Saturday, May 23, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
I open the hatch and am greeted by the warm equatorial breeze of an Indian Ocean night and I step out onto the catwalk. I hear the gentle sound of the water as our ships slides through silently. We are headed to Australia after our northern Arabian Sea patrol. I climb the few steps up from the catwalk and step onto the deck and take a few steps inboard just to make sure I am not too close to the deck edge.
I can feel the deck rolling gently below my feet and feel the slight vibrations that radiate through our ship ever so slight as if she doesn't want to disturb the night. I take my goggles off as my eyes are now fully adjusted to the dark and I am greeted with one of the most spectacular sights I have ever seen.
The sky at sea at night when there is no moon is much much different than on land where you have man made light that interferes with what you see. I looked up and what I saw was truly awe inspiring. Millions of stars twinkling in every direction. Little ones and big ones, clusters and lone stars from horizon to horizon. It was as if someone took a paint brush and splattered it across the sky. There were so many stars visible I could actually see the horizon line out in the distance where the sky met the surface of the ocean.
Every few minutes I would see a flash of light as a shooting star raced across the sky. I wasn't the only one taking in the magnificant show. Others were on deck as well with their heads looking skyward. Some were even laying down on their backs looking straight up. No one said a word. What could you say? When you see a sight like this you have to wonder how people can say there is no God. Often times when you are at sea you begin to think just how small you are in the vastness of the ocean. Then when you look up at a sight like this you realize that you really are just a tiny spot in the grans scheme of things.
Everyone should be able to see this view at least once in their life. It will change then forever.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
I was at our local community college today for a meeting and was a little early so I sat down in the student center. As I looked around I saw quite a few students waiting for classes, studying and talking amongst themselves. I overheard one young man who looked to be about 18 or 19 talking about a friend of his older brother who had just recently came home from Afghanistan and had been in Iraq twice previously. The young man made a remark about how his friends brother had become "weirded out" and how he spent a lot of time talking to a few other veterans about their experiences. He said he thought they were crazy the way they always talked among themselves and that they must be some kind of freaks.
Well here is what I think about that young man who didn't look like he had ever had a job or a bath for that matter and was probably at school on dads coin........
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Tonite I am having some serious flashbacks as I have found a station on WinAmp that is as progressive as they come. It is called Stellar Attraction and their website is, you guessed it, www.stellar-attraction.com
I have my headphones on and I am taken back to 1975, sitting on my red bean bag chair with my ear covering individually volume and tone controlled Sony headphones, lost in another world. My room was often lit by either a blacklight or a large red globe light I had hanging over my bed. Yes I was the perfect 1970's "head". So here I am now at 49 years old with my modern earbuds in listening to those familiar progressive bands like Tibet, Caravan, Yes, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Pink Floyd and others.
I have always had an appreciation for music. That is one of my lifes disappointments. I have always wanted to be a musician among other things. I have played some guitar and took piano lessons for a couple years. But I suppose I am a perfectionist and if I cant get it perfect then I dont want to do it at all.
So tonite I am taken back in time to a world where there was no stress, no worries, just endless nights of teenage mind tripping to the songs and music of the minstrels of the day. Very cool
Monday, March 9, 2009
It is possible to feel alone and still be near others. I was on the USS Constellation, an aircraft carrier while in the navy. We were between Hawaii and Midway on our way north to the Bering Sea in November. I was standing in the starboard side catwalk as far forward as possible on the bow. We were in transit and not flying any planes that day. The sky was a dark gray with the gray clouds hanging low. Large rolling swells of almost black water seem to stretch endlessly to the horizon as we plowed north. Our ship was big by most standards with our flight deck 80 feet from the water line and almost 1100 feet in length. With each giant swell that we came across the ship would rise high up the front of the swell then crest and ride down the back side. As the ship rose the water fell away and it seemed almost as if we were airborne but as we started to slide down the back the water rose so quickly that it seemed as if we would surely go straight in. But then at the last moment with surface of the water only 10 to 20 feet away I could feel the deck heave upward again and the water was back to 80 feet or so. Up and down we went in the gray sea where you couldnt tell the horizon from the sky.
At that moment, on a ship with 5000 other people, and me on the very front of the bow I felt alone. The wind rushing through me, the salt spray bathing me in a fine mist, the deck rolling beneath my feet was a feeling that cant be imagined. There I was facing out into the distant vastness of the northern Pacific ocean feeling all alone and feeling very comfortable at the same time.
Sometimes I long for that type of day when there is nothing in front of me but the gray empty sea.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
There was a time when risk and adventure were a part of my everyday life. Taking chances was the norm and I never knew from day to day what would happen or where I would wind up. I have a good life now, don't get me wrong. My family is wonderful and I have a great job with a great group of people and all in all life is very good. But there is always that itch way down deep inside for one more whatever you want to call it. I suppose my biggest fear is I will never leave this town I live in. There is a huge world out there full of both wonderful and terrible things and fortunately or maybe unfortunately I have seen a great deal of it. I want my kids and my wife to experience what I have seen an done and with each passing day that desire gets further out of reach as my kids get older and I get older.
I'm not afraid of getting older. On the contrary I am enjoying my age. It affords me certain freedoms that were not available before........... some of you know what I mean. So what should I do? Time will tell I suppose.
How did I get here....... I started out as a military brat moving all the time from place to place and from country to country........ 16 school changes in 12 years between two countries and 5 states. I have been to 47 countries from Europe to Asia; from Alaska to Australia and from Africa to Nebraska........ (look out South America and Rio - you are next on my list). I have been to art school, learned to fly an airplane, spent time in the navy and sailed around the world several times, worked for an interesting government organization, and a whole lot of other things. I have met several presidents, been shot at more times than I care to remember, have eaten bugs and other weird things, survived two life threatening operations, and realized that I had never done something as simple as change the oil in my car.
My wife says I am jaded. Things that should shock and bother me don't even phase me anymore. I don't know if that is good or bad. Like most military brats I feel at times like a chameleon. I can fit in any social situation whether it is jeans and a plaid shirt in the hills of West Virginia or black tie at the Royal Albert Hall in London. I am just as comfortable at a summer dirt track auto race as I am at the symphony or opera. I like baroque music and I like rap. Being like that can sometimes be a curse because you tend to lose your own identity as you try to fit in with those around you.
I suppose the only time I am truly at east and comfortable is when I am around other TCK's. (look it up if you don't know what it is). I have found myself at places in time during my short life that have given me personal views into history. I say President Kennedy in Germany as a little boy just weeks before he was killed. I was at the flightline at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington D.C. the day President Nixon made his final farewell and left on Air Force 1 after resigning. I have shook the hand of two former presidents and stepped on Sir Lawrence Oliviers foot one night in the hallway of an apartment building in London.
There are hundreds of other things I have seen and done and I suppose I need to start writing about them and that wayI can feel that a part of me will preserved for anyone who might be interested.
Why am I rambling like this? I have no idea but I might just do it some more. If you want to comment then feel free to. If you have a question ask and i'll answer as honestly as possible......... if you are a friend from the past contact me so we can hook up. If you are friend from the future on this same journey then contact me.............
hhhhmmmmmm more than I had inteneded for tonite but oh well................... later
Friday, March 6, 2009
1) You can't answer the question: "Where are you from?"
2) You speak two (or more) languages but can't spell in any of them.
3) You flew before you could walk.
4) You have a passport, but no driver's license.
5) You run into someone you know at every airport
6) You have a time zone map next to your telephone.
7) Your life story uses the phrase "Then we went to..." five times (or six, or seven times...).
8) You speak with authority on the quality of airline travel.
9) National Geographic (OR THE TRAVEL CHANNEL) makes you homesick.
10) You read the international section before the comics.
11) You live at school, work in the tropics, and go home for vacation.
12) You don't know where home is.
13) You sort your friends by continent.
14) Your second major is in a foreign language you already speak.
15) You realize it really is a small world, after all.
16) You feel that multiple passports would be appropriate.
17) You watch a movie set in a 'foreign country', and you know what the nationals are really saying into the camera.
18) Rain on a tile patio - or a corrugated metal roof - is one of the most wonderful sounds in the world.
19) You haggle with the checkout clerk for a lower price.
20) Your wardrobe can only handle two seasons: wet and dry.
21) Your high school memories include those days that school was canceled due to tear gas, riots, demonstrations, or bomb threats.
22) You get back to the states and serously cannot remember the currency exchange
23) You think VISA is a document stamped in your passport, and not a plastic card you carry in your wallet.
24) You automatically take off your shoes as soon as you get home.
25) Your dorm room/apartment/living room looks a little like a museum with all the "exotic" things you have around.
26) Half of your phone calls are unintelligible to those around you.
27) You go to Pizza Hut or Wendy's and you wonder why there's no chili sauce.
28) You know the geography of the rest of the world, but you don't know the geography of your own country.
29) You have best friends in 5 different countries.
30) It takes 24 hours to reach home in a plane
31) You can only call your parents at 8am and 8pm
32) You never really use a seatbelt
33) School trips meant going to a different country
34) Your high school football team had to play against itself.. if it had one
35) When you were in middle school you could walk into a bar and order a drink without being questioned
36) You got sick a lot and often had food poisoning
37) It wasn't unusual to find a lizard or cockroach in your house
38) You got to go home twice a year ...thats if you're lucky
39) Home almost felt like a museum
40) You are a pro packer, or at least have done it many times
41) Living out of a suitcase, you find, has it pros
42) You bump into your old teachers all the time
43) Family photos you sent every year took months to arrive and often were in front of some exotic statue or endangered animal no one has heard of
44) Your check from your parents takes a month to reach you
45) Talking to your school office and getting signatures from your parents is a week-long event
46) When you return to the States you are overwhelmed with the number of choices in a grocery store ( I stood by the chocolate syrup for about 20 min. because there was a whole row)
47) You literally have real friends (not facebook friends) from different schools all over the nation on your friends list
48) Everyone had a 'staff'; maid, house cleaner, driver and babysitter
49) Most of the 1st graders have cell phones
50) You get excited when a relative sends a video tape of regular TV with commercials.. its in ENGLISH!
51) There was only one grocery store.. usually at the embassy that resembled the ones at home.
52) Once you get home you miss your adopted home and visa versa
53) You are never content in one place, be it city, state or country for long. You're a mover.
54) You never had a job until you reached college
55) Blackouts are quite common, yet after a while no one seemed to notice and sometimes you would find yourself doing homework to the light of your phone or flashlight
56) Class reunions.. are not at your old school.. not even close
57) Police, imported from a different country, guard your school...carrying machine guns
58) you know everyone else in this group, because he/she went to school with one of your friends
59) Your passport has more stamps than a post office
60) When the power cuts out and you sit there wondering when the generator is going to kick on... only then you realize there is no generator
61) When you carry converters because you actually realize there are different types of outlets
62) When people give you funny looks because you are a gold or platinum elite member of your airlines
63) When you constantly feel like you have to catch up with TV programs, actors and other people or songs you are not familiar with
64) You don't think its strange that you haven't talked to your best friend in a couple years, but you know you will always have a unique bond
65) You wake up in one country thinking you are in another
66) You don't feel at home at home anymore
67) When a friend talks about their dreams of traveling to across the world to a secluded country and you can give them all the best restaurants and places to visit. You're like the traveler guidebook.
68) You don't even bother to change your watch when traveling
69) You hate subtitles because you know there is someone that can make an accurate translation.. you!
70) When you have little or no contact with he locals but are best friends with people across the globe
71) When you think everyone else is a foreigner in a county foreign to you
72) When something unusual happens and it just doesn't seem to phase you as being something unordinary
73) When you speak many broken languages at once when you are drunk
74) When your friends take you to an 'ethnic' restaurant as a joke and you can read the menu, order food for them and actually stomach the meal
75) When you start introducing yourself followed by your country of origin....
76) Your yearbooks are all different; made of fabrics known to that area and have stuff like elephants on them. Its your favorite keepsake.
77) Famous people like Uma Thurman went to your school and you had no idea until you researched (AES)
78)You have to change your passport because it's full... not because it's expired... and this several times during your school years
79)Paying a cop is not considered a bribe
80)You've dated people from other countries
81)You start to keep your experiences overseas to yourself because people look at you as though you are spoiled for having the opportunity to indulge in a new culture.. sad
82) You are afraid to go back to visit your school because you know no one will be there that you used to know, they all moved
83) You have the opportunity to intern at your Embassy/Commission over summer without qualifications
84) When you have free accommodation in any city you travel to around the world because some friend from the old days lives there!
85) You're scared of going 'home' because you haven't been there in so long, and changed so much, that you think people might not like you anymore
87) You have more than one driver's license, none of which are valid at home, that, or in college, you still can't drive!
88) You always have to think which side of the road to drive on
89) When you greet someone you start bowing or kissing them on both cheeks.
90) When you you and your siblings know different languages or at least studied different ones
Monday, March 2, 2009
I was willing to give the man a chance but now he is spending my tax money foolishly and it makes me mad. I find it somewhat amusing that CNN and MSNBC have nothing to say about all the earmarks on their websites.
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama will break a campaign pledge and sign a budget bill laden with millions in lawmakers' pet projects, administration officials said.
Administration budget chief Peter Orszag and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel both downplayed the $410 billion spending bill and signaled Obama would hold his nose and sign it. Orszag said: "We want to just move on. Let's get this bill done, get it into law and move forward.
Said Emanuel: "That's last year's business."
This From Fox News - here is entire story.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
It has been 14 days today since the storm and still about half of the population of the rural areas are still without power. The photos don't really do justice to the amount of devastation that occurred. My family was one of the fortunate ones. We only went 9 days without electricity. We managed to stay warm because of a wood burning stove in our family room. We had 6 people living in one room heated by fire in the stove. We also had gas stove for cooking and gas water heater so no cold water. We burnt a lot of wood though, especially on the nights when the temp hit 3 degrees. We lived by candle light and no tv, no internet, no phones most of the time.
There have been some tragic stories and stories of compassion and kindness displayed by many. For the first time I saw people standing in along the street clapping and cheering when on day 4 trucks from electric companies in other states started rolling in and setting up to work. I have to take my hat off to all those who came to our aid and are still working here. The death toll in KY is now at 26 with the latest being here in our area where a fire broke out because of a propane heater being used and a women died in the fire. Probably the most heartbreaking story was of an 84 year old man near here in White Plains that was found 5 days after the storm dead and hugging his hot water heater in an apparent attempt to stay warm. I have seen people share what the had and many share what they really couldnt share. It is amazing how people bond in moments of extreme hardship. It allows me to believe that there is still some humanity left.
As I get more photos I will post them. Say a prayer for those without power......... last week people were freezing to death and tonite we are under a severe thunderstorm warning and tornado watch.......just what we need.
Monday, January 26, 2009
To the Guy Who Mugged Me Downtown (Downtown, Savannah)
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
In today's economic climate I really think this was a huge mis-judgement. They should have put that money back into our economy some other way. I am really really offended that my tax dollars are being spent this way when I cannot afford insurance for my family.
Laura Bush you blew it..........