Reflections on my 2006 (T-243)

I guess I can call this Hobie’s “Best-of and Worst-of 2006 List”.

That would definitely imply I remember a whole lot of what happened in 2006. I do remember a lot of stuff, especially recent things, but I will try my best to get a good representative sampling of what happened throughout the year – that’s why I have this damn journal in the first place. But before I get into it, I want to wish everyone out there in the world a great Happy New Year and all the best for a stellar 2007. Like I said, I’ve already my New Year’s Resolution: No Regrets, No Fear. I am basically upheaving my life in the latter-half of 2007, and if I’m not ready for lots of changes and lots of stress, I’m going to be fighting a losing battle. But I am totally ready for it, and I hope you all are too. Because you all will have a part to play too, but that will be for later. It’s not even 2007 and I’m planning out your year for you. What a jerk!

So you may be asking yourself, why exactly is he typing this crap up? Why isn’t he out having a life? Well, my inquisitive (nosy) friends, it’s because all my friends who I would hang out with are out of the state or out of the city, and can’t get back in because the roads are pretty much ridiculous inter-state still. So I sit here at home, drinking beer and updating my website. I did cook…wait a second, you guys don’t even know about my new habit of trying to actually cook for myself, do you? Well, I’m pretty much as anti-cooking as you can get, but I’ve realized I’m tired of having to go get food everytime I want it. It’s expensive and sometimes I really don’t want to leave the house. So I got my act together and got some cookbooks at Barnes & Noble. I got some books from Sandra Lee, who has the ‘Semi-Homemade’ style and who is on the Food Network. Her show and books are pretty cool because she uses 70% store-bought products and 30% from-scratch ingredients, and when all is said and done, in 20 minutes, you’ve got some pretty damn good food. And I like to not reinvent the wheel, so if I can just combine some premade stuff already, fine by me. I tried my first recipe this past week, called Kahlua Jerk Chicken. It was awesome. I officially feel domestic. And then I made my Italian Dressing chicken with Roasted Chicken rice and Caesar salad tonight. Yum. I love chicken, by the way. It tastes so damn good and depending on what sauce or marinade you put on it, it can take on a whole new taste. Yum.

So, enough of that tangent. 2007 is tomorrow! And I’ve got a list to get to… So with no further ado:

  • Starting off 2006 with Byron, Robbie and Co. in San Antonio. Being with great friends is always a great way to start a year. I figure that somehow jinxed 2006, so maybe starting out 2007 alone means it’ll be a stellar year???
  • Loving my new home. Redesigning and painting it to my completely awesome style and taste… well, I like it, so that’s all that matters. Entertaining family and friends in it. Barbequing for the first time on my own grill. Having a fire pit. Designing a pretty kickass home theater room. Having ideas for a lot more changes to the house in 2007. Just having my own house rocks.
  • Being a Flight Commander at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station. For better and for worse, it’s been one hell of a learning experience. I’ve really learned a lot from having to deal with a crazy mixture of civilians, military, and contractors. I’ve not always made the right decision or move, and when I made the wrong one, I learned my lesson and typically learned to not make the same mistake again. I know I have sometimes made the mistake again, but that’s just being human. To counter the bad stuff though are the few glimmers of success and happiness that I think I’ve been the cause of. My flight constantly has most of the award winners in it, we have pretty damn good morale in the flight considering all the crap we deal with, and all-in-all, we get the job done well. I think I’ve earned a good reputation in the squadron and the group, certain people notwithstanding. This job has also helped me to realize that the military is no longer for me. I know I can do a good job here, but I frankly am tired of the idiosyncracies and retardations found within it. Everybody tells me the civilian world is the same – I recognize that. But I’m fine with it. I just can’t imagine being at that job for another 3 years. I’d lose all my hair by then. And I don’t have all that much left to lose. 🙂 That moment when I dropped my separation paperwork was a strangely surreal one. I’d thought about separating from the Air Force for nearly 3 years by that point, but actually doing it, getting accepted, and getting PAID to separate is pretty damn awesome. I’ve got to get myself ready for it though at the start of 2007. I plan on taking off the uniform, putting on a super sharp suit, and heading to my next job in a week or two after the Air Force. Cross your fingers.
  • My car. Catherine has proved to be quite a Colorado champ, even if she had some adjustment pains when we first got here (no antifreeze, breaking down for a week or so). But she loves the snow, and even when she got stuck in snow last week, she’s fully ready to be pulled out of it. Go VW!
  • Falling in love with Skiing. I knew that I had enjoyed it when I had gone those sporadic times in the past, but actually going to Breckenridge and Keystone and Copper Mtn (in 2006) sealed the case shut. I was hooked. So I went and bought my own set of skis and accessories, including a ski rack for Catherine. I got the Colorado Pass so I’m totally ready for a full 2007 season.
  • VEGAS!!!! I’ve realized that I have inherited my mother’s addiction to gambling. But I embrace it. I went quite a few times this year, and while I never walked away with more money than I came with, I could give a rats ass. It was always fun, and that was really the important thing. My birthday party there and July 4th were two especially fun trips out there, as I got to party with friends and I got to ride in a freakin’ HELICOPTER!
  • Dealing Craps. Dave Fox and I had always talked about how fun it would be to deal craps, and he even said he’d be willing to go to the casino schools so he could actually get a job there in Vegas doing it. I knew I was leaving, so that was never an option for me. But when I rented a craps table in June to prepare my friends for playing craps (although I think I was the main enjoyer of the table – they did learn how to play though!!!) and ended up chatting up the owner of the company, Deuces Wild, and I got offered a job to deal craps, I couldn’t say no. I think I was hired under false pretenses (she mistakenly thought from our conversation that I had been a professional dealer in Vegas…), but I proved more than capable of doing the job. I even made a few hundred bucks doing it. Sweet. I don’t know how much I’ll get to deal in the beginning of 2007, as there really aren’t that many events and she has tons of dealers now. But next holiday season, I hope to get called back!
  • A Frequently Changing Website. At least the look of the front page. I know I don’t update nearly as much as I should sometimes, but I get in those moods. You know. But I was getting tired of my over 3-year-old look that I had developed while in the Azores. So first I shut the page down completely in a fit of ennui, but sitting there stewing in it, I decided I just needed a change. So I went to my trusty blank piece of white paper and sketched out what I thought would work. I transferred it to Dreamweaver, and many hours later, we had the first change with a closeup of my demonic mug staring at you in 4 colors, but 4 colors that changed and such with creative mouseovers. Yes, I am that cool. Many pictures and controversial collages ensued (I STILL get grief for not including some peoples’ pictures on that damn collage, hence why I totally changed that again) and we’re at the current static pic look very reminiscent of the old blue Azores design. Again, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
  • New Social Scene in the Springs. As my February journal entry can attest to, I took a while to find some friends out here. And it got to me pretty damn quick. This job is stressful, and not having an outlet is definitely not healthy. I started hanging out with folks by the end of February, and in March I solidified the core group I would still be hanging out with to this day, that being Susan, Jeff and KD (along with various others, of course). We had some hellaciously good times, starting from that first hang-out at the Olive Garden, continuing to a raucous good time at RumBay on St Patrick’s Day, and then of course the many parties at each others’ homes, out at the clubs, Las Vegas, movies, skit trips, Denver, etc. So while it may have started out a bit slow for me, my friend circle definitely improved. And while I’m bitching about the holidays right now, I did that to myself, sortof. Anyways, I’m happy to have found this great group of friends. There’s been plenty of drama (PLENTY) to go along with the good times, but the good times far outweigh the bad.
  • Good TV!!! 24 ruled, Survivor was fun, and a whole slew of new shows came out and I fell in love with Ugly Betty.
  • Static Electricity – the Fight still goes on. Yes, a key helps to diffuse the pain, but dammit, why must I use it at all? I do hate it though when I’m changing my bedsheets – there is a freakin’ insane amount of static electricity generated when you do that. I shudder to even use the key. I’ve forgotten to use the key and I literally feel like I’ve been attacked with a taser.
  • Reunions with Friends. I love when I get the chance to see out-of-state friends again. Boris’ wedding in Denver, New Year’s in San Antonio, Las Vegas, Los Angeles. Good times, and reminds me why I liked them in the first place! 😉
  • Reunions with Family. What is even better though is when family comes to see you! And now that I actually have room to put up guests, the visits actually occurred! Starting with Mom, Harv, and Helen in May, then Dad and Pat twice in the summer, it was awesome to see them all again. But why is no one coming to visit during the winter? It’s just a little cold…
  • Turning 30!!!!!! Egads. I still think I have trouble dealing with this whole new age thing, but honestly, I’ve been able to lie to myself enough now where I actually believe it is all about how you feel rather than what your number tells you you should feel. And I feel damn good. I ushered in this ’30’ nonsense pretty good though – the Colorado Springs-based events were awesome and Vegas followed it up with plenty of stellar goodness. I turned 30 exactly the way I wanted to.

Okay, I think I’m done with the reminiscing. It was definitely an interesting and LONG year, no matter how many people say it flew by. I am under the distinct impression it was one of the longest years I’ve ever had. Not that I’m wanting life to fly by, but damn. I guess I’m happy that it seemed to go on a long time. I think there was a lot of fun, a lot of drama, a lot of crap, but all in all, it was a year not to forget. Like I said, 2007 promises to be even more intriguing.

Happy New Year’s!!!!!! See you in 2007. Stay safe, and remember, No Fear, No Regrets!

Stuck in the Snow!!!!! (T-244)

A Colorado Event for most that I had yet to experience…

But guess what, I’m a stuck-in-the-snow virgin no longer!!!! It actually happened just now, and has helped restore my faith in human nature’s willingness to be helpful. So there I was, beginning to feel the twinges of what is termed ‘cabin fever’. Yes, it had only been one day so far stuck at home, but I was rapidly needing to see the outside world and Best Buy (oh, the withdrawals…) and I finally decided to go out and see Dreamgirls at the movies. So I got cleaned up, shoveled my driveway (not too much on it this time, just a little drift here and there – my unfortunate 90-degree neighbors again had the 3-foot drifts up on their garages to deal with…), put my gloves and scarf on, and began the journey. I pulled out of the garage, got onto Lisa Dr., and wound my way north towards Leoti Dr that would take me to Constitution. As I round the corner of Lisa right near my house, I can see the intersection of Leoti and Lisa. Hmmm…. You can see Deep trails of tires that have gone through the drift that has plopped itself right at that spot. But I see those damn tire tracks, which leads me to think people have made it through. And I’ve made it through this particular spot before with a little bit of sliding and traction-losing, but I always made it. So I had one moment of “Maybe you should turn around and go the other way, via Crazy Horse” but I quickly told that voice to shut the hell up – Catherine and I are going FORWARD!!!! So I started down the street to the intersection, just gritting my teeth and hoping for the best. I entered the drift…I was going, I was going!!!….and then I started slowing, and then I stopped. I realized I was getting absolutely no traction on any of the tires, and in fact, my car was no basically propped up on snow. Yeah, apparently the drift was a TAD deeper than I had anticipated. As I sat there, realizing I was one of THOSE morons, I resolved it was time to get the shovel and dig myself out. Fortunately this happened just hundreds of feet away from my house, so I trudged back to my house, got the shovel, and started to dig. One guy in a car, who was on Leoti, stopped and asked if I needed help. He was driving a Geo Metro, so I knew he was not going to be able to push me or pull me, which I expressed, but he told me he’d be back to help regardless. So I started digging out from the front of my car, trying to clear a path. It was then that I actually saw the amount of snow UNDER my car. And the fact that I was truly propped up on snow. The guy actually did come back with his own shovel, and we both worked at it a little until the realization was that a tow truck would definitely be necessary. He left after I thanked him and told him my plan, and as I was walking back again to my house to call VW’s roadside assistance hotline, another neighbor was leaving and asked if I needed help. I told him I was going to call a tow truck and he said, “No need, I have a winch!” At first I wanted to say I don’t really care what your wife can do to help, but then it dawned on me he was talking about a towing device!!! So he parked his Jeep Cherokee and then got in his raised 4WD humongous Chevy truck, which had a winch mounted on the front. I started wondering what the hell is he going to attach that hook too on my car when I explored and found that indeed, there’s a damn tow ring on the back!!!! Woo hoo! And sure enough, his winch pulled Catherine right the hell out of that drift. Bryan (the neighbor with the winch) is officially my hero for the day. And now I’m parked back in my garage, and I’ve resolved that that was enough excitement for one day. I’ll go to the movies tomorrow.

(Jan 15, 2016 Update:  I couldn’t comment on it at the time of writing this post, but the guy who helped me get out of the snow? HAWT. )

Merry Christmas (T-249)

Another one done.

When you’re alone for the holidays, they pretty much suck. Didn’t go home for the holidays, and all my friends here went away. So today was sort of anticlimactic, like last year. Oh well, another thing to add to the list of things wonderful about being a flight commander and being in the military. Have I said lately that I can’t wait to get the FUCK OUT of the military?

So I have been reading Lisey’s Story (Stephen King’s latest book) – which I didn’t finish yet by the way – and there was something written that made me crack up. Basically the main character has her inner monologue and she references this: Things About Life Lisey Was Wrong About. All capitalized just like I put it there. It was hilarious, because she said that that list is quite long (maybe you have to have been there, but in the context of the story, it WAS funny!). I must say that the Things About Life Hobie Was Wrong About list is probably as long as I expect hers to have been.

I think I’ll have to make a section on the site devoted to TALHWWA (pronounced tal-whaaaa). Could be amusing to compile.

I didn’t make it to Breckenridge today. I had high hopes, but didn’t get to bed as early as I should have yesterday, and there was no way I was going to be awake enough to drive 2.5 hours out there, ski a day, then 2.5 hours back with only 3-4 hours of sleep. So I stayed home, slept in, read my book, watched Little Miss Sunshine (funny, yet sad movie), played some Final Fantasy XII, and am now here typing away, waiting for the holidays to be fucking over.

I’m trying to remember the last time I really enjoyed the Christmas time of year. It’s been a while.

Anyways, enough of my pathetic diatribe. Hope you all had a great holidays and here’s to a 2007 like no other. I plan to make it a year to remember. I think you all will too. The theme for my New Year’s Resolution has already been decided: No Regrets, No Fear. And dammit, I will embrace that mantra for better or for worse. Like I said, 2007 will be quite a ride.

Late Update: I got out my Photoshop Books and put some of the fun tricks contained within to use tonight. I have made a new page (click here) ‘showcasing’ my modifications to pictures I’ve taken. I must toot my own horn here – I like what a bit of digital manipulation can do.

Snow Day!!!!!! (T-253)

HELLS YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So last night I went to bed and sent a wish to whoever would listen that there would indeed be a snow day. Not a 2-hour delay. An actual snow day. So I woke up once, in eager anticipation, at 3:45 this morning all aglow – but remembering, through the foggy haze of being actually up at that time of day, that Cheyenne Mountain does not in fact update the Snow Line until sometime around 4-4:30 in the morning. So I went back to happy sleep, listening to the roar of the wind against my house. I drifted awake sometime around 5:30 in the morning, when I normally wake up to go to work. I reached for the cell phone; I dialed the Snow Line phone number; I held my breath….

And these words issued forth from my blue RAZR phone:

“Currently, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station is CLOSED except for mission-essential personnel….”

After that, I have no idea what was said. I did the happy dance and rejoiced. Now you may think, well, you still have to go to work tomorrow because the weather is supposed to get better, and in fact, as I look out my window, indeed the visibility is getting better and the sun actually peeked out a few minutes back. But you’d be wrong, foolio. Because tomorrow is an AFSPC Family Day (the one thing that AFSPC does that I can actually agree with…), meaning this Snow Day has inaugurated my Christmas Five-Day Weekend, and nary any of my own (very limited) leave was taken to do it! sweet…. I love snow days.

Snow Day – 21 Dec 2006

Cold, snowy, and best of all, view from HOME!Cold, snowy, and best of all, view from HOME!
Cold, snowy, and best of all, view from HOME!21-Dec-2006 10:09, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 7.1, 7.40625mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 50
Plowed roads? not for a another day or soPlowed roads? not for a another day or so
Plowed roads? not for a another day or so21-Dec-2006 10:09, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 11.0, 18.34375mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 50
Depending on which way your house faced, you could have huge snow drifts like this guyDepending on which way your house faced, you could have huge snow drifts like this guy
Depending on which way your house faced, you could have huge snow drifts like this guy21-Dec-2006 10:09, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 4.9, 22.21875mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 50
 
And here's my sparsely covered drivewayAnd here's my sparsely covered driveway
And here's my sparsely covered driveway21-Dec-2006 10:10, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 7.1, 7.40625mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 50
And here's where I am RIGHT NOW while typing this up.And here's where I am RIGHT NOW while typing this up.
And here's where I am RIGHT NOW while typing this up.21-Dec-2006 11:13, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 2.8, 7.40625mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 50
 

So while I’m typing away, I am literally blasting the latest Beatles’ album out, entitled LOVE. If you enjoy their music, then I definitely recommend you picking this up. It’s the soundtrack to the latest Cirque du Soleil show out at The Mirage in Vegas, which is set entirely to The Beatles’ music. It’s not covers of the songs either, this is all original tracks mixed by their original producer, Sir George Martin. It’s an incredible listen, as he has reworked many of their songs into very interesting combinations. And while those combinations are what many reviewers rave about (as they are quite good), it’s just the clarity of the music that really is amazing. It literally sounds like these songs were recorded this year. And there’s nothing quite as fun as singing along to many of these tracks – for me, I absolutely love rocking out to “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, “Eleanor Rigby” (I guess I’m not quite rocking out to that song, but it’s so good), “Octopus’ Garden”, and “Revolution”. There are so many of their great songs here though, I’m sure you’ll find others you like too.

I also watched my favorite Christmas movie last night – “Elf”. Always by the end I’m full of the Christmas spirit when Santa finally gets his Clausometer pegged to the max because everyone believes again. It’s such a great movie.

Before heading to sleep, I started a new book, this one Stephen King’s latest entitled Lisey’s Story. Just a few chapters into it and I’m hooked. It’s got nothing but good reviews from people, and with the promising beginning, I’m sure I’ll be done with it before the 5-day weekend is over. I’ll report on it’s goodness at that time.

Anyways, just wanted to check in again and let you know I’m surviving through the snow. I’m not planning on going outside again till later (when hopefully the roads are a bit better), but I will need groceries soon. Very soon. 🙂

Funny, the song “Here Comes the Sun” from the LOVE album just came on. Appropriate, methinks.

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m off to LA… (T-283)

It’s been a year since I’ve been back to Los Angeles – that’s hard for me to believe.

Well, I wanted to do an update before I headed home – I have some pictures from my Vegas birthday to put up and I knew you all wouldn’t have it if I went away for 5 days and left you with nuthin’. So below are the pics that need to be shown. Vegas was a lot of fun – of course, I didn’t leave up money, but I certainly didn’t lose it all. The one piece of gambling that I have the most regrets on was not betting the fire bet at craps one night – the guy I was next to ended up rolling all the points – which means if I had bet this bet at the beginning of his roll, I would have won 1000-1 money. Yes, $1 would have gotten me $1000. Oh well… But the trip itself was a lot of fun – Mila, Robbie and Byron all were there on Thursday night, so we had a chance to get some dinner and catch up. The next day, Mom and Harv were there and I got my first of many free breakfasts! That day though Mila and I went exploring to go see the new Red Rock Station casino out in Summerlin, which is beautiful. We hung there for a while, and then made our way back to the Strip in time to get ready for our dinner and show with Katherine. We met up with her at the Riviera for dinner at the Italian Ristorante there, which is great food. After that, we went to see La Cage at the Riviera, which is the big time Drag show in Vegas. It was awesome. The Britney Spears drag queen was amazing. I got the show’s DVD of the performance, and it pretty much captures what the show was like. Very cool. On Saturday, Mila and I again went walking around, taking in the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace and people-watching inside and outside the casino. We then got ourselves ready for that evening’s events, starting with the HELICOPTER RIDE over the Strip!!!!! Robbie, Byron, Mila and I were going to be joined on this by the Schofields – and it was certainly an awesome ride. See the pictures below!!! Then after that exhilarating experience, we went to the Las Vegas Hilton for Benihana’s!! Good times. On Sunday, it was off to NYNY for a ride on the Manhattan Express (Mila had 4 free tickets on the rollercoaster and she was determined to use them!) with Robbie & Byron. Mila then left for home and to hopefully not have an 8-hour commute. Byron, Robbie & I then went over to In-N-Out burgers, which they had never been to before. It was great to have one after a year, and it was fun to see someone’s reaction to their first burger here. Byron fell in love. Anyways, us three then went gambling at a few casinos, and Robbie joined me at playing craps, which he picked up very well. Fortunately for him, he’s also very lucky and got to very hot tables each time. I actually rolled quite a bit at Barbary Coast, which was cool. All in all, it was a cool vacation – I got some very nice birthday gifts (Guitar Hero II, engraved HRB cufflinks and a very sweet money clip) and it was just nice to be with some tried and true friends and family. Definitely sucked to come back, but I have great friends here too, so it’s not all bad.

In the meantime, I’ve barely been to work – seriously. I was gone for 6 days to Vegas, then worked a few days after that before we had another 3-day weekend. During that weekend I managed to get all bummed out again for stupid reasons, I finished painting my bedroom (meaning I now have only to put up the shelves and picture frames before it’s basically complete and I start working on my bathroom), and I dealt Blackjack at one of the Deuces Wild events. I love getting my gambling fix and not having to risk any of my own money.

I am excited about going home – not only to see Mom and Harv, but other friends and family I haven’t seen for pretty much a year. I’ll also get to hang out with Wendy and Jason for his birthday – he’s renting out a party bus and I’m sure it’s going to be fun, and by fun, I mean soaked in alcohol.

Well, without much further ado, here’s the pics – I’ll hopefully post some others soon upon my return from Thanksgiving. And to everyone out there, Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!

Vegas Birthday Fun, 9 – 13 Nov 06

Since 2001 or so, sharing stuff