Friday, December 31, 2004

from a different angle Posted by Hello

this isnt a real good picture cuz of the lighting, but this in in the mgm grand in the lion exhibit. the lions are lyin on the plexiglass ceiling of the walkway Posted by Hello

me & my sis Posted by Hello

inside the neverending desert passage Posted by Hello

paris at night Posted by Hello

cool lookin trees inside casino on side of restaurant Posted by Hello

the requisit picture of the dancin water at the bellagio Posted by Hello

the awesome view from my room. i had an inner facing room. dunt matter, they all look the same w/ yer eyes closed Posted by Hello

monkey love

Cant get enough of monkeys? lucky for you there are new species being discovered all the time. well not exactly. as if you needed another reason to go to India, apparently they're just making new ones there. check it out

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Farmers of Iraq unite

Baghdad Farmers Get Helping Hand from 1st Cavalry Division
American Forces Press Service
FORWARD OPERATING BASE RUSTAMIYAH, Iraq, Dec. 28, 2004 – An Army unit here is coordinating the construction of an equipment storage building for a farmers' co-op it formed earlier this year.
A local man welds a frame that will support the roof of a building that will house a farmer's co-op in eastern Baghdad. Funded by the 1st Cavalry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team, the building will house shared equipment that members of the co-op will use, as well as serve as an administrative and meeting center.
Soldiers of the 1st Cavalry Division's 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery, 1st Brigade Combat Team have engaged in an ongoing effort to help Baghdad's farmers.
"What we've been doing is working with the farmers out there and trying to get them organized," said Capt. William Powers, an officer with the battalion. "Not to the state of a U.S. co-op … just trying to get them to work together."
Since the co-op began in June, hundreds of tons of seed and fertilizer have been parceled out to eastern Baghdad farmers in an effort to jumpstart the local economy, provide more quality produce for the local population, and lend some of the poorer residents of the area — the farmers themselves — a helping hand.
"We started working on this in June, but we had difficulty finding meeting places … so we decided what would help the co-op was to give it an actual place," Powers said. "Originally, we were going to renovate some buildings, but we were able to get the Ministry of Agriculture to donate some land for a co-op facility, so we're building a facility that is over 650 square meters (and) includes four large storage units as well as a large area in the middle for tractors. Attached to that is a restroom and a large conference facility. It will be furnished, as well as have a fence and a guard house."
When the project is complete and the co-op is in full swing, farmers will have a place to gather and exchange ideas on growing techniques and methodology, bettering the community as a whole, Powers said. They will also be able to coordinate the amount and type of produce they grow, making it more valuable when they pile it onto the bed of their truck and drive to market in nearby Sadr City or another part of Baghdad.
"(The farmers) aren't using the market as well as they could," he said. "By being organized, they can see what the need is at the market, and split up what they're growing, share equipment, and be able to get seed and fertilizer much cheaper."
One of the problems the co-op will work to fix is that many farmers are trying to sell the same produce at the same time, reducing its value, Powers said.
The project will cost the 1st Brigade Combat Team $200,000, but the impact on eastern Baghdad is sure to be lasting and significant, Powers said. "We're giving them computers, as well as filing systems, so they can (have on file) all the farmers in the area, the size of their crops (and basic testing facilities so they can improve their output," he noted. Iraq's agriculture minister plans to have training at the facility as well, Powers added.
The farmers had unions in Saddam Hussein's regime, Powers said, but 30 percent of their profits went to the government. "In the co-op, it's more toward the free- market economy, where the profits will go toward the farmers instead of the government," he explained. "However, the government will be there to assist, just like … in the United States."
Powers said it's important for the farmers to learn what they need to do on their own. "They've been relying on the Ministry of Agriculture for so long on what they need to do," he said. "Now, by having a formed co-op, they can try to learn to work themselves."

1-800-save-iraq

Hotline Succeeding In Foiling Iraqi Insurgents
By Donna MilesAmerican Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 28, 2004 — Leads generated through a hotline to report insurgent activity in Iraq demonstrate that the Iraqi people want to bring an end to the violence against innocent civilians and critical infrastructure, a top officer in the Army's 1st Cavalry Division told reporters in Baghdad today.
Brig. Gen. Jeffrey W. Hammond, the division's assistant commander for support, said the tips hotline received more than 400 calls during the past few months. These enabled the coalition to take prompt action — from freeing several women who had been kidnapped for ransom to identifying and destroying vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices Hammond said "were rigged and ready to explode."
Billboards throughout Baghdad promote the hotline as a way for the Iraqi people to "fight the war in secret" without fear of reprisal, Hammond said. Because of a campaign of intimidation aimed at Iraqis helping to move their country forward, "people were virtually paralyzed to reach out for help," he noted. Now, thanks to the hotline campaign, "people today are picking up the phone and calling us. They are sharing information," the general said.
Hammond said the hotline and its success have "hit a nerve with the insurgents" who regularly vandalize billboards promoting the campaign. But Hammond said the 200 billboards around Iraq are replaced as quickly as they're destroyed. "I'm not going to stop," he said.
He called the enemy "a selfish minority" that uses practices that "have no connection whatsoever to the Islam religion" and no interest in "the short- or long-term needs of the Iraqi people."
In Baghdad, Hammond said, the enemy is a mix of foreign fighters, former regime elements, religious extremists and criminals who "are trying to impede progress by attacking critical infrastructure and civilians."
Hammond said their tactics — murdering civilians simply "for doing what's right for the people of Iraq" and attacking electrical towers, hospitals and other infrastructure — are part of a plan to instill fear and gain power.
"This isn't going to work," he said.
Hammond said the coalition's and Iraqis' persistence against the insurgents is paying off. Last Christmas, he said, the coalition experienced a 500 percent spike in attacks. A similar spike was anticipated again this year, but didn't materialize, he said.

bomb stoppers

Iraqis Direct Soldiers to Weapons Caches
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 28, 2004 – Iraqi citizens continue to help U.S. soldiers rid their country of illegal weapons, Multinational Force Iraq officials reported today.
Two Iraqi children led 1st Infantry Division soldiers from Task Force Trailblazer to a weapons cache near Bayji this morning. The soldiers discovered nine land mines hidden in a former tank position and are investigating additional caches in the area, officials said.
Later today, near Duluiyah, an Iraqi citizen reported a weapons cache to 1st Infantry Division soldiers. The cache consisted of four 20 mm machine guns, a 60 mm mortar tube, an anti-aircraft gun, a box of 20 mm high-explosive ammunition, a box of .50-caliber ammunition, rocket propellant, rocket fuses, a 20 mm recoilless rifle, and six boxes of armor-piercing ammunition. The cache was transported to a Multinational Force facility for future destruction.
Also today in Iraq, Multinational forces and Iraqi security forces conducting a joint patrol in Mosul were attacked with small-arms fire from a mosque. An Iraqi National Guard soldier was wounded in the attack and was taken to a Multinational Force medical facility in Mosul for treatment.
Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, and the Iraqi National Guard quickly maneuvered on the mosque, but the insurgents fled as the soldiers approached. Iraqi National Guard soldiers searching the mosque found evidence that a safe haven was given to the insurgents so they could conduct the attack.
Officials said the interim Iraqi government and the Ninevah provincial governor have made it clear that any mosque used as a base of operations to conduct attacks against Iraqi or multinational forces is subject to search. Anyone using a position of authority to incite violence against the Iraqi government, the country's security forces or multinational troops, officials added, will be subject to arrest and detention.
Iraqi police and Polish soldiers from the 1st Battle Group of Multinational Division Central-South in Babil province thwarted five suspected vehicle bombs today. A joint patrol stopped vehicles about 1.5 kilometers north of Mashru. A search determined that all five vehicles were filled with parts of artillery shells and grenades.
The soldiers determined it is likely that these vehicles were prepared as bombs. Eight suspects were detained and handed over to Iraqi police in Hillah.
Iraqi police escorted the vehicles away from the urban area and U.S. explosive ordnance disposal personnel removed and destroyed all explosive material taken from the vehicles.

rebel roundup

American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 28, 2004 -- Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the Multinational Division Central–South, the 403rd Iraqi National Guard Battalion and Iraqi police in Kut, Iraq, conducted a joint operation Dec. 27, searching for illegal weapons and ammunition northeast of Badrah in the Wasit province.
Officials said the operation was designed to prevent terrorist attacks in the division's area of responsibility and to secure stability for Iraqi people in the province.
Seven suspects were detained, and weapons and ammunition were confiscated, including rocket-propelled grenade launchers with PG-7g rockets, 122 mm artillery shells, AK-47 assault rifles with a large amount of ammunition, and a few dozen kilos of explosive material, officials said. The suspects were handed over to the Iraqi police.
Task Force Danger soldiers detained three people in a Dec. 27 raid of three houses near Duluiyah. The soldiers conducted the raid to kill or capture insurgents with AK-47s seen fleeing the scene of a small-arms attack, officials said. The suspects were taken to Multinational Force Iraq detention facilities.
Near Sindiyah on Dec. 27, Task Force Danger soldiers captured two people and seized bomb-making materials in a raid. The two individuals were captured along with bomb-making material. The suspects were taken to a Multinational Force Iraq detention facility. No multinational forces were injured.

Lands of weapons

Operations in Iraq, Afghanistan Bring In Weapons, Suspects
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 26, 2004 – Military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted in the capture of insurgents and the discovery of illegal weapons caches in recent days.
On Dec. 24, military officials in Iraq announced that two key associates of fugitive Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had been captured earlier this month in Ramadi by 2nd Brigade Combat Team soldiers serving with the 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. The soldiers captured Saleh Arugayan Kahlil Mahalawi, also known as Abu Ubaydah, on Dec. 8, and Bassim Mohammad Hazeem, also known as Abu Khattab, on Dec. 12.
Officials said both were cell leaders for a Zarqawi-affiliated terrorist group operating in Ramadi and western Anbar province. This group is responsible for intimidating, attacking and murdering innocent Iraqi civilians, Iraqi police and security forces, and business and political leaders throughout the Anbar province, officials said.
A written statement from Multinational Force Iraq announcing the captures said that over the last several months, this terrorist group kidnapped and executed 11 Iraqi National Guardsmen, detonated improvised explosive devices and car bombs resulting in the death or injury of dozens of Ramadi citizens, and smuggled foreign terrorists into the country to destabilize the region and prevent economic growth in Iraq.
"Local citizens are providing useful, detailed information regarding these terrorists," the statement continued. "The information provided by the citizens of Ar Ramadi has led to the capture of several members of this group since early December."
In addition to the surrender of these two key terrorist leaders, many foreign fighters were also detained, the statement said. "The detainees have provided information regarding the involvement of other individuals who are actively recruiting and smuggling foreign terrorists," officials reported in the Dec. 24 statement.
Elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit patrolling south of Rutbah seized a weapons cache and detained two people Christmas night. The Marines saw 14 military-aged men loading materials onto a trailer outside of a house. Upon further investigation of the area, the Marines uncovered 50 to 75 155 mm high- explosive projectiles and empty ammunition crates. The owner of the house and the truck's driver were detained, and there were no casualties.
Marines and Soldiers of the 1st Marine Division of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force wrapped up Operation Wonderland in Ramadi Dec. 24. The operation netted 29 detainees and multiple weapons caches.
Forty-eight sites were raided during the four-day operation in an effort to disrupt insurgent activity and networks in and near the provincial capital, officials said. Anti-tank mines, mortar rounds and artillery rounds were confiscated for future destruction. Fourteen rifles, a shotgun and a pistol also were confiscated. Various insurgent paraphernalia was seized, which included cell phones, a saber, a computer and $20,541. U.S. forces also seized a car with an altered fuel tank, a sign it was being prepared to carry explosives for detonation, officials.
Also on Dec. 24, officials announced that soldiers from 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team) had prevented a potential car bomb attack and detained 38 suspects in separate operations since Dec. 23.
Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, prevented a potential attack from occurring on security forces Dec. 23 after they located a car containing a detonator, bomb-making material and a video camera. Two subjects fled before they could be apprehended. An explosives ordnance disposal team cleared the vehicle.
On Dec. 24, soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 14th Cavalry Regiment, conducted cordon-and-search operations near Singar, looking for suspected terrorist cell members. Multinational forces detained 32 insurgents, who remain in custody for questioning. Soldiers also confiscated five AK-47 assault rifles, two handguns and 2 million Iraqi dinars in currency.
Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment detained two suspicious people Dec. 23 at a traffic control point in central Mosul after multinational forces spotted the subjects observing the checkpoint from a distance. A search produced 1,000 blank identification cards, and the suspects were taken into custody. The battalion also searched for weapons caches near the northern city of Hammam al Alil on Dec. 23. Three suspected insurgents were taken into custody.
Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 14th Cavalry Regiment, searched a Tal Afar business Dec. 23 and detained a suspect after multinational forces discovered insurgent propaganda and other documents containing schematics and chemical equations.
In Afghanistan, military officials announced that coalition forces found five weapons caches Dec. 23.
The first, near Tarin Kowt, contained two 107 rockets, an 82 mm mortar, a mine, a rocket-propelled grenade round, three cans of mortar fuses, one can of mine fuses and two 107 mm rocket fuses. Local teenagers near Salerno directed soldiers to the second cache, which contained three RPGs. The third cache, near Waza Khwa, contained 13 boxes of machine gun ammunition, and various pieces of electronic and radio equipment. The fourth weapons cache, near Ghazni, contained 6,600 boxes of 14.5 mm rounds and 5,700 boxes of 12.7 mm rounds. The fifth weapons cache near Orgun-e contained 11 107 mm rockets, an RPG launcher and a recoilless rifle.
Coalition forces have secured the weapons caches and will destroy them, officials said.

Rummy's holiday message to the troops

Click here to read Rummy's holiday message to the troops, courtesy of defenselink

Iraq airport opens

Airport Opening Considered First Step to Return of Iraqi Tourism
By BJ WeinerSpecial to American Forces Press Service
BASRA, Iraq, Dec. 17, 2004 -- In July 2005, Basra International Airport in Iraq will officially open for commercial air and passenger traffic.
"The airport was never really functional," said Nolan Smith, assistant area engineer for the Basra office, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region South. "It was never formally opened to large commercial flights, primarily because of war. But now, it could open up to cargo flights in the very near future."
The $4.9 million renovation of the terminal includes the air traffic control tower, according to Erick Bush, with construction services for the Transportation and Communications Sector of the Corps' southern district. The navigational aids contract has not yet been awarded, but it is out for bid, according to Bush.
Construction needs not yet funded include upgrades to the fuel farm and electric feeder lines. A Native Alaskan firm, Nana Pacific, won the bid and was to start work in early December.
"The airport is one of highest profile projects we have here, with high likelihood of success: being on schedule, on budget and being fully functional when complete," Bush said.
The airport has managed to avoid the 10 years of war, embargo and looting that have devastated other places in the country, according to Smith. "The art is still there," he said, "and there is a lot of it. The facilities are old and suffer from neglect, but we are hoping that some may be reparable.
"We have to bring up chillers (water cooling units), so they have air conditioning, electrical, plumbing (and) we'll be doing the elevators and escalators, the baggage claim areas, the conveyors, the architectural work, the floors, the ceiling and some pavement marking and striking," he said.
All systems have to be brought to international standards before any cargo or commercial planes can land, said Smith. The Iraqis also need to provide fire engines and to train firemen for the requisite fire station.
"These systems there are good systems, and we are bringing them and the airport back to life," he said. "And, when we do, we'll bring this area of Iraq back to life. Part of our project is to bring in all the security issues at the airport -- baggage claim, scanners, and customs through the security and justice sector -- to keep the insurgents out. Once the security issues are gone, people will find friendly knowledgeable people with a rich history."
Smith explained that Nana Pacific intends to work with the airport authority to hire those people who used to work at the facility. "They will rehire the laborers, the cleaning crews -- all the people who used to work this place. The people will bring this airport back to life, be trained on the new systems, and they'll operate these systems when we're done," he said. "I believe between 800 and 1,000 people used to work here. They sit at home now because there is no work in the area. Their jobs are coming back."
Once the airport opens, the tourism industry will find a welcome home in Iraq. Smith acknowledged that part of that equation depends on the combination of the ports and the airport.
"This country has tremendous assets," he said. "And it depends on commerce -- the kind of commerce the airport and the ports will bring. Before the wetlands were drained, there were 300 million date palms in this area and the fruit was exported. Agriculture was one of this country's biggest exports. Dates in Iraq were the best in the world. The trees were all dug up or moved by the former regime.
"Several major religions have the same center, and it is in this area. The history is all around us. Mesopotamia is second to Israel in that regard. There are tremendous places to see. I intend to bring my family back to this area one day," Smith said.
Bush said he can't predict the kind of impact the airport will have on the region, or what kind of need the Iraqi people will have for the facility. "It will definitely help the infrastructure," he said. "No matter what they want to do, they will be able to make it happen. Opportunities are what they will have; results are hard to predict. But whatever they decide, the system will be in place."

More Iraqi security graduates

Thousands Graduate From Police Training in Iraq
American Forces Press Service
NUMANIYAH, Iraq, Dec. 30, 2004 -- The Iraqi police today graduated 1,938 specialized police officers, 1,190 public order police and 748 mechanized police officers who completed intensive-five week training programs conducted at the Civil Intervention Force Academy.
The Iraqi interior minister has turned to the public order police to act as a bridging force in cities where the police force has not yet been established or will be reconstituted due to insurgency activity, said Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq officials. They provide a critical security presence, maintaining law and order, to ensure the safety and security of the local populace, officials explained.
A paramilitary police force, the 8th Mechanized Police Brigade is designed to battle insurgents and assist local law enforcement officials dealing with serious insurgent threats or major criminal activity. The unit is equipped with "BTRs," wheeled armored vehicles with firepower capable of full-combat operations.
"These units require more training and more advanced equipment. However, once deployed to areas of unrest, they will be effective because of their training, motivation and morale, and dedication to their country," said Army Col. Lawrence Pippins, Civilian Police Assistance Training Team program manager for counterterrorism special operations.
Officers attending the courses came from areas throughout Iraq and will be deployed to their respective assignments following graduation, officials said, adding that more than 1,000 officers who previously completed the course have been outfitted, equipped and deployed in support of security operations.

no plan

Anybody have any good ideas for something to do tomorrow, New Years Eve? i dont know of anything really cool going on. any suggestions are appreciated. of course i will have lunch at otb, but then what? nobody i really like is playing at any clubs around here. i'll probably just go down to greenville or deep smellum and try to find something to do.

Dear stinky bastard on the plane beside me

Please please please for the love of pete, stop trying to gas me to death. no seriously, could you please stop farting every five minutes. why dont you get up and go into the bathroom for the rest of the flight? there are two bathrooms so it will be no big deal. you probably need to, you obviously have something seriously wrong inside, you stinky bastard.
sincerely

mt

Friday, December 24, 2004

trust

thats what its all about. can we trust Pakistan? they say we can. i dont know. are they saying we better or else? you decide. go here to read about the recent speech the Pakistan ambassador to Washington gave, in which he outlined all the things he expects from the U.S. in exchange for their continued "cooperation". do we need em? it probably makes things easier, but are they tying us up and stabbing us in the back in the process?

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Vegas baby

whats the weather gonna be like in vegas for christmas?
click and find out

just so you know

as a follow up to that last post there are good people in iraq that are trying to make their country and its situation better, just check out any of the iraqi bloggers i have listed on the right.

Great new soldier link

check out this block from a soldier in Iraq:
Heres an excerpt:
"The people may be too scared to help us, but we can not do this alone and we shouldn’t have to. The only way to get rid of the cause of their fear is to get rid of the insurgency. They sit back and watch their neighbors make bombs and attack soldiers but are too scared to say anything. How are things going to stop? They complain about security, but I don’t see any long lines outside the recruiting stations of people who are willing to help us fight, instead they are leaving in greater numbers than they are enlisting, letting the terrorists win.Thousands of people died in our revolutionary war. But thousands more were still clamoring to enlist and fight. The only way to win is to not give up. It also took years to establish a government and a system that works, but again, the US is as strong as it is because we didn’t give in to fear. Even if a government does get put into place here, how long do you think it’s going to last? People don’t put much stock in something they haven’t had to work to obtain.I was standing in front of a formation taking photos of ING soldiers while an ING general was talking to them. As the general was speaking in Arabic, my interpreter was telling me what he was saying. At one point in the speech, he pointed at me and said, “This American woman came thousands of miles from her family to fight for your freedom, shame on us if we cannot stand up and fight.”This is what these people need to hear. They complain about how we are doing here in their country, they complain we don’t give them enough or help them enough, but there comes a point where they need to start helping themselves. We are here to assist them in rebuilding their country, not to hand it to them so they can destroy it again. "

Jewish Americans

Hanukkah celebrated at the White House..for the first time?
Hat tip to Jen over at Greatest Jeneration.

better yet

As anyone that knows me knows, i'm a pretty great guy. well its nice to know that my companys HR dept finally realized it too. yesterday i was presented with a nice little christmas tree ornament from the HR dept thanking me for being such a great guy and always taking part in all the volunteer opportunities they offer. it was kinda embarrassing, i dont really like being the center of attention, but they presented me with this little ornament and took my picture i guess for the company paper. anyway, it was nice, if not a little cheesy. now i dont want to sound ungrateful, but if i didnt this post would be over. so although a christmas tree ornament is nice (when they asked if i had a tree at home i lied and said yes) there are some things that i'd rather have. so here we go.
My top 10 list of things i'd rather have then a christmas tree ornament that has my companies name on it:
10) a christmas bonus. nothing says thank you like cold hard cash.
9) a coupon for a free lunch in the cafeteria. i cant keep being nice if i'm hungry.
8) my own parking space. sometimes i actually get there earlier then lunchtime, and its hard to find a good spot that early. durango sue deserves a good spot.
7) mtn dew in the coke machine. i know its crazy, but if theres a machine with RC in it, why cant we get some dew?
6) a date with that cute redhaired girl. shes so hot shes gotta be a bitch, but i could put up with her for one night.
5) beer in the fridge. i wouldnt work as much, but i wouldnt bitch as much either.
4) a secretary for a day. everyday theres tons of shit i just dont feel like doing, it would be nice to be able to hand off the dumb shit for just one day.
3) a free hand carwash. like i said before, durango sue deserves it, but i just dont have the motivation to wash her in the freezing cold.
2) brownies. i'll take a plate of brownies over a little trinket anyday. nothing says we care like brownies. no really, i love brownies.
1) a big fat raise.

big truck

check out this article from defensetech about a homemade guntruck

“So far, no one has shot at it and that is the effect we wanted — to scare the h--- out of the bad guys,” Smith wrote in an e-mail to The State...

complete disconnect

Maybe the misled in Iraq need to learn from the Saudis

"This (oil) is the entire economic base of the country, and even those who might be critical of the West or America will be greatly offended by any destruction of their really only means of economic progress and survival," he said.

Thats the difference between the df mujahedeen in Saudi and the dumbfucks in Iraq; in Iraq they would rather make themselves and their entire country suffer and stay in ruins then export any oil to the West. Thats the most retarded thing I've ever heard.

Dear drive thru guy

Why tease me with your offer of ketchup if i'm going to get back to work and realize you didnt actually give me any. now thats just not nice.
sincerely

mt

revelations

last night was beer night as usual, despite the subzero temperatures. i'm pretty sure i passed a polar bear hitchin a ride but i wasnt gonna stop. it was a pretty slow night as you might imagine. i did see a girl that used to work with me that said she was moving to florida. good luck with that B. ya gotta do whatcha gotta do, and last night i was ready to go with her. anyway, i learned two things last night, one exciting, one truly disturbing. the exciting one is that one of the hotty waitresses at the saucer just moved into my apt complex. in the building right next to mine in fact. she has a boyfriend, and shes not really my type (shes way too hot and knows it) but it would still be cool to know some people in my c0mplex again. time to get out the surveillance equipment. the second truly disturbing thing; we were talking about chicks, as we occasionally do, and ray remarked that he no longer had an obsession with redhaired girls. GASP! what? who the hell are you and what have you done with ray? hes now decided to find a nice hispanic girl because he's heard they are faithful. geez good luck finding one around here.
aside from that nothing much exciting last night. the mavs sucked it up and lost to the hawks. the hawks! just dont know whats up with those boys.
more observations from last nights beer night:
- attractive female scientists or math geeks are hard to find.
- all abita beers taste pretty much the same.
- not all jews celebrate the festival of lights. noone can decide how it should really be spelled, not even dictionary.com (Hanukkah, Hanukah, Hannukah, Chanukah, Chanukkah, Channukah, Channukkah)
- waitresses will make up some pretty crazy excuses to not sit with you. ok i guess i have to elaborate on this one. we're regulars at the saucer, so we know all the girls, and tho we arent the hottest or coolest bunch of guys we are nice and good tippers. so occasionally our waitress, if she is getting off early, offers to come sit and have a beer with us. on a rare occasion they will actually do this. but usually once they have their street clothes on they realize that they dont actually want to be seen with us, so they'll come and make up some excuse as to why they have to leave, and then they will proceed to drink with their cool friends at another table for the next hour or so. its quite bold, and i admire that, and those of us that have been in the beer night crowd long enough are used to it. heres the example from last night. our waitress is getting off early and offers to come have a drink with us. sure, we say, that would be fine. she does her thing, changes her clothes, then comes out and tells us that she wont be able to have that drink with us because her nephew is in the hospital and she has to go see him. or something like that. too bad, we say. wow, we all agree, thats a pretty good one. of course everybody knows, except maybe her, that visiting hours at the hospital dont extend till 11pm. e actually says he may have heard that one before from someone else. i mean c'mon, do you really have to be that creative with your excuse. why not just say you're tired and be on your happy way. hey alls we've got is our intelligence, dont offend that too. hold on thats not even the best part. so she then proceeds to sit with her real friends at the table right beside ours for the next hour and drink. she obviously hadnt planned her excuse very well. why not just say hey i'd rather sit with my real friends, we dont blame ya.

where have i been

i've got a lot of catching up to do since i havent been bloggin for shit for the last few months. dont ask me why, i dont know, just been lazy i guess. well i got the day off work today and i either blog or i go in to work, so i'm bloggin.
its fn cold outside, what the hells up with that? kinda suiting i guess that the day after it turns winter it starts snowing. it was a downright blizzard yesterday. the roads werent bad but they were kinda icey where people werent driving much and on the bridges. of course durango sue doesnt mind, but i feel sorry for car drivers. anyway, its not snowing anymore but the snows still on the ground cuz its still ass freezing cold outside. yet another reason not to go to work.

Monday, December 13, 2004

day 1

Well i managed to arrive safely in phoenix and had a pretty good first day. my flight over was pretty uneventful without any turbulence, but it was otherwise the stereotypical flight; fat guy beside me, crying baby behind me, annoying stewardess. dont you hate it when stewardess' try to be funny? just be nice and attentive, thats enough, really, you dont have to be funny, cuz you aint. anyway, so we got into phoenix on time, but the rental car ended up being a circus. we got enterprise this time because it was cheaper then our usual hertz. so we get on the enterprise shuttle and we drive for atleast 10 minutes, i was starting to think they were just gonna drive us straight to the hotel. so we finally get to the place, which is nowhere near the airport, and theres a ton of people standing around outside. apparently it was a busy day at enterprise. i dont know what the problem was, i think the people that worked there were just slow, cuz there were plenty of cars. after about a half hour we finally get our car. unbelievable. i will definitely never use enterprise again, atleast not in phoenix. especially if the company is paying. when we asked what the problem was alls anyone had to say was that they didnt know it was gonna be so buys. how dont you know its gonna be busy? people have to call ahead to reserve a car, its not like you can just walk up and reserve one. anyway, so we were about 15 minutes late getting to the base, but thats no big thing. the guys we work with our pretty cool, and its not like it was our fault. so we got everything installed and copied over from our drives without too much headache, which is a good start. then after a while we got our scripts up and running and ran some tests to make sure we were seeing everything we were supposed to be seeing. we took a dinner break around 6 and went to outback, which was pretty hopping, but we called ahead so we only had to wait about 15 minutes. they dont have lobster here. now i havent been to outback in a while but i used to get the steak and lobster combo, which is pretty kickass, so i dont know if its just phoenix or all outbacks dont serve lobster anymore. guess i'll have to go to outback when i get home. anyway, my steak was still real good, so no complaints. maybe we'll just have to go to red lobster or something tonight. i love traveling on the companies dime. so after dinner we went back to work and worked till about 11 or so, then called it a night cuz we were at a good stopping point.
last night was a meteor shower, the galeads or something, so michael and i went out to see if we could find a dark place to check it out. theres a park right up from the base, so we drove up to it, but the gate was closed, so we just parked in the little parking area outside of it and sat on the hood of the truck. it was moderately dark, certainly darker then it is around my house, and were able to catch a bunch of shooting stars. nothing crazy, probably one every other minute or so. its nice being able to take a break and just stare up at the sky. it was very cool, being out in the desert with a big sky full of stars and comets, cacti and shrub all around silhouted against the phoenix skyline off in the distance, coyotes singing all around. very cool.
i'm going back in today even tho i dont expect to have much to do, i'll just be there in case theres something visuals wise that needs to be fixed. i'm gonna skip out around 9 to meet up with the other guys that are coming in tonight so we can go over the plan for tomorrow. i expect the week to go pretty smoothly. i think we are about as ready as we can be. theres always more they want and more we could have given them, but time and tools just have a funny way of affecting things. and i think the customer knows that by now, or atleast i hope they do.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Are you !@#$%&* jokin me?

Check out this story about a dumbass councilman from PA that thinks he can infringe on other peoples political views and freedom of expression.

Sponge Bob Metal Pants

heres some interesting facts you may not have known, from a foxnews article today:

Pantera also scored an episode of the Nickelodeon children's cartoon "SpongeBob SquarePants," apparently a band favorite.

The group was nominated for Grammies for best metal performance in 1995 for "I'm Broken" and in 2001 for "Revolution Is My Name."

The video "The Best of Pantera: Far Beyond the Great Southern Cowboys' Vulgar Hits" hit the top 10 for music-video sales earlier this year; another video, "3-Watch It Go," hit the top 10 in 1998.

The shootings came exactly 24 years after John Lennon was shot to death outside his New York apartment building by a deranged fan.

crazy stuff. rest in peace Dime

tribute

i was just thinkin, i've got a few pantera stories i could tell as a tribute. so maybe next week i'll have a daily pantera anecdote.
Finally, you have something to look forward to.
Unfortunately because I usually wasnt sober at Pantera shows I probably dont remember some of the best stuff, but I'll give ya what I managed to hold on to.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Kaboom!

well i had a pretty big day today, today was our annual playground build. the company i work for does a pretty good job at gettin involved in the community, and one of the things it does is partner with a group called kaboom who, according to their website, "is the longest-running non-profit organization that specializes in linking communities and corporations together to build much-needed, safe and accessible playgrounds, and has helped build more playgrounds than any other service organization, making it the #1 playground facilitator of its kind." anyway every year my office gets to build a playground for a school that really needs one but cant afford one. its really a good thing. today was my companies 5th build this year (including offices around the country), and 55th build in the 5 years we've been doing it. i've been doing it for the last 3 and always enjoy it. and not just cuz i get to skip work, but cuz i love to build and do good things for others. anyway, not only does my company do it every year, but we always invite one of our customers to come help us. today SouthWest Airlines joined us and really sent a lot of people, which is always great. I learned one very important thing today, SWA employs a lot of very attractive females. i think i need to start interfacing with that customer more. i did actually talk to this one girl on and off during the day, but lost the nerve to ask her out when it was time to go. DAMNIT. she was cute too, and nice. anyway, the build was in far south dallas, one exit past 67, so i had to get up at 530 to get there by 7, and i actually got there a little early cuz there was very little traffic. driving down there made me think of taking a roadtrip, cuz i never drive that far south unless i'm leaving town. its been too long, i need a roadtrip. so we spent an hour or so settin up, then worked all day till about 330, with a break for lunch of course. the most tiring part is always the safety surface. its just wood mulch that we carry in tarps from this pile that seems as big as a house when we start, over to the playground, which is never right beside the pile. i'll be blowing sawdust out my nose for atleast a week. supposedly this was the biggest playground we've built so far, which i could tell by all the safety surface. so we finished our playground in the usual time and had our traditional brownies and milk toast. mmm brownies. of course all the reps from each of the companies and the school got up and thanked everybody. the radio station jack fm was out there playing music for us while we worked. theres usually some kind of tv coverage, and i think i saw a tv camera at one point but i was mostly concentrating on gettin done. santa even stopped by. the best part tho is at the end, when the kids come out and sing to show their thanks. and the principle gets her turn to say thanks and she cant cuz shes so happy she starts crying. its a great feeling to be able to make people that happy. its nice to have that kind of escape from a world that at times seems so completely messed up.
so every thing went well and we got out of there just in time for rush hour traffic. unfortunately my day wasnt over. so i went home and took a shower then went in to work. i had to check on my coder and make sure he had all the stuff i needed him to do done, and we talked about that and how he could make it better before our presentation to the customer next week. i stuck around for a while and updated some docs and replied to some emails and made sure i had everything i needed on my laptop. i'll go in tomorrow for a few hours to make sure everything is perfect before i pull the drives and pack them up for our flight sunday morning. i'm flying on america west i think, so that will probably be a tight plane. hopefully our trip will go well. im excited and a little nervous cuz i'm runnin the show for the first time. but i think i'm as ready as i'm gonna get, so things should go fine. i know this customer, i know what they want, and i think i deal well with people, so even if everything isnt perfect it should atleast be a positive meeting. if i get bored i might post from phoenix sometime during the week.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

holy shit

i dont know what to say about this. this is a big loss to the heavy metal world. a littly piece of me died tonight. excuse me if i sound a little melodramatic, but i'm a little drunk. pantera was second only to metallica in making hard rock popular. if you like hard rock, you like pantera. they are the gods of hard rock. if metallica are the godfathers of hard rock, pantera are the fathers. i have been to many pantera shows over the years, and every one has been a memorable experience. this is especially big for those in the dallas, tx area, cuz they're from here. eventually, like many lead singers do, phil anselmo either burnt out, or the rest of the guys got sick of his shit and decided to form another band. that band was damage plan, and they were pretty badass. i dont think anybody would have ever guessed that phil would not be the first to die. actually he died like 4 times, but was brought back to life. but thats a whole 'nother story tho, if you really want to hear it. anyway, i dont think anybody saw this coming. my heart goes out to their families, cuz no matter how crazy or wild anyobody seems, they always have family and loved ones that will be forever broken when something like this happens. anyway, heres to you, dimebag and vinnie. thanks for the memories and all the great tracks.

Monday, December 06, 2004

nothin

so i've been crazy busy the last few months trying to learn new software, build terrain for two projects, build models, hire somebody, help make our products better, make schedules, and coordinate with customers to make sure we know what they want and they know what we're giving them. so thats why i've pretty much stopped bloggin. by the time i get home at night i'm mentally exhausted and i have no desire to look at the computer screen or touch a keyboard. i do still find time to do some other stuff tho. if i didnt i'd completely go insane. i did habitat saturday and got a good workout building sheds. hung out with the fam saturday, then went into work sunday for awhile. of course the tools werent working so it was just a big frustration. went and bought a new case for my laptop so i can fit more than just my laptop in it so i dont have to carry 2 bags on business trips. i'm hoping i'll be getting a new laptop eventually too cuz the one i have is on its last leg and just doesnt do everything i need it to. went out to dinner with bigray and some friends sunday to celebrate his new job. had some steaks at saltrass, which is always good. i've got my big trip next week, i leave sunday, and at the moment i have no idea how its gonna go. my database has cracks and isnt showing its texture, the two things that i needed to show not happening.
sometimes its just so totally overwhelming i dont know what to do. but i know i can do it, i just gotta stay calm and focused. sometimes its hard to remember that tho when it seems like nothing works.
oh well, better get to bed, got another battle to fight tomorrow.

finally

congrats to big ray who finally got a job. my company finally stopped draggin their feet and hired him. of course he had it in the bag once they left it up to me. hey what are friends for? but even so he did have the best looking artwork, so he deserved it.
going from a layed back company to a more corporate company, he will have some things to learn. its not an easy transition, but if i can do it anybody can.
here are just a few of the things someone who comes to work at my company has to learn or get used to:

1. wearing pants. i know it sucks but you gotta do it.
2. no posters of hot chicks on the walls. pc is alive and well at my company.
3. no swearing at the customers. some rules just dont make any sense at all.
4. no telling customers something is easy. if they think its easy they wont be willing to pay you as much.
5. no getting drunk at lunch. ok so i dont always follow this one.
6. never admit you dont know something or you cant do something. say its something you'll have to look into or investigate.
7. always carry a notebook with you everywhere you go. people will always be telling you stuff you need to remember, usually way more than you can fit in your tiny brain.
8. dont correct your boss in front of others.
9. no putting towels in the toilet. thats actually in the rules for our fitness center.
10. it is morally wrong to become the fire warden for your floor just so you can choose who lives or dies in case of a fire. women and republicans first.


welcome

welcome my uncle to the blogosphere. if you've ever wanted insight into the exciting world of a piano technician, theres only one place to go, http://johnincarolina.blogspot.com

Special New Equipment for Iraq

Check out the vehicles at the very end that are getting delivered for use in Iraq. They should use that as a selling point.

Iraqi Forces Take Delivery on More Weapons, Materiel
American Forces Press Service
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Dec. 6, 2004 – Iraqi security forces continued to receive large shipments of weapons and materiel from the Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq in November, including large deliveries of armor for the Iraqi army's growing mechanized force element.
November's rollout totaled more than 2 million RPK/PKM machine-gun rounds; 1.2 million 9 mm pistol rounds; 2.8 million AK-47 assault-rifle rounds; 450,000 12 gauge shotgun rounds, including 200,000 slug rounds; 999,000 5.6 mm rounds; 48 shotguns; 1,000 various-make 9 mm pistols; nearly 1,000 RPK and PKM machine guns; 1,120 smoke and riot grenades; roughly 1,900 9 mm Glock pistols; 5,400 AK-47s; 20 Walther pistols; 78 rocket-propelled grenade launchers; 16,000 sets of body armor; more than 7,400 helmets, including 150 riot helmets; 44 French- designed Panhard M-3 armored personnel carriers; four T-55 Russian-designed heavy tanks; 18 multi-purposed armored vehicles; and four Comp Air 7SL light reconnaissance aircraft.
The rollout also included nearly 200 vehicle and handheld radios; 150 night- vision goggles; some 11,000 field jackets; 3,000 cold-weather jackets; 2,200 mattresses and beds; 40,000 desert combat uniforms; 11,000 pairs of running shoes; 300 kneepads; 600 tactical vests; 1,000 holsters; 9,500 T-shirts; 1,200 binocular pairs; 1,000 handcuff sets; 20 blunt-trauma suits; 1,450 compasses; 132 global positioning systems; 800 "MAG" lights; 750 whistles; 4,150 hats; 344 first aid kits; 2,000 canteens; 1,500 police shirts; 2,000 police uniforms; two 2-ton trucks; 14 ambulances; 10 Russian-made GAZ heavy transport trucks; 15 Chevy trucks; 20 Chevy Trailblazers; four Dodge Durangos; and 52 Chevy Lumina police sedans.

Texas Realtors support our troops

Texas Realtors Send Support to U.S. Soldiers in Iraq
By Gerry J. GilmoreAmerican Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2004 – A Texas realty company has stepped up to provide snacks, socks and myriad other items to members of a U.S. Army unit now serving in Iraq.
Members of Virginia Cook Realty in Dallas, Texas, are supporting members of a U.S. Army unit in Iraq through the company's Adopt-A- Soldier project. The realtors collected more than $4,200 to purchase a Christmas tree and decorations, popcorn and other snacks, socks, underwear, paperback books and more. The items should reach the soldiers in time for Christmas. Front row from left: Judy Dawson, Philip Walker and Virginia Plekenpol. Back row: Kathleen Hampton, Linda Claycomb, Virginia Cook, Sandra Ehlert and Jan Matise.
Virginia Plekenpol, a realtor with Virginia Cook Realtors in Dallas, noted that U.S. troops serving overseas in harm's way in places like Iraq and Afghanistan "are protecting us … thank heavens for them."
Plekenpol said her stepson, Army Capt. Chris Plekenpol, and his 92-soldier company were deployed from Korea for duty in Iraq in September. The captain's unit, Apache Company, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, she said, supported U.S. Marines during the Fallujah campaign conducted in early November.
During Thanksgiving week, she said, the captain e-mailed a request for items for his men.
With the blessing of Virginia Cook, the company's owner, Plekenpol said she and co-worker Linda Claycomb started the Adopt-A-Soldier project. The realtors, Plekenpol noted, collected more than $4,200 used to purchase a Christmas tree and decorations, popcorn and other snacks, socks, underwear, paperback books and more.
A local military contractor, Pulse-Tek, provided shipping material and arranged free delivery of the items, Plekenpol said, while Clement Foods of Oklahoma City donated 20 cases of peanut butter and jelly for the soldiers.
Captain Plekenpol's young cousins, she added, provided 85 Beanie Babies to send to the soldiers to give to Iraqi children.
Earlier this week, 1,200 pounds of items were shipped in 44 boxes to the captain's unit to Iraq, Plekenpol said. The realty company, she said, also is preparing to send 300-400 cards with messages of support to the soldiers.
Plekenpol said the items and cards should reach the soldiers by Christmas. "I just don't think there's any finer valor to be found than protecting your country and the things that you believe in," she said.
Cook stated in a press release that her company is proud to support Capt. Plekenpol and his unit. "Showing our love, care and concern by sending Christmas to them," Cook said in the release, "is a small price to pay for the tremendous sacrifices they are making to protect and serve us all."