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,
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
— 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
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.
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
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
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.
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. (ALMOST!!)
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.
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
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
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….
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
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.
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
Gotta get to school for FIVE straight hours of academic
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Think I got my point across? If they charge my card, I’m
Luckily, an offer came from Chris Tessone (www.polyglut.com)
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
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,
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.
October 01, 2002
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,
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
What’s up tomorrow: getting up and running and then a
full day of class. Hump day so I’ll go around calling everyone