Thursday, January 19, 2017

As the World Turns...

While everyone gets spun up or preps for tomorrows festivities in DC, I'm sitting in line at the Costco gas station, people watching.

Did you know about half the people who pull up to the pumps after sitting in line for 5 to 10 min take on the average 30 secs to exit their car, 20 secs to find their wallet to find their Costco card, 30 sec to  1 min to swipe the card, and another minute or two staring at the pump during this process.

Come on people, it's a gas pump, what is there to read?

Today, one person took about 2 min before they got out of the car after sitting for 5 min waiting for a pump to open up. Then looked at the pump for about a minute before swiping the card she had in her hand... geez.

Oh well the world continues to turn.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The first day of the new year.

130 miles on the motorcycle with 19 other people. A great time. Even if the temps started out at 21 degrees and finished at 43 or so.

Riding is like flying. One with machine. With the environment. Relying on your skills to make sure you arrive home safely.

I've been asked where my 'handle' - Soarer - comes from.

Simply, for my 18th birthday my parents bought me a ride in a sailplane. As an airplane junkie I was hooked. Soloing a few months la.ter I was able to log enough hours and flights to get my licence - but something called college and lack of money brought that dream to a grinding halt *grins*

But one flight in particular while flying a SGS-1-26 I was trying to find a thermal and was about to head for the landing strip when I noticed a hawk circling off my right wing. I headed is way and found my lift. Got a dirty look from the hawk as if he was saying, hey this my airspace. But after about 3 circles with me he headed off and soon disappeared from sight.

Anyway, Soarer means one who soars. And the definition of soar is 
  • to fly upward, as a bird.
  • to fly at a great height, without visible movements of the pinions, as a bird
  • to glide along at a height, as an airplane.
  • to rise or ascend to a height, as a mountain.
  • to rise or aspire to a higher or more exalted level
As I move through like I try to aspire to better myself.

So when you combine the 2 - Soarer fits.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

This video about airlifting casualties out of Afghanistan was posted which is an awesome story, but doesn't do the men and women who fly these missions and take care of their passengers justice.  It also got me thinking about an experience I had with a US Army soldier airlifted out of Iraq after being wounded and the incredible efforts of the US military health care system and this soldiers even more incredible story.

Date: 4 July 2007
Place: Bethesda National Naval Medical Center

I was scheduled for surgery that morning at 7 am... sometime during the night prior to that I was informed that my surgery was being delayed for another case. (Of course now you wonder why was I having surgery on the 4th of Jul - well that's another story for another blog posting - gotta keep you coming back, right.) Given I was out of it and had no clue about time it didn't bother me at all and eventually I had my surgery and wound up being admitted to ICU along with the Soldier who bumped me. We both spent about 5 days there before being transferred up to the 5th floor where most of the marines and soldiers who were recovering from their wounds along with a few of us retirees, resided. While in ICU my now ex-wife and this Soldier's wife got together and talked and prayed with the Chaplain for our recovery and she told me I should talk to him.

I wish I could remember his name but he was a Staff Sergeant (SSG) from Ft. Bragg where he was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne. His story is one that confirmed my faith in the ability and intelligence of our troops, that we as a military will take care of our people and that the medical personnel of the US military and at Bethesda in particular are the best in the world.

So one day about 2 weeks after my surgery, I hopped into my super duper souped up government issue wheelchair and rolled myself down to his room. As I entered he looked up from the book he was reading and greeted me with a smile, saying "I hear we shared ICU and our wives got to know each other."

I asked what he was reading to which he replied Shakespeare. The look on my face must have said an Army Grunt reading Shakespeare? because he went on to say that he loved the intrigue of his plays.  

Our conversation continued along the path of introductions, where we were from, and finally got around to why were here.

Following an IED incident he was performing perimeter control and ensuring the crowd of Iraqi's stayed away from the scene when a scuffle broke out. He turned to observe and from behind an Iraqi took a knife and stuck into his head under the helmet. He turned and knocked the attacker to the ground and put his rifle in the guys face as his fellow soldiers came to his aid and moved the crowd further back.

I asked him what did he do then.... his response is one detail that is crystal clear and will remain with me always.

"I had my rifle in his face, wanting to pull the trigger. But I knew if I did I'd be committing murder and didn't think I could live with myself. So I didn't pull it. Even though I was justified under the rules of engagement (ROE), I just couldn't do it."

I thought wow... here is with a knife sticking out of his head, his adrenaline at 1000% and he can think this through - what an incredible person. And one lucky Iraqi.

The medics arrived and he was helo evac'd to Baghdad with the knife still stuck into his head. The docs there put him on an emergency non-stop C-17 medivac flight to Andrews AFB so he could have surgery at Bethesda. Less than 20 hrs after being stabbed he was back in the US having that knife removed.

As he and I continued to talk you could tell there was some brain damage but I learned later from the docs they didn't know if it was permanent or not and it was so slight it wouldn't be a major impact on his life. But he was dead set on returning to his unit and doing crazy things like jumping out of perfectly good aeroplanes.

This man was and still is incredible - a model solider and American hero.  

Where ever you are today - I hope you have achieved your dreams (even if they are a bit crazy)... and Thank You for your Inspiration.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Went and saw the 2nd Hobbit movie last night... to quote a not so famous person: "what the hell" to the ending.

Sorta sad Peter Jackson is making 3 - 2 to 3 hour movies to tell the story in a book that is about the size of one of the LOTR volumes...

Is it $s or true story telling that is driving this?
ok so there is no day 1... lol.

Interesting day today. Working a proposal and it's amazing how bad writers block can be especially wehn you are watching big assed snow flakes falling. These things were huge... anyway about 5 pm the inspiration hits me and 3 hours later done.

Then to drive home. Fortunately traffic was light but the roads snow covered and idiots passing you in a lane covered in snow at 60 mph. And finally home to 4 inches of snow - time to test out the new snow blower.  Well the wet snow don't blow so well... but it does push the snow so that was almost as good. So 1.5 hrs to do the driveway - better than shoveling.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I think I'll work on this one hard...  try to make it better than 2013. Maybe even post to this blog a bit more.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas 2013

Well this past Christmas was a wonderful event and the first in our new home. Starting off with mimosas followed by Eric and Mark coming over to open presents with us. Kat and I enjoying the mimosas in our new kitchen while the kids, Maddy, Eric, Mark and Nathan veg out on the couch - posing for the photographer and I'm sure thinking, will he ever stop taking pictures.
So I did... cept I set up my swann hd sport camera (like a gopro camera only cheaper *grins*) and took a shot every 3 secs (though it looks like about every 4 or 5) which I then turned into a video.

Now lets see if I can link it to the video on facebook.