August 30, 2008


This morning, I put my dirty clothes into the washing machine, including two (2) white athletic socks.

I just took my now-clean clothes out of the dryer, and found only one (1) white athletic sock.

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My Nerd Type

What Be Your Nerd Type?
Your Result: Literature Nerd

Does sitting by a nice cozy fire, with a cup of hot tea/chocolate, and a book you can read for hours even when your eyes grow red and dry and you look sort of scary sitting there with your insomniac appearance? Then you fit this category perfectly! You love the power of the written word and it's eloquence; and you may like to read/write poetry or novels. You contribute to the smart people of today's society, however you can probably be overly-critical of works. It's okay. I understand.

Drama Nerd
Science/Math Nerd
Gamer/Computer Nerd
Social Nerd
Anime Nerd
Artistic Nerd
What Be Your Nerd Type?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

I'm a little sceptical: I think it overrated me on Drama. And Gamer/Computer should be above Musician.

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August 28, 2008

A 100% Chance of SPF 45

It's my last weekend on Okinawa, and the weather is gorgeous. To the beach!

UPDATE: No ocean swimming, because the migrating jellyfish are all over the place, and no one wanted to get stung. But Torii Beach does have a nice 60' tall waterslide, so we went on that. For reasons too complicated to explain, a second-grade girl used me as her personal water slide steed. Going face down and face first is a lot of fun, but with someone riding on my back, the friction scraped the skin over the points of my hips. The shrieks of glee from my passenger made it worth doing a couple of times. There is still water in my sinuses.

I also played volleyball. My serve was inexplicably not up to form, but I did get a couple of nice pancake digs. The local sand is ground-up coral and not very fine-grained, so it gave me a nice exfoliation treatment for free.

The frequently-applied suncreen seems to have done it's job, as I am currently "lightly toasted", while some of the other guys are all the way up to "lobster".

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August 26, 2008

Saving Lives

Now that we're not on the MEU anymore, we're responsible for providing a standby aircraft every day from dawn until dusk. That aircraft must be able to launch with 60 minutes notice, to either fight a fire or provide casualty evacuation.

We call it the "Firebucket", because that what it mostly does. As summer wears on, the greenery dries out, and we get a range fire once every week or two. So the bird launches, they hang a big honkin' bucket underneath, and it drops water onto the fire. It's a good time, I'm told.

Anyway, last week they were out fighting a fire, when they got a casevac mission call. Firefighting is mission category "urgent", but casevac is category "emergency", so the put the bucket down, flew to Lester Hospital to pick up a pair of corpsmen, and flew off to an Landing Zone in the Northern Training Area.

Part of the NTA is the Jungle Warfare School, and a fire team of four Marines were part of the Opposing Force providing the training. One of the fire team's members was bitten by a habu snake, the local venomous reptile, which is a man killer. Being OpFor, these guys were deep in the jungle. So the fastest one of the team went running off to the nearest command post to get a radio call out, the call that we responded to. The other two guys brought the snakebite victim out of the jungle with a fireman's carry.

The problem is, the guy that got bit was what we in the Corps refer to as a "Corn-fed MF'r". Six feet something, and a bit over two hundred pounds of muscle. They were in a hurry to get him to the LZ, naturally. They pushed the pace so much that they were waiting when our helo arrived… and one of them was down with heatstroke from the effort.

Good thing we had two litters rigged! Because the corpsmen weren't really all that worried about the snakebite; sure, a habu can kill you, but it takes a couple of hours, and there was plenty of time to get the victim to the hospital and inject him with antivenom. But heatstroke is a critical emergency requiring immediate treatment, and at the LZ all they'd had was water. So our arriving corpsmen wrapped up the heatstroke guy with the taco (sheets soaked in ice water), and only as a second thought put the snake-bit guy on the other stretcher, and then our bird raced to Lester, where again a stretcher crew raced to the helipad and hustled the heat casualty to the ER, and then came back for the snake-bit guy at a leisurely walk.

Then the bird took back off again and finished fighting the fire, which was much worse as it'd had plenty of time to get back to the business of burning.

The casualties are both expected to make a full recovery. The OpFor's CO told our CO that he's going to send the aircrew each a Letter of Commendation, which is nice of him.

All in a day's work in Dragontown!

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August 25, 2008

That Little Piggy Should Go To the Doctor's Office

As noted in my previous entry, I had to work last night. I got home tired, wrote the blog post, stripped off my boots, put on sleepwear, and went to bed.

When I took the boots off, I didn't bother to place them neatly under my rack in the proscribed Marine Corps manner. I just tossed them aside.

This morning, my alarm clock goes off, and I sprang out of bed to stop the noise. And by "sprang out of bed" I mean "levered myself slowly, with much groaning". Heading towards my alarm, I stubbed my left foot into one of my boots. It hurt. A lot.

I hobbled my way through my shower, got dressed, hobbled out to the bus stop, and limped through work today. The morning started out with a gigantic FOD walk, cleaning up all the debris left behind by the flightline fair visitors. Normal FOD walk is a check of our squadron's aircraft parking area, but today we had to check our area as well as about a fifth of the taxiway, runway, and the open field between the runway and taxiway. It took a good hour and a half.

For the rest of the workday, I managed to stick with in-shop tasks, which meant I could sit down and not suffer as much. I got permission to leave work an hour early, got home, and took off my steel toes first thing. I saw this:


Not good. Perhaps I should have the docs look at it, but I'd really rather not. Because anyone with any kind of serious injury becomes "non-deployable", which in my case means I wouldn't be allowed to leave until it was healed.

And I'm not all that worried. Worst case is that it's broken. And for broken toes, the standard of care is getting told "Don't walk on it too much!" 

UPDATE: (Next day) Swelling has gone down, and I can walk again reasonable comfortably, especially with steel-toe boots (that nicely protect the toes.) So I don't think it's broken.

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August 24, 2008

Funnel Cakes Are the Devil

So, I was planning to go whole-hog for the last Eisa show I'm likely to see. I was going to put my pocket cam on a tripod for video, and carry my DSLR.

Then I got horribly ill with food poisoning. I blame the funnel cakes. At any rate, I was in no condition to go anywhere until about 6 PM, by which point the show I wanted to see was over.

But I was foolish enough to answer a knock at my door at 7 PM. It was work. They needed me to come in and do some maintenance. It was something that they should have known about a week ago, but since they forgot, it becomes my problem to fix. Joy.

So I went to work in civvies, put on my steeltoes and a cranial, and removed some explosives from one of our aircraft. As a side note, I really don't think any of us were supposed to be there. We were the only squadron working, and seeing as how there are still a few thousand Japanese all over the flightline, I suspect the base's commanding officer would not be happy to learn that our commanding officer told night crew to get cracking. But that's a problem above my pay grade.

So I did the work I had to, came home, and was making dinner when the fireworks started. I grabbed my camera and climbed the fire escape. I didn't take time to get my tripod, so the images are all really shaky. I'll go through them and post the best ones tomorrow.

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August 23, 2008

The Fair Is Back

The Futenma Friendship Flightline Fair is on once again! This is my third time. We shut down the runway, and Saturday and Sunday the taxiway and parking ramps get a stage, carnival rides, and lots of stalls with food and goodies. An exemplar of every aircraft and ground vehicle on the island gets parked at one end, and locals can get inside and take photos.

This year the big hit was inflatable swords. There are kids everywhere whacking each other. Cultural barriers are falling before my eyes.

Also, a subset of Japanese teenage girls love getting dressed up and going out in public to get admired, and the young Marines are more than willing to do the admiring.

I took in the Zampa Eisa show at the stage, which is the Okinawan drumming and dancing tradition. It was only a small group this time, about a dozen. There's another show tomorrow, I hope it's a bigger group. (Last year's eisa group was about forty strong.) Eisa is big on the island. Two weeks ago down in Naha was the annual "10,000 Eisa March", where every town's eisa team paraded. I went to see it, and had fun, but I didn't take any photos because it was pouring rain all day. (I also forgot to mention it until now.)

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August 21, 2008

Object Lesson

Every week Marines have to clean their barracks and their rooms. We had two rooms fail the inspection for the second week in a row. While the rest of us are at liberty on Friday evening, those six are going to stay at the hanger after the rest of us go home from work. They'll be sleeping on the hangar deck, in sleeping bags and bivy sacks. Cots and matress pads are specifically not permitted. That concrete is not comfortable.

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August 20, 2008


Today I turned in my gas mask and all my combat gear. That gear comes from the Consolidated Issue Facility, which is run my a civilian company. The clerk and I checked off the hundreds of individual items, and I was missing one thing- a single grenade pouch. Rrrrrr... those are small and easy to lose. I'm hoping it's in my room somewhere. If not I'll try to get one from somebody else. If I can't get one, I'll need to file a Missing Gear Statement which has to get signed off by my CO and then the Group CO, and I'll have to pay the replacement cost. Which is about $6. It's not the money though, it's that I don't want to spend two hours of my life on paperwork for a tiny $6 pouch.

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August 19, 2008

The Fallen Are Legion

I warned them. I did.

"Woe!" I cried. "Woe to those with the temerity to bring challenge! Since the days of eld, many have come forth, gallant and gay, to take the field against me. Woe unto them! For they have fallen, every one, vanquished and gone. Why seek you to join the dishonored and defeated? Turn back, seek other diversions than this futile striving!"

My opponents were not to be swayed. They produced a copy of Trivial Pursuit (20th Anniversary Edition) and offered battle.

Their defeat was utter and total, as I had predicted. As I strode from the field, perhaps a tear darkened my cheek; when would a worthy challenger at last lay me low, and end my ceaseless quest?

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