I distinctly remember where and what I was doing that day as so many others do. Who couldn’t?
I had worked the night before on the USS Abraham Lincoln as I had been for a few months. Usually, I came home about midnight and spent some time decompressing before going to bed. Little did I know what I would wake up to.
Ten years ago today.
I got out of bed about 9am, that is three hours behind the East Coast. Turning on the television I was taken by surprise at the images being broadcast. Fire, mayhem, cowardice, courage, and bravery were all on display. I thought it was a movie playing on every news channel. It took some time for me to realize that the United States had been attacked by a nameless foe. Attacked by some cowards that care nothing about life.
Getting on base that day and in the subsequent days was a PITA. Most of the gates were locked, there were hands on check of bags, and the eerie silence of the night sky.
It is too easy to draw the parallels between Al Qaeda and the Japanese Empire of WWII. The only major difference is that the Japanese had honor, they only attacked what could be used to attack them. The similarities are many.
They thought we were too weak to respond, they were wrong.
They thought we didn’t have the stomach to send our brave men and women into battle, they were wrong.
They thought the American People would not support the troops, they were wrong.
Ten years ago today.
A group of strangers united and voted on what to do. Should they submit to terror or will they take action? They voted to act.
I will never forget the last thing those brave men and women said over the airwaves, “Let’s roll”. And we did.
As most of my close friends and geeks know, I was released from the Hurricane Ike Recovery project in Beaumont, TX on November 11. Here’s the story.
When I arrived in Beaumont, I met some really nice people. Richard, Toni, Dane, and Billy. Billy is the regional manager, Dane has the Beaumont area with Richard, and Toni was here to help with the repairs at Lanxess. I started handling the manpower, and hotel room tracking. The manpower was easy, but the hotel accommodations where horrible. A significant amount of them were damaged and to top it off, most of the others were filled with people displaced from their homes due to the damage from the hurricane. Every 15 days, these people could renew their vouchers from FEMA and the Red Cross. When I arrived we had 150 people in hotels from Beaumont to Lake Charles in Louisiana.
So on October 14, we had to move 60 people. ugh I just barely missed some nice rooms by mere minutes. The hotel in Lake Charles was closing for renovation and the nice Elegante hotel in Beaumont did not get the message that we wanted the rooms for longer than the two weeks they were booked for. I tried to get a hold of the person at the hotel that we thought was handling our account, my calls went unanswered. I finally contacted the right person and by then it was too late. Of course it was my fault. The night of the move, was not quite a disaster, but it might just as well have been. The manager at one of the sites didn’t check with the people to make sure everyone was accounted for at the new hotel. Of course it was my fault again. I had booked extra rooms so it was not a real problem. This was a Tuesday night, on Thursday a rain storm came through. The roof at the Travelodge in Orange leaked. My fault again.
Anyway, to the part that really made that angry old dude angrier. Now when the nice hotel was booting us out I asked EVERYONE that was there, if I could get a room there, would they like one. No one did, even angry old dude. We where very close on hotel rooms and I would take any that I could. The day before we had to move, the person at the Elegante called and told me what was up. She said they could accommodate one of us. Since I was driving and didn’t have anyone else’s room number, I gave her mine.
I should say that I was informing the people that needed to know, all about what I was doing. There were no secrets. If they didn’t read the emails, too bad. An entire month went by. The day before my release, I took a five hour safety class to get into the Exxon Mobil Synthetics plant in Beaumont. The day of my release I took the required Breathalyzer and Wiz Quiz. As I was sitting in the office we were discussing hotels. I said something that caught angry old dudes attention. He asked who was at the Elegante and I said I was. Oh My God. I told the truth and several hours later I was gone.
Thanks a lot dude. You suck. Get over yourself.
My apologies to Dane for putting him between a rock and a hard place, and having to listen to angry old dude bitch all about it.
Fair or not? What do you think?
I haven’t been able to see my Cat since I left for Texas. It was very emotional for me, and for him. He’s been with me for 14 years, and I can’t have him here at mom’s yet, because the landlady doesn’t like cats.
He was on top of the truck that Amy loaned me, staying warm on the engine heat like cats do. He had been there for a while as I was visiting with my friend. I walked up to him and started petting him. He was purring like he alway does. As I was leaning on the truck he layed down next to my arm and put his paw on it. Then he put his head on my arm. I could tell he didn’t want me to go. He hasn’t done that since we lost my other cat, his buddy and mine, Calvin. I wanted to catnap him right there, but the landlady would probably have a cow.
I’m been so sad since then, with all the other shit that’s gone on lately, I just need my kitty here with me. If I’m not around for a bit, don’t worry, I’m just getting shit sorted out.
The day I left for Texas, I took my car over to my brothers place so he could sell it. He sold it for
$2500. The blue book on it was only $1770. HOORAY!! Now I have to obtain and/or transfer the title and get the tabs for it, all online. The state of Washington is very anal about such things. The form for a replacement title must have a notary witness my signature. And not just any notary, a WASHINGTON notary. So my brother will have his company notary do it. There is alway a way around stupid requirements.
I could change my address and buy my registration without such annoyances. All I needed was my drivers license number. A VALID drivers license number. I”m so glad the state is watching out for our best interests.
My car WAS a 1995 Saturn SLI, That’s an acronym for Piece of Shit. It served it’s purpose very well. Cheap transportation. It achieved 30+ mpg around town, and 40+ mpg on the highway. It is the very basic four door crap car that Saturn put out in 1995.
My next ride will most likely be the Chevy HHR, or a GMC small truck. I haven’t decided which one or both yet. As most of you know I had the HHR for my trip last spring and some of you know I had previously owned a GMC Sonoma. I would really like to get either one, or both of them.
In red of course.
My first night here in Texas was a doooozzie. First off, it took an hour to get the one bag I checked to the baggage claim. Then I took a bus to the rental car pavilion. A fucking BUS. The rental car pavilion was not even in the airport proper, but in a compound about three miles away from the terminal. It appeared to be a brand new facility.
I made my way to the Alamo counter where, since I only had a DEBIT card with me, I couldn’t rent a car without a return flight. The nice lady, Katherine, had me book a return flight, just to get the confirmation number. The travel agent asked me if I wanted a round-trip ticket. I knew that one-way ticket to Texas would come back to bite me. Anyway, after jumping through the hoops, I was the proud owner of a Kia Spectra. HOORAY!!!
At this point I decided to ask the hotel for directions. Only to be informed that I didn’t have any reservations. WHAT?!?! Apparently, the hotel stopped using their reservation system some weeks before. Great, not a hotel room to be had, anywhere. Until…. I found this place along the “beltway”. It was the only place around. And now I know why. The “lobby” had bulletproof glass between the “guests” and the person at the front desk. I knew what kind of a place this was when he asked this skanky woman if she wanted the room for the entire night. Yea. You got it. Rooms by the hour. Free porn. And a very dirty carpet. The wireless access was off of some dirty connection that crapped out constantly. Luckily, I was able to retrieve my NEW hotel plans and the phone numbers of my contacts at Eaton.
I have never turned on a tv at any hotel to see two couples butt fucking, until now. All I can say is, dudes, I’m impressed.
If off to Houston, Texas. The flight leaves Seattle at 11:35 on Wednesday October 1st. I have an agent to book the flight, the hotel, and the rental car. The company is paying for the airfare, the hotel, and the rental car. SWEET!! The last time I did this, I had to pay for everything. But that was 22 years ago, my how times have changed.
My first stop will be the jobsite, which is an unknown at this point. But it’s somewhere east of Houston. In the Beaumont area I suspect, as that area has many industrial plants and oil refineries that were affected by Hurrincane Ike. The people I have dealt with so far are very nice and helpful. Much different from the fiasco of shipbuilding. But these people are all in the electrical field, not the total mashup that shipbuilding can be. God, how I despise the people in that industry. It’s some fantastic stuff to work on, but the intensity can bring even the most experienced people to their knees.
I took this on the way to the first day of Gnomedex. This is the marina in Bremerton. And the waterway is Sinclair Inlet with Rich Passage in the distance. A lovely orange, not the red that warns the sailors of impending doom.
It’s that time of the year again, the time for Chris Pirillo’s Gnomedex Conference in Seattle, Washington. For us techno junkies it’s a must go to event. I missed last year’s due to a conflicting event that was cancelled at the last minute. Too late to get tickets, but not this year. As a moderator for Chris’ Live Chat on Wyldryde IRC network. I was asked, alright I volunteered, to help out behind the scenes with whatever Chris’ needs help with. And now, apparently, the includes moderating the comments on his blog. It’s a tedious task, but someone has to do it. (you’re welcome Kat).
I can honestly say I have not met any of the attendees or the speakers before. So I hope to met some fun people and make some friends in the tech industry.
Since I live, literally within walking distance, the travel is nearly zero. I was hoping more of the Moderators had a chance to meet up at this event, but the distance to travel for most of them is over 2000 miles. I know you will all be there in spirit.
Thanks Chris, I really appreciate this, more than you know.
HAHA MADE YA LOOK!!!! j00′ve been blasterrolled!!!!