Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Many thanks to Page Johnson Castrodale, Cary's current hatchmate's wife (current roommate, not Castrodale's current wife of course), for getting and sharing these with all the loved ones part of the OCS Class 15-10 Family & Friends Facebook Group. I just had to share via the blog too. Enjoy.

ABELEIN - 3rd Time’s a Charm - passed RLP (room, locker, personnel inspection) on the third try

ADESANYA - Frog - has been so ballistic during his time at OCS, his voice now sounds like a frog

AGUILERA - Baby Daddy - was informed of wife’s pregnancy while at OCS
BECOTE - Orange Peels - peels oranges slowly and had fruit privileges taken for two weeks
BROWN - Two Cents - always contributes his input on any topic
CASTRODALE - High Orbit - was given RPT (remedial physical training) by having to run in circles around a candidate doing marching tours

COLEMAN - Little Mermaid - was RPT’d by having to pour full water bowls on himself and then "swim" in it
COONS - Fight Club - was called out for never having won a fight
CROCKETT - Zip Code - didn't know his girlfriend’s zip code and so couldn't send her mail
DELEON - As You Were - says “as you were” more than anyone
FONG - Edward Scissor Hands - has deformed joints; cannot make knife hands properly
GARLINGTON - Prego - had stomach issues nearly every day the first week of training

GILL - Bull’s-Eye - gets more attention than anyone else in the company
HAGEN - Chipmunk - was yelled at for chewing in the chow hall after standing because he “found food” in his cheek
HALL - Hey guys… Homework… - says this a lot
HARVEY - Band Geek - participated in band over sports despite being gigantic
HENDERSON - Left Aye - RPT’ed by having to run laps in the gym shouting “aye aye, sir” every time her left foot struck the deck

HOADLEY - Mr. Furious - has anger management problems

LAMB - German - was instructed to count in German despite not speaking the language (Cary said the drill instructor actually spoke German and knew the guy was BS'ing him)
LARIONI - Articulate - difficult to understand when ballistic

LAWSON - Scuttle
 - was pooped on by a seagull
LOGAN - JR SR - his initials form both JR and SR

MCSWAIN - Garbage Disposal - eats anything and always in large quantities
MILLER - Math Whiz - could not take the correct number of steps during a drill period

MOORE - Short Term - shortest run as section leader
PALLIE - Band Aid - didn't want to curl his finger into a fist for fear his band aid would fall off

POHTILLA - Sicko - had a horrible cough for the first few weeks 

SANTIAGO-FIGUERO - Head Call - requires many head calls 

SONNICHSEN - You’re Fired - has been fired from more positions than anyone else in the company

STROUP - Hairdo - used to have a very distinctive haircut

SUN - Mr. Miyagi - always has a lot of wisdom to pass down about evolutions

TEER - Slow Blinker - blinks so slowly that he appears to be sleeping

WASHINGTON - Bulldog - struggles with pushups

WILLIAMS - Wannabe - is called “wannabe badass” a lot by Class Drill Instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hurst, United States Marine Corps
ZAMUDIO - Brain Matter - was RPTed by running laps in the gym until he “found his brain matter”

Cary said since you have to say everything ballistic-ally, aka really loudly, everyone's mistakes are even funnier. And then there's the fact that you can't laugh or else you'll get in trouble. So picture saying, "Sir, a seagull pooped on me!! May I go to the head to wash it off?!!" Or, "oine, deutch, tretch!!!" That's fake German. And then don't laugh. Which we all know is even easier when you're not supposed to. I couldn't even read these and not laugh out loud.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Happy Belated Half-Birthday

April 22 is Earth Day and my half-birthday I selfishly embrace to the fullest. I had grand plans to blow out my hair, take a long lunch to go see Oceans, and bike the Waterman trail before sunset. Did any of that happen? No! My alarm was once again set for PM (I like to call this the curse of Aly), so I went to work with waves that belong in the ocean--a movie I didn't have time to see at lunch, which also meant my dream of South Patch Kids went down the drain as well. And with work buzzing (it's like it was a weekday or something), I opted for The Vampire Diaries instead of hurtling my bike into Cary's truck.

The guilt is still on my mind. Grr. I don't even normally like to use italics and exclamation points for emphasis and cutesy editorial garb like 'grr' and 'sigh', but this was just too much. It was my half. It was the point at which I was two and a half years from 30, a time to celebrate my freedom from babies, my accomplishment in finding such a rock star of a husband, my solid job as a writer, my mediocre blog. Sigh.

However, this once upon a time, in a land filled with sunshine, of course all was not lost.

Mr. Walter Elias Disney saved the day. Friday, April 23, was actually a long time coming, a trip to Disneyland planned between four friends with surprisingly busy schedules. Disneyland. A place forbidden by the rock star since he basically grew up in Tomorrowland by living in Anaheim's backyard, only an hour or so from the beloved Ball Street.

There were new attractions that made me feel seven again. Seven was the best. I had forgotten how cool the bubbles were on the submarine ride. And you can now even insert your voice into a classic Disney song and find out what character you are at heart. (Lady. So yes, Cary is the tramp.) And yes, the smell of water inside Pirates of the Caribbean, and the air inside the Haunted House, were exactly as I had remembered. It's childhood forever, bordered by the hills of Toontown. The lines are shorter on a weekday, the weather still hard to dress for with a warm day and cooler night. We took our layers on and off, stopped for Mexican food in Frontierland, popcorn and Diet Cokes from the carts, tasted wine at California Adventure. Then had champagne at La Brea in downtown Disney and talked too loudly about sex. I'd also like to take up hang-gliding if I didn't distrust thermals. How do they get the smell of oranges and pine on that ride?

Christy is officially Disneyland's biggest fan in my book. (You should see this book sometime ... Sorry, I know parenthetical phrases can be annoying too.) But armed with the knowledge of every hidden Mickey and all kinds of myths, rumors, and facts, the girl is good company at the park. Kylie came in at a close second. I've also decided these two could prove very good consultants slash editors of a Disneyland short story. Would anyone read that? I think it might be up there with a book about President Lincoln's Doctor's Dog.

My walking muscles are still sore. Yes, yes, I know, marathon runner. Shove it. We left really late, stuck in the parking garage for longer than I'll admit for a reason we still don't know. But while I had to drink two bottles of water upon returning home to alleviate the pangs of champagne, I haven't slept that good in weeks.

So, needless to say, one season pass later, I was hooked.

Best blocking out of another rider ever. Hands down. Is she a cartoon? I just love this one.

Tiff came too!

Captain EO is back! And still strange. But good. Oh gosh darn it.

And these ones.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

When i was little boredom was solved with hangman

Oh last week, how do I describe thee? Boring. So boring I never knew how many sour patch kids I could eat in a haze of boredom not really alleviated until I discovered Netflix streaming. Yes, my Scandinavian entertainment Web site is acting up, so I resorted to a free trial of Netflix. Why? Because I was that bored that I couldn't wait for the magical forum wizards to figure it out.

Each weekday slogged by. I spilled soda on my T-shirt at lunch one day and was grateful for the excuse to go buy a new one at Marshall's. Then I spent the afternoon regretting the purchase because I'm saving for a new dress to wear to Cary's graduation. Why does boredom result in too much candy and too many expenditures? And what's wrong with the dresses I like perfectly well in my closet? Eh. I'm bored.

But then the weekend. Whose mere precious word evokes relaxation and anticipation and dreams of appetizers and naps and not feeling guilty about cooping up Butters all day and lots more TV.

See, even the sky rejoices Friday afternoon on everyone's way home from work.

Cody and I saw Kick-Ass Friday, which kicked ass. Nick Cage and the purple-haired little girl are hilarious. Actually the whole friggin' cast nailed it, from the lead to McLovin. Saturday I did a 10 miler with the Ride Yourself Fit biking club that rides around Redlands at a leisurely pace, but of course I can't get a single friend to join me because everyone is so busy or flakey or nervous about any form of exercise that I end up just chit-chatting and playing inspirational songs on repeat. In the afternoon, I trekked out to South Coast Plaza in Orange County with a group that always proves entertaining and was kind enough to invite me (this always amazes me as it usually takes me about an hour to snap out of my boredom haze that hovers over my condo). Did you know they serve you free grapefruit martinis at Ted Baker? The OC is another world, where, as my friend so elegantly put it, "they walk around with a finger up their little dog's ass." The people watching was as good as the shopping, and I walked away not with a new grad dress but a fly outfit for Hi Moms. Baby steps.

That evening a few of us went to watch my coworker, Toby Ray Jolly, play at Liam's with his band. I left when the beer got warm, I had an early wakeup call. The 10K portion of the Run Through Redlands was calling me, and the cheery weather today made hitting snooze impossible. I also like to think weekend morning activity cancels out a week of lounging around in track pants and, um, sour patch kid sugar granules.

That brings you up to the present, where I sit with a Netflix movie on pause and the pets making it impossible for me to reach for the remote so I can change the TV channel from E! to Wizards of Waverly Place.

Cary and I also got our weekly pow-wow that last longer than the two, two-minute phone calls during the week. He has a new hatchmate (who's a great guy, he says) and now a view of a spit of sand that leads straight to a shot of Newport Bridge. Search for it in the April 12 post; it's like Where's Waldo to find that little tan, weird-shaped outcropping pointing toward the bridge. He also relayed a great story in a mass e-mail he sent.

The DI (drill instructor) is a huge baseball fan. He went to the opening day Yankee Red Sox game. After telling us how much fun it was he asked, "Do you guys know why I tell you these things?" "NO SIR!" "To piss you off. What do you think I'm going to drink tonight?" "BEER SIR!" "And do you think I'm going to have just one?" "NO SIR!" "I'm going to have a couple." "Is it going to taste good?" "YES SIR!" "Would you want to have one if you could?" "YES SIR!" He says funny stuff like that about four times per day. But you can't laugh because that's breaking military bearing. He called a certain classmate 'a special kind of stupid' and somebody involuntarily let out a snicker. That guy got 10 minutes of one-on-one attention from the DI. Not fun.

Stay tuned next week to see if Cary and I make it. He from laughing his ass off or lack of sleep or demerits. Me, to meet my goal of not touching a sour patch kid. That sounds off.

I'm going to Disney Friday. What's the must-see attraction for you? Share it. Do it. Now. Go.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Communication Breeds Less Mystery, duh

Okay, I'm sick of Cary. Just kidding. But it's strange how much an extra phone call or a series of e-mails takes the lonely pangs and obsession away. It's calmer now. But it still feels like we're going to be hurtled right back to Newbold lovesickness when we get to see each other the end of May. I still get anxious and excited and possessive when I think about a reunion, but I also know to keep the fantastical thoughts in check. This is life. This is real. This is a serious choice we've made, with important actions and relationships to consider. But of course it's also something that will add kindle to the romance fire. Military-induced distance deservedly makes the heart grow fonder. I just have to make sure we get all the bang for our buck that we can and keep the mystery alive both away and at home. So go back to playing hard to get, Cary. Piss off your drill instructors. Wink, wink.

Speaking of, that darn kid keeps passing his physical tests with flying colors. A tough inspection is tomorrow. Will keep you posted. No pun intended.

On a bit of a side note, in talking to a fellow military wife who's also Adventist, we realized being Adventist and in the process of joining the military is like being an Adventist and eating a cheeseburger while waiting to audition for So You Think You Can Dance and wearing dangly earrings and black nail polish.

Some images courtesy of the OCS Class 10-15 Friends & Family! Facebook Group.

Newport Naval Station on the Rhode Island Coast.

At sunset.

Whoo. (How am I going to get an outfit that will match that come graduation? Ideas?)

Wednesdays with Dr. Joe

My dad shared a blog with me after attending his 40th high school reunion a week ago. While I feel like I haven't yet grown into the philosophical, parental version of myself--and therefore am discovering gaps between how I relate to my parents and what we read and watch and talk about--I did find Dr. Joe Wheeler had something to say that struck a chord in my 27-year-old heart and brain.

Thoughts on the people that helped us grow up...

I knew you when—. I knew you when you were young and crazy like us. When you loved us unreservedly even when we were most unlovable. There were times when you lost your temper, when you did and said stupid, even inexcusable things, just like some of us did—but we loved you all the more because we knew the love you had for us was Velveteen Rabbit real. And it’s because of all that, that we haven’t been able to forget you—that we can’t even imagine not having you with us when we celebrate our 40th alumni weekend.

Read more on Wednesdays with Dr. Joe.

Seth's Blog - Aly's Picks from the Head I

Thanks for the recent posts, Seth, as the subject matter is great for writers, marketers, and Web content creators. Smart and soothing.

There is no tribe of normal

People don't coalesce into active and committed tribes around the status quo.

The only vibrant tribes in our communities are the ones closer the edges, or those trying to make change. The center is large, but it's not connected.

If you're trying to build a tribe, a community or a movement, and you want it to be safe and beyond reproach at the same time, you will fail.

Heretical thoughts, delivered in a way that capture the attention of the minority--that's the path that works.

April 12

When in doubt, disaggregate

The typical American buys precisely one book a year.


Of course, this isn't true, because when it comes to books, there is no typical American. There are a lot of Americans who buy zero books for pleasure each year. And then there are people like me who buy 400. The average is irrelevant.

When you can't figure out the best way to treat all your customers, the best way to price things, the best thing to offer, realize that the problem is almost always this: you're trying to treat everyone the same. Don't. Break them into groups with similar attributes, and suddenly the path becomes a lot more clear.

April 13

Read more Seth posts from the bic-ed head including The Levy Flight, which is very cool and handy for Web writers. And watch for more in this series of post plagiarism potpourri. Hey, credit due checked and I'm encouraging a re-blogging widget.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Orange Lilies Smell Delicious

New month, new delivery. Coworker Erin had to tell me what the flowers were.
What will May hold?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Hopes of Writing and Navy Working

Job hunting is hilarious. Why sushi roller and phlebotomist have shown up in my daily job postings e-mail I'll never know. Pensacola, what do you have in store for me? More crazy toy company interviews where I envision a future of clueless, long-winded bosses and stressful sales quotas?

At least here in Loma Linda, I can enjoy my glass of homemade sangria courtesy of Christy while I begin to more numbingly ponder the toss up between paychecks and passion. Become a bamboo and saran-wrap expert? Blood expert? Blood? True Blood? Writer for True Blood? Okay then!

But more importantly over the last week, Cary got e-mail (
mil - yes, I know I forgot the @ symbol in the mass text message).

It all started with a missed phone call Saturday afternoon, when I cursed myself for leaving my phone in the car over fro yo. Yes, fro yo in my vegan belly. But who can turn down Red Velvet? His voicemail said he passed a tough inspection though (really tough according to letter three) and so he'll have more phone privileges and e-mail capability at certain times. He has his own computer in his hatch (er, room), as does his roommate, but it sounds like Internet access is still touch and go. Probably a combination of an ancient computer and limiting their fun moments. However, he was able to check the Lakers site. Of course. And my blog. Of course.

He calls again Saturday evening, (this time I catch it). For seven minutes. Says he can call again Sunday, which was longer. We spend the rest of the day e-mailing off and on since he can send e-mails as a text message to my phone. So every e-mail he sends gives me a text alert, and I can check the intro to the e-mail on my phone and write back some or know to get to a computer next time I can. Confused yet?

So after three weeks without talking, I finally get the lowdown. But more importantly I get to hear his voice. The weird thing is it barely sounds like him. He's hoarse almost all the time, he says. The yelling hasn't yet proven to be unnecessary. But it's still him, and we have some extra minutes and now endless pages of e-mail, and it feels great to just say what comes to mind instead of saving space on a phone card or in a letter.

He's nailing his physical stuff, scoring in the top five on most exercises or whatever they might be called. His uniform is like this guy's, he says, it's the Navy working uniform there to your right. And he polished his boots so perfectly last week (better than the prior enlisted) that he's now the Uniform Body. The drill instructor (DI) basically put him in charge of making sure his group of guys is looking good. Obsessively good. Not a speck of lint on the camo or fleck of dirt on the boot.

RLP (room, locker, personnel) inspection was coming up in his last letter. This is the extremely tough (nit-picky) inspection that very few pass the first time around, but it's what leads to the phone and e-mail privileges. And Lawson passed the first time. Much to his wife's pleasure. His whole class had a high pass rate actually, the highest in well over a year. Much to the instructors' pleasure; it makes them look good naturally. One more phase to go. "Candio" or Candidate Officer phase - three of three. That's when he'll get that ugly gold-encased thing also known as his iPhone clad in a wannabe Laker color back in his hands and basically take over the place as they begin to instruct the newbies. Ah cycles and karma. To top off the lowdown, I got a cherry of a story from him. In drill practice, the DI told everybody to take five deep breaths. The candidates thought it was a relaxation technique. Until he said, "Whenever somebody farts, I'm going to filter the air through your nasty little lungs."

Oh, hey, and on my way to chez Christy recently and yet again (a constant source of entertainment that often involves a gym class, food, booze, and TV - and not necessarily in that order.), I met a friend at Pat & Oscar's while getting a party salad to go. Let's just say the goose has got it figured out. Free breadsticks, anyone? A time-honored P&O tradition that ensures full-bellied Canadian geese in the corporate plaza pond next door.

So, good luck, Cary, wherever you are on base right now. Glad the floods aren't a big deal, there's no earthquakes (though we all know secretly we're thrilled by them), and here's to eating without counting one day.