Saturday, February 07, 2009

Job Security.....

I think that's what Microsoft is shooting for, seems every time they roll out an update, they break more stuff then they actually fix.  Somewhere along the line my XP was upgraded to Service Pack 3 and since then things just haven't been working properly, especially my DVD drive.  At first I thought it was just dying since I seem to have worked this one harder then my Dell laptop.  After doing some research, seems since SP3 rolled out, lots of DVD drives aren't working properly.  To top thinks off Samsung/Toshiba no longer support the particular model I have in the current laptop.  So it looks like i'm off to the candy store called Best Buy tomorrow to see if I can find a better name brand of external dvd drive so I can at least watch movies on the up coming cruise.

Been in a cleaning mood today, first it was my stateroom (needed serious vacuuming damn down pillows), then it was my vehicle (looked like the gulls used it for target practice and were bombing in formation) and currently working on cleaning up XP while I wait for a load of laundry to wash.

Gonna have to put in a work order request to get the thermo stat fixed in my stateroom, can't get it to go above 63 degrees, so half the time i'm surfing the web wearing layers of clothes lest i catch cold.

I don't know why I like this picture, but i do.  Was playing with the camera on my phone and snapped it.  Was my breakfast one morning, pumpkin pie and a cup of coffee.

Guess it's what I remember most about being home, good coffee, home cooked meals, delicious baked goods (I do a good majority of the baking at home) lots of light and scenic views from nearly every window in the house.

Found some more pics from my time in Seward last year still on my pocket camera, I'll get 'em edited and posted soon.

My oldest sis says she can't keep up with how quickly my train of thought changes.  I keep telling her that someone is holding the change channel button the remote control of my thought process.

Damn, it's that late already, better check my laundry. ttfn

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Viruses, meh

Well, sometime over the weekend my laptop became infected with the AV2009 virus/trogan/rogueware/scareware annoyance. Everything I've done to find and eliminate it's components has driven me up the wall the last few days, if my software wasn't scattered betwen so many storage spots, i'd just format my hard drive and start over (been actually wanting to do that since I got this thing). If you don't know what it does, it's scareware really, claims your computer is infected (which it isn't lying since it itself is what's infecting your machine) with official looking pop up alerts in your tool bar every couple minutes (which is the annoying part) which takes you to a bogus website to download Anti-Virus 2009 (updated av2008 virus). AV 2009 is worthless, and in fact loads more trogans onto your machine, but they still charge your CC fee's for software you didn't order and recurring fee's etc in a scam to take as much money as they can. I had to tweak my settings on Zone Alarms Security Suite for it to finally pick up part of the problems, ordinarily I would recommend them to people as a superior product over Norton's or McAffee but the last couple years, they've become just as much a resource hog as the other two. Oh joy, now it seems i'm stuck using IE7, Safari isn't even loading. Guess I'll try a roll back since i was fiddling with some settings earlier.

Already thinking of replacing this laptop, only 2 years old but given it's my primary source of entertainment when I'm away from home (which is near constant) it's starting to have issues. Could be just me thou, i test a lot of different software but it doesn't totally go away when you uninstall it (still looking for a good reliable registery cleaner) but I know that every 2 years computer power roughly doubles as well as prices come down.

Can't believe how reassuring it is to be on a ship and feeling it heave slightly beneath your feet slightly even along side the pier. I'll be glad to be out of the ship yard, cast off all lines and hear the announcement "last line, shift colors" as break free from our tether to the land and all the problems associated with it. I'll try to hold that thought, that's almost a post in and of itself.

Giving up trying to fix the problems tonight, think I'll just veg out and watch a movie, i'd read a book but i've read so many in the past few months that i have a hard time keeping plot lines straight in my head.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My name is Gus....

Hi, my name is Gus and I'm a gamer. That's probably one of the major reasons I haven't posted anything in the last 3/4 of a year. I've played all sorts, but haven't gone hard core like a lot of people I see playing, i'm more of a casual player when I'm not at work. Well, the last 6 months that was work, yeah for government employment, I was gonna say that is what I did to keep from going crazy during the days but it's way too late for that.

Things just snow balled from my meeting with the Agent back in Janruary about my security clearance. Its my opinion that it was seen as an embarassment that they had a case that old and they did nothing with it, so eliminate the problem (me) and voila problem solved.

Let me rewind a bit, shortly before I did my interview with the Agent, I get a nice nasty gram from my human resources department telling me to check in or send in my resignation/id card. They had no record of why I was put on leave, but they were the ones sending me on enforced leave while my documentation with the Coast Guard was brought up to date. I rush throu the dental process, guy did outstanding work even thou he wasn't sure how well it'd turn out since he'd never had that small of a time window to work with.

I report back to Norfolk as soon as possible, probably rushed out a little too fast, for I forgot my medical records back in Seward. I only noticed that when I had to present them for verification that I had everything and when I didn't I was treated like I stole State secrets and to go away until I had 'em. When they finally arrived, turns out their records were more up to date then mine.

First ship I get put on was the USNS Comfort, one of the 2 hospital ships in the fleet. Usually this is a cush assignment that most people are fighting to get but it was only a temp duty since mission was a combination training for Reservists and to make sure all the equipment still worked on the ship. Talk about a culture shock compaired to working onboard ammuntion ships, things were about as close to the attitudes of the West Coast ships as you can get on the East Coast. I had prime photo position to take pictures of the Blackhawk helo's coming on approach to drop off simulated emergency medial patients. Of course, both batteries are dead for my camera and I'd forgotten the charger back in another bag stored in the back of my vehicle.

Next ship was about the lead boat in class USNS Lewis and Clark, that lasted all of 5 days. I get paid off because there's some concern about my clearance but it's almost 3 weeks later that I get told what the reason is and that i only have one week remainding of a four week period to contest things. The Navy claimed I'd lied on my appliaction, tried to conceal old debt, showed poor character and judgement, gambling issues, a whole host of things that read stranger then fiction. After appealing and going before an administrative judge, the judge actually sounded annoyed with the navy since there was no proof against my character, they couldn't read a credit report which showed the debts were paid and if anything he said that i proved that i did what I said I did or would do. Driving back from the Washington DC Naval yards from my meeting with the judge did it feel like a huge weight was lifted off my chest and couldn't help but play this version of Amazing Grace back in memory.

During this whole process, I was suppose to ship out to the USNS John Lenthal the first week in October, but I didn't get notified in time to clear medical so was told to stand by while they try to reschedule. Turns out they couldn't, but didn't tell me those orders were canceled until a month later when I get notified I would be reporting to the USNS Laramie. Day before I was to leave there was some questions about whether I could go so departure date was pushed back to the weekend before Thanksgiving. Everything looks like a go, i repot to medical only to be told I can't go because I was due a bi-annual physical back in March. All this idle time I could have gotten it done and told nothing. It's lookin like the only bad judgement I'm showing is to continue to work for a Government that seems to be doing it damned to get rid of me, which is ironic since we're getting paid a retention bonus to keep people with my rating employeed lest we take our credentials back to the commercial sector.

Inbetween all this goings on, I report to Norfolk Naval Base, only to be told to stand by for 8 hours a day for 6 months. I lug my laptop with me to keep myself enterntained lest I drive everyone around me crazy since I tend to pace when I get bored.

Now I find myself finally onboard the USNS Leroy Grumman, same class of ships as the Laramie and Lenthal and wondering if I want to just do my 4 months ship duty and hope I can get another ship fast or just stay onboard until i take leave to meet up what's looking to be a family gather in Cabo San Lucas for thanksgiving.

My friend Adam introduced me to World of Warcraft coming up on 2 years ago now, but i only played it seriously the last six I was in ship limbo. It has it's own appeal to different people, for adam it's how big and bad of a mob he can take down on his own, while for me, i like building stuff so crafting abilities appeal to me. Of course, being to make my own grenades and rocket launchers as a goblin engineer has it's appeal to my destructive side *evil grin*. I've also taken to EA's Battlefield 2142, rather funny to watch people compete with someone who's had actual training in combat operations. Usually the hard core gamers and hackers give me a challenge, even then they usually end up an intense game of sniper/counter-sniper ops. In some games I've had 3 other snipers hunting me as well as multipule artillary strikes called in on my suspected position all the while I finish with the best kill to death ratio.

Well, I've rambled on enough, I notice I'm loosing my focus as my mind wanders back into gaming mode. Hope everyone had a safe and happy holidays.

Friday, March 14, 2008


I'm not usually a picky person, but when it comes to my coffee, I'll admit, I'm a snob. I'm not talking about the person who goes to Starbucks on a regular basis and drops $5 on a foo-foo drink just to seem important. Point of fact, I will drink Starbucks only when the alternative is worse. No, I tend to patronize micro roasters, who turn out a good product that's not made to turn profit but to share the passion for the ebony elixir with their fellow coffee drinkers.

When I returned home just before Christmas, I spent a couple days in Juneau, the nearest major airport/travel hub to my hometown. Taking advantage of me being in the larger city, I got a request from my family if I'd do a little shopping for a few items that can't be found in the local store. I find myself back wandering the familar aisles of Safeway, where I once did the majority of my grocery shopping when I worked for on small tonnage boats in Auke Bay.

Stopping at the aisle marked: Coffee, Tea, Hot Cocoa, I can't help but smile, this is a definate sign that I'm back home in the Northwest. The entire left side, if you're standing in the front of the store, is dedicated to coffee, Heritiage Coffee (local roaster), Raven Brew, Safeway Select, Starbucks (bleh), Duncun Doughnuts, Seattle's Best, Tully's (another Seattle roaster), plus the usual MJB, Hills Brothers, Yuban, etc.

I take a moment to bask in the earthy armoma of whole bean coffee beconing me to walk down the aisle. A few strides and I'm at the Heritage Coffee display where I puruse the familar shiny black bags trimmed in gold. They list the roasting dates for each blend, a few are old as a week, and the freshest was roasted that day. A few of my favorite blends are held close to my nose as I inhale deeply, aah, fresh coffee. So many blends, so little time and the need for sleep and rest is on my mind for this trip home.

First into my basket is a Columbia Estate blend, a rich medium blend, smooth crisp finish with a hint of chocolate, goes well with a splash of mocha cream. And onto my favorite, Deadman's Reach, "Served in Bed, raises the Dead" is the slogan on the bag. Despite that warning and a drawing of a skeleton holding a cup of coffee by Ray Troll, many a rookie brewer makes this blend strong. Color wise, it's almost a light blend, but taste is smooth almost delicate with a nice sweet finish. But like the slogan says, "raises the dead" it's a "high speed" blend, a little goes a long way and if you're not careful that long way will be wrought with a jitters of a caffine overdose.

I also have to consider that not everyone that stops in to socialize with the parents likes having their heart race after drinking my coffee, so also into the basket goes a breakfast blend. A nice light blend that's perfect for sipping on throughout the day. This blend suites the family well, there's almost always a pot of coffee brewed at all times and the largest cupboard in the kitchen is stacked full of coffee cups. For these colder winter days, it's a way to warm up while stopping to swap stories about local gossip, seek advice for a troubling home renovation, talk politics (which very often turns heated fast), keeping up with the activities of extended family or my favorite, curled up infront of the wood stove reading a book.

Instead, I'm sitting in front of my laptop, sipping on a cup of fresh ground "Deadman's Reach" staring out the windows of my Aunt's house in Seward. The waters of Resurection Bay are blue with the reflection of the sky, but greatly disturbed by the gusts wind blustering down the wind tunnel created by the mountains on either side of the channel. Another cup of coffee and its time to pick up my book, I've been on a reading kick lately.

As one of my maritime instructors announced at the begining of one of many classes, "The Maritime Industry doesn't run on DFM (disel fuel marine), it runs on Coffee!" But that's a topic for another post.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Coming Home

What it looked like when I returned home for a week back in October. I've spent enough time flying in these puddle jumpers that I've thought of getting my private pilot's license as well as my mariner's license. Gonna turn into a Jack of all trades, Master of none.

This view from the edge of the property line is always a good one. There's very little color to begin with but i still thought it looked better in black and white then color. This is what remains of a float a US Forest Service recreation cabin came down the bay upon. Between it falling apart and vandalism, they USFS decided it was safer to get rid of the house then try to keep/maintain it.

This picture is of my step-brother's new boat, his nickname is also Gus btw, the F/V Nighthawk. The mountain behind him is Mt. Fairweather, part of the Fairweather Range outside of Glacier Bay National Park. There are some advantages to having fishing as a hobby.

Forgot to upload this one as part of the other series with the eagles. I've always had a facination with eagles and lately with orcas. My more spiritial of sisters believes that these two animals are part of my animal guide group. How I came up with the name for my blogger address is from my native culture, and an oxymoron as well. Orcas by nature are sociably and family orientated creatures. I, on the other hand, while part of a large family dynamic choose to roam far and wide upon the seas of the world alone. Keet, the Tlingit name for Orca, and the lone symbolizing my roaming alone.

Sometimes I can see the appeal my little hometown has for the tourists that get off the ships. Oh, I think i forgot to mention that a few years back tour ships have now made the town a stop on the longer trips through the Inside Passage. I don't like it, the locals whoring out the culture, but if that's what it takes to keep the economy of the town going, i guess I'll just have to deal with it. It was inevitable that it would sucumb to commercialism, just hard for me to identify with it since I grew up living the culture instead of learning how to make a profit off it.

This is looking "up the bay", which is actually Neka Bay, of what is Port Frederick. The picture above, I believe, is from the White Alice site overlooking Icy Strait, the body of water just north of my hometown. This is a pretty good reason why a lot of the tourists have inquired about buying property here.

under the radar

That's how I operate. stealth mode. I guess the nickname, "ghost", I earned as a dismounted mechanized infantryman is well suited to more then occasion. doesn't help matters any that i'm a night owl, i become more active as the sun starts to set. I ponder how much of that influence comes from the Army where we did everything in the dark of night or from my eyes, despite what my optomitrist says, they are light sensitive. By the time most people realize that I'm home for a visit, it's usually about the time I'm about ready to depart. There are a few social calls I need to make before I head back to Norfolk to await another ship assignment.

I've had to laugh at myself, slipping back into old habbits reflecting my time at home. I'm chomping at the bit to get back on a ship, lest I continue to expand my aresenal more then I already have in the two months I've been home. This is one of the more expenisve hobbies I have, not only the shooting of weapons but collecting high quality ones as well. I'm a big fan of German engineering, and so far all my experiences with Heckler & Koch firearms have been positive. Of course the models I want to buy will require a lot of paperwork and will probably raise some flags that might be cause of re-evaluating my security clearance.
Speaking of my security clearance, the ever efficient Homeland Security finally got around to processing my application for security clearance I filed pre-empoloyment for MSC two years ago. It's also become manditory that by my birthday of this year that I have to pick up yet another Identification Card, which requires a background check fee. Mind you, all the stuff they claim to be checking for is already been done to get my Merchant Marine's Card. Just another way the government is fleecing the working class all in the name of "safety and security." I can't help but recall Thomas Jefferson's quotation "Citizen's who sacrifice personal freedoms for security, loose both and deserve neither." Ok, time to get off the soap box.

Friday, February 29, 2008


ok, so i've put off going to the dentist for way too long. the good news is that i'm not that bad off. however, the teeth that native health put fillings in long ago had to come out, they were just too far gone now to even repair with a crown. the army dentists did what they could to repair 'em but the native health dentists used such sloppy technique that it was only a stop gap. the people who push for socialist health care obviously never had to live using that kind of system, you definately get what you pay for, yeah capitalism.

hopefully i can keep this post coherent, the local anestetic has all but worn off and not sure what's going to happen when the Oxycodone kicks in, i'm not a real big drug taking person outside of excedrine and sudafed.

I couldn't help but think of the movie Major Payne, on my walk over to Walmart to get my perscription filled slipped and about busted my ass on some powder snow covered glare ice. Caught myself enough that i skinned up my knee pretty good, but didn't find out about that until i went to the bathroom and some of the hair on my leg was matted with blood and a nice gash along my knee cap.

oh, here's a link for an intresting government project, I wonder who talked them into running this little scam, like the government doesn't waste enough money as it is.

I wonder what the little hair parlor in the hotel lobby charges for a haircut. It's been 4 weeks and it's time to get another shave done. My friend Adam's wife constantly chides the both of us for keeping the same style of haircut we had in the army a decade ago, but when you do something for so long, there's not really much point in changing. Besides, his hair is starting to thin and keeping everything short helps hide my greys.

Went and watched The Bucket List last night. Depending on how well I feel later on, I may see if I can catch a showing of The Other Boleyn Girl tonight, but with it just opening, the lines might be big. The only movies I ever stood in line for opening night were LoTR Two Towers and Return of The King.

Let's see if Blogger will let me upload photos this time around. Hard to believe they have six foot wing spans, eh?

Friday, January 25, 2008


Ok, lets see if I can keep a connection long enough to upload some new pics from around home. Was a fun day to walk around, low clouds, a light brisk wind. Snow adds a sound insulating blanket to the town, great for meditating and contemplating. Of course, with all this cloud cover keeps winters mild, it reduces the amounts of Northern Lights we see, which are particularly active late fall to early spring.

There's been quite a bit of snow fall this winter, although not nearly as bad as last winter, which i was fortunate enough to miss the piling up of 26'. It's always fun to kick back and relax in the mornings with a cup of coffee looking out the bay windows watching the little chicadees feed at the many different feeds in the yard.

These next few shots are from the boat harbor. In the last few years it's become increasingly popular, low rates, a lot of natural protection and the town has a friendly reputation. One of my favorite past times when i visit home is to stroll along the piers and check out the boats. Many are old and familar, like old friends. I remember a great deal of people by what boat they own.