Saturday, May 31, 2003

We have a departure date of July 2nd, and I'm pretty excited about it. At first, I was going to take leave en route in the States before I went back to Misawa. Now, however, I've changed my mind.

Here are the pros for taking leave en route:
1) Get to see friends/family sooner.
2) Home by the 4th of July.
3) Surprise family.
4) Save lots of $$$.

Here are the pros for going back to Misawa first:
1) Won't have to carry my chem gear home with me.
2) Don't have to give up 2 free weeks off work.
3) Brother and friends will be gone on sailing trip for most of July.
4) Can be sure my Mom will get time off work while I'm home.
5) Will be able to go to the Mt. Fuji retreat.

So, yeah, the kicker is getting to go to Fuji. I'm way excited. I told my Mom today that she was just going to have to wait an extra month for me to come home. She was a little disappointed, but she was cool about it. She's just glad I'll be out of the desert. And I am, too!

I'm going downtown tomorrow with Melissa, Ann, Mikey T., Buddy Ling, and Mike White. We're just going to get a room at the Ritz and lay by the pool all day long. It should be quite relaxing.

Okay, I'm gonna go to bed now. No worries. God Bless.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

I think I'm shallow. I don't want to be shallow. At times, I think I have profound, intellectual thoughts, but then I read something C.S. Lewis or Phillip E. Johnson or Bret Easton Ellis wrote, and wonder if my mind will ever be able to conceive such notions. I hear music from Mozart or Radiohead (I know that's a broad spectrum), marveling at how God has chosen these people to deliver his voice, and hope I will one day compose such beautiful harmonies. Is this something with which I'm born? There's some things you can be taught (i.e. grammar, math, etc.), but then there's the other stuff. Is this something that will come with time and experience? Will I just have to settle for being average? How do I become un-shallow? I've tried pretending. I talk to people about the depth of song lyrics or films or books, but a lot of it is just regurgitated critiques. I let the media decide what I like. Is it something that will enter my brain when all the other useless stuff goes away? Either way, I need to get all the sin crap out of my mind, starting with my materialism and lust. Those are my biggest vices, and they're both totally useless. They cause me to spend money on stupid things and fill my mind with stupid thoughts, leaving me hollow, but still wanting more. Even as I write, I have windows open for and Will I never learn? I guess it's all about disciplining myself. Don Weber gave me a book called "The Celebration of Discipline," but I haven't the discipline to read it. Kind of a catch-22, huh? No worries. God Bless.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Mike Tenhaaf and I are both off tomorrow, so, as is the tradition for the past five months, tonight is "Fun Night." That's where we stay up late and maybe get pizza (if the base Pizza Hut isn't closed) and watch a movie or an episode or two of "The Simpsons" and write e-mails and do some online shopping and whatever else we feel like. There were formerly two other participants in Fun Night, namely Adam Watson and Jonathan Reynolds. However, they have both been chosen to make an early return to Misawa. But I'm not bitter. I'm happy for them. But, I digress.

Anyway, tonight, Mikey and I watched an old Ewan McGregor movie called "Shallow Grave." It's a pretty good movie about three roommates who get a fourth roommate. The fourth guy dies of an overdose in his room leaving behind a suitcase full of money. Needless to say, greed and murder all come into play. What I didn't like about the movie is that you kind of root for these people who are stealing and killing. "Ocean's 11" was the same way. The protagonists were a bunch of thieves. I guess that's why I like "Fargo" so much. It's got everything: drama, love, intrigue, dark humour, good versus evil, and a great moral at the end.

So here's a little more about the whole vegetarian decision: I don't think eating meat is bad. This is just something I need to do to help find balance in my life. I can answer any questions for any question-havers.

Here's some things I like about my friend Mike: 1) the Dutch way he spells his name (Michiel Tenhaaf); 2) he makes me laugh, especially when he says "I'll allow it" in a Judge-Mills-Lane-mocking way; 3) he likes the movies I pick out; 4) we're both Mama's boys; 5) I've got him addicted to online shopping, and he has pretty good fashion sense, too. I could write more, but it's getting pretty late.

No worries. God Bless.

Monday, May 19, 2003

So I got to go downtown yesterday, and it was a pretty good time. We went shopping, got a hotel room, and relaxed by the pool. Hopefully, next time I drive through Doha, I'll be familiar enough with the city so I don't get too lost.

I've made kind of a big decision. I'm becoming a vegetarian. Actually, I've been a vegetarian for about 8 days now, and it's going pretty well. It's something I've been thinking about for a while now, and after doing some research, I dropped meat from my diet. I haven't gone totally hard-core, yet. I'm allowing myself to eat seafood still. I may give that up eventually. Several things have contributed to this decision. There are many benefits to a vegetarian diet, both in personal health and in the environment. If it's something you've ever thought about, I encourage you to do some research of your own. There are tons of websites explaining the best ways to go about excluding meat from your diet, the best foods to eat for a balanced diet, and recipes, too. Actually, I haven't gotten to try any recipies yet, but the chow hall usually serves a vegetarian entre that's quite tasty!

We had a big squadron meeting today regarding our departure. Apparantly, our replacements are set to be here around 8 July, hopefully putting us on a plane within a week of their arrival. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I'll be taking leave in the States for a couple weeks, so I may not get back to Japan until the beginning of August. That will be nearly 8 months I've spent away from my home. Craziness! I so miss everyone back there. I can't wait to see them all so we can go camping and to the beach and rolling down hills.

Okay, so I'm gonna shoot out a few e-mails, head back to my tent, do some reading (I'm currently reading "High Fidelity" by Nick Hornby), and hit the sack. Take care, everyone. No worries. God Bless.

Saturday, May 17, 2003

So, uh, yeah...I'm over here in Qatar. Today is day # 161. We don't really know when we'll be getting out of here, but I'm not too upset. I'm just kind of going with the flow. I've been keeping up with my friend Jim via his blog, so I decided to start one of my own. I'll do my best to keep it updated, but please be patient if I slack off every so often. Thanks for reading. No worries. God Bless.