31 May 2007
Honoring those that have come before us and those still at peril
25 May 2007
First round is on me
24 May 2007
Long days, longer nights, and magical drinks
Anyhow, 10-12 hours later we secure. Head back to our BEQ rooms for either a shower, food and sleep. At least that is what I had planned one night after we were lucky to get out early (like midnight early, instead of the usual 0330-0400) on night checks weekend which is a Thursday night.
One of the wonderful things about being in Nevada is how nearly every town has a casino. Well right in Navy town, Nevada there are a few casinos but the tables close early. If you want the all day and all night experience you either need to head to Sin City or head to Casino Town. Sin City is about 18hrs away from Navy Town, so that is out. Casino Town on the flip side is only about an hour and half away (or less depending on how fast you drive on US 50).
So this one Thursday, things wrap up pretty early and most of us are amazed about what is going on and as part of the talk on the way back to our rooms. Some one gets the bright idea that since pay day is that Saturday, we don't need to be back until Sunday night, and there are a couple of vans ready for use a road trip is called for. The minute I heard that I just rolled my eyes and told myself that it isn't worth the effort, let alone trying to keep a few of these guys wrangled together. So as we walk down the hall way in the BEQ the plan becomes firmer and firmer, I walk into my room and don't pay attention to the rest of the talk. Bad move on Southern's part. Why? Well the plan hung up on this one fact, who could duty drive back to Navy Town from Casino Town. The first name to pop into most of their heads all with in about 30 nanoseconds of each other was Southern's. Meanwhile I am changing and getting ready for a hot shower and bed, when a knock at the door beckons. Who is that my mind wonders? None other then the ring leader of the Bachelor Pad. The Bachelor Pad is the name we have assigned a huge house in a nice neighborhood back home where the a number of guys are all splitting rent and crashing at. I have been invited over a couple of times and the most that I can say is this, the fridge is stock full of either Bud light or Coors and the only food to be found is Top Raman. Other then that, it is our version of Animal House.
"What do you want?" I asked in a semi-annoyed tone
"Will you drive us over the hill?"
"How many...No forget it. I am going to try and get some sleep early on tonight."
"Oh come on, we are only going to be there for a few hours, just long enough to get our gambling on and our drink on."
"Southern, come on most of us have pre-flighted already and none of us can agree on who should drive and we will behave ourselves. You won't have to baby-sit."
I should of shut the door, but my devil got the better of me. So I agreed but only after I had a chance to get a quick shower. Which worked out since most of this crew were doing the same thing.
About 30minutes later I am sitting out in the lounge waiting for the crew, when they all come up. I am tossed the keys and we pile outside into a mini-van.
The only rule that I stipulated was that when 3/4's of us were ready to bounce, we were going. If you don't make it to the van on time, well it looks like you are walking back. Agreed on by all parties.
Negotiate the gate obstacles and we are out in the desert listening to some one's Ipod and cruising down the road. Through Navy Town to US 50 and to the west we go. It amazed how once we got up on highway 50 most of the people past out or kept to themselves as they tried to pick out various objects to look at. The only thing that caused a serious topic of discussion was when we past the Ranch just outside Casino Town. Some of the guys wanted to stop in and say hi to the girls there.. I put a quick stop to that one, we already had a plan and I didn't feel like deviating from it. Besides I told most of them, if they were really into it if they started to win big at the tables plenty of girls would hang on to them and they might be able to get it on for free.
Tempers calmed we came over the last hill crest and saw the big lights of Casino Town. Lights announcing that the Nugget has a players program and one could get a free lobster dinner if you joined, Harrahs had a new Keno room, so on and so forth. I quickly asked which casino was the choice and most everyone agreed to Harrahs. Simply because a couple of the guys belonged to the one from back home and we could get a discounted late night meal. So off of 50 and into down town Casino. Up a couple of streets and into the parking lot of the Harrahs. As the doors opened up, I held everyone up and asked for an agreed upon muster time. After yet another discussion/argument the group think came up with noon. I rolled my eyes and agreed to that one.
Walking into the casino, the first thing that I went to look for was the buffet room and see if I could grab a bite to eat. I was lucky in that I got in there just as they closed the doors to the last customers. So I was able to pay ten dollars for the left overs, some over done prime rib (which was still good) some decent steam veggies and a soda.
After enjoying a warm meal, I walked out and decided to try my hand at some gambling.
Now, I have been to casinos before and have found that I enjoy playing the table games such as black jack, poker, baccarat, and every so often craps more then I do the slots. So there it was that I walked up to a black jack table and cashed in a hundred dollars.
One of my tricks to not get caught up in gambling fever is to take out how much I am willing to risk and then put my ATM card in either my room or the car. That way if I need cash I have to walk out and calm down on the way to restock my funds.
So there I was sitting down with a hundred dollars worth of chips in front of me and started to play. It was about that time the magical drinks started. I had a waitress come by and ask me what I wanted. I told her that I was the D.D. and only wanted a soda. A couple of plays later, I am up by about 75 dollars and a small glass appears in front of me with a soda in it. I drink that down while in the process of losing 45 dollars. I polish off my drink and get up to plus hundred dollars. It was then that some how my drink changed from just soda to a liquor and soda. I remember just ordering soda. That is when my night started to go down hill. I don't remember after the first few whether my drink ever emptied. It seemed as though the glass was always topped off. I also don't remember paying for any of it. The only thing I do remember is realizing that I had a buzz on and it was something close to 0600. I remember sitting down at 0200 at the table and just having a soda. The only good thing was that I was up by 425 dollars when I walked away. Basically I had in my pocket 525 dollars scattered between bills and fifty cent pieces in my pocket.
Bathroom time and then my stomach told me that it was also food time. I walk out the casino and down the street. Find an all night diner, so I turned walked in. Sat down and then seem to fit the bill all the way around for me. Because they sold newspapers behind the counter and had a wonderful western omelette special for something like six dollars. While I am sitting there reading the paper and waiting on my meal, my mind all of a sudden comes free of the booze haze. It tells me that I am an old dog and can't hang like I use to with the young pups. Because it is also craving a warm, soft, bed to lay down in; along with the food that is supposed to be coming up. Scarf down the omelette and hash browns with a large glass of OJ. Decided that my best course of action is to hang out in the van and crash there. Walk back to the parking lot, get in lock the doors and turn my cellphone to vibrate and loud next to my neck.
Some how I am not disturbed for the next eight hours, because it wasn't noon rather about 1300 (or 1pm for you military types) that I get a phone call asking me where I am.
"In the van waiting."
"Right we are on the way."
Everyone piles in and most of them look just as bad as I do, except they are drunk and haven't slept a wink. The drive back was peaceful because the minute we hit the highway everyone passed out. I rocked out to the oldies station the whole way back and crossed the gate by 3pm and was crawling back into my bed when the romantic interest called my room, she was asking how the day went. "Uhhhh!" is all I was up to saying. What we talked about is for another story for another time dear readers.
I just relearned a lesson that I already knew, but forgot. What was that?
Trying to hang with the pro-am drinkers isn't good for me
Long work weeks means longer weekends to recover
Don't drink the casino drinks because they never seem to empty out.
Stick with water or soda at the table, helps you think clearly
Finally just say no to road trips with the know party animals.
For Every Flight Hour.....
I will admit that I love airplanes too, but also hate them. Simply because I am now in the business of maintaining them. So for every flight hour some one like Lex, Jake Grafton, Harry Brubaker, "Spig" Wead, Buzz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon are up there living the dream. There is someone turning wrenches well into the early dawn trying to give them the best airplane out there. Whether that is a Sopwith Camel, Boeing F4B, Douglas SBD Dauntless, Douglas A-1 Skyraider, Mcdonnell F2H Banshee, Grumman A-6 Intruder, Grumman EA-6B Prowler, or even the MacAir F-18 Hornet. Why do we do it? Well beyond the job, for some of us there is some job satisfaction to see an airplane you poured sweat, blood, curse words, angry punches, and tears into leave the pointy end of a carrier deck. Then an hour and forty-five minutes later it comes back home over the broad end. The aircrew get out, come down to maintenance and tell the maintainer that the plane was 5.0 and the only gripe was the relief tube was too short or the seat cushion might need to be washed. So here are some shots that I have gathered over my life time or taken myself of those framers, tweaks, light bulb changers, stitch bitch, mech, or line rat doing thier part to ready an airplane for the next day's dawn patrol, close air support, combat air patrol, tanker package, or early warning mission.
Oh and bonus points to those of you old enough to know who Jake Grafton, Harry Brubaker, Steve Canyon, Buzz Sawyer, and "Spig" Wead are. Also I know that it is now Boeing F-18, but I am old and remember when Boeing made bombers and the F-18 was a MacAir product.
15 May 2007
Just some quick notes to pass on to some of my military readers:
It takes a high school education to fix what a college education breaks.
Even without a degree I have seen some kids show up Rocket 1 cause they took it upon themselves to learn how a system worked inside and out. I have also seen Rocket 1 get humble and thank one of my kids for showing him more then he forgot about said system. It is all about tact, now if some of the LCDR's and senior LT's learn that fact. Just because you graduated top 10% of the top 10% of U of Ivy League doesn't make you smart. Respect needs to go both ways.
Losing people put a serious bummer on a training det
Not any of mine and that is all I am going to say about that.
Shift wars suck
Those of you in some sort of maintenance department anywhere in the world understand that statement.
Repeat after me. I am an old dog and trying to keep up with the young pups only leads to butt drag at work.
Long nights at work and after getting off, going over the the hill to Casino town and staying in town till shift change cause everyone is doing well at the Blackjack or Poker tables isn't good on a body. Even harder when every time you put a sniffer full of brandy or a bottle of beer it magically refills itself on the table. I wish I could find out how the casino's do that magic trick, cause I really need it back home.
The 750,000th time is lucky charm
This humble scribe may have found happiness in a blind date. If you consider only a few quick dates before flying out to Training town and long phone calls where she says "I miss you" good. Honestly, I don't care what you think, cause I am happy for right now and as the song goes I will probably be obvlious to everything else in the world cause I am falling in love with a woman.
4hrs on the phone isn't long is it? What if it is with a beautiful, smart, and wonderful woman?
Last random thought for the day is this one:
Cameras are verbotene at command gatherings where one's choice of drink is Jose, Jack, Jim, James, Bud, Mich, and jungle juice.
Unless you got pics of Rocket 1 picking his nose, the new ensign showing how he put himself through college, and finally how the one of the aircrew earned that call sign full of innuendo . It isn't blackmail. Rather an insurance policy...that's it. My....I mean... an insurance policy. Oh and don't ask what is in jungle juice, just know that it can either calm the savage beast or turn them into a screaming banshee.
Labels: Southern Air Pirate