Monday, October 25, 2004

I'm afraid I'm going to have to leave it at that. I had hoped to do a little more on-leave blogging, but I frittered time away and before I knew it, it was time for my much-looked-forward-to trip to New York to see my Grandparents and two aunts who there reside. It was a fairly nice trip. As usual we had a lot of things to talk about, even more given recent events in my life.
On Friday we went to see the city opera's production of the Marriage of Figaro, and on Saturday we went to see a screening of The Polar Express, a Tom Hanks movie opening November 10 (also the 229th anniversary of the establishment of the Marine Corps. I'll miss going to the birthday ball). Afterwards we got to ask Tom Hanks (and director Robert Zemeckis) some questions about the movie, and I even got to meet him. He seemed a pretty nice guy in person, and he had fun amusing the kids who were there.
The opera production was pretty good, though there were some directorial idiosyncrasies that will never make it into my production. After it was over we got to meet and talk with the main soprano, that is, the one who sang Susanna. She was making her American debut. Also with us was her husband, her mother-in-law (who, her son informed me, was with le Resistance during the war) as well as a British journalist who spent much of the time telling the aged mother-in-law the situation in the Middle East. Another thing I liked about the evening is that it gave me a chance to wear my dress blue blouse, the most formal part of my uniform.
For the next few weeks, starting tomorrow, I'm going to be doing MCT, Marine Combat Training, at Camp Lejeune. I'm sort of nervous, but I look forward at least to getting a rifle issued. I miss the one I had at boot camp. I miss cleaning it, racking it's bolt and so forth.
This period of training is only three weeks long and I will be home in plenty of time for Thanksgiving. The only thing that might keep me from being home for the Festives is that my MOS training school out in 29 Palms, CA, might pick up a new class between the time I get out of MCT and Christmas. I hope very much the next class picks up either while I am at Camp Lejeune or much later. An ideal time would be sometime in February. Next best would be sometime in January. We can hope. I'll try to make up for some of my prodigality when I get back. Right now I have to pack clothes and iron the uniform.
Take care.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Freude, schoner Gotterfunken,
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische,dein Heiligtum.

Deine Zuber binden wieder
Was die Mode streng geteilt,
Alle Menschen werden Bruder
Wo dein sanfter Flugel weilt.

Wem der grosse Wurf gelungen,
Eines Freundes Freund zu sein,
Wer ein holdes Weib errungen,
Mische seine Jubel ein!

Ja, wer auch nur eine Seele
Sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund!
Und wer's nie gekonnt,derstehle
Weinend sich aus diesem Bund

Just a few lines the sum up how I feel right about now. Thank you to all of those who were praying for or thinking about me over the last three months.

I wish I had time to talk about the whole thing, but I don't have time for a book deal. Over the next couple of days I'll try to blog as much as possible on different aspects of boot camp, becase talking about individual events.

The worst part of boot camp was probably receiving. That is the first couple of days you're there. You're brand new, everything is confusing, and you have no sort of routine to make you feel even the slightest bit at home. During receiving I felt like Dante in the Dark Wood of Error. I could see the light, but the way was blocked by three ferocious beasts. One wore a shiny black leather belt and the other two wore wide green web belts with a very large buckle. All three wore brown leather hats with four depressions around the top.

The best part? Well, I liked qualifying with the M16 rifle. I qualified a Sharpshooter, second only to Expert, which I missed by five points. Am I killing myself over? No, I am simply confident that when I requalify, I will have to go to the PX to buy a couple of Expert badges for my uniform. They were five points stupidly missed and easily recovered. I also liked Team Week, where we got to spend five days doing easy jobs around the island. My job was to clean up and area called Leatherneck Square, where the confidence course is. We picked up a little trash and then found and obscure spot in which to sit down and do nothing. Even so we still took turns watching out for DI's coming. So you see, Marine training and ethos was really sinking in whether we knew it or not. But seriousy, I think the best part was Family day, the day before graduation. They had the emblem ceremony, in which we were in formation on the parade deck, and with our families watching, we were presented with the Eagle Globe and Anchor emblem, whereupon we were officially recognized as Marines.

Here are a couple of interesting coincidences regarding boot camp:
Owing to a rainy day during firing week, I qualified with the M16 on September 11.
The Old Testament reading the first Sunday I was there was the one about Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham asked Gogd if He would punish the innocent along with the guilty. God said no, but the Parris Island answer is "No shit, where do you think you are, boy?"
The Old testament reading the first Sunday I was back was the one about Moses holding his hands out over a battle to give the Israelites the better of it. It was funny for two reasons. First of all, one of the punishments we were frequently given at boot camp was to hold out something heavy like an ALICE pack or a rifle with our arms fully extended until we could barely hold them up anymore. It was also funny because it began with Moses telling Joshua to "choose a few men" to fight against Amalec.

"Ooh, ooh, pick me!"

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