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September 2005

Closer to Being a Homeowner!

September 22, 2005: Well, Miss Chancy's experiences be damned, I'm happy so far with my quest for a house. Have I actually seen a house yet? Nope. But I have contacted a real estate agent who seems to have quite a good system set up for people who are looking for houses from out-of-state. Plus, I went through LendingTree.com and got prequalified for a loan! Yep, multiple banks will actually think about giving me money. SWEET! So as I find out more from my agent, I'll pass it on to you guys. I'm so stoked! She said that if we can narrow down the houses to about 10-12, in October we'll drive around the town and look at them. I can't wait! Colorado Springs, here I come!
What's New? I have decided not to do a Survivor page this season. I like the interactivity of the Shooting Gallery, so if you want to make some comments about the season of Survivor, make sure to visit the Survivor section there and post away. Also, I changed my guestbook around a little to get Amanda and Nasran off my case. Hopefully I didn't lose you all too!

What I Did and Learned on my Summer Vacation

September 18, 2005: I went from updating nearly daily to not updating for 12 days!!!!! WTF!? Anyways, I've been out of Vegas for a bit visiting my Dad and Pat, and at the end of the week before I left, I just think I didn't update because I was lazy. My bad!

Well, the trip to St. Croix was a lot of fun. It was short in duration, but that was okay, because the weather was just a tad muggy for me. I left on the night of Friday, 9 Sep. I managed to see my Mom and Harv that day, as they had come up for the weekend. I met up with them at Bally's, and we had a good Italian dinner. I then played a little bit of craps at Bally's (and lost), and then afterwards got a cab over to the Airport.
- Learned: Flying out of Vegas on a Friday night is almost a solitary affair - the airport is nearly deserted as everyone is just showing up for Vegas fun.
I took the Red Eye thru Miami, San Juan, and finally to St Croix, ending up there sometime in the early afternoon. I had never been to St. Croix before, so I was kind of intrigued as to how it would compare to Puerto Rico and the other virgin islands I'd been to. Well, it's definitely not nearly as hispanic as Puerto Rico and is mostly West Indian, like Jamaica, with the people having that 'ya man' accent. Dad and Pat were housesitting, so I wasn't living on the boat this time, which was a little more comfortable. Unfortunately no a/c though, which in the midst of muggy Caribbean weather, makes it a little hard to sleep unless you live under the fan. Also, the mosquitos LOVED the new blood. Joy.

The next day, we had a nice brunch at Ruggin's, a restaurant right on the north coast of St. Croix. Very sweet view. Then went to the Easternmost point of the United States, which is located on Point Udall of St. Croix.
- Learned: St. Croix is the Easternmost Point of the United States! Who knew? I thought it might also be the southernmost point as well - nope, that distinction belongs to Guam.
After that, we drove a bit more around the island.
- Learned: Driving on the left hand side while still with left-hand side steering is frightening for the passenger in the right hand seat (which was me). Plus at night, you realize that American cars have their headlights pointed to the right slightly to help minimize blinding oncoming traffic. You realize this because now the headlights are pointing directly into your eyes when you're on the left hand side of the road. SUCKS.
We then bummed around the house, and I read from my magazines and books. I'm currently reading two new acquisitions, Everything Bad is Good For You, and E=mc2, A History.
- Learned: I actually sorta understand how E=mc2 works now! I never really grasped it until reading this book, which is far from technically overwhelming. I highly recommend it, as it discusses each component of the equation, the scientists who made the most headway in it, as well as how Einstein brought it all together and inadvertently helped lead us to the nuclear weapon age. It may sound droll, but it's freaking fascinating!

Sept 11, 2005: St. Croix and Pt Udall

Me at Ruggins


Me and Dad


Ruggins Restaurant

The road to Udall - pretty, eh?

Looking from Udall to Buck Island

There's me at Udall Point

Just in case you didn't read my site

Without me

Mike, Pat and Dad at the Millennium monument

The honorary plaque

Looking East to non-US waters

The monument from the other view

Barnes was here, Holla!

Looking south from Udall

The next day, Monday, Pat went to work, so Dad took me to the beach where Christopher Columbus made his first landing on St. Croix during his second voyage to the Americas. We had a good talk about the Air Force and my military career.
- Learned: I don't think I'm dead-set on getting out of the Air Force as much as I thought. What we talked about wasn't stuff that I hadn't thought about before, but really thinking about the security of having a retirement at age 40ish makes you gotta take a moment to pause. It would be awesome to have that comfort. Plus, moving around, while a pain, still is kinda cool in that you know you're going to be seeing new places all the time. I don't know for sure now, but 2007 may not be quite the end of my military career. We'll have to see how Colorado Springs treats me.
Did more reading and relaxing that day, and that night, we went to this place that had Trivial Pursuit competition. The team I was on won, but really not because of me. They had questions from all of the different versions of Trivial Pursuit, and a lot of them were from Genus I. Bah. Give me the 90's, Star Wars version, the 80's.....
- Learned: I'm not as smart as I thought in all-things Trivia. But I do know now the 6 official languages of the United Nations now: English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, French, and............... do you know?............ it's not German, as I thought. It's Arabic! It makes sense when you think about when the UN was formed and what for. Germany was not exactly the world's friend at that point.

Sept 12:
Columbus Beach

The seaweedy beach

But the sea is still very beautiful

On Tuesday, we headed off to the south side of the island, where Fredericksted is located. This is the city where cruise ships used to come in, but with St. Croix not really having that much for cruisegoers to do and with it being a tad more criminal, the cruise ships have stopped. But the beaches on that side are beautiful. We went to a beach next to a bar called Rhythm's, and it really was a beautiful spot. I did the thing where you do 7 forward flips in the water for good luck - you're supposed to do that during one of the holidays, but I'm not exactly in the Caribbean every day now, so I did it then.
- Learned: Doing flips in salt water guarantees that salt water will fill up all nasal cavities for hours after you're out of the water. If I tilted my head the right way hours later, salt water would gush out of my nose that I hadn't had a clue was there. Gross.
Had lunch at Wendy's, then a nice dinner at No Bones. Then we had some ice cream with Hershey's chocolate bar broken up into it, TOPPED with dark chocolate sauce.
- Learned: Dark Chocolate topping is outfreakingstanding. Way better than just milk chocolate topping.

Sept 13, 2005: South shore of St. Croix

Dad on the beach

There's me!

Rhythm's Beach bar

The amazingly beautiful water

Crystal clear!

Beautiful beach

On Wednesday, I signed up for an all-day catamaran sail and snorkel tour to Buck Island, which is on the north shore of the island. It was an awesome trip, with a bunch of fun people on the boat and the snorkeling outstanding. Fortunately the rain stayed on the island and not out on our sail, which was nice. The reef at Buck Island is beautiful and clear, with the national park service also putting little informative plaques along the bottom of the sea so you can read about what you're swimming above. Very nice. Then had a great BBQ (hamburgers, hot dogs and mahi-mahi, which I had all of - YUM) after all the swimming and sailing, and best of all, they had Rum Punch.
- Learned: Rum Punch is wonderful. I got trashed from this stuff, even with eating a lot of food. Awesome.
After we got back from the trip, I was a bit sloshed, and sorta passed out in the afternoon. That was okay though, as I was able to get my hangover taken care of that night and not suffer the next day. The dinner we had that night was awesome and I chowed down. Steak kabobs, saffron rice (i LOVE this stuff), fried cauliflower (who knew? That's a great way to fix that stuff, but I think deep frying anything makes it taste good), and other stuff I can't remember.

Sept 14, 2005: Catamaran trip to Buck Island

Christiansted harbor

The harbor from another view

The Big Beard sail

Dutch fort of Christiansted

Looking to Buck Island

St. Croix's north shore

A pretty view of the place we'd eventually have our BBQ

Me on the boat!

Buck Island ahead

The amazingly clear waters of the Buck Island reef

Swimmers in the water

Buck Island again

View from the front of the catamaran

There's the Renegade docked at the BBQ site

Buck Island and Renegade

View from the BBQ area

A mongoose jumps for hamburger


On my last day, Thursday, on the island, I went with Dad and Mike (a family friend who was staying with the folks as well while he was down) down to Christiansted to walk around the town. It was dead.
- Learned: September is the offest of the off-season for this part of the world. I don't blame people though, as it really is not that comfortable unless you're in the water.
I saw where Pat works, which is a cool little jewelry shop that makes gold and silver jewelry, and is the home of the Hook bracelet. Apparently, when you wear one, you are now called a Hooker. Awesome. Then went and ate a giant double meat, double cheese burger, as I figured I wasn't going to eat all that much during my flight back to Vegas.
- Learned: I am amazingly right. In fact, I didn't eat much at all for about 24 more hours. It's amazing what the body will suffer through due to sheer bad luck.

Went back to the house, packed up, and then got dropped off at the airport to begin my trek back to my reality in Vegas. Blech. It was a good visit though with Dad and Pat, and was a lot better than my rainy, bleak visit to Puerto Rico last year. Although that one was a tad overshadowed by a stressful upcoming deployment that never happened. But I had fun this time, and that was nice to have before coming into this home stretch at Nellis. Don't think I'll be doing much more leave except for my planned October househunting trip to Colorado Springs.

Sept 15:
Last Day in St. Croix

Christiansted harbor once again

Me and Dad

Anyways, before I forget about my travel story, I didn't eat at all on any of the flights back to Vegas, got picked up by Dave at the airport, we went to Sam's Town for a little time with dice (and won!!!!!!!!!!! Yeehaw!), but then went to work afterwards, as something had come up and had to be taken care of. I just didn't realize it would take 4 hours to do it. So I got to bed at 5:30am (PST), but which was really 8:30 (Hobie-Standard Time), meaning I'd been up for 26 hours. Unreal. I finally ate the next day at lunchtime, after not even really sleeping that well.
- Learned: Just because you've been up 26 hours doesn't mean you'll sleep really good when you finally do. In fact, your sleep may even be worse than normal, because your body wants to remain on schedule. Stupid body clock.

And now, this weekend, I've been just putzing around, finally watching Survivor's premiere at the Schofields (outstanding beginning episode - I'm psyched about this season. I'll probably get a page up and running this week), playing a little bit more craps, buying stuff at Best Buy, and overall just being a bum. Sweet. And now I'm killing about 4-5 hours updating my site and pictures. You're welcome!!!!!! ;-)

Oh, by the way, C-Money sent an email out requesting people send gift cards to places like Target out to her so she can collect and distribute them to folks out there who've pretty much lost everything due to flooding. If you'd like to help, please do, as you know they'll be appreciated. If you want to do this, let me know and I'll send you her address (not going to put it up here for privacy reasons).

What's New? The pictures above of my St. Croix trip, plus the bonus pics here of what me and Pony did to Schofield's desk when he was gone for two weeks, an updated Quest for Dice page, and some new DVDs! OH yeah, as I mentioned yesterday on the guestbook, here's the latest Harry Potter trailer (~5MB). AWESOME!

Schofield's Desk one late August day

View 1

View 2


I'm Updating, I'm Updating

September 6, 2005: The most recent email from C-Money:

Sorry I haven't sent an update in a few days, but we got a small reprieve from work and the base to get the boys out of here.

Steve and I left Sunday to drive up to Shreveport, LA to meet up with our friend. Wow... the area along the coast is very devastated. The trees are all starting to die (I'm thinking from all the salt water). Even the ones that are still standing are turning brown and losing leaves. The roads were clear, tho. We took 10 west to 55 and then headed north to 20, then west again. Gas was scarce and where they did have gas, the lines were pretty long. They moved pretty quickly tho. It was funny, but once we got into LA, gas was okay. No lines, a little pricey ($2.89 - Hobie Note: WAIT A SECOND!!!! It's $2.89 in the midst of the destruction, and it's $3.09 out here in Las Vegas??? WTF?!?!?!??????? Anyways, back to our story....), but they had it.

When we got back to Keesler, things had changed (yet again) and now almost the whole squadron is back (before we left, we had about 40 people and were telling the others to find the closest base and sign in there). Well, that changed. Now we have Steve's Communication Squadron and all the instructors that are now out of a job here working to get the connectivity back up. A lot of what we can do is based on the local community being back up, so it's still going slow, but the small victories are encouraging.

We went out to the house to find the power back on in our neighborhood and turned the AC back on to circulate the air (it was starting to smell stagnant). We put our poor, baby trees back to standing up straight (if the magnolia tree survives this, it deserves to live in Biloxi...that's 2 hurricanes since we planted it).

We are staying in billeting for now, until the gas scare goes away. The building is right across the street from work, so we won't be using any gas. The Red Horse team here has almost got the base looking normal. Anyone need any pine wood??? It's piled up as far as the eyes can see! The chow halls are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner now. Still slim pickins but at least it's NOT an MRE.

We should be moving out into the community soon to help with the locals. In fact, we have started already and it will be hard work for a while. Rebuilding is the thing for everyone.

Thanks for all the kind words and prayers from everyone. We are receiving the blessings little by little and it is encouraging! I'll update again when there's more to tell.

C-Money survives! Awesome.

So as for me and my dramaticless life in Vegas, the 4-day weekend was so nice. Didn't do all that much, but I did have fun. On Friday, Dave and I went out to the Strip and wandered around, collecting some dice, playing some craps, and just overall having a good night. He broke even, I lost, but what else is new? On Saturday, I slept in and totally forgot I was supposed to give blood at 10:30 that morning! Oops! I decided I'd go in anyways because I'm sure I could wait and donate still, and that was the case, as they were happy to stick a needle in me and suck out my blood. I actually learned something that day too: My blood type (AB+) is a universal donor for plasma and platelets, which I did not know. I had known that my blood type is a universal recipient for blood, but beyond that I didn't know how much worth me giving blood was. It does explain why the San Antonio blood center called me every single time it was time for me to give blood again though, and they always wanted platelets (which takes a long time, but it's worth it). So that was my Saturday afternoon, and my excuse to not exercise for the rest of the weekend, as I was in a weakened state!!!! I'll believe anything I tell myself. Seriously. A hearty meal was recommended for that evening, so I decided Outback was in order, and I called up the Schofields for some dining company. Afterwards, we ended back up at their place, played video games all night (Mario Party and Mario Kart are seriously addicting), and I crashed over there, coming back home the next day. I then finally went to my apartment complex's pool and laid out in the sun for a few hours. After that, I decided it was time to drink 6 Alaskan beers, which you can see the result of on the guestbook. I was so damn drunk from those. I remember flipping the channels and seeing that the Grudge was just starting in High-Def, and I decided to watch it. WTF???? I can't even believe how the movie ended - but beyond that, I can't really remember how it got to that point. Vague scary scenes of EXTREMELY creepy Japanese people are what I remember. And lots of scared white people. Very odd. I may have to rewatch it just to actually put it all together. Then yesterday was a total blah day, going to Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, and playing the Sims 2 for an inordinate amount of time. That game is truly electronic crack. And now it's today. I went in to work for a bit, got the car washed, and now I'm home doing not much. I like 'not much'. It suits me well.

If today is your birthday, and you liked this post, well, then this post was for you!

Shoot me an email if you want to. I may respond. (okay, you know I will - what else have I got to do?)