Friday, August 29, 2008

a list...


  • Getting a standby seat on the earlier flight
  • Getting moved to an aisle seat
  • Hot, fresh nachos with sour cream
  • Taking a vacation
  • Riding motorcycles
  • Good times in great company
  • Buying your wife a Ride Bell
  • Homemade Beef Jerky
  • WoW Raids with phat lewts

  • Crying babies on your plane (redeemed by falling asleep on taxi)
  • Yip-yip-yipping dogs on your plane (damned for NOT falling asleep, EVER)
  • Warmed-over nachos that spent 3 days in the fridge
  • The last day of work before vacation
  • Locking your wife out of the house while you're shopping for her Ride Bell
  • West Texas Highways in August

Y'all have a great week. We'll be back soon.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

quickie update

my airplane is at the gate and deboarding right now, so i have only a few minutes. i owe massive favors to someone or something in the universe, because i got a standby seat on a flight home from phoenix that has 24 people on the standby list, and the lovely young woman at the desk got me moved from a middle seat at the rear of the plane to an aisle seat at the middle of the plane. *envision a giant amazon happy dance here*

yesterday was ballistic and challenging and i was up for 20 hours and working for 18 of those. it was all good until i had to go to dinner with the partner's boss's 4-year-old. kid proudly announced at the beginning of dinner that he'd had COOKY! before he arrived because he at all his dinner. then dad let him "split" a coke with his 18-month-old sister. kid spent the entire rest of the night running screaming circles around our table. it was like hell, but with curry.

then again, if eggplant curry doesn't make it better, i'm not sure what does. tradeoffs.

i'm going on vacation starting this weekend, so look for trip reports soon. photos by rose, words by me, as usual. oh, and we FINALLY got our wedding photos back. those will be up when we return from vacation. it turns out that all that damn drafting training for me was worthwhile, as i've never had anyone come to me and report that my e-mail address was illegible. apparently, this was the photographer's third attempt at reaching us with the pictures, but rose has such "artisitic" handwriting that we didn't receive the first few. haha. engineers: not as sexy as doctors, but we get our e-mail. nowhere near as sexy as artists, but... well, we get our e-mail. and we'll console ourselves with e-mail while the doctors and artists are off with the pretty girls and the bottles of wine.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

overheard in my truck

ME: so i'm going to put those risers on my bike sunday.
ROSE: but i have [string of activities] & [visiting friend] here this weekend
ME: what, like i need help?!? it's not that complicated. besides, before i met you, i had to turn a wrench by myself. you can do [string of activities] while i change out the risers.
ROSE: oh. okay. but i just thought you'd want the extra hands, to make it easier to position things...
ME: hmmm... yeah, and since [visiting friend] is leaving on sunday, you'll have time to help me.
ROSE: oh, no! you don't want my help, that's okay. i won't intrude.
ME: oh, come on, honey... you know you're dying to come wrench on my bike. *evil grin*
ROSE: no... you do it yourself. *grin*
ME: see, now it's a contest between your Butch and your Stubborn. Which one is gonna win?
ROSE: we'll see. that's a close fight. neither one likes to lose.

Monday, August 04, 2008

don't know what to say...

I'm having a spot of writer's block these days. I should probably take the very good advice of a random blog I strolled through recently, and start carrying a pen with me so I can jot down ideas when they occur out in the Big Blue Room. Because, clearly, those light bulbs popping up over my head whilst I'm out having a life are not coming home with me. What did I do, ideas? Did I snub you somehow? Make you grumpy by forgetting your names? Are you jealous because I mentioned former ideas? Whatever it is, I wish you'd forgive me...

So today, I give you a memory of mine:

I had a friend named Kristin Wheeler when I was at the Air Force Academy. She was from Lakeland, Florida and was one of those elusive and rare creatures -- the Native Floridian. Most people who are "from" Florida are actually from New Jersey or Idaho or some place cold. They move to Florida for the glorious tropical weather. Kristi, however, was actually from there for at least 3 generations that I know of. At our age, that means her family moved to Florida BEFORE AIR CONDITIONING. This proves them to be exceptionally hardy folk, and Kristi was no exception. She and I were in theater together at USAFA and had lots of good times escaping the military life back stage. We also figured out how to get out to the internet and connect to a BBS. Back in the days before the WWW there were no IM clients or java-driven chat rooms or forums. You had to telnet to a BBS and carry on in text-only systems. Seriously, the year after us, freshmen got computers loaded with Gopher for web browsing. We were a couple of years ahead of Netscape or Internet Explorer. Thus the point about Kristi's Floridian hardiness.

Kristi and I had some wild and silly and fun times connecting with each other and the outside world via the BBS. One of the big things the Air Force (and, really, any military training program) does is try to isolate you so that you're forced to rely on and build bonds with your squadmates. The internet really undermines that, and if the Academy higher-ups had been aware of just how we were using the budding internet socially, they'd likely have cut off our access. We weren't doing anything illegal or dangerous, just undermining their precious training strategies by building up a support network of people we chose, rather than clinging to the ones we'd been tossed in with by alphabetical happenstance.

Kristi and I managed to stay in touch for a couple of years after I left the Academy, and even for a few after she graduated and got on with life. In that span of time, I moved about 16 times, so this was no easy feat. The last time I heard from her was when I got an invitation to her second wedding. I was sad to have missed it, but I was embroiled in my own troubles at the time. I never sent a card and when I tried to get in touch via the e-mail address printed in the invitation, it wasn't functioning.

I miss her. One of my best memories of my summers in Florida, working for the Mouse, are of her coming to spring me out of the all-Disney apartment complex so we could go play at Busch Gardens. We went to the beach, visited her folks' house, rode roller coasters, and just enjoyed a day away from the grind. If you've ever lived in a cloister like military school or a company-owned apartment complex, you understand how vital those little slices of "real life" are. It's unimaginably special to get away for a day and just eat dinner with a family (even if they're not your own) or do any ordinary thing outside the insular environment. Environments like that can be really useful in the short term for providing intense experiences, immersion, focus, and building cohesion, or uniformity, if you're cynical. Beyond that, they're not so good, but the friends you make inside those pressure cookers are the kind you never forget. So wherever Kristi (Wheeler) Cummings is now, I wish her well. I remember her fondly and hope that she continues to bring her particular spark of humor and liveliness to the people who surround her today.