Saturday, January 28, 2006

Off to Boot

Aaron left Wednesday for Basic Training. There were two other Marine Recruits, one Navy Recruit, and about 30 Army Recruits shipping that day. Aaron's commercial flight left around 6:30pm. Apparently, Recruits arrive at night to give the psychological aspect that the drill sergents are the only other people in the world.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Well, I'm heading out to the hotel for tonight. I'll do my best to keep everyone updated via letters to my wife for her to blog about. Your prayers are appreciated. See you on the other side.

Monday, January 23, 2006

I'm shipping!

I'm now officially shipping on Wednesday. I have my reserve interview tommorrow at 0930. Fun stuff. I'm really excited.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

What the...

I use a spiffy hit counter (located at the bottom left of this page) that lets me know where people come from. Those who go directly to the site show up as an unknown...everyone else shows up with the link to the page from whence they came...usually a search engine or other blogspot site. Well, I checked and found this interesting search:

MSN search for "flak+sex"

I noticed the searchee was from Saudi Arabia...maybe flak means something in Arabic...

The rollercoaster continues

Well, I didn't head down to MEPS today as my BUMED *STILL* hasn't come back. I'm still hoping to get on with this class as I can ship as late as Wednesday. The craziness continues. I plan on using tommorrow as a pretty stiff excercise day...and may end up doing my Reserve unit "interview." Fun stuff.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Thinking to the future

One thing my wife and I have always planned for is retirement. Before we were married, I invested a small portion of my paycheck into a retirement fund (at the time $100 a month pre-tax). After marraige, we opened a roth IRA as a general fund and continue feeding her pension. Yesterday, I recieved my annual report from my old retirement plan and was shocked by something included inside. It reported the averages for several groups:

I've always planned for the future, but I was shocked to learn that I was over average in contributing to my retirement while I was working and barely able to pay my bills. Currently, my wife and I are well over average in our age group...and we're at the "bottom" of the age side. This is scary to me. What are these people going to do in the future?

Just a friendly reminder...plan your retirement now, so you don't have to work as a greeter at WalMart until you're 75.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Posting issues

I seem to have been running into some problems with posting recently, and I'm not sure why. Just thought I'd let everyone know why I haven't posted as much recently.

3 more miles

I did a 30-minute aerobic workout and 3-mile easy paced run (27:17) to taper off that side of my workouts before my tenitive ship date. I still plan to do a couple pull-up and crunch sets tommorrow and then rest. I still haven't heard anything, but I'm still assuming I'm leaving on the 23rd. Only time will tell.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

MLK day...running and more running

My wife and I spent our 3-day weekend running. On saturday and monday, we ran a easy-paced 5-miler and on sunday, we did a short bike ride. I finished it up with my crunch routine last night (I need to do it more often as I've lost about 15 crunches in my 2 minute sessions. I have to say my legs and abs were most definately feeling it this morning.

This morning, I did a 30 minute aerobic session with a few push-ups afterward (127...I decided to cut it a little short since I have some pull-ups I need to do later).

All this build up will probably end on thursday. I still haven't heard any word, but I'm assuming I'm shipping on monday, and will do my initial fitness test (IFT) on the following friday. I think a week should give me time to rebuild everything.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Faster...must be faster

I ran a three-miler yesterday with an okay time of 25:04. In my down time, I lost 3 minutes. I still haven't heard any news on my progress with the Marines, but I continue to hope, pray, and train.

Celebrities that agree with me

I'm not really big on what celebrities I figure they're paid to act, not spout political opinions. However, it never seems to fail that some lefty actor/ess will get on the news and rant for all to hear. So for those of you like me, I like hearing from those who agree with me:

Kelsey Grammer

Actor Kelsey Grammer, who plays the lead role in NBC's "Frasier" sitcom, said he refused to watch this year's Academy Awards because of the anti-war "crap" that fellow celebrities spewed.

Grammer said he was spared filmmaker Michael Moore's anti-war acceptance speech and attack on the Bush administration at the March 23rd Academy Awards. "I didn't hear it because I didn't watch [the Academy Awards], Grammer told

"I wasn't interested. I knew that that kind of crap was going to be there and I thought, I am not interested," Grammer added.

Jason Priestley

Jason Priestley of "Beverly Hills 90210" television fame, agreed with Grammer and lamented the excessive coverage of anti-war celebrities by what he termed the "liberal media."

"I think more people should keep their opinions to themselves," Priestley said. He was particularly incensed by Moore's acceptance speech.

"It was shocking. I did not believe that was the forum to voice your opinions. Michael Moore is allowed to have opinions and his opinions are valid like everyone else's opinion, but I just didn't think the Academy Awards were the place to voice them in that manner," he explained.

Robert Duvall

Actor Robert Duvall said he is not a fan of Michael Moore, and he lashed out at Hollywood political activists.

"They should keep their mouths shut," Duvall said.

Vince Vaughn

Outside the awards show though, Vince Vaughn talked about his regular comeback for people who denounced the USA in England. “I'd ask folks to think about the Marshall Plan a bit and get back to me.

Dennis Miller

On the show Miller commented on the NY Times reporters (known to be liberals) saying, “If only Saddam Hussein would open an all-male country club somewhere in Iraq, so the Times could get behind this invasion.” In January, Miller appeared on the “Tonight Show” and had no qualms about sharing his views once again. Miller said he was a “Bush fan” and that “Iraq and al Qaeda have each other on speed dial.”

Kid Rock

“Why is everybody trying to stop the war? George Bush ain't been saying, 'You all, make s-y records.' Politicians and music don't mix. It's like whisky and wine. (Musicians) ought to stay out of it.” He continued, “We got to kill that mother-(bleeper) Saddam. Slit his throat. Kill him and the guy in North Korea.”

Lara Flynn Boyle

The former star of The Practice, 34, has gone against the grain of a large number of her Hollywood counterparts to pledge her support for the Republican leader. She says, "I'm Irish Catholic, so a Democrat by blood. But I'm 100 per cent for Bush. I want my president to be like my agent: not afraid of people, but wants my best interest."

Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis is one of my favorite actors. He apparently tried to join the Army shortly after 9/11, but was rejected because of his age. His current film project is a film based on Deuce 4...the unit that blogger/reporter Michael Yon was embedded with.

See Also:

Alice Cooper

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

How to be a millionare

I was greatly disturbed by what I found in this article about how US Citizens think they can "get rich:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than one in five Americans believe the best way to get rich is to win the lottery, while 11 percent say inheriting money is the way to go, a survey showed on Monday.

Asked the most practical way to accumulate "several hundred thousand dollars," 21 percent chose winning the lottery, compared to 55 percent who thought saving something each month for many years was best, according to a survey by the Consumer Federation of America and the Financial Planning Association.

Three percent of those surveyed thought a big insurance settlement was the best way to become wealthy.

The poor were the most likely to say winning the lottery was the most practical way to gain wealth -- with 38 percent of those earning less than $25,000 a year choosing that option compared to just 9 percent of those earning $75,000 or more.

African Americans and those over the age of 65 were also more likely to believe winning the lottery was more practical than saving each month -- at 30 percent and 31 percent, respectively.

Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the Consumer Federation, said it was of "some concern" that so many people thought the lottery was their best chance at wealth.

"It appears that these Americans both greatly overestimate their chances of hitting a lottery jackpot and greatly underestimate their ability to build six-figure wealth by patiently making regular savings contributions over time that benefit from interest compounding," Brobeck said.

The survey of more than 1,000 adults also found only about half of Americans understand the meaning of personal wealth -- which includes financial assets plus home equity and other assets minus consumer debts -- and less than half know how much personal wealth they have.

Brobeck said the typical household had a net wealth of $100,000, mostly in home equity. About 5 percent had net wealth over $1 million, while nearly 1 in 10 households had zero net wealth -- meaning their debt exceeded their assets.

While financial planners believe about half of young Americans could accumulate $1 million over a period of 30 years, fewer than 1 in 10 of Americans believe they could save that much money, the survey showed.

"Planners know that it is easier for individuals to build personal wealth than they realise," said James Barnash, chair of the Financial Planning Association.

The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

It almost frightens me that so many people don't understand how easy it is to become a millionare. I see people waste away cash on some really dumb things. For instance, how many people have you met who buy the best of the best (...and most expensive), yet never use it. I have an aquantice who has a 'golden ticket' to being a millionare while being far younger than any of his peers...yet has declared bankruptcy at least three times through what has to be described as horrific money management.

This scares me. My wife and I have been plugging away money since we started steady work (10% of gross income). How many won't be prepared for retirement?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Today, I continued my push-up program...this time making it through 31 cards (252 push-ups). I'm kinda surprised about how much progress I'm making with this system. It also seems to be an aerobic exercise as opposed to 3 max sets like I used to do (very anarobic). I most definately can feel the burn when I do these workouts...and my wife seems to like the results, which can never be bad.

4-mile finding

Be careful how you store your car key when on long runs...particularly if it's a rather long and thick key. I normally tie my key into my laces, but it's usually the much smaller buick key. Instead, I had my pathfinder key tied in. It seemed to pull on the side of my shoe in some unusual way...and halfway through my run, it was starting to bug me. By the time I was done, I was hurting. It's now much better, but last night wasn't particularly fun.

I ran an easy-paced 4-miler yesterday. I'm pretty happy, as I'm staying pretty close to my 12 mile a week schedual. If I can keep this up, I'll have my speed back pretty soon...or at least, that's my hope.

My pirate name is: Dread Pirate Kidd

My pirate name is:

Dread Pirate Kidd

Like the famous Dread Pirate Roberts, you have a keen head for how to make a profit. Even though you're not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from

As I noted over at a forum I post to, my capitalistic leanings seemed to have started to show up in more and more things. It's weird. I suppose Ayn Rand is having some sort of subtle effect on me.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Being overweight not just a US problem

For years I've heard people go on about how fat US citizens are. And there is no doubt that there are plenty of large Americans. It does look, though, that other nations are not far behind...starting with France:

PARIS (AFP) - French children are catching up to their US counterparts in the obesity stakes, a group of French pediatricians said.

The scales are tipping towards obesity at a rate of five percent per year since 1997 in France, the same rate as seen on the other side of the Atlantic, the AFPA association said.

"This regular increase is especially worrying and, if nothing is done, it suggests there will be a minimal difference between the two countries within 15 years," it said in a statement.

The association made the warning on the eve of an obesity-testing operation it was to carry out Saturday in 83 French towns and villages.

Its first such operation, carried out last year, showed that 61 percent of children tested carried more weight than should be healthy for their size.

"These percentages show that parents are becoming aware too slowly and aren't concerned enough about their child's 'baby fat'," one of the organisers, Brigitte Virey, said.

According to the paediatricians, obesity can start appearing from around age two, with children aged from seven to 12 the most affected.

Two-thirds of children who are obese carry that condition into adulthood, along with its associated risks of cardio-vascular problems, diabetes and poor self-image.

France's state National Statistics Institute released a study last November showing that 40 percent of French adults are overweight.

Indeed. Maybe they need to start running, too. I tell you what, you start running, and you can eat just about anything...and not be overwieght.

Someone needs the Cleansweep crew...

I saw this bizaar article on drudgereport about a woman who suffocated under a pile of her own clutter:
A woman in Shelton, Wash., who was reported missing by her husband, was found dead under piles of clutter in their home, where she suffocated to death, according to police.

Shelton Police Chief Terry Davenport said the home was so cluttered that police officers' heads touched the ceiling as they climbed over the clutter.

Authorities found the body of 62-year-old Marie Rose buried under clothes after 10 hours of searching. She reportedly suffered from a condition known as hoarding.
Rose's husband believes she fell while looking for the phone in the house this week and suffocated. There were so many piles of items that the man did not realize she was dead in the home.

Shelton Police Chief Terry Davenport said the home was so cluttered that police officers' heads touched the ceiling as they climbed over the clutter.

And the home was so cluttered that police didn't see the woman until their second search of the home.

"This is without a doubt the most cluttered residence I've ever been to," Davenport told KIRO-TV.

It was estimated that several tons of debris remained piled up inside the house.

Authorities said Rose collected items for 15 years -- and because it went undetected -- it ultimately cost her life.

Hoarding is a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder, according to the report.

Crazy, crazy. I'm not the neatest person ever, but I most definately have a limit. I can only stand so much mess before I freak out and start cleaning hardcore. To let the mess get that out of hand is pretty impressive...if that could ever really be impressive. Anyway, let us all take away from this that it's pretty important for us to keep things clean for safety's sake.

Friday, January 06, 2006

War of the artists

I've always been wary of certain types of artists...a fact that has led to some entertaining discussions with a my sister-in-law (a graphic arts major) on the merits of Fine Arts degrees. Anyway, this article demonstrates beautifully some of my worries:

A 76-year-old performance artist was arrested after attacking Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain" _ a porcelain urinal _ with a hammer, police said.

Duchamp's 1917 piece _ an ordinary white, porcelain urinal that's been called one of the most influential works of modern art _ was slightly chipped in the attack at the Pompidou Center in Paris, the museum said Thursday. It was removed from the exhibit for repair.

The suspect, a Provence resident whose identity was not released, already vandalized the work in 1993 _ urinating into the piece when it was on display in Nimes, in southern France, police said.

During questioning, the man claimed his hammer attack on Wednesday was a work of performance art that might have pleased Dada artists. The early 20th-century avant-garde movement was the focus of the exhibit that ends Monday, police said.

A 2004 poll of 500 arts figures ranked "Fountain" as the most influential work of modern art _ ahead of Pablo Picasso's "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon," Andy Warhol's screen prints of Marilyn Monroe and "Guernica," Picasso's depiction of war's devastation.

"Fountain" is estimated at $3.6 million. a urinal is valued at 3.6 million and some dude tries to break it. There's lots of things I'd call it...none of them have art anywhere in the title. Stupid, ranks pretty high, though.


Wow. After living out one of my shirt's sayings (Pain is weakness leaving the body) for two days, I did another set of push-ups with my cards. This time I pulled off 27 cards...a total of 201 push-ups. I'm pretty stoked. Though, I fully admit I believe one reason I did particularly well was because of a run of low numbers in the middle of the deck...nonetheless, I'm pleased. And still in pain.

Outrage well-founded

A judge sentenced a man for 60 days. For what? For repeatedly raping a *GIRL* (from 7-10)over the course of 4 years.

There was outrage Wednesday when a Vermont judge handed out a 60-day jail sentence to a man who raped a little girl many,many times over a four-year span starting when she was seven.

The judge said he no longer believes in punishment and is more concerned about rehabilitation.

Prosecutors argued that confessed child-rapist Mark Hulett, 34, of Williston deserved at least eight years behind bars for repeatedly raping a littler girl countless times starting when she was seven.

But Judge Edward Cashman disagreed explaining that he no longer believes that punishment works.

"The one message I want to get through is that anger doesn't solve anything. It just corrodes your soul," said Judge Edward Cashman speaking to a packed Burlington courtroom. Most of the on-lookers were related to a young girl who was repeatedly raped by Mark Hulett who was in court to be sentenced.

The sex abuse started when the girl was seven and ended when she was ten. Prosecutors were seeking a sentence of eight to twenty years in prison, in part, as punishment.

"Punishment is a valid purpose," Chittenden Deputy Prosecutor Nicole Andreson argued to Judge Edward Cashman.

"The state recognizes that the court may not agree or subscribe to that method of sentencing but the state does. The state thinks that it is a very important factor for the court to consider," Andreson added.

But Judge Cashman explained that he is more concerned that Hulett receive sex offender treatment as rehabilitation. But under Department of Corrections classification, Hulett is considered a low-risk for re-offense so he does not qualify for in-prison treatment.So the judge sentenced him to just 60 days in prison and then Hulett must complete sex treatment when he gets out or face a possible life sentence.

Judge Cashman also also revealed that he once handed down stiff sentences when he first got on the bench 25 years ago, but he no longer believes in punishment.

"I discovered it accomplishes nothing of value;it doesn't make anything better;it costs us a lot of money; we create a lot of expectation, and we feed on anger,"Cashman explained to the people in the court.

The sentence outraged the victim's family who asked not to be identified.

"I don't like it," the victim's mother,in tears, told Channel 3. "He should pay for what he did to my baby and stop it here. She's not even home with me and he can be home for all this time, and do what he did in my house," she added.

Hulett -- who had been out on bail-- was taken away to start his sentence immediately.

In my mind there are three crimes that I feel are the worst of the worst: Murder, rape, and child molestation. Those three, I regard as the destruction of innocence and thus those that deserve the longest sentences. This particular crime covers two of those...and this idiot judge lets him walk with 60-days. *60-FREAKING-DAYS!* Why? Because he "feels" that the punishment doesn't work. I'm sorry, but isn't your job to ENFORCE the law...not make it?

The cat

I just had to share something my sister made out of one of my photos.

Yes, that's a dead mouse. Yes, Baci (the cat) killed the mouse. Yes, she was very proud of this moment.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


So, I'm most definately feeling the pain from my push-ups yesterday. My pecs and triceps are on fire...but it's a good kind of pain.

Anyway, this is my *que trumpets* 300th post. With that many posts, I'm almost up to 900 views (probably half of which are me checking changes and whatnot). What's this mean? Absolutely nothing...nothing at all. I'm having fun, so I guess that's what counts...right?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The greatest quote of today...

Of all the posts about the Letterman/O'Reilly interview covered here, the best of them all comes from good 'ol Ace of Spades:

My friend Steve actually was in an argument with a college hippychick one time, and she said, "Well, I may not know all the (finger quotes) 'facts' but I just feel that..." At least she was 19 and not 87, or however old Letterman is.

Feelings only count for so much. Those troublesome facts count for a whole lot more.

Book Review: One Bullet Away

One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer is by Nathaniel Fick, a former Marine Captain. Fick provides excellent commentary of the training and experiances he had in the Marine Corps. He explains his way through Officer Canidate School and The Basic School before he made his way into the infantry...and on to combat. He keeps the reader's attention and explains things well.

Oddly enough, this book has done some to comfort my mother's initial misgivings about me joining the Marines (between my wife and my mom, I think they'd both outshine me in terms of raw pride upon graduation).

I highly recommend this book, especially for those interested in a career in the Marines. I would also suggest Evan Wright's Generation Kill to give additional insight, as Wright was embedded with then Lt. Fick's platoon.

Book Review: Generation Kill

I had seen several suggestions by other proto-Marines to read Generation Kill by Evan Wright as well as One Bullet Away by Nathaniel Fick. I wandered into a bargin bookstore and found the former (as you can see on the price tag). I had a week to kill while on vacation, so I read through it.

I found Wright's writing to be enjoyable and entertaining. He is easy to read and keeps the action going. His viewpoint is pretty fair and he avoids getting too far into politics as he focuses on the personal lives of Marines on the front. The only fault I found was he seemed to try too hard to nail down the individual emotions of different guys...leading him to some second-guessing that may or may not be true.

I'd recommend this as a primer for seeing combat with excessive glory. It is well written and enjoyable. I will warn that some subjects may bother more sensitive readers, particularly when discussing the results of modern weapons on individuals. For extended reading, I'd recommend One Bullet Away by Fick. Fick was the platoon commander of the unit Wright was embedded with. See my review of that book elsewhere on my blog.

16 out of 52 cards...

I recently finished reading a couple books (I'll be reviewing them shortly) that had a common character. In particular, a force recon Marine with an interesting push-up that I attempted to imulate. He would take a deck of cards and flip over a card. He'd then do the face value in push-ups (jack = 11, queen = 12, etc). Today, I made it through 16 cards...totalling 122 push-ups. The individual in the book could do the whole deck. I've got a long ways to go.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Shipping update

I was supposed to ship today...unfortunately, I ran into a problem. There was a peice of paperwork that needed to be turned in with my doctor's papers. That paper has to be okayed before I can ship, so I'm currently in limbo, awaiting word that I will be shipping as it was turned in just before the holidays.