Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Today was my first day back at work, and I found out that I'm going back up to Germany on Saturday for a week-long class. I was hoping to have a nice, quiet weekend to recover, but I guess that's not going to happen. I'm not really upset about going because it should be a good class and Germany is always fun. However, it delays the start-date for my new job, which is kinda frustrating. Hopefully, this will be my last work-related trip for a while.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

On the Iberian Peninsula

Rob, Nick, Alex, & Colin by currtdawg
Rob, Nick, Alex, & Colin, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

I spent the past week in Spain and had a blast. Alex was a great tour guide, taking us all over Madrid, Malaga, and even up into the mountains for a couple days.

Spain by currtdawg
Spain, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

The weather wasn't perfect, but we still got some beach time in.

Ronda by currtdawg
Ronda, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

We also took some trips further inland, one of which was to a town called Ronda, which featured this amazing medieval bridge.

Doing Shots by currtdawg
Doing Shots, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

The social scene in Spain was wonderful. Everything operates so late there, so most people don't even go out to dinner until 9 or 10 PM, which turns nearly every night into an event.

Colin, Nick, Rob, & Alex by currtdawg
Colin, Nick, Rob, & Alex, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

The rest of the guys are hanging out in Spain until the end of the week, but I had to come back early for work. It was a great vacation with some amazing friends, and I can't wait until they come back to Europe for round two.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Rain in Spain

Madrid by currtdawg
Madrid, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

We're in Spain now, staying at Alex's apartment in Malaga. We arrived late last night after flying to Madrid for the day. Even though we only had one day there, I kinda fell in love with it. The Reina Sofia alone is worth a trip, but maybe I say that because I'm a Picasso lover.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ritorno a Venezia

Colin by currtdawg
Colin, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

Yesterday morning, we took the opportunity to sleep in a bit and recover from all the travelling from the past week.

Venice by currtdawg
Venice, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

We took a late-morning train to Venice to explore the main sites, as well as hit a few I've never seen before, including the Scala Contarini del Bovolo.

Venice by currtdawg
Venice, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

We made a trip to see the Peggy Guggenheim collection, which was well worth our time, and took a different route back to Piazza San Marco, passing some beautiful churches I'd never seen up close before.

Colin & Eric by currtdawg
Colin & Eric, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

We took the train back in time to have a late dinner with Eric, where Colin had his first taste of grappa. I doubt he'll ever forget the experience.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Five Lands in One Day

Colin by currtdawg
Colin, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

It would be an injustice to have visitors and not take them to the Cinque Terre. I've always said it's my favourite place in Italy, and even though it's starting to get really crowded in the summer, spring and autumn there are spectacular.

Cinque Terre by currtdawg
Cinque Terre, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

We stayed in the same apartment I've stayed in a few other times. It met our needs perfectly.

Colin & Nick by currtdawg
Colin & Nick, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

The Cinque Terre is best enjoyed at leisure, so we stayed two nights, taking the middle day to hike. This allowed for lots of wine consumption. Notice how there's no judgement whatsoever in Nick's expression.

Me, Nick, Rob, & Alex by currtdawg
Me, Nick, Rob, & Alex, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

Believe it or not, we were sober for this shot. I think.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Five Guys in Central Italy

Alex, Colin, & Nick by currtdawg
Alex, Colin, & Nick, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

Over the past couple of days, Rob, Alex, Colin, Nick, and I have travelled through Ravenna and Florence. I'd never been to Ravenna before and wasn't aware of its significance. There were gorgeous mosaics everywhere, making the whole city look like a big museum. It's crazy how cities that were so important years ago are hardly even heard of today.

I showed them my favourite spots in Florence as we chatted and strolled through the narrow streets. We took in food and wine, adopting the Italian lifestyle.

Nick by currtdawg
Nick, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

We passed the train time with books and games on Rob's iPad. It's definitely the best way to check out Italy.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Venetian Appetiser

Venice by currtdawg
Venice, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

Colin and Nick flew in yesterday morning, and since Rob and Alex weren't due to arrive until last night, we decided to do a quick tour of Venice to hit some minor sites the other guys wouldn't care to miss.

Venice by currtdawg
Venice, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

Colin really wanted to see the Isola di San Michele, an island once used as a prison but is now the cemetery island. We took the water bus and then hiked around the whole island.

Venice by currtdawg
Venice, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

There were tons of statues, giving the whole island a beautiful and somber tone.

Venice by currtdawg
Venice, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

We also saw the graves of Igor Stravinsky and Ezra Pound. People are still buried there today. It's something I didn't even know existed, so thanks to Colin for bringing up the idea.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Today is my first real day off in a very long time. It was great to sleep in this morning, rustling around in my sheets and rolling over every time I heard the Church bells (which in Italy, is near constantly). I even indulged myself in some pancakes and a few episodes of The Simpsons.
But the rest of my day will be spent cleaning. It's been too long since my house had a thorough scrubbing, top to bottom, so it's way overdue. Plus, my friends Rob, Colin, Nick, and Alex are arriving on Wednesday. We'll be spending a week in Italy and then a week in Spain. This vacation is well-deserved, and I can't wait.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Potent Potables

IMG_0709 by currtdawg
IMG_0709, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

Back in January, I went with Fred (one of our Italians) to Ghedi, a small base in central-north Italy. Their chow hall didn't have potable water, so it was my job to design a system to improve their water quality. All the parts came in while I was in Germany, so yesterday, Fred, Travis, and I went back to Ghedi to install it. I was kinda nervous about everything working out, since sometimes jobs don't always go as planned, but somehow, all the filters went it as planned. Thanks so much to Fred and Travis for all their help and expertise.

IMG_0719 by currtdawg
IMG_0719, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

We stayed overnight at a hotel on Lake Garda, which is a beautiful area. After we finished the job, we checked in at our hotel, showered, and then Travis and I walked around the town.

IMG_0717 by currtdawg
IMG_0717, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

I went crazy with the Hipstamatic yet again.

IMG_0711 by currtdawg
IMG_0711, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

IMG_0729 by currtdawg
IMG_0729, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

Walking around this little Italian town somehow ended up at an Irish pub with bartenders from Brazil. The rest of the night was a little fuzzy. Needless to say, Travis and I didn't make much noise on the ride back to Aviano this morning.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

New Kids in Town

IMG_0676 by currtdawg
IMG_0676, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

The size of my shop nearly doubled while I was gone because there are a bunch of guys here from other bases in Europe. Since we've been working so much and are finally getting some time off, I volunteered to take some of them to Venice yesterday. It would be a shame to spend time in Italy and not get to see at least one of the major sights. While showing them around, I experimented with my favourite photography app, the Hipstamatic.

IMG_0680 by currtdawg
IMG_0680, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

IMG_0681 by currtdawg
IMG_0681, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

IMG_0685 by currtdawg
IMG_0685, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

IMG_0689 by currtdawg
IMG_0689, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

This was the crew from Spangdahlem, and they were all really cool guys. They appreciated the time away from work and the tour of Venice. Also, we drank lots of beer.

IMG_4748 by currtdawg
IMG_4748, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

Thanks for a great time away from work, fellas. And next time you find yourself in Italy, you have a place to crash (other than a big, smelly bay with 23 other guys). Safe travels back to Germany!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Personal Best

I had my PT test this morning, which is always a rather stressful thing. Even though I'm 99% sure I'll pass, I never know by how much. There are so many things that factor in and so many consequences if those factors get even a little out of whack.
I went in there, did my best, and scored a 90.7. Even though my run time was a little slower, my push-ups and sit-ups were a lot higher and it was the highest score I've ever gotten. Plus, since I scored above a 90, I don't have to test again for another year, instead of in six months. And the added bonus is that I get a day off.
So, yeah, this was one of two major stress factors for me this week and it's a huge load off my shoulders. My other major stress factor is a project I'll write more about once it's finished. Keep your fingers crossed.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Out of the Frying Pan...

I'm sure everyone has heard about all the chaos in Libya going on, and thanks to geography, Aviano is playing a key part in said chaos. So when I got back early yesterday morning, I was told I'd be going back to work today. And we're working extra shifts. And we're working six days a week. Yippee!
Still, it's great to be back home and see everyone and stuff. And seriously, when I got into my own bed last night, I thought I might just die right there. That's how great it felt.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Pomp & Circumstance

IMG_0661 by currtdawg
IMG_0661, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

After six weeks, three speeches, two memorandums, eight multiple choice tests, two interpersonal meetings, and multiple facepunches, we graduated. Congratulations to Dennie and Pettaway for winning Distinguished Graduate Awards.

IMG_0665 by currtdawg
IMG_0665, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

After the ceremony, a few of us headed to the club for some after-party drinks. It was great to have some fun without any deadlines looming over our heads.

IMG_0666 by currtdawg
IMG_0666, a photo by currtdawg on Flickr.

The past six weeks weren't easy, but I made some great friends, and thanks to the magic of the interwebs, I hope we'll all keep in touch for a long time. Congratulations and thanks to everyone in Mustang Flight!