December 28, 2001

Well here I am again. Last time I wrote here, I was still a reservist. If you hadn't heard, I was recalled to active duty and reported on Dec 4, 2001. I will be on Active Duty until December 3, 2002. I won't go on and on about that, if you want that scoop on the web, go to and you can read the whole deal with updates there.
The reason I am writing here tonight is this: horoscopes. I hardly ever read them, and tonight I discovered why. On the few occasions that I do check my horoscope, like tonight, it is so eerily accurate that I just turn away. This one was so close to reality that I felt I had to save it here and share it. Here it is:

You aren't on the same wavelength as the rest of the world. Where other people see red warning lights, you see a challenge. Where they see problems, you see opportunity. When they feel danger, you feel beckoned. You're tapped into a much more interesting and different reality these days, so don't expect that anybody is going to understand your war stories. In fact, you may want to lay low and fade into the woodwork for a while, at least until you can mesh your reality with theirs.

This doesn't explain why I am in Florida, but it sure goes along with it. I think just as an experiment I will be checking my horoscope more often for a bit to see if it remains accurate. If it does, then I will write more about it. If not, well then here is a conversation peice for later I suppose.

November 29, 2001

I just read an email from a senior enlisted in my reserve unit. I'll say this first, if you are ex-active duty, or are about to become so, DO NOT file a copy of your DD-214 with your local county courthouse. For years, PSD has suggested doing so to servicemembers seperating from active duty. This makes it easy to get a certified copy later if you ever lose your original. Well, here is a clue. Don't lose your original. The story is scary, and goes like this. A retired E-9 was contacted by a large financial corporation. The reason they contacted him is because someone was trying to cash a large check written to a person with a "foreign sounding" name. It was almost $10,000, and upon further investigation, they determined that some address mismatches warranted stopping payment and contacting this person. He reported the details to law enforcement and they started an investigation. Eventually they arrested a lawyer and confiscated his laptop. On it were the names and SSN's of several thousand retired sevice members. Further research indicated that it would be very easy to get a replacement MILITARY ID CARD using nothing more than certified copy of your DD-214, obtainable at the county courthouse as a matter of public record. Guess what terrorists could do with a military ID card? Ok, don't. I am pretty sure that some things will change, especially at PSD when they are advising retiring and seperating military members. Identity theft sucks. It really, really sucks when the target is someone that spent between 3 and 30 years defending America.

November 28, 2001

Haven't had a chance to write anything here in some time. Thought I was going to be unemployed. I was wrong. Thought I was going to be deployed in support of the war on Terrorism, quite possibly wrong on that one too. Right now I am working mostly from home, going in to the client site when I need to. Isn't the internet a wonderful thing? Don't answer that. Some days I think the whole thing should be boarded up and shut down, but most days it is just what I do and I don't think about it. I have so many different things to do on the internet. Some of them I get paid to do, some I don't. Guess which ones I have been spending most of my time on? Here is a clue, I don't get paid to write blogs. Unless you want to send me some cash. If you do, you are nuts, but you can always email me here.
I crack myself up sometimes.
My oldest just got home from school and shouted down to my office, "Hey Dad, I am going to go play with Brad, catch you later!"
He's 5.

October 08, 2001

People in my small, Midwest, suburban neighborhood ask why I would want to go and join the fight against terrorism. Amid the raucous laughter of five little boys playing in the leaf-pile in my front yard, I will answer. My answer will not address why I want to however, it will address why I have to.
Imagine that you were part of an extended family. This family spans the whole country; from coast to coast and from border to border and beyond. Now try to imagine that another family that hated your family and everything you stood for maliciously attacked and killed thousands in your family right in their own backyard. I am barely speaking in metaphors here, and you probably recognize that. Let me zoom in a bit. I am a selected reservist for the United States Navy. Some people call me a weekend-warrior, others call me a part time squid. During the lulls of peace and complacency, reservists take at least a ribbing, at most a genuine lack of respect from our active duty brothers. I chose the last word of the last sentence on purpose. Brothers. When it comes right down to the details, dozens of people that were killed when the aircraft struck the Pentagon were wearing the exact same uniform that I wear. Right down to the patches. The only difference between my uniform and a few of those killed is the name tag and the ribbons.
My family has been attacked. My dedication to my wife and kids, my blood family, is not one weekend a month, two weeks a year and neither is my dedication to my Military family. It is a twenty-four hour, seven day a week dedication that in the lull between wars only requires action once in awhile. Now that we are at war, and we are, it requires more action. My dedication to my family remains, and strengthens my resolve to don my uniform, pack my sea bag and go where I am needed.
I know that I could be sent far away from my family, my friends and my civilian employment. I know that I could be sent where there is danger. But where I am going, they need me. My active duty brothers and sisters have much to do, they have new tasks that they have been directed to complete, but the old tasks remain. When I went to the active duty command for my two weeks of training a year ago last May, I was welcomed and trained so that I could return to Minnesota and train others. I have done that. We are trained, we are ready and we will help. It is not a matter of wanting to, it is our job. We aren't asking to be placed on the same pedestal as the New York Firefighters or the hundreds of rescue workers in New York, D.C. and Pennsylvania. We just want to do what we can, to do what we have been trained to do. Why? So that the boys playing in my front yard can grow up and never have to wonder who's plane that is flying overhead. So they don't have to wonder if there is a bacteria floating around in their classrooms, placed there by those that want to bring more death to the United States. I have to go because my work will help ensure that people can go to work and feel safe in their offices, in their homes, in their own backyards. I want my family to be safe and free. And if you are here in the United States, you are who I am talking about. You are my family. And I don't want to, I have to.

September 21, 2001

What is Justice without war?

How can someone pray for justice without war? There already is war and as of yet we are not fighting back. Would this person have prayed for justice without war in 1940 as the Germans rolled blitzkrieg thru Europe and then cried "God Bless America!" when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor?
I don't have time for people that are only patriotic when the passion is aroused. I have that passion ALL THE TIME. That passion has been a part of me since 1989 when some very hard-core first-class petty officers in Orlando, Florida taught me what patriotism is; now that I am a first class petty officer too and that passion burns so hot that I can hardly sit in my desk because I have the overwhelming desire to be a part of the undoing of every organization that reigns terror throughout the world. I don't want revenge or retribution, and I don't want to kill civilians. I want the terrorism to stop everywhere, not just in New York, not just in the West Bank, not just in Northern Ireland, EVERYWHERE. That is what Operation Infinite Justice is about. That is what I am about, and that is what every single person anywhere in this world that treasures freedom and honors those that have died in the pursuit of freedom ought to be about. We didn't declare war on Japan and Germany until they attacked that freedom that I treasure and honor. And we didn't declare war on terrorism until America was wounded right smack in the middle of the heart. But American spirit doesn't reside only in the heart, it is in the soul too, and the soul is everywhere and nowhere and can't be destroyed by anyone. If those that hate America were capable of understanding that, they never would have brought this war to American soil. America is about freedom, and I support an extremeist's right to hate whomever he wants to. But you, Mr. Terrorist, have stepped over the line and now we are not going to respect your rights, your homes, your buildings or anything that remotely touches your life. We are going to take it away from you. We are going to make war on you like you have never dreamed of, and we aren't going to stop until there is nothing left of you to make war on. Then we are going to keep going, and take away your ability to re-create anything of the sort. It is over for you Mr. Terrorist. I don't care who you are.
There can be no justice without war - justice is gone right now, and can only be revived by taking away the ability of those that hate freedom and justice and the American spirit from ever creating the terror that killed justice. When they are gone, justice will return.

September 12, 2001

This from a local South Carolina newspaper today.

"The barbarians will learn what America's all about"

By Leonard Pitts Jr., Syndicated columnist

"They pay me to tease shades of meaning from social and cultural issues, to provide words that help make sense of that which troubles the American soul. But in this moment of airless shock when hot tears sting disbelieving eyes, the only thing I can find to say, the only words that seem to fit, must be addressed to the unknown author of this suffering.

You monster. You beast. You unspeakable bastard. What lesson did you hope to teach us by your coward's attack on our World Trade Center, our Pentagon, us? What was it you hoped we would learn? Whatever it was, please know that you failed.

Did you want us to respect your cause? You just damned your cause. Did you want to make us fear? You just steeled our resolve. Did you want to tear us apart? You just brought us together.

Let me tell you about my people. We are a vast and quarrelsome family, a family rent by racial, cultural, political and class division, but a family nonetheless. We're frivolous, yes, capable of expending tremendous emotional energy on pop cultural minutiae, a singer's revealing dress, a ball team's misfortune, a cartoon mouse.

We're wealthy, too, spoiled by the ready availability of trinkets and material goods, and maybe because of that, we walk through life with a certain sense of blithe entitlement. We are fundamentally decent, though - peace-loving and compassionate. We struggle to know the right thing and to do it. And we are, the overwhelming majority of us, people of faith, believers in a just and loving God.

Some people - you, perhaps - think that any or all of this makes us weak.

You're mistaken. We are not weak. Indeed, we are strong in ways that cannot be measured by arsenals. Yes, we're in pain now. We are in mourning and we are in shock. We're still grappling with the unreality of the awful thing you did, still working to make ourselves understand that this isn't a special effect from some Hollywood blockbuster, isn't the plot development from a Tom Clancy novel. Both in terms of the awful scope of its ambition and the probable final death toll, your attacks are likely to go down as the worst acts of terrorism in the history of the United States and, indeed, the history of the world.

You've bloodied us as we have never been bloodied before. But there's a gulf of difference between making us bloody and making us fall. This is the lesson Japan was taught to its bitter sorrow the last time anyone hit us this hard, the last time anyone brought us such abrupt and monumental pain. When roused, we are righteous in our outrage, terrible in our force. When provoked by this level of barbarism, we will bear any suffering, pay any cost, go to any length, in the pursuit of justice.

I tell you this without fear of contradiction. I know my people, as you, I think, do not. What I know reassures me. It also causes me to tremble with dread of the future. In days to come, there will be recrimination and accusation, fingers pointing to determine whose failure allowed this to happen and what can be done to prevent it from happening again. There will be heightened security, misguided talk of revoking basic reedoms. We'll go forward from this moment sobered, chastened, sad. But determined, too. Unimaginably determined.

You see, there is steel beneath this velvet. That aspect of our character is seldom understood by people who don't know us well. On this day, the family's bickering is put on hold. As Americans we will weep, as Americans we will mourn, and as Americans, we will rise in defense of all that we cherish.

Still, I keep wondering what it was you hoped to teach us. It occurs to me that maybe you just wanted us to know the depths of your hatred. If that's the case, consider the message received. And take this message in exchange: You don't know my people. You don't know what we're about. You don't know what you just started.

But you're about to learn."
CNN News Coverage

The peaceful ones point their fingers at the war-mongers and say "who are you going to attack?" They say we are not at war and we don't know who the enemy is. They need to watch the news. We know who the enemy is. We have their car, we have their suitcase, we have intercepted their celebratory congratulations to one another proclaiming "we hit the target!" We are in the process of tieing the entire chain of events back to one person, Osama bin Laden.
So the peaceful ones keep quoting Ghandi - "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth will leave us all eyeless and toothless" - that's right. You go ahead, peaceful ones, put things into a comfortable context and take a biblical statement literally. The war-mongers are mad. We dedicated our lives to making sure that the people that worked in the World Trade Center didn't have to worry about being attacked. We helped create a United States that doesn't have anti-aircraft guns and missiles surrounding our major cities. We built a country where you felt safe, where you could raise your voice in protest, where you could call us baby-killers and animals, and you were safe and comfortable. We spent our lives on watch, below decks, in the sand, on the post and on guard. A great number of us died so that you could remain free, and be safe.
Now you aren't free, you will see some of your liberties taken away. You aren't safe, you could be the next to perish in a fiery crash caused by those that don't treasure your freedom. You are the targets of people that are not afraid to die for a cause that they believe in.
So now your tune starts to change. You tie on your yellow ribbons and vow to support us, because now you need us. You need us to make you free again. You need us to keep you safe again. We don't want a war. We don't want to start a war. We do want to make you safe again, and we want you to be free. This is a cause that we believe in so strongly, that we are willing to die for it. Things are different now, and yet they remain strangely familiar. We will do our jobs, so that you can continue to do yours. You don't have to thank us, and you can even start calling us war-mongers again. We know, that deep inside, you appreciate the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that have died for you before, who stand in harm's way for you now, and will dedicate their entire being, up to their last breath to defending the freedom that was attacked on Sept 11, 2001. We will attack those that attacked New York and D.C. - we will take away their ability to do it again. We will make martyrs of those that aspire to martydom and we will continue to punish those that step up to take their place. The United States will overcome this, and you will be free again; you will be safe again, you peaceful ones.

September 10, 2001

By the way - even tho I said I wouldn't, I still watched the Vikings on Sunday. I am not a "we" though. I hardly complained about the loss at all. I heard someone refer to this season as "2001: A superbowl Odyssey" - what a laugh. I am thinking about doing a parody called "2001: A super-blown oppotunity" sure to be a hit when the Vikings fall flat on their faces when it counts most. As always...
Hope you all don't mind the format change to the blog page here. Had to get it into the same format as the rest of - I am teaching again at Rasmussen this fall. I can't have my students see my site in such disarray if my class is on HTML and design, now can I?
Weeks and weeks of torturous chasing and falling and trying again were replaced with about 15 minutes of effort on Saturday night. Lucas started riding his bike without training wheels and he really didn't need much help. I remember falling off my bike for days, maybe even weeks after the training wheels came off. I am pretty sure I have memories of my Dad helping me along with his hand on the seat of my bike for at least 3 or 4 sessions.
We went for a walk on Saturday night. Lucas rode his bike with the training wheels on. When we got home, he wanted them off. So I took them off and we went to the cul-de-sac across the road from our house. Once I ran down the street behind him, holding either the seat or his shoulders. He never had a serious fall, just one or two when he tried to stop and realized that the training wheels were no longer there to keep the bike upright with no momentum. The second or third time I pushed him off, I let go and just ran beside him, holding on to nothing. His grin when he realized that he was doing it all by himself was priceless. He exclaimed "I am balancing! I am doing great!". He was. Sunday he was out of bed and wanting to go do it again before the sun came up. Eventually, after the Sunday morning grogginess had worn off, I put Sam in the stroller and Lucas walked his bike to the corner and got on. He tore down the road leaving Sam and I to watch. I got down to the cul-de-sac and asked him if he needed help. He said no, so Sam and I went home to mow the lawn. He rode to his freind's house, then to another friend's house. Then I don't know where he went, we had to call around the neighborhood to find him. I remember about 2 days ago when I had a little 5 year old that wasn't in school yet and had training wheels on his bike. I don't know who this new kid is.

September 01, 2001

Lucas is resting now. So is Sam and so is Caleb. In fact I just checked on Sam and he is in a somewhat fetal postition in his crib, but he is laying on his front side with his legs up underneath him. All the boys are tired from playing here at Shirt Lake this morning and at Crosslake this evening. My Aunt has a place there right now, and like the place at Shirtlake, it is crawling with Grandkids. We are having a fire in the cast iron chimenea and I am going to go out there and write on the laptop..this pc is indoors and I don't want to be indoors right at the moment.

August 08, 2001

Lucas wants to be a lot of things. His outlook on life is that of limitless possibilities. When I was growing up, I remember wanting to be lots of different things. Funny how it all sort of revolved around which TV show I was watching at the time.
Lucas doesn’t watch much TV for a five year old. He watches pre-recorded videos mostly. Not a lot of five year olds have most of Liar Liar memorized, but he does. Try to look past the fact that he watches movies that are PG-13 or higher. He has goals. He sat down next to me in my office downstairs today and asked me if I knew what he was going to be first when he grew up. I told him I thought he was going to be a teacher. He explained that yes he was going to be a teacher, but that was just not what he was going to be first. I am going to be a policeman first. You know, when you drive too fast and you get so many tickets that they will take you to jail? (A scene from Liar Liar) Then, after that he will be a doctor, a teacher, a fireman, an astronaut, and a coach. Not necessarily in that order. The order he lists them is always different, but the multitude of roles is always represented. I know he isn’t old enough to understand that although people do switch careers several times during their lives, on average, you don’t see that kind of variance in vocation very often. I certainly know that he won’t understand the sheer terror that a major switching guru could potentially cause a parent to experience, at least not yet. But my sociological question is this; when did we make the transition from kids wanting to be one thing at a time, and changing their minds frequently to kids expecting that they will be able to “do it all” during their lifetimes? I think it speaks directly to the culture we live in. Gone are the days of following in your father’s footsteps, being an accountant because that’s what Dad was. Notice that Lucas’ list does not contain any reference to computers or the Navy? I think Lucas knows he lives in a world where a lot is expected of everyone and work is sometimes placed higher on the priority list than it should be. I think I will have to start adjusting my priorities a bit, I feel like I might be part of the reason he is perceiving the world the way he is. I will teach him. He just told me he wants to learn how to be a grownup. I think he is rushing things a bit. I will have to write more about that later.

August 01, 2001

Minnesota Vikings: The Official Team Web Site Korey Stringer Passes Away
They are saying on the radio that Korey Stringer was a role model. That he was trying to "tough it out" and make it through the practice. Korey, you threw up three times during that practice. The heat index on the field was 110 degrees f. You missed the end of a previous day's practice with heat related symptoms. Your body temperature was 108 degrees when you collapsed and they took you to the hospital. I am sorry you died, but you are by no means a role model. When your body screams stop, over and over, making you vomit, making your head feel like it will explode, stop damn it.

June 26, 2001

McDonald's Number Two. This one is dumber than the last. At least this guy was fast and courteous. I ordered my food. He told me the total was $4.97 and that I should pull around. So I did, as I try to follow directions when I can. I even had my money ready for him, I handed him a $5 bill. Are you ready? Know what he said next?

"Did you want your three pennies?"

So I thought, "Hmmm, good question, I mean, it is only three pennies."

YES I WANT MY PENNIES YOU MORON. DO YOU THINK MAYBE YOU SHOULD HAVE THEM? How many cars go through a McDonald's drive thru every day? 100? 200? Is this guy asking everyone for their change? If it had been $4.03, would he have said "Did you want your three quarters, two dimes and two pennies? It's just change you know."

YES I WANT MY CHANGE YOU MORON. Are you a McEmployee or a McPanhandler? What the McHell is this world coming to? Of course I want my change. I don't know about you, but I love change. Know why? Because I put that change in a little can when I get home. And when I end up a little short for the month, that can comes in handy. In fact, it comes in very handy. I don't know how long it took to save up this much change, but I didn't do it by giving McIdiots my three McPennies. So, there is my two McCents worth.

June 19, 2001

As I pulled into the drive thru lane at the newest McDonald's in town, I was struck by a message on a sign that I had never seen before. I have already grown accustomed to the *parking* spots assigned to "drive thru customers only", but this one really took me by surprise. "Please be prepared with your order before pulling up to the speaker. Also please have your money ready when you arrive at the pick-up window." As if it were the customer's fault that drive-thrus are so slow? It was 4:09 when I pulled up to the speaker, with my order prepared in my mind.
"Welcome to McDonalds, can I take your order?"
"Yes, I will have a number 9, with a coke please."
Pause. Wait. The clock on the dash now says 4:11.
"Welcome to McDonalds, can I take your order?" said the exact same voice.
'Would you like to supersize that?"
"No thankyou."
"Please pull up to the last drive thru window."
Now I have to ask, because the sign tells me I must have my money ready, but I don't know how much to have ready. I really do know that a $5 bill will cover it, but I feel like being mean.
"How can I have my money ready if you don't tell me how much to have ready?" I inquire.
"Welcome to McDonald's, would you like to try a value meal?"
I give up and pull forward. The clock on the dash says 4:13.
When I get to the window, I just sit there.
"$4.12 please" says the uniformed conformist wearing her fake, but free smile. I pay with the $5.00 I knew I had, but I rummage around in my wallet a bit for show.
She hands me my drink, and my change and the little automatic window slides shut. No straw. You aren't allowed to drink your coke until your entire order arrives at this McDonald's apparently. Now the clock says 4:14. Now it says 4:15.
"Do you want ketchup or salt?" she asks.
"No thankyou, just my food." Ziiiiip. The window slides shut again. 4:16.
Then a hand with a bag shoots out. No "sorry for the wait" and no "thanks come again", just a bag of food in my face. I pull away from the window at 4:18 PM - a full nine minutes after the process began. There were no cars in front of me, there were no cars behind me. I counted less than 10 cars in the parking lot and I assume at least a couple of them belonged to happy employees. Almost 10 minutes of my life that I will never get back were gone, and I looked into the bag of food. No Napkins. And no straw.
And I sit there wondering if the employee that just (sort of) served me isn't remarking to her co-worker "Don't people read the sign? He didn't even have his money ready when he pulled up to the window."

June 18, 2001

Went camping this weekend at Taylor's Falls, MN. Right on the St.Croix river across from good ole Wisconsin. Took my 5 year old Lucas. He found a buddy at the campground almost immediately and it also started to rain as soon as we got the tent set up. Lesson learned: I need to camp more and longer.
Anyone ever read this? Hello? Should I write some more stuff here? Hello?

April 24, 2001

Riding in the car with my four year old. It was raining, it was boring, I was sleepy and trying to find a way to stay awake. He gave it to me. Lucas sat in the back of the van and cheered on the raindrops as they raced across the window of the van. "GO! Yeah, come on! You can do it! YES! You won." Of course, the raindrop that made it across the window first was always the one he was cheering for. What a concept. If your team starts losing, cheer for the other team. Probably be a less stressful way for me to watch sports. The Wolves are proving that MN will most likely not win playoff games anytime soon. Too early to tell for the Twins, but they are off to a great start.
One of the local sports guys had a good answer to the question "What is wrong with the Timberwolves?" His response "Nothing, the other team is just better than them."

April 19, 2001

Bam. Got tools and developing like a madman. Got called a code-monkey yesterday. That was cool. Using FuseBox to develop this app and it rocks. If you use ColdFusion and you aren't using FuseBox, you are working too hard.

Awesome quote from Richard Boucher on China, "The United States is interested in productive talks and not just using the meetings ``as a forum for restating views that we've heard before,'' department spokesman Richard Boucher said. " I am so sick of hearing about the "Spy Plane" and China's rhetoric. As DickieB said, "ya ti da, ya ti da, ya ti da". Give us the plane back, quit your whining and accept the fact that we are going to watch your sorry asses, and close.

Here is a clue to the Chinese - you want us to stop flying so close to China, ok, we will, when you do the following:
Stop building and testing submarines developed specifically designed to operate in the littoral area around Taiwan and to destroy our Aircraft Carriers.
Stop building and testing missile technology that will have a profound impact on the "arms race in space"
Stop helping Iraq better their military infrastructure and offensive weapons of mass destruction
Stop training your military officers to believe that war with the US is inevitable and that their purpose is to prepare for that conflict.

I realize China is never going to stop these things, but then, why should we stop watching?

US NAVY INTEL "In God we trust, all others we monitor."

"Only silly spies fly around in a big propeller driven aircraft with the words "U.S. Navy" on the side in 8 inch letters."

April 06, 2001

Welcome to Friday. Still don't have all the tools I need to do my work here at Argir. I can build web pages that access databases, but I can't build those databases. Up until yesterday I couldn't really even build web pages. Not because of the tools, because you can use notepad to build webpages, but because I didn't have anywhere to put them. No web server locally on my machine and none that I could get access to or figure out what the URL was if I did think I had access.

Kind of frustrating being here for a whole week and having only some word documents and drawings to show for it.


April 04, 2001

The first day of my class at Rasmussen College. Excited and nervous. Since it is a class about the internet, email and the web, I expect that at least a couple of my students will find this page. I hope someone does in fact. As far as I am concerned, the internet is a learn by doing topic and not something that is easy to lecture about.

*Rasmussen Student - Extra Credit Point*
If you are one of my students and you found this, congratulations. You just earned a free point. email me with this word in the subject line "galoshes" and make sure to include your name in the message if it is not easily discernable from your email address.

April 03, 2001

Second day on the job. Got my pictures hung up, now I just need to get my computer set up the way I want it and get the software I need to do my work and I will be jazzed. Takes me about 15-20 minutes to get to work now, instead of 45-60 on a good day. Kewl!

March 28, 2001

Lucas said yesterday, after being sent to his room,"Well, you just enjoy yourself upstairs, by yourself, 'cause I am going in my room."
He never ceases to amaze me with the things that come out of his mouth.
Check out the Dan and Scott show on, but only if you think you would like talk radio that the FCC wouldn't like.

February 26, 2001

On Sunday, Feb 24th, it was my time of the month again. The time I put on my uniform and travel South to Rosemount, Minnesota for my weekend drill. Drill itself was uneventful except for the adventuresome perils of driving 40 miles each way during the worst winter weather of 2001. Most of what I do at drill I can't write about and expect to keep my security clearance anyway, but there was one event that happened on the way home on Sunday that I would like to share. A few weeks ago, my wife's wallet (the thing she normally keeps in her purse) was misplaced at Ruby Tuesdays in the Mall of America. Since it was on my way and we were released a little early to avoid the weather, I stopped by the great temple of American consumerism to pick up the misplaced wallet. I was in uniform, having come directly from the drill site. As I walked through the mall to get to the resturant (I had parked on completely the opposite side of where I wanted to be, as usual) I got the standard looks and double-takes so common in the non-military presence state of Minnesota. You rarely see anyone in uniform in MN unless you are very close to a recruiting office or at the airport. I am used to this phenomenon, and it doesn't phase me at all. I usually just smile and stick my chest out trying to be the best ambassador of the Naval Service as I can.
What happened after I had retrieved the wallet and done a little shopping, (since I was there) was something I will never forget. I had dropped my sunglasses in the snow while making a final security check of a building placed very close to the edge of our drill site with another petty officer. I picked them up and blew as much snow off as possible. In my car on the way to the mall, I had these sunglasses on and they were nearly impossible to see through, with streaks and salty water spots on both lenses. When I was finished with my business at the mall, I stopped into the restroom to clean my glasses. I had nothing in my car to wipe them with, and the poly-wool blend uniform I was wearing would have only made matters worse. Thinking I could rinse them off and wipe them clean with a paper towel was my idea, but to my horror, after I had run them under the faucet, I found that the restrooms in the mall only had warm air hand dryers. So I looked around for any type of cloth to dry them off. There was none. There was however another person in the restroom, at the sink, with a flannel shirt tied around his waist. When he understood the purpose of my visit and realized that I was about to fail, he untied the shirt and offered me the corner to wipe the water from my glasses. Do I think that he would have done that had I not been in uniform? No way. There are a lot of wierdos at the Mall of America, they will admit that freely. That is the precise reason they have a SWAT-like emergency response team stationed there. But seeing the uniform put this indiviudal at ease to the point that he offered to assist in solving a problem that in a global sense was inconsequential, but to me was monumental. This person may or may not have been in the service, I don't know, but I would venture to guess that his support of the United States Military goes well beyond helping some poor first class petty officer clean his glasses. I offer my thanks to this person and all of those people like him that do support the military, whether they do so directly, like he did, or indirectly, in thier thoughts and prayers.
Fair winds and following seas.

February 20, 2001

DANGER: Hugging can cause injury.
Nice headline, but it is true. The other night I was giving my 4 year old Lucas a hug goodnight. He was standing on his bed, and just as I put my chin over his shoulder and my arms around his back he suddenly lurched upwards unexpectedly. His bony little shoulder caught me with much force smack on my adam's apple. I heard a loud crunch, much like knuckles cracking. For a moment I couldn't breathe, and I almost panicked. Panic in the presence of my children is something I try to avoid, but this was really scary. I paused and found that I was able to breath, but swallowing was nearly impossible. I could still speak clearly, so we finished the hug and he placed his head on his pillow and I went upstairs. By the time I got up there, I found I could swallow, but only with a great deal of pain. I went to the doctor the next morning, which effectively was the same as going to the emergency room that night. Nothing in the exam warrented an x-ray, and I was given a presription for 800mg Ibuprofin for the swelling. Because of the myriad of tubes and various plumbing fixtures in my neck, I was able to feel the pain all the way up to my left ear when I swallowed. The nurse practictioner that diagnosed me with a bruised neck just told me to watch for difficulty breathing or changes in my voice. If either of those were to happen I was to return immediately. That was three days ago now, it still hurts a bit to swallow. I will always continue to hug my kids, I will just be a little more prepared for the unexpected from now on.
Facts on hugs.

February 14, 2001

Did you see or hear the news reports about the movie stores? It is reported that VHS tape rental and video game rental companies attribute 30-40% of their profits to late fees. But they don't call them late fees anymore. Now they are called "extended viewing charges". What a laugh. Most places you rent a movie for 3-5 days and it is due back by noon on the last day. It has a due date, it is right there in the contract. If you don't bring it back by noon on the due date, it is late and you will be assessed an extended viewing charge. When you rent a movie, do you ever wait until the day it is due to start watching it? I would venture a guess, and since 99% of all statistics are made up at the moment they are written, that 99% of the people that rent a movie watch it that same day. I would also guess that no one, and I mean zero out of 100 people watch that same movie a second time during the same rental period. (Unless you are four, and it is a Barney movie, in which case you will watch it 57 times during the 5 day rental period.) I just brought back a movie, one that we didn't even finish watching, and it was late. We weren't sitting there watching it at noon on the due date. We didn't make the conscious decision to keep it for 4 more hours and accept the extended viewing charge, it was late. I was too busy to bring it back, knew I was going to get nailed with a LATE FEE and I accepted it. If the end of the world is signalled by people refusing to call things what they are, then we are there. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go to the library and pay off my extended reading charge.

February 05, 2001

January 26 was the last time I wrote anything here. Just like the empty notebooks and journals I carry around with me daily, this place has been somewhat void of my writings. There have been in my life many more project initiations than project completions. I feel like a walking major corporation that always has lots of irons in the fire, but rarely celebrates the completion of anything. Understanding that something like making entries into a journal or a weblog really has no ending point, it is easy to say "I will do it tomorrow." Well, I have missed about 10 tomorrows since I last wrote here; since I last wrote anywhere. There are so many things that take up time, some important, some not. Priorities are screwed. I do what I can, but there are a heck of a lot of things that need doing that go undone. Avoidance, laziness. Disconnect. I need to plug back in. I never should have wasted that time watching Jesse and the XFL stink up Las Vegas in front of one of the largest television audiences ever. I can't believe I was IN that audience. Ever want to know what it is like to be part of a hoarde of morons? Watch the XFL next Saturday. You'll get the same sensation if you bang your head against the wall for three hours. Difference is, the pain caused by watching that game is over when the game is over, but your head is going to hurt and you'll probably have to repair your wall if you try my alternate method.

January 26, 2001

Everything is working this morning, even a demo site of the product my company makes, It wasn't working when I came in this morning at 5:30. When I get in that early, there is generally either no one else here, or maybe one other loser that doesn't like to sleep in. When I walked through the door this morning, there were 4 people here. Two had been here since 9:00 pm last night, one had arrived about an hour prior to me, and the fourth was our CIO. I don't know when he got here, he is mysterious that way. The demo site is going to be shown to a MAJOR potential client, I won't say who, but they have commercials during NFL football games. I won't say any names, because it isn't really my place to congratulate people on behalf of their superiors, but I will say that I enjoy solving problems with competent people. I doubt that any thanks will be garnered by any of the people that were here this morning, but if any of you read this, and you know who you are, good job.

January 22, 2001

The web cam at is not working today. Funny how electronic devices get all cranky when you can't plug them in because you left the power cord at home. Story of my life though. Seriously. If you don't provide for the needs of others, they certainly aren't going to provide for you. It is actually a good thing that we don't all have power cords that need to be plugged in twenty-four hours a day. There would be a lot of people just standing around, waiting for someone to plug them in. That is what I see a lot of these days. People standing around waiting to be plugged in. Okay, maybe they aren't actually just standing there, they are moving, they are still breathing. But they lack the participartory status of a "plugged in" individual. They are not actively participating in life, especially the lives of others. People go through the motions everyday, and they look back at the end of the day and can't quantify what they did to improve society, let alone their own lot in life. They don't remember who they helped, let alone who they even talked to. The reason they don't remember who they helped because chances are they didn't help anyone. Often these people work in jobs with the term "customer service" as part of the title. I heard a story about a person that was rear-ended on the freeway. Almost no damage to her car at all, but the person who hit her did a significant deal of rearranging of her vehicle's front end. The driver who hit her was beside herself with worry. Huge deductable, bad driving record, parent's car, whatever. She was near tears. The person who was hit, and was not even at fault, immediately wrote out a check for $500 and handed it to the distraught driver. She handed it back, saying she couldn't accept it, as the accident was her fault. The caring person simply told her to keep it and drove away. Talk about having an impact on society. And it doesn't have to be money. Think about it.

January 17, 2001

Today was the second full day I got to spend as the solo caregiver for my three boys, Lucas 4, Samual 1, and Caleb 4 wks. Last Wednesday, I was fearful and full of apprehension about all three having a meltdown at the same time. Fortunately for all of us, the only occurances of multiple meltdowns left one child watching in utter amazement, with hands over ears, as the other two raised the decibel level to that of the flight deck of an aircraft carrier during landing quals. There were a few horrendous crashes of toys against walls, heads against doors and the like, but mostly it was just hunger, tiredness or boredom overcoming one or two kids for a brief period of time. Today was much different. All three boys were relatively quiet. The older two played with toys, each other or me and were content. The youngest complained only mildly when he approached the end of the three hour stretch in which he either sleeps or quietly contemplates his dependent existance. I am sure that if he could talk, he would be saying "Hey, I really prefer to lie on my tummy, could you come here and flip me over, pops?" We even ventured out to McDonald's today for lunch. I was pretty impressed with myself when I managed the armored car seat containing the less than 9 pound baby, the 14 pound toddler and the tray of Happy Meals all the way from the order counter to the playland. Mom's with 1 or 2 kids marvelled at the behavior of my three boys as the chased their minions around and through the maze of fun provided by Ronald and company. I suppose once all three of my boys are fully mobile, I will be in chase mode as well, but today it was nice to at least get a couple fries and a chicken nugget or two into them before we had to head home to bottle-feed the little one. We survived so far, it is nearly dinner time now. I think now that I understand how hard it is to be a stay-at-home parent, and I have a great deal of respect for those that do it more than 1 day in a row. I am ready to go back to work though.

January 15, 2001

I have only two words to describe the horror that was the 41-0 destruction of the Minnesota Vikings. "We sucked." Fortunately for me, this blog will be the last time I use the word "we" when speaking of the Minnesota Vikings. Like so many fans during recent years, I became emotionally involved with the team's successes and failures. The magnitude of failures over the last few seasons has led me to the only conclusion possible in order to save my sanity - I am disowning the team. If it were up to me, and I had the financial means, I would build them a brand new stadium in San Antonio and help them pack.
In my father's middle years, the Vikings had seasons that led them through the playoffs and gave reason to host 3 superbowl parties. The Viking's let him down each time. Just in the last three years, the Vikings have had two opportunities to at the very least, participate in the Super Bowl. Both of those opportunities were blown due to the incompetent leadership of a coach who's legacy will remain as the biggest post-season choke artist in the history of the NFL. Like my father before me, I will no longer subject myself to the anger and disappointment caused by a football team that either can't take a 15-1 record to the Superbowl or can't manage to defeat a team that was labeled "the worst team in the history of the NFC to go to an NFC championship game." Not only could they not beat them, they couldn't even score a field goal. Their abysmal defense only forced one punt by the Giants the entire game. I guess I will shift my energies to something else that Minnesota has to offer; the NHL. Go Wild.

January 12, 2001

Here is another wow. How much of a time miser must a person have to be to bring a hardcover book into the men's room so that you can stand at the urinal and read? I have no idea how good the book would have to be for me to feel obligated to read from it with every single spare second that I am not gainfully employed with a task that prohibits the act. Actually, to me, taking a leak would be an activity that prohibits reading, at least more than one page. I am not one of those people that can hold the book and turn the page with the same hand. The visuals that I am creating here are probably more than you wish to deal with, so I will change the subject.

There was a new reason code entered into our software testing database program. Reason codes shorten the description of a general problem, making categorizing the database easier and making it easier to search. The new code was PEBKAC. This code stands for "Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair". I guess "user error" is becoming less politically correct than it has been.

January 11, 2001

Wow. There are still soooo many people that don't understand 4-way stops. Come on. How much common sense does it take to realize that it is ok for two cars to be moving at an intersection at the same time? As long as they don't HIT each other, it would be ok to have three cars moving at the same time. Think of this; at some TWO-LANE 4-way stops, it is possible to have up to SIX cars, all moving through the intersection at the same time with no need to wonder if you have your insurance card in the glove box. I know some peoples hard-wired little brains just threw a rod. That's what happens when I try to shift the tightly held paradigms of morons without pressing hard enough on the clutch. So one of my next net projects will be some diagrams to show you how safe a 4-way stop can be. Plus you won't feel like you are taking advantage of the situation when you go straight through the intersection WHILE (and I mean while in terms of "at the same time") as the guy across from you is turning right!


This link has some text - but doesn't completely illustrate my point. Besides, the diagrams are necessary due to the fact that I fear the people I am trying to reach may be bordering on illiteracy.

Driving in the USA and Canada - Four Way Stops