Sunday, July 29, 2007


I don't even have a land line anymore, just woke up one morning and realized that I was pretty much paying for people to call me at odd hours and hit me up for money. The Do Not Call list has too many exemptions, in my opinion, and just about everyone that I wanted to talk to had my cell. The house phone would just sit on the counter gathering dust until someone wanted to find out if I wanted to help the starving pygmies in New Guinea, or something.

Heh, a couple of times, when asked for my home phone number during the course of certain purchases, I would 'accidentally' give out an erroneous number. Thankfully, whenever this happened my lady friend would helpfully point out "that's not your number, silly!"


A couple of similar conversations and one blog post recently have reminded me of this clip; a couple of key strokes later, here you go. To summarize, a radio station playing an audio clip of an telemarketially irritated homeowner (Tom Maibe) playing a joke on a hapless telemarketer (Mike). Made me piddle, just a little bit.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Toys for Tots, Pt. 2

With all the various moving parts of OPERATION: ASSHOLES TAKING ADVANTAGE, there was a few pick-ups that got overlooked. It came to the attention of the First Sergeant, and he made sure that we were aware of the error, in classic Staff NCO fashion. I declined to mention that he might not recognize me due to the fact that I was just helping out and not in his chain of command, but I did kind of like my butt sans boot. I'm kind of funny that way. So a bunch of us piled into a couple of vans and off we went...

To a local fire department. One of the stations in town had agreed to host a couple of collection boxes for the past few months, and it sounded like they had quite the haul. As best as I could figure out, they had combined forces with a couple of other organizations to maximize their potential. Good stuff. I guess one of the fire fighters had a couple of daughters in the girl scouts, and they also decided to pitch in and help out. One of those mothers worked for a newspaper, and they figured...not to help out, but to come and take some pictures for a story.

Fire fighters. Good people. Actually a couple of former Marines in the bunch, and we managed to swap some stories and talk some trash before the festivities began. Before anyone could get into too much trouble, the girl scouts and (mostly) mom's showed up. I don't remember the exact words from the conversation, but I had a great conversation with one of the little girls. She was very proud of her various patches, and asked if I would like a few for my uniform. I declined as politely as I could. My arm was twisted on those delicious mint-chocolate chip cookies, however (cookies gooood).

Eventually, it came time for the photo op. The firefighters, along with the girl scout group made the official presentation of the toys to the gathered Marines. A photographer from the paper took a few shots, took down a few names, and some background story. As we were breaking up, one of the moms asked if she could take a pic with her personal camera. No problem, we were happy to be accommodating.

Now, I don't know if it was something in the air, the uniforms, or something else, but it seemed like every mom suddenly had a camera and a semi-professional interest in taking the best shots. At first I thought it was just the typical proud mama thing, but after a few comments I began to wonder. A couple of the mothers made comments to their daughters along the lines of 'now girls, y'all will want to save these pictures, in a couple of years they'll mean a lot more to yall', 'ok, suzy one photo for you, 5 for me', and 'Mmmmm...*licking lips a la Stiffler's mom*'. Ok, ok, I might have made that last one up, at least the 'Mmmmm' part. I did see one licking her lips, but in her defense, it might have been the cookies... or something. As the pictures continued (with commentary), one of the Marines whispered to the fire fighter next to him 'Dude... you get this all the time?' 'On occasion', was the response.' The Marine very quickly developed an interest in joining a fire department upon his exit from the Corps.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Toys for Tots, Pt. 1

Couple of years back, wintertime. I'm busy solving the worlds issues with a heavy dose of naptime when...


ME: 'Lo?

MARINE BUDDY (MB): Hey there you little turd miner, you still got your dress blues squared away, or are you too fat and nasty for 'em now?

Ah yes, camaraderie and esprit de corps defined in insults to a buddy.

ME: Dunno, think I left my blues over at your mom's house. She and your girlfriend went kinda crazy on me the other night...

MB: Very funny, asshole.

ME: So, who died, got married...(redundant), or needs the dubious eye candy that is me all spiffed up?

MB: You ever heard of Toys for Tots?

ME: Yeah, isn't that the group that gives tots?

MB: Damn. Sharp as always. Being as Christmas is right around the corner, the Marines collecting for Toys for Tots are jumping through their ass to get everything done. Word is they are kinda short on bodies, wanna help out?

I can't really say that I have been all over the charity or charity work. I've done a few projects here and there, given semi-regularly to various churches, bought a few extra burritos and handed them out. That sort of thing. Heck, there have been times that I would have probably been ok to accept money. Never got around to it, though.

ME: I dunno man, gotta lot of stuff to do around the house, gotta trim my nails...

MB: Dude, think of the chicks.

ME: ...ok, ok, twist my arm.

See, this was still back in the day when I thought that I actually had anything to do with the whole girlie selection process. If you think that my military stories are kinda humorous, you should hear 'bout my dating follies. Whole other blog source, there. Eventually, I got it through my thick skull that it pretty much all came down to the lady in question. Me having any kind of plans, hopes, and dreams when it came to the females was just so much comedic folly for the gods. I was never all that when it came to math, but as best as I could figure;

(Marine + charity) x ladies x dress blues (aka chick magnet) = score!

I had visions of how studly I would look, hot chicas, bras just flying through the air like so much confetti...and oh yeah, some appreciative kids. Naturally, this meant that I was assigned to van detail.

Apparently how it works is that a few Marines will start to go round the neighborhood in September or October. They will meet with organizations, groups, businesses, etc. A lot of these people will agree to set up a donation box of unwrapped toys for the kiddos. Some time in December, the Marines will return and pick up the toys for distribution. Apparently, the boat spaces for toy pick ups at all the local Hooters was all taken but, luckily for me, pick up at various bridge clubs, nice little old ladies houses, and gas stations was still free. I got the keys to the ever sexy government van, an a-driver, and off we went.

It wasn't as bad as I had imagined, got to drive around to a local community, with huge houses. Nice little old ladies, and most of them baking up a storm. Cookies good, mmmm. On returning to the great toy gathering point, I say a bunch of Pfcs and Lcpls running around doing the sorting. Boys, girls, neutral, athletic, dolls, all kinds of categories. Lots of work behind the scenes.

Luckily for me, I had returned just in time to the start of toy pick up. Cars would pull up, men and women would get out and start looking for toys. Most of the time, it was apparent that they just needed a little bit of help to make the little one's holiday extra special, and that was what this whole project was for. Their vehicles were usually a couple of years old, some in better shape than others. Mostly blue collar, some language barriers. Most very appreciative. Quite a few promises to donate when they got back on their feet. Then there were the others. Those who drive up to the hangar with the BMW, pimped out low-rider, or Escalade. Deep tint, spinning crap on the wheels, 'bling' everywhere. Chatting on the latest phone, strolling up in $100 dollar shoes, and talking a moment from their busy day to tell a Lcpl to go fetch them certain toys.

WTF, over?

One of the Cpls who regularly worked this function told me that the policy for those Marines was not to make any judgement calls on how needy the folks were. They show up, they get some gifts, that's just the way it was. As he was explaining this to me, another 'pimp-mobile' showed up. This guy had a flyer, A FLYER, that someone had hand-made, announcing that the Marines were handing out free shit to anyone who showed up.

WTF, over?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A Conversation with Mom...

From a conversation a little while back:

MOM: that's why we have to go pick up Sister Catherine from the jail this coming Saturday.

ME: Uh huh. So the US Army doesn't take kindly to over enthusiastic nuns trying to play ninja on their bases, whodathunkit. I'm kinda surprised she didn't get a speed pass to go see the Big Man himself. Now, if she had been on a Marine Corps base...

MOM: Are you being sarcastic? You little...

ME: Nooooo.

MOM: ...Oh, when I think of all the times...

fast forward through guilt trip...

...all the sleepless nights and gray hairs...

keep going...

...wondering if it was anything that I had done...

oops, not quite far enough. resume fast forward...

MOM: ...Well?

ME: Huh?

MOM: *Loud Sigh* I said that being as your father is out of town so often, I was thinking that one of these days you need to teach me about guns and how to shoot. What do you think?

ME: (going ass over teakettle) *thump*

When I came to, I started thinking about all the times that I begged, pleaded, whined, and otherwise generally made a nuisance of myself when it came to anything related to firearms. "You'll shoot your eye out" was the standard response. Bleh. Looking back on it, I probably would have, but I'm sure that it would have made for a heck of a story. Nowadays, you probably would hear about it on the news or something.

So this puts me in an interesting situation. While I would probably be one of the last ones to say that I am an expert when it comes to shooting or teaching pistol craft, I am more than willing to overlook her grievous denial of my childhood happiness to show her a little bit when it comes to pistols. A few things to keep in mind:

Experience. Despite the fact that most of her brothers went into the Army and a few make me look like a dancing fairy man, she has almost zero experience with firearms. She knows which end goes bang, but that is about it. I'm not going to assume too much else either, when it comes time to teach.

Selection & Caliber. My own experience is somewhat limited (refer to childhood injustice noted above). I have only really started to scratch the surface when it comes to the subject and most of my earlier experiences was more along the lines of the plinking with el cheapo-cheapo pistola on a Saturday afternoon. I am working with all due haste to remedy this lack of knowledge and experience on my own part. Hmm, what to get for her, though? Heck, I could probably wait for the next family reunion, go into Uncle Bob's weapons basement (Arg!), and let her try out basically one of every weapon made since the wooden club (model #002). I figure that she's going to need something reliable, easy to operate, and something not completely overwhelming for her.

Practice. Already covered the ease of operation, but that really is going to come with practice and familiarity. Hopefully, I can show her a little bit in that area. As she likes to remind me, I don't make it down to visit as much as I should, but when I do I would like to have a few ranges picked out in her area, to take her to shoot and possibly to see if there are some real classes that we can get her into. If I go with her a few times, it should make it easier for her to go there when I am not around.

Of course, I am going to have to hit the range, force myself to shoot a wide assortment of different handguns, suffer through the cost of ammunition, all in the name of ensuring that I might not make a complete ass of myself when it comes time to recommending a good match for her.

Life's tough, huh.

Hope she doesn't shoot her eye out.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Comedy in the Classroom

Classes in the Marines usually follows somewhat of a similar format. Wherever the 'classroom' might be, whether in a barracks, on the range, or on a parade deck, the instructor will get in front of the class, introduce himself, and give the class the subject for his period of instruction. Occasionally, if time permits, the instructor will tell a joke. Like most jokes, some are new, some old, some good, and some bad. Most are very much not PC. One of the better classes that I had was on Rules of Engagement from some legal Officer, not for the class itself (all though it was pretty informative), but for the opening comments.

As we were about 3 hours away from a weekend liberty pass, the Major knew that he was going to have to make things interesting for the class. He started off by asking what were some of the plans for the Marines in the platoon. After getting a few of the standard, if somewhat reserved, responses (he was a Major after all, we didn't care to harmfully affect his delicate sensibilities), he inquired if anyone was planning to get ticket for 'the show'. When we asked what show was coming to town that we hadn't heard about, he responded with;


He then struck a pose that would have made Hulk Hogan proud.

I'm not usually one to critique another man's physique, but he was not particularly suited for extended poses showing off his dubious musculature. All the more funny, as far as we were concerned. He then proceeded with the class. Shuffling through his notes while covering the definition and explanations of lethal force, he muttered a low curse and started sucking on the tip of his index finger. He asked the Corpsman if he had a band aid, 'cause;

"I'M CUT, BABY!!!"

He struck another pose, to the groans of the collected Marines. He continued his class with various examples of possible situations that we could possibly encounter while on ship and on liberty in another country. He also made several references to the following; beefcake, hunka hunka burnin love, butt-floss bikinis, and the size of his...brain. Quite memorable, to say the least.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Note to self...

Just because at one time a number of years ago I could wake up one morning and say to myself;

Self, today I think it might be interesting to see how long it takes us to swim for...a mile.

Does not necessarily mean that one can (or should even begin to consider to) do it still.

I don't think I could swim to the other side of the bathtub right now...urk...hurts to type...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Grab, Twist, Pull, Sweep & 'Lecture'?

Title is a play off of the description for the Marine Corps LINE techniques. The actual description for what seemed to be most of the techniques was grab, twist, pull, sweep, and stomp. Grab and twist are pretty much self explanitory, pull indicated the need for unbalancing your opponent, sweep the bugger off his feet, and stomp for smashing his grape (head, noggin, or my personal favorite, the brain housing group) with your boot heel. The beauty of this principle was explained to me by an NCO who had an interesting... outlook on the system. "If the only thing that you have available to you is to grab the guys nuts, well there you go! Grab those bad boys and go to town."

Grab, twist, pull....sheesh.

This was followed by seemingly endless repititions to ingrain the movements into the muscle memory. Thankfully, at least in my case, the movements were never demonstrated on my own tender bits.

In related current news, I don't think anybody would classify 27yo former Marine as a grizzled old vet, but this guy probably deserves a complimentary wallet with his name etched in the leather from the bank. Not his actual name, just the one that says 'Bad Mo Fo'. Speaking of which, I kind of wonder how colorful that 'lecture' was.

Anybody else wonder what the Marine would have done if he was a little more than just irritated?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Take that, Internet Gods!

I am so smart! I am so smart! S M R T - Homer Simpson

It might be a small victory, but I am currently celebrating my new found success in figuring out how to post an image pic for my profile without somehow managing to delete this little blog or figuring out a way to crash the entirety of the internet.

Now, to figure out how this whole light-bulb thing actually works.

Just being concerned with breaking things and/or blowing them up is so much easier.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Adventures in the Gym Part 1

Ah, the gym.

A place where one can go and lose oneself in the various repetitions, grunts, and the occasional squeaker upon trying to lift heavy all in the name of self improvement.

First of all, the screamers.

It is somewhat unsettling to be minding ones business in the corner (peering like the confused monkey that I can be at some of the contraptions that they have in the gym) when all of a sudden, there erupts from the other side of the gym what sounds like someone just dropped several thousand pounds of weight directly on their nuts. Repeatedly. And slowly, to boot. If you have to scream like you are giving birth right there on the bench, you are probably lifting a wee bit too much, champ. Last lift of a particularly heavy weight, okay, I guess. But every stinking time? Actually a good reminder to me to focus on form and not so much the weight.

Only slightly less uncomfortable (to me, anyways) are the orgasma-women. They scream too, just doesn't come across as the dying-moose call of the men. Yeah, yeah, all men are dogs, I know. Woof.

Another kinda/sorta pet peeve in regards to the ladies are the outfits. A lot of women like to dress down, glance in the mirror, and check out their form. I'm cool with that (woof!), but the closest I have ever come to killing myself in the gym was the result of one of those aforementioned ladies.

One of the things that I like to do is something called a pyramid. Take an exercise, start off low weight and low rep. Not looking for any records here, just going slow and focusing on doing the exercise correctly. During several more sets, gradually increase the weight until you are barely making the target number of repetitions. Then, go down the pyramid until you reach your starting weight. Looks really manly when you are tempted to scream like the goobers above when you are struggling with the 10lb curl, let me tell you. Anyways, one day I was doing military presses I think it was, and was getting ready to lift the heavy (for me) weight. Wrapping my fingers around the bar I was staring at the ground between my feet concentrating on my breathing, not screaming like a wounded moose, and the burger I was going to get later. At the moment when I began the first repetition, I looked up...

...right at the crotch of the sweet little hotness that had taken the 'porno-max 3000' machine. I dunno what the actual name of the thing is, but it is the one that you sit in the chair, adjust the resistance to the desired level, and proceed to open and close your legs to your little hearts content. Any Marines here might picture it as 'Hello Dollies', but in the sitting position. A pretty good exercise for the thighs, but completely ... hmmm ... distracting to other lifters. Especially moi, as I was situated pretty much directly in front of her.

I had nothing, nada, bupkis. The bar wasn't moving more than thee inches, or more or less directly above me. I had no spotter for that particular exercise, and as I did not relish dropping any amount of iron on my nugget (or nuggets, for that matter) I set the weight down and tried to focus on anywhere but straight ahead. It didn't help that she was very in shape, toned, wearing some shorty shorts, and a top that showed her somewhat er... perky, but I did my best. (Really, I did. Who wants to be that creepy guy in the gym ogling every which way?) Several attempt to lift, a reduction in weight, and a couple of near drops later, I gave up on that exercise and waited for her to finish.

That was a long set.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Sounded like a Good Idea at the time...

One day the roommate 'Mike' and I discovered that our answering machine had gone dead. Smashing elbows are apparently not the way to reprogram delicate machinery. Whod've thunk it. The thing was about a million years old, serial number 000000003, that sort of thing, so we weren't too bummed. We scrounged about, picked a few coins from the ratty couch, and came up with enough cash to buy a new one.

What a doozy, this one. Did everything but talk dirty to you when you wanted to replay your messages. While trying to figure out which message to use (sans directions, of course), one of us happened upon the grand idea of using a quote or two from Full Metal Jacket. All hands agreed that this was the best idea since the Great Porch Fire of....last week. Head scratching ensued as we tried to decide which or what combination of quotes to use. Clean or colorful, short or long...

Eventually, we came up with a combination of quotes. Calling our line would result in something like the following...


Immediately after setting the gizmo up, we got our first call!

After confirming that the machine was pre-set for the three ring pick up hoo-ya, we listened to the new message...perfect. The levels of elation were completely opposite end of the charts though, when we heard the message.

"Michael?...Michael?! This. Is. Your. Mother. You WILL call me when you get this message."

Saturday, July 7, 2007

God has a sense of's my life!

My grandfather has a saying, loosely translated and paraphrased it goes,

" it our fault, really, that God made our male blood-line so handsome to the ladies?".

This is usually followed by various objects flying through the air directed at the old goat and any other hapless male-types that just happen to be in the vicinity. Pro-Baseball players and combat vets flinging grenades ain't got nuthin' on ticked-off tías, by the way. For the record, I wasn't snickering, I was lamenting the fact that the old man was so set in his ways and I was planning to light a few extra candles for him after helping the nuns at the orphanage...or something. My personal favorite, though is

(while hitching up the pants by the belt) "Yeah, yeah, she wants me."
*remember to duck the flying objects*

Be careful you wish for...

Now before anyone gets the wrong idea, we're not all that the time. Some of us do go out of our way to be helpful, in whatever way that we can. For example, after a long day at work, I don't particularly mind helping the slightly eccentric neighborhood cat lady look for her lost 'Fluffy'. I wasn't put in too terribly foul of a mood by traipsing through the muddy ditches with a weak flashlight. What did kind of irk me however, was when I found out that said schnookums was about my age, and without that pet year/age conversion, neither! I idly wondered to myself if the cat could still walk, let alone get out of the house for a night of carousing with the wildlife.

Cat, the other, other white meat...

After another fruitless search and when my flashlights batteries finally went dead, I returned to her driveway to report in, so to speak. Despite me not having any pets, I kind of felt bad for her. I really did want to help her figure out where the cat was. After further discussion, it came about that the last time that she had seen the little kitty was two weeks ago, in the garage...before she left for vacation. Said garage was packed to the gills with the various collections of a life time of collecting...stuff, and did not look like an easy task.

At one point during my search, she had gone inside and changed clothes. Not a huge deal, I'm getting mud all over my work clothes, and she changed into some sort of robe-looking thing, but hey, she's a little older, probably deserves the opportunity to get comfy however she can. This would only give me the slightest in PM ammo (pissing and moaning), not really anything to get too worked up about.

What did get me worked up, and not in the good way, were the gusts of wind.

Apparently, once you get to a certain age, button repair on the ole bathrobe/mumu/whatever that thing is called kind of lowers in the priority chain. I might even overlook stepping out in public with the thing on, being as she was somewhat distraught over the lost cat. The lack of panties however, is totally unforgivable.


Thursday, July 5, 2007

Pop Quiz

Your position is surrounded.

You are vastly outnumbered.

Situation is FUBAR.

What do you do?

  1. Concede.
  2. Attack.
  3. Decide to take up cross-dressing and go for a stroll. ('Cause martyrdom for you isn't part of the plans.)

Extra credit:
1. Describe the look on the female search member's face when she realized that the searchee had a 'suspicious package'.

CNN story on Cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz

Monday, July 2, 2007

Several years back, I had a boss that liked to wax eloquent on any number of topics while discussing business. He was a bit older that the rest of us, with loads more life experience. He had worked for many years on a ranch and on the road resulting in a sharp, if not a little verbose, view on life. Most of the meetings had a tendency to go off on quite a few tangents, and last quite a bit longer than scheduled, but if you listened right, (or were listening at all), you always came away with a little bit of wisdom. A sort of rodeo-yoda, you could say. During one meeting, while discussing the nature of friendship and loyalty, he mentioned a phrase that has stuck with me.

I won't go to Hell for you, but I'll go to Hell with you.

The idea that he was trying to stress was that friendship was something that was not to be easily given nor retracted, and that a friendship worth having was something to be treasured, worked at, defended etc. from both ends of the equation. I suppose that you could say that I am proud to say I have quite a few friendships that I value quite dearly. I have had friends that stood up for me, and even stood up to me, when the situation called for it. I know that there is quite a bit that I have/am/would be willing to do, for any of them, and always figured that the feeling was mutual.

Recently, during a conversation with a couple of buddies, I mentioned plans for my future, and what measure of preparations it would entail in the present. With not much more information that just general ballpark figures, a couple of them offered up what basically comes up to a several thousand dollar loan with no immediately definite pay-back date. All they knew was that if I had the need and they had the means, it was a done deal as far as they were concerned. It was an offer that I had given out myself on the rare occasion, but until now I have not had the opportunity to reflect on what it meant to be on the receiving end. Powerful stuff, friendship.