Thursday, July 31, 2008

Murphy's .gov marketing tip o' the week

If you're going to utilize a hard-chargin' young Officer, in dress uniform and holding a folded flag for your target audience, well, good on ya. A boot Louie is (should be) the epitome of - if not total, all encompassing knowledge - attention to detail and propriety in just about everything. His uniform is sharp, all shiny stuff gleaming, ribbons placed exactly down to a hair's measure, everything in it's place.

You kind of might want to make sure the tri-folded flag's folded properly, though. The red and white really, really, really sticks out...


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I didn't ask...

This is probably old news to most of y'all, being as I recently noticed it on the boob tube, but I saw an interesting commercial recently.

Yup, the Snickers ad.

Seems some folks got their panties in a twist over the ad.

I have to admit, when I first heard about the hub-bub over the ad, I pegged it as just another fringe group(s?) with a professional interest in being offended. Seems that there's so many of these groups, all running around in a lather complete with high-pitched shrieks that I normally just tune 'em out.

For whatever reason, I decided to think this one through.

Let's see here... the argument against this one was something along the lines of it being homophobic, offensive to gays, or painting them in a bad light, etc.

Ok, let's go to the tape, then...

Got a guy here, out for his morning exercise. Granted, speed walking isn't something that I'd normally do, but I wouldn't exactly call it 'gay', just for that. I've seen some of those guys, and I'm pretty sure they can do their walk-thing faster than I run, especially now-a-days. Heck, there's a bunch of stuff out there that might appear to some to be fruity, but on further examination, it's anything but. For example,

1) Male ballet dancers.

Ole Mickey. Fantastically in shape, helluva dancer, not gay... I think.

2) Bodybuilders.

Heck, the 'Governator' could probably still kick my ass. If you want to see something interesting, ask one of those gym rats to demonstrate a 'donkey calf raise' with (on) you. *heheh...*

3) Basketball players.

Ok, that's disturbing... I was cool (and oddly excited) with all the ass-slapping, sweaty dudes, and the occasional wet-man show after the games but I dunno about this...

So anyways, back to the commercial in question. Guy's running along when all of a sudden, old Mr. T. comes outta nowhere to give him a 'hard' time.


A guy from an old tv show and professional wrestling (more sweaty dudes, rubbin' all over each other), a man known for wearing more jewelry than any half-dozen girlies, or at least three drag queens, a guy whos very personae is that of super (painfully so?) masculinity, derides the other guy of being a 'disgrace to the man race'. Kinda overly accusatory and hypocritical, no?

Old B.A. Baraccus (what's that stand for anyways, Bad 'Ass'?) then commences with shooting sweet and tasty chocolate confections out of - is that rainbow colored? - 'long barreled' machine gun?

The end of the commercial, y'all heard it?

"GET SOME NUTS!" --- Mr. T. (growling, no less)

You know, I think those folks got something here... granted, I don't pick my friends based upon what they like to do with who, so mebbe I haven't seen the whole gamut of different gay personalities in the few "man's men" that I've known, but none of my buddies would ever go around acting like that... at least I hope not.

Besides, I'm kinda partial to M&Ms, myself.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ah Just Felt Like Run Ning

"Up in the mornin' with the risin' sun... Gonna run all day 'till the runnin's done!" --- Military cadence.

"Crap" --- Sgt. Murphy

I never really was a huge fan of running, growing up. If it was part of sports like football or soccer, that's cool and all, but running for running's sake? Come on.

Most bewildering of all to me are the televised marathons.

FRANK: Here we go, Bob, M'Bukoo Wa*click*shnmba from some country you never heard of takes the early lead, followed closely by about 2000 other skinny dudes!

BOB: Yup.

FRANK: Pace looks to be about flat-out haulin' ass, and the crowd is gradually thining out. Hey Bob, are those dudes carrying spears?

BOB: Yup.

- one hour later -

FRANK: Still running....

BOB: Yup.

- one hour later -

ME: *snore*

But they're still running...

Now, I was a fairly athletic kid growing up, and running around for long periods of time never really bothered me, too much. The Corps magnified my abilities unbelievably, when it came to running. Still, when running in formation, I'd stave of boredom by running around, herding stragglers, doing the occasional road guard, and whatnot. It's not that I hated running, but I'd much rather do it to some music I liked, or at my own pace, on my own route. When I would run on my own, I'd usually get bored after about 30-45 minutes or so and wind up going to the gym or something.

Those were the days...

The Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test includes, among other things, a run (shocker, I know). My best time, right after boot camp, was 20:00 min. A few years after boot, my time was more into the *cough*, say 22 min range. Not terrible, but not out of this world great, either. It'd've (yeah, that's a word) been better if I had seriously worked at it, but after all's said and done, it's running. *bleugh*

Oh, the distance? Three miles.

Seriously, folks, that's nuthin'. Ask about any Marine out there, and they'll be able to rattle off about half a dozen basta... er... motivators that get pissed (and not Irish-ly) if they come in over 17 minutes.


Seriously, for three. friggin'. miles.

I remember... Panama, I think it was, going to the gym to catch a work out. Humidity was about 150%, and the temp was a lovely cool 95 degrees. Yeah, I was about motivated. Anyways, I enter the gym to be greeted by the sounds of what sounded like a raging dying-moose orgy, clanging weights, and some sort of noise blaring from the speakers. Glancing around to see who I knew there, I noticed one of the 'rabbits' from my platoon. Motor-scooter was on the treadmill, and he was going at pretty much a dead-sprint. One of those guys who ran, every day, sometimes twice... for fun. Erk.

I roam around the gym, trying to find some weights that don't look like they are too disgusting to work out with and a bench that doesn't squish when you lay on it. Failing at that, I head over to the machines. It's wasn't a particularly memorable work-out, at least on my part. I threw some weight around, tried to ignore the screamers, and just did my thing. What did make it kinda interesting was when the aforementioned rabbit was still on the treadmill, pumping out his run... about 25 minutes later.

Keep in mind, he was moving like his ass was on fire.

I glanced over there in time to see him turn an interesting shade of... something, hit the emergency stop on the treadmill, hustle to the door, and up-chuck the mornings 'food', for distance.

Laughing on the inside, I hippity-hopped over, and inquired if he needed a hand. He raised his own hand in a 'hold on a sec' gesture, finished his impromptu abdominal workout in the trash can, and slowly stood up. He brushed some sweat from his forehead, grinned, and said he was fine. I opined as how usually whenever someone tosses their biscuits... gravy, eggs, bacon and about everything else, they're not all that great. He wheezed and explained that for personal training, he ran his ass off until he felt queasy, but usually he stopped before he actually upchucked.

And the voices in my head call me crazy...

Saturday, July 26, 2008


[Pant, pant]

Oh, Lordy.

Friday, July 25, 2008

My condolences to the Pausch family.

Perhaps knowing that he not only gave so much to so many through his career, but chose to teach us an even more important lesson while facing his own end might bring some small measure of comfort to his loved ones.

I stand in awe at his ability to teach his last lecture with grace, dignity, and even a little humor.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Quick quiz; when I say the phrase, 'Hello Dolly', what first comes to mind?

1) 'Crap, another lonely night without a date.'
2) Another bad joke referencing the current weather situation.
3) Some (apparently) pretty popular musical, about... something.
4) Marine Corps PT.

What, never heard of that particular exercise? Lemme 'splain...

Start off by lying on your back, hands in fists underneath your butt. Feet together, now raise 'em six inches of the deck (floor). Hold it there... feel the burn, yet? Good. Now, Hello Dollies are a 4 count exercise, meaning the count is, 'one, two, three, ONE, one, two, three, TWO, one, two, three, THREE, etc. From the position of feet together and six inches off the deck, on 'one', you spread your legs, keeping your li'l footsies off the ground (Hello, Dolly!). 'Two', bring your feet together. 'Three', spread 'em. 'ONE', together. All 'o that counts for one repetition, if you keep your feet off the ground, you and everyone else in the platoon. At the end of the exercise, everyone needs to hold their feet six inches off the deck for about 10 seconds, to really enjoy the burn.

Now do about a million of those things.

A really good burn and a decent exercise, they were pretty popular in my units. A little too popular, you might say, considering there weren't even any 'Dollies' in any of my platoons...

I was talking to Mom the other day about the storm coming in, and asked if she was making any plans to come visit. She answered in the negative, mainly because she's a few hours inland, and she doesn't have enough kitty and doggy carriers to go around right now(she's the neighborhood animal lady).

By the by, this is a really good opportunity to go and re-read LawDog's excellent posts on evacuations, the link is over to the left. Really, I dunno what you're doing here when his blog is still on the 'net, but if you've recently re-read all of his posts, guess you have to have something to do...

So, where was I, ah yes, Mom and weather. Weather as of yesterday at the old house was just fine, not even raining, yet, but I'll probably give her another call or two, just because.

I must admit, it's interesting to see some of my old stomping grounds in the news, hopefully all this business just 'blows over' (ah!, I kill me!)

Best part about the weather?

Definitely those poor schmucks out there for news channels, explaining how there's been a mandatory evacuation for all souls... right in the area they're in. As the camera man falls to the ground from the wind, rain blowing sideways, the rookie (gotta be a rook, right?) newscaster leans over into the shot, narrowly dodging flying trees, small cows, and various debris to continue the segment.

Nah, on second thought, this is the best.

Monday, July 21, 2008

On a serious note...

I like it.

Suicide and depression is something that really wasn't addressed too much when I started boot camp. Unfortunately, it was something that had to be addressed in depth before we graduated. Eye opener, that.

Not really sure about the whole role-playing scenarios, somehow I see boot camp as one of those arenas that aren'y exactly condusive to good theatre, but mebbe that's just me. Recruits can be motivated to do just about anything, with a good D.I., and that's a fact...

One thing that the article nailed was the fact that it's almost always the fellow Marine that notices when another isn't doing so hot, and that communication is very important the whole way through. I would drop everything possible - and had to, a couple of times - if one of my Marines (or any, really) were having some no-shit issues that were getting rather difficult to handle.

One thing that I've advised to some vets - and some family members of vets - is that communication is important, even after the vet leaves the service. Civilians might have some difficulty understanding some of the issues, but difficulty is not a reason to abandon the effort before any attempts are made. Good comm isn't always sitting down and talking about ones feelings, thought that might be a part of it. Sometimes it's having a beer, commiserating about periphial hassles, or just hanging out, shooting pool.

My personal opinion is that talking with the guys and gals that you served with are the best folks to work through some issues with. Post service, that might not always be possible. People come from all over, and after they're done, alot of 'em go back to wherever they came from. Sometimes, another vet will do - they might have not been in your platoon or even branch of service, but they might be able to relate to the experiences. I'm always happy to help the few times that guys have come to me for help. I'd hope that any of my Marines could come to me, and if not, well, someone would do the same for them.

Sometimes, professional help is needed. I'm glad that mental help isn't nearly as much of a taboo as it was when I was in- heck, I've heard of some motivated Army officers that are mandated to go to counseling, as a 'lead by example' sort of thing. If they recommend one of their guys or gals go get some help, it's good to be able to relate one's own experiences to that sort of thing.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Care Packages & Retail Therapy

I've gotten alot of care packages in my day, and plenty of interesting stuff in 'em.

No this is not one of those stories...

Now, there were a few times in Iraq when one of the guys would get a care package containing a DVD. In a scene somewhat reminiscent of Jarhead, the squad would all gather around the screen, pop in the disc, and wait for it to start up. One knucklehead would invariably make a comment about the the movie and girlfriend who sent the home video, and all hands would have a chuckle... followed by a few quiet moments and perhaps a cricket chirping. The Marine who got the video was generally most relieved to prove the guys wrong. To tell the truth, I was kind of relieved for the guys, as well.

We did have a few guys that got 'Dear Johns', but they were just letters, or more often, correspondence from buddies back home and family, describing the actions of the now 'ex'.

Shortly before my last deployment, Lovely and I were going through our finances.

We figured out that she could live of her paychecks and we could use mine to pay off some bills. We hadn't gotten into our vehement anti-credit card mentality, but it was most definitely on the horizon. We were planning to save up for a house and start with the kiddos sometime in the future, so my checks would be a nice way to attack some of our debts and even save some at the time. Attack, heck, the math said that our card balances would all be paid off by the middle of the deployment.

Good plan, right?


See, this was where I got introduced to the phrase of, 'Retail Therapy'.

I do have to admit that she is a 'good' shopper, usually going out of her way to find some neat stuff at good prices. There were even a number of times when she would stumble onto something that friends or co-workers were just gonna toss out, so she picked it up for a song.

I would normally open up the care package and fingerfu- er - poke around all the assorted books, candies, cds, singing hamster dolls (why were those things so popular in care packages, again?), until I got to the photos and letters. First came letters, then pics, then came sorting out which stuff I'd use and which I'd donate to squad buddies.

Usually toward the very end of her letter would be when she would explain why the schedule of paying off our bill were starting to lag, 'just a wee bit'. They usually involved complex descriptions of family coming over to visit, car issues, and whatnot, all legit sounding and somewhat reasonable. Reassurances were made that, despite lagging, she was determined to put my checks, almost all... the overwhelming majority... probably most of... about half... whatever she could, anyways... next paycheck, to the bills.

She'd put photos in with her letters.

After many long, long months, photos of Lovely were much appreciated, but I did notice a theme to said photos, after a while.

When I'd look at the photos - and no, they were never that kind... dangit - I'd think to myself, 'self, she sure is looking good... in that new outfit... in front of that unfamiliar but nice coffee table... that's in the foreground of the new entertainment center.'


I kind of knew where it was going, from about then on...

To her credit, she'd normally put little notes on the backs of the photos (probably 'cause she figured I'd freak out) like, 'got this one from one of the girls at work, or, bought these shoes on sale, and for a really great price!' (notice the lack of actual, you know, price.)

One photo she put into a package she did purely because she thought she knew the reaction that I'd have. She was wearing a pair of trousers that I'd commented several times made her uh, 'assets' look particularly nice. She went over to some function at a friend's house, and said friend's hubby agreed to let her pose, seated on the motorcycle. Brave, brave man...

I damn near had a heart attack when I saw her on the Harley, because I knew there was no way in hell we could afford that.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sgt. Jimenez and Pvt. Fouty are coming home.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Work harder, not smarter.

What does this picture say to you?

1) Work harder, not smarter.
2) Immediate obediance to orders. When the angry Sergeant says, "Friggin' get the friggin' Hummer outta that friggin' mud right friggin' now!", that is NOT the time to say something about 'Simon Says'...
3) Someone didn't want the driver of said vehicle to be lonely on my Shit List of Doom, so he left his rifle lying on the ground. That's a buddy for ya...
4) [insert your witty comment here]

Monday, July 7, 2008

Passwords, Emails, and Websites, oh my!

I've got a lot of passwords.


I've passwords for work ('bout a metric ass ton), home pc, laptop, and oodles of websites. There's the bank, emails (lotsa), forums, and a few miscellaneous sites here and there...

My passwords are usually quite complex, the most basic of which are only numbers and letters... and less than 10 digits (big 'uns have symbols, caps, hand-signals, and chicken noises). The majority of 'em, if you ask what they are, I have to tippity-tappity on a keyboard - it's more muscle memory than memory-memory. Yeah, changing of passwords can get rather... interesting, at times.

I also have a bit of time on my hands when others might be doing other stuff... like sleeping - you know, inconsequential stuff.

So recently I was goofing around the net, and decided to google myself. This can get kind of fun considering that I can sometimes pick out what time in my life I knew someone by what name they refer to me by. I've got a rather long birth name, a not terribly common nickname, (and did I mention I have two last names, sometime hyphenated, sometimes not?), and have been known to go by several variations of names, both military and civilian. Heck, I respond to flying objects and muttered curses, at times.

Then there's my emails.

I have way less emails than passwords, that's for darn sure, but there've still been plenty of those. I've had work mails, personal mails, email addys for when I was a student, and emails that are loosely assigned a purpose. To explain, I've had some that're basically for friends & family, and those that are more disposable, for ordering stuff from amazon, cdnn, and the like.

Back to the googling, I noticed a number of stuff that had popped up for others with my name.

Guess my particular label isn't as rare as it once was, I guess.

Scrolling down and at about the second page or so, I saw something interesting. It was a profile on one of those myspace-esq sites, where you can meet up with old buddies from school or whatever. Huh, seems this particular guy with my name was a Marine, too.

Imagine that.

Huh, guy served at the same time as me... in the same unit...


So I had two friends on this site that I had completely forgotten about, the site's host, and an old college buddy.

I tried to login. "Error. Login user name not recognized."

Hmm, must've been another password... or email.

"Error. Login user name not recognised."

Thus ensued the longest session of email addresses and password combinations, ever.

No luck, and I tried about every combination of known emails and passwords, nothing worked.

Considering the time when I apparently set it up, I must've had a different email addy and a long since forgotten password.

Heck, I even set up another account, to see if I could find my other email address and use that to jog the ole memory, and that's when I figured out it was almost definitely an old email addy.

So, now I have two accounts set up for this website that I'm probably not ever gonna use...

Heh, I even tried emailing myself, from the new account to the old. I thought that perhaps seeing the 'To' part might jog my memory. As I was doing this, I thought about why I would set up an account and then never use it. My question was answered when I tried to send an email, view an account, or click on just about anything, 'cause they all had the same result - a pop up box soliciting for an upgrade to the account, one of those $5 per month, or $30 for the year. There was no, 'screw that, I'm a cheap bastid and just wanna use the cheapie-cheapie version'. There was no passing that upgrade pop-up neither, apparently.

That about explains it...

When I went to delete at least the new account, guess what message I got? Yup, another request to upgrade and a friggin' phone number to call to delete the account. Nice.

So, C., pretty sure you read this every once in a while, lame excuse as it might be, it's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Giving the Finger... print

There's an article on a news site that goes into some detail about how some foreign detainees are being linked to crimes in the U.S. It would seem that we're using some technology over there to gather fingerprints and furthermore share the info between friendly forces.

Good stuff.

I'm not really tickled by the fact that a few of the most pure and righteous warriors of Islam have records for drugs and public drunkenness here in the 'land of the great satan', really.

What does kinda tickle me is the photo.

Just my sense of humor, I suppose...