Monday, December 27, 2004

Improving international relations...

In the Spirit of Christmas, I am doing what I can to spread joy whereever I go ... as always.

For example, I was at the Sultan Center (the Kuwaiti equivalent of Wal-Mart) on Christmas Day, picking up some last minute things. I couldn't find marshmallows for hot chocolate, so I opted for whipped cream. While I was standing in front of the dairy case trying to figure out the Arabic word for "whipped", a man ran his shopping cart into my ankle. I turned around and there was a Kuwaiti man (wearing traditional dress), and he said something in Arabic that I assumed was an apology. I nodded my acceptance and resumed my search. He hits my ankle again. I turn and look at him expecting more Arabic and I realize he's expecting me to get out of his way. This arrogant man in a dress has ran his shopping cart into me twice because he could not wait the 4.5 seconds it was going to take me to to find what I was looking for.

Now, at this point, those of you that think you know me well are probably assuming that I'm taking this out of context. That I have misconstrued his intentions, jumped to an illogical conclusion, and am about to react in a inappropriate manner.

You're wrong.

I have lived here for almost a year and a half, and I have a general feeling about the people here. No matter how much they appreciate what the United States has done for them, we are still no better than hired thugs, and only a LITTLE better than the TCN (third-country national) they hire to scrub their toilets and bring them their tea. Not ALL Kuwaitis have this opinion, but there are quite a few that do... and this guy was one of them.

So after taking a second (literally) to ascertain his intentions, and another second to make sure he's not armed, I kicked his shopping cart back into him. It wasn't a little tap, but it wasn't near as hard as I could have, or really wanted. It was just hard enough to push the handle out of hands, and into his mid-section.

Judging from his initial reaction, it was NOT what he expected. After a couple of seconds he launches into a tirade of what I can only assume were threats and insults. I asked him "English?" and he stopped long enough to say "NO ENGLISH!" and resumed his tirade. I saw a stock-boy run off towards the front of the store and I turned back to the dairy case to get the whipped cream, bracing myself for another cart-crash into my ankle ... which doesn't happen. But he's still going on, so I say "have a Merry Christmas" and go to the front of the store to pay. As I'm standing in line he walks up with a manager who seems very confused, and asks me what has happened. I told him my version of events, and when he relayed it to the ankle-assaulting little weasel he denied that he had ever hit me with his cart.

At this point, I just gave up. I paid for my whipped cream and left, while they were standing around figuring out what to do next. For all I know they have an APB out for a "Tall, Blonde-Haired, Blue-Eyed Westerner with a can of whipped cream and possible limp", but I could care less. C'est la vie, c'est la guerre...

On a lighter note, Shelley got the new pictures uploaded!!! There are some REALLY good ones in there, but as we all know, I'm a bit biased...

Wrap me up and send me to DAD!!!

Look Mom, it's EASY to set the time on this!!!

Love to all!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas!!!

Yes, it has been over two weeks since I last posted, and I'm sorry about that. Things have been really crazy here, and FedEx taking over 9 days to deliver a crucial part that they said would only take 3 days didn't help. We just got things back up and running a couple days ago, and have been putting things back to normal since.

One of the guys I work with invested in a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone, and he setup a couple of additional phone #'s for us, so you can call my number in Denver and regular long distance applies (not international). The really nice thing is that all of our calls to the United States are free. Unfortunately, it relies on how well our Internet connection is working at the time, which hasn't been great lately. When it does work, however, the clarity is really good. This is something that I can see dropping the local phone company and using instead.

I've got some new pictures to upload, and I know Shelley does too. She's also planning on taking Ryan to get his picture taken with Santa Claus, which I personally can't wait to see. He's got an ear infection right now, but he seems to be handling it pretty good. She said he just tugs at his ear, and is only a little less happy than usual.

I thought I had a lot more to say, but I guess not. I'll try to be a bit more verbose tomorrow, but no promises! If I don't post anything soon, Merry Christmas!

Love to all!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Thursday, December 02, 2004

New Pictures...

Thought I posted this yesterday... guess it didn't go up, and I never checked.

Shelley got some pictures uploaded, and there are some great ones in there, including this one, which is my new background:

For some reason that hasn't been explained to me yet, Shelley named this picture "turkey". There's another one called "taters" that looks like he's eating... so I'm wondering if they didn't give him some turkey and "taters" on Thanksgiving... and they wonder why he's growing exponentially...

She also said she got an interesting phone call from "CC", our daycare ... ummm, person? lady? caregiver? I don't know what to call her. She's the wonderful woman that cares for Ryan while Shelley is at work. While I'm at work too, I guess. Anyway, I'll let her tell you about it, on our other 'blog.

That's all for now! Love to all!

Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Now that I've finished Season 7 of B:tVS (Buffy: the Vampire Slayer ... in case you couldn't figure it out for yourself...), I've moved on to watching the first season of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! It was aired on Showtime last year, and it is just amazing. If you get a chance, I highly recommend picking it up. I'll be sending my copy home in a couple months, and you can ask Shelley to borrow it. I've already got season 2 pre-ordered... :) Check out for some interesting stuff from one of the debunkers involved in the show.

I've also been able to play Halo 2 a bit. *yawn* It's really nothing new. The first Halo was pretty good, considering that I'm not a big fan of first-person shooters on a console (PS2, X-Box, etc). But this one is nothing ground-breaking, just more of the same. All the hype in the media is courtesy of the marketing machine that is Microsoft. I've been more interested in playing the Tiger Woods golf game than Halo 2. There's a soldier at my site that's a big fan of computer/console games, and he has the same opinion. We're going to network our machines together, and try the multiplayer to see if our opinons change...

Ok, so that covers my video and games reviews. Other than that, all I've really been doing is working, sleeping, and eating. Shelley was going to get some pictures uploaded this weekend, but I don't think she's had the time yet. It snowed a lot this weekend, so hopefully she got some pictures of that!

I've got a few pictures to upload too, but that'll have to be later!

Love to all!

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Friday, November 26, 2004

Happy Post-Turkey Day or Happy Turkey Day Post

or Turkey Day Happy Post ... whatever.

Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving! Ours went off very well, with good food and a couple friends joining us. I cooked a 21lb turkey, and mashed potatoes, corn, cranberry sauce, etc... and here's the big news: I made gravy. That might be a simple everyday occurrence in your world, but in mine it rarely happens. My mom can attest to how many times I've called her for "gravy coaching". For those of you that have never had my cooking, I would not be exaggerating when I tell you I'm a fairly good cook. Ranging from "Creative Bachelor Cooking" (ie. ramen noodles mixed with ... well, whatever is in the fridge) to "real meals" - like Thanksgiving dinners. For as long as I can remember the Thanksgiving meal has largely been my job to prepare. Which is fine, because I really enjoy cooking...

However, gravy has always been a problem for me. I have "cheated" on more than one occasion in the past by using powdered mixes, or bottled/canned gravies... They've never REALLY quite tasted right, but it was the best I could manage. Most previous attempts just failed miserably. I felt I had some kind of gravy curse...

But yesterday the curse was lifted. I tried everything to avoid the actual gravy-making process... I looked ALL over for my usual poor substitutions. When that didn't work, I quizzed all the expected attendees to find out if they possessed any gravy-making skills... no such luck. So I enlisted Mike as my recipe-reader, and we deciphered the instructions for gravy included with the Butterball turkey. The results were as close to perfect gravy as I have ever had. It was a little salty, but that's ok sometimes too.

Ok... enough talk about gravy.

I had to fly down to Bahrain last week for my Visa again ... they require a medical outside of the country, then you come back to Kuwait and have another one done here... I don't understand the reasoning, it all sounds like a big scam, like most all the other processes in this part of the world. I did get a few pictures this time, but nothing overly exciting. The trip was just overnight, and as I've become accustomed to, disorganized. The people that our sponsored hired to handle the arrangments for us in Bahrain dropped me off at a hotel after the medical, without any real explanation as to when they will be picking me up the following day to go to the airport. When I went to sleep that night, I put the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door... so of course at 8:30am there is a pounding on the door. When I answered the door it was one of the drivers, who says he needs my airline ticket. I asked him why, and he said they needed it for the paperwork... When I gave it to him, he literally ran away. I decided to check out early, and meet a few of the other people that were there for their Visa's at their hotel for lunch. When I went to checkout, they told me that they had given my passport to the driver, and they asked if he had called me yet. So now I was even more pissed. I hadn't been given a time, he took my airline ticket, my passport; and now I needed his permission to checkout. I called him, chewed on him a bit, and left.

Anyway, here's a couple of interesting photos:

I'm still not sure if that's a Bug Slugger or Bugs Lugger... neither of which makes any real sense...

A eye-catching mosque... usually they're a little less... umm... clean, on the outside.

Ok, I'm going to go have some leftover turkey (and gravy), and watch some more Buffy:the Vampire Slayer. I just got the last season on DVD, and I'm anxious to see how Nathan Fillion did as a bad guy. Apparently he was the "scariest bad guy ever" on Buffy, according to hard-core fans. (Fillion is Captain Malcolm Reynolds on Firefly... a show I've ranted about before)

Speaking of Firefly, the movie's release has been delayed for 5 months. Apparently Universal though the original April release date was going to be too crowded with similiar films, and that a summer marketing campaign would really bolster sales... Personally, I think the ACTUAL MOVIE being in the theatres would be the best summer marketing, but maybe I'm just naive about how that kind of stuff really works... Oh well, now it's coming out in September, and will be a nice birthday story for my 'blog.

Love to all!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

))) PING (((

Just a quick post to let you know that Shelley updated the Grattan 'blog. For some reason I thought he was 24 lbs and 24 inches... Guess he'll get there soon enough! hehe

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Nothing much to say ...

... just wanted to share with you some great pics that Shelley sent me. They're in the photo album too, but I thought you might like to see them here. Even if you don't want to see them, I really don't care. My website, my rules. :P

Friday, November 12, 2004

More pictures...

Shelley uploaded a bunch of pictures, so the GRG Album has grown by about 30 pictures, and there are a bunch of others in the Latest Photo album as well. None of the house yet, but she said she'll get some this weekend.

I walked one of the big Navy ships tonight, and Mike (one of my co-workers) gave us some insightful info regarding the Apache and Black Hawk helicopters that were in one of the holds. We got a couple of pictures, and I'll get those uploaded later...

No, REALLY! I will!

Love to all!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Pictures updated ... sorta

Ok, so I did a couple things I've been meaning to do for a while now. I cleaned out the Latest Photos album, and updated it with what is ACTUALLY recent photos... I also put every picture we have of Ryan in the main album of him, cleverly called Geoffrey Ryan Grattan. There's a total of 354 photos in there, some of which are probably duplicates, but also a few you've probably never seen (because they've never made it to an album before). That should keep some of you people that keep bugging me for pictures of Ryan off my back. Believe me, I know you all come here for the pictures of the kid, not to listen to my witty observations. :P

Relatively uneventful...

My trip back to Kuwait was uneventful, for the most part, especially if you compare it to my previous trip from here... Even though I missed my first flight, was holding the same seat assignment as another passenger on the next flight, my boarding pass was "rejected" on the last flight into Kuwait, and I sat next to an insanely neurotic man for the five hour flight when I was eventually allowed to board... None of that compares in the slightest to my "Wardrobe Malfunction Flight".

So I'm back; been here for a couple days (seems like a week), and rapidly settling into my old routine. The guys I work with did an incredible job maintaining the site, as well as improving and expanding. It seems this site will transition to a more permanent setup, with buildings, instead of tents (!), and they all did a terrific job dealing with the inevitable pandemonium. Unfortunately, I made it back just in time for even more expansion... another month or so and I might have missed the fun... wouldn't THAT have been a shame!?

All those photos we've been promising to get uploaded? Ummm.. yeah... well, they're still on the way. I uploaded several before I left, just need to get the albums in order for viewing. I'd ask Shelley to look at them, but she's still digging out from the move. I just barely managed to make enough room in the garage to park her car ... errr... truck... ummm, well what the hell DO you call it? It's really too small to qualify for SUV (in my opinion), but it's bigger than a car... doesn't really qualify for truck status, and definitely not a mini-van or station-wagon... is it a mini SUV? I don't know... I'm just going off on a tangent here... Post your suggestions, will ya?

I also wanted to post my condolences for the passing of a friend's father. I haven't had an opportunity to speak with John for several years, and learned of his fathers' passing through another friends' website. I barely remember John's dad Leo, but what I do remember was a man that will be sorely missed by many people. Sorry to hear about your loss John, and know that I'm thinking of you and your family half-way around the world.

Love to all, and rest in peace Leo

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Happy Halloween!

I really, REALLY hate moving. And it seems that we've always done it on or around Halloween, and it always snows:

a little blurry, but gives you an idea of what the front looks like:

ok, have to get back to moving, but here's a few more overdue pictures

Thursday, October 21, 2004


Congratulations Cardinals! See ya in the World Series!

Sorry it's been so long since my last update. There's been so much going on in the last few weeks that I really haven't had much time to post anything. My mom and dad were here for a week, and since they've left we've been doing nothing but work on our next adventure: buying a house.

That's the big news, by the way. We close on our house tomorrow afternoon. So now in addition to the dozens of photos I have to get uploaded, I'll have more of the new house... I really will get that done before I head back overseas... I promise!!!

Monday, October 04, 2004

How I spent my 35th Birthday (cont'd)

... at this rate, I might get this tale told just in time for my 36th birthday... Sorry about that...

... anyway, as promised, the following day was much better, simply because we woke up, had breakfast, and drove to the OTHER D&B's, which was only about 45 minutes away on a Sunday morning... it probably would have been twice that on a Saturday night, which was one of the reasons we didn't do it. The other was we were already checked into our hotel.

So we got there shortly after they opened, and had the whole place to ourselves. There was no one playing the Battletech sims, so we wandered around a bit, and found the Derby Owners Club game again. This turned out to be a lot more fun than we initially thought. Basically when you start, you have to create a horse by picking a sire and dame. You name your horse and pick your jockey's colors. Each round of play consists of a training/feeding session, race, and a brief session after the race where you praise or berate your horse, and receive gifts and additions to your stables. The round lasts about 8-10 minutes, depending on different factors.

Why am I telling you all this? Because it's ADDICTIVE! I can almost guarantee you're going to be seeing one of these in the near future, because there are all kinds of message boards and user groups online. People trading horses (you get a printed magnetic card to carry so you can use your horse anywhere), trading tips, and letting everyone know where to play the cheapest. There's an online version for your computer coming soon too, but it just won't have the same feeling. You can see what one looks like (and costs) here.

We spent a couple hours playing that, then we got to play Battletech for a bit. They have upgraded these since my last visit, and the cockpits seemed simpler. The graphics were a lot better though, and the 'mechs were a lot easier to control. I won't bore you with the details, since you patiently sat there and read the whole Derby thing...

After we had sufficiently purged the disappointment from the previous night out of our system, we hit a local computer store, then Hooters for lunch. Darryl had never been there, and it's my firm belief that every man should experience it at least once in his lifetime... I know every single female reading this right now thinks that it's all about the waitresses, but those of you that REALLY REALLY know me can attest that I'm not just making this up: I really like the food there. The wings and the grouper sandwich are probably in my top 10 favorite foods... but of course, keeping with the "Things Must Not Happen as Expected" theme for the weekend, they were out of grouper.

We made the drive back to GJ in good time, despite bad weather in different places. Other than an interesting guy at a convenience store stop that I talked to, it was fairly uneventful. The only thing that made that conversation interesting was a comment while I was looking at their music selection for sale. He held up Bruce Willis' - Return of Bruno tape and said he couldn't believe he made an album. He was a bit more shocked when I told him that he had actually made two albums, I owned them both, and really liked his stuff.

Continuing our journey, we made it back to the car rental place with about 10 minutes to spare. Finally, something had gone exactly as planned in this trip.


Shelley's mom flew up from Arizona so we could spend a night in Glenwood Springs. This was the offical "Color Weekend", where all the leaves are supposed to be changing, making for a beautiful view. For some reason, I waited until the middle of the week to make reservations, and all of the places we usually stayed were booked. I did find a B&B that had a wedding cancel at the last minute, so she had the "best room in the house" available...

Unfortunately, it seems that the curse of "Not As Expected" was to hang with me a little longer. The B&B was disappointing, to say the least. The house was over-stuffed with "stuff", the room was tiny... our "private bath" was in the hallway (not connected to the bedroom, as "private bath" implies), and the hostess was a bit crazy. Fortunately, dinner was amazing, the company was even MORE amazing, and we made the best of it.

The next morning, after a very bland and unimpressive breakfast, we went up to the Glenwood Caverns. There's a tram ride to the top of Exclamation Point, where they have a restaurant and tours of the caverns. This was very cool, and we got lots of pictures ... which I swear I'll get posted one of these days.

So there you have it, my 35th birthday in a nutshell... ok... a clam shell.. err.. maybe a camper shell? ok.. a big damn shell ... sorry it took me two weeks to tell it all.

I have a bit more news to share, but I'm going to hold off until everything is for sure. Most of you already know what it is, so don't think it's going to be a complete surprise... Those of you don't that know what I'm talking about, probably wouldn't be all that surprised anyway... but it's still news. More later!

Love to all!

Sunday, September 26, 2004

How I spent my 35th Birthday...

I know I'm long overdue, and I'm going to have to post some of the pictures later, but I thought it was time to get something posted here... seeing as it's the last hour of my birthday celebration, which I kind of celebrated the last couple of weekends... in entirely different ways.

First, as I described in a previous post, I went over to Denver to spend the weekend gaming with a friend of mine. I had invited a few others, but Darryl was the only one with the time off and could afford to go... but that worked out just fine for us.

I rented a car for the trip (I'll post the picture of it tomorrow), and picked it up late Friday night. This would allow me to return in late Sunday night... which turned out to be a good thing. I think we made it back within 15 minutes of the time it was expected back.

So Saturday morning we headed out early-ish, after a mandatory stop at the new Krispy Kreme that has opened in Grand Junction during my absence. Actually, I saw that it was being built when I was home in February, and fully expected it to open shortly after I left... which indeed turned out to be the case...

So we got on the road around 10:30am, with an over-abundance of sugary sweets, drinks, and a cooler that Shelley had thoughtfully packed for us. Have I told you how cool my wife is lately? Well, believe it... she is one of the coolest people I konw! Just ask my son, he'll tell you (though we're both a bit biased...).

The first stop of the weekend was at a place in Glenwood Springs called Dragon's Lair, which is the place I first discovered Dragonsport a couple of years ago, just before I took the job that took me to New Jersey, then eventually overseas. I've always wanted to get back there, and this was the perfect opportunity.

You'll really have to spend a few minutes browsing the website to get a better idea what Dragonsport is about. If you've seen the movie Paycheck with Ben Affleck, you've already seen it in action. The websites are a bit cluttered, and of the couple of times I've visited there, it seems to me the website very much reflects the organization of this place. I really think this thing has a lot of potential, if the owners get a little more focused. Personally, I wish they would completely get away from trying to inject Star Wars themes (use The Force) into the realms of magic and dragons, but I get the impression that the owner is a big sci-fi fan, as well as fantasy (much like me), and can't resist the dream of becoming a Jedi... and who can blame him?

So after a couple of hours burning calories, we stopped at an Italian restaurant and put some back on, and resumed our trip.

Now something I haven't shared with you at this point was a bit of my last-minute planning. As I said in a previous post, the plan was to go to Dave & Busters and then go to Maximum Gamer the next day (a gaming LAN cafe). The night before we left, I was online and found that there was a D&B and MG right next to each other, in the same complex... there was also an AMC 24 Theatre in the same area. I thought it would be PERFECT...

... not so much.

First, we found the complex without a problem. The directions I had printed from Mapquest were dead-on, and as soon as we arrived, we spotted a hotel directly across the street. So far, so good...

A quick call to 411 and I was talking to the front desk of that hotel... $165 a night??? If that didn't include dinner, late night snacks, breakfast, lunch, and a foot rub, there was no WAY that was going to happen. So we jumped back in the rental car, and begin scouting things out. Fortunately we found La Quinta Inn a couple of miles a way, and it was a bit more reasonably priced. We checked in, changed our clothes (3 hours in the car after 2 hours of Dragonsport tends to make two tubby guys a bit ripe smelling...), and begin our night of fun and gaming!

It's going on 5pm, so we figured we could spend a few hours in D&B gaming and get something to eat there. Unfortunately, after about an hour and half, we were completely bored. I know that's hard to believe, but it's true. You see, this D&B didn't have the biggest attraction (in my opinion) that the other one has: Battletech simulators. This is another experience that you'll have to get a better idea of what these are about. Basically they're a "pod" that you sit in with MFD (multi-function displays) and large viewscreens that simulate piloting a 'mech against other pilots, or as a team.

Since this D&B didn't have these simulators, we briefly toyed with the idea of driving to the other one ... but when we were told that it was about 45-60 minutes away (with traffic that you can expect on a Saturday night), we decided we would just make do with what we had... There was something called the Derby Owners Club, which looked like a betting on virtual horses, but we didn't get hooked on that until the next day. More on that later...

So after we decided we'd had enough of this particular gaming venue, we decided to get some dinner at a Thai/Sushi place we had seen around the corner, then go see the movie Resident Evil: Apocalypse. These choices would just continue our string of bad choices during the course of this adventure.

Interesting side story: when we left, I (of course) left my Hard Rock Cafe Munich hat at D&B ... this is not interesting except for two reasons: (1)Shelley had specifically suggested I NOT take this hat because I tend to leave my favorite hats somewhere... and (2) I returned there some 3 hours later after dinner, movie, and realizing I had left it there and one of the employees had actually found it and put it at the front desk.

Dinner wasn't completely terrible, nor really was the movie, but neither were they shining gems in this saga, and at this point in our evening, it really wouldn't have taken much to catapult either of them to stardom... but such was not the case.

We did have a brief shining moment of seeming victory when we found out that Maximum Gamer was planning a "Lock-In" for that evening. Basically it means they will be open all night, and will keep the minors (under 18) from wandering the streets. However, there were only 5 total people signed up (including us), and the other three didn't show up. So it was just us and the guys running the shop, and with the exception of a few brief matches of Jedi Knight, it was pretty much a dud.

Even our "run for the border" was a complete failure since the Taco Bell was closed... we had to settle for McD's.

So that's how the first official day of my birthday celebration was spent. Nothing was really as we planned or expected, but I made the best of it, and despite it all, had a pretty good time. I didn't think this would turn out this long; and this is only the first day. I've still got the next day, then this weekend to tell you about! I'll post those in the next couple of days, along with some pictures! I promise that it gets better!

Sunday, September 12, 2004

... I could have SWORN I was a bigger nerd...

42.857142857142854% of me is a huge nerd! How about you?

and a couple of years ago Shelley and I got into a friendly online battle... actually, it was a Battle of the Sexes type thing. This was shortly before we were officially dating, I believe.

Anyway, I found this the other day, and that's what reminded me of it...

Finally, the guys side of the story. We always hear
"the rules" from the female side. Now here are the
rules from the male side. These are our rules!

*Please note... these are all numbered "1" ON PURPOSE!

1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl.If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

1. Sunday = Sports. It's like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.

1. Shopping is NOT a sport. And no, we are never going to think of it that way.

1. Crying is blackmail.

1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!

1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

1. A headache that lasts for 17 months is a problem. See a doctor.

1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 days.

1. If you won't dress like the Victoria's Secret girls, don't expect us to act like soap opera guys.

1. If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.

1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways, and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.

1. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

1. Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.

1. Christopher Columbus did not need directions and neither do we.

1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.

1. If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.

1. If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing," we will act like nothing's wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.

1. If you ask a question you don't want us to answer, expect an answer you don't want to hear.

1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine... Really.

1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as baseball, the shotgun formation, or monster trucks.

1. You have enough clothes.

1. You have too many shoes.

1. I am in shape. Round is a shape.

1. Thank you for reading this: Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight, but did you know men really don't mind that, it's like camping.

Sorry honey, I just couldn't resist!

Email fraud... and a few movie thoughts...

Anyone else receive something similiar to this recently?

I especially like the warning that "failure to update your profile will result in account deletation." It's almost amazing how people that are smart enough to work a scam like this are too stupid to run a spellcheck.

If you gotten a similiar email, do NOT click on the link. It's a "phisher" trying to get your information... No matter HOW official it looks, do not fall for it. If you want to pursue it further, call your bank and ask them about it.

In other news, I went and saw Aliens v. Predator a few days ago. It was just "ok", and pretty much as expected. There were absolutely no surprises. As I was seeing the previews for other movies at the beginning, it occured to me that I hadn't seen a preview for AVP, so I had no real pre-conceived imaging... which made it even more interesting that it was almost exactly what I expected it to be...

However, I did see a preview for a movie that looked surprisingly good, and that I didn't know was coming out. Blade: Trinity is the third (and supposedly last) Blade movie. I really liked the first one, despite my intense dislike of Wesley Snipes. In my opinion, he's made a LOT of bad movies, and only a couple redeeming ones. Something about him just bugs me...

Here's a snippet taken from a contributor at IMDB:

Wesley Snipes returns as the day-walking vampire hunter in the explosive third and final film in the Blade franchise, Blade: Trinity. When the Vampire Nation hatches a plan to frame Blade in a series of brutal killings, he must join forces with the Nightstalkers, a clan of human vampire hunters, in an extreme battle in which the trail of blood leads directly to the notorious vampire legend, Dracula. Written and directed by David S. Goyer, Blade: Trinity also stars Jessica Biel as Abigail, the daughter of Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), who inherits the vampire-slaying duties that once belonged to Blade (Wesley Snipes); and Ryan Reynolds (National Lampoon's Van Wilder) as Hannibal King, one of the Nightstalkers.

I don't remember much about the second Blade movie, but I think I liked it. Guess I'll have to dig it out and watch it sometime.

And the last bit of movie news: I found The Adventures of Ford Fairlane in the bargain bin at Wal-Mart! I know, I know... you're all VERY jealous!

Friday, September 10, 2004

Another week gone...

Not much to say, another great week. I get to go to sleep and wake up next to my two favorite people in the world... what could be better?

Between the waking up and going to sleep I've been trying to accomplish things. It's really hard to get out of vacation-mode ... but I'm getting a little antsy too.

My Mom and Aunt are down in Florida visiting my Grandma and Grandpa right now. I don't think they planned on making their visit between hurricanes, but it looks like Florida is going to be feeling the wrath of Ivan next week. I honestly don't know how long they're staying down there, but I'm sure one of them will reply here and let us know how they're doing (hint hint).

So it looks like I'm going WAY overboard for my birthday this year. The weekend before I'm going over to Denver with a few friends. The plans include Dave & Busters, LAN party gaming, a movie or two, and possibly paintball. The weekend OF my birthday Shelley's mom is visiting from Arizona (now officially the SECOND hottest place on the planet (in my experience)) and we're going to runaway for a night. I think it will officially be Shelley's first complete night away from the kiddo... I'll let you know how she does!

That's all I've got for now... been a while since I gave you any C&H so...

Also... I just realized that my blogger is still set for local time in Kuwait, and it says it's 7am on September 11th. I honestly didn't realize we were coming up on the anniversary of the attacks. Personally, I think that's a good thing. Not to play down the significance of the date, as we should "Never Forget", but I also think we should move on... we've given the terrorists more than their fair share of "airtime"... "Never Forget" applies to the victims of the heinous attacks, and the sacrifices that people have made to prevent it from happening again. We should honor those sacrifices, and not elevate the perpetrators importance beyond that of troublesome bugs. Squash them and move on.

Love to all ...

(except the bugs, of course)

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Home sweet home...

Well, after nearly a week home, I'm barely back to normal. Normal being a relative measure, of course. It's going to take some adjustment, to say the least.

But, so far so good. As a few of you were aware of, I had a surprise planned for Shelley. To say that she was surprised is an understatement...

Suffice it to say that she reacted pretty much as predicted. I'm still allowed to sleep indoors, but none of you should be surprised if I call and ask to sleep on your couch for a day or so.

More on that later...

I actually did get something a LITTLE more practical. It's funny because while I was overseas I drove an Ford F-150, and Mike (one of my co-workers) always said that it brought out the "latent Redneck" in me. Well, I guess it's official now...

... and what true Redneck would own a truck that didn't have at least one side painted in primer?

So besides many, many enjoyable moments with the amazing Ryan (and his amazing mother), that's pretty much been the last week or so. My sleep schedule is normalizing (again, a relative term), so I'm not waking up in the middle of the night or falling asleep in the afternoon. Well, at least not as often.

So all in all, I'm just enjoying the much-needed time off, and the time with family. I've taken a bunch of pictures and video, and I'll get it online this weekend.

Love to all!

PS... FLORIDA! ... ouch

If you want to see some other amazing photos, check this out!

Friday, August 27, 2004

Sitting in Denver...

I'm in the terminal in Denver, and since I had to re-check my baggage going through customs, I snagged a pair of shorts and have managed to cover myself up. Crisis averted. I guess I should clarify that even though JJ showed nipple, at no time was I in any danger of "outshining" her... I was just showing more leg than usual... my entire inner thigh to be exact. It was very sexy. Sorry, no pictures.

My next rant is just one that cannot wait. I was standing in the line for Immigration and was talking to a guy that had just returned from Kuwait also. He's ex-military and was contracting with a security outfit. He had spent two months in and out of Kuwait and Iraq, and said he was just fed up. I get the impression that the money was good, but not good enough to warrant more time there.

But here's the kicker. After we cleared Immigration I was in the Customs area gathering my bags. I had checked one large bag and my footlocker with my computer, and had 3 carry-ons. There was a porter there who offered his services, and I said, "Sure! I've been carrying this crap for 7000 miles... you can carry it for a while!". As I was putting my bags on his luggage carrier, an elderly woman noticed one of my bags had a "Kuwait Airport Security" tag on it, printed in English and Arabic. She looked at it for several seconds, then looked at me, and then the porter. I remembered seeing her in line in Immigration listening to the conversation I was having with the security contractor. She looked back at me and said, "Aren't you ashamed of yourself for making all that money?". It got really quiet around us (about 15-20 people in a criss-crossing line... very audible). I said, "Excuse me?". She said, "Aren't you ashamed that you've made all that money while soldiers are getting killed over there?". I waited a beat to make sure EVERYONE could hear me, then I slowly and loudly said, "No, not really, but I am ashamed of you for asking such an ignorant question." She turned away and started mumbling something and I heard 2 or 3 people say "well said" and "amen". I looked around and saw many people nodding their heads and in obvious agreement with me. A couple were giving me dirty looks, but I just looked at them, hoping they would have something to add. I had just spent 11 hours on a flight with my shorts ripped open, waiting in lines, and basically miserable. That this woman had the audacity to look down at me without knowing all the facts... without knowing ANY facts was just amazing to me.

Ok... enough about that. I'll be home in about two hours, and this will all be behind me. I doubt I'll have time to post anything for the next couple of days, so don't worry that my plane crashed in the last 250 miles. If I even THINK the plane is going down I'm storming the cockpit and taking over. I'm sure all the hours I've logged in Microsoft Flight Simulator will be a big help to them.

... and yes mother, I will call you when I'm home. :P sheesh

Me and Janet Jackson...

Shortly after I posted last, as I was heading for the departure gate for Denver, I joined the elite club formed by Janet Jackson... a club where membership requires a "Wardrobe Malfunction" in public. I've checked the membership rules, and it appears that being on stage with Justin Timberlake is NOT a requirement... thankfully.

As I was making my way to the 4th Boarding Pass checkpoint (having succesfully negotiated the 3rd one, which required a guy rubbing my entire body with a plastic wand and his hands grabbing everything that made a beep and demanding that I show it to him... I won't go into much detail than that; just suffice it to say that I got the impression that he and I now share a bond that will stand the test of time... a male bonding experience that few share... ) ...

... where was I? Oh yeah... approaching the 4th checkpoint when I dropped my ticket. Not unusual, I drop stuff all the time! So I non-chalantly squat down to retrieve it, and my shorts split on the inseam from the bottom of the cuff to the crotch. Because of my unique position during this manuever, I was treated to an amazing explosion of denim... truly a sight to see. So recovering my ticket, and the remains of my dignity, I handed my ticket to the lady (of COURSE it's a woman... my luck will not allow it to be guy... unless he happened to be homosexual... oh wait, that might have been the 3rd checkpoint, what the HELL did that wand thing do to my pants???) Sorry, it's a bit difficult to stay focused...

I hand my ticket to the woman, who is managing to keep a straight face about as well as I am, and she suggests that I ask the gate counter if they could possibly bring me my luggage so I can retrieve a replacement covering. I spent 0.45 seconds considering that option, in which I pictured me standing on the tarmac with wind blowing ... well ... everywhere, while I dig out a pair of shorts, and then having to change right there... no thanks.

Fortunately (?), the split is on the inside, and is not BLATANTLY visible unless I'm sitting with my legs wide open... then it's way more of a show than I usually give on the weekdays, in a foreign country anyway. So I tell her that it's ok, I look "european" now... and at least I'm wearing underwear. We both turn a bit more redder in the face, and she says "ok then, good luck!" ...

Off I go, and have spent the last hour and a half trying to conceal my crotch as much as possible. The laptop is doing a great job right now, which was my primary motivation for typing this up now, while I still had a sense of humor about the whole thing. I have about 10 more hours to Denver, where I'm hoping I'll be able to buy a pair of shorts that aren't Blue and Orange. i'm sure my good humor will have dried up by then, and I'll be ready to smack the next person that I catch doing a double-take on my crotch.

Oh yeah... it's a good thing I'm going home. :)

... halfway home ... well, almost.

I'm in Frankfurt, and I'm not COMPLETELY screwed, just mostly. As you may (or may not) remember, I had an issue with my debit cards yesterday. Seems they both chose this as an opportune time to just pass away. Die. Kaput. Shuffle of their mortal ... err ... ok, never mind that.

So I had this laughable notion that maybe one of them will work here in Germany. I mean, the Germans are known for their precision engineering, right? Well, it seems the ATM can read both cards, but both of them are being rejected now. The funny thing is, both those accounts have signficantly more money in them than they did, say, a year ago. Hell, 3 MONTHS ago... I'm not bragging, I'm just trying to express to you my pain. I am well acquainted with rejection for inadequacy... monetarily of course. But now that I HAVE the money in the there, I'm being rejected for some other reason I can't fathom...

As a result, I'm sitting here at some over-priced bar in the middle of the airport (Goethe-Bar), with like 18KD (about $62) and $30US or so... Fortunately, despite opinions to the contrary, cash is NOT king world-wide; Mastercard and Visa are pretty much universal.

WOO HOO! I just slapped in my wireless card and found that T-Mobile is active. 18 euros later and I'm online for three hours!!! That should help pass the time a bit. I'll probably burn through at least one battery while I'm here.. but since I seem to have forgotten to pack my DVD case, it's a moot point.

Speaking of things that I'm missing... here's a partial list at this point:

The aforementioned DVD case... I think I left it on my bed...

A 512Mb Titanium memory stick (brand new)

All my bathroom items... presumably still in the bathroom (where else?)

Sidenote: why does everyone keep trying to speak German to me? I never had people assume I could speak Arabic ... think it has something to do with the fact that I look a helluva lot more German than Middle Eastern? Nah...

Well, that's all from now. I have a 3 hour layover in Denver, so I might try to get online there. No promises though!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

... and 9 hours later, 5 hours to go...

and about 2.5 hours before I leave for the airport. I've got everything but the computers packed, and those won't take long. It took me most of the day to get everything shipped and packed and stored... and it looks like I'm leaving just in time. My ATM cards have both decided to die at the same time. I'm not sure if that's an indication of the harsh environment or overuse... Could be the combination of the two factors, ya know!?

After a year and a week in Kuwait, I'm going home. I actually left CO to work in NJ way back in March of 2003, and haven't really had time at home except for the 10 days I spent before coming here, and then the month I was home when Ryan was born... so needless to say there was way too much going on to really get a chance to wind-down then (not that I minded that!).

I've mostly been useless to this project for the past couple of weeks ... I had "short-timer syndrome", and it just got steadily worse. It's really hard for people to rally around the apathetic battle cry, "I don't care" ... Thankfully I work with a great bunch of guys, and they picked up all the balls I dropped. In the past I've left for my other project in Turkey and Romania, and I distinctly remember having a feeling of dreading what would happen here... with this crew, I have every confidence.

Ok, time to shut this computer down, and pack it into it's styrofoam-lined box to travel the 7500 miles home. It's way overdue for a wipe (clean install of the operating system), as are all the computers that I own. However, I just don't see me taking the time to do anything with them in the immediate future... I've got much better plans on how to spend my time:

I just REALLY hope they don't make me wear a goofy hat before they'll let me play...

Love to all! See you SOON!

14 hours to go...

... and it's not looking good. I'm still packing! Some of you may be thinking that I put it off until the last minute... well, that's only partially correct. I've had a lot of last-minute things to do, and it's really played havoc with my plans. Of course, if I had been packing all along this wouldn't be an issue.. but ... oh well. It will all work out.

I was awake to see the sunrise this morning:

And saw a dhow on the water (Kuwaiti fishing boat)

That's all for now... I have to get back to packing!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2004

More interesting visuals...

I saw this picture at MSNBC, and two things about it interested me. First, I used to live on Captiva Island, just north of Sanibel. Second, this is a major website publication, and yet the obvious misspellings are glaringly apparent...

More later!

Saturday, August 21, 2004

... to be more precise...

... that's local time, btw. Your results may vary.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Less than a week to go...

... and time has slowed down considerably ... as predicted.

I'm spending my last few days here packing and getting cheesy gifts for people. And taking all the pictures I've been meaning to take for the past couple of months. Here's a few more that belong in the category of "Things I saw today ..."

This is the "Theatre Support Vehicle". The 1X means first experimental, and it's been docked at KNB for a long time now. You can find some really good info at this website.

There's a few more of the TSV-1X in the Latest Photos album, as well as the full-size versions of these great pictures of Kuwait during an afternoon sandstorm:

These were taken about 4pm the other day. The nice thing is that it cooled things off a bit.

And this one struck me as interesting as well:

Well, sorry for the lack of verbosity. If you're really looking for inspiration, check this out. I've just got way too many things going on right now, and all I can really focus on is getting through the day
... because then I'll be one day closer to being home to these two:

Love to all!

Friday, August 13, 2004

Guess what?

Guess who is 6 months old today?

Happy Birthday Ryan!!!

... see you in a couple weeks!

Monday, August 09, 2004

Grattan 'blog updated

Shelley posted to the family 'blog, so if you haven't been there lately, check it out. She's updating it every couple of weeks, and even I read things there that I didn't know about!

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Scotti's Guide to Surviving the HEAT ... and MORE things I saw today that you probably didn't...

As you may (or may not) know, I used to live in Florida ... and Florida gets warm. I used to think that it was hot and miserable there, but that was before I spent time in Kuwait. Now I have a completely different frame of reference...

So I thought you might enjoy some of the ways we deal with the ridiculous temperatures we experience here.

1. Keep M&M's and Kit Kats in the freezer.

2. Wear loose fitting clothing, with BIG pockets (cargo pants/shorts work GREAT)

3. Have a seperate small fridge for soda, water, and juice.
      You want to play with the settings on this, and get it set JUST cold enough so that the soda doesn't freeze. Ours was actually set perfect until someone screwed around with it ... When you opened a Sprite you could actually watch the liquid turn to slush from the top to the bottom. I haven't been able to get it back to there since then...

4. When you leave the apartment, grab a cold drink and put it in one of the big cargo pockets in your pants or shorts. Grab a Kit Kat or M&Ms bag (buy the individual bags.. trust me you don't want to eat a 1lb bag of M&M's at once) and put it in the other pocket.

5. NEVER EVER forget your sunglasses. The wind and sun are constant factors... Also, your sunglasses have the added benefit of (see 6)

6: Get the Croakies that have the wide band in the back. Soak this in cold water occasionally. You'd be amazed how great this feels on the back of your neck...

7. Gas is cheaper than water here.. by about 4:1. Gas is about $0.65/gallon. Water is worth every fil.
      (Even better if you're on a military base ... water can be found in coolers on ice most anywhere. Most places even stock Gatorade)

8. If you're fortunate to have a coffee or ice cream shop (JJ Bean, Baskin Robbins, etc) at your location, treat yourself to a large vanilla shake every once in a while. It will probably cost about $6, and is worth every penny.
      Chocolate is just not as refreshing (to me anyway) in this environment, and it usually tastes gritty. I have enough grit in my mouth from blowing sand, I don't want to taste it in my drink too.

9. NEVER EVER forget about that Kit Kat or bag of M&M's you put in your pocket. It feels nice and cool on your legs as your going outside. It will warm up quick... you will forget about it shortly after it reaches the same temperature as your body. You will remember it shortly after you feel something squishy in your pocket.

10. Buy a fan for your bedroom. I don't care if you've got an AC that can freeze raw meat, it will reach a point in the late afternoon when it just can't cool your apartment/tent, especially if you're trying to sleep during the day.
      - unless of course you actually are staying in a hotel or local house that was built with some kind of forethought. Marble works the best... the cheap cinder block buildings only retain HEAT well, they don't shed it at all. You can touch our building at 4am and you can still feel the heat from the previous day. I only wish I were kidding about this.

I think the other way I deal with the heat is by just not acknowledging it. I have to resist the urge to beat someone senseless when they constantly point out "gosh it's hot here", as if none of us were keen enough to notice.

Moving on to those things I saw today, and you (probably) didn't.

The USS Wasp is in port, and I'm supposed to be getting a chance to walk on it in the next couple of days before it ships out. This thing is amazing! You can get all the details about this ship HERE, and see all the pictures I've taken so far in the Latest Photos album.

Also, Col Hagan is leaving soon, so we went shopping downtown,
and had dinner at TGI Fridays.

... and as we were leaving... this passed us:

My mom can tell you how many Lamborghini posters I had in my bedroom when I was growing up. This is the new Lamborghini Murciélago and it was ironic to see it, considering I had just downloaded a few pictures to use as a background.

That's all I've got for now. I'll leave you with something I found the other day, and laughed out loud. Be forewarned, it's uses the "F" word... as you can tell from the title:

The Top Ten Times in History When Using the "F" Word was Appropriate

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Iraqi raid rescues four hostages

ARMED Iraqis freed four Jordanian hostages in a raid on their captors’ hideout, one of the released captives said yesterday, while a video from kidnappers said two Turkish hostages had also been released.

The news provided a moment of respite in the hostage crisis confronting Iraq’s interim government, but fighting between police and insurgents in Mosul that killed at least 20 people underscored the scale of the security challenge it faces.

One of the Jordanian hostages said he had been released with three other Jordanian lorry drivers after a group of Iraqis stormed a house in Fallujah late on Tuesday and freed them without firing a shot.

"When the brave people of Fallujah knew that we were held hostage they raided the house and rescued us last night. We are all safe," one of the hostages, Ahmad Hassan Abu Jafaar, said.

The Iraqi rescuers were sent by a council of local elders formed last month to battle crime and kidnapping in Fallujah, where the interim government of the prime minister, Iyad Allawi, in Baghdad exercises only minimal authority.

A group calling itself the Death Squad of Iraqi Resistance said last Thursday it was holding the Jordanians to put pressure on their transport company to stop co-operation with United States forces.

Mr Jafaar said the kidnappers had wanted money. A man wearing a black face mask told reporters in Fallujah that the kidnappers had decided to release the four men because they were supplying traders in Baghdad and they had no proof they were dealing with the US.

The drivers had been carrying shoes and knitting machines imported by an Iraqi firm from the United Arab Emirates.

Insurgents aiming to disrupt supplies to US forces from neighbouring countries have seized dozens of foreign drivers in the past few months, threatening to kill them unless their employers stop operating in Iraq or pay ransoms.

The Jordanians, seized nine days ago, were transferred to a hospital outside Fallujah, where they were waiting to be moved to the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad.

Meanwhile, al-Jazeera television reported that a group linked to the Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, whom Washington accuses of being an al-Qaeda ally, had released two Turkish drivers because their firm agreed to stop working in Iraq.

"Due to the Turkish firm’s decision to stop sending supplies to US forces in Iraq, the Tawhid and Jihad Group has decided to free the two Turkish hostages," said a videotaped statement from the group, broadcast on the Arabic satellite channel.

I heard this on the news today, and it seems to me that the media is just not making as big of a deal out of this as they should be. These were CIVILIANS that took up arms and freed the hostages. The local population organized a group of CIVILIANS, and went up against armed "insurgents". Can anyone explain to me why the media would play down this action? To me it's the first REAL sign of defiance the general population has shown...

Of course, maybe a bunch of locals standing up for themselves without firing a shot isn't as "newsworthy" as 20 people being killed somewhere else...

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

... and my wife thinks I'M addicted...

Web addiction gets conscripts out of army

You've got to read this article... my favorite part is the quote: "There are no official figures for the Internet addict dropout rate".

And on a totally different topic, I officially have a reason to never listen to the radio, EVER again:

Milkshake by Kelis

My Milkshake brings all the boys to the yard,
And their like "It's better than yours"
Damn right, It's better than yours,
I can teach you, but I have to charge

(repeat ad nauseum)

If you've never heard this song, consider yourself lucky.

3.24 weeks
22.67 days
544.18 hours
32,650.55 minutes
1,959,033 seconds

... and counting!

Monday, August 02, 2004

File this under SAD and PATHETIC...

... however, I DO know a few people that will be sad to hear:

Your local taco bell most likely does not carry the Chili Cheese Burrito.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled insanity ...

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Kuwait Bans Fahrenheit 9/11 News - Latest News - Kuwait Bans Fahrenheit 9/11

Of course, you can get a pirated version at any store in Kuwait. I've had it for weeks now.

In other interesting Kuwait news, supposedly we've been told "not to go downtown between August 2nd and August 10th". I haven't confirmed this yet, but it just strikes me as incredibly asinine, especially considering this was handed down to us on August 1st. Immediately a few contractors went downtown to hit the ATM, since they wouldn't be "allowed" to go for the next week or so... as if TOMORROW we'll be in MORTAL DANGER... but today's ok. (Apparently the terrorists are busy on the 1st, then have something else planned on the 11th, but this week works for them...)

Let me stress the fact that there has REALLY been nothing other than "chatter" to make anyone believe the threat has increased here, and in my estimation (which is admittedly limited in this case), the threat is no greater today than it was 6 months ago. If you read our "threat assesment briefings" we get down here, you would think we're dodging mortar rounds all the way back to our apartment. The truth is we regularly stop in this "warzone" to shop, eat, and take in the local culture. It's no more dangerous than, say, East St. Louis ... Actually, that's probably more dangerous (anyone out there remember the bachelor party?).

... here's an old joke, with updated characters:

An airplane was about to crash; there were 5 passengers on board, but only 4 parachutes.

The first passenger said, "I am Kobe Bryant, the best NBA basketball player. The Lakers need me, I can't afford
to die." So he took the first pack and left the plane.

The second passenger, Hillary Clinton said, "I am the wife of the former US President, a Senator from New York and a
potential future president And I am the smartest woman in American history, so America's people don't want
me to die." She took the second pack and jumped out of the plane.

The third passenger, John Kerry, said, "I'm a Senator, and a decorated war hero from the Army of the United States of
America". I am also going to be my party's nominee for President. So he grabbed the pack next to him and jumped.

The fourth passenger, President George W. Bush, said to the fifth passenger, a 10-year-old schoolgirl, "I have lived a
full life, and served my country well I will sacrifice my life and let you have the last parachute."

The girl said, "That's okay. There's a parachute left for you. America's smartest woman took my schoolbag."

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Interesting reading...

... while I was plowing through the 'net (amateurs "surf" ... I PLOW), I found a great 'blog that I just had to share with you all. I also REALLY like his format, and was thinking about using something very similar when I do the next revamp that I've been thinking about. It's going to be a major leap in the setup, but it's like going from beginner to advanced mode. All that you've seen on here so far has just been basic stuff, done that way because it was the simplest way to get this thing rolling. Now that it's been here for a while, I'm ready to take it to the next level. Don't worry though, I probably won't get a chance to even think about it until after my vacation...

... which is RAPIDLY approaching...

And by the way... if I find out that ANY of you are doing THIS:

I will immediately disown you.

Love to all!

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

I saw this on the NY Times website. I really hope he needs this money badly... and that he doesn't get it. Is it just me or does it seem a little pathetic to panhandle for your campaign for President?

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Firefly news... and my love of "B" movies..

I was browsing today and there was a message about Alan Tudyk (Wash) giving an interview at This will of course only interest you if you're a fan of the show... If you're not, relax; it's not the sole reason for this post.

While I was reading the interview, I noticed a link called "Buried Gems". This was really interesting to me because of the six movies the "guide" considers to be "gems", four of them I would list in my favorite movies of all-time (First Blood and Lost World would NOT be in my list... but I can agree that they are good movies that don't get the credit they deserve).

Speaking of movies, I watched Fahrenheit 9/11 the other day. I posted my opinion of it over on my other 'blog, but I can easily recap here: crap. Now I'm not a big political person, nor am I a big fan of either President Bush, OR Michael Moore for that matter... but this is just nothing more than propaganda and misdirection. I thought maybe it was just me, but then I started reading other, more informed views (like Christoper Hitchen at The Slate or Draginol at and it appears that I'm not the only one with this opinion... much to my relief. If I thought that a large percentage of people actually bought into Moore's hype, I would be even more concerned for the future of this country...

So, that's what's on my mind lately. I'll leave you with some thoughts from Steven Wright. (yet another thing Faris sent me)

If you're not familiar with the work of Steven Wright, he's the famous erudite scientist who once said: "I woke up one morning and all of my stuff had been stolen...and replaced by exact duplicates." His mind sees things differently than we do, to our amazement and amusement. Here are some more of his gems:

1. I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.

2. Borrow money from pessimists -- they don't expect it back.

3. Half the people you know are below average.

4. 99% of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

5. 42.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

6. A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good.

7. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

8. If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.

9. All those who believe in psycho-kinesis, raise my hand.

10. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

11. I almost had a psychic girlfriend but she left me before we met.

12. OK, so what's the speed of dark?

13. How do you tell when you're out of invisible ink?

14. If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.

15. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

16. When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

17. Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy.

18. Hard work pays off in the future, laziness pays off now.

19. I intend to live forever -- so far, so good.

20. If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?

21. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

22. What happens if you get scared half to death twice?

23. My mechanic told me, "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder."

24. Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?

25. If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.

26. A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.

27. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

28. The hardness of the butter is proportional to the softness of the bread.

29. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.

30. The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.

31. The sooner you fall behind, the more time you'll have to catch up.

32. The colder the x-ray table, the more of your body is required to be on it.

33. Everyone has a photographic memory, some just don't have film.

Iraq Militant Group Takes 6 New Hostages

Iraq Militant Group Takes 6 New Hostages

Of COURSE they did!!! Since it worked so well on the Filipinos, why wouldn't they continue to do it?

How is it that these companies CONTINUE to jeopardize their people and their livelihoods by NOT affording these people some protection?

Wednesday, July 14, 2004


I know it means I'm incredibly lazy, but this was also another email from the same person that sent me the "98% - color/tool" test. I'm not sure if he's mocking me here or not...


These had your name written all over them!

1. Can you cry under water?

2. When I was young we used to go "skinny dipping," now I just "chunky

3. How important does a person have to be before they are considered
assassinated instead of just murdered?

4. If money doesn't grow on trees then why do banks have branches?

5. Why do you have to "put your two cents in"... but it's only a penny for
your thoughts"? Where's that extra penny going to?

6. Once you're in heaven, do you get stuck wearing the clothes you were
buried in for eternity?

7. Why does a round pizza come in a square box?

8. How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be
a good idea to put wheels on luggage?

9. Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wakeup
like every two hours?

10. If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing?

11. Why are you IN a movie, but you are ON T.V.?

12. Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in
binoculars to look at things on the ground?

13. How come we choose from just two people for President and fifty for
Miss America?

14. If a 911 operator has a heart attack, whom does he/she call?

15. I signed up for an exercise class and was told to wear loose-fitting
clothing. If I HAD any loose-fitting clothing, I wouldn't have signed up
in the first place!

16. Wouldn't it be nice if whenever we messed up our life we could simply
press 'Ctrl Alt Delete' and start all over?

17. Stress is when you wake up screaming and then you realize you haven't
fallen asleep yet.

18. Just remember...if the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.

19 Why is it that our children can't read a Bible in school, but they can
in prison?

20. If raising children was going to be easy, it never would have started
with something called labor!

21. Brain cells come and brain cells go, but fat cells live forever.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Two AMAZING movies

I got to see 2 incredible movies today, and I was only expecting to see one...

I went to see Spiderman 2 at a local theatre today. I have to say I was really expecting the whole experience to be a bit less pleasant than it was. I saw Matrix:Revolutions in Turkey and the theatre was very uncomfortable, and the quality of the film was scratchy and washed out. I was kind of expecting the same conditions here, and was glad to be wrong.

When you buy a ticket, the guy shows you a layout on a screen and shows you the available seats to pick from. You can also buy tickets online (and pick your seat too)... Come to think of it, it's fairly impressive that in a country where it seems technology has been kind of haphazardly strewn about, the system works very well.

Anyway, the movie was VERY good, effects and story-wise. The only minor complaint I have is the editing. There were 3 obvious parts where they snipped out risque boy/girl action (ie. standing too close, smoochy stuff). What I thought was ironic was that they cut those "lusty" parts, yet kept in a scene with Kirstin Dunst is the damsel-in-distress (chained to a wall, torn clothes, soaking wet) and they didn't see fit to clip her and her wet shirt (and nipples). Oh well, I'm not going to try understand it.

Ok, so the BEST movie I saw was when I got to work. My Father's Day box had arrived, and it included the first episode of The Amazing RYAN Show!! Shelley did a great job with this, with a DVD case (with appropriate credits), a label on the disc, and a menu on the DVD. It's a little choppy, but I'm sure that's because of the crappy computer I left her. Considering the under-powered little box she's got there (and how problematic it's been lately), I'd say she did a great job.
When I get home I'll beef it up and we'll start mass-producing these things... get your orders in now folks, they're gonna go fast!

In other news, I'm really getting ready to get home, especially after seeing the video. I even bought my traditional "travelling shoes"... See, I have this urge to buy new tennis shoes when I travel. It's one of my few vices (computer gaming is another...) Hey, I don't drink or smoke or gamble (excessively), I have to maintain a few bad habits.

Speaking of bad habits, my DVD collection continues to swell. My latest thing has been Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I've got my hands on five season, and am currently halfway thru the fourth one. I've always liked the show, but never really understood the whole storyline. For those of you that don't know, Joss Whedon is the creator of BtVS, and Firefly also. In the final season, Nathan Fillion (Capt. Malcom Reynolds from Firefly) plays Caleb, the big bad guy, and I wanted to know the storyline leading up to his part. Hardcore Whedonites have said that Caleb was the scariest bad guy in the entire series, which I think must be considered pretty impressive considering he acts the part of a southern baptist preacher.

Anyway, that's the news from the desert. Love to all!

Monday, July 12, 2004

Are you among the 98%?

This was sent to me via email, and I'll give you my answer in the comments

Amazing test....just follow the instructions as quickly as possible.

Do not go to the next calculation before you have finished the
previous one.

You do not need to write or remember the answers, just do it using
your mind.

You'll be surprised.


How much is :








I know! Calculations are hard work but it's nearly over.

Come on, one more.



Scroll further to the bottom...

A bit more...

You have just thought about a red hammer, haven't you?

If this is not your answer, you are among 2% of people who have a different
if not abnormal mind. 98% of people will answer a red hammer while doing this exercise.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Happy Independence Day (a little early)

Since I sincerely doubt I'll be seeing any fireworks, I thought I make some of my own here... Just click in the black box above the C&H cartoon at the top of the screen... see that big black box? just click there...

... go ahead... I'll wait...

Ok, that's all I've managed to get done in the past few days. Not that I've been working on THAT this whole time... that took me all of 15 minutes to setup. Don't be overly impressed, I just snagged it saw it somewhere and snagged it... I'm not a Java coder...

It just seems that we've been hitting stumbling blocks for the past couple of days. Two steps forward, two-and-a-half back... such is life.

So enjoy your 4th of July BBQ's, have a beer for me... thanks for everything! Love to all!

Update 12 July:: Obviously the fireworks are not at the top of the page. If you REALLY want to see them, click here.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

How cool is this?

I got an email the other day from someone who was searching the net for information about where her fiance is stationed. Somehow, searching for Port Shuaiba led her here, and she had some very nice things to say about my site in general, and me specifically! Well you all know how much I dislike praise... (hehe) ... so I felt obligated to do something nice for her...

To add a bit of "gee, what a small world" to this whole thing... her name is Shelley, and she lives in Arizona. For those of you that don't understand the significance, Shelley is also MY wife's name (don't forget the e... which is fairly unique), and Shelley's mom and sister (my in-laws) live in Arizona also...

Kind of a Twilight Zone thingy, don'tchathink?

I did a bit of searching myself, to try to find my site using Google, but didn't have much luck... but I did find a couple links to sites that have done a MUCH better job of describing the surroundings than I ever have... check them out here, here, and here

Anyway, thanks for visiting, Shelley --- not you Shelley, the other one ... ok, it's not funny anymore... :P

So now that my viewing audience has grown by one (bringing the total to about ... umm.. 7?), I'm inspired to start posting a bit more frequently... my energy level has waned a bit here, and I'm running out of interesting things to say. Why do you think I resort to Calvin & Hobbes cartoons so frequently? Speaking of which:

Something else occurred to me the other day... I've got a TON of those C&H cartoons on this site... but no easy way view them without reviewing all my old posts. I wouldn't subject you all to having to sift through my rambling just for a fix of C&H, so here's all of them on one page... How nice am I?

Love to all!

Friday, June 25, 2004

At war for 23 years and too stupid to know it.

I recently got this in my email, and thought some of you out there might appreciate it. Some of you might even NEED to see it...

U.S. Navy Captain Ouimette is the Executive Officer at Naval Air
Station, Pensacola, Florida. Here is a copy of the speech he gave last
month. It is an accurate account of why we are in so much trouble today and
why this action is so necessary.


That's what we think we heard on the 11th of September 2001 (When
more than 3,000 Americans were killed) and maybe it was, but I think it
should have been "Get Out of Bed!" In fact, I think the alarm clock has
been buzzing since 1979 and we have continued to hit the snooze button and
roll over for a few more minutes of peaceful sleep since then.

It was a cool fall day in November 1979 in a country going through
a religious and political upheaval when a group of Iranian students attacked
and seized the American Embassy in Tehran. This seizure was an outright
attack on American soil; it was an attack that held the world's most
powerful country hostage and paralyzed a Presidency. The attack on this
sovereign U. S. embassy set the stage for events to follow for the next 23

America was still reeling from the aftermath of the Vietnam
experience and had a serious threat from the Soviet Union when then,
President Carter, had to do something. He chose to conduct a clandestine
raid in the desert. The ill-fated mission ended in ruin, but stood as a
symbol of America's inability to deal with terrorism.

America's military had been decimated and downsized/right sized
since the end of the Vietnam War. A poorly trained, poorly equipped and
poorly organized military was called on to execute a complex mission that
was doomed from the start.

Shortly after the Tehran experience, Americans began to be
kidnapped and killed throughout the Middle East. America could do little to
protect her citizens living and working abroad. The attacks against US soil

In April of 1983 a large vehicle packed with high explosives was
driven into the US Embassy compound in Beirut. When it explodes, it kills
63 people.

The alarm went off again and America hit the Snooze Button once

Then just six short months later a large truck heavily laden down
with over 2500 pounds of TNT smashed through the main gate of the US Marine
Corps headquarters in Beirut and 241 US servicemen are killed. America
mourns her dead and hit the Snooze Button once more.

Two months later in December 1983, another truck loaded with
explosives is driven into the US Embassy in Kuwait, and America continues
her slumber.

The following year, in September 1984, another van was driven into
the gates of the US Embassy in Beirut and America slept.

Soon the terrorism spreads to Europe. In April 1985 a bomb explodes
in a restaurant frequented by US soldiers in Madrid.

Then in August a Volkswagen loaded with explosives is driven into
the main gate of the US Air Force Base at Rhein-Main, 22 are killed and the
snooze alarm is buzzing louder and louder as US interests are continually

Fifty-nine days later a cruise ship, the Achille Lauro is hijacked
and we watched as an American in a wheelchair is singled out of the
passenger list and executed.

The terrorists then shift their tactics to bombing civilian
airliners when they bomb TWA Flight 840 in April of 1986 that killed 4 and
the most tragic bombing, Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988,
killing 259.

Clinton treated these terrorist acts as crimes; in fact we are
still trying to bring these people to trial. These are acts of war.

The wake up alarm is getting louder and louder. The terrorists
decide to bring the fight to America. In January 1993, two CIA agents are
shot and killed as they enter CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

The following month, February 1993, a group of terrorists are
arrested after a rented van packed with explosives is driven into the
underground parking garage of the World Trade Center in New York City. Six
people are killed and over 1000 are injured. Still this is a crime and not
an act of war?

The Snooze alarm is depressed again. Then in November 1995 a car
bomb explodes at a US military complex in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia killing seven
service men and women.

A few months later in June of 1996, another truck bomb explodes
only 35 yards from the US military compound in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. It
destroys the Kohlrabi Towers, a US Air Force barracks, killing 19 and
injuring over 500. The terrorists are getting braver and smarter as they see
that America does not respond decisively.

They move to coordinate their attacks in a simultaneous attack on
two US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. These attacks were planned with
precision. They kill 224. America responds with cruise missile attacks and
goes back to sleep.

The USS Cole was docked in the port of Aden, Yemen for refueling on
12 October 2000, when a small craft pulled along side the ship and exploded
killing 17 US Navy Sailors. Attacking a US War Ship is an act of war, but we
sent the FBI to investigate the crime and went back to sleep.

And of course you know the events of 11 September 2001. Most
Americans think this was the first attack against US soil or in America. How
wrong they are.

America has been under a constant attack since 1979 and we chose to
hit the snooze alarm and roll over and go back to sleep.

In the news lately we have seen lots of finger pointing from every
high officials in government over what they knew and what they didn't know.
But if you've read the papers and paid a little attention I think you can
see exactly what they knew. You don't have to be in the FBI or CIA or on
the National Security Council to see the pattern that has been developing

The President is right on when he says we are engaged in a war. I
think we have been in a war for the past 23 years and it will continue until
We as a people decide enough is enough.

America needs to "Get out of Bed" and act decisively now. America
has been changed forever. We have to be ready to pay the price and make the
sacrifice to ensure our way of life continues. We cannot afford to keep
hitting the snooze button again and again and roll over and go back to sleep.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Admiral Yamamoto said "
seems all we have done is awakened a sleeping giant." This is the message we
need to disseminate to terrorists around the world.

Support Our Troops and support President Bush for having the
courage, political or militarily, to address what so many who preceded him
didn't have the backbone to do both Democrat and Republican. This is not a
political thing to be hashed over in an election year this is an AMERICAN
thing. This is about our Freedom and the Freedom of our children in years to

Please forward this to as many people as you can especially to the
young people and all those who dozed off in history class and who seem so
quick to protest such a necessary military action.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Serenity website is up!

Not much going on here, so I'll just tell you about a neat thing I've found lately. The Firefly movie, Serenity, has the official website up and running. It's still being worked on, but it's looking good!

Monday, June 21, 2004

Things I saw today... that you didn't. (Resurrected!)

A couple weeks ago I posted this, and then accidentally posted over it. I found an archive of it, so I thought I'd repost it, posterity's sake...

In my continuing observation of how surreal life is over here, it occurs to me just how many things I see here (and have accepted as "normal") that the majority of you reading this likely did NOT have to deal with today.

- There's a couple of spots right outside the base that there are constantly local police parked, with their lights flashing. I'm not sure what their function is, because it certainly isn't law enforcement. It's not uncommon to find them having a "picnic", complete with a blanket, pillows, tea, and snacks. More common to find them with newspaper in the windows to block out the sun (or the light at night so they can get some sleep). Today, and I swear this is true, one of them was backing up along the side of the road, with his hood open.

- At most of the major intersections there are crudely constructed banners and signs, all in arabic. These are usually made of two 2x4's and canvas or sheets of plywood. These typically get blown over every couple of days, but there's always someone there to replace or rebuild within a couple of days. By contrast, vehicles that have broken down or are involved in accidents sit for weeks.

- Outside of most entrances to the US military installations there are "HAPPINESS IN ISLAM" signs, with a number to call for more information. I have this image in my mind of "Islamic Recruits" anxiously awaiting the multitudes of soldiers calling to convert...

- Arabic women, fully veiled, driving at breakneck speeds, with nearly no peripheral vision. Avoid at ALL costs... trust me on this.

- Herds of TCNs (Third Country Nationals) ... and a term that just makes me smile for some reason... chasing vehicles as they pull into parking lots, waving their dirty rags towards their dirty water buckets. "Wash, boss?" is their most commoon request when you exit your vehicle, and usually takes several "no thank you's" before they lose interest. One enterprising TCN even washed my truck despite the fact that there were NO car-washers within 100 yards of my vehicle when I parked. When I returned to find my "clean" truck, he demanded 4KD (the usual rate is ~1.5KD). When I told him "no way", and got into the truck, he jumped into the back of my truck, and despite threats to drive him to the closest US base to have him shot, he refused to get out. Only after I threw a couple of 500 fil notes on the ground did he jump out and scramble after them...

more as I think of 'em!