Thursday, January 27, 2005

Now for something completely different

Ok,

After the last long, political post, I have to lighten thing up a bit. A quick, great, amusing, true story. I'm sure everyone's heard those great IT support stories, like where the person can't use their PC because the power's out but can't make the connection between the two. The support person tells the user to put the PC back in the box and ship it back sine they're too stupid to use one.

Well, I supervise a help desk for a medium sized company. We were moving personnel in a department to new desks as they were reorganizing thier groups. Everyone in the department has the same type of LCD monitor so we decided to only move the PCs as they users personal settings were on them. One person INSISTED that the monitor had to be moved with the PC. Why? Because all of her icons were on it. If she sat at a different desk with a different monitor, her icons wouldn't be there. My technician assured the user that her icons wouldn't be affected. She again INSISTED that since she could see the icons on the screen, they were part of the screen. After a few more tries, my technician had to use the old "Trust me" routine while the user looked at him skeptically.

As I'm sure most of you know, the monitor is just that, a dumb screen. All the settings are on the PC and you can plug it in to any monitor you want and it will be the same. I never did find out what the user thought after the move but I would have loved to ask her if the new monitor had her icons on it as well.

I'll throw out some other true stories from the IT battlefront from time to time.


Sad state of affairs

I didn't have much to say lately until I responded to something posted by The Retropolitan. it concerned yet another example of a journalist getting paid by the Bush administration to promote the administrtions policies, this time the drive to strengthen marriages. More on that subject in just a minute.

What struck me is the level of stupidity the American public must be coming to. I mean, the President of the United States, supposedly a powerful, influential leader, proposes policy. Instead, it seems that columnists/political pundits are supposedly so influential that we need their blessing before we can decide for ourselves whether it's good or bad policy? Since when did Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, or for that matter Maureen Dowd and Molly Ivans become our voices? Granted, having a columnist comment on these issues can be thought provoking. However, I think there are too many people that take the word of some pundit as gospel. Thing about this for a minute, Rush Limbaugh's people are called dittoheads. Is this really a moniker to be proud of? I can't come up with a thought of my own so I'll let Rush tell me what to think and just go Ditto, what he said. Forget which side of the fence you're on for second. Political discourse should be an exchange of ideas and arguements for and against those postions, with facts and/or convictions to back them up. Our political discourse has boiled down to just shouting at each other and trying to show how bad the other side is. Ann Coulter is the queen of this. Never mind debating ideas, liberals are just evil. She blames liberals on the fall of civilization since World War II (I'll stop now as I really can't stand that woman).

On this issue of strengthening marriage, I originally thought it just another silly slogan. You know, Married Good, Not Married Bad. However, I read an article a while back that kind of cohesively put together lots of different things I had going around in my head. This is the link if you care to read it. It's an article against gay marriage. Now, before you get all over me on it, I truthfully and neither for or against gay marriage. My personal opinion is that there is a difference between civil marriage and christian marriage. In other words, I don't think that the Church should marry gay couples. Christian teaching is clear on the issue of homosexual lifestyle. I won't be drawn into the debate of whether being homosexual is a choice or determined at birth or whether being homosexual means you'll go to hell or whatever. As far as I'm concerned people are people and all deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect, period.

Anyway, back to what I was really saying. The article points to several studies concerning raising children, which has more meaning to me. I would need to verify the data, but it seems to bear out what I have seen on the news, in print, etc. That is that children, for the most part, do better in a family with 2 parents, a mother and a father. Sure, you can point to exceptions since people are people and not machines that produce repeatable results all the time. I think a lot of the issues with troubled kids in the inner cities, crime, murder, etc boil down to a breakdown in the family. Without extended families with the support structure in place, it is really difficult to raise well adjusted kids. Chilren need parents that will be good role models for them, teach them good values, to stay involved in their schoolwork and interests, and generally be there for them. Being the father of 2 boys, I can't imagine trying to raise them on my own. It's hard enough for my wife and I. I can't imagine the challenges for single parents.

Children learn by example. They watch their parents and the other adults around them and discover what is socially acceptable from what they see. If we're showing our children that the most important thing in life is our own personal satisfaction, whether it be sex, money, possessions, personal freedom, whatever, what are we really teaching them? Sure, there's nothing wrong about these things, but how do we teach our children to care about others if we don't set the example? It's one of the reasons I'm trying to pass my faith on to my boys. Hopefully they will learn the value of caring for others because it was important to my wife and I.

Hopefully I'm being a little coherent here. I think what I'm trying to say is that, in my humble opinion, that the best way to raise children is in a stable, two parent home, where a couple who truly care for each other instill these values in their children. Being as I think it is important that children have both a father figure and a mother figure to teach the things that the other can't, the best situation for children is to be in a home with a heterosexual couple. Children need the sorts of nurturning, feminine things they can only learn from a mother, and the kind of strong, masculine things they can only learn from a father.

As I stated previously, this is not to say that gay couples cannot raise great kids. But when we talk about Christian marriage, the bonding of two people into one, with the purpose of sharing their lives together in celebration of God including the raising of children, then traditional marriage is the institution that affords them this.


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Battling the Implements to Battle the Elements

OK, I finally has some sort of funny story to tell. It seems that the lawn and garden type implements in my garage hate me. Here in New York we’ve gotten about 2 feet of snow over the weekend. Yesterday (Sunday), I finished snowblowing the driveway, a good half hour task, and then went to shovel the areas I couldn’t get, like right up against the garage and the walkway. So anyway, I grab the shovel by the handle, not knowing it was sitting on top of a wide bottom broom. You know, the ones that are like 2 feet long to sweep the garage. I put just enough pressure on the broom to make the handle go flying backwards and BAM! Right in my eye. Now today (Monday), I’m doing some final cleanup and getting rid of some drifts in the driveway. I decide that since the temperature on Tuesday is going to be over 20 degrees, it would be a good idea to throw some salt on the driveway to help all the ice melt. I go to fill the spreader from the nice, heavy, 80 pound bag of salt. The edge of the bag rests on the front of the spreader and of course, it leans forward and BAM! The handle hits me in the bridge of the nose. I cursed the spreader specifically and all lawn implements in general. Luckily, I don’t appear to be too bruised by this misfortune. However, with more snow on the way this week, I may need to battle with them further. I’m wearing protective gear from now on.


More musing, less rambling

I like to read the daily readings from the Bible each morning on the US Catholic Conference of Bishops site. Several of the readings lately include those stories where Christ tries to go to a quiet place by himself, but the crowd follows. Or Jesus heals someone and asks them to say nothing about it, but the person tells everyone and even more people come to see Him. I’ve been reflecting on this lately and I think I can see where He is coming from.

There are times when I just want to pack up everything and leave. I get tired of being a husband, dad, boss, and generally a person with obligations. It would be easy to just throw my guitar and amp into the car and run away to live the dream of being a rock star. I’m sure Christ would have liked nothing better than to just fade into obscurity and not take the path He was expected to take. As a matter of fact, He asked that the cup be taken from Him in the garden. However, He didn’t. It was probably the same reason that I don’t just take off. Responsibility. I can’t just leave those responsibilities behind. Especially those to my family. It’s hard sometimes but I have an obligation to my wife and children to be there for them. I may not be perfect, but I do my best.

It’s kind of comforting, in a way, that Jesus and I shared some of the same personality traits. I wonder if there were days when He just wished everyone would leave Him alone and just let Him be. It would be nice just to crawl into bed and just lie there and avoid the world for a few days. But reality intrudes. I am reminded of my two favorite parts of the Mass. The first is just before Communion. Lord, I am not worthy to receive you BUT ONLY SAY THE WORD AND I SHALL BE HEALED. The other is the Lamb of God. Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world. GRANT US PEACE. I think that says it all for me. Healing and peace. I need more of both.


Thursday, January 20, 2005

Entering the Fray! Creation Vs. Evolution!

First, a couple of things out of the way. I just added Haloscan for comments so it would be easier to reply to those that wish to comment. I’ve seen it on a few other blogs and thought I’d try. Unfortunately it wiped out all existing comments. Thanks to those that posted something up to now!

I also want to thank the Retropolitan at Tales to Astonish for adding me to his list of links! Much appreciated!

On to the subject at hand. I’ve been reading about some of the creationism versus evolution debate. I’ve always found it interesting since there seems to be on the two extremes. Either evolution is correct and creationism is totally false, or creationism is true and evolution is totally false.

I’m of the school that neither needs to be mutually exclusive. I’ve read some of the arguments against “intelligent design” or the approach that evolution is guided by a greater force (ie God). It’s funny because the evolutionists reject the notion out of hand as “dogma”. However, I don’t think evolutionary science explains it all.

I’m a Catholic, and believe God created the universe. However, I’m not of the literal school that says the universe was created in seven days and is 4000-6000 years old. Being a former chemist, I believe in science. The overwhelming evidence is that life evolves. This is fine. Scientists are trying to find the mechanisms and are testing/refining different theories that round out our understanding of the process. The problem with evolution is that it is just a PROCESS.

Scientists can explain how chemicals combine and form other compounds, but I have trouble believing that all these chemicals just lying around spontaneously combined slowly over time to create a cell or living organism. Evolution can explain how organisms change over time to become different forms but never answers the really central question as far as I’m concerned: Where did it all come from?

Evolution presupposes that all the atoms/molecules/compounds/whatever were there to start with. Evolution cannot create something out of nothing. None of the theories on the origins of the universe can explain where everything came from. Even the Big Bang theory presupposes that all the matter in the universe was condensed into one huge mass prior to the big explosion that started everything in motion. So, again, where did the matter come from and what caused the explosion that started the process? That, faithful readers, is God.

I’ve seen the “clockmaker” argument on this issue. That is, if God made everything, who made God, or more specifically, the universe can be compared to a clock, with finely crafted pieces that as a whole work together but someone made the clock. However, it seems the people that make this argument can accept that all the matter in the universe was “just there” at the outset but cannot believe that God was “just there” and created everything.

I firmly believe that God has been guiding the process of evolution. Considering that Man is the only sentient species of its kind on the planet, it really seems hard to believe that if evolution is a relatively random process, that is favorable mutations predominate over unfavorable ones, there would be more species as intelligent as ourselves. The bottom line (for me at least) is that God is involved in the process. Again, this is a personal belief and I certainly welcome debate on the subject.


Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Are you a man or woman?

Thanks again to THL for a great link. It analyzes writing and decides if you are male or female. This is the site. I entered 4 of my posts. The one before this came up female, the other 3 came up male. So I suppose that makes me 75% male? Perhaps I'm in touch with my feminine side. Chicks dig that, right? Doubt it would score me any points with the wife however. Emptying the dishwasher without a hint being thrown at me, now that would score points.


Guilty Pleasure

On THL's blog, she did a quick survey including a question about your musical guilty pleasure, that is a band you listen to that people would question. I of course mentioned playing my absolutely cool hot pink Ibanez RG550. The band I listed was Queen. However, I got a CD yesterday that probably is more of a guilty pleasure. It's the Girlschool CD 21st Anniversary. They're an all girl British heavy metal band from the 80s. It's very Motorhead like stuff. Anyway, very few people have heard of them. They totally rock. This CD features their original lead guitarist, Kelly Johnson, who is a very good guitar player. Plugs a Les Paul through a bunch of Marshall amps and just gets great tone. Not to flashy, but tasty. I'll need a few more listenings to really get a feel for the CD but I liked the first listen through.

On a totally separate note, I think I may need a new morning routine. Mornings and I used to have this agreement: we'll leave each other alone and pretend the other isn't there until about 9 am. I'm the kind of person that can get up quickly and be out the door off to work in 30 minutes or less, but I need to be left alone. I prefer not to talk to anyone or do anything other than what needs to be done. I also have this thing about not wanting to be late. So my preferred morning ritual is one where I just get everything done quickly and am on my way.

Enter two rambunctious boys to the mix. It has been my responsibility for the last 2 years or so to get the boys up, get them fed breakfast, get them ready, and drop them off at day care and still get to work by 7:30. This means we should leave the house at 7 am. My older kid is like my wife, he doesn't want to get up in the morning. Then once he's up, his ADHD medication doesn't kick in for a while so I get a kid who doesnt' want to get going and then once he's up, is highly distracted so that what should take a few minutes can stretch into 10 - 20 minutes. This results in me having to push him to keep him going at a reasonable pace. So now we're arguing at 6:45 every morning. My younger son, who used to be pretty quick about things, is now taking after his brother. Even though he's fully awake, he'd rather stay in bed and once he gets up, follows his brother's lead and gets wild and silly and then doesn't want to get dressed.

Anyway, I'm pretty much at the point where I'm ready to let the wife take them to day care. I don't mind getting them up and getting them started, but it makes me crazy in the morning to have to constantly yell at the kids to finish eating breakfast or to get dressed. She starts work at 8 and leaves after me anyway.

I should do some writing in my personal journal tonight. It's been a few days and it's a great way to vent frustration. Not that my frustration level has been very high lately (mornings excluded). I think it would be better to have something that is not just a record of all of the times I was annoyed or upset, but that has other stuff as well. I've also got to do a little more musical work to get this church group together. I still need a drummer. Once that's in place, we can really start to rehearse. Oh, and monitors.


Monday, January 17, 2005

Some people suck

This weekend our cub scout pack had its annual pinewood derby. This in an event where cub scouts (with lots of help from parents) build a car out of a block of pine and race it. We determine an overall winner and crown that scout champion. There are plenty of other awards and everyone gets a medal just for entering a car.

Now, for those not familiar with it, there are rules as to size and wieght of cars, types of axles you can use, what you can and cannot do with tires, etc. It can get very competitive (at least among the parents) and there are those out there that would illegally modify a car to win.

This being said, we were in the middle of racing on Saturday when it was discovered that some of the cars did not meet all the rules we published, specifically that all parts for the car were to come from the official Pinewood Derby car kit sold by the Boy Scouts store. Mind you, we had finished the first round of racing when we discovered this. Our choices were to disqualify at least 4 cars in the middle of the race and really dissapoint a several 6-9 year old boys or chalk it up as the fault of the inspectors for not catching it and move on. Since we didn't want to crush any of the scouts, we decided to move on.

Of course, it turns out that one of the questioned cars won the derby. Not only one, but dominated. Like won every heat it was in except one. Of course, a couple of parents came to us at the end of the race and gently accused the parent that built the car of cheating. "That car looks like it may have violated the rules. I thought all the wheels had to be the same." That sort of thing.

This wouldn't have been to bad. The parent in question was getting a little ribbing and blew it off. However, today I found out that some adults, ADULTS MIND YOU, walked up to his 8 year old son and told him he cheated TO HIS FACE! I really cannot believe some people. Come on, it was just a fucking race for God's sake. Will it ruin some kid's world that he didn't win? All the scouts I saw looked like they were having a good time and didn't care that one car kept winning all the time. They enjoyed watching their car race, win or lose.

I understand being fair and all but at that point there was a no win situation. To take it out on a kid is just being a baby. I'm sorry, who's supposed to be teaching the kids sportsmanship? It really makes me seethe just thinking about it. I know one thing, if I caught someone accusing my kid of cheating in a situation like that, I'd have smacked that person. Some people are just assholes.


Friday, January 14, 2005

Piratey Things

Found a link for What Kind of Pirate Are you? (Thanks to THL). Hopefully this works.

What kind of pirate am I? You decide!
You can also view a breakdown of results or put one of these on your own page!
Brought to you by Rum and Monkey




Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Long Lost Brother

I did one of those google searches where you search on your name and see who shares it. I found another Vince Franco that claims to be "Drummer Extroidanire. He also has mad design skill. And mad linux skills. And always down plays all his work as if it didn't just blow your doors off." Now while I don't have those specific skills, being that I'm a guitar player and IT geek, this seems uncanny. And I too am a modest individual. How may modest mucisian IT geeks can there be with the same name? Can it be cooincidence? I think not. Of course, I'm sure I'm much better looking than my counterpart. The real question is which of us is the long lost evil twin? Hmmm. Interesting question to ponder. In case you're interested, here's his website:

http://www.digidiesel.com/people/vince/index.html


My Guitar Listens

I was in a bad mood last night (still am kind of seething today. I've got this anti-social thing going right now). I decided that I was going to sit and just play the guitar for a while. After about an hour of just playing stuff, nothing in particular, I realized I had started to feel better. George Harrison's guitar gently weeped. I found that mine just listens. I can say whatever I want with it and it's there. If I need something soft and aching, it can do that. If I need hard and angry, it can do that. It just sucks up whatever emotion I'm feeling and simply is. Wonderful thing, this piece of wood with 6 wires can be. For a little while at least, I was somewhere else where there was just sound and emotion. Blissful loss of reality. Unfortunately, I had to put it down. My emotions had played themselves out and it could no longer provide relief.

A little amusing story for all of you. I'm sure you've heard all of the urban PC support legends, you know, the person that was told to ship their PC back in the box because they were too stupid to own a computer, the person that wondered why thier PC didn't work during a blackout. Here's a for real story, a conversation between one of my PC Techs and one of our users:

Tech: I'm moving your PC to your new cube but leaving the monitor behind as there is already one in the new cube.

User: But you have to move my monitor. All of my shortcuts are on it.

Tech: No, the monitor has nothing to do with the shortcuts on your desktop. Those are on the PC.

User: No, they're on my monitor. I can see them right there. If you don't move my monitor, they won't be there.

Tech: Trust me, they will.

Yes, the user thought that the PC desktop settings were specific to the monitor. We're going to do more moves with this group over the weekend and have decided not to tell them anything except where their new cube will be. Best not to confuse everyone.


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Rush has a point for once

Since it appears that people are actually looking at my site (if only momentarily) I'll try to keep posting stuff periodically. Maybe someone will find it interesting. I've decided to keep a personal journal with all the things I want to say but really shouldn't. Or at least, stuff I don't want anyone else knowing about. You know, like where the bodies are buried.

I got a email from a friend with an editorial by Rush Limbaugh. I don't want to say Rush is right, since I can't stand the guy. However, being ex-military myself, he does highlight an issue I've taken exception with since I got out, and that is compensation for military personnel and families. I was well paid as an officer but I felt that there is just something absolutely wrong with enlisted personnel living at on base housing and needing food stamps to live. We can't pay our military personnel enough to feed their families even if they don't owe rent. It just isn't right.

The jist of Rush's editorial is that "victems" of the 9/11 tragedy are getting an average of 1.1 million dollars in "compensation" while families of soldiers that die in battle recieve very little. I won't debate the merits of whether or not families that lost loved ones in the twin towers deserve some sort of compensation. Although some are claiming 1.1 million isn't enough, which doesn't suprise me. Some people are just plain greedy.

To quote some numbers from the editorial:

If you are a surviving family member of an American soldier killed in action, the first check you get is a $6,000 direct death benefit, half of which is taxable.
Next, you get $1,750 for burial costs. If you are the surviving spouse, you get $833 a month until you remarry. And there's a payment of $211 per month for each child under 18. When the child hits 18, those payments come to a screeching halt.
Keep in mind that some of the people who are getting an average of $1.185 million up to $4.7 million are complaining that it's not enough. Their deaths were tragic, but for most, they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Soldiers put themselves in harms way FOR ALL OF US, and they and their families know the dangers.


I firmly beleive our military enlisted personnel are over worked and underpaid. Again, I was making a handsome some at the age of 26 as an officer so I had no complaints. If we really "support our troops" like all the ribbons say, we should be outraged and complain about this. If you agree, write your congressman. After all, it's really bad when Rush Limbaugh actually has a valid point about something.

As a closing disclaimer I wish to reitereate that Rush Limbaugh and I do not agree. It just so happens that this time he is intelligent enough to share my views on a single issue. He shouldn't let it go to his head.


Friday, January 07, 2005

Snobs

Ok, something quick to rant about before I move on to something else. I was watching something on PBS about the evolution of the American language. A theater critic was railing about how slang and modern expressions are in the dictionary but aren't really part of the language. Going on about how we're "diluting" and "dumbing down" our culture. My first thought was what a snob. I ran into the same kind of attitude in some articles I read when I became interested in classical guitar. One guitarist mentioned how they couldn't stand it when a musician moved around when they played. It "distracted from the music and ruined the performance". In other words, having the passion and emotion you feel while performing and having that translate into the music is a BAD thing. I'm sorry, as a musician, I let it all hang out when I play. Well, ok, I show some restraint in church but not when playing out live. I would find it dull and dry to have someone sit there and just play the notes as if they have no soul. Again, music snob. People need to relax and stop imposing their rules on everything. Granted, I may not particularly enjoy all the same things someone else does or agree with their interpretations, but that does not make them less valid. Can't we agree to disagree?

Ok, now back to your regularly scheduled blogging.


In a Funky Mood

I've been in a wierd sort of mood lately. It's really hard to describe. I've been avoiding quite lately. That is to say, I've been doing everything I can not to stop and think. I try to keep buys, whether it is just doing something with my hands like playing guitar, getting things done around the house, working on the PC, whatever. What I really don't want to do is take some much needed quite introspection.

I don't know if I've been a little down lately or what. I get in these moods sometimes where the only thing I want to do is crawl into bed, pull the covers over my head, and never get up again. Maybe it's the stress of every day life, you know, responsibilities, kids, mortgage, wife, whatever. I've been reminiscing about the "old days". You know, those times that look much better now that when you actually lived through them. I've been listening to some of the demo work I did with Al's Neighbors and remembering the fun we had. I really don't have the desire to get the band together again, except perhaps just to hang out and maybe jam for an evening.

I seem to have lost my focus. It's like I'm going through the motions and not really going anywhere. Whatever that means. Maybe I just need a break from everything. I don't really know. I know there's things I need to focus on. I've got this group to try to put together for church and music to organize, but I can't get motivated. There are things I should do at home to help the kids, especially my younger one, but I have absolutely no idea how to handle it. Whole different issue there but I'm especially feeling useless when it comes to that. I'm thinking of maybe setting up a blog that only I know about so I can write stuff I don't want anybody I know to see. How come it's easy to tell a perfect stranger about all the fucked up things going on in your life and all of your inner secrets but impossible to say the same things to the people you care about most? Maybe it's because you really don't care about thier opinion anyway.

I should really spend more time praying but I don't know how to do that either. I'm responsible for passing my faith on to my children and there are times when I don't even know what my own is. Like I said, it's tough to explain what I mean.


Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The Sidewinder Story

Most of you probably haven't thought about it, but anyone that emails me knows I utilize sidewinder for my email. When I can't get sidewinder, I use sydwynd (for sidewind). Hence the URL for my blog (just try getting sidewinder anything on the internet). The story goes back to my Navy days. For those that don't know, I was an officer in the United States Navy for 5 years.

My first actual job was the Missle Officer aboard USS Bainbridge (CGN-25, now decommissioned, not to be confused with USS Bainbridge DDG-96 now under construction). We went into the shipyard for 6 months for an overhaul and offloaded all of our ammunition. Standard complement was 76 SM-2 surface to air missles with boosters, 8 Harpoon anti-ship missles, and various sizes of small arms and other ammunition, including 76mm depleted uranium rounds for our Close In Weapons System (or CIWS [pronounced see-wiz] for short). Anyway, it came time to order all new ammunition. This was about $50 million worth of stuff. The way we ordered it was to plug the numbers representing the ammunition into a software package that kicked out a 10 page purchase request that was all 12 digit numbers with quantities. There was no column with text stating what the number represented.

So my boss (the Combat Systems Officer) and I reviewed this entire document to make sure we got everything. We believed we had ordered everything we needed and noted the line with a 12 digit number and a quantity of 8. I told him this was our order for Harpoon missles and he said great. We were originally scheduled to load out at the Yorktown weapons facility. However, something came up and we were ordered to go to the Charleston Naval Weapons facility instead. We sailed down, had a nice weekend in Charleston (with plenty of partying), and Monday morning we're sailing up the Charleston River to the weapons facility. I'm in the wardroom and my boss (6 foot 4 inches and about 250 pounds) comes barging in yelling at me "What the fuck did you do!". I give him the look of confusion and he proceeds to tell me (scream actually) that he just got a call from the weapons facility.

As they were getting everything on the pier to load on to our ship, they realized the 8 Sidewinder missles had been shipped to us instead of 8 Harpoon missles. Now, for those non military, couldn't care less about guns/weapons/things that blow up, a Sidewinder missile (classified AIM-9M) is a short range air to air missle. This is something a fighter plane mounts under the wing and shoots at other airplanes. I go and get our massive 10 page list of numbers and find the order for the Harpoon missles.

I dig into the what the number represented, and it was indeed a Sidewinder missle. Turns out that when I took my hand written notes and typed them into the computer, I entered a 9 instead of a 7. Minor mistake it seems. Not so minor. It's the difference between getting anti-ship or anti-air missles.

To give you a little more on how impressive it was that I managed to get these missles, in order to get approval to purchase a Harpoon missle, it has to go through several commands. First, the Destroyer Squadron that the ship belongs to must approve the purchase. Next, it goes to ComNavSurLant (Commander, Naval Surface Fleet Atlantic). Then, because the Harpoon missile has an air launched variant, it has to go to ComNavAirLant (Commander, Naval Air Fleet Atlantic). Once it gets through there, it goes to the weapons station. In other words, our destroyer squadron said we could have anti air missles, the Surface command approved us having them, the AIR COMMAND approved us having them, then YORKTOWN NAVAL WEAPONS STATION IN VIRGINIA SHIPPED THE MISSLES TO CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA! In all that time, no one, including the weapons station that packed up these missles and sent them to another facility, questioned why a surface ship needed air to air missles.

Anyway, once we figured out it was my fault, we tried to get the correct missles. No dice, the weapons station didn't have any to give us. The only thing left to do was notify the Captain. My boss was both sure we'd be fired (meaning we'd be assigned new jobs and get a bad evaluation on performance, death to a naval career). We walked into the Captain's cabin and I got my first taste of proper management skills. My boss tells the Captain, "Sir, I fucked up." Not the guy that works for me fucked up, but that he did. He took complete responsibility for the incident, a lesson I carried with me when it comes to personnel that work for you, if thier job isn't done correctly or they make a mistake, it's still your fault. But I digress.

We explained to the Captain what happened and he looked dumbfounded. His next words also showed great leadership skills. He simply said, "So what do we do next?" Big enough man to recognize that mistakes like this do occasionally happen and this should have been caught somewhere else down the line. We ended up leaving the Sidewinders behind and ordering the correct missles, which we got a few weeks later. We aslo had many laughs about it over drinks later and I had an interesting nickname and sea story to tell.

The moral of the story is that in the military, if you order it, it will come.


Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Addition to blog

I've learned how to put links in my blog! Actually, I'm using a service that someone else uses (thanks Julie of the Rabid Rabbits blog!). It required I go back into my HTML editing skills which I haven't used in a while but I managed. I will say that I cheated a little and copied some code from another site but it was basic. Also faster than typing it myself.

I've added links to some of the blogs I read and sites of interest. I'm going to expand it as I go so you can see my favorite links. It will contain whatever. Two of the links I recommend are The Hot Librarian (very amusing stuff) and The Long Lost Lonely Lagomorph. He's a Brit with a good sense of humor. I've been getting into many things English lately. I've found my favorite pasttime (which I don't do enough of) is to sit in an English pub and drink hard cider. Throw a game of darts into the mix and I'm set.

The Al's Neighbor's site is my old cover band. I never did take down the site and it's still out there after a couple of years. You can check out some pics and see the bios. I've got some snippets of our demo CD on there as well. My playing is best featured on the Slide track. Enjoy everyone!


Monday, January 03, 2005

Back to work

Today's the first day back to work after about a week off. I spent the morning catching up on email and paperwork. Also, it's just myself and one of the techs today (usually there is myself, our admin assistant, and 2 techs). I've spent the day answering the phone for the most part. I'm pretty much caught up.

The holidays were nice. Christmas eve and Christmas went off without any drama. As a matter of fact, Christmas day at our place with my wife's family went quite nice. Plenty of good food and wine. The boys loved their gifts, especially my younger son. He wanted a Transformers Omega Supreme and Santa came through. He was sooooo excited when he opened it. We got our older son a digital camera and now he wants to take it everywhere and take pictures.

We took the tree down yesterday. It's good to have the family room back. It wasn't really crowded but it looks so much bigger now that the tree isn't in the corner. Mrs. Santa was good to me this year. I got a new diamond earing and the Star Wars trilogy on DVD. Some of my favorite movies of all time. Watching them again does make me a bit dissapointed in the current trilogy but that's a topic for another post.

Now that it is the new year, I need to concentrate on putting together the new group for church. We seem to be in good shape with the exception of a drummer. I need to contact my old bandmate again. He was iffy when I last talked to him but I'll see if I can convince him. I think I do need to cut out some activities. It seems like I barely have time for anything. Even with a week off, I bare got done any of the things I wanted to accomplish. I really need to get rid of the cubmaster thing and get that weight off of my back. Very soon. I also really need to get into some sort of excersize routine. I'm feeling all stiff and old. It would be nice to do something family related. We have a family membership to the YMCA and it's a nice new facility. Of course, then there's finding time to go with all the other things going on.

Plenty to do, no time to do it.