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Happy Halloween!!!!

Monday, October 31st, 2005

Quote of the Day: “”Cynicism is the smoke that rises from the ashes of burned out dreams.”

- Maj (CENTCOM) on the daily thrashings delivered to AOs.

Sick Jack

I could have gone to work today. I really could have. And I almost did.

See, I found out that there were two people in my section at work that were running it but they had made it a point to come into work today just to show that they could go in after a marathon and put in a full day.

What made this a bit of a joke with some of the others was that they were both women (one being an active duty Sergeant and one being a civilian) and when that got around, everyone had a good laugh about me taking the day off. The ribbing started last Thursday (I took a 4 day block off to go to the Expo on Friday) and I actually started thinking that I need to come in on Monday just to make a statement.

But last night, I said FUCK ‘EM! (not the women, the others)

I COULD have come in but why? I took the day off, I could spend it with Carrie, and was I going to go in just to prove something to people WHO DIDN’T EVEN RUN THE MARATHON?

You know me better than that.

Not even the fact that the women beat my time by 12 minutes bothered me. If there is one sport where men and women compete pretty much equally (except at the very front) it has to be marathoning. Good on them and I’m glad they finished in the time they did.

So I spent the day relaxing, mowing the yard, and going shopping with my wife. It was a good day and I’m glad I took it off. And one last point to those who will have anything to say tomorrow: What did YOU do Sunday morning? Oh yeah, that would be NOT running a marathon so until you pay to play, you can take this to heart:

How About A Nice Cup....

Just like last year, we decided to go over to the Sbragia’s house for Halloween but unlike last year, Chad was not overseas. I was still a bit stiff from the marathon but we had a good time handing out candy and watching Monday Night Football between trick-or-treaters.

I did some last minute heroics, making the pumpkins I wanted to make.

Here was my “Sick Jack”:

Sick Jack

And here is the front view of “Shot Between The Horns By A Desert Eagle”:

Shot!

And the blown out “I had a Bad Last Day” back view:

Head Shot

Free Advice for Today: “Never say anything uncomplimentary about your wife in the presence of your children.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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2005 Marine Corps Marathon

Sunday, October 30th, 2005

Quote of the Day: “”I may be slow, but I do poor work.”

- MAJ (USAREUR)

Alex and I Running For The Finish

I ain’t writin’ it all out again.

Go here to see the stories and go here to see the pics.

Free Advice for Today: “Tell your wife often how terrific she looks.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Get Ready, It’s Almost Here

Saturday, October 29th, 2005

Quote of the Day: “The only reason that anything ever gets done is because there are pockets of competence in every command. The key is to find them … and then exploit the hell out of ‘em.”

- CDR (CENTCOM)

Running On The Sun

After yesterday’s shithead act, I got it together and made up with Carrie. We came to an understanding of pre, during, and post-marathon emotions and needs. We worked it all out. It doesn’t MATTER who was wrong and who was right, the important thing is that we got it settled. (I was right).

So today was a lot better which is something I needed since tomorrow is the big race. I took the entire day to just gently, slowly, and completely without stress, prep for the marathon. I laid everything out and got it ready, planned out the timeline for getting up, getting there, and getting home.

I went through my ginormous bag of expo swag and read everything there was to read about this marathon and a few others. I separated the advertisements from the samples and stuff I wanted to research further. It’s a whole method, people.

Carrie decided she wanted to take the kids and be a part of it this year. She would get the kids up early and we would all head down together to catch the metro. They would wait on the course at different spots and try to catch me as I run by.

I was set up to watch a movie before I went to bed (although I did have to wake up at 0330) so I mulled over my choices. I could do the Gladiator thing. I could do the Braveheart thing. But what won out was “Running on the Sun” for the simple fact that I thought watching people run through Death Valley for 135 miles would make running 26 tomorrow seem much easier.

Free Advice for Today: “Ask permission before taking someone’s photograph.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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2005 MCM Expo of Anger

Friday, October 28th, 2005

Quote of the Day: “If we wait until the last minute to do it, it’ll only take a minute.”

- MAJ(EUCOM)

Should be 'Jason'.

Today was Expo day.

And I blew it.

You would think that by now, I would know that if I am going to go to Washington D.C., I’m going to get lost.

But I had a plan. I consulted Yahoo Maps. I consulted Mapquest. I consulted an atlas. I consulted the website. I consulted the gods. With all of this information, I could find the D.C Armor next to the stadium, right? I mean, with this many sources and the fact that it was located next to a big huge stadium means I’m guaranteed to go right to it, right?

Right?

RIGHT?!!!!!!!!!!

See, that’s how it escalates.

WRONG.

Carrie drove and I thought it was going to be a good opportunity to take the day off and hit the expo today since tomorrow there would be ¾ of the 30,000 runners trying to get there. Without the kids, it could be a day to zoom up there after morning traffic, hit the expo, and get back before the traffic hits again.

That kind of imploded when we got lost. As every minute ticked by, I got more and more upset over the whole thing. And many minutes ticked by. We hit so many familiar and unfamiliar parts of the city. So many good neighborhoods and so many BAD BAD neighborhoods.

I hate D.C.

By the time we found the HUGE FRIGGIN’ STADIUM and found a parking spot, we were not talking. Carrie had had enough of my shit and wasn’t in the mood to deal with mine. So we walked into the armory in silence.

Although it was the best and biggest expo I had ever seen, it was all but ruined for me. I wandered through the aisles but the overriding feelings was that I was dragging Carrie through this at this point which just made things worse.

I bought two boxes of Gu but passed on any of the official Marine Corps Marathon merchandise because the long, snaking line to pay was not worth it. We would have been standing there for an hour just to pay.

I did get to see Jeff Galloway speaking a little. Man, he’s getting older and balder. But who isn’t, right?

If you’ve never been to an expo, you not only get your shirt, bib, and information about the race, but you go around the expo and get free samples of everything from deodorant to tooth brushes to Tylenol. Every year I get this plastic green cup for the Shamrock marathon. You end up with this ginormous bag full of SWAG that you take home and sift through.

Many of the booths are set up advertising other marathons. Yes, this is a very incestuous society (I was talking marathoning, you sickos!). I did like the Under Armor stuff but it was so expensive. But I will keep it in mind when we go shopping tomorrow for my now annual pre-marathon shopping spree. (Oh, the embarrassment).

We went home in silence and Carrie took the kids over to a friends house (something she had planned on, not just because I was in a funk.) So I got to stay home alone and fend for myself a two days before the marathon.

Yeah, you know I pouted. So.

Free Advice for Today: “Remember that the word ‘discipine’ means ‘to teach’.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Happy Birthday, Lyle

Thursday, October 27th, 2005

Quote of the Day: “Right now we’re pretty much the ham in a bad ham sandwich…”

- GO/FO (EUCOM)

Lyle and Carrie

Today is my father-in-law’s birthday.

Lyle is quite a man who married his teenage high school sweetheart and went on to raise five kids with her. After doing a stint in the Navy where his farming roots helped him excel as a Seabee (actually, “CB” or Construction Battalion), he moved his fledgling family to Seattle looking for work. He took a job as a refrigeration technician for a company that services large units like for entire buildings.

You see, Lyle can figure out anything. He knows electric, plumbing, refrigeration, automobile, and any other house improvement skill you can possibly think of. He can tear anything apart and put it back together better than how he found it. He can build anything, fix anything, and improve anything.

Most of the time, I am just about handy enough to hand him tools when he’s doing these projects and I watch in awe as he goes through the motions of tearing things apart and putting them back together.

It was not uncommon to come home from a date with Carrie when we’d be back on vacation to see Truckasaurus torn to pieces without a manual in sight. And it didn’t even give me a pause of concern that he would get it back together.

Lyle and Sharon brought up their family (3 girls, 2 boys) in the Church and to this day, they dedicate many of their waking hours to church activities such as bible study and counseling.

Lyle and Sharon are one of those couples that are bound forever. They are really one person and when they are apart, they are not happy. Sometimes Sharon will have to go back to Minnesota or North Dakota and Lyle will just work overtime so all he does is come home, sleep, and go back to work.

My wife inherited a lot of her personality from him and the stable environment he and Sharon provided over the decades has not only created the wonderful person that is my wife but also has affected me over the last 18 years. I feel closer to Lyle as a father than I do my own and have taken many lessons from his lead in the art of parenting and being a husband.

Happy birthday, Lyle.

Free Advice for Today: “Take some silly photos of yourself and a friend in an instant photo booth.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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His Life

Wednesday, October 26th, 2005

Quote of the Day: “We are condemned men who are chained and will row in place until we rot.”

- LtCol (CENTCOM) on life at his Command

Clinton Comic

OK, I’ll admit it. I’m listening to “My Life” by Bill Clinton.

It’s not that I like him, agree with him on much of anything, or even respect him but I just couldn’t resist the audio book because of a few reasons.

First, I would never plop down any real money to buy the book because that would be even a miniscule amount of tacit approval. I know, listening to the book is almost as bad but I didn’t add to the sales of the book so I caved.

Second, no matter how I feel about him, he WAS the President of the United States. The sheer immensity of that post just piques my curiosity. How does ANYONE rise for normal person to leading the most powerful nation the world has ever known? I mean, think about it. How does it FEEL to look in the mirror and say “I am the President of the United States of America”?

You can say it’s a post created by man and that it’s filled with normal people put there by a system created by men but to me, it’s more than that. What really interests me is how the normal, day-to-day existence looks and feels that leads a person even to be eligible to become the President. It’s so unlikely that I have this curiosity of how it’s done.

You can read through all of the dry summaries of how our government works and all that but what happens to make that really happen? How do you position yourself for so many years to gain enough support to put you there at the top?

And at night as you are getting ready for bed and you stub your toe on the bed getting into it, how do these normal, everyday experienced shared by just about everyone fit into the fact that you are going to bed as the leader of the free world?

The everyday mixed with the historically immense. This is what interests me.

Do I still think he made a mockery of the position? Yeah, but on the surface, it’s a crazy story (poor Arkansan grows up to be President) and if I can ignore how he dorked it up, let his personal demons overshadow his abilities, I can try to find what I’m looking for out of the story.

And in the end, maybe I can also find another answer that probably had something to do with me agreeing to absorb the story: how does someone capable of such reprehensible behavior rise to the Presidential seat? He had to have a lot of talents, no matter what I think about him because you just can’t get there without being almost supernaturally talented enough to beat out all the others. So how did he do it and still bring with him what we all know he did?

Free Advice for Today: “Don’t compare your children with their siblings or classmates.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Feedback About Littering in NYC

Tuesday, October 25th, 2005

Quote of the Day: “Ya know, in this Command, if the world were supposed to end tomorrow, it would still happen behind schedule.”

- CWO4 (EUCOM)

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day?

OK, to understand this blog, you have to go read this. It’s a comment I made about littering in New York when I went there a couple of years ago.

OK, we set?

I got this email some time back:

Subject: FYI / ANTI-LITTER LAWS IN NYS

Yes Jason, there are anti-litter laws in NYS, they can be found under New York State Consolidated Laws (Vehicle & Traffic Law, Article 33, Section 1220) , which reads:

“No person shall throw, dump, deposit or place, or cause to be thrown, dumped, deposited or placed upon any highway, or within the limits of the right-of-way of such highway, or upon private lands adjacent thereto, any refuse, trash, garbage, rubbish, litter or any nauseous or offensive matter”.

The problem is with enforcement. No Town, County or State Officials want to bother.

Thought you might like to know.

(name withheld by me)

(My response)

Wow, I assume you are talking about my experiences in New York last year when I raged about the littering. It’s strange to get feedback from random sources so long after the experience. Kind of like a little investment that pays off.

Thanks for the info.

——

So this kind of answers that but if you have ever been to NYC, you will understand both sides of the issue. It’s just so obvious, prevalent, and widespread that people literally just let trash fall wherever they are at without a second thought. They could do it right in front of a cop!

But then, if they started nabbing people for it, they’d be busy all day just busting people.

Then again, for a city that seemed bent on sucking every morsel of currency out of every living being, it would seem like a steady source of revenue. Insta-fine for littering, automatically deducted from your account like that movie with Bruce Willis (what was it?). Little machines assessing fines all over the city.

OK, I’m getting off-subject again.

Free Advice for Today: “Never go near a kid who’s holding a water hose unless you want to get wet.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Happy Birthday Brent

Monday, October 24th, 2005

Quote of the Day: “”His knowledge on that topic is only power point deep…”

- MAJ (JS)

Brentalingus

Today… is Brent Norquist’s birthday.

Therefore, I must bring out, dust off, and offer up the stories.

Brent started off as an enlisted cook. Now he’s a Lieutenant Colonel. Obviously, the promotion system is in shambles.

Brent is one of the most professional and technically proficient Marines I’ve ever met. But he’s still the guy who ate too much Gu on a marathon and ended up shitting all over the desert. Yes, the same guy who nuked a poor old couple’s 5th wheel bathroom with an ass-bomb and to add insult to injury, stole most of their toilet paper for future “situations.”

Brent is the guy who took over convoy ops from me during an exercise when I was pulled to go play in a football game by the CO. Subsequently, the convoy got “attacked” and in response, Brent got on the radio and let forth a string of commands that were textbook perfect. Never mind that very few of the trucks in the convoy had a radio and those that did, paid no attention to him. And never mind that just by sheer coincidence and luck, the majority of drivers bugged out in just the right way, not in response to training or the instructions from their fearless leader who was squawking on the radio but in random spasmodic fear-inspired chaos and panic.

The end result, from the point of view of the powers that be (who had a radio) was that Brent instantly reacted to the attack by taking charge of the situation and barked the correct leadership across the airwaves and the trucks responded in a textbook reaction to an ambush.

And robbed me of the glory. Not only did he get this event outlined in his award when he left the battalion (an award I did not receive) but he still talks about it to this day!

I could go on but I would be getting too far away to the real reason for this post.

Happy birthday, Brent. I’m a better person and Marine for knowing you.

Free Advice for Today: “Never refuse a holiday dessert.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Check Your Credit For Free … NOW

Sunday, October 23rd, 2005

Quote of the Day: “The chance of success in these talks is the same as the number of “R’s” in ‘fat chance…”

- Unknown

Why Do They Put Up With Each Other?

I only subscribe to Runner’s World, PC, PC World, and Smart Computing magazines. I only read a few of the hundreds I have backlogged, much to my wife’s ire.

Anyway, I found something really useful in this month’s PC World.

It’s federal law that you can get one free credit report every 12 months. But the cool thing is that there are 3 different credit report companies so if you are smart like me, you can order one every 4 months, rotating through each company.

Here is how it works. Go here to get started. Make sure you only use annualcreditreport.com because you just know there are going to be similar companies that will try to get you to pay for this.

I did this for Equifax and got my credit report. Seems I got like uber-good credit, thank you very much.

I copied the entire report as a Word document and saved it on my computer. Then I set up reminders in Outlook to tell me to get a copy of my Transunion report every February, my Experian report every June, and my Equifax report every October. That way I get a report every 4 months and save them on my computer.

I also tried to get one for my wife with the plan to get her Transunion report every April, her Experian report every August, and her Equifax report every December but we couldn’t get past the security question. It asked about a mortgage loan we did not recognize so we have to print out a form and send a request by snail mail.

But when we get this rolling, we will be getting free credit reports every February, April, June, August, October, and December.

Free Advice for Today: “Never open the refrigerator when you’re bored.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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BOOM Goes The Dynamite!

Saturday, October 22nd, 2005

Quote of the Day: “Things are looking up for us here. In fact, Papua-New Guinea is thinking of offering two platoons: one of Infantry (headhunters) and one of engineers (hut builders). They want to eat any Iraqis they kill. We’ve got no issues with that, but State is being anal about it.”

- LTC (JS) on OIF coalition-building.

Scared shitless

I am almost 37 years of age.

And I can definitely say that last night I experienced the loudest thunderclap of my entire life. Too bad it was at 0300.

I woke up just before it happened, looked at the clock, and momentarily did the math to calculate the amount of sleep I still had. Then I realized it was Friday/Saturday and I didn’t have to get up for work. With a smile, I laid my head down on my pillow thinking about the sheer joy of sleeping in…

BOOM!!!!

I almost beshat my jammies.

The first thought I had was that a plane had hit my house. Then the possibility of a bomb was close behind that one. The entire house vibrated as the thunder exploded right above my house. As it trailed off, the only other sound other than the whole friggin’ house shaking was a car alarm down the street.

I jumped out of bed and looked out my bedroom window, expecting to see a tree down or something. But all I saw was rain.

My daughter appeared at my door shaking so I held her and looked downstairs to see my boy STILL ON THE COMPUTER!!! The power had flickered and turned off the computer.

“What the hell are you doing still up? Get in bed.”

So we all did just that to include my stupid dog. Our king size bed just wasn’t hacking the load so after about 5 minutes, everyone expect the dog was calm and we sent the kids to their beds.

Actually, my 13-year-old son convinced his little sister to join him in his bed, for her peace of mind, of course. The boy is so thoughtful.

Free Advice for Today: “Be thankful you were born in this great country.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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