating!

Coke Classic: Avatar....

Universal Studio Parks: Inner Hero....
Cute Tips.... Laughing

Angels and Demons: Trailer.... Hmmmm

Transformers 2: Trailer.... Chills

Doritos: Crystal Ball.... Grinning

Pedigree: Crazy Pets.... LOL

NBC: Heroes Football.... Jumping Enhanced.... Lame

Coke: Heist.... Happens

Sobe: Lizard Lake 2D.... WTF?

Confused? The word may not have the same meaning to me as it would to you. Like the H&R Block, Death one. I probably would put down cliche, but that would only be part of it. Yes it's cliche but still quite good, even humorous. What about the Cheetos add. I would have used guessed, but that doesn't tell you if I laughed or even liked it.

Some were better than last years some were worse. The 3 million Dollar tag for 30 seconds is a bit much. Look at the economy. Hell how many of these companies have lad off people recently. I know Bridgestone has, and are planning on laying off more in the near future. 190ish Just in December. I know that's not a lot, but the 3 mill could have easily paid there wages. I do enjoy the ads during the Superbowl but at what price should the marketing department of these companies say no?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Jonathan Coulton

I totally missed the fact that Jonathan Coulton was playing in Portland this last weekend which bummed me out. So I was rummaging through my portable hard drive music folder and I realize that I can't find my Jonathan Coulton folder. I don't know if I accidentally moved, instead of copied, it last time I threw it on my Mp3 player. Now I'm really bummed because you can't just download all of his stuff from his site anymore.

If you Don't know Who Jonathan Coulton is, he did a little project back in 2005-2006 called "Thing a Week". This is where Coulton created 52 musical projects. One each week. Posted on the Internet, updated weekly and made free to download. His idea was to push himself by producing A different project each week, adopting a "forced-march" approach for himself. While also proving to himself he could do it. He also was testing the Internet to see if he could support himself financially.

One of these songs was Code Monkey. A semi autobiographical song about being a computer programmer. Here is one of the YouTube recordings of one of his shows. Yes he does believe in and uses Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license, others can use his songs for non-commercial ventures.

This song went on to become the Theme Song for G4's animated show Code Monkey. Coulton has other songs that have made it main stream. Valve had Coulton write a song for the ending credits of the video game Portal. This song is a huge hit. Sung by Ellen McLain as the GLaDOS character. GLaDOS is the computer AI in the game and McLain was able to emulate or even mimic a computerized voice wile singing the song producing a pretty cool effect. (Could you imagine if they did this with Hal? "I'm still alive Dave." Talk about creepy)

You can also find Coulton singing it here. The song is full of in game references instead of just being a standard song thrown on during the credits. In fact "Still Alive" also made it into Rock Band. You can find many renditions of YouTubers recoding the song. I like the next version because you can actually read the lyrics.

However I think the best thing about the rock band version is that Jonathan Coulton, with other musical guest, actually play the game on stage. They use a big screen behind them so the crowd can watch their progress. They do only end up getting 99% which cause laughter in the crowd when ever anyone made a mistake.

I think there is something up with this melody too. I wonder if some of his songs have subliminal messages to make me want to replay some over and over? He was a computer programmer. He may have been able to write a program that creates primordial melodies. Naw...

Coulton is doing all right financially, so I guess his Thing a Week project was a success. In an interview in February of 2008 He stated he made more in 2007 than his last year as a programmer. Plus he is doing what he wants to do. Pretty good for a computer geek who followed his dream.

Here are a few other of my favorite JoCo songs:

Best Cover Ever

Your Brains. A song about zombies! COME ON! you gotta love this.

I feel Fantastic With the way they come up with ailments and pills to solve those ailments this could very easily be the future.

Now If this guy can create a song a week I can at least post here at least once a week. I'm not talking about a little hey I'm a live but busy post either. I've started other blogs in the past but I have never stuck with it. This one I'm gonna keep up with. Right now it's not that hard to keep up, being out of work and all. But when I start working again I hope I don't let this slide. Hopefully by then it will be part of my daily ritual.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Zombies Part 2

On Wednesday I posted about the Zombie signs in Austin Texas. After some more searchings of the interwebs I found some local news coverage on They even have a video of the coverage. It's small though and thankfully some YouTubers have posted it. Here is one of them. It's really a must watch.

I know it's illegal but I give these guys props on a hack well done.

My original very short blurb from Wednesday is here.

Review: Grandma's Dead: Breaking Bad News with Baby Animals

You have some bad news to tell someone? Why not say it with cute baby animal? Written by Amanda McCall, and Ben Schwartz, and taking the Internet meme of cute pictures of baby animals, adding them to postcards and adding text denoting bad news.

Now I'm not sure if this is pure genius that McCall and Schwatz are taking advantage of what is popular on the net and bringing it to a different media or it's disturbing that they are using cute pictures of baby animals to communicate bad news. It would not be so bad if they were just giving uncomfortable news like telling a coworker that they have bad breath.

(This is not from the book. Only used as an example)

Instead there are some telling your kids that there is no college money because mom blew it all on drugs, or "Daddy's never coming home". These two are horrible. I find nothing cute or charming on these two subjects. These are just mean and are probably something that a just divorced couple would send to there older kids as a way to get back at the other parent. That's not cute it's cold hearted, evil and mean spirited, even if it's punctuated by a cute picture of a baby animal.

There are others like "You don't matter!" or "I'm banging your wife." The first is almost as mean spirited as the last two and I hope the second is sent anonymously. Hell there is one that says "Your baby is ugly". I can see where these would be funny in one situation but mostly they are just rude and hurtful. If your well adjusted I suggest sticking to the Internet for baby animal pictures and leave this book alone.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


How about a little blast from the past.

Good ol' Waldorf and Staatler

I'm saddened that this wasn't Beaker doing MeepMeep Meep meep meep but this remix video is still win.

To make up for that, CLASSIC Beaker singing Ode to Joy

Who doesn't like Kokomo?

You know for what it was the Muppets always delivered with good sets, varied puppets, and made great memories.

The Swedish Chef ROCKS!

Hmmm And lets throw in the season 1 opening for good measure.

If you would like to see the differences in each season check out Chanchickurin's YouTube channel.

As a kid I couldn't wait for new episodes to come on. Even in repeats they're still pretty good. And if you still want more YouTube is full of Muppet goodness. Danny Boy, REM's Furry Happy Monsters, The Star Wars Opening, Can you ever really get enough of the Swedish Chef? When My kids were a bit younger we drove my wife crazy as we all had THIS song stuck in our heads. Those were the good ol' days.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Zombies sighted in Austin Texas!

HA!!!! Hackers in Austin Texas have hacked a portable roadside sign to warn of zombies.

This picture is so SHINNY!!!

Some of these portable signs can be changed easily due to the control panel being easily accessible, but be warned in Austin there is a $15,000 fine if convicted.

The full story can be found here.


What is Flirting? Merriam-Webster defines it like this.
intransitive verb
1: to move erratically : flit

2 a: to behave amorously without serious intent
b: to show superficial or casual interest or liking, IE flirted with the idea

3: to come close to reaching or experiencing something —IE, flirting with disaster, the temperature flirted with 100°, , a novelist flirting with poetry

Hmmm I think 2a sums up my definition. I'm a terrible flirt. A tease.
Being away from home a lot due to the military left me feeling extremely horny. I could deal with the weekend gigs but sometimes I'd be away from home for weeks while I was on active duty.

Now being married in my early 20 I was getting some everyday. Usually more than once. Then just having to stop cold turkey? Frustration doesn't even come close. I could have went the route of seeking alone time like some of the guys did, but smelling like Jergans and baby wipes did not appeal to me. Instead I started using humor and exaggerated flirtation to fill in the sexual void. I have always been a good judge of character so I knew who I could tease. I have never been written up, never had charges brought against me, never been told stop. I also have never cheated on my wife. Not a kiss, a touch, nor cyber date.

I'm not talking about a wink as someones turning away flirting either. I'm talking lingering leers, lewd comments, and perverted gestures. I do know where to draw the line. I have never touched anyone in an inappropriate manner. I accent remarks with a grin. I make suggestions with a laugh. My complements are always balanced by a bazaar comparison.
What? You want an example? Fine How about:
ME: Your Ass is fine like a Good year blimp.
Then when they look like there gonna scratch my eyes out for saying they have a big ol booty I act suprised and say
ME: What?...I Like blimps. Then grin evily.

IT works. By the end of my first Iraq Deployment all the females were as comfortable with me around as with each other. They new I was "safe". The fun part was that most would flirt back, extravagantly. So I know it's not just me you ladies can be just as crude, pervy, and downright nasty as us guys. They sometimes ran ME out of the room.

Now I don't do this so much in the civilian sector but it has become part of my character, and some does bleed through. This ends up in my writing more than anything. I do reread and edit a lot of it out. People who don't know me may not understand, and who really knows anyone on here unless your close outside of the internet.

I've always been a flirt but like so many things the military helped me hone it to an unprecedented level. Help, I'm sure my humorous flirting is what really attracted my wife, and still keeps her putting out on a regular basis.

What am I?

I'm Fearless.
I'm Sting's "Englishman In New York".
I'm Gonzo the great. I'm Yellow?
I'm 60% Zeus, 60% Aphrodite, and 40% Poseidon.
I am Mercury.
I'm a Carnation, a rutabaga, a birch tree.
I'm Happy. I am good.
I'm Ash, Shop smart, Shop S'Mart!
I'm Spiderman
I am Science Fiction.
I'm Somewhat Nerdy
I'm 24 years old.
I'm a Freaky Kisser.
And I'm a Butterfinger.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Norm over at The Only Constant Is Change had a post (Infectious Melodies ) yesterday that started my mind spinning again. I get songs stuck in my melon all the time. Most recently was Avril Lavine's Girlfriend. Yes it's so well embedded that I catch myself singing "Hey, Hey, You, You, I could be your girlfriend." Around the house it's not so bad but I've done it during weekend drill with the Oregon National Guard. Yeah....I'm doing something and I look up to see all my Army buddies looking at me with a "WTF" look on their faces.

Now here is the thing. I like Avril Lavine. She sings fun songs. I like that. Plus she is extremely boinkable. With all that said here it is....

My top 5 Avril Lavine songs.

This song is funny. The reason it is number 5 is that the repetitive hook always grabs me and doesn't let go for a week. From Avril's third album, "The Best Damn Thing" (2007) "Girlfriend" is Lavine's biggest hit in the United States, where it reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
Wikipedia has this:
Because of digital download sales in excess of 122,000, the song debuted at number five on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, the highest debut of her career. Afterwards it became Lavigne's first song to reach number one on the Hot 100, in the issue dated May 5, 2007; her previous highest peak on the chart was with 2002's "Complicated", which reached number two. It remained in the top ten for eighteen weeks, and has since been downloaded over 2.6 million times.

The music video is Number one on Youtube.

My Happy Ending
Not sure why I like this song but I do. I think it's because I like her voice. She's not the same thing you hear from other chick bands. (Yes she is similar to Alanis Morissette.)

From Lavigne's second album, Under My Skin (2004). While only peaking at number 9 "My Happy Ending" is Avril's third most successful single.

A cover/duet of The Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris", performed with The Goo Goo Dolls lead singer and lyricist John Rzeznik at the Fashion Rocks concert in 2004. My favorite Song by The Goo Goo Dolls sung by my favorite, to much mascara wearing, pop waif.

Sk8er Boi
The first song I heard By Avril Lavine. It is also the first song of hers that wormed its way into my head and stuck. Leaving me singing or humming the chorus for weeks. I wish I could find a better version rather than this live one. "Sk8ter Boi" is the second single from the 2002 album Let Go, released on 4 June 2002 in the United States.

The first single from 2002's album Let Go. "Complicated" hit number two on Billboard Hot 100. Spent 16 consecutive weeks in the Top Ten of the Billboard Hot 100 and 13 weeks in the Top Five. "Complicated" also ranked at number 197 in Blender magazine's "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born" (beaten by MC Hammer's 1990 song "U Can't Touch This" but thankfully beating out The Bayside Boys remix of Los Del Rio's "Macarena")

I really like the main melody. The lyrics are good, and the chorus is catchy.
Now it had to be my number one due to the Weird Al Cover "A Complicated Song", because you know its a great song when Weird Al Covers it. (Well except for James Blunt's Your Beautiful. The cover is great but the original was WAY overplayed.)

As one of my favorite Radio Talk DJ's on 970am out of Portland, OR....
Don't let the bastards grind ya down


Board? Nothing to do?

Have you already finished your daily blogging? Checked your E-mail? Cleaned out the fridge, scrubbed the toilets, or Ordered your fifth set of ShamWows? Maybe you have been feeling under the weather but you're tired of laying in bed. What should you do to burn up the next five minutes? What about the next hour?

Maybe you should visit your local library. When was the last time you were there? Hmmm? Well that burned up an hour so.
Now what? Well you could run around your house all nekkid with what ever dangly bits you have flappin around, or you could try your hand at some Origami. Don't know where to start? Well you could have checked out a book at the library while you were there. You didn't though so lets look on the web. Hmmm plenty of stuff there. While not traditionally origami this site has some neat "Print and Fold" stile projects that the kids may enjoy. (try the butterfly, it's pretty and FLYS)

Maybe your looking for a challenge. You have already mastered the easier forms. Your done with bunnies and butterflies. What about a flower? If your a guy your probably thinking WTF? Well it's easy to go out and buy a dozen roses and hand them to your girl. Then they sit in a vase and wilt over the next week, and finally get tossed out. Instead of doing all that spend some time and make them. Do it in secret while she's not around and surprise her. You may like the results. But you don't know how to make an origami rose or you have tried but have never been able to get that one fold just right. Check out YouTube. There are plenty of videos on Origami. Here's a really good Rose by AdamsSara You can use these as is or with a little work make some stems out of wire and floral tape. (I used old flimsy wire coat hangers for my wire. 2 stems per hanger.)

You don't need to go out and get fancy origami paper, if your just puttering around either. Try using some left over wrapping paper. Of course it won't look as perfect as some of the more costly double sided origami paper but it's just fine to practice with. Plus you can cut it what ever size you want. For example check this first of four videos out.

Don't want to read and you don't want to do any sissy folding of paper. Check out You may be able to find something on here that peaks your interest. You may not actually want to make anything but reading some of the instructions and seeing what others have done can be fun and takes up a lot of time.

With another movie on the horizon maybe you want a Harry Potter style wand. Or just one to use for Halloween. Well a single piece of paper, some white glue, (or Mod Podge) a hot glue gun and some paint and you can make a really cool wand for your kids (or yourself. Come on you know you want one.) This instructables gives a very clear, step-by-step tutorial on exactly how to do it yourself.

Still Have a little time left? Collect all your junk mail up and send it back to them. You're really recycling it and it costs them not you. By returning THEIR junk (and maybe that candy bar wrapper you just finished with) back to them in THEIR postage pre-paid envelopes they have to pay about thirty nine cents per return. You win by not putting this junk into the local land fill. The post office wins because they get 39 cents.(The envelopes are not really pre-paid unless they get used) You should sanitize any of your personal information first though. This goes with any mail you eventually toss.

Hmmm. Now I have to go figure out what I'm going to do the rest of the day.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sam Adams

This whole Sam Adams thing is just stupid.

Who cares.

There would have been less outrage if he was caught with a hooker.

I did find this funny however:

Yes this post is really just so I could put up this pic.

The most Kick Ass Book I have ever read.

I read World War Z during my last deployment and all I could think was "WOW!"

I wanted to do a review on here about it but I wanted to get that feeling again, so I reserved a copy at my library. (I gave the original copy to another soldier before I left Iraq)

After reading Word War Z for the second time I still have that "WOW!" sensation. There isn't a main character. Instead it's really a bunch of short stories describing multiple first person accounts of the Zombie apocalypse, yet all these stories are linked together by an interviewer in such a way as to give you the full story of the war. You really don't get to see the interviewer accept the occasional question that are asked to keep the stories going. Some of the characters you only "hear" from once while others you keep coming back to as the war unfolds.

This isn't something that can be torn apart into neat little categories. Each character brings a different view. A different emotion. I don't want to go into the details. I want you to go out and get this book and read it yourself.

I seriously can't recommend this book enough. Don't look it up on wikipedia and get an overview. Don't look up other reviews. Beg, borrow or steal this book and read it. (ok don't steal it. Get it from your local library if you must. Just make sure you check it out properly)

When your done reading it come back and we can have a chat about it.



Friday, January 23, 2009

Finding yourself

So I'm listening to the 970am live feed over the Internet (Between 11 and 3) and searching for old friends. Now with the Internet being what it is you would think with just a little bit of info you should be able to find anyone. There is still one of my old army buddies I have not been able to find. So thinking this I started to wonder how hard it would be to find info on myself.

I typed in my name. Hey Look there is my Facebook page...Wait. I don't have Facebook. Hmmm Of course there are other people out there with my name. Ok keep checking with just my name.....Hmmm ok. Wrapping my name in quotes I was able to find 2 links. One is something out of a newspaper release that the military issued detailing a public awards ceremony and the other I found funny because it was a site history that mentions something I did back in the early 90's.

My name wrapped in quotes and home town came up with a link.

Hmmm Guess I'm pretty hard to track down too. I know you can hire one of those web services to track someone but I'm not really interested in doing that. I guess I just found it interesting that here I was grumbling about not being able to find someone when it was difficult to find anything on myself. I have had a web presence for years I have just never used my real name. I have had 3 different "Names" I have used over the years so that is the main reason. I can find plenty when doing a search on those.

Sometimes you just have to take a step back and look at stuff from a different direction. Oh well I'll still type in old friends when I get a chance. That is how I have found others in the past. Well that and MySpace.


What's to do in Portland Oregon

I was watching Outlook Portland the other day and it got me thinking that I wish I lived a little closer to Portland. There is a lot of cool stuff that happens in and around the city that I miss because it is too far to drive to.

I have a rule you see. If the trip takes longer than the activity then I'm not going. Doesn't make a whole lot of sense I know but it's something I started using in the past when I was going back and forth on rather it was worth it to go someplace.

Some of the things that I would like to do, use to do, haven't done in a long time or just hits my geek button, but I just haven't gotten around to it are.......

OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry)
Regular Hours (through June 12, 2009) Tuesday—Sunday 9:30 a.m.—5:30 p.m.
I love this place. Just about everything is hands on. There is so much to see and do. Bring your wallet though, because every little thing will cost you. (Becoming a member can reduce costs if you plan on visiting more than once.)

If you haven't been yet but love rock you should really check out OMSI's Laser Light Shows.
I remember making the trip from St Helens once in 18 minutes when we decided to hit a midnight showing. I guess we shouldn't have waited till 11:35 to figure out what to do.

Want to just spend the day browsing arts and crafts? Then the Portland Saturday Market is for you. From it's beginning in 1973 the market has grown and prospered. Located under the Burnside Bridge and in Ankeny Park.

Over 21 and like beer? Try one of the local brewery tours. Widmeris a good start or go all out and take the Brew Bus A guided tour to 3-4 Portland Breweries. It is $40 per person, but you will be able to sample 15 - 25 fresh beers

Each Month Cort and Fatboy from 101.1 KUFO host a Midnight Movie.
Don't miss the next one on Friday, February 6th at 10pm, TRUE ROMANCE at McMenamins Bagdad Theatre on SE Hawthorne in PDX.

There have been many of these that I had missed and would like to of seen, but trying to get a sitter to stick around that late is difficult.

If your a Battlestar Galactica Fan and want to watch the final episodes with like minded people you can Join Cort and Fatboy at the Bagdad Theater, Fridays (Jan 23-Mar 10) each week for the final 9 episodes. Live at 10pm - Free

I would actually go to this even though I'm not a huge fan of the NEW series because of the people you find at events like this.

Need Something to do in February? How about hitting up the 32nd Portland International Film Festival?
Dates: Feb 5, 2009 - Feb 22, 2009
934 SW Salmon
Portland, Oregon
Local Phone: 503-221-1156
Each year the festival screens around 125 shorts, features, and documentaries from around the world. For full details visit the site above. The full schedule should be up by the end of today. Coraline the film adaption of Neil Richard Gaiman's novel of the same name. Is scheduled for day one. Oscar nominee screenings are also on the docket.

Want a good book? Check out Powell's Books This place fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. While there check out the "As heard on the Rick Emerson Show table." Actually that is just one of the 5 locations to choose from.

New to Oregon or just visiting and want to see the native flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest the try out The Forest Park Conservancy. Just minutes from downtown Portland Forest Park is a great place for runners, hikers and bicyclists.

I know it's a bit early but it's really never to early to start planning your Halloween costume(s)and activities. Maybe this year you should try sign up and participate in Portland's Zombie walk. October 26th is the official Zombie day and Zombie walks have become a pretty big event. It's not just a Portland thing though. Check out this site for groups near you.

If this isn't enough for you then check out. PDX Pipeline for up to date articles about what is happening in and around Portland


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

WTF "inaugural day"

OK as of 12:09 pm (PST) and doing a search for Barack Inauguration Day (it's what popped up as I typed "Barak I") the first google link I got was:

Michelle Obama: her first outfit on Barack's inauguration day

From fox news. Really? I understand everyone thought that she would dress down because of the economy but that's what everyone want's to know? What Michelle is wearing? Not only was it the 1st link that came up it was also the subject of the 4th link from New York Daily news site.

Looking at Googles TOP Stories the third link is the LA Times story on what she was wearing. Really? Come on!!! So she is wearing a $1500, Isabel Toledo outfit. How much Do you think President Obama's suit cost? THE SAME, At least his day to day suits coast that much. He has a few of them. Some in grey and some in blue. What is really the big deal? They should dress nice. Both of them. Why not look the best that they can?

I actually feel sorry for most women who are married to powerful men out there. The male can own 7 suits and wear them the whole year and no one will say a thing. But it is expected of the wife to always have something new. Something in fashion. Something that says "Here I Am".

It is news as it is new... Mostly everything else has been covered in the past or the news organizations are waiting for new developments so they throw together a piece on what Ms. Obama is wearing.

Something else. H.W.Bush Was actually Booed by a large portion of the audience today as Members of the GOP were introduced prior to the Swearing in. Some were even singing " Hey! Hey! Goodbye." I little harsh but at least it was a non violent way for a mob to react to someone they find distasteful.

Something new that isn't total crap. updated almost as soon as Obama was sworn in. Check it out.


Friday, January 16, 2009 my daughter is reading Twilight

My 10 year old daughter is reading Twilight. We haven't seen the movie and I had not read the book before. After she went to bed last night I snagged it out of her bag and read it. I'm not sure what to think about it.

Twilight is not a book about Vampires it's a book about finding someones soul mate. Ok so the girl is 17 but acts older and the guy looks 17 but is a LOT older. Adding vampires into the mix just seemed to be a plot complication and a reason for the guy not following his natural desires and ripping the girls clothes off. The author takes liberties with the vampire mythos that left me saying "um...ok...I guess" One furthers the plot by allowing the characters to interact during normal hours and the other is just weird.

Bella's mom is thrown in there but she lacks any real depth. Her dad is just there so she has a place to stay. He's not really part of the story except as one of Bella's excuse mechanisms.

The he smells good, she smells really really good, he looks so gorgeous, she doesn't know how good she looks dialog is trite at times. There were holes in the story that I would have liked to see filled. Bella asks so many questions but never inquires more about James after the one question. The Cullens acceptance is a bit unbelievable.

That all being said Twilight was an enjoyable read. Boiled down it's just a story about how two people found each other extremely attractive, got to know each other, forgave each others flaws and fell in love.

I personally do not read romance novels but I see Twilight as one more than a "vampire" book. If you are a fan of the vamp genre or like romances or you are even a fan of the Buffy series check this book out. It's flawed but that doesn't mean it's not worth a read.

I guess I will have to check out the movie now.



Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Kicking the Habit, Again

In 1993 I occasionally smoked a cigar or Swisher Sweet during military field maneuvers. Usually when every one was standing around BS'ing.

In 1994 I started smoking Marlboro "Red's" It was less than a month before I was up to a full pack a day. On the weekends it would jump to a pack and a half to two packs a day.

This continued till 2004, when cigarette prices continued to climb. I was at a local tobacco shop and decided to switch to a pipe. Now instead of 5 dollars a day for a pack of smokes it was about 5 bucks for a weeks worth of pipe tobacco. I had a brief return to cigarettes while I was deployed a second time to Iraq, but returned to the pipe when I returned.

I have tried to quit smoking a couple times in the past. Once with the patch, but I broke out in hives around the application points after the third day. I have tried going "cold turkey". Lasted a weekend a half the last time. Tried welbutrin as well but no dice.

The cold winters here in Oregon nor the summer heat of Iraq could curtail the urge. Over the years I have built up a lot of triggers. Get up start a pot of coffee brewing and smoke. Eat breakfast get dressed and smoke. Grab coffee, get in the car to head to work and smoke. That's all in the first hour of the day. Then there is the 1030 smoke break, the two at lunch smoke break. the 2 o clock smoke, the smoke on the way home, after dinner, before watching TV, during commercials, before bed, and when I would get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. There is always a reason to smoke.

Tomorrow starts the end of all that. (Hopefully) (oops looking at the clock tells me it is already tomorrow. So in the morning it all ends) I went to the doctor and snagged a prescription for Chantix. Almost everyone I have talked to who has taken this has been able to toss away their lighters and breath mints.

I put away my zippo and am relying on a bic to light my pipe for the next few days. I have half a weeks worth of pipe tobacco and a months supply of Chantrix. Supposedly it semi bonds to the same receptors in your gray matter that nicotine does. This partially blocks the chemical craving and keeps the nicotine you do have in your system from bonding to those same receptors. I'm also told it usually gives you vivid nightmares or dreams. I'm hoping for the later since I haven't been able to remember any of my dreams since I busted up my melon in 95. In a few cases I have even heard of weight loss, not that this was a deciding factor but if it's true it's an extra bonus to keep at it.

I'll keep notes on how well this works and whatever side effects there are and throw out an update every once in a while.



Monday, January 12, 2009

Sheek Geek

Yep, Geek is in, but only if your a hot chic, or even not so hot. Guys are looking for girls who will play Call of Duty with them, Or Grand Theft Auto, or their favorite MMO. If I was single today I would totally look for someone who was just as exited about the latest games, hardware and software as I am. Why? Because a guy just couldn't find them when I was single.

Who wants a high maintenance girlfriend anymore unless she would rather you buy her more Ram than pay for her pink and whites? Hell I don't.

Most the women on the G4 network are hotter to me than any of the bleach blondes on any other network. I love watching Attack of the Show, just to see what Olivia Munn will do next. More examples you say? Well who thought Dana Scully was Bang'n, or would pick Vilma over Daphne any day of the week? What about Emily Deschanel who plays Dr. Temperance Brennan in Bones? OR even one of my favorites, Forensic Specialist Abby Sciuto from NCIS. OF course these are all fictional or tv personalities. If I named people we knew my wife would start giving me the evil eye.

What Brought all this on? I was watching G4 of course. Luckily my wife is kinda geeky. She hasn't quite fallen in line with my love of Firefly or classic RPGs but she is hooked on the new Dr Who series.


From the WTF bin.

Really? Sea Kittens? WTF!

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Is petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to stop promoting the hunting of Sea Kittens.

If you haven't read or heard the story already, Sea Kittens are regularly hunted down, tortured and then fried up in a batter. What? You have never heard of Sea Kittens? That's because PETA is now trying to get everyone to use Sea Kittens as a name for FISH. That's right. They say that "Sea Kittens" like to be petted just like their ground dwelling cousins. (that would be real kittens. The kind that don't like getting wet.) PETA also says that "Sea Kittens" are smarter than the president as some can remember things from up to 11 months earlier.


They are FISH. They don't have fur. Try as PETA may, you can only draw so many cartoon fish with cat ears and whiskers or tell stories of how Terry the Tuna is lonely due to all the bad, meat eating humans, having caught all his friends.

I am not an animal hater. In fact I find animal abuse horiffic. I do include fish in this as well. It's true, that they aren't as easy to catch and put down as domesticated cows are, but man isn't quite as at home IN the water as they are on a farm. So man has to use boats and nets and fishing poles.

If this ever ever becomes main stream and people stop calling fish...well fish then I'm gonna Open "The Happy Sea Kitten Fry house." I will use a cartoon Fish in a cat costume as a mascot and sweep the nation with franchise after franchise untill it rivals MickyD's. I'll have Caturday morning cartoons and LOLcat meals for all the little boys and girls. Lets not forget the toys. There will be a whole line of collector "Sea Kittens" that pur, have fur, and chase SeaMice (TM).

HEY PETA! Put a SeaKitten next to a LandKitten and watch the LandKitten devour your precious little darlings. Or better yet watch them torture their sea dwelling cousins.

Ok, I am never using the term Sea Kittens again as it is one of the stupidest fucking things I have seen/read in a long time.


Friday, January 9, 2009

What I did instead. & How things didn't turn out how I tought they would.

At the end of high school I was not sure about my future. A common enough dilemma to be sure. I knew enough that I wanted to go to college to study literature or computers, but college meant money. I don't like owing people anything so I didn't want to go the lender route.
I started looking into the armed forces. I couldn't fit my head in the jar so Marines were out. I got car sick as a kid so the Airforce was out. I had been on one really bad ocean fishing trip and got so sick that I didn't want to even look at the Navy. All that left really was the Army. They would let me jump out of airplanes, shoot some really cool guns, and they had a college fund program, that I felt would fit my plans nicely.

I signed the papers for 4 years, raised my right hand, swore the oath and was shipped out just months after I graduated from high school. Yep I was in the army now.

Looking back, basic was fun. I remember the training and think "that wasn't so bad". Recall the other guys in my platoon and wonder what ever happened to so and so. While I was there however, there were times when I questioned my decision. Usually around 4 am when the Drill Sergeant would come in screaming and banging trashcans. Or standing in a pit, with mud up to my knees, keeping watch during field maneuvers, while the rain pounded down around us. Streams of water running directly into our fighting position filling it faster than the ground could absorb it.
Morning Physical Training wasn't so bad either. Except the running. My god we ran. We ran on the roads, around a track, through the woods, over hill and dale. Singing those songs they taught us about blood, guts and war. Did I say singing? More like screaming. I already had laryngitis from an infection and all the singing, yelling and screaming finally was to much for my poor vocal cords. They ended up scarring, but that's ok. I wasn't gonna be a rock star.

After Basic was Airborne school. Wow. What a difference from basic. Those of us who attended directly from basic suffered a little bit of culture shock. We were treated like humans again. On non jump days we were off by 1700 hours. (that's 5pm for you civilians out there) We were aloud to go out. Off base even. My gawd that first night was awesome. The five of use from basic hung out and did stuff together most of the time. We hit a steak place. I ordered a house salad, 20oz porterhouse, "Texas" fries, baked potato and some "barley pop" The waitress HAD to know we were underage but she could also tell we were fresh out of boot. None of us got wasted. We did have enough to be buzzed before we left.

The first two weeks of Airborne school were training. Up at 0615 just in time to get dressed, shaved and be in formation at 0630 to start PT. (Physical Training) Then we would hit the showers and eat breakfast so we could start the actual Airborn part of the training day. Normally with a 10 minute break every hour so the smokers could do their thing, and finally we were released at 1700 to do what ever we wanted to. This went on for 2 weeks.

Did I mention that we had weekends off too? Gawd what was I suppose to do? There was a holiday weekend after that second week. That meant I had Saturday, Sunday, AND Monday off. I'm not sure what we did for the whole weekend but I do remember running into our Drill Sergeant from Basic. We talked and laughed. He invited us to a little bar he hung out in and we shook hands before saying see you later. I do look back and wish we still hadn't been intimidated enough to actually go to that little bar.

Instead, one of the guys wanted to go to a "lingerie" store. Yes this was a thinly veiled cathouse. You walk in and are met by a line of women all dressed in sexy lingerie. You pick one and off you go. I have no idea what the cost was as I didn't try any of their services. Hell I had fun just watching the ones parading around and tempting us to partake of their offerings. I chit chatted with one and then another. I was tempted mind you but I have never utilized the service of a cash for ass style service, besides I had someone back home. Not that I don't think it should be legalized everywhere. I think it should. I think there is a stigmata associated with prostitution that is very hypocritical. (It would be fun to go off on a tangent and detail my beliefs on this subject but that is for another time.) Anyways...I know two of us left there a few bucks shorter and a little happier. Who knows what else they left there with.

Back to Airborne School. That Third week was Jump Week, and since Monday was a holiday we had to shove 2 jumps in on that first day. WOW. That first jump was AWESOME!!! I didn't pause in the door. In fact I almost knocked the guy in front of me over. I pushed my static line into the Jump Masters hand turned, took a step and jumped out slapping into the position we were trained to. Chin to chest. Body slightly bent. One hand over the reserve and then SNAP. The chute deployed. I was in the air. Looking around. Floating slowly towards the ground...Wait. Holy shit the ground was coming up fast. There was a stream right in the middle of the Drop zone and I was headed right at it. I tried "slipping away from it" which of course was the wrong answer. I should have "slipped" towards it a bit so as to over shoot but no luck. SPLASH right in the middle. I landed so lightly that I barley felt it. There I was standing in ice cold water up to my knees, my chute collapsing to the ground around me when I hear "You BETTER do a PLF AirBorne!" ( PLF= Parachute Landing Fall and your supposed to do one EVERY time.) I made that sound you make when you know your about to do something you don't want to. Something like "unhhunhuhu". I did a little hop and flopped over into the water. I then stood up, Looked at the Jump Instructor, grinned from ear to ear and shouted "AirBorne Sergeant" I packed up my chute and headed to the drop off point.

(NOTE: You have all probably seen a PLF type maneuver on tv. When some one jumps from one roof top to a lower one. They kind of tuck and roll into it. That is pretty much what a PLF is. I'll post a video at the bottom)

Remember I said we had two jumps that day? Well the second jump was just as cool until I hit the ground. (preforming a proper PLF this time) "thrump,bump,crump" is as close as I can get to the sound and feeling of hitting the ground. It was still a little light out but the sun had almost sunk behind the horizon. There were no updrafts to slow my decent. The temperature had dropped and my clothes were still wet. By the time I got to the assembly area I was shivering and my teeth were doing that clicky thing. Luckily the buses were there and they had the heat running.

The rest of Airborne school was much the same. I did my 5 jumps, Graduated and boarded a bus to Ft Bragg. NC.

To be Continued: (NOTE: Continued below in same post.)

PS:Here is a recruitment video for jump school.



Ft. Bragg North Carolina. Home of the 82nd Airborne Division. I hated that place. There were many reasons and I'll go over some of them, but for now here is a 15 minute video about The 82nd Airborne Division. Hey Just because I hated parts of it doesn't mean there wasn't parts I'm proud to have been part of.

If you didn't watch the video that's fine. It is a little dated. So if you would rather read about it I'm gonna steal some info from Wiki.

The 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army is an elite modular airborne infantry division and was constituted in the National Army as the 82nd Division on March 5, 1917, and was organized on March 25, 1917, at Camp Gordon, Georgia. Since members of the division came from all 48 states, the unit was given the nickname “All-American.” This is the basis for its famed “AA” shoulder patch.

I was in a infantry batalion as a TOW Gunner. At the time the official military classification of My job title was 11H1P which basically meant that I was a Heavy Anti-Armor Weapons Infantryman with Airborne school. Most the time it was the same routine. PT at 0630, done by 730, shower (we shaved before PT) get dressed and eat breakfast. Just in time for Formation at 0900 to start the "duty" day. Mondays was motor stables. Where we went down to the motorpool to Inspect, clean, inventory and work on our Humvees.

What's the difference between a Hummer and a Humvee? What does "Humvee" stand for?

The two terms overlap somewhat, but generally, "Hummer" refers to the civilian models and "Humvee" refers to the military ones. "Humvee" comes from "HMMWV", a military term for "High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle". The civilian models are basically the same as the military ones (they go down the same assembly line until reaching the finishing stages) with the addition of nice interiors and other "creature comforts".

Once 1130 rolled around we were off to lunch untill 1300 (1pm) for another formation. (lunch was an hour and a half long because sometimes it took that long to get through the chow hall.) After formation we worked on weapon systems. We would ground mount the TOW system. (TOW is an acronym for Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided missile system) Rut roe. Another block quote incoming.

The TOW anti-tank missile of Iran-Contra fame was introduced for service in the US Army in 1970. Current versions are capable of penetrating more than 30 inches of armor, or "any 1990s tank," at a maximum range of more than 3,000 meters. It can be fired by infantrymen using a tripod, as well from vehicles and helicopters, and can launch 3 missiles in 90 seconds. It is primarily used in antitank warfare, and is a command to line of sight, wire-guided weapon. TOW is used to engage and destroy enemy armored vehicles, primarily tanks. Secondary mission is to destroy other point targets such as non-armored vehicles, crew-served weapons and launchers. This system is designed to attack and defeat tanks and other armored vehicles. The system will operate in all weather conditions and on the "dirty" battlefield.

Here is a short 20 second video of a "training" Missile being fired. The only part about it being training is that the explosive warhead has been removed.

We also cleaned and inspected our other weapons, to include the M16, M2, and MK19. and Yep you guessed it More Blockquotes.

The M16 is a lightweight, 5.56 mm caliber, air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine-fed assault rifle, with a rotating bolt, actuated by direct impingement gas operation. The rifle is made of steel, aluminum, and composite plastics.

The following picture is of the four most commonly used. From top to bottom they are: M16A1, M16A2, M4, M16A4

The M2 Machine Gun, or Browning .50 Caliber Machine Gun is a heavy machine gun designed towards the end of World War I by John Browning. It was nicknamed Ma Deuce by US troops or simply called "fifty-cal." in reference to its caliber.

The Mk 19 fires 40 mm grenades at a cyclic rate of 375 to 400 rounds per minute, giving a practical rate of fire of 60 rounds per minute (rapid) and 40 rounds per minute (sustained). The weapon operates on the blowback principle, which uses the chamber pressure from each fired round to load and re-cock the weapon. The Mk 19 is able to lob its grenade at a maximum distance of 2,212 meters, though its effective range for a point target is about 1,500 meters, since the large rear leaf sight is only graduated to 1,500 meters. The nearest safe distance to launch the grenade is 75 meters. In addition, the Mk 19's flash suppressor and its lack of smoke during firing makes it difficult for enemies to spot and counter it.

I wish I had dusk or night firing of these weapons as there is an AHHH effect to it. It's hard to see the MK 19 do its work as the grenades use explosives rather than a flash pot you see in the movies.

After messing with vehicles and weapons all day Is final formation. Usually around 1700. Then we can hit the chow hall for dinner. I hardly ever did. In fact I usually ate at Robin Hoods for lunch (like subway but better) and I'd head into town for dinner. Chow hall food sucked most of the time. Breakfasts were ok and I ate breakfast in the chow hall every day for 7 years.

So that was Monday. Not to bad as Mondays go. Really the rest of the week was the same kind of thing. Training. Training Training Training. It varied, but all in all not to rough. One thing I do miss about being active. All the holidays. We had three day weekends for this and 4 day weekends for that. We usually got off at 1600 hours or earlier on Fridays too.

What wasn't usual was that being in the 82nd, we had recall status. Most the time we had to be within 2 hours of base. Actually less than that. We had to be in formation within 2 hours of the Battalion being notified. There was an extensive call roster to get a hold of everyone as quickly as possible. This was before the wide spread of cell phones. Beepers were the norm then. We got called to go on Training missions, Jumps, to help other units with heavy drop operations (where vehicles get loaded and set, platforms, rigged with parachutes and pushed out to be loaded on planes. All of this revolved around the Division Ready Force or DRF Status your unit was on in a matrix. If you have been on "lockdown" or DRF then you already know what it's like. If you have ever been close to someone that was pregnant and had started contractions but their water hadn't broke then you kinda know. You have to be ready to go at a moments notice. With being pregnant you know that it WILL come. We didn't. We also didn't know where we would be going until we were briefed.

To be continued. (NOTE: continued below.)



Something else I didn't like about North Carolina was the weather. I'm from Oregon. The northern Vally area. Now... When ever I told people I was from Oregon, they would ask "OR E GONE, Dosn't it rain there?" First off there is no E at the end of Oregon. Its pronounced awr-i-guhn and second yes. Yes it does, but not like it did in Georgia and North Carolina while I was there. I'm talking about golf ball sized raindrops. In Oregon it just sprinkled all the time. Between the two states the anual rain fall is almost the same. It just seemed like It all came down in 9 or 10 really big storms in North Carolina. In Oregon it just sprinkled all the time. Something else to take into consideration. Oregon's ground soaks up the water. North Carolina has Clay and the water did not soak into the ground. At least that was my experience. Your Mileage may very. I do miss the lightning storms though.

During the summer of 95, my unit was in Yuma, AZ doing test jumps . On one of the last jumps I ended up knocking the piss out of myself. It went something like this. I exited the plane, and the static line ripped the pack tray off my back deploying the parachute, I hit some cross winds that started a pendulum effect between the chute and myself. I tried countering the effect by pumping the risers the same direction as the swing. That's when I hit another crosswind. So not only was I swinging north to south I now started spinning in rather large circles in comparison to the canopy of my parachute.

I don't actually remember hitting the ground, or being found wandering around, or the bus ride back to the billets, nor the plane ride back to Bragg. In fact I don't recall a thing until PT the following Monday morning.I don't know how nobody realized there was something up with me. There is a "suck it up and drive on" mentality at work in most of the combat arms. Anyways we were taking it easy and just running laps around a near by track. Running the corners, sprinting the straightaways. It was the first straightaway that did me in. Suddenly my head exploded, as if I was in the middle of a fight and someone was on my back, going to town on my head with a rubber mallet. I could hear a giant waterfall roaring in my ears and my vision turned off like one of those older style televisions screens that shrink down to a little pinhole before going completely black.

What the hell was going on? Well the diagnosis was concussion. No tests were done. Just medications. That month I almost received a reduction in rank due to sleeping in and being late. That is until I was able to prove that the medications were responsible. I had migraines every day for a year. Less frequent as the years went by. I get 4 or 5 a year now with most everything that goes with them: nausea, sensitivity to bright light and noise. Thankfully I have never vomited due to a migraine. I have also lost the ability to remember numbers well. Give me a list of four or more three digit numbers and I will not be able to remember them. Other aspects of my memory seem to have declined as well. I remember nearly nothing from my childhood. Only good friends and favorite teachers from high school. The rest of my life up until 95 is pretty much a blur. It's not amnesia because I KNOW who I am. I know those I love and hold dear. Emotional situations seem to anchored in place and I can recall them if I try. I do find it difficult to remember new information as easily as I use too. Most of this I didn't even realize until much later.

On a brighter note, towards the end of 1995 I married one of my friends from high school. We were not sweet harts in high school but we were friends. We got close after wards. We talked on the phone a lot. My phone bill got up to 500 one cycle. I asked her to marry me and she said yes. I was stuck over in North Carolina and she was back in Oregon. She did all the work getting the wedding going. I basically showed up while on 2 weeks of leave. We were married and then we drove to North Carolina.

Before being married I had lived in the barracks. So even though I had been out of my moms house since 92 I hadn't really lived on my own. The army supplied me with everything I really needed, and I had no clue about housing. We ended up moving into a little Single wide that we found AFTER we both got to Ft. Bragg. She wasn't too happy about that. She figured I would have had that all taken care of. ME? I had no clue. We made it work however and before too long we were bringing in about 5 grand a month between us. She had a good job. I had made some rank so I was getting paid ok. Our monthly bills were minor. It was great. We just needed to get away from that DRF status. We couldn't do anything with our time off because I was always on 2 hour recall.

My reenlistment window opened and we discussed my staying in but requesting a transfer to Ft Lewis WA. (yes away from the dreaded DRF). What about college? I could always do it later. I wasn't ready to give up on the Army yet. So I "re-uped" and we moved to Ft. Lewis Washington. My wife got another good job and we started pulling in some decent cash. We got on post housing after a bit. We planned for and had our first child. I missed my daughters 1st birthday due to being out on maneuvers. There were other reasons but that was the last straw. That enlistment was up so I left the active Army. I did sign papers to join The Oregon National Guard. I wanted a change of MOS though as I was tired of being Infantry. It just interfered in my family life way to much. So I requested a different MOS. This time I chose Carpentry and Masonry. Something everyone could use a little know-how in.

We moved to a small town in the Oregon Valley halfway between our parents and my new National Guard Armory. My wife had relatives in the area too. Now to just find a job. Hmmm Wow. This sucked. I made nine bucks an hour in a retail establishment. My wife couldn't find a job paying as well as she was in Washington. We had bought a house but the payments were high. I took on a second job part time. My wife fell into a new job. It was a career change but it worked out ok. Then my wife got fired after catching the married bosses girlfriend stealing money from the petty cash. Oh this was after the boss fired the girlfriend but she must have threatened a lawsuit because soon she was back and my wife was gone. She shrugged it off and went back to her old career. She also decide to go back to school to improve her credentials in that field. We planned and had our second child. I quit my first job and got on full time at the other. Finally ending up with 11.20 dollars an hour. We planned and had our second child. A month after her birth my National Guard Unit was deployed to Iraq. My unit followed a month after the first wave.

All this took place during an eleven year period.

I think my first Iraq Tour needs it's own post. So until then....




So amuirin, you doubt my appetite for books eh?

There are actually two rows of books on each of these Last two shelves.

Yes that is a Chia Taz in the upper right corner.

I do admit Orson Scott Card is not one of my favorites. I have not read all of his works. So pfffftttt


Thursday, January 8, 2009

What I wanted to do when I graduated high school.

Jr High was a turning point for me. Mom decided she didn't need to put up with my step-dad. I decided I didn't want to be like him. Up till this point he was the only male role model I had. I would answer any threat with a fist to that threat's face. Didn't matter if it was a verbal threat or not. Or in protection of a female. (read my earlier post) Using my fists was a way to release a lot of what was pent up inside me. I would "see red" when this happened. If it's never happened to you it's hard to explain. You don't actually get a rose colored tint to your vision, but it seems that way. The instant pent up anger, the roaring in your ears, and the desire to hurt someone.

The "turning point" was three fold. First was that the Step-dad was gone. The second was a kid named Jeremy. We were playing football during recess. He pushed me. I punched, and elbowed his left eye on the front swing and hammered the side of his head on the back swing. This resulted in two lacerations. One across his eyebrow and the other across his cheekbone encircling his eye and almost knocking him out. I was suspended for a week and when I came back the third part happened. Jeremy was out for blood. He wanted to fight. He wanted revenge. His friends had talked him up the whole week I was gone. So he challenged me. I told him after school.

The final bell rang. I put all I had in my locker and started walking to the "spot". It was out of sight of the school in a little public playground that never had any little kids due to the road being so close. The crowd had already gathered. Jeremy was there with his friends psyching him up.
I dropped my coat on the outskirts of the crowd. (never fight with lose clothing on. It's too easy for your opponent to use them as handholds) The "Red Mist" was already covering my eyes. I wanted to hurt this kid.... Someone I talked to almost daily. Someone who I considered a friend before this. I didn't care. I said something like "come on" or "let's go" and started in on him. I could immediatly see the fear in his face. He knew it was coming. He knew I was going to hurt him.
The "mist" lifted a little. I bit my lower lip trying control my anger. Something I had never done before outside of my home and dealing with relatives.
I didn't want to kill this guy anymore. I'd seen that look in my mothers face before. Usually around 2am. and we just heard the Step-dads car door slam.
Jeremy swung and I blocked. I swung but my hart wasn't in it anymore. Everyone around us was screaming and yelling for blood.
The "mist" cleared a little more. Jeremy swung again. I blocked again but this time instead of just taking the brunt I used his swing and slapped his punch, using his momentum to spin him around. I kicked the back of one of his knees dropping Jeremy to the ground and applied a loose sleeper hold. One knee on the ground the other pressing against his back. Not choking him out. Just to control him. The Crowd went berserk. There were screams of "Rip his head off.!" I just felt disgusted. The "red mist" was gone. Jeremy wasn't trying to get away. He wasn't fighting to get loose. I asked "we done here". He nodded. The screams of "rip his head off" got louder. They came to see blood and the "fight" had only lasted 10 seconds.
I let go and started walking away. I could here grumblings of the crowd. Words like "pussies" and whatever other scorn filled remarks crowds make at times like that. Normally I would have turned and been ready to go at it again with someone else. Now I just didn't care. The physical fight with Jeremy had taken just moments but the internal fight I had with myself was finally over.

I had been in so many fight before this that I was lucky I hadn't been expelled. That was it. The point in my life where I took control of my pent up emotions. Oh don't get me wrong. I still to this day hold most of them inside. I just find other ways to get rid of them. Anger on the other hand I let wash over me. I just have no reason to hold on to it anymore.

I made a vow to myself that day. No more fights. Didn't matter if someone said something or pushed me. There were only a few things that would set the "red mist" boiling out. Someone spiting in my face and seeing some guy physically harming a female or child. The spit I would wipe off, count to 10 and walk away. Luckily I didn't see much of the later after that.

I moved on to high school. Kept emotionally to myself most the time. Made new friends. Started using words to counter others disparaging remarks. Stayed away from relationships. It was hard to do but easy to accomplish. I wore what ever I wanted to, let my hair do what it wanted to. Stayed away from trying to look "in" I didn't want to be the "alpha" anymore. I couldn't, if I wanted to keep my emotions at bay.

I had always been a reader. I learned the abc's before kindergarten by watching Sesame street. Was reading Dr Seuss books by the end of it. By third grade I had read all the Narnia books, A Wrinkle in Time and anything else the school library had by Madeleine L'Engle. After third grade I moved onto The Hardy Boys then Nancy Drew. In Junior high I kinda of got away from reading due to all the emotional crap in my head. Once I hit high school I more than made up for it. I devoured Twain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, got into Piers Anthony's Xanth, Incarnations, Space Tyrant, Phase series, along with anything else by him. I started to hit up book stores because the school library couldn't handle my appetite. Had three tiers of cinder blocks and pine board shelves that I quickly filled with used book store treasures. Clark and Brooks. Nevin, Rosenberg, and Zelazny.

My sophomore year I discovered D&D. A small group of us played. Some taking turns DM'ing torturing our mates with rampaging hoards of naked horny goblins who just wanted to bugger our hero's noses. This led to other books. My interests were growing. I gobbled down Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon's Serrated Edge Novels. Then Delved further into Lackeys library. Found Leo Frankowski's Adventures of Conrad Stargard series which I swear use to be called Cross-time Engineer series. I still grab anything and everything new by all these authors.

NOTE: Leo Frankowski passed away on Christmas day 2008. He was 65 years old. He was also know for the "A Boy and his Tank" series. Details Here

I wanted to be a writer when I got out of high school or to do something in computer gaming. Either writing, coding, or graphics. The only problem was money.



Growing up with "Mom's" and gov'ment cheese.

My ma and pa divorced when I was one or so. Mom was an accountant back when you really didn't need higher learning to do that kind of thing. She just had a nack for it. We did move around a bit due to this but always stayed in the same general area. St. Helens, Portland, Marysville WA, Gresham, back to St Helens.

Growing up we were not "poor". We always had a roof over our heads. Mom always scrimped and saved to get us good Christmas toys. Clothes were sometimes second hand. We occasionally got some Gov'ment cheese. Governmental help with a house at one time. I was in 2nd or 3rd grade at the time and I have no idea the name of the agency that did the helping. It was a nice house with decent sized rooms. It was the first house we lived in that I can remember. Before that it was apartments. Playing in the courtyard with the other kids was cool but the house had a yard. At the time the street dead ended so little to no traffic.

I had a "step" dad throughout a lot of my earlier childhood. He fathered my sister. He is a Vietnam vet. I loved him then, since he was the only male that was really around. He was also abusive towards my mother. He would get drunk and come home and take out what ever frustrations were bothering him. Usually when he was out of work, or when he couldn't find drugs to complement his drinking habits.

At about 10 or 11 I realized how big of a bastard he was. Mom finally decided enough was enough and booted him out when I was in Jr. high. Right about the time I had gotten enough courage to sit my aluminum baseball bat next to my door. So that the next time mom had a black eye or bloody lip I could wait for him to pass out on the couch and bash his face to a pulp. I seriously thought about hitting him until he was dead. I was a kid. I wanted to protect the women in my life. Not sure if mom sensed this and decided it was time or not but that was the end. Oh their relationship was an on again off again type thing before that but this time it was for real. He would still come over to see us kids but now you could see the look of disgust on mom's face. He never abused my sister and I. So don't go thinking that. He was a firm disciplinarian but that was pretty common at the time.

I realized I never wanted to be like him. Wanted non of his racist, womanizing, drunkard, woman beating ways. Today he lives in a house, meth'ed out of his head with other drug users stealing his disability checks, eating his food, and he lets them because all the people who once loved him can't stand to be near him or those he chooses to call friends.

My sister still loves him even if she can't stand him. And I....Well there is a part of my that does still care for the man. I did call him dad. The love that I once had has mostly been replaced by pity. The hate has been replaced by sorrow. I don't visit because I'd have to run out as soon as I walked in. Crying. My hart hurting for the man that once was. The guy I remembered smiling and handing out the Christmas presents when I was 8, or letting me sit on his lap and "drive" to the store.

Mom was tough enough to get through all of this. To move on. To fall in love again. To fall out of love. To lose someone she loved due to hart failure. To almost have a mental breakdown like grandma use to have. To recover. To fall in love again.

This isn't the funny part or the narcissistic part It's the therapeutic part of what writing is about. Laying bare your soul.


Why now?

Why start a blog now at 35? Well I'm not really starting. I'm restarting. I have had a few accounts in the past and I never went anywhere with them. I started one my second deployment to Iraq but never even got off the ground. The closest thing I currently have is my Myspace blog, but that's for friends and family.

This is for me. For what I want to write down without everyone noticing that I think "Aunt Candies" chicken and spinach goulash is the worst thing on the planet and should only be used as a WMD to kill off small burrowing rodents.

What inspired this new and improved version? An old friend. Someone from high school. Back when I wrote in a spiral bound notebook almost everyday. That friends blog reminded me how much I loved writing way back when.

I will go over that in later posts. I've already put a outline of what my first few posts will be about. So I will not go into to much this time.

I should mention that I have no standard education past high school. That being said, my spelling is bad. Reeeeeaaaallllyy bad. Grammar non existent. Just bear with me. Or Bare with me if your the type to sit around reading blogs in the nude.

For now, Don't let the bastards grind you down.