Monday, October 31, 2005

a bit confused

not sure if it's because I grew up around older women, but all the advice they ever gave me about dealing with girls and dating, I took to heart.

I find it strange, I always hear women complaining about finding a nice man, but yet look past the nice men and go for the "bad boys".

I have a former co worker, who I'll call RR, she's roughly my own age, which is surprising, either they are much older or much younger then me. Anyways, if I treat her with respect, as a person, and rather gentlemanlike, she thinks I'm up to something. However, if I'm a smart ass, rude, crude and some what perverted, she gets a kick out of it and doesn't think twice about it.

Men are pretty easy to figure out, but after all these years, women still baffle me.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

lazy sunday?

oh, it's only saturday....I have no sense of time/dates anymore.

You Are Internal - Realist - Powerful

You feel your life is controlled internally.
If you want something, you make it happen.
You don't wait around for things to go your way.
You value your independence and don't like others to have control.

You are a realist when it comes to luck.
You don't attribute everything to luck, but you do know some things are random.
You don't beat yourself up when bad things happen to you...
But you do your best to try to make your own luck.

When it comes to who's in charge, it's you.
Life is a kingdom, and you're the grand ruler.
You don't care much about what others think.
But they better care what you think!

really bored now

a little off the mark, but humorous none the less.

What Your Underwear Says About You

When you're bad, you're very bad. And when you're good, you're still trouble!

You're the type of guy who lets his girlfriend pick out his underwear.

ok, so I'm bored.

I get bored easily, probably why i'm so easily entertained.

Your IQ Is 120

Your Logical Intelligence is Below Average

Your Verbal Intelligence is Exceptional

Your Mathematical Intelligence is Genius

Your General Knowledge is Exceptional

a bit more light hearted.

Your Birthdate: September 25

Your birth on the 25th day of the month (7 energy) modifies your life path by giving you some special interest in technical, scientific, or other complex and often hard to understand subjects.
You may become something of a perfectionist and a stickler for details.
Your thinking is logical and intuitive, rational and responsible.

Your feelings may run deep, but you are not very likely to let them show.
This birthday makes you a more private person, more introspective and perhaps more inflexible.
In friendships you are very cautious and reserved.
You are probably inventive, and given to unique approaches and solutions.
This actually comes pretty close to my personality.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Is it bragging if you can document what you say you can do?

Whenever I have talked about what I could do, I have felt like I was bragging or blowing my own horn. A few months back there was a police officer job open up in my home town that I was encouraged to apply for, so I did.

As a part of the back ground check I had to provide documentation of what I have done in the past 10 years, especially if the experiences were to be considered for the application. When I turned in the State of Alaska policeman's background check packet along with the application, I also had to include copies of certificate, etc that I have claimed. My training documentation was about twice the size of the application packet.

Despite my being the highest qualified applicant, I was not selected for the job, on the mere appearance of favoritism, my step father was mayor at the time. I heard later on that apart of the nepotism issue that was floating around town about that time, having a cousin as a direct supervisor and a step brother as a fellow officer would have appeared as favoritism as well. To me, I fail to see how, the job was advertised, many applied, if I was the highest qualified candidate, why should it matter who my relatives are?

Like BASF, I don't create the stuff, I make it better

I’ve always had to deal with whispers of favortisim, but when you grow up in a large family in a small town, there’s always going to be times when the people being hired are relations. A few times, yes family may have helped get the foot in the door, but after that all my success was due to my hard work. Every time I’ve started out doing the crap jobs that no one else wanted to do and by seer persistance and dedication I worked my way up the ladder.

A good many of supervisors I’ve worked under, always wanted to maintain a status quo. I don’t, I’m in constant search of how to do things better, faster, more efficient. If I was given a leadership position, I worked right alongside those who I was supervising, lead by example. This also gave me an idea of how the job works, how I do the job and how other people do the job. No sense in recreating the wheel every time, I learned and apply what I see other’s doing, there’s more then one way to skin a cat.

I also have the ability to work under the bigger picture. Years ago, working at a fish processing plant inbetween finishing my year of college and entering into the army, I was appointed dock supervisor at the age of 19. The plant foreman use to tease me if I wanted his job, not because he was afraid for it, but he knew I was capable of planning on a larger scale. Very often he’d approach me before each work day would start with what kind of poundage he needed to go through the freezers. Having an odd memory for details, I’d know the approximate poundage we’d yet to process, having bought and stored on ice the fish prior to processing. I could very often tell him to within a plus or minus five minute accuracy 10 hours later when the last of the processed fish would go into the freezers.

I brought up the fish plant, since five seasons prior when I started out as a general laborer, my mother was the book keeper. Many considered her the person in charge since it was her signature on the paychecks. This was my first experience dealing with favortisim, and I got around it by working harder then anyone else.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Florida Sympathy pains

Must be having sympathy pains for Florida. Definitely some high winds over night, was waken at 03:30 with what sounded like the roof being blown off. Being too tired to bother reading the aerometer gauge of the Oregon scientific forecast station, I estimate that we received winds about 40 knots sustained for a score of minutes at a time. A brief pause as if mother nature was taking another breath, and the wind was back. This went on until first light when all wind just stopped as suddenly as it started.

Only damage we sustained was a PVC flag pole bent in half and the antenna base for the house CB and VHF radios was blown over, which knocked the satellite dish out of alignment.

Other that, this was a perfect day for the Rustic Chicken Stew I prepared last night and was set to cooking all day on the wood stove.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Right tools for the job?

I wasn’t your stereotypical Infantryman, I was raised to think and reason for myself, I went to an Ivy League college before volunteering. Warfare seems to be almost in my blood, my Native culture is steeped in warfare, my father and many uncles had all served time in different branches of the military. Just about every infamous unit in the U.S. military I had a family member in it at one time or another: 101st Airborne, 82nd Airborne, 5th SOG/Green Beret’s, Navy SEALS, Navy Seabees, and onboard the USS Enterprise to name a few.

Growing up I read and studied all manner of warfare, even from a very early age I began to teach myself something of tactics and strategy. When I reached high school, I graduated towards the more sophisticated works of strategy, Sun Tzu, Lao-Tzu, Carl von Clauswitz, Mushashi and even Mackivelli.

My daily chores would resemble the regimental lifestyle of the military. My father was once a sniper, my mother use to shoot competition rifles, so I practically grew up with firearms. No joke, my earliest memories of shooting are from an age when most kids are still tying to figure out how to put the square peg in the square hole.

I also grew up living off the land, so the skills I learned shooting were applied to hunting. Not big game hunting where they find a tree stand and sit and wait for the game to come to them. No, I learned how to stalk game. A few years before volunteering, I put all the skills together on a hunt that I know I made my father proud.

At first light we pulled the skiff up the beach and I began the stalk. Picking up the deer trail was easy, following it up and down several mountains was a bit more challenging in the down pouring rain. Cresting a knoll, the light breeze shifted a few points and I could smell the deer we were that close. Unfortunately a bear beat us to the kill, we back away from him and left the area.

Physical training wasn’t anything new to me either. I wrestled in high school but didn’t start until I was a sophomore, up until that point I didn’t know a thing about wrestling. Through hard work and dedication I was made team captain and competed at the State level by the time I was a senior.

At Dartmouth, I joined the crew teams, having rowed boats around the docks in Alaska, I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to row them with other people helping. Boy was I wrong, that was some of the most physically challenging work I had ever done, but I stuck with it. By the end of winter training, the varsity coach was looking forward to me being on the varsity team the following year, knowing all the extra time I would put in on my own above and beyond normal training.

So there I was, almost made for warfare as a sword is, in the hands of individuals who couldn’t see how to put my skills to use rather that those skills were a threat to their moving up in rank.

Next Generation of "Smart Weapons" a thinking Infantryman with his rifle

In Basic Training at Ft. Benning, GA my senior drill instructor told us that they were going to train the next generation of soldier, but the army wouldn’t be ready to handle the “thinking solider”. About 1/3 of our 50 man platoon had some sort of college education, many having been in ROTC, others were EMT trained one was a paramedic who use to ride in ambulances.

Our DI’s knew that if the reason for a mission was given to us, that our cooperation was almost assured, to know our part in the big picture. That was why we would ask why we were given a mission, not to question orders or authority, but to know the bigger picture so that when the time came for improvising on the plans we could do so knowing that we’d still be working towards the same end.

Peacetime armies seem to be concerned more with ceremonies then anything else. I’m going to have to go back and figure out who said it, memory says Gen. Patton and it sounds like something he would say, “No combat ready unit ever passed inspection.” We had inspections for everything. I know the reasoning for it now, but at the time I saw it as a waste of time. I know the best way to know your equipment is in good working order and that you know it is to keep it clean, but there’s a line between functional clean and polish clean. But knowing that they’re intending on finding stuff wrong, I would leave stuff for them to find and move on once they found it.

I’m very practical minded, I also concern myself more with results rather then methods. I was stuck serving under men who seemed to be more concerned with methods then results. The first of these was my first platoon sergeant who was more concerned with how I held my rifle rather then how well I could place rounds were I was aiming.

I’ll give a quick breakdown of the “dime and washer” training, a rather simple way to test and train trigger pull. Consists of sticking a section of cleaning rod down the end of the barrel and balancing a dime or washer on the rod. The person squeezing the trigger shouldn’t generate enough lateral force on the end of the barrel to cause the dime or washer to tip off.

I would very often call out my first Platoon Sergeant, saying he should lead by example whenever he’d try to belittle us ‘young pups’. So he got into his shooting stance and proceeded to show us that it was possible to go through ten continuous repetitions without the washer falling off. Mind you, each time he had to pull the charging handle on the M16 to cock it, someone would have to reset the washer.

He had some sort of beef with me for some reason, anytime he’d challenge the platoon to something like this, I was always the first one chosen to follow him. So I got down in a more advanced shooting stance, the same kind snipers use when shooting from a fixed position and proceeded to go through the same exercise. Only this time, I showed him up by not only using a dime which is more tippy then the washer, but I was able to charge the bolt and fire ten times in a row without having to remove and replace the dime after each shot.

Since this wasn’t enough to convince him that I was more skilled with the M16, he tried to raise the bar on me again. I can recall the exact day as well, 09/27/95. We were working on the “expert” qualification we needed with the M16 to start work on the Expert Infantryman’s Badge. I’d been through the firing line a few times, each time falling short of the minimum shots on target for my expert qualification by one or two shots each time.

Late in the morning we went on the firing line, he shot a 38 out of 40 rounds, I shot a 37. He got to ragging on me about an old man out scoring a “young buck” right out of basic training. I just smirked and put myself into the next rotations firing line. He watched me take up a prone shooting stance, only this time, I was shooting right handed instead of the left handed I had been all morning. South paw shooting is something I’ve always taught myself, and got proficient enough at it that most people thought I was left handed instead of right.

When they brought back the targets, I had a perfect 40 out of 40, and the qualifying NCO had to look closely at my groupings since all he could see was a one hole pattern in the head instead of center mass what the army teaches.

I never did get around to naming my weapons, but I would train with them to the point that they would become an extension of my body. It would take a short while to readjust to each new weapon I would be assigned, but the end result was the same.

Having the Fox watch the Hen house

About halfway through my enlistment my duty MOS (military occupation specialty) changed from Mech. Infantry (11M/C2) to that of an Automated Logistics Specialist (92A). The unit was short two PLL clerks, the positions were suddenly empty a couple of rocket scientists that tried to perform an armed robbery in broad daylight with their uniforms still on that showed not only their names but unit. I took to this like a duck to water, within six months I was better at the job then the other clerks who were specifically trained to do this job.

After our unit’s rotation to the National Training Center at Ft. Irwin, CA (outside Barstow), the Battalion Maintenance Technician, a Chief Warrant Officer (CW4) noticed not only could I type fast and accurately from home row but could use the keypad as fast as an accountant. He quickly snatched me up and I became his clerk, handling all his daily reports.

To gather the info for these reports that went up to Battalion and Brigade levels, I had to do some leg work to other parts of the unit. Very often I would run into others, mostly NCOs but some officers who had an over inflated value of their rank and position. While they initially would pull rank on me and turn me away, it would be a short while before I was back and usually had someone much higher in rank in tow to tell them to help or get out of my way and cooperate in any way I needed. As you can imagine, that went over as well as a turd in the punch bowl, a lowly E-2 pulling rank on nearly everyone bellow Major (O-5).

I might as well have had CW4 rank on my collar instead of the “mosquito wings” that I did. If I ran into problems, first phone call I would make was back to either the BMT or BMO and saying “so and so is giving me grief about getting this stuff done for you.” Usually their next call was to said person’s direct superior to tell them to get out of my way. It was great.

That job was a cake walk. The fella who held the position before me had a Master’s degree in accounting and it was him who created the reporting system we were using. Since he had an MD and figured he was pretty sharp, they naturally figured that those reports always took all day to generate, since that’s how long it took him. Shortly after I took over, the BMO (Battalion Maintenance Officer) and I sat down and reworked the system in Excel. I’d known him a little when we were both in Delta, he was 3rd platoon’s Lt when I was a SAW gunner for 1st platoon.

This Excel spread sheet reported the same stuff, was easier to read, easier to create, soon I had the whole process of the daily reports boiled down to about ½ hours work. Very often I wouldn’t show up to the office until 3/4 an hour before the report was due and began it, which was basically due by COB.

There was a few times the section NCO would try to rein me in, figuring I was getting out of control in my discipline. He tried to bring up the fact that I wouldn’t show up until late in the day, but he always tried to do that when I was actually in the office and was gone on a mission for either the BMO or BMT

Basically I played one side against the other. Got to the point if I wasn’t in the office the office NCO figured I was doing something for the BMO or BMT, and visa versa, since I was often the driver of the HUMVEE that was sent to pick up repair parts.

Oh, parts run, now that was fun. I would very often take riding tours of post, and if you ever visit Ft. Hood in Texas, you’ll see that can take a very long time :)

Not much could really be said against me, my jobs were always done on time, done right and I always looked busy anytime anyone was paying attention.

Am I my own worst enemy?

Looking back at my time in the army, I wonder if I truly am my own worst enemy.

I know some of the troubles I ran into were of my own design, but some I have to wonder now if it wasn’t jealousy or fear of my abilities.

A few weeks after arriving at my first permanent duty station, I began to hear whispers that I wasn’t quite the new private I appeared to be. Those whispers were wide and varied, by the time I began to hear the rumors, it had grown to: I was at least a Staff Sergeant (E-6), I’d seen action in Desert Storm, and I was C.I.D. investigating drug use in the Battalion. I couldn’t help but think of the stories back home of family who had gone fishing or hunting, the size of the fish caught or deer shot grew with each telling.

This was too good to pass up. One weekend when everyone one pretty much drinking the whole weekend through, I feigned to be one of the many drunken who were stumbling about the barracks. I plopped down in someone’s room and proceeded to give a “drunk confession”. I knew perfectly well that one of the sober people in the room had a guilty conscience and wouldn’t fail to further spread my “tale” further. I got all secretive, tried to swear everyone to secrecy, said I wasn’t an E-6, but merely an E-5(P), and I was C.I.D. sent back through Basic Training for a good cover.

Within days this was through all the barracks, even to the other units who shared the same building. When I would walk through common areas, all conversation would cease and people would be watching me out of the corner of their eyes. I’d seemingly randomly knock on people’s doors looking for someone I knew wasn’t in the barracks, and listen to them scramble to put anything and everything out of site.

I believe this also worried my first Commanding Officer. I’m sure I made him very paranoid looking back at it now, but at the time it just irritated me to be singled out for the crap duties. The harder that CO tried to get rid of me, the more I stuck around. On many occasions I was to be Chaptered out of the army since I didn’t meet the weight for height requirements, that’s a bunch of BS for a later posting. Anyways, he’d always try to kick me out, and just as he’d get the paper work started, my weight packet would disappear and then one day turn up empty.

I had nothing to do with this, several of the company NCO’s were sympathetic to the shafting I was getting and ran interference for me whenever they could. Regardless, I’m sure that for all appearances to the CO I was being protected from up on high.

To make matters worse, after he got transferred to headquarters company, a short while later I was transferred in as well. Was totally unrelated, the unit was short on logistical clerks and since I knew how to use computers and deemed able to learn stuff quickly I got thrown into a vacant PLL spot.

While both that CO, one I’ll call Capt. G, and myself were still in Delta Company, a line unit, we rather butted heads as well. Actually, he tried to make me look the fool in front of the new Battalion Commander one day after shooting gunnery. I turned the tables on him and made him look the fool instead, he couldn’t say anything about it because he knew he’d been caught. He couldn’t even nail me on insubordination, since I was respectful the whole way through, plus I had a higher ranking witness.

My second Platoon Sergeant, a man who I had the unfortunate luck to be stuck as the driver of his Bradley crew, kept trying to pawn his mistakes off on me. His favorite trick was to loan out the vehicle tools and then blame their disappearance on me and try to write me up so that their loss would come out of my paycheck. He could never make that charge stick, I had never signed for the equipment I was suppose to when I started driving track, and was technically responsible for them. I basically called him out on that one day while our platoon’s tracks were in for servicing by the manufacturer.

Our crew’s turret tools came up missing in the post service inventory. He was quick to point the finger at me. I made a smart ass’d remark, which is pretty typical of me, and said it they were probably with this other set of tools which were also missing. He asked where the other set of tools were and I nonchalantly replied ‘I have no idea.’ The whole of the platoon was standing there and witnessed it, including the Lt. If the issue would have been pressed it would have been easy to prove that the turret tools weren’t my responsibility, but that of the gunner. Shortly after that I was transferred to the Dismount section which the Lt ran more then the platoon Sergeant.

There are many more instances where I ran into difficulties, some were my own fault like playing with everyone's mind with my CID remark or someone having some imagined beef with me, but I’ll save those for other posts on another day

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Guys and Cooking

I have to wonder, what is it about a guy who enjoys cooking that raises so many eyebrows? I wouldn't claim to be a gourmet' chief, but I definitely won't starve. Still working on how to make home made bread without cheating and getting a bread machine.

Just my random thought for the night.

Will see how things go, was a high wind advisory out for tomorrow, might be good kite flying weather with roughly 40+ knot winds.

Relief or Regret

I've been following the series on F/X called "Over There", I find it rather fascinating, and semi realistic. Having been active duty army, I can see some glaring errors that the layman would miss.

Thinking back to my own enlistment, I have feelings of relief and regret. Relief that I never had to put my training to use in actual combat, there are just some things a person shouldn't become too good at doing. Regret....Well, that we never put any of our training to actual use. Our unit was the Division's training unit, if another unit was slated for a deployment, we were tasked with training and testing said unit in preparation for it's going.

I spent my first Christmas on base, on alert status, waiting and wondering if we would get the call in the middle of the night to deploy to Bosnia. Six months later it was wait and watch for a deployment to the Sudan, then Rwanda, then Mogadishu and finally Kuwait.

I'll get into detail later on, but I can say this, I don't envy the men and women deployed over seas now. It gets hot over there in the summer, with temperatures ranging from 120-140 in the day and the sand storms that can whip up suddenly and reduce visibility to 0.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


this more just a test posting, having typical problems with this ISP.
I'd suggest going Starband, but it's even more sketch for reliablity then this.