Black Diamond, Baby! (T-215)

Yep – I conquered one of my ski endeavors this weekend – the Keystone run called DiamondBack was totally my bitch!

I’ve returned from SnoFest! at Keystone without a broken bone or two! Incredible! Anyways, as promised, I have downloaded my pictures from the trip and posted them here. I must provide advance warning: some of the pics are very nice and pretty and blah blah blah – and some of the pictures are straight-up pics taken by and of drunk people. So if you can’t deal with that, bitch don’t care. I’ll expound on that last little phrase next month.

To recap the trip though: Awesomeness squared. There was no drama as potentially expected, everyone had a great time, no one got hurt, and the skiing was outstanding. We took off early Friday morning after combining people into two cars at Kyle’s house. On the way up, just right on Powers, Tom’s Explorer caught the ice wrong and spun out – fortunately that was the beginning and the end of the bad luck for the trip. Luckily he and his passengers weren’t hurt and the car was fine. The trek up to Keystone was uneventful as the weather was frickin’ beautiful. We then got ourselves parked and ready to go skiing, as we couldn’t check into the condo until the evening. And so we skied. And skied some more. Keystone really is a great resort – I didn’t really get to see much of it that first trip I took there last March, and during this trip, I got to see quite a few more runs on the front side of the mountain and take on some of the back side of the mountain, which is pretty advanced. What is cool about Keystone is that the length of the runs is very very long. You literally ski down the whole mountain, and some of the runs are 3 miles long or so. So you get a lot of turns, various steepness, potential for lots of speed, and an entertaining run in before you have to get back on the lifts. I’ve noticed that at Breckenridge, the runs aren’t quite as long as Keystone – but you do have many more to choose from than at Keystone. Regardless, it’s a very fun resort. On the second day of skiing was when I finally built up the courage to try a black diamond run. I had told myself to go for it this trip, but I was very willing to talk myself out of it though. Fortunately, I ended up running into Dave who talked up the DiamondBack trail. So I caught his enthusiasm and Kyle, Dave and I went down the trail. Of course, I had to take photos at the beginning and end of the trail – it’s not everyday you get to break your Black Diamond cherry. I will say that my heart was definitely beating superfast. I imagine that this isn’t the hardest of black diamonds to ski, but it certainly is long and steep. It starts off innocuously enough at the end of a little green bunny slope area (I kid you not) at the top of the mountain, but then you round a bend and see where the run pretty much slopes into the wham-o ‘black-diamond’ part. As you approach it, you can actually see the bottom and you realize that the bottom is VERY far down there and you have to ski to it to reach it. Well, I was there, so no turning around now. I felt pretty good while skiing down the run, especially when I saw other newbies trying to ski down it and who definitely looked a lot more scared than me. Before I knew it, I was down the mountain though, and it was awesome.

Jeremy also came up on Saturday, and we ended up all skiing around that afternoon, eventually meeting up to watch the Cardboard Derby set up for SnoFest. Basically people build various vehicles out of cardboard to race down the bunny slope. You hope to make it all the way to the finish line with an intact vehicle and not having to push it. Most do not meet these goals. But there were some that knocked that goal out of the park, including the NORAD bobsled team (freakin’ Fast!), the Short Yellow Bus, a giant Cricket cell phone, and a Viking warship. Some of these people got very creative. After watching that for a little bit, it was time to Night Ski! That is a definite fun experience, as the trails are much less crowded and the snow is great to ski on, as the iciness is mostly gone. Cheeks (I mean, Jeremy), KD, Eric and I went nightskiing for a while (Jeff went as well, but wanted to knock out more skiing without waiting) together, and of course fun was had by all.

I don’t want to leave out all the ridiculous fun had at night. The first night was pretty mellow, as we were all pretty damn tired, but not too tired to play some Karaoke Revolution! And of course drink. Which I did a lot of. No hangover the next day – woo hoo! Then on Saturday night, after night skiing, Jeremy, KD, Eric and I went out and got some pizza in the Keystone Village area. And of course drank. Then we went next door to Parrot Eyes bar, where we met up with Dave and Dallas, and of course we drank. Not to mention take lots of stupid pictures. As you’ll see below. Some hideous pics are also below. Then we went back to the lodge, and of course continued to drink (our driver, Eric, did NOT drink of course though – we are responsible people here!). That was when Jeremy and I probably should have stopped drinking, but c’est la vie. So even though we were hungover today, it was still lots of fun. The four of us stayed to do some more skiing this last day, but for me, the conditions were too icy; also, I think all the tiredness was catching up to me, I was still a bit hungover, and on one of the blue runs on the back of the mountain, I wiped out once and had to ski the gauntlet (what I call it, as basically you have to ski down this super-steep part of the mountain that everybody at the base is looking up at – so there’s like 200 people watching you ski or fall…) right afterwards. I was done. Everybody else had left in the morning, so I rode with Jeremy back to the Springs. All in all, a great weekend vacation!

And now, the pics:

SnoFest 2007 @ Keystone, Day 1: Friday, 26 Jan 07

Melissa in the car on the way upMelissa in the car on the way up
Melissa in the car on the way up26-Jan-2007 07:46, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 2.8, 7.40625mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 50
KD tooKD too
KD too26-Jan-2007 07:46, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 2.8, 7.40625mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 50
Jeff, the fearless driverJeff, the fearless driver
Jeff, the fearless driver26-Jan-2007 07:46, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 2.8, 7.40625mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 50
Hobie, the idiotic cameramanHobie, the idiotic cameraman
Hobie, the idiotic cameraman26-Jan-2007 07:47, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 2.8, 7.40625mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 50
Sleeping MelissaSleeping Melissa
Sleeping Melissa26-Jan-2007 08:06, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 2.8, 7.40625mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 50
26-Jan-2007 08:06, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 2.8, 7.40625mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 50
KD daresKD dares
KD dares26-Jan-2007 08:07, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 2.8, 7.40625mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 50
There's Keystone!There's Keystone!
There's Keystone!26-Jan-2007 10:03, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 10.0, 15.4375mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 50
Jeff at the summitJeff at the summit
Jeff at the summit26-Jan-2007 11:16, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 7.1, 7.40625mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 50
Melissa and KD at the topMelissa and KD at the top
Melissa and KD at the top26-Jan-2007 11:17, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 7.1, 7.40625mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 50
There's me, not paying attentionThere's me, not paying attention
There's me, not paying attention26-Jan-2007 11:17, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 7.1, 7.40625mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 50
Breckenridge, in the distanceBreckenridge, in the distance
Breckenridge, in the distance26-Jan-2007 11:22, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 13.0, 22.21875mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 50
26-Jan-2007 11:22, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 11.0, 18.34375mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 50
Jeff and BreckJeff and Breck
Jeff and Breck26-Jan-2007 11:22, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 13.0, 22.21875mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 50
KD and BreckKD and Breck
KD and Breck26-Jan-2007 11:22, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 4.9, 22.21875mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 50

SnoFest 2007 @ Keystone, Day 2: Saturday, 27 Jan 07

Eric, pro skier and gold medal winner at the racesEric, pro skier and gold medal winner at the races
Eric, pro skier and gold medal winner at the races27-Jan-2007 08:24, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 3.5, 10.8125mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 77
Jeff and Melissa prepare for a long day of lodge livingJeff and Melissa prepare for a long day of lodge living
Jeff and Melissa prepare for a long day of lodge living27-Jan-2007 08:25, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 3.5, 10.8125mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 102
Me before my first-ever Black Diamond run!!!!Me before my first-ever Black Diamond run!!!!
Me before my first-ever Black Diamond run!!!!27-Jan-2007 11:19, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 7.1, 7.40625mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 50
If I had to die today on the black diamond, that's one helluva viewIf I had to die today on the black diamond, that's one helluva view
If I had to die today on the black diamond, that's one helluva view27-Jan-2007 11:21, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 7.1, 7.40625mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 50
Dave and Kyle there to usher me in to the clubDave and Kyle there to usher me in to the club
Dave and Kyle there to usher me in to the club27-Jan-2007 11:21, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 7.1, 7.40625mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 50
I survived!I survived!
I survived!27-Jan-2007 11:31, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 7.1, 7.40625mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 50
Looking towards Breckenridge and the weather over thereLooking towards Breckenridge and the weather over there
Looking towards Breckenridge and the weather over there27-Jan-2007 14:53, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 10.0, 15.4375mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 50
Me tooMe too
Me too27-Jan-2007 14:53, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 10.0, 15.4375mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 50
KD, Eric, Melissa, Jeff and Jeremy at the Cardboard DerbyKD, Eric, Melissa, Jeff and Jeremy at the Cardboard Derby
KD, Eric, Melissa, Jeff and Jeremy at the Cardboard Derby27-Jan-2007 16:02, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 2.8, 7.40625mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 50
This Bitch Don't CareThis Bitch Don't Care
This Bitch Don't Care27-Jan-2007 16:02, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 2.8, 7.40625mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 50
Me in the pic this timeMe in the pic this time
Me in the pic this time27-Jan-2007 16:02, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 2.8, 7.40625mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 50
Not sure what happened hereNot sure what happened here
Not sure what happened here27-Jan-2007 16:03, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 2.8, 7.40625mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 50
The Cardboard derbyThe Cardboard derby
The Cardboard derby27-Jan-2007 16:05, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 4.9, 22.21875mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 50
The contestants lined upThe contestants lined up
The contestants lined up27-Jan-2007 16:05, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 4.9, 22.21875mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 50
KD and Eric at the Pizza placeKD and Eric at the Pizza place
KD and Eric at the Pizza place27-Jan-2007 20:03, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 2.8, 7.40625mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 50

Headed to SnoFest (T-219)

6 weekends -> 6 snowstorms. That’s gotta be a record.

Literally, every weekend we get snow – it’s nowhere near as heavy as it was the first two weekends, but without fail, we’ll get a few inches of snow each weekend. Meanwhile, the entire rest of the week is usually sunny and clear, although frickin’ cold. I must say though that it’s nice to see the rest of the midwest and Texas getting all sorts of snow and cold weather too. I’m glad Colorado was able to spread on the wealth to the rest of you guys.

Anyways, yes, it’s been a few weeks or so since I’ve updated and I just wanted to chime in with what has been going on before heading to SnoFest this weekend up at Keystone. SnoFest is this huge weekend party at Keystone resort wherein all the Colorado Springs’ military base personnel get together and take over the mountain (basically). It’s an excuse to give us another day off (yep, we get this Friday off meaning I haven’t worked an actual ‘full’ work week in literally two months) and to go skiing for an entire weekend. It should be good times, and about 9 of us have rented a very nice condo to live and party in – so that should be fun, and here’s hoping for no drama. I’ll post pics (of course) when I return.

So like I said, it’s been pretty much blah at work – so not much to talk about there. Oh wait, I guess there is some interesting news that developed last week that both thrilled and bummed me out. Part I of the information is that in March, the deputy squadron commander is going to be taking sick leave in order to have surgery. In the meantime, I will be stepping in as deputy Squadron CC!! For an entire month. Whoa! Finding out this information was pretty cool news – because it gives me a chance to help get the squadron back on track as the current commander is seriously in need of help. I obviously can’t go into as much as I’d like on this website, as that damn UCMJ is always there with the key to Leavenworth, but let’s just say she’s not doing that great of a job here. So I was stoked about that news. I’ll get my shot at being almost a squadron commander before getting out – sweet. But then the other shoe dropped the next day, as I heard that initial news through unofficial channels. When I was told it officially, I also was told that I would NOT be coming back as flight commander in April when the deputy commander returns. At all. Instead, my current deputy, Melissa, who puts Captain rank on in May, will take over for good once I leave in late February. I’m not thrilled about this news for two main reasons: first, I really like being flight CC – that’s been the only thing that has made this assignment worth having. So not returning to this is kinda shocking, as I wasn’t mentally prepared to have to say goodbye to that post this early. I had figured I’d be flight cc until the summer or so…WRONG! Second, that means I pretty much have no real job from April to the end of August. Allegedly I become ‘Special Project’ officer, basically meaning that whatever the commanders don’t want to deal with, I get to. In my mind, this new job means I come in at 0900 and leave at 1500 (3pm). I’m just sayin’.

So that’s the work fun. I hope the month of March doesn’t suck too much.

In other news, I’ve been spending money like it’s going out of style. Last week I went to Men’s Wearhouse and bought my first-ever suit. I knew I’d need one to interview with and potentially work in depending on the next job I’d get, and I have never owned a true suit before. It’s a pretty sharp suit, and one day when I actually put the whole thing on, I’ll take some pics to show off the new threads. I also bought some sweet shirts and ties as well as a new pair of loafers, and all in all dropped a load of cash on it, but it’s definitely an investment. I then bought an iPod finally after having resisted for soooooo long. I just got tired of how iPod-centric all the electronics are nowadays – everything’s a stereo plus an iPod-dock – but you can never plug in directly any other type of MP3 player. Plus, you really can’t beat how the iPod interface is – it’s such a clean and efficient way to navigate through your music. My Rio Carbon was such a bitch to use because it took forever to get to your music, especially if you had a lot of it. But my new 80GB black iPod is so awesome and I don’t regret finally upgrading. Now I can get all those cool iPod toys too. I also went and bought some new winter clothes up in Denver and down here in the Springs, including a very sweet long black overcoat. Men’s Wearhouse wanted to sell me a cashmere one for $500 (on sale from $800), and while I’d love to have bought it, that was just a bit much for me at the time. So I went to Burlington Coat Factory and bought a wool/cashmere blend for $180 that is still quite comfortable and looks pretty damn good on me. It’s great for being a bit more dressy and especially while wearing a suit. In fact, I ended up wearing it when going with my friends to see Mamma Mia this past Sunday at the Pikes Peak Performing Arts Center. I never get tired of that musical apparently. It really is good, and I was impressed at how good the cast was in this touring company version of it. Everybody else I went with liked it too, which is not a surprise. Afterwards, some folks went home, but Jeremy and Melissa and I stayed out and went drinking at Jack Quinn’s Irish Pub just a few steps away. It was a ‘school night’, but I just didn’t care and realized I’d pay the price the next day – so 5 beers later, I was feeling pretty damn good. And amazingly, this Monday I didn’t feel as horrendous as expected. Tired, yes, but not nearly as hungover as I should have been. Yay!

And in one last bit of reporting, I have been working with Bradley-Morris, Inc. What’s Bradley-Morris, Inc. you ask? Well, it’s a company that specializes in placing separating or retiring military officers into corporate America. That’s me! They had a 2-hour seminar last week about just how they work, what you can expect, and to answer any questions people had concerning them. My ‘agent’, Justin, and I have talked a few times since then, and basically I’m stoked about how things are progressing. In June and July, I’ll be headed to some hiring conferences, one in Chicago and one in San Diego. At these conferences, the interviews are already scheduled and planned out, so it’s not as you might be thinking, like a giant convention or something. They have hiring conferences all around the country, but with what I’m interested in doing, Justin seemed to think Chicago and San Diego will be the best bets for successful matches at that time. These are regional conferences, so basically going to Chicago and San Diego means I’m hoping for jobs in those general regions. San Diego would of course be awesome, as it covers all of California and the southwest. Chicago is definitely a region I wasn’t certain about, but thinking about it, I would definitely be up for giving Chicago a try. The unfortunate news I learned though is that Colorado Springs/Denver and San Antonio/Austin are both primarily military/defense-driven economies, and frankly, I don’t want to work in those industries anymore. I’m not shutting myself out of those completely just yet, as if the right opportunity comes up, I will consider it, especially if I can stay here. But that will remain to be seen. So who knows, I may find myself either back in California or perhaps learning a new lifestyle, Chicago-style. That’s a whole lotta speculation in this paragraph, admittedly. In the meantime, I am confronted with the foundation-level tasks of creating a resume, compiling references, creating a ‘Hobie Barnes is wonderful’ book with all my OPRs, decorations, etc in it, and just getting myself competitive to be hired. Which leads to a question to all you out there: if you have some jobs opening up where you work, no matter the industry, hook a Hobie up and let me know!

Oh yeah, on a 24 Note – how freaking good has this season been so far? Jack kills Curtis! A suitcase nuke takes out Valencia (what happened to Six Flags Magic Mountain?)! The ultimate bad-guy overseer from last season was Jack’s Brother! Jack is REALLY pissed at his brother! Wayne Palmer sucks as a president!

Breck Overnighter (T-234)

I’m back again – just in time for another snowstorm! Yep, that’ll make it 4 storms for 4 weeks. Lucky us in Colorado!

Okay, again, not planning on writing all that much but I did want to catch you up with what I’ve been up to. Like I mentioned, we had another snow storm (not a blizzard, though…) at the end of last week. I’m actually getting quite used to these, although driving in them has yet to become fun. I can survive and not crash my car (knock on wood!), but navigating your car on a road of ice has yet to increase its appeal for me. But I digress. On Friday night, I got all bummed out and mopey after dinner. Enough about that! But on Saturday, I hung out with Jeff and Susan and Jeremy (Jeff’s roommate) and we went to dinner and hung out at Jeff’s place, playing Guitar Hero II. Good times. Before going to hang out with them though, I had come to the conclusion that I wanted to do a two-day trip up to a ski resort. Having the Colorado Ski Pass has quite a few perks, in addition to the obvious unlimited use of Breckenridge, Keystone, and A-Basin skilifts. Namely, you get some serious discounts on lodging. I finally decided to take advantage of this perk – so off to Breckenridge I went, as while I toyed with the idea of going to Keystone instead, I ruled that out because later this month is SnoFest, the huge military snow weekend up at Keystone. I found out I could get a room at the Great Divide Lodge on Sunday night, so I took it. I also used a pass on Monday, so I was set to not have to go to work then.

So on Sunday morning, I drove up the back way to Breckenridge, via Highway 24 and Highway 9. It had just snowed on Thursday and Friday, but I figured that the roads would be somewhat clear. Well, I was mostly right, all the way up to Fairplay, Colorado (which is what most people here think South Park is based on, btw). At that point (which is about 20 miles away from Breck), the conditions turned quite ridiculous. First off, the roads were covered in packed snow and ice, which makes a drive very interesting. But to make it more interesting, the wind picked up quite a bit, and kicked up all the snow, causing what the local news here calls “Ground Blizzards”. They ain’t kidding, folks. There were times when the kicked-up snow completely enveloped the car, reducing the visibility to nothing. I was not even sure I was staying straight on the road. Freaky. Then the road heads to Hoosier Pass, and it’s all uphill – fortunately that stressful drive went without a hitch, but it was a bit scary. Then you reach the pass and head down the other side, and it’s all switchbacks and slow-going. Anyways, I made it to Breckenridge, with quite a bit of adrenaline used but fortunately completely safe.

As for my skiing adventures, it was pretty fun – it was nice to be able to take it easy and not feel I need to rush it all into one day. The first day I had a few misadventures though – namely my skis got caught in weird angles at the top of the skilifts, with the first time being because a snowboarder’s board lodged on top of my skis – I got stuck with my skis making an obscene V with my legs – meanwhile I stopped moving forward, and sure enough, the lift chair I had just pushed off of came from behind and slammed me right in the back, knocking me flat onto my face. Ow. I’m still surprised I don’t have a giant bruise there. I got up, a little ego-bruised, but whatever, I didn’t get seriously hurt or killed, so yay for me! The next time that happened, I didn’t end up falling over or getting knocked over, but I ended up with my arm hooked around the lift chair bar and having it drag me a bit until I could get myself on proper footing. The rest of that first day though, I enjoyed skiing the Blue runs, and being pretty confident on them. I even skied a Blue-Black run, my closest run-in yet with a true Black Diamond run. I will ski one of those this season, perhaps this month. That night at the hotel was uneventful, except getting upgraded to a pretty large room because they had oversold and also locking myself out of my room, with no ID and no shoes on, after putting the room service tray outside. Lame. On Monday, I had another good day of skiing, although near the beginning of my day, I almost got killed by a snowboarder who was going super fast in the slow base zone – and she claimed I cut her off. Bitch. I didn’t get knocked down though – that would have been her. Heh heh. After that though, I seemed to forget how to ski, which was very annoying. I think I just got a little freaked out by the nearmiss, and after a few runs, I was good again. So with that long winded story over, finally, I wrap up my entry tonight with some pictures and some hopes for a decent snow storm that I will get home before. And if I don’t update before Sunday night, remember 24 is back on – and word is, the end of the first 4 hours has allegedly one of the most mind-blowing moments in 24 ever. I have resisted reading spoilers, but my mind is definitely racing trying to determine just what is so shocking. Can’t wait!

Pics from Breckenridge Overnighter, 7-8 Jan 07

The view from my hotel room at the Great Divide LodgeThe view from my hotel room at the Great Divide Lodge
The view from my hotel room at the Great Divide Lodge07-Jan-2007 15:33, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 7.1, 7.40625mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 50
A closer view of the MountainA closer view of the Mountain
A closer view of the Mountain07-Jan-2007 15:34, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 4.0, 15.4375mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 50
07-Jan-2007 15:34, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 4.9, 22.21875mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 50
looking at Village Roadlooking at Village Road
looking at Village Road07-Jan-2007 16:57, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 2.8, 7.40625mm, 0.05 sec, ISO 50
07-Jan-2007 16:57, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 2.8, 7.40625mm, 0.05 sec, ISO 50
The roomThe room
The room07-Jan-2007 16:58, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 2.8, 7.40625mm, 0.167 sec, ISO 200
Looking off to the Rockies from one of Breck's many runs
Closer view of theLooking off to the Rockies from one of Breck's many runs Closer view of the
Looking off to the Rockies from one of Breck's many runs Closer view of the08-Jan-2007 09:47, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 7.1, 7.40625mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 50
08-Jan-2007 09:47, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 7.1, 7.40625mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 50
Closer view of the mountainsCloser view of the mountains
Closer view of the mountains08-Jan-2007 09:47, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 10.0, 15.4375mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 50
Looking back up one of the Breck runs
Looking back up one of the Breck runsLooking back up one of the Breck runs Looking back up one of the Breck runs
Looking back up one of the Breck runs Looking back up one of the Breck runs08-Jan-2007 09:48, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 9.0, 12.875mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 50
And there's bundled up me - it was COLD!And there's bundled up me - it was COLD!
And there's bundled up me - it was COLD!08-Jan-2007 09:48, Canon Canon PowerShot S410, 7.1, 7.40625mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 50
A panoramic pic of Park County from the Nat'l Forest Visitor's Center - talk about a Winter Wonderland!A panoramic pic of Park County from the Nat'l Forest Visitor's Center - talk about a Winter Wonderland!
A panoramic pic of Park County from the Nat'l Forest Visitor's Center - talk about a Winter Wonderland!11-Nov-2013 22:03

Less than 8 months! (T-240)

Yep, less than 8 months away from my transition to being a Civilian. Yikes!

So today was the first day back to work, and my motivation level was at an all time low. Okay, I take that all-time-low business back. But it certainly was hard to try to care about the job. But you know I did, anyways!

So what’s there to talk about? Not much – my previous 5-day New Years weekend pretty much blew. BORING. So in a weird, masochistic way, I actually was looking forward to going back to work, for at least the social interaction aspect of it.

But I did have to check in, see how you all were, and share with you an observation I made while having cereal this weekend. I went and splurged and bought Cocoa Krispies – I don’t allow myself the Krispies too much, as it really isn’t that great for you as a breakfast, but sometimes, Hobie gets what Hobie wants. So into the shopping cart it went. Anyways (none of those first two sentences really help set up the observation…sorry) I was blissfully having my 4th bowl of Cocoa Krispies (perhaps THAT’s why it’s not really all that healthy for me…?) and I begin to actually look at Monsieurs Snap, Crackle and Pop on the front of the box. And I actually look at their faces and what Snap and Crackle (in particular) look like they’re doing. I nearly spit out the cereal because I started laughing so hard. Here’s the front of the box – you take a look:

1-070103 - Cocoa Krispies box

Take a moment.

Okay, here’s what I see: Snap looks like he’s holding a piece of shit in his hand. Look at his face. He seriously looks like he can’t believe he’s holding a piece of crap in his hand. And good ol’ Crackle there is the exact opposite – he literally looks like he’s reveling in the whole Shit experience – he’s cheering Snap on & holding his own piece of crap right near Snap’s head. What a dick. And so twisted. Anyways, I didn’t let this observation ruin my Cocoa Krispies. They’re so damn tasty and addictive. But I did have to turn the box around because it was just so damned disturbing.

Anyways, that’s my observation for the day. Just had to share. Now I can throw that damn box out!

Oh yeah, I got an email from today – I had signed up to be alerted by email when Twin Peaks: Season 2 was finally available for purchase or pre-order. And finally, day of days, Season 2 has a sales date – April 10, 2007! It’s only taken say…6 years for Season 2 to come out after Season 1 came out on DVD. REEEEEDiculous.

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!

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