Thursday, December 27, 2007

Wishing David Well

A few years ago, my wife and I attended a Nickel Creek show at the 9:30 Club in DC. Before the show, we managed to get a seat at a table in the tiny basement bar prior to the show. We shared the table with 2 gentlemen that arrived about the same time we did. My wife, ever the gregarious type, almost immediately struck up a conversation. Introductions were made, and the usual pleasantries were exchanged. At one point, my wife asked why one of the 2 men (named David) why he was not drinking (anything with alcohol). He removed his hat to reveal a rather large surgical scar across his head. "Brain surgery" he replied.

At this point, you never know where the conversation will go. Do we ask what kind of surgery? Do we move on to lighter topics? Do we stammer and stutter? We asked about the surgery.

Turns out David was more than willing to talk about it. He seemed to enjoy it, really. He explained that a few years previously, at the age of 38, he had a seizure that prompted a brain scan. The doctors found a lemon-sized tumor in an "inoperable" area of his brain. At that point, he made it his sole priority in life to take care of the tumor. He finally found a surgeon to operate, and that operation was in May of 2005.

Over the course of the evening and concert, we had a terrific time. I doubt that there were any political issues that we saw eye-to-eye on, but that didn't matter to him (or us). We had some things in common (we're both marching band geeks), and a good time was had by all.

David also told us that he maintained a blog of sorts where he detailed his treatments and info about the tumor.

We looked it up when we got home. It's detailed. I mean really detailed.

I check back in every so often, following his treatment progress. On December 18th, David found out that there has been some new tumor growth.

His surgery is scheduled to begin at 2:00 this afternoon.

I suppose I'm posting this in the ether in the hopes that every little bit helps. Call it what you want; prayers, goodwill, vibes, whatever.

If you're so inclined, follow his progress on his site, www.38lemon.com. It's worth it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Eve

The Wife, kid and I went to Richmond to spend Christmas with my wife's family. We probably broke a land speed record or two on the way down, but were mercifally un-acosted by the state troopers of either Maryland or Virginia. Good thing, too. Fines in the commonwealth of VA are pretty steep these days.

The Kid slept in a room connected the master bedroom. My wife's parents told us that this is because it's the best place in the house for the crib. By "best place" I think her parents mean "room closest to her grandparents". In any case, the only way to get to the crib is by going through the master bedroom. A fine arrangement, if you ask me.

Ordinarily, this arrangement works swimmingly. Ordinarily.

The Kid woke up at about 5:00 am on the 24th (0500 for those of you in uniform). Not only was she awake, she was crying. A lot. With Big. Scary. Tears. Her grandparents struggled mightily (but in the end in vain) to calm the Kid for the better part of half an hour. At 5:35, we awoke to the sound of a crying child just outside our bedroom door. Dashing out of bed, we threw open the door to see the Kid in the arms of her grandmother, who was standing in the hallway. We apologized profusely, took the still-screaming child, and wend back into our room. 30 minutes (I think) of calming tones, soothing gestures, and relaxing rocking back and forth, the Kid was not crying as much.

Since we weren't going to get back to sleep, we three shuffled downstairs to the living room. I made a bottle for the Kid, and the wife fed it to her while sitting in a comfy chair near the fireplace.

Within 10 minutes, the Kid was asleep again, with her head resting on my wife's shoulder. My wife was asleep not long after that. There were my daughter and my wife, both sleeping under a blanket that I placed over them. I hadn't seen that since the Kid was 2 months old.

I toyed with the idea of grabbing the camera, but knew that no picture could capture the essence of what I saw. There were the two girls I love the most, asleep in the midst of all the Christmas finery, and the morning sun just beginning to peek through the trees. It was a moment that no words, or image could ever do justice. I'm not ashamed to admit that my eyesight was beginning to blur just a tad. Had I tried to speak, the words would have stuck in my throat.

I wanted that to last for a lifetime. It can't though, and that's what makes it special. This memory is mine. It belongs to me, I can have it whenever I want, and no one can take it away. If you ever see me and I'm obviously not paying attention, you can bet that I'm back in that living room, on December 24th 2007.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Hey, Daddy...

I think there's someone on the roof...



Sunday, December 16, 2007

"Hoorah" and all that Army Stuff

In the Navy, we say "Fair Winds and Following Seas" to shipmates as they depart on adventure abroad. I have no idea what Army folks say. I've asked a sojer or two before, but never gotten a solid answer.

The Kid's uncle (and my brother in-law) shipped out last weekend for another fun 15 months in the sand. Seems like he just got back. At least he'll have those shiny silver oak leaves by the time he gets home. My sister is home with the 3 kids, and (no offense to her) is stronger than I ever thought she could be. I mean that in the nicest way. She is a living embodiment of the old saw: "God never gives you more than you can handle."

In order to see him off in true familial fashion, I decided we needed a picture of the Kid holding a sign wishing him well. She's 7 months old. How hard could it be? Thank heavens for the inventor of the digital camera and the affordability of the a 2 GB memory card for said camera.

I took 44 shots, and this one is by far the best. In case you can't make out the sign, it says:

"Good Luck Uncle Todd".


This was right before she started eating the sign.

So "Good Luck" to Uncle Todd and his comrades. May you be safe, and we'll see you back home when your job is done.

Multi-lingual

The kid is well on her way to picking up English, but she's also working on another language. I don't know and can't imagine where she's getting it, since no one I know speaks it.

What other language? Drax.

video

Go figure.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Common Sense and the Nanny State

I like the UK. I've been there a few times on vacation, and God willin' and the creek don't rise, I'm going back for a few weeks next spring. The natives speak a strange dialect of Amurican, but the beer is good, and I'm actually a fan of the food. I could really go for some Bangers and Mash right about now.

But this is nuts. Are you kidding me? You take a pic of your kid and next thing you know, Chris Hanson is asking you to "have a seat right over here".

Vacation

Last week was one of the most relaxing vacations I've ever taken. We didn't go anywhere, and we didn't do anything special. I just sort of hung around the house got some stuff doing that I'd been putting off. Like getting the garage to the point where I can actually get my car into it. I always liked the way my grandfather put it. "I can't understand why people will park a $40,000 car out in the elements just so they can keep $500 work of junk from getting wet.


But I digress. After having spent 5 whole days not-at-work, I was rather rudely reminded that vacation is an illusion. I spent extra time in the weeks preceeding my time off getting everything ready for my departure, and I'll spend several weeks after I get back taking care of everything that went on while I was gone. All else benig equal, I didn't get any actual time off. those 40 hours worth of work were just re-distributed. Ugh. At least I got to spend more time with the Kid than normal. Which was nice.


I also re-discovered a talent that I had forgotten I even had. I'm a firm believer that everyone has a talent for something, and if you can make money doing it, so much the better. Although I have played an instrument in the past, I don't consider myself a musician. I'm no good at "art" (drawing, painting, etc.); I can hold my own in a kitchen, but not to the point where I'm really good at it. Unfortunately, my talent is one that I can't make money with. I have the uncanny ability to find the one thing on TV at any given moment that my wife will absolutely hate. Usually it's something educational, military or history related. Last night it was the rather innocuous Canadian import "Corner Gas". I just watch it and giggle, but she doesn't understand what I'm laughing aboot.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Good Morning

I apologize if anyone has been waiting for another post, but I have taken this week off to do some decorating, shopping, and just relaxing around the house. The 4 inches of snow we got yesterday made it that much better.

I also bought us a new toy. Funny how I have to buy all this stuff since the kid came.

video

Is is me, or did she say "da-da"?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Moss Point Memories

In between the turkey and football of Thanksgiving, I usually take the time to reflect on members of my family that we don’t get to see often enough.

My mother’s parents used to live in Moss Point, Mississippi, a “suburb” of Pascagoula on the Gulf Coast. My Aunt, Uncle, and 2 cousins lived around the corner from them in the same neighborhood. Because my family was usually somewhere on the northeast coast between Washington, DC and Maine, we didn’t get down there as often as we would have liked. One of the first pictures of all of us together was in 1971. The youngest one in the picture is me. Yes, I used to be a blond.

My memories of the too few times we spent there are as thick as the steamy summers on the Gulf Coast. It’s hard to hear cicadas and not be brought back to those evenings with my sister and cousins. We spent our last long summer there in 1981 (I think) while dad was on deployment. It’s funny what you remember about times like that. The doorknob on the front door on my grandparents’ house was in the middle of the door, not on the side. Every few evenings, a truck would roll though the neighborhood belching a fog of mosquito-killing insecticide. Every afternoon, the shrimp boats would return to Pascagoula, and the air would positively reek with the indescribable smell of commercial shrimping. Every lawn had Bermuda grass, which was completely alien to a northerner like me.

My grandfather built a boat he named the JADE, an acronym of the first initials of his 4 grandkids. Living not a mile from the coast, we went out on that boat seemingly every day. In 1974, we got a picture of the 4 of us on the boat.


My grandmother died not too long after that trip in 1981, and my grandfather moved out of the house a year after that. He passed away in 2002. Over the years it’s been harder and harder to get us all together. There were brief holiday trips over the next few years or so, but the 4 grandkids all went their separate ways. One cousin converted to Canadianism (as my sister says) and lives in Vancouver. My other cousin now lives in Asheville, NC. My aunt and uncle are settled into a comfortable retirement in Tupelo, MS. My sister is in Texas, my parents are retired in Northern Virginia, and I’m here in Annapolis.

Last time the 4 of us were together was in the high desert of Oregon in the summer of 2003 for my grandfather’s funeral service.


The old neighborhood in Moss Point was hit pretty hard by Katrina. I doubt either of those houses is still standing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Over the River

and through the woods. To Grandmother's house we go.

Another beautiful weekend following a ho-hum week. My poor wife took the red-eye from LA on Thursday night, only to get to the airport at 6:00 on Friday morning to discover a car with a dead battery. I was already on my way to work, so I turned around to do something. Anything.

Did I mention that it was "my" car that had the dead battery? Felt a little responsible, I did.

Got everyone home safe and sound with the help of the Kid's godmother and drove to grandma's house for her birthday weekend. A good time was had by all, I'd say.

"Excuse me, but I can't seem to find my yak. Have you seen him?"

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sometimes It Just Can't Get Any Better

My apologies for not posting in over a week. Life gets hectic sometimes, and blogging takes a back seat. Audrey was sick for a few days last week, I was on duty the previous weekend, and the wife is out of town all this week, leaving me to play Mr. Mom until Friday.


Having said that, Audrey's friend Julianna came to visit last weekend. As I spent the day toiling in the basement of the largest office building in America, I missed this beautiful scene.

Seriously, Isn't this picture just so full of awesome you can't stand it?

Friday, November 2, 2007

"I Give You Full Marks for Bravery"

Pirates Tell U.S. Navy to Back Off.

Wow. That's gotta take some stones, eh? These pirates must not have been watching the Military Channel much, because they've clearly missed all the shows on what total bad-asses SEALs and other Special Ops guys are.

I don't know what it says about when the State Department spokesman feels need to remind us that "...These are not pirates who will remind you of Johnny Depp. These are quite different kinds of pirates."

Dur...

More importantly, do they remind us of the other star of the movies?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What Are You Doing Over Here?

I've got a new post or two up over at the Flight Deck while Lex is out of pocket. Lots of pretty new airplane pictures (called plane pr0n, by the way), as well as some updates on the Valour-IT fundraising drive.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Weekend Getaway

Whilst in the grip of fear that one of the best writers on the intertubes may be hanging up his hat, we hopped in the car on Friday and drove to Greensboro NC for an annual Halloween party that we couldn't miss.


There were pirates




Knights and their maidens fair




Even a double Elvis sighting



Rambo made an appearance, but it was determined by some that his costume was lacking a certain (and useless) part of the male anatomy




Of course, the kid came too.



"Help me Daddy-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope."

Driving from Annapolis to Greensboro with a 6 month-old isn't as bad as you'd think, and being there more than made up for the length of the trip. Our host and hostess are dear friends who take Halloween seriously. Decorating their place takes weeks, and none of the photos I took can ever do it justice. Not being there would have been far worse than the 15 total hours we spent in the car.

I did learn a few things during the course of the party:

  1. Length of adult female costume hemlines is inversely proportional to the age of the wearer.

  2. As the length of the party increases, the average age of the attendees lowers.

  3. If you're closer to 40 than to 30, talking at length with a twenty-something won't make you feel young again. It will make you feel older. Much older.

  4. Females have it easy when it comes ot costumes. Simply take an iconic character image (nurse, teacher, fisherperson, etc...) and put the word "slutty" in front of it. Show some leg, overdo the make-up and presto! You've got yerself a costume. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Monday, October 29, 2007

For a Good Cause

Every fall, the folks at Soldier's Angels and Valour-IT have a fund-raising campaign to raise money to purchase voice-activate laptops for wounded vets.

As part of that drive, there is an inter service competition to see which service can raise the most money.

Further details here and here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Has It Been 6 Months Already?

Hard to believe that 6 months ago tonight, our little bundle of joy arrived to bless our lives. On one hand, it seems like yesterday. On the other, I can't remember what life was like before she got here.

I'll never forget that first time the nurse handed her to me. I'd never even seen a baby that young before, much less held one. She seemed content to just look around and see what was going on.



In fact, she spent the better part of that first week just sort of looking around.





She was a scant 6 pounds when she arrived, and we wondered if she would ever get bigger. We worried needlessly, as time would tell.




At the risk of tempting the baby-gods, she's been an absolute breeze so far. She slept through the night by 8 weeks, and has now settled into a routine that fits pretty good with ours. She goes to bed at 7, gets up 12 hours later, and is always happy to see us in the morning. There's something about that smile, but maybe it's just me.

Her favorite thing at the moment is to make raspberry noises, which is either an emulation of one of her favorite toys, or a response to the numerous NASCAR (go Tony!) and IndyCar (go Danica) races we've watched together. The unfortunate side-effect of this particular activity is the copious amounts of drool that accumulate on her chin and upper chest. She's wearing a bib all the time these days, just to keep her clothes dry.

We can't wait to see what the next 6 months bring. There's going to be crawling, walking , and even talking by next April. Then things start to get really interesting...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Not Everyone Looks Good All the Time

Zombietime has posted an “ultimate” online archive of un-flattering photos of HRC. Now, I tend to view this political discourse somewhere between the “neener-neener-neener” and “yeah, but you’re a poopie-head” schools of debate tactics.

I suppose it’s only fair, tho, since the left has spent the past 7 years using photos of W looking more – simian, I suppose – than normal. I’m guessing that once HRC is elected, we’ll be seeing a lot more of the photos linked above on the right-hand side of the blogosphere.

Having said that, there’s at least one photo I quite enjoy. Could stand to look at a lot, you might say.

Betcha can’t tell which one…

Worried about my Blogfriends

Several blogbuddies are in the crosshairs of the fires burning in Sandy Eggo.

I saw what these things can be like when I was in Sisters Oregon a few summers ago, and I can't imagine what it must be like knowing that these beasts are only miles from your home.

Good luck to Lex and FbL. Both are updating as conditions allow.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sneak Peek

Ever wonder what it's like to work in the government IT community? I'll give you a taste:




* This poster was shamelessly stolen from an anonymous government worker who posted this in his cube.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Why Haven't we Bagged Osama?

Good question, but I really don't care. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that I don't care if we never do. I can't think of a single good reason to capture or kill the man. I suppose the argument could be made that we as a civilization need to feel that he has been brought to some sort of justice. Unfortunately, I'm of the opinion that capturing or killing him won't help, and if anything will make matters worse.

Here's my thinking: No mater how we get him, he's instantly a martyr. Killing him is a worst-case scenario. Gloating over is death will re-vitalize an enemy at a time when it looks (on the surface) like we're starting to make some progress.

What if we capture him? Then what? A trial? I'm no lawyer, but I can't imagine that this is an open-and-shut case. At least not in the sense that we normally think about it. There's probably very little admissible direct evidence linking him to the events of 9/11. Maybe we could get him on tax evasion charges...

No, I like Osama right where he is, probably in a cave somewhere, living out the last days of his miserable existence.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Fallen Navy SEAL to Receive Medal of Honor



Navy SEAL LT Michael Murphy was killed in action in Afghanistan during Operation REDWING in 2005. On October 11, The Navy announced that for his actions on June 28, 2005, he will be awarded the Medal of Honor.

On October 22, the President, on the behalf of Congress, will present the Medal of Honor to his family.

The Medal of Honor was created in 1861, and is the nations highest military award for valor.

More information can be found here.

I can't help being deeply moved after reading through the accounts of LT Murphy's actions, and those of his fellow SEALs, in a way that is difficult to describe.

The sole survivor of that battle chronicled the experience in the book "Lone Survivor".

I'm also waiting for the inevitable comment somewhere that he "won" the medal. Personal awards for valor aren't "won". They are "awarded". Valor decorations are not something that you compete or vie for. Characterizing his actions on that day as some sort of competition demeans them in a small way. That may be just me, tho.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Transparency

The military is a strange place for a civilian to find themselves. There are a lot of differences that I wasn’t expecting, even though I grew up in a military family. Both my father and his father spent over 20 years in the sea service, but they never used the lingo at home. A floor wasn’t a deck, and a wall wasn’t a bulkhead. To me, the Navy was about keeping the Russians from “sucking the paint off your house and giving your family a permanent orange afro.” I had only seen it from the outside.

My first command was made up of sailors and officers that were more or less just like me. We were all reservists, all did the same job, and all had the same sorts of backgrounds. College-educated, in our 30’s, and few of us had any prior military experience. Our job can best be described as “white-collar.” It involved computers and Accelerating Our Lives ™ one PowerPoint slide at a time. It wasn’t until I got to my second command that I saw the “real” Navy from the inside.

I was re-assigned to a squadron here in DC. The squadron was (roughly) half active duty and half reservists. Comparing it to my first assignment is nigh-on impossible. I’m not talking apples and oranges. I’m talking apples and car tires. Both are more or less round, but that’s about it.

Not long after I got there, one of the active duty sailors had gotten himself into a bit of trouble with the base police. I’ll just say that the phrase “resisted arrest” was used in describing his infraction, as was the word “alcohol”. Funny how those two always seem to go hand-in-hand.

Our CO threw the book at him. Busted down to third class, took some of his pay, and anything else he could think of. A hard man, he was. Hard, but fair. Any one of us would have received the same punishment.

The next week was our change of command, we got a new CO. The following month, the squadron was mustered in the hangar for quarters. The new CO told the assembled masses the details of what this sailor had done, and what the punishment from the previous CO had been. Then he said that due to the exemplary performance record of this sailor, he was re-instating him back to his previous rank, and removing all other restrictions.

It was at that moment I noticed that the guy in front of me was weeping. It was him.

To a civilian, this was all very strange. That sort of thing just doesn’t happen out there in suit-and-tie land. People you work with may get drunk and fight with the cops, but details are always vague, and everything you hear is through the office grapevine. The boss certainly doesn’t call an all-hands staff meeting to discuss the details. I can’t think of a single civilian job where a boss has that kind of power.

It was then when I realized just how much authority a military commanding officer has. Especially in the Navy. The buck stops with them, and they hold the lives of every sailor in their hands. If absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely, it sure as heck better be transparent.

Friday, October 5, 2007

With My Spear and Magic Helmet...

I am, for lack of a better word, squeamish. I don't particularly like the sight of blood, and I especially don't like being in hospitals. I find this personal revulsion intellectually fascinating, because medicine and surgery are among the things that interest me the most. I have a handful of books on the subject, and have no problem watching either Discovery Health (aka the Surgery Channel) or other televised surgical procedures. If (heaven forbid) The Kid does end up needing surgery, the curious guy in me wants to watch, or at least see it on video. You can stick me with as many needles and draw as much blood as you want, but don't you dare show it to me beforehand. If I see the needle go in, you'd better get a pillow. Because I'm going to take a quick nap.

As my wife's due date neared, we had discussions about who would be in the room, and how involved I was going to be when the big moment came. This talk had to include a frank assessment of my ability to stay conscious in the presence of not only blood, but sharp and scary looking medical instruments. I said that I would do whatever was needed to be there with my wife. All of my friends with kids explained that I would be so excited and caught up in the moment that I wouldn't have time to pass out. Clearly, these friends have never seen me in a hospital. My biggest fear was passing out, bonking me head, and being sent to the emergency room. I'd miss everything. :-(

My wife's aunt and uncle had (of course) heard of my near-legendary ability to pass out, and decided to act.

About a month before my wife was due, a package from them arrived on our doorstep. It was addressed to me. Hmmm. Whatever could it be?

It was my very own, patent-pending, fainting cap. Actually, it was a rock climbing helmet with the following sticker on it:

Newby Dad High-Impact Fainting Cap
Proven to reduce severity of cranial injury due to high velocity
impact with floors, walls, or heavy objects wielded by mothers
in a state of high agitation

A pair of geniuses, they are. It went straight into the readybag next to the door.

When the big day came, it ended up being (for me) a worst case scenario. Emergency c-section. That meant an operating room. LOTS of positively medieval extraction and retraction devices in plain view. Blood. Incisions. In short, all the wrong things.

Did I wear it?


Yer dern tootin' I did. While I may not look very macho, I'd look decidedly less macho sprawled out on the floor.

Did I need it? Nope.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

We're Still Proud

A few years ago, I would guess late 2003 or so, I was leaving the local Metro station on my way home when I spotted a young Army private standing in front of one of the farecard machines. He was wearing his Class A uniform, with a fully stuffed pack on his shoulders. He looked like he was straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting.

It was clear that he was trying to make sense of the farecard system we use here in DC, and not having much success.

Just as I was walking past the young private, the station manager emerged from his kiosk and walked toward the soldier.

"Hey, G.I.!" he shouted. "You're money's no good here."

The private turned and walked to the manager. A few brief words were exchanged, and I saw the manager hand him something. The manager then escorted the soldier through a small gate next that Metro employees use to bypass the turnstiles.

The soldier was on his way to wherever he was going.

I watched all this, and as the soldier was heading down the escalator, I walked over to the manager and thanked him.

That was 4 years ago, and you'd think that sort of thing wasn't happeneing anymore.

You'd be wrong.

Good News

Looks like the kid won't need surgery after all. The opthl...

optam...

opthom...

eye doctor we saw thinks the problem will most likely resolve itself over time, and as long as she's not in any discomfort, there isn't a good reason to have the operation.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

How My Day Was Almost Ruined

I am a creature of habit. Actually, more of a creature of routine.

Every day, I leave the house at 6:11. I drive to the Metro station to get on the 6:43 train, and park in pretty much the same spot. I get a copy of the two freebie newspapers (the Examiner and the Express), and I sit in the third car, in the same seat every day. I sit in this car and in this seat because when the train reaches my destination, the escalator off of the platform will be next to the door nearest the seat. If I were to sit further forward on the train, my exit would be past the escalator, requiring a u-turn once I passed the escalator, and merging with the line of people going up.

I have to complete the Examiner crossword before I reach the Stadium station. That way, I can be reasonably sure of completing the Express crossword by the time I get to L’Enfant Plaza. That will give me enough time to read the entertainment sections of both papers, as well as the op-ed section of the Examiner.

I always fold the newspapers with the opinion section of the Examiner facing out (so people will think I’m smart), and leave the station through the last turnstile on the right. The newspaper goes in the second-to-last recycling bin just before the escalator to the street. There is a reason for the turnstile and bin, basically an efficiency of movement thing. It took a few weeks of mental calculation and experimentation with different routes, motions, and even strides, but I think I’ve got it down now. I’ve even counted the number of steps, just to be sure.

Yesterday, everything seemed to go wrong. I was 5 minutes late leaving the house. There were no Examiner papers to be had at the station. The third train car was “down” as in not working. I had to make a snap judgment. Should I:

a) Sit in car 2, thus requiring the dreaded “station u-turn?”
b) Sit in car 4, meaning a 50 foot longer walk to the platform escalator?
c) Wait for the next train and be another 4 minutes late for work?

I went with “b” figuring the extra walk wouldn’t hurt. Unfortunately, car 4 was rather full, meaning I didn’t get my usual seat. I got stuck with an aisle seat on the end, which meant that I couldn’t have a proper work surface on which to complete my only crossword. See below:

That isn't me, by the way...

Upon arriving at the station, I discovered to my almost horror that my turnstile was broken, and the recycling bin I use was being emptied!!!

I arrived at the office pretty much convinced that the day was going to be ruined. Luckily, the rest of the day was uneventful, and today, everything was back as it should be.
In case you are wondering (and I know you are), I do have a routine for my trip home, but it isn't nearly as complex as the one on the way in.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Marcia Brady and the Intertubes

I wasn't going to blog about this, but my readership is pleading, nay - demanding - that I address certain topic of interest. Namely, the rumor that Maureen McCormick (Marcia Brady) and Eve Plumb (Jan Brady) had a bit of a physical relationship while filming the iconic TV series The Brady Bunch.
It has actually turned into an interesting tale about the Internet, publishing, and the media in general.

At 0236 on September 21, contactmusic.com posted a short piece stating that in McCormick's upcoming tell-all autobiography, she reveals that she had a lesbian fling with Plumb. The article quotes an unnamed source who told the National Inquirer about the details of the book. Unnamed sources, especially third-party ones (the source told the Inquirer. Who told contactmusic.com?) are notoriously unreliable, and have gotten plenty of mainstream media outlets into trouble. Just ask Stephen Glass and Scott Beauchamp of the New Republic or Jayson Blair of the NY Times. For the most comprehensive list I've found of journalistic fraud, check out this list at the American Thinker.

Sorry. Back to the lesbians.

It didn't take long before fark.com had posted the article with the obligatory "cool" tag, and the article started making the rounds. Even at this early stage, there were some readers who smelled a rat. At least one commenter remarked that this is probably the result of someone that the publisher "leaking" information to the press in order to get a mention somewhere. According to ABC News, doubts about the story's authenticity didn't deter at least "one major newspaper" picked up the story on Saturday.

By Sunday, the fun was over, and the publisher was "rushing" to deny the rumor that McCormick and Plumb had a fling.

Of course, all this hoopla served everyone's interest in the end. Contactmusic.com got traffic, and now we all know that McCormick's book, entitled "Here's the Story", published by William Morrow (a division of HarperCollins) hits bookstores next year. Even Barry Williams (Greg) gets a bonus. His book, "Growing up Brady" got a mention in almost every article I've found.

Happy now? I'm going back to Lex's place to see if he's posted more pictures of the luminous Keira Knightly.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I didn't want to do it

Really I didn't. But something made me. Urged me, you might say. Durnit, the kid needs clothes, right? She can't run around in the buff. No, that wouldn't do. So I got her this:

Get it?

ThinkGeek.com is the bomb.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Friday, September 21, 2007

Librarything

Ugh. I had to post something to get that gawd-awful picture of me off the top of the page. To think, that picture is going to haunt my official record for another 2 years.

Most of the regulars over at the Flight Deck seem to be avid readers and book collectors. I count myself among that number. In fact, I'm a bit of a book geek. Years ago, when my collection was smaller, I actually had all of my books arranged by Dewey Decimal number. When we were looking for a new home in Annapolis, one of the features we (ok, I) wanted was a room to serve only as my library.

Then my buddy Adeodatus hipped me to a nifty online tool called Librarything, which took the geekiness to a new level. Basically, it's an online database where you can catalog your books. They even have an import tool where you can upload a text file of all your book's ISBNs (the ID number above the UPC barcode) and Librarything fills in the rest. Complete with pictures of the covers.

Granted, if you have a lot of books it may take some time to enter them all, but I thought it was worth it for me in the long run. My favorite feature is the ability to see other user's collections and books that you have in common. No matter how obscure a title, there's probably another Librarything member with the same book.

The site is http://www.librarything.com/. For an example, and you can view my profile and library at http://www.librarything.com/profile/JeopardyinMD.

Ignore the one comment about owning a Debbie Gibson book. We were all young and foolish once.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Good stuff on the tube

The wife, kid and I had dinner at our neighbor's house the other night. It was nice to get out o the house, even if it was only across the street. The kid was a complete angel, as usual. She sat next to the table and talked to herself while we ate. I also got to try some of the best Scotch I've had in a long time. Lagavulin Single Malt, I believe it was. good stuff.

We got home, put the kid to bed, and turned on the TV. We flipped over to the History Channel and watched a documentary on The Sun, full of completely useless information like: "If the sun were made of wood, it would burn for about 5,000 years."

OK, maybe not completely useless. That may come in handy later.

I quite enjoyed it, not only because it was informative, but it also featured Dr. Holly Gilbert, one of the most attractive physicists I've seen in quite a while. Which brings me to this: Dr. Gilbert is not only a preeminent scientist in her field, but also does a fair bit of work with organizations that encourage girls and young women to get involved in the sciences. My (slightly) older sister and I grew up in a world where we were always told that we could be pretty much anything we wanted to be. For my sister, tho, there was a dearth of real-life examples to look up to. NASA didn't fly a woman into space until Sally Ride in '83, and the Navy didn't get a female fighter pilot until '94.
As the father of a 5 month old baby girl, I actually hope that when the time comes, she won't have the opportunity to be the first woman to do anything. It will already have been done by someone else.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Bad News

Actually, it's not all that bad in the grand scheme of things, but the wife, the kid and I are going to have a rough 24 to 48 hours sometime soon.

The kid was diagnosed with Entropian, which is a "very rare" inward cruving of the lower eyelid. It can be mildly irritating to her, but can leat to scratching of the cornea if left un-corrected. The most successful treatment is a 15 to 20 minute out-patient surgery to correct the defect. The results are usually permanent, which means that we won't have to do it again. The doc says its genetic, but I think it may have more to do with her overly chubby cheeks.

From everything we've found out so far, the recovery time is pretty quick (12-24 hours), but that's in "adult time". I can't imagine that a 5 month old is going to be highly tolerant the post-op pain, eye patches, and antibiotic balms and salves. Not to mention there's probably some sort of eating before sugery restriction.


Of course, we know all of this now. There's always that horrible period between the time the doc says "surgery" and you find out that it isn't a really big deal.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Decisions, decisions

So, Yesterday was a pretty good day. Got Aviation Week and the Victoria's Secret catalog in the mail.

On one hand, I wanted to read about the lifting capability of the C-27J Spartan. On the other, I wanted to read (yeah, that's it) about the lifting capability of the VS "Secret Embrace" push-up.

Hmmmm. What did I chose to read? Those that know me probably already have it figured out.

9 tons for the C-27J. I don't think that the Secret Embrace can handle quite that much. Even on a good day.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Old Habits Die Hard

My daughter had the pleasure of meeting her great-grandparents a few weeks ago, along with her aunt, uncle, and 3 cousins from my geographically far-flung family. You may remember my grandfather from this post on Lex's site a few years back.
Lest you think I'm posting another pic of the kid just because I'm a proud dad (I am), I ask that you check out this pic and look closely at what her great grandfather is wearing.







Yup. Those are, in fact, US Navy issue dungarees. For those of you who follow such things, that uniform was phased out and unavailable by 2000 or so. He's worn them as a "civilian working uniform" ever since he retired in 1966, and he returned to the family farm in rural Rhode Island. He plants about an acre-size garden every spring, and chops enough wood to keep their wood stove burning from late October to early March or so. The whole time, he's been wearing those dungarees. When he heard that they were being phased out, he headed down to Newport (or maybe it was Groton) to buy as many sets as he could.

I caught a lot of what it meant to be a good sailor from him. I say "caught" because he never said "to be a good sailor, do...". He did what all great Chiefs do; they teach by example, and help you figure it out.

I also learned the single most important thing that any JO in the Navy should know: The Chiefs run the Navy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The 2996 Project

I'm remembering Julian Cooper today, in my own way.

He was a reserve IT in my parent command here in Washington. I don't remember meeting him, butI almost certainly did in the year preceeding 9/11. His family wanted to avoid a lot of publicity regarding his death, and the command honored their wishes. We had a small ceremony and left it at that.

In keeping with that, I'll simply post the official biography and photo from defendamerica.mil.


Julian Theodore Cooper
Julian Cooper, 39, was a senior computer analyst for Litton PRC. He had worked in the U.S. Navy Command Center at the Pentagon for five years. Known to his friends as Coop'a, he graduated from Bladensburg High School and attended the University of Maryland. After college he joined the U.S. Navy, where he served for 13 years. Later he was a Navy reservist. He was a devoted husband, a protective son and a supportive brother. He was always willing to help those around him. He was a patriot. He is survived by his wife, mother, grandmother, one brother and two sisters. We will not forget him.
Fair winds and following seas, shipmate.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Wow

4 comments on the first post. And here I thought that no one would notice. Silly me.


I do appreciate it, though. I am by no means finished organizing everything here, so there will be more stuff soon.


So, it's a drill weekend. I won't go so far as to say my recruiter lied to me, but he conveniently forget to mention that 12 day work weeks suck. Before you say it, yeah, I know that you work 7 days a week when deployed. I've done that too. But there's something about doing it at home that makes it different. Next Friday it will be tough to get out of bed that morning.


Don't think that I don't love what I do on these weekends. Most of it, anyway. For those of you who are (or were) active duty, think back to all of the admin crap you have to do in the course of a typical month or year. As reservists, we have 2 days a month to do all the same stuff, as well as our jobs. No one gets a good fitrep or eval for being really good at standing in line at PSD.


This morning, we had our usual Saturday morning all-hands meeting in our small auditorium. The only difference was that all of our enlisted were at rate training, so it was just us Os. Mostly JOs, with one or two LCDRs. For a brief moment there, I felt like I was in the scene in TOP GUN where Maverick looks around to see who the best is.


Good times.

Friday, September 7, 2007

First Post

As a wise old sage once said: "So. Today I am a blogger."

Actually, I've been blogging as a contributor over here for a while, but I try to keep those posts limited to things that I hope will amuse, educate, or in some other way be moderately interesting to the other contributors on that site. Blogging here doesn't mean I won't blog over there, too.

Luckily, I have no such restrictions here, and I can blog about pretty much anything, even if no one ever finds them the slightest bit interesting.