December 31, 2002 (extra entry)
Impressions of Hawaii. I’ve never
been accused of having an overly-open mind and true to form,
I brought that to Hawaii. It occurred to me that Hawaii is an
American state. Please, someone correct me if this is not the
case but it’s something I picked up in grade school. I
will admit if I’m wrong but I have an inkling that I nailed
this tiny factoid.
Next link in my logic, as an American state, it should,
you know, accept the fact. I was told before I came here that
the locals aren’t so hot about us mainlanders coming to
“their” island. Seems they have no problem accepting
the green paper that we bring but the attitude that I detect
is subdued hostility.
Carrie, of course, thinks I’m a putz. I am, but
that doesn’t negate the fact that Hawaii is an American
state. Let me repeat this fact in the vain attempt to pass the
word. Hawaii is an American state.
A few random observations:
The Hawaiian language has all 5 vowels, and about 3
consonants. That’s it. Plus, they like to put about 14
vowels together (sometimes separated by an apostrophe). The
letter “K” seems to be quite popular. I think it’s
just a conspiracy to piss us mainlanders off.
This may be obvious but Hawaii has a cubic butt-ton
of different vegetation per square inch. It’s amazing.
True Hawaiian pineapples bear very little resemblance,
taste-wise, with canned pineapple. Also, eating a whole pineapple
will give you very painful canker sores. Again, I suspect this
is a ploy by the locals to torture us non-islanders.
There are three highways on this island. There are
1.4 billion cars. Half of those are rusted hulks sitting in
the front yard of the shacks that pass for homes for the locals.
Clothes dryers are technology that has somehow avoided
this island. Every house has laundry hanging everywhere which
provides that upscale décor.
There are three levels of society here:
- super-crazy poor
- super-crazy rich
I’ve heard people say that Hawaii is a good place
to vacation but not a great place to live. These people are
commonly known as “nuts.”
December 31, 2002
A large wooden plank swung hard, slapping my back with
a very loud “SMACK!”
That’s what it was like yesterday
when I visited the North Shore. On my first full day in Hawaii,
we thought it would be fun to visit some waves. Actually my
son Alex would’ve held us at gunpoint if we didn’t
get to a shore, toot sweet. So we made our way to North Shore
where the forecast told us to expect waves 2-3 feet high. Obviously,
in Hawaii they translate the metric of “feet” to
mean “stories” because holy moly.
Once we got to the beach, the kids evaporated,
leaving us to haul all of the equipment to the beach. But they
were so excited to be there, we’d have an easier time
stopping the waves that holding them back. They were in the
water before we were even set up. I, being the reserved chicken
that I am, stayed on the beach watching the kids for about a
half hour before venturing out into the surf. The water was
a bit cold at first but it took no time to get used to the amazingly
blue water. I walk about ten feet and see a monster wave forming.
No problem, I thought. I’ll just turn my back and let
it wash over me.
This is about the time that the Pacific
Ocean decided to announce just who was in charge. Refer to the
first sentence in this entry.
After being b$%$ slapped by the wave,
it decided to drag me under and roll me around in the sand,
polishing me like a rough stone. Unfortunately my skin didn’t
fare well in the attempt. Slapped, raw, sand-blasted skin. Does
it get it better than this? Hope the rest of the day goes as
Actually, it did. We had a blast for two
hours and the waves just got bigger. At one point, Carrie started
being, you know, a responsible parent and wanted to kids out
of the water as the ground vibrated from the force of the waves.
I, on the other hand, thought it prudent to drag them out into
the crash zone and see what Mother Nature had to offer. I found
out several times.
There is a difference of about a foot
between body surfing a wave cleanly and getting a saltwater
enema. If you on the happy side of this line, you ride on the
top of the wave and get going pretty fast as the force crashes
to the shore. The feeling is pretty exhilarating.
On the other hand, I found myself on the
other side of said line more often than not. You see, the ying
to this yang is being just a little too far forward and you
get the same initial surge from the wave which lifts you about
10 feet above the ground. As you peak, all the water below you
just disappears and you are suddenly like the coyote in the
Road Runner cartoon as he realizes there is nothing below him.
So you drop like a stone into the rumbling
surf where you had better have your hands in front of you. Just
about the time you slam into the sand, the full force of the
crash zone collapses on top of you and you and yanked every
which way (normally of the painful variety). You find yourself
about 30 feet from your original location as you sit up coughing
up saltwater and sand that decided to explore every orifice
in your body. Just as you recover enough to realize that you
are still among the living, the follow-on wave greets you with
a white water hello, replacing any sand and saltwater you managed
to remove from you nasal passages up to that point.
Carrie just simply laughed her butt off
on shore. When I had Steph with me though, her tune changed
and her concern level shot up. After one of these episodes,
I had experienced enough as the both of us tumbled across the
shore. As a final souvenir, I thought I had a cramp in my calf
which felt amazingly like the worst pain I’ve ever endured
as I was scraping across the sand. Now, I theorize that I kicked
it with the heel of my other foot because a day later, it still
hurts like hell. It’s true what they say: the fun isn’t
official until someone gets bludgeoned.
December 30, 2002
Professional football. Well, almost; I
went to see the Seahawks while in Seattle but the game qualifies
since they played Saint Louis. Weird thing was that the Seagals
actually won which was a great event for my first time in the
A couple of observations: I went with
my brother and his roommate to a pre-game tailgate party near
the stadium called Seahawk Alley. What it actually should be
called is “The Gauntlet Where Drunken Retards Scream At
Passers By.” How I came to be party to this group is beyond
me but it involves accepting an invitation from my brother to
go to the game.
My brother means well and it was nice
of him to invite me to a game. We had attended many a Mariner
game at the Kingdome together since we were kids and I know
it meant a lot to the both of us to go to the stadium for the
first time (on top of the very site the Kingdome once stood)
We found the spot where we were to meet
“a friend of a friend” which is always a recipe
for fun. These buddies were pretty well lit by the time we arrived
and stood around in the cold for a couple of hours while listening
to these drunken morons scream at passing fans. At first it
was just the opposing team colors that drew their wrath but
soon it was everyone. I’m not saying some of the things
weren’t funny: “Hey, nice haircut, life partner!”
or “What’s up, Sam Elliott?” (to a skinny
guy with long hair, mustache, and tight blue jeans). There was
the “lucky guy” chant that burst out when a man
walked by with an attractive women at his side. Also, calls
of child abuse when a kid with opposing team colors passed by
but the most obnoxious part was the “in-your-face”
boos that they screamed while bits of hotdog and mists of beer
followed their rude yelling. It just went to show me that there
are still dumb people walking this Earth and that a portion
of the population has no more to do on a Sunday morning than
to get drunk and yell at bystanders. Maybe I was a stick in
the mud but I can think of better things to do with my time.
Next came the ticket buying. With the
Seahawks, you don’t have to really work that hard at getting
tickets and if you show up early enough, you might even get
a chance to suit up (not really, but a sell out was not on the
risk meter.) Per my brother’s modem operendi, we dived
into the world of scalpers. A rather crude group of men who
wander around the front of the stadium holding up $18 tickets
that they want $40 for. This is of course illegal but the men
selling them hardly look like they take legal considerations
to heart when doing their “bidness.”
You would think that a white military
type in his mid thirties would have little in common with Jo
Jo the Ticket Scalper but for some reason, if you give them
even the tiniest hint that you are interested in their wares,
you are their closest “homie.” Suddenly you are
in their posse and closer bonds were never formed.
Personally, I wanted nothing to do with
this and it was up to my brother to make the decision and the
transaction. That was the plan until my brother’s walnut
of a bladder kicked in and he left us with one of these model
citizens to mull over the details. I could see it in the “good”
eye of this man that I was a sheep ready for sheering. I stalled
him until my brother returned, failing to commit to anything.
Chris took a look at the tickets and confirmed that they were
good seats. The transaction (or raping, if you must know) was
completed and we had our $18/$40 tickets in hand. Funny, Jo
Jo disappeared like a mist when we finished. Seems our friendship
was only a temporary arrangement. Sometimes a lone tear traces
a line down my cheek when I think about what we had together…
If you are following my little story here,
you likely know what’s coming next. They say that in the
new stadium, there are no bad seats. I beg to differ. These
“boss seats” ended up being up with the pigeons
which made the $40 price tag even more of a joke. With a few
beers under his belt, my brother thought nothing of it to grab
some seats much nearer to the field right behind a major walkway,
thus we were able to enjoy the pleasure of wondering if we were
going to be ousted at any minute. What joy.
Other than the cold that slowly crept
into every crevice of my clothing and the fact that my brother
consumed beer after beer, the game wasn’t too bad. The
Hawks actually won even though they had trouble making it into
the end zone once they entered the red zone. They had a lot
of filed goals but three points at a shot really adds up.
Not being a huge sports fan, I’m
content to sit there quietly and cheer during the appropriate
times. My brother, God love him, tends to yell whatever’s
on his mind at the moment, appropriate or otherwise. Add the
alcohol factor in and you have the bozo just short of painting
his body with the team colors (which I will add, did occur.
The idiot was painted rather poorly with splotches of blue paint,
was obviously very drunk, and needed to shed about 30 or 40
pounds. Because it was damn cold, you can imagine just how many
times the stale joke about bare skin, coldness, and blue paint
that might or might not be there was voiced.). My brother would
stand up and yell instructions to the quarterback, inform them
that they will not be making a touchdown because they suck,
and generally pass rather disparaging remarks. Meanwhile I sat
there wondering how 15 minutes on the scoreboard can drag out
By the time it was over, I was cold and
ready to hit the road. The alcohol had taken its toll on my
brother and he was somewhat dislodged from his normal personality.
As we left, he felt it appropriate to yell “BOOOOO!”
to the lady wearing the losing team’s colors which made
for an awkward situation since we were at a standstill in the
line to leave. Ever want to crawl into your own clothes and
disappear for awhile?
But overall, the game was worth going
to. The time with my brother (save the end when he was toasted)
was exciting and we had a great time. The lesson I learned was
that I either lost the ability to let my hair down and have
a good time or have a knack for finding myself around people
I have little in common with. Oh well, new stadium: check in
December 29, 2002
Currently, I’m sitting in the USO
at Travis AFB waiting for a MAC flight to Hawaii. The set up
they have for space available seating is a little like that
Chinese Water Torture and I can describe it with a degree of
levity due to the fact that we made it as the last 4 passengers
(much to the combined chagrin of the others waiting).
Here’s how it works: once you get
your leave papers, you fax them to the base and your category
is based on when you took leave and when you faxed them. I took
leave on the 16th but because I’m an idiot, I didn’t
get them faxed until the 18th (as my wife so tenderly pointed
out when things got tight in line). You have to assume you made
it and make some commitments like waking up early, driving the
2 hours to get to the terminal, put your car in long term parking
and pay for the cab ride back, but nothing is guaranteed.
At 1000 they make everyone line up and
the torture begins. First the airman announces that there are
32 seats available. Next, he calls forward anyone on emergency
leave, on orders, an “environmental leave” which
I translate as that leave that you coax your admin into putting
on your orders in order to get a better chance at a MAC flight.
Luckily, no one fit into these categories so he went on to call
forward regular leave but they go by the time on the check in
sheet which is based on when you faxed (another dark stare from
They call a date and a time and then ask
if anyone has a date/time BEFORE this one (picking up the stragglers).
This tells the person with that date/time on their sheet that
they are likely next. The first one they called out was a full
two weeks before mine so I naturally shat my drawers.
The guy came up and checked in. Then,
in a tortuous business-like tone, the airman calls out the next
date/time. This goes on and on as the rest of us look at each
other with utter disdain. Any one of us would claw each others
eyes out for a seat and the hate is palpable. There are a lot
of people in the terminal and only 32 seats. Everyone has a
pink slip with their date/time on it and asking anyone else
what they have is akin to asking another man how long his schlong
is in the public bathroom.
Not that it matters. All this is purely
for the pleasure of the airmen present to watch us squirm because
it’s all predetermined who will make it and who won’t.
And squirm we did.
They finally called my date and the jolt
of pleasure was instantly replaced with anger when the time
they called out was 0100. Mine was about 2200. Still not out
of the fire. Painfully, there were two other times called before
mine but even though it looked good for us (only a dozen or
so people had gone up to the counter) the stress continued.
Finally, we were called and as we approached the counter, I
could feel the mental spears jabbing at me as I walked through
the gauntlet that was the waiting passengers. A minute earlier,
I would have joined their web of hate but walking up there,
all I could think was “Suckers!!!” What an ass I
When we got to the counter, the airman
got on the phone and was mumbling something as he looked at
the monitor I couldn’t see in front of him. Was the Gestapo
going to rush in and grab me for a long-overdue library book
Actually, what happened next was pretty
shocking. He keyed the microphone and proceeded to inform the
rest of the waiting passengers that the boarding for that flight
was now closed. We got the last 4 seats which made my walk of
privilege that much more sweet. Again, an ass.
I was a bit confused over this because
there was but a dozen people in front of us. We later found
out that the person in front of us had about 15 people with
him so we never knew how close we came to not getting on until
we already had our seats. Whew!!!
December 28, 2002
I was told an interesting story today from my brother.
It seems he was driving down the road (he delivers
and picks up traffic equipment such as cones and signs for road
work and such) near Seattle when he came upon the scene of a
head-on collision that had just occurred. As he drove up, he
saw a woman and her two children milling around the wreckage
so he slowed down and asked them if everyone was OK. They said
that they were but the two men who crashed into them took off
My brother then drove down the road and saw the two
teens running up the steep hill. He drove his truck along side
them and informed them they were NOT going to get away from
him. He then sped up a few hundred feet, parked his delivery
truck sideways on the road, and got out.
At this point I must explain that I represent the sum
total of what my parents had left after they created my brother.
I am about 180 pounds and 5’ 11”. On the other hand,
Chris is about 6’ 3” and about 230 lbs. What’s
more, my brother has abnormal strength even for a man his size
and we won’t even get into his temper. Suffice it to say
that he’s as strong as an ox, oblivious to pain in a fight,
and uncontrollable in a rage.
As the two teens approached him, his plan was to grab
one and take out the other with one punch. As planned, he grabbed
one and took a round house punch at the other but missed. The
terrified boy ran and Chris had no choice but to let him go.
In hindsight, he said he considered cold-cocking the one he
had and then running after the other but he was afraid he might
permanently injure (likely kill) him. He also thought about
finding some rope or locking him in the back of the delivery
truck but in the end, he decided to just take care of the one
The first thing Chris does to this kid is to throw
his sorry butt down to the ground like a bag of laundry. 230
pounds versus a buck and a half. This phase was done most ricki
tik. Then the 16-year old Puerto Rican teen received the joy
of my brother’s knee dug into the back of his neck, just
to make sure there was no questions about who was in charge
at the moment. But true to form, the dumb kid continues to struggle
so he gets the additional bonus of a few hard punches to the
back. The last person that was in this position with my brother
went to the hospital in an ambulance (a high school fight back
You would think that this kid would get it by now but
he continued to struggle, telling my brother to let him go and
that he wasn’t even driving. Chris tells him he don’t
care and that they had hit a family with kids.
Chris then pulls out his cell phone and calls 911,
telling them to send an ambulance, a fire truck, and a bunch
of cops. The operator confirms that the car they were in was
stolen and instructs Chris to make sure the kid is not armed
(which he was not). In the process, the kid struggles again
so Chris grabs the kid’s arm, twists it behind him, and
then politely informs the delinquent that if he moves again,
“I’ll bust your F%#$ arm right the f&*% OFF!”
After a short time, the cops show but not before the
kid gives one more struggle to which my brother responds by
slipping his arm around the kids neck in a headlock. Believe
me when I say from experience that a headlock from my brother
is much like receiving a cement collar. Once again, Chris tells
the kid that if he struggles, he will choke him until he either
dies or loses consciousness and that he really couldn’t
give a $%&* which came first.
The cops show up and take the kid away and then ask
Chris where the other one went. He says he ran off and gave
a description. The kid was eventually caught.
Chris then went back to the scene and directed traffic
until the tow truck showed up and was no longer needed. The
husband of the family came up to him and thanked him for his
actions. Chris gave him his business card and told him to call
him if they need anything such as identifying the other kid.
I’m so very proud of my brother. I described
the story to my son and ensured that I described the heroic
actions that his Uncle Chris performed. In this day of “don’t
get involved” it makes my heart warm that he would do
the right thing even at risk to himself. Those kids stole a
car and then crashed it head on into a family of four and were
then going to just run away, likely never having to atone for
their actions. But because my brother did what was right, justice
will be served. On this day, Chris was the hero and the good
guys triumphed over bad.
December 22, 2002
Finally on vacation and sitting down
Quick update: finals got over and I
got A’s in all classes which is about as amazing as
it gets since, you know, I’m nearing retardation coupled
with a serious lack of attendance tgo some (OK, most) of the
classes this year. I guess my lack of good testing made an
exception this quarter. Take home tests are such a good thing
and make up for so much sin over the quarter.
After the finals fiasco, I had a day
to just do nothing and did just that. Although I did find
it necessary to go out on the hunt (shopping) with Carrie
which, in hindsight, was about as intelligent as Seneater
Lott’s comments at Strom Thurmon’s 100th birthday
party. Someone’s dreaming of a white Christmas. Anyway,
the trip to Salinas to visit the local Wal Mart was a poor
call. Picture every Mexican in California elbowing through
to get two bucks off a lawn Santa. I was there for about 40
minutes and wanted to suck on the business end of a 9 mm.
Ignoring the billions of people, the
crying babies, the lost idiots that just stop right in front
of you and “space,” and the destroyed merchandise
that littered every aisle, the most annoying aspect (and what
nearly drove me mad) was the constant dribble emanating over
the loud speaker with the same quality as the moon landing
audio. Now, in the year 2002, you would think that communications
would have evolved past the voice of the Peanuts carton adult
voices. I swear, every 5 seconds, the loud speaker would explode
with a rude-sounding, stressed, fast-talking idiot yelling
for “an associate” to come here or there. And
let me take this opportunity to point out, they are NOT “associates.”
Call them what they are: employees. Since when did that become
such an avoided term? I’ll tell you what I wanted to
call them after 10 minutes of almost constant cries for help.
Take a lesson from Target and get some personal communication
devices for your EMPLOYEES and don’t subject me, the
customer, to your public blatherings.
OK, next on the list: the trip to Seattle.
What a freakin’ nightmare. OK, maybe I didn’t
handle it in the best way but the obstacles we had to overcome
so I could sit here and write this in Seattle was staggering.
On Thursday, we decided to leave a day
early and packed the truck after my morning run (ouch). We
headed up I5 on our blissful way until we got to Shasta Lake
about 5 hours later. Then a sign informs us that the highway
is closed, detour ahead. So we wait in line for ½ hour
to take this “detour” which ends up just turning
us around and “detouring” us to southbound I5.
This is not a detour, mind you. They just simply shut the
major west coast interstate. Sorry, can’t go this way.
Oh, and all other roads are closed too but we won’t
tell you that. We’ll just “detour” you back
the way you came.
After much discussion, we had little
choice but to turn around and go back home and try again the
next day. So 6 hours later, we end up at home after an entire
day of driving and 2 tanks of gas. Thus ends my first day
Day 2: much like day one but being the
smart guy that I am, I check the internet to see if the closure
has lifted. The day prior, it showed the closure on the California
Transportation website and in the morning it was gone. So
what does this mean to me: open road. What does this mean
to the CALTRANS: pump Jason like cheap crack whore.
Two and a half hours before we hit the
detour, we had a decision to make. We could alter our route
if it was closed. But once we continued on, we were stuck
with the decision because any other route farther north would
be closed too. I called CALTRANS and the recording told me
exactly what the website had told me early that morning: no
closure on I5. But you can guess the next line in this little
ditty. Yes, it was closed and yes, I was fuming.
So now what to do. I wanted to go home
but the family wanted to press on. This time, an alternate
route was not closed but it took us 300 miles out of our way
to go around the closed part of I5. We decide to take it but
get stopped right before a pass where we aqre told that snow
chains are required. This was a nightmare that I knew would
be about equal to being Satan’s toilet cleaner but tried
to go into it with a good attitude. That lasted about 30 seconds
until I was soaking wet from the falling snow the size of
Next fun item: the chains we had were
too small and for the old tires we had for the truck.
Inject: the local hardware store was
all too happy to sell me a $60 set.
Withdraw: They were too busy to show
me how to install them
Inject: the gas station attendant would
do it for an additional $10
Withdraw: It would be a 20 minutes (which
turned into an hour) wait.
Deep inject: when we got them on and
got back in line to go up the pass, the line was stopped because
a semi had bit it and was blocking the road. Time until they
got it cleared: unknown.
At this point, the family was more than
a little upset and I was a raging maniac. I wanted to just
call it a day and go home to spend the holiday in quiet, restful
peace. The family on the other had refused to see the signs
from God himself that this was all a bad plan. Two days of
useless driving in rain and snow, 4 tanks of gas, 2 sets of
chains, $60 in chains and another $10 from installation, being
turned away from I5 twice (once undocumented by CALTRANS)
and now a blocked pass by a wrecked semi. A path, I might
add, that put us 300 miles out of our way, more for gas, putting
us in at 0500 in the morning instead of 2300 at night, or
forcing us to pay even more money for a hotel room and an
extra day off our “vacation.”
But after the mass crying, I was rendered
useless. I was stuck. I had to do the honorable Dad thing
and get them past these obstacles and get them to Seattle.
I was not too happy about this and was trading my sanity for
their happiness. Little did I know, our troubles were just
beginning and made what we had just gone through seem like
a hitting the Super Lotto!After getting the chains on, we
got back in line to enter the pass. But alas, the line not
moveth. We sat there for what seemed like forever before a
poor policeman walked from vehicle to vehicle to tell us that
a semi had wrecked and blocked the path. He had no idea when
it would be clear; could be 10 minutes or an hour.
So we sat there for an hour and a half
pondering our fate and luck. I was still mad as it gets and
everyone else was a little nervous and the bubbling volcano
that was driving. We had another “discussion”
about our next course of action and again, the tears won out.
But just about I was about to call it a day, mere minutes
before I was really going to turn around and head back to
Monterey for the holidays, they started letting traffic through.
We enter the pass and for the first
5 miles, all was fine. But then the snow really started coming
down so we were going about 20 miles per hour. The chains
made a horrible sound and it sounded like some kind of horror
movie and we chugged along the snow-covered highway. Suddenly,
we begin to slide front left as I crank the wheels right.
But the effort was for not because we were not in control
at that moment and had to watch a cement barricade come toward
us in slow motion. We were going about 10 miles per hour so
it was not as scary as going full speed but when you crank
your wheel and nothing happens, the butt cheeks tend to suck
up material pretty fast.
Luckily, the slow speed and the fact
that the tires were pointed perpendicular to the direction
we were sliding, the snow was shoved in front of us and it
built up its own cushion. It compacted to a point that we
never really hit the cement but just came to a stop. With
my heart beating like a drum, I cranked the wheels and just
got back on the road, a lot slower than before.
We got through the pass, rather slowly
but we had little company. In fact they might have closed
it down shortly after we got through because it got dark and
no headlights were behind me. This doesn’t surprise
me because the conditions were horrible; the snowflakes were
monstrous and the road was a series of tight turns, switchbacks,
and steep downgrades. When the snow let up, the rain would
replace it. All in all, it was a horrendous 140 miles to travel.
It looked like we were in a tunnel with a tube of snow flakes
coming at us. The only thing I could see was the 1/10 mile
markers to give me a clued if I was on the road. Needless
to say, we all drove in utter silence for a few hours.
After we made it through there, we got
on 101 and that gave us a little break. At least the road
was somewhat straight but the rain continued to come down
in buckets. But after a few hours, we had to get back on 199
(a little mountain road similar to the one we took before
101) and cut back over to I5. We got this advice from the
policeman that pulled Carrie over for going too fast. I was
in the backseat and she starts arguing with him over her speed.
I chastised her over it after he left by pointing out that
you don’t argue with the policeman who pulled you over.
What did she expect him to say after she says that the people
in front of her were going way faster than she was; “Oh,
yes, I guess you’re right. Thank you for pointing that
out to me and you are completely right. What was I thinking?
I have to go and catch up to them because you are right, they
were going faster than you and for some odd reason I pulled
YOU over but now that you set that straight, I must go get
Somehow, he let us go with a warning,
probably because of our pathetic faces and the fact that we
had already been through travel Hell that day (he guessed
we got cut off from I5 and were trying to make it around).
We hit Grant’s Pass at about 9:00 at night where we
met I5 again. Then it was just a straight shot up through
Oregon and then into Washington. Carrie decides to take a
caffeine pill to stay awake and since she has such a pristine
system, not used to any stimulants, it hit her like rocket
fuel. She drove from 2300 until 0345 and was willing to go
on until I told her that I was driving the rest of the way.
She’d be a really bad junkie.
We made it to my brother’s house
at about 0530 and got to sleep around 0600. For all the marathon
driving sessions and maniac moods, we made it home for Christmas.
The worst was over and all I had to do was regret my reaction
to the whole affair and the fact that I was so willing to
give up. Not a normal trait of mine but I must admit, I handled
it badly. Carrie was just glad we got home and was willing
to forgive even such heinous behavior. I decided to chalk
it up to my idiocy and try to do better next time. Patience,
Grasshopper, and have faith. Relax, enjoy the holidays, and
go with the flow.
December 12, 2002
Ahh, what a day. Nothing like a final
to show you just how dense you are or how much you can actually
learn in one night. This one had a twist due to the fact that
I took it with my laptop and emailed it to the professor after
I was done. I love technology!!!
But before all that, I went to the last
C++ class where we went over the final I took yesterday. Due
to dumb mistakes and my knack for choking on tests, I got
a 88% which gave me a 95% for the class. Not bad but the reason
I went was simply because I enjoyed the class so much and
wanted to “put it to bed” formally. I have to
thank Scott Cote for another wonderful class and for being
the best teacher I’ve had at NPS.
I should have started studying for my
midterm on Monday or even done a little of the take-home final
for space but instead, I got back to my Flash work. I decided
that a better approach would be to make a short, simple cartoon
talking about the ups and downs of learning how to make Flash
cartoons. I decided to take my cue from Odd Todd and mimic
his voice and speech patterns (since they really make me laugh)
and thought that his style of cartoons would be a good intro
to learning the basics while making progress. OK, I simply
pilfered his style but I wanted to get something started!!!!
Imitation is the best flattery, right?
So I took a few hours and wrote out
a script and recorded the dialogue onto my computer. The humor
is in the unpolished manner so it wasn’t to hard to
get it down. The humor will be the sound effects and simple
animation gags. If it goes as fast as the recordings went,
I should be done in a couple of days, maybe even before I
head to Seattle next week. Wish me luck.
Tomorrow I have an appointment with
another student who has info about my potential thesis. After
that, I’m meeting with the professor so hopefully I
will have a warm fuzzy about my thesis tomorrow night.
December 11, 2002
Wow, two days in a row hitting the
BLOG. What a wonderful thing procrastination from studying
for a final can be.
And I bailed on the www.blogger.com.
Seems their service is about as good as the price: free.
And the amount of time it took me to migrate the BLOG entries
and create archives makes me think I made the right move.
Now I have full control over the entries. That’s what
you get when you outsource what you should have been doing
I couldn’t get to sleep last
night so I was channel surfing when I came across channel
18 and what was staring me in the face but a TV screen full
of boobs. Yes, folks, I’m not sugarcoating it for
you, there were big, round boobs beaming out of the TV last
night and my confusion factor peaked (insert your own joke
Turns out that it was a free Showtime
offer thing. I thought it might have been some public access
thing where anyone can buy the time and show anything they
want. In 29 Palms, there were these channels and this fat
naked chick regularly took advantage of this fact and was
often seen doing some really disgusting, drug-induced gyrations
and close-ups of her greasy, pitted face. It was rather
Anyway, the movie last night was some
B movie about some ladies held captive in some middle eastern
jail. It was just about as bad as it gets and a loose excuse
to show boobs. I don’t know what’s sadder, the
acting or the fact that I got sucked into it for the level
of lameness it possessed. Boobs or no boobs, the level of
bad acting was intoxicating.
So I paid for it when I got up this
morning. I skipped the morning run (don’t worry, I
made it up later to keep the streak going since Nov 4th)
and went in early to study for my C++ final (which sucked,
since you asked). I’m about as good at taking tests
as I am at explaining nuclear physics to 8 year olds. The
lesson here is boobs are evil.
I helped my son study for a test yesterday.
He had to memorize the 13 original colonies, both location
on a map and spelling. My geography is about as good as
the aforementioned test-taking and nuclear physics explanations
so it was a little bit of a challenge for me. I learned
that Connecticut is a funky spelling. He aced the test today.
Me? I think I MAY be able to get most of them. Man, I suck
I’ve had an unhealthy interest
in OddTodd lately. For those of you that don’t know,
OddTodd is a guy who got fired from MCI and started a website
dedicated to his existence as an unemployed slacker. He
made some Flash cartoons that are simply the funniest things
I’ve seen on the web to date. They are what got me
interested in my Semper Flashback project which has stalled
a bit. Anyway, go check out
www.oddtodd.com RIGHT NOW!! You will thank me later.
I introduced them to Dan and Will
at my lab at school and now they’re hooked. Just go
there and you’ll see.
I think my heightened interest is
related to me end-of-the-quarter procrastination/burnout
activities. Just a few more tests and I’ll be free
as a bird. I’m aching to read a book I bought called
Masters of Deception about hackers. It sits there
and mocks me. Maybe I’ll jumpstart my Semper Flashback
aspirations and do a little education on Adobe’s Premiere
video editing software. Maybe I’ll solve world hunger
while I’m at it…
December 10, 2002
You know, Iím getting a bit tired of apologizing for my lag
times between BLOG entries. So I will proudly stand up and scream
to the world : EAT ME. OK, maybe that was a bit rude but starting
off an entry after such a long hiatus was getting monotonous.
So do I try to catch up or just start fresh? Nah Ö how
about some tidbits of things that I wanted to write about:
Watching Monday Night Football, I got bored because the
Bears were getting sodomized by the Dolphins and two things
came out of it for me:
1. Do you think a dolphin could beat the crap out of a
real bear? I concluded it would depend on home field advantage.
Old Flipper would probably ram a bear in the nads if he wandered
into the ocean. But a beached dolphin would be a smorgasbord
for a bear on land. Just a passing thought.
2. Football players really look weird when their helmets
come flying off in the middle of a play. I mean, suddenly
thereís just a regular Joe jumping around in there. Weird.
I laughed aloud until I realized he makes more sitting on
the crapper than I make in a year.
Speaking of sodomy, the thesis for TBS fell through when
they decided, well, forget supporting those NPS guys. Never
mind that they led us to believe we had a thesis for the last
6 months and that we never paid much attention to other opportunities.
Or that all the professors have been snatched up as advisors
and we have to start new 9 months before graduation. Thanks
and next time buy me flowers and whisper something sweet in
You say that I should have had a back up? I agree. I did.
It fell through almost simultaneously when Manpower basically
told us it was cheaper to hire a contractor to build the optimization
program we offered. Hey, are you done back there? Whereís
But not all is lost. TBS came back and scoped down to
project from three people to two and guess who was the odd
man out? His name rhymes with Captain Jason Donald Grose.
But I found a possible thesis involving the Navy Promotion
Board procedures. I will forego explanation until it solidifies
a bit more because Iím tired of the embarrassment of going
through the description only to have it evaporate like the
Today is my brotherís 36th birthday which means Iím getting
older, too. But at least weíre old enough to stop things like
convincing me to get on all fours and moo like a cow at which
point he turns around and rips a juicy fart in my face (actual
childhood memory). As I think of that, it pisses me off. Chris,
you bastard dick!!! Happy birthday.
Iíve spent the last week configuring the new laptop I
received from MWR for creating their webpage. The total amount
of actual webpage design Iíve accomplished adds up to Ö ziltch.
Iíve been waiting for the school to provide some templates
but they are still stalling. I got finals so Iíll have to
do some work on it over the break.
Anyway, back to configuring. This is the deal, I got Windows
XP and Office XP which means I have to go through the whole
set up thing, plus updates, etc. etc. Now it would seem to
be an easy thing, being that Iím such a Merlin with the Microsoft
products but Ö no. Itís taking an inordinate long time because
for some reason, Microsoft feels the need to move functions
around and completely change the set up of what it took me
years to conquer. I know, I know, change is good but damn
frustrating. Take for example:
Iím going through the throws of setting up my email in
Windows XP and Office XP. One of the functionalities that
I enjoyed with 2000 was the ability to only download messages
smaller than 100K. It would tell me when someone sent something
larger without actually downloading it (clogging my dial up)
and I had to choice to go online with webmail and decide if
I wanted to download it or not.
Like most ďupgradesĒ they took away this ability and replaced
it with some confusing setting of letting you download the
headers larger than a certain amount. When I set it, I got
the header alright but when I tried to open it, it gave me
some rubbish about not being able to display it and that it
was trashing all headers. Then it was gone and didnít even
reside in the trash file. I looked online and there was nothing.
Curse you, Bill Gates!!!
The other cool thing thatís happened is that a friend
of mine sent me the Adobe Premiere software. Itís video editing
on crack!! I was looking for a way to archive and webbify
my home movies (donít worry, I donít have the online storage
to bore you with my home movies). But when I opened the software,
it looked like the control panel for the space shuttle. After
screaming like a little girl, I decided that reading the userís
manual was a necessity. I had to find it online and finally
did. Itís 408 pages. Once again, my ass has ďInsert HereĒ
written all over it. I canít even figure out how to transfer
my video into the computer. Iíll use that unlimited futuristic
time slot to figure all this out.
Speaking of finding stuff on the web, I tried for over
an hour to find a pic, drawing, anything of a pilgrim boy
for my sonís Thanksgiving project. I can find out how to make
a meth lab or homemade bomb in like seconds but try to find
a pilgrim boy and suddenly itís like Iím having to break into
NORADís restricted files. More often than I like to admit,
Iím confounded by such situations.