Wednesday, September 29, 2004

drumroll please

As you may have heard the Burt Rutan team of SpaceShipOne made their first bid at history yesterday. They launched the first of two flights to the boundary of space to be completed in 2 weeks. They plan on doing another early next week, possibly monday. Apparently it was another tense ride when the craft when into a barrel role at the top, almost causing the pilot to abort before he reached the set limit, which would have made the ride a failure. In fact he was told to abort by his ground controllers but stuck it out for a few more seconds to make sure he reached the 100 km mark.
"A victory roll at the top of the climb is important for an airshow pilot," he told reporters from the runway.
Now thats an american badass.
check out space.com for pix and videos

my hot linking isnt working for some reason, so just go here:

http://www.space.com/

that tingly feeling

I just got a newsletter from the deftones fan club that their new album is coming out in spring 2005. Hell Yeah! every album has been better than the last, i cant wait to hear the new one. their website has nothing but new tour dates out, so go there now to see when they will be coming to rock your town. i know i'll be there, but i'm thinking i need to see them somewhere else too, one show will surely not be enough.

it doesnt look like they're coming to dallas, upon further review, it looks like some kind of quick limited venue type event. they will be in phoenix (where i am this week for business) the 4th, 3 days after i leave.

so should i go see them in austin, el paso, san anton, or odessa? or new orleans?

alright they will be in austin on saturday night the 9th, so i'm thinking i gotta go there. college girls, party town, saturday. and they'll be at a place called stubbs bbq, so its probably a tiny place, better get there early. oh yeah. here's my notice, im going to austin in two saturdays, anybody wanna go?

Are you @#%&* jokin me?

In case you didnt hear about this story last week, a bunch of Brazilian cops on a bus ride to a love fest or some shit got robbed. Pretty funny. They are now the heroes of thieves everywhere. I dont understand why these cops didnt have their guns. That shit wouldnt happen in Texas baby.

Afghan cleanup progressing

U.S., Coalition Casualties Reported, Weapons Caches Found
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2004 – Officials announced Sept. 22 that three U.S. soldiers had been killed and 14 others injured as a result of eight incidents on Sept. 20 where Afghan National Army and coalition forces had engaged anti- coalition militia.
"We report the death of these U.S. soldiers, who died courageously, with deep sadness, and we offer our most heartfelt condolences and prayers to their families and loved ones," said Combined Forces Command Afghanistan spokesman Maj. Scott Nelson at a press conference.
He noted that progress is being made despite the resistance. "Every day, more and more pieces of the apparatus that once terrorized the Afghan people are being removed slowly, and sanctuaries for the anti-coalition militia within Afghanistan are disappearing," Nelson said. Six ANA soldiers were injured, and one was reported missing. Nelson noted that "approximately" nine anti-coalition military were killed in the fighting.
In other news, a coalition soldier was wounded by shrapnel during a rocket attack on Bagram Airfield in one of five incidents occurring Sept. 22, military officials reported today. One rocket impacted inside the base perimeter and injured the soldier. The other two rockets fell outside the base.
In the second incident, insurgents fired two rockets at a forward operating base in Paktika province. And earlier in the day, insurgents attacked a coalition base in Zabul province. Several rockets were fired at the base camp. No injuries or damage to equipment were reported in either incident.
An enemy insurgent was killed in a battle in Oruzgan province when coalition soldiers conducting a patrol came under small-arms fire.
In the fifth incident, an improvised explosive device was discovered near Deh Rawod. Soldiers found a 107 mm rocket with wires hanging from its back, and contacted an explosive ordnance disposal unit.
In other action, two U.S soldiers were wounded by an IED while on a routine security patrol in Shinkay Sept. 20.
In incidents involving coalition aircraft, a UH-60 Black Hawk transport helicopter came under rocket and small-arms fire Zabul province. An AH-64 Apache attack helicopter engaged the enemy, killing six insurgents. There were no were injuries or damage reported in either incident.
Military officials also reported that coalition soldiers found several weapon caches at different sites throughout the country during the past several days.
Today, a local citizen led soldiers to a weapons cache outside of Bagram that included 14 rockets, three of which were aimed at Bagram Airfield where coalition soldiers are stationed.
A second cache discovered near Kabul included 610 82 mm mortars and 185 recoilless rifle rounds. In Ghazni a third cache was found, included 171 cans of 14.5 mm rounds, 125 cans of 12.5 mm rounds and 20 cans of 7.62 mm rounds.
Among other recent caches found was stockpile southwest of Ghazni containing eight type 69 Chinese anti-personnel mines and 47 Chinese type 53 82 mm mortars.
Yet another Ghazni cache netted eight mines, 17 fuses, three 107 mm rockets, 51 mortars and six 75 mm recoilless rounds.
More than 1,000 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C., have begun arriving in Kabul.
Nelson said the mission for the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment will be to help provide security and stability for democratic elections scheduled for Oct. 9.
Military officials said the deployment of the 82nd troops is separate from the overall Operation Enduring Freedom Force rotation.

Like James Hetfield once said

Searchinnnnng, seek and Destroy

Abizaid Pledges to Root Out, Destroy Zarqawi Terror Network

By John D. BanusiewiczAmerican Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2004 – The U.S. general responsible for U.S. military operations from the Horn of Africa to Central and Southwest Asia pledged today to destroy "piece by piece" the terror network of fugitive Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Army Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. Central Command, met briefly with reporters along with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq John D. Negroponte following a closed Senate briefing.
Zarqawi has a $10 million bounty on his head, and is believed to have personally decapitated several hostages whose gruesome deaths were recorded and posted on extremist Web sites.
"First of all," Abizaid said, "we clearly know that the Zarqawi network is responsible for this. We have had a lot of good effect against the Zarqawi network in the past several weeks. We'll continue to work against them as long as it takes. We will find him, root him out and destroy him and his organization, and we'll do it as quickly as we possibly can."
The general wouldn't comment on how close multinational and Iraqi forces may be to capturing or killing Zarqawi, but he pledged to keep pounding away at the terrorist's network. "We're going to keep it up. And we'll take it apart piece by piece," he said.
Rumsfeld bristled at a reporter's question about "experts" predicting that the insurgency in Iraq would last 10 years.
"General Abizaid just gave a presentation up there to the United States Senate that was powerful," Rumsfeld said, "and it is that we are up against a very serious collection of enemies -- terrorists, extremists, people who use terrorism as their weapon of choice, people who have cut off people's heads."
The secretary said moderate people of the world must oppose the extremists wherever they are, and he acknowledged that it will take time. But, he said, no one can know how much time it will take. "I think anyone who pulls a number out of mid-air and says it will take one year or five years or 10 years must have mystical powers that most people don't have," Rumsfeld said.
"It is a serious collection of people who are determined to kill innocent men, women and children, and attack the state system that exists in this globe," Rumsfeld continued. "And it's the job of civil societies all across the globe to do everything humanly possible to see that they're not able to kill innocent men, women and children."
Abizaid predicted more violence leading up to the elections in Afghanistan and Iraq, but said his troops are up to the challenge. "We know that we will have to fight for the elections in both countries. We know that the enemy will come at us very, very tough," the general said. "But we also know that we've got the military capacity to deal with anything that may come our way. In three years of fighting in the Middle East, we have yet to lose a single tactical engagement, and we're going to keep it that way. Our troops are doing great work."
He praised the work of U.S. military forces throughout the Central Command area of responsibility. "I'd like to thank the wonderful young men and women of the armed forces of the United States for the activities and the actions and the bravery and the heroism that they've put forward in defending our nation in the Central Command area," he said. "That doesn't only include Iraq; it includes Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, and the entire Middle East and Central Asia."

long road home

Allawi Thanks America, Details Plan for Iraq's Future
By Jim GaramoneAmerican Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2004 -- "Thank you, America," Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi told a joint session of Congress today.
Allawi thanked the United States for its role in the liberation of Iraq. He said that despite what people may read in the news or see on television, "Iraq is succeeding."
The prime minister did not sugarcoat the challenges lying ahead for his country. But, he said, Iraq, the region and the world are "better off without Saddam Hussein."
Allawi, who had been driven into exile by Saddam and almost murdered by Saddam's secret police, said Iraqis know America has made great sacrifices. "I have come here to thank you and to promise you that your sacrifices are not in vain," he said.
He expressed his country's sorrow to the families of Americans killed in Iraq. "The costs now have been high," he said. "As we have lost our loved ones in this struggle, so have you. As we have mourned, so have you.
"This is a bitter price of combating tyranny and terror," he continued. "Now we are determined to honor your confidence and sacrifice by putting into practice in Iraq the values of liberty and democracy which are so dear to you and which have triumphed over tyranny across our world."
Allawi also told the joint session that elections scheduled for January 2005 will happen on time despite all that terrorists and insurgents will try to do. He said elections could happen in 15 of the 18 provinces of the country tomorrow. "I know that some have speculated, even doubted, whether this date can be met," he said. "So let me be absolutely clear. Elections will occur in Iraq on time in January, because Iraqis want elections on time."
The prime minister did not downplay the threat of terrorists and insurgents. He said there is a "tiny minority who despise the very ideas of liberty, of peace, of tolerance, and who will kill anyone, destroy anything to prevent Iraq and its people from achieving this goal."
Some of these individuals want a return of the Hussein regime, others are enamored of a toxic extremist philosophy, and still others are foreign terrorists, he explained.
"For the struggle in Iraq today is not about the future of Iraq only, it's about the worldwide war between those who want to live in peace and freedom, and terrorists, … who strike indiscriminately at soldiers, at civilians, as they did so tragically on 9/11 in America and as they did in Spain and Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Russia and my country and many others," he said.
Allawi said this tiny minority threatens to derail progress in Iraq through intimidation and fear. "I can tell you today they will not succeed," he noted.
He said his government has three parts to a plan to build a free and independent Iraq: building democracy, defeating the insurgency, and improving the quality of life for ordinary Iraqis.
This political strategy is aimed at isolating the terrorists from the communities they operate in. "We are working hard to involve as many people as we can in the political process to cut the grounds from under the terrorists' feet," Allawi said.
Political moves and talk cannot defeat terrorism, he said, "but we can weaken it." Ending local support will allow the coalition and Iraqi security forces to tackle the enemy head-on "to identify, isolate and eradicate this cancer."
The Iraqi military strategy calls for the country to build and maintain security forces that can handle the security environment in the Iraq. "Ordinary Iraqis are anxious to take over entirely this role and to shoulder all the security burdens of our country as quickly as possible," Allawi said.
He said for now, American forces are necessary but that training of Iraqi forces has sped up and the Iraqi government now commands almost 50,000 armed and combat-ready Iraqis. By January 2005, Allawi said, the number will be about 145,000 troops. And by the end of 2005 he expects it to rise to 250,000 Iraqis.
"Our intelligence is getting better every day," the president said. "These new Iraqi forces are rising to a challenge. They are fighting on behalf of sovereign Iraqi government, and their performance is improving every day."
The economic side of the plan is also moving apace. He said work on the oil infrastructure is proceeding, and basic services are being repaired or put in place.
"The homes are being rebuilt; schools and hospitals are being rebuilt; the clinics are open and reopened," he said. "There are now over 6 million children at school, many of them attending one of the 2,500 schools that have been renovated since liberation."
Allawi said that for the first time in Iraq's history, the people can look forward to controlling their destiny. "This would not have been possible without the help and sacrifices of this country and its coalition partners," he said. "I thank you again from the bottom of my heart."

Reconstruction

Eventually all the good Iraqis who want to live in peace and freedom will get tired of the insurgents bringing death to their towns and start turning them in. Hopefully it will spread, because we truly need their help to secure their nation. I understand why most Americans cant see all the good we are doing over there because the news never shows it, but I dont understand how Iraqis can be like, 'oh look at those americans cleaning up the towns and providing jobs and building schools and hospitals and sewer systems, we've gotta put a stop to that. '

American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2004 -- U.S. soldiers of Task Force Baghdad, in conjunction with Iraqi intervention forces, are conducting security operations in eastern Baghdad targeting pockets of insurgents and terrorists, a Multinational Force Iraq news release said.
Besides ground troops patrolling the troubled eastern neighborhoods, this joint operation has included limited precision fire from air strikes over the past two days to engage insurgent crew-served weapon teams.
"The intent is to provide security for the people of Thawra so we can get back to the business of reconstruction," 1st Cavalry Division Commanding General Maj. Gen. Peter Chiarelli said.
In other areas of Baghdad, Iraqi National Guard troops and Task Force Baghdad soldiers conducted raids on suspected insurgent weapons caches on Sept. 21.
In an eight-hour timeframe, these raids netted six 155 mm artillery shells and the packing material for an additional 11 shells. Eleven suspected terrorists were also detained in the raids.
Chiarelli recently commented on the violence in Baghdad and the efforts the Multinational Forces are making to improve the security situation.
"If I can have peace … today, I have enough money to do all the major work in Baghdad," Chiarelli said. "We can do so much … to turn around the deplorable conditions in many portions of the city."
While improvements are being made to Baghdad's infrastructure, Iraqi security forces are working alongside 1st Cavalry Division soldiers to ensure stability is maintained in dangerous areas of the city, such as the Thawra section. Chiarelli said he believes the Iraqi security forces are continually improving and getting stronger, but he stressed that the residents of Baghdad could play a part in improving the security situation.
"Every tip they give us, every time they identify for us an (improvised explosive device), a mortar or a (vehicle-borne improvised explosive device), or a vehicle that they suspect, they make the security in Baghdad just a little bit better," Chiarelli said.
Recent violence in Thawra, Haifa Street, and in other areas of Baghdad has caused concern about whether the 1st Cavalry Division can continue to focus on providing assistance for civil military projects.
As the security situation improves, projects to improve the city's infrastructure, including water, sewer, trash and electricity services, can continue unhindered, Chiarelli said. A project for a new sewer system in the southern area of Thawra will begin this week.

Afghan 2ndRC ready to go

We've finally got a permanent ANA presence in the southest. This is good news for everyone except the bad guys.

Afghan National Army Activates Second Regional Command
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2004 -- The Afghan National Army took another step toward greater security and strengthening the Afghan government with the activation today of a second regional command at Gardez.
The Tropic Lightning Division's Maj. Gen. Eric Olson, commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force 76, poses with soldiers of the Afghan National Army's Thunder Corps at the activation ceremony for the Gardez Regional Command Sept. 22. Photo by Sgt. Denise Schultz, USAThe first regional command was established in Kandahar Sept. 19.
The Gardez Regional Command, as well as the one at Kandahar, will provide the Afghan National Army a permanent presence in the east and south of Afghanistan.
The ANA also plans to activate regional commands in Mazar-e Sharif and Herat, which will provide the army a permanent presence in the west and north.
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Eric Olson, commanding general of the 25th Infantry Division and of Combined Joint Task Force 76 in Afghanistan who took part in today's ceremony, said he has fought with Afghan National Army soldiers "shoulder to shoulder."
He said he looks "forward to the opportunity to serve again with the great soldiers of the ANA."
Prior to the regional commands, troops and units from the ANA's Central Corps, located in the Kabul region, were frequently deployed wherever needed around the country to carry out combat operations alongside the coalition in the east and south and to conduct security and stability operations in the west and north.
With the new regional commands and growing maturity of the ANA, there will be a command-and=control headquarters in each region of Afghanistan, as well as troops assigned to carry them out, military officials said.
The Gardez Regional Command will have an initial force of about 200 Afghan soldiers. However, military officials expect that number to grow to more than 3,000 soldiers.
Meanwhile, Olsen said, the regional command, along with building a permanent base camp, would "greatly improve the security in the region, thus allowing the people of this area to move toward a much brighter future."
That future, he said, is symbolized by the soldiers of the trained, professional and disciplined Afghan National Army who now man the new regional command, "each of whom vows on his graduation from training at the Kabul Military Training Center to serve the Afghan nation," he added.

A sense of service

By Kathleen T. RhemAmerican Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2004 -- Scott Erwin went to Iraq a year ago to do paperwork in preparation for a major donor's conference, but soon realized Iraq was full of opportunities to help change people's lives.
The 22-year-old Erwin soon volunteered for a job that would take him outside the heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses Iraqi government buildings and the U.S. Embassy. His new job with the Ministry of Interior "allowed me to go into the city every day and interact with my Iraqi colleagues," he said.
He was particularly impressed with Iraqi policemen, "who showed their bravery by returning to their posts no matter what had happened the day before, whether their comrades had died or whether their police station had been blown up."
But, he said, working with local university students led to what he called his most rewarding experience in Baghdad. Erwin began a program called Ambassadors of Democracy, a program to introduce students to the basic tenets of democracy, at Baghdad's Mustanseriya University.
"I entered not knowing what to expect," he said of the Ambassadors of Democracy program. "What I found was these students had an amazing vision and an amazing understanding of what democracy was and where it could take them in their country."
Erwin explained that Iraqis understood concepts such as democracy and freedom of speech; they had just never been exposed to such lofty ideals.
But they quickly internalized the concepts, Erwin said. He noted that at the beginning of the program, students often couldn't explain what democracy meant to them. "They were speechless," he said.
Ten or 15 sessions of the program later, the students had a lot more to say. "They each spoke (about democracy) for five to 10 minutes," Erwin said, with obvious pride.
Erwin's work with the Ambassadors of Democracy program led to his being severely injured in an ambush June 2. He was shot four times during an attack that killed two Iraqi police officers escorting him back to the Green Zone from the university.
An Iraqi translator pulled him from the car and shielded him from small-arms fire until other Iraqi policemen could fend off the attackers. Even though it was Iraqis who attacked and shot him, Erwin said it's important to keep in mind that it was Iraqis that saved his life. "I would like to go back if given the opportunity and then try to stay as involved as possible," he said.
Erwin said a "sense of service" to his country -- instilled by a grandfather who he described as "a proud Marine who flew 64 missions in World War II and Korea" – led him to Iraq as a way to do something for his country. But, he said, he ended up changed by the experience.
"You go over with a sense of service to your own country, but then you emerge and you try to … give that same sense of service to the Iraqi people as well," he said. "Both of those then drive you to work and to continue and to have you stay and endure some of the conditions that we did."

Rocky road

"A great and historic enterprise"

Bush Promises Allawi U.S. Will Stand by Iraq
By Jim GaramoneAmerican Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2004 -- President Bush today vowed to stand by the Iraqi people, following a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi at the White House.
During a press conference following the meeting, Allawi said he and Bush had discussed plans to ensure democratic elections in Iraq take place in January 2005. "And we discussed the importance of maintaining the strength of the coalition and the support of the international community in helping us to succeed," the prime minister said.
Allawi also had words for the nations of the coalition: Don't negotiate with terrorists. "I know it is difficult, but the coalition must stand firm," he said. "When governments negotiate with terrorists, everyone in the free world suffers. When political leaders sound the sirens of defeatism in the face of terrorism, it only encourages more violence.
"Working together, we will defeat the killers," he said. "And we'll do this by refusing to bargain about our most fundamental principles."
Bush complimented Allawi for all he and his government have accomplished since he took office June 28. "These have been months of steady progress despite persistent violence in some parts of your country," the president said. "Iraqis and their leaders are engaged in a great and historic enterprise to establish a new democracy at the heart of a vital region."
Bush said the United States will stand by the Iraqi government in opposition to extremists who use suicide bombs, beheadings and other horrific acts to try to block progress. "We're sickened by the atrocities, but we'll never be intimidated. "And freedom is winning," Bush said.
Bush said the coalition is making steady progress on the five-step goal.
He said the first step was the return of sovereignty in June. The second step is to help Iraq's new government establish stability and security. U.S. and NATO leaders are training Iraqi security forces. Bush said that there are nearly 100,000 fully trained and equipped Iraqi soldiers, police officers and other security personnel. This will rise to 125,000 by the end of this year.
The third step is to improve Iraq's infrastructure. "On television sets around the world we see acts of violence, yet in most of Iraq children are about to go back to school, parents are going back to work, and new businesses are being opened," the president said.
"Over 100 companies are now listed in the Iraqi Stock Exchange, and an average of five new companies are joining each week," he continued. "Electricity has been restored above prewar levels. Telephone service has increased dramatically. More than 2,000 schools have been renovated and millions of new textbooks have been distributed."
The fourth step is to draw more international help to Iraq. Thirty nations already provide forces to Iraq. The United Nations has re-established its mission in Baghdad; NATO has agreed to help train Iraqi security forces; and the G-8 member nations are working to alleviate Iraq's debt burden. Allawi called on Iraq's "Arab brothers" to help his nation.
The final step is to help Iraq conduct free, national elections no later than January 2005. "An Iraqi electoral commission is now up and running and has already hired personnel and is making key decisions about election procedures," Bush said. "Just this week, the commission began a public-education campaign to inform Iraqis about the process and encourage them to become voters."
U.N. election officials are in Iraq, but more are needed, Bush said. He and Allawi have asked the United Nations to provide the personnel needed to conduct those elections

They must not have seen the videos

I've got some free time today so I'm finally catching up on all the things, or atleast some of the things, i've been meaning to post. First from Iraq:

From the Armed Forces Press Service:

Military officials also reported today that more weapons and ammunition have been seized in Iraq. Soldiers with Multinational Division Central South confiscated several dozen AK-47 assault rifles, pistols and a large amount of ammunition at checkpoints in the Polish-led area of responsibility. Sixteen suspects were detained and are being questioned by Iraqi police after checks of their vehicles revealed the weapons stashes.
Elsewhere, in the town of al Mashru, Iraqi security forces and multinational forces found and seized a large weapons cache and detained 20 suspects Sept. 23.
More than 320 large-caliber artillery shells were found during joint forces search in Babil province. Such explosives are used to create homemade roadside bombs and are commonly placed in vehicles to create the suicide-bomb attacks that have claimed the lives of hundreds of Iraqis and injured thousands.
In addition, almost 50 kilograms of explosive material, several kilograms of TNT, and some AK-47s with ammunition were found and taken into custody.
In other news, multinational forces conducted precision air strikes today on a group of anti-Iraqi forces seen training in an open field south of Fallujah. Military officials reported the individuals were part of a mortar and rocket- propelled grenade training team. Coalition forces fired artillery on 10 to 12 individuals observed as part of the team.
The team reportedly ran into a cave that was being used to supply their efforts and for weapons cache storage. Coalition forces then directed an air strike on the cave with precision-guided munitions. Details on results or damage from the strikes were not available.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Happy Fall

Well today is officially the first day of Autumn, so if you are unlucky enough (or perhaps you see it as lucky) to live somewhere where the weather changes in the fall, enjoy those cool nights and big piles of leaves you have to rake up. I'm lucky enough to live in Texas, so it is just as hot this week as it has been for the past several, which I love. In Texas the fall is known as late summer, spring is early summer, and the winter is where you will have a day every few weeks or so where it gets down below 60. Brrrrr, 60.
Happy fall everybody, one more month till Halloween, and the start of another hellacious holiday season. And without hockey this year, the cold has absolutely no point at all. since this was the coolest summer i can remember, which is as good as ever, maybe this will be the warmest winter ever. Cross your fingers.
It will continue to be light blogging here cuz I'm crazy busy at work. and next week will probably be real light cuz i have to go on a business trip for most of the week. Sunny Phoenix here i come.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Monday already

Well I had a really good weekend, I can't believe its over already. I hope you got to get out to one of the many events that were going on this weekend in the metroplex. I suppose if I was much of a reporter I would have made it to more, or taken more pictures at the one event I did attend, but I'm not. But, that's what's so great about the blogosphere, if one blog doesnt have what you're looking for, someone else surely will.
Have a good week everybody. Mine is surely to be an adventure, and hectic, and stressful, and overwhelming, and exciting, and just the beginning of an enormous learning experience, and the very beginning of a big step up for me, hopefully, at the company. I have the chance to be the man, and I've been given a chance to take a step towards being the man, and its all happening very quickly and I just hope I can keep up. I'm nervous and excited at the same time. I probably wont sleep very well tonight but I really need to. That's probably not true, I rarely have trouble sleeping unless I drink too much caffeine late. I just need to remember the advice that I always give other people, which is to not stress and just take it as it comes. I've got these rough edges that I developed at a young age and am now over the past few years just starting to smooth out. Its very weird this whole growing up and growing old and maturing thing. Its all new to me. I was not prepared for this. I never planned on living this long, but now that I have missed my chance to live fast and die young, and discovered that its a great big world that I want to explore cuz I might not get another chance, and I care about that, I now need to deal with the mistakes I made in my youth and work thru them and deal with what I have done to my body and mind and try to change. So, I'm off to bed before 2 am, and tomorrow I'm gonna let my alarm get me up early instead of sleeping too late, and I might even brush my hair. But i'm not gonna tuck in my shirt.
I'm not sure if corporate Matt is who I am, anyone that knows me would certainly say I dont look the part. And I dont. but i really enjoy what i do and even tho i cant wear shorts or tshirts to work, i believe in my company and like where i work. and like i've said, i really have the chance to be the man. if i can keep learning and master all the things i need to master, i would be in a very powerful position, the least aspect being the ability to demand a big raise, the highest aspect being the ability to become a manager and have my own little army and command a little more respect and a lot more money. but there's always a little part of me that wonders why i should even try. do i want that much more responsibility and pressure? alls i really want is to be free and happy right? isnt that what all of us want? i'm hoping that by busting ass now and becoming the man, i can make some real money and pay off my debt and within a few years i can decide if i want to keep doing what I'm doing, or if i want to do something else. i have set my life alarm for 30. by then I will have all my debt paid off and I will have been doing the same type of job, computer modeling, for exactly 10 years. i like nice solid round numbers, and even though 10 isnt a power of 2 (which are special), its a nice round number. and to me, 30 is a pretty major milestone. kinda like 18 and 60. at 18 you are officially an adult, and lots of things change and are happening when you're 18. at 60, you are officially old. if you invested well you are either retiring or about to retire, and you are entering the golden years. you collect senior discounts and play golf several times a week, maybe everyday. at 30, you are no longer a young adult, you are just an adult. not quite middle age, and definately not old, but no longer young either. you've got 12 years to explore life and screw it up and still be considered a young adult. but when you turn 30, thats kinda like leaving the entryway of adulthood and entering the actual house of life. you're not as young or as quick as you used to be. i'm speaking in broad terms you must understand, if you are in great physical shape and/or a professional athlete, probably none of these apply to you. but i am neither. you cant really screw things up and recover as quickly as you used to be able to. you need to start thinking about things like saving for your future and exercising more and what you eat and when. this winter my dad turns 60 and i turn 29. we're gonna celebrate in vegas. maybe i'll hit it rich and not have to worry about any of this stuff. but its not likely. its more likely i will win a little and lose a lot, eat a little and drink a lot, but hopefully also i will share a little and learn a lot. life's just too big to handle on your own, and tho i've been unlucky in love pretty much all my life, i'm blessed with a great family and the fact that my two biggest heros are also my parents. so tomorrow as i start a new chapter at work, i'll use the strength that they have given me to overcome all the frustrations and self doubt that i give myself. i've got rough edges but i'm smoothin em out, i just hope i'm supposed to be.

Here's one for my dad, who's been known to rock out on the accordian in his time. This was a couple that were playing for tips. You know what they say, the only thing better than one accordian player is two accordian players.  Posted by Hello

We actually ran into Big Ray's sister there. This is a big deal because I've known big ray for probably 6 or so years now, and I've never met his sister.  Posted by Hello

Here's a panoramic view of the Addison Oktoberfest from near the entrance. As you can see it was a beautiful night for a carnival. A bunch of my buds came out and we hung out and drank beer and ate german food and annoyed pretty girls. I had a beer braut then a little later since that wasnt much food, i had a veal patty with potato pancakes. All were very good. Unfortunately as i mentioned earlier the sponsor beer was Lowenbrau, which is just awful beer, but I managed to choke a few down. Of course i had to spend the extra money for the steins cuz once you have one the refill is much bigger then the small cups which cost the same thing. It was a beautiful texas night and I believe a good time was had by all.  Posted by Hello

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Word of the Day

I dont do this much cuz its probably kinda stupid, but I learned a new word today so I figured I'd share. I'm learning lots of new stuff at work now so I might be doing this more often.

bathymetry
n : measuring the depths of the oceans

geodesy
n : the branch of geology that studies the shape of the earth and the determination of the exact position of geographical points

photogrammetry
n : The process of making maps or scale drawings from photographs, especially aerial photographs.
The process of making precise measurements by means of photography.


This is weird, I said I've never been to Shiner, and I certainly don't remember ever going to Bocktoberfest, but apparently I was there in '97.  Posted by Hello

Bocktoberfest

Well its that time of year again, time for towns to have their annual Oktoberfest celebrations. Like I mentioned earlier I'm going to the Addison Oktoberfest today, but one of Texas' biggest and best Oktoberfest parties is Bocktoberfest, down in Shiner, Texas. I've never been so I've decided this year is the year. Part of the reason I've never gone is because there's never been any bands I wanna see, but this year is gonna be different. They finally have some big time acts that I actually like that I'm sure will rock this little Texas town. The line up includes Kid Rock, Staind, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Lyle Lovett, Asleep at the Wheel, Cory Morrow, and Bill Pekar. I dont know about some of those guys but I like Staind a lot and they always put on a good show, and I'm not a big Kid Rock fan but I bet he puts on a good show, and I know Kenny Wayne Shepherd will be good.
The show is Saturday October 16th and starts at noon. They finally have some organized camping available nearby, so I plan on driving down friday night, setting up camp and doing some cooking and drinking and bullshittin, you know the usual camping thing, goin over to the show on saturday then leaving when the park closes sunday at noon. Should be a great time and a fun way to meet some new folks. Tent camping is $25 for one night or $30 for two nights, or $30 and $50 for RVs. Tickets to the concert are $41, or $46 the day of.

For all the info go to the official Bocktoberfest 2004 site.

So go order your tickets and reserve your campsite and I'll see you down in Shiner.


Bush blogs

Wondering what the Bush twins are up to? Cmon, I know you are. Well they have a feature on the Bush blog called Barbara and Jenna's Journal where you can follow all their not-so-wacky adventures across this great nation of ours to drum up support for their dad. Still no stories of late night pillow fights or drunken now-legal misadventures, but we can keep hoping.
That's just part of the official Bush blog, where you can learn such fun facts as how many voters volunteers have called today, what are some of the new tv ads, and how U.S. household wealth is at a record high. Gee, thats funny, according to some people our economy is in the tanks. Aren't facts fun?
And dont forget to visit Blogs for Bush for more fun facts than you can shake a fake document at.

Oktoberfest

This weekend is Addison's Oktoberfest celebration. I plan on going over there tonight, so I'll have a report tomorrow if I'm not too hung over or jailed. If you're thinking of going, admission is $5 for ages 4 and up, and once again Lowenbrau is the official beer. So drink some good beer before you go to numb those taste buds. There's also a weingarten if you like wein. I'll be wearing my IMAO t-shirt if you'd like to come up and tell me how much I suck and why I should leave the poor blogosphere alone, or if you want to tell me I'm great and you'd like to buy me a beer.

Here's the official Addison page, for all your Addison needs and info.

One solution

Check out this movie on how to get everyone to like us again.

Sky Captain in flight

I went and saw Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow last night and I thought it was great. If you dont know Sky Captain stars Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Angelina Jolie, though Angelina was in it for such a short time that it's hard to say she starred in it. Maybe costarred, or also appeared. Anyway, its set in the future of the past. It's happening in the 30's but made to look kinda futuristic, and not how we now would think of futuristic but how people in the thirties would think of futuristic. Everything is big and steel and mechanical. It's selling point is the fact that its a different looking film, with lots of camera angles and props that you would expect in an old film, with that saturated kinda grainy, pastels over black and white coloring. Its a really beautiful film, all the effects and props are well done and not over the top or too obvious. Whoever the creative minds on this film were they did a really stellar job, all the machines and vehicles and robots and aircraft were really cool and original while still fitting the thirties motif they were working. It was well acted and there were a lot of great looks and quips and a few funnys thrown in for good measure. One of the guys that I went with mentioned that if there was any downside, aside from not enough Angelina, was that there wasnt enough main good guy on main bad guy action, no final show down between the two. Though I somewhat agree, I think the surprise meeting between the good guy and bad guy was original and good enough, and there was a bit of a showdown between all the good guys and the rest of the bad guys and what they have to do to save the world. The movie mainly focused on the characters of the main hero, Law, and his reporter friend, Paltrow, and did a fine job of that. Overall I really liked this movie and give it 8 out of 10 big steel robots, and two thumbs up.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Olympic vote

In an effort to get some comments here, I thought I would try a pole.
I was looking through some pictures from the Olympics yesterday and was thinking to myself "Why is that an olympic sport?"
So, vote now for what you think is the lamest Olympic competition.
Here are a few of your choices:
ping pong
field hockey
handball
badminton


Rebuilding Najaf

By Ross AdkinsSpecial to American Forces Press Service
NAJAF, Iraq, Sept. 15, 2004 -- In spite of damage inflicted during clashes between the new Iraqi security forces and radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's militia here two weeks ago, the city now has a smile on its face.
Once under tight control of Sadr, the citizens here -- victims of a misguided few -- were bullied, harassed and even killed if they offered any resistance. Today, the fear is gone, and the city is rebuilding in the wake of war.
A drive through the littered streets is met with friendly waves and thumbs-up signs from children and adults working alongside the road. Relief from militant rule seems to have left young and old with feelings of hope and anticipation of a better future.
"We are happy now because al-Sadr is gone," said a young man in the farmers' market area who identified himself as "Amir." "We now want things put back up."
Work on hospitals, schools, streets and water systems again is under way, as well as cleanup and new restoration projects. Electricity and drinking water were restored within hours after fighting ceased. The Iraqi electricity ministry mandated shortly after the cessation of fighting that Najaf receive power around the clock as long as was needed, and the water ministry moved workers in to restore drinking water within hours of the withdrawal.
"We don't blame Americans, but we do want them to clean it up," said an elderly gentleman wearing the traditional shirt-like dishdasha and shawl as he pointed to a pile of rubble where stores used to stand. "Now. Not later, now. We want to get our lives on and return to normal."
Returning to normal was a universal goal echoed by the crowds of young and old who lined the streets of the city. Their polite gestures of friendliness spoke of great hope, but their body language cried impatience.
Gov. Adnan al-Zuhfa has put the full weight of his office behind the efforts to clean up debris that litters the streets and return sanitation to full operation. He has informed the interim government in Baghdad that he is looking to them for more assistance and money.
More than 100 projects have been either re-instituted or begun with funding from various ministries of Iraq as well as multinational sources. One can almost feel the restlessness of the people of Najaf, impatient to get their lives back to normal. But they can now smile in anticipation of that day.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The Right movies

Apparently my little Addison, Texas had a conservative film festival this past weekend. I wish I would've known, I definately would have been there. Probably would have been a good place to meet some like minded individuals. I keep missing out on the good events, I'm gonna have to do something about that. Anyway, here's the story from foxnews.com


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