Monday, June 25, 2007

Ultra sound quotes

Technician: "I don't see anything but girl parts."
Momma and Daddy: no words but tears from both

LATER
Daddy: "Does this mean we're going to get a lot of pink crap?"

EVEN LATER
Jonathan after being told the baby is a girl: "Ohhhhh Noooooooooooo!"
David at the same time: "a girlul! That's just what I wanted!"

The Smoke is Clearing... Its Time to Make a Move

Tough decisions on the horizon

Went through a series of interviews with a Fortune 500 on Friday. It went very well. I am flying to their corporate HQ this coming Thursday for the final interview. In the mean time, I will conduct an online personality assessment and an interview with a psychologist in order to determine my leadership style (compliments of the corporation.) Sounds like fun. In the interviews this past Friday, I did as little as ever to prepare for them. And yet, maybe because of the experience I have being interviewed, it went very well. Now I am trying to decide whether to take the job if offered. I (as yet) do not know where they would like to place me, but it will not be in the Pacific Northwest.

Again- I ask the same question as earlier- "At what cost?"

What is the cost of me taking this job? What are the risks I am assuming? What are the benefits? Since I like what I have done in the Army, why not do another 10 years? A lot of factors go into this decision.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thankful Thursdays



Jane Anne does this on Thursdays and I figured its probably not a bad idea.

What I am thankful for:
1) Army friends. I had the privilege of promoting yet another one of my former lieutenants to captain today. I also got to see a lot of the soldiers i worked with when I was a commander. It was good to see them all.

2) Little kids. Finally had our first T-Ball game tonight. The kids were great! It was lots of fun. Afterwards, I chased my boys and a couple other random kids around the playground. I don't know if it looks odd for a full grown man to be jumping off the jungle gym trying to "get" kids, but it was fun. Oh- and I am definitely not as young as I used to be.

3) Having no clue about the future. I have no idea where I will be living 30 days from now. And I am ok with that. I don't know whom I will be working for. But I do know that I will be taken care of, my family will follow me, and we will have fun together.

4) My two year old that cannot make the "TR" sound, but instead replaces it with the "F" sound. And the kid talks about my "truck" ALL THE TIME! "Daddy truck" or "I wanna Truck". Its just too funny to be embarrassed about it.

5) Ultrasounds. More on that tomorrow.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Unbelievable

Unbelievable. Sinply unbelievable. Really. I try to remain neutral in national politics.

I don't know if Harry Reid's comments calling the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff "incompetent" is politically motivated or if his career in politics has made him numb to the effects making comments like that has on Soldiers.

General Peter Pace is the highest ranking military officer in the United States Military. He is the uniformed figurehead of all of the military. He came to Iraq when I was there (probably several times) and I saw him speak. Very motivational and influential. He is not the commander in charge of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is someone else.

The point is: we look up to him. As an officer, he is the pinnacle; he has served in the Marine Corps since 1968. I looked at Harry Reid's Biography and General Pace's biography and see that there is one striking similarity in the two men. They both have a degree from George Washington University. I guess they both have spent their careers drawing pay from the government in one way or another.

My point is this: President Bush is an elected official. Criticize him if you want. It's your right, Mr. Reid. But the man who volunteered to lead men in combat and has spent the last 40 years doing that very valiantly, leave that man alone. If you say that we have the best and strongest military in the world, how do you say that the leader of that military is incompetent? I know it's popular to criticize the war, especially for a democrat and increasingly so for republicans, but General Pace is NOT in charge of the war. He does NOT run the war. He is THE best that the United States Military has produced. And you Mr. Reid, you call him incompetent? That, to me, is unbelievable.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Her Sense of Humor

I love my truck. Seriously. I mean- I sit around and think about it. I see other GMC Sierras and look forward to seeing mine again. That reminds me, I still want to name it. What are the rules for naming a truck? Is it like your rifle where it has to be a girls name? I digress. I think the word "vanity" describes my adoration for my truck. As a matter of fact, a few weeks ago when I was waxing it, the song "You're so Vain" kept running through my head. Yesterday as I was talking to JA on the phone, the conversation naturally turned to my truck. I had caught a ride with someone on the way to the airport and my truck sat lonely in front of my house. I said, "How's my truck? Everything OK with it? No dents or scratches?" Of course, I was setting her up to say something like, "Oh yeah, The baseball went through the windshield" or, "Well, I was going to wait until you got home to tell you..." but instead there was pure silence on the line. Then she said, "You.. but... uh... you brought your truck to the airport." My heart stopped. She laughed. I'm gullible.

Thoughts about Army Stuff

I learned these past two weeks that achieving a higher rank definitely does not make you any wiser. I have seen some incredibly unintelligent officers here.




Sign of the times: In the past two weeks I have seen two people that I know have been in the Army more than 5 years that have not been to either Iraq or Afghanistan. When you have fought in a war, you wear your combat patch on your right shoulder. This makes it easy to tell who has and who hasn't deployed. Eight years ago, it was an anomaly to see someone with a combat patch. Now, those without stand out.



On Killing.
There is a book out there about the psychology and psychological effect of killing people in war. I think it is called "On Killing". I haven't read it and probably won't. But I know that if you see the person you must kill as a person and human, it is very difficult to kill them. You have to have something else. A lieutenant serving in the Philippines during WWII found what "it" is. His name was Henry Lee. Here is a poem he wrote to Mars, the god of war.

“Prayer Before Battle (To Mars)”
(December 8, 1941)
Before thine ancient altar, God of War,
Forlorn, afraid, alone, I kneel to pray.
The gentle shepherd whom I would adore,
Faced by thy blazing plaything, slips away.
And I am drained of faith — alone — alone.
Who now needs faith to face thy outthrust sword,
Bereft of hope, turned to pagan to the bone.
I kneel to thee and hail thee as my Lord.
From such a God as thee, I ask not life,
My life is forfeited, the hour is late.
Thou need not swerve the bullet, dull the knife.
I ask but strength to ride the wave of fate.
And one thing more — to validate this strife,
And my own sacrifice — teach me to hate.



What I struggle with is: What's the cost of that hate?

*********EDIT***********
It's 2 AM and I couldn't sleep. Thinking about this question has kept me awake. I looked around more for LT Henry Lee on the internet. Here is what he wrote 3 years to the day after he wrote the above words. He had spent much of those three words in a prison camp.

“Three Years After”
(December 8, 1944)

“Teach me to hate,” I prayed — for I was young,
And fear was in my heart, and faith had fled.
“Teach me to hate! for hate is strength,” I said
“A staff to lean on.” Thus my challenge flung
Into the thunder of the clouds that hung
Cloaking with terror all the days ahead —
“Teach me to hate — the world I loved is dead;
Who would survive must learn a savage tongue.”

And I have learned — and paid in days that ran
To bitter schooling. Love was lost in pains,
Hunger replaced the beauty in life’s plan,
Honor and virtue vanished with the rains
And faith in God dissolved with faith in man.
I have my hate! But nothing else remains




And what about LT Henry Lee? I found the rest of the story online...

As it happened, there was no escape for Henry Lee. In late December 1944, he was put on a transport ship and sent to Japan as slave labor. Before leaving, he hastily dug a hole under a prison hut and buried his journal of poems, hoping that someday in the future — as a free soldier in a victorious American army — he might come back and retrieve it. En route to Japan, an American plane caught sight of the unmarked boat and unleashed a hail of bombs, sending the transport to the bottom of the ocean — and the young Poet of Bataan along with it. Lee was thirty years old.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I feel like a contradiction

Confidence: assurance; freedom from doubt; belief in yourself and your abilities
Humility:a disposition to be humble; a lack of false pride


Someime in the last few months, I have changed. I know that it did not happen at an exact point in time. But I know the exact reason for it. The love and support of my wife. She humbles me with unconditional love. Because of this, I have the ultimate confidence. I can feel the difference.

Here is what happened. I was listening to one of the greatest song writers ever (Robert Earl Keen) yesterday and heard a song I had not heard before. It is called "And Then Came Lo Mein". I know- just the title gives you chills as to the depth of the song. The song is about... well, here are a few of the verses. The first two are sung by him and the third is by his wife.

There were lean times, they were tough
There were mean times they were rough
And the good times didn't outweigh the bad
I was sad you were bitter
But you were no quitter
When nothin' was all that we had

Then came lo mein and going insane
At the Chinese cafe way downtown
I was steamed I was fried but you stood by my life
When I had my nervous breakdown

There were noodles galore
All over the floor
And hot mustard sauce everywhere
But I held your hand til you calmed down again
And picked out the rice in your hair



I guess the point is that I listened to the song and was touched by the love she had for him and that she held on to him through the toughest time of his life. Then I thought that that type of love is rare and only found in songs.

Then I realized how wrong I was. I'm married to that woman in the song.

Thank You JA.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Texas

So I am sitting 74.48 miles from where I was born and 77.73 miles from the apartment My parents, brother and I lived in after I left the hospital. I have little desire to head south to see the place.

Funny Quote: "... you may all go to hell and I will go to Texas" Davey Crockett said that in Memphis the night before he left for Texas. Apparently he thought he had a good chance of being elected governor and failed to be elected. I believe that when the hero of the Alamo arrived here, he found that he was next door to that fiery place he told his former constituents from the great state of Tennessee to go. I am convinced that I don't want to live here. Being born here was enough.

Another round of interviews on Friday the 22nd. I hope I like this job. No. I hope that I love it. Just a reminder that I have to love the job that I do. I already love what I do now, so I need to find something better.

More later...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Jobs

Received a decent offer from Nashville. Turned it down. At the end of touring their plant during my onsite interview, I realized I would be exceptionally bored working there and there was an exceptionally small chance that I would actually get any job satisfaction out of it. I really WANTED it to work out because I really WANTED to live in Nashville. I didn't really want to work or that company though. Rethinking the manufacturing thing. I told Matt once that it would be great and I can see myself doing that- but I am having trouble visualizing it, especially after being in the plant.

More to come on the other opportunities.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Texas- hours 1-13

I've been in Texas 13 hours now. I just arrived at my hotel 12 minutes ago.

It is just before 3 AM and I am here. That is- after 1 cancelled flight, bumped off stand-by on one flight, one bus ride that ended in a flat tire, and (after me and a few otehr guys reloaded the luggage on another bus) anotehr 3 hour bus ride that finally got me here.

There are a lot of mosquitos in Texas.

I shouldn't be blogging when I am this tired, but I will. I learned something about myself today. When people act in stupid ways and it affects (effects?) me, my blood boils. LIke today- my friendly gate agent from American Airlines decided that it would be better to not tell the truth about what was going on. Instead, he hands me a ticket with a seat assignment and tells me I was on the plane. Unfortunately, as I would find out when I tried to board the plane with that ticket, the ticket was for a bus. That was around 5:30. The bus that this wonderful ticket agent said would be there at 6 actually departed at 9. and then broke down. The point is, his unwillingness to be upfront about the situation made me almost uncontrollably angry. But- when the bus blew a tire out, the anger melted away. Joe, the bus driver, was able to get the bus off the interstate and to a grocery store. So I went in and bought a sandwich and a 6-pack of Shiner Bock (its a Texas brewed beer) and shared both with my newfound friends on the bus.

I am meeting my ride onto Fort Hood in 4 hours. I need to sleep for 3 of them.

More tomorrow.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Job Hunt update

So, the few people who read this noticed that I deleted a previous post. I decided that it sounded far too negative. Do I feel a little screwed by heading to Fort Hood for 2 weeks? Yes. Could I have avoided it? Yes. But. I am still in the Army and still serving and getting paid (well) for it. If the Army wants to send me to Zimbabwe for the last days that I am in, I will do it. I must reiterate that I have enjoyed every job and place I have served in the Army. If I had it to do over again, I would; exactly the same. I chose the Army and did so because I wanted to serve in the military and feel like I was in the military. If I had to choose a different branch of service, it would be the Marine Corps.

That being said...

I had another interview this morning with a fairly large company based in Minnesota. I had originally looked at working with this company, but couldn't get the right door to open when I needed it to. Suddenly this morning, this company called me and asked if I was still interested. Absolutely. Can I conduct a phone interview on Monday? No, sorry I will be in on an exercise. But I am available all day today. So I conducted a phone interview this morning. The HR person said that they will call me on Wednesday to set up a second interview for me to come there. Awesome.

I am still waiting for an offer from the Nashville company. I was frustrated earlier this week because I was told they would bring an offer to me early on in the week. Now they are still working on it. I see that it is best that the offer is delayed. I read that proper etiquite says that my time to accept or turn down their offer is directly proportionate to the amount of time it takes them to make an offer after the second interview. Since it will be more than 2 weeks after I receive their offer, I plan to ask for a couple weeks to decide; which opens my time up for interviews that had to be delayed because of my trip to Fort Hood.

So doors open and close and sometimes they just seem to be closing.

More from Fort Hood- I am bringing the computer and I'll have access.

Enviroblog

Today I did at least 6 things that will be illegal in most of the United States within 15 years.

I own a gas guzzling V8 truck(1). I washed it(2) for the second time in one week(3). I let the soap suds drain into the storm drain(4) that I am sure feeds right into a wetland where countless mosquitos will now die a very clean death. I noticed that last week's oil based spray that makes the wheels look nice and shiny was still on my driveway because it made such a nice rainbow pattern as it ran down the storm drain (5). Then I re-applied the shiny oil based stuff so it stays nice and shiny(6). I thought about adding wasting gas to my list by letting the engine run as I listened to the radio while I dried the truck. But I didn't want to abuse the environment.