Monday, November 23, 2009

Victory is Mine!

So, sometimes in the Army you have to make some sacrifices in your daily life. One such sacrifice is the occasional food item at the commissary. This week it was celery, which being the week prior to Thanksgiving, was a crisis! Well, let's start this story right....they do not have any rhubarb, fluff, soup bones, nor gravy master. So why would we shop at a place that cannot stock even these simple items? Well, in one word: CHEAP. When faced with paying a Euro to Dollar exchange that would make even the richest folks faint at the thought, our American tax free food shopping is really the best option despite a limited selection. I would expect our commissary to not have regional items that are very New England specific, but some things you would expect them to always have. Celery is one of them. I mean, how would I make my stuffing or turkey salad? Well, in the end, we had to go back to get some, late on a weekday night. We were victorious, but it was a close call! There is an unwritten rule at the commissary or PX, which is, if you find something that you want, buy as many as you can, as who knows when they will stock it again. This leads to buying bulk in items that most people do not stock up on, like bread (our freezer is full) and ground pork (once again, limited freezer space). Next time celery is in stock, I may have to stock up on that, but I am still not sure how I would keep it fresh! I will miss the families for Thanksgiving, but you are all in our hearts and minds.

Friday, November 20, 2009

My Turn

I don't have pictures of a new bike (or newly painted bike) to show, in fact I have no pictures because where I have been working this week it is against regulations to take pictures. But I feel obligated to write a post, even though I have absolutely no idea what I am going to write about.
As a little background on the no pictures, this week I tagged along with some of my Soldiers to 1st CTC's Certification Exercise down in Miesau. Now for most folks, Miesau does nothing to excite, but for the ammunition world outside the states, the world revolves around Miesau, which is the home for the Ammunition Center Europe. I'll be quick, as this is rather boring to all but me. In short it is an area about 20 square miles filled with bunker after bunker of things that go BOOM!! When I was asked by Higher what my plan was for my Soldiers was if there was an explosive event, my answer was "ummmm, run away? If you're not vapor already." In reality the danger is fairly low, and the training was excellent.
So now that the boring part is past, I have to complain for a second. I enjoy the army, I like my job despite the occasional frustration but there are some things that drive me nuts. One is Power Point, the Army has decided at some point that life did not exist, things did not happen, and questions could not be answered before Power Point came along. Telling where the bathroom is? PowerPoint slide. Plan to eat lunch? PowerPoint Slide. Nap time? PowerPoint slide. You get the general idea. While I in no way shape or form tolerate or support Terrorism, if they managed to crash PowerPoint, I wouldn't complain too much.
The other complaint is what is called the Army Writing Style. Yes, we have a manual and standard for everything, including the number of multisyllabic words a sentence should contain and mandating the capitalization of such things as Soldier. It all conspires to create writing that is aimed at an 8th Grade education, which is about what we can honestly expect out of some Soldiers. Now most of you reading are from New England, and let me assure you that our 8th Grade must be very different from the rest of the country, because this writing style would have been beneath even the special education rooms in 8th Grade here.
I digress, by which I mean that I still have nothing to write about. Love to you all, I promise a better post sometime soon.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Some things are worth waiting for!

Almost a year after the movers wrecked the paint on my favorite bike, I finally have it back. Fresh from the paint shop at Marinoni in Canada, here he is. Words cannot explain.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Just one more reason why riding in Germany is just more fun!

So yesterday, Miller and I built up a 29er frame that had been sitting in the bike dungeon for the last couple years. It is nothing special, just a Motobecane frame with a beefy Surly rigid steel fork and some other sturdy yet heavy parts on it. Nothing could make this bike light, so I didn't even really try. In absence of a chain tension-er (yes it is a single speed) we threw on an old Ultegra derailleur until we could make it a bit less ghetto fabulous. In short, this bike is a beast, but man, is it fun! When we finished it, we took the taxing walk across the lawn to show it to our fellow bike guru, Joe. This is dangerous, as when we show him some cool new bike part, it is usually just a matter of time before he gets some bike envy, and ends up with another bike, hence his new Cube 'cross bike! While showing him the new rig, we decided that although it may be dark, muddy, and rainy, a night ride was in order to take my steed through its paces. In short order, we ran across the lawn to go get into our bike gear, eat some of Carmen's (Joe's wife) awesome salsa, and grab the lights for a night-time adventure. After meeting back up, we started out on some of our usual trails. After a couple wet-root induced wipe-outs (I don't feel bad, Joe's son, Alex, wiped out in almost the same spot, he is five years old though!), we all were really enjoying ourselves. Riding at night is super fun, as it always feels like you are going so fast, simply because the range of your lights does not allow you to to look too far ahead on the trail, like you would during the day. We bombed around on the trails for a while until Joe and I switched bikes for a while so I could rock some full suspension glory while he tried out my fully rigid 29er. At this point, like a horse to water, we were taking the trail back home, when we decided we were far too parched to continue. We needed some refreshment before we could make it the last mile home. We stopped at Jalisco's, our favorite Mexican place for some Zoigl. Luckily Joe is good friends with the bar tender, as he allowed us to bring our bikes inside, as we didn't have any locks with us. Refreshed and happy, we made our way back home. A very good ride, with good company and good beer. What more could anyone ask for!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veterans' Day

Firstly, I just want to start this post by wishing all veterans who have served in all capacities a happy Veterans' Day. We should not forget though, that although we may use it as a day to thank and remember our veterans, it is also a day to mark the ending of the first World War. On this day, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met in peace to lay wreaths to remember the many Soldiers and civilians that died in that horrible conflict. This action gives us all hope that currently waring peoples such as those who are fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, may someday remember this conflict in a more peaceful time. Please pray for all Veterans, both of the past that have made the ultimate sacrifice and for those around the world who currently take up arms so others do not have to.