Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day 2015

Looks like a low key day for me. I am going to break out the Dress Blue uniform later (yes, it still fits) so I do have that going for me.

I also remember that "like Father, like Son"

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day 2015

Near An-Nasiryiah, Iraq

In early 2008, SSG Juantrea Bradley, SPC Tenzin Samten and SPC Dustin Jackson were killed in a rocket attack on the base I was staying at the time.

Memorial Day is about those three, and all others that lost their lives while serving in the Armed Forces of this country.

Remember them and their families.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Gaming Time!

Get your red hot information on Northern Illinois best named boardgaming convention Ludophilia V !
This year's motto "Ludophilia, its not a disease!" [Seriously, it is Latin for 'love of games' or 'love of play']

Saturday, February 21, 2015

I are..uh, am, umm is(?) an ARe

Finally finished the last requirement to get my "Associate in Reinsurance" or ARe 'designator'

So I can proudly proclaim "I are an ARe!" Well, sort of.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Basil Fawlty had his Moose head, I had a light switch

A recurring scene in the old Fawlty Towers series was seeing Basil trying to get a moose head hung up on the wall near the front desk.  He never seemed to get the job done...

For the past...while, I had a, er, faulty light switch I was trying to change. Oh, to be sure, removing it was fine....but getting the new one, installing it and having it work...well, let us just say I had a bit of John Cleese going on.
Not quite a moose head

Today, I finally got a switch and set to installing it. Didn't work. After several retries, I gave up and had a master electrician we know call me...he figured my error in about 15 seconds. So unlike Basil Fawlty, I finally got my job done.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

You konw what makes you feel good?

Me: "Dad [my Dad/the kids grandfather] is home from the hospital"

Kids (in unison): "Yea!"

They literally cheered.

Yes, that makes you feel good.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Now it feels like Veteran's Day

Last year, if you had handed me a new uniform and said "out of the Retired Reserve for you, you are back in", I would have been able (I think) to do it pretty seamlessly.  Today, I thought about the same thing and it would be much more a struggle. I have lost something - some edge or such.

It maybe feeling my age in my knees, the rainy and unpleasant day outside - but I sure feel more like a Veteran than a Soldier, today.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Hooked on Dutch Pop

Niels Littooij (AKA Nielson) has caught my imagination. His song "Kop in Het Zand" (Head in the Sand) is my favorite:

The whimsical animation aside, it is a semi-serious song....and I like it!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Dank u, Nederland!

Thanks, Netherlands, for the delicious coffee! OK, Douwe Egberts in particular.

Brought to me by my wife and kids from Holland,.............. Michigan.

Monday, June 30, 2014

I'll have a BLT, a mocha and a Time Lord, please

After doing some good service for the community one Saturday morning, I asked the kids where they would like to go for lunch. Both suggested a place in downtown Elgin, IL - the Blue Box Cafe.

Yes, it is that "blue box"

A Doctor Who themed coffee and sandwich place (the chili was good too). It looks like someone had just stopped by...I wonder "Who"?

Maybe I could just wait on the bench out front and see...

Could it be one of the fellows in the pictures hanging on the wall?

Perhaps you should stop by and see for yourself.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

Bluff City Cemetery, Elgin IL - Memorial Day 2014 observances

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Waving goodbye

One of my closest friends departs tomorrow at 0 dark hours for another state.

As I am slow to make friends, but strong and fierce to do so, this comes as a great heartache to me.

Sometimes I feel like all I do is say good bye the past few years - whether to comrades in arms - as we go our separate ways, or to friends moving on to parts of the country not so benighted as Illinois.

In the end, I chastise myself, as these people are not dead, exiled or such - they are going to their homes, new beginnings and opportunities.

But it doesn't make it any easier on me, for now....

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Played Rugby Again, Finally

You know I'm sometimes asked if people play Rugby in America.  I tell them yes and then they ask me an awkward question, "Do you play?"

I feel disingenuous if I just say, "Yes" when it's been a few years since a previous game and I don't see when my next game will be.  On the other hand, I don't want to say, "I used to," because I still want to (desperately sometimes).

I am so relieved when I can just say, "Yes, I played last Saturday as a matter of fact."  I can say that this week.

Two weeks ago was a perfect storm of Rugby.  On one day I got invited to play the Chicago Griffins Old Boys game and to help coach a local High School team that is just starting up.  Then in that same week I got invited to play a game with the Chicago Blue.

The Chicago Griffins are a top tier team playing Division I.  I played with them after college for a while while (on one of their lower sides).  You can still see pictures of my youngest brother playing for them on their front page.

The Chicago Blue are a team of Police Officers and Firefighters.  They do charity work as well as play Rugby.  According to their website, "Established in 2009, the Chicago BLUE Rugby Football Club (RFC) is comprised of Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement in the Chicago area. We are the first and presently only rugby club in the nation of our kind."

I played in Milwaukee last Saturday for the Blue.  There are some Grifs Old Boys on the team and one of them invited me to play.  I got in a little more than a half and enjoyed the hell out of it.

I was really hoping to have two weeks of back to back games, but alas, the Griffins Old Boys game was to be against the Chicago Lions Old Boys (the Lions are another Division I team) and the Lions pulled out.

Well, at least for this week I know that I've played Rugby as recently as anyone else in America.

The high school team I'm helping is playing their first game this coming Saturday.  I don't know if they're officially registered yet, but they're calling themselves the Mundelein Mercenaries.


Saturday, March 08, 2014

At last

For various reasons, including overall governmental slowness, the best NCO in Illinois took a little extra time being promoted to the top spot.  I present to you, Command Sergeant Major Mark Bowman, Illinois State Sergeant Major:

Want to see a few qualifications?  How about a whole bunch...

CSM Bowman enlisted in the Army in October 1979 as a tank driver. He attended basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. CSM Bowman served overseas in Germany for nearly four years. He deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2004 to 2005 and again with the 33rd IBCT as part of Task Force Phoenix in 2008 to 2009.
CSM Bowman has held various positions throughout his career, including: tank commander, K Troop, 3rd Squadron, 11th Armored Calvary Regiment; tank commander, senior tank commander and senior drill sergeant, Company C, 3rd Squadron, 337th Armor Regiment, 85th Division; platoon sergeant and first sergeant, Battery C, 2-202nd Air Defense Artillery (ADA), 35th Division; first sergeant, Battery H, 2-202nd ADA, 256th Brigade Combat Team; first sergeant, Battery D, 2-202nd ADA; first sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2-202nd ADA; command sergeant major, 2-202nd ADA; command sergeant major, Task Force Eagle Bagram, Afghanistan, 33rd Area Support Group; command sergeant major, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment; command sergeant major, 33rd IBCT, and most recently the command sergeant major of Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix VIII Kabul, Afghanistan and Illinois Land Component Command Sergeant Major
CSM Bowman's military awards and decorations include the Combat Infantry Badge, Combat Action Badge, Bronze Star Medal (2nd Award), Army Commendation Medal (4th Award), Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal (2nd award), Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal (5th Award), National Defense Service Medal (2nd Award), Afghanistan Campaign Medal( 2nd star), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal (�M� and Silver Hourglass Devices and Numeral 2), NCO Professional Development Ribbon (Numeral 4), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (Numeral 3), Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon, NATO Medal (ISAF), Drivers Badge-Track, Drill Sergeant Identification Badge, German Marksmanship Badge (Bronze), French Military Defense Medal (Silver).
Yeah, finally the right Soldier in the right job!

Here is how I first remember the CSM (Charikar, AF 2004)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Ludophilia IV!

Northern Illinois' best gaming convention is set and scheduled - find the details HERE
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