Sunday, May 04, 2008

Playing Catch-up

Ok, so it has been months since I have done much with this blog. But today was worth writing about.

First, the last couple of months have been hectic. I have been working long hours and lots of weekends to get the Wing ready for the NORI, I have traveled with HHq to SAV other units, and I have traveled with the IG inspecting other units.

Oh, and then there was the White House Fellows thing. In late December the AF decided I could compete for a slot, and in March I found I had made regional finals. The interview in San Francisco was a lot of fun and a little scary, but I failed to advance. The people they picked from there were really good, however, so I feel no animosity. I was just outclassed. Still, that took a lot of my time preparing.

We have orders to Alabama for SAASS, our house is sold (we have a GREAT realtor), and we are renting a quaint retreat-like house in Prattville for the next year. The move date is in early June, right after the inspection, and I am going to try to take some leave and go to Colorado to visit the shed I helped build last month.

Whew. Caught up. To today, anyway.

Like most Sundays of late, I had to go in to work after church, but this day was a little different.

I got to meet my boss, the President of the United States.

It was really cool. Up close, he looks much more personable than on TV, and a good bit older. I hear that being President does that to you. It was actually kind of embarrassing. I always thought I could handle myself well in these situations, but when he came up to the line where I was standing and put out his hand to shake mine, I had a notepad in my hand and handed it to him. It would have been OK if he had seen it, but as it was, he was looking me in the eye, not looking at my hand. As he reached my hand, he glanced at my name tag (I was in flight suit), and said, "Max, how is it going tod..." and then stopped. I'm not sure if it was because he saw my last name, or the realization that it was not a hand he was grasping. For whatever reason, I managed to blurt out "Sir, it is a real honor to..." before he looked at my notebook and smiled. He pulled out a pen, signed it for me, handed it back and again offered me his hand. This time I managed to take it. "Max, what do you fly?" He asked. I was again caught off guard. There were plenty of other people there waiting to shake his hand, but he had stopped and was actually asking the idiot who breached protocol and couldn't seem to complete a sentence a question. I answered somewhat coherently, and he thanked me for my service.

I also got to shake Sens. Roberts' and Brownback's hands. It was a pretty cool day. Oh, and I'll post the pictures when I get the chance.

Shocking discovery about guns!

A Brit living in America has opened his eyes on the anniversary of Virginia Tech:
Despite the fact there are more than 200 million guns in circulation, there is a certain tranquility and civility about American life.


Why is it then that so many Americans - and foreigners who come here - feel that the place is so, well, safe?

I have met incredulous British tourists who have been shocked to the core by the peacefulness of the place

A British man I met in Colorado recently told me he used to live in Kent but he moved to the American state of New Jersey and will not go home because it is, as he put it, "a gentler environment for bringing the kids up."

This is New Jersey. Home of the Sopranos.

Brits arriving in New York, hoping to avoid being slaughtered on day one of their shopping mission to Manhattan are, by day two, beginning to wonder what all the fuss was about. By day three they have had had the scales lifted from their eyes.

I have met incredulous British tourists who have been shocked to the core by the peacefulness of the place, the lack of the violent undercurrent so ubiquitous in British cities, even British market towns.

"It seems so nice here," they quaver.

Well, it is!

Kudos to Justin Webb for his shocking honesty.