Arriving in Korea Part I: Turumi Lodge Is Not Too Roomy

Nine days before departing for South Korea (대한민국), we left our home in Idaho and moved into base lodging. There were too many tasks to complete before the ‘For Sale’ sign was plunged into the front lawn. Painting, small fixes, and a new carpet installed while the movers packed things up for either storage or shipment. Family Lodging in Idaho spoiled me, because I was expecting the same on the other end of the journey.

Sorry that I can’t provide pix of Turumi Lodge. Photography on US Military Bases are forbidden. However, some peeps have made videos of the interior accommodations.

After landing in Korea, we were escorted directly into quarantine within the family section of Turumi Lodge. This building had condemned and was ready for demolition. But when Covid-19 struck, a sudden need for extra housing took precedence. Our living space was two small hotel rooms that had been combined years ago. The adjoining door was removed, and a closet was repurposed as a kitchen. Yes, you read that correctly, my kitchen was a freakin’ closet! The sink and induction burner soaked up fifty percent of the total counter space. I guess some counter space is better than none, right?

A small wooden cabinet stood opposite the kitchen next to the refrigerator, adorned with an automatic drip coffee maker and a four-slot toaster. How gracious and kind of the Air Force to provide such an amenity. However, in modern times, both coffee and toast have a common ingredient, electricity. There was no outlet, so I moved them to the countertop, leaving a space just big enough for a small cutting board.

Two of the chairs were falling apart and there was not adequate closet space to accommodate the luggage load for a family of four (plus two cats). The only amenity that could be looked upon as a positive was the high-speed internet. But alas our cell phones would not work.

Before leaving Idaho, we knew that we required phones with an international sim card. We purchased two new phones with the right cards and had them unlocked. Ugh! They were not fully or correctly unlocked, leaving us without cell service while we were locked up for fourteen days. Certain websites like FaceBook recognize an unfamiliar IP address and will send a temporary password to prove you are the true owner of an account. Unfortunately, that special password is sent via text message.

After quarantine, we were moved across the street to a more proper hotel. However, we were in two separate rooms and our cats were not allowed. Luckily, my wife had scoped this information out before we left Idaho and had a cat sitter ready. On our first day out, we purchased new phones, had our post office box assigned, and obtained our driver’s licenses and ration cards. We had to really move fast, as my wife was only given four days off to settle before reporting to her squadron. Of course, a four day holiday weekend was approaching and many official offices on the base would be closed or understaffed.

And that is when the proverbial hammer dropped on us. We were not going to be assigned housing on the base. Let the apartment hunting begin!


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Living Baby Dinosaur Found!

Idaho 6/16/2017: Scientists conducting wildlife research on the Snake River between Grand View and Bruneau stumbled upon a Baby Francosaurus, long considered from other fossil evidence as a distant cousin of the Stegosaurus.


“Unbelievable! I can’t wait to do some more research,” said Dr. Leeksy from the department of Cryptozooanthromorpharchaeology from Gem State Research University. Scientists from the department were universally agreed in their identification. “The tri-taloned green feet are better than a fingerprint,” said Dr. Piglet.


When pressed for more information, the team informed us that the green feet, alternating banded striations, and retractable cranial ridge-plates, undeniably distinguish the Francosaurus from other dinosaur species of the late Jurassic period.

Not long after media outlets reported the story, protestors showed up and demanded that the scientists leave the creature alone and conduct their research from a safe distance. Jane Laimbrayne, a spokeswoman for the group Dinosaur Lives Matter, said “…the Francosaurus must be protected in its natural habitat at all costs.” Volunteers from the group and scientists set up cameras and vigils to protect the Francosaurus from poachers. In a show of conservational solidarity, both groups chanted “We adore the Francosaur.”

Governor Bruce Udder misunderstood the significance of the discovery. The Governor mistakenly thought that Francosauruses were a new French ethnic political action group. “It’s been my pleasure to be acquainted with Francosauruses for most of my life. Even some of my best friends in college were Francosauruses. I am proud of their contribution to the diverse cultural fabric of our great state.” After the true nature of the Francosaurus was explained to him, and the need for extra funding for research, the governor ran away declined to comment further.

Every Time You Reply – The Francosaurus Doesn’t Cry



You Know You’re In a Small Town When…

you walk into a store and walk out without paying.

I’m not talking about shoplifting or any other criminal activity.


Here’s the story

My wife was working late and needed to pick up a plaque for a departing airman in her squadron. She didn’t think that she could get to the engraver’s shop before he closed, but she needed it for the next day. That’s when she called me and asked me to run over there and pick up the engraved wooden plaque.

Things like this go along with being married to the Air Force.

I had to go to the supermarket anyway, so I stopped into the shop to pick it up. When I took out my debit card, the owner said, “I don’t take cards, but I know she needs this for tomorrow. Just take it and come by with cash when you can.”

Color me dumbfounded. This man had never seen me before in my life, and yet he’s telling me to take the merchandise and pay him later.

I took the plaque, went to the supermarket and asked for cash back. I immediately returned to the store and paid the man. on Saturday, the plaque was presented to the departing sergeant on time.

I was born and raised in NYC. Things like this just don’t happen there.

Got any small town anecdotes that big city folk just wouldn’t understand?


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NaNoWriMo 2015: Hosting a Write-In


Image Courtesy of NaNoWriMo

I live in a small town. The writer’s group is not a large one, but we do have enough members to host a write-in for #NaNoWriMo 2015. I also belong to a larger group based in #Boise, Id. My goal was to get the two groups together.
First I needed a venue, which turned out to be an easy task. The local writer’s group meets in a coffee shop. Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and where there are #Indie-Authors, there’s coffee. The owner loved the idea for the write-in and told us to go ahead and spread the word.


Yes! I made that Cannoli

Now that I had the place, I had to come up with an idea to attract writers from Boise as well. This was going to be a difficult task, because there are many writing events taking place in Boise. Therefore I needed to concoct a way to entice others to take a 40 mile drive. The answer was a free-lunch.
I made up a tray of baked ravioli, chicken salad sandwiches, and cannoli. For the most part, it worked. One of the Boise members took the drive. Also, a few writers in town not normally associated with the local joined in with us. I would have liked more bodies to show up, but in the end it wasn’t a disappointment.


We got together, stuffed our faces, and banged away at our respective keyboards. I completed almost 2,000 words that day for my second fantasy novel…woohoo.
How did NaNoWriMo 2015 go for you?

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#NaNoWriMo 2015: Week 1

Well the first week of #NaNoWriMo is over. It could’ve been more productive but there are extenuating circumstances. 1) My wife is home from deployment and was still enjoying leave time. It would’ve been really wrong of me to shun her and spend selfish time at the PC. 2) Also she’s on a renovation quest. The kitchen needs an overhaul, so we spent a lot of time at Lowe’s & Home Depot.


Image Courtesy of NaNoWriMo

Aside from domesticity, I did manage to squeeze in some writing time and made it to a “write-in” in Boise, Id. This is my first attempt at NaNoWriMo from scratch. I did participate last year but only to finish off my manuscript for “An Easterly Sojourn.” Book one in my #fantasy series called Tales of Tyrennia.

For NaNoWriMo 2015, I started the manuscript for Book II: “The Frozen War.” So far I’ve managed 6,232 words. Already the book has taken off despite my planning. I love it when a plot or a character takes on a life of their own and moves away from my notes in a different direction. Don’t you love that too?

I’m though the first six chapters and had to update my notes because the subject matter of Chapter six was never planned. So back to my notes and change the chapter numbers.

Stay tuned…I’m hosting a “write-in” at a local coffee shop for the #Treasure Valley Group. I’ll let you know how it goes.

How far along is your NaNoWriMo 2015 manuscript?

My Favorite Films of The 1980’s

Some of these might not be the greatest or even have any appeal to anyone. Some of these films are here because of the experiences I have had with them. Hanging out with my college buddies and watching these movies brings back many fond memories. While other films I discovered while taking classes in Cinema Studies.


Public Domain Clip Art courtesy of Pixabay Openclips used under CC License


50. Raiders of the Lost Ark……….d. Steven Spielberg

49. The Terminator……….d. James Cameron

48. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off……….d. John Hughes

47. The Princess Bride……….d. Rob Reiner

46. A Passage to India……….d. David Lean (UK)

45. Ran……….d. Akira Kurosawa (Japan)

44. Full Metal Jacket……….d. Stanley Kubrick

43. Victor / Victoria……….d. Blake Edwards

42. Aliens……….d. James Cameron

41. The Elephant Man……….d.  David Lynch (UK/USA)

40. Airplane……….d. Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker,  David Zucker

39. Mephisto……….d. Istvan Szabo (W. Germany / Hungary / Austria)

38. Radio Days……….d. Woody Allen

37. Salvador……….d. Oliver Stone

36. Fast Times at Ridgemont High……….d. Amy Heckerling

35. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home……….d. Leonard Nimoy

34. The Blues Brothers……….d. John Landis

33. Big Trouble in Little China……….d. John Carpenter

32. Highlander……….d. Russell Mulcahy  (UK)

31. Caddyshack……….d. Harold Ramis

30. Easy Money……….d. James Signorelli

29. Conan the Barbarian……….d. John Milius

28. The Money Pit……….d. Richard Benjamin

27. Back to School……….d. Alan Metter

26. Labyrinth……….d. Jim Henson

25. Pale Rider……….d. Clint Eastwood

24. Ghostbusters……….d. Ivan Reitman

23. Amadeus……….d. Milos Forman

22. Brazil………..d. Terry Gilliam

21. Fitzcarraldo……….d. Werner Herzog (W. Germany)

20. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan……….d. Nicholas Meyer

19. Clash of the Titans……….d. Desmond Davis

18. Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears……….d. Vladimir Menshov (USSR)

17. My Beautiful Launderette……….d. Stephen Frears (UK)

16. The Empire Strikes Back……….d. George Lucas

15. Under Fire……….d. Roger Spottiswoode

14. Gandhi……….d. Richard Attenborough (UK / India)

13. Spaceballs……….d. Mel Brooks

12. Raging Bull……….d. Martin Scorsese

11. The Shining……….d. Stanley Kubrick

10. The Natural……….d. Barry Levinson

09. Pink Floyd: The Wall……….d. Alan Parker (UK)

08. The Right Stuff……….d. Phillip Kaufman

07. Blade Runner……….d. Ridley Scott

06. Sammie & Rosie Get Laid……….d. Stephen Frears (UK)

05. Cinema Paradiso……….d. Giuseppe Tornatore (Italy)

04. Koyaanisqatsi……….d. Godfrey Reggio

03. Queen of Hearts……….d. Jon Amiel (UK/USA)

02. Stop Making Sense……….d. Jonathan Demme

01. Wings of Desire……….d. Wim Wenders (W. Germany / France)

How do my favorites match-up with yours?

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The One Thing I Hate About Christmas

I can hear some of the initial reactions to the title of this post.

Most likely you’re thinking, “Bah Humbug to you too, pal,” or… “Is your real name Ebenezer San Giacomo? After all, your initials wouldn’t change.”

To save myself from the holiday madness:

I can avoid crowded stores and traffic by shopping online.

I can avoid spending lots of money by hunting for bargains or doing the shopping earlier.

I can avoid cooking for hours on end by enjoying a simple dinner with my wife and no guests.

I can avoid the anti-religion ad campaigns by Atheist groups by simply ignoring them.

I can avoid (place any other pet peeves about the holidays here).

However, the one thing that I wish I could avoid, but can’t, is going to church.

That’s one incredible thing for a devout follower of Catholicism to say, but it’s true. In fact, you can toss in Palm Sunday and Easter as well.

***If only I had the ability to photograph your wide eyes and gaping jaws at this moment.*** 🙂

But that’s the truth. Palm Sunday, Easter, and Christmas are the three days of the year that I’d like to avoid going to Mass.

Why? Because of all the PECs. “What’s a PEC?” you ask. It’s what regular parishioners call those people who attend Mass three times a year. PECs only go to church on Palm Sunday, Easter, and Christmas. Although I think crediting them with three church attendances per year is being nice. I’m sure the majority of PECs actually score only one or two out of three.

I agree with most clergy on this matter when they say things like “Well…they (PECs) are better off in church than not.” Who knows? Maybe they’ll come back for more and become a regular parishioner. It’s possible, and I’m hopeful for such things.

So it’s not their presence that bothers me. Nobody’s presence bothers me in church; those doors are always open to all. Which naturally begs the question, what bothers me about PECs?


It’s their attitude.

I’m sure at some point, you’ve seen video footage from stores where people get trampled or fight over that toy in short supply. How depressing it is to witness something like that. Well, that’s the same attitude that the PECs bring into church, treating communion like a first-come, first-served “free for all.” The clergy have wised up over the years, and now give out instructions that communion is dispensed row by row. Imagine the PECs’ disappointment over the fact that they got to the church early in order to be the first in line for the communion and “beat the crowd”, only to find out that it’s done in an orderly fashion. It’s as if they are on line at Best Buy for the latest iPhone gadget.

Oops, I almost forgot something important about Catholicism. If you’ve ever missed a Mass, then you can’t receive communion until the sacrament of reconciliation (confession and absolution) has been dispensed to you by a priest. But don’t try to tell that to a PEC.

I don’t mind standing in church; sometimes I actually think it’s a good thing that the pews are full. However, on the three days in question, I know that it is not a good thing. PECs cram into the front pews as if they’re lucky to get a better seat for a concert. Like I said, I really don’t mind standing, but what about the little old lady with the walker and the oxygen tank that shows up faithfully every week? Why  should she have to stand?

I would get up and offer her my seat. PECs don’t.

Next comes the unruly PEC children. Sometimes they play with toys and games. I remember one kid crawling up to the podium with a toy truck imitating engine sounds, while the priest was giving his homily. The PEC parents were smiling and laughing at their adorable child, and made no effort to stop him.

How I just wanted to tell them that not everybody thinks their child is a bundle of joy, especially when said child is interrupting a solemn ceremony.

And then there are the dreaded cell phones. There’s nothing like having a bright light jiggling around in your peripheral vision, or hearing that ring tone during the consecration of the Holy Eucharist, or their chattering.

In all fairness, I do have to say that not all PECs are created equal. The San Antonio PECs are much better than the New York City PECs. I have not yet experienced or witnessed the behavioral pattern of the typical Idaho PEC, but I’ll find that out tomorrow at Midnight Mass. Yes, I now only attend Midnight Mass for Christmas and Easter, because they are fewer PECs.

O Lord, please give me patience…right now!

What is the Secret to a Great Thanksgiving?

Is it Grandma’s stuffing recipe? Or is it the size of your turkey? Neither. The real secret to a great Thanksgiving is actually taking the time to give thanks.

So maybe you don’t own a sleek European sports car…well neither do I. Maybe you don’t have a mansion…well neither do I. Remember it’s about giving thanks. It’s not about ruing over what you don’t have or what you’d like.

I have a loving wife, two adorable cats, a nice warm roof over my head, cars, and plenty of food. I shouldn’t complain.


Photo: The TURKEY! by Cheryl used under CC License

Here’s how I came to my revelation.

My wife can’t cook. Thanksgiving Day is the only day that she’ll rattle a few pots and pans. So my Thanksgiving Day dinner will be a boneless turkey breast, a box of stove top stuffing, a jar of turkey gravy, a box of instant mash potatoes, a can of cranberry sauce, and that green bean casserole.

When I was growing up, everything was made from scratch. My mom used to buy a bag of cranberries and some plain gelatin and would make her own cranberry sauce. The same painstaking effort was put into every item on the table. She used to cook and break up some country sausage and bread for the stuffing. I think you’re getting the idea.

Yet, I’m thankful for what I have, and for the loving wife that I get to spend the day with.

Also, I don’t know about Protestant denominations, but I do know, that my Catholic parish will celebrate Mass for Thanksgiving Day, and I’ll be there. It is not a standard daily Mass either. The Mass for that day is specifically titled for Thanksgiving Day. That’s one way of giving thanks.

Another secret to a great Thanksgiving Day is to do something for others.

We’ll be feeding about 10 airmen from Mtn. Home AFB. They’re alone, no family nearby and therefore, no place to go to celebrate the day.

So how do you plan on giving thanks?

#NaNoWriMo 2014: At the Half-Way Point

The word count for my second week of writing in NaNoWriMo 2014 wasn’t as good as the first. I churned out 11,500 in the first eight days and only 4,500 during the next eight. However, there were several reasons for this slow-down.


Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

The plot had reached a complicated point; some things that were originally meant for chapters got lumped together. Also, I made three blog posts during that time. Those blog posts (Synchronicity and Indie Authoring) were more than a two or three paragraph NaNoWriMo update.

The good news is, that I’ve gotten past the complicated plot circumstances and can now #write at full speed toward the end. As I look at my table of contents, I can truly see the light at the end of the tunnel. For an #indieauthor or any other #author, it’s going to be a great week.

How are you doing at the NaNoWriMo 2014 mid-point?

#NanoWriMo 2014 Diary, Nov. 1 – 8

This was a tough week. I think it would have been difficult for any #indieauthor. I had a busy personal day on the third and picked up a bug / flu on the fourth. Of course I was ill for several days with my nose feeling like it weighed twenty pounds. On some days I only managed about 450 words. However, on the eighth I managed 2,688 words.


Image Courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

I refused to let life get in the way. My total for the first eight days is now at 11,594 words.

On November 1st I was still in chapter 17 with about a page to go. By the 8th I had completed chapter 22. Yes, I think I’m going to have the first draft of my #fantasy novel The First Light completed before November is over.

I love it when a novel starts #writing itself. Characters start doing and saying things that I didn’t plan for them. A very minor sub-character has stood up and asserted herself in a dramatic way. I had never thought about a sequel for The First Light or even creating a trilogy or a series under the banner of The Tales of Tyrhennia. However, so many things have just fallen into place that I can see the possibilities.

I’d like to try to attend another couple of write-ins in #Boise before the month is over as well.

How is your NaNoWriMo 2014 experience going?