October 2000

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October 16, 2000:  Well, yesterday was a cool freakin' day.  After spending the first part of the morning with Justin, I dropped him off and then headed off to the Port of Oakland to meet up with Steve "The Milkman" Mayou.  His boat, the USS Charlotte - SSN 766, was docked at the Alameda port and we met up around noon.  I got to spend the better part of the next hour, touring this Los Angeles class, fast attack, nuclear submarine.  It was AWESOME!  "Down ladder" we cried (ok, we didn't cry) as we entered the vessel through the the weapons shipping hatch (this where the weapons, including the Tomahawk missiles and Mark 48 torpedo's, are loaded onto the boat).  Damn, the word claustrophobic immediately came to mind as we slid through the 'p-ways' (that's sub talk for passage ways), exploring the different parts of this deadly boat.  I got to see the bridge and peer through the periscope as well as check out the sonar room, galley, and the aux-machinery room (this is were the diesel engine is, which is used to power the boat in the even the nuclear reactor and batteries are off-line.  The it was off to the torpedo room, where I laid my hands upon the Mark 48, which as Milkman said, is smart enough to probably pass a high school GED exam (which I hear some of the Conners <those are the guys who steer the boat> couldn't do :).  I also got a sneak peak at the crew quarters, and let's just say that privacy is non-existant.  With the exception of curtain, that you can pull down around your bed, there's no where that you can hide!  It was a real treat to be able to tour the boat and see some of the stuff I read about in Tom Clancy's novels, up close and personal.  I'll have some picts of the sub (outside only :) up here shortly. 

Milkman current is station on Honolulu, where is enjoys spending time with his girlfriend Elsonne and her 14 month old daughter, Zoe (both of them are wicked cute!).  Milkman is also a part owner of a dive shop in Charleston, SC.  Click here to check it out.

After touring the boat, it was off to SFO for ANOTHER tour of the city (I should be collecting a check from the board of tourism at this point <sigh><grin>, where we had lunch in North Beach and then it was back to the boat where we hung out and chatted for a bit.

Tonight, Milky came down after work, and we grilled up some steaks, drank some beers, reminisced about the old days while looking through the photo albums, and all in all, just had a fun night.  It was good spending time with him and I certainly enjoyed the opportunity to go aboard his sub.  Thanks Milkman!

And that's about it for now :)

~Penz

October 15, 2000:  Had a really fun week this past week.  On Monday Oct. 9, Kevin Barnes flew into town, on his way back from Kwajelan (a 3.5 x .5 mile island out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, halfway between Hawaii and Guam) to the East coast.  His flight arrived Monday night, around 9:30 pm at SFO, flying in from Honolulu and then LA.  During his 5 day stay on Hawaii, Kevin got to see Jimmy Buffett play his last concert of the year!  Hehehe, what a great place to catch it at, eh?  After getting him back to my place, we shared a few beers together and did some catching up before we hit the hay.  Heheh, here's a pict of Kevin while he was out on the island.  Hahahah, he hasn't changed a bit!

On Tuesday, after I got home from work, we went out for to My Thai for a spicy dinner, and then headed to the movies where we saw "Remember the Titans" (Denzel Washington).  This was a good movie that was described by one film critic as "a film that amounts to a weird blend of "Malcolm X" (with another strong Oscar-bait performance from Denzel Washington), "Stand by Me" (strict discipline is the source of all achievement) and "Rocky" (will the underdogs win the big game?)".  Hahaha, that said, I'd recommend catching it.

On Wednesday, after I got home from work, we headed up into San Francisco and ended up down by Fisherman's wharf.  After strolling around for a bit, we ended up at "The Fiddler's Green", which is a nice hole in the wall Irish Pub.  Well, after a couple of shots of Tulley Mo Dew Irish whiskey, and a pint or two of Guinness, we were enjoying ourselves nicely.  So, we called Kevin's brother to chat, and while doing so, watch our neighbors at the bar receive their dinner.  It looked quite tasty, so we ordered the house special of Irish Stew and the pork chops.  Both were excellent!  Of course, being the shy souls that we are we struck up conversation with our neighbors, who turned out to me a mother/son duo, who moved here from the UK 3 and 1.5 years ago, respectively.  She came here with nothing more than a backpack full of clothes a few $$, and now has a descent job and apt. in the city.  She's working towards getting a sailboat.  Well, when I heard that, I asked her if she ever heard of Jimmy Buffett, and with a strange look on her face, replied yes!  Hahahaha, turn our that her son's ex-girlfriend is the god daughter of Jimmy Buffett, and during his last visit to SFO, they were back stage with him!  Hehehehehe, too funny!  Those damn parrot heads are everywhere.

Here's a cool shot of Kevin's ID from Raytheon. All of the good security stuff has been edited off of this, but it's still pretty cool to see :)

Well, after finishing up dinner and drinks, Kevin and I headed up to the North End for a visit to the pastry shop.  Hehehe, $40 later, we exited with a box of goodies that would have fed 10!  Sippin' on some double latte's we zoomed back to Fremont, were we did a little indulging (those Napoleon's were fantastic!).

On Thursday night, we headed over to Half Moon Bay, were after seeing a few of the sites, we went to dinner at the Half Moon Bay Brewery.  We had a good meal (him the swordfish and I the sole) and then headed over to Brian and Shawn's place in Montera, where we spent the rest of the night hanging out and having a good ol' time.  Their wedding is in two weeks, and I can't wait to go just to meet all of their friends who are coming in from various parts of the world.  It will be a blast!

On Friday, it was back into the city for a bit of the day, and that night dinner at Jidaiya in Palo Alto.  There really is no other better sushi than that place, in this area.  Mmmmm, mmmmm, good!  We spent the night at Rob and Susan's (who were away at a car race), and watched "The Hurricane" (great movie, though I did snooze through a half hour of it).  Around 2:00 am, were were joined by Justin and his friend Jenn.  We stayed up for another hour or so before finally hitting the hay. 

On Saturday (which was Justin's Birthday!!), we dropped Kevin off at the airport, and he headed off to NC.  He'll spend a few days there and then head up to New England for a couple of weeks and then he'll fly back to Kwaj on Nov. 5.  I had a great time with him and am looking forward to going out to Kwaj to see him.

Justin and I then headed in to SF for breakfast at our favorite place, Savor on 3913 24th Street.  After a tasty meal, we headed back towards Atherton, where we spent a good part of the day in bed.... sleeping... >:-)  Hahahaha, yep.... anways, we did eventually leave the house later that afternoon and went for dinner at Su Hong's in Menlo Park.  One of the best Chinese restaurants in the area and then it was back to Fremont for the evening.  We had a great day together and I was totally psyched to have had the entire day with him.

And now, it's Sunday morning, my baby is still sleeping, and I'm up typing away.  Later on, I'm planning on meeting up with Steve "Milkman" Mayou, who is in port in Oakland.  His Los Angeles class nuclear submarine is something I'm hoping to get a tour on.  None the less, it will be fun just to hang out with him for the day.

Last week, I also talked to my brother a couple of times.  He's doing well back in MA and work is going well for him.  His fiancee', Suzanne, has moved into his place, and after building a second addition to their apt, they just might have enough room for all of their clothes!  Hehehehe, they both love to shop :)

I spoke with William "Spidey" Wright last night, for about an hour.  He's doing well in KY.  His fiancee' was back in NH for the weekend attending a bridal shower for Tanya (she and Perky will be getting married next weekend, and sadly, I won't be able to get back for it...) and he was home chilling out.  It was great to spend some time catchin' up with my bro and I'm hoping to see him in the not too distant future.

J.J. Perusse and I continue to play phone tag.  Hehehehe, I'm hoping to catch up with him shortly.

Spoke with Scott "Birdy" Bartholomew on Friday.  He's doing well in CT and is looking forward to seeing everyone next weekend at Scott and Tanya's wedding :)

Paul Barnes moved into his new apartment yesterday!  Located in Portsmouth, NH about 10 min. from his work, this is Paul's first time living on his own!  He's totally psyched I wish him the best of luck (and hopes that he finds himself a nice new girlfriend 'down by the sea' :)

I've begun looking for a new apartment up in the Dublin area.  I should have it picked out by next weekend and will move into it in mid November.  More on that soon.

And that, my friends, is a little bit of what's been going on in my world.  Drop me a line and let me know what's up in yours :)

~Penz
 

October 2, 2000:    Wow, last month I took the time to make one journal entry.  Sad!  Hehehe, this journal is as much for me, as it is for the one eskimo up in Alaska who reads it (oh yeah, and the rest of you who I talk to on occasion who say "Why aren't I in there!?!?!" <grin>).

So, what's been up.  Well, last week was truly a roller coaster week.  My father, who as most of you know is not doing too well, on Tuesday, he announced that he decided that he was going to stop taking dialysis and his medications, basically giving him about 2 weeks to live.  His basic reason was that he wanted to go out on his own terms and with some dignity.

Dad's current condition is that he's on full dialysis (3 times a week) because both of his kidneys have failed.  His diabetes has taken a huge toll on his health, leaving him with poor vision and bad circulation.  His blood pressure is controlled at this point, but his body's condition, due to all of the above and the aftermath of a stroke 5 years ago, is slowly declining.

Well, needless to say, when we (the family) heard this, we had a couple of reactions:

  1. Sadness, because we selfishly want to have him around as long as possible
  2. Even more of an understanding of just how 'hopeless' he must feel
  3. A lot more feelings that would be too intense to try and put down here, but all based upon an intense love and respect for Dad.

I spoke with his doctor, who is one hell of a good human being, and after talking to him for about 10 minutes, I knew he knew my dad pretty well.  Though he was saddened by my fathers decision, he said that Dad was of sound mind and that his logic for making such a decision was sound.  He ensured us that if Dad chose to go down this path, he'd make sure he was extremely comfortable.

So, as we waited until Wednesday for him to make his final decision, I popped many Rolaids, racked up a heck of a phone bill, held back a lot of tears, and made some tentative flight reservations back East. 

...and Pa Penz being the stubborn mule that we've all come to love and adore, changed his mind the next day (with maybe a little help from his family, especially my brother Tim who drove out to see him, after being up all night working).  Needless to say, we're glad he's sticking around for a bit, and no matter what he decides to do, we'll back his decision.  We just want to make sure he always realizes, he's got options.  I'll keep you all posted and thanks to all of you who sent me your kind words of encouragement.  I really appreciated that :)

So, after that, my week was a piece of cake! <grin, sigh>. 

On Friday, I went out to dinner with my friend and co-worker Renette and her husband.  We did sushi in Palo Alto and of course, ate and drank our fill!  Later on that night, Justin joined me and we proceeded to spend most of the rest of the weekend camped out in Atherton, chilling at Rob and Susan's place while they were away on vacation.  We had a great time just hanging out with each other and acting silly.  Hehehe, it was a great break from the week and we enjoyed it very much :)  On Sunday afternoon, Justin was back at San Jose State and I headed into Quintus for an hour or so and then it was back home for a quiet night reading.

Let's see, what else is up?  Well, back East, both Paul Barnes and Tim Watkins are doing well.  I spoke to each of them last week and all seemed to be going well.

I got the following email from Paul's younger brother today, check it out:

"Hey everyone, 

Well I have decided to take another job out here on Kwajalein.  I was offered a job as a Technician at the Video teleconference center that I have accepted so I will be spending another year out here on my little island. Of course I will continue my job search in case anything better comes along. For now how ever I will be soaking up rays on the beach while most of you are freezing your butts off. 

I will be leaving for vacation in two days and will be gone for a month so all you back in NH get ready I am coming to town. 

Until next time. Hasta Luego

Kevin "

For those who haven't been following Kevin's adventures, he currently on  Kwajalein, Republic of the Marshall Islands and has been working for Raytheon over the past year year!  You gotta check out this place.  It is a 'spec' in the middle of the ocean, but a beautiful one at that.  In this shot, you can see just how small the island is.  The darn runway takes up about 1/3 of it! 

I'm hoping that Kevin is going to be stopping by for a couple days during his flight back East.  Currently, he's planning on stopping over in Hawaii to catch a Jimmy Buffett concert (hehehe, you gotta love that) and then swing by my place for a few days before heading back East.

Oh yeah, I spoke with Steve "Milkman" Mayou last week.  He's doing well out on Hawaii (stationed in Honolulu).  He's getting ready to go underway for a bit in his Los Angeles class nuclear submarine (may god help us all! heheheheeh).  He's doing well and sends a big hello back to all the Dwellars.

Let's see, what else.  Well, Adam "Skinny Daug" Arnold has a birthday coming up in a few days.  I'd call his ass right now, if it wasn't 12:30 am back East.  He's probably cursing me in his sleep cause I haven't sent him his CD's yet.  Hmmmm, FedEx for Thursday? :-)

Other birthdays this month include Justin's, Zippy's, Vince's, JJ's, Mobb's as well as the Arnold's 3rd wedding anniversary!  Gonna be a fun month. 

By the end of this month, I'll hopefully have put down a security deposit on my new apt.  I'm gonna leave this one.  The rent here in the Valley is getting @#$ crazy!  Uggghhhh..... sad!

I'm sending a big warm hug to everyone back East and hi to:  Becky & Lisa, Macky and Heather, Melissa and Rico (just married!), Dubbah, Porky, Tucker and Andy, Dustin, Alex, Tab, Patno, Tevor, and all the rest of ya!

So, until later, keep smiling, 'cause life is way too short not to!

~Penz

P.S.  Has it sunk in that it's October already?  October people..... wake up, there's only 83 more shopping days until Christmas!!!!!!!!!  AGGGGHHHH!!!! Hehehehehehe :>

~Penz


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