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Any which way it goes.

I am now officially a proud home owner of a 1,400 square foot home in Phoenix, nestled against south mountain park. In this cozy home I’ve been told Jean-Luc has already claimed which room will be his. He is expecting me to be moving his stuff in about two months. In all that time I have to close out my work here in Afghanistan, demobilized in Germany, out-process and get some dental work done in San Diego, before I can fly home.

The dental work is not too complicated I hope. I lost one of my crowns while I was out here and they claimed that the army did not have the facilities in Afghanistan to do the surgery I needed. They subjected me to a series of fake teeth made from epoxy that broke after only two weeks. I finally found a relatively more permanent solution at a larger base. I now have another epoxy tooth, made of evidently stronger material, as it has lasted for several months.

My stop over in San Diego may be longer than the average because of the dental surgery. This extra time should give me a chance to go car shopping, though. I want to check out the dealerships that handle former rental cars. I bought my last nice car from Enterprise Car Sales and was very impressed with the quality. Common wisdom says that rental cars are driven harder and make poor choices for second owners, but I have found that they are exceptionally clean and meticulously maintained.

In other news, I’m forever trying to figure out what September to December is going to look like for me. I wont be attending regular classes at ASU, due to my mid-semester return. I want to take pre-calculus from Rio-Salado online. I have a conference to help run, a 4 week course in Colorado to attend. I want to go camping with GeoClub, stay up late with the Astro Devils, and build robots with SEDS. So, yeah, I’m trying to juggle a lot of calendar appointments. Any which way it goes, it should be fun.


Sol 8 : Narmy Strong

My week at San Diego Naval station is sadly over with gear issue Friday morning and drinks with my girlfriend, the notorious Dr. Ian O’Neil of Discovery Space fame and his better half. A seven day trek through medical clearance, administrative paperwork, and a whole lot of down time with my head in a pulpy Star Trek novel.

Today I got on a flight to South Carolina to start my three weeks of Army combat training, and I had such little sleep the night before the whole day was a painful experience, but now I’m unpacked in my open bay barracks ready to start training tomorrow. I’m going to keep this post short because I’ve lost 3 hours to timezones and Its now midnight, with morning quickly threatening to approach just hours away over the horizon. I’ll try to detail each day’s training in text as I wont be able to carry my cell around to take any pictures during training hours.

Time-poor. Todd

All the uniforms I was issued will fill my first of several seabags

My dogtags with my social blocked out. I went with Agnostic, because meh.

My strange Army hat with my Navy rank on it.

Sol 4 : A bit of creative writing to take the edge off

Oh Horton plaza, how have the mighty fallen. Back in 2008, when I out-processed from my active duty career, the outdoor mall nestled against the NBC building was vibrant and classy, with a great food court, a nice book store and a number of interesting shops featuring in their displays a truly interesting plethora of items, now contrasting with the run down canyon of empty food stalls, pop clothing, abandoned movie theater opposite of the obligatory and parasitic Hot Topic and Gamestop featuring the same generic products you could just order online from Amazon and ThinkGeek. Uck. Bookstores are truly dead when they sell VHS on spinner racks next to the stack of well worn used sci-fi novels across from displays of plastic Cosplay gear that seems to pop up in the weirdest places in San Diego. A random assortment of “for Dummies” books covering topics such as ‘geting rid of Spam’ and “Internet Explorer 7′  finally convinces me that there isn’t anything I want in a this collection of establishments. Soon a skate park will be installed here when the Nordstrom relents and moves uptown.

I contemplate with serious but detached analysis that I am becoming more detached and analytical, building shields around my mind, getting my heart ready for leaving everyone I care about and to make friends no one can guarantee me I will even know the following week. It’s in the training, there’s a pamphlet on it, the chaplain briefs it; on the way your mind will naturally adapt to new and stressful environments by distancing you from the ones you love. You realize you will just have to hope your family will understand. You can tell them what your thinking, but they will get it or not and there is not a damn thing you can do about it but preserver and open your tri-folder looking for your next appointment in the morning.

There will be more waiting. A brief. You’ll eat another club sandwich at the base bowling alley. A smiling Corpsman will take your blood and you will make small talk. Its not a bad day, but the way it deceptively feels like just another normal day, while you know normal days are numbered and growing few gnaws on your complacent-ness and you feel the hyper-awareness of an animal knowing it will soon be in a life and death situation boot up and begin to assert itself. Its all normal. Its all planned, see right there on the check out sheet. Check. Check. Check. Ding.

Done. Ready. Todd

Sol 2 : Made it to San Diego

Yeah! I survived my party, and I really have to thank you all who came out for making it such a brilliant bash. I have had half a brain, though, the rest of today, and I needed all of it to finish packing, get the last of my data loaded from my tower hard drive to my laptop, and successfully navigate the air travel system. Now I’m on the ground in SD and in my navy barracks room I share with a room mate. It was not without casualties, as for several hours I had lost my cellphone. The USO shuttle people found it and I’m back with all my gear in stock and ready to write and photograph. The pelican case is doing a great job of protecting my gear, but the TSA decided they wanted to take a look inside and mess around a bit. My cables were out of place, but all there, and of the two TSA-approved locks, she only made it back with one of them. Easy day, though, easy day.

I already know where I have to be in the morning at 0700, and I’d love to share it with you after I knock it out. I am understanding that a lot of what I write about is fine, as long as it has already occurred. The trouble comes when I talk about future events, as that can allow malicious agents to predict where people will be. Its a fine line but a good one to distinguish now while my writing is harmless. In theater, it can effect operations, and so I want to establish a good routine and ethic for my writing.

For now though, I really need some sleep.

Red-eyed. Todd.