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Needs of the Marine Corps

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

Thursday

Quote of the Day: “Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation, for ’tis better to be alone than in bad company.”

- George Washington

Today the Colonel wanted to see me.

“Jason, I need you to be the 3.”

He was talking about becoming the S3 or Operations Officer for the Battalion.

He was obviously uncomfortable telling me this because we both knew what this meant.

I had to give up my Command.

To understand the depth of this, you have to understand a few things.

- First, it is every Officer’s ultimate goal to have Command. (Command means that you are a Commanding Officer of a unit whether that be a Platoon or a Division. This is opposed to being assigned as a staff officer which means you don’t have Command.)

- I am an Adjutant and by definition, that’s a staff billet. This means that the chances of ever having Command was microscopically slim in the first place. I had pretty much accepted this when the opportunity to be the Headquarters Company Commander fell into my lap. That I was a CO was an oddity I cherished.

- I only had Command for a year. The norm is two years.

Logically, the move made sense. The Battalion CO was moving on in a month and so was my fellow Company Commander over in Service Company. So the XO and I were considered continuity for the Battalion and he wanted me in a higher position to provide that corporate knowledge of the Battalion to the incoming CO.

The current Operations Officer got orders and the Major we were supposed to get got diverted so the CO needed to fill in the gaps without leaving a big steaming manning turd on the incoming CO’s plate.

Plus, I will be picking up Major soon which would be a better fit as the Operations Officer and would prevent the Companies from being lopsided. I would be a Major and the other would be a Captain, at least for awhile.

Finally, the CO didn’t want to put a new Captain in the S3 billet and would rather have him run the Company and pull me up to Battalion.

For all these reasons, the CO had to pull me in and let me in on the decision he made.

I won’t lie, it hurt.

He was gracious and even apologetic which, as much as it wounded me to hear I was losing my Command, I felt awkward witnessing a full bird Colonel squirm a bit in front of a Captain on my account.

I said “Sir, if you need me at Operations, that’s where I go. I’m a Marine. You are the Commanding Officer. If the Battalion needs me there, that’s my new marching orders.”

I have about two weeks.

To wear a brave face.

Free Advice for Today: “When you find a coin on the ground, pick it up and give it to the first person you see.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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I’m Reading About The Clan

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

Wednesday

Quote of the Day: “Virtue is its own punishment.”

- Aneurin Bevan

For a very long time, I have been planning to read a certain series.

OK, yeah, you are right, that covers a lot of territory since I own more books than I’ll ever get to but because I have to build these long-term stresses that preside way back in the back of my mind of things to get to. This was just one of them.

I wanted to read the “Earth’s Children” series.

The first book is “Clan of the Cave Bear” and the only thing I knew about it was that it was made into a movie with Daryl Hannah years ago which tanked big time.

Then my wife told me she read it when she was a teen bride (when we first got married) and liked it.

I always thought it was a series for kids but it was one of the plethora of things “I’ll get to” even if it meant reading a children’s series. Hell, I’m caught up with Harry Potter so who am I to talk?

Carrie tells me it’s not really just a kids book which reminded me of the argument I use on people who think the Harry Potter series is just a kids’ series. It’s not. Really. Pick it up and read a little if you don’t believe me. Go ‘head! I double-dog dare ya!

Then fate stepped in and I found the entire series at a library sale (that I saw on a sign and put it in my Outlook as a reminder. Cuz I’m THAT geeky.) I was the youngest human in the room by 8 decades.

I found the entire series for like a buck each (hardcover!) and then I discovered that Jean Auel had autographed one of them. She wrote the series if you Einsteins didn’t figure that out yet. Try to keep up.

So of course that was a sign from God that I had to start reading it.

Last night I finished “Dreaming In Code” (eh…) and thought to myself, “Self, you should start that Clan of the Cave Bear series.”

I have learned that when I talk to myself and actually refer to myself as “Self,” I had better do whatever comes next.

I won’t give it away except for the fact that so far, the main character is named Ayla and is the spitting image of the Weez.

At least in my mind’s eye when I read. But that’s just me.

Free Advice for Today: “When visitors ask, be able to recommend three or four free hometown ‘must sees.’”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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When Good Runs Go Bad

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

Tuesday

Quote of the Day: “Adventure is just bad planning.”

- Roald Amundsen

Bad run!

You were a bad little run today!

No! No!

I can’t even begin to tell you how much today’s run sucked ass. I mean, today’s run was the kind of run that non-runners look at and say, see, running sucks.

Because it did today.

I got out about ¾ of the way and I crashed. The heat seemed to spike, my blood sugar plummeted, and my will to keep going evaporated. I was reduced to walking.

And hating.

See, even those of us that run a lot can have off days where, to tell the truth, running is not really worth it. Not worth the intangibles that we espouse continually.

Today’s running was like getting 4 nickels in exchange for a $100 bill.

Today’s run sucked like a Hoover.

Today’s run ate my lunch.

Today’s run rammed a gag in my mouth and called me gimp.

Today’s run was like Michael Moore’s underwear: not pleasant under any circumstance.

Today’s run was as fun as recreational dentistry from the blind.

Today’s run was like mixing a tube of toothpaste in orange juice and guzzling it while clawing a chalkboard.

Today’s run was to “fun” as Momma Cass was to “svelte.”

Today’s run was simply asstastic.

You get the idea.

Free Advice for Today: “Call your parents as soon as you return from a long trip.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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The Danger of Writing In The Future

Monday, May 28th, 2007

Monday

Quote of the Day: “You see me as a sweet back-loaded puppet and you’ve got a meal ticket taste.”

- Alanis Morissette: Right Through You

OK, I gotta be honest here. Right at this very moment, it’s the night of August 28th, 2007 and if you look up at the “date” of this post, you can see I’m behind in writing my blog.

For you long time sufferers readers, you understand what I’m talking about.

See, I get behind. First by days, then weeks, and eventually months. I just can’t help it but rather than just skip to the present, I write myself little notes about what went on that day and then I try to catch up by reading these notes and then writing as though it was that day. A little practice in memory, if you will.

Why don’t you just give up and jump to the present, you jackass?

A little less attitude, please.

But to answer your question, because years from now, it won’t matter that I wrote a blog entry two or three (or four) months after the actual date. The words, the ideas will pertain to that particular day in my life and if I skip it, I will forever lose what happened that day. I will never remember that again and neither will anyone else.

Great, so no one will know I was talking about fecal matter, my dumb dog, fat people, or gays. Big deal, right?

Well, it is to me and that is why I operate like that.

A few times a year I actually catch up so there is hope.

So why did I come clean today? Well, I opened the Word file I use to craft the blogs before cutting and pasting in to my blog software and I saw this:

Mon May 28
Memorial Day
Run with Paola

Now I’ve been doing this for a long time and this is the FIRST time I’ve ever been stumped.

First, I have no memory of what I actually did for Memorial day 3 months ago. I can guess that the answer was “not much” but I really couldn’t BS my way through any explanation. I even tried to look up my 2006 entry but it seems I was in the same predicament then and I guess I’m a one-trick pony when it comes to making shit up for Memorial Day.

So I move on to the second entry and I have absolutely no recollection of running with my friend Paola. None.

I thought, did I run with her at MCRD? No.

At Balboa where she works? Nope, never actually ran there. Ever.

Penesquitos? No, I don’t recall ever going with her out there.

My house?

No.

Her house?

Once again, no.

So where have I ever run with Paola?

There was a race at Miramar I ran with her. Was that it? On Memorial Day?

Sorry, now I’m just rambling but that shows you why I want to capture these moments, although I really should take better notes if I’m gonna keep writing in the past. Or is it the future since I’m writing about May 28th at the end of August (the future)?

Free Advice for Today: “Learn to use the four-digit extension to your zip code.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Scum Glorified

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

Sunday

Quote of the Day: “An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.”

- G. K. Chesterton

Everyone is going crazy over the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie. The very fact that I pointed that out will clue you in that I was not among the throngs. I said “throngs” people, stay with me!

I am not a big pirate fan to begin with. Everybody is enthralled with the romantic notion of a handsome, rebellious adventurer roaming the sea and reveling in the beauty of the open ocean.

But in truth, pirates were criminals. Murderers. And they were uneducated, ignorant, filthy, uncouth, dregs of society. Basically the worst of the worst on a dirty ship living a really shitty life around people of their same quality.

And WHY would I hold them up on a pedestal? Even though Hollywood wants you to think the adventurous life of a pirate is appealing, not many of us would last a day as a real pirate and if we did, it wouldn’t take long before we realized it’s really not the life we would want to live nor would we run into the likes of Captain Sparrow.

So with this realistic view of what these idiots were, it’s hard for me to appreciate a movie that sensationalizes even a fictional story about these buffoons.

But of course, the kids were all jazzed up to see it so we all headed to the theater with our friend Paola who is a HUGE pirate fan. I mean, she’s not huge, just a big fan. No, not big, she’s slim… I mean… never-mind.

Anyway, her being this pirate nut gives me just another reason to make fun of her as I tend to do with all of our family friends that happen to have ovaries.

So I never really had a chance to enjoy this movie. I mean, I hate pirates so what were the chances I would like this movie?

Oh sure, it had a beautiful damsel but she was too skinny for my tastes (and pouty) so that didn’t keep my attention for the, what, 7 and a half hours this friggin’ movie lasted?

About the only thing that somewhat kept my attention was the special effects but even those were overdone. I mean, I can suspend reality with the best of them. I mean, I DO think I am somewhat of an ultrarunner so there you go. But everyone has their limits and this exceeded mine.

Implausible to impossible scenario, one after another for a half dozen hours. Here we go again with some insane special effect that probably cost more than I made in a decade.

By the middle (which was, what, at the 4-hour mark?) my eyes were sore from rolling them so much. I looked over at Paola and she was swallowing the whole damn thing hook, line, and “can I get my money back?”

But then again, she’s all in to pirates so go for it.

The kids loved it too and I guess if I were a kid, I too would have been wowed by the special effects but today……not so much.

Pirates suck. Arrrg.

Free Advice for Today: “Support family-run businesses.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Butch

Saturday, May 26th, 2007

Saturday

Quote of the Day: “Ethics are so annoying. I avoid them on principle.”

- Darby Conley

I’m sitting at my computer today and resigned myself that I ain’t doing jack but eating, sleeping, and computing. I’m not even getting out of my pajamas, I’m not shaving, and what I AM going to do is revel in bedhead all the live long day.

A perfect day.

Until Buster starts barking his fool head off outside.

“BUSTER!”

Stupid dog.

But he won’t stop. Carrie and the kids are out somewhere not participating in the sloth-o-thon I committed to so I have to un-ass my computer chair to investigate what Stupidicus the Retarded Dog is making such a commotion about.

I go to the backyard but he isn’t there. I come back in and realize he is at the front gate so I open the front door, take a right, and staring at me from the other side of my front gate is a policeman in full uniform.

Shit.

He’s looking at me with kind of a smile but I’m fixated on the uniform as he reaches up to turn down the radio mike. He just stands there not saying anything.

Hello” came my awesome introduction.

Hi” he says without elaboration, keeping that strange little smile on his face as Buster barks incessantly.

BUSTER! Don’t worry, he’s friendly, just an idiot.”

The cop just kept smiling at me and finally I tentatively said “Do I know you?”

With that same smile he said “Not since high school…”

I looked down at his name badge and I saw a name I hadn’t seen in a long time. I immediately looked back up at his face and recognized who I was looking at.

It was Butch.

He doesn’t go by “Butch” anymore but to me, he will always be “Butch.” And to tell the truth, he was not your typical “Butch.” Actually, he was a happy go-lucky preppie with a constant smile and a joking, playful personality that made him popular with just about every group.

Despite the nickname, he was not a fighter or a bully. He was just a great personailty who always seemed to be in a good mood and expressed it in a very gregarious manner.

Butch and I had gone to high school in Federal Way Washington back in 1987 and although I had been in recent contact with him over email after creating the reunion webpage, I had not actually seen him since graduation.

He had told me he was a policemen and lived in the are but I hadn’t made a concerted effort to look him up and I definitely didn’t recognize him right away. All I knew is that there was a cop at my door and that is never a good thing, except I guess in this situation.

It occurred to me later that I should have been worried that my family was out and a cop was coming by my house. I guess the thought of them getting hurt and a policeman coming to tell me should have crossed my mind but obviously, I’m an idiot.

I invited Butch in and apologized for my pajamas, slippers, unshaven face, and bedhead. I was a sight to behold for someone who hadn’t seen me in almost 20 years.

Buster, of course, had to give him the full crotch inspection a few times as he came into the house. I called my son down to meet Butch but to Alex, it was just a cop and he had no way to fathom how strange it was for me to introduce him to a guy I hadn’t seen in two decades and how strange it must have been for Butch to see the 15-year-old version of me after all these years.

Butch had a seat and we began to talk. Let me correct that… I began to talk. He must have caught me in a talkative mood because I started blabbering nonstop and he was probably sorry he stopped by after a few minutes.

Every few minutes, his radio would crackle and I would have to stop while he listened to whatever was going on. Then he would nod at me to continue and this went on for about a half hour.

I ended up telling him the backstory of me during high school that he didn’t know. And I kept going to a depth that even surprised me. I hadn’t gotten into that kind of detail for a long time.

As suddenly as our visit started, it ended. He got a call and had to kind of rush out. Either that or he had had enough and wanted to get the hell out of my house. Either, or.

I promised to call him and we would make plans for our families to meet up for BBQ. Such a change from back in high school where we made plans to party.

Now it’s called “get-togethers.”

Free Advice for Today: “When on vacation or a family holiday, don’t be too concerned about the cost. This is not a time to count pennies; it’s time to make memories.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

4 comments


What’s 90 Plus 6?

Friday, May 25th, 2007

Friday

Quote of the Day: “A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold.”

- Ogden Nash

96 hours.

I have 96 hours.

That’s four full days!

To do: nothing.

If I want to.

Is there anything better than 4 full days off?

I know, five days but work with me here.

I don’t care how senior you get, what positions you hold, a 96 is just the biggest slice of sumpin’ sumpin’.

And I don’t have any big plans. I don’t have to travel, I don’t have to go anywhere, I can just sit at home, catch up on the computer, sleep (yes, blissful sleep), and see just how long my wolf-hair facial pattern can get.

I don’t know what to say, I’m just drunk with anticipation. Or anti-anticipation because “anticipation” hints that you have something to get to.

I have nothing.

That’s my goal: just do what I want to do and if that’s shoving Cheetos in my gob for four days, a shovin’ I will do.

Free Advice for Today: “Every couple of months, spend thirty minutes or so in a big toy store.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Toenails To ‘Go Nails’ To ‘No Nails’

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

Thursday

Quote of the Day: “The glory of great men should always be measured by the means they have used to acquire it.”

- Francois de La Rochefoucauld


(not my foot; mine’s a lot uglier)

Guess what I lost.

Car keys?

My mind?

My virginity? (well, yeah, hello two kids!)

What I was getting at was something a little lower. As low as it gets.

Toenails.

Two of them. But they were weak little bastards.

Now it’s strange that I would lose the same nail on each foot, the second one in, next to the big toe.

My feet are TORE. UP. after the 50 miler I just ran and it seems what took most of the punishment were the toes from falling running downhill the last couple of dozen miles.

But no blisters, or not serious ones. Little wimpy ones but nothing you can see the bone through or anything that looks like a football pad stuck to my feet.

Way back in 2000 before I even started marathoning, I remember one of the Horsemen (in fact, the one that convinced us all to run: Gary Bash), told us that he lost a toenail the first time he ran a marathon. I can vividly remember this being the scariest, most intimidating concept to me.

“You lost WHAT? A toenail? Good Lord, what must happen for you to lose a TOENAIL?!”

Now, losing a toenail is a relatively low pain event compared to the real boogy men of running insane distances.

This has only happened to me a couple of times before and weirdly enough, I had run many races before it happened the first time which wasn’t even a race! I had run two 50 mile races and kept all my nails but what popped my toenail cherry was a 40 mile training run I just decided to do in Virginia one weekend.

So I knew what to expect and when I saw the discoloration under both nails, I knew what was happening.

Warning, read on only if you have the stomach for it and don’t come bitchin’ to me, I warned you.

The blisters were forming underneath to toenail which pushes the nail up. You get this reddish purple hue through a milky clear nail.

Once that little slice of happiness is done, you pop it if you can.

Done wincing?

Good, because it was unnecessary…it doesn’t hurt at all.

I know, but I’m here to tell ya. If there was ever a person to be sensitive to pain, it’s yours truly so take it as fact, no pain every time I’ve done it.

So I drained the suckers out and then waited. After a day or two, the nails get a bit bowed from being pushed up by the blister that isn’t there anymore. So the nail turns white like the tips of your nails when they clear the bed.

The reason you wait is because all that tender skin underneath has to dry up and the nail protects it.

Now you could just let the nail fall off but that would require some semblance of self control and for some reason I’m not ready to investigate, I HAVE to pull that sucker off when it’s just hanging there. I just do.

When it comes off, all I have is this nub. Really strange looking.

And the skin all around it is dead-like and ripe for my clipper attacks I have to savagely engage in constantly.

That’s about it, folks. All you ever wanted to know about me and my 8 toenails I have left. Maybe I’ll go to a pedicurist and scare the living bejesus out of her.

“Fix THAT, Suki!”

Free Advice for Today: “Even on short ferry rides, always get out of your car and enjoy the crossing.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

4 comments


I Wonder If Sometimes She’s A Bitch

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

Wednesday

Quote of the Day: “Sometimes it’s a bitch, sometimes it’s a breeze”

- Stevie Nicks

Tonight, I got to see two artists I really liked. I was so excited because, yes, I get starstruck and yes, I have the self-control in this area of a 13-year-old girl.

One artist was pretty much a one-hit wonder and the other was a legend whose second coming in the 80s coincided with, and is thus tied to, my burgeoning sexuality as a teen (hetero, and it’s sad I had to point that out but I know my audience and what they would assume right there…)

Anyway, let me explain.

First up was Chris Isaak and before I get all the hate mail of calling him a one-hit wonder, yes, he is a prolific artist but let’s face it, the biggest eclipsing commercial success starts and ends with Wicked Game.

You an argue that Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing disqualifies him from the OHW category but I’m not here to argue.

This sequined-suited Elvis throwback is, was, and will always be Wicked Game.

Remember the video? Rolling around in the surf with Paulina Potrekovitskishmeernoffiski or whatever her name was. I remember her spooky blue eyes and that the video was black and white, creating the perfect mood for the song. It’s one of those videos I can look back on and say the sound of the song and the video were perfectly matched.

But it always pissed me off because she acted all too good for him, LET him slobber all over her, and never even looked him in the eye (when they were embracing) once during the whole video. Watch for it, she never actually looks at him.

By the time we got to the concert, he was already playing but luckily, we made it there on time to hear Wicked Game. He was GOOD, sounded just like the CD. I treid to mentally record the moment that I was hearing a song that is on my iPod and that I’ve literally heard thousands of times over the years. Definitely on the soundtrack of my life and I was experiencing it live.

Of course all the women were going apeshit because I’m told he is basically what most women want: handsome, funny, talented, rich. And a little bit of trivia for ya: he doesn’t do any drugs, doesn’t smoke, and doesn’t drink. And he’s single.

So those of you that bitch about all the good ones being taken, shut your traps.

After Chris was done, the main attraction came on.

What started all this was that I got a handful of free tickets and was going around trying to give them away. I was so excited that this artists was coming to town and I had free tickets, I just assumed the general population of Marines would share in my exhuberance.

“Hey, I got tickets to STEVIE NICKS!!!”

“Stevie who?

“Nicks!”

Who’s he?”

“It’s not a ‘he’ and you know, she was the lead singer to Fleetwood Mac!”

“Fleetwood who?”

“Criminy! You don’t DESERVE to see her!!!” (I storm away)

“Hey Marine, I got tickets to STEVIE NICKS!!!”

“Stevie who?

This repeated a few times until I gave up.

Earlier I had mentioned what Stevie Nicks meant to me. My father had listened to a lot of Fleetwood Mac so I was familiar with her classic stuff and that voice cannot be mistaken.

In the 80s, she enjoyed a new career and although she was getting along in age, she still had a sexiness about her and her songs just dripped with sensuality.

Then there was the witch thing. I guess she’s a witch. Or practices wicken or something. I don’t know, but she dresses the part and so did the crowd.

Just like when I went to a couple of Sarah McLachlan concerts, I was not your average demographic for this concert either. Stevie drew the burnouts from the 60s and 70s, the witches from all decades, and pot seemed to be the drug of choice everywhere you turned your nose.

If I’m not mistaken, that’s still illegal, right?

Anyway, I also heard a little something about her liking young boys. While a bit of a Michael Jackson thing going on, I think we can all agree not AS bad. Maybe she just likes young men, I don’t know.

All I know is that she sang some more of those soundtracks to parts of my life from when I was a little kid with Fleetwood Mac to my teen years as a solo artist.

I really enjoyed hearing “Stand Back

… and her other hits but was a little disappointed not to hear “Leather and Lace.” I guess it is a little much to expect Don Henley to show up.

She was pretty much a dot on the stage (our free seats weren’t exactly what you would call “front row”) but the sound was incredible.

The Voice came through and I found myself taken back to the days when her songs were on the top ten.

We enjoyed the concert and I got to check off hearing two of the greatest voices in modern music, both of which reside on my iPod. Not everyday you can say that.

Free Advice for Today: “Be faithful.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

2 comments


Family Untied

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

Tuesday

Quote of the Day: “I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy – but that could change.”

- Dan Quayle

Today is my sister’s birthday

Half-sister

That I hardly know.

I have an older brother, 2 years older.

He was the first of two boys born to my biological parents before they divorced when we were very young. I am almost in daily contact with him now that cell phones make chatting so easy.

My father ended up remarrying and eventually had two girls. Jennifer was born when I was in 6th grade and Roxie was born when I was in 8th grade. I lived with my father, my step-mother, by brother, and my two half sisters in this house for a few years before that family fell apart too.

The divorce was ugly and has stayed that way to this day which puts me in a weird space. I am not in contact with my step-mother but the two half sisters, well, they’re grown now and while I loved them like daughters during their baby and toddler years, the only thing we really have in common is the father that they have wavered between loving and hating.

This tenuous connection has made contact with them sporadic over the years.

The oldest sister….


…. joined the Navy around 9/11 and almost backed out of it. But she fulfilled her obligation, met another Sailor, go married, got pregnant, and left the service while he deployed. Then it turns out that the baby had serious medical problems and against all odds, barely survived his first few years of life, although with significant effects from his condition.

He is a nephew I have never met.

My youngest sister was in college and I recently found out she signed up for some missionary work overseas. She is a little better at keeping contact with me and even wrote a blog for awhile.

Strange when my baby sister is way into poker.

Happy birthday, Roxie.

I look forward to getting to know you some day.

Free Advice for Today: “Watch reruns of The Wonder Years.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

2 comments