Experiences

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Here's a list of experiences that I've had. Just little anecdotes on life, and what I've seen. Some have sort of a lesson, some just are what they are.

Experiences

1986 Just a burger.png
I don't know why I am sharing this, but I invited a friend to go for a burger, then had to clarify it meant "just a burger". He was OK with that, but a little perplexed at the added clarification. What else would it mean? So I told my story... more...
1987 Skydiving.png
Yes, I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. Twice. To me, it was no big deal. I just wanted to experience freefall, and enjoyed flying. I didn't think of it as very dare-devilish, though some others do. I had statistics on my side, but gravity and physics was working for the opposition. Then I met a Hustler Honey, and wanted to jump again. more...
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On 9/11/2001, I went into work like normal. I worked at a Newspaper, improving their Internet presence. My office was in the Press building. When a friend came in and said, "A plane has hit the Twin Towers". And I thought, "another silly pilot flew into it while in fog or something, like happened to the Empire State Building in 1945."... but I went down to the Newsroom to see the hubbub and read/watch what was coming across the wire.

The TV's were on (watching for other reports), the editors were furiously at work writing outlines of stories and re-laying out the paper around the news. We were shifting from evening to morning paper -- but at the time, we were still laying out for the afternoon, so this enabled us to be the first paper in area to get out. Though of course others were working on special editions, this was a small piece of history.

Based on the size of the hole, that didn't look like a Cessna had done it. And the wire seemed to imply it was large passenger plane, on a clear morning. Well, that's more concerning. Thoughts of, "La Guardia and Newark are both close to downtown, but the approaches are wrong to fly into a building".

And while watching, the second plane flew into towers, and another 500+ people lives ended, and the newsroom went deathly silent. I muttered terrorism. The story, and the history of the world, had just changed. People looked at me, as the thought sunk in. One plane might be an accident, two was an attack. People went back to work, reading, watching, compiling, writing, and laying out. All while trying to digest what was happening. Reports of other planes started coming in, and while I wrote a tech column for the paper (not news), I was still doing what I could to proof and help.

The Editor in Chief, wrote the Headline, "Terrorist Attack" on two lines (filling the top of the page). But it didn't line up right (word sizes were wrong). He was a good guy and wouldn't take offense, so I reached over his shoulder and without a word deleted the "ist", and it became Terror Attack -- which caused everything to fit nicely. He looked over his shoulder at me, and nodded, and that was the headline they ran with.

Then while watching TV, the first tower went down.

You could have heard a pin drop. One of the editors said, "What happened, where did it go?" She couldn't digest what she had seen. I replied, catastrophic failure, it collapsed. The other is coming down as well. (I tend to get dry and analytical when on overload). Another few hundred people had just died. Someone sobbed, another quietly wailed "No". Seasoned reporters, who had written about all sorts of tragedies and horrors were having a tough time processing watching so many lives extinguished for completely unknown and unfathomable reasons. What could these people have done to deserve their fate?

As the morning wore on, there was lots more to digest. The Pentagon got hit, that information was always less clear, another plane had gone down in Pennsylvania -- actually only a few hours from us by car. We drove there later and saw the empty field and scarred earth (before it became a memorial). And later hearing the recordings and last acts of those brave folks was both tragic and inspiring. Their last message to humanity was a combination of "I love you" to those they cared about, about "Never give up", while recognition sets in there's nothing you can do to save your own life, but maybe you can save others.

All the planes in the nation (or heading to it) were told to land. Fighters were scrambled. And emotional overload continued for days, as stories of people you knew were directly affected by losing a loved one, or missing. The tales of the first responders and their widowed spouses and children without a parent trickled in. About people trying to do the right thing, and a few surviving miraculously, and others dying trying to do right by the world.

I started school there (Downtown) a year and a half later. My hotel overlooked the hole that they were digging out, where the buildings had once stood, while rebuilding the path station. And going to class, I walked by the construction site, that was to become a memorial. Life has to go on, you need to overcome and rebuild. But 9/11 was still often discussed, and hearing stories of friends and classmates, that lost people they knew. One was stuck in the train-tunnel under the river for hours, and had to walk out -- because the first plane had hit, and they stopped the train that was on it's way the PATH station (underneath the towers).

I also remember a few years before that, we had visited NYC, and done the Empire State building, plays and a few other touristy things while there. And we talked about going downtown to the Twin Towers (Windows on the World)... but at the time, we had a full plate and said, "maybe next time". Every day that I walked by the construction site while going to school, I remembered that that time would never come. "Next time", is never guaranteed. more...
FXImpact.jpg
There's this common myth that Air Rifles ("BB Guns" or "Pellet Guns") are toys, however, while they don't have quite the velocity of our top of the line modern rifles, they easily exceed black powder rifles that brought down buffalo and won the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. People hunt Buffalo and Elk with them, and they have no problem going through humans. Fortunately, since the gun-ignorant don't understand their threat, they aren't highly regulated (one last bastion of liberty, for now), and mass shootings and crimes are usually committed with gunpowder-based weapons. Which makes them especially popular in countries/place with hoplophobia. more...
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My wife, the airline attendant, and some stories of what it's like: from training, to a crazy cat person, to getting groped by TSA. more...
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The other day, I went and got my CCW (License To Carry a Concealed Weapon). Well, technically, I took the class to get my CCW, and have filled out my forms (it'll be a couple months before I get them back). And since I'm in the People's Republic of California, I only took the classes for the other ≈40 or so states (in Free America) that respect the Constitution and 2nd Amendment (called shall issue states): those silly rules don't apply in California, unless we get national reciprocity, then they'll secede. Still, it was an experience that I figured I'd share. more...
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HUD (Housing and urban development) has various programs that are meant to help low income and first time buyers into their own homes. Sounds great, right? Too many people can’t afford a house, so a little wealth redistribution ought to help them out? Yet not all the effects are positive — trust me, I know. more...
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Family, Fun, and driving circa 1997. What an atypically typical Christmas vacation looks like for us. We visit my family on Christmas Eve, and visit my wife's family on Christmas Day. There can be no two more different families on the face of the planet. more...
Jury Duty 1998.png
A jury is made up of 12 people too dumb to lie? I had not been called for Jury Duty, ever before… then my luck ran out; I received "the summons". I must admit my curiosity at doing my civic duty, was tempered with the thrill of driving to downtown San Diego (in rush hour), dealing with my fellow man (which I don't always think too highly of), and sitting through a torturously long bureaucratic process -- all for $5/day (when parking cost me $7). Lets just say my cynical nature was not disappointed. more...
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Jury Duty: after 4 days of picking Jurors, they finally asked me questions and decided I wasn't one of the droid they were looking for, and they let me go. Primarily, it got to questions about why I taught Martial Arts, and saying, "because I really don't like bullies" was all it took for the preemptory challenges to let me go free, with a fist bump from another juror. more...
Waver.png
These are the stories of my experiences pulling a gun to stop crimes, and how it differs from the stereotypes. In my life, I have personally used a gun to end an altercation three times. A rape, an armed car robbery, and a drug dealer or pederast trying to pedal something on a not so helpless young lad. more...
Northfield.jpeg
Sadly, I became another victim of a government scam. The oldest racket in the book. The mafia calls it the "protection" racket - where you are extorted to pay them for protection, while you are forced to ignore that they are only protecting you from themselves. more...
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Suicide is painless, it brings on many changes... at least according to the song. Obviously, I didn't commit suicide, or that would make this article a lot more interesting. These are just a few stories I tell are about me finding bodies, or seeing it happen. I don't know if I'm just "lucky", but things happen around me. more...
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People will tell you to "think outside the Box". I learned early on, they don't mean it. Or more often they mean "not too much outside the box". more...
Salon ran a stupid race-baiting article by Priscilla Ward, but I know, I repeat myself: it was Salon. Still, her racist polarizing diatribe, made me want to retaliate in kind, re-living a mostly true tales of woe and racism in my past, in a parody of her article. Just to point out there's a whole lot of backstory in others lives that we may not know. more...
Waver.png
This is a story of what shooting is like for me, and how it differs from the stereotypes. Now the plural of anecdote is not data -- but lies of omission, are lies. The media loves to bombard us with selective anecdotes about how guns ruined lives, but almost never about the many, many millions of times a year more, where they are just used for hobby or sport. This is just some of those. more...