I’m not saying these rooms are small, but…

Here are a couple of views of my Japanese hotel room down in Yokosuka, JA. Now I’ m not saying they are small, they are %^&* TINY. In the top photo, I’m standing against the wall by the bathroom door at the foot of the DOUBLE bed, looking catty-corner across the room. Note the large corner desk, chair and TV on top of a small refridgerator to the right of the picture. The closet is about a foot wide and about two feet deep; e.g. I can’t get the door closed on standard US size hangars… sigh…
Also forget any place to put the suitcase- When I’m not in bed, it is on the bed so I can move around. When I get ready to sleep, I store it in the bathtub. The bottom picture is the modular bathroom. These things are a wonder, they are literally modules, put in place complete. They are about 6 feet long and 4 feet wide, and the tub is about 2 1/2 feet deep. The counter space is also the water tank for the toilet. You really have to make sure you don’t drop anything…
Oh yeah, you also have to remember to take the suitcase OUT OF THE FRIGGIN TUB BEFORE YOU TURN THE WATER ON…
Other than CNNj, you’re pretty much on full immersion japanese TV, so there is not much to do in your luxury room. As a valued customer, you DO get chits for two beers a day… X 4 days= 8 beers!!!!
Yep, all this for the government rate of only $149/day US…
I love my job… I love my job… I LOVE my job….

Firearms Refresher Course

“Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not.”
~ Thomas Jefferson ~

(This is why Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, Chuckie Schumer and Hillary Clinton want gun control so badly! )

1. An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.

2. A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone.

3. Colt: The original point and click interface.

4. Gun control is not about guns; it’s about control.

5. If guns are outlawed, can we use swords?

6. If guns cause crime, then pencils cause misspelled words.

7. Free men do not ask permission to bear arms.

8. If you don’t know your rights, you don’t have any.

9. Those who trade liberty for security have neither.

10. The United States Constitution (c)1791. All Rights Reserved.

11. What part of “shall not be infringed” do you not understand?

12. The Second Amendment is in place in case the politicians ignore the others.

13. 64,999,987 firearms owners killed no one yesterday.

14. Guns only have two enemies; rust and politicians.

15. Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety.

16. You don’t shoot to kill; you shoot to stay alive.

17. 911: Government sponsored Dial-a-Prayer.

18. Assault is a behavior, not a device.

19. Criminals love gun control; it makes their jobs safer.

20. If guns cause crime, then matches cause arson.

21. Only a government that is afraid of its citizens tries to control them.

22. You have only the rights you are willing to fight for.

23. Enforce the gun control laws we ALREADY have; don’t make more.

24. When you remove the people’s right to bear arms, you create slaves.

25. The American Revolution would never have happened with gun control.

Nuff said….

On the Road again…

Just a quick blog- It’s really interesting signing into the blog from here… Most of the character sets come up in Japanese language (Kanji), with a few things coming up in English… You either have to visualize the boxes with english or take a stab in the dark, so to speak.

Anyhoo….. This is one of those months from hell for work travel, been to San Diego, Sydney Australia, Dallas, home for one night, and am now back (for the 4th time this year) in Japan. I spent Thursday through Sunday up in Misawa (way up at the North end of Honshu), working with our Sailors who fly the P-3 Orion aircraft. These folks have flown many, many thousands of hours over Iraq and Afghanistan in the last few years, protecting any number of our US assets in place over there. To a person, they were very upbeat, glad to be “on mission” and doing productive work out here in Fifth and Seventh Fleets. They joke about flying a bird that is older than most of them (the P-3 first came into service in 1962, and many of the current bird date from the 1970’s), it does have problems and takes a lot of maintenance hours for each flight hour, but it gets the job done. I couldn’t help but laugh a couple of times, when they asked when I had flown the birds and I told them 1973-1992. The typical response was it was all MY fault they are broke… Sorrrrryyyyy….

After the Bullet train back to Tokyo (reminder- Don’t lean against the window- meeting another bullet train also going close to 200 mph DOES rattle the window and your head), and two hours on the ‘local’ train (there are a LOT of stops between Tokyo and Yokosuka).

I’ve been down here for a few days of meetings with various staff folks, including a couple who have just come back from Individual Augmentee (IA) ops over in the Sandbox. Again many positives, and very few negatives about what they are doing. Today I was on one of the boats I’ll be working with later in the year. Talking to the JO’s and Sailors was a real pleasure, and I wish folks had to chance to hear what they really have to say, not just what ends up in the media!!!!

Weather is a good news/bad news thing out here this time of year- We had a four hour lightening storm Monday night here (Sunday morning in the States). Just walked over and looked at the weather guesser’s screen, and lo and behold, Typhoon Usagi has us boresighted for Thursday… oh joy… oh joy…

Ah… Babs, I’ll trade ya- A little lightening, wind and rain for a whole lot of wind and rain!
OH well, breaks over, I gotta get back to work… Remember, if you see or know a veteran, thank them for their service.

The collaboration from Matt, AD and Babs is up- This is OUTSTANDING!

If you don’t read it, you will really miss a very special set of stories. They have collaborated on the ‘same’ story from three perspectives- LEO, Paramedic, and RN. Please take the time to follow these links and go read it…

1) Start reading at MattG’s place.

2) Then, continue from AD’s viewpoint.

3) Conclude the story with Babs.

I ‘Love’ Tech Support

As usual, I’m on the road again and as usual they have shi**y internet connectivity in the hotel… It quits in the middle of sending an important email, just like usually happens.

So… I complain this morning, and get told, “Oh, I’ll have to connect you to our ISP, we don’t do it locally anymore.”

Okaaay, fine…

So I spend about 10 minutes listening to way old Musak (somebody PLEASE up date your subscription!!!!)

And I get, ta da… The tech from Hell!

Smarmy voice and all- “Sir are you SURE you actually have the cable plugged into the computer?”

NO- it just jumped out on it’s own…

“Now are you SURE the cable is plugged into the wall?”

No, it jumped out too…

“How do you know you are not connected?”

Well, maybe because I was in the middle of doing email when I got a low/no connectivity alert and the transmit/receive lights on your modem are no longer blinking, even after I reset power (twice), restarted the computer, rechecked all the plugs and connections, etc. and I have no address type, IP address, subnet mask or default gateway!

“Well, how do you KNOW you are not connected now?”

Did you not hear a single thing I just told you???? Guess not, sigh…

Okay, so I asked for an IP address for the gateway to see if I can ping it. I also asked if it was a flat or hierarchical network.

“Oh, I can’t give you that information!”

Say WHAT???? So I asked for his supervisor… Not available, so I hung up and went and bitched to the hotel.

Now 7 hours later, they finally have service back… sigh…

Where in the %^&* do these companies find/hire these people? Don’t the even LOOK at their resumes???

And why oh why do I have to PAY $14/day for this crap??? I can go to a No Tell Motel and get FREE internet with better connectivity, althought the pounding on the walls and moaning and groaning are rather disruptive…

I just love travelling… sigh…

Kicking my soapbox back in the corner now…

Thanks Tiger!

Tiger Woods hosted the AT&T National here in DC this week. It was at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda (near the Navy Hospital). All concerned deserve a big thank you for what they did…

AT&T and Congressional for putting this tournament on in just over 4 months from the start, Tiger for giving 30,000 tickets to the military in honor of his Dad, and specifically inviting the folks who are in both Walter Reed and Bethesda to the tournament. Congressional did a superb job of making the grounds wheel chair accessible and supporting the troops!

By begging and whining, I got a ticket and went today… They estimated 48,000 people were there today, a lot of them military. I was proud of the folks that wore their uniforms, and humbled by the folks from Walter Reed I talked to- To a person, they do not regret what happened to them, they just want, in many cases to get back on active duty!!!!

Right now I’m a soggy crispy critter- It was HOT! 94 in the shade and the humidity was up. I spent most of the day just wondering around, not following anybody in particular, but just enjoying the atmosphere.

I have been to a few golf tournaments, and this had to have been the most diverse crowd I have ever seen. I was standing by the fairway on #7 and talking to a couple of Army Sergeants (both golfers) and we got to talking about the condition of the course- They were remarking on how nice it was and how pretty the greens were, we started talking about cost per round (~$200 as a guest), and one Sergeant said, “Hell, for that I can play for 2 MONTHS at Belvior.” We all cracked up, and actually got frowned at by one of the matrons for our unseemly laughing… Oh well…

Anyway… Thank you Tiger, thank you AT&T, thank you Congressional!

Well Done!

Another Day, Another Roadtrip

Well, I’m off to see the lizard again… California to Australia to Texas to Japan… This is just gonna be SO much fun! Lemme see, I gotta pack for WAY Hot (Texas), cold (Australia- It is winter there) and San Diego (just right). This is beginning to sound like the Three Bears and whatshername…

And it’s all work- meetings, meetings and more $%^* meetings! Of course one of my co-workers had to rub it in when she said, “Oh I know you’re going to have fun.”

I told her I would be perfectly happy to send her in my place- hehehe- Then the litany of Oh, I have SO much to do, can’t leave the kids, my dog it, the cat she, started…

Probably the only real ‘fun’ of the trip will be riding the Shinkansan which is the 150 mph Japanese bullet train. That is a blast, especially when you are leaning against a window and the train passes one going to opposite direction at 300 mph closing speed! Believe me, it bounces your head off that window! It also has it’s own flight attendants, except that you have to pay for anything you get…

Come to think of it, you pretty much have to do that now on the airlines too! Not saying I’m old, but I remember when the beer and food was free and they charged you $5 for the movie.

The fireworks on the Mall were pretty Wednesday night, but the traffic was pretty bad getting in and out of the area. We went up to Ft. Meyer and viewed them from there.

Looking out over Arlington to the fireworks was sobering, as I thought about what has happened in the last 231 years; especially knowing that I was looking at them over the bodies of friends who had died in the Pentagon on 9/11 and other friends who died and are now buried at Arlington.

The talk as always, turned to things military- How the troops are doing in the Sandbox, who’s son/daughter is where and flying/driving what, who just got back and who is next to go. What we are developing to help them do the job, why the media continues to only promote/show the negatives, etc.

One of the wives really brought it home though, when she said, “Here we are enjoying the noise and things bursting in the sky, and my son is probably praying he doesn’t hear any noises and see anything bursting in the sky or on the ground.” (He is a Marine currently in the sandbox.)

Well, I’ve gotta run, gotta go figure out how to get 10 lbs in the proverbial 5 lb bag… My posts may be intermittent for the next month, but I’ll post if I get a chance.

Braille Parking

I was out taking a frustration break and enjoying an Aviator’s breakfast (coffee, donut and cigarette); when I hear a car alarm going off. I look across the street and what do I see?

One big ol’ Caddy with one little grey haired old lady looking THROUGH the steering wheel trying to parallel park that monster in a space…

She had bumped the car behind her, she then proceeded to crank the wheel over and pull forward till she hit the car in front of her (again setting of a car alarm), to keep this short, she backs and fills about 10 more times, using the cars in front and in back of her as bumpers till she finally gets in the space.

She gets out (all 4′ 10″ maybe…)and totters across the street, and I tell her good morning and warn her about the parking Nazi that works the area. She just looks up an smiles, “Sonny, if they DO give me a ticket, I’ll just call the Judge and he’ll throw it out, I haven’t paid a parking ticket in this town in 15 years…”

And off she goes… So I run over and put .50 cents in the meter for her, and looked at the front and rear bumpers… This is definitely NOT the first time she has parked using this technique!!!

And I kid you not, there was a pillow in the drivers seat!!!

I didn’t stick around to see her leave, but ya gotta love the little ol’ ladies; she was somebodies Mother (and hopefully NOT the one teaching the kids to drive).

Barn vs. Bullfiddle

Have you ever just had one of those days????
I’m having a Monday, and it’s not even Monday yet…
Went to the range with a friend and his daughter this morning, took the usual assortment of playthings.

Anyway, mandatory coffee stop en route, get there and trundle back to the little pistol range and get set up- I haven’t even finished loading mags and my friend’s daughter is throwing a hissy fit because she can’t hit the target… soooo… I offer to take a look at the pistol- Yep, all pieces attached, nothing loose, insert mag, fire one round, “X” ring!

Nope nothing wrong with pistol, maybe operator error? Quick refresher on sight basics, she shoots the last 5 rounds (all in the black), removes mag, says something (I don’t think it was real nice…) she stomps off to the car- Huh, okaayyy… Her Dad just looks over and shrugs. Oh well, back to “my” end of the line.

Finish loading mags, assume the position (no not that one…) and proceed to miss the $%^* “X” ring with every shot. Okay, now WHAT is going on? pieces- check, parts- check; operator error? probably…

Lemme try this again- another 10 rounds and not a single one in the “X” ring… ring around the rosy, but not in the center… I look over at my friend, he is rolling laughing…

Oh thanks a LOT asshole (he is my ride home)! He offers to move the target up to three yards, which I politely decline… Back to the bag for my old faithful 1911, I know I can hit with it!

Same-o, same-o, not a #$%* “X” in the bunch! ARRGGHHHH!!!! (maybe I had one pot too many of coffee this morning). My friend is now collapsed in the chair from laughing.

Okay- FINE, I gotta think about this one… So we go cold range and take a break.

A couple of older gentlemen drive up (80’s + I’m guessing) and come on the range. I casually look over and my jaw hits the ground! They EACH have a Broom-handle Mauser, P-38 Luger and WWII era 1911A1’s; the next thing I see is a wooden stock for the Broom-handle, which is installed on one of the pistols.

At this point, the gentlemen realized we were drooling at the pistols so they showed us what they had. A lively conversation ensued, and we found out they were both veterans of the Big Red One. The pistols had come back with them from the War, and they were just trying out the repairs on one of the broom-handles.

The old gentleman asked for a hot range, and promptly knocked down five steel plates from 10 yards with that old pistol. He gave it to his compatriot, who promptly MISSED all five plates; and away they went…

Obviously a VERY long running argument about who was the better shot, as the second gentleman picked up his 1911 and promptly hit all five plates with his gun…
The insults went back and forth as they continued to shoot the different pistols, finally wound down to parting shots, and the final shot was,

“Ah hell, you couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with a bull fiddle!”

At that point, I quit- For one, I was laughing too hard to shoot, and two, that pretty much summed up my accuracy quotient for the day!

We picked up/cleaned up our part of the range, thanked the two old gentlemen for their service and called it a day…

This week is the 4th of July- If you know any old vets, thank them for what they did, and let them know that you care- Based on requests at Arlington, the WWII vets are dying at an average about 1200 a day, the Korean vets about 500 a day, and the Vietnam vets at about 200 a day.

Soon that generation will be gone, and with it, a large portion of the history of this country. They were born in the depression, won a World War, and saw a man land on the moon- Hard to imagine seeing all that in one lifetime…