Did you know that being married is like being nibbled to death by a duck?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Fightin' Stuff

Everyone has heard the phrase "it's not what you know, but who you know." The older I get, the more true this is, as I realize that most of the cool things that come about in life happen not because of my own knowledge, but because of friends and who those friends know and so on. This weekend was just such an occasion.

About a week ago I realized I hadn't talked to my buddy Henning in a while, so I decided to get in touch with him and see what he was up to. Good timing on my part. He told me that his good friends Mark and Lisa Twight were coming to town to support an MMA fighter that Lisa had been training. Mark is a former professional alpine climber who I had been hearing about for years through a mutual friend, and now he and his wife are the brains behind Gym Jones. The genius of which can be seen here and here, for starters.

Through a strange connection to the movie 300, Lisa came to be the conditioning coach for Rob MacDonald (UFC fighter and cast member of the reality show TUF 2). Rob came down to Colorado from his native Toronto to fight in the Ring of Fire cage mach held in Broomfield, for the light heavyweight title held by Elliot Marshall. Through an even more round-a-bout connection, I came to be sitting at Rob MacDonald's VIP table for the fight.

What a blast. Rob is a tremendously nice guy who was nothing but generous the entire time. As he was the main event of the night, his was the last fight. He sat and talked with us up until one fight left before his own while I sat and thought "isn't this guy fighting tonight?" Then he just said, "well, I guess it's smashin' time," and headed for the locker room. I figured he was either really, really confident and in "the zone" already, or he was completely unprepared. Lucky for us -- and especially him -- it was the former.

I'm not really sure if Eliot Marshall was looking at Rob as a stepping stone to get to the UFC, or if he was just completely overwhelmed in the fight, or both. At any rate, it truly was "smashin' time" for Rob, as he laid the beat down on his opponent. After numerous slams to the canvas, and a number of blows to the face, the ref stopped the fight shortly into the second round. As Eliot was the hometown boy, our table was the only group in the whole arena cheering. I think most people were stunned at the one-sided victory, including "team silicone" sitting behind us. I'm not sure they even knew who was who anyway, to be honest.

This is in no way a slam against Eliot Marshall, as he showed nothing but pure class in his loss, even coming to the press conference after the fight. His camp seemed very professional, and hopefully I will have an opportunity to train with them, seeing as how they are here in town.

But to the victor go the spoils, as they say, and it was truly awesome to be apart of something like that. Even though I had absolutely nothing to do with it, I somehow ended up in the octagon when the fight was over, whooping it up with everyone else. I was given one of the cameras for the fight to take pictures, but I have a feeling that most of them turned out pretty blurry as it is apparently really difficult to cheer and photograph at the same time. Luckily, a professional had it covered, and her pics can be viewed here (I especially like this one. I'm such a ham).

In the end, I am grateful to Rob and his camp for letting be a part of this event. Though I may never be a champion of any kind myself, it is quite an inspiration to see people who dedicate themselves wholly and completely to something that takes so much effort and sacrifice to even compete, let alone win. These are lessons we can all apply to our lives in many regards, and my training intensity will certainly raise to a new level thanks to what I witnessed that night (plus I now have an invite to train at Gym Jones, which I am more than just a little excited about).

And one final note, I would especially like to thank Rob for his sense of humor; while most guys are coming in the arena to songs by 50 Cent and the like, the good man Maximus had the foresight to play "You're the Best," the theme song to the Karate Kid. Which, as everyone who is anyone knows, won an Oscar for the best movie ever made. Ever. Plus it's stuck in my head now, so I've got that going for me.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Blast From The Past

In an effort to preserve (forever) some of my weirdness on the internet, I thought I would snag a few posts from my other blog and put them up here, starting with this one.

American History: What I've Learned
As I am officially done for the semester after taking my history 102 final this morning, I thought I would take this opportunity to share what I've learned. My professor handed out a list of key terms that we would need to know about for a study guide, and I have "elaborated" on those terms here so that you can see what your tax dollars buy in the way of an education these days. Enjoy!

William McKinley - 25th President of the United States, known best for his previous routing of the English army at Stirling Bridge and Falkirk.

NAACP - The first in a series of films from Spike Lee's production company showing life in the inner city.

Eugene Debs - Commie.

Ellis Island - Importation point by which American officials could change the ridiculously hard-to-pronounce Eastern European names to something much easier to read and say by adding, get this, vowels. Novel concept, to be sure. I mean really, Czolgosz? What the hell is that??

Fourteen Points
- President Woodrow Wilson's ideas for Europe after the end of World War I. Was originally fifteen points, but his ideas about a Russian mail-order bride system was not seen as the progressive idea that we all know it is today. The man was way ahead of his time.

Zimmerman Telegram - Germany's attempt to convince the Mexican government to attack the U.S. The Mexican government declined, opting instead for their "100 year" plan, whereby they would infiltrate the United States slowly by "taking jobs that Americans won't do."

Emma Goldman - Jailed multiple times for conspiratorial and anarchist dealings, she was eventually deported and later became president of France. Commie.

Teapot Dome, Wyoming
- Two lonely sheep-herders find sanctuary in the arms of one another in this cold and lonely frontier.

Prohibition - The first cooperation between Hollywood and the U.S. Government to provide numerous resources for motion picture plot-lines. Although very successful at first, was repealed after the whole "Al Capone" character became really played out.

Marcus Garvey - Invented Reggae in this decade and used it as a launching platform for civil rights activism. Historians debate whether or not it worked, but generally agree that Exodus by Bob Marley was a damn fine album.

Calvin Coolidge - 30th President of the United States, Coolidge was mostly ignored by history until many years later when he was immortalized in a cartoon about his childhood antics with his stuffed tiger.

Social Security
- Set up as a debate platform for Democrats and Republicans so that they could have something to "debate" for control over old-people votes.

Spanish Civil War - Umm, dude. This is American History, ok?

Eleanor Roosevelt - Stunningly beautiful woman, known as the "super-model" of first ladies, FDR could never even look at other women as taking his eyes off of Eleanor was next to impossible... wait, what? No? Ok, skip this one.

Appeasement - The attempt by Neville Chamberlain's government in Great Britain to "appease" Adolf Hitler's Germany instead of deal with it militarily. Widely successful. Hitler relinquished power in 1935 to follow up on his dreams to graduate art school instead of the "ruthless dictator" route which many historians believe he would have pursued if not for Chamberlain's wisdom.

- Rated as 3rd on Lonely Planet's guide to "Top Ten Vacation Spots of 1947" right behind Stalingrad and Nagasaki.

Iron Curtain - Mistakenly thought to be a term describing the division between Eastern and Western Europe, it was actually a phrase Winston Churchill used to summarize the reaction he received when he tried to "get some" from Mrs. Churchill.

Marshall Plan - Send... money... to... Europe. Communism = bad.

J. Strom Thurmond - The guy who wouldn't die. Seriously. Served as a Senator from 1954 until 2003. Holy crap. Was governor of South Carolina before that. Fought in WWII before that. Was a judge before that? Sure, why not. I believe he was Captain of either the Nina or the Pinta before that.

38th Parallel
- Dividing line between North and South Korea. Would become a favorite hang-out for American service members for several generations.

Duck and Cover - Yeah, right.

Kitchen Debate - Impromptu meeting between VP Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev after the latter challenged "Tricky Dick" to a cook-off. Several KGB officers were subsequently executed for the intelligence failure of not knowing about Nixon's wicked omelet-making skills.

Sputnik - The Soviet Union's first, and thankfully last, attempt to break into the adult film industry.

Baby Boom - Truck loads of babies were blown up, apparently for the joy of money-grubbing Republicans. Seriously though, service members returned from over seas by the boat-load and started breeding like rabbits. Thanks to that, we have our parents.

- Developed after the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 so that the U.S. leaders could chat with Soviet leaders about interns.

Gulf of Tonkin Resolution - As a result of SecDef McNamara's testimony, Congress passed a joint around the room and got baked. Oh wait, they passed a joint "resolution." Apparently that's different, although I'm not sure how.

Apollo 11 - One of many successful endeavors by Hollywood studios to con the American public by staging a "moon landing" with "astronauts" Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and some guy history has already forgotten. I think he was the stunt man. See also "Barbara Streisand" and "The Clinton Administration" for other ruses pulled off by Hollywood.

Watts Riot - Rodney King's first run-in with the LAPD resulted in 34 dead, and 35 million injured. Which seems high, so I'll check my facts later on that one.

Napalm - Jellied gasoline used to clear out large areas of downtown Los Angeles.

Kent State University
- May 4, 1970. Dirty hippies thought they were soooo smart, what with their long hair and their "protests." Non-violence, yeah that paid off well for 'em.

Cambodia - Dude, I say again, American history. Sheesh.

Ms. Magazine - Founded by Gloria Steinem as a much needed venue to discuss orgasms.

Gerald Ford - Heck of a President, I say. Well ok, maybe not. But he was the 38th one. And he granted some famous guy a pardon. I think it was an actor.

Iran Hostage Crisis - Current leader of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmanidejad, takes American hostages in the U.S. embassy in Tehran. Attempt to rescue hostages, led by up-and-coming action hero Chuck Norris fails miserably. Hostages later released on the day Ronald Reagan is sworn into office. Chickens.

CREEP - Codename for Nixon's operation where he told some people to break into Democratic Party headquarters and steal some stuff. Then Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford got famous for catching them.

As you can all see, that was money well spent on this semester. Learning is fun!!!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Wicked Cool Mullets, Immigration, and Going Through Puberty

Where did I leave off before? Probably something to do with killing terrorists and hanging out with one of the many supermodels which frequently end up at my doorstep, I would guess. Either that or watching Knight Rider reruns in my Underroos and eating Cheetos. I can't remember, really.

What I do remember, however, is going home to Colorado for a break a few weeks ago to spend some time high ranking people in my command, er, family. After a weekend of complete debauchery (Mom & Dad are into some really, really weird stuff like "talking" and "eating dinner together." I won't even go into the whole "give presents to your sister for her birthday" nonsense that went on...) with them, I headed with Minja-boy and The Red Ryder herself to what could realistically be labeled the cultural event of a lifetime: the Pueblo, Colorado state fair. Let me begin by saying that if you for any reason thought that the Mullet was a hairstyle whose time had come and gone, you are sadly mistaken, pal. It is back and, by the looks of it, here to stay thanks in no small part to one man who, thankfully, completely understands not only the hairdo's fantastic staying power, but also its nearly mythical powers when worn properly: the locks flowing down to the middle of the back, neatly crimped, bleached, and moussed; accentuated perfectly with a tank top, tight jeans and high-top sneakers left untied. I'm not gay but dammit, I thought briefly about reconsidering for that fella. As I am sure you can understand.

Scarily, I had but only a few moments to recover from that Greek-god-like character before I witnessed yet another gem (and fine example of why state fairs are grossly underrated): A Mexican biker with a swastika head band. Uhh... what? Yeah, I'm still a little confused by the whole thing. Oh don't get me wrong, I really want to subscribe to whatever it is that this guy is selling. I'm guessing it's some pretty heavy, in-depth stuff requiring a hefty chunk of brain power to fully appreciate, so it may be something that will take a while to understand. I mean, just figuring out the logistics of kicking all the Jews out of Mexico would be, well... you know. Hard. Really.

And I have to be honest with you, after describing that state fair, the rest of my week at home will seem pretty weak by comparison. I dug some post-holes and we built horse stalls. See? No mullets or walking oxymorons anywhere in that tale. Sheesh.

It was a wonderful time, however, and I am always grateful to be able to spend time with those close to my heart. Plus they pretend to like me, which boosts my already ridiculously large ego to epic proportions. Which is kinda cool.

Now I am back in Texas doing the whole take-the-illegals-back-to-where-they-came-from thing. Well, not right now I'm not. Actually I just finished watching Jenna Bush being interviewed by Dianne Sawyer on TV. Pretty interesting, even though she's not even the hot one. Bring out Barbara, dang nabbit! I think she would totally dig me. Especially since I lost my voice from some sort of Central American SARS thing. Presidential daughters dig guys who sound like they are going through puberty, right? RIGHT?!?!

Anyway, things are going smoothly, even with the occasional hiccup. The boss came down to fly with us for a week and by Thursday three guys had been fired. Well that would be fine and dandy except that we only have 13 people on the team. Crimeny. We joked with him and told him that if he stays another week, there will only be about four people on the plane staring at each other and wondering who's next. I know that I would be one of the last to go due to my ever-increasing Spanish vocabulary. Today I learned how to say the word "sandwich" in the foreign tongue. Are you ready for this? Here goes: sandwich. Get that? Need me to repeat it? It's a lot to take in, and obviously I'm not learning anymore today (or the rest of the week, for that matter. It's friggin' Friday, for cryin' out loud!), so go ahead and call that your lesson. I'll be back on Monday with the next one.

And I would also like to reiterate that I just watched the whole interview with Jenna Bush and only saw her sister, like, twice. What a rip-off.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Hay, Weak Trailers, Fencing and Midget Ninjas

As mentioned before, once the job in Oakland was done I headed back home and out to do some more ranchin', by gum.

The first order of business was getting hay for the winter. I'm going to say right here and now that getting hay is not the most fun job in the world. In fact, I would probably rank it pretty low. Worse than carrying a ruck sack up a mountain in Utah? Well let's not get crazy... The job began by heading down to the thriving metropolis of Boone, Colorado. Never heard of it? What the hell is wrong with you? They have a mall and everything. So says the cowboy that hauled the hay, "shoot, it's got one... two... two stores. That's a mall!" Dang skippy it is, Red. Anyhoo, after picking him up we drove to La Junta (it's a soft "J") and met up with a real old-fashioned cowboy who still loads hay out of a field by using draft horses and a wagon. I would tell you his name, but you wouldn't believe me (or the one you have thought of is probably correct), and I would tell you what he looked like, but the image you've already pictured in your mind is most likely an exact description (complete with snow-white handle bar mustache). Then I could tell you how he talked, but... well, ya know.

We backed the trailer up next to the wagon (which already had a load on it), and jumped up on the trailer to begin loading. Unbeknownst to me, however, was the "weak spot" in the trailer. Apparently there was a conversation taking place in secret regarding the spot about five seconds before I fell through it and made a hole the size of your favorite ex-Army blogger. I remember the phrase "Oh crap, we've only been here two minutes and we're already down a man!" being uttered, but I carried on. The mission is all that matters, roger?

After many, many more loads of hay, we finally finished the job of getting it all loaded up in a barn. I didn't feel too bad when it was done, 'cause everyone else was pretty much sick of it too. Considering I'm just a "city kid" I didn't do all that bad. Heh. Lucky for us we finished when we did, as the next night we got nailed with a pretty heavy thunderstorm, shutting down the power for several hours. We had been sitting and talking for an hour or so when around the corner came this:

I don't know how many midget-ninjas (minja, for short) wearing yellow Sponge-Bob Square Pants goggles you have run into, but rest assured, it's a pretty scary event. I did my best to take care of the problem but as you can see here, I didn't fare too well:

To say that I was humbled and "shown who was boss" would be the understatement of the century. My weak skills are certainly no match for the power of the 9-year old minja.
And so the story continues now with me being back in Texas doing the incredibly strenuous job of taking illegal aliens back to their country of origin. But things could get pretty interesting in the next few days, as there is a major hurricane headed in our direction. With any luck I could end up in a Katrina-esque situation cracking skulls and looting some television sets. Why? 'Cause the man is keeping me down, yo! So stay tuned for some possible exciting commentary on that action. Word to your mother.
(Oh yeah, and the date on the post is about ten days old, as that is when I started writing it. If you care. Which you don't. So I'll just go eat some worms. Non-carerers!!!)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Garbage Collection: The Final Solution

Well the Waste Management strike in Oakland finally came to an end and thus, so did our job of providing security. Which is just A OK with me, as I was leaving the detail anyway due to some "gut feelings" I had about certain issues.

But I didn't leave without any stories. And I think my favorite one would involve the phone call I received from one of the agents following a garbage truck while I was in the CP (Command Post). The agent relayed to me, in real time, that he was "surrounded" by picketers, and that they had blocked his car -- as well as the garbage truck -- from moving. He then told me that one of the picketers had pulled a knife and was making threatening gestures. The agent was noticeably shaken up and had a fair amount of adrenaline pumping through his ever-so masculine veins.

It was at this point where I calmly (from the air conditioned hotel room/CP, where I was in the middle of watching The Ringer in which Johnny Knoxville pretends to be retarded so he can win the Special Olympics on a bet -- good stuff) interjected "Are your doors locked?" He said yes, so I told him "Umm, then why don't you just drive through the people?"

Let me back up here a second; I realize that most people have never taken a tactical driving course so I will explain a very simple principle: Your car is a two and-a-half ton bullet. It's the most powerful weapon you own on the street. If people are in your way... well, you do the math. So you may be saying to yourself "well maybe this guy didn't have any tactical driving experience." Just keep reading.

Once the incident was over, the agent in question did what he was supposed to do and filed a report with the police. After he was finished with that, he calls the CP and demands to be picked up, as "the picketers are sure to recognize my car and come after it." Uhh... yeah. So I relay this to my boss, who I have worked with before, and after the laughter subsides the man who brought me out for the job says "get in my Suburban and we'll go get him." This should be fun, I figure, as he is a retired Army 1st Sgt. and has had nothing but a bad day. I'm all about viewing an ass-chewing.

We get to the location and the boss tells the hero-in-question to get in his vehicle and that he will take him back to the hotel. "How are you going to get my car back" he asks. The 1st Sgt. looks at me and I just grin as I get into the vehicle in question. The agent stammers "well be sure to, uhh, button down tight, 'cause, uhh... they might recognize you!" The boss-man then utters a classic, tobacco-in-the-lip, "this ain't fuckin' Baghdad, dude." It was a struggle to keep from laughing.

The reason I have no qualms about telling an embarrassing story like this one is two-fold: One, the guy turned out to be a serious pain in the keister when dealing with back at the CP. And two (and more importantly), when asked what his background was, he replied "law enforcement." Wow. Where did you serve as a police officer, Podunk, Idaho? This is the quality of people we have in the security and law enforcement world. It truly is a wonder that there isn't more crime... The funniest part of the whole story is that this was the most exciting part of the whole detail. Sad but true.

Upon leaving Oakland, I returned to the "reject zoo gang" on the ranch. That is, however, another story. Which involves hay. A lot of hay. Then some more hay. Did I mention that there was a lot of hay? Ok, just wasn't sure.

Details on that to follow soon, as well as the story of being attacked by a midget-ninja. Scary stuff.

Marxism Doesn't Work?

Say it isn't so!

Every time I read something from The Onion, the only question in my mind is why I don't read it more often. Pure comedy gold.

Great Article

With a really great ending line:

"...right now we should hold the Muslim world to the same standards of
tolerance that we demand of ourselves -- no more apologies for things like our
insensitive cartoons or excuses for their insane anger against novelists. In
turn, the Middle East must grow up and accept, like the rest of the world, that
there are social and cultural costs and consequences for any who wish to embrace
the benefits of modernism."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Burning The Midnight Olive Oil

That's right, I'm blogging while at work. Sue me. It's 12:45 a.m. and I have nothing else to do but entertain... well, myself. And this seems as good of an outlet as any. They won't let me shoot automatic weapons in the hotel lobby, so you're stuck with some late-night ramblings.

So, interesting story has developed over the last month regarding one of the most elaborate cases of deception I have ever come across. It involves a guy that I came into contact with about a year ago through some training and subsequently worked with several times since. It breaks down like this: since knowing this person, he has gradually but steadily relayed accounting's of his background, which normally involve some sort of high-speed, secret-squirrel tactical operation that he has been involved in. Toward the end of our last detail together, however, certain "signs" started appearing which led several people to raise an eyebrow of concern. He was let go from the detail due to some less than professional conduct and subsequently lost his mind.

Fast forward to about two weeks after the end of the detail, when yours truly attended some training where the aforementioned character had spent quite a bit of time. Through conversations with the instructor, my brain began to spin out of control into a "Red flag! Red Flag!" drill; much of what he relayed about our mutual acquaintance was not only different, but contradictory on an epic scale.

Once myself and a few others sat down and began comparing stories and doing some research, it became apparent that this guy had woven quite a tapestry of un-truth. The truly crafty part about it all was in how he did it; his stories to everyone were tailored based on who he was telling them to. So if he were talking to a former Special Forces operator, he wouldn't talk about things like teaching guerrilla warfare in Afghanistan; if he were talking to a former SEAL, he wouldn't talk about attacking a beach, etc. He would actually figure out what your background was and craft his history accordingly. Pretty amazing actually, as it took a fair amount of intelligence to think that far ahead. What he apparently never thought of though, was that all of these people he talked to would ever communicate with one another.

Once we all compared notes, it was quite astonishing how deep the rabbit hole went. Everything from claiming to have a Master's degree (never finished his bachelors) to an intricate web of lies involving a search and rescue operation, Hurricane Katrina, and various ventures to Central America to do... whatever it is that super-secret agents like him do. Actually fairly impressive, if looked at objectively. His resume was even done overly vague, giving him an out should any of these questions arise.

The truly amazing aspects of this whole episode to me were that he was in his mid-forties (this is something you would expect from a 25 year-old kid), and also that he was a ridiculously nice guy. Most of the time when you run into people who make up stories and lie like this they are a massive pain in the ass to deal with (we figure this is why he was so successful at getting people to buy into his hype). What the hell makes someone create an entire background in his forties? One does not become a pathological liar overnight, so there had to be a pattern formed much earlier. But where? Was he in another field making up stories there? As near as we can tell, there are no records of him in the security field dating back further than 3 years. That means three years ago he had to have said "I know, I am super-secret operator man. Starting... now!" The psychology involved there is pretty fascinating to me. I'm really not even mad any more about being duped by someone I thought was a friend because it's more just a curiosity than anything else at this point. I want to know what makes a guy like that tick.

Once it was all said and done, a number of us basically felt swindled due to buying into his story. The saddest part of the whole episode is that he actually had the ability to perform his job at a high level. Well, until he started taking pictures of girls with soda bottles in their... uhh... special area and showing the pictures to people. Apparently that is what some refer to as "tacky" or "unprofessional" in the corporate world. Whatever. Next they'll start saying that you can't call a girl "toots" while slapping her on the butt and telling her to make some coffee. Ok, so maybe the guy was exhibiting signs of Loony-Tunes long before I noticed, but then again, have you read my blog? Spotting crazy is not exactly my forte.

Good stuff, though. Makes for a great story. Now I'm headed out to free all of the members of the Asian Dawn movement. Wolverines!!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Fenway, Ranching, and Following Garbage Trucks.

Try and top that title, eh? Yeah, I think not.

So my adventure begins after my last posting, at which time I had just come back from Nashville (home of the greatest thinkers in the history of mankind. Einstein actually relocated there secretly. It's science). Just after coming home, I hopped on a flight out to Boston to play for the Red Sox. They needed some pitching and batting help, so they called me up. Yeah, I play. You didn't know that? I'm totally Major League caliber. I just don't do it regularly because I can't shoot people playing baseball. If they would just change that one rule...

But seriously, I actually only saw Fenway Park as we drove by it on the highway while heading out to the country for a relaxing visit with friends, co-workers, and the guy who actually pays me to ride on an airplane and kick illegal aliens out of the country. He basically uses the excuse of his son's birthday to invite all of his friends out for a few days of hanging out at the pool and watching movies on his super-small television (with an uber weak sound system, I might add). A good time was had by all, and surprisingly there wasn't a single drunken-adult injury related to either the pool or the "bouncy room." I'm as shocked as anyone. The real capper to the weekend came once everyone else had gone home and I found out that my gracious hosts were treating me to their massage therapist who comes once a week (and who was also at the party, jumping off the roof and hanging from the chandelier while claiming "godlike powers" which, to be honest, I found a little excessive). All that aside, she enabled me to be able to move my neck more than I have in about three months, forever putting her in my good graces (and maybe the part about her at the party is slightly exaggerated. A little).

After coming home from Boston (much, much later than scheduled -- thank you, Jet Blue!), it was off to Pueblo, CO. to visit a very close friend and do some ranchin'. That's right, I'm a rancher. You want horses trained? Call me. You want pigs fed and watered? Call me. You want bloodhounds taught how to track down bad guys? Call me. You want dog poop cleaned out of your yard? Don't call me, call the 9-year old who was helping me. He's better at it and it's his chore, not mine, ok?!?

The funny part is, I actually had a really good time. I've never been a huge animal person, but I enjoyed myself thoroughly. Pretty soon I think I'll be wearing nothing but Carhartts and ropers. Probably get into dipping tobacco, too. I can see that being a cool habit to pick up at the age of 34.

On my way back from Pueblo, I received a phone call from one of my former instructors saying that if I can fly myself out to Oakland, he can put me to work for a week or so. Are you kidding? Oakland? You mean the Paris of the West Coast? What Gucci is to clothing, Oakland is to culture; what Ferrari is to cars, Oakland is to serenity. So naturally I couldn't turn that opportunity down.

The real joy of it is in what I'm doing: The garbage truck drivers for Waste Management decided to go on strike because, get this, the company instituted a policy that if a driver causes three or more accidents that they would be fired. That's it. There is no dispute over pay, health benefits, etc. No, it's because they think it's "unfair" to be fired for causing accidents. Right. I'll just let that sink in and you can tumble it around in your brain for a while. Anyway, so the "scab" drivers are being harassed and, ergo, private security. Pretty boring work, to be honest, but driving through an angry picket line is nothing but a good time. On the first day I was in a suit and tie, and one lady yelled "nice f''n suit! Where'd you get it, Wal-Mart?!?!" I looked down and realized, why yes, yes I did get it at Wal-Mart. Why the heck would I wear a nice suit to follow a garbage truck? Hey, at least I wasn't wearing a dark blue blazer with black pants, white shirt, black tie, and white socks like my partner that day was. Wow. That was... something.

Currently I am just hanging around the hotel lobby, waiting to go in to work later today and see what kind of fun is going on. Things are pretty mellow, so I'm guessing this won't last real long. Once I'm done, I will share a couple more stories about some of the "high speed" individuals I have encountered. Good times.

Until then, stay off the horse that looks you in the eye and smiles, and don't go out riding in a car with a guy who is claiming to do "tactical maneuvers" because he lost sight of his objective while checking out girls in other cars. He's probably not the most "squared away" guy on the team. Just sayin'.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Travel Blogging: Nashville Edition

Oh what a wonderful place the South is. I had nearly forgotten how much of an absolute joy it is to dine at high class establishments such as Waffle House and... well, Waffle House. And also that Waffle House over there. They certainly haven't gone out of business since I left the South in 2004. Oh sure, some of you may be saying "but weren't you in Louisiana just a couple of months ago for work?" And to you I say: prove it. I admit to nothing to do with that state, now or in the past. May it be barred from my memory as well as yours.

But I'll tell you what, no where on earth can you have a more in-depth conversation about politics, socio-economic dynamics, or how we should just make various third-world countries into parking lots than the counter at Waffle House. And all over a healthy, low-fat meal, I might add. Ahh yes, good times.

So now I am sitting and killing time in my hotel room in Nashville after completing a 3 day Urban Escape & Evasion course hosted by On Point Tactical Tracking School. The course was considerably laid back -- almost to a fault -- but offered up some very useful tidbits of knowledge regarding movement around a city. Nashville provided quite an interesting back-drop for the course, as it seems to be sort of a country western version of San Francisco. Just replace all of the hippies with failed country singers -- who sit on the corner playing Hank Williams songs as opposed to Grateful Dead -- and that's pretty much it in a nutshell. Oh and there's no China Town. I don't think they take to well to "their kind" around these here parts.

Our practical exercise took place yesterday, with the students being assigned tasks to complete around the city, all while attempting to avoid being seen or caught. Three of us started in a hotel room, hand-cuffed to one another with hoods on. Boy am I glad the maid didn't come in at that time. Once freeing ourselves we made our way through town doing things like picking padlocks and bringing them back to the instructor, collecting information from various "sources," and moving without being caught.

The instructors of course made things a little more interesting by being in disguises; most of the students did the same. I ran into one of the instructors but managed to lose him by pulling off what will probably become known as one of the greatest escapes of all time: when he looked down to call the other instructor with his phone, I ducked into a parking garage. Yeah, I know. Pretty freakin' awesome. I'm like some sort of James Bond or something, except better looking and way more successful with the ladies. They would write books about it, but I would have to kill them for talking about me.

All in all it was a pretty good time, but I think it could have been a lot more intense. Not to say that I didn't learn anything, but I'm a pretty big believer in being pushed; I like to feel as if I was really challenged. Like that time I watched Predator for the first time. Man, just trying to wrap your mind around the dynamics of that masterpiece was like an emotional and intellectual marathon.

And so now I sit in front of my hotel room TV flipping between Fox News' brilliant analysis of the Scotland terror incident -- it's boiled down to news commentators discussing other news commentator's opinions -- and... a whole lot of nothing else. I could go back to the Waffle House, I suppose...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Time for a quick run-down of what's going on.

Let's see here... News: California is on fire. Again. VP Cheney's office has been subpoenaed (I think for prostitution, not sure, I didn't really "read" the article), and of course, the iPhone comes out tomorrow (me likey). Oh and even more important than all of those is the expedition planned to hunt for Bigfoot. Uhh, that's "Mister Foot" to you, pal.

Entertainment: Went and saw the movie 1408 the other night. No, it's not about Vikings discovering America years before Columbus (although there really should be more viking movies, ya know?); it's a "thriller" with John Cusack and some haunted hotel room. Ooooh, I'm SO SCARED. This movie unfortunately falls into the same trap that nearly every scary movie does: It's not scary. It was a decent movie, in terms of production level, acting, effects; yet it sorely lacked the guaranteed recipe for success. Yes, that's right, I'm talking about Hooters girls and Ninjas. Without those, what kind of a chance do you really have at making solid entertainment? Not much, says this pundit.

Personal life: Today I am headed to Nashville to take a three-day Urban E & E (Escape and Evasion) class. That shows wicked amounts of potential for good story time, so stay tuned for updates.

Not much else to report for the time being, so I'll just leave you to go back to your knitting. 'Cause I know that's what you were all doing, ya big bunch of ninnies.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Just checking to see if the old Blogspot site works, and I'll be darned, it does.

I'm not able to do as much stuff on this one, but hey, this might work out better because it will make me just write, instead of trying to be fancy. Oh and it's free. That's kinda neat, too.