Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I was reading my last post and some of the comments, and I saw that azucar wants to hear about my dud Soldier. So here it is, briefly: I have about 12 Soldiers that work directly for me. I can count on 11 of them to execute any given task fairly efficiently (within the scope of their experience), and I can count on the other one to take twice as long, complain twice as loudly, and do half as well. I get a lot of calls from other Captains that go something like this: "Your Soldier, Skippynuts, started working on my computer/radio/printer/cell phone two days ago and still hasn't come back to finish what he started." This forces me to expend effort to have someone finish what Skippynuts started and yell at him. That's the story. Great, huh? Was it worth it?

But what I really started thinking about was the amount of highly specialized terms (like "Skippynuts") generated by the military service. So I thought I'd give you some examples of my favorites, and then open the forum so you can ask questions.

Terms you commonly hear:

-Roger: Means "I understand your last transmission," and "Yes." It is properly used in radio communications as a shorthand response to avoid long transmissions. For example, "Lost One, this is Lost Three, are you lost too, over?" "Roger"

-WILCO: Short for Will Comply. Also a radio communications word. NEVER USE THIS WITH ROGER. "Roger WILCO" makes you sound stupid.

-Squared Away: Means Good, or Competent, or Well Executed. You can also use it negatively, as in "squared away like a doughnut." See, it's funny because doughnuts aren't square. Get it? Get it?

Other Things you Will Hear:

- Negative. Never "No." Always "Negative."

- There are no men or women in the Army, there are only Males and Females. (It's tempting to think that there are just no women, just females who look like males.)

- High Speed. This can be good or bad, depending on your tone. Saying that something is high speed is generally good, but calling someone high speed ("Hey there, High Speed, why don't you put the safety on that weapon?") is not.

Colorful Phrases (which I will attempt to clean up)

These are some of my favorite ways to describe incompetence or poor military appearance. Call me crazy...

"Squared away like a doughnut/football bat/beach ball."

"He is a dud."

"You are an oxygen thief." An oxygen thief is someone who, by their very existence, steals air from creatures who need to use their brains.

"You look like a bag of (penises)." Usually you don't use that word. If you ever want to stop someone in their tracks and make them reconsider an outfit or haircut, use this one.

"This is a cluster." A messed up situation.

"Skippynuts." When I can't remember a Soldier's name, that's the name I substitute. Maybe that's just me, though.

I will think of more later, but for right now those are some of the ones I have used most frequently. If you have any that you heard but want to know where they come from or what they mean, just let me know.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I googled myself, and now I think I'm going blind

Because I care about you, the taxpayer, I spend a lot of time at my federal job, where I am the communications officer for my battalion. I lead 12 highly motivated Soldiers (and one dud, but that's another post...) and we are a streamlined, efficient machine, dedicated to communications excellence. Because of our efficiency, I spend a lot of time on the Internet, and frequently will browse around looking for information on my favorite topics. And thus it was, early one afternoon, that I googled my name. The first two hits are this blog. But then I saw this guy:

What? Yeah. My dad is all over the web, in three languages. That's depressing. You'd like to think that you make a difference, and it ends up that all you need to become a web icon is a larger than average forehead.

There are some other Waldo Galans out there, too. For instance, I also saw this guy:

This gentleman's name is Waldo T. Galan, and he's from Mexico and Texas. He apparently recently passed away, which is sad. The world needs more Waldo Galans.

At first I though this was just another guy blessed with an awesome name like Waldo Galan. But then I looked closer, and started noticing similarities between him and my dad. Well, mostly one similarity: Forehead Size. I don't believe this is a coincidence.

So someone tell me- do you all think I'm related to this guy? Am I doomed to have a giant forehead? And how can I become so efficient that I don't even need to show up to work?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

An open letter to writers on strike

Dear Striking Writers:

I am writing on behalf of television and movie viewers everywhere to tell you that we are disappointed in your decision to stop writing and instead strike. I think I speak for everyone concerned when I say that your unwillingness to continue working in spite of conditions you think are "unfair" and "cheating you out of money you've never had before and wouldn't know what to do with if you had it" is making things pretty hard for us, the common viewer. I am, of course, speaking of tonight's last episode of "the Office."

Let me give you a completely hypothetical example of how this strike could affect a person. Say, for instance, that you are a Captain in the military, and that you loved watching the Office. And then, say, you found out one day that the show you loved to watch, because it made you laugh and gave you something to talk about with your coworkers, your comrades, literally, in arms, well, say that show was canceled without any kind of plot device telling you that it was going to happen. If that happened, you might be so frustrated that you said really hurtful things to your Soldiers, causing them to not be able to focus, causing them to fail to complete a seriously mission-critical task, causing the national security to be compromised, allowing Al Qaeda to attack, and causing American Soldiers to be killed. So you see, your strike is killing Americans. And puppies.

Please, writers, be American Patriots. Start writing. Write the Office again. Or I'll report you to Homeland Security.

Love, Waldo

Friday, November 09, 2007

names have been changed to protect the innocent

Greetings, one and all. I am posting yet another one in my series of (nearly) annual blog entries. I intend to make these much more frequent, so we'll see how that goes.

You may have noticed that I changed the name of the Blog. It was formerly "title goes here." It is now "wandering thoughts." I did this for a number of legitimate reasons. Firstly, I thought that three years was enough time to come up with a title. Second, I like the multiple meanings implicit in the title. See, I am going to be deploying to Kuwait in approximately two months and so, in addition to my thoughts wandering around my brainal cavity, my head and brain themselves will be wandering around the world. Multiple meanings. That's the kind of economy the whole world should adopt, so we wouldn't be wasting resources. Studies have shown that if we could all adopt that kind of economic mindset, gas would cost 80 cents per gallon.

So I'm on vacation. This is the first vacation I've taken this year. We left El Paso and drove to California to spend time with family. Also, we were able to attend a movie screening for my good, close, personal friend and movie star, Chris Clark. His movie is called Stalking Santa and its available in Wal-Marts across the land RIGHT NOW. We saw it at a fabulous theater in the Grove mall in Los Angeles. Here's the pic of the front of the DVD:

As you can probably tell from the cover, it's awesome. I'd also like to think that my influence has been felt in the making of this movie, but that's probably not true. Here's a funny story that happened, though. As we were leaving, we were accosted by some random girl who told my wife she knew her. "I know you" she said, which was confusing for us because we had never seen this girl before, ever. Ends up, she knew Jen from the Blogosphere. Her name is Emmy, which is probably the right spelling but who knows (E, I'm sorry if I misspelled your name), and she is very nice.

So that's my brush with celebrity. I gave Chris Clark a hug, met someone new, and saw an awesome movie. I am still in the LA area for another day, so we'll see if I meet someone else. The writers' strike is on now, so I'm sure I'll meet a writer at a restaurant somewhere, as he brings me my Dr. Pepper and burger.

That's all for me right now. I will post again soon, I promise. Have fun out there in internet land.

Friday, August 10, 2007

I heart dirt

Yeah, it's been like months. I know you guys have been checking daily, wondering when I was going to post something, and I know that I have been daily shattering your fragile dreams and hopes by refusing to post anything. It's hard, I know. But please bear with me. I will post new things now and again, so you're just going to have to keep checking back.

So, updates. Let's see, what are the big ones? Jen and I are still married, mostly because I never seem to come home long enough to annoy her significantly. Gigi is still too cute for us to kill (although she's apparently pushing the envelope with Jen. More later). I am still in the army, and got promoted to Captain. That's right, Cap'n G. All that means is that I am doing the same work I was doing before, only now I'm just underpaid, not criminally underpaid.

Another update, for those of you who may not know, is that in the beginning of 2008 I will be deploying to the middle east for about 15 months. We're going to Qatar or Kuwait, so it's not going to be too dangerous.

As a result of the upcoming visit to the sandbox, we are spending significant amounts of time in the field. Luckily, since I manage all the communications, I have hooked myself up with email service and am able to write stuff. Also luckily for me, all the other communications stuff is working now, so I have time to post something.

I feel like I'm rambling because the six hours of sleep I got yesterday are making me delirious. I love my cot and tent.

Back to being in the field... All the time we are spending out here in the field is what drives the title of this blog. I heart dirt. Not only do I heart dirt, I heart it in my nose, ears, eyes and mouth. I heart it in places that we don't mention in polite socitey - places that a wet wipe will just not clean effectively. I heart it in my food and in my clothes, and especially all over my computers and phones. Dirt is really great.

One great thing about dirt is that when you get it wet, it turns into mud. We have had some pretty significant rainstorms out here this past two weeks, and let me tell you, that mud is really something. I mean, dirt is awesome, but when you add water, it just turns into this viscous slime that sticks to everything and turns into cement when it dries. Oh, and when it gets saturated, it forms puddles where mosquitoes breed (in 24 hours or less - seriously) and then come into our tents and bite us in our sleep. And let's not forget, we just had the first case this year of West Nile virus documented in El Paso... not five miles from where we are camped. So at least I've got that going for me.

And the greatest part of the whole thing is that I am going to be living in this same dirt for at least two weeks out of every month between now and October, and then fly for 18 hours to go live in foreign dirt. Yeah, it's dirt on an American military installation, so it's technically not Foreign per se, but it's close enough. I will fill requests for foreign dirt for anyone who wants some. Heck, I will send you some of our fine local dirt if you want some too, just so you can see why I heart dirt so much. I heart dirt.