I am with my folks for Christmas. I don’t think of it a home per say, because home is where I live. Its strange being here. Its a flash back to being someone else. My wife and I went for a walk in the park, a park where once upon I time, I walked with other girls. We went to my favorite restaurant, a pizza place in dutch tourist trap ran by a friendly Greek. They make the best thin crust on this earth. But its weird. When I was kid we could never afford to go there. Now I take my daughter there. Strangest of all is my truck…
See, my wife first got married we had a 87 Dodge Ram, and not a pretty one either. It looked like something out of a mad Max movie. It had no body work at all ahead of the fenders. No grill, No bumper, and the lights were wired in with electric fence wire to hold them in. That was the truck that my daughter rode home in the day after her zeroeth birthday. When I got that truck it got 6 MPG highway and 4MPG city. After 6 months of me working on it it got 18 highway 14 city. It sits very high for a truck without a lift kit. Behind the seat is 2 8″ woofers in a encloser, and a box with 4 full snow chains. I could drive that truck in 18″ snow with 4′ drifts. And I did several times.
Why is it here now instead of at my house? Because now I drive a full size wagon which gets twice the gas milage. That and my wife never quite had the luck with what was admittedly a very tempermental Carter carb. So I kept it in the family and sold it to my dad, where it has now sits because my dad doesn’t have any luck with the Carter either. When ever I visit I go out and love on it a little. I take the out the air cleaner, take apart the linkage, tighten bolts that don’t need to tightened, make sure everything is smooth and easy, spray some EZ Start in, charge the battery and turn the key. And it starts for me. Everytime. And it won’t start for anyone else. Anytime.
After in warms up it runs for me, but it quites for everyone else. Maybe it knows that its loved…
In the word of John Lennon, I read the news today, oh boy. I really enjoy roasting the people in charge of the huge entities that move in our society, unions, congress, multinational corporations.
Its not that I think that those groups are evil, its that I when I look at them I do not see what others see. Today, Christmas Eve of 2006 (And I say twenty oh six, not two thousand six, cause I am edgy like that.) is sort of a banner day for news of stupidity. Christmas eve usually is actually. VIPs are at home drinking expensive liqueur and wondering why their kids flights aren’t in yet. The price and nature of the fix might be different (beer, nicotine, coffee, etc.) but thats pretty much what everyone is doing right now.
So, as I said, a banner day for stupidity. Observe the following from the thedemocrats.org (the official party site)
The Democratic Party is committed to keeping our nation safe and expanding opportunity for every American. That commitment is reflected in an agenda that emphasizes the security of our nation, strong economic growth, affordable health care for all Americans, retirement security, honest government, and civil rights.
Doesn’t that sound nice? Doesn’t that sound like the sort of people to lead us through these early years of the 21 century? Well, see the problem is, they are all dying. The average age of a democratic congressmen this year? 67 years old. Most of the Democratic leaders in office today remember Pearl Harbor. If anyone wonders why sometimes it seems like we are doing things like we did in the 50’s even though this is a different world, its probably because the same people are still driving the bus. Thats right, the same people who are complaining that we are doing the war were same people who gave us the Vietnam war.
The biggest news for the dems today? Senator Byrd of Michigan had hip surgery. Mind you this wasn’t to replace his hip. It was to replace his replacement. They’re made with a 20 year design spec, and he turns 80 today. I can’t tell you the last time I thought to my self, “Hey you know what would make this country the best ever? We need more octogenarians in charge!”
Maybe he has a lot of experience, but I guess my fear is that someone who started on capitol hill when my grandpa was shooting squirrels in Ohio, just maybe isn’t the most with it person to steer the ship of state. He was fairly elected however, so maybe I should just be happy I am not from Michigan.
Well, what about the big Republican new? Ah yes, Virgil H. Goode Jr Republican from Virgina wants to criminalize Muslim immigration. Yeah! You know I can really see Samuel Adams and Ben Franklin enjoying a cup of pre-taxed tea and saying “Say Sam, You know I know that our forefathers came here for religious freedom and all, but I heard about this new religion, and I think we’re gonna have to can this whole “religious freedom” thing. I mean people we might disagree with at fundamental levels could get elected. Yeah, lets just forget religious freedom.”
Or not. See the Honorable Virgil Goode, is sort of missing the point. Last time I checked I live in a constitution republic. For those who snoozed through history that means our government includes elements of pure democracy (popular election at local, state, and national levels) as well as elements of a Republic (only congress may make laws, and then only after a relative consensus is reached) And we have a constitution with enumerates the basic principals.
Goode wants to enact immigration laws to prevent Muslims from getting citizenship and thus being allowed to run for office. Sadly he is missing the point of the whole system. We are supposed to have radically different view points expressed in congress. If every senator and every congress men from every local acts in his own best interest, then a law cannot be passed until it is seen as beneficial to most parties. The mutual self interest balances everything out.
Its one of the things that makes America such a great place and the main idea that we try to export when we are in another country.
If we make laws to start keeping out certain religions, where would such a thing stop? How do you police a view point? Would we keep out only conservative Muslims but let in secular Muslims? And why not Jews too? And what about Catholics, and Atheists. The man is asking for an Inquisition. Oddly enough we don’t even have to worry about it.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Maybe Representative Goode never read that.
One of the reasons I joined the Air Force was because I felt it would help me grow as a person, and today I did, just a little bit. See, my whole life, I have always wondered why I don’t seem to feel like other people. Any time I have ever “belonged” to a group of people such as a college or a church, when I it was time for me to leave, I felt nothing. I always wondered why.
Also, my whole life I have never really tried my hardest at things until the bitter end. In every group of people I have belonged to, and even individual relationships, I cut my losses. When it came time to look failure in the face, I cut my losses and got out. Instead of going down swinging and never giving up, I was so afraid of trying my hardest and it not being good enough that I never gave the fight everything I had.
Its about fear. Its always about fear of pain. If I fail and didn’t really try, it hurts less than if I try my hardest and fail. Or so I thought. It turns out, the failure doesn’t hurt at all. I never really thought I had a chance here. Aside from Pararescue there is nothing more difficult to do in the Air Force, but I committed myself to doing the very best that I could. And I did. I fought every step of the way. I did go down in the end. But I went down proud.
How do these to things fit? For the first time in my life I really miss these people. All of us together gave it everything we had. Some are making it, and some didn’t make it, but everybody who made it past the first 3 days gave it everything they had. I look at the people I know and I give them my email address and ask them to stay in touch, because I care this time. I really, really care. When I think about it, through out my life, the people I know who I gave my best to and who gave their best to me, I still care for, but I never put it together. When I give it my best it doesn’t hurt to fail, and I come to really care about the people I worked with.
Today is my last day here. I started to feel afraid. More afraid of the angel I’ve never seen than the devil I know. I’m going somewhere different, learning something different, doing something different, and I started to feel kind of sick with nerves. The realization that I am leaving the first group of people I ever cared about just made it worse. (For family and friends who are offended, I’ve missed individual people much. Its a WHOLE group that I’ve never really cared about.)
As I walked to my final appointment I looked down at my uniform. And I wasn’t afraid anymore. If I something happened to me today, I die an Airman. Not a tech school flunky, not another minimum wage slave, not another college grad. I am an Airman. I have 21,000 brothers and sisters in Iraq right now. They face their fears everyday. We’re Airman, thats just what we do.
Today, I had to go to an office to talk to a superior. Now, this is somewhat silly to me to begin with. I work nights, so I must go in during the middle of what is my sleep time. I also must go in uniform, again despite the fact that I am NOT at Duty. But the superior is, so I must dress professionally. Irritating as that is to me, I can see the point. Some people don’t have the sense to dress appropriately.
Now, yesterday I was told at 1345 that I needed to see this person at 1200. (The DoD gives guidelines about what I can say about a superior so let me say, carefully, that this superior and I have had a bit of a personality conflict before.) When I received the message I immediately called to explain why I had missed the meeting.
Today when I showed up to the office, exactly when I said I would, I mentioned that I had been called the day before, and had left a message explaining why I was not present. The superior said she hadn’t listened to the message, because she didn’t chose to listen to phone messages from people under her charge. She simply deleted them as soon as checked her messages.
When I was a younger man, I would have had something to say about this. I would have been angry, my rights would have been trampled. Today, I was happy. Because I know that I can do better. In fact I know I did do better when I was down and out restaurant manager in miserable little whole of a store with employees who were drug dealers. Today, I am reassured that I have good career, and that if I meet my own standards I will exceed what is required of me.
Now I’m off to a Safety Briefing! I will be told (as I have at the other 3 or 4000 I’ve gone to) not to drink and drive, don’t drink and procreate, don’t drink underage, don’t cause others to do the same. *Sigh* (And I had such plans for the holidays) Well, ya’ll the next few days will be a whirlwind, so if I don’t write for a few don’t panic, ole’ oneliter is working on brilliant and funny material. Stay tuned.
I am digging through my head for deep thoughts, and find that there is very little going on that I can share right now. The USmil has a policy about blogs. We aren’t supposed to drop anything that could be mission critical in a blog. Since the big news I have right now is all the things I am doing before I get to my next base, and what my next base is I can’t really talk about that.
I wrote an enormous dialog today. It was a conversation in my head that I wrote out out. I asked myself questions about my life and attempted to provide answers to myself. I ran into some brick walls. Sometimes the only person who I can get a hold of who was there was me, so I can’t really get an objective view point, at some point in the future I am going to need to dig up some old friends (and by dig up I mean Google. ) Ask them “Hey did I really say/do/ X? Did you say/do Y?
I read once the Martin Luther started keeping a diary because he felt it was the only way from him to have objective data on his own mind to was to document his own mind and thus prevent the natural re-remembering that eventually corrupts what we remember.
So I guess now would be a good time to clarify ME, so I have documentation on this in the future when I am like “Who am I again?” We humans are made of 2 things. What we do, and what we’ve done. So to answer the second question. What have I done…
I was born. I lived with a mom and dad who had serious problems both with each other and in and of themselves. By strength and grace, my parents, like us all, grew up. Growing up is hard, for parents and for kids and things from time to time got pretty hairy. In general however, my parents were outstanding. As previously noted in this blog, I am not in jail. I am not dying of an STD. I have no kids besides the one who sleeps a door down from my room. My family was asked to race the Indy 500 in a lawnmower. We didn’t win, but we competed the best we could
The biggest struggle I have ever faced is probably Christianity. Christianity in truth is a beautiful journey with a loving Person. Sadly, Christianity, though simple in concept can be pretty hard to execute (Ask a martyr). I’ve have a known a great number of people who thought they knew everything there was to know about cars and thus had cars explode at inopportune times (Is there ever an really opportune time for a car to explode?) The car and feeding of an automobile is far easier than the car and feeding of a Faith. If you do not feed your faith it will fail you at the worst time.
Religious Professional are a conflict in terms, and I’ve suffered much under the advice of “Experts”
The new way I have of dealing with this is a wonderful gift of God called “Common Sense”. When I want to know how to catch fish, I will ask the man with many fish in his basket. When I want to know what God has to say I will ask the man knows him. I trust the advice of those follow scripture rather than those who read it, regardless of how well or deeply they read it.
And to what is rapidly becoming a manifesto (Trying not writing a manifesto listing to orchestral metal music) I add this. No one gets to tell me who I am. No one at all. Feel free to tell me what you see. But nobody, no pastor, family member, officer, sergeant, etc. gets to say who I am.
As to what I do, I work, I father, I love, I husband, I design, I write, I think. Words to live by:
I look, perchance to see.
Over the years a person builds a definition of themselves, a man is the sum of experiences. We often say “If I could do it over again, I would do it like this” but in reality you can only say that because you didn’t. Every moment of your existence has only served to make you what you currently are.
I for one, refuse to define myself by what I am not, and I will not define myself by my fears. I don’t know why that is appealing, but we all do it, one time or an other. We take pride in our failings, because they are (though disappointing) uniquely ours. So even thought I may be the only person I know who fears XYZ in the ABC way, I am not going to ponder it. We are made to become what we behold. Whatever you think about so shall you become. If you focus on fear it will consume you. So screw fear.
I don’t want to define myself by what I want either, I think that will just make me want everything. I want to define myself by power under control. Thats not only what you can DO, but also what you can’t. Power under control. That is what I want to become.
Today, in a shocking turn events, the American Automobile Institute (an leading think tank that specializes in future predictions for the auto industry) has announced that ugly, expensive, poorly made vehicles that get atrocious gas mileage are declining in popularity.
Officials at Ford, still reeling from a 7.5 billion dollar loss this year, are hard pressed to respond to the new challenge. Ford CEO Alan Mulally had this to say: “Ford has been the leader in unattractive, indifferently made cars for years, we’re not going down without a fight.” Part of Mulally’s plan is to make new Fords even more lumpishly unattractive than its competitors awkward, misshapen cars.
GM posted the lowest losses last quarter, a paltry 155 million, in comparison to 1.8 billion at Daimler -Chrysler and 1.5 billion at Ford. This is part of Chief Executive Rick Wagoner’s aggressive plan to continuing firing people until solvency is reached. “I think a really ideal situation is if cars are made by magic. With magic we will will can increase our profit 70% per unit, on average. As long as we continue to make no effort whatsoever to invest that money into long term plans, our bottom line will be fantastic,” he said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Hans Griebon, CEO of Daimler-Chrysler was busy committing suicide in a German brothel, and unavailable for comment, but Andreas Renschler, a member of the board of directors said the following: “You know, despite a handful of really exceptional products we’ve made a living over the years by just doing whatever seemed to work for Ford and Chevy. I guess we will continue on making really ugly, poorly crafted, ill designed vehicles and lay of the vast portion of our staff.”
Honda, Toyota, Suzuki, Fuji, Nissan, and Mitsubishi all posted nominal sales this years. Honda in particular has drawn the ire of American consumer advocates through its well thought out design, high build quality, and excellent employee relations. However, its strategy of pretty cars that run forever seems like childishly simple economics to the dead broke, but sophisticated American manufactures.
I leave here soon, so I said good bye to the ocean today. I sat in a pile of salt grass and watched the waves meet the land in foamy enthusiasm. At first all I had was moon light, but slowly the sun came up and everything came into focus. I watched the fishing fleet head out, and the paths fill with joggers as the rest of the city woke up.
I drove home, salty mist still on my lips, and made my self a cub of herbal tea. One of the radio stations is having feminist content day. (No joke.) So I listened to a song called “Girls Night Out” which was about a bunch of happy go lucky witches as I drove. (Now theres something in short supply.) I remembered as I walked in the door that I had promised Wife that I would tidy up the kitchen so I began to do so before she got up. Meanwhile at in my neighbors half it sounded like there was a furniture moving contest approaching crescendo. I was just thinking about asking them if everything was all right when the doorbell rang.
My neighbor, looking very concerned and preoccupied handed my is eldest born and saying
“Imsorryitsoearlycouldwatchmysonforafewthanksbye!”And did a two step sprint into his half. So me and my cute as bug neighbor played marry had a little lamb on the toy piano until about 15 min later when his very relaxed but somewhat worn down mother knocked on the door and politely took him back saying “Thanks” and departed. It just proves my theory: at any given time, I have no idea what is going on.
Ten days till Christmas, and only a few more till I can get the heck out of here. I spent the last 12 hrs in a 12X14 room with the same 5 people and I am ready to snap. Oh, and I just peed my self straining to hard to push a fart. Hows that for sophistication. On the plus side there is a huge storm somewhere out in the Pacific so we should be getting 20′ waves pretty soon. Thats pretty big for out here. Maybe that is big anywhere, I don’t really know.
Well, I am presenting my Christmas Demands:
1. Any how to book that I can enjoy reading over and over. I enjoy how to books about renewable energy. I could use a good American Cars 1890-1942 reference. (I’ve got enough post-war reference.)
2. A good how to Pulsejet book.
3. Family Guy seasons 1-whatever.
4. The Visible DOHC 4
5. The Visible OHV V8
6. Anything ironic and smart alecy on a T-shirt (If its merely tired humor I’m not interested.)
7. High quality teas
8. Odd ball sodas (The kind that you get in health food stores)
9. Static model DC-3
10. static model 1964 1/2 Mustang
11. static model Sopwith Camel
12. Metric and English Crows Foot socket set (3/8 drive)
13. Radio Shack 500 and 1 Electronic Experimenter (the big one with the IC on it)
14. Control line electric model airplane (old school)
15. Dave Gingerly’s Stirling Book
Ok, now I am going to go get some well needed rest
So you think that was weird? How about this