Decompress.

Every so often, you need a chance to decompress. Between stress in the workplace, and stress at home, it often seems like there’s just no escape.

So, now I’m playing hookey. I lined things up at work so that I could get out, and out I am. I’m sitting on our downtown mall, under a tree that’s raining red and yellow leaves, drinking a nice Dogfish Head Raison D’Etre. It’s about 74F out here right now, with an occasional light breeze that swirls the leaves around over the brickwork street. There’s wireless internet access. I think I could decompress here.

There’s still no escape, really. All the same issues are there after I’m done here as there were before I came. But maybe I’ll be in a better place to meet ’em.

It’s worth a shot.

Posted in General, Personal | 8 Comments

Round numbers.

Happy birthday to me! Another decade rounded off and put away.

I do not feel significantly older. I have not gained any incredible new insight or wisdom. I have not, really, significantly changed from who I was a day ago. But the numbers should mean something, shouldn’t they?

Here’s to another decade.

Posted in General, Personal | 2 Comments

El Paso Flooding Aftermath.

Sand_Devil sent me some more photographs of some of the after-math of El Paso’s recent flooding event.

Enjoy the pics!

080106_1637.jpg 080106_1634.jpg 080106_1633b.jpg 080106_1633a.jpg 080106_1633.jpg 080106_1632a.jpg 080106_1632.jpg

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Sand_Devil is all wet.

My most recent blog contributor, Sand_Devil, in addition to not posting any more, is also located in the recently flooded city of El Paso, TX. He was very nice, and sent us pictures! Here they are:

El Paso - flooded road and parking lot. El Paso - flooded parking lot and city street. El Paso - flooded road and parking lot. El Paso - flooded roads El Paso - street view. El Paso - flooded road

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These pipes.

It’s been roughly two years since the last time our basement turned into a pond. But today, it decided to once again grace us with its watery serenity. Fortunately, the plumber was responsive and was out to our house within 2 hours of our call, on a Sunday afternoon, no less. Now, only $370 later, our pipes have been snaked, cleared, and treated with anti-tree-root stuff.

Bah. These pipes.

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The big catching up post.

All us slacker posters do this every once in a while. It’s been so long since we posted that we have to round up the so-called “highlights” of the last several days/weeks/months since the last post we grudgingly turned loose upon those few who actually stumble across our blogs from time to time (usually on their way to webmail, hi sis!). These posts are usually filled with inane drivel, and pointless ramblings. This is one of those posts.

You’ve been warned.

There haven’t been very many “highs” in the highlights, which, I suppose, would account for most of the silence here. I’ve never liked going to some blog and reading about what a drag life has been for someone. It just isn’t, I dunno, uplifting. And so, I’ve never been the sort to post the day-to-day inanity of a life that consists of sleep, work, eat, work, eat, work, rinse, repeat. Throw in the inevitable pains, and you end up with a rather bland view of life. Who wants to read about that?

Though, to be fair, the rare patch of beauty shines through the fog of dreary survival, to remind us that there are certainly worse alternatives to life.

But we’ll start with the mucky stuff. There has been much marital strife. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Additionally, I’ve been sick for the second time in the last year. The good thing is that it’s only the second time… the year before that, seemed like I couldn’t go a month without something infecting me. Immediately upon my recovery, my wife came down with whatever it was that got me. Unfortuately, she took it and ran with it. Then she caught something else… a strep infection. We didn’t know that bit at first though, which was rather unfortunate (as you’ll soon see).

One of the highlights was that I also got the chance to go on a mini-vacation. I had a bit of money put aside to do something with the kids, and we decided on a trip to the beach. We’d leave on a Thursday, and come back on Saturday or Sunday. So, my three kids and I headed east for what adventure we could find on the coast. There was minor adventure to be had, and I believe it’s safe to say that we were soaking it up. We wandered around the tourist-oriented environs of the local boardwalk, bought trinkets and supplies at the local hungry-eyed merchants’ pavilions, lazed about on the beach (a little bit), swum in the ocean and the pool, gazed off our 10th floor balcony overlooking the beach and ocean, watched the local live talent show off their skills for our amusement, and of course, we all ate way too much, but there’s no place to hit a seafood buffet like the coast, right? The all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet (with pancakes, waffles, omelettes, and french toast made to order while you watch) didn’t help much either. Funny how much pleasure we derive from stuffing our faces more than is good for us, but I digress.

So, remember that strep infection? It turns out that if you get a strep infection to go systemic, either spreading about your upper body, or worse yet, in your blood stream, it causes a disease known as scarlet fever. Guess how I found this out.

Not only did she get scarlet fever, she got scarlet fever that was fairly resistant to antibiotic treatment. My poor wife spent 6 days in the hospital, after a precipitous arrival in a rescue squad, called when my mother-in-law took a look at a particularly distressing looking rash that was taking over my wife’s body. The fact that my wife had also become deleriously feverish with a temperature over 104F contributed, I understand. The first little while that she was in the hospital was actually somewhat touch-and-go. This took place while I and the kids were sunnin’ ourselves on the sand a mere 3 hour drive to the east.

So, having just decided that we’d go ahead and stay until Sunday… on Saturday morning, around 7:30am, I got a call on my cell phone from my wife’s hospital room, tellin’ me she needed me. So we packed it in and headed home. As I mentioned before, she was in for six days. So the next week or so after that was spent trying to divide my time among the kids at home, work, and my wife in the hospital. Not very restful, as you can imagine, but I guarantee she had a worse time than I did.

She did get to come home, though, and has been home for a few days, and is still convalescing. It appears that we’ve probably got another couple of weeks before she’s fully recovered, and that’s if no complications set in. Whee.

There’s really not much else to report. Work has continued to be far more challenging than my previous job, and in many ways more rewarding. But, mostly, life has been about surviving. Waiting. Weathering what seems to be constant storms, and looking forward to a ray of sunshine. There’s been a few times where it seemed the sun was about to burst through… but so far it’s always been followed by yet another storm.

I’d better quit before this analogy rains itself right out.

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New Guitar

I got an early anniversary present from my lovely wife. We found an Ibanez PF15ms guitar for sale at a local yard sale. It’s in premium condition, really like new, and it sounds very nice. In person, the blue color is much deeper and/or darker than it appears in that picture.

In related news, the fingertips of my left hand hurt.

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The Order of the Stick

I ran across a new webcomic, from I’m not sure where. It turns out to be very entertaining.

The comic is comprised of a party playing a DnD campaign, and the writing is frequently hilarious.

I present: The Order of the Stick

(also added to the Web Comic links in the sidebar)

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Some Navy jokes

I served onboard the USS Enterprise for 6 years. I think I’m entitled for a little fun ;)

“The Genie”
A Petty Officer Second Class, First Class and a Chief are off the ship together for lunch. While crossing a park they come upon an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out in a puff of smoke. The Genie says, “I usually only grant three wishes, so I’ll give each of you just one.”

“Me first!” says the Petty Officer Second Class. “I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, a beautiful woman at my side and not a care in the world.” Poof! He’s gone.

“Me next!” says the First Class. “I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of pina coladas and a beautiful woman.” Poof! He’s gone.

“You’re next,” the Genie says to the Chief.

The Chief says, “I want those two back on the ship right after lunch.”
==================================================================
“The Chief and the Gunny”

An old Chief and an old Gunny were sitting at the VFW arguing about who’d had the tougher career.

“I did 30 years in the Corps,” the Gunny declared proudly, “and fought in three of my country’s wars. Fresh out of boot camp I hit the beach at Okinawa, clawed my way up the blood soaked sand, and eventually took out an entire enemy machine gun nest with a single grenade.

“As a Sergeant, I fought in Korea alongside General MacArthur. We pushed back the enemy inch by bloody inch all the way up to the Chinese border, always under a barrage of artillery and small arms fire.

“Finally, as a Gunny Sergeant, I did three consecutive combat tours in Vietnam. We humped through the mud and razor grass for 14 hours a day, plagued by rain and mosquitoes, ducking under sniper fire all day and mortar fire all night. In a fire fight, we’d fire until our arms ached and our guns were empty, then we’d charge the enemy with bayonets!”

“Ah,” said the Chief with a dismissive wave of his hand, “all shore duty, huh?”
==================================================================
“A Mustang’s Hunting Dog”

A Mustang retired after 35 years and realized a lifelong dream of buying a bird-hunting estate in Alaska. He invited an old Admiral friend to visit for a week of pheasant shooting. The friend was in awe of the Mustang’s new bird dog, “Chief”. The dog could point, flush and retrieve with the very best.

The Admiral offered to buy the dog at any price. The Mustang declined, saying that Chief was the very best bird dog he had ever owned and that he couldn’t part with him. Six months later the same Admiral returned for another week of hunting and was surprised to find the Mustang breaking in a new dog.

“What happened to Chief?” he asked. “Had to shoot him,” the Mustang replied. “Another old shipmate came to hunt with me and couldn’t remember the dog’s name. He kept calling him ‘Master Chief.’ After that, all the dog would do was sit on his butt and bark.”
==================================================================
“The Five Most Dangerous Things in the US Navy”

A Seaman saying, “I learned this in Boot Camp…”
A Petty Officer saying, “Trust me, sir…”
A Lieutenant JG saying, “Based on my experience…”
A Lieutenant saying, “I was just thinking…”
A Chief chuckling and saying, “Watch this shit…”

Posted in Humor | 1 Comment

Guest Blogger

Ok, so I came in and bugged Lafe about when he would update his blog since it gets so little activity. Next thing I know, I’ve got admin privilidges.

Me and Lafe share some hobbies: beer, humor, games, geek stuff, programming, Neverwinter nights, but I don’t go for that running stuff. Exercise is too much work. I do like baseball, but I didn’t always. My interest is specifically around a non-competitive little league for children that are special, Miracle League of El Paso. It shouldn’t take too much imagination to figure out why.

So, sex, politics, religion, which topic should we bring up to get Lafe’s e-mail box full of complaints? Anyone notice that the Superbowl car commercials all contained SUV’s? I guess they didn’t hear W’s state of the union speech where he suggested that we need to break our addiction to oil. Seems to me we need better incentives.

Well, I should save some for the next blog.

~Armando

Posted in General | 2 Comments

New word.

pecticulant
pec·tic·u·lant
pĕk-tĭk’-yə-lənt

adj: pickily and peculiarly anal.

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Arcata Police Log

Somehow, in my internet-soaked life, I have managed to miss finding this website until tonight.

A must-read.

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Thanksgiving.

I am thankful that I have a family that I love.
I am thankful that I have a home.
I am thankful that I have a good job to support my family.
I am thankful that I have friends.
I am thankful that I am healthy.
I am thankful that I have many luxuries, such as nice modes of transportation, a climate-controlled living space, and lots of neat toys.
I am thankful for more things than these, but these are pretty much the top of the heap.

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In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
      That mark our place; and in the sky
      The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
      Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
                                In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
      The torch; be yours to hold it high.
      If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
                                In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army

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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

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