Saturday, August 23, 2014

Saturday: Can We Get Some More Ice Over Here, Please?

Continuing on with a theme...

God, but I miss that guy.  And his lovely wife... especially his lovely wife.

Occasional Reader Darryl brought this to our attention yesterday (and so did Digg):

Ya gotta admit:  Stewart gets BIG bonus points for style and good sense; minus points for tearing off both the check AND the duplicate plus suspiciously bad-looking whiskey (that looks like a bottle of Chivas, I know he can afford better).

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Lotta Fail

You have to be living under a big-ass rock if you haven't heard about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  Everyone and their Mom seems to be doin' it, but some people prolly shouldn't.  Cases in point:

The best one is at the two minute mark.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Washed and Waxed

That would be our mustache: washed and waxed.  There's this about that:

Monday, September 30, 2013

Project Update

Back in July I posted about starting a new project, to wit: "We've embarked on growing a "regimental" mustache, otherwise known as a "handlebar" (or we're tryin' to do so, at least)."  This was our starting point:

This is where we are now:

And then there's a this, just a few minutes ago:

The project is coming along, albeit much slower than we'd like.  We also seem to be somewhat asymmetrical, with our left side growing faster than the right (there's NOTHING political there), which a good trimming might could fix.  I like projects like this: stuff with minimal effort, something I can do in my sleep.


The problem...

Part of the solution...

Air Frame: Capt. Andrew Glowa, lead, and Capt. William Piepenbring, both with the 74th Fighter Squadron out of Moody AFB, Ga., launch flares from two A-10C Thunderbolt II over the skies of southern Georgia, Aug. 18, 2014. (Air Force photo by SSgt. Jamal D. Sutter)

The full-scale image is impressive, which is why I've included two shots.  The second is a partial full-scale screen shot (which Blogger may or may not down-size), which you can find here

Get Some!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My New Coffee Pot. Again.

So, the Keurig.  When I went to brew my first cup this morning it made several interesting and non-standard noises and then just fuckin' quit.  We made three more attempts to cajole something, anything out of the machine and then WE fuckin' quit.  With no coffee.  No nuthin'.  So we got in the Dowager Tart, drove to Mickie Dee's and bought two large mochas for SEVEN freakin' Yankee Dollars.  And ten cents.  The general public was unaware there was a non-caffeinated gentleman piloting nearly two tons of automobile on the public streets but no one was harmed during that excursion, thank The Deity At Hand.

So, later in the day... after we were fully caffeinated and capable of making (sorta) wise decisions... we hied our old ass off to Wally-World and bought this:

Which was the ONLY Bunn machine Wally had in stock.

And what of the Keurig?  In the dumpster, where it belongs.  Now I have a mini-project to attend to sometime in the near future: cutting open 32 little K-cups and dumping the coffee into a bag.  One last insult.


I wouldn't believe you if you told me this story without the video as back-up.

Sometimes It Bees That Way

The post title is a quote from a former co-worker and friend whom I respected.  Whenever this woman encountered an unpleasant situation or something that was beyond her control the lady would shrug her shoulders, smile, and say "sometimes it bees that way."  I found myself sayin' that a lot yesterday. 

Explanations are in order.  These photos will help:

My Buddy John, standing in the kitchen of my house in Rochester, NY.  New Years Eve, 1998 - 99.

Close-up of the fridge behind John.  The arrow is pointing to "8-19."
Yesterday was an anniversary of sorts, a black-letter day, in that it was 16 years ago to the day that The Second Mrs. Pennington walked out the door, changing my life and the way I use personal pronouns forever.  "We," "us," and "ours" became "me," "I," and "mine."  That was the least of the changes, to put it mildly.  But let's not go there.

Back to yesterday.  I don't usually remember "8/19" and the date is not a day I would celebrate (heh) even if I did.  I stumbled upon the pic you see above quite by accident yesterday morning while searching the archives for something entirely different.  It's said you "can't un-see something once it's been seen" and that was the case with this pic.  Brain cells were jogged, synapses fired and linked, very unpleasant scenes from the past began a gory B-movie re-run, and I've seen THAT gotdamned movie too many times.  To quote Dylan: "I know every scene by heart."  My day was pretty much toast right then and there but we continued to continue, having little or no choice in the matter.

And then... in the afternoon we got an e-mail from TSMP and had a short call-and-response conversation on a health insurance issue with SN3.  I rarely hear from the woman... maybe once or twice a year, on average... and yesterday was most definitely NOT the day for her to barge into my life unannounced.  Another log on the fire, which went from a few stray flames to something pretty toasty.  And so we continued to continue, with an extra-long outdoor After Dinner Whiskey Hour while listening to NPR (in lieu of any sort of music that would make things worse).  Not a bad evening, all told.


There's one skill in life I haven't learned and that skill is the ability to let bygones be bygones.  The Deity At Hand knows I've tried in many, many ways... none of which seem to work... and we won't go further than that.  The bottom line?  Yesterday was not my day.

Ah, well.  Sometimes it bees that way.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

My Muse Decamped. Again.

So, what do we do when our muse leaves us for parts unknown?  We post a re-run, that's what we do.  Like this:

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Couple of Milestones...Plus Ruminations on the Past

It’s the eclecticism… Or, yet another reason I listen to RP almost exclusively these days. From RP’s play list this morning:
“Coffee Monkey” kicked off just as I was draining my first cup; I come back to the desk with my second cup and Sinatra’s on. Oh, Yeah! I just don’t have this sort of wide variety in my music collection. Bill and Rebecca do. And they use it, too.
A couple of milestones passed me by this week…milestones that should be noted.
First: to use the military vernacular, SN2 is working for half-pay as of this past Friday, the 18th of January. That means he has over 20 years of service now, for you non-military types. One is eligible to retire at 50% of base pay at 20 years, ergo: working for half-pay. He won’t retire anytime soon, though. But with the passing of this milestone, planning for his post-military life has begun. Transitions, and all that. Not to mention the fact I’m feeling pretty old, yet again. To think I have offspring that could retire…Aiiieee!
Second: Yesterday marked the passing of one full year since I lit my last cigarette. I still miss ‘em, too. Badly. But I ain’t going back…
Long-time readers of EIP know there’s a guy by the name of Dan who hangs around EIP and comments occasionally. Dan and I go back nearly 40 years and he is my oldest friend (speaking of the duration of the relationship and not his age…although he can qualify in that space, too). We met at Wakkanai AS, Japan in 1968 or 1969 and we were both in the same racket, job-wise…which is to say we were both 303X2s, the USAF job code for aircraft control and warning radar technicians. We were also drafted by the Air Force for a “special duty identifier” job that took us out of Air Defense Command’s radar business and into USAFSS’ spook biz, beginning in Wakkanai and leading a couple of years later to Sinop, Turkey. Dan and I worked together, drank together, rode motorcycles together, and raced ‘em all over Hokkaido, too. Here’s a pic of Dan sitting along side of a road somewhere near Wakkanai at some unknown time in ‘69, framed by his Yamaha DT-1 (on the left) and mine… on the right. 
Dan and I both loved Wakkanai for a number of reasons, not the least of which was, in retrospect, the nature of the job we did. And the bike racing and associated carousing, of course. We both managed to wrangle second tours at Wakkanai after we rotated back to the US in 1970, and we returned to Wakkanai in 1971. Alas, the Air Force had other plans for Wakkanai and for us. In a strange turn of events, USAF announced Wakkanai would be closing shortly after Dan and I returned there in late 1971. The unusually rapid base closure (lights out by the end of 1972, as it were) meant all personnel would be re-assigned to other bases, and Security Service flew in a team of personnel specialists in to handle the short-notice re-assignment process. Dan and I got the short, dirty end of the re-assignment stick. We had two choices: take an assignment to Sinop, Turkey and remain in USAFSS, or turn down Sinop and “get released to Air Force.” While Sinop wasn’t exactly a garden spot assignment, the possible alternatives that came with being released to Air Force for world-wide assignment were decidedly worse. Much worse…like Alaska. So, we opted for Sinop…returning to the US for a short leave before heading off to Turkey for a one-year remote tour in Beautiful Sinop by the Sea.
After our leaves were up Dan and I met in New York and caught Pan Am’s legendary Flight 002 for Istanbul…with an interim stop in Frankfurt. Dan is pictured below in a shot taken during the short layover in Frankfurt. 
After Istanbul we caught a THY Fokker to Samsun, Turkey, and then lucked out and caught the Army’s twin-engined Cessna mail plane to Sinop. I say “lucked out,” because the alternative to the 30-minute mail plane flight was a four-hour bus ride over the tortuous and quite scary mountain road between Samsun and Sinop. Dan and I would make that bus trip a couple of times later on during our tour, but that’s quite another story… and one that won’t be told outside of the bar and amongst good friends. To protect the innocent, of course. Not to mention the guilty…
So. There we were…on the beautiful Turkish Black Sea coast for one long, long year. This is the view of the town of Sinop from The Hill, as the base was known.
The base at Sinop was officially named “Sinop Common Defense Installation (CDI),” which was a euphemism meant to imply the American and Turkish armed forces operated the installation jointly. Which was sorta true, as we had a small Turkish Army garrison collocated with us, but the Turks were separated from the “US side” by high chain link fences, topped with barbed wire. NO ONE got into the US operations compound without some serious security clearances…period. The things we did in there were among the most sensitive of all US intelligence activities at the time. The base itself was run by the US Army Security Agency (ASA) and was otherwise known as TUSLOG Detachment 4. The Air Force was a tenant unit on the base, and had the dual designations of TUSLOG Det. 204 and 6934th Security Squadron…but you never saw the 6934th designation… anywhere… even on base at Sinop. But…that was work. Let’s not go there. Here’s a pic of a small portion of the antenna farm at Sinop, taken near the USAF barracks. That water-tower looking thing is actually a large electronically-scanned antenna array, and was part of the system Dan and I worked on.
And speaking of the barracks…this was our home away from home…
And this is the dorm room Dan and I shared…
So. Our year at Sinop passed rather uneventfully and oh-so-slowly, it seemed…at the time. Now that I’m gifted with hindsight, it was over in the blink of an eye. Dan I went to work, drank a bit lot more than we probably should have, went exploring in the town of Sinop…which has some remarkable ancient ruins and an even more remarkable history. We both hired on to the local closed circuit radio station as volunteers and hosted a late nite rock ‘n’ roll show interlaced with snappy patter and the like. We spent lazy weekend days during the summer on our very own (Army-run) private beach, drinking beer and lusting after what few American women there were in the area. We went down to the Yeni Hotel on the weekends and drank lousy Carlsberg beer while watching European tourists get off the White Boat and walk around Sinop for an hour or two before continuing on their cruise of the Black Sea. And we took that bus ride to Samsun a couple of times for wild nights of raki-fueled debauchery. To quote Dickens: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” In spades, Gentle Reader, in spades. I may have had better years in my life, but danged few…and none come to my mind at the moment. Such is the nature of nostalgia, eh?
To close…Here’s another good Sinop-related site…best I’ve found, actually… that focuses on the military (albeit Army) side of Sinop. The owner of this site preceded Dan and I by about a year and has written a detailed narrative about life “on The Hill” supplemented with lotsa good pictures.
Just to update this post... SN1 is also working for half-pay these days, which means BOTH sons could retire if they had a mind to do so.  I don't think that will happen anytime soon, though.  A further update: I'm still off the ciggies (seven and a half years now) as well, and won't ever go back.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Keurig Broke. Keurig Fixed.

Well, sorta on Part II of the post title.  Last Wednesday I mentioned that my spiffy Keurig machine had apparently lost its feeble lil mind and was only brewing a third of a cup at a time.  It's gotten progressively worse since that time, bad enough for us to actually DO sumthin' about it this morning after I pushed the buttons a record FIVE times to brew a single cup o' coffee.  So we bit the bullet, dove into the manual (old USAF maxim: "When all else fails, read the tech order"), and figgered out what we had to do to get operations back up to par.  We cleaned the needles.  We descaled the machine with white vinegar.

Digression: "Descaling" the machine takes one helluva long time when you (a) fill the reservoir with vinegar, (b) push the damned buttons approximately 63 times to empty said reservoir of vinegar, i.e., run it through the machine a quarter of a cup at a time, and (c) wait FOUR HOURS (per the instructions) before running a reservoir full of water through the machine... once again: much button-pushing... to purge the vinegar.  I began at 0700 hours this morning and finished just before noon, with a short nap during the four-hour wait.

So.  Bottom line?  The machine now makes nearly a full medium-size cup o' coffee when one punches the "large" button.  I suppose that qualifies as success, but I have lingering doubts.  Those old Mr. Coffee machines are looking better and better all the time.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Beastly Weather

Sorry.  I just couldn't help it.  But we MIGHT take our coffee on the verandah this morning.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Saturday, Part Deux: Fabulous Plane Pr0n!

I'd just pulled the trigger on the post below when Occasional Reader and great good friend Lin sent this along:

Who knew they did airshows AT NIGHT!?!

Saturday: HyperFanGirls

Amusing, if you like David Attenborough's style:

Just a casual observation: there's a LOT o' money in orthodontia.  

And then there's this, which is pretty cool stuff.

I'd be looking into that software if I did time-lapse vids.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

It takes a lot o' doin' to out-Stone the Stones but Johnny pulled it off...

But it's alright, in fact it's a gas
Yea, verily... it's a gas, indeed.  Wowie-Zowie!  Guitar pyrotechnics don't get no better than this.

In other news... it's a bit warmish outdoors...

... but not warm enough to keep us indoors.  We might even get some rain before the day is through.

I Want My Maypo!

Heh.  Does the title of the post confuse you, Grasshopper?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

Happy Hour isn't happy today, thinkin' as we are about the pain in one of our blog-buds' life at the moment.  This is for Skip...

Got up this mornin', just about the break of day
A-huggin' the pillow where she used to lay
Got up this mornin', just about the break of day
A-huggin' the pillow where my good gal used to lay
I don't believe there's a pain in this life worse than losing the one you love, especially if she's your wife and life partner.  If you haven't already done so, please stop by Skip's blog and give him your condolences.  Life is hard right now.

Rye Resurgent

There's an interesting article in The Atlantic about the resurgence of rye whiskey over the past few years in these United States.  It may be the article is only interesting to those of us who enjoy a dram or two on occasion and you know who you are.  I thoroughly enjoyed the piece and you might, as well.  Here's a screen-cap of the first few grafs...

Bulleit... my favorite rye... gets a shout-out in the article.  That said, it's been a few months since a bottle o' Bulleit rye has graced my likker locker and the spirit is sorely missed.  It appears the Cannon Class VI is NOT a "decent liquor store" as defined by The Atlantic and more's the pity.  The incompetent management at the Class VI store can't even get Bulleit by special order... and I've tried.  Well, I suppose there's always the inter-tubes, eh?

Update, 1600 hrs:  I'm just in from Cannon Airplane Patch where we did the usual, customary, and reasonable things, which is to say pick up meds from the pharmacy, restock the larder at the commissary, and stop at the Class VI for beer.  While we were at the Class VI we took the opportunity to BITCH about that long-overdue special order for Bulleit rye, long and loud.  The management was all apologetic, saying that no, they hadn't forgotten me, and yes they were still working the order but it's a lot harder these days to special order stuff.  I didn't bother to ask WHY it's harder to fill a special order these days, not wanting yet another chorus of excuses.  Still and even, the woman said she would update me by phone later on this afternoon.  We shall see.