Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I just got in. I've been on the road since 12 PM PST. 15 hours of travel time.

The trip was wonderful...stressful at times, but worth the headaches. Right now I am now jet lagged and worn out and surrounded by happy animals.

Back to work tomorrow afternoon (If the company is still there!).

I'll write about my journeys tomorrow (I have pictures, for now the agenda is grab something to eat and sleep.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Travel Stress

I'm sitting at home, I'm packed, showered and ready to go!

The problem is I've still got 3 1/2 hours until the airport shuttle picks me up and I'm a raving maniac!!! I just want to get going. I picked the earliest pick up time they offered so I'll get to the airport way early and get to sit there forever. My fear now is that being I worked graveyard, I'll fall asleep in the terminal and miss my flight.

I most likely won't be by here until Tuesday or Wednesday next week. If I have time, I'll try to check in Sunday or Monday when I visit my friend in Alabama. Like my missing a week is something new. You regular readers will just have to deal with this void in your day.

I still don't know when I'll be where, but once I'm out there, I'll have my own car and I've got a ream of "Mapquests" printed out so I should be able to find my way around.

I know I've said it before, but I can't wait to see Chris! I am dying to see how he's changed since the last time we were together. It only been two months, but it seems like a lifetime to me.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Music Day

I'm just going through getting everything done to leave SoCal for Georgia on Tuesday.

I'm doing laundry and trying to straighten the house up a bit before I go. That's a put on the radio and crank it time. These are just a few songs that went by and I thought I'd pass on to you. I like them, but I may not know what the message is, I just like the music as it goes by.

Sometime Around Midnight - The Airborne Toxic Event

Incubus - Love Hurts

Rise Against - Prayer Of The Refugee

Foo Fighters - The Pretender

No messages here, just music I turn up when it comes on.

Friday, March 20, 2009

4 Work Days To Go

I haven't been around here or any of the other sites I normally visit. I've been tying up all the loose ends I can for the trip to Ft. Benning. It's down to getting my laundry done and final packing.

My major concern the last couple of days was my auto insurance. I'm renting a car out there and needed to be sure I was covered. Something happened about a month ago that got me stuck in a series of cancellations and reinstatement's. It seemed that every third day I'd get a letter telling me to disregard the previous letter. It culminated in getting a cancellation with a check for $272 of unused premium, followed by a letter saying to disregard the cancellation, followed by a bill for $320.

THAT WAS IT!!! No more internet or telephone communications, I needed to talk face to face with someone. Within 10 minutes of sitting down with the very nice lady, it was determined that I owed $240, I should have "Uninsured Motorist" coverage ($21) and if I endorsed the check they had sent me, I would be rebated $11 for overpayment. More coverage and money back...how the hell does that happen?

I now can rest assured that I do not have to pay the $29 per day rental agency insurance...almost 1/4 of my yearly premium to cover 6 days. Can you say usury?

I've got someone to throw food at the animals, new jeans, new tennis shoes, new luggage, cash in my pocket and some money left in the bank.

I wrote Chris a long letter last night, then realized there was no point in mailing it. Chances are I'll get out there before the letter finds him. I won't let all that work go to waste, I'll just hand deliver it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I Will Work Harder

That is the quote that has stuck with me for over 35 years since I read Animal Farm back in High School.

Back then that was a book on the curriculum. I liked it so much I asked my English teacher for more books on that subject. She pointed me to 1984 and Brave New World. Not only was she a babe, she would point you in a direction you showed interest in.

With Obambi's kinda semi-definition of where he wants the country to go, there has been a lot of talk of socialism. I know I'm not the first to point it out, but I listen to their arguments about how it is for the good of the everyday worker, but I've watched my tax rebate get eaten up by the tax increases.

The gov't allows me to keep $600 of my paycheck this year....then they add $0.10 a gallon tax on gasoline (there's $82), cigs will cost me $550 more a year in added taxes...I don't have to go any farther, I'm already paying more in taxes than I get with the rebate.

I would say my taxes went up.

I just watched both of the movies of Animal Farm. They both leave out something and, of course, leave out or combine things, but between the two of them cover the book adequately.

"Animal Farm" 1954

Animal Farm 1999

Monday, March 09, 2009

Why I'm So Hot To Get This Trip Right

One of my best friends use to plan 5 days of things to do on a three day trip. No matter how many things you go to do, you always felt like the trip missed something because you only had time to do 3 or 4 of the 9 things he had scheduled.

I was always spontaneous and trusted my luck on things working out. They usually did, and still do, but as I've gotten older I don't have the patience to tolerate those little glitches that pop up. The last trip Chris and I took together a couple of years ago is a good example.

Road Trip Report: Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The drive into San Francisco from Portland is the pertinent part:

Bay Area

This will be my last trip there!!! Traffic sucks! We got into the area just after dark, it was foggy and really raining. We could see the freeway well enough, but nothing beyond it so I lost all sense of direction.

After a “brief” meandering tour of the hills of Berkley (I have no idea how we got there), we finally found Oakland. I should mention that I was so disoriented, that I actually stopped and asked for directions at one point, which at least got us headed in the right direction.

Due to a bunch of circumstances, I hadn’t reserved a motel. I paid dearly for this. There really isn’t a hell of a lot of motels in the area, and they’re spread all over the place. We hit six that were booked up, one that had one room at $109.00/night (HA!). We were getting farther and farther away from the stadium and I was just hanging onto my sanity due to fatigue and the stress.

I was really starting to wonder how comfortable the seats in the car were for sleeping when we spotted a Motel 6. Three rooms left and $114 for two nights. SOLD!!!

The place was crazy with Raider fans, but maybe because it was raining, it was quiet and we got a good nights rest.

Due to working with an overly flexible schedule and counting on luck, what was overall a good trip, for about 7 hours (7 PM to 1 AM), I was a raving maniac! Part of the problem was we were in my kid's new car and I didn't want to smoke in it which just added to dealing with the rain, lack of visibility and road fatigue.

I'm just going to reserve a room for two nights around Ft. Benning, if I need a third night, I'll figure that out when I get there. That'll give me a couple of days to deal with the next leg. I really don't want to impose on my friends in Alabama for more than 3 days, but if I need to, I will. I had one of my Frat brothers move in with me for 4 months while he did some underpaid apprentice program, and the guy I'm going to visit actually stayed at our apartment on my wedding night. (He slept on the couch you pervs!)

A bright light when Chris goes to AIT is that he will have internet access and we'll be able to Email each other. I just need to get out there and give him a hug and catch up on his life.

15 days and counting.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Phone Gods Hate Me

Another Sunday, and another week that I didn't get to talk to Chris.

I don't know what was going on on his side, but I had my phone with me all day. He didn't get his cell phone, but tried to call me three times on a pay phone (I recognized the area code). When I'd answer...it would immediately cut off the call.

I'm really PO'd! It's down to crunch time and I could use some info on when he gets released from Benning and when he has to report to Rucker...how many nights do I have to be where?

I'm trying to get everything for the trip nailed down as much as I can so that we can just relax and enjoy the little time we have without too much stress. I'm flying all the way across the country to spend time with my son, that I haven't seen in over two months, and now I'm getting really stressed.

From his last letter he was in the "elite" platoon, but it sounded like the other platoons were total screw ups and his platoon just didn't screw up as much.

That he didn't get his cell phone today is an indication someone(s) in his platoon screwed up royally. That he was allowed to use the pay phone at the end of the day, says it probably wasn't him.

I've got the flight, I've got the car, I've got new luggage. I'm going to the South regardless of what happen with him. My friends in Alabama may just end up with a guest that will stay with them longer than they were led to believe.

Friday, March 06, 2009

There Are Lies, Then There Are Statistics

Last Tuesday they had the Primaries for the City of Los Angeles. On the Monday preceding, the Mayor (former gang member and 4 time failure at passing the State Bar) Villagiarosa, along with his flunky Chief of Police Bratton, held a press conference to announce that under their leadership that the LAPD had been brought up to just 150 short of the promised 10,000 police officers.

It wasn't until the following Thursday that someone asked who many more cops were on the street?

Turns out that yes, they've got a whole shitload of new cops, but being they've been laying off the civilian workers, the new "cops" are replacing them at the desk jobs with a net gain of ZERO cops on patrol.

G-d Damn lying politicians!! Villagairosa is already called the "11% Mayor" because that is amount of time he devotes to running this disaster of a city and he's got his eyes focused on being Governor in 2011. With the demand on his time to run his campaign, that should reduce his attention to L.A. to 0%.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Headin' South

It was touch and go for a bit, but I've booked my flight to Georgia for the 24th of this month for Chris' graduation from Boot.

I have "AAdvantage" tied to my debit card, so if I select "Credit" instead of "Debit" I get miles on every purchase. It doesn't change the way they rip the money out of my account, but I get "miles". I used some a year ago to fly up to Portland Oregon and I really wasn't impressed with the savings. It may have had something to due with my flights were booked on an affiliated airline (Alaska instead of American Airlines).

This time though, the total cost Bob Hope Airport (Burbank) to Atlanta and back...$31.00!!! $10.00 ticket fee, $20.00 because I had to get something straightened out over the phone instead of the internet and some BS $1.00 fee for who knows what. That's close enough to flying free that I can't bitch.

With this saving, I can afford to rent a car for the week no problem. Not only can I rent a car, but I won't have to go with an econobox for the 500 miles I'll have to cover (Atlanta to Ft. Benning to Ft. Rucker to Tuscaloosa and back to Atlanta). Driving that far on unfamiliar roads in what looks like iffy weather, I'll feel much better in a wide track, heavy sedan rather that an underpowered recycled beer can with skinny tires.

Ft Benning has on base rooms at $37.50/night, but my Army brat foreman pointed out that it's Federal property and "No Smoking In The Rooms!" I'd rather pay an extra $30/night and not have to deal with that.

I asked Chris what he would like to do on his free time and he said "IHOP and Papa Johns Pizza". I'm guessing he's a little tired of Army chow. Even still, he's gone from 142 pounds to 154. When he went in he needed to gain 12 pounds to meet his BMI, so he's cleared that.

From what he tells me, he's going through "Boot Camp Lite". They have made sure he knows which way to point the rifle, he can stand in formation and he can salute. They've done a couple of march and sleep in the field, attack a hill, march back. He's complaining that there are days where they just seem to sit around. His platoon is made up of guys that are going onto technical stuff for AIT, there are no infantry guys with them. When he goes to Rucker for AirOps training, the infantry guys get to enjoy Benning for another 6 weeks.

I had to go back to work today and they tried to depress me with doom and gloom crap going on there, but I'm going to be in a good mood for the next 4 weeks. It's going to be a shock when I get out there, to see my son transformed. He's gone from a slacker to a soldier in just a few months. A few weeks ago he was hot to get rated as a Paratrooper, but now he says that would be nice, but he'd really like to go for Pathfinder (DON'T TELL HIS MOM!!!).