Tag Archives: air force

Google Street View made it to the Azores

Jason Rubi sent me a text with the picture from Google Street Maps as seen below of the house I lived in shown above, and it’s like, holy shit, that’s where I lived, first with Angelo, then with Jason, while stationed and living in the Azores, specifically the island of Terceira.  I’ve periodically reminisced here about the wonder of living there – it feels like a dream, honestly.  This house, a former church, was where I lived – it was perched on a cliffside overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.  The views were amazing, and it was almost distractingly remote from a lot.  There was one other house across the street, and then a little cafe at the base of the Sao Sebastiao Bay Baia da Salga (how did I not write that at all in this post originally??).  At night, it could be really quiet and eerie.  When it rained, I sometimes braced for the house to collapse down the cliffside.  We once climbed down the cliff to the shore and the way the cliffside was hollowed out was almost frightening.  But guess what?  The place is still there, and looks almost exactly the same.  I’m surprised – the owner/landlord had said he was going to sell the pastures in front and develop them with more apartments….but I guess gentrification decided not to come to the Azores.  I’m glad, to be honest.  I love that it’s still the same.

Terceira, Google Map – with where my house was on the south side of the island pointed out, as well as Lajes AB, where I worked:

The next thing to see is a zoom in of where we lived in ol’ Sao Sebastiao (pronounced San Sebastian, but it’s Portuguese, so everything ends in an “o”) / Baia da Salga.

It’s awesome to see that Google points out one of the restaurants I absolutely loved going to, A Ilha.  SO GOOD.  I had my going away there when I left.  But they served some very good Beef or Chicken Alcatra, which is like the best pot roast you’ve ever had.  There were better places to get Alcatra on the island, but having one so damn close was the best.

And then here’s the Street View of the ol Home on the Cliff:

Man, the MEMORIES while living there!  The drinking, the dancing, the eating, the laughs, the music….the croquet playing, the drinking, the passing out, the rain, the running out of hot water due to the gas tanks emptying, geez, it was a whirlwind.  But those days when the weather was perfect, and the sun was shining, and the ocean was beautifully blue….

Yeah, just amazing.  Loads of pictures can be found on my old site here (but my entire collection is larger, that’s for sure) and one day I’ll eventually get to converting those too into my WordPress site.  I met the greatest set of people there during those 15 months, and that was lucky, as it could have been a very lonely place to end up.  But yeah, I got lucky, and have nothing but fond memories there.

Ah, Cheyenne Mountain AFS

I saw this video yesterday shared on Facebook and saw this morning io9 had put together a nice post collecting images and the video too all about my last USAF duty station, Cheyenne Mountain AFS.  I had a lot of flashbacks watching this thing as I’ve got lots of memories walking that tunnel when I didn’t feel like taking the bus, many memories of walking along those various mountain hallways….it’s nuts to think about how LONG ago that was.


Missy Elliott’s “Under Construction”

I’m assuming that for many people out there, certain songs or albums will always call up certain memories, times and places.  For the period of my life when I first moved to Las Vegas after having been living in the Azores, the soundtrack would definitely be Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott’s fantastic and, in my opinion, best album, Under Construction.

My first interaction with Missy came from my last year or so in college (1998-99) while living with Rolondo and Ryan at Casa Ophir.  Rolondo introduced me to the world of 90s Hip-Hop but I think my major favorites from what I heard were definitely the Timbaland & Magoo and Missy Elliott songs.  Back then, it was all about “The Rain” and Missy’s incredible videos from that period.

From that point on, I was a fan.  While I was living in San Antonio for my first assignment in the Air Force, Missy released my second favorite album of hers, Miss E…So Addictive.  It’s this album that has the ridiculously popular “Get Ur Freak On” but that wasn’t the song that I immediately fell in love with.  For me, it was ALL about “4 My People”, a way-ahead-of-its-time epic dance-floor anthem.  To this day, it’s still one of my favorite dance tracks and can easily hold its own against the new stuff you hear nowadays:

Missy’s music was a staple in all my dance playlists through my time in the Azores.  “4 My People” also woke up and clarified my love of dance music which was great in the Azores what with it being a Portuguese territory and hence caught up in the European tradition of loving dance music.  So yay for all that exposure!  Side Azores note:  It’s hilarious that one of the tracks that was ALWAYS played in any of the Terceira nightclubs you’d go to during that period (2001-2002) was Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” – that was a freaking anthem for those guys and would always result in a packed dance floor.  No new Missy Elliott album was released during my Azores days though, and I had to wait till my return to the States when I moved to Las Vegas.  That was when Under Construction was released and I was back just in time to appreciate it.

underconstruction_missyelliottNow, I could see that from a glance at this album cover, you’d be disinclined to see anything special here.  But Missy is special and she reaches the apex of her creative talents with this album.  Her collaborations with the best hip-hop artists of the time like Jay-Z, Ludacris, Method Man and even Beyonce show she’s at the top of her game but also having a lot of fun.  Timbaland’s production and creation of epic sounds and beats can’t be beat.  But what I think I responded to almost initially while giving the disc a first listen in my brand new 2003 black Volkswagen Jetta (miss you, Catherine!) was Missy’s humanity.  She reminisces quite often about a simpler time when hip-hop was about fun and the best rhymes, not about violence and death.  But this album is not about preaching; it’s about putting into action that desire to have hip-hop be fun, and DAMN, there is a lot of it to be had within this album.

051023 - 45 - Catherine on top
Catherine, my beautiful VW Jetta

Catherine and I indeed bonded through repeated playings of Under Construction.  Even though the lead single from the album was “Work It” with its insane and untypeable reverse lyrics and dirty grooves, that wasn’t my initial favorite song. Nope, I was blown away by the song directly following it, “Gossip Folks”.  Dear God, what an amazing song.  There’s a ridiculously amazing beat driving the song which is an unholy blend of “Double Dutch Bus” and lyrics that are barely understandable.  It sounds like a mess on paper, but when you hear it, there’s nothing you can do but just dance and turn that music up.

The video is also a lot of fun but the song by itself grabbed me and made me its bitch.  It was and still is incredible.  I can still vividly remember driving on Flamingo Blvd towards my new home on Nellis Blvd while cranking this song in my hot and amazing new car.  I really was feeling alive at that moment and I was so excited to be in Vegas with a new job and a whole new world awaiting me.  And best of all?  Casinos!  Now obviously, if you’ve ever read my blog/website during that time, you know that it kind of didn’t work out all that well, especially professionally.  But I did have a lot of fun with some great friends there and that by itself was what made it worth it.

“Work It” and “Gossip Folks” aren’t the only attractions of the album.  The intro track, “Go To The Floor” makes you do precisely that with an intense beat.  “Funky Fresh Dressed” is a bit goofy old school while “Back in The Day” wistfully remembers the good ol’ days of hip-hop.  The other driving track that gets me going is “Slide”, a song infused with a drawling dirty beat and a lyric of “don’t it sound so fantastic” that every time I hear I have to sing along to as if I’m bouncing down stairs as the way Missy sings it is so damn amazing.

I miss the Missy Elliott of the 2000s – hell, I just miss Missy Elliott, as she has seemingly disappeared from public view.  I have read that she’s fighting a disease which has kept her sidelined.  She did release two songs a year or so ago and I regrettably was pretty disappointed as it was very generic stuff.  Missy has always had a distinct voice with unique beats in her songs so to hear her no longer have that in those newer songs gave me pause.  But perhaps she is going to find that voice again and surprise us all again someday.  I’d love for Joan (my new red Mazda 3) to have a song of her own.

My 5 Years

I’ve been at NBCUniversal (formerly NBC Universal – yeah, there’s a difference) now for 5 years, as of yesterday.  It’s kind of stunning that it’s been five years.  I won’t pretend to say that the time flew by.  It really hasn’t.  These 5 years have felt like 5 years, so for me, it’s not that it flew by, but that so much has happened.

Just over 5 years ago, I had separated from the US Air Force.  It was a happy time for me, honestly.  I had become more and more discouraged with where my career was going, especially when it seemed that I couldn’t escape supervisors and commanders that I had very little respect for.  It’s hard to focus some of that back on to myself, but it needs to be said.  When you constantly get the same problem – perhaps the problem is me.  I freely admit that I was good at some aspects of being an officer and lacking in others.   Faced with this being my future in the Air Force combined with the seemingly unending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, I was in misery.  When that Voluntary Separation Pay offer came up, it was a no-brainer.  Buh-bye.  Especially once I had been hired by NBC and was set to move to New York City.

My life while working at NBC Universal was and is an amazing experience.  I’ve managed to luck my way into a dream organization, with a great boss and a mission to create new systems and software in a hectic yet effective pace.   The people I’ve met have changed me.  Living in NYC was a dream come true.  I got to start dating for the first time in my life and eventually met Larry, the love I never knew I was missing.  I’ve moved almost as much as I did in the military, amusingly, from Colorado to New Jersey to Manhattan and then back to Los Angeles/Santa Monica.  I’ve worked with some impressive people and I’ve been put through a lot of stressful challenges, and for the most part, I think I’ve managed to not only survive but emerge stronger.  I don’t know if I’ll be with NBCU for another 5 years, but I wouldn’t regret it if I did.

So here I am – about to turn 36 in just over a month.   Very excited to see what happens in the next 5 years.   If it’s anything like these past 5, it’s sure to be an adventure!

Temple of Doom was PG!?!

I just rewatched Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom tonight and my God, that movie is ridiculously violent and horrific. And the funniest part? A big giant PG rating at the beginning.

I have read before that the Temple of Doom was the straw that broke the camel’s back though, and after it came out with its PG, that’s when the PG-13 rating was developed and released immediately thereafter. And not surprising at all, let me tell you. Here’s the scene from by far the most disturbing scene in the movie, although it is an edited version that omits the part where Mola Ram’s hand actually goes in to the guy’s chest and you see the heart come out:

In today’s day and age, this movie would be so R-Rated it’s not even funny. The scene above, the dining scene, the ridiculous violence at the Shanghai Club in the beginning (and I’m not even talking about Willie’s ‘Anything Goes’ number!), the whole child-slavery theme, Indiana beating down on Short Round while under the Kali Ma spell, Indiana drinking ‘blood’ from the shriveled head, the gross bugs…. I mean, seriously, I could keep going on. Don’t get me wrong: I freakin’ love these movies. I’m watching them again after watching the trailer for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (and trust me, I nearly filled a cup when I watched THAT preview – how ridiculous was that? I am SOOO there – oh hell, here it is from YouTube for your viewing pleasure:)

Yeah, you know you lost it when you heard the Indiana Jones theme music. I loved the brief flashbacks to all the previous movies…but what got me most excited? The fact that they’re back in the DAMN WAREHOUSE WHERE THE ARK WAS HIDDEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOLY CRAP. I have no idea how that’s all going to play in but it’s awesome, especially when I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark last night and know that he’s going there in the next movie. Marion comes back, Cate Blanchett is the bad guy, and Indy is still funny: “Part Time”. I can NOT WAIT for May to get here.

But yeah, watched Raiders last night and while it has share of violence, Temple of Doom goes way above and beyond in the violence/horror quota. Will watch The Last Crusade tomorrow night but I know from memory that it definitely doesn’t go the route of Temple of Doom and is much more similar in tone to Raiders with respect to violence. I don’t know, just felt like sharing thoughts on some really ridiculously good old movies that now will have a 4th part to cap them off. How awesome is that?

Besides Indiana Jones awesomeness, there’s been other stuff going on to talk about:

– Valentine’s Day: total bust on this. Oh well.

– Great news about my Report of Survey issue with the Air Force… hmm… I’m not sure I actually wrote about my Report of Survey issue here on my site. I spent many emails and conversations talking about it but apparently not here. Anyways, the AF tried to accuse me of being responsible for missing equipment that happened to disappear in the year AFTER I left Nellis AFB. I sent a strongly worded letter in response defending myself and using the evidence already gathered to my benefit. Found out this week that the Colonel (hell, I’m just going to spell it like it sounds…) Kernel who had determined I was responsible decided due to my statement that there is no financial liability necessary. That would have been $2600, sports fans, the Air Force wanted from me. FUCK YOU. That definitely was a Sword of Damocles hanging over my head the past month or so and it’s now a relief to know that is over. The next financial thing to keep me up is Taxes. Oy. Last year was interesting.

– Sheryl Crow’s latest album is incredible. Literally have tears on the last song called “Lullaby to Wyatt” – such a beautiful song to her son.

– I’m on call this weekend for work, for the first time. It figures it’s on a damn holiday weekend. But I guess that’s why I get paid the big bucks, right? I couldn’t believe yesterday (Friday) though – I had made plans to hang out with Arielle and Dan (both from work) and get silly drunk at a place in Hoboken called East LA (serves Mexican food, of course). The plan was to get sloshed on margaritas and gorge on Mexican food and all would be well with the world. Well, I thought I was safe because technically, the weekend support was from the 16th (Sat) thru the 18th (Mon) – nothing is explicitly said about the 15th! I was wrong. I literally opened my apartment door and stepped one foot into it when my work phone starts ringing – and that began an hour or so of being on the phone helping diagnose an issue with our system. It seems you can set your watch to our system crashing on Friday evening. So basically my Friday fun plans were derailed and now I realize that to be responsible, I need to cancel my plans tomorrow night because I really need to be able to get to my laptop easy enough to fix stuff if need be. Oh well, this only happens every 7 weeks or so with me being primary on a weekend and I can totally deal with that. It just sucks it’s on a holiday!

So that’s what’s happening with me. Hanging out at home tonight as well, I’ve got nothing else to do and I kinda have to stay home this time. So I guess I’ll just drink another Heineken or two and watch another movie…probably Devil Wears Prada because I can watch that movie all the damn time. Seriously.