Thursday, December 22, 2005

What a white christmas looks like around here

I took these looking off the parent's back deck earlier in the month while they were gone for medical check ups. I don't mind seeing everything covered in snow, I just hate being out in it and shoveling it to boot. I say bring on the rain, I've yet to shovel an ounce of rain.


ok, so I decided to finally get something done for HNT. You know what they say about guys with big hands and big feet right? that's right, they wear big gloves and big shoes ;)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

doesn't look like a white christmas

Forecast is rain and low 40's through the weekend, so looks like another wet christmas this year. I think in the past 12 years we've had snow on the ground twice on christmas and one of those times it was gone the next day. So rather then be depressed, I'll throw out some more photos, not taken by me, my father sees better scenic stuff.

Monday, December 19, 2005

My 5 weird habits

Gotten tagged by Sky so I'll give it a go.

My 5 weird habits...Here are the rules;“The first player of this game starts with the topic. “five weird habits of yourself,” and people who get tagged need to write an entry about their five weird habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next five people to be tagged.

1. I not only sperate my large music CD collection by genre but each genre is sorted in alphabetical order.

2. If I drink from a paper cup, I will turn the cup in my hand until the seam in the cup runs along the the first knuckle groove of my fingers. Basically means that the seam will always be 180 degrees away from my mouth.

3. When I get to a new town I create mental time/speed/distance tables between different points in town for various times of day, method of travel and speed of travel in various coniditions of traffic so I can quickly and accurately determine how long it'll take for me to get from point a to point b.

4. If no instructions are given I will improvise, but if it comes with instructions I will follow them to a T. So becareful what you ask of me, very often I do what you say not what you meant ;)

5. I can sleep on nearly any sort of surface or in positions that look entirely uncomfortable, although my ability drop into slumber at a moments notice has gone out of practice.

I'm sure I could get a lot more if I asked some of my coworkers, I've been told I'm anal about the strangest things. Self evaluation is always tough, how does water know it's wet?

The few bloggers I know have already been tagged.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

A few musing about kids

I've always been good with kids, tends to surprise a great many people.

This was an interesting night many years ago. Was a potlatch in honor of my paternal grandmother, a great matriarch of the family and tribe. There are only a handful of potlatches held annually so they tend to be busy and long events. Usually when people get their names or when adoptions into the tribe happen.

I digress, this is my cousin Melissa. That night she was just fussy and no one could do anything with her. I was over talking with my sisters and they were standing next to her mother. Since I was the closest person, her mother handed her to me while she rummaged through her baby bag for a bottle. No joke, she settled down in moments and was soon fast asleep in my arms. This drew a great many comments from the elder women in the group, many who act as match makers. My oldest sister decided she wanted a picture of it, and I didn't, which is why I'm somewhat hiding behind Melissa.

This is also one of my first pairs of colored contacts, tended to put people on edge that all of a sudden I had a steel grey eye color instead of the dark brown I was born with. In recent years I've played around with different colors, dark green, dark blue, light grey, most look fairly natural with me. The green more so, I have a small percentage of Russian ancestry within my blood quorum, it's starting to show through now with some of my facial hair turning red.

Another funny incident happened when I was visiting my friend AT in Oklahoma over one thanksgiving on a weekend pass. Her nephew who was about 16 months at the time really took a liking to me, probably because I had the chance to spend a good deal of time with him during the day. I also have a tendency to treat kids no matter the age as an equal in intellect rather then most people would for their age. AT and I had returned from the post thanksgiving day sale shopping and arrived at her mother's house at the same time as her brother BT, the kid's father. BT walked in the door just ahead of me and his so coming running past him and gave me a hug. I became "uncle Gus" after that.

I enjoy kids, just not sure if I want any of my own just yet, much to my mother's dismay.

Friday, December 16, 2005


A friend and I were recently discussing old favorite activities to do in the snow and the topic of sledding came up. As you can see from this picture of my home town that we live at the base of a mountain. It only raises up some 1800 ft to the summit, and there's a road that goes winding all the way up. At the summit is an old "White Alice" site, airborne early warning radar from back in the 60's that is no longer used. As you can see in upper right a road that leads sort of up and behind the mountain. In the winter when we'd get really daring, we'd toat up those blade sleds up the hill along that road, Western Flies I think they were. Those of us that were really crazy, and I should be counted among those ranks, would take the time to wax the blades. A lot of the times we could only get about halfway up the mountain, water bars put in place to prevent easy access to the "Site" as it's commonly referred.

Now, imagine coming down a 900 ft road a somewhat steep grade with compacted snow covering it from the vehicles that wouldn't wait for the plow to do it's job first. We usually came down in bunches, racing each other and as we got older this became a bit more physical as we jockied, shoving each other off the sleds or "trading paint" as they call in NASCAR. If we got shoved off into a ditch the sled usually wound up jumping the berm and usually getting stopped by a stump or a tree trunk.

We might have been wild on the Western Flies, but the real crazies took tobaguns down that same hill, at the whim of the road basically. Sometimes wonder how in the world we survived childhood.

My parents pretty much let us go and only reeled us in if we got too out of control. I know my father's beliefs that kids will be kids and as long as there wasn't serious blood drawn it was all good, party why my sisters and I were taught first aid at a young age. I rather like that way of raising, let the kids mistakes, they'll learn more from them then being constantly corrected or protected.

Also, the picture is a good view of my home town, while the amount of jobs is on the decline since the halt of logging, the town is still growing, many families moving in just to put kids through the school system. If a student survives the AP courses at school, you can bet they'll find about the first two years of most any college to be a breeze.

The small class sizes has a good deal to all the success. My graduating class had all of 12 people in it, actually one of the smallest the school has seen in decades, 18 to 20 seems to be the norm. Actual classroom numbers varies, but figure the AP science courses taught at a college level with some pretty high tech equipment, I remember 8 students being the highest amount in my physics course.

Anyways, just some musing about growing up playing in the snow, considering how much I dislike being cold let alone messing with snow now.

a little late on the HNT

Alright, so the picture I originally took for HNT is still in the camera, can't find my camera to computer interface cable nor the spare. When i'm organized i'm really organized, when I'm not well I'm not.

Most of the pictures of me are old, I absolutely hate having my picture taken. I've always been of a large stature, having adapted to bear the burden of living off the land so I've kind of had self image issues. Doesn't help matters any that the four years I was in the army I had to constantly hear that I was "over weight" despite being in the kind of physical shape that you only see in olympic class athletes.

Anyways, this a self portait of myself when I drove a Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Had a disposable camera that I'd accidently advanced so rather then take another picture of the inside of my pocket I snapped this one. I've had people tell me I look angery, while granted I disliked being a driver, I don't think my anger issues started to arise until about a year and a half after this was taken.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

what kind of school did you go to?

I know PC is out of control, but this isn't really that far fetched. I never got labeled as bigot so fast in my life as when I was in college, but I was always one for spite and them protestors were getting annoying.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

cleaning out my spam folder

ok, why do spammers believe that I need the help provided by "generik viagra" and "soft cialis"? If anything I need something that will do the opposite effect, can you get a doctor's perscription for sex to take care of blue balls? and bigger question would insurance cover that? Besides, I'm a wholistic type person, why put chemicals in my system when i know several herbs that produce the same effect.

What's up with credit card offers all of a sudden? they some how know i've adopted a cash only policy, if I can't pay cash for it, I'll wait to buy it until I can. When I could have used a credit card when I was taking home $1200 a week, I couldn't get a start fee based card. Now I'm getting a dozen a week, no thanks, I just got myself out of debt.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

some more pictures

Two eagles feeding in front of Orca Point Lodge
The hummingbirds were busy this summer.
Looking towards Nekka Bay from Long Island

I think this one is from inside Spasski Harbor.
A few more, really haven't figured out layout etc, rather difficult working with a small monitor. The mountain goat picture was taken just inside Glacier Bay National Park, my first trip in there in over 20 years since it became heavily regulated about who can enter with the exception of cruise ships.

Thought I'd share some pictures I've taken

A pod of humpbacked whales group feeding off Pt. Adolphus

This was a parting shot as we were leaving the area.

Don't remember which cruise line ship is in front of John Hopkins Glacier.

This picture is of the South Sawyer Glacier calving in Tracy Arm National Park.
There are others I'll upload later, they tend to be fairly high resolution and I like to leave them that way, makes good desk top back grounds. This wireless/satellite internet really sucks when there's rain/snow falling.

What Tree Did You Fall From?

Was going through my old emails and came across this, making a blog test would be neat but any kind of programing beyond BASIC is all greek to me. And no, I'm not talking about the ugly tree either.

Find your birthday, find your tree and then scrolldown... This is really cool and somewhat accurate,also in line with Celtic astrology.
Jan 01 to Jan 11 - Fir Tree
Jan 12 to Jan 24 - Elm Tree
Jan 25 to Feb 03 - Cypress Tree
Feb 04 to Feb 08 - Poplar Tree
Feb 09 to Feb 18 - Cedar Tree
Feb 19 to Feb 28 - Pine Tree
Mar 01 to Mar 10 - Weeping Willow Tree
Mar 11 to Mar 20 - Lime Tree
Mar 21 - Oak Tree
Mar 22 to Mar 31 - Hazelnut Tree
Apr 01 to Apr 10 - Rowan Tree
Apr 11 to Apr 20 - Maple Tree
Apr 21 to Apr 30 - Walnut Tree
May 01 to May 14 - Poplar Tree
May 15 to May 24 - Chestnut Tree
May 25 to Jun 03 - Ash Tree
Jun 04 to Jun 13 - Hornbeam Tree
Jun 14 to Jun 23 - Fig Tree
Jun 24 - Birch Tree
Jun 25 to Jul 04 - Apple Tree
Jul 05 to Jul 14 - Fir Tree
Jul 15 to Jul 25 - Elm Tree
Jul 26 to Aug 04 - Cypress Tree
Aug 05 to Aug 13 - Poplar Tree
Aug 14 to Aug 23 - Cedar Tree
Aug 24 to Sep 02 - Pine Tree
Sep 03 to Sep 12 - Weeping Willow Tree
Sep 13 to Sep 22 - Lime Tree
Sep 23 - Olive Tree
Sep 24 to Oct 03 - Hazelnut Tree
Oct 04 to Oct 13 - Rowan Tree
Oct 14 to Oct 23 - Maple Tree
Oct 24 to Nov 11 - Walnut Tree
Nov 12 to Nov 21 - Chestnut Tree
Nov 22 to Dec 01 - Ash Tree
Dec 02 to Dec 11 - Hornbeam Tree
Dec 12 to Dec 21 - Fig Tree
Dec 22 - Beech Tree
Dec 23 to Dec 31 - Apple Tree

APPLE TREE (Love) - of slight build, lots of charm,appeal, and attraction, pleasant aura, flirtatious,adventurous,sensitive, always in love, wants to love and be loved,faithful andtender partner, very generous, scientific talents,lives for today, acarefree philosopher with imagination.

ASH TREE (Ambition) - uncommonly attractive,vivacious, impulsive, demanding, does not care forcriticism, ambitious, intelligent, talented, likes toplay with fate, can be egotistic, very reliable andtrustworthy,faithful and prudent lover, sometimes brains rule overthe heart, buttakes partnership very seriously.

BEECH TREE (Creative) - has good taste, concernedabout its looks, materialistic, good organization oflife and career, economical, good leader, takes nounnecessary risks, reasonable, splendid lifetimecompanion, keen on keeping fit (diets, sports, etc.)

BIRCH TREE (Inspiration) - vivacious, attractive,elegant, friendly, pretentious, modest, does not likeanything in excess, abhors the vulgar, loves life innature and in calm, not very passionate, full ofimagination, little ambition, creates a calm andcontent atmosphere.

CEDAR TREE (Confidence) - of rare beauty, knows howto adapt, likes luxury, of good health, not in theleast shy, tends to look down onothers, self-confident, determined, impatient, likestoimpress others, many talents, industrious, healthyoptimism, waiting for the one true love, able to makequick decisions.

CHESTNUT TREE (Honesty) - of unusual beauty, doesnot want to impress, well-developed sense of justice,vivacious,interested, a born diplomat, but irritates easily andsensitive incompany, often due to a lack of self confidence, actssometimessuperior, feels not understood, loves only once, hasdifficulties infinding a partner.

CYPRESS TREE (Faithfulness) - strong, muscular,adaptable, takes what life has to give, content,optimistic, craves money and acknowledgment, hatesloneliness, passionate lover which cannot besatisfied, faithful, quick-tempered, unruly, pedantic,and careless.

ELM TREE (Noble-Minded) - pleasant shape, tastefulclothes, loudest demands, tends not to forgivemistakes, cheerful, likes to lead but not to obey,honest and faithful partner, likes making decisionsfor others, noble-minded, generous, good sense ofhumor, practical.

FIG TREE (Sensibility) - very strong, a bitself-willed, independent, does not allow contradictionor arguments, loves life, its family, children andanimals, a bit of a social butterfly, good sense ofhumor, likes idleness and laziness, of practicaltalent and intelligence.

FIR TREE (Mysterious) - extraordinary taste,dignity, sophisticated, loves anything beautiful,moody, stubborn, tends to egoism but cares for thoseclose to them, rather modest, very ambitious,talented, industrious, uncontested lover, manyfriends, many foes, very reliable.

HAZELNUT TREE (Extraordinary) - charming,undemanding, very understanding, knows how to make animpression, activefighter for social cause, popular, moody, and capricious lover, honest,and tolerant partner, precise sense of judgment.

HORNBEAM TREE (Good Taste) - of cool beauty,cares for its looks and condition, good taste, is notegoistic, makes life as comfortable as possible, leadsa reasonable and disciplined life, looks for kindnessand acknowledgment in an emotional partner, dreams ofunusual lovers, is seldom happy with its feelings,mistrusts most people, is never sure of its decisions,very conscientious.

LIME TREE (Doubt) - accepts what life dishes out ina composed way, hates fighting, stress, and labor,dislikes laziness and idleness, soft and relenting,makes sacrifices for friends, many talents but nottenacious enough to make them blossom, often wailingand complaining, very jealous but loyal.

MAPLE TREE (Independent) - no ordinary person,full of imagination and originality, shy and reserved,ambitious, proud,self-confident, hungers for new experiences, sometimesnervous, has manycomplexities, good memory, learns easily, complicatedlove life, wantsto impress.

OAK TREE (Brave) - robust nature, courageous,strong, unrelenting, independent, sensible, does notlike change, keeps its feet on the ground, person ofaction.

OLIVE TREE (Wisdom) - loves sun, warmth and kindfeelings, reasonable, balanced, avoids aggression andviolence, tolerant, cheerful, calm, well-developedsense of justice, sensitive, empathetic, free ofjealousy, loves to read and the company ofsophisticated people.

PINE TREE (Particular) - loves agreeable company,very robust, knows how to make life comfortable, veryactive, natural, good companion, but seldom friendly,falls easily in love but its passion burns outquickly, gives up easily, everything disappointmentsuntil it finds its ideal, trustworthy, practical.

POPLAR TREE (Uncertainty) - looks very decorative,not very self-confident, only courageous if necessary,needs goodwill and pleasant surroundings, very choosy,often lonely, great animosity, artistic nature, goodorganizer, tends to lean toward philosophy, reliablein any situation, takes partnership seriously.

ROWAN TREE (Sensitivity) - full of charm, cheerful,gifted without egoism, likes to draw attention, loveslife, motion, unrest, and even complications, is bothdependent and independent, good taste, artistic,passionate, emotional, good company, does not forgive.

WALNUT TREE (Passion) - unrelenting, strange andfull of contrasts, often egotistic, aggressive, noble,broad horizon, unexpected reactions, spontaneous,unlimited ambition, no flexibility, difficult anduncommon partner, not always liked but often admired,ingenious strategist, very jealous and passionate, nocompromise.

WEEPING WILLOW (Melancholy) - beautiful but full ofmelancholy, attractive, very empathetic, lovesanything beautiful and tasteful, loves to travel,dreamer, restless, capricious, honest, can beinfluenced but is not easy to live with, demanding,good intuition, suffers in love but finds sometimes ananchoring partner.

what list are you on?

Christmas Naughty or Nice List

I am on the The Nice List

After checking the North Pole database I had :

1,227 nice entries
274 naughty entries
Check your name on the Christmas Naughty or Nice List at

Monday, December 12, 2005

why I returned to Alaska

I’ve been asked why I returned to Alaska after living in the “real world” for so many years. The answers are numerous but to boil it all down to the nitty gritty, I came home to heal. I’d been gone so long that I began to loose touch with my roots, where I came from, the person I once was, I’d strayed from the path I wanted to walk. Before I returned to Alaska, I had a hard time shaving in the mornings because I couldn’t stand to look at the person in the mirror and hating myself more and more that I’d let myself become the person I had.

Of all this, I only have myself to blame. Some of my straying of the path came from being curious, to wonder if I could do what I’d seen people around me doing, if I could be your stereotypical guy and treat women like an object instead of as a person.

I’d become shaken in my belief of self, if I could truly stick to my moral ground the way I was so sure of myself in years past. What I’ve discovered on my time of reflection over the past year is that as long as I question myself and my abilities I will stick to my guns, but as soon as I become self assured again that I am infallible, I will begin my fall.

On a lighter note, I returned home for the scenery, for the ever green trees, the smell of fresh air, the smell of decay the mud flats give off when the tide is out, the plethora of flowers and plants that lend their fragrance that is called nature. I’ve grown up on the water of the Inside Passage, I’m surprised I don’t have webbed feet, although I didn’t do much swimming, I do have an almost sixth sense about navigating.

There isn’t much water in the form of lakes and rivers in central Texas, nor is there much rain. All this on a young man who grew up in the temperate rain forest known as the Tongas National Forest, where we see an average of 180 inches of precipitation a year and lived in a house that is maybe 10 feet above sea level of Port Frederick.

Part of my actions that made people question my sanity came about when there would be rain, I was very often out just standing in it or splashing about in the puddles in the parking lots. This enjoyment of rain I used to a tactical advantage as well, when it’s cold and wet your average person doesn’t want to stand guard nor be alert, the perfect times for infiltration for those who don’t mind a little discomfort.

I am something of an idealist, I think most native Americans are that join the military. I’ve heard it discussed that they joined the military to preserve the union, so that all the pain and suffering that has been forced upon the various tribes over the centuries will have a purpose. On top of that, I’ve always felt drawn to the code of chivalry from medieval Europe and to the Boshido (way of the warrior) the samurai followed in feudal Japan.

So there you have a basis for some of my ideal self, not to mention that my standards for conduct have always been high, much higher then most people realize. Perfection is always my goal, excellence is my standard. This philosophy tends to show through in my work effect, especially if I believe in the job I’m doing.

I still have a long ways to go, but I’m well on the path to rediscovering the person I once was, who enjoyed the simple things in life.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Over the weekend

Friday and Saturday the home town high school hosted the Region V 2A volleyball tournament, and the girls' only home games this season. For such a young team this year they did remarkably well, this makes the sixth straight regional tournament they've earned.

My niece is the the team's power player, well step niece but the family so close and I've helped raise her she's like a blood relation. Anyways I digress, I was up at the school by request to help take pictures of her playing, me having a nifty Canon Digital Rebel and some ok lens for it.

The whole town finds it amusing to watch her play sports, she's an animal, very athletic and tough to boot. I can chuckle to myself knowing I have a hand in early weight training.

Back when I was in high school, I basically had the only other TV in the house upstairs in my room, so when the step brother and family came over to visit I was usually stuck entertaining the kids with whatever Disney movie that had just come out on vhs. One night we had the youngest daughter up watching Beauty and the Beast I think it was, I rarely paid attention to what they watched. My other sister was up there to keep an eye on JS and was watching the movie at the same time.

I was deeply engrossed with the latest model airplane I was building at the time and wasn't really paying attention. I just heard my sister tell JS to take it over to me. I heard her grunting and gasping so I looked up and here JS was struggling to hold up one of dumbbells. Mind you the dumbbell was probably 1/3 her total weight, and she carried it about 7 feet. I took it from her and said 'thank you'. A few minutes later her she came struggling with the other of the pair to bring to me.

I waited a few minutes and picked it back up and told her to take it back to my sister. So she did. Got to the point that every time she would come over with the parents she'd go right to those dumb bells and start lugging them back and forth to us. I believe after a year she could pick up the one easily and was slowly working towards carrying the pair by the time I left for college.

So all these years later, she's just one tough girl. If she ever took up wrestling I'm sure she could match any guy her weight for strength. Not to mention the amount of coaches she'd have, her father, a couple uncles, cousins and brother who wrestled.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Self Control.

I do have a fair amount of self control, not so much as not giving into desires, but using my mind to over ride what my instincts tell me I should do.

What sparked this train of thought, in the background I have the bonus disk of Star Wars Episode III running for white noise and on the particular menu screen is Darth Vader breathing through his mask.

I'm sure all students who go through some sort of fire fighting training eventually do the Vader imitation when they put on the face mask/oxygen system. For me it was going through maritime Basic/Advanced Firefighting Training (BAFT). Ordinarily this class isn't required for the level of license I have, but the next level I'm working towards it is required.

BAFT is a five day course, and probably one of the most physically demanding courses I've been through in regards to my maritime training. First two days are the Basic part of fire fighting, and hands on work the first day is first responder or how to fight a fire in nothing but the street clothes we'd be in on a ship. I had to be paired up with a guy who just wouldn't listen, if we were still in the army he'd have gotten a blanket party long before the week was out.

So there we were, going through a realistic ship mock up, heavy smoke down to within feet of the floor and hot from the fires that were already burning. We had on only what we came to class with, this was a part of the first responder training that if we respond fast enough we can douse a decent size fire with only a CO2 extinguisher and later on in the afternoon a 2" hose.

My partner refused to listen to the instructors and chased a flame up a bulk head, creating a thermal inversion, all the heated air that was up high was exchanged spots with the cooler air that was down low. If it had been a real fire, we were in danger of cooking ourselves, with a heavy fogging spray going every where we were soaked to the bone, which would have turned to steam with this inversion, literally cooking us within our own clothes. I realized later on waiting for my ride back to the hotel after the first day, all the hair in my nose had been singed, no wonder I was constantly smelling burnt hair.

Next day was similar work, except this time we were in "bunker gear", the heavy flame retardant stuff you see a typical fire fighter in. As part of this gear was a SCBA, self contained breather apparatus, similar to SCUBA gear divers wear. So putting the face mask on and connecting to the respirator, soon we had a dozen students doing the "Darth Vader" breathing.

After the second day we went from a class of 20 to a class of 5, the only ones signed on to go on to the advanced portion of the training. Wednesday was all classroom work, fire theory/chemical anatomy of a fire, HAZMAT response and how to train others.

Thursday morning as we were told first thing, the training wheels are now off, unlike the first two days where the fires were propane which got hot enough for realism, they were rather contained to what areas of the ship had the gas piped into it. For the remaining two days, we were being switched to a true "Bravo" fire, white gas.

We're broken down into two squads, a 3 man and a 2 man, thank goodness the SOB wasn't in my squad. Being the 3 man we were chosen to go first through the first scenario. Ship is already at general quarters, we'd dressed down in the bunker gear, a first responder has detected smoke in the engine room but no fire, we're sent in to investigate further since the smoke is getting heavier by the moment.

We go through procedures on opening a scuttle and covering each man with a hose as he descends down a ladder to the engine room level. Once all three of us are down, I'm last man this time around, we proceed forward into the engine as fast as you can with a duck walk in that restrictive gear.

The whole time we were preparing the gear and getting down to the level, the instructors had already put the white gas into the compartment and it was quickly filling up with fumes. Once they touched it off, that was probably the most scared I've ever been in my life.

All instincts said to turn around and run! We had flame roll over on the ceiling, a wall of flame burning through the fumes rushing at us through mid air and on the deck a puddle of flaming liquid snaking it's way towards our boots.

The tank on the SCBA is rated at 30 minutes of air, but that's misleading, that 30 minutes is timed for a person sitting down breathing normally and not under going any physical exertion. A well conditioned fire fighter can get about 20 minutes out of a tank, I believe we were averaging 15 minutes per tank in training. This particular scenario, our squad was lucky to get 10 minutes of air, it took all three of a bit of time to get our breathing back under control, even though our training kicked in in moments and we were fighting the fires.

All three of us rotated through as nozzleman, training how to relieve and be relieved out there in front, since that person bears the brunt of the heat. We exited the same scuttle we entered and about the time the last of our squad exited the hatch, we all ran out of air.

The SCBA's work on an overpressure system, the air in our masks is at a higher pressure then the air outside of it, so air can leak out but nothing can came in, similar to how the M1 Abrams Tank NBC system works. Once the air runs out in the tank, essentially you have a vacuum in the face mask, you can breath out but you aren't getting anything back in.

The instructor got a bit of a chuckle as he watch all three of us scramble to disconnect the regulator off the mask so that we could breath. One guy got it off no problem, myself and the other guy couldn't and had to rip the mask off, lungs beginning to burn waiting for the next breath that I didn't know when I could take. Found out later on that my regular actually jammed and it took a bit of wiggling and swearing to finally get it off.

While we caught our breath, the second squad prepared to go back down there as our relief to make sure the fire didn't reflash and continue to burn. Same thing, they let the compartment fill with fumes before re-lighting it. The SOB who wouldn't listen nearly got himself hurt, you don't put your face over an open hatchway, and this rocket scientist was doing just that staring down into the hatch trying to see through the smoke.

We reminded him not to stick his head over the hatch, he turned away to make a smart assed comment about us telling him what to do just in time as the instructors touched off the gas. Just like what happened to us, happened again, a geyser of flame come shooting up through that hatch a good six or seven feet in height. If he hadn't turned away he'd have taken it full in the face and even in full gear I'm sure he would have been injured.

He didn't learn his lesson and on the last day he kept antagonizing the instructors so much, they were ready to send us through an extremely difficult scenario using a 3" line instead of the 2" lines we'd been using all week. A 2" line a single guy can almost control it on his own, a 3" takes a minimum of three guys.

He cut our squad some slack, but ran the other squad ragged, I know that guy's new partner was extremely pissed with him at the end, no to mention exhausted.

Passed all my written and hands on demonstration tests, completed that week with a certificate that's good for another 5 years and a new and healthy respect for the fire fighters who do similar work day in and day out.

Prelude to something?

I've been going through two strange phases lately.

First is this need to train, to begin to pass on what I've picked up over the years. It is quite a bit considering my age, but then again, I take in knowledge like a sponge does water. I've always done what I could to help others so that they aren't constantly recreating the wheel, no sense in that. One thing that's been brought up is if I would be willing to help teach a 100 ton Master's License course here in town. I'm looking to head south again as soon as possible, but I wouldn't mind pitching in where I could. Don't know how much good I'd be, it's hard for me to teach what comes almost instinctual to me.

The other is thinning out of my hoarding, yes I'll admit I'm some what of a packrat. A lot of it has been books, all of them I've read and probably won't read again. With the budget cut backs of the local school system over the years, one of the things I noticed while browsing the library was the general lack of new books. So I've spent days going through various boxes I've got stored and started pulling out books I won't read again and taken them to the library. I've lost count but some where in the neighborhood of four dozen books, all in good condition some look brand new still.

I was thinking one day of a quote, i have no idea who said it anymore.."a book is like a good friend, you can visit anytime by just opening the cover." I thought of how much I'm enjoying the Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O'brian, and while I'd like to keep the series, I thought of the other people in town who could enjoy the series, so i decided to give so that others may enjoy what I have over the years.

This was what I was starting to post earlier before my sister's request sent me into a tail spin and stirred up feelings of resentment that I have to bail her out once again.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Some people only learn the hard way

My oldest sister messages me asking if I can pick up the bill for her storage unit that's still in juneau. For somene who has a teaching certificate and working on a second bachelors and on to a masters, she doesn't have much for planning ahead. This isn't the first time i've had to bail her out, she has a knack of wanting to play first and take care of bills later.

Ordinarily I would tell her to sleep in the bed she's made, but this time I have something to loose, I have some very high value items in with her stuff as well. I wouldn't have it there but at the time I was moving away from Juneau in preperation for heading south, I didn't have the means of transporting them.

I'd let them seize her stuff and auction it off, but my shotgun alone is probably worth $1200, a good investment I made 14 years ago when I bought it for about 1/3 that price. I've thought of selling it off for some time now, and am still debating keeping an item that I wouldn't use except for the rare target shooting.

To top it off, the bill is higher then what she told me when I agreed to pay it.

She's burning her financial bridges pretty fast.