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Fried Day

Friday, November 30th, 2007

Friday

Quote of the Day: “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.”

- Will Rogers

How do you describe a day like today?

The words would not be very nice.

It started decent enough: winning the battle of getting my ass out of bed to go do CrossFit. Of course, it was a pitched battle like it always is and I barely won it.

You know what eventually tipped the scales after about 10 minutes of negotiation?

The fact that there is a formation on Monday and I will not be able to go to CrossFit. That would make a Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday absence and I just can’t do that if I want to actually claim that I’m doing CrossFit.

We did some goofiness that included a bear crawl. We would race, running on our hands and feet. Personally, I was afraid of rolling a wrist but some of the guys that were there today didn’t have that problem. One guy looked more like an orangutan and I think I would be hard-pressed to beat him if I was RUNNING!

But there was one thing I was “middle-of-the-pack” in. In fact, I got second place. It was a wheel-barrow combined with a push-up. Someone held your legs up behind you and the way you advanced was to do a push-up and propel yourself forward. Then again. Until the end.

For some reason, I could do this. Weird.

We did some ring work but I was not quite as successful at this. It might be awhile before I can do a muscle-up which is when you grab the rings, pull yourself up, and then muscle your way while rotating somehow and ending up doing the pushing motion of a dip so that you end up supporting yourself with your arms.

You can see the “Nasty Girls” do it after they get done with squats in this video. Watch the whole thing if you want to see a woman fight through a lot of fatigue to impressively get the job done.

After all the silliness, it was time to get down to the WOD.

Now we could either do 30 muscle-ups OR go for another workout.

As you have probably surmised, “another workout” is what I chose, sight unseen.

It was this:

15-12-9 of Burpees and weighted pull-ups.

Let me explain. The Burpees were done with 20 lb weights. You have them in your hand, you bend down, kick your feet back, do a push-up, pull your feet back to your chest, stand up, thrust the weights over your head.

That’s one.

The pull-ups I managed to get by with the 8-lb weight between my knees and even though this was the first time I had ever tried extra weight with pull-ups, I still found it the easiest part of the workout thanks to my freaky kipping ability.

When I was done, I was done. I even managed to beat the lady next to my because I was able to do the last set of 9 pull-ups in one go and she was doing sets of 2.

So yeah, I beat a girl. Alert the media.

I got to work but did not have much time to recover. The rest of the day was a blur of stress, motion, and rain.

Yes, it rained. Just about the only good thing that happened today and that’s only because they let everyone wear their cammies instead of the bravos. That was good.

And that was the end of “good” for the rest of the day.

As I mentioned yesterday, the CGIP is next week so that means that we had to go verifiably insane today with preparation. I killed many thousands of trees trying to get the LOI produced (which I got signed at about 1830).

Meeting after meeting occurred.

It was a race to get everything you needed from everyone before they decided that a rainy Friday sucks bad enough to fade away into weekend liberty land which would be the precise moment you would need them.

Oh yeah, and we had to put on a retirement ceremony for a Colonel coming from Oki. Bad timing all around since we were so busy and then it dumps tons of water over the course of the day which means his retirement ceremony was moved inside.

You are in the Corps for 30 years and retire at San Diego…and it rains.

That really bites ass.

All and all, I was numb by the end of the day. I knew the rain and the Fridayness would make the commute home pretty much equal to a colonoscopy so the fact that I was still hooking and jabbing at 6:30 PM on a Friday just melted right into the general mood of the day.

I made it home a wrecked shell of a man where I had a nice, calm, relaxing dinner and movie with my family.

Ironically enough, we watched “Rain Man” as part of my continuing attempt to watch modern “classics” (as defined by yours truly) with my kids.

Perfect movie for the day because by the end, I felt like Raymond Babbit.

Yeah…

Free Advice for Today: “Call a radio talk show with an opinion.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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CGIP: Horribly Horrible Horror

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

Thursday

Quote of the Day: “Fools rush in where fools have been before.”

- Unknown

Four of the most horrifying letters in the Marine Corps.

It stands for “Commanding General’s Inspection Program” but to anyone you ask, it’s the land of death and fire.

Every couple of years or so, every unit is required to be inspected and you dread it like the plague. If you are lucky, maybe you will be on leave or something but most of the time, you are not that lucky and depending where you are on the pecking order, the horror is slightly different, but always there.

If you are a young Marine, you are most likely tagged for a “Junk on the Bunk” inspection which means you have to display the standard issue of everything you are SUPPOSED to have.

Most of them do not have everything they were issued it in bootcamp because they either never use it and lost it, out grew it and didn’t replace it, or wore it out and haven’t replaced it.

So CGIP comes around and they have to spend hundreds of dollars getting new stuff they were supposed to have and then getting it tailored and marked for inspection.

Oh yeah, you usually only get three days notice that you have been magically chosen for this.

Additionally, you might have to take a Physical Fitness Test.

Or participate or even lead Close Order Drill.

Or uniform inspection.

Or all the above.

It’s just a special time of year.

Now if you have progressed up the responsibility line, you might not only get tagged for any of the above, but you might even have to answer for the second phase of the inspection: the admin portion.

This is pretty much like an audit of all the programs a unit must maintain, all the admin files, all the appointment letters, etc. This part of the inspection starts with inspectors coming to your office and diving into your files to see if you are running things according to the regulations.

It’s just as scary as the other inspections and will cause just as much insomnia.

Now I’m not into kicking my own private parts but wrap your blog-reading minds around this final tidbit:

The CGIP is actually an inspection of the procedures. So for the first phase I described above, the CGIP inspectors do not care about the actual state of the Marines inspected. THEY are inspecting the inspectors.

Confused?

Let me try again.

The CGIP inspectors are inspecting the conduct of the inspections. So my unit has to set up and conduct all these uniform inspections and provide the personnel to run the events. The CGIP inspectors will grade how well we perform these inspections.

So, if you are paying attention, as a member of Headquarters Company, I am in the position to be eligible to be personally inspected in a uniform.

As a Section Head, I am eligible to have my shop inspected. Admin, programs, the way we do business, etc.

As the Operations Officer, I am responsible to set up all these various inspections, get the people to not only participate in the inspections but serve as the INSPECTORS. I also have to create a “Letter of Instruction” on how this whole big beast is going to get accomplished.

And get it signed off by the CO.

For a little bit, I was also looking at being an inspector since the XO was supposed to be on leave. Luckily he canxed his leave so, you know, I’m a pig in shit now.

The cherry on top? This is going to happen Tuesday through Thursday of next week. And we have a rifle range going and a Ground Security Force class going all week.

I’m going to my happy place now….

Free Advice for Today: “Take a ride in a hot-air balloon.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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You WILL Have a Merry Christmas, Is That Understood?

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

Wednesday

Quote of the Day: “We can have facts without thinking but we cannot have thinking without facts.”

- John Dewey

I managed to drag my ass out of the rack at 0500 this morning which, I will let you all in a little behind-the scenes action here, folks, really sucks donkey.

I am not a “wake up at 0500” type of guy and getting up to go hurt myself as a prelude to the day is way WAY out of character for me. “Builds character” you say?

Eat shit.

Anyway, this is what I was looking at this morning:

3 Rounds for time of:

20lb Ball Clean/Wall-ball x 30
5 L-Pull-ups
25 Pull-ups

The wall ball thing was just squatting, pickup up the ball, hoisting it up like a power clean (ending up in a squat), and then powering up to launch it ten feet up the wall. This was really easy, until about 10 and then it became like Mideast peace talks or Chinese math.

The L-Pullup are keeping your legs bent at the waist 90 degrees while doing a dead hang pull up.

Not a lot of success here. I even used the big rubber bands for my feet to help but in the end, it was enough to make a grown man cry and wish for the sweet release of death.

I had a little more success with the 25 pull-ups since I can kip.

But in the end, it was a bit of a competitive let down because there was a guy competing for “Not Last” with me and on the third set, I beat him away from the wall ball so all I had to do was crank out the 25 pull ups to “win.”

I was reduced to sets of 5 and he pulled ahead (pulled…I’m friggin’ hilarious…) and beat me by 15 seconds.

Last again but I finished.

At work, I was supposed to go watch a shotgun shoot but the coordination got messed up and by the time I got out to the range, they were done. A lot of driving for nothing but it was fortunate because there was a brief at 1000 with the Commanding General I was supposed the be at that I would have missed if I would have gone to the shoot.

Just general advice people: when you stay late at work past when everyone else is there, sending out an email that says “Don’t forget about the meeting tomorrow” will most likely be read the next day so that “tomorrow” could be misinterpreted to the day AFTER the meeting.

I’m just sayin’!

The brief was about the Christmas concert at MCRD and I wish I could have videotaped it:

Military planning, organization, and logistical bickering for a festive tree-lighting and Christmas concert.

Just the world I live in.

Free Advice for Today: “Take a ride in a glider.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Maybe I Should Bring A Jelly Donut

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

Tuesday

Quote of the Day: “Private Pyle has dishonored himself and dishonored the platoon. I have tried to help him. But I have failed. I have failed because YOU have not helped me. YOU people, have not given Private Pyle the proper motivation! So, from now on, whenever Private Pyle fucks up, I will not punish him! I will punish all of YOU! And the way I see it ladies, you owe me for ONE JELLY DOUGHNUT! NOW, GET DOWN ON YOUR FACES!”

- Gunnery Sergeant Hartman

I had full intention to go to CrossFit this morning but when my alarm squawked at 0433, I reached over and…

…fiery pain bolted from the small of my back to my brain and in that instant, I knew a couple of things.

1. I wanted to die
2. I wanted to die instantly
3. I was not going to CrossFit this morning
4. I was wondering why I wasn’t dead yet, as requested

Did this fly in the face of my “never quit” post yesterday?

I like to think not. I see a huge difference to finishing something I started and legitimate, life-threatening, death-hoping pain in my back as a result of my little obstinance over finishing yesterday’s workout.

Then the deal-making started.

OK, I can try to run at lunch. And I will go tomorrow instead of today, thus switching the day off from Wednesday to Tuesday.

There were a couple of other variations (considering the M-W-F possibility) but suffice it to say I rolled over, moaned in pain, and crashed until 0630.

I ran at lunch but it was sad. My back had gone from “God take me now” to simple spiked bats pummeling my lower back. I did more walking than running but it counted.

Sorta.

In other news….

I sweet-talked the Protocol Office lady to send me an invite to the Christmas Concert in December. Last year I rated a VIP pass because of my Company Commanderism but this year, as a lowly OpsO, I was not as fortunate.

Unless, of course, you have been very kind and thankful at every turn with the lady in Protocol. Then all you have to do is ask and ye shall receive.

But the best part…..

I sweetly asked that if possible, if it wouldn’t be too much trouble, if I could possibly inconvenience to be seated next to…oh, I don’t know…

A certain fictitious Gunnery Sergeant by the name of Hartman.

Maybe a modern-day legend of the Marine Corps.

Possibly a former Marine who epitomizes the ultimate Drill Instructor.

Perchance a movie star in dozens of films and star of his own highly successful show by the name of “Mail Call.”

Of course, I’ll let you know if this really happens or if I just wake up to a sore back and talk myself out of going to CrossFit.

Free Advice for Today: “Marry someone your equal or a little better.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

6 comments


Filthy 50

Monday, November 26th, 2007

Monday

Quote of the Day: “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

- Sir Winston Churchill

For the few weeks I’ve been attending, I have described in painful detail how beginning CrossFit is pretty much like passing a kettlebell but today, TODAY, was undoubtedly the hardest workout to date for me.

For time:

50 Box jump, 24 inch box
50 Jumping pull-ups
50 Kettlebell swings
Walking Lunge, 50 steps
50 Knees to elbows
50 Push press, 45 pounds
50 Back extensions
50 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball
50 Burpees
50 Double unders

The beginning of the end was the knees to elbows (which I first thought were going to be standing and just alternately pulling up my knees to my elbows. Little did I know…).

Then the back extensions were the combo punch that made me go weee wee weee all the way home.

I don’t remember much from the end except CJ (one of the trainers) giving me an out due to my back and Dani (co-trainer and wife of CJ) telling me to suck it up and get going with sets of 5.

I pulled a Churchill and never never never ever quit.

It was not pretty and I have to admit that I did 100 single rope skips instead of 50 doubles and my Burpees didn’t have the snappy drop nor the jumps at the end but after 56 minutes of sadness, I dizzily completed the workout.

I would have called in late to work if that’s what it took. It was getting done.

I was soaking wet, my hair matted to my head. I was shaking all over. I was nauseated (but never actually threw up).

I had to sit in my car for a few minutes before I headed to work and was actually worried about driving on I-5.

Arrived at 0730 and slept on my couch at work until 0745.

Skipped the lunch run to read my book and laid down again.

My biggest success today was not the physical performance. My form was not all that great and once again, I came in the very last place of every single person who did the workout over the course of the entire day.

But I finished it.

I finished it when I really didn’t want to.

I finished it when even my trainer told me it was enough.

I was either going to finish it or lose consciousness. Then I would wake up and come back to finish it. At some point, I decided I was not going to cut it short. One rep at a time with unlimited time between but the set was going to get done and there was going to be a number next to my name on the white board.

56:55.

Paid in full.

Free Advice for Today: “Support your community college.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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White Hot Camera Hate

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

Sunday

Quote of the Day: “My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.”

- Albert Einstein

Frustration defined the beginning of my day and because you have to take the good with the bad with me, everyone had to put up with Viper McGrumpy today.

Sorry folks, it can’t be sunshine and butterflies every day.

The source of my frustration is not equal to the actual grumpiness it caused but as these things go with me, that is not a prerequisite. It was because I couldn’t get the pics off of my in-laws’ camera.

It wasn’t exactly the fact that I couldn’t accomplish this (although that did add fuel to the fire) but it had more to do with the fact that EVERYTHING I tried came to a brick wall. It was the accumulation of bad luck that really pissed me off.

Let me show you:

My in-laws have a Canon camera that they have been taking pictures with on their vacation here in sunny San Diego. They store these pictures on a SD memory stick so the idea is, transfer the pictures from the stick to my computer.

Seems straightforward enough.

The other day, I was thrown a curveball when I discovered I do not have anything that will adapt the memory card to my computer. The cable they brought did nothing when I plugged it in so I had the brilliant idea to put the card in MY new Kodak camera and use the software I had for that to pull the pictures.

It worked like a charm and I got the first set of pictures off their camera and all was good.

Well, this morning I was writing a blog and wanted to use some pictures we had taken with their camera to remind me of our Balboa visit and to actually use the pics. So I stopped what I was writing and decided to transfer the pics.

This was at about 0730 and I had hours to accomplish this (lame foreboding).

What was the first thing that went wrong? My camera would not start. It takes some super specialized kryptonite battery and the one it came with was not rechargeable. It was deader than Britney’s career.

No problem, I will just put in the rechargeable ones THAT WORKED THE OTHER DAY.

And AND… I had recharged them for two whole days so they should have plenty of juice, right? I mean, yeah, they were the wrong kind but like putting diesel in a car that takes unleaded, it ain’t pretty but it should get the job done.

No.

I tried another set of rechargeable batteries I was sure was charged.

No.

I tried the actual batteries my in-laws’ Canon was using.

No.

I went downstairs to get some regular, run-of-the-mill disposable batteries … but we didn’t have any AA which really got me wondering if I could get my entire fist through the wall up the elbow.

I don’t know where my wife got the ones she brought to me (she could sense my increasing rage at this whole situation) but when I put them into the camera….

No.

OK, well, that’s a bit more annoying but not a game stopper. I’ll just try to put the card in their camera and try to hook it up to my computer again. I got a Dell XPS so it should be able to run the Space Shuttle, much less grab a few pics off of a relatively new digital camera.

No.

After getting nothing from that, I thought, “Maybe I can download the Canon software and use that.”

No.

It seems that along with the nuclear launch codes, Canon software is next to impossible to even IDENTIFY and more impossible to actually get and download off the Internet. At least that’s what 45 minutes of searching told me.

It was at this point that steam started coming out of my ears.

Maybe if I hook up the Canon to my son’s laptop. He has Vista so maybe they have drivers or something that will read the camera.

No.

And that discovery cost me 15 minutes of “Detecting New Hardware” freeze ups.

Wait, what is this slot on the side of his laptop? It looks like it could hold….

I ran upstairs and got the two SD memory cards. One was mine and one was theirs but mine was the one where all the pics I wanted to get resided.

I slid in their stick into the laptop and “ding” it detected it right away even though there was nothing on it.

PAYDIRT, you bastard son-of-a-bitch. You cost me my whole Sunday morning and pissed me off to the point I wanted to kill ANYTHING but now I have prevailed and emerge victorious. Reap it!!!!

I removed the card and then slid the Kingston card with all the pictures into the slot and awaited my victory. I would still have to transfer a whole bunch of large picture files over the wireless network to get them to my computer but I didn’t care. I would still have the fresh taste of victory in my mouth.

“Please insert CD that came with your hardware.”

Huh?

When I hit cancel, it tried to look in the software to find a default driver. When that didn’t work, it looked on the Internet.

It finally came up and told me it couldn’t find anything and that my SD card would not work until I found the drivers myself.

I.

Was.

Livid.

I put the other card in and once again, it worked fine. I put the Kingston card in.

No luck.

Folks, I cannot even begin to describe my thoughts at this moment. Murderous hatred is a start.

In my anger, I once again turned to the Internet and did a Google search with every combination of “Kingston SD Vista driver 2GB” that I could think of. I searched the Kingston site and even found a few boards that discussed the inability of Vista to read Kingston SD cards.

But a solution was elusive.

I found two programs that said they could take pictures from Cannon cameras to the computer but neither of them detected that I had the camera connected.

While I was planning my fertilizer-truck filled revenge on the Kingston company, Carrie called from upstairs and said “I got the batteries charged enough to get the camera going…”

What?

I had put many sets of fresh batteries in to no avail but somehow, she got it to work by putting the rechargeable batteries I had JUST HAD IN THE CHARGER FOR TWO DAYS into the charger long enough to power up the camera.

I ran upstairs and with shaking hands as a result of anger and fear that the camera would shut down before I could transfer the pics, I tried to open the cover to the card I needed to slide into it.

Instead, I opened the battery compartment and the camera powered down.

I stared blankly at what I had just done, unbelieving this was really happening.

I closed the compartment, opened the right one, slid the card in, and pushed the power button.

It hesitated but started up.

I could breath again.

I fired up the software but I had forgotten to plug in the other end of the cable to the computer and after a few more tense moments, I got it plugged in and transferred the pictures. There were a lot of them and I was worried that the thing would power down before the transfer was done (would have been par for course) but it made it.

It was done.

The bitch of it was…after all of that…it wasn’t even me who solved the problem.

Because anger creates more anger, I was actually contemplated if I should be relieved that I got it done or a little pissed off that it wasn’t me who actually solved the problem.

And everyone wondered why I was in a sour mood today.

Free Advice for Today: “Never eat a sugared donut when wearing a dark suit.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Sea Shells and Sea Shore Sight-Seeing San Diego: Schramms-Style

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

Saturday

Quote of the Day: “Only exceptionally rational men can afford to be absurd.”

- Allan Goldfein

Today was just too beautiful a day to spend it anywhere but outside. So we packed up the kids, the in-laws, and NOT Buster (due to an over-abundance of turkey, Buster currently emits the gaseous equivalent of Nagasaki except a bit more potent) and headed to the Balboa Park area.

We walked around the museum area where we joined hundreds of other tourists in taking pictures. We saw gorgeous scenery, buildings, and various sights that were a tourist’s dream.

I had never really explored this area. I had run through it during various runs but never stopped to appreciate why everyone loves this place so much. Now I know.

We saw fountains…

We saw statues of guys on horses…

We saw old guys blowing a didgeridoo…

We even saw Santa and his reindeer….

But what we DIDN’T see was a gansta….


After gawking at everything from old buildings to street performers (Tarot Card reading? Really? Dude, give me your Man Card right NOW!), we headed to the culinary delight that is In-N-Out.

Come on, the in-laws HAD to experience this delicacy at least one more time before they left. And being away from CrossFit since Thanksgiving day, I needed to continue my downhill slide where I lose all my gains at the rapid rate.

After cramming hamburgers and French fries into our gobs, we headed toward Seaport Village where we hunted for the elusive parkingicus spaceator. It was a pitched battle but we were lucky to come upon one rather quickly and squeeze our Pilot into a space that a VW Bug would find constricting.

As we were leaving the parking lot, I overheard a little drama about a cop giving a parking ticket. Some couple had parked their car in a spot that was either permit only or handicapped. I was just passing by so all I caught was the lady’s indignation that he would give her a ticket and I pieced together that the contention was that the top half of the sign was sheered off and it wasn’t all that clear that it was special parking, although it was the closest spot to the main walkway and all the spots around it were special.

“Oh, look dear, a spot closer than any other and it only has a sheared sign that once said something. I guess that means we can park here.”

The only actual conversation I heard was the lady asking the cop “Well, you don’t happen to have a camera or anything do you?”

Yeah, lady, the cop that GAVE you the ticket is going to give you a camera to get a picture of the damaged sign so you can contest the very ticket HE gave you.

Is there something wrong with your thinking there? Kind of along the same lines of parking there in the first place, huh?

It was a beautiful day to walk around Seaport Village and I enjoyed being down by the water with my family. One of the first things we saw was a guy wanting money for balancing rocks.

Now OK, it was impressive. He just balanced them like you see but to give him money for this … really? Sorry bud, it’ll take a little more than balancing rocks to dislodge the duckies from this hombre’s wallet.

We meandered around looking at the kites, looking through some shops that, amazingly enough interested me because they had BOOKS, before calling it a day and heading home and watching the Apple Cup.

Or should I say the “Crapple Cup.”

Every year, my alma mater, the University of Washington Huskies play their biggest rivalry, the Washington State Cougars. When I was going to school there, I remember the week before saw good-natured ribbing that can only be found around a deep-seated rivalry or the Middle East.

I was dismayed that my Huskies pumped the pooch, as it were, and fell in defeat of the obviously inferior Cougettes. Not because I’m still a big Husky fan, they suck like a Hoover but because if any of my friends from Washington that CLEPed through their “college degree” at WSU think to call me and gloat, I’ll have to take it like I’m in prison.

Free Advice for Today: “A racehorse that consistently runs just a second faster than another horse is worth millions of dollars more. Be willing to give that extra effort that separates the winner from the one in second place.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

4 comments


Black Friday and Sound Nirvana

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

Friday

Quote of the Day: “We are inclined to believe those whom we do not know because they have never deceived us.”

- Samuel Johnson

Black Friday.

The blackest of black days for shoppers.

Luckily, I do not fall into this category and this turns into “Stay At Home And Don’t Leave For Any Reason Short Of Imminent Death” Friday.

It’s a long title but you get used to it.

My wife, on the other hand, lives for this crap. She no longer gets up at the buttcrack of dawn to go out but she did rumble out of the bed at about 0700 and this year was joined by her mother. They left in search of combat.

In years past, the deal was that she would go out shopping and I would stay home with the kids. Going out into hostile territory was preferable to staying home with the kids if that says anything but who has the last laugh now? Now they are self sufficient, surviving on Internet connectivity, cell phones, and Top Raman.

That left me with free rein to Internet until my eyes bled.

This was a good plan because whatever this mystery abdominal muscle horror I got going on is not any better than yesterday. I think I might have an alien in there and if so, the little bastard needs to do whatever he needs to do and get out. Even if he explodes out the front in a gory detonation, it would be preferable to what I’m feeling now.

The ladies returned and here is the outcome:

No 19-inch flat screen I asked for. Fifty percent of my “dual screen” set up took a trip to the big Best Buy in the sky a few months ago and I have been suffering through a measly single 19-inch flat screen since.

I know, I know but somehow I manage.

Carrie didn’t get her ass out of bed depart the house early enough so all of the good sales were gone. Long gone.

Then she brought home the wrong rechargeable batteries for our new camera so, strike two.

But she did score with the sound machine.

You see, I have to have my sound machine. I go to sleep every night to the soothing sound of a babbling brook courtesy of the HoMedics sound machine that we purchased at a garage sale a decade ago.

(I probably blogged about this but it’s getting harder and harder to not only avoid stuff I’ve already written about but finding out if I have in the first place. Search gets tougher the more I write.)

Well, the machine had to be 5 to 10 years old when we bought it so it’s entirely possible that this one I got could be a decade to a decade and a half old.

And I totally need it.

It has started showing its long-in-the-toothiness by being a little temperamental. Sometimes the volume will go up and down, sometimes it requires a little slapping around to get going (who among us doesn’t?), and the babbling brook sounds a bit like white noise at this point but the point is, I NEED it to sleep. Like a crack addict needs the pipe.

Not long ago, it looked like it was on its last legs when the volume started really going haywire. Then it wouldn’t turn on at all but after Carrie announced that she had looked everywhere for a replacement, she ascertained that they don’t make those particular kind any more.

I was crestfallen.

So I had the natural reaction.

I slapped the shit out of it.

The machine, not Carrie.

I gave it a good beating with the logic that it was either going to work or I was going to break it.

Yes folks, I’m just a chromosome away from a big violent ape.

But it worked and I haven’t had a lot of trouble from it since. It just took a good hard whack to straighten up and fly right so obviously, it’s from the Deep South.

Today, when Carrie returned from her Black Friday Killing Spree, she had with her a…

Brand.

New.

HoMedics.

Sound.

Machine.

Yeah, she had whiffed two meat balls lobbed past her right over the plate with the screen and the batteries but this was made up in spades.

It was the exact same model and NOTHING…I mean NOT A THING had changed whatsoever except a little “2007” stamped on the back of the new one. Other than that, you would be hard pressed to tell them apart except the old one looked dingy and as if it had been slapped around by someone one chromosome away from apeism.

So I thought, wait, what should I do? I mean, the old one still works. It’s old as dirt and sounds a little off but I can’t just chuck it. We’ve been through so much.

Wait…

What if…

Dare I dream?

It just might work!!!!!!!

I could have TWO sound machines.

I mean, I love the one and TWO is always better than ONE (except stuff like tumors but work with me here!).

I could have one of my very own and AND…have the other one over on Carrie’s side and they could serenade me to sleep IN STEREO!!!! (notice how the new one goes on my side?)

This is just too much. Brings a tear to an ape’s eye.

Carrie wasn’t too keen on the idea but what could she do?

The new one had a little more punch to it and actually sounded like a brook whereas the old one was a little more muffled and sounded like … a 20-year-old recording of a babbling brook.

But it put me out like strychnine.

The pleasures of simple pleasures.

Free Advice for Today: “Go to donkey basketball games.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

5 comments


Giving Thanks in 2007

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

Thursday

Quote of the Day: “To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there’s no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other.”

- Jack Handy

I take the name of this holiday very seriously and upon inventory, I have a lot to be thankful for.

I have my family. A beautiful wife,

… a handsome 6-foot son,

… and a gorgeous teenage daughter.

Oh yeah, and a stupid dog that some have labeled “the perfect pet” which, I guess, I have to admit, the knucklehead is a handsome, loving, fun little bastard. (He IS! By definition!).

And that’s just the immediate family. My extended family is also ideal. My in-laws joined us this year and you may hear me launch many jokes on this blog, but you will never find me bandwagoning on the old “in-laws” cliché. I am very close to mine and see them as my own parents.


I have friends who were represented this year by Paola Hayes, fellow Marine Corps Major Adjutant and close family friend.

She brought over her schizoid dog who decided to do his own holiday celebration …

… but he’s getting better the more time he spends over here. I was able to actually touch him today.

I live in a beautiful house in San Diego. And it didn’t burn down a month ago. Enough said.

I have a good 20+ year career as a Marine and have ascended to a height I never even dreamed of. I have been allowed to serve my country for over two decades and for that, I am deeply grateful.

I am also very grateful to those men and women who stand on the wall this day and every day. I have been allowed to be home with my family this year but I am very aware that a lot of my fellow servicemen and servicewomen are somewhere where they would rather not be. But they are there. Allowing gatherings like the one at my house today to occur in safety. Thank you is not enough.

My family and I have our health. We are not afflicted with any major ailments and enjoy an active lifestyle. I don’t minimize that; I know many families do not have this blessing and I am grateful we can go out and enjoy just about anything we set our minds to.

This morning, I set my mind to the “TURKEY TORMENT 2007” at CrossFit. After all, it IS Thursday so I should work out and plus, eating massive amounts of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and rolls kind of requires me to pay up beforehand.

What is “TURKEY TORMENT 2007” you ask? Well, go here and take a look at the details but the short version is that I showed up at 0930 thinking I was going to do one workout (I misinterpreted the website) and got quite the surprise.

Funny thing was, I stressed last night thinking I was going to be subjected to handstand push-ups and L-pull-ups and with my aching abs, I was not looking forward to it. Ends up all that stress was for not (naught?).

The TURKEY TORMENT 2007 ended up being a running/exercise circuit course where we made up 4-person teams. We had to grab a dumbbell of the same weight of at least one other person in our group so that when we did exercises along the run route that required two dumbbells, we would have equal weight.

We ran to predetermined spots and then did the exercise. Then we ran to the next station. Then we vomited, cried, and defecated.

OK, maybe that was just me.

But I did get a somewhat decent looking picture of me doing some pull-ups on the site:


(that’s me in the back trying for most-likely my first pull-up or so)

Because I’m new/weak/girlie, I took a 12-lb weight to match the only woman in our group; Heather.

Jake and Brandon took 30-lb weights and I felt kind of cheesy so I took turns with one of them and ran with the 30’s since running was my strongest area. I had no qualms about returning his 30 lb weight during the exercise stations, though. I mean, come on.

We could carry the weight in any manner and it migrated all over my body. Sometimes it was just holding it in one hand, sometimes two in front of me, sometimes on a shoulder, and sometimes on the back of the neck.

It’s funny how “comfortable” an iron weight can be on a shoulder or back of neck compared with the burning of just holding it normal. I had the thought at the time, “Man, that’s perfect, but if I was just standing in the gym, this iron weight on my shoulder would hurt something fierce.”

Yes, I talk like a hillbilly when conversing with myself.

I had coffee this morning, I didn’t drink much water, and I realized I had forgotten to eat a Gu just about the time we were halfway to the first station. I did not set myself up for success this Thanksgiving morning but I still felt better being out there than sitting at home watching the gayest of all gayness: the holiday parades.

God bless my daughter,

… she loves these things but they just turn my stomach. I mean, I’m a huge Sarah McLachlan fan and I do drink marble mocha macchiatos at Starbucks, but a man has his limits.

Back to the workout … I was actually doing pretty good and keeping up with the others. The exercises were not all that bad and running 2 ½ miles wasn’t as bad as some of the CrossFitters made it out to be. I was actually having fun even when I realized I was out in the middle of San Diego on Thanksgiving morning with 3 perfect strangers sweating my ass off.

We got the strangest looks from people and I guess from their perspective, the stares were warranted. Here we were, 16 people with dumbbells running around, stopping, doing some kind of crazy exercises, and then going back to the running.

Our team got done in just under 1 hour and 15 minutes which I can ALMOST prove if the camera on my phone could take better pictures than this.

By the time I got home, finished crying, took a shower, housed approximately 14 gallons of lactic acid, and got dressed, the Thanksgiving feast preparation was in full swing.

Carrie and her parents slaved away in the kitchen in order to get the meal ready and then Paola showed up to join the fray.

She also brought her dog Koo-Koo who decided the bar of the trampoline made a perfect target.





(I just had to get the entire collection of a dog shitting onto this blog. I just had to.)

We all sat down for the meal and I cannot express how lucky I am to have everyone in this photo together at my house. I am truly blessed.

I even wanted Buster there but then he started his loud whining and here is what ended up happening:

This is somewhat an annual event but I must continue it. I present… the Thanksgiving Putz Rant:

The only real Thanksgiving requirements are:

- The turkey, cooked to perfection this year by my lovely wife. She threw it in a bag and although this cut down on the aroma throughout the house, it made a fine bird.

- The stuffing ala Stove Top. Only my daughter and me think this stuff falls right from heaven into a bowl.

- Mashed potatoes smothered in gravy. It would be “Whatthehellgiving” without this perfection.

- Rolls. With butter. Of course.

And that’s it! Everything else takes up valuable real estate in the gut and is thus unnecessary and unwelcome.

But I am not a complete dictator. I allow a few fringe additions even if I’m not happy with them.

- Wine. OK, but only because you need to wash everything down. In the interest of full disclosure, I also finished off the pre-meal beer at the meal.

- Green beans: I hesitantly allowed these on the plate. Don’t know why. But what I do know is that I didn’t mess with the “green bean casserole” whose name should just be shortened to “pig vomit.”

- Crapberries. No. Don’t go there. If I want to see brain splatter, I’ll turn on a Quentin Tarantino flick.

- Yaks. Also known as “Yams,” “sweet potatoes,” or “raw sewage.” I would rather eat this:

For dessert, there was only one obvious choice: Carrie’s homemade banana cream pie (BCP). This, my friends, is like ….like….there is just no describing it.

Let’s put it this way: I was so horribly stuffed afterwards that all I could do is lay on the couch for a few hours before I could bring myself to fill the millimeter of space left after digestion to cram a slice of the BCP into my gullet. But I manned-up and ate a slice which to my taste buds, was a party but to my gut, was a return to utter misery.

For the rest of the day and night, I couched. Just couched, watching TV which is rare for me. And I found out why.

Although Dirty Jobs was entertaining, I had to sit lay through Survivor. If I want to watch immature bickering, I’ll listen to my kids.

But I have to admit, I was really, really, REALLY sore and I’m starting to think that it was not the extended sit-ups from the other day but maybe the overhead squats that somehow must have stretched/tore/completely severed the lateral abdominal muscles because I’m still in serious pain. It’s like all the muscles surrounding my stomach are glowing red with pain.

Hence, all the laying around.

Oh yeah, and the 12 lbs of food I ingested today.

Anyway, that was my Thanksgiving.


Before


After


Shortly thereafter.

Free Advice for Today: “Do battle against prejudice and discrimination wherever you find it.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

4 comments


Proving My Worth to the In-Laws

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Wednesday

Quote of the Day: “Finance is the art of passing money from hand to hand until it finally disappears.”

- Robert W. Sarnoff

A day of firsts.

Today was the first time my father-in-law and mother-in-law saw me in any kind of military ceremony. After over 20 years, I was very pleased they got to see me in action during the Morning Colors ceremony. Being a Marine is many things but the big categories are “fighter,” “ceremonial,” and “day-to-day admin.”

It should seem obvious, seeing me at work doing what Marines are known for probably isn’t going to happen. Not a lot of in-laws on the battlefield these days.

The “day-to-day admin” is not all that exciting…

… so for them to at least see the “ceremonial” piece was special to me.

Another first was that my wife and kids got to see me in the ceremony. They got to see their Dad in front of a formation, calling commands, and standing at attention for long periods of time trying not to fall down. It’s a gift.

My son’s reaction when I joined them after the ceremony: “Father, you were yelling at people, Father.”

Strange kid.

During the ceremony, I was well aware I was being watched and after looking over the pictures they took, I am dissatisfied with how I look in the Bravo uniform. I AM making gains doing CrossFit people, I swear.

After the ceremony, I took my in-laws around the Depot for yet another tour. I almost feel liked my spiel is canned by now and try not to deliver it with the same listless monotony that some tour buses drone through a tour.


“On your left we have the legendary Drill Instructor, he comes in two flavors, big and mean, and small and mean, please do not extend any body part out the side of the vehicle…”

I had reserved 6 tickets for the graduation so at 0945, we showed up at the “Taco Stand” and took our seats.

It was a big graduation this week, 8 platoons, so the ceremony took a long time. I think that it was neat for everyone to see it but after an hour and a half, I think everyone had just about as much pomp and circumstance as their hearts (and butts) could take.

They even got to see a Captain fall out of the Staff formation. He almost made it, falling out right before the Pass in Review, but did the smart thing and came to attention and marched off, albeit a little shakily. One of the Drill Instructors came out to help him and make sure he didn’t fall down on the way to the stands.

After the ceremony, I introduced my in-laws to the General and I believe she is thinking that I’m a bit strange. I keep bringing people up to her. All kinds of family members, old Drill Instructors, old Platoon-mates, etc. She told me she should send me on recruiting.

I nearly vomited but I restrained myself.

Carrie wanted to take her parents to Casa Guadalajara’s and I had said that I didn’t want to join them because I always eat too much when I go there.

So we were all on our way to Casa Guadalajara’s ….

The “no eating” plan evaporated after the graduation because I was starving and enjoyed spending time with Carrie, Lyle, Sharon, and the kids.

And, of course, I ate too much even though I split a lunch with Alex, my son. Unfortunately this seemed to have given me a blank check on eating the chips and I “chipped out” in horrible fashion.

When they dumped me back at work, I tinkered around, buttoning things up for the 4-day weekend, and basically tried to justify my paycheck for a couple more hours before I headed home despite practically the entire Depot being devoid of everyone except Drill Instructors and Recruits.

Finally I made it home after my second hour+ drive home this week. What’s up with that, people? I mean, aren’t most of you supposed to be off somewhere clogging up the airports?

Tomorrow: CrossFit horror and turkey.

What a life!

Free Advice for Today: “Don’t let anyone ever see you tipsy.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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