Monday, January 31, 2005

Culture Shock

I guess it was pretty inevitable. Every time I've visited the States over the past four and half years, it's only been for a couple weeks and I get all giddy like a school girl and go on shopping sprees and whatnot. This time, however, it's a little more permanent.
Let me start from the beginning. I checked into my hotel yesterday to find out I was blessed with wireless internet access. Apparently, this is a pretty common thing in the States. No more paying a ridiculouly high fee for crappy service (I'm talking to you, Heronet!). And you can imagine my sigh of relief when I realized I wouldn't have to forego my daily visit to The little Mormon girl at the front desk didn't seem quite as excited.
This afternoon, I made the trek over to Super Target, which was probably the most bewildering thing I've experienced yet. Did you know Target now has furniture? FURNITURE at TARGET! And it's not shoddy, either. It's good, quality, cool looking stuff. I knew there was a reason I swore off Wal-Mart. Not only was I amazed by the presence of furniture, but I was totally freaked out by all the stuff! After all the time spent shopping at the Misawa BX, I damn near fell over when I saw 8,372 different varieties of shampoo.
After Target, I walked into Barnes & Noble, where I immediately had an orgasm.
After spending four hours at Barnes & Noble, I grew hungry and walked down to Applebee's, where, despite popular opinion, I was able to order a beer on Sunday. And not just any beer. I got a Hefeweizen. On tap. However, they did force me to order food with my beer. That's okay, though. I was hungry anyway.
Another added bonus is that I flew into the States coincidentally on the same weekend during which the feature film "Alone in the Dark" is released (featuring Tara Reid as an anthropoligist!). Does it get any better than this?
The final overwhelming thing about which I will write is the 99 television channels I can access. And of these 99 channels, there are no fewer than 14 news channels, three cooking channels, nine religious channels (including the BYU station - PARTY ON!), and six that show infomercials NON-STOP. Of the remaining 67 channels, at least 60 are showing some kind of reality television show at any given time. I LOATHE reality television. Luckily, I have found solace in VH-1's "I Love the 90's." As anyone who's ever played the Trivial Pursuit 90's Edition with me, the 90's are MY DECADE!
Anyway, I'll be sure and keep everyone posted on my daily freak outs. Stay tuned for when I pick up my brand new truck and try to drive on the RIGHT SIDE OF THE ROAD! Two words: Di. Saster.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Rednecks and Reacquiainting

After arriving at the Salt Lake City airport yesterday, I was greeted by two men who, during the ride to my hotel, talked endlessly about hunting. I somehow managed to get the basics of life at Hill AFB out of them, though. I was originally supposed to be working in the Utilities shop, but I have been moved over to the zone, which is strangely reminiscent of my arrival in Misawa. My hotel is right in the middle of a little shopping area. I have a Target and a Barnes & Noble right across the street, and I'm about a half mile walk from a mall. The best part, though, is that I got in touch with my friend Caleb Wendt, who lives nearby. He came and picked me up last night with his girlfriend, Summer, and we went out to eat and to his house where I met a couple of his brothers. We spent most of the night catching up and telling stories. He gave me all the ups and downs of life in Utah. I'm still kinda freaking out about actually being in the States again, but I really think I'm going to like it here.

Saturday, January 29, 2005


Misawa Crew
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Today, I officially start my new life in Utah; but before I do, I just want to let everyone know how much I appreciate all my peeps back in Misawa. I'll never forget you guys. Much love.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Jet City with Abs

I landed in Seattle around noon-ish today, about five hours BEFORE I left Misawa. Kinda funny, huh? Anyway, my good friend Abby picked me up at the airport and we had the funnest day. We dropped my stuff off at my hotel and I showered, then we went to downtown Seattle for a late lunch at this great Mexican place. Mexican food is something Misawa sorely lacked. Then we just walked around downtown and through the market, which was interesting with all the neat shops and street musicians and stuff. Then we went to the movies and saw "Sideways," which was absolutely spectacular. Anyway, I just wanna give a shout out of thanks to Abby for the great day of conversation and fun. Tomorrow, I head to Salt Lake City where I'm apparently supposed to live for a while. Craziness.


I get on the plane today. Last night was my last night at the Hospitality House. I was worried about saying goodbye to everyone, but it's not that bad. I'm not saying I'm not going to miss everyone, because I will. It's just that I feel the relationships I've nurtured over the past four and half years are ones that will continue to grow. It's not the end.

"May the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent, one from another."
Genesis 31:49

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Out there

I have now completely out-processed my squadron and the base. It feels kinda liberating, yet vulnerable. I still have to meet with my landlord this afternoon to discuss what he's going to charge me to re-re-paint my house. Yeah, that's a long story I don't really care to discuss. Regardless, I have my plane tickets, and there's not really anything anyone can do to stop me from leaving.
Since I'm in the middle of moving, my posts on "the wax" will not be exactly consistent. I'm going to do my best to keep it updated, but I can't make any promises until I get everything set up in Utah. I've decided to put "Tripping Lucid" on a brief hiatus; however, I will still log my dreams in a notebook, and post them whenever I can.
Anyway, I just wanted to let everyone know the dealio, so I don't get angry e-mails from people wondering what the dealio is. Take care. No worries. God Bless.

Monday, January 24, 2005

This house is clean.

I guess I'm in what would be known as the "home stretch." I would like to thank Jimmy for letting me crash on his floor for the past few nights, since I was without furniture. I moved into billeting today, which is actually pretty nice.
I would also like to thank Caleb, Jimmy, Kerry, and Jeni-Bomb for helping me paint my house on Saturday. The results weren't exactly spectacular, but at least we put forth an effort, and, more importantly, we had fun.
Today, I went through and vacuumed all the floors, scrubbed the bathroom, and washed the walls. I got a little nostalgic when I was wiping away all the graffiti. Quotes from everyone from Thomas Paine to (of course) Madonna. Movie lines from "Planet of the Apes," "Groundhog Day," and "Gone With The Wind," to name a few. High scores from Tetris and Bop-It (my eternal envy of Mike Hook and his big 250 on Bop-It Extreme).
Now, it's just a house.

Friday, January 21, 2005

What's up, Doc?

So, it all began on Tuesday, when I was in yoga class. Everything was fine, until one time when we went into the downward facing dog pose. I was moving my arms above my head, and heard a snap and felt a sharp pain in my left shoulder. For the rest of the class, I couldn't move my arm up at all, so I just kinda faked the rest of the poses. Wednesday, it was still hurting, so I decided to call for an appointment, which was made for Thursday morning. When I got to the hospital, the doc checked me out and asked all the standard questions and sent me down to get x-rays, just in case. The x-rays showed that nothing had been broken, and nothing was out of socket, which is a good thing. So then, she sent me to get drugs (Naproxen - a stronger form of Motrin), and then down to physcial therapy, in the hopes they could fit me in for a more thorough diagnosis before I PCS. The physcial therapist checked me out, and, after telling me I had the loosest joints he'd ever seen, taught me a few exercises I could do to relieve the pain and get full range-of-motion in my arm. He told me what exactly happened (apparently, I grinded some bone/cartilage that wasn't supposed to grind, causing tenderness and pain) and gave me a very detailed print out for my exercise instructions. I left a happy boy.
So, my point is this: people give military doctors a lot of crap, but in my eight years of Air Force medical care, I have had no complaints. Every time I've gone to the hospital, be it at Nellis or Misawa, the med techs and doctors have been nothing but courteous, professional, and thorough, with an excellent bedside manner. I know there are those of you with some crazy Med Group stories (Biscuit's is the best!), but until I get treated for a concussion when I should be getting the drugs pumped out of my stomach, I'm going to defend military doctors.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Mmmmm. Free goo.

Stay Puft
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
1. "Curtis, what did I tell you about playing with those rabid dogs?"

2. "Curtis, have you been huffing that white spray paint again?"

3. "Looks like Curtis has been making out with Peeps."

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

You Speak-a

Japanese Mover Guy: (holds up miniature version of lamp from "A Christmas Story" given to me for Christmas 2003 by Abby) Lamp-u?

Me: Hai.

JMG: (with puzzled look) Leg-u...?

Me: Hai.

JMG: (with really puzzled look) Ooooooh.

Me: (blank stare)

JMG: (shakes head)

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

I wanna hold your hand.

The first round of movers just left with my unaccompanied baggage. There were four of them, and they totally looked like the Beatles. Well, almost. There was a John, a Paul, and a Ringo, but the fourth guy was older, and didn't really resemble George Harrison too much. Regardless, I was kinda hoping they'd stop in the middle of packing up all my stuff and start singing "She Loves You" or something.
Now I must make preparations for round two, for tomorrow, another gaggle of movers will come and take away everything else belonging to me. But first, I must get clean, because I've had on the same t-shirt for over 48 hours...without showering. It's repulsive, I know. Ringo made a funny face when he walked by me earlier.

Monday, January 17, 2005

There's Still Time


So Jealous
Tegan and Sara

Tegan and Sara are twin sisters from Canada, and they've been around a while, but their latest album, So Jealous, is what's going to put them on the map. The new wave and pop hooks are what draw you in, but the more you listen, the better it gets. Plus, any album where Matt Sharp makes an appearance can't be bad. The timbre of their voices could easily come off as annoying, but once you get used to the folky melodies, it just becomes endearing. Full of heartbreaking lyrics with a sweet sound that doesn't devolve into sappiness, this album proves that pop music can still have depth. It's impossible not to sing along. This album will be my soundtrack to 2005.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Winter Wonderland

Carving at Hakkoda
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Snowboarding is one of the many great things northern Japan has to offer. There are several excellent resorts within a 2 hour drive of Misawa. This picture was taken by Paul at Mt. Hakkoda, one of the more challenging places to go, and, as you can see, it's absolutely gorgeous. Luckily, my future home of Utah is also known for its snowboarding, and even though I may pay a little more for lift tickets, I don't think I'll be paying up to $60 on toll roads. You gotta love the Japanese and their unbelievably high cost of living.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


CE Christmas in Vegas
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
So, as promised, here are a couple pictures from the Christmas parties I went to last month. The first one is Jimmy, Amy, and I at the CE Christmas Party. Our theme this year was "Christmas in Vegas" so I decided to dress like a rock star. Amy was a pop star, and Jimmy was a punk rocker. I went a little overboard with the eyeliner and the nail polish, and got some strange looks from several people. Ironically, those same people are the ones I'll miss the least when I leave Misawa.
The second picture is from the NSGA Christmas party. Paul and Trish asked me to go with, and besides them, Amy, and Jimmy, I didn't really know anyone. So, in order to be more social and up my chances of having a kick-ass time, I turned to alcohol. By the time this picture was taken, I was pretty inebriated. Again, a special thanks to Paul and Trish for taking care of me.

NSGA Christmas in Misawa
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Nothing more...

For the past three weeks, the top headline has been the tsunami in coastal southern Asia and its after-effects. We've seen story after photo after video of thousands of people dying. Such massive destruction has rarely, if ever, been seen by anyone. The death toll has risen daily. Thousands of children orphaned. Billions of dollars in damage and reconstruction costs.
And how do I feel? Numb.
I mean, I sympathise with these people, but I'm troubled at the fact I can't work up a tear or even get that empty feeling in my stomach. I watched in shock as the waves came over the beach and spilled into the streets and washed away the people and cars and buildings. I thought about how horrible it must have been to witness it. But I didn't really FEEL how horrible it must have been.
I remember going in to work on September 12th, 2001 and turning on the TV in our break room and watching that plane fly into that building over and over and over again. I did feel a little taken aback. There was a little bit of emptiness in my chest. But I don't think I truly felt the pain I should have.
I remember sitting in my sixth grade class on January 28th, 1986, and watching the Challenger Space Shuttle explode with those seven astronauts on board, including Christa McAuliffe, who was to be the first teacher in space. Our teacher made such a big deal out of it, but I just sat and watched. Maybe, since I was just 11, I didn't really have a grasp on what death really was.
So, why am I this way? I've thought about it plenty of times, and I don't really know. Maybe I've just been calloused by all the horrible things going on in the world. Genocides. Stupid wars. Murder. Racism. Homophobia. Senseless violence. Hate crimes. Maybe I'm just cold and heartless. I've tried to get worked up about these things. I've donated to relief charities. I've imagined myself being there. Whatever it is, I don't like it.
I feel so detached from life that death has no meaning.
I'm going to change this.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

All About the Benjamins

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Whoever said you can't buy happiness has never been to Shimoda Mall.

Friday, January 07, 2005


It has finally happened. After three months of calling, visiting, begging, and nagging the crew at MPF, I received my official orders today. Of course, it couldn't go perfectly smooth. Due to a slight oversight by MPF, they're going to have to cut a set of amendments to go with my orders, which, God willing, will be ready on Monday. Regardless, the biggest obstacle has been conquered. I can't believe it's actually happening. I've spent nearly four and a half years in Misawa, and it's so strange to see the beginning of the end. Almost surreal.