Wizards of Oz

"Life is fraughtless ... when you're thoughtless."


OldSkool2010: MI & WV

OldSkool2010: Part 2.2
(to Michigan & West Virginia)

After a weekend in Minnesota (and Renee's 25th high school reunion), we headed to my birthplace of Paw Paw, Michigan. But first we stopped in Chicagoland, where we met fellow milblogger Zenpundit (aka Mark Safranski) and his wife Lisa for lunch. Zen is a teacher and historian, and he came bearing gifts for my Antilibrary: Sebastian Junger's War and Dick Couch's Sheriff of Ramadi.

Once in Michigan, we had many reunions with family members. "Kupuna" (great-grandmother to Shelby, Jarrett and Sophie, and a World War II-era Marine) is as spry as ever -- crawling on the floor with Sophie then doing a deep-knee bend to stand back up.

The cousins gathered at Great-Aunt Kerry's (and what a great aunt she is!)...

All of my southwest Michigan relatives came for dinner:

We also paid a visit to Lake View Hospital, where I was born:

After two nights in Michigan, we braved the turnpikes of Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania -- shelling out more than $30.00 for the day's drive to West Virginia and the Acker home. Denise, Tim and their kids were neighbors in Chesapeake, Virginia back in the day:

In Chapter 2.3, OldSkool2010 returns to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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OldSkool2010: MSP

OldSkool2010: Part 2.1 (Minnesota)

After our San Diego trip, we had a couple weeks at home before "OldSkool-Part 2" launched off. After a 1,000+ mile drive in a single day, compounded by losing an hour as we crossed from Mountain Time into Central, Renee paid a visit to the ol' Cell Block, Blaine High School.

Of course, this was in preparation for her 25th High School Reunion. The ladies all looked fab-u-lous:

Gramme took Sophie on many walks through the garden:

Sophie also got to play with Godmother Joelle and her boys, Mateo and Max. Of course, Sophie laid claim to the pink-and-purple soccer ball!

Jarrett with Godfather Kirk:

Sophie's third cousin Ian was not at all shy around girls....

Since Bro-in-Law Kirk is a many-time World Beer Tourist at Old Chicago, we had to complete the local summer mini-tour (featuring the beers of August Schell).

Mission Accomplished!

Another mission accomplished: I visited my 50th state!

A very nice -- albeit brief -- visit! Next up, OldSkool2010 rolls to Michigan and West Virginia!

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The Ascent Cometh

Wave 2 of the Pikes Peak Ascent Half-Marathon launches at 7:30am maƱana. 13.32 miles, with 7,500' of vertical!

ADDENDUM: I was a "DNF" -- "Did Not Finish". While I thought I reached the final "cut-off" (the A-Frame at Mile 10.2, elevation 11,800') with about a 1/2 minute to spare, the crew announced that we had missed the cut-off and would not count as a finisher. My guess is they defaulted to the printed cut-off clock time (11:45:00 AM MDT), based on a gun-time of exactly 07:30:00 AM MDT. I estimate true gun-time was about 30-40 seconds late. So maybe next year....

Here's a link to my MotionX-GPS track to the A-Frame.



OldSkool2010: SoCal Reunions

OldSkool2010: Part 1.3 (Reunions)

We were able to catch up with many friends, family members and former neighbors during our month in San Diego -- some of them at the beach!

A colleague from Renee's paralegal days, Kathleen, happened to work in the same building where my class was taking place. She brought extra boogie boards so Jarrett and Shelby could ride the waves at Breakers Beach on Naval Air Station-North Island (the same beach as the famous Hotel Del Coronado, with less people):

Sand Mermaid:

Jarrett got to spend lots of time with his godmother, Andra:

And Shelby got to visit godfather Chip in his law offices in downtown San Diego:

Shelby also got to see godmother Lynne:

Renee's Dad and his wife Sandi came up from Baja California Norte to join us for a pool party with the Hurst family:

And my folks came down from the Bay Area, spending well over a week in San Diego -- plenty of time for visits to the Zoo and LEGOland!

(The LEGOland picture above is from the "Mars Mission" pre-briefing, where Jarrett got to program an RCX LEGO robot to perform various tasks -- rescuing astronauts, recovering rock samples and launching the saved astronauts back to Earth.)

My cousin Ryan graduated from high school while we were in town, so we got to celebrate at the world-famous Potato Shack in Encinitas:

Shelby & Casey, who are only a few weeks apart in age, are growing up wayyyyy too fast....

Casey's dad Kent showed Jarrett and me the labs at his company, BioLegend, in the Golden Triangle:

The Limberg family, neighbors from our first home together in Renaissance-La Jolla:

Russ Vorce, aka "The Coach", who was my field team manager during my Science Advisor tour at Marine Corps Forces Pacific in the late 1990s, had an ample supply of martinis:

Current MDA colleague Scott Ziemke was in San Diego for a conference. We met in the Gaslamp Quarter for pints:

So much socializing wore the Peanut out:

After a great month, we returned home via Utah and Interstate-70. If Mars had Interstates, this is what they would look like....

Next up: OldSkool2010 Part 2, into the Midwest and MidAtlantic!

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OldSkool2010: Gator Freighter

OldSkool2010: Part 1.2 (Gator)

One of my classmates at Defense Acquisition U. (the purpose of this June trip to America's Finest City) is a department head aboard USS MAKIN ISLAND (LHD-8), the newest "gator freighter" in the fleet. He sponsored a tour for us -- it's not often that you get to see a U.S. Navy ship with only one coat of paint..... So we invited J-man's Godmother Andra and her husband Brad (a retired USMC Gunnery Sergeant) to join us for a Saturday tour.

At Pier 8, aboard the 32nd Street Naval Station, USS MAKIN ISLAND was moored next to USS BOXER (LHD-4). BOXER has amassed an impressive set of campaign ribbons and honors -- including three crossed-cutlass pirate skulls beneath her "Battle 'E's" from her rotation with Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151):

Since MAKIN ISLAND is newly commissioned, she has not yet garnered the same accolades.

The quarterdeck is on the hangar deck, with generous acknowledgment of the senior member of our class (a U.S. Navy Captain) by the Officer of the Deck.

As an "Amphibious Assault Ship / Landing Dock" (LHD class), MAKIN ISLAND is designed to fill its aft area (called the "Well Deck") with water and lower a ramp to allow USMC assault vehicles and hovercraft to exit for maneuver to their objectives. Jarrett and my classmate Tyler check out the Well Deck:

Cap'n Sophie!

Sophie mans the helm:

Sophie and Andra at the Quarterdeck:

Andra checks out Marine berthing. Yes, that three-high bunk bed is where they live for more than six months at a time.... Their only personal storage is in the cabinet beneath their mattress:

Old Glory waves over San Diego Bay, with the Coronado Bridge in the background:

Next up: Family Reunions in San Diego.

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