Thursday, June 28, 2007

Back into the Fray...

So, tomorrow I fly to Houston to pick up my car and drive to Oklahoma. My Grad leave has ended. It's very strange to realize that, while officially I've been a Lieutenant for a month now (almost exactly actually) starting in two days, it's all serious again.

Leave has been amazing. I think (and I know this may sound strange) that I've fallen in love with America again. I have seen NY, NJ, PA, MD, TN, VA, WV, AK, TX, CA and OR in the last month. My graduation party had people from high school (including my old physics professor who brought me a bottle of homemade limoncello), family, friends from WP and other people. I spent time with Lucia and hung out with my mom...all things considered, these thirty days have been great.

Monday, June 25, 2007


After this last month, spending time in Belize, I think I have come to a new and better understanding of what it means to be an American. While I do not think I will ever lose my critical eye for all things American, I also think the term "blame America first" has new meaning to me. If you ever want to know more about that, feel free to IM me because I'm too tired to type all about it right now. In any case, I saw this article today and wanted to post it...
Americans Set New Marks for Giving

Southern Trees...

I just learned what the words to the song Strange Fruit are about. The song has been sung by Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Jeff Buckley. I only have the last two versions and if you have them, you should listen to them--back to back. When I did, I suddenly realized what a great pairing Nina Simone and Jeff Buckley are. Both are very stripped down vocalists who let their singing take center stage. Occasionally, Jeff adds some amazing guitar, but, more often than not, his voice (particularly flying high falsetto) capture the attention. Nina Simone, on the other hand, has amazing low tones that rip your heart out. Together, they're the musical equivalent of wine and cheese.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Make your own pinata...

So, once you've graduated from West Point, visited another country and several states and are preparing for a fiesta with free booze, loads of family and friends and lots of food, what exactly could make it better? Well, I decided a pinata in the shape of the Navy N-Star would do the trick. Following are photos to help you along the way toward making your very own N-Star pinata.
Necessary supplies: hanger, duct tape, scissors, elmers glue, cardboard tissue paper. Buying the tissue paper may prove to be the hardest part. Seeing Navy Blue and Gold in my cart together made me vomit a little in my mouth, but alas--I knew it was all for a good cause.
Cut the desired shape twice and tape the together with edges in between. Leave a hole for the candy or little bottles of liquor, depending upon the average age of those who will beat it.
Shape up the difficult parts with duct tape.
Starting at the bottom, glue lots of tissue paper to cover the cardboard.
Complete the pinata and enjoy...see how happy my mom is?

Thursday, June 21, 2007


If I hadn't tired of hipsters while in NY, Portland did it to me. But, that's besides the point...what is important is that I had the most fun I've had with Lucia and her husband, Shamus, than I have had in years.

It's so strange to see my little sister grown up and all adult like...working, bills, friends, an apartment and all the other things grown ups who aren't me do. They have changed and grown so much it's amazing.

We ate lots of food (much of which was vegan) and drank lots of good beer (Lucia and I found a stellar micro-brew in Portland that I love) and just...had fun. I haven't really had a chance to do that with Lucia in so long it was great and with Shamus, I don't think I'd ever before had the chance to enjoy his company as much as I did over the last four days.

That being said, I miss her already and can't wait to visit again (unless, of course, her and Shamus want to make the trek out to Texas to visit Kristie and I?)

Fancy meeting you...

So, one night in Asheville, NC I hung out with a friend of mine, AJ Klerekoper. Great guy and we both had semi-beards (the kind you get when you just don't shave, not the kind you get when you think you look cool). His girlfriends was there along with two of her friends and then a guy he knows showed up (who, I think, was maybe dating or hooking up with or, in facebook terms was "complicated" with one of the girls who was there). He was funny as hell and seemed a cool kid. I facebooked him as I like to do (those of you who know me know I'm an e-friend fiend) and I read this on his profile which I liked a lot:
I believe in the soul,
the day, the night,
the importance of good liquor,
the necessity of spirit, friends, good music,
and a good party, in that order.
I believe that the theory that Tupac is dead and sex is wrong is ridiculous,
I believe in Dr. King's Dream,
I believe in the Beatles,
I believe love will overcome war,
Laughter, Jokes, Friends,
And I believe that one day,
In the words of John Lennon: "The world will live as one."

Sunday, June 17, 2007


I'm waiting for my friends to wake up and stumbled across this website which lists all the earmarks (or, is attempting to) passed through Congress. Earmarks, for those of you who don't know, are when congressmen attach spending to bills that have nothing to do with what they are passing (ie. California artichoke and spinach subsidies to a bill funding the war).

Bush had said in his state of the Union that we should cut back on earmarks to lower spending and add more transparency to government--something I agree with. It is obvious he only mentioned this once the Republicans lost control of congress, but a good thing is a good thing regardless of the motivation I think. That being said, take a look at the site. You can search it by state as I did to see what your representatives have brought back. It's pretty basic, but there is some interesting stuff. California, for example, earmarked $220,905,000 for military procurement...$40,779 of which went to Army aircraft, ammo and "other procurement"--the rest went to Navy, AF and Marine Corps.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Grant's Pass...

The next leg of my trip is Grant's Pass, OR. I got here last night after yet another 11 hour day of driving (I'm the only one who can legally drive the rental car, so it's been rough). Today, we did a five mile run around the valley with lots of hills...miserable. After that, we went to a river and slept on its banks while drinking beer. From there, we went to downtown Grant's Pass, which is a pretty cool little town. The bar we ended up at had a cover band of three old guys and one of thier girlfriends playing the shake shake. One of them wore shorts and a fanney pack. They were pretty amazing...then we sat in a hot tub under the stars until I went to sleep. Amazing.

Friday, June 15, 2007

California to Portland...

Troy and Kelsea flew out to California three days ago. I picked them up at the airport and we had lunch with my godmother in La Jolla at an amazing restaurant overlooking the bay. The water was uncharacteristically blue for California and the sky's usual June Gloom had burned was absolutely beautiful. The food was typical California cuisine (some fish, avocaado and cilantro) and we had some summer drinks (mojitos mainly).

From there, we went home and visited some friends of mine (technically, they were my friend's parents, but, I'm old enough and we've been friends long enough I consider them my own friends). The Battaglias, as usual, gave us some glasses of amazing wine and Joe (which they are insistent I use instead of Mr. and Mrs. Battaglia now) popped open a bottle of champaigne to congratulate us and also threw together some outstanding pasta. Before we left, he also gave us a small glass of twenty year old port which was pretty much the best liquid I've ever tasted. I also stopped by Bill and Diane's house and interrupted their dinner and Daily Show evening, but the conversation was great and Troy and Kel's left the night, I think, understanding how I became who I am just a little better having met some of the people who have been part of my life for so long now.

My mom made enchiladas and we ate breakfast the next morning at the Garden Center Cafe (more avo based meals) and began our drive to Monterey. We took the one all the way up so Troy could see a more beautiful part of California than the 5 would offer. He was impressed and we saw Santa Barbara, San Louis Obispo and a sub-par sunset in Big Sur. Once in Monterey, we went to a pretty decent Mexican place for lunch and margaritas, went for a run along the coast, drove to Carmel for the beach and returned to go to dinner in Monterey. Dinner was at a really delicious fish place where we all made Troy feel bad for ordering sword fish and then we went to some of my old favorite bars. At one, some Indian woman with her Marine husband bought us a round of drinks because we were all in the Army. (The group was old enlisted friend of mine and five cadets who, in a few short months, will probably never see one another again).

Today, we leave for Portland.

vacations all I ever dream about...

I am in Monterey on yet another long trip and, sitting here drunk in my hotel room, I suddenly realize that I've not yet posted pics of the last, here they are.

Me, my new car, and the Clinton Presidential Library in Arkansas.

Tim...Me...6th street.

Mayan Ruins got nothing on this cat...

This is Belize...on the beach. Any questions?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Belize day 1...

Today began my week in Belize. It didn't go as planned...Mayan ruins. Instead, I woke up and read in hammock for about two hours. From there, we drove to a river that runs through some caves and floated the river with our tour guide, Tiny. That took some time...the water was cold, the air hot and sunny and everything was covered in trees and vines and moss--beautiful.

After that, we drove to the capital to see the Prime Minister's building. We saw his car as we pulled in, so we decided to stop in and say joke. We went up in board shorts and t-shirts, said hi, and left with his left-overs from lunch. You may think I jest, but pictures will be posted once my friend gives them to me. The Prime Minister recognized the name Tiny...they were, apparently, acquaintences.

After that, we went to drive home, and the truck broke down. We waited for help from family, and, in the meantime, three different cars stopped to offer rides, cell phones or other aid. Belizians, I am finding, are very nice people. Eventually, a mechanic tied his truck to ours, pulled us to his shop, and gave us a ride home to Belize City, some thirty minutes away.

What tomorrow holds, I have no idea...


Just so you all know, that's where I am. Weekly plan:
Monday-Mayan ruins
Tuesday-Wednesday-Island off the coast
Thursday-Guiness factory
Friday-Reggae concert
Saturday-Lagoon Swimming

I'll post pictures when I get home.