Captain Grose's Blog Page

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What's a blog, you ask? It stands for "weblog" and it's basically an online journal of daily thought. We'll see how long I can keep this up (as though I don't have enough to do!)

If you must have a title, I'll go with: The daily thoughts/rants of a Marine, scholar, father, husband, marathon runner, Flash cartoonist, computer nerd.

Friday, November 08, 2002
Yesterday NPS had a Superintendent Guest Lecture (SGL) and the speaker was James Webb. The former Secretary of the Navy resigned over a matter of principle (they wouldn’t give him a 600 ship Navy) and he’s always been an outspoken, controversial figure. He was a Marine platoon leader in Vietnam where he won a Navy Cross (the second highest award a Marine can get below the Medal of Honor) and wrote about his experiences in the required reading for every Marine lieutenant Fields of Fire. He has an engineering degree as well as a law degree and has written his 6th novel. Many of his movies are being or have been made into movies and Fields of Fire is next.

After the speech, he went to the Trident Room which is the pub there on NPS to sign books. I was going to bring my copy of Fields of Fire. but when I opened it up that morning, a third of it fell out. It was so hard to find when I was looking for it years ago that I had to resort to finding it in a used book store for $1.25. I thought it better to bring my copy of one of his other books.

When I came to the table and introduced myself, I asked him who they had slated to play him in the new movie. He said they were still working that out but two of the other main characters were being cast and they had offers out to, of all people, Eminem, and Vin Diesel. I thought it an odd choice to work with since I think Eminem is a punk but that’s what the role calls for and word is that he does a pretty good job in his first movie. But the thought of this hero being exposed to such an honorable and upstanding hero seems out of place. Hollywood, go figure.

We talked for a few moments and he had his pen at the ready to sign my book and asked me my first name and I couldn’t help myself. I said “Captain.” He did a double take and then we both laughed. It’s an old joke but what the hell. I asked him to sign it to Jason right after and my buddies just rolled their eyes when I told them.

Thursday, November 07, 2002
People asked me “How was your birthday?” and my first response was “It sucked!” You see, on Wednesday, the day after my birthday, I had a huge take-home midterm due that took me over 6 hours and 9 pages to complete. (BTW, satellite systems ARE as hard as they are reputed to be). Of course, I have received the test the prior Friday and true to form, waited too long but that’s beside the point.

Also on Wednesday, I had a midterm in software management at 1000 and a midterm on C++ programming at 1100. Therefore on my birthday, I went to school, went to the kids’ parent-teacher meetings, tested at home for over 6 hours, and stayed up late studying for the other two tests the next day. Plus, I HAD to watch the first half of Monday Night Football (non-negotiable) and Boston Public (also non-negotiable). Because it was my birthday, I had people calling me and I had to graciously let the machine filed the calls, except for my brother who got through and we talked.

That night when I tucked the kids in, they asked me how my birthday was and in my explanation (putting the required good spin on it for the little ones) I realized it WAS a good day. I told them that I got the best present I could receive by hearing from each of their teachers that they were model students, straight A’s, and above the 90th percentile in all areas. I got two Sarah McLachlan CDs from the kids that I’ve wanted for a long time. I got a banana cream pie from Carrie and calls from my brother, father, Carrie’s parents, Carrie’s brother, Carrie’s sister, and an old friend. I got cards from Carrie’s parents and two of her brothers with gift certificates from In the messages, I got “Happy Birthday” sung to me by my father and by Scott and my only niece.

Recounting all of this, I realized that I have so much to be thankful for and nothing could spoil a day with so much love and thoughtfulness coming my way. I only pray all of my future birthdays are as good as this one.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002
Last night I had a long conversation with Carrie and we talked about the kids’ education. We are both unhappy with the school our kids attend due to a variety of reasons. The classes are too large and a disproportionate amount of time is spent with the “problem” children. Also, all the support staff has been cut so not only do the kids not get the benefit of music teachers, PE teachers, art teachers, computer lab teachers, librarians, etc., but the teachers that are left are over-burdened trying to pick up the slack. Alex’s situation is particularly troubling because he stresses over school and is not performing to his potential.

I’ve always been taught that if you can do something better yourself, make it happen. And what better cause than my own kids’ education so for these reasons, we have opened the possibility of home schooling. We have friends that do it and I will be looking into it by asking them all about it. I have no doubt that we can give them an educational experience superior to that of the California public school system but I worry about the social aspects. Kids learn social interaction as much as academics when they attend school and I think that’s an important aspect of their learning. Maybe with church involvement, sports, and more effort on our part to get them exposed to their friends, we can improve that also. We have no doubt that this will put a huge responsibility on our shoulders but for the kids, I’m willing to put in that effort. The prospect of me teaching the kids, assigning them work, grading the work, and testing them myself is exciting to me and Carrie is willing to put her education on hold to achieve this for them. We are both excited about it but also know it will take hard work, commitment, and patience.

Today is my 34th birthday and I’ve decided to start a running streak. No, this doesn’t mean that I will be running naked (wouldn’t that be a scary sight?). It means that I will run every day for at least a year. The rule is that I must run at least 3 miles to count and the pace is irrelevant. Wish me luck, especially after the marathons!!!
Friday, November 01, 2002
It was a sad day for me yesterday when I found out that Jam Master J was killed. I read it at school and it saddened me because I used to listen to Run DMC as a teenager and really enjoyed their music. I had a tape that had Raising Hell on one side and the Beastie Boys’ License To Ill on the other. For months that is all I listened to until the tape finally broke.

For people that know me know and especially Marines under me would be surprised that I once listened to such music because of the comparable straight laced life I lead now. But that was a difficult time in my life and that music satisfied my rebellious period. While the driving beats and loud rapping had a definite hook, I always liked that they were positive, promoted education and self-improvement. In fact, I was drawn to the music by the contagious beats but I really started liking them when I listened to the lyrics and how they sang about “Dumb Girl” who had no self respect. “Perfection” was another great message. They were anti-drug and the lyrics were clean which I really respected in an age of 2 Live Crew and the like so the loss of Jam Master J was depressing.

I have to admit, though, that listened to the Beastie Boys simply for the rebellious nature and the comical ways they put their songs together. Luckily, I did not follow the path they preached as a way of life. It was simply fun.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002
I carved pumpkins with the kids tonight. For a decade, I have used those intricate templates that you poke into the pumpkin and use little saws to make the pattern. Steph wanted Witch hazel this year and Alex wanted the haunted house. It usually takes a few hours for each one and my neck and back are killing me every year. But the results are pretty spectacular.

When we lived in Seattle, we could carve them weeks in advance and they were fine. When we tried that in 29 Palms, after a couple of days, it shriveled up bad. It was even worse here in Monterey. We carved a face last year and left it outside. The next morning it looked like an old man with no teeth. It was a lot of work up in smoke over night. Lesson learned. This year, the night before Halloween.

Each year, the kids get better and better and I let them do more. This year, they could poke the holes and do some of the carving. I estimate next year they can do the whole thing (but I’ll have to do my own ).

Oh, and for those who resist the Halloween hoopla because they think its “a celebration of Lucifer!” I say: oh please. Kids dress up and get a bunch of candy. We don’t burn virgins or conjure up demons unless you count my wife’s chili spirits that sometimes appear under the sheets. Like Christmas is a celebration of Christ’s birth, the Christians (like me) choose to celebrate it as such. Others choose to concentrate on Santa and see it as a gift given extravaganza. If the Satanists choose to embrace the holiday for their messed up beliefs, so be it. But like the non-Christians see Christmas as just a fun holiday, I choose to think of Halloween the same. There, point made.

My rant for the day is freakin parking at NPS. It was the worst ever today! I left a little early to hit some school email and relax before my first class but instead, ended up circling the entire *&^&* campus for 30 minutes looking for a spot. I came to the belief that the campus police should issue retardation parking tickets. People eat up more space by parking like they got their license by correspondence. Have they never come late and had to play road warrior to find a spot? Then why not scotch over a bit so someone can squeeze in instead of blatantly taking up too much room. A lot of the parking is unmarked so there are no lines to delineate where one spot starts and stops. So this just opens up the opportunity for the severely stupid to deny me of my parking rights!!! There were a couple that I could almost squeeze into and box in these jerks but then I would stoop to their level. I have a big truck with a lot of scratches and dents so it would’ld matter to have more but that would be, you know, wrong.

So I ended up parking way out past Jupiter and had to hump my sorry butt all the way across campus. Then it occurred to me: people with no legs would love the opportunity to walk. Having a truck to park would have thrilled me as a teen. Coming in at 1000 for the first class was not something to complain about. Walking on the beautiful campus of NPS was visually stunning. Getting paid to get a free masters degree is sort of a good deal. So I thought about these things and it made me feel better (even though I still could have strangled that parking moron!!!)

I got a possible offer to maintain the NPS MWR website today. Might come with a brand new, state of the art laptop computer (which I’ve been pining for) so I’m pretty excited. Not that I really have the time but that’s me: over extended until I vomit. I wonder if they’ll let me keep the laptop. By the time I’d have to give it back, it would be obsolete so why not just let me keep it, right? Yeah, I thought you’d see it my way.
I heard about a story that claimed that the DC sniper suspect might have been exposed to chemical weapons when he was a soldier in the Gulf War. What a bunch of crap! I was over there for 7 ½ months at that time and you don’t see me going around and killing innocent people. He’s a nut who needs to get roasted, plain and simple. Just another way to sensationalize a tragedy by tying two major news items and trying to stir the pot. Is not the fact that he killed 10 people and wounded two others sensational enough? The news just kills me. OK, bad choice of words but you get the idea.
Tuesday, October 29, 2002
I watched a little Monday Night Football last night but the highlight was watching the second new Boston Public this season. I don’t watch TV all that much but got hooked on this show and now it’s one of my few little indulgences. I don’t go for the reality TV stuff because if I wanted to listen to a bunch of spoiled idiots whine about mundane things, I’d just watch the local political news.

Anyway, I tend to forget the character names so forgive me. Jeri Ryan who used to be 7 of 9 on Star Trek plays a lawyer who quit practice to teach high school in the inner city. She fell for one of the other teachers who’s a brooding moron who slights her advances almost every episode. Are you blind man?! Have you no libido? It looks like she’s about to dump him and I’ve been cheering that little scenario since last season.

The vice principle is a riot. He wants power and has no respect from the students. He’s high strung but when confronted, does a pretty good job in telling someone what’s what. But he gets so uptight it makes for good comic relief.

I think the reason I like it is because it addresses some pretty tough issues even if the acting is sometimes strained. It does a good job in representing both sides and the characters are pretty well developed. What I tease my brother about is the fact that one of the teachers is a beautiful young woman who runs the choir. In is inevitable that every episode has to have her give a solo. Now it’s become a running joke and I cringe every time they slip her singing into the show, whether it’s sensible or not to do so.

Maybe it’s one of those “gotta be there” shows so give it a look. It’s on Monday nights and it hooked me the very first show.

Almost forgot, proof that it runs in the family. My brother called me at 0700 to ask for my mother’s work number. He had a flight to go from Seattle to OKC for a visit and as he priced tickets at different sites, he forgot which ticket he purchased. He printed out what he thought was his itinerary but upon showing up at the airport at 0600, he discovered the sad truth that he was not on that flight. Without knowing what to do, he went home and looked it up and found out his flight actually left at 0700. Time on his watch at this moment: 0655. Voila, Grose experience in its purest state. He got on a standby flight a little later but had called mom to tell her he wasn’t coming and when he straightened it all out, she had gone to work and he didn’t have her number.
All right, here we go with a BLOG entry two days in a row. I have to admit that the only reason I have time and energy to accomplish this has to do with the fact that I skipped school today. I got up this morning and had a vicious workout at the gym because I simply was not getting tired. I did exercise after exercise with no effect. I could tell that my muscles were tired but not sore afterward and I showered and got ready for school.

Carrie gave me a kiss and left before me and as I was almost getting dressed, I discovered I could not find my ID. I looked all over for a half hour and I knew I had it to get into the local gym so it was in the area. I surmised that I left it in the car which Carrie went to school in. I had no way of knowing where she parked and no idea how to get in touch with her so I took the logical step: skip class.

You have to understand that when I skip class, it isn’t the normal goof off session you would expect. I actually do work and use the time to catch up with school. Ironically, I get more done during these strategically placed, self-awarded days off than I do sitting in class. True to form, I finished the program I was whining about yesterday and reviewed a lot of the material I had been ignoring in other classes. All and all, it was a great day and I feel better about my studies than if I went in.

I also got the C++ programming book in I’ve been waiting for and dove right into it. I know, how geeky can that be but for something that causes me such grief, I sure love to read the ins and outs. Maybe I can crack the code to make it easier. Hey, I can hope!!!

I found out that on Nov 7th, James Webb is going to speak at NPS. He’s the former Marine platoon leader in Vietnam and SEVNAV who resigned over not getting the 600 hundred ship Navy he wanted. He also wrote an outstanding book called Fields of Fire which is required reading for any Marine Officer. It’s fiction but basically chronicles his experience as a green lieutenant in Vietnam. Anyway, I’m pretty psyched about him talking and it will be the best speaker yet. (We have guest speakers about once a month on Tuesdays but most tend to be boring.) We’ve had the Chief of Naval Operations (Navy top dog) and the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps speak but those are the only ones of note, in my opinion.

One thing I forget to write about yesterday concerning the Halloween party was than a kid who was jumping around on one foot (for some reason, thrilling to a kid) in my kids’ bedroom lost his balance and planted his face on the corner of my daughter’s wood bed frame. He basically cracked his brow and spilled, yes real, blood on her sheets and carpet. He was OK, nothing a few stitches wouldn’t take care of but how embarrassing for the parents. They had to leave to take him to the hospital. So the party was not a party until the bloodletting was accomplished. And, the virgin sacrifice box was checked at the same time. Score.

OK, this has got to be some kind of record for non-BLOGing!! You think this is easy? Days go by and I wonder where the Hell they went. I mean, if directly asked “What have you been doing for 9 days?” I couldn’t account for it all!! I know I’ve been busy but to account for every hour is stunningly bare when not documented. So I come to you humbly and once again dedicate myself to making daily BLOG entries.

Take right now for example. I’m dog-tired but here at the computer apologizing for neglecting my BLOG. I spent the weekend worrying about two school items that ruined my entire weekend. One was a Microsoft case study that I had to read and write about. It’s due tomorrow and even though I stressed about it all weekend, I leave it until after Monday Night Football to knock out.

I would have started it over the weekend, like intended but I gaffed Saturday and Sunday I unintentionally spent too many hours coding a C++ project that was supposed to be easy. Ut- oh, here it comes. I feel a rant coming over me….

Son-of-a (*&# mother-*%^$# C*&&^ sucker program!!! Supposed to be simple, huh? Shouldn’t take but a couple of hours, huh? Well guess what?!!? I blew an entire day on it and was so frustrated, even the 90% solution that I went away bleary-eyed at midnight didn’t hold any satisfaction because any freakin’ idiot retard can get the answer if he throws enough time at it. I got it but not in the time that would be considered “getting it.” Commie bastard program. Simple integer calculators suck ass!!

OK, I’m done.

On to better subjects. I had a Halloween party on Saturday. Because I’m an over-achieving, over-compensating, take it to the max kind of moron, I thought an intricate make-up job that included prosthetics and liquid latex was in order. So after showering and shaving, I let the transformation begin, Planet of the Apes style.

The costume was called “100 year old man.” After shaving, I applied the pre-base spray that was part of the $40 purchase at the local Halloween wallet drain establishment. So after spraying the base about 8 inches from my face (as instructed by the instructions. Yes, I’m one who reads AND follows all printed directions), I might as well and been holding a setline blow torch. I guess a fresh shave and an alcohol based product just don’t make for an auspicious start.

So after every nerve ending in my face was cauterized, I was ready to apply the forehead/nose piece of the mask. The next problem was that it was JUST that too small. So it pulled up my nose a bit and pushed down on my eyelids and eyeballs just enough to be uncomfortable. I thought “Hey, it’s latex and will stretch if I glue it while pulling.” It responded, “Hey, been inhaling the pre-base, have ya?”

After using the spirit gum (Latin for “super glue”) to permanently affix this piece to my face, I started with the liquid latex, painting it on with a tiny brush. It said it made wrinkles if applied in layers and since I’d never done this before, I was winging it and hoping for the best. Brush, brush, brush, … for hours. I then put on the chin piece and brush, brush, brush again. It was coming along slowly but looking pretty good.

I was running out of time and had less than an hour left when I decided to switch to the make up phase. But first I went to dry my face by using the hair dryer (after scaring the stones off the dog) which, when applied to my newly aged face, I was once again subjected to a facial version of being sodomized by Satan himself. Something about tender skin enveloped by semi dry latex being blasted by hot air just spells out “blinding pain.”

Using some of the make up Carrie gave me (I will note that I used her “beautifying” make up to make my face look like burnt ass) I put on a flesh base. I had one shot for the make up because it set into the latex almost immediately. I concentrated on making the eyes dark and red underneath and some of the wrinkles. I did pretty good for the first try and again, spooked the giblets off poor Buster.

Lastly, I took what I thought was gray hairspray and applied liberally. When I patted my hair down and looked at my hand, I discovered it was more of a sparkly silver so my hair looked like the banana seat to my grade school Huffy. Oh well.

To complete the outfit, I put on the highwaters, loud shirt, suspenders, and old man shoes I got at Goodwill for a whopping $13. I have to admit, it was a good costume and almost worth the pain of over 4 hours of self-applied makeup. Most people didn’t recognize me even when they showed up for MY party at MY house.

The unfortunate side effect of the “mask” was that it pressed my eyelids down and in on my eyeballs, blurring my vision. So I thought when I started seeing straight, I should stop drinking.

By mid party when all the pics I wanted with all my friends were taken, I let some of the kids rip my face off. One little girl, who I had to really convince to do this horrendous deed, grabbed the chin piece but was reluctant to finish the job. She pulled it away and it was attached to some of the latex and was stretching out when she let go, resulting in a “snapping back” effect that carried on the tradition that day of inflicting serious pain on my face.

The best part of the night was the scavenger hunt. I made a list of ten things the teams had to accomplish and they had an hour to do it. With a video camera, they had to go in town and do the following things:

You have one hour to complete as many of these as you can
You must have video proof of all your adventures
You must always stay in a group (no splitting up)
Everyone must remain in costume
The winning team will be determined by total points and the decisions of the judges (Jason and Carrie) are final. (Bribes considered acceptable)

— 1. Buy the BIGGEST ice cream serving on a cone you can get a person to make you.

— 2. The group sitting on the lap of the highest ranking person you can find. (ID of person required in video)

— 3. The group in the shower of a COMPLETE stranger. No one that lives there can know anyone in the group. (Shower does not have to be turned on)

— 4. An adult and a child sliding down the kiddie slide of a fast-food restaurant. (Bonus: if you can get a worker to slide with you)

— 5. A male in the group wearing the biggest bra from someone NOT in the group

— 6. Find the oldest Halloween-based video

— 7. Any adult group member hugging a police officer for 20 seconds as the group counts (Bonus points for groping). Must be the same sex!!!

— 8. Video of anyone not in the group kissing the butt of anyone in the group. (Triple bonus points if it’s the cop)

— 9. The biggest group of people singing the Sponge Bob Square Pants theme.

— 10. A child in the group hugging the oldest person they can find.

When they returned, we played the tapes for everyone and assigned points to determine a winning team.

I had done this many years ago and like me, they all went through the same stages I did. First, you are confused on what is required. Then, you think it’s dumb and don’t want to do it. Then you are shamed into it but still believe it’s a dumb idea. But then when you get out there, you have a blast and it ends up being the highlight of the evening. You discover that people will do almost anything you ask them, even things you initially think you will have no chance on getting them to do. Believe it or not, all three teams got almost all the things done including the bra and butt kissing. I was as amazed as them but I have video proof!!

OK, four pages of BLOG will have to do. I’ll try to keep it going but if you don’t hear from me within a few days, email me and shame me.

BTW, I have no idea how the other two entries got on my BLOG. I have the right click “insta-BLOG” function so maybe some random mouse clicks are the culprits. Hmmm, mysterious.

Monday, October 28, 2002
Saturday, October 19, 2002
I slept like crap last night and it didn’t help that Buster, our dog, kept ringing the bell to be let out. You see, we trained the dog to nudge a little bell we hung by the back door when he has to go out to go to the bathroom. At first, he didn’t quite connect the bell with anything except the perception that he’d been adopted by pure idiots. But then one day he rang it to go out and my wife and I were beside ourselves. The small victories of simple people.

That evolved into him ringing the damn thing like crazy whenever he felt the need to chase some birds in the backyard or participating with the kids in a rollicking game of swipe the legs on the trampoline. But I digress.

Lately, the dogasaurus has been a little under the weather as indicated by an increase in fluid excretion from both ends. His little gifts have sometimes not made it outside and we’ve been cleaning up around the house a little more often these days. But last night, he rang that damn bell every hour and harkening back to the days when the kids were babies, if I heard the request, my only reaction was to rudely inform the missus. Good Lord, what that woman puts up with.

I did manage to arise at 0500 to yell at the mutt and let him out. It must have worked because he didn’t bother us again (after I ripped the bell off the door and threw it on the dinner table). Never mind that there was a pile of shit in front of the door when we got up.

We got up to go to Alex’s soccer game as is the standard operating procedure on Saturdays during soccer season. But because of a scheduling mixup, Carrie thought it was at 0830 but was actually at 0930 which made it difficult to make it to Steph’s 1000. So we split up and I was off to Carmel (no, we didn’t see Clint Eastwood) while Carrie took Steph. After Alex’s game ended in a tie, we made it to the last 15 minutes of Steph’s game so at least I got to see some of it.

Getting home, Carrie went to indulge me in the carnage that is Taco Bell and I watched the University of Washington Huskies get their skirts ripped off by the USC Trojans. Then we participated in another Saturday tradition, the afternoon nap. With the lack of sleep, the full Taco Bell tummy, and nothing I HAD to get done, the nap was inevitable.

When we got up, we decided to go searching for my Halloween costume. We are having a costume party for about 50 people next week so it was probably good to have a costume. We went to this place that had all this overpriced stuff and were dumb enough to drop almost 40 bucks on all the things to make me look like a 100 year old man to include prosthetics and makeup. We then went to the Goodwill and got some clothes.

I’m sorry, but going to the Goodwill made me want to suck on the business end of a 9 mil and pull the trigger. So depressing and I felt so, I don’t know, creepy. I hate to be judgmental but ewwwwww. We found some great clothes and $13 later, I had all the makings for a great costume. I’ll post pics after the party.

From there, we went to Borders and for those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s the closest place to Heaven on god’s green Earth. It has books, CDs, posters, etc and just has a great atmosphere. It was so nice to be in an academic setting and quite a change from the Goodwill. I’m what is known as a bibliophile (not to be confused with “pedophile.” Although there seemed to be a few at Borders). I just love books and if I never bought another one in my life, I probably couldn’t finish the library I’ve amassed. But does this stop me from buying more? Oh, silly reader, you know better than that!

So after finding two Sarah McLachlan CDs that I wanted but were too expensive and perusing through the computer section, Carrie, Steph and I looked through a dog book and left. All and all, a good way to spend an evening.

I have to include this under the McGyver section: I needed new foam pieces for my headphones because when I run, they kept falling out. They were the Koss “Tube” kind and Borders only had the whole set for $15 rather than just the replacement foam buds. When I got home, I thought I could order them online and turned to my old friend, Google. But the first hit I got was not to buy them but an instruction sheet of how to modify them for better sound. It ends up that my beef with them was not solitary. Many people had problems with them falling out , so much so that someone published a modification.

Reading through it, I it struck me that I had some industrial earplugs (that were sent to me years ago from a company trying to get me to buy them in bulk for Tank Battalion). If I could just rip them off their holders, drill a hole in them, and attach them to my earplugs, it should work. To cut to the chase, this is what I did and for absolutely nothing but a half hour of my time, I had industrial grade earplugs for my Kazoo player that sounded great. Since normally I couldn’t fix a burnt out light bulb, this was a great success for me. It also vindicated my obsession for pack-ratting almost everything I come in contact with (much to Carrie’s dismay). I hadn’t used those earplugs since I got them and I finally found a use for them.

Again, small victories of simple people.

Thursday, October 17, 2002
A whole week without a BLOG entry. Well, that’s the way it goes. Not much of an excuse but that’s all I got.

My post-diet is going well and I’ve ran almost every day. My ankle still feels like someone took a hammer to it so I had to do a lot of hiking until last Tuesday which is just fine for Buster.

Last Sunday I went back to church. Carrie noticed that the last flyer she had in her bible was dated in July. Oops, I guess we slipped out of the habit. After church we went hiking up to Jacks Peak, only a few miles from where I live. It was a great time and well worth it for a family event.

Saturday was taken up by watching the kids’ soccer game. Alex made a goal so I was jumping around like an idiot with pride. But then he sand bagged for the rest of the game and I wanted to choke him. But I refuse to be one of “those” kind of Dads at kid’s games. So I sat in silence (other than a few “GET IN THE GAME!!” yells) and chatted with some parents.

Rather than try to catch up on details of the last week, I’ll just cover today.

Sleeping in: this is the first quarter I’ve been able to take afternoon classes so I have my mornings free. I set it up to get up at 0700 to run or workout but with the kids being out of school, no one gets up that early and in my undisciplined state, can’t drag my butt out of the rack. It’s a vicious circle because I stay up late, sleep in, then run after school, stay up late… I am planning on breaking this cycle next week when the kids go back to school and EVERYONE gets up at 0700. But how nice it’s been not to wake up to an alarm clock. It’s almost guilt-producing.

The other day, all the Marines got together to hash out our next assignments. Basically, we are required to fill a billet when we leave here and there are a somewhat identified set of positions we will fill. So to make the monitor’s job easier and to try to match the most beneficial combinations among the group. Of course this is just a suggestion to the monitor who makes the final decisions. A couple of our smarter guys made up a spreadsheet and got input from everyone of where they might like to go. The spreadsheet then optimizes the best combination. Sounds great, right? Well, even Marines are people and as such, don’t feel right unless they shoot such an idea out of the sky.

To me, the baseline is random. So anything better than that is better, right? Well, you’d think we had come up with a “Who Can We Screw The Hardest?” scenario from the reaction we got. What seemed like a simple concept turned into an hour long complaint and explanation of the obvious. Cudos to the ones that put in the hard work to come up with the spreadsheet. Also, a tip of the hat to those that organized the effort (on top of their normal workload). Most of them were of the rank that they would get anything they wanted but they made an effort to play fair. I’ll even give a nod to some of those who had legitimate concerns and issues during the session. But some just didn’t get it and it was a waste of everyone’s time to listen to them drag the meeting out with uninformed, irrational comments. Like most things of this nature, it was organized as a “good for the group” effort and was battered around from a “good for me and screw the rest of you” minority.

I ran for an hour today. Killed my ankle but it was good to get a run in since I slothed it yesterday. I was getting ready yesterday and it just didn’t feel right. I’ve run like that before and had horrible runs so I decided to can it. What made matters worse is that we had pizza for dinner and true to my nature, I ate too much. Then I found the Halloween candy Carrie had hidden from me and had about a dozen gumballs with Nerds inside. I got a stomach ache (I’m such a stupid kid) and then had a horrible night’s sleep with the sweats and tossing and turning. It may have had something to do with a bunch of pizza and sugar in my gut.

OK, enough honesty. I should get some work in on my webpage before I go to bed. Tomorrow I have one class so I have an opportunity to review and get ahead. Yeah, and maybe I will solve world hunger while I’m at it. Both are just as likely.

Thursday, October 10, 2002
Today was the day!!! Weigh in went and some how, some way, I got my butt down to a stealthy 182. For those of you who have been keeping track, let me do the math for ya. On Sept 30th, I came in at a whopping 199 after a food orgy to celebrate my impending diet. 11 days later I come in at 182 which means I lost … um… er…(carry the 1…) 17 pounds.

This proves to me a couple of things: I’m able to expand to Fat Bastard proportions pretty easily if I don’t watch it and two, I can still shed the pounds in a hurry if needed even if it involves many pre-weigh in trips to the sauna.

Here’s how it turned out: I got up early and weighed myself at 188. I went in to hit an early time for my C++ class to maximize the time I would have to shave off the pounds for the 1130 weigh in. Taking it easy on the water and skipping breakfast, it was the thrill of the hunt that kept me going. I got in the gym with a slight feeling of dread since it had been less than 12 hours since I killed myself last, I had very little water in me, and I had skipped two meals. This all promised a work out that pegs out the suck meter but like I already stated, the thrill of the last push was on my side.

I did my normal workout but instead of the cross-country death machine, I used another one that you get your arms involved in too. It seemed to be a lot easier and turned on the sweat like a faucet. The work out was going much better than expected and after completing the last ½ hour, it was off to the sauna. Today I thought I’d treat myself to three 15 minute sessions rather than two ten minute ones.

After the first one, I weighed myself and I was down to 184. I was feeling a little dizzy and didn’t like the prospect of going in there again but I thought I’d give it one last shot. But after 12 minutes, my whole world kind of shimmered a little which told me that dehydration was close at hand. This would have to be good enough so going back to the locker room I was glad to see another pound had melted away. I was ready.

After being measured at 182, I was elated. But I was also feeling pretty woozy and really, really thirsty. So I called Carrie and told her we were going out to lunch. Forget my afternoon class (which I had missed half of anyway), forget getting back into dress clothes, and not very surprisingly, forget the diet. 11 days was enough and I lost a lot of weight. I got home and grabbed a well-deserved beer before we all headed out to Chinese food where there were more carbs than what should be allowed by law. I ate like a king and loved every morsal.

OK, let’s take inventory: early wake up, skip two meals, hard work out, feeling of extreme celebration, no homework, one beer, a full belly, early afternoon. Yeah, you knew a nap was in order on a scale only rivaled by serious coma victims. I think I lasted five minutes after I stripped down and got in the covers. Shades drawn, fan on, sound machine on “babbling brook.” I told Carrie to come check my pulse every 20 minutes.

For dinner, I had burritos. Popcorn during Friends, and a extra big Blow-Pop to round out the night (yes, I still eat Blow-Pops. What do you mean? What could be better? It’s a sucker AND gum. I mean, come on, it doesn’t get any better than that no matter how old you get!)

So here I am, diet blown clear the hell away and loving the carb/sugar rush. Not to get crude or anything but there is another special little post-diet extravaganza that’s still in the wrapper. You see, on this diet, the body uses an amazingly complete amount of the food you intake to convert to energy (not very efficiently, I might add) so the result is that, well, there’s not a lot of newspaper reading, if you know what I mean. Ah Hell, I’ll just go there: very little crap comes out of you and what does manage to escape are minuscule offerings the density of quasars. So you see, there’s a storm brewing as a result of my massive (by diet standards) eating binge this evening. Oh sweet release….

Wednesday, October 09, 2002
I had to go in early to confer with a professor concerning some C++ code. Well, when I say “early” I mean I showed up at 0930 vice “right under the gun” for my 1000 class. Since I arranged my schedule for the afternoons, early really takes on a different meaning. Yes, I’m turning native here at NPS!

Nothing very exciting happened today, just 4 hours of lecture. I weighed in at 188 which marks 11 pounds off since the start of my diet. I’m finding it harder and harder to justify staying on the diet past the weigh in tomorrow. I like the slimmer look and hope to keep in going but even though some of the physical withdrawal symptoms have subsided, the mental ones are still blaring. My standard answer when Carrie asks what I want to eat for dinner is a deadpan “Taco Bell.” I emailed a friend today and told him after the weigh in that I was going to eat anything that even remotely resembles a carbohydrate until I collapse in a pool of my own urine and feces. Nice, mental image, huh?

We had a fire drill today. Out of the 4 classes I have on Wednesdays, it hit during the ONLY one I actually want to hear everything that is taught (C++). If it happened during the other 3, hell, let the place burn down. The irony comes so fast these days that I hardly blink anymore.

I forgot to write this yesterday but I had a hellish work out. I was soaking wet in sweat after the first 5 minutes and it never got any better. I was low energy and it felt like a torture session. My bright idea was to break up the hour of cardio by hitting 4 machines for 15 minutes each. The first (sitting bike) ended up being the easiest even though the 15 minutes seemed like hours. I then went to the cross-country ski machine and skied my way to utter exhaustion. (I’ve determined I’d die in on the tundra if cross-country skiing was my only means to reach civilization).

After dragging what was left of my worthless carcass off the machine, I lumbered over to some sort of stair climbing thing. Looking like Pee Wee Herman trying to jump rope, I climbed on this little slice of heaven and started the manual program (no fancy stuff for this hombre). It was at this point that the Spanish Inquisition seemed like a better alternative. After three minutes of this ass beating, I decided that life was much too short for this kind of business and climbed off of the Devil’s Rack and went back to the bike chair. I set it for 27 minutes (yeah, you know I wasn’t going to give up those three minutes!!!) and proceeded to finish my hour of cardio. But for some reason, every moment was pure tax audit and when I finally got done, I felt as though I had been through the ringer.

My modem operendi is to hit the sauna for 10 minutes after this, shower, then 10 more minutes (just like the sign says, which I may be the only human being in all of history to actually follow). The sauna is a funny little room. Explaining it to someone unfamiliar with the concept would go something like this: you take this little room made of wood and then you heat it up to about the temperature of the sun’s core. Then go from a normal environment and walk in there on your own volition armed with only a towel. You then sweat like a whore in church for as long as you can stand it thus depositing sweat from your own body that is desperately throwing your bodily juices out to stave off the stupidity you exposed it to. The bonus is that you get to concurrently soak up the sweat from hundreds of other idiots who came before you, all while listening to what is usually a hairy old man with a penchant to tell you his life’s troubles.

Anyway, I went home feeling horrible and sat on my bed dribbling for the rest of the night while watching TV. I could have eaten the sludge from the bottom of a septic tank by the time I got home but luckily my wife was kind enough to go and get me a half rack of BBQ ribs. What an angel!!! I tore into them like Oprah into a box of Ho-Hos. Pudding and whipped cream for dessert. This diet defies all known physics.

With yesterday’s workout in mind, I was really dreading today’s workout. But to my surprise, it went well which means either I had a good day, yesterday was a particularly bad day, or my body is adapting. I really don’t care which one just as long as I didn’t feel like I did yesterday.

I read a Time article on the American Taliban dude who got 20 years. Let me first express my deep seated disdain for Time. These bastards are so damn liberal that they really take the concept of neutral reporting and just dribble their buttjuice all over it. They tried to make this guy look like the all American guy and tried to almost justify what he did. They put in so many pointed anecdotes about his upbringing that any first year psychology student would instantly recognize as trying to get the reader to identify, come to like, and sympathize with his cause.

It was as bad (just on the other end of the spectrum) as demonizing him as a stereotype. The son of a bitch knew what he was doing, hated America, and joined a force known to promote and participate in the violent overthrow of the American way of life. Then he gets caught rooting for the wrong side and then Time wants us to overlook this and feel good that his hippie parents encouraged this smart kid to “explore his existence.” Well, guess what, Johnnie Boy, you got caught and now you’ll pay.

And what about his parents? Well, they divorced, his father claimed being gay, and their “alternative” and “free-spirited” family situation they put their son through came back to bite them in the ass. Time even tried to downplay their hippie beliefs, calling them by the playful euphemisms I mention above. And now everyone is shocked that this created a dumb little asshole who joined a terrorist group and got caught fighting for the enemy against the country who offered him all the rope he needed to hang himself. Don’t expect me to sympathize. I know what team I’m on and I lay it on the line for my entire adult life. Johnny: reap what you’ve sown, boy. Twenty years and no parole, let’s see what you think in midlife.

Whoa, I better stay away from Time Magazine for awhile. Tends to boil the blood.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002
Monday marked a return to 189 and was a good day overall. Energy was high and cravings were manageable. The night got a little hairy but Carrie saved my bacon by going to Albertson’s and getting some sugar free pudding and whip cream (oddly enough, this is allowed).

I had decided that a little PT was in order for the last push before the weigh in on Thursday so after classes and a haircut, I went to the gym and thought I’d spend an hour on the stationary bike. My ankle did not feel up to the task of running so I thought this was the best choice. I got on the upright bike and set it up for an hour but after about 10 minutes, I was soaking wet and not liking life that much. I lasted until 30 minutes and thought a break and a switch to the more relaxed position offered by the other style of stationary bike was in order. I then completeled 30 more minutes on that bike and thus my hour was complete.

You know, I think part of my problem was that I just felt like one of those poor fat slobs that hits those machines to lose rapid weight who I used to look at with disdain. I felt as though I was paying for every Taco Bell ghost of the past and wondered if I could keep up the diet to a reasonable level. I know I can do the exercise because the marathon training will take care of that but I think I have a real addiction to really bad food. Hopefully these two weeks of pain will help me remember to control my intake. After scouring the cupboards and looking at things I knew I couldn’t have, I even made the dreaded comment “I’d rather be fat than to live like this.” Luckily, the moment passed.

This morning I showed a 188 on the scale (a weight that was previously the indicator to me that I was packing on the weight!!!). But, it’s progress. With my ankle hurt, I think I will stay on the diet throughout the 2 week cycle. I can’t run until I heal so going off the diet will not usher in my running until I get my ankle better. It will take a lot of self-control and will power and I do not promise this will happen but that’s how I see it right NOW.

Do me a favor; when you are in a public place, say, oh, a barber shop, don’t talk across the room very loudly to someone you know and force the entire clientele to listen to your inane babble. Have some common freakin’ courtesy and wait until your haircut is over and then have your annoying little conversation at close range to spare us the witnessing of your idiocy. Thanks.

I wtched Monday Night Football last night and continue to be profoundly irritated with John Madden. I’ve been avoiding the games he’s been calling for years just because I find him so damn annoying. What amazes me is the appeal he has to many people and much like Copenhagen snuff, I cannot fathom to the appeal. I mean, something like fish, which I don’t like, I can see how some people might like it. But Copenhagen and John Madden, I can’t see it. I used to watch games with the sound turned down just so I wouldn’t have to hear his retarded commentary. Now he’s invaded the sanctity of Monday Night Football. This are dark days, my friend.

One other TV rant: this psychic guy who says he talks to the dead. What a shyster!! I mean, come on! This guy gets a gullible audience and then throws out very vague references claiming he’s being contacted by the deceased. They swallow the hook and react or even tell them how his vagueness relates to their situation. It’s so obvious but these poor people actual believe this. I saw him say “Does the name Michelle mean anything?” OK, let’s break this down: how many people CAN’T make a connection with the name Michelle? Then this retard in the audience nods and says “Yes, Mark’s my brother.” What?! She must have been the one dead: brain dead. So the “psychic picks up on this and then is animate that “Mark” is talking to him. How CONVEEEEEnent.

The moron then throws out “something about a bell tower, Big Ben, or something.” The lady says “yes, there’s a big clock downtown.” He says “and something about eating lunch downtown?” She exclaims “Yes, we used to meet and eat in a café downtown.” Please people. How many towns DON’T claim some big clock and once he knows that, what are the chances that they would meet downtown to eat.

For me, the only humorous moments in this fiasco is when he goes too far and throws out something a little too specific and then the people just stare at him because his missed his target. He then goes into this concentration state as though he’s listening to more these dead people are saying and then without reference to the “swing and a miss” he just had, goes on to talk about something much more vague but very different than what he just tried.

What I’d like to hear is him say something like “He’s telling me something about him wearing your panties and bra, prancing around the house to Wham’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” with a banana up his ass. Does this mean anything to you?”

Gotta get to school for FIVE straight hours of academic bliss.

Sunday, October 06, 2002
OK, I haven’t “BLOGed” since Thursday but it mostly due to the fact that I’ve had the energy of a dead sloth lately which, if you’ve been following along, is attributable to my attempt to starve myself silly. With that said, my last two days have been rather disappointing in the area of my diet. I bumped up from 189 to 190 and stayed there for two days, even though I’ve been suffering all the ravages of <20 carbs per day. At least my attitude has stayed high. Well, not exactly but who’s counting? (Wife, kids, dog, friends, family, guy I punched in the face for existing…)

Friday is normally reserved for celebration. After all, it’s the end of the week, two days off, and all that. But my Friday took on a different hue because there was no celebratory food orgy that night and I pretty much let me hunger consume my night. The day was not much better with a morning class and an afternoon class that kept me at school for a better part of the day. I had the anti-Midus touch when it came to computers and every one I touched I hit a brick wall. My original desire was to put Visual Studio on my new lab computer but after tinkering with it and many attempts, I discovered that I did not have the disk space.

So I went to my other computer on campus where I knew I had the space and tried it there. But it told me it couldn’t find some files on the disk (which is eminently frustrating when you have used the disk to install the program at home without a hitch). I had to go with the assumption the disk was bad but when I tried to go get the original from school, they were out to lunch. When I came back later, they had none and told me to come back Monday. They have no idea how close they came to Carb-Deprived Man unleashing a whole pallet of bad jojo on them. But I took a breather and went back to my computer.

Next attempt: create some business cards for myself. When I started Word to update the file I have that does this, I kept getting a pop up box telling me that it was installing something. I let this go, thinking it was an update but then it failed, saying it couldn’t locate the file path. As I tried to continue, this kept happening over and over until I could do nothing without it occurring. Talking with a friend, we concluded that whoever installed XP on the computer did it remotely and the program was trying to go back to that path to install something. But since I had cut that connection somehow and have no idea where it (or those that installed it) are currently located, I was stuck with pop-up box Hell. I settled on just checking for XP updates and found I needed one that took 45 minutes to download and install. This effectively ate up the remainder of the time before my 1400 class and I bitterly called uncle and went to class.

Friday afternoon class at NPS is pretty much like working the graveyard shift. Even the janitors are looking at you like you’re an alien for being there on a Friday. Even though Friday is a workday just like every other day, a Friday at NPS is somehow different. As a Marine, it’s hard to complain about NOT having Friday off but on such a nice day when you know EVERYONE is gone save an unlucky few (added to my sub-optimal mental state lately) well, it just plain pisses you off. Even the instructor commented that it felt like punishment and urged the class to find an alternate time even if it meant an extra hour teaching for him during the rest of the week.

After sitting through a hot hour of lecture, I cleaned up all the broken toothpicks that I was using to hold my eyes open with, and scampered as fast as I could home. I had some serious nothing to do and nothing I did! The rest of the night was a pure example of laziness. I hit my king size bed and hardly left it, opting to let my mind turn to mush in front of the TV.

Saturday was one of those days that, when I’m old and feeble (which does not feel that far off these days) I will look back and seriously regret. I hardly left the bed and was sleeping most of the time. Anything to get the overwhelming obsession of Taco Bell out of my head. I did manage to drag my sorry carcass out of the rack long enough to take my son to get his soccer pictures and then take him to his game. They got stomped but he scored a goal. I wore jeans and a long-sleeve shirt and it turned out to be a rather hot day. But suffering such minor annoyances has become a way of life lately so I sat there, cooked, and watched my son play. Afterwards we caught a little of my daughter’s game before returning home and taking up the position I talked about earlier.

I saw parts of SNL’s season premier with Matt Damon. I love SNL but sometimes it’s simply not funny. But then I got hooked on a showing of Interview With A Vampire and stayed up until 0200. I wish I could have stayed up longer to watch it because I think it’s a great movie.

I also looked up on the net last night and discovered that the three marathons I participated in last year have the same schedule this year. The Big Sur is going the last Sunday in April, the Lone Pine Wild Wild West is going the first Sunday in May, and then the Bishop High Sierra 50 mile Ultramarathon is going two weeks after that. Much like childbirth for a mother, I have forgotten the pain and will be doing these three events again next year. “Aw em not a smot man…”

That brings us to today (Sunday). Feeling like the worst human who ever roamed the Earth, I felt I had to do something to justify my existence today and the scale still hovering at 190 in the morning dictated it had to be physical. I slept in until a disgusting 1030 and figured I had to get up eventually (if only to get ready for a nap). So I got up and decided that a nice long walk was in order. Getting ready, my dog buster sensed an opportunity to guilt me into taking him and laid on the “poor baby” routine pretty thick. I consulted the expert, my wife, and she said it was OK even though I was going for about 11 miles. So with no breakfast and two containers of water, I was off to burn some fat starting at 1120.

Things were going great and I was doing a lot of mental inventory as we hiked all over Fort Ord. It was hot as balls but we stopped regularly to drink water. Buster loved to do all the things dogs do: roll in the sand, sniff at other animals droppings, chase imaginary creatures. You know, the usual. We got about an hour out and I was feeling really good because I just knew I was burning up the fat like crazy. We were on a trail and all was well until SNAP! My left ankle rolled and hit the ground as I heard/felt a loud snapping sound.

Now before you gasp again, let me tell you that I do this with frightening regularity. Yes, my ankles get rolled more than drunks stumbling into a bad part of town. But even though this is a fact, it didn’t stop me from hopping around screaming stuff that I’d have to use the shift key and the upper row on the keyboard to represent. The real victim in all of this was my dog who probably wondered why I was jumping around cussing like an idiot at the top of my lungs. We were in the middle of nowhere so social grace was of no concern but poor Buster probably thought he’d done something very wrong at this point.

Through the thick haze of pain and queasiness, I lumbered over to him trying to tell him it was all right (maybe more for me than for him). But the situation was that I was in the middle of nowhere, hurt, and feeling a little light-headed with pain. I thought I might go down any second and took only a tiny bit of comfort in thinking my loyal dog would protect me until I woke up. I grabbed a tree and tried to will the pain away and stay conscious, all the time assuring Buster everything was OK. I tried to put weight on it but it hurt pretty bad and I wondered just how I was going to get back.

I had hurt my ankle enough times to know I hadn’t broken it. My thoughts went back to the forced marches at TBS when my ankles were even weaker than they are now and remembered how I could gut it out to finish the hump, all the time knowing the ankle was going to swell up like a balloon when I let it rest and take off the boot. So I decided that one way or another I was going to have to get home and waiting would only allow swelling. So with this in mind, I took a few steps and then had to stop: the pain was too much. I felt dizzy again and this time, I had to sit down (something I had fought against just because the very thought of poison oak makes me break out) so that falling from a sitting position was preferable to the standing. I sat there for a minute or two to regain my nerve and got up with the challenge of the situation motivating me to get going.

It was ugly for awhile but the further I went, the less it hurt. The pain never went away but I attained more stability as I went and my overriding fear was that I would do it again. So watching the surroundings was officially called off as I had to stare at my feet the whole time (very reminiscent of my days at TBS).

It never got back to “normal” for the next hour as I got home but my pace got back to the pre-ankle-crushed pace. The pain was still substantial but I was determined to get home. As I was coming down the stretch, Carrie drove up about a mile out and said she had come to see if I was OK. She had had a vision of me sprawled in the road and after not hearing from me in about 2 hours, she decided to come take a look. I told her what happened and then turned down her offer to get a ride. I had come this far, I was not about to puss out the last mile.

When I got home, I ate a little lunch, re-hydrated, and then looked over my wife’s paper due tomorrow (she’s taking classes at the local college). I then mowed the lawn (not an easy task to say the least) and then took a shower. My ankle was feeling better, comparatively, but it worries me about how it will do down this final stretch when I finish up the diet prior to the weigh in. I’ll make it but I wanted to get it down in the mid-180s.

The rest of the night was spent prepping for the next week. I called my grandmother who lives in a retirement home (my weekly call) and then called my Uncle Kent who had a heart attack last week. Then I called my brother who also had a car accident last week and talked to him. All tolled, I spent about 3 hours on the phone and it kind of set things into perspective. Talking to your family can do wonders sometimes.

Thursday, October 03, 2002
Day 4 of my diet and I shed another two pounds which brings me to 190 and a loss of 9 pounds. Oh, but the lethargy is killing me. I’m tired all day and can only manage to vegetate for most of the early evening. After dinner I get a second wind and am able to knock out required homework which has been blessedly light thus far.

Strange things are happening (which scream unhealthy): First, I’m getting hot flashes. I’ll suddenly break out into sweat. Also, lotta food going in, not a lot of anything coming out. I’ve been eating fiber pills but all I can manage is a few M&Ms in the morn. Sad but true. I know, sucks for me.

Re-reading yesterday’s journal (and a comment from a good friend I sent it too), I realize I suffer from carb-deficiency rage. Yeah, mood has taken a hit, too. Just today I had to stop myself from crashing my truck into someone who cut me off. I let her live… this time! I have about a week left!!!

So I sat through two classes today with only one thought on my mind: I want to go home. I didn’t even hesitate and after the last class, to the blue truck I went. I got home and soaked my still-bubbly arm (poison oak) in Epsom salt and watched the tube. Ever notice how many food commercials there are when you’re, you know, starving to death? And you’d think with so many channels, there would be something on. You’d be wrong. I don’t watch that much TV and when I do, I feel pretty insulted if they think I’m so fundamentally stupid that their approach to entertainment and/or advertising would really succeed.

Running through the channels, I come across about 4 in a row that don’t even speak English. Aside from some of the Mexican soap opera chicks who look a lot like Daisy Fuentes, not much interest there. One channel is like some kind of European news and it looks like they copy news about 5 times over before they show it because it’s all grainy and dark.

Then we come to BET and MTV which to me seem to be converging. The whole concept of the Black Entertainment Network is confusing to me. The old argument goes that no one could get away with the White Entertainment Network. Counterargument is that ALL the others are the White Entertainment Network. Final counter to that is that we still couldn’t name it that. They have Miss Black Universe. I would wager that Miss White Universe would not go over too well. Something about a goose and a gander here? Sometimes I pause at BET when there’s a comic on just to play my little game of how long it takes to hear a black comic say something derogatory about white people. I think my average is about 4 seconds.

I think the best show on this subject I ever saw was an episode of Boston Public where a white teacher wanted to explore the history, significance, and emotional strength of the “N” word. Very powerful television for a change.

Don’t get me started with MTV. I can’t remember the last time I saw a video on MTV. Even VH1 is getting bad with game shows, movies, etc. I’d love to have a video channels that, strike me dead for saying, play videos. I yearn for the early 80s when this was actually the case. Martha Quinn, where are you?

I did manage to see an interview with Enimem (I think that’s right). What a miserable punk. I can almost withstand the annoying voice and so called music he produces just because I’m sure the Run DMC tapes I listened to as a teen likely sounded the same to adults. But the whole being a punk just to be a punk ranks up there with Howard Stern. If it’s a reflection of the values of today’s youth, I must fall in line with every other generation and truly believe the upcoming generation has serious reality problems.

I watched Friends tonight. Yeah, kind of chickish of me but it’s a show I’ve followed for years and even went and saw an episode live a couple of years back. Very interesting to see how it’s made. First, they take at least three takes of every scene with long breaks between. At least they did it in order but we were there for like over 6 hours. I never would have thought it but I was ready to leave when it was over.

Every time I try to think about my favorite character, I have to change my mind. Chandler is simply hilarious and has the best reactions and one-liners. But Joey is played just right and his facial expressions often make me laugh aloud. Phoebe continues to be quite strange and I think has become more beautiful over the seasons, just as Jennifer Aniston has lost some of her allure to me (don’t know why). Courtney Cox is too skinny for my taste but I love the quirkiness that they add to her character such as weird strength and compulsive cleanliness. Ross is played well and has become more likable over the years. And what can we say about Gunther. I was so glad to be able to see him when we went to the show and for some reason, he just cracks me up in every scene he’s in.

Well, I think I’ve covered enough for tonight. I will leave with a joke that, for some reason, won the title as the World’s Funniest Joke (this was brought up in one of my classes and on the news):

Two hunters are in the woods when one grabs his own neck, collapses, and appears dead. The other hunter grabs his cell phone and calls 911 and yells,

“My friend just collapsed and looks dead and I don’t know what to do!!!”

The operator then says: “Calm down, sir. The first thing you have to do is make sure he’s dead.”

There is a long pause and then the operator hears a rifle explosion. The hunter comes back on the phone and says,

“Ok, now what?”

Yeah, I didn’t think it rated “Best in the World” but who am I?

For those that have followed my latest problems with my email, I got a renewal notice from Bigfoot telling me they will automatically charge my card for a renewal unless they hear from me. And hear from me they did. Here is what I wrote:

“In response to your renewal email, I explicitly request that you NOT renew my membership to Bigfoot email forwarding service.

I have not received any of my email via Bigfoot for over two weeks (the second time this has happened in as many months) and my repeated inquiries and calls for help have been unanswered. Even the first incident was supposedly “corrected” with no explanation of the problem nor solution. I just simply received a flood of emails after a dry spell and a few days worth were missing.

Do NOT charge my credit card for any renewal and you might as well disable the free account while your at it since you are not forwarding any mail to me anyway.

I have been a satisfied customer for years and have set up Bigfoot accounts for dozens of family and friends so I find it a shame that your company failed to not only get to the root of whatever caused my account to stop forwarding emails, but more unforgivably, failed to even acknowledge my request for assistance. Consequently, this will be our final correspondence unless your lack of service extends to the rather simple task of NOT automatically charging my credit card.”

Think I got my point across? If they charge my card, I’m gonna freak!!!

Luckily, an offer came from Chris Tessone ( to supply me with an email account. Thanks Chris. What I didn’t tell Bigfoot because they wouldn’t care is all the work they caused me. I had to go through every page of my website and change both the URL references and the email. Yes, I use Dreamweaver which does a pretty good search and replace but it doesn’t go into the templates. So I had to update the templates by hand and then resave them (which then prompts me to repopulate the changes in all instances) and then download them to my server (no simple task since I use dialup). Bottom line is that it took a butt load of work over a few days. If you find anywhere where I missed one, please let me know.

OK, back to life. I stayed at 192 for day 3 of my Adkins diet and still claim the 7 pound loss. I made a discovery today though: day three is the testicle-rupturing grand-daddy “wish I was dead” portion of the diet.

I ran 5 miles and felt pretty good and then followed up with eggs and bacon (yum). So all was well until lunch time when I discovered Carrie had packed a hot dog facsimile consisting of some kind of rancid byproduct best fit for inducing runaway vomiting. So it performed a triple rotation with a half gainer into the trash can and I had to settle for a cucumber and some celery sticks (not all that yum).

It was just after this that my energy level dipped lower than Monika Lewinski’s kneecaps and suddenly, I found myself smack dab in the middle of low energy, hot flash hell. I have poison oak eating my arm off so I have to wear long sleeve shirts in order to prevent “leper” comments at school. The long sleeves and slacks added to my misery and I was a zombie by 2:00 PM when I attended my last class: military satellites in a small, warm room full of students listening to solid lecture and attempting to survive Death By PowerPoint.

When that got over, I was done and wanted to go home. But I had to stop by the PX and buy a set of notes for my programming class (now they run them off for you and charge about 8 bucks rather than absorbing the costs in photocopying).

Now I know you’ve all been there. All I got is one little item, I’m feeling like microwaved dog feces, and just want to get in, out, and home. I go to the counter and Xionxpang the Foreign Student is in front of me returning a book he has no receipt for. So the lady behind the counter (a typical example of the fine workers at the PX whose only concern is your welfare and their helpfulness (dripping with sarcasm if you missed it)) says, and I’m not making this up, “you have to rook trew here and find you receipt.” She pulls out this huge bag and hands it to him. Then she reaches below and pulls out a basket full of receipts and says, “It might be in here, too.”

So I’m thinking, great, he can take until January looking for his receipt and I’m next in line so here we go. But you know I wouldn’t be telling this story if that was the case. To my amazement, the saleslady starts sifting through the second batch just as he is doing with the first one. Avoiding all eye contact, she stands right in front of me and sifts through this enormous stack. This goes on for a minute when I realize I’m dumber than she is (which is a strain on possibility) for waiting and walk off attempting (likely unsuccessfully) not to look perturbed.

Then she looks up and says in her broken-ass English “Is that you onree item?” I have a moment of mixed emotion of being pissed and embracing the glimmer of hope that her other set of neurons fired off somewhat correctly and was going to ring me up. Which made it even more devastating to my mental state when she stated “Any register can go you” as she looked down again at her receipts Ever punch a woman square in the face and revel at the wet splashy sound followed by the fountain-like trajectories of crimson gushes? Me neither.

I shuffle over to the front of the store to see both (yes only two) registers filled with people whose average age was about 150, loaded to the liver spots with overflowing baskets. I bypassed this scene to search out a jewelry counter or even the undergarment section of the ladies department to get one of those rarely used (especially by men) registers. Well, you guessed it, nary one to be found so back to the retirement convention up front.

Oh, it gets better.

So I pick the shortest line which has a lady I’m sure is very nice and someone’s grandmother but in this situation, had the sense of urgency of a sleeping snail. She had like, everything in the entire store in her basket and was being helped by Xionxpang the Foreign Student’s second aunt removed whose work experience was about as long as my patience at this point. So Mother Teresa was trying to haul the supplies that would last until her great grandchildren were drawing a pension onto the conveyer belt while Miss “How Does This Magic Window Workie” tried to scan it into the register; a concept that seemed to baffle her and tax her obviously vast capabilities.

After what seemed like hours, they were finally done with this decrepit little dance and lo and behold mummy woman pulls out a coupon for $1 off something and the Matrix suddenly imploded on Miss First Day. Wearing the same expression my dog Buster has when he is watching me type this, she attempts to stare at the screen as though willing it to guide her limited understanding of the cryptic, complicated intricacy of refunding one dollar all while preserving her ability to breath. Old Mother Hubbard is standing there in a similar state of utter confusion as Einstein is punching keys at what can only be concluded as pretty much random in the off chance that the sequence is miraculously the right one. When this obviously brilliant tactic fails and proceeds to freeze up the register, the manager is called who, for what I could discern, was taking a break in Bangladesh. She finally shows up and the explanation phase begins in a mixture of broken English and maybe two or three Asian languages between them. I think an extinct dialect of ancient Egyptian might have been in the sauce, too.

And what was the final call in this tragedy of errors: the manager resets the machine and they have to take everything out of the bags and rescan them. It was at this point that I was seriously considering either sacrificing my commission by walking out with notes in hand (shoplifting tends to be frowned upon when you’re a Marine Corps Officer) or just putting them back and coming back another day. But I really thought it would just be the same story when I came back and I don’t think I could stop my skull cap from shooting off my head.

Luckily for all parties involved, the manager opened up a third register and said she could help me. After paying and getting my change, she bagged it and said a cheery, broken ass English version of “Thank you. Have nice day.”

Ever punch a woman square in the face and revel at the wet splashy sound followed by the fountain-like trajectories of crimson gushes? Me neither.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002
Weird day.

Day 2 of the diet and all is well. I stepped on the scale really hoping to see some results but I was ill-prepared for what I saw. My mode is to weigh myself twice just to make sure I’m not leaning wrong or that I hallucinate what I want to see. You will recall that yesterday I weighed a portly 199 and when I peered down at the red numbers this morning, I was greeted by a cheery 192. So I stepped off the scale figuring I forgot to like put one foot down or something but once again, I got 192. Hmmm, 7 pounds in one day.

Now I know what you’re thinking: my scale is FUBARed but I will tell you, it’s relatively new and has been pretty accurate up until now. Now, for my own self-indulgence, I started applying logic. Let’s see, I could have still had the results of the food orgy in my gut along with a whole bunch of water (after all, I had never weighed that much before). On Monday, I accidentally skipped lunch but drank a lot of water. Maybe with I was dehydrated anyway (the pee test doesn’t work because the vitamins I take turn it to dark yellow anyway) so the lost lunch, dehydration, and loss of food orgy fecal matter may have been part of the cause…but 7 pounds?

Anyway, I don’t care. The fact remains: same scale, same time of day, a difference of 7 pounds. How I got there is a futile attempt in buzzkill so I’m reviling in it. Hell, maybe it’s a tape worm and if so, you go, my little friend.

So with my new svelte body (yeah, right) I went to the gym with my wife and proceeded to help my case along by working out like a dog (minus the “licking the balls” part).

The first indication that my day was taking a downturn was the fact that when I left (30 minutes late) I noticed that they were paving the street that “T’s” mine, thus blocking me in. Oh well, no school (so I thought). But I had to give it a better try than that and much to my dissapointment, I found side streets out of the neighborhood (only to run into a couple of other pavings which annoyed me more than a little). “What else can happen??!?!” I stupidly asked.

NPS parking sucks. I guess when you get in at 1045, you gotta expect this but it took me an uncharacteristically long time to find a spot and it was way the hell on the back 40 of the campus. I had my uniform on (every Tuesday) and since poison oak made my arm look like that old man’s face in Braveheart, I had a bandage on it and a light jacket to cover it.

So let me review the scene: I’m late, can’t find parking, clear across campus, I have a coat on and a hot uniform, and it’s about 10 bazillion degrees outside. I have a book bag full of, you guessed it, books (and heavy ones at that) which I can’t throw on my shoulders (uniform regs and respect for the uniform), a lunch box, a big mug of coffee, and a container of water. I can’t salute because of all the things in my hands and I have to high tail it to class.

Walking in 6 minutes late, soaking wet, looking like a bucket of smashed feces, I get to my first class and my day begins. End of rant.

The good thing that happened today: I saw a friend get promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. It’s always a good time to see such a momentous milestone in the life of a Marine and it couldn’t have happened to a better guy, er, Colonel, um Sir. That’s the weird thing about the military (among the many): one day he’s “Rick” and the next day (and forevermore) he’s “Sir” or “Colonel.” It all actuality, since he was a Major and I, a lowly Captain, it normally would have been “Sir” from the get go but here at NPS, even the Marines eventually succumb to the necessity of first names in an academic environment. But a Lieutenant Colonel is a Lieutenant Colonel, period, and it took me forever to call a Major by the first name around here. Never will it be a concern with LtCols!!!

Bad ending to the day: my brother IMed me and told me he was driving his truck today and had a blow out on the highway. Crossing 5 lanes of traffic in 4 seconds on I-5 at rush hour, he somehown managed to barely miss all other vehicles to include 2 semi trucks. He hit the curb, somehow not flipping the truck and was clipped by one of the semis. He was shaken but not physically injured. He tells me he probably won’t sleep tonight.

My mother got in an accident, totaling her car two weeks ago. She got away with a broken thumb, bumps, and bruises. Last weekend my favorite Uncle had a heart attack and barely survived. They found massively clogged arteries. Now this news from my brother and a more superstitious person would considered the “3” rounded out by this latest close call. I’m afraid to step out of my house.

And I complain about paved roads and parking spots. Perspective, Grose!!!!

Funny thing of the day: I inadvertently put my favorite professor on the spot today. He was explaining the concepts of classes, objects, attributes and methods in programming (C++). After he explained it, I raised my hand and asked him if a good analogy was that objects were like nouns, attributes like adjectives, and methods like verbs. To my horror, he had no idea about the nuances of grammar. Now here’s a guy who has forgotten more about programming than I will ever know and couldn’t remember the differences between nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Don’t get me wrong, I did not and do not intend to ridicule him but being in an academic environment, those terms are literally everyday language. I guess in programming, you operate at a higher level and the lower level stuff can get rusty. Needless to say, I felt 10 times dumber than he looked in front of the class for even bringing it up. I feel it would be insulting to him to even apologize for it. BTW, my analogy is not exactly right. For those of you who know programming, an attribute can be like an adjective just as I pointed out (the object CAR can have an attribute BLUE) but can also serve as a noun (the object CAR has an attribute WINDSHIELD).

What’s up tomorrow: getting up and running and then a full day of class. Hump day so I’ll go around calling everyone a hump.

Monday, September 30, 2002
I just talked to my mentor, Shane Maxey, who will be retiring after 23 years in the service. He was the man who took me to the Gulf War and, as promised, brought me home. He forced the issue when he learned I was thinking about becoming an Officer, kicked me in the butt when I wavered about putting my commissioning package in and was actually the one who finished up the final details, actually submitting it while I was overseas. He took care of me when I was a young, dumb junior enlisted Marine and as a DI, is personally responsible for hundreds of success stories across the Corps and America today. He took care of my children as though they were his own and watched over my family when I was deployed. He yelled at me very loudly when I needed it and invited me over for BBQ in the next breath. He taught me how to be tough as nails on the outside while still being soft-hearted at home. He showed me it’s honorable and noble to be a family man even if it means cleaning toilets for your family, taking on a job at a pizza place for extra cash, or just putting your faith in God. He showed me that love for your wife and fidelity to your marriage is stronger than lust and what it means to be a father, husband, and Marine. He is infinitely more Marine than I ever hope to be and I quantify and qualify my success, personally and professionally, on how it compares to him.

After a little over a dozen years in the Corps, he was a victim of the post-war draw down. The Army was smart enough to snatch him up as a recruiter where he continued to turn sometimes wayward youths into successful citizen soldiers for the National Guard. Following his calling to teach, he took advantage of educational programs and went back to school which shows me you are never too old or set in your ways to improve yourself even if it means sacrifice of energy, time, and sometimes sanity.

He suffers from a mysterious disease he was unfortunate enough to contract while in the Gulf but presses forward in life. Likely eligible for almost 100% disability, he leaves the military after 23 years; a place he’s known since he was 17 and for all of this, a man of this caliber is sent away with a medal brought to him by his neighbor in a guard mail envelope. No reading aloud in front of his men, no ceremony. I find this utterly criminal. If this is the way the National Guard ushers people out the door, I have but one choice in the matter. They are going to get a taste of what one Marine can do and hopefully by example, they will see how you are SUPPOSED to honor a hero. Operation Red Dog has officially commenced.

On a break between classes so I’ll shoot off a quick blog.

It seems my food orgy this weekend in preparation for my diet got a little out of control to the tune of 199 pounds, thus marking the heaviest I’ve ever weighed in my life. I told my wife she can now start referring to me as “Fat Bastard.” But, that’s what diets are for and the run didn’t seem to suffer this morning. I think I’m mentally ready for the diet and am glad to get going. Just the knowledge of being this heavy makes me depressed.

Had bacon and eggs for breakfast (gotta love the Atkins Diet) and then promptly forgot my lunch. Oh well, I’ll get it when I get home but not an auspicious start to a diet that will soon cause pain and suffering. Good thing the first day is relatively easy.

My first class was software design and the only thing of note was the normal wailing and gnashing of teeth at the Friday class that the class attempted to move. They did the normal passing around of a blank schedule and had everyone X out the times they couldn’t make. I was the last one to get it and, as expected, there were more X’s on the sheet than you could swing a dead cat at (yes, a bad combination of sayings but the concept of swinging a dead cat just makes me laugh). So it looks like the Friday class stays which is OK with me. I’d just piss the day away otherwise.

My second class was a C++ programming class which is taught by a professor I had for my first hacking class. He is high energy, funny, knowledgeable, and accommodating. In other words, a freak professor here at NPS. The class looks to be one of those rare beasts that is a lot of work but thoroughly enjoyable and educational.

Sunday, September 29, 2002
What’s up tomorrow: I start a new quarter of my master’s degree. I am taking C++ Programming, Military Satellite Communications, Software Engineering and Management, Economic Evaluation of Information Systems II, and theses classes. My first class isn’t until 1000 so I will get up at 0700, run, get ready, and get into school by 0900. This gives me an hour to read email and wake up.

I also start the Atkins Diet. I have a weigh in in 11 days and I’m right at my max weight. But the bigger motivation is that I am going to begin training for my “triple threat” this summer. I do the Big Sur Marathon, the Lone Pine Marathon a week later, and a 50 miler two weeks after that (See MY MARATHONS).

So to start the training, I try to cut my weight down to 175 and train at that weight. So starting tomorrow, I start shedding 20 pounds to get ready for the process. I will lose about half of it within two weeks and then the training will take care of the rest. I know, sounds drastic but at 33, the battle of the bulge and a sedentary academic schedule calls for desperate measures. This weekend was my last food party for awhile before the dieting begins. Carbo-craving and mood swings, here I come!!!

Feel good section: even though I’m a moody, short tempered, prone to frustrated outbursts, demanding, and often slicing toned barker, my family still loves me. I took my family on a trip they’ll never forget (for better or worse) and the kids got to do things I never got a chance to do as a kid. They were the one shining point in an altogether mediocre weekend.
I was on my morning run on Saturday in Yosemite when I came across a deer. It was a 6-point buck who was obviously very tame since there were about 5 or 6 people sitting there looking at it. It came right up to me as I stood there and wondered what I would do if it attacked me (I came to the conclusion I’d provide a great story for 5 other people about how some deer kicked the piss out of a jogging Marine). But the beauty of the moment was not lost on me completely. I watched as he ate some nuts (get your mind out of the gutter) and I realized this was the closest I had ever come to one and likely the closest any of the others had come. As I was absorbing this truly spectacular example of wild nature up close, the moment was shattered when Bubba the Gapped Tooth Half Wit exclaims “Wish I had my gun. Bang. Huh huh, huh.” Out of a million sperm, that guy swam the fastest. Amazing.
Dammit, I got poison oak on my leg and arm. Last time I was home (Oklahoma), my mom gave me some oatmeal treatment packs and a small sheet of soft cloth. She tells me to cut them into strips and soak them. I tried it and hopefully it works. I’ve been battling this stuff for a year now (off and on, well, I’ll assume you knew that). So I laid on my bed and applied them (thin excuse to lay on my bed in the middle of the day) and watched a rerun of Jimmy Fallon making fun of everyone on the MTV Awards.
Interesting fact 3: My wife informs me that it’s “cow patties” and “horse apples.” It’s all just s#%t to me.
Interesting fact 2: Horses crap a lot. We were on a trail (which we dubbed “Horse Crap Trail) that is obviously a laxative for horses. The only thing I can figure is that the descent was so surprising for equestrians that horse apples just cam flying out of their horse asses. Maybe the butthole park rangers could spend a little less time telling me my food should be put away and a little more time hauling the horse crap off of the trails. My, isn’t that a fitting task.
Interesting fact: the Yosemite gorge was once just a big plain with the Merced river cutting a small canyon. Then a couple of glaciers came in and said, “Let’s just plow through here and cut the hell out of this place.” So that’s what they did and then when they finally got tired, you had a big canyon filled with ice and sand. So the ice melts and the canyon is pretty much filled with the sand. As the sand washes away, the hard rocks are left and you get these beautiful sheer walls and places where the hard rock juts up as the soft sand is washed away.

I probably hosed up the details of what happened but that’s all I could gleen from the little metal info booths along the trails.

Back from Yosemite. Overall, a check in the box as far as “Been there, seen it.” There were some spectacular views, and I mean REAL spectacular but to tell the truth, camping is just like playing homeless. I’m a Marine and it’s too much like being in the field. The other thing that keeps popping in my head is that I pay a lot of money to have a nice, warm, clean, quiet, dry bed in a safe house. Why am I traveling for 5 hours to set up a weak facsimile of one and sleep in a tent in the middle of a campground?

Maybe some of it was that the whole camping thing has become too commercialized. I mean there were all these rules and regulations and then you had these Nazi park rangers whose authority came from the fact that your were in their park. Anywhere else and I would have told them where to stick their Smokey. Pay $20 to get in and $30 a night to camp. No fires before 5:00 PM or after midnight. Quiet hours (shut the hell up) after 10:00. You can’t park your truck there, you must move it 5 feet that way. Put away that food in the steel container even if you are right there. No pets on any trail except the paved ones. We have a kennel but you must have all your dog’s records with you. Oh, and it will cost of course. And these are only a small example of the rule book they give you on the way in. And the final kicker on the way out was that we had to show our pass as we left. We, of course, threw ours away when we were making the campground as clean as the Pope’s toilet so what do we get when we pass the gate on the way out? “Next time put it in your glove box.” Like there’ll be a next time. Yosemite: kiss my ass.

The other thing that ruined it for me was the sheer volume of people. I want to go somewhere where not the average person can get to or it takes some work to get there. The concept of “roughing it” sort of falls apart like toilet paper in the rain when you see an old lady dressed up in dress clothes, hoop ear rings, high heels, and make-up walking around in a spot you spent an hour hiking to (there was a “bus” option, if you’re wondering). And many places, it looked like a street on New York. You know, the ones where you see all the people’s heads and it just looks like a sea of people? That is what it was like. Yeah, back to the wild.

Oh, and it rained on us. Nothing anyone could do, just bad luck but tends to put a damper on moods. No more dealing with dust, now it’s dampness and mud. Whoopee!!

OK, as you can tell, I was a putz on the second half of the trip after all this really started getting to me. It started when we couldn’t get the fire started well enough to cook the burgers. We created a lot of smoke so if you need a smoke maker, I’m your man. I’m surprised the rangers didn’t come and comment. So I was dirty, tired, and moody for the last half. My poor wife.

Friday, September 27, 2002
OK, here I go with my first post. Might be a little verbose but oh well.

This Blog thing: well, it's kind of neat but I can't help but think there's an easier way since it's simply posting thought to a web. What advantage does it have over just updating an HTML file and then FTPing it like I do all my other pages? It seems to me that it's just a novelty to use this but it puts access of my files and the ability to post to my page in the hands of people I don't know. Plus, there's no spell checker (I'm a horrible speller) unless you upgrade to the version you have to pay for. But it's free and I guess I can update my posts via the web anywhere I want. I'll see how it goes.

I've seen some blogs that have feedback forms for particular posts. Again, the easier way seems to just expect people to email me with anything they want to say about what I write (notice I'm assuming someone is going to be interested enough to read and reply ). If no one reads this, it's as good way to throw my thought down.

Oh, and what happens if something goes haywire and Blogger goes under? I guess I do archive to my own server so I wouldn't lose it but again, it seems that if I controlled the updating and posting via a simple HTML page, I wouldn't have to worry about it. The only thing I see is the ability to post from anywhere on the net and for now, that's enough to continue this experiment.

As far as the spelling, I will probably cut and paste this into Word, spell check it, fix it, and cut/paste back into this window (the drawbacks of perfectionism!)

It occurs to me that this is much like writing email to no one. But not too personal since it's a public forum. Maybe I can get my thoughts down here and then use it to cut and paste portions into email. Have you ever written a long email and then start another to someone else just to realize you are writing the same thing? Or worse yet, you kill the second email because you don't want to go through that again. Sometimes I just go to the "sent mail" and copy and paste, changing the obvious personal references. Does that make me a bad person? There have even been times that I thought about how the two people I'm writing know each other and if I could get caught if they somehow compare. I don't know how that could happen unless they forward it to the other person and then they realize (extremely unlikely but potentially embarrassing).

Well, that's my ramble section.

What about sections to my Blog? Maybe the following:

Ramble: like above and includes the day's events
Rant: just me bitching about something
Funny: humor is everywhere in life
Interesting thing I learned today: hopefully I can come up with something each day
Motivation or feel good: counterbalances the Rant section.
What's Up tomorrow: not much to explain for that one

Ok let me try and then I'll go to bed:

Ramble: already did

Rant: My kids’ school cut out PE teachers, librarians, teachers’ aides, music teachers, art teachers, computer lab administrators, playground attendants, lunchroom attendants and others. Basically, everyone but the actual teachers who are now expected to pick up the load and do all those roles along with their normal duties. Before, the teacher’s used the times like PE to catch up on their lessons, grade papers, prepare activities, etc. Now, they are lucky to find time to go to the bathroom and if they don’t know how to do something, they either don’t do it or do it poorly without proper training. Things like PE: when I volunteered, it was basically a bunch of old ladies trying to do the best they could with calisthenics, running in place, etc. It was sad but I was glad I could help out. Problem is, my schedule for next quarter prohibits me from doing it. It broke my heart to tell the kids but I’ll try to work something out.

But that is a band aid on a gaping wound. Why would they cut all of these things? It’s not the teachers’ fault, their victimized by it just like the kids. I need to pitch a fit about it but where to start. I guess the best I can do for now is to spend more time with my own kids and make sure they are not getting short changed and try to volunteer to help out.

Funny: My wife called up the tire place where we dropped off our rim to have a tire put on. I had blown it out and it was shredded and since we are going camping this weekend in Yosemite, she wanted it fixed as a spare. She had dropped it off yesterday and they promised her they would have it in the next day (today). When she called, they started giving her the runaround noting that they never order anything without payment and she sternly explained to them how they had told her that she wouldn’t have to pay until it got in. The conversation got rather heated because they were busy trying to explain their business processes while all she wanted was our freakin’ tire. This went on until she finally exclaimed that she was coming down, getting our rim, and taking it elsewhere where we would get better service. It was at this point that the discovery was made that she had called the wrong tire place.

Her response: oh, sorry.
Their likely response: dumb bitch.

Interesting thing I learned today: A polyglot is a person who knows many languages. I know English and not all that well.

Motivation or feel good: The kids and my daughter’s school really dig me running their PE sessions one day a week since the school cut many of the periphery teachers. (See rant above) I go to my son’s 5th grade once a week and my daughter’s 3rd grade once a week. As I’m told by the teachers and many of the kids, it’s the highlight of their week. If anyone asks me how I find the time, my explanation is summed up by the hugs I get when I show up.

What's Up tomorrow: Getting up, running, and getting on the road to Yosimite. Looks like I will not be Blogging for a couple of days.

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