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See Ya, 2005

Saturday, December 31st, 2005

Quote of the Day: “I’m planning on taking the weekend off…notionally.”

- LT (EUCOM) midway through a huge, simulated command exercise

I’m getting old. Not like Dick Clark old, but long gone are the days of partying it up for New Year’s Eve.

We drove all the way from Virginia to North Cakalaki to visit friends and although we had a great time, we basically turned on the TV at 11:45 and watch Dick Clark slur through the last 15 minutes of 2005.

I don’t mean to be harsh but he looked and sounded like Hell. I gotta hand it to the guy, he got out there and did his thing but really. He was in a tight spot because on the one hand, if he never came back then he’d have to admit that the stroke took him out which would likely be a hard reality to accept.

On the other hand, seeing him like that was not the image Americans wanted to see as the last memory of the eternal teenager.

I had drank one beer and quite honestly was having trouble staying awake.

Sad, I know.

Then at midnight we all toasted the New Year and I took a sip of the most rancid rat-piss I have ever tasted. I mean this stuff tasted like it was filtered through a dead man’s asshole. I’m not a big champagne fan to begin with but this stuff was truly bottom shelf. Oh well, I was with family and friends, most importantly, the woman who made 2005 (and every year we’ve been together) worth remembering.

2005 had its ups, definitely its downs, but all and all, I’m still here kickin’ even though I was in the rack by 12:30. My 2006 kickin’ can start in the morning.

Free Advice for Today: “Never miss an opportunity to go fishing with your father.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Down To the Tape

Friday, December 30th, 2005

Quote of the Day: “No. Now I’m simply confused at a higher level.”

- Foreign GO/FO when asked if he had any questions following a transformation brief at JFCOM

Again, continuing the saga from last post….

On Friday the 30th, I took the PFT at did horrible. I still got the 1st class which was good but with a 23:19 run, it was the slowest run in recent memory. The 10 pull-ups were embarrassing but I rocked the crunches. That’s the one thing I had really worked on and finished all 100 with 30 seconds to spare.

Here is where it got tricky. The Staff Sergeant that was administering the test told us that he would do the weigh-in after the test and I didn’t want to explain to him my situation in front of the PFC who was also running it. She was in absolutely no danger of either the weight restrictions nor the body fat and I remembered when I was in the same boat. For a long time I never even knew the details of the program since I was no where near the limits. Now, it’s a different story. Ask me NOW!

We went upstairs and I saw the CO of the company. Actually, it wasn’t even my company but a sister company since my company had passed me off to them because they were running a test that day.

I pulled the Major into an office and told him I was probably over my max weight and didn’t know what my body fat was. I told him I had read about the two week rule and he knew of it but pointed out that the order also states that a Marine will have a PFT on record every 6 months. If I waited for the two weeks, I would be out of regs for the portion that required a score every 6 months. So it was a matter of which part of the order I wanted to break.

This was not good news.

I thought about it for a second and said to myself that if I was overweight AND over body fat, then so be it. I was tired of stressing over this and even if I was put on weight control, I wouldn’t be on it for long. As far as my record, I wasn’t going for promotion anyway. It would have only been my pride that would take a serious blow but I resigned to put this thing to rest.

When they weighed me, I was exactly 5 pounds over my max. It was a good thing they measured me at 5’11” or it would have been double that.

I am at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to body fat percentage. I have a relatively small neck and large waist and these are the two measurements they add up and then look up on a chart based on your height to determine your body fat.

I might have lost the 5 pounds in sweat as he measured me.

I came in at 21%.

Never again will this happen. First, I could have lost that 5 pounds in the sauna if I had thought I was really going to be weighed. Second, I will never subject myself to the indignity of being taped again.

Never.

I dodged a bullet and now that I’m not under the gun, I’m going to lose the weight in a SANE manner and get down to my ideal running weight of 180.

Watch me disappear.

Free Advice for Today: “Never miss an opportunity to go traveling with your mother.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Christmas Eve Discovery

Saturday, December 24th, 2005

Quote of the Day: “I have to know what I don’t know.”

- Col (CENTCOM) during a shift changeover briefing

Continuing on from the last blog entry….

On Christmas Eve, we went over my Mom’s boyfriend’s son’s house (don’t ask) and for the first time, I was able to check my email. I received something from a friend who informed me that he had taken his PFT the week before and because of the new rules, his 1st class PFT allowed him to carry his 22% body fat without penalty.

New rules?

My eyes bored into the screen as my mouth watered.

What were these “new rules”?

I called his cell phone. No answer. I called his wife’s cell, no answer. I called his home. Nothing.

Wait, I have the friggin’ Internet at my disposal.

My first search netted nothing but the suspension of body fat percentage measurement in the Iraqi combat zone. So unless I could get myself to Iraq, that wasn’t gonna help much.

Then I found it. It was a glorious Christmas Eve gift.

It seems a few month ago, they came out with new rules pertaining to the PFT. Under the old rules, if you exceeded your max weight, you got measured for body fat. If you were under the allotted 18%, then you were good to go. If not, well, off to the remedial PT Program you go.

Under the new rules, if you are over your weight but score a 1st class PFT, you get a waiver on the body fat percentage up to 22%.

Furthermore, there had been some trouble with Marines going on epic exercise, dietary, and dehydration escapades before the PFT and then failing the test because of it.

Sound familiar?

So they mandated that the weigh in and the PFT would not happen on the same day. They said the weigh in could happen up to two weeks before or after the PFT.

TWO WEEKS!!!!

I almost drowned in my own saliva after reading this (twice, just to make sure I wasn’t having some starvation/fatigue hallucination) before pushing myself away from the computer desk and warning everyone near the food to clear out and that I was not going to take prisoners.

In about 3 minutes I ate approximately 7 pounds of carbs and sugar.

Actually, I did attack the carb/sugar combos but not as much as you would think since my gut had shrunk from lack of use. But that didn’t stop me from getting a serious case of the gut aches for the rest of the evening.

I didn’t run again for the rest of my vacation. I didn’t even THINK about running. Yes, I’m an all or nothing kind of guy folks and my bitterness at this entire situation manifested itself in a total boycott of running. I knew I wouldn’t lose the weight but I knew that I could at least make the cut in two weeks or at least the 22% body fat.

Free Advice for Today: “When traveling, stop occasionally at local cafes and diners.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Can’t I Just Lop Off A Limb?

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005

Quote of the Day: “The only thing that sucks worse than being me is being you.”

- LTC (EUCOM)

I’ve straying away from my usual mode of trying to catch up on blogs and will just pass along the most interesting story that happened and then call it good. I will be doing this in several posts but they won’t necessarily correspond to the date the things happened.

When I last left you, I was a couple of days into suffering. I had to lose a lot of weight in 11 days and was doing two-a-days along with minimal eating. I stated that it sucked and folks, that don’t cover the half of it.

After driving all the way from Virginia to Memphis, I had suffered through watching the family eat fast food as I munched on salad. When we got there, it was around freezing and I climbed into my running gear. After driving all day, I set out at about 9:00 PM into the dark along a highway to run for my allotted hour. I had to dodge cars and frostbite but I got back, not too happy, to munch on a salad and get some sleep.

When I awoke the next day, I climbed back into the running outfit and repeated the route in the morning but this time it was light. Sunrise to be exact. And still freezing.

The next day, we got to my Mom’s house in Oklahoma and I had to run in the dark again after driving all day. It still bit but at least it was novel to run around a lake. I also had to break it to my mother that her skinny little baby was over his max weight and had to work out twice a day in addition to almost total starvation to make the cut. She took it well and it was better than feigning disinterest in her cooking.

For the next few days, I maintained my exercise/starvation routine until I started getting large blisters on the insoles of both feet. I had to put a big patch of mole skin on them and grind my teeth at the pain.

I was kind of scared of four things:

1. I would not lose all the weight
2. I would injure myself and could not do any more running
3. I was not eating enough to maintain the strength to work out
4. I would be so weak at the end of all this that I would bolo the PFT.

Free Advice for Today: “Do something every day that maintains your good health.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

Hey, I’m taking the family to Oklahoma and Kansas for the holiday and since I will be traveling back 100 years, I will have little to no Internet connectivity. If you send me email, please know that I might not see it until I get back so it might be awhile before I answer. I mean, you know, longer than usual (I have 190 emails in my inbox, the oldest dated 7/6/2003). So we’ll be back in 10 days and as usual, if you’re gonna rob my house, now would be the time.

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Christmas Cramp

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

Quote of the Day: “Nothing is too good for you guys…and that’s exactly what you’re gonna get.”

- LTC (EUCOM) describing the way Army policy is formulated

Not My Stomach
(Not mine.)

This morning started really early after all but fainting last night (I’m told my kids DID kiss me goodnight but I have my doubts).

I felt like I hadn’t slept and with this cold combined with insane exercise, it was a rough one, folks. But what choice do I have? I had to get up and get into the gym.

I ran out of steam at about 20 minutes into the dreadmill so had to sloth through the last 10 minutes wondering where my life had taken its Hellish turn. After that, I dragged my sorry ass to the sauna for 15 minutes of sweating in the presence of 3 naked men. It was all legit and above board, you pervs!

After that, I knew I didn’t have the gumpsha to attack the elliptical so I settled on 15 minutes on the bike, the entire time feeling like I wanted to die. I was soaked to the bone by the end (a good sign) but the walk back to my office was something akin to the 14th level of Hell. You see, I was soaked and it was about 30 degrees. And I wonder why I’m sick.

I left work at noon (good old leave rules), escaping the draw of a office holiday party. I stayed far away, knowing that the mere smell of junk food would bloat me up like a puffer fish.

When I got home, I helped my wife as much as I could (consisting of wrapping three of her gifts, one being MY Forrest Gump DVD). I also assisted her in packing all MY stuff for the trip and collapsing on the bed for a 45 minute nap before the kids got home.

I waited for my son to get home so he could get a fresh haircut with me but when he got home, it ends up unlike me, he didn’t want one and Carrie said he didn’t need one. So I waited for nothing but thanks to my promise not to fly off the handle, I took it in stride. Bumbling, trippy stride but stride none the less.

When I got back from getting a haircut, I changed over for my second trip to the gym today. I drove to the YMCA with all the glee normally reserved only for the capital punishmentees but I popped a Gu packet and was ready for the run.

The 30 minutes went better and I actually had enough energy for the 15 minutes of elliptical and 15 minutes on the bike, although I think I could have been cited for impaired driving on the way home. But dammit, the 2 workouts got done.

When I got home (again) I ordered Buster up to the bathroom to knock out his bath before I took my shower. Yes, one thing after another but this little evolution contained the night’s defining moment.

As I was leaning over to wash old Buster (yes, we wash him in our big tub), someone stabbed me in the gut.

The pain was indescribable. Right where my appendicitis scar is, my ab muscle cramped so hard that it twisted and I was left open-mouthed and silent. I grabbed for the area and felt the knot. I actually felt it.

Luckily, Carrie was right there albeit really scared as I could not explain what was happening to me. All I knew is that I had to get to the bed and lay down in the hope that the muscle would untangle if I put that pressure on it. I laid on my back and arched it, eyes as wide open as my mouth.

I had simply dropped the shower head, stumbled out of the bathroom with only my underwear on, and collapsed on the bed. About 10 seconds and an eternity later, the pain subsided. When I could talk, I told Carrie to shut the bedroom door. I really didn’t want my kids to see this. Then I told her to make sure Buster the Emote was OK.

I promised not to get mad. A week earlier, I would have had unfocused anger at this situation but I had made a promise I really wanted to keep. So I got up, walked back into the bathroom, and assured both my wife and my dog that everything was OK, neither of which likely believed me. I finished the job with a lot of trepidation (I did not want another sneak attack) and took a shower. For the rest of the night, the dull, threatening pain would be right there, waiting to pounce.

Later in the evening, we opened our Christmas presents since we didn’t want to drag them to Oklahoma. Yes, my kids got to celebrate Christmas on December 20th. Brats.

Right now I don’t have the strength to adequately describe the scene (I’m just barely hanging on, my friends). It was a happy night and I can say that my kids, for some reason, have genuine appreciation for every gift we gave them. They don’t expect them and are truly thankful for the presents. Weird.

And I kept forgetting it was my turn when it came to opening the presents. I was just happy to watch them and while I appreciate the gifts I was given, nothing can top watching my children revel in the togetherness we shared tonight.

I am a lucky man, cramp and all.

Free Advice for Today: “Never leave a loved on in anger.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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The Return Of Fatty McNasty

Monday, December 19th, 2005

Quote of the Day: “I’d be happy to classify this document for you. Could you tell me its classification?”

- GS11 (EUCOM) in an email from the Foreign Disclosure office

Remember this story?

I wasn’t going to write about this but now I guess I have to. It only seems right (and ironic) after my latest discussions with Ray.

I blew past my max weight, according to the Marine Corps, so now I have to do heroic measures to lose the weight.

How did this happen? Easy, I got hooked on working out, built up some muscle under the layer of fat I already had but was dealing with. Then I served on the court martial and although I tried to work out at night, it didn’t work out (get it?) so I basically went a week without much activity. Then I went on a business trip and didn’t get around to working out there either but instead, thought it pertinent to gorge myself at all the local restaurants.

When I got back, I was reminded that I had not taken my semi-annual PFT. Oops. BIG oops. Included in this little joy each 6 months is a weigh-in.

So I went to the scale and hopped on. When the crying stopped, I realized what I had to do: massive, quick weight loss. I have 11 days.

My plan: work out at least twice a day with cardio and eat very little.

If you think that sounds tough (and it does to me), consider that I’m embarking on a trip home for the holidays to my Midwest Mexican side of the family where there’s enough Mexican food and other holiday goodies to choke an elephant.

This elephant will not be able to partake. I will have to abstain AND run twice a day.

This is going to suck.

The worst part about this is that I have to cut my trip short in order to get back and run the PFT on the 30th. But I promised my wife that I would try, really try, to not let my starvation and utter exhaustion interfere with the joy of the trip. And I mean it, I am going to be hyper-aware of my mood and even if I have to fake it, I will be the poster child for holiday cheer.

How did I fare the first day? At lunch I ran on the treadmill for 30 minutes, biked for 30 minutes, sat in the sauna for 15 minutes, rode the elliptical machine for 15 minutes, and sat in the sauna again for 15 minutes. Then I had a few bites of stew for lunch.

When I got home, I took a ½ hour nap (sweet Nirvana) and then headed to the YMCA where I did another 30 minutes on the treadmill, 15 minutes on the elliptical, and 15 minutes on the bike. When I got home again and took a shower, I kept my dinner down to a porkchop, a small helping of sodium free rice, and a big bowl of salad.

I could have eaten half the kitchen. Not what’s IN the kitchen… literally half the kitchen.

I don’t remember much after that other than Carrie was busy getting things ready for the trip and I barely had enough strength left to get things ready for tomorrow. As I went to bed, my last waking thoughts were those of doubt. Can I really do this?

And then before everything faded to black, I realized that my throat was sore and my nose was running. For a warped peek into my head, I actually thought that getting sick would help me lose some of the weight.

Free Advice for Today: “Choose a clothing salesperson who dresses as you wished you did.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Catch up Blog

Sunday, December 18th, 2005

Quote of the Day: “That’s FUBIJAR.”

- COL (CENTCOM) [Fucked Up, But I'm Just a Reservist]

OK, a lot has been going on and I have to get caught up with things before we take off next week. I will be bringing my laptop to do blogs but I don’t know when I’ll have time to post since my mom has no internet connection and everyone else I know in Kansas where I’ll be has dial-up if any at all.

Good Lord, I just realized I will not have ready access to the Internet for 2 weeks. I think I just peed a little.

We went shopping today to get Carrie her Christmas gifts. My “gift” was braving the crowds and letting her show me exactly what she wanted, in the time-tested tradition of all husbands across the land.

The only mistake we made was going out hungry and hitting the Wal-Mart before going to the mall where our planned Wendy’s stop was to take place. I tend to get… moody … when I go out hungry and then with us braving the crowds, it was a potential disaster. But I tried to remember that it was Christmas and people can’t help that they are friggin’ retards.

I scored the Forrest Gump DVD from Costco as a surprise stocking stuffer. For me.

Random discovery: Mitch Hedberg died last March. He was one of my favorite comics. Actually, I guess I can’t say that since he died 9 months ago and I just found out but I really did enjoy his comedy.

And the dude from West Wing bit it too. I don’t watch the show and liked him better when he was on LA Law. What’s up with famous people having heart attacks?

Another random discovery: if you type in “define:” into Google followed by any word, it will return a definition for you. And if you type in “weather:” and then your zip code, you get a forecast.

Tomorrow I have to take a PFT (Physical Fitness Test) which sucks because I haven’t been running or working out for a couple of weeks. All that work and I get squeezed at the last because I have to get it done before the new year. Effin’ regulations.

Some stuff I got to get done: we are giving photo albums to my mom and dad for Christmas so we spent like $70 to make prints from digital pics so now I have to write the comments in the albums. Manual writing…. UUUUUUUhhhh!!!!

I have WEEKS worth of papers to read. They WERE news, but now they are more of a mocking vendetta. Good thing I got the Washington Post on Sundays on top of the local paper.

Parting shot: I watched SNL on TiVo tonight. It had Jack Black and it sucked serious ass. The only two redeeming parts were Weekend Update (almost always solid) and a rap with Chris Parnell and one of the new cast members. Parnell plays the dorky Dad or middle-aged, stodgy cracker in most skits but for some reason, the little white man can rap hardcore. The rap they did was just of them going to see a movie but it was really good. I should go and see if I can get it on mp3.

Yeah, another thing to do. That’s my world, folks.

Stay tuned.

Free Advice for Today: “Set limits on the amount and content of television your children watch.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Goodbye To Killjoy

Saturday, December 17th, 2005

Quote of the Day: “I keep myself confused on purpose, just in case I am captured and fall into enemy hands!”

- GO/FO (CENTCOM)

Today was a sad day even though I tried to make it a happier event. On the other hand, I did get more time with Killjoy and Weezer than I thought I would.

The original plan was that I would get home on Friday night after my week-long trip to Parris Island and then the next morning, get up and help Killjoy and her husband load their U-Haul. They were scheduled to leave after we were done.

So, you know, I had manual labor to look forward to and then a “so-long” from some very special people. BTW, I had warned Carrie a long time ago that I would not be handling all this very well. As it got closer, my prediction was accurate.

Things worked out a little different. Brian and his dad got the truck loaded on Friday and took off. This left Killjoy and Weezer to stay for the house inspection this morning so Carrie invited them to stay the night at our house last night. She figured our son’s room was a bit more appealing than a hotel.

When we got up, we all went over to drop Killjoy and Weezer off. Carrie wanted to say goodbye to her as late as she could and we needed to load a dresser Killjoy was giving us and haul the last of her trash away. But my daughter had a basketball practice so Carrie had to take off after helping load up Truckasaurus.

I got to talk to Killjoy for a few moments before the inspector showed up and I continued my apology from last night. I have been rather harsh on my blog and hers in the name of humor but it had gotten out of hand. I didn’t want her to leave thinking I disliked her or that her readers thought she had an enemy.

When the inspector got there, I was in charge of the Weezer. You can call this my job for the next ½ hour but I saw it more of an honor. I have developed a real soft spot for this child and I am forever grateful that I got a chance to spend a half hour with her. She was cold so we got into Truckasaurus, cranked up the heat, and she showed me all the cats from the book we got her. It had funny pictures of cats and we laughed the entire time.

Killjoy charmed the inspector so he let her slide on some of the inspection items (of course) and they were set to go.

How do you say goodbye to people you truly like and that you know you will miss? I was never very good at this and I don’t think I will ever be. I could tell Killjoy was fighting off the tears just as she had when Carrie left. In times like this, all the regrets of a relationship come rushing back. I regretted the things I had said on her blog, on my blog, and even the smartass quips I had made over the last 6 months. I regretted that we could o longer call Killjoy and beg her to come over and join us for dinner and an evening of just hanging out.

But then I was thankful. I was thankful for the friendship she had shown Carrie. How much of a friend she had become to Carrie at a time when friends were hard to come by. I was thankful for the affection she extended to my children and even to my stupid dog who she was allergic to. I was thankful for the many times she joined us and lit up an evening with her humor and her engaging presence.

When I drove off, I had an all-together too familiar feeling. After 18 ½ years in the Marine Corps, my wife and I have been served more than our fair share of this particular dish. We always seem to be saying goodbye either because we are leaving or our friends are. You would think we would used to it by now or at least good at it.

We’re not.

The rest of the day felt empty. Like the life had been drained out of it. There was something missing. Although there had been weeks sometimes without seeing them, just knowing that Killjoy and Weezer were gone (and they weren’t even actually GONE yet!) drained life out of the day.

Throughout the rest of the day, I kept saying to Carrie “Claire is missing me right now. I can feel it.” She would laugh a little and give me a condescending nod/smile combo.

Now we have another push pin on our map of friends. Looks like St Louis will now be a required stop when traveling.

Free Advice for Today: “Never comment on someone’s weight unless you know it’s what they want to hear.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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100 Random Facts About Me

Friday, December 16th, 2005

Quote of the Day: “Does anybody around here remember if I did anything this year?”

- LTC (EUCOM) preparing his Officer Evaluation Report support form

1. I showed interest in computers as early as 1980 but my step-father supported this by giving me a stack of tech manuals and telling me to have at it. I retain a lot of animosity about that now.

2. I have one older brother who I keep in touch with and two younger half-sisters I really don’t.

3. I have no fears of any kind of bug. I’ve only been stung by one bee because I stepped on it by a pool in Hawaii.

4. It drives me nuts to have any foreign substance on my hands.

5. I never held any leadership positions in Marine Corps bootcamp.

6. I was one of the most hated lieutenants at TBS for various reasons.

7. I detest seafood in any form.

8. Sarah McLachlan is my favorite artist.

9. My first kiss was in 6th grade and Susan Shuck instigated it.

10. Given the opportunity, I would nap 1 ½ hours every day regardless of the amount of sleep at night.

11. My body is very sensitive to imbalances: cheap drunk, dizzy blood donations

12. I have one tattoo: a bulldog with a DI cover and the letters USMC under it. It’s on my right shoulder.

13. I’ve been put under only once in my life: appendicitis in 2000.

14. I have run 13 marathons and two 50-mile ultras since my first marathon in 2000. (not related to #13).

15. I have never vomited, took an IV, DORed, or fainted during or after a race.

16. I am aware that #15 could all happen in one race.

17. My favorite movie is Braveheart. Gladiator is a close second.

18. I have serious hero worship issues concerning Drill Instructors.

19. My only regret in my Marine Corps career is that I was not a DI.

20. I lived on my own during my entire senior year of high school with no car.

21. I married my high school sweetheart when I was 19 and she was 18. We are still married.

22. I’ve placed an incalculable number of kisses upon both my children’s heads and continue to do so into their teen years.

23. I set my alarm clock 27 minutes before I get up so I can hit the snooze button 3 times.

24. I have a very soft spot for cute little girls, in a fatherly way and not a creepy way.

25. As a kid, I was very self-conscious that I was skinny and had skinny hairy legs.

26. Both my grandfathers were Army Drill Sergeants.

27. My father had me and my brother in order to avoid the draft and Vietnam.

28. I gave my future wife a gold necklace for Valentine’s Day a week after we met.

29. My son was born 5 years to the day after my wife and I met.

30. My facial hair pattern includes porkchops, goatee, and upper lip but if I let it grow, it wouldn’t be pretty.

31. I can’t sleep unless I’m laying all the way down.

32. I have absolutely no talent when it comes to fixing things. This is due to my short temper and high frustration level.

33. I was on one Little League baseball team and one football team my entire childhood (once each).

34. I was the Oklahoma Free-Throw Champion in 1981, hitting 19 out of 20 to beat a kid who had hit 18 out of 20 before me. I missed my sixth attempt.

35. I got a t-shirt for my troubles and didn’t make the school basketball team; the only time I ever tried out.

36. In 10th grade, my former best friend hit me in the face after we got off the bus because he heard I was talking shit about him. I walked away because I was scared he would beat me up. I never quite recovered from that moment of cowardice.

37. I’ve had two step-fathers and two step-mothers. I’ve lived with both step-fathers and only one of the step-mothers.

38. My first step-father abused me and my brother without my mother’s knowledge.

39. I would attack him if I saw him and might even come close to killing him if I saw him today. There would be no “might” for my brother.

40. I cannot tolerate people chewing ice in my presence.

41. I remember asking my father if I could go with him when he left our family, unaware he was leaving for good. I think I was 2 or 3.

42. In the first Gulf War, I spent many nights wrapped in a sleeping bag with only my face and hands sticking out, playing Tetris and listening to the field radio waiting for an attack. I was the night shift Corporal of the Guard.

43. I used to want to skydive one day. Now, you couldn’t force me. I’ve become deathly afraid of heights as an adult.

44. I clip my fingernails and toenails so short they often bleed.

45. I almost quit OCS and asked to drop out of the commissioning program. The Sergeant Instructors talked me down.

46. My first 4 admin chiefs left much to be desired. I fired one on the spot. The fifth one is still the best admin guru I ever met.

47. Not knowing better, I had my dress blue PFC chevrons sewed on to my Service “A” uniform after bootcamp.

48. Sometimes I don’t start projects because I know I will obsess over it, neglecting sleep, family, food, exercise, and everything else in my life.

49. I rarely prepare for public speaking and have no fear when doing so.

50. I am prejudice towards fat people and homosexuals for very different reasons.

51. My knees pop loudly when I squat and my jaw cracks when open my mouth wide.

52. I get lost every time I go anywhere new. And this infuriates me.

53. I’ve been a DJ for a club and have read the news on TV once.

54. I like to sleep in the cold with pajamas and lots of blankets.

55. I was once sliced on the eyebrow with a machete when I was a kid hiding in the neighbor’s bushes. My mom thought my eye was done until they cleaned it up.

56. I’ve broken only one finger: my pinky twice. Once punching my brother in the head in 6th grade and once playing full-on football for 1st Tank Battalion at age 30.

57. I’ve only failed one class in my life: calculus in 12th grade.

58. My mother was a beauty queen. My father was a brawler.

59. I write better than I talk.

60. As a kid, we were so poor that I used to eat plain sugar or Jello powder as a snack.

61. I only snore when I’m extremely tired.

62. My brother and I share a deep sentimentality and sense of humor.

63. Although my brother made straight D’s and I straight A’s in high school, I always considered him more common-sense smart than me. This despite my master’s degree in IT.

64. I’ve nightmared for years that I’m out of the Corps without knowing what to do next.

65. In junior high, I had an very realistic, apocalyptic dream involving finding a girl in my class as we wandered the Hellscape. I didn’t know that girl but I always felt different about her after that point and she never knew.

66. My first day in 8th grade I was new at the school and was almost dropped to my knees by a look from a very shy girl with the spookiest blue eyes I ever saw. Her name was Eileen and I can still vividly remember that moment.

67. I had 7 girlfriends that year and Eileen was not one of them. They all broke up with me because I was too shy.

68. In 10th grade I was nailed in the forehead by a soccer ball and was so embarrassed, I faked unconsciousness. It got worse when the ambulance came and I maintained the rouse until I got to the hospital.

69. In 7th grade a found a packet of lunch tickets and got caught using one a month later. I lied and said I bought it from an unknown student.

70. The only time I ever smoked cigarettes was a few weeks as a teen and when I was in Saudi. I had my last one on the tarmac coming home.

71. I am a reckless driver but I’ve only been in one accident which was minor and not my fault.

72. I’ve never been arrested.

73. I’ve been in one major and three minor earthquakes in my life. Each time I was scared to the point of hysteria.

74. I’ve seen one tornado in my life.

75. I’ve only seen two dead people in my life. A great-uncle and my grandfather.

76. My lowest point of depression to date was when Karen Jones broke up with me in high school.

77. I am scared to die.

78. I saw Wolfman Jack and Leonard Nimoy at a car show when I was a kid. I was thrilled.

79. In 1986, I saw Michael Jackson in concert in Canada.

80. I have a lot of gray hair and it doesn’t bother me.

81. I eat a lot of cucumbers. Peeled, cut into disks with salt.

82. I have an aversion to watching cash transactions. I walk off when my wife pays for anything.

83. I maximize the use of every amenity hotels have to offer. I use all the towels every day.

84. I’ve had my head shaved twice in my life. Bootcamp and OCS. I have an ugly head.

85. I believe that I will be wealthy some day. Like REALLY wealthy.

86. In my military career, all I ever wanted to be was a Sergeant and a Captain. I’ve been both.

87. I’m not interested in military history or firearms.

88. I have unusually small wrists and weak ankles.

89. I still have to mentally convert civilian time to military time in my head. Especially past 8:00 PM.

90. I use mousse, hairspray, and a hair dryer every day.

91. I’m constantly amazed that my wife is so extraordinary in so many areas.

92. I consistently fail to let her know that.

93. I want to teach at a University-level one day.

94. I want to write a book one day.

95. I’ve only read two books more than once: Sein Language and Replay.

96. I’ve never had braces, glasses, or a cast.

97. I use 4 Q-Tips after every shower. Two for each ear.

98. I could never dance like no one is watching. Ever.

99. I have a deep hatred for marijuana and all other illicit drugs.

100. I’m very concerned how my children will perceive me when they are adults.

Free Advice for Today: “Find a job you love and give it everything you’ve got.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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