Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Turkey Day Stuff

This is a short work week, right? Please tell me it is - even if it's not!!! Holy crap, just into day two of a three day week and I'm almost ready to cry. I shit you not folks, it's been misery piled on top of agony, all buried up to its neck in a steaming pile of ca-ca. I SOOO need the holiday!

Speaking of which, we had out annual Boy Scout holiday camp/cookout last weekend. Frikkin' awesome! We cooked six 15+ lb. turkeys, stuffing, veggies, mashed taters, cornbread, candied yams, and several miscellaneous desserts . . . all over open fires and in the wild - not a stove or microwave to be found! That always impresses the hell out of me. It was a fun trip, despite temps in the teens! I even had to make a Deconstructed Turkey again (see this post for details!) Folks are kind enough to donate the birds for us to cook but not always wise enough to defrost them before hand. Well, in this case they delivered us a lovely, 20 lb., block of ice! Not to worry though . . . we're Scouts! We broke out a bow saw, cut that bad boy into pieces and defrosted it over some hot coals for a few hours before tossing into the deep fry pot. Good Eats!!! The Boy ran the camping trip as SPL and he did a damn good job. Everything was taken care of and in place when/were it needed to be. He did good.

Speaking of The Boy, he kicked but on his tryout and made the swim team! He actually surprised everyone (himself included methinks!) when they asked him to show them a second type of stroke. He'd been working strictly on free-style, trying to get his times for a 50m down to where it should be (which he did!) so both I and the friend who'd been tutoring him were both like "Oh crap!" when they asked. The Boy just jumped in, did the backstroke against the kids who'd been swimming it for the team last year, and totally kicked ass! Even the coaches were impressed. On other fronts, The Boy made honor roll in school and he got the highest grade in the school on his P-SAT's - he scored in the top 98th percentile for Juniors taking the test . . . which ain't bad, considering The Boy's only a Sophomore!

Yup, I'm pretty proud of him.

In any event, work calls so I must away! Hope everybody has a TRULY great Thanksgiving. May all the folks you love be near and all healthy and very, very happy!


Monday, November 17, 2008

National Defense

Well, well, and well . . . another RSP drill weekend down! Only one left to go before I ship out for Basic. Scary, no? Did any of you poor bastards ever dream (in your worst nightmare!) that you'd one day be relying on a chucklehead like me for your national security? :-)

Hey - here's a fun fact: the new President and I will both enter active federal service on the same day! Talk about "change", eh? Well, I figure I'll let him handle his job and I'll stick to mine. No need to cross lanes here. Oh, BTW: did you see the counts on how many people voted? 61.4% of the eligible population, which means a net of 4 million or so more voters than in the 2004 election, making it the highest number of voters in U.S. history. Now, while I'd prefer the percentage to be in the 90th percentile, I'm still pleased that you all decided to heed my last post. Yes, that's right; I am taking COMPLETE AND TOTAL CREDIT FOR THE VOTER TURNOUT!! My brilliantly worded, finely crafted, appeal to patriotism and national duty is solely responsible for the historic turnout of American voters. I totally frikkin' rock, dudes! :-)

Well, okay . . . the candidates, the economy, and the wars might have had SOMETHING to do with it, but I'm pretty sure their effect was negligible and I'm the one who should get all the kudos . . . so, y'all feel free to start kudo-ing your asses off for me!

Drill was good this weekend. I learned how to set up and place a M18A1 claymore antipersonnel mine (sadly, it was just a dummy. No big boom!) I learned to use a military radio, and I was SUPPOSED to get a chance to play with an M249 SAW (Squad Automated Weapon) but alas, we ran out of time. (Either that, or they were scared to let me actually touch one!) Yet again though, no boom-booms allowed; just break down, maintenance and how to fire. Basic however will be a different story! I'll get to shoot and blow up all kinds of cool crap! HOOAH!

Good news - I actually lost seven lbs. since last drill! Woo-hoo! It's not much I guess, but at least the frikkin' scale is finally moving again. The workouts I've been doing are paying off as well, not just with the weight loss, but with the strength. We got smoked mercilessly yesterday (same stupid folks, doing the same stupid crap . . . AGAIN!) but I handled it with no problem and I'm not even sore today. That is a VERY good thing. Gives me hope that I may survive Basic after all!

I met two soldiers at drill this month, both training as Medics like me. One is in his late thirties and lives just down the street from me. The other is a nineteen-year-old that will be shipping on the same day as me, to all the same locations. We'll be doing our entire training together; I thought that was pretty cool. The older guy isn't shipping until March, but when he gets back he plans to join the local EMS squad as well, so we'll be working together there. It's nice to know there are other folks out there just as crazy as I am!

Today, The Boy is trying out for the HS swim team. He's been busting his butt for the last few months, trying to get in shape for it. He's worked really hard. I hope he makes the team, it's really important to him. Besides, I always think that hard work should be rewarded. it sucks when you put in a ton of effort for something and you don't get it. I know that the work is really it's own reward and that he benefits more from the effort than the success but -as his father- I really hate to see him disappointed. I have faith in him though, I really think he's going to make it. He's a tough kid who always gives his all when it's push time, ya' know? It's one of his best traits: he can be as slack-ass as any other kid most of the time but when it's time to step up to the plate, he ALWAYS gives it his all. That makes me prouder than I can say. Think a good thought for him today if you would. I'll let y'all know how he makes out.


Monday, November 03, 2008

Did I mention you should VOTE?

Fair Warning: arrogant lecturing to follow!!!!! (turn back now or you're S.O.L.!)

Tomorrow is election day.

Whoa - wait a minute! Did I just see you shrug your shoulders? Did I just hear somebody say: "So?" Alright, that's enough of that shit! Don't make me reach out through this computer screen and smack that silly grin right off of your face, damn it! I swear to God, I will TURN THIS BLOG POST RIGHT AROUND IF YOU ALL DON'T KNOCK IT OFF!!!!!



As I was saying: tomorrow is election day. Now let's face it, I'm a bit of a dork (Yea, shocking news, right?) I vote. Always. No shit . . . I have voted in every election -local and national- since I was old enough to do so (I think . . . I may have missed a few but I don't believe so.) Voting is more to me than just some pointless exercise in civic duty. It's a beautiful moment of sublime transcendent one-ness with my fellow citizens. It's a simple process that underscores everything that we, as Americans, are and hope to be. It's the moment where we all get to express our private view on where we've been and our deepest dreams about where we're going. Flicking that little lever behind that battered old curtain and having a legally guaranteed moment to stand tall and say "This is what I think!" and to know that your voice bears every bit as much weight as the voices of the great and mighty . . . That's some heady shit right there!

Voting is the very heart of America. That one simple moment of choice is what better men and women than I'll ever be have lain down their lives for again and again in far distant lands, and in the blood stained grass of our own back yards. Voting is the one moment where each of us gets to show that we're more than just consumers looking for churros at the Uber-Mall of Wegotitall, USA. Voting is the penultimate act of patriotism and validation of the sacrifices that have been made by so many brave souls, just so you can perform that one little function. Think about that for a minute. Thousands of people have died for no other reason than to let you stand in that booth and say: "This is what I think!" That lays a heavy burden of responsibility on our shoulders don't you think? Countless fathers, mothers, and children lost their lives so that you can go to your local polling place and have an equal say in what happens in this nation's future. Strip away all the flag waving, speeches, and honors and that's what it comes down to. They died, so you could vote.

So what do better than 1/2 of us do? We sit our fat, happy, uncomfortably wide asses down on our couch and watch the idiot box instead of taking the three minutes needed to perform that most sacred of American acts! Seriously? Do you need to see the latest "Family Guy" re-run that badly?

I know . . . I've heard the arguments a hundred times:

"It doesn't matter who wins, they're all corrupt anyway!"
"My wife and I just cancel each other out!"
"It's all fixed, the Electoral College picks who they want!"
"Voting's a joke, the results are all lies anyway!"
"I'm too busy to vote!"
"One asshole is as good as another!"
"I'm not voting for any of these jerks!"
"My candidate won't win anyway!"
"I'm not sucked in by that patriotic propaganda!"
"Voting is how they keep track of who doesn't think 'correctly'!" (yea, I've actually heard this one!)
"Whatever. I'm gonna get screwed no matter who wins!"

So, here's my answer to all of the above . . . STFU you whiny, pathetic SOB's!!!!!

Seriously. Knock it the fuck off. Get off your lazy ass and vote. The government sucks? Country going to hell? Morons running it all? Taxes choking you? "Those" people (whoever the hell you think they are) taking over everything? Fine . . . do something about it. Go vote. Pick whoever you find to be the least offensive asshole of a candidate and hit the lever next to their name. Maybe they'll win, maybe they won't even get enough votes to get mentioned on the late-late-late news on NPR. So what? You voted. You had your fair say and did your duty as a citizen. You TOLD everyone who should have been put in charge. If they listened, then you get to pat yourself on the back and bask in your brilliance. If they didn't, then you've EARNED the right to bitch and moan to your heart's content. Why? CUZ YOU VOTED!!!!!!!

Don't dishonor the men and women who've earned you this right. Whether YOU think it's important or no, the dead thought it was. Don't turn your back on their sacrifices. Go vote.

End of bitching . . .you can carry on with your regularly scheduled lives now.

After you VOTE of course.

No, really, go vote . . .