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Monday, December 9, 2019 8 comments

Working Man...


Time flies when you're having fun and this past Friday, I completed my 4-month probation at work, and that was a wonderful feeling. There's still, of course, so much I have to learn, and I love that no one day is ever the same, but driving right past probation shows I'm on the right road.

But wait, there's more! With some maintenance happening at the office, my first officially-a-full-timer day is a work-from-home day and with it being a bank holiday over here, I'll even earn a wee bit extra!

The perfect way to start off the work week, especially when I remember where I was work-wise only 6 months ago, i.e. no income at all. I'm very, very grateful to have earned this full-time contract and to officially kick things off in my Christmas pyjamas is a hoot.

Tomorrow, it's back to the office and the rest of the regular work week, but for today, I'll enjoy the short commute and hog all the fresh coffee for myself.
Saturday, December 7, 2019 4 comments

Pearl Harbor Day: That Lives in Infamy

78 years ago, the military base at Pearl Harbor, HI, was attacked, as it was by one of its own sailors 3 days ago.

In response, I'm "reposting" this 2013 Memorial Day visit to the USS Arizona while I lived in Hawaii. Pearl Harbor is truly a must see historical location, and I'm grateful I could bring the boys there so often.



With this being my second Memorial Day on Blogger, I again dedicate this post to the fallen men and women of the United States Armed Forces.

Their sacrifices will never be forgotten.

For many people, standing at the USS ARIZONA Memorial is a bucket list item and the Memorial remains the #1 visitor destination in Hawaii.

With it being Memorial Day Weekend, it made perfect sense to revisit this iconic memorial, so we went as a family Sunday.

Driving to the main entrance of the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, I was glad of the little extra time we built in. (Parking was tough to find and no backpacks are allowed inside, so the diaper bag was stripped and emergency supplies distributed in my multi-pocketed shorts.)
However, I soon lost sight of these mundane things when one of the first things I saw were two Cold War-era weapons, including an old POLARIS nuclear missile.
It’s free to enter the grounds and museums of the Visitor Center, and once through the turnstile, you enter an open- air atrium with a map of the Pacific at your feet.
There’s also no charge to visit the actual Memorial, but you have to reserve the tickets for the boat ride, so make that your first stop. This may seem simple, (you can reserve tickets online here but there are a lot of things pulling at you. (The gift/book store, a snack bar and the restrooms – if you bring the kids.)
Ignore all that if you can (unless you “really have to go, Papa”) and head to the ticket counter directly ahead of you.
Main Entrance
TIP: Send someone to the Visitors Center before 9 a.m. – and you can generally have your pick of times. One adult can reserve up to six tickets. Currently, sailings to the Memorial start at 8 a.m. and run until 1 p.m., weather – and federal agency permitting. (The National Park Service operates the Visitors’ Center, but the U.S. Navy runs you out to the Memorial – and won’t sail if the winds are too high.)
First Sighting...
Tickets in hand, feel free to come back closer to your allotted time or wander the ground where you’ll see various exhibits and interactive museums on the grounds – including the USS Bowfin (SS-287), a retired diesel submarine, which is worthy of its own day trip.
Once your time approaches, make your way to the small theatre where a Park Ranger offers some basic info and directs you inside. After an excellent 23-minute documentary that answers, in part, the why behind the events of Dec. 7, 1941, exit the theatre and you’ll be on the pier and next to one of the white transport boats.
Taken from Museum Video Clips (Above & Below)

The ride to the Memorial takes about five to ten minutes, so enjoy the unique view of Ford Island and parts of Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam on the way – as well as the majestic sight of the USS MISSOURI (BB-63), which sits, like a guard, over the wreck of its sister battleship, the USS ARIZONA (BB-39).

1,177 Sailors lost their lives on the ARIZONA alone and the remains of more than 950 are entombed in the hull, so conversations are muted (or nonexistent) as the coxswain maneuvers the boat into place, and you walk up a stairwell/ ramp into the Memorial proper.

Location of the Memorial in Context of the Ship.

You walk through a small interior “room” and then the long open section of the Memorial. Walk over to the right, about three quarters of the way and see the rusted, circular stack that is the remains of one of the gun turrets.
The White Buoy (background) Marks the Stern
Contrast of Ship and Sea

Depending on the wind, and where you stand, the smell of oil that seeps from the ship - 72 years after the attack - sneaks up on you like a surprise. 
Leaking Oil from the USS ARIZONA
"Black Tears" of the USS ARIZONA
The Park Ranger I spoke with said each day the ships bleeds several quarts of the oil, known as “the black tears of the ARIZONA.” According to some estimates, the ship will “cry” for its lost souls another 350 years. He also mentioned the legend that the ship will stop crying once the last survivor dies and returns to his former shipmates.
Since 1982, dozens of survivors who died have been interred at the site – the latest ceremony was held Dec. 7, 2012. (As of this post, about a dozen known survivors from the ARIZONA are alive.)
Since 1982, Dozens of Survivors have been Interred with their Shipmates
The Latest Crewmember to Return to the USS ARIZONA
Walk further, you’ll come to the main interior room, where each fallen Sailor's name and rank is inscribed.
(I never realized the significance of Valkenburgh Street, a nearby road I use daily - until I discovered the Commanding Officer of the ARIZONA was a CAPT. F. Van Valkenburgh...)
A trip to the USS ARIZONA Memorial is something you will never forget – just like we should never forget the men who were lost on that terrible date that will live on in infamy.
As we waited in line for the return trip, the most poignant words of the day came from our five-year-old. He told his Mama he “had a question about all those people on the wall.”

“But, when will they go home?”

Lest We Forget...
A Memorial Day Tribute to the Fallen:

Monday, December 2, 2019 10 comments

Sun Down & Tail Up


I haven't shared any weekly pictures for awhile, so here's a small compilation of what's been going on.

Hope you enjoy and have a great week:)

The sun goes down so early, but people still need to get home,,,

...Horse power be damned!

And at a certain point of the day, the sun shines straight through...

...Bringing back a little color to autumn trees...

...And local homes.

Meanwhile, the Sierra Nevada looks beautiful. Cold, but beautiful!

The local Wal-Mart-type store runs 3-for-2 specials... recently, it included cheap beer (and NO, that's not my cart!!)

On my walk to and from work, I've become friends with this goofy dog...

He used to bark at me while I walked past the length of his yard/home...

So, one day I gave him a piece of fresh baguette...

Which has grown into me buying doggie treats...

And now he's quite happy to play peek-a-boo!

...And see what's on the snack menu!

And finally... Can't take credit for this one, but it was floating around last week and I think it's brilliant!

Monday, November 25, 2019 8 comments

I'm getting old...


A few things, beyond the obvious, made me feel old lately, so the other day I licked my pencil, grabbed a trusty 3x5 card and wrote down some notes in cursive to prove my point.
  • I listened to an NPR story on the radio (it was an Internet radio, so do I get 10 bonus young points?) about a family inviting Amazon's Alexa each evening to the dinner table as a way to "improve conversation amongst their kids."

  • (Some of my life-long friends will get a kick out of this one.) The youngsters I trained with at the new job and I went for a drink on a recent Friday. It was nice to hang with them for a few hours, shoot the breeze and get to know them all a bit more. At about 7 p.m., we all prepared to go our separate ways when the conversation turned to what time they'd all meet up later that same evening... I just laughed and hurried to catch the tram home.

  • Rumors from the long-timers at work swirled this week when the Christmas party was announced. Apparently, it's to be held at the same place as last year, at a big hall that's very cold, I've been told...and my first thought is not to forget to bring an extra sweater -- and maybe a beanie?

  • My neighboring colleague turned 50 last month. I told her we're now the same age, only I've got a half-year on her. She nodded, I nodded back and it's never been mentioned since.

And most sadly.....

This guy's response to Peter Shilton's tweet is hilarious, and I was about to forward it to lads at work to show them I'm cool and do Twitter and stuff...

...and then I realized none of them were even born in 1986 when Shilton was the England goalkeeper during the 1986 World Cup when Maradona scored with the infamous "Hand of God."
Monday, November 18, 2019 6 comments

Ireland v Denmark - the Game

·         Hola, I'm reporting live! (for me) tonight in the final part of my recent IRL v DEN series.

·         Tonight, is the10th anniversaryof the “Hand of Henry,” but don’t get me started!

·         Real “Cup Final” atmosphere as DEN needs only a draw, but we need a win.

·         Even the Irish President was nearly late to the game with the heavy traffic.

·         I’m listening to RTE radio 2, so we’re going old school here tonight…

Photo Credits: Getty Images and RTE SPORT

·         And, it’s GAME ON!

·         Great, feisty start by Ireland, nearly a penalty in the first minute

·         Thomas Delaney (he plays for Denmark!!) off injured by the 12th minute

Thomas Delaney (not the Lad in Green)

·         16th minute… Denmark have a free kick, but make a mess of it.

·         Crowd starting to get a bit anxious, as am I.

·         Couple of corners for DEN in a row it seems like, but no real danger.

·         2nd DEN player is subbed… bunch of wusses, if I may say so.

·         33rd minute and a first chance for IRL, but kicked right at the keeper

·         IRL pushes a little more, but no real chances.

·         DEN have a dangerous free kick, but it comes to nothing.

·         3 mins added to the end of the first half, and IRL gets the first corner

·         Shuite. Nothing happening there either.

·         Ref blows the whistle. That’s it. An OK first half, but IRL could have done better.

·         I’m off for a beer! Back in 15-ish mins

·         Second Half

·         I don’t know how sports reporters do this on the blogs and things. It’s hard to eat dinner and have a pint while writing notes at the same time.

·         And, the 2nd half is off (burp. Excuse me.) One change for IRL, otherwise, it’s still the same lads on the field.

·         Thoughts on the first half… not too bad, but now IRL must still win to automatically go through. If we don’t, IRL faces a 2-leg playoff in March and me nails—and liver—can’t handle that.

·         IRL get a quick free kick, and a good one, but it’s cleared. Only 559,001 minutes to go… the stress!

·         Corner for IRL, and a good header ends with a second corner for IRL.

·         Good to see them using that old “Buy one, get one free” move… and Jaysus, we nearly scored!!

·         Throw for IRL this time and it’s cleared by the damned Danes, and off we go up the field.

·         Good work by IRL, though, and may I shout with abandon, “Come On You Boys In Green!!!”

·         Crowd are back in it, and it’s super great to hear the songs from the stadium.

The Aviva.

·         IRL has more of the ball in this early start of the 2nd half, but the Damnation Danes remain a threat.

·         First yellow card against IRL, and the crowd immediately start calling out his name, loving that it was a strong, legal tackle. Didn't get his name, as I ran to the jax as I really needed to pee. (I didn’t think anything would happen and feel very guilty, but understand the game must go on, my weak bladder be Daned!!)

·         And, it's a must stronger performance from IRL this half as I try make up  for my faux pee.

·         Unfortunately, no streakers of either gender have made it on the pitch to further liven up the crowd.

·         58 minutes gone. 0-0 to Ireland and the dangerous Danes remain happy with the result.

·         Corner! To IRL, and the crowd are loving it, as is your rugged reporter, reporting.

·         Sadly, it’s a bad corner, the ball sails over the bar, but it’s a point for IRL!!!

·         Oh wait. Wrong sport.

·         “Ole, Ole, Ole” rings out amongst the 40,000+ crowd

·         If IRL can win this game and qualify, they get to play 2 games in DUBLIN and the other one in Balboa…

·         Within the last 30 minutes… lots of IRL subs warming up, but no changes yet…

·         25 mins to go… cross by IRL and another corner to the Lads.

·          Bit messy in the box, ends in an IRL throw and the energy is changed as the Dastardly Danes mess it up and then the great, manly, brave Irishmen are on the attack again.

·         CHANCE! Ball goes over the bar, but we’re putting them under pressure!

·         2nd sub for IRL. One fellow in a green shirt coming in for another one in the same-colored shirt. The crowd go wild. Exciting stuff as my buttocks go numb on the edge of my seat.

·         Less than 20 mins to go…

·         Free kick to the Dire Danes, but IRL gently defends the box and all is well.

·         IRL push forward again.

·         The Dramatic Danes completely mess up the first chance of their game and the score is still 0-0, this time for Ireland.

·         And bloody hell… 73rd minute… the Damn Danes have scored.

·         Sigh. [Quick visit to the fridge to grab a well-needed beverage.]

·         IRL has 16 minutes, but we need 2 goals now. Yikes.

·         The playoffs in March loom large now.

·         Ireland pile on the pressure, the Lads know what’s on the line.

·         Goals are needed and the Diminished Danes are looking as shell-shocked as a Spaniard getting the bill after eating out in a Dublin restaurant.

·         Five minutes to go… and IRELAND SCORE!!!
Matt Doherty (#2) scores the equalizer!

·         Masses of churches around Ireland will be twice as busy this weekend as thousands have to pay back their “Lord, if only we can score at least one goal…. Please Lord…”

·         GAME ON….

·         But, remember, the non-Dashing Danes’ drawing still mean they go through (boo!)

·         The crowd are going nuts!!

·         All the play is now 103 percent in the Danish half (not really, but I wish!!)

·         CHANCE! IRL goes close and the Darnish defenders clear.

·         3 minutes to go… and maybe a couple added on…

·         IRL force their way forward…

·         IRISH corner!

·         Messing around the 6-yard box, but no clear shot.

·         1-minute to go.


·         I need a new beer.

·         IRL pushing forward… get a throw…

·         3 minutes left…. Another throw for IRL

·         Goes out of play… lost chance…

·         2 minutes left…

·         Crowd acting like the 12th man… egging on the Lads

·         Throw for IRL… One minute left…

·         Ball booted down the field… and…

·         That’s it... game over.

Brilliant effort by the Boys In Green - and we're not of it yet!!

·         Spirited effort from the Irish, who didn’t lose, but couldn’t get the needed second goal and will now go to the playoffs in March—again.

·         Thanks for reading along. This is your intrepid and thirsty reporter signing off.

·         See you in March and the next seance :)

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