3/29/10

Prophylactic Photos

The Sony Cyber Shot that has documented nearly all of my adventures has begun to show signs of wear. While most would have moved on long ago, my cheapness has led to me opening up this camera on more than one occasion fix something.
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Today was likely our last maintenance session. Knowing that death for this camera is inevitable, I decided to try something I had seen on the Internet a few years ago.

The idea was simple enough: Use a non-lubricated condom to transform a regular camera into an underwater camera.


As we can see from the pictures, the idea worked in principle and my camera has surrived to take another picture. Unfortunately it appears as though my camera does not care to take pictures underwater. Then again the current did make holding the camera steady difficult, the lighting was not perfect, and the lens had to deal with looking through the latex. So with a little practice this idea just might work. However, I think at this point a new camera is in order; donations as always are appreciated.

3/28/10

火災 !!!

Arriving home after a long day of work the firetrucks in front of my aparment were ominous. Luckily the apartmenent that was burning down was a block or so away.

The Water Park


Okinawa, Japan

A moment at base camp

I've burnt the forest to win this war. Years of life, saving, and tenacity is what it took to secure this victory. It was not this first time I'd made an audacious move. It was not the first time I'd seen the losses begin to add up.

The difference is this time I stared failure in the face and knew its stench. Failure built up my arsenal. Opportunities wasted, missed, and abused imprinted the importance of seizing the moment and fighting till there is nothing left.

With this war won another begins. Peace and success breed new unknowns. Success has made me hungry. Loss has left me ruthless. Experience has earned me knowledge.

The have beens and happy with this try to speak to me. Yet their words float in one ear and out the other. While these spirits may have tasted success, they never swallowed the sour fruit of life I've tasted and stomached.

From this base camp I stare up at a new set up unknowns. Though my experience may fail me again, luck and my calloused palms will guide me through the life's narrows.

3/18/10

Pink Spandex

Working around people has reminded me of something I had forgotten. It returned as I looked into the eyes of an enraged man and said, "I apologize." With those simple words he was defused. The anger and tension slipped from his face. The air around him calmed.

What had I forgotten? The simplicity of people.

The anger in the gentleman I encountered had been incited by me a few weeks early. It had begun with a simple comment directed at his daughter. For you see, she had been wearing a pair of hot pink spandex over her long 21 year old legs. In general public this may not have been an issue. However on a Marine base filled with energetic young men, I felt her wearing those pants was in poor judgment. Before I could contain myself the words, "What are you thinking wearing pants like that on a Marine base? Do you want to cause a riot?" slipped from my mouth.

Strangely the father did nothing that day. Rather he let it fester and then went out of his way to track me down. Though I began by attempting to defend my position, I realized it was pointless because he taken my remark as a sexual advance towards his hot daughter. Thus I apologized.

So who was right in this situation? In our modern cultural shouldn't a girl be able to wear revealing clothing in the middle of a bunch of sexually pent up men? I guess since reality is relative to your perception everyone's answer is right. With that said, when the time comes, my daughter will be leaving the pink spandex pants at home.

3/3/10

4-Star General

For about a week I had heard that the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James Conway, would be visiting Okinawa. Why did this matter? Well because the 4 Star General of the Marine Corps could be likened to the CEO of a company who also happened to command an army. Not just any armed force mind you. This man commands what could be considered one of the most extreme and charismatic of all the US forces. Furthermore due to his obligations in Washington, General James Conway rarely comes to Okinawa. However since this year was the 65th anniversary of the battle of Iwojima, he had come to Japan for a special ceremony to commemorate the Marines success at the Battle of Iwojima.

Being a bit of a fixture on base, over the course of the week I had gotten enough information out of people to know that the Commandant would be arriving around 14:00 on Tuesday and was planned to do a speech in the Bases movie theater. Having no idea whether or not I would be allowed inside the theater, I began the short walk from my office to the bases movie theater.



Having been to events similar to this in the civilian world, I was quite surprised by the lack of security. There was no parameter around the movie theater or metal detectors. In fact the only resistance I encountered was from some Japanese security guards who asked me, "Excuse me, what are you looking for." Being a veteran of getting into places I was not supposed to be, without breaking stride I replied, "I am here to see the Commandant" and continued into the theater meeting no further resistance.

Mind you I was now sitting in theater filled with uniformed Marines. There was not another person in civilian attire in the entire theater aside from myself. As we waited for General James Conway to arrive, the Commander of the Base warned the Marines, "That no one was to asked to be promoted, even as a joke." and "That all questions should be related to current political concerning the Marine Corps."

Then without warning everyone was told to stand at attention and the Commandant himself quickly walked in from the back of the theater telling everyone to stand at ease as he made his way to the stage.

General James Conway spoke for about a half an hour and touched on how he sees the Marines likely being in Afghanistan for another 4 to 5 years and how the Marines efforts in Iraq will soon be coming to an end. He also touched on the Military's, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, after it was brought up as a question by a Marine.

Interestingly he put two questions to the audience. The first was whether the Marines present would feel comfortable serving next to Marine whom they knew to be gay. By a vote of hands only one young women said she would feel comfortable serving alongside a Marine she knew to be gay. The second question General James Conway asked was whether the Marines present would be comfortable sharing a barrack with a gay Marine. Not surprisingly every hand in the audience, accept that of the woman's, voted no. (A bit of background: Single Enlisted Marines in Okinawa live two to a room, while other US armed services usually have their service members living one per room.)

Now where did these pictures come from? Well when the Commandant finished his speech he was quickly led out the side door of the movie theater. Everyone stood up to leave, but the Commander of Kinser told everyone to sit down and wait. But... Since I was in civilian clothes no one knew what to do with me. So I was able to slip of the theater.

Hearing the helicopters that had brought the 4-Star General into Camp Kinser and knowing General James Conway was on his way there, I began walking down towards the noise. Before long I was standing across the street wondering, should I cross the street and try and get a picture with the General himself. That moment of hesitation was just enough and the helicopters were off.

While I do regret not going for it, I like my job and having pushed it rather far, maybe its for the best that I let this little stunt end there.