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21 November 2006    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

Mila's first surprise - She's Engaged!!!
Byron, Mila and Robbie at Paris LV
The view from my room - there's Caesar's
Mila at Red Rock Station
Me too
My first attempt at self-shot
Much better
Red Rock is pretty
Me and the casino fountain
The spaceshippy bar in the middle of the casino
The inside of said bar
Me in one of the oversized Red chairs
The very cool Onyx bar
Mila in Onyx bar seating
Me talking to ol' pal Laryssa
Mila at the oh-so-cool new Wheel of Fortune slot machines
Me at one of the Forum Shops fountains
Making funny faces at the bar outside Caesars
Mila is cross-eyed!
Amber, Loren, Robbie Mila and me await our heliflight
Thumbs up, yo!
Robbie, Mila and Byron are ready for their learjet
So are Loren and Amber
Ah - liftoff! We started at McCarran and worked our way north
There's MGM
...Aladdin and Paris...
...you can see the Bellagio fountains warming up...
...there's Paris and Bally's....
....Harrah's and the Venetian...
...up at the Stratosphere...
...it's like freakin' CSI!....
....looking over Downtown Vegas....
.....the Fremont Street Experience....
....heading back South from Downtown Vegas...
....looking through the helicopter cockpit window...
....Circus Circus....
....view straight down the Strip....
....Wynn and Treasure Island (TI)....
....Flamingo and Caesars...
....Caesar's Palace...
...South end of the Strip...
...approaching NY NY....
....down at NYNY levels....
....and back at the MGM Grand....
...there's Byron and Robbie in the helicopter...
and Mila with a Byron sticking out of her head
Loren, Amber, Harv, Mom and Me at Benihana's
Mila, Katherine, Byron and Robbie at Benihana's
Me and Mila at NYNY on Sunday morning
Mila, Byron and Robbie
Byron, Robbie and Me (thumbs up!)
Robbie, Mile and Me
We finally got someone ELSE to take our picture
And a pic of NYNY from the valet pickup


5 November 2006    On the other side of 30 now (T-299)

Not only am I now a ripe ol' 30, I'm also LESS THAN 300 days to freedom!!!!

Anyways, can I just say how much I love my friends out here? They totally helped me celebrate turning 30 in style. The week leading up to the festivities on Friday was a painful one, only in that I just didn't want to be at work. Nothing bad really happened. In fact, every day I pretty much got home early, as every day we had some event or another in the afternoon! There was a 33S (that's the Air Force way to indicate a Comm Officer) functional meeting on Wednesday (basically, us Comm O's are screwed - but I frankly don't care anymore) so of course I went home after that afternoon meeting; then on Thursday, there was a going-away for two of my COMSEC folks at Fox & Hound, which of course afterward I had to go home! Then on Friday, the wonderful day that is my birthday, there was lots of fun. First at work, they filled my office with balloons and decorated it all birthday-style! Sweet. Then there was coffee and donuts and gifts, which made it that much harder to actually try and work. Fortunately that charade only had to go on till the late morning, as we had a quarterly awards luncheon to attend. Unfortunately, nobody from the 721st got the wing-level award this time. After that I had a fairly painful meeting down at Peterson AFB, but mostly because it was boring as hell. But guess what - that meant I went home afterwards!!! Then I spent some time just getting my house cleaned up, some laundry done, and listening to my awesome 'Turning 30' CD I made - some choice tunes were put on that CD, let me tell you.

Then Susan, Jeff, Adam, KD & Eric came over around 7pm - and I had thought that the evening would start at my house, we'd take a cab or two from there and then head to the Ritz for dinner at 8pm. Sounded good, because I had been basically begging/advocating for us to take cabs for a long time so no one has to drive. And we finally were going to do it! But I was in for a surprise - as the truth was, they got us a limo!!!! Yep, a stretch white limo picked us up at my house and was going to pick us back up at closing time (here it's 2am, unlike Vegas - what's closing time?). Awesome!!!! We even had champagne waiting for us on the drive out Downtown. It was a great way to start a great night. So then we got downtown to the Ritz bar and restaurant, where we had some good eats. There, Melissa, Kyle, Wink, and Tom met up with us where we all drank and ate some more. We then moved on to a nearby bar called the Thirsty Pelican (I think - at this point, I was a bit faded), where they had some pool tables and a live band and about three different floors to explore. It was okay, and a nice place for me to burn off some booze, although I did drink more there, so I don't think I really got much better. Regardless, we ended up moving on because the place where I wanted to go was the dance club/bar called Eden, which I had heard was a freakin' awesome place to party at. Well, we made it there around 10:45 and the fun began! It's all on one floor, but it's divided up into really distinct rooms, one being the 'Red' room, one being the 'Ice Blue' room, and another room being what I call the 'Skank' room. We hung out briefly in the Skank room, but then Susan and I went back to the Red room and found a seat in someone's reserved couch section. They didn't ask us to leave, so we stuck around for a bit. But you could tell they just didn't have the nerve too - but we eventually got up, because we're nice. On the way to the Ice blue room, we discovered that the bathrooms were unisex - how contemporary. :-) Finally though we all established ourselves in the Ice Bluee room, which was definitely my favorite. It was lit in white and had a very cool techno sound in it. Needless to say, lots of dancing and drinking ensued. Lots of funny stories - oh the stories. But by night's end, and when the harsh glare of 'Last Call' lights came on, I knew that I wasn't going to end the night vomiting in the limo. I was just happy that the party was drama-free and everyone had a good time. Our limo picked us up around 2am (I think - by that time I really was blitzed) and then it was back to my house! We watched TV for a while, jacked with Tom for a little as he passed out first (see pics below), and then eventually passed out. Adam, Kyle, and Tom passed out at my place (it's a good thing I have lots of places for people to sleep) and in the morning, we watched some more TV although mostly just to try to recover from our hangovers (which I didn't do until much later that afternoon).

And now it's today. I definitely had an awesome time ushering in my 30s. And to think, it's only half-done (the celebrations, that is) - because this upcoming weekend is VEGAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't freaking wait, as I've even set up some actual fun stuff to do, including a night helicopter flight over the Vegas strip. Now that's gonna rock. Also some Benihana's, a show or two, dancing, drinking, and of course, some gambling!!!

The next 3 days will still be painful though - I really have no motivation to get any work done. Tomorrow night I go back to my craps dealing - this time I'm going to be a pit boss though, which I've heard is boring, but I still get paid. It'll be at the Broadmoor again, which I can't say no to. It looks like there are events every night if I so choose to work. That'll be some good extra money in the long run.

So thanks to everyone who has made this birthday awesome, so far - my friends, my family, my coworkers - you all rock!!!!! Bring on Vegas now!!!! Anyways, here are pics from this weekend - I actually don't have my trademark horrendous pics this time. Some aren't exactly my best, but I have definitely looked worse....

30th Birthday Party - 3 & 4 Nov 06

Me headed out to work on my birthday
And me with my birthday cake, after work!!!
29 + 1 - my friends love me
There's Susan at my bar
Cackling me - you can probably hear this picture if you know my laugh
I don't know
KD close-up
Susan, Adam and Eric
Jeff's eyes, close-up
The white birthday limo!
Inside the Limo!
Me and Susan up front
Adam and Kyle
Smiling Melissa
And Tom
KD & Susan almost making out!
Melissa, me and KD at the Ritz
Wink and Adam..
a little bit better now
Susan and Jeff
The gang at Thirsty Pelican
Eric and KD there
Hardcore, yo
Jeff and Tom, sad
Kyle punching Tom
Kyle is just a happy guy
Me and Melissa - at Eden
Blurry and drunk!
Kyle and Jeff
Happy Susan
Eric & KD
Dancing Adam - the flash takes all the atmosphere out of the picture...
Trippy dance pics
Tom's remote
Kyle on my floor
Tom with all my belongings on him
Now with some toilet paper too
The finished product



1 November 2006    I got a Birthday card from Best Buy (T-303)

Surprising? Not really. I'm sure I keep their bottom line firmly in the black.

So I'll try to knock out a lot of the pictures I have taken from the past month and a half. I decided to leave off my pics from the following things:

- SNCO Academy graduation - not too exciting and lots of pictures of that damn SOS running hill at Maxwell AFB. Mostly pictures for my memories than anything you'd be interested in.
- My PC Rebuild - I may build a supplemental page to my current 'Build a PC with Hobie' section, but for the time being, those pictures will have to wait for public viewing.

The pics below are excerpts from our gettogether at Dave & Buster's in Denver:

Pics from Dave & Buster's - 23 Sep 06

Pic from that day of a snowy Pike's Peak
KD at D&B's
Erin and Senor Pietro
Jeff, Dallas and Dave
Me and Erin (I'm tanked in this pic, btw)

In the pictures below, I took pics from the plane back home from Alabama. And amazingly, it flew right over my neighborhood and I was on the perfect side of the plane to see my house exactly. Sweet!

Colorado Springs from above - 29 Sep 06

The Springs from afar
Crepeau's hood
There's mine as we get closer
Looking due south to my hood
And there's my house

Below are pictures from my very first Colorado Blizzard! The first winter I had here did have snow, but it was never to the extent that we got in October 2006. It was pretty cool to experience one, especially since I was on leave during it so I didn't have to deal with driving in it. Even better was that the temperatures went back up into the 50s and 60s so most of the snow is now gone. Although there's still quite a bit left in the city, mostly where the snow built up in drifts or where the plows put it on the sides of the road. I am not sure when the next major storm will hit, but from what I've heard, this first blizzard was a great start to the ski season. I'm hoping by December, we'll have plenty more snow and that Breckenridge, Keystone, Vail and Beaver Creek are ready for me!

Oh yeah, I forgot to update and say that I now have a complete ski set and ensemble - I've got my own skis now, my own ski poles, ski boots and I even got a really cool new ski jacket. And with my Colorado Ski pass, I'm a total native. Sweet.

Colorado Springs Blizzard - 26 Oct 06

Looking out the window first thing
Table of snow!
Looking out the front window - wow
My very full patio
The lower level covered in snow
My snow staircase waterfall
Looking south on Lisa Dr
and North
There's my house with an enormous snow drift in front
My shoveled driveway - oy that was a lot of snow
You can see the pile of snow and the snow drift in front

And then finally, I took some pictures today of my office - redesigned with the removal of my original desk (to the garage) and putting in a more basic and 'open' desk that would relax the room a lot. I haven't put my "I Love Me" diplomas up yet on the walls, nor have I painted the room to what it may eventually be (the colors for this room have definitely not been considered yet - I'm still trying to finish my bedroom as I can't get to the last wall yet because I have to disassemble my big bed first). But I love my new setup in the office, with my TV right there and there being plenty of room for not only my amazingly powerful newly built PC (specs: AMD 64 Athlon X2 4800+ processor, new ASUS A8N32-SLI mobo, 2 GB of DDRAM, a new SATA HDD, a Creative X-Fi sound card, and a BFG NVidia Geforce 7950GT 512 MB video card/powerhouse - I want to get one more identical video card so I can run it in SLI-configuration) but also to put my laptop up there. Sweet. OH yeah, I also got a new flat panel monitor - the big honkin' 19" CRT is resting peacefully in the closet, destined eventually for somewhere else...not here.

My redesigned office - 1 Nov 06

Overall view of desk area
More focus on the new desk