March 29, 2008

That's Frighteningly Fast

I was just uploading some photos to my flickr account. Someone posted a comment exactly seven seconds after I uploaded this image. I'm a little scared now.

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New Category

I wonder if I should create a new "Health" category. Or maybe I should call it "Broke". That's a joke, see. By our slang, Marines don't get injured, they get "broke". Always with that tense. So if you see a guy show up to formation with a cast, you say "Dammit Leyva, how did you get broke?"

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As Long As We're Covering the Bad News

Hey, we're on a roll here. This is something I've not talked about all week.

My ordnance-handling medical clearance expires at the end of the month. Last Monday, I went to the Occupational Health clinic along with two of my compadres to get all of us properly certified. There was some confusion when we got there; Gunny had made the appointments, and we ended up on the list for not only ordnance certs, but also humvee driver and seven-ton driver. We got those tests taken off the schedule quick, fast, and in a hurry, because if we had the certs the unit would make us do the driving, and we don't have the people to spare for that.

An ordnance handler clearance test consists of vitals and bloodpressure check, labratory blood work, a vision check, auditory check, EKG, and a brief interview with a doctor. The blood work is still at the lab. The vision test showed that I need glasses, but I'm 20/25 with them, which is good enough. Hearing has degraded somewhat from last year, and I'm not happy about that. The corpsman giving me that test told me not to freak out, because hearing tests are highly variable from day to day, based on earwax, fluid buildup, loud noises in the morning, etc. The EKG was annoying, because the room was cold, and stripping to one's underwear while a (female) corpsman sticks a dozen sticky pads to one is unpleasant enough without it being cold too.

After all the tests were done, we lined up to see the doc. The other two guys went first, they were in and out as the doc glanced over their results and gave them his blessing (and his signature on their certification card.)

Me, he glanced over my results, and paused at my EKG graph. "Hmm..." he said. "Looks like we've got something going on on the EKG. I'm going to set you up an appointment with a specialist, and hold off on your cert pending what he has to say."

Preparing for the inspection has been stressing me out. I've not been sleeping as well as I'd like, and I'm hoping a little heart irregularity is just another symptom of stress. But still, I've been kind of freaking out about it. Ironically, I've been trying to cool out a bit this week, in hopes that the old ticker gets back on it's "A" game. So being stressed about being overstressed is amusing.

Anyway, I've got a followup appointment scheduled for Wednesday, so we'll see how things sit.

As for my injured thumb, it still ain't right. It doesn't hurt, unless I try to use it. Of course, for me that's the classic sign of a broken bone- every time I can recall breaking a bone, it doesn't hurt if I leave it alone. So at this point I'm planning to go to sick call Monday morning to see what they say. I can't justify an ER visit to myself. For Monday morning PT, Gunny's got a kettlebell and sprints session planned out. I think I'll do the sprints and sit out the weights.

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March 28, 2008

A Distinctly Familiar Sensation

Back in my college days, my circle of friends once decided to play indoor soccer. Only a handful of us had even played soccer before, but we would not be denied. So we practiced three or four times and joined the intramural league. I don't remember what our team name is, anymore. Pity, that.

The only night everyone had the evening free to play was the night of the "competitive" league, not the "collegial" league, meaning our opponents were all-male, out-for-blood types. Our mixed-gender, largely untrained team got smoked every single game. We didn't even get a goal until the final game of the season. Which is not to say we were completely hapless; although Paul had never played soccer, his years of hockey meant that few people challenged him for the ball near the boards a second time. That's because they realized they could just wait for him to have to pass it or dribble away from the boards, and it's harder to check someone when there's nothing to check them into.

The last game of the season, I got my right thumb bent backwards, breaking one of the bones. I'm stubborn about such things, so I just iced it down for two days, until the swelling was so dramatic that my friends essentially dragged me to the clinic for X-rays.

I mention this because for today's PT*, Gunny decided we'd have some fun, and the six of us played three-on-three one-hand-touch football, on a greatly shortened field. I devised a method to randomly pick teams, which was good that there were no last-guy-picked nastiness, but bad because it ended in unbalanced teams. My team had me, the soccer player; LCpl "Tron", who was a fencer (and has a cold); and Cpl W, who was a distance swimmer and soccer player. The other team had Gunny, who played football; Cpl O, who played lacrosse; and Cpl McG, who also played football.

As you might imagine, we got smoked. Lost 12 touchdowns to 7.

And I told the story at the top because I got my left thumb bent back, and it feels a lot like the right one did back when I broke it. Hmmm. I'm going to ice it for a while before I go to medical, though. It might just be strained.

And for next week, Cpl W and I are going to bring a soccer ball, and we're going to play with the same teams.

*Footnote: Yes, it's Saturday. Of course we're working. We always work. I had a weekend off two weeks ago, and it was a miracle.

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Sweet Sorrow

Whenever I finish a really good book, I feel sad. I can read it a second time, but never again will I have the surprise and pleasure of seeing how a good story twists and turns.

Also, I'm more selective than I was in my youth, so I often must read a number of books before meeting another that has the spark of greatness.

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March 26, 2008

Disturbing Signs

I always wear a hat these days. Although at work I call it a "cover".

During this morning's formation run, the guys behind me mockingly suggested that I should ask for a discount next weekend when I'm at the barber's.

I had to drive to another base today for a checkup, and I was immensely irritated to realize I had neglected to bring along a pen and some note paper in my pocket.

I woke up at 0545 this morning, and it didn't even seem early.

I occasionally eat pizza topped with peppers.

My exciting evenings consist of me in my room with a good book and a computer.

I have a subscription to American Scientist.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Every step I take to being more like my parents, another little piece of my childhood dies.

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March 25, 2008

Thank You Uncle Sam

Got a letter in the mail today, from the IRS. It seems that Congress has told them to give me $600.

How nice! A present from the government!

Hmmm, I wonder where that $600 came in the first place.

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Madness! It's Madness, I Tell You!

How do you tell your kids about Passover? This way!

Via Megan McArdle, who isn't normally a Peepblogger.

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March 23, 2008

The Other Reddish Meat

Happy Easter everyone! Being Easter, the commisary was closed. Which is rather silly, as under 20% of their staff are Americans, and Japanese Christians are kind of scarce. So while I'm sure they aren't averse to a day off, it's not like the staff had something in particular to do today.

So I went grocery shopping at the San-A, not for the first time. As usual I bought and ate a giant pile of sushi. Also, I got some ground beef. Except now that I cooked it up, I think it was ground turkey. Which I wasn't expecting, but I guess it'll work out, it's just leaner than beef. Which is a good thing to begin with.

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March 22, 2008

Gone Baby Gone

I arrived here on Okinawa just over two years ago. A month after that, Cpl Ose showed up. He and I had followed similar career tracks so far; he had ben promoted to corporal the very day after I had.

But while I'd come from a helo squadron and was quite happy here, Ose had come from a F-18 squadron and was pissed off. He was Los Angeles born and bred, and missed being able to drive an hour and see his family every weekend. The new work environment bothered him too: fighter squadrons have much less gear to take care of, so the work tempo is much slower. Plus, a fighter squadron has a seat shop that takes care of on-aircraft work, so the flight equipment shop only has to work on aircrew gear, and essentially never need to go outside. So Ose wasn't happy here. He wasn't happy getting dirty and cut turning wrenches, he wasn't happy trying to keep track of 120 aircrew and 300 sets of passenger gear, and he didn't like the other people in the shop very much.

Cpl P arrived six weeks after Cpl Ose did. He was LCpl P at the time, fresh out of school; but he'd been delayed a couple of months at school for scheduling reasons, and he was a high-flyer, meritoriously promoted to Lance, and got himself promoted to Cpl after about six months on-island. He was happier here; he liked the work, he liked the aircrew. But like everyone else, he hated the SSgt that ran the shop for a year, and he became increasingly bitter about the way the MEU was driving us.

The two of them both went to see the monitor when he visited the island. (The monitor is the man that assigns all enlisted Marines to their units.) They requested, and received, orders off the island, in less time than their scheduled two years. Ose had to extend his contract by a couple of months to make it work, but he was willing. He hates the Corps, but he hates this unit more.

They left yesterday morning, both flying out on the scheduled military flight called the "Freedom Bird", Kadena Airbase to Seattle, Washington. Ose is going to a helo unit in China Lake, California, to his irritation. P is going to a I-level squadron in Camp Pendleton. I think Ose is getting out when his contract ends in a year, but I have hopes that P can regain his motivation when with a unit that doesn't suck as much as this one does.

I'm now the only one in Flight E that remembers how good this unit used to be.

UPDATE: Forgot someone in there. When LCpl P arrived here, he came with LCpl S. S had a drinking problem, and wasn't getting any treatment, and was not getting punished for his misbehavior. Well, he's in treatment now, and the city prosecutor has dropped the felony charges in exchage for a fine and an apology. With charges dropped, he's off legal hold, so he'll be leaving next Saturday. We're getting a little shorthanded around here.

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