Onward to Phoenix for the day

Just a short contribution today, as I am preparing for a 1-day business trip to Phoenix.  Ensuring that everything will be ready for tomorrow.  I hope that your day brings you success and happiness.

There Can Be No Joy Greater Than Revenge — Noisy Upstairs Neighbor

Vengeance is mine, sayeth me!  I cannot believe that I have found my upstairs neighbor’s Achille’s Heel.  I was playing some music on my computer when I heard a foot stomping on the floor above me.   I chortled in hacks of mirth as I contemplated this new discovery.  At long last!  I believe I have found the holy grail, and my answer was right in front of me all this time.  From now on, I will exact my vengeance with evil intent and methodical regularity.  I will teach my upstairs neighbor a lesson for all the sleepless nights he and his roommate have mercilessly visited upon me.  But then, I could have always complained to my landlord regarding the noise and sleep my neighbor has cost me.  But this…this will sweeten my dealings with my upstairs neighbor.

Before I go however, I do want to say that having a noisy upstairs neighbor is akin to dealing with rats in your ceiling.  They never seem to go to sleep, no matter how hard you hit the ceiling.  I remember having an apartment (a very nice apartment with deep wood panelling and marble floors) long ago in the Philippines.  There were no clauses in how to deal with the rats that regularly would climb straight up the walls, to nest in the crawlspace between the roof and the ceiling of the home.  I would use a mop handle to pound on the ceiling in order to shut the rats up.  They would stop for a moment, then continue to squeal loudly.  I developed a resolve in dealing with the rats — finally settling on complaints to my landlord about it, and eventually contracting with a pest control company to get rid of the pesky buggers.  It would take five months before I was finally able to get a decent night’s sleep.  But…I dealt with the rats…my way.

Waiting for My Neighbor to Move…

My wife and I live in a bottom apartment in a quiet complex.  It was quiet at least, until our new neighbor moved in.  Usually on Friday evenings, he has people over to play with him.  We can hear them above us, stomping on the floor like a herd of elephants.  There are many times when I’m sorely tempted to call the police.  I keep thinking that a few well placed 911 calls would solve the banging, thrumming and noise that sometimes shakes the walls of our apartment.  My problem is that if I did so, my wife would probably shoot me, for making trouble for someone else.  She is probably right, my wife.  No sense in becoming labelled as the bastard of the community.  There are my civil rights though:

  1. My right to peace and quiet, so that I can sleep
  2. My right to be able to watch television or a movie in my living room without having to turn it up, just so I can hear the sound
  3. My right to not wonder if one day, someone is going to discharge a weapon above me that will end my life
  4. My right to snore away through the night, and not be suddenly wakened by a bang, bump, or any other sharp noise
  5. My right to relax in my bedroom, without dealing with the loud stereo that my upstairs neighbor decided to turn on

One day, I am convinced that I will be cleaning my gun in the living room and it will accidentally discharge into that upper apartment. (Good thing I don’t own a gun.) Or, that I will be working on the wiring for a electromagnetic pulse weapon, that suddenly discharges into the upper apartment, effectively killing every electronic part that my upstairs neighbor owns.  Now that, is a dream worth having…

The Riddle of the Sword

I watched part of a documentary program the other night about the sword in world culture.

It talked about a number of things, but what interested me the most was the resurgence of european martial arts.  The fascinating part of watching historical documentation of martial swordplay was that it became lost not because of the gun, but because swords were becoming “out of fashion”, with european aristocratic society.  The resurgence that is happening now, is due in large part to one or two individuals who challenged historians and their views of how the sword was used.  One case in point that was argued:  Because the human body only moves in so many directions, martial arts of the sword in Europe was the same as martial arts sword styles more widely known in asian cultures.  I did not know how to see that point.  I could see how drawings that were made of martial sword arts of medieval europe could be translated into form, and even that of ancient Greece and Rome, but I was still unsure of specific fighting styles.  My argument stems from the facts related to the hegemony of asian martial knowledge that has been absorbed into western culture.  Only 30 years ago, this knowledge was unknown by westerners.  I find it difficult to harbor the thought that these styles were the same from different cultures just because of the way the human body moves.  I felt that to arbitrarily state this fact, was tantamount to saying that asian and western culture is exactly the same.  For a very long time, it has been known that western cultural styles of combat were devised using a push stroke, while asian styles were derived from a pull stroke.  Just the mere differences in these styles would change the position of the body, as well as how the sword is being used.

A Dedication to Those of Us Who Served: The Formative Years

My “A” School complete, I was ready for another ship, the USS Monticello (LSD-35). My most memorable and turbulent times came from my time aboard the “Mo Boat”.

  1. I was married to my high school sweetheart while on leave in Colorado, before going to my new duty station in San Diego.
  2. I played football against Jim Wolfe, who during the game almost ripped my ear off.
  3. My daughter was born in February.  I was prevented from seeing her birth because after listening to one of the men aboard the ship who told me that birth is the closest a woman comes to death, when my wife was in labor, begging for something to help her with her pain, the medical staff was calmly eating lunch.  I almost became very physical with the doctor and staff, thinking that she was going to die.
  4. Later that year, in September, my wife asked me for a plane ticket back to Colorado in order to show off our daughter to her folks.  Once she arrived, she promptly told me that she was not coming back.  She filed for a divorce within the week.
  5. I was asked by a chief that I worked for if I was “a descendant of those nip-flying buzz bombers” in front of over 15 other chiefs.  In my embarrassment and defense, the chief that I worked for took offense.  The chief who asked me that question thought he had a right, since he was married to a Japanese.
  6. My second trip to the Philippines resulted in meeting a very special lady, a dietary consultant who on one night introduced me to the infamous President Ferdinand Marcos, and his wife Imelda at a floating casino in Manila Bay.
  7. During a stop in Busan, South Korea, two friends and I went on walkabout, touring the city.  We happened to take a turn up a mountain, only to be escorted at gunpoint by ROK army regulars.
  8. While in Hong Kong, I not only toured the Tai Pak gardens, but spent a lot of time skulking around tiny shops and businesses in the notorius Wanchai district.
  9. In Japan, I had a chance to visit relatives on leave.  It was the first time I met my cousins, Kozo and Willy, who showed me around Tokyo and the Ginza district.
  10. Upon our return to the U.S., I had no one to greet me at the pier.  This time, I felt no empty feeling.  I wanted to stay abroad.

It would be 1979, when the USS Monticello would make its way up the Columbia River to Portland, Oregon for a shipyard overhaul.  I lost a good friend there one night, his body was found in a river, we were told he had been stripped of his shirt and shoes.  The police thought it was a “carny”, since there was a carnival in town that week.  We had other suspicions, that turned up a dry well.  Portland was a time of revelling for me.  I would begin to haunt nightclubs and dance places for one night stands.  Women I spent time with, some destitute, others just looking for a good time like myself.  I would find myself at the Copper Penny Two in downtown Portland, or Earthquake Ethel’s in Beaverton, or even the Pigeon Toed Orange Peel Bar and Grill, that catered to the college crowd that no longer seems to exist.  It was when the town of Spirit Lake closed in early 1980, that I began collecting articles from The Oregonian.  The mountain that people loved to travel to see in Washington, Mt. St. Helens had spit out plumes of ash and soot.  Something was happening, I could feel it in my bones.  It was on May 18, 1980 that the newspaper clippings I had been collecting came to fruition when Mt. St. Helens finally erupted, spitting out a plume of ash and soot that covered 3 states.  That occurred 30 years ago.  What many people do not know today is that we were not affected by ash from the volcano for 3 days.  We suffered from the fallout, the day becoming like night when the winds shifted.  Portland had come to a standstill.

These are my memories of a time when I was in the service.  It was my first 4 years, which eventually would lead me to another 16 years in the Navy.  When I left the service in August of 1980, to return to my native Colorado, I never thought that I would be returning to the Navy.  I was finished, I’d had enough.  Besides my uniforms, I had one memento from a very special lady in my life at that time, her name was Ruth Larson.  I can still remember one of our last telephone conversations when I called her from my friend Bob Berry and his wife’s apartment. My final gift was from Ruth, that I received in Colorado on September 5th, 1980.  It was a small package containing a pen filled with what looked like white dust.  Wrapped around the pen was a short note, “Just thought I would give you a piece of ash.  Love, Ruth”.