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31 December 2006    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!


30 December 2006    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.


25 December 2006    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.


21 December 2006    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 06

Cold, snowy, and best of all, view from HOME!
Plowed roads? not for a another day or so
Depending on which way your house faced, you could have huge snow drifts like this guy
And here's my sparsely covered driveway
And here's where I am RIGHT NOW while typing this up.


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.


20 December 2006    Another Effing' Blizzard!!! (T-254)

The forecasters kept saying we'd see snow on Sunday (nope..), then on Monday (nada...), and perhaps on Tuesday...? (Nyente). But we finally got to see it today, and to add to the 'fun', lots of wind. Wind + Snow = Blizzard. Joy.

It was just windy, starting early this morning. Snow started to fall a little this morning on the drive to work, and by about 8:30 this morning, it was a full-fledged blizzard. We were finally released to go home at about 10am, and from that point on it was up to you to get yourself home without getting into a wreck. Believe you me, the treacherous conditions certainly were trying to get you to crash. At one point on Academy Blvd, it goes uphill a bit, and at that point it also ices out completely. There were two cars off to the side that had already slid off the road, and no sooner had I reached where they were did I start to fishtail all over the place. Amazingly my car kept going forward though and instead of trying to brake I just kept slowly gassing Catherine forward. She made it through that, but that was when my nerves began their workout. As when I reached Powers Blvd on the East side of town, that was when I discovered just what 'White Out' conditions actually mean. Frightening. Literally, you are driving (slowly) along, and then a strong(er) gust of wind kicks up a ton of snow and you no longer can even see the hood of your car. And you no longer know where the road is, where the other cars are, etc. Joyous. So that was a great drive on Powers up to Constitution... because after about 10-15 minutes on the road, the snow started freezing to my windshield wipers and instead of clearing off snow from my windshield, I just got smeared water trails all over the windshield. I'd never had That happen before. Fun fun fun. Finally, on Constitution (which is my last turn to home), you couldn't even see road except for brief patches of asphalt, which were totally iced over. And you have to go uphill to where I live, which was slow going, and then you start a bit of a descent, and literally I was ice-skating in my car. Scary. But I eventually saw my house and garage and gladly pulled in. I may have aged 3 years from that stressful commute, but I'm home now, and looky here, I'm being productive and updating the website!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!

So I'm going to put up all those damn pics I've been meaning to for a long time. It goes back a ways, so be prepared for lots of clicking if you so choose. I discovered that my account now gives me 5 GB of webspace, which is very good, because I'm fairly certain I was about close to breaking the 1 GB limit I used to have with all the pics I have.

Oh yeah, before I begin the picture show, did you see the Survivor Finale? I'm totally stoked that Yul won, although I wouldn't have been too upset with Ozzy winning. Yul's game was awesome though. Definitely Survivor: Cook Islands was an entertaining season, and I look forward to Survivor: Fiji in February. Amazing Race was entertaining as well this year, but the designers of the race really made some legs jacked up. Not surprised by the winners, but I think the season could have been better. It was just not like the season with Jonathan & Victoria or Adam & Rebecca, nor was it like when Amber & Rob were on it. Speaking of which, have you heard that the next season of Amazing Race is an All-Stars version? Teams haven't been announced yet, but I'm intrigued!

Okay, here are the pics.

Thanksgiving in Los Angeles, 23 Nov 06

Stacie and Phil
EB and Mom in the kitchen
Stacie as Bond girl
Andrea and Jessie
Harv and Mom preparing the feast
Andrea and EB
EB, Jessie, and Stacie
Peacock in the neighbor's yard
Me and Stacie
the Thanksgiving table
Harv and Jessica
EB, Stacie, and Me

You already got the scoop on Thanksgiving, I believe, as well as the fun on Jason's Party bus. All that can be found in the journal entry below, if you don't remember. Pretty much all these first sets of pictures are from things discussed below, up to and including the Breckenridge visit pictured here. New stuff starts when I tell you it does. :-)

Jason's 30th Birthday Party Bus, 24-25 Nov 06

Boarding the Party Bus in Santa Ana
Cindy and Mark
Me, <????>, and Clarissa
Me and Jason
Lance...or Mason?
Me and Gendy
The Baroness and I
Gilbert and Wendy
Me and Mark
Gendy at the club in Santa Monica somewhere


Hanging out at Home - 25 Nov 06

Auntie Helen and Mom at the Yahtzee table
Helen is smiling now - that's because she hasn't lost Yahtzee yet!
Steve, Mom and Harv
me, Mom and Harv
Helen me and Mom
Helen, me, Mom and Harv


1st Trip to Breckenridge, 06-07 Season              - 3 Dec 06

Erin, Me and Melissa at the start of the day
Erin and Melissa plotting at lunchtime
Deep in thought
The window at the Peak 9 Lodge
Breck '07 Map


Lisa Dr Holiday lights, etc. - 4-5 Dec 06

Pics of my fake tree - inside w/ curtains closed
Ahhh.. curtains open
Horizontal shot
Side view
Holiday Hobie
From the outside
Almost all the snow was gone...
Here's my newest comforter set for my bed - SOOO comfy.

So now we get to the relatively 'new' stuff. Below are pictures from the Cheyenne Mountain Holiday Christmas Party. It was lame. As most Christmas parties tend to be. But this one truly was. Ugh. You'll notice my one bored pic below. The snowman thing you'll see below is one of the lame little games we had to play. The goal was to make a snowman using rolls of toilet paper and anything in the room. Most teams just wrapped people in toilet paper - we used mashed potatoes. Unfortunately, we didn't win. <yawn>

CMAFS Holiday Party, 15 Dec 06

KD & Eric
Pete & Erin
Tom & Lauren
Bored me and Jeff
KD, Melissa and Erin work on the masterpiece
Loser snowman
SMSgt Peele
Kung Fu KD guards the dance floor
There's the room.

well, that was an exciting day! After that excitement though, the next day had promise because I had invited myself along with KD & Eric to Copper Mountain ski resort, as they were racing and I just wanted to go to a new mountain. It was a lot of fun, but of course waking up early all the time kinda sucks. Anyways, Copper Mountain is just about another 15 minutes west past the exit for Breckenridge on I-70. A lot of these mountain resorts are pretty close to each other. Vail is a bit farther out, and then Aspen is really far past that. Anyways, KD & Eric are on a ski team, so of course, they're really good. So as they're blazing down the mountain, here I come trailing behind them. So I'm definitely faster than Melissa and Erin, but trail FAR behind KD & Eric. Oh well, I guess we'll all never ski together!? It was a fun trip, but I still like Breckenridge better. They seem to know how to keep lifts moving much more efficiently over there than at Copper - the lift lines here were RIDICULOUS.

Copper Mountain Ski Day, 16 Dec 06

KD & Eric - ready with their racer #s
I'm bundled up and ready to go
At the top o' the mountain!
Very beautiful up top
There's KD and Eric
With the dramatic view behind them
Had to get my own pic too
Totally Hobie-approved
Eric with the double-black diamond bowls behind him - no gracias
The Excelerator lift gets you up here
Ready to head down
Eric & KD at the racer's station ready to actually race
There's the race course
And here's where I was at 2:30 after being very tired.


Blizzard #2, Colorado Springs - 20 Dec 06

Looking out my bedroom window
These cars NOT moving fast
Out the holiday window - a White Christmas?
I was glad to be home after driving through this nonsense


And with that, I'm caught up on my pictures. It's been a boring couple of weeks at work, and frankly I can't wait to get closer and closer to the '200' mark, then the '100' mark (which means the next day I become a double-digit midget), and then of course, the 30-day countdown to being done with the AF.

Hope everyone is doing well out there and that your holidays are fantastic. If I don't write before Christmas, Merry Christmas!!!!!


5 December 2006    Back to the Site for Me (T-269)

I hope you like the redesign - thank Michancy for kicking my ass into gear on that one.

I have lots of pictures from all my adventures these past two weeks - but it took me so damn long to get the front page redesigned (I know, I know - that took a long time? It does take a while to get stuff just right though...) that now I'll need to get back to this tomorrow for it to be completely updated.

But what has happened in these past few weeks? Well - first off, I went back home to Los Angeles, which was awesome. I loved getting back to see my Mom and Harv as well as lots of other family (stister Stacie and her kids, as well as our friends EB and Andrea and their kids - total of about 12 people eating for Thanksgiving). I loved seeing them! On Black Friday, I went with the folks to Best Buy in the morning to pick up a new TV, since their little 25" TV's yellow tube (I assume) burned out - so all the shows were red or blue. Not cool. So I said I'd get them a new TV - flat panel no less! Anyways, there was a good deal at Best Buy (of course) until noon on Friday - unfortunately everyone had that same intention. It was ridiculously crazy there - and even if we had stayed in one of the numerous lines to buy it, we wouldn't be able to take the TV right then - no, you had to have it delivered. So we passed. But we'll finish that mission one day. But Mom, Harv and I got to see Casino Royale (a second time for me, but that movie rocks!) in the Monrovia movie theater down on Myrtle. That movie really is good. Highly recommended!

On that Friday night, I then went to Santa Ana for Jason's 30th birthday party - at which he rented a Party Bus!!!!! It was awesome. Also got to see a lot of familiar faces: Wendy, Clarissa, Gendy, Ferdie, Kaz, and Cindy - even Mark Jaramillo, who I haven't seen since ROTC days. Crazy. Good times, and needless to say, there was drama - Mason (Jason's drunk and rowdy alter ego) was Definitely in attendance. But you know what, it was fun. The Party Bus took us to a bar/lounge in Santa Monica somewhere (you would never even know that there was a bar there), which was a great time because we had a reserved section to hang out in. Cool.

That Saturday Auntie Helen and Uncle Steve came up to see me a bit which was very cool! Of course we played some Yahtzee - and I barely eked out a win over Helen. Hells yeah! On the Sunday flight back, I got from Burbank to Denver really easy, but in Denver, at which I had a 3-hour layover, I ended up getting bumped off the flight because the plane got downsized. I made out pretty nicely though - for about a 20-minute flight,I ended up getting a free round-trip ticket good for anywhere in the 48 CONUS states and to be used by next November. SWEET! I also ended up riding with an Army couple who also got bumped off the flight, which worked out nicely.

Anyways, then it was back to work for an entire 5 day week! Yuck. It was pretty much a week dedicated to writing awards, as it is definitely awards season, whether it is the quarterly, annual, or C&I awards. Fun fun fun, I tell ya.

It got ridiculously cold that week though, and it snowed a few times - I'm actually getting used to this weather, methinks. On Friday, I went to dinner with Erin and Melissa and a plan was hatched to go to Breckenridge on Sunday! Woo hoo - let the season begin and let me actually use my Colorado Pass!!!! But first, Friday night was about rollerskating (which I forgot I am unable to do) after dinner at Outback. literally we were the oldest people there, by a long shot. Sad, but fun regardless. Then on Saturday, which was another snowy day, helped Jeff pick up a hot tub for his new backyard, and then we all went and got lots of Christmas decorations - I ended up buying a fake tree, ornaments, and lots of lights. So the front image right now on the site is from my new holiday decorations - sweet!!!! Anyways, then on Sunday, it was an early morning start to drive to Breckenridge, and Sunday turned out to be a beautiful day, with no bad weather, just cold air and sunshine. AWESOME. The conditions were amazing, the snow was great, and it was just a great way to start my season. I am totally planning on going back up to one of those resorts this Sunday. Heck yeah! Melissa and Erin had a good time as well, although they were both pretty stressed about hitting the blue slopes but that's the only way to challenge yourself!

And so now, it's Tuesday and it was actually a cool day at work. We have a new MSG Deputy CC, and today was the Comm Sq day to walk him around. He has turned out to be an amazingly cool officer and person. He actually seems to care and also has a very fine-tuned bullshit meter. You can just tell he's a good guy. It's such a relief to have someone like him in the higher leadership section. I'm actually optomistic about my last 9 months or so in the military!

So now you're caught up - except for the pictures, which I hope to put up tomorrow. That's if my need to explore the Superman Ultimate Collection DVD boxset doesn't win out over that. This boxset has FOURTEEN DVDs!!!!! Every Superman movie, PLUS the Richard Donner cut of Superman II. I am totally stoked about that; I still remember being a little shocked when I found out there was so much drama in the making of Superman II - and can't wait to see what this looks like.

Alright, now I'm getting sleepy. Time to get rest in my bed, which also has a new comforter set that I've finally bought sheets for, and which looks and sleeps great. Pics, of course, to follow.

Peace out.