Monday, January 30, 2012

Hurt Locker Anybody...?

It was one of those days. The only thing missing was that awesome green bomb suit from The Hurt Locker. We asked if we could put one on, we couldn't.

Today was probably the best day I've had on the deployment. It was pretty rad. So at our location, we don't have an incinerator. This is not important for any other reason for me, except that it means there is no way to properly dispose of expired or used medications. These tend to pile up in the pharmacy and need to be destroyed from time to time.

Lucky for us, there are people to blow things up every day out here. Enter EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal). You know, the bomb squad guys. These are the guys that disarm Times Square car bombs or really any other type of explosive device that needs handling.

So our pharmacist arranged for us to add our meds to their explosion of the day. We thought we might be lucky to see some cool boom with a brick or two some Jack Bauer C-4 or something.

Not even close.
We got to load this pack with all sorts of fun. All in all, 675 lbs of C-4 (540 bricks), plus grenades of all sorts, missiles tubes, 25 caliber shells, and lots of things that go boom. And we carefully, of course, and strategically laid brick by brick of C-4 onto this huge old pile of arms/explosives.

And on top of all that, we placed our dinky little two bags of meds.

The EOD guys were really cool and let us get our hands on and build the pack with the rest of them, explaining a bunch of the weapons to us clueless medics. In the end, they let our logistics NCOIC press the detonator to make this:
(we packed the bright one on the right)

The whole day was pretty fun. From the wild sandy, pile of rocks and holes road, having the humvee pull our van out of the sand, to playing with C-4, making a really, really big bang, and handling ordnance all day we pretty great. Didn't feel like a deployed dentist at all.

That being said, 30 mins after getting back to the clinic after the grand adventure, I was knee-deep in starting a root canal on a patient... Welcome home, I guess.

(the after hole, verifying the destruction of our meds)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

hello baby girl

28 weeks and 2 days. the first picture was done with software that shows skin tone. seeing her on the screen at the doctor's office today made everything seem so real! and for that picture she even had her eyes open. we saw her blink and wiggle around. we're getting excited to meet our baby girl!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

stephen and jon definitely coordinating.

citizens united has completely ruined our modern politics! jon stewart and stephen colbert are at it again to point out the moronic nature of what is now our new political reality.

so here they are entirely within legal bounds "not coordinating." just imagine the conversations that newt and mitt "aren't" having with their super PACs...

next. here's a little piece they did. only of course because mitt romney actually believes that "corporations are people too"

and since colbert can't get on the ballot in south carolina, he announced on his show for his supporters to vote for herman cain, who is still on the ballot in south carolina. hence the following ads.

and a few more diddies. please watch.

what have our politics come too... man with richest buddies wins, i guess. maybe that's why mitt likes to think of corporations as people, his friends.

Monday, January 16, 2012

out on the town

well. today was a nice change of pace. i was starting to hit that six week wall when things start to get really gloomy. but luckily i was signed up for a cultural tour today, so i got to leave the base for the first time since i've been here. otherwise, i've been in camped in a like a square mile area day in and day out aside from the times that i take a long run around the flight line.

anyway. it was nice to get off base. since we were like a small tour group, you not allowed to wear your uniform, so we all donned civilian clothes and went to a couple locations in the city for some culture. it was pretty cool. i got to see some cool stuff.

this is on the road somewhere between where i am and were the city is. look closely, you WILL SEE camels.
this is also on the the drive in. this really nice soccer stadium was built a couple years ago, but has never had a game played on it. something about the foundation is moving and isn't safe. i don't know the details. but it looks cool and it totally reminds me of the big swan, my favorite soccer stadium ever in Niigata, Japan where England beat Denmark in the 2002 world cup. my companion and i proselytized the hooligans all the way to the stadium and back and only found out after the game that our mission president would have let us go to the game if it was at all related to missionary work. we easily could have come up with something... Michael Owen and David Beckham were both there that night...!
anyway. more views from the road. we didn't get to drive into the downtown area, just by it on the highway. but it looks pretty cool. the malls and shops here remind me a lot of what i saw in turkey. it's sorta of mix of second world infrastructure combined with super modern ultra rich architecture. in other words, you can tell that it probably crawled along in development, and then shot up what the modern oil money made the government rich. i think i heard today that their government had a 3 billion dollar surplus last year, and it's against the law to have unemployment in the country. everyone is assigned one job or another. anyway, the sky line is pretty cool. my brother nick would have loved it.

we went to these towers. originally they were built for water storage, but the architect wanted it to be high art as well. so it's both. pretty cool. the big ball has a rotating cafe at the top that allows nice 360 action.
we had delicious lebanese food. this picture doesn't do it justice. it seemed like the meal would never end. we were there for what seemed like forever, just eating. it was a pretty nice restaurant. like i said, there is a lot of money here and it shows all over, in the clothes, the cars, the vibe. super modern and metropolitan. but also very conservative. it's a pretty cool mix. the meal had lamb, beef, chicken skewers as the main course (hidden below that naan); more naan, humus, beet salad, a couple more salads that i wasn't sure what was in them, but delicious, some fried potatoes, garlic fried chicken, and a bunch of other really good food. i ate way too much. some of our group had a little strawberry mint or apple hooka, and everyone else tried the turkish coffee. so it was all around a really good meal.
i also stood in front of the stock exchange for no particular reason.
we also went to this grand mosque. it's the largest carpeted mosque in the world. the main prayer room can hold 10,000 people and all in all the mosque hold up to 175,000 people during the height of worship during ramadan. that's pretty cool. they have four huge germany glass chandeliers that weight a ton a piece and a large gold dome (neither pictured due to renovations). plus this giant courtyard. the inside is so intricate and cool. so many little details of hand carving in wood and this other material that i forgot the name. but the whole mosque was built in 7 years and all the finishing, the carving, etc was done on site. i think the guy that did one of the domes with like 90 years old when he did it. it reminded me of all the little hand carved flowers in the old pioneer temples. it was really cool.
after words, we heard some wise counsel from Imam Frandsen. (this is where the imam sits and leads the daily prayer and their equivalent of a sermon)
i forgot what this is called. but this is where friends and family gather together, and the real business happens. it's the ultimate arena for networking and deal making. i was mainly just posing.
it was a fun day. a full day. and a nice break from what i normally do every day. after seeing all those cool sites, i came home to this: a view from my trailer window. it's lovely, ain't it?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

orange county great park

today william and i drove down to orange county to hang out with my brother, cort, and his family. we decided to go and check out the orange county great park. it was pretty awesome (and everything was free!). the park used to be an old marine base that they are now reconstructing into a giant park. it's a work-in-progress, but what they've done so far is pretty cool.

they have a carousel,

a playground,

and a huge field to run around in.

but the main attraction is a giant, orange, hot air balloon that takes about 10-15 people up about 400 ft. in the sky.

here we are at the top.

it's crazy to be up that high. i'm a little scared of heights. not actually of the heights, but of the thought of falling from great heights . . . anyway, my fear isn't incapacitating or anything; it's really quite minor. however, today i realized that my fear of my SON falling from great heights is HUGE. i was totally freaking out inside the entire time that we were up in that hot air balloon. i mean, there was no way he could fall out of it, but that didn't matter. it scared the bejeebies out of me thinking about him falling 400 ft. onto a giant slab of cement (sorry to be so graphic . . . ). so then of course i became paranoid about holding tightly onto him, which then just made him defiant and wanting to get away from me. i was a little stressed. but all in all, it was a really cool and fun experience, and i'm glad we did it. i just think i might hold off going up there with my toddler again any time soon!

the ellen show

last tuesday, my dad, sister-in-law, kim, cousin-in-law, chelsey, and i all went to the ellen degeneres show. it was pretty funny. even funnier was seeing my dad dance :)

i seriously had no idea how tiring going to the ellen show can be. i was pooped when i got home. they make you get up and dance during EVERY commercial break. my baby was bouncing all over the place, and it was exhausting.

tons of fun though! chelsey and i were sooooo close to being chosen to participate in the games on her show, but sadly we didn't make it. but, we did get some airtime! here the four of us are on tv!

Monday, January 9, 2012

weekend adventures

we had a really fun weekend, starting on friday. will and i met my good friend, bonnie, and her daughter, audrey, at the LA Zoo. audrey and will had tons of fun running around, watching the elephants and monkeys and playing on their playground. bonnie and i had fun chatting and eating dippin' dots :)

then, on saturday morning, william and my parents and i drove down to san diego to visit whitney and her family. will loves his cousins emmy and weston and they were pretty wild together. whitney's also pregnant; due at the end of this month, so we had to take a couple of sister belly shots!

we drove down to the shipyards in downtown san diego to see all of the old ships that they've made into a maritime museum. it was awesome. they had 2 submarines (one of which was russian) and about 4 or 5 other old ships from the 1800s. they were all so cool--but it made me grateful that we don't travel by boat anymore!

this first shot isn't the best of the kids, but it shows how small everything in the submarines were. there were valves and levers and buttons everywhere. the bunks were teeny and i thought my baby was going to pop out if i had to walk through one more of these little doors (? i have no idea what they're really called).

we were able to try our hand at steering and exploring all the different parts of the ships.

will and weston showing us their muscles by the canons.

and the kids even got to dress up like how the passengers used to dress on the Star of India ship, which would take people over to new zealand and the pacific islands.

then, yesterday morning, before church, we took the kids down to the la jolla bay to see the seals. will liked seeing the seals, but didn't really love walking in the sand . . . he's a funny boy. but up on the boardwalk, he and his cousins ran free and climbed trees. it was a really fun morning. it's so nice being by the ocean, even if it was a little chilly and overcast.

then, after church, will and i loaded up and drove back up to pasadena. and for at least half an hour of the drive, will cried because he wanted to go back to weston's house. he loves his cousins!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Army Strong.

People like to make the joke that military intelligence is an oxymoron. I like to think that's mainly commentary on the Army. The Air Force is a much smarter branch, or so we like to think, at least. I was reminded of our mental superiority the other night when some of us drove over the Army half of the base to get a break from the monotony of the dinner selection at our "chow hall."

Take for example this sign. Classic army. This sign is from the Army post that shares part of the space of where I am. This sign sits right at the entry control point where vehicles enter their controlled area. They could have summed up the whole sign with the word: everything -->.

Gotta love the Army. Gives Army Strong a new meaning, cause if you can't be smart, at least you can be strong.

Air Power!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

new years day. i mean january 2.

this year, we had a full day of new years celebrations. my parents are currently living in old town pasadena, only 2 blocks away from the infamous rose parade. so, on monday morning, we woke up early and walked up the street so that we could watch some of the parade. there were thousands of people out, and since we didn't get to the parade before it started, we didn't have the most optimal view.

william had fun being held up high to see the marching bands and floats pass by. he especially loved all of the horses and would wave to them when they went by.

will also loved seeing the blimp up in the sky wishing all of us a happy new year :)

after the parade, we went out for a late breakfast and then came home to go swimming (it's been in the 70s/80s here lately--you can't beat southern california in the winter!). william loves swimming, but he only likes it when everyone is in the water together--he will harass anyone that's laying out until they get in the pool! he's a funny boy.

after swimming and naps, we got ready and went downtown to see the LA Kings hockey game. my dad received the tickets from work, and with the tickets we got to enjoy a yummy dinner at the restaurant at the top of the staples center. my cousin adam, and his wife chelsey joined us and we had a great night eating and watching the game.

our seats for the game were down a couple rows up from one of the nets, so we were right in the middle of all the action. william was undecided on the whole thing. i think he liked watching the hockey players, but he didn't care for all the noise in the arena. he was a good boy though and had a fun time sitting on everyone's laps and sampling all of the yummy food.

oh, and this last picture is of the sundae that william and i shared. it was HUGE. we hardly put a dent in it, but we had fun trying :)