Monday, June 29, 2009

Penalty Kicks

Last night, I left work and met Dan, Nate, and Shaun at the Irish pub downtown to watch the USA-Brazil Confederations Cup match. I really enjoy watching soccer, but hadn't seen many games since I left Japan. We were later joined by Corey and Luke, and it was great, all of us screaming and hollering, especially during the first half when the US scored two goals. We were very optimistic because a few days earlier, the US defeated Spain, ending their 35-game winning streak. Unfortunately, Brazil came back in the second half and ended up winning, 3-2.
Soccer (or Calcio) is a big deal over here, and I can't wait until the World Cup matches start up next year. The US has never really been able to put up much of a fight, but I think that's starting to change.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Weekend Warrior

I've been on stand-by all week, and hadn't had a single call until yesterday morning. That one call set off a series of events that led me to spend virtually my whole weekend at work. We had some power outtages on Friday which caused our series of pumps and wells, which are normally fully automatic, to malfunction. Therefore, I had to monitor gauges and turn everything on and off manually. I didn't really have much else planned, but still, I wasn't planning on sitting at work the whole weekend, either. I have tomorrow and Tuesday off, and as well-earned as they are, I'll still end up spending time at the office. I was hoping for a nice, mellow, relaxing summer, but so far, it's been anything but. My consolation is the fact this is the last time I'll have to pull stand-by. Ever. Woo-Hoo!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Walking On Eggshells

When I'm angry with someone, it's usually not for very long. I get over stuff pretty quickly. However, when someone is angry with me, I can't stop thinking about what I might have done wrong. At dinner last night, I think I made someone angry; but the strange part is I don't think I really did anything wrong. Plus, the person upset with me knows me well enough to realise I'd never intentionally say something offensive (at least, not without an abundance of sarcasm).
I usually try to be the one to make the first move toward reconciliation, but this time, I think I'm just gonna let it ride and see what happens. Sometimes, it gets old always being the one who bends over backwards to make everyone happy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Life on the Grand Canal

Saturday morning, I took the train to Venice to meet up with my friend Ryan. He's originally from Seattle, but he's been in Germany for the past few weeks as a chaperone for some high school students. He got the opportunity to break off from his group for a few days to visit Italy, so after a few days in Rome and Naples, he headed north.
After we met up, I took him to the main attractions (Rialto Bridge, Saint Mark's Square, the Bridge of Sighs, etc.). But after that, we deviated from the normal routine and checked out something new: The Peggy Guggenheim Collection. It's one of the few modern art museums in Italy, made even more unique in that it displays quite a few pieces from American artists. (You can check out Peggy's story here and the website of the collection here.)
I've really been looking forward to checking out this museum for a while, and I wasn't disappointed. We saw Cubism, Surrealism, and Abstract Impressionism. There were works by Miro, Ernst, Dali, Kandinsky, Duchamp, Pollock (which were particularly mesmerising), and Picasso (my favourite). Plus, we got to learn about Futurism, an early 20th-century art movement that began in Italy. I thought it was cool that the museum was actually Peggy's house for the last 30 years of her life. Oh, to be an independently wealthy socialite.
We spent the remainder of the evening walking around Venice, purposefully getting lost, and indulging in food and wine. That's what it's all about, right?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bye Bye Burger

Friday night was the shop's going-away party for Corey. Corey is well-known and loved throughout our squadron and there were tons of people there. (Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted all my pictures before I uploaded them.) We spent the evening eating, drinking, and telling stories of times Corey publicly made us all very uncomfortable, something at which he excels.
His flight doesn't take off until the 30th, but his presence is already missed at work. He's reliable, versatile, and even though he talks tough, he's the kind of guy who'd do anything for you in a heartbeat. He's off to Florida and the 823rd Red Horse Squadron, where I'm sure he'll be a top performer. We're definitely going to miss you, Corey. Ciao!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I spent yesterday in Venice and took the last train back last night. The train left at 11:17 PM and arrived in Sacile a little after midnight. Unfortunately, I must have dozed off along the way, and when I awoke, we were pulling away from the Pordenone train station, which is after Sacile. I got off at the next stop, Casarsa, hoping there would soon be a train back to Sacile. When I saw the schedule, I about fell over. The next train back wasn't until 4:29 AM. Then I realised that train didn't run on Sundays, and I'd have to wait until 5:36 AM. I considered calling someone to come get me, but part of my friends are in Sardinia, part are on the west coast, and the rest were probably all drunk. Plus, I wasn't even sure where Casarsa was, much less how to tell someone how to get there.
I walked around the train station for a bit hoping to find a taxi or even a hotel. No dice. I was lucky to find the waiting room door left open, so I sat down and pulled out my book. It was kinda creepy, but my biggest worry was getting kicked outside because the waiting room was supposed to have closed at 10. I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw the sun coming up. I definitely learned my lesson about sleeping on the train.
I'll report more on the weekend's activities later, but right now, I'm going to take a long shower and an even longer nap.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


You're reading the weblog of the Air Force's newest Technical Sergeant. My line number is 409, which means I'll probably sew on next month. I can think of several others more deserving of promotion than I, but I'm not going to turn it down, either. Oh, the alcohol that will be consumed this weekend!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It's how you play the game.

There are a lot of people in my squadron who don't like running, so sometimes for PT, we switch things up a bit. Yesterday, we played football. I'm not really big into contact sports, so I just did my best to look like I was participating while running up and down the field. (I touched the ball four times!) I was surprised at how upset some people got when things didn't go their way.
I've never really been a competitive person. When I was younger, the kids in my neighbourhood would play kickball in the street. It was always Chris, my older brother, and his friend Sean versus me and all my friends. No matter how many friends I had on my team, Chris and Sean would always win. And just to add insult to injury, Chris or Sean would always moonwalk from third plate to home base. Perhaps this contributed to making me so thick-skinned when it comes to sports.
I think this is why I enjoy running so much. The only person I'm competing against is myself. Yeah, there might be other people out there running, too, but I'm not focused on them. I like the camaraderie of running with someone, and congratulating them when they achieve a personal best. I don't feel like I have to cross the finish line before anyone, as long as I cross it.
The only time I can remember getting upset about losing was when Meredith, my last girlfriend, and I would play miniature golf. She would always win by a stroke or two, and I would see red; but I'd get over it real quick. It's possible to bring out the competitive nature in me, but it's not easy. The only person who's been able to do this lately is Johnny, who refuses to let me forget his body fat percentage is lower than mine.
Another perspective is that I'm just being self-defeatist. Maybe I'm just so afraid of losing, that I don't bother with competing at all. This really wouldn't bother me if all it had to do with is sports. I mean, nobody can win every time, right? But sometimes I worry that this attitude also applies to my personal and professional life. Am I just so afraid of failure that I don't even try to achieve goals or get promoted or study harder? Am I pretending not to care? It's definitely easier, but is it better?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Blowing Off Some Steam

Even though it's a three-day weekend, I still couldn't get out from under the stress of work. My CDCs are sitting on my table, and I've been studying; but as much as I try to distract myself, I can't seem to forget about them and relax and enjoy the weekend.
Then, yesterday afternoon, Cheyenne called and asked if I'd be interested in going to dinner and then to a discotheque with her and Nate. I jumped at the opportunity.
Dinner was at an outdoor place in Sacile that had the best pesto lasagna ever. Then, after pre-gaming it at Cheyenne's, we ventured down the road a bit to a place called Odissea. It was a huge club with several dance floors (indoor and outdoor) and a very diverse crowd. Cheyenne was our DD, so Nate and I tried as many different drinks as we could. And the whole time, we didn't stop dancing. There was no pretension or attitude, which surprised me. The club was packed, and everyone was just there to dance and have fun.
We got back to Cheyenne's place around 4 AM, and we all crashed hard. Thanks to Cheyenne for driving and letting me sleep on her sofa. We definitely need to do this more often.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Their Story

In the fall of 1968, my Dad returned from Vietnam and the Philippines, and was stationed at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, South Carolina. My Mom was an Army brat whose father was stationed at Fort Jackson in Columbia.
The story goes that they met while cruising and casually dated, but it was nothing serious. In fact, my Mom ended up taking some guy named Walter to a Christmas party, which made my Dad so angry he almost never called her again.
Lucky for me, he did. Several nights over the course of the following spring, he and his friends would pile into his Corvette, crank up The Doors, toss back some Jack Daniels, and drive to a little gas station halfway between Sumter and Columbia. The pay phone at this gas station was the closest place to call their girlfriends that wasn't long-distance. I don't know what my Dad said during those phone conversations, but apparently, he was a pretty smooth talker.
A few short weeks later, they were married. That was June 13th, 1969. Forty years ago today.
Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Shop Talk

Our major command has deemed tomorrow a "family day," which basically means we don't have to work. No, I don't have a family, but I'm more than willing to stay home whenever they let me. Besides, I don't really have much planned for the weekend, so chances are I'm going to be studying my CDCs, which is kinda like being at work anyway.
The only plans I have is dinner tomorrow night with work friends. Last Saturday, the same group came to my place and I cooked some crazy-good vegetarian Mexican food. Since work is about the only thing we all have in common, the conversation seemed to concentrate on just that. My goal tomorrow night is to talk about work as little as possible. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Army Of God

In September 2003, I was in a Bible Study led by my friend Don. He began by asking us this question: if a man were to open fire on a playground full of children, would one of us be willing to shoot this man in order to stop him? And if so, do we think we'd be treated as a hero?
This rather graphic scenario led to a discussion regarding Paul Hill, the first man to ever be executed for killing an abortion provider, who had died by lethal injection a few days before.
Last month, George Tiller, a doctor in Wichita, Kansas, was killed for providing late-term abortions.
I can't say I agree with abortion, but I also don't see how murdering one who provides them furthers the Kingdom of God. It seems a little ridiculous. I'm willing to do God's work, but I don't want to make decisions for Him. An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Knock 'Em Out - Mad Props #12

I'm a fan of sassy ladies, especially when they're talented. Even more so when they're hot. Case in point: Lily Allen. She's a British singer who burst on the scene in 2006 with her album "Alright, Still." It was full of cheeky, witty songs about parties, drugs, and bad lovers. She followed it up with "It's Not Me, It's You," released earlier this year. It's not as organic as her first album, but the attitude and clever lyrics are still there. So, Mad Props to you, Miss Allen, and your instantly recognisable tunes full of moxie and swagger.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Missed Connection

I ended up working late yesterday, and wasn't able to meet Todd and his friends in Venice. They got there yesterday morning, spent the day there, and then took a night train up to Munich. I could have caught a train when I left work, but by the time I got there, we would have been able to hang out for about five minutes before they had to leave again.
This is the first weekend I haven't had something going on in a while, but for some reason, I brought my CDCs home, and they're just staring at me. The weather is nasty, so I guess I might as well study.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Crunch Time

As part of the process of combining my career field with the liquid fuels career field, we all have to complete the Career Development Courses (CDCs), a series of books on which we will all be tested. Nearly everyone in the shop received our CDCs in September, and we were told we'd have a year to complete them. We found out this week that the year began when the CDCs were ordered, not when they were received. This leaves us less than three weeks to finish everything and test on it.
Our boss is pretty freaked out about everything, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little concerned. If we don't do well on our test, it has the potential to seriously impact our careers. I'm sure everything will work out, but I'll just have to hunker down and commit some off-duty time to studying, which I really don't want to do, but I guess I don't have much of a choice. It's almost like I'm back in college and it's finals week. If only there were a Denny's nearby so I could order a veggie scramble platter and some coffee and pull an all-nighter.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Kickin' It With Cousins

My cousin Todd just graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in biology, so he and a few friends (Adam, Brian, Robert, and Jason) are travelling around Europe. They flew into Paris on the 23rd, and after a few days there, spent some time in Barcelona. They happened to be there when Barcelona defeated Manchester United to win the UEFA Champions League (the most prestigious trophy in European socc- um, football), and witnessed the chaotic celebration afterward. I met them in Milan Friday night, and Saturday morning, we went down to the Cinque Terre.
Sunday, we woke up (a little late) and headed back to my place. The weather was nasty, and our travels were beset with train delays. By the time we made it home, we were spent.
Monday was a recovery/laundry day, which was capped with drinks and dinner joined by some of my friends from work.

This morning, we woke up early and took the train to Florence. Today is Festa della Republica in Italy, a major holiday celebrating the birth of the republic and the end of the monarchy. I was worried some of the sites would be closed today, but it was just the opposite. Florence was crowded and busy as always. Unfortunately, the trains were packed, and I had to catch an earlier train back home. The guys will be heading to Rome tonight, and then swinging back by on Friday to see Venice on their way up to Germany.
It was great hanging out with Todd again and meeting his friends. They're all good kids with bright futures, and I look forward to seeing them again on Friday, and next time I'm in South Carolina.