I’ve been getting up at 5AM or earlier for so long now that sleeping in till 6 or 7 is quite a treat when it actually happens. Even on weekends I usually find myself rolling out of bed around 6. Not that I’m really thrilled about that; it just is what it is. That’s why crawling out of bed at 10:30 this morning was so unusual. I have no idea why I would have slept that long as it’s certainly not like I’ve had too many hard days lately. Eh, maybe it was making up for the lack of sleep on Friday night. Speaking of last Friday, there are a whole series of stories that just scream to be told, but discretion in this case seems to be the better part of valor. Suffice to say that a good time was had by all.
In the current economic climate, there are all sorts of glorious things about being in the employ of Uncle Sam. At the moment, though, my favorite perk is the concept of use-or-lose leave. How can you not enjoy working for an outfit that essentially forces you to take vacation before the end of the year. So here I am sitting in Western Maryland with nothing but free time on my hands enjoying the first of two weeks of use or lose between now and the end of the year. At the moment, I’m planning on wandering back in to the office some time on or about next Tuesday. Between traveling for work and taking some vacation time, I’ll have been gone for a month. I vaguely remember that I have a job at this point. It’s not quite the white sand beaches and rum-based economy I was planning on for my next vacation, but it’s definitely been nice getting away for a while. And if you’re in the WMD between now and Wednesday, look me up and say hello.
This is beginning to feel like a blog that should titled “Jeff Drools Over New Cell Phones,” but there’s another new Blackberry coming out tomorrow. Moving away from the company’s venerable position as the QWERTY king, the Storm is a full touch screen affair that just looks absolutely slick. Of course this model is a Verizon exclusive and I’ve been spending all week telling myself that having phones on the two largest networks in the country is not a good enough reason to pay two $100+ cell phone bills a month… Or is it?
The Bold is hands down the best device I’ve ever owned and other than the standard Blackberry memory leak, I don’t have any performance complaints. The Storm is a horse of a different color though and oh, so tempting. I still have two weeks to return the Bold and I’m seriously thinking about picking up the Storm and running them side by side and then keeping one I like best. Really, this is like some kind of nerdy sickness.
I was perusing the New York Times mobile site this morning and ran across a story that actually made me feel sorry for a professional politician. It seems that because of some combination of national security concerns and the desire to avoid having email subpoenaed in the future, when he assumes office President-Elect Obama will have to give up his Blackberry. I guess I had never really thought of the president having time to send out missives from a firstname.lastname@example.org email address, but I think as president, my first executive order would be stay the hell away from my cellie.
The civilized world has embraced email as part and parcel of daily life. Surely a country that has tens of thousands of men and women who spend their working lives coming up with sophisticated cryptographic devices and ciphers can come up with a way to let the leader of the free world read his gmail and send a few text messages. Seriously, I get jumpy when I haven’t checked my email in an hour or two. Four years in an email free zone is just way too far beyond the pale. I say buck the system, Mr. President-Elect; make a Charlton Heston-esq stand for your inalienable right to wireless communication!
I don’t know how long I’ve been in the dark about it, but how come none of you have told me about the wonder beverage that is Vitamin Water? I friggin love this stuff. I mean it’s water that actually tastes like something tasty. Bloody brilliant! The tagline is “The inside is natural, the outside is plastic,” how can you not want that in your hotel mini-fridge?
Let me start off by saying it’s good to be back on the east coast. For the most part people here make sense to me in that they have places to go and basically want to be left alone to get there in as expeditious a way as possible. With that being said, all I can say about this class is that I’m basically over it. I’m not saying that I’m ready to go back to my actual job, just that I’d rather be doing something other than this.
OK, team, for the record tomorrow is a federal holiday. That means that the sooner we get our shit together this afternoon, the sooner we can begin enjoying an extra day off this week. This is a pass-fail course, so no one is grading you on how many cute pictures you can put into a briefing. I hate to break it to you, but no one cares. You’re not being graded on this assignment and they guy who does your yearly evaluation will never know that you had 12 slides instead of 10. I grow weary of trying to nudge the discussion from “what sound lobsters make when they’re boiled” to something slightly more productive. I appreciate that you want to be a hard charger and do great things… but this is a mandatory training course, not your actual job. We all have enough garbage to deal with back at the office, so why are you trying to make life harder than it needs to be when we’re on TDY? Sorry, but there’s just no good reason that we should have been working at 4:00 today when they cut us loose to build a briefing at 10:30. You, my dear teammates, are asshats.
It’s the small things you take for granted that you miss when you move halfway across the country. In my case, what I had really been missing is the ability to drive 10 miles in any direction to get a really good crab cake… or steamed crabs… or crab soup. Let’s just say as long as it’s not the kind that make you itch in your happy place, I’m all about the crabs. The lightly broiled, falling apart on your fork, sweet back fin tasty goodness is really one of life’s great joys. Seriously, when the gods on Olympus got tired of ordering pizza, I’m convinced they sent to Maryland for an order of crab cakes. Tennessee is great for things like cheap housing and no income tax, but some summer afternoons, I would trade my right leg for a good crab. Thankfully this weekend I got my fix.
Ladies and gentlemen, stick a fork in this election because it is just about done. Tonight we’re all watching one of the last things I ever imagined I’d see in my lifetime. It looks like the country is once again evenly divided and unless there’s a significant departure from how things look now, we’ll have a President-Elect Obama sometime very late tonight or early tomorrow morning. Senator McCain has been a good and faithful servant of the republic and watching this American hero go down in defeat is far more bitter to me than it is sweet. My only hope now is that Senator Obama proves worthy of the trust that his countrymen are about to repose in him.
So, I was repacking the truck this afternoon for the drive from dad’s down to Ft. Belvoir and happened to overhear a call go out on the scanner in the garage for a police response for a “10 year old out of control, breaking stuff up in the residence.” Now I have to ask… WTF? I have a vague recollection of having once been a 10 year old. Let’s just say that my parent’s response to my being out of control and breaking stuff up would not have been to call the police. Seriously, people, are there not earlier signs that your kid might be headed for trouble than needing to call the police? I’m really at a loss as to what a 10 year old kid could be doing that any adult human couldn’t step in and stop without ending up on next week’s episode of Cops. Just another example of why civilization is doomed.