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Take a chance and fall from the heavens

Posted on 2010.02.10 at 14:16
Current Mood: ecstaticecstatic
Phil jumped out of a perfectly good airplane today. And from 11000 feet. And had a fucking blast doing it. This is less an update of how I am doing than it is an open invitation to anyone who wishes to go skydiving: I'll jump with you. :)

The only drawback? The annoying Nickelback music they added to the DVD of the jump.

Spiral out, keep going...

Posted on 2009.12.29 at 18:28
Current Location: la casa
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: "Lateralus" by TooL
Such an excellent holiday break with so much done!

Family began arriving last week: we had two aunts, a cousin, and a fiancee in the house to go with the five immediate family and grandmom, making a nice packed house of ten. Many fun games of Scrabble, Blokus, and Ingenious were played.

Perhaps the best choice, however, was Santa's present of Apples to Apples for the family, leading to drunken hysteria and "Joan of Arc" best describing the adjective of "hot."

Went to a shooting range for the first time in my life. After a moment of sheer nerves in wondering how the revolver and automatic would kick, it turned into sheer fun and determination, culminating in a bullseye shot from 21 feet. I still have the target showcasing my kill. :)

And I seriously wish I had found more opportunities to play laser tag in Chicago while I was there. Played a game of that and it brought back so many memories: shooting friends, repeatedly getting chased and shot by snot-nosed lil kids, shooting more friends...

Tara's engagement party was wonderful. Excellent food prepped by the neighbors and plenty of booze to go around. Plus, dad's softball team has some of the greatest stories ever amassed by people.

Saw Avatar yesterday with the family: I was thoroughly surprised at how good the movie actually was. I was honestly expecting to come out of it saying, "Eh, it was better than I expected," and came out so much more impressed than that. Seriously recommend you see it if you have not.

Also got to see friends I hadn't seen in, well, years. Everyone is growing up and doing awesome things (and some are in law school... ;) ), and it was a blast to reconnect with them as well. Hopefully I will see/talk to them soon.

And with the Wisconsin bowl game tonight and New Year's to come, I still have some fun and shenanigans in which to engage. So much done, so much more to be done.

Posted on 2009.12.23 at 15:48
Current Location: The household
Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: "Build A Bridge" by Limp Bizkit
Happy Festivus everybody! I celebrated by picking up the Limp Bizkit tune released on Rock Band yesterday, called "Build A Bridge." It's no "Break Stuff," "Nookie," or "Rollin'," but it suffices as a nice tune to play. The bass and guitar riffs are repetitive, but since I have a soft spot for Limp Bizkit I can deal. :)

Family has been rolling into the household since yesterday, with only my sister and her fiancee left to arrive tomorrow morning. It feels good to have everybody together for the holidays under one roof.

My aunt and I are definitely going to the movies at least once this weekend, leaving the ultimate decision: Up in the Air, or Avatar?* Different types of movies, and unless we want to do a double feature one afternoon, looks like a tough choice...

Otherwise, my naval recruiting station duties are done until January, so aside from another day of Habitat next week I can actually relax for the Holidays! Huzzah!

So Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Merry Kwanzaa, Happy Festivus, and if I missed what you celebrate, Happy [INSERT YOUR CHOICE OF CELEBRATION HERE]!

* - Sherlock Holmes is being kept off this list as the entire family is expected to go together for this one. The above choices are the other movie we wish to attend.

Posted on 2009.12.21 at 15:39
Current Location: At home
Current Mood: sillysilly
Current Music: "Grave of Opportunity" by Unearth
Tags: ,
Two phone calls taken last week while at the recruiting center:

Me: "World's finest Navy, this is DEP recruit Shaffer. How may I help you?"
Him: "Hey, Shaffer. I need some help setting up my Stratego board. Any pointers for the bombs?"
Me: "Well, Admiral, I'd consider hiding the flag behind bombs."
Him: "Damn, that makes a lot of sense. Anything for me to do over there?"
Me: "No admiral, we're pretty well covered."
Him: "Allright, you have a good day." *click*

Me: "World's finest Navy, this is DEP recruit Shaffer. How may I help you?"
Him: "Shaffer, just wanted to let you know that Niagara Falls is still flowing as a waterfall. The winter weather can't stop the power."
Me: "I'll be sure to let the recruiting center know that, Admiral."
Him: "Good. Have a good one." *click*

The "Him" is a retired admiral who calls our station a number of times each week. Suffering from something, but talking to him is one of the funniest and best parts of the day. I like to think I'm giving him some friendship in a way because I'll chat with him for a couple of minutes when he calls. And he's quite courteous too, which is nice in the office and a refreshing change of pace from some of the other Navy personnel who call.

So here's to the admiral *raises glass*. Allright, off to PT.

And I don't know why, but I feel like I could do anything now...

Posted on 2009.11.25 at 12:03
Current Location: Home
Current Mood: productive
Current Music: "Sun Rises Down" - Acroma
This guy is amazing. Seriously.

Just worked the Jupiter Habitat site with him. His name's Tom, and his story is amazing. Left me quite humbled, and here I am enlisted in the Navy. :) Anyways, I wish him well with the last leg of what has hopefully been an incredible journey.

Tom's the guy in the red shirt from the link.

You might surprise yourself.

Posted on 2009.11.22 at 09:25
Current Location: The house
Current Mood: awake
Current Music: "Last Cup of Sorrow" - Faith No More
8:30 is now "sleeping in" for me on the weekends. Sigh. At least I've become a morning person in the process. This will serve me well for the next 6-8 years at the very least. :)

I'd seriously recommend people find local Habitat For Humanity projects and volunteer to help out from time to time. It's awesome watching your work literally evolve into something tangible as you go out to help. Learning lots of carpentry skills doesn't hurt much either. :) And where else will you learn how to balance on roofs properly?

Wisconsin lost to Northwestern yesterday, which sucks on possibly three levels: 1) Wisconsin lost. 2) One of the petty officers at NRS WPB is from Evanston, and this means Monday will be his first opportunity to remind me of the loss. 3) If this somehow keeps Wisconsin out of the Outback Bowl then I won't be searching for bowl tickets...

Oh, and Bad government. Bad.

Posted on 2009.11.02 at 07:06
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: The "10,000 Days" CD from TooL
2009-11-01. A chilly Chicago morning with light rain. Just enough that it sent an extra shiver during my now customary morning run.

The last seven or eight hours have been some of the longest in my life. The crushing pain of heartbreak, fear, and uncertainty leave very deep bruises inside the mind, body and soul. But they also open me up to more reflection and the bizarre path my life seems destined to follow.

There's really no other way to say it: the "me" four months ago did not add up to much. He was timid, nervous, and could never develop traction to get off the ground and move forward. I look back on the old "me" and have difficulty figuring out what appeal he had. In four months, though, from the time I entered NRS West Palm Beach and up to this moment writing this entry I can only wonder what in the hell has happened: the new "me" still startles me with his new habits and ways.

It's hard now to determine if the new "me" will end up being better than the old "me," but odds are considerably favorable and the differences between the two "mes" are staggering: no more caffeinated soda, a sharp decrease in fast food consumption, exercise and stretching at least once a day, the responsibility of encouraging others to better themselves, more community service, better sleeping patterns, *gasp* tolerating the morning a lot more, *gasp* a stoppage of poker playing, *GASP* less video game playing (except for Rock Band and Guitar Hero of course), and even opening up more to people. Four months ago I don't think I could ever have foreseen these changes occurring inside me. And I have the US Navy to thank for that metamorphosis. These are changes that will only serve to better me and allow me to further make myself, as Incubus might say, out of something that is not paper mache.

But it wouldn't be fair to credit the Navy with everything. My friends have stepped up and gone beyond the call of duty to aid me in my time of need. Every voice has had a different message, every message necessary for me to hear. And the voices of my friends have helped flush out the pain and sorrow that had been creeping further into me. While these forces will never stop attempting to penetrate me, I know I will always have the best ammunition in the world to combat it. Thank you all. Words will never express how much you've all meant to me these past couple of days, weeks, and months.

Yet the strange twists of life still echo on, never letting me forget their fiendish ways. The US Navy and my friends have turned me into a person that I feel is actually worthy of the incredible pressure I put myself under on a consistent basis. The lessons in just four months speak to a taste of what my potential now is, and that potential is something that will be reached. Yet the decision to undergo this change in the Navy is exactly what cost me the greatest part of my life: a part of me that deserved this new "me" and not the old "me,", a twist that would encourage chuckles only in a black comedy, and something so demented that I feel the only recourse I have is to smile, laugh, and trudge forward in the rebuilding process.

I know I know, such is life. Perhaps someday I will be able to look back at this episode in my life and proudly smile at this being the moment in my life that I first felt the capability to stand on my own two feet and handle anything. Perhaps I will once again find that greatness in my life that now leaves a hole in my chest. Perhaps even after the six year Navy term I will love it to the point that another six to twelve years will be in order. Perhaps six years will just be too much and I will instead enter the private sector changed and strong enough to survive and flourish with these lessons.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps...

But this much I know: seven to eight hours ago, my world nearly crashed down into oblivion. Without the US Navy's training and mentality or my friends, who knows what would have been damaged and what complications would have come from this. The remaining pain and burdens from my past failures will be my constant reminders of what still needs to be changed and improved inside me. I will forever carry on that weight, never forgetting it, utilizing it to improve myself and those around me. And I will continue to look to my friends for help when I need them, hopefully with them knowing that I will do my best to help them whenever they need it.

This is the new creed for the new me. Looking back on it, I think I also have to thank Lloyd Irving for being an inspiration through his actions. Besides, as serious as this entry is, it would not be a Phil entry without an allusion to video games, now would it. :)

More of that good ol'fashioned altruism we supposedly have...

Posted on 2009.08.13 at 19:51
Current Location: My room
Current Mood: angryangry
Current Music: "Isolate" by Sybreed
I'm beginning to see why acts of kindness are tougher to find in this country.

Seriously, punishing a man for helping people not die of thirst? God this story makes me sick.

The better solution is to figure out how to properly dispose of those bottles once they are used, so that the wildlife is also protected.

Posted on 2009.08.04 at 14:50
Good for some laughs.

Posted on 2009.08.04 at 02:09
My old state is doing some good!

Some good news is nice to see for once. Beats the ol' steroid bullshit, MJ coverage, and the other daily crap I deal with.

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