Monday, November 17, 2008

Anniversity Weekend

This weekend the bride and I went to Williamsburg, VA for our wedding anniversary. This is the second year in a row that we have gone to Williamsburg for our anniversary. We try to get out and visit some of the historic areas near our area. I highly recommend that everyone get out and visit the historic areas in your local areas. It is very enlightening for yourself and especially for your children. History has been giving a bad rap and so many people see history as boring. Just remember, if you do not know and understand history you are bound to repeat it.

We departed the DC area about noon and headed south about noon on Friday. We stopped at Bass Pro Shop just north of Richmond. If you have never been to a Bass Pro Shop it is, a man’s playground. Everything from rods and reels, to boats, to out door clothing, and camping equipment. We wandered around the store. The bride was fixated on the little pink four-wheeler. It is amazing how woman flock to things that are pink.

We checked in to the hotel, rested and then headed over to a great restaurant, which we eat at every time we are in the area. Food for Thought has very good food at a reasonable price. I recommend the Steak Salad. Friday night was rainy and dreary, so we just headed back to the hotel to watch some TV and turn in.

Saturday morning we had our free breakfast (you have to love all the perks you get with travel) and then we headed off the Yorktown Battlefield. The drive down the Colonial Parkway was absolutely breath taking. The trees were changing colors and just an incredible orange and yellows. I will not rehash the battle, but the Park Ranger that led the discussion of the battle was absolutely incredible. Just by his words and actions, he made the battle come alive. If you make it to Yorktown ask for Ranger Mac. He was incredible.

Saturday night we saw the new Bond movie. If you have seen Casino Royale, then you can follow the movie and it is pretty good. However, the movie does not stand-alone. The rest of the weekend was great and we headed back home to prepare for this week. I hope everyone else had as a good as weekend as I did.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

I would like to take this opportunity to the members of my two teams during one year in Afghanistan and then another year in Iraq. These guys are my heroes and it was my honor to lead these guys during some tough times.

MAJ Fireman
SSG Manwhore
SSG Super Dave
SSG Erik
SGT Radar
SGT Lurch
SPC Flashbang

There are others, but guys made my life easier and were all calm, cool, and collected when the chips were down.


Aquaman Hits the Pool

450 am came very early this morning. However, after my poor performance in the pool this past weekend (hence the Aquaman moniker), I am forcing my ass to the pool and out the door to run even when it is cold out.

Today should have been an easy workout, but it smoked me. I am glad I started back on a easy day. It took me over 50 minutes (would you believe I forgot my stopwatch) to do 2000 yards.
The workout looked something like:

200 easy kick
150 pull
100 Breast
500 Free
5x50 Sprint
200 easy kick
100 breast
400 free
100 easy kick

Tomorrow morning will be cold and I am sure my lingering cold will not be happy with the frigid air, but exercise is needed. I am so much more energized this morning.

Tomorrow will also be my 3 year anniversary. I have to run in the morning to make room for dinner at Ruth Chris.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend Update--How I become Aquaman

This weekend was my monthly "Army Weekend". Since I have become the commander of the company there is no truth to the one weekend a month, two weeks a year. Its more like one weekend a month and 2 hours a day. There is just a lot to get done which takes a lot of extra time. This weekend was busy and it was a productive weekend all the way around.

Saturday we took the company to the Fort Meade Pool for "drown proofing" or basic water survival. This includes swimming 50 meters with all of your uniform equipment on (boots get heavy); jumping into the water with your rifle, ammo vest and helmet, and then getting them off so you can more easily get to safety; swimming 25 meters while keeping your rifle out of the water; learning how to make floation devices out of your pants; and finally I included getting out of the 45 lbs of body armor that we wear. We only took volunteers for the final challenge since not everyone is a strong swimmer.

I am not the strongest swimmer when it comes to triathlons. I can maybe average a 30-32 min 1500 swim during a race However, this weekend I was out swimming everyone. I did the events and acted as a safety swimming all over the pool. I doubt I did more than 1000 meters for the entire 90 minutes we were in the water. It is nice to have the compliments that I looked like Aquaman in the pool. What a change of perspective makes.

The rest of the weekend was a bunch of administrative chores and classes the Army requires for all of us to be "trained". However, my Dawgs did squeek by over Kentucky and the LSU/Alabama was a nail biter. All in all it was a great weekend and btw I think fall has offically made it to the DC area.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Why Customer Service Isn't or How many different ways can you say Dumb-Ass

I have really come to detest stupid people. I am not exactly the most laid back guy, but I do try to under that the world does not revolve around me. However, a few things that happened this week concerning Verizon and Comcast have just made my blood boil and my cold heart even colder. Customer Service does not exist and the people who work for these organizations in the Mid-Atlantic Area are both stupid and rude. I can deal with stupid, but it costs nothing to be polite. However, rudeness today appears to be a way of showing how “cool you are”.

As I stated in an earlier post I have finally come into the 21st Century with an HDTV. After dealing with people on the phone that did not talk English well enough for my public school educated mind to understand, I went to the local Comcast Office and dealt with a friendly lady who set me with an appoint for Tuesday to have the new cable boxes installed. The appointment was scheduled between 6-9pm so that someone would be at home. The gentleman showed up about 9:05 pm to install the HD/DVR box and the digital box for the other TV. Guess what? The HD/DVR was broke. He was very apologetic about the situation and even left me his cell phone number in case I needed some assistance when I went to re-install the box the next day.

I awoke on Wednesday and took the wife to the airport and headed over to Comcast to the new box. I explained to the moronic individual behind the counter my issue and I was not going to pay for the installation charges. She appeared to be very confused as to why I wanted a credit—the man had shown up. She did not have the brain cells necessary to understand that I was installing the box because it the original did not work. I finally received a $20 credit for my troubles.

I arrived back at the homestead, hooked up the box and the damn remote did not work. I tried the one from upstairs and it did work. So I called Comcast to report the in-op equipment and the idiotic woman who took my call said they could bring me another on Sunday. WTF? Another trip to the Comcast store for a new remote the system is working. Could customer service by an more crappy? Yes—Hold on for more.

The wife and I noticed that our house phone was not working on Sunday night. I called Verizon to set up an appoint and the next available was Thursday from 8 am to 6 pm. Again, WTF? Since I have been suffering from a bad cold I opted to work from home yesterday and await the repair guy incase the problem was actually in the house and not outside. Around 2:30 yesterday afternoon I received a robo-call informing me that the repair guy would not make it and I would need to reschedule. So I called to find out the story and raise a little hell. I initially informed the dimwitted human that this was intolerable and what I needed to do to have Verizon credit me for my lost time at work. She told me she could issue me a $20 credit and so politely informed this slack-jawed scum sucker that I bill at 7 times that an hour. To make a long story short, I was on the phone for over 90 minutes and never talked with a supervisor or anyone who could assist me in my efforts to make up my lost wages. Finally at 7:25 last night someone knocked on my neighbors door and it was the Verizon repair man. His work order had the wrong addressed listed. If I had not been in the kitchen and unsure whose door had been knocked on he would have looked at my neighbors phone line and seen nothing wrong. Finally close to 9pm he had the problem repaired and my phone was working again.

If any of my readers work for either Comcast or Verizon and can provide me contact information someone in a leadership position in the Virginia area I would greatly appreciate it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Living Life

I have now come into the 21st century. The bride and I finally bought the 40 inch HDTV we had been looking at. Actually the hang up the last 6 months had been trying to locate a corner TV stand that we could agree on. My only requirement was that we actually see it and not just order it off line. Right now we have very limited HDTV but Tuesday we get all the boxes installed and get our 90 plus HD channels.

However, that's not the point of this post. One of my favorite movies is Second Hand Lions I highly recommend this movie. I will not go into all the details of the movie, but there is a line at the end of the movie that actually makes me tear up. After the two crazy uncles have died trying to fly their biplane through the barn, one of the characters says, "So...they lived." and the nephew that they old guys raised waits a minute and then says "Yes, They lived."

I think those two short lines get to me because so many people today don't live. People live in a video game, parents say it is too dangerous for kids to get out and play, and our coworkers (and sometimes family) think we are crazy for doing the things we do. I know I have been accused of being crazy from learning to fly to doing triathlons, to scuba diving. I just don't understand living a life of boring repetition.

I recommend that everyone get this movie (put it on ur Netflix list) and watch it with your kids. It is a wonderful family movie. If you don't have kids, so what. Still get it and watch it. We were all put on this earth to do something. Get out and there live. And to you parents, let your kids live too. As my neighbor said when a someone in the neighborhood fell and the mothers freaked out, "Don't worry about it, kids bounce."

This is an inspiring movie. You will enjoy it. I promise.