Monday, July 13, 2009

Lakewood, CO

We are in Lakewood, CO now. Last night we went to the fabulous restaurant, Casa Bonita.
Yesterday, while driving here, I almost got busted for speeding. My GPS thingy told me to keep left on I-25N, so I was in the left lane. I was going 71 in a 65 zone. People behind me were hot on my tail, wanting me to go faster. Then, magically, nobody was in front of me and I found myself leading the pack. Then I saw why: a cop on the edge of the freeway shooting radar. I didn't see red and blue lights, so all's well.
We're on our way to see the Denver museum, then to see cousins in Kansas, and then on toward K.C.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Everyone OK - Windshield Getting Fixed

Here's a follow-up to my previous email. We have been reunited after nearly five months; everyone is OK. I got on the windshield problem with insurance right away and we took the car into a Safelite dealer. It's getting fixed this morning.
I drove everyone around in my new Jetta and they got to see the El Paso Pella Window store, then I took them up Transmountain Highway and they got to see both sides of El Paso after dinner at Famous Dave's. It was a successful evening!
Today I plan to take then up to Franklin Mountain State Park before going to White Sands. The girls are thrilled at being near the place where the first atomic bombs were tested and where "The Hills Have Eyes" is fictionally supposed to be; that's all they want to talk about.
This is my last update as we will be on the road for most of the next week.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Busted Windshield In The Frickin' Desert

Here's the latest: Kathy and the girls are on their way down to El Paso. While on the highway between Alamogordo and El Paso, the wind blew an unsecured orange cooler from the truck Kathy was behind into the windshield right in front of where Schatzie was sitting. They ran down the jackass; at least he stopped. They are OK and the police arrived and finally took their report (in the middle of the frickin' desert) and released everyone. So now they are driving with a busted windshield and I'm trying to get that scheduled to get fixed ASAP.
Graduation is tomorrow, then we are to go to White Sands...we'll see what happens with the windshield.
Will keep you posted...
It's been tough for the past four weeks with seemingly constant testing here.
Monday, when the rest of the Army had a holiday, I took a 5 hour practical exam where I had to set up a radar system and connect it to nine other different systems using IP addresses and cat V cable. I even had to build a LAN cable! (It worked!)
Tuesday I studied. Then yesterday I took another practical exam, this one two hours long, where I had to set up and configure a satellite link and two radio systems that have to be in perfect timing sync to talk to each other. Then after that I had to take a closed book written exam. My Army colleagues and I breathed a sigh of relief last night and celebrated.
Today and tomorrow are big days. My family (that I haven't seen since February) will arrive here this afternoon. Tomorrow is the graduation ceremony. Then I'll take my family on a little vacation through White Sands, Roswell, New Mexico, and other points of interest as we make our way back home. We're planning a stop at the fabulous Casa Bonita restaurant near Denver.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Lacuna Coil Rocks El Paso

Wow! I cannot say enough good things about the first lady of melodic Heavy Metal, Cristina Scabbia and her band Lacuna Coil! They rocked El Paso tonight!
These performers poured themselves out on the stage. Their first number was so powerful it literally brought tears to my eyes! It was truly a treat to have been there when Cristina belted out Our Truth in the middle of the set. She really puts emotion into her performance, and co-lead singer Andrea Ferro equally worked the audience to a frenzy, as all the band members bounced in time on the stage as they performed Fragile.
I was right in the middle of the mosh pit. There were only five people between the performers and myself. It's hard to describe the surge of emotion as a sea of humanity surges forward and the deep bass thrums in your chest and great performers are on the stage putting themselves into a great, energetic performance for the audience.
It would be easy to feel that the vocalists overshadowed the entire performance, but to be fair to the other performers, (two guitarists, a bassist, and the drummer) they all rendered spot-on performances. Musically, they were great, and as showmen, they were top-notch. The band members connected with the audience - they looked out into the audience from the stage and really had eye contact with the audience, who responded, shall we say, enthusiastically!
I left the concert after the Lacuna Coil set, because I felt there no way The Cult, the headliner performance, or fireworks, could top Lacuna Coil.
On this blessed Independence Day, we not only say long live the United States of America, we say long live Italia! Not only do they make great cars, they can rock the house down!
And if you haven't already, run out and get Lacuna Coil's three releases:
Comalies, Karma Code, and Shallow Life.
Songs played during their live set:
To The Edge
Without Fear
I Won't Tell You
I'm Not Afraid
Our Truth
What I See
The Prophet Said
Heaven's A Lie
The Ghost Woman And The Hunter
Fragments Of Faith
Enjoy The Silence

And for more info, check out this link:
Here's another perspective on the event published by the El Paso Times.