Friday, September 29, 2006

Step Aside

While it pains me to do this, I feel it’s the best decision.  The frequency I can post on here until I get home will be sporadic, at best.  Plus, I’ve been informed that posting via e-mail on a government computer comes up jumbled and encrypted.  Therefore, I feel it’s in my best interests to put “the wax” on a temporary hiatus.  But don’t worry.  I’m keeping a little journal of thoughts and occurrences over here, so I’ll have plenty to write about when I get home.  Oh, and you better believe there will be pictures.  Lots and lots of pictures.  Take care, everyone.  I love you all.  See you in January.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Dusty Trails

Well, I've been here for a week, and this is shaping up to be the most
interesting deployment yet. The base is HUGE and there is so much going on here. There are about twenty utilities troops, but most of the utility work is contracted out to Kellog, Brown, & Root (KBR), a subsidiary of Halliburton. (Way to reap those wartime spoils, Mr. Cheney!) Therefore, most of us have been loaned out to other shops. I've been helping out the heavy equipment shop (aka Dirt Boyz...yes, they really spell it like that) and operating the airfield sweeper. It's kind of lonely and boring, but there are worse jobs to have, so I really can't complain. We work twelve-hour shifts, six days a week. I've been working days, but soon, I'm going to be switching to nights, which should be a welcome break from the heat.
The living conditions aren't too bad, either. I live in a small (12' x 15') room, referred to as a "pod," with one other guy. It's air conditioned, and I have an actual bed and a wall locker. It's a fifty yard walk to the showers and latrines, and maybe a half mile to the chow hall. And the food is pretty good. Not a lot of vegetarian options, so I eat lots of salad. A brand new gym just opened in the middle of camp, and there's a well-equipped recreation center with pool tables, air hockey, games, and movies to rent.
As for "the wax," I can't access it directly, so it looks like I'll be e-mailing my posts; therefore, I can't edit things once they've been posted, so if something is inaccurate or misspelled, we'll all just have to deal with it until January. My apologies. I'm doing my best to take lots of pictures, but the landscape isn't very exotic. Regardless, I still promise a nice photostream once I get home.
If you'd like to get in touch with me, my e-mail address is:

And if you feel ambitious enough to send a letter, here's my mailing address:
SSgt Curtis W Sutton, USAF
APO, AE 09315-9997

E-mails and letters are greatly appreciated, but your prayers will help most of all. As with any deployment, there are sure to be unforeseen circumstances and occurrences. I'll do my best to post on here, as well as send out individual e-mails and maybe even a phone call or two; but if you don't hear anything for a while, please don't worry. I'm in good hands, and have every confidence God will bring me home safely. I hope everyone is doing well. I miss you all terribly, and can't wait till we can all drink/snowboard/socialise together again in January. Late

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sun and Sand

Well, I made it. After countless hours on plane rides with layovers in Maine, Germany, and Qatar, I'm finally at my destination. The trip was pretty uneventful, but I managed to get a few cool pictures on the C-130 today. I don't have my work e-mail yet, but as soon as I do, I'll be sure to get in touch with everyone. I hope all is well with everyone. I'll write more later.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Leaving on a Jet Plane

My bags are packed and I'll be heading out the door in a few minutes, but I wanted to post once more before I leave home. Thanks to everyone who came out last night for the final going away dinner/drunk-fest. It was spectacular. I took so many pictures, and rest assured, I'll post them as soon as I can.
I can handle the heat, the long hours, occasional mortar attacks, and all other chaos that comes with deploying. But by far, the worst part is saying goodbye to everyone. Believe me, the next four months are going to fly by, and before you know it, it will be mid-January, and I'll be back in Utah ready to have some fun. By that time, just looking at a bottle of Makers Mark is going to make me a little light-headed. I can't wait.
See you soon.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Farewell Ride

Phil, Josh, & John
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Caleb and Tanya threw a surprise going-away party for me last night. They invited everyone, and it was super fun. Sarah cooked some vegetarian enchiladas that were spectacular. Drinking and hilarity ensued. Thanks, you guys. I'll have so many memories to smile about while I'm away.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

My Autumn Reading List

"Lunar Park" by Bret Easton Ellis - Mr. Ellis is genius.
"Haunted" by Chuck Palahniuk - Should be creepy, but in a fun way.
"A Confederacy of Dunces" by John Kennedy Toole
"One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
"A Million Little Pieces" by James Frey - Just to find out what all the hype is about.
"Electroboy" by Andy Behrman - Jay recommended this one.
"In Cold Blodd" by Truman Capote - Capote was pretty good, so I'd kinda like to get the back story.
"Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser - I've read several excerpts from this one, so I'd like to get the whole story.
"Finnegans Wake" by James Joyce - Don recommended this one.
"Brokeback Mountain" by Annie Proulx - It's only 55 pages.
And, of course, Air Force Pamphlet 36-2241, aka The PFE - I'm going to be testing for Tech (again) a couple months after I return. I'd better be ready.

It's ambitious, I know, but I have a strange feeling I'm going to have a lot of time on my hands in the desert.

All-American Birthday

Yesterday was Nick's birthday, and he invited us all to help him celebrate the event. Our first destination was Gino's, a total dive in SLC that had karaoke. Karaoke is always fun, but the total trashiness of this bar made it even better. I met lots of new people, and we had a great time singing. Nick performed his staple, Neil Diamond's "America," but one of the highlights was when Jeanette and Erin sang Nick's favourite Britney song, "Crazy." It was priceless.

Nick's Birthday
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Nick was even treated to a lap dance from this nice lady. I'm sure you can see why it was his best birthday ever.

After Gino's, we went to Club Sound for dancing, and closed the place down. I ran into so many people I hadn't seen in a long time. It was great. Thanks to Nick for inviting me to his wonderful birthday celebration.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Makes us want to stay awhile

Tara, Me, & Theresa
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Some bands know a guy who knows a guy. Some bands get a lucky break. And then there are bands that tour constantly, build up a solid fan-base, and get a record deal based on how great they are live. The Dave Matthews Band fall into that third category. They came though SLC last night, and Tara, Theresa, and I went.
The opening band was Robert Randolph and the Family Band. They played an hour long set of feel-good, spiritual funk and soul. It was nice to listen to, and a great choice for Dave's opening act.

Dave Matthews Band
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Just as the sun was setting, Dave and his crew came out on stage, opening with the rousing "Pantala Naga Pampa." I'd never seen DMB before, and it was cool to see the fusion of this band that played together so wonderfully. I can totally see how they've done so well for themselves. They played for over two hours, many songs lasting well past the ten-minute mark, but I guess that's what being a jam band is all about. I don't have every album they've ever released, and some of the songs weren't really familiar to me, but they were good about mixing their singles in with more obscure material. But even the unfamiliar stuff was great to listen to. Tara, Theresa, and I had a great time just dancing around on our blanket in the grass.
For the final song of the encore, they played "Stay (Wasting Time)" which is one of my favourites, and a great song to end the evening. Since this was the last show I'll see before I deploy, I wanted to take it all in as much as I could. And I did.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Let the Poison Spill From Your Throat

I mentioned before about how this deployment is going to be sort of a detox period for me. Most literally, that applies to the rather large amount of alcohol (primarily beer) I've consumed since I arrived in Utah. But there's much more to it. I spend way too much time on the internet and not enough time reading books. I'm constantly going out to eat. I spend money frivolously on clothing and gadgets. I'm hoping that four months away from all that will have a positive effect on me, and not just cause me to make up for it upon my return.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Just My Imagination

Here's a great essay about the possible correlation between a great movie and a wonderful comic strip. Definitely a good read.

UPDATE: I guess there was a problem with the site on the first link earlier. Should be fixed now. Thanks.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Hand in Hand Through Their Parklife

Before I deploy, I wanted to have a cool, fun weekend with all my friends up in Park City, about 30 minutes east of SLC. Since next weekend is Labour Day, this weekend seemed like the best time, so I reserved a couple of hotel rooms for last night and invited everyone up for a night of drunken debauchery. And boy was it!
I spent a couple weeks planning it, and I was really happy that so many people came. Park City is such a great place, it makes me wonder why I don't spend more time up there. They have great boarding in the winter, and spending time there in the summer was just as fun. I took tons of pictures, but a few aren't really fit for the public. I made a photostream you can see here. It works best if you click on each individual photo, rather than going for the slideshow, so you can read and/or post comments and notes.
I want to say thanks to Ryan (Lil'), John, Ryan (Lawyer), Nick (Air Force), Ryan (Bald), Nick (Tall), Drew, Becky, Mikey, Floyd, Ken, Monica, Kyle, Paul, Robert, and Ashley for making this weekend so much fun. If I'm ever having a rough time in the desert, I'll think back to this weekend and smile.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Further evidence of how repressed Christians can be:

Okay, this has to be one of the funniest things I've ever seen. Do people think God really cares where they buy their "Screaming O Jelly Ring" or "Rabbit Pearl Twister"? What weirds me out even more is the phrase "intimate life of God's children." Ew.

Friday, August 25, 2006

All Kinds of Time

I was once again in class this week. This time it was a backflow prevention class. Backflow is basically when there is the possibility of contaminated water infecting clean water. The class was super-easy, and we got out early nearly every day. Our final test was this morning, and now I have the rest of the day off. Plus, our Commander gave all the deployers off next week. My only obligations are a pre-deployment folder review Monday afternoon, and my final out-processing appointment on Wednesday morning. I'll spend today doing some preliminary packing, to include washing my DCUs and cutting off all the little strings. It's tedious and frustrating, but it has to be done.
In other deployment news (which seems to dominate my life lately), I found out I can e-mail posts directly to my blog, which makes me very happy. There are a lot of sites blocked over there, and I'm not sure if Blogger is one of them. But now it doesn't really matter. I doubt I'll be able to post as often as I do here, and I probably won't be able to post pictures, but I will be able to post. The news just keeps getting better and better, right?

Circle in the Sand

It's been over two years since I was last in the desert. I remember my time there vividly, but I don't really remember the time leading up to it. Over the past few weeks, I've been trying to mentally prepare myself for this deployment, but I don't really remember how. This is my eighth deployment and my forth to Southwest Asia, so you'd think I'd be a seasoned pro at prepratory work, but for some reason, the preparation isn't the part with which I'm familiar. Plus, every deployment is different; therefore, getting ready to leave for each deployment is different.
It's weird how things sneak up on you. I've known for several months that I'd be leaving in early September, but now our departure date is a week and a half away. Don't get me wrong. I'm ready to go. I've done all my necessary out-processing, taken care of getting stripes and patches sewn on my DCUs, worked out bill-paying with Ryan, and tons of other check-list items. Basically, all I have to do is pack my bags and get on the plane. I just can't believe it's nearly here.
I keep telling people I'm looking forward to it, and I am. Really. Of course, it's going to be hard to say good-bye to all the people I hang out with every week. I'll miss Roosters every Thursday. I doubt my bed over there will be as comfortable as the one in my bedroom. I'll miss Autumn and all the big holidays.
However, it's going to be a really productive time for me personally. I have a big list of books to read. I'm guaranteed to lose the gut that has been growing around my mid-section lately. There won't be any beer (which probably accounts for most of said gut), so it will be sort of a detox period. I won't be wasting so much time on the internet. Plus, I'll have a nice surplus of funds upon my return.
The only thing I'm not looking forward to is the depression I usually go through when I get back. One goes through so many changes on a deployment. Not to mention, so much changes at home station. Relationships are strained as people on opposite sides of the world have different experiences and reactions to their surroundings. Nearly every deployment from which I've returned is followed by a brief depression. It's nothing serious, and there's not really anything I or anyone else can do to alleviate or hasten it. It's just something that happens and I have to endure it. I hope nobody takes it personally.
Speaking of taking things personally, answering questions about Iraq is getting kinda old. I feel like I've told the whole deployment scenario a billion times. The questions are always the same and everyone feigns concern, but honestly, I just wish people wouldn't make such a big deal about it. There's really nothing to worry about, and it just makes me feel bad when people tell me they're going to worry about me while I'm gone. Worry doesn't do anyone a bit of good. It just causes ulcers. I'll be much happier knowing people are going about their lives, while sending up an occasional prayer (and maybe sending over a box of cookies). God will take care of me. I promise.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Burn to Shine

I wouldn't say I'm a huge fan of Ben Harper, but since they came through town last night, I decided to take the opportunity to check out the show. Especially since Caleb, Tanya, Josh, Sarah, Ryan, and the whole Roosters crew was going to be there, too.
The opener was Damien "Junior Gong" Marley, the youngest son of Bob Marley. He played sort of a reggae-meets-hip-hop set that was nice and easy to listen to. (Sarah and I were amazed at the guy who waved around a gigantic Jamaican flag for the entire hour-long set. He must have huge arms.) Plus, it was cool to see the son of such a legend.
Ben Harper and his band, the Innocent Criminals, put out some great alt-rock/soul/folk music, and have been doing so since 1993. Their biggest (only?) radio hit was 2000's "Steal My Kisses," but most of their material is edgier. The venue was the USANA Amphitheatre, which is a great place to see these types of bands because it's nice to just lay in the grass and listen.
The whole set was full of rootsy, jam-band-ish songs that made me unsure if I wanted to mellow out or dance around. Regardless, it was all enjoyable, and everyone had a great time.

Turn It Up

I may or may not have just downloaded the debut album from Paris Hilton on iTunes. And if I did, I would say the "So Bad It's Good" Award goes to her computer-tweaked cover of Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy." Let the taunting begin.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Working for Vacation

Today is my last day of vacation. After sixteen days off, I go back to work tomorrow. Over the past two weeks, I've had kind of a routine. I'd wake up and spend some time online (reading the news, blogging, etc.), then go for a run, then lounge about the rest of the day (usually reading at the pool) until I go out partying later in the evening. I was worried that I would have too much time off without much to do, but the time flew by.
I tend to dread going back to work after days off, but that's not the case this time. I've had my fill of being lazy, and it's time to be productive. The next two weeks at work are going to be full of out-processing, tying up loose ends, packing bags, and just craziness in general. And the four months after that are going to be even more crazy, but I'm well-rested and ready to go.

Friday, August 18, 2006


Theresa & Tavia
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Yesterday was Tavia's 25th birthday. To celebrate, Jeff organised a surprise party at her parents' house in North Salt Lake.

Amy & Wendy
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Pretty much all the cool Rooster's people were there, and since they're usually working when we're drinking, it was nice to get to drink with them for a change.

Jeff & Tavia
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Jeff went up to Wyoming and picked up a keg of Fat Tire, which I hadn't had since this extremely drunken night. Luckily, last night, I stopped after number four.

Me, Wendy, & Ryan
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
There were tons of people there that I didn't know, mostly Tavia's extended family, but it was great to meet many of them. I love birthday parties. Especially ones with lots of cake.
After the party, several of us went down to Area 51 for 80s night. Usually, they play more alt-80s music (Joy Division, New Order, etc.), but last night, they played a lot of Top 40 stuff. I think the gayest moment of my entire life is when they played "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" and I jumped and screamed with glee. Ugh.

Everything Ends

I just finished the last episode of the last season of Six Feet Under. I've been renting it online, and it's taken me about two months to finish all five seasons. The show and each of its characters really drew me in, and I found myself getting pretty emotional as the series went on. It's helped me view death in a whole new way. I've never been really afraid of dying, but then again, it's never been something into which I put much thought. Death isn't really the end of life, just a part of it. And watching this family deal with not only their own mortality, but everyone else's has made me so grateful for my own life. It was a great perspective.
But nothing could have prepared me for the last episode. I cried like a little girl. I think the last time I cried so hard was when my Mom took me to see "The Fox and the Hound" when I was six. It was the perfect ending to the show, and just thinking about it is making me a little choked up. I'm such a wuss.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Standing in line to see the show tonight...

Few bands have as colourful history as the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Starting out in Los Angeles in 1983, the band has withstood line-up changes, drug addiction, and the death of founding guitarist Hillel Slovak. It wasn't until 1989's "Mother's Milk," when original members Anthony Kiedis and Michael Balzary (aka Flea) connected with John Frusciante and Chad Smith, that the RHCPs honed their constantly evolving form of funked-up, rapped-down, punk rock.
I wouldn't consider myself a huge fan, but I will say this: the first time I ever heard "Under the Bridge" was the night I graduated high school, and ever since, it's held a special place in my heart. I can't believe it's taken me this long to see them live, but last night, they came through SLC. John, Ryan, and I went and had a great time.
The opening act was The Mars Volta. When we arrived, they were half way through their set, but it was impressive nonetheless. They're kind of a psychedelic, post-hardcore Led Zepplin. They were energetic and eclectic, and I couldn't stop staring at their backdrops.

Red Hot Chili Peppers
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
When it was time for the Chili Peppers, the first two to emerge on stage were Flea and John, who began a little jam session, soon to be joined by Chad. But as soon as Anthony came out, the stage lit up and they launched into "Can't Stop." The energy was infectious as they rambled through their set, alternating older songs with material from their new double-album, "Stadium Arcadium." Each band member was brilliant. The crowd seemed to react best to John's lead guitar, but I couldn't keep my eyes off Flea. His slap-bass style is amazing. But I think the best part of the whole show is how flawlessly these four play together. Except for a few years in the 90s when Dave Navarro briefly stepped in for John, they've been together for 17 years, and the chemistry between them all is undeniable. The whole world could have been exploding, and they would have kept on without notice.
Highlights included "Otherside" (a personal favourite), "Scar Tissue," and "By the Way." My only disappointment is that they didn't play anything pre-BloodSugarSexMagic and they didn't play "Under the Bridge." Otherwise, it was a great show from beginning to end. It's easy to see why they've been a mainstay in modern rock for so long.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A Lusty Proposition

Merrill Nisker, better known as Peaches has been tossing out her brand of experimental, indie electro-rock for five years now. Some would say she tries to push the envelope with her overtly sexual lyrics, but what she really does is nuke the envelope without looking back.
It all started in 2001 when she released "The Teaches of Peaches," led by the single "Fuck the Pain Away." I mean, just the title of that track makes me laugh. Other songs included "AA XXX," "Diddle My Skittle," and "Lovertits." She caused even more of a stir with 2003's "Fatherfucker," by simply changing the gender of a common expletive. The songs on this album were even more witty, inventive, and catchy.
Last month, Peaches released her third LP, "Impeach My Bush," this time adding politics into the rebellious mix. For the last stop on her tour behind this album, she stopped in Salt Lake City, and I wasn't about to miss the freak show.

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
She emerged wearing a silver bustier with a sequined hood and singing "Tent in Your Pants." She worked her way through the show, including tracks from all three albums. Along the way, she shedded the bustier to reveal a glittery hot pink space bikini. She also did her fair share of stage dives and even ran through the crowd to jump on top of the bar to sing "Rock the Shocker." By the end of the night, she was down to a black bikini, but still jumping and singing with all she had, making sure the crowd obeyed her every command.
Her band included JD Samson, of Le Tigre, and Samantha Maloney, former drummer for Hole. As a fan of both bands, it was great to see them on stage with Peaches. The whole show was amazing, and Peaches was definitely one of the most high-energy performers I've ever seen.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


The best thing about tee-shirts is they're comfortable, inexpensive, versatile, and they'll never go out of style. Similar to how I used to rarely wear jeans, I also rarely wore tee-shirts; but over the past few years, my collection has grown quite a bit. Most of the tees I own were purchased online, and I get quite a few compliments from them. So, I feel it is my duty to pass on to you, my faithful readers, my favourite places to purchase cool tee-shirts, all of which are relatively small, independent businesses.

Threadless - This is probably my first choice for tee-shirt buying. All the designs are original, and they have $10 sales pretty often. The medium fits me perfectly. If you're an artist, you can submit your own designs. Plus, if you click on this link and buy something, I get credit toward future purchases. Thanks in advance!

Neighborhoodies - This is a place where you can totally custom make just about any kind of tee-shirt, hoodie, bag, etc. any way you want. It's a little expensive, but everything you design is your own, and I've been very pleased with everything I've bought there.

American Apparel - This is a great place for basics, including jackets, underwear, and accessories. It's all made in downtown L.A., and has a great variety of colours and styles.

The Cotton Factory - This place has tons of cute, quirky tees. Nearly all of them make me laugh, but that doesn't necessarily mean I'd wear all of them. Regardless, they're all pretty inexpensive.

Vintage Vantage - Another store full of fun, quirky tee-shirts, many of which make me question the sanity of the designer.

ThreadPit - Some super-funny stuff mixed with some super-politically incorrect stuff. Plus tons of shirts with obscure movie references.

Anyway, those are just a few of the sites I have bookmarked under "Shopping-Clothing." If anyone knows of any other cool tee-shirt stores, I'd love to hear about them.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Love Rollercoaster

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Today, Shanna, Kyle, Robert, Ryan, Ryan, and I went to Lagoon. It's the local amusement park, and it's not huge or anything, but it was definitely fun. The first thing we rode was the bumper cars, and Kyle looks like he's having more fun than allowed by law.

Ryan, Ryan, & Kyle
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Like I said, it's not a huge park, so the rides aren't as great as you'd find at, say, Six Flags, but the advantage is that it's cheaper and the lines are relatively short. We rode nearly everything in the park, including the log flume.

Robert & Shanna
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
And, of course, all the big roller coasters. My favourite was the Wild Mouse because each of the individual cars spun 360 degrees. I'd never been on a ride like that.

Ryan & Ryan
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
I could almost see my house from the top of the giant ferris wheel.

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Whenever we'd ride something that got us wet, we'd go ride the swings to dry off a bit.

Kyle & Ryan
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
We ended up staying until about 8 PM. Remember when you were young and you went to an amusement park and you could stay all day and ride all the rides so many times? Now, after riding them only once, I feel kinda shaken up with a stiff neck and maybe a little nauseated (especially after the Samurai). Still, it was a super-fun day, and I look forward to going back next summer.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

In one more hour, I will be gone.

Sleater-Kinney play their final show tonight in their adopted hometown of Portland, Oregon. Damn, I wish I were there. I considered flying up there for it, but the tickets sold out in seconds. You shouuld check out the webcast of their August 3rd show at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC on NPR's "All Songs Considered" radio show here. Please. It's for your own good. (Also, check out the article and, in particular, the quote from "The New Yorker." How true!)
I realise I already wrote about this a few weeks ago, but few bands have had an impact on my life the way S-K has. I'm not ashamed to say I've gotten a little weepy lately when thinking about it. Bands come and go, but Carrie, Corin, and Janet will be with me forever.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bring da Ruckus

Some may find it odd that I would go to a Wu-Tang Clan show, but I was pretty excited about it. They're one of the most influential groups of 90s hip-hop, and I was as surprised as anyone to see them come through SLC Tuesday night.
The Wu and I go way back. All the way back to January of 1997, when I was in basic training. There was a guy in my flight who was obsessed with them, and he kinda got me hooked. Now, whenever one of their tracks pops up on my iPod, I can't help but think of basic training and everything I was going through at the time.
The Wu-Tang Clan, made up of the RZA, Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, the GZA/Genius, U-God, Inspectah Deck, Masta Killa, and the late Ol' Dirty Bastard, was a hip-hop supergroup of sorts, but they approached the concept from a different angle. After releasing a collaborative album, the object was to break off and release individual albums; thereby overtaking the record industry and making as much money as possible. And it worked.

Wu-Tang Clan
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
The show was probably one of the craziest shows I've ever seen. The crowd was full of white-boy poseurs (of which, admittedly, I am one), but they were insatiable. For the opener, each MC came out one-by-one, spitting a verse, until they were all on stage. And the crowd grew more and more boisterous with each one. The smell of something strong was in the air as we all jumped up and down and waved our hands from side to side. Unfortunately, Ol' Dirty Bastard, who died of a drug overdose in 2004, was sorely missed. He was, by far, the most unpredictable and bizarre member, and most of the rhymes I know from their first two albums were his. Luckily, the other members picked up the slack, and the show was energetic, fun, and raucous.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Self Portrait

Self Portrait
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
I'm laying in bed right now and thinking of the thirty-two years I've spent on this Earth. I consider myself a pretty simple guy. (A simpleton?) It's not hard to make me happy, and I'm pretty good at knowing what makes me unhappy. Sometimes I wonder if being simple also makes me shallow. I think about life, the universe, and everything. I consider God's role in my life, and get excited about what will happen after I die. I work hard at my job and at building solid relationships with people. Regardless, I often feel like I have the depth of a kiddie pool. Feeling stupid is killing me.
Maybe it's because I sometimes feel like I'm not really in control. The last time I made any kind of major life decision was in July of 2000, the first time I opted to re-enlist in the Air Force. Everything else after that hasn't been taking action, but only reacting to what's already happening. All this activity is going on around me, and I'm doing my best to enjoy the scenery, but I'm not becoming a part of it. I'm simply being tossed about, as if in the ocean, to whatever scenario happens next, and trying to enjoy myself as best I can. Being disconnected is killing me.
Or maybe it's because of my relationships. I love my friends, but still feel so alone sometimes. It's like I'm on a train and I'm nervous if there will be anyone at the station to pick me up when I arrive. I don't want to have to worry about who I can depend on. Does this have something to do with the fact I'm still single? I hate to dwell on this, but will it ever happen? Am I ever meant to find my other half? Being lonely is killing me.

Life is killing me. Killing us all. From the moment we're born. This is our one chance. Nothing about it is fair. Some have many, many years. Others, only minutes. Apparently, I've been given at least thirty-two years. I think about all the mistakes I've made, and how stupid I've been. But I also believe that all those horrible choices I've made have brought me to where I am--

--and where I am isn't so bad after all. I live in America. I have parents who would do anything for me. I have the funnest friends ever. I have a solid income, a roof over my head, and food in my stomach. I have gadgets and clothes and souvenirs and possessions in my room that, if sold, could feed thousands of starving children. I have my health. I have a chocolate bar in my kitchen that I've been thinking about all morning. I have the love of God.

Life is for living.

Crystal Blue Persuasion

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
After an extra-long run this morning, I spent the afternoon at the pool. I normally avoid the pool because 90% of the time, it's infested with a billion little hellions; but today, it was surprisingly (and pleasantly) quiet. After swimming for a bit, I layed in the sun and read the new GQ cover article on Justin Timberlake. (By the way, his new single is sick-nasty!) Now, THIS is a vacation!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

In My Jeans

From the time I started buying my own clothes, I didn't wear too much denim. I considered myself a preppie, and therefore wore mostly khakis and casual pants. I rarely had more than two or three pairs of jeans in my closet. About three years ago, the tide seemed to shift toward denim. I don't know why, but that's just the way it happened. I've gotten rid of the majority of casual pants in my closet, and now the bulk of it is denim. Out of all the jeans in my closet, there are three pair I consider my favourites:

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
I bought these about three years ago at the Amerikaya store in Hachinohe, about a thirty-minute drive from where I was stationed. They're Edwin, which, unfortunately, are difficult to find in the States. I think part of the appeal of Edwin jeans was they were endorsed by Brad Pitt. They have an odd colour to them, but they go good with any earth-toned shirts I have. Plus, they're a little long, so I can roll up the legs and look all hipsterish. For some reason, all the jeans I bought in Japan are really long. Strange, considering how short most Japanese people are.

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
These are limited edition Diesel jeans that I bought at a boutique in Tokyo. Thanks to Paul and Trish for helping me pick them out. Because of the distinctive pockets in the front, these stand out more than any others I own. I tend to get a lot of compliments when I wear these, and who doesn't like compliments?

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
But these are probably my favourite of them all. They're basic J101s from Armani Exchange. There's nothing really special about them, but they fit me perfectly. I bought them when I was a little thicker, and they fit great. But even after I lost weight, they still fit great. They sit perfectly on my hips, and give me plenty of room where I need it. They're not too light and not too dark. They've been destroyed, frayed, and distressed, but only in a few spots to keep them from looking too trendy. I usually wear these when I travel or on a first date. When I put them on after I get out of the shower, I know it's going to be a good night.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Afternoon Delight

Sugarhouse Park
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
This morning, Brian, Floyd, John, Ryan, Ryan, Kyle, Kyle, Paul, and I went to brunch at Fiddler's Elbow in Sugarhouse. Afterward, we went to the park to toss around the frisbee.

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Paul is the Friz-B Masta!

Paul & Kyle
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
In an effort to prove their masculinity, Paul and Kyle had a brief arm wrestling match. If you want to know who won, you'll have to ask them.

Floyd & Kyle
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.

Kyle & Paul
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Seriously, this is what Sunday afternoons are all about.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Fortnight of Faineance

Those of us deploying next month have been encouraged to take a few days of leave to relax and have fun with our friends and families before we leave. You don't have to tell me twice.
I'm off for the next two weeks. Except for a few concerts, I don't really have anything planned. I'll still have to go in a few times to take care of some out-processing, but I'll be sleeping late and lounging around as much as possible. I'd like to take a little mini-trip somewhere, but last-minute travel is expensive and impractical, so I'll probably try to explore the parts of northern Utah I haven't yet seen.
Anyway, if anyone wants to randomly show up at my door within the next 14 days, you'll be welcomed with open arms. I promise.

Silly Putty

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Wednesday night, I was killing time in SLC, so I went to the happiest place around--the Apple Store at the Gateway. I started playing around with the new MacBooks. These are the results:

Block Head
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
I can't decide which one I like (or hate) the most. If any of you ever find yourselves near an Apple retail store, go get on a computer, bring up "Photobooth" and have some fun.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Glee Club

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
After traffic school last night, I hung out in SLC because Kyle wanted to get a bunch of people to come down for karaoke. He brought John and Drew. Ryan and Katie showed up, too. This is Drew drinking his very non-masculine foo-foo drink.

Kyle Singing
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Here's Kyle singing some song about alcohol. Kyle LOVES karaoke, which is interesting because he's normally so shy and reserved.

Ryan & John
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.

Katie & Me
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
It's impossible for Katie and me to hang out without taking at least one photo like this together. I was the DD last night, but I still wanted to have one drink (I'm going through a burboun phase) to loosen me up for...

Me & Katie Singing
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
...the Mickelson/Sutton version of "Love Shack!" It was brilliant, I swear. It looks like I'm punching the air, but I'm really driving. You know, "down the Atlanta highway."

Drew Singing Along
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Drew never actually got up on the mic, but he sang along with any country songs anyone else sang. And with such emotion.

Me & Drew
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
It was a fun night, but everyone had to work today, so we left by 12:30-ish. Normally, after John has been drinking a lot, he usually falls asleep in the car on the way home. Last night, however, he was very talkative. I even had to confiscate his phone to keep him from doing the drink-n-dial. Ryan, you can thank me later.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Right of Way

I went to traffic school tonight for the speeding ticket I got a few weeks ago. It was kind of a joke. Basically, we sat around for an hour talking about how we got busted. There were about fifty people there, and everyone had this, "Yeah, I got caught" look of shame in their eyes. The class was led by an ex-cop in his late-60s. And after each person told his or her story, he'd tell us different places the cops like to hide out. At the end, he went over a few "gee-whiz" driving laws, so it wasn't a total waste of time. The worst part of it all was the $92 fine for my ticket PLUS the $50 fee for traffic school. Maybe if we all stopped getting tickets, then the State of Utah wouldn't be able to pay the cops due to the lack of $142 bucks (minimum) every time someone gets a violation. I guess you could call that "highway robbery." Damn, I'm funny.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Trip Through Your Wires

I'm in another class this week, but this time, I'm actually learning something. It's basically an electronics class given by Monaco, the company that manufactures the little red box in every building on base that transmits alarm signals to the fire department. We've been learning how to set up, repair, and do diagnostics on all the little electronic diodes and wires and other various whatsits. If you're already bored just reading this, you should sit through the class. Or rather, you shouldn't sit through the class. I can barely keep my eyes open during the lectures. I don't even know why I included a link. I sure as hell didn't click on it.

Something Cool Against the Skin

Something Cool Against the Skin
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Suzanne Vega has been around for quite a while, playing her worderfully poppy folk songs. If you were around in the mid-80s, chances are you heard her big radio hit, "Luka." And if you were around in the early-90s, chances are you heard the DNA remix of "Tom's Diner." Her voice is sullen and calming, but still projects hope and joy.
Suzanne played SLC last night at Red Butte Garden, a great outdoor venue I hadn't been to before. The scenery was gorgeous, the weather was perfect, and the crowd was mellow. I picked a spot up on the hill, took off my shoes, and enjoyed the music.
The only people on stage were Suzanne, playing her acoustic guitar, and her bassist. She played songs spanning her entire career, and had some great stories to tell inbetween. It was so nice to just lay in the grass and gaze at the moon rising. Outdoor concerts are the best.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Singing My Song So Nice

The mid-90s were sort of a golden era of music for me. It all began with Nirvana's "Nevermind," and stretched through The Smashing Pumpkins, PJ Harvey, Beck, Garbage, Radiohead, Sleater-Kinney, and the like. Many of the bands who were so influential then have gone on to produce great albums well into the new millenium, but the work that was done in the 90s will always be nostalgic for me.
One of the more overlooked band of the mid-90s was The Rentals. Don't feel bad if you're not familiar with them. Most people aren't. However, most people have heard of Weezer, which is where our story begins. After the success of Weezer's first album, their bassist, Matt Sharp, formed a side project with a sort of rotating cast that, at any given time, has included Rachel and Petra Haden (of that dog.), Patrick Wilson, and even Maya Rudolph, of SNL fame. (It turns out she's as talented a keyboardist as she is at impersonating Donatella Versace.) They recorded their debut, the ironically titled "The Return of the Rentals." Sharp then returned to Weezer to record "Pinkerton," split from Weezer, and recorded "Seven More Minutes" back with the Rentals. Since then, he's done various solo projects and helped out with other recordings, most recently on Tegan and Sara's "So Jealous" album. Earlier this year, he announced the new lineup for the Rentals, including Rachel Haden. They're going on a short tour before going into the studio to record a new album, and I'm hella excited.

The Rentals
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
They played SLC last night. The opening band was Ozma, and they were a great choice. Similar to The Rentals, but a little more punk-ish. The Rentals play the fuzzy-pre-emo-pop of Weezer with the New-Wave synth of the Cars, plus strong female harmonies, violins, and moog synthesizers. It's fun and infectious, and you can't help but enjoy it and smile.
The show itself was nothing but fun. I found it impressive that nearly all the band members switched from instrument to instrument. Guitar one minute, keyboard the next, then violin or synthesizer. They really had their stuff together.
They played for a little over an hour, and wanted to play longer, but had to quit because the venue turns into a club at 10:30. The last song they played was a wonderful cover of Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side" that segued nicely into "Friends of P." After the show, I was walking outside and saw Matt Sharp next to their tour bus. I walked up, shook his hand, and told him how much I enjoyed the show. He was really cool and thanked me for coming. I wish I would have had my camera.

Fare Thee Well

I had a comp day from my TDY last week, so I used it today. However, I still ended up going in to my shop this afternoon for a going away party for a couple guys. One was TSgt. Billy Tramel, my supervisor, who was also chosen as one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen this year; and if you know anything about the Air Force, then you know that's a big deal. The other was SRA Mykhaylo Bulyk, one of my troops. He's originally from The Ukraine, but received his citizenship about a year ago, and was just accepted to the Airman Education and Commissioning Program. He's basically separating from the Air Force to finish school, and then coming back in as an officer. It's a pretty big deal, too.

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Whenever people in our shop leave, we try to make sure they know how much we appreciated their service and how much we love them. And when that doesn't work, we duct tape them to a chair and spray them down with the water truck. Cases in point:

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.

Mike & Billy
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Do you feel the love?

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.

All Wet
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
It's all in good fun, and everybody has a good laugh. And then we sit around the shop the rest of the afternoon playing cards and drinking beer. I bet you're all going to run to your local Air Force recruiter as soon as you finish reading this, right?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Rockin' the Ball Park

Ogden Raptors
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Last night, Kyle, Drew, John, Nick, and I went to a Raptors game up in Ogden. I'm now constantly on the lookout for when they have home games on Wednesdays because it's half-price beer night. Woo-hoo!

Nick & Me
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
A little girl who couldn't have been more than eight sang the National Anthem. She sounded great, but when she got to the "Whose broad stripes..." part, she forgot the words, and everyone in the crowd started helping her out. It was so cool. Almost as cool as the beer.

Drew & John
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Kudos to Drew and John for totally singing their hearts out on "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."

Drew & Me
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Thanks to John and Nick for driving, because the rest of us were certainly in no condition.

Becky & Drew
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
After the game, we went back to Drew and Becky's place for some general socialisation. Becky must have the patience of Job to put up with all our drunk asses all the time.

Nick & John
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
You know what cardinal rule I always seem to forget? Never discuss relationships or religion when you're drunk. It's just to hard to express yourself adequately. Perhaps one day, I'll learn.