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Beach Body
It's been a while, huh?

Let's start with the worry.  My husband has been very ill lately with some sort of stomach issue.  About two months ago we both had stomach problems and were prescribed some antibiotics as well as some naturopath herbs.  My issue passed in about a week, but his has been ongoing.  We're going to take him to a GI specialist next.  Perhaps that explains an outburst that happened a month ago that nearly drove us to divorce.

Well, I've been a workout freak still.  I'm almost through another iteration of P90X.  I've also adopted Hip Hop Abs with Shaun-T to add to AbRipper X.  I'm running 3x a week between 3-6 miles and achieving about a 6:40 minute mile pace.  I also swim 3x a week too for a mile.  I decided to accept a slightly higher weight.  I'm 5'9" and 125 was just too light.  I was tired and never had enough energy.  130 seems appropriate and I'm still fast.  I hit a PB of being able to bench 140 free weight and 135 lat pulls on the universal.

Ichidomudo - loosely translated as there are many ways to the same objective.  As I've always espoused, all arts are one.  As I get deeper into the philosophy of martial arts I realize that the distinctions between the arts at a deeper level are merely cosmetic.  In the paradoxical nature of Zen, the distinctions are everything and nothing.  I take Eishin-Ryu Iaido, which is a Koryu.  Within that ryuha, there are subtle distinctions in style depending on dojo.  Eishin-Ryu is also subtly different than Muso Jikiden Eishin-Ryu or MJER as it can be called.  This is different from Shinden-Ryu or Mugai-Ryu or Seitei Iai.  A seasoned practitioner can distinguish the differences and they are important when learning the art.  However, when the technique becomes muscle memory and you begin to see past "technique", only spiritual perfection becomes important.

I took karate at around five and it helped me greatly when I began to fence a few years later.  I started Aikido as a teen and all of the previous arts that I took help me in Kendo and Iaido.

I am still at the point where winning is important, but I no longer worry about being hit.  I find that on good days I have no conscious thought in a bout, but I have a clear recollection of the blade exchange.  I don't see the opponent, but I feel what is happening.  I do also use tactics to my advantage, a benefit from fencing.  Plus, I'm taller than many of my dojo mates and mercilessly exploit reach with my tsuki.  :P

I've been flying like mad.  I am in charge of a small unit and I've passed 4100 flight hours.  It's a great group and everyone is highly motivated and sharp.  We're hoping to receive a new aircraft next year, all glass cockpit.  I'm not holding my breath.  My bureaucratic footprint has fallen to nearly nothing and my job description is now fly, shoot, run, lift.

I recently won a pistol competition, which comprised several events.  I shot a 297 (out of 300) bullseye for a win in that event (25 and 15 yards, Glock 22 .40 cal).  I shot perfect scores in the combat pistol as well (3x 50 rounds).  I haven't shot this week, but I was up to 1000 rounds two weeks ago (pistol .40, 9mm and .45 ACP, M-4 5.56 NATO, M-3 12 gauge).

I'm also continuing my gaming and writing fantasmfest.  I'm deep into a Skyrim replay and a Dragon Age replay.  I'm also part of a wonderful Mass Effect game/fanfic group on ff.net.  It's the best group I've been involved with since Trillian's KOTOR group.

I'm not dead yet!

chiburi
I'm getting bettah!

Actually, I have transferred my flag to face book

Alice Raven

Da da dun...ting

Beach Body
Happy Birthday to Kelli.

And, her twins are now six months old.

And thank you, Kaarlo!

I had sprained my ankle in Kendo a couple weeks back, but I'm up to full speed again.  I logged five days of running, 5 to 6 miles per run.  I got in three MI 40 workouts too.

We did a full Iaido workout on Saturday, doing over 80 waza.  My arms were beat after.  I also purchased a used katana for kumitachi practice.  It's unsharpened steel - Musashi full tang from trueswords.com.  It was only $70.  1055 Carbon steel.  The tsuka length is longer than my iaito and the blade length is shorter, but it's the same length overall.  It's about 10 to 15% heavier than my already heavy iaito so it will be a challenge to use.  In the kumitachi we will be performing the waza that we already know and it will be a step up from bokken.  Safety will be a big factor since we'll be swinging steel at each other.  Even with bokken, it's neat to see how the techniques actually work.  The one that scares me the most is Ikitzure Sayuzuki/Dokumyoken.  You block an attack from the right by holding the blade to the right, pointed nearly straight up (slight angle inward) and place your left palm on the back of the blade for reinforcement.  You have to flatten the palm so that your fingers don't creep in front of the cutting edge (BAD).  As the attack lands on your blade, you aggressively swivel your right hip back and your blade down and to your right hip to deflect the attack and cause the opponent to lose balance (preferably falling onto the tip of your sword).  The timing of this parry is very difficult as you cannot initiate too early as the opponent will just compensate.  The worst part is placing your left hand on the back as you're moving the blade and sidestepping at the same time.

Ok, I've studied as hard as I can for my checkride, which is Tuesday.  The prep consumed countless hours these past few weeks.  I flew one hop and the radios were squirrely, making my clearances really hard to understand.  I keep having to ask ATC to repeat, not making my confidence real good.  Plus, they were giving me all of these non-standard clearances and the winds kept chaning the pattern every few minutes.  I took an ILS approach down to an uncontrolled field and I was set to land on runway 03.  Well, someone calls, saying they are taking off on runway 21...right at me.  It was pucker factor city until I saw them turning left out of our way.  I can't wait until sequestration makes things even more hairy!  Thank you, politics.

More importantly, I beat my Mass Effect gold solos and won the Best of the Best banner for the game.  I had a good run with Supra, Dragon, and L Rey.  I had a couple games with this guy who was talking smack to everyone, saying he would wipe out any other player.  I was put forward as the champion to challenge him on gold.  We had two games in which we were only dozens of points apart so it was effectively a draw in the eyes of the team.  He had the higher score, but I survived and was not downed at all.

I finished Tomb Raider too.  The multiplayer is growing on me.  I'm able to hold my own now.  I still have an occasional game against ridiculous ringers.

Okay, time for bed.  Wish me luck on the checkride.

Gazing at the far mountain

Gazing
I finally wrapped up most of my taskings from the recent trip.  All I can say is that there is one less bad person to trouble everyone.

I've kind of made it a bit of a personal project regarding the study of good and bad leadership.  I am a big fan of Dilbert for just that reason as Dilbert is far more realistic than people may realize.  I've endured a Pointy Haired Boss, another one named Smeagol/Gollum, and the Red Queen.  I've seen far too many who rule by power and fear.  Especially in an organization that rotates its people on a semi-regular basis, some "leaders" (to use the term loosely) don't have to live with the consequences of their decisions and maim their groups for their own short term benefits.  I also see individuals who "go on the offense" to hide their own lack of ability.  They create drama, mindless bureacracy, and run their people into the ground on useless endeavors rather than say, "hey, I don't understand X.  Can you help me out?"  The other achetype that I see is the individual who thinks they're all that when they ain't.  (since I work in an area chock full of alpha males)

One of the first things I did when I took over was to meet with the maintenance crew and say, "I don't understand maintenance at all.  I know what a turbine looks like, that's about it.  I'm going to trust you all to keep us safe."  I'm really trying for a humane, collaborative approach.  But when I say jump, people know.  :P  I'm shooting for the paragon playthrough, haha.

I am trying to learn more about that.  I'm now trying to make sure parts get delivered and that they're properly tracked.

Anyhow, the reason I brought that topic up was that seeing more and more areas in distress due to self-serving management and it's not my place to intervene in someone else's house so I'll just vent here.  I hear a lot of, "Are you fucking serious?"  Another thing I see is where the purpose of the organization gets lost.  Many people are beginning to think that we exist to support budgets and audits and various clerical duties.  It would be as if the FAA decided that air traffic management was not important and they were going to focus mainly on bake sales.  Or if schools decided that teaching was no longer a priority and that accounting for chairs and ceiling tiles was the focus of their existance.  When a function that supports the mission becomes the mission, madness ensues.

One of the things I do have to work on is dealing directly with a personality issues.  I tend to take a roundabout way of dealing with it and hoping that people will be adult enough to come around.  Works 90% of the time, but some people are undealable - Octopus, Alabama Tick, Bill the Cat, etc.  I have a friend who is very direct and I admire him for that.  Sometimes too direct, I joke.  "I'll put in a good word for you when you get hauled before the boss," I tell him.

Ok, enough of my sermon.  We had a dojo taikai last Saturday.  We did several of the Hayanuki sets for Iaido.  Those are a set of the waza, strung together.  For instance, you'll do all of the Shoden set, one after the other, without pause, so 14 waza in a row.  Then, we did the Bangai set followed by Tachiuchi no Kurai.  We're seriously talking about doing kumitachi with steel blades now - unsharpened.  We'll need goggles for that.  There are $50 steel practice blades out there.  I can do kumitachi full speed with bokken now.  It's awesome to see how the techniques really work when employed properly.  With Ukenagashi you really have to get your hand up and drape the blade over your shoulder and flank and put your body into the parry to deflect the attack.  With Kissakigaeshi/Dokumyoken you have to angle the blade over your body to catch the cut and yank your right hip back to throw the opponent off balance and right onto the tip of your weapon.

Then, I did kata and fought an exhibition with a very skilled Go Dan.  I was able to emerge victorious, 3-1.  I did a counterclockwise bind and sprung up for a head cut.  Then, on pure instinct alone, I caught him on a wrist cut as he prepped his attack.  He got me with a disarm and head cut right after.  He beat my blade with such force that it went clattering on the ground.  Lesson learned.  Then, I got one more bind, head cut to end the match.  I was totally in the zone on that one and never actually "saw" him.  He was just a blurry image in which I could "feel" distance, timing, tempo, and blade angle.

This week I got back to my workouts with a vengeance, running 6 miles a day with Insanity, or P90X, and AbRipper.

I finished Tomb Raider - I thought it was an awesome game.  The graphics and motion capture acting were superb.  The combat was also on par with Modern Warfare or Mass Effect.  It's a dark game though with some intense themes and scenes.

I am also going to attempt the Mass Effect gold solos this weekend to complete my multiplayer experience.

Getting my feet under me...somewhat

Lady Anne
A whole new set of fires to put out.  I kind of knew what was coming, so I'm reasonably prepared.  Thank God, my crew chief is top notch.  I get some of the craziest questions about parts and supplies and wires.  "Hey chief...when was the doo hicky...oh, thank you!"

I've inherited an interesting dilemma.  Without going into too much detail, I have a section with deep rooted personality squabbles.  My predecessor briefed me up and it's...going to be interesting.  I'm trying to formulate a humane solution.  I'm not a fist pounder or a yeller so I hope to just spend time there and lead by example.  It's going to take effort though.

My old organization is coming apart at the seems.  It's horrible to watch, but I've come to realize that I can only be at one place at one time.  I do have to admit to finding it oddly satisfying to know that I helped hold it together while I was there.

I do miss the profound gravitas that Commander Lasagna had.  He was a guy who could inspire merely with the booming sound of his voice.  A room would just quiet as he walked in.  I don't have that same quality.  As a woman, I'm glad that I look 20 still, but it works against me at times.  I still get the "You're in charge?  Are you out of high school?"  Sometimes, I find the older crowd doesn't take me as seriously as I hope for.  I do need to find my own style though.  I get on well with the younger crowd and I find that I'm fairly popular (which is a double edged sword in that you sometimes have to bring down the hammer).

Today, it was just meetings and sorting out the squabbles.  One of the gang mentioned that I looked a little tired.  I just blurted out, "Citadel dlc."

"What?  Ma'am, I just got that too!"  It was nice that I could connect with a lot of the "kids" with games and such.

I had just gotten to the new Mass Effect downloadable content.  :P  So, loved the dlc.  I think that is what RPG's should be about.  The sidebar jokes about multiplayer were priceless, especially how they bagged on random groups and vanguards doing stupid charges and people not helping the objectives.  I got through the four platinum objectives and holy crap that was way too stressful.  Kyle, Doc and MadmanWill got through it with me.  Will is fucking hilarious and I was howling with laughter the whole game.  I'm set for a game with Osage from ff.net and Obscurely Clear from the ME LJ site.  Anyhow...dlc...it was awesome in my opinion.  *spoiler alert*

The apartment was such a nice touch and bringing so much of the gang back together.  I've got a ficlet brewing in which I'll look at the clone's POV.  I'm thinking of a horribly abused clone that was the Illusive Man's way of venting his anger at Shepard.  She was no more than property until she was shown what she really was and couldn't deal with it.

I'm part of a really awesome writing group now.  I missed that with the Kotor gang that we had back in the day.  And thank you, Kaarlo!  I wrote this crazy story about the volus, Niftu Cal, dressed up as Cupid, in a Valentine's Day fic and Reaper Deliverance in which Shepard assumes direct control over Harbinger at the end of the story.  "Squeal like a pig, Reaper!"

So, I was away for part of last week and will be again for part of this week.  I have been racking in the night and cross country hours.  I've been hitting the workouts again this week and got in 5 miles yesterday and 3 today with a modified Insanity and AbRipper X with MI 40 chest and back.  I got 8 reps, incline bench at 120 lbs and 8 reps lat pulls at 105 lbs.

I did have THE best bout with sensei ever.  I won 5-4 in a match in which I was completely not in control of myself.  My body was just on Kendo autopilot.  I saw him raise his arms and my blade just went to the flank on its own.  thwop! I scored another Do, two kote and a tsuki.  It was a ten minute bout and several minutes were scoreless with attack/parry/attack/parry.

I do feel like I'm hitting a plateau in Iaido.  I'm trying to mix it up by using Yoko Noto. In resheathing, you generally bring the back of the blade to your left hand in what's called Tate Noto.  Shinden Ryu practitioners twist the saya sideways, while some Eishin Ryu practitioners keep the saya upright.  With Yoko Noto, you swing the side of the blade to the left hand and let the back of the blade just land on the web of the hand.  It's faster and more dynamic, but has less margin of error.

Bless you all for being patient with me.  It has been rock and roll city here.  I am catching a breath and beginning to get comfortable with my new duties.

Three weeks without a post? WTF, Alice?

Beach Body
Wow...I'm like not even the same person as a few weeks ago.  I had a sudden crisis of faith and have been speding beaucoup time with my nephews and niece.  I'd been the absent aunt for so long.  I spend much of my non working time over there, telling stories and playing.  We're watching lot of Star Wars and lightsaber fighting.  Little Robert is so adorable playing the emperor, doing his lighting.  He can say Force now and then scrunches up his face and makes the lightning hands.  Then, we all take a nap together.  Later, there is baking with Laura and some Barbie time.

Being the boss is a weird double edged sword.  I get called into meetings a lot and get asked all sorts of interesting questions.  I always think, well, let me ask Commander Lasagna.  Then, it's, shit, I'm in charge.  I do still hit him up all the time.  Dude, what's this thing they're asking me?  The downside of all of this is that there is a million and one things do take care of and it's all my responsibility.  The upside is that it's now all on my schedule.  But the downside is that there are a million and one things to take care of so I spend just as much time at work.  Now, I get even more late night and weekend calls to saddle up and go somewhere.  So far, I've gotten volunteers, but I'm going to have to ante up soon if I'm going to be worth my salt as a boss.

I have ditching survival training tomorrow at O Dark Thirty.  Should be fun getting wet in the wee hours of the morning.  I'm flying all night gigs this week too.  I took an ILS Y Approach this evening into a gusty crosswind, but the landing was nothing but butter, main gear kissing the runway.

We had another installment of Insanity: The Asylum 2 and are into Hypertrophy MAX.  We did the hips, gluts and thighs today.  Beach Body Coach is PCS'ing so I'm going to have to find a new workout master.  The other day, I had just run 8 miles and came back in to get corralled into Insanity.

Writing like a fiend during my down time.  I can even do some writing while we're on autopilot, going from A to B, taking turns with the copilot to make sure we're still straight and level.  I had a hilarious multiplayer game in which poor Kyle got smashed by a brute and died and then Doc Holiday and I killed it and it fell on top of Kyle like a snuggly blanket.  I was laughing so hard.  I had another with Supra in which we both died at the same time and fell into a little 69 position...I mean like graphic  :P  I got in a game with Osage, my fanfic bud from Aria's Afterlife ff.net forum.  We got to wave 10 of a gold hazard map with only three and they were only in the 100 range of N7 rankings.  We kicked butt and came so close.  I'm at 98% in the grand Mass Effect challenge banner.  I have three gold maps to go and the two *cough cough* easy gold solos...not.  I did try a gold solo and got to the end of wave 9 with my turian ghost.  I was doing well, but literally got tired with numb hands and started making stupid mistakes (50 minutes into the game).

Well, time for bed since I have to get dunked in the freezing water early tomorrow.

Blessings to you, Alan

Hugs
Travel safe and be well.

Cy, that is so wonderful with your girls.  :)

I had a very unexpected...thing today.  I was called up to HQ, which is never a good thing.  "The general will see you shortly," I was told by the secretary.  So, I'm already thinking what the f kind of trouble am I in?  I'm wracking my brain.  I'm generally a good girl so I have no clue, but it has to be something stupid.  I'm careful not to say anything controversial in public or anything else, but who knows.

"The general will see you now."

March in. 

"Hi Alice, are you still interested in that command?"

Wow.  So, as of today, I am selected to be a commander.  Change of command in two weeks.  I am going to have an enormous learning curve.  It'll be a different mission profile and a slightly different airframe.  The logistics and the admin are what will trip me up so I'm diving into the hows and whys and whos.  A lot of it will be shake and bake, going around doing liaison, shaking hands, etc.  Sort of like when I was geisha in the sky.

Flew a practice run for the new gig. 

In Iaido, we did a run at the Chuden tatehiza set, including Hayanuki or a grueling continuous draw, stringing all of the waza together.  I pulled off a 2-2 hikiwake with sensei.  I drew first blood with a Hiki Men.  We traded four or five cuts with no score until he took a Do cut, which I beat down and then got in a head cut on the disengage.  I beat Evan and Shawn.  I got Shawn on a tricky tsuki using a fencing degage.  I kept circling the tip just under his guard, causing him to keep reacting back and forth while I got closer and then planted the tip right on his throat.

Anyhow, just had to share.  :P

Fair winds and following seas to you Alan.

If it ain't raining, you ain't training

Sprite
First off, thank you to many for prodding me to say hi and to reach back out.  I was becoming quite the hermit.  We had a wonderful party for Pops and Candace to welcome them back and we went to a nice Nabe restaurant where you cook your food in a big broth pot at the table.  Young Richard and I had one final Star Wars blowout, defeating the nasty Emperor on Wii Star Wars Lego and then reenacting it with our lightsabers.  Little Robert would jump around, twirling and spinning his lightsaber, saying, "Zap emper, zap zap!"

I'm actually kind of sad that we're back to our cats and lizards.  :(  I already miss all the running around and the laundry and the cooking. 

We did see 0 Dark thirty.  It was intense and realistic.  The fusion of intelligence and operations was well done.  It's the grinding, day to day search through images and data and reporting that makes the deal.

I also had a mini school reunion and ran across some people I hadn't seen in five years.  Gag me, it's been a decade and a half since high school.  Anyhow, I did leave very happy.  Many people gave me the, "Oh my God, Alice, you have not aged at all since high school" or "You still look 17!"  Hah, yes, I still fall for that.  I do take good care of my skin. 

I spent three days on the range in the cold, windy rain.  It was mud city and I was one big brown goo monster.  I smoked K-Man in the bullseye and combat pistol.  "Oh waah, it was too windy.  The brother couldn't see in the rain, waaah," he moaned. 

I look at his target from 25 yards and then look at him, my eyes big and my mouth open.  "I missed that tornado that passed through and hit you.  Awwwww, poor you.  Did the Army teach you to shoot that poorly?"  I'm such a meanie.  :)

Even through the wind and the rain I shot better with the M-4.  I had one with the newer quad foregrip.  I can't quite tell which one I like better yet though. 

We had quick draw training too.  On the buzzer, draw and fire all rounds from four magazines as fast as you can and stay on target.  For this, I would lock out my elbows and roll my shoulders inwards to make a more stable firing platform and allow better recoil management.  I even took a lesson from Donny D, one of those high speed, low drag guys in tactical black.  For my lesson I faced various scenarios with multiple opponents.  I would face away from the targets and DD would arrange three of them in different locations, sometimes with a no shoot target.  On the buzzer, I would turn and draw and engage, looking for the greatest threat first.  One shot each then multiples on any target still a threat.  The trick is to look at the target to be engaged and then bring the muzzle over so that you won't overswing and miss. 

I flew a couple of hops too.  One was a nice high performance thing with lots of yanking and banking.  I may have a shot at another top banana gig soon.  For now, I'm learning a lot.  The new CO, Hover (marine Harrier guy), is putting me through my paces to become an instructor again.  I'm back in the right seat, this time to coach.  It's funny how you keep switching seats the farther along you go.  You start in the left as you learn and when you get your wings, you move to the right.  Then, you move up and take the left as the PIC, then move back to the right to teach.  The weather has been dog meat so this week'll be interesting.  I do miss Lasagna though, he and I were tight. 

Well, I'm back into writing full swing.  While the kids were napping I would be writing.  I had an ME multiplayer game with a bunch of...the worst random players I've ever had.  We got a silver Collectors match.  Now, Collectors on silver are tough, almost equal to a gold with other opponents.  But my squaddies were horrible!  Two were dead dead in the first wave.  In the second wave, all three were dead dead.  On the third wave (pizza delivery), they all died and then ragequit, leaving me to finish out.  Carrying the pizza, you can't run or use many powers so I never had a chance.  That's the first silver I lost in months.  Supra and I did some gold later and that was hairy, but he and I carried the day. 

Demo pic02One of my characters, made to look like me.  :P

Well, I'm up on the flight rotation tomorrow and it looks IFR all the way.

Get down! Drop your gun!

Choose your weapon
I sooooooo got to use this today.



I had a scenario in which we rolled up on a shack with a known tango and made entry.  Tango, in his underwear, grabs a weapon and wrestles with one of the troopers.  I ran up and delivered a contact shot to his head with my pistol.

One is a chick with an AK-47, screaming and shouting before opening fire.

They mixed in a couple of law enforcement type of scenarios, including an active school shooter, office shooter, etc.  In the school shooter, I shot the bad guy's gun with my M-4.  Not on purpose, I was shooting center mass.  It's entirely impractical to aim for the gun.  I took down the office shooter with two rounds under the arm.  The tango hostage situation was tough.  You penetrate into a dark abandoned building and there's a lot of people yelling Allahu Akbar.  As you turn a corner, one tango has a gun to the hostage and you have to take a head shot at about five meters.  Another tango comes around with a shotgun and you have a split second to engage.  I downed both tangos with no loss of hostages.  The visuals are realistic and intense with shouting and gunfire and explosions.  In the school scenario I was literally sweating with a cold prickly in my stomach as students ran by, screaming with some even crawling, wounded.  That was waaaay too real.

You also have the steel range in which you walk through a western town and shoot hostiles without hitting bystanders.  There's a shoot/no shoot scenario with turning targets.  Finally, there is M-4 whackamole.  Moles pop up on the various screens and you pop them.  I nailed 98% of the moles.  The town has effectively been demoled.  The weapons were all CO2 so you get recoil and have to change magazines.  It was like doing Modern Warfare for real.

Just a wee update

Mystique
Thanks for prodding me, Alan!  Pops and Candace are on a little romantic getaway and we have been caring for Laura, Richard and Robert.  Laura is old enough to do so much now (10).  My hats off to all the mommies out there as this is so much fun, but so exhausting.  I would have sooooo many adjustment issues if I did become a parent.  When I get home, we have Star Wars time where the two boys and I sling lightsabers in the yard and do some Wii time on SW Lego.  There is also girl time where I can play dolls with Laura and do some baking.  I'm teaching the kids to play with the cats and the lizards.  We had chameleon time where big baby Smaug is teaching little baby Smaug to hunt.  They sat on a rock, waiting for ants and when some would come by, big baby Smaug would rush down and grab one.  Little baby Smaug would watch and then run down and grab one too.  Then, they rush back up and enjoy a meal together.  It is sooooo cute.

So, the boys had to buy me the Darth Maul double bladed lightsaber so I could fight them both at the same time.  Robert is 3 so he just holds his lightsaber and spins in circles.

Well, Evan is going through his annual holiday depression.  He's been to work twice in the last three weeks.  When he gets like this the paranoia comes out too.  He's always checking up on me and even checks the computer files and history.  I know this will pass.  He's on  the upswing now.  Comparatively speaking, this was not a bad one.  I found myself initially impatient, but I met this instance with love and kindness and I think it worked out.

Our dojo is going through its third civil war.  It's like a samurai drama.  While I hate when personality takes precedence over practice, I always seem to wind up in the middle of those things.  So, through all of this and the changes in my life, I found myself quite depressed too.  Oddly, my depression manifests itself as hoo hum, just leave me alone.  I have been much more emotional though, crying at stupid things.

I greeted the new CO, who is a marine.  We had the clean out the hangar party for him.  He likes to keep things clean.  Neither Commander Lasagna nor I are neatniks, so this will be a change for me.  He's a good guy and I will learn a lot from him.  Heckova golfer too.  He does like to be social after work and on weekends.  I suspect that I will have to learn to like cigars.  :P  On Monday, I flew a training IFR flight.  My copilot crapped out so I went solo and wound up in a storm.  The briefing didn't mention it and it didn't show up on the scope.  Well, it was ugly and it took every ounce of skill that I had, but me and the bird got home in one piece.  At one point, the field was shut down and I got the "hold east along the 278 radial, expect further clearance (in 40 minutes)."  So, me and five other airliners are spinning left hand holding patterns, hoping the weather clears.  I came in on an LDA/DME approach through moderate to severe turbulence, was 20 feet above the MDA (minimum descent altitude) and couldn't see a damn thing.  Ten feet later, I could see the threshold lights.  The approach requires you to now crank left 44 degrees to line up with the runway, which is sopping wet with less than a mile visibility.  Fortunately, the runway was 12,000 feet long as I didn't want to do heavy breaking.  I was never so glad to see the dude with the light wands waving me in, I practically hugged him. 

In the debrief, K-Man is all, "whoa, the Raven is some kinda real pilot, huh.  Us rotorheads, we don't fly in the clouds."

I've shot 800 rounds this week.  I had practice the other day and gave Cat a lesson.  Today, I had competition with the top tier shooters in the league.  I took a close 4th in the bullseye out of 12.  I shot a 275 and a 280 out of 300.  The top guy, Pinocchio, shot 283 and 287.  I was one behind Danno and Patch.  I had a three way tie for 1st in the combat pistol, 100%.  I was dismal in the long guns though.  I had a mediocre 92% with the submachinegun, but an ok 98% with the assault rifle.  I kept flinching for some reason and swinging my muzzle left.  The last insult was the shotgun.  I borrowed a new semi auto with a pistol grip and newfangled tactical foregrip and recoil reducing stock.  Well, it reduces the recoil into the shoulder, but it increases it in the shooting hand and on the cheek.  So, first round, BOOM! right in my cheek.  I thought I broke something at first and put my hand on my cheek.  Then, I'm like "hey, where'd this oil come from?  Why is it red oil?"  Well, it's blood.  I got a small scratch, but it bled like an SOB.  I did finish the course and took down my targets before tending my wound, but my performance sucked since I was already a bit gunshy from the recoil. 

Workouts have been good.  I'm doing one of the Insanity DVD's every day, along with a 3-6 mile run, abs and one of the MI40 weight routines.  Beach Body Coach is back and will kick me into high gear again.  Kelli will be back from maternity leave too.  She has beautiful twin girls.  I've been swimming in kids lately.  :P

I've started writing again and am glad to see Padawan Mage and Bald as Malak dropping in.  I miss those heady days of our Knights of the Old Republic club.  I've joined a new Mass Effect club, Aria's Afterlife and they are really great.  Good stories, good people, good support. 

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