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May 18, 2024, 11:39:59 PM
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Author Topic: Alex's even longer post thread.  (Read 210073 times)
Alex
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« Reply #1110 on: March 12, 2024, 05:59:15 PM »

Set off last week on what was our first proper holiday as a family. Everytime we've went anywhere (other than things like a weekend away), it has been to visit family. I've been wanting something that was just us for a while now. Anyway, we got the train to Aberdeen, stayed there overnight then flew down to London (after a couple of hours spent sitting on a plane on the runway delayed thanks to London fog) where we spent a couple of days. I got to go to a games shop I've wanted to go to for over 30 years and picked up a few things. We wandered around a few places, mostly avoiding the usual tourist spots. London hadn't changed since the last time I was there. It always looks dirty and unkempt to me. You can travel a lot through the city and not see any sign of nature.

I wonder if any city will ever have so much concrete that it ends up having problems getting breathable air?

Anyway, the pavements rarely seem to be in any decent condition, drivers are terrible (stopping on crossings is a major thing, especially buses so you can't see when the lights have changed to allow you to cross).

Then it was an early morning trip to the Eurostar. I have to say, airports could learn a thing or two about passport control from these guys. We were through the whole process and baggage check-in moments, rather than the long drawn-out process you have to go through to fly. Traveled to Brussels first, and then back to just outside Paris and straight into Disneyland Paris. For a park that has been open for over 30 years, it didn't seem to have a lot of rides. Over the course of our visit, we'd continually see the same characters in costume, with no variation.

Honestly, it felt like is you ordered Disney from Wish, Disneyland Paris is what you'd get. Kristi says people from the US would recognise Temu as their equivalent. I didn't get to go on a lot of the bigger rides, simply because Ash was slightly too short to get on them, but the only ride we thought was better there compared to California was the Peter Pan one. Everything else was at best the same, but in many cases was worse, especially the Phantom Manor (Haunted Mansion). I really wanted to enjoy that one, but it just felt like a cheap knockoff copy. Still, Ash loved it, especially any ride involving a train. Or one where he could see the train rides. We went to the equivalent of the Blue Bayou. Rather than being fine dining, I found the food to be just acceptable. I had a Carribean Chicken dish, which had a single prawn in it. Ok, it was a big prawn but still. Also still had its head and tail on. I took them off no problem, although it did feel like the eyes were staring at me all through the meal.  BounceGiggle I reckon if the meal had been half the price, then it would have been fine, but for how much we paid for it, I definately expect more.

Ash did love The Tower of Terror, which I must confess I'd been worried about. Although he loves thrill rides, I wasn't sure how he'd do with an enclosed ride as compared to an open air roller coaster. There was no need to worry at all. He was shrieking and laughing the whole ride. After it he told me his favourite part was the ghost. As we were heading home through the shops just outside the parks, I spotted a patrol of fully armed French infantry (7 soldiers carrying rifles). I guess with the attacks they've had over the years I can understand why they'd put out what should be a strong deterrent like that. Trouble was, from the point man to the one bringing up the rear I doubt there was 20 feet of separation between them. I could have taken them all out with a single sweep or explosive device. If i was a terrorist, it would only have encouraged me to launch an attack.

Anyway, on the second night we were heading back just after dark (19:00ish). There was a half-hour walk from our hotel to the park (and visa-versa). Between two of the themed hotels (Cheyanne and the Santa Fe), there is a river crossed by several footbridges. This is all within the greater park area and inside their perimeter fence. As we approached the bridge, I could see a man standling alone in the middle of it. Thought it was slightly unusual, but not overly so. Anyway, I did take a mental note of his description (approx 180 cm tall, dark clothes, black hair and beard. He was facing away from us so I couldn't get too many details). He was on his mobile phone. Over the bridge, we could go straight on towards the main hotel building (it had a large building in one corner, then lots of outlying buildings with the rooms), go right towards the park exit along the river bank or go left towards our room. As soon as we were off the bridge and turned left, the guy on the bridge started shouting abuse at me. I told Kristi to take Ash's hand and walk on ahead while I slowed down ever so slightly so she was maybe 10 feet ahead of me. A second man, accompanied by a dog emerged from between a couple of the complex's buildings. The two guys shouted at us and spoke with each other (shouting), before they switched to calling out insults to Kristi. I refused to turn around and look at them, but if we'd went straight ahead to the main area we'd have been trapped between the two. I am guessing here, but I'd imagine they expecting me to move to engage the first guy, he'd have pulled out a knife or a gun (always a problem in a country where guns are legal. If they have limited access then you know only the most serious criminals are going to have one, but where they are legal, well all bets are off). Anyway, while I am pinned trying to deal with him, the second guy with the dog would have threatened Kristi and Ash. If I turn around to deal with him, then man one has me. If not, then well Kristi isn't going to be able to take him and his animal out. Us turning left rather than going straight ahead threw their plan off, and people don't always react well to something going wrong with a plan. Kristi cut across some grass and got into a better-lit area and which point with a final taunt aimed at me, they gave up. I was very tempted to give them the traditional insult that longbowmen used to give the French back in medieval battles.

I knew that turning around to look at them would have meant I'd have ended up fighting all three, but damn walking straight ahead and not speeding (gives the impression that you are frightened, and weakness invites attack) up was bloody difficult. I was listening intently for any footsteps running up behind me the whole time. We got back to our room without further incident, although it didn't make me happy that the doors to each individual block didn't have a lockable door to each building. I didn't feel shaken up by the experience or anything (not exactly my first rodeo there. I've had enough of these incidents to be able to rate them out of 10), but I knew Kristi was and I lay awake the whole night just watching the door in case we'd been followed.

In the morning I reported the whole thing to the hotel. They kept asking if I thought it was a hotel employee as guests are not allowed dogs. Couldn't quite seem to get the thought through to them that maybe someone had broken the rules or snuck into the camp. Criminals do things like that. They asked me what I'd like them to do about it. I told them that maybe you might want to have some of your security staff patrol the bridge areas at night, but I don't think the front desk staff will pass the information on to their management. Not until it's too late.

Anyway, after that we just took the shuttle back and forth between the hotel and park. No point in pushing our luck. I am convinced that only keeping the two guys off balance and not doing what they expected kept us safe.

The rest of the trip passed without any further dramatic incidents happily. We got the Eurostar back to London, stayed there overnight, and then another flight back home. As we were traveling home, Ash thanked Kristi for taking him to see the trains.

Not a word about Disneyland.  BounceGiggle

Pretty much every train and plane we took was delayed, but we managed to make it through regardless.

Overall, it was a fun trip. Despite my misgivings about Disneyland Paris, we did enjoy it.
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ER
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« Reply #1111 on: March 12, 2024, 10:11:17 PM »

Dude, I'll say it again, if you'd you let surrender frogs kill you, I'd have been too ashamed to ever post to you again.
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Alex
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« Reply #1112 on: March 18, 2024, 04:53:44 AM »

Yesterday was a busy day. On handover, I was told there had been some phone calls from what sounded like a young woman, looking for her friend who she believed had come onto camp. It's not an unusual thing. Just after I took over, the same woman phoned back again. It turned out she was looking for her sister. They said that her coming onto camp would be completely out of character for her, that she had kids and a partner and had promised she'd come home to get her kids from the babysitter and was now late. Shortly after this, she then turned up at the guard room. Due to data protection laws, we couldn't look up to see if she'd been booked onto camp, so we got the military police involved. One of the guys on the gate knew the guy who had brought the woman on. We also spoke to the civilian police (who mentioned they were rather busy as 10 people had reported someone missing that night). Anyway, we tracked down the guy's room and the military police went off to check the room. The same guard who knew the lad said he'd been on the front gate when he'd come through with the girl and that he'd warned him to be careful because the woman was so drunk she didn't know what he was doing.

A civilian police car arrives, comes on and then after a few minutes it drives back out, stops in the car park and a girl gets out. At the distance they were too far away to make out fine details but it looked like one was being comforted by her sister. After a while they drove off. Maybe an hour later two police cars and a van come on to camp and stay there for several hours. The lad has been carted off to Aberdeen (90 minutes later) for a police interview.

You can draw your own conclusions about what happened around those events to cause them.

Up in the Strat Fac today. I am watching an old sci fi horror (Dead Space starring Marc Singer) while my oppo is watching a documentary on Ted Bundy.

 
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Alex
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« Reply #1113 on: March 19, 2024, 08:16:46 AM »

Yesterday passed peacefully, something I am happy about, today seems to be mostly the same so far and long may that continue. Should it not, well I have my CBA, helmet and enough rounds to fight a decent sized skirmish.

Never had to put a round in a chamber for guard duty, always managed to deescalate any situation, but it is nice to have the stuff should it be needed.

I need to write a guide for a grown man on how to use a rifle. In truth when it comes to actually using one, he is but a child with no real idea of what he wants would entail. He is target shooting out to 100 yards. I'd have him dead long before he could have me within twice that range. A front line soldier would have me dead at six times that range, that is if he bothers to shoot at me rather than calling in a mortar strike or drones or whatever. Even if he isn't experienced enough to be able to put someone in his sights and pull a trigger, it is easy enough to call in whatever kind of arty. If you don't have to see the person you are shooting, killing them becomes a whole lot easier.

Hell, when I was in France I saw the French military out on patrol. I doubt there was twenty feet between the first soldier and the last. None of them were watching the rear, they all carried their weapons for comfort not ready for use. I could have wiped them out with a single sweep of automatic fire or small UXB were I a terrorist.

Children playing with toys that kill. Strange how the lessons of the recent wars have been so quickly forgotten. Every time I here someone who isn't a combat veteran talking about guns and getting all excited, all I see is a silly little child and feel a mixture of pity and disgust. Like anything they have their place.

It isn't in the hands of people who have not had any training in how to use them.

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Alex
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« Reply #1114 on: March 27, 2024, 12:59:15 AM »

My first night shift up in the Strat Fac. Much like days really. When you have no windows to the outside world it is kinda hard to tell the difference. Less food, byt there is so much stuff left over from days that if I felt hungry I could help myself quite easily.

Monday night I could see out of the window, that across the field there was a blue light flashing. Phone calls to the guard room with requests for various duty personnel gave us a good idea of what was going on. Late on Tuesday morning it was confirmed that there had been a bad traffic accident on the Lossiemouth to Elgin road. 3 kids on an ebike had been in a collision with 4 cars. A 16 and a 17 year old were dead with a 14 and 54 year old both in serious or critical condition in hospital. The local area seems to be having a rather unlucky run at the moment.

Went to my first parents night. Ash is doing well enough, hitting the targets he needs to hit academically and growing socially. He still prefers to spend time with the quieter members of his class.
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Alex
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« Reply #1115 on: March 27, 2024, 04:38:24 PM »

Had a couple of officers phone up with a problem. Normally when an officer tells you about a problem, what he is doing is making it your problem to solve for him.

I took some slight pleasure in telling them that I was in no way able to help them out.

Second last night of this set. Tomorrow night I'll be back in the Strat Fac before another set of leave. Going off to see Tragedy in Glasgow so I just booked the whole of the next set off. Ill be off at the end of next month as well. Damned if I can remember what that leave is for, but I am sure it will be something important.

Oh yeah. I just remembered what it is for. It is something important.

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Alex
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« Reply #1116 on: April 02, 2024, 12:39:09 PM »

There comes a day in everyone's life when you reach the point of where the days you have lived outnumber the ones you have left, and yet it passes unnoticed and uncelebrated or mourned. We should be allowed to know so we can do something with that day.

Heading down to Glasgow for a few days, go see my mum, catch a concert. I've not really seen her since I joined the army.

Hmm. Being in the army means I've had/done pretty much every job/hobby/fun thing I wanted as a child. Who knows though, I still have time to visit space. I've even had to add a few bucket list items in that I hadn't thought of doing before I got to do them.

Life is indeed good. But only if you get off your arse and go make it so. Unless just sitting on your arse is your thing of course.

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Alex
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« Reply #1117 on: April 06, 2024, 04:39:53 PM »

Got back tonight from a few days away. Went to a concert in Glasgow and heard a support act that I think I want to listen to a bit more of, maybe I'll even become a fan. Kind of a modern take on Alice Cooper I guess. I've ordered one of their albums and I'll give it a listen then decide.

We had a really good night out. Concerts Dave joined us in our usual hangout where we consumed a few alcoholic beverages.

Then we consumed a few more.

Then we went to the concert where we proceeded to drink a bit more.

Maybe I just enjoyed the support act because I'd been drinking so much.  BounceGiggle

Friday we took my mum out, then cooked her a meal. Talked a bit about my sisters birthday party later this month that we are coming back down for. We got both Elizabeth and my mum the same thing for their birthdays. Taking them out to see The Drifters play in Aberdeen (including a hotel for the night), but that isn't until later in the year.

Speaking of later in the year, it looks like we are going to visit Kristi's family for Samhain, something I must confess I've been wanting to do for a long time. I've been there just before and just after. This time our proposed dates would have us leaving the US on election day, which I guess is better than when we landed on it back in 2016, especially if I get my guess wrong on who I think will win. Can I keep my prediction streak going (only one wrong guess since I was 18. I really should gamble money on these things)?

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But do you understand That none of this will matter Nothing can take your pain away
Alex
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« Reply #1118 on: April 09, 2024, 08:54:52 AM »

Had to go to my twice yearly fitness test. Despite no longer bothering to keep myself in prime condition (I've not really bothered with that for 15 years now), I was still in good enough shape to ace the test. I guess that is a good thing.

Kristi wanted to watch Wrestlemania this weekend. I went along with it, but bearing in mind how bad the last couple we've watched were I had low expectations. It did manage to be better than expected, although there weren't any matches that particularly blew me away like the Benoit/Jericho ladder match, or the triple tag team TLC with The Duddlys, Edge & Christian and The Hardys did but it was ok. On a side note, after a CM Punk interview, AEW has said they are going to release a video showing what actually happened backstage when Punk and Jack Perry fought.

No one is moving on there then. I did find it interesting that at one point during Wrestlemania, they did flash up a photograph of Cody Rhodes alongside Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega. I guess the Forbidden Door is slowly opening. I don't see it ever happening, but I think an annual event with the stars of different companies facing each other would be a fun watch. Shame WCW and WWF didn't have that during the heyday of the Monday night wars.

Ash and Kristi popped up to Dingwall today, hunting down a larger train shop than we can get locally. I am looking at booking us a trip on the Dufftown/Keith railway since the Harry Potter train is currently not running with a health and safety issue over doors.

Well, at least bits aren't coming off while they are whizzing along. We'll leave that to Boeing and their seeming inability to go a month without some accident making the headlines. I suspect the engine cowling coming off mid-flight was down to someone not securing a panel properly rather than a manufacturing defect. Still wouldn't fly in a 737-800 myself. I think the fleet needs to be grounded before we find out what other corners Boeing cut while making it the hard way. My fellow aircraft engineers disagree with me on this and reckon that they'll have sorted out the issues by now, but they also said the same thing before the door panel popped off in flight so clearly this isn't happening the way it should.

I am told that the US doesn't have an equivalent to the corporate manslaughter charge in the UK. If that is true, it really is something they should think about.

The rules on beards has changed while I was away and now half my shift is growing them. Our second highest-up boss asked me where my beard is (he is growing one too). I replied that I thought they all looked like manky f**kers and should go clean up. He didn't speak to me for the rest of the day after that.
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But do you understand That none of this will matter Nothing can take your pain away
Alex
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« Reply #1119 on: April 11, 2024, 10:31:33 AM »

Nights up in the strat fac again. My laptop has quit working, so I am going to get myself a new one. I figure it is about time I upgraded it anyway.

Went out for a walk with Ash and Kristi today. We had wanted to go to the Turkish cafe for breakfast, but it was closed and we ended up in our usual stop (La Caverna). Spent some time on the beach, but the tide was coming in. Looking at the beach I realised something I hadn't noticed before. Not only did the last storm season almost destroy the dunes, but the level of the sand on the "floor" is lower than it was before.

Glad we don't own a house down the the old Salttown area. If that part of the beach gets swept away (I'd give it another 2 winters equal or worse to the last one) and there is nothing to swap the sea reclaiming that land. Where we live has the golf course between ourselves and the sea. I am sure that the local money won't let that go underwater, even if the MOD would.

Watching the Fallout tv show. Visually impressive, but the story isn't super engaging me so far. I am willing to give it time though. I did like the artificial foot scene.

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But do you understand That none of this will matter Nothing can take your pain away
Alex
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« Reply #1120 on: April 15, 2024, 04:10:13 AM »

Well, today is the last day of the school holidays. As much as he protests going, Ash does seem to get on a whole lot better when he has school to go to and run energy off in.

Ordered my new laptop. Should arrive tomorrow. I went for a mid-range gaming laptop. Normally I just go for a general-purpose one, but this time I went for a specific build type. I've got a few games my desktop runs a bit slowly anyway, so I'd like something with a little more oomph for running games anyway.

I wonder if Vault Dwellers would have an overdeveloped left arm from wearing the Pip Boys all the time? Giving the Fallout tv show a second watch to see if I like it more the second time around. I felt it was good, but not up to the hype I am hearing from other people who watched it, so going to watch it again and see what I think. Not watching it at work should help too. I can concentrate more on the show.

Normally if me or Kristi sings, Ash will ask us to stop, but yesterday when I was absent-mindedly singing "I've been working on the railroad", he started singing the next line so we ended up trading lines. Wouldn't do it today when his mum was there though.
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But do you understand That none of this will matter Nothing can take your pain away
Alex
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« Reply #1121 on: April 20, 2024, 02:58:13 PM »

We had a local politician visit the other day. I'd heard of him but only knew him by reputation. As soon as he opened his mouth I have to say his voice seemed to justify what I'd heard of him. Damn if he didn't sound like the creepiest, slimiest person I have ever heard speak. The other guy in the office at the same time as him said the same thing as me. Glad he isn't someone I've ever voted for. Hell, his entire party is one of the few major ones in the UK that I've never voted for.

Turns out he is heavily involved in the local scouts. Yeah, Ash will never be attending that while he is around.

Heading down to Aberdeen tomorrow for my nephew Adam's birthday. He is getting a one-shot D&D game in a local store for it and I've been invited to play. Doubtless it will be my gaming nemesis, 5th Ed D&D, but I'll bite my tongue and enjoy it whether I like it or not. The following week we will be heading down to Glasgow for my little sister's 40th birthday and then the week after that it is my 50th where I can continue to be amazed that I made it to 30. Then again maybe there is some Jacob's Ladder-style death dream going on and all this is just part of some messed up world my brain has concocted while it sets about the process involved in shutting down and turning to mush.

It would explain a lot about the world were it to be true.

Funny seeing everyone panic over Israel and Iran lobbing missiles and whatnot at each other. Like they've just suddenly started killing each other rather than this all just being part of an ongoing cycle that has been going on for a very long time. I would imagine there are more than a few countries who are looking at how many drones and missiles were successfully intercepted by Israelli (and allied) defences and recalculating their own plans accordingly. Looking at you here especially China. Shame really, it has been nice having a degree of peace. I'd like to see that continue for a while (although I don't hold out any hope of it lasting long and even our peace is still peppered with war-like actions).

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But do you understand That none of this will matter Nothing can take your pain away
ER
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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)


« Reply #1122 on: April 20, 2024, 03:24:19 PM »

^ The most remarkable part of these particular hostilities is that they're making the news. Iran kills Americans and Israelis all the time. Iran kills Saudis, Jordanians, Turks, Kurds, Russians, pick a nationality and Iran's venomous leaders have probably been behind the killing of citizens of that nation in the last year, either covertly or overtly.
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What does not kill me makes me stranger.
Alex
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« Reply #1123 on: April 23, 2024, 03:48:24 PM »

Ever hear a strange noise in the house when you are alone and go investigate? Having watched (too many?) horror films when I do, I tend to go carrying something either sharp or heavy.

In this case it turned out to be the window cleaner. Yeah, he was randomly stabbing people on the street.

Listening to Dolly Parton's rock album at the moment. While I can't claim to be familiar with a lot of her stuff, to me it sounds more or less the same as the other stuff I've heard from her. 'Cept maybe the Queen cover. No shortage of other famous people doing bits on the tracks. Can't say it is my kind of thing, but then again she isn't making it for me. I wouldn't call it terrible. Well ok, maybe the Lynard Skynard one was terrible.
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Trevor
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« Reply #1124 on: April 23, 2024, 04:09:08 PM »

Ever hear a strange noise in the house when you are alone and go investigate? Having watched (too many?) horror films when I do, I tend to go carrying something either sharp or heavy.

In this case it turned out to be the window cleaner. Yeah, he was randomly stabbing people on the street.

Oy 😳😆😆😆😆
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To stand me by, underneath the African sky
A Great Heart to stand me by.
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