Saturday, May 23, 2009

Last night, the Spanish Lady and I attended two separate parties, separately. The occasion was a marriage, and the necessary farewell celebrations of forever-lost tax status-ees. What seemed odd was that the bachelorette party was hosted at hooters, while the bachelor party was held at the bachelor's home, with all the children who were too young to stay out attending. It wasn't all bust, (nyuk-nyuk) however, as we did have some fantastic ribs and a Chuck Norris/Bruce Lee/Chevy Chase triple feature to keep us occupied. As I lay on the floor with my two year old son, C., watching Lone Wolf McQuade demonstrate the lethal efficiency of shirtless roundhouse kicks, I was reminded of why people get married in the first place, and that watching sweaty, shirtless men isn't always gay. I even found a piece of fiction (pictured below) I could share with my soon to be daughter, O., when she has her own bachelor party. Perhaps, by then, there will be a film adaptation.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


and Now.

I took a six-week job with the National Guard on Wednesday. I am now stationed at Camp Roberts in San Miguel, California, where I will be assisting with Combat Lifesaver (CLS) training for roughly 3500 mobilized guardsmen out of Oregon.

This camp has ghosts. It isn't spooky, but it does feel like it has history; like, being here, I should be training to fight Hitler's Germany, or Communism in Southeast Asia. Or, at least, like I'm interrupting those who are. I can hear some burly NCO's voice from 1941 every time I turn the faucet. "Get outta my past, kid!" New Yorkers...

It does have some nice diversions, however. There is a river that runs through the property (two of them, actually) that is famous for it's trout fishing. I work with a sergeant who knows a few spots and has offered to take me out to them. He also says there is awesome surfing only an hour away near Pismo Beach. I don't mean to tell tales out of school, but it's rumored that at a certain military-friendly surf shop, you can get a full set-up; board, suit, boots, hood, all for under twenty dollars a day, and that's if they remember to charge you. I'm going to have to look into that. Other than that, this is great cycling country, and I just happened to bring my bike.

The Spanish Lady and I are craving independence. Being able to work and go to school long distance has made us curious about the possibility of doing this long term. There are a handful of more permanent positions on post that I might be able to put in for. If it worked, we would try to move near San Luis Obispo before the baby gets here. Right now, it's just pure fantasy, but a very potent one. It's enough to make us realize we're not entirely happy with where we're at, and are anxious for some changes. All we can really do right now is talk about them, but they're fun conversations to have.

For the first time in a few years, I was able to watch general conference on the day it was broadcast. How I got BYU tv on the same service that doesn't include national networks hints at divine intervention to me ('they came in from nowhere, and, after fixing every tv in the billets, plowed old man Jenkins' field in one afternoon...'). It was nice to hear the words of apostles and prophets, and to feel the spirit that accompanies them. It helped me to put some perspective on my life and it's challenges. I feel like, whatever they'll be, I can let the changes happen; that I'll be able to deal with them, then. Knowing that is enough for now.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

if you can imagine an advanced enough robot...

I've always liked the covers of old science fiction books, sometimes more than the books themselves. This translates into other media as well. I'd be lying if I said the cover art wasn't a large influence in my decision to buy Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by the flaming lips (of course, their music is more than enough reason to have purchased the album, anyway). So, when I stumbled across this collection of cover images from various publications of "The War of the Worlds," I was pleasantly surprised. Here are some of my favorites.

I would say these images are nostalgic, but I wasn't born when they were printed. Maybe reincarnostalgic? Delicious, then.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Coming to grips

For the last few weeks, I've been consistently having nightmares. In them, my family is being threatened by murderers, monsters, or escaped beasts. I'm always able to neutralize the threat, but doing so alters me so drastically, my family has a difficult time being around once they're safe.

Between classes, the other day, I read an article online that helped me understand what these dreams might mean, as well as the unwritten, emotional back story I'm not sharing in this post.

The article was written by a former soldier who had recently been called back to active duty. His previous combat experience had been unpleasant, and he was anxious to avoid another tour. As I read about his experiences, both in combat and out, I could feel my chest getting tighter. It was harder for me to sit without fidgeting.

I've known for a while that I would be leaving for combat by the end of the year, and this was the first time I'd felt any discomfort about it. In the past, when I'd think about the dangers involved, I'd immediately get a calm, reassuring feeling that I would be okay; that I would come home safely. Thinking about it again in those terms, I felt the same reassurance. What I noticed was that, while I have full faith that I will return, I am scared to death that I will not come back the same man I'll be when I leave. I worry that the people who matter to me will not be able to love that new man. I worry that I'll have too many issues to be overlooked.

Is it odd to be less afraid of war than of how it might change me? It feels wierd to me.

I felt the same way when I left school to climb mountains, and when I came home from Russia more cautious and reserved. I always think that doing things that are right for me will come at the cost of the things I think I want the most. When I left college, I was single and anxious to be in a real relationship; to be starting a family. I thought that, though I was doing what I genuinely loved, the result would be that doing so would keep me from finding genuine love. Who finds a wife above 20,000 feet, anyway?

Now, though I believe that joining the military was the right decision for my family, I'm afraid it could ultimately cost me the same.

I must have a Job complex; I believe that God is not above putting you in the worst scenario you can imagine if he thinks the end result is worth it. I also know that I would not want to fail that kind of test (I'm pretty stubborn when it comes to a chaaaalllleeenge!), making it a near certainty in my head that one like it is ultimately coming for me. Oddly enough, it's putting things in this perspective that brings the reassuring feelings.

Remembering Oceanside

The Spanish Lady and I woke up this morning and said to ourselves, "Hey, it's March. We should go to the beach." So we did just that, loading C. in the car to reacquaint him with the ocean he used to yell at when he was one.

I guess a year isn't long enough for some things to change. At least there is a playground near the pier.

He would climb to the top of the slide...

...and use his new vantage point to yell even louder insults and warnings at the water.

We ended the day with ice cream at McDonald's and air drumming on the table. Then, mrs. h and I talked about how much we both miss Oceanside while C. slept in the backseat.

{images iz cellphona}

I wish it was me in the photo...

I live in California, and I've only been surfing once. In Washington. In January.

Still, I was hooked. Being at the beach today, then, was an odd sort of torture. Think of a two-year old at his friend's birthday party realizing that the pile of presents are only for his friend. At least there's cake.

And iced creams.

And maybe even an amateur stuntman.

I hope he catches himself on fire and wills a surfboard to me when he dies.

{images iz Oceanside pier}

Friday, March 6, 2009

What's That?

I took C. outside today to play with the dandellions. We blew the seeds off of stems (or just spit on them), and turned his palms yellow with the flowers.

I forget that things like this are new to him. He's such an enthusiastic explorer, it makes me eager to show him new things. Like dirt clods, or how if you sniff a morning glory hard enough, it'll stick to your nose.

All in due time. Right now, I'm content just to watch him teach his "friends" what he's learned.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

For Kicks

I'm a fan of graffiti. I know that it's a crime, and when it is used simply as a property marker for gangs, I have less than positive feelings about it. But I can't deny it can be beautiful. There's also something about it's illegality that adds to the appeal. I remember seeing the Berlin wall come down in '89. The graffiti on those slabs were the antithesis of crime to me. They seemed appropriate tributes the spirit that ultimately destroyed them; stills of a life that could only exist once they were gone. Check out ArtCrimes. The galleries are extensive, both locally and internationally. I find the Chinese and Brazilian artists particularly appealing.

(thanks to ArtCrimes and Reach for the image)

Intrigue and MPG's

Monday's episode of the BBC's "top Gear" was, as always, excellent. It got me thinking about fuel efficiency, as each of the hosts were able to drive 750+ miles on a single tank of petrol. I looked up the winning car, a VW polo bluemotion with a 79 hp, 1.4 litre diesel engine. It isn't a comfortable, or even attractive car to drive, but on 12 gallons, you can motor from LA to Portland (nearly). Plus, at $24,000, it's a nice alternative to the self-righteous gag-mobile, Toyota Prius. Details can be found here.

In related news,
the Stig's identity has been revealed. This is old news for most, but it's relevent to the following video. I believe it speaks for itself.

Friday, February 27, 2009

October Dreams

I've been having dreams about my next child. I'm pretty convinced the Spanish Lady and I are having a girl, so, in these dreams, I have a little daughter running around, being rather girly. She's more outspoken than Bug, and kind of bossy. What I've noticed about my own feelings, though, is that I have less anxiety, and fewer competitive emotions associated with this baby than I did with the first. It's got me thinking about first children in general, and what a scary thing it must be to break in a set of parents (or at least a wound-up dad). I can't help but look at C. differently now. His hesitance, and natural introversion must hide a pretty deep well of determination. I don't think I spend enough time empathising with my son. Whenever I start to, I realize how daunting his world really is. Maybe I'll cut him a break for carrying two stuffed animals, and a comfort blanket wherever he goes.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Growing Concern

As the philosopher said, "All great men have mustaches." Today I was struck by the appalling lack of mustachioed gentleman in our society. It used to be that men didn't leave the house without one; full facial nudity on an adult male meant hormone imbalance (which was a fancy way of saying, "he's got the devil in 'im!"). Now you see naked lip-skin being flaunted openly, like in those French hunting clubs or Biblical cities where people had way too much sodium in their diets.

There were exceptions. Clemency was granted to clergymen and to judges, for example, as one could not help but be unduly influenced by the be-mustached orifi from which they issued what should have been unbiased truths. Truth, after all, should be weighed by it's own merit, and not by the grandeur of the lip-broom it resides behind.

The importance a mustache bears to manhood is even recognized in the military, an organization not readily acknowledged for it's sensitivity to the facial accoutrement needs of it's members. Yet there the mustache has found a loyal following, and there is a disproportionate amount of 'stache-sporting men within the service than on those without. This trend even extends to law enforcement, emergency services, and to a certain
former coach of the Chicago Bears. One can only wonder, then, that in the case of America's Finest, does the man make the mustache, or does the mustache make the man? I'd say there is a strong case for the latter.

So what are we to do in the face of society's current situation, where hair hangs profusely from the lower lips of men, like so many cobwebs on the forgotten glory of their up-stairs brothers? A good man effects meaningful change in his environs, but only a
great man wears a mustache.

French Toast Fingers

I got my first flat today on my way to school. It blew about ten miles into my ride, just as it started raining. Up side is I got to hang out with my wife and go out to breakfast. It felt like when we were still dating and I'd blow off work to hang out with her. It's been a while since I could take those kinds of liberties. Down side is I had to drop some more dollah on repairs and a kit and pump so I can fix it myself next time.

On a side note, it is my opinion that Southern California is at it's best in winter. It's easy to imagine myself staying here long-term when it's overcast and the mountains have snow on them and I'm pedaling through old arts and crafts neighborhoods.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cutter Scum!

When our car died earlier this week, I went out and bought this. It's been my primary mode of transportation since, carrying me a little over ninety miles in three days. Now in my spare time, I find myself reading about local races and entertaining thoughts of doing a triathlon some day, especially now that my sister has run a marathon (Haha! You got beat by a girl!). My legs are still hairy, though, and I'm not wearing spandex, so I can't be that serious about it. Maybe I'll just rent "Breaking Away."