Thursday, December 23, 2010

I don't care who you are...

...But if you haven't seen A Christmas Story you are basically horribly un-American.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Herpes Ferry

Today me and Daisy went to Maryland Heights over Harper's Ferry. For whatever reason, I cannot help but think of what a navy buddy of mine called the USS Harpers Ferry, the "Herpes Ferry". We have a mature wit in the United States Navy.

Anywho, we pulled up to a parking area which was empty save a park ranger Crown Vic, and made our way up the trail. Several things soon became clear:

  1. It was very cold
  2. It was snowing, a little.
  3. I had to pee.

I determined to hold off on the peeing for a bit, but after 2 miles or so in I glanced around, walked 20 ft off the trail, and started to do my business. It was right about after I had whipped Scud out and started that Daisy started to act up, chirping in the manner that she does when she sees another dog(or fox/coyote). As I strain my ears I can hear people talking, then abruptly stopping. Daisy is pulling on the leash so I have one hand holding the dog back(I can hear the hikers walking by in resolute silence) and the other hand on Scud, so to speak. Good times.

Fortunately they were going in the opposite direction so I didn't have to make eye contact.

We got to the overlook, took some pictures, and headed back. I thought to head across into old town, but Daisy froze up as we headed towards the bridge. I guess she recalled that that was the devil bridge where loud CSX trains went by, so we headed home. More or less a successful hike.

Monday, October 25, 2010


So for almost a week now I've been having all-over body aches and a helluva head cold. It's almost flu-like symptoms except I am not nauseous, or at least not persistently(I've noticed that if I suddenly accelerate while driving a mild sense of nausea forms and I never get motion sickness).

I haven't gone to the doctor yet because my PCP retired and my new one won't be "mine" until later in November. Previous experience with my HMO has taught me that even if I go to a doctor in-network it's like pulling teeth to get claims done if it isn't my PCP. So I've been suffering through it and today at work I had such a sense of detachment from the head cold that I decided I needed to get home STAT. Off to bed.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Rain Man

Las night me and Daisy went camping along the ridge between Mary's Rock Jewell Hollow in Shenandoah National Park. The weather forecast was for partly cloudy with a high of 65. I had it in my head to camp at a spot that had enough room for one tent right off the trail and faced the Shenandoah valley, rather than at the Byrd's Nest shelter in the area.

Anywho, surprise surprise, we were getting intermittent monsoons and howling wind all the way up(I had parked my car about 3 miles away), and by the time the weather had really gotten bad enough that I thought we should turn around it was already close enough to sunset(1830) that it would be more dangerous to hike in the dark in the weather than set up camp. As we walked up to the spot I noticed that there was another tent there. I silently cursed, as this meant that I would have to push on to Byrd's nest, another half a mile or so down the line.

Dude pokes his head out of the tent and goes "Hey, I think there's enough room for you to set up too!" Before I can respond there's a loud crack as a bigass branch crashes in the woods amidst the howling wind. He was out of his tent like a bat out of hell and started to break his tent down.

"In fact, you can have the spot...I'm heading home." The rain starts to pick up and it's going horizontally. Daisy is leaning into the wind and her ears are flying.

"Alright." I say. I look at my watch and sigh. Not a chance I'm going to be up here on this ridge and I'm not looking forward to the forced-march to Byrd's Nest. "I'm going to get to Byrd's Nest, it's on lower ground."

"Might be better if you head on home, it looks like it's getting pretty bad." He gestures and sure enough there's lightning in the distance.

"Car is at Thornton Gap, I'm not going to hike in the dark in this."

"My car is at Buck Hollow trailhead, I'll drive you."

So the three of us head on down and even though it's still an hour before official sunset the weather gives the whole woods an eerie darkness. We're chatting it up and one of the subject's is gear, which IMO is basically one of the least polarizing subjects you can talk about when you meet random folks camping.


Anyway, he goes "You have a Sierra Designs tent? You know...I think I saw a picture of your tent and dog on"

And of course he did. Whiteblaze is a hiking forum I frequent. I affirmed he probably did. We chatted some more and when we stepped onto Skyline Drive the cloud cover was still there but there was a stillness that seemed to be a "calm before the storm" scenario. He got us to my car, and we went our separate ways.

On the way back we took the noticed that all the local farmers had their cattle out in the fields, which of course was far more entertaining for Daisy than the 4-mile ish forced march.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

Combat Puggle is Combative

Got my new backpack, a ULA Catalyst in the mail yesterday. I decided to take it out on a 8 mile loop at Sky Meadows State Park, which at $3 is a huge bang for the proverbial buck(forgetting for the moment that I already theoretically own it as a resident of Virginia). As per SOP, I took the only reliable hiking partner...Daisy the Combat Puggle.

After we got there we went walking up the first hill and started to go past a man and his Lab who were heading the other way. As we went by the man had his dog sit still and I tightened the reins on Daisy...who subsequently managed to yank free while she jerked forward to investigate the other dog. The other dog looked as if he bit Daisy in the ear, and suddenly Daisy let loose a wolf growl and snarled. I had to pick her up and move her(upon inspection her ear was wet but no marks or broken skin). Daisy isn't too good at reading the body language of other dogs. I had to run her through her "tricks for treats" routine in order to calm her down and concentrate her mind.

We continued on our trek and after we had looked back and were on the last meadow before the parking lot Daisy suddenly tried to get into the tall grass off the trail and froze. She wasn't chirping or charging forward like she saw an interesting animal, but as we made the last rise I saw what she had smelled(and apparently decided to pass on making her usual chirping mania)

Free Range Moo Cows!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

AWitW 30-31 July 2010

Last night me and the combat puggle went to Tibbet Knob for a campout. We came rolling in right before 2000, there were a pair of local townies camping at the site past the Tibbet Knob overlook, but there was plenty of room. Me and Daisy set up basecamp and then went to go watch the sunset.

Daisy's first campout was reasonable traumatic for the dog. She kept on abruptly standing up and growling at something in the woods(who knows what). At around 0100 she jerked awake and stared out the mesh of my tent making the distinctive chirping noise she makes when she sees or smells another canid(I've been hiking with her and she spotted a fox. She makes the same noise as if she is seeing another dog). Glancing out I could see it moving around across the campsite, and it made a cry that I had associated with Coyotes. Nice.

Around 0200 I woke up to find myself off my mattress, out of my sleeping bag, and somehow the dog took up occupancy. What the hell?

And so it went on throughout the night. Sometime before 0600 we stumbled out and looked around, then hiked back out before 0800. Dog was dead tired. I'll definitely be doing this again, obviously she needs to get acclimated to sleeping in the woods.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Continuous stream of consciousness

The Kindle 3
My buddy Ryan is cackling with glee that I just bought the Kindle 2 with the Kindle 3 being announced yesterday. While there are rumors that I stated in the past that I had no interest in the Kindle, I have found myself very fond of it. In fact, I am super-duper pleased with it, and have loaded it down with super-thick history booksof the Oxford History of the US series. You know, the kind of books that people look at you like you're mad and dangerous when you say "oh, I'm reading this 1200 page book about early colonial era for fun." I'm not convinced that the K3 represents an upgrade-worthy device to the K2.

Starcraft 2
I got it on Tuesday and I've been playing through the campaign. The gameplay is exactly, and I mean exactly, like the original Starcraft of the late '90s. I suspect that Blizzard didn't want to update it any more than needed so as to not cause a horde of Koreans to storm their corporate headquarters.

Haircuts, CNN, illegal immigrants
Being a military brat I always got my hair cut at the barbershop on base growing up. Then I went ot A&M in the Corps of Cadets and went to one of the barbers that all the cadets went to. Then I joined the navy, and used the barber shops on base again. Since I worked at the Pentagon, I used the barbershop there as well. Seeing a pattern?

This has positively ruined me in regards to civilian barbers. They take too long. Too DAMN long, and get(IMO) way into getting every last spot. They also seem to inordinately chatty. As you might be able to guess, I got a haircut today, and they had CNN playing on the TeeVee in their shop. Of course CNN was covering the kerflaffle in Arizona regarding the protesters that had arrived to protest that Thug in Phoenix who is dead set on enforcing the recently overturned provisions of SB 1070, Federal Judiciary be damned!

The irony of course is that I had a little Asian lady cutting my hair, and she was insisting on me divulging my country of origin. She did not accept that I was a native born citizen thanks to my speech impediment.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Too Damn Hot

While talking to a user at a site overseas, the guy on the other end(Tim) suddenly blurted "Hey, were you on the Bunker Hill?" Turned out it was someone I had stood watch with for a few years.

A few weeks later he was in town on travel, and I took him to Obrycki's in Baltimore. The place is suitably local, even though I don't care much for seafood myself. It was pretty awesome to run into old navy buddies. Like me he had gotten out of the Navy, and ended up staying at his last command as a civilian rather than a uniformed guy. He's been at this overseas site since 2005!

I have a murder of various hiking gizmos I got for my birthday. A stove, cookware, and a mattress. At the moment it is just too damn hot to hike during the day, although I'm considering getting up super early tomorrow and hike with the morning sun. Here's a picture of my backpack weighed down with all the accouterments. Still missing a water filter.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Old Man Matt

28 years old today. Yeesh. I had a conversation with my grandmother that went like this:

G: Just think, it won't be long before you hit the big three-
M: Grandmommy don't say it!
G: -Oooohhh!

Friday, July 16, 2010

AWitW 16 July 2010:Take a Knee

Massanutten is a short mountain chain in the middle of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, and today I headed out to Bird Knob which is located towards the Southern end of it. According to Earl Schaeffer(the first Thru-hiker of the Appalachian trail) Massanutten got it's name from being a "Mass of nothing."

It was going to be hot and humid today, at least as much as it was last Friday, but like a Alzheimer patient I completely forgot how miserable I was and decided to give it a shot. The stretch of the Massanutten Trail I was going to go on was reasonably level, although the first mile was pretty steep. I also noted that the trailed was rated poorly for solitude, implying it was Touristy. The potential for Bad Luck was increased by me running late getting out of work, meaning I would hike a lot more in the hot hot sun.

I arrived at the Trailhead and discovered that the Forestry service had a Ranger Station there. It was closed(even though the hours showed it was open) and there was a sign cheerfully warning me of poor air quality today.

Moving along I decided to go ahead and head off onto the trail. I went stumbling along for about a mile, busting my balls in the humid heat, big rigs whizing by below me spewing out fumes and making it worse. I was clear now that the low solitude rating came not from the day hikers, but from the damn freeway below. It was incredibly rough and I was throughly miserable. About half a mile in I decided to turn around and head back.

So, I went home. Honestly, I'm not sure why I went out there even though I knew the temperature would make me so miserable. A lot of the hiker "literature" advises "10 Before 10" rules for hot nasty other words get up at oh-dark-hundred and hike 10 miles, then sit and rest until the late afternoon/evening before continuing on. Makes sense.

Tomorrow I'm celebrating my B-day with (one half of) family. Ugh I feel old.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A walk in the Goddamn Woods 9 July 2010

Holy smokes it was hot and humid out. Not just hot, but as my old chief used to say, "Africa Hot"! The planned hike was a 6.5 mile one(maybe longer since it was an out and back) but we only made it a little over 4.

First I seemed to travel over an inordinate amount of poorly maintained gravel road to get to the trailhead despite freaking Mount Weather being right near the trail. I guess "secret" government bunkers don't get paved roads. Me and Daisy walked on down and encountered one hiker, a retiree who was section-hiking the AT, and once he was finished with the Virginia section and 8 miles he missed in New Jersey he would have walked all 2200ish miles of the AT. Wow! However, he hadn't seen anyone else the previous day, possibly because it's be a gazillion degrees out.

Me and Daisy were gulping water, and I was covered head to toe in sweat. Not "pitting and around the collar and back where the pack was", but head to fucking toe. Everytime I would stop to sip from my Nalgene Daisy would sit, pant like she was having a heart attack, and look beseechingly at me. We managed to kill 1.5 liters before we even reached the 2 mile mark. Sighing, I turned around somewhere around 2.3.

More than ever before my backpack(I am hiking with a "war load" to condition myself for my section hike through Shenandoah) seemed ultra heavy. How big is it? Well, you've seen it next to Daisy, but for better context...

The Backpack, by the way, isn't anywhere near full. I may need to consider a smaller pack

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Walk in the Woods 2 July 2010

Today I went out to Big Devils Stairs in Shenandoah National Park. I decided to take the combat puggle with me. Before I left I loaded down my Kelty Coyote backpack to the point that it weighed 30 lbs as part of my physical conditioning plan. Realizing that the pack now weighed as much as Daisy, I harnessed her to it so I wouldn't have to worry about holding her leash.

I did not care for the hike. Simple put...there was nothing special about it. The Falls were completely dried up, probably thanks to the drought we've been having. Daisy turned out to be able to pull along a 30lbs backpack with ease when I set it down. Damn dog is RIPPED.

Anywho, as I moved back to the car we stopped at Gravel Springs Shelter. Two long distance hikers, Walking Wounded and Two-Dog were breaking camp as we arrived(Walking Wounded was a female 20-something wearing a SPCA tee shirt and wanted to take a photo of Daisy. She was taking a picture of every dog she encountered on the trail). WW and 2Dog related that the night before they had had one hell of a wildlife encounter. Late the previous night they(and other hikers in the vicinity of the shelter) woke up to what sounded like a baby crying. Everyone in the area went out into the woods, flashlights in hand, looking for the baby. It was a wounded Fawn. Before they could even approach the Fawn a black bear appeared and dragged it off deeper into the woods. Circle of Life.

Daisy got some water and rested at the shelter while I read the registry. After adding my own entry we headed home. When Daisy is laying down with her head up she looks like a Sphinx. She spent most of the ride back curled up, making her look like Falkor the Luck-Dragon...which is a probably meaningless comparison to most people out there.

Happy 4th of July Weekend everyone! I'll be working.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Walk in the Woods 28 May 2010

Went out to Shenandoah National Park yesterday with a plan for a simple out-and-back to the top of a mountain called Mary's Rock. When I got there the entire Eastern slope of the range was covered in mist and fog.

But since I was going to be hiking on the Western slope this wasn't much of a problem. I parked at Jewell Howell Overlook, hopped on the Appalachian Trail, and started North. After about a mile i started to hear voices, causing me to stop, look around furiously, then continue. When I reached a AT Shelter I noticed that someone was still in their tent(I found this odd as it was after 0900, well into the day for long distance hikers) and decided to sit a spell while perusing the shelter registry.

Shelter registries along the AT are suppose to be places where you just sign your name (or "trail name") and move on. Most of them include tidbits about the area(e.g. "saw bear") as well. This one included about a million stories about Jesus, one two page Star Trek fanfiction, at least one screed about how Muslims are taking over the country, and finally someone advising not to use the shelter, as he had had a bad acid trip and thrown up in it(bears might be attracted).

About the time I finished my entry two people came out of the woods from the direction I had come from. One was an older guy about my Dad's age(he was 55 if he was a day) another was a younger woman about my age. The girl was going to grad school shortly and the older guy taught kiteboarding(after working at CSX for 30 years). I had made the leap that it was a Dad and daughter team doing a big loop, but it turned out that they had met at a kite boarding class 0_O.

Made my way to Marys Rock, scrambling to the top.

That cloverleaf is the Thorton Gap entrance to the park. After a few more pictures I climbed down and head back to the AT, set on returning to my car. I somehow blew right past my turn off and kept going...until I stepped onto the Thorton Gap parking lot. I was pretty displeased with myself. I turned around and headed back.

On the way back I saw several people on the trail, including a woman about my age with a extremely overweight Chihuahua. She looked like she was doing a long distance hike, and I couldn't help but notice the tent on her pack looked like it was the one I saw set up at the shelter. The Chihuahua wasn't friendly. Considering the number of people I was seeing it was clear that people were starting to arrive en mass for the long weekend. I also probably saw about a dozen RVs as well on the road.

As I approached the overlook where I had parked my car, an older(and extremely heavy) couple stared at me as I came stumbling out of the woods. You'd think they had never seen a hiker before.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A walk in the woods 7 May 2010

So yesterday I went back to Shenandoah National Park, this time intent on taking what's known as the "Camp Hoover Loop". I visited Camp Hoover last week, but only went out and back, for a grand total of 4 miles. I decided I would do the loop this time, for about 7 miles or so. I took my sister's dog on a playdate with me. She(Daisy) was so excited!

Met a few people on the first 2 miles and NO ONE the last five. For about two of those last five we were walking on a ridge near a ravine. The condition of the trail was such that it was clear it was rarely used(at least compared to the first two miles, which went to Camp Hoover and back to the road). Daisy's excitment rapidly waned as it gradually dawned on her that this trail was going on...and on...and on... She was soon walking exactly behind me exactly 2 feet behind me. Trudging along like she was on the Bataan Death March.

The views from the ridge were breathtaking, and you had a nice breeze hitting us.

The trail started at 3200 ft, went down to 2200, then went UP to 3800 ft before easing down to 3200. More than once I would break out my map, then my GPS, and curse. Whenever we stopped for a break Daisy would drink her water than keep an alert watch on the woods. We didn't see much in the way of wildlife, except at the end as we approached the car...

She damn near pulled my arm out of my socket.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Walk in the Woods 30 April 2010

One good thing about working the graveyard shift is that when the weather is nice you don't have to be inside at work like all the other schmucks(or in the case of one person I know, defending his thesis). Today I went to Shenandoah National Park again. First I went to Hawksbill Summit, which is the highest point in the park. I was gasping and wheezing like an asthmatic puggle, regretting the high altitude steep slope. A hiking group went by me in the other direction, and one of the people in that group said "don't worry it gets easier".

She looked like my grandmother with more gray hair.

Anywho, finally made it to the top. View was gorgeous. One of the things city folks like myself notice is how damn quiet it is. Quiet Quiet Quiet. There would have been more to explore at the top by a big section was taped off for Peregrine Falcons. Stupid endangered species.

After that I went on down to Camp Hoover, via the Mill Prong Trail. Camp Hoover is also known as Rapidan Camp. It was a presidential retreat built by(you guessed it) President Hoover. It was there Hoover and the Prime Minister of the UK hashed out the horrible scrapping and neutering of reasonable reduction in sizes of the major navies.

Trail is a 4 mile round trip with 3 stream crossings each way(this is important later on). During the first third or so I ran into two old guys, Bob and Jack(and Jack's Black Lab, Bonnie). Jack invited me to "sit a spell", mostly, I think, because he wanted to pick my brain about my VFW hat. Jack turned out to have served on the USS Richmond during WW2, which ran into a bit of trouble at one point (minor difficulties, as Jack put it). Bob worked in the Norfolk Naval Yard during WW2, "Fighting the war in the Norfolk Theater of Operations." My Grandpa says the same thing about Korea and Chicago. Jack warned me that the final stream crossing was tricky because of the arrangement of the rocks. He's old, so what the Hell does he know?

Well the trail at the third stream crossing kinda peters out, it isn't real clear where you're expected to cross. I picked what I thought was the best arranged rocks, and nearly slip and fell to my death. After I went down to look at the camp I decided to try crossing at another point. I got about halfway across when I determined that it was a worse choice than the other spot. I decided to use my fancy-schmancy GORE-TEX boot and step on a rock that was about an inch underwater.

Damn rock shifted and exposed a 2 foot hole.

Well, now I was up to my knees in water. What the hell, might as well just slog across. My feet were drier than I thought they would be though. Guess GORE-TEX really works. After I made my way back to my car I took the backroads back to Fairfax. I'll definitely be doing this again.

(Blogger seems to be limiting my photos today. I have a bunch more on my FB page)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Papers, Comrade

Unless you've been living under a rock(or not an American, I guess) you've probably heard about Arizona's new law that targets illegal immigration. It's worded in such a way that the cop can walk up to anyone who is "acting suspiciously" and demand proof of citizenship. Defenders claim that (1)It doesn't encourage racial profiling and (2)Doesn't give cops sweeping powers.

Those are bullshit claims.

Everytime I've gotten pulled over, without fail, I've had a exchange that went like this:

Officer: Where are you from?
Officer: Where are you from Originally?
Me:San Diego.
Officer: I mean, where were you born?
Me: San Diego!(thinking: You Fucker!)

All because of a speech impediment. Now, as pasty as I am, it's going to be a million times worse for someone a few shades darker. And if I may indulge in a little stereotyping for a moment, nothing is preventing the cops in Arizona going to Home Depot and harassing Day laborers...or the people who are hiring them. I imagine this is giving the Border Patrol a huge woody. While most Border Patrol officers are, I'm sure, hardworking and honest, my direct interactions with them have been uniformly negative. While local and state cops tend to take into consideration that they are serving the public, and maybe they shouldn't be assholes to everyone they come across, as far as the BP is concerned you are guilty until proven innocent.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My coworker...

...Is pounding down a 2 liter bottle of Mountain Dew(the regular green kind). Yesterday he was pounding down a different two liter bottle of Mountain Dew(the purple kind). He's a stack of pizza bagels and a game of World of Warcraft away from being pitiable.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

South Park

I rarely watch TV on the TV anymore. I may put in a DVD or Blu-ray, but rare is the day when I sit down and watch a specific show on a specific time slot. More often than not I end up watching TV shows on the internet. One of those shows is South Park.

SP recently had it's 200th episode, which was basically making fun of SP being able to lampoon everyone and everything but the Prophet Muhammed. It also made fun of the fact that SP visually represented the Prophet Muhammed wwwaaaaaaayyyyyy back in early 2001, but is now forbiddon to do so again because some loons might get offended and try to kill the network executives(or the creators). The 200th episode was a cliffhanger and I was waiting for the 201th, expecting them to visibly represent Muhammed...

...Only to find out that that episode will not be shown on SP's website. And that the episode was extensively censored by the network when it was aired(possibly as a result of a death threat against the creators). In fact, the bleeps were orignally taken by many of the viewers to be part of the joke. Nope, they were intentional. Comedy Central even bleeped out Kyle's "lesson" speech about not giving into fear and thugs.

Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 Book reviews

So, I just got finished reading A Walk in the Woods, which is a book about an attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail from start to finish. Because I was bored at work(zero phone calls, your tax dollars at work folks) I decided to meander on over to and see what the reader reviews said.

The reviews are generally positive(which is my feeling on the book), but the negative reviews are hilarious. They range from Hiking fanatics who are disgusted that he didn't hike the entire trail,outraged Southerners at the description of the Southern mountain towns he enconters, and profanity(The f-bomb is dropped once). One review chastises the author for using "Jr High language when kids grow out of it in Sr High school."

I guess I never grew out of it. I did enjoy the book though, and recommend it to everyone.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

O Shenandoah...

Went out to Shenandoah National Park yesterday to try to hike out to Overall Run Falls, the tallest waterfall in the state. At a mere 90 feet off the ground it doesn't compare well to, say, Yosemite Falls, but I was interested in seeing it. I talked my sister into coming and bringing along her dog.

Unfortunately there was a haze over the valley that made the overlooks not as pretty as they could have been. According to a park ranger the haze was a result of pollution from the Midwest. Then when we got to the campground that was the starting point for the 6.5 mile hike we found that it was closed(gate to Skyline Drive closed) so we moved on to the next point. After some discussion we decided to try to hike in from there instead of Matthews Arm campsite, basically turning
a 6.5 mile hike into a 10.5 mile hike.

About 2 miles in the dog was ready to call it quits. I guess hiking in the mountains is much different than once or twice around the block at my sister and mom's house. Dang dog was a tick magnet too, which led to the hilarity of my sister having to put the dog in a sleeper hold on some asphalt while I picked out half a dozen ticks in her crotchel region. Good times.

I want to do it again!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Not quite ready...

I have it in my head to buy an e-reader, like a Kindle or a nook. Out of curiosity I visited the store sites for the Kindle, nook, and Sony e-reader, only to discover that they are seriously deficient in sci-fi books that I would read. Granted, WarHammer 40K may not exactly be the target demographic for these things, but I bet you a lot of geeks that buy these e-readers for free 3G access would also be the ones reading these type of books.

Friday, March 26, 2010

ROKN Corvette sinks.

A South Korean corvette has been sunk, possibly by North Koreans. It's a rather large asset, so if it really was sunk by the Norks than it isn't something the ROK can just ignore.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

All Hands meeting on the Death Star

This probably resonates more if you were in the military. I remember a time when the CO called people back to the ship on Holiday Standdown because someone got into a barfight. Yeah, it's kinda like that.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Because I'm a socially stunted shut in graveyard shift worker, I end up reading a lot of random blogs on the internet. One of them was the Freakanomics blog, and this entry gave me some thought.

Once upon a time I was extremely to the right, conservative Christian. I even read the Left Behind series avidly. At this same time(in San Francisco) I had joined the HS Debate team and was introduced to the Onion. . At about this time Harry Potter was starting to pick up popularity, and so the Onion ran an article about how it causes satanism amongst kids, witchcraft, etc. It was so over the top it was hilarious. I posted the article on the Left Behind message boards think the other posters there would agree that it's funny...only to find people taking it at face value. In fact, most people were taking it at face value. I guess you could call that my "Road to Damascus" moment where I knew something wasn't right with that crowd. I mostly kept the dawning realization to myself, and when I went to Texas A&M I found myself involved with someone whose idea of a good time was to go to a prayer-christian-rock-concert hall thingie on campus every Tuesday. It was bizarre. And probably did even more to make me switch it off.

My rapidly dimming lack of faith in organized religion was something I continued to keep from my family, because I suspected that it wouldn't be a good idea to mention it to my folks or let it slip to my grandparents. I would never use the term atheist to describe me, but I was well and truly in the closet when it came to my family and some of my coworkers.

Since I've gotten out of the navy and been on my own I've dropped enough hints that my mother has read between the lines, my Dad I told flat out I wasn't interested in church, and my Mom's Dad has indicated he knows where I stand(and he's a Deacon in his Southern Baptist church!). Sadly, I've run into enough people that I fully understand what the person in the blog post is going through, and don't expect the general societal mores to improve a whole lot anytime soon.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Fun fact

Want to know something that is horrifying to me? There are 18 year olds out there who were born after Beauty and the Beast came out. Later on the year it will be the same in the case of Aladdin.

Yesterday(I work the graveyard shift so it often seems like "Today" for my internal clock) I opened my mailbox to see a packet that contained insurance papers in there. Well, two packets. One was big, wedged in there good, difficult to extract, from GEICO...and didn't belong to me. The gentleman had neglected to tell GEICO which apartment he lived in so there wasn't an apartment number, although someone at the post office had helpfully put a "?" next to the address. I was cheesed off that the postman couldn't be arsed to compare the names of the mail going to my mailbox and that oen, or spend the 30 seconds to look at the mailboxes in my building and making a probable match with the Kumar on the Far end.

So I did what anyone would do in that situation. I wrote a note on the packet along the lines of"This person does not live in #204. If you had looked at the names on the other pieces of mail you might have figured it out. Alternatively you could have spent 30 seconds looking at the names on the 12 mailboxes for the building and matched it up. But I guess if you could figure that out you wouldn't be a poastal employee. Yours in Christ, MBB".

Hope he doesn't mess with my mail.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

New radio in Car

So a few days ago the tape deck died in my car radio(I know, I know). I used the tape deck in order to listen to my iPod or XM radio, so I was mildly cheesed off. I sat around for a few days trying to decide whether or not to bite the bullet and get a new radio head, or wait until whenever I get a new car(which I have defined in my mind as "The weekend afetr the engine falls out on the Beltway).

This morning my boss came in and handed me a AMEX gift card, because I was one of the few people stupid enough that had enough dedication to the mission that came into work during the Snowpocalypse of Feb. 2010. Add this to the Best Buy gift card my little brother gave me for building him a new computer not too dissimiliar from this one I had enough to go ahead and get a new radio plus install. In fact, I got the install done today, and I haven't really had a chance to play with the radio yet. I might need to, as it tends to flash different lights and stuff and maybe I need to set some settings.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Fake Processors

I'm glad that this didn't happen to me. It was originally reported that D&H was the supplier of the bogus processors, now it looks like it's a company called IPEX?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Moustache March

Awwww yeah. We're doing this.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Aw Geez

On the way to work this evening there was a guy with a "9-11 was an inside job" bumper sticker. Man this pisses me off.

Hefty Hefty! Wimpy Wimpy!

I don't know what the deal is, but twice in the past few weeks my garbage bag has come apart when I lifted it. Bad batch maybe?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. Make him stronger, faster.

My computer is dead. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him stronger, faster, better.

  • AMD 5850 Radeon GPU

  • Cooler Master ATCS 840

  • Windows 7 Home Premium

  • Intel Core i7-860 2.8Ghz CPU

  • Asus P7P55D-E PRO MoBo

  • Antec Earthwatts 650W

  • 4 GB Patriot DDR3 RAM

  • 64 GB Patriot Torqx SSD

Salvaged from the Mark One:

  • WD 500GB HDD


  • Creative Xi-fi sound card...maybe

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cool shore defense video

Many moons ago I lived on the Presidio of San Francisco as a teenager. It used to be an army base, and at the time it was transitioning to a National Park, but military personnel still lived on it. By the way if you want to live in the house that I did, it's yours for the low low price of $7500 a month in rent, plus utilities, car permit, pet fee, etc. Rare is the city that is more costly to live in than Fairfax, but San Francisco manages to pull it off.

Anywho, the Presidio(and Marin Headlands) is riddled with shore defense batteries. The best preserved is Battery Chamberlain along Baker Beach. Farther South you have Battery Davis which once housed a 16in Casemate gun(extremely similar to the main battery of late model USN battleships).

Ten will get you twenty most folks in San Francisco have never visited these sites. If I go back, I'll probably take pictures.

Anywho, I saw this video of a Taiwanese shore defense gun, which made me think of my time living on the Presidio.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


We can spend hundreds of billions of dollars on killing people(or pork projects in congressional districts) but there isn't any money for the Space Program? I call bullshit!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Going for the whole "crazed killer" look

Short-short haircut, unshaven, I'm totally rocking the crazed killer look today. I might add that my hair is now short enough that I can see HUGE gaps and I am well on my way to joining my uncles in being bald before 30.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Haiti and observations on the Metro.

My old ship is on the way to Haiti to join the relief effort. It's a West Coast ship, so when I heard about it I assumed that it must have already been at sea. As it turns out it was on the way to Panama.

On the train ride back this afternoon I noticed a cute blonde with long hair. I also noticed that while the front of her jacket was clean, her back was covered with what I assume to be cat hair. I find that funny for some reason.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Some people...

So this afternoon I ended up getting my speech impediment made fun of for the better part of 20 minutes. I'm in the NOC and when my phone rings the first words out of the guy's(from a 4 letter government network related agency) mouth is "where are you from?". Dude proceeds to repeat back everything in an exaggerated manner that is, clearly, suppose to be me before he continues on with his request. Finally I flat out ask him if he's making fun of me, he says no, but immediately stops with the exaggerated repeat I suspect he knew what he was doing.

Watch captain sees me getting redder and redder as I'm talking to this guy, and after I hang up he asks what's up. I tell him, and it seems as if the guy has a bit of a reputation, so he goes ahead and sends an email on up so there is a paper trail.

Seriously, what's up with some people? I know that a lot of folks who are assholes try to be civil and professional at work, so why was that guy just malfunctioning so much?