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December 13th

Took my term end for Generalship and the Art of Command today.  This may come as a shock to... pretty much anyone that knows me, but I'm genuinely going to miss that class.  Weird.  The term end was essentially 15 pages of writing about Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Wellington, Grant, Patton, Eisenhower, Bradley, Matt Ridgway, MacArthur, Westmoreland, Creighton Abrams, and Wes Clark.  Aaaaand I'm spent...

I dunno what's going on with the stock market, but all these friggin "analysts" are full of it right now.  Were I to sell the shares I own right now I'd be down $1,000 overall.  That being said, the company I'm invested in (Interchange Corporation) is doing exceptionally well with incoming revenue, new business, and overall expansion so I don't understand why the price isn't going up.  A boatload of huge investment firms have been buying the hell out of this stock to sell to their investors so I know it's a legit investment, but the price keeps going a little bit lower every day.  I haven't sold anything so I technically haven't gained or lost money of any kind, but it's not very comforting watching the stock you bought 500 shares of at $27.51 close out the day today at $20.68.  Do some quick math on that one.  NOT COOL.  Soon enough some good news will come out about it and then we'll be back in the green.  I know eventually I'll double my money and then some, but all the "experts" said it would have happened by now.  It's all good because it'll go up soon, but say a prayer to Saint Matthew just in case.

I got a rather hilarious email today from my good buddy "DZ".  His last name is impossible to pronounce so that's what we call him.  It's a collection of bitter, cynical, and hateful away messages cadets have put up on their instant messenger screen names when they're in class or sleeping or whatever.  Most of these are just kids venting to whoever will listen, but they really crack me up.  I've actually got a couple on there that DZ included on "the list" so hooray for me.

BITTER AWAY MESSAGES

 

This will probably be the last update I put up before we leave for Christmas Break so if I don't see you, I hope yours is a good one.  I'm finished with TEEs Tuesday night, but I'm sticking around until Thursday. 

Erika and I are headed to NYC to see the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, then to Stand Up New York (one of my favorite comedy clubs), and we're staying at the Lucerne Hotel Thursday night.  The next day I'm flying to San Antonio to spend a few days with the family before I take a road trip up to Arkansas to see old friends from high school.  I'll be back a few days before Christmas, and then my mom has got our family a hotel suite on The Riverwalk in San Antonio.  I'm actually looking forward to it because not only are we going to be on The Riverwalk, but we'll all be together which would be extremely hard to do in the broom closet of an apartment my parents live in right now.  Their new house in the hill country north of San Antonio will be built soon enough, but until then...  shoebox apartment.

Anyway after a few more days with the family I'll fly to Raleigh, NC to spend New Year's Eve with Erika and then we'll drive back to school on the 3rd. 

So there you have it.  That's all for now.  Merry Christmas and all that good stuff. 

-Tom

 


 

December 12th

Quick mid-TEE week update for you.  We're almost halfway done with Term End Exams (TEEs) and with that comes alot of ways to entertain ourselves to keep from studying too hard.  I've taken one exam so far and I was finished (no BS) in 20 minutes.  You all think Military Art and Science is a worthless major?  HA!  I laugh at you.  I'm not wasting my time learning nuclear engineering or physics or any of that other crap you won't need as an Army Lieutenant.  Anyway, I smoked my exam and was finished in 20 minutes.  Get some, nerds.  Tomorrow I've got my TEE in Generalship and the Art of Command and the next day I've got History of the Military Art.  Too easy. 

Here's what we do in the barracks to keep from going crazy studying.  Christmas is almost here so we try to have as much "Christmas Spirit" as we can.

My old roommate from Beast, Patrick Henson, in the middle, and his roommates in E-3. 

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS VIDEO

God bless plebes and their ability to entertain us with awesome videos like this.

 

My sleeping roommate, Colin, and his impression of the Virgin Mary.

 

Here's my Christmas Tree and the presents some yearling girls down the hall gave me.  My father gave me this tree a few years ago and the significance of it is that he's had it longer than I've been alive.  It used to sit in his office every Christmas, and now it sits in mine.  Oh, you think it's dumb?  Talk to Sergeant Major Dad.  This tree is the greatest of them all. 

 

On an unrelated note, the guys "base jumping" in this video are my new heroes.  Crazy?  Insane?  Me in a few years?  Hehe...  You betcha. 

 

 


 

December 9th

The Dean, BG Kaufman, is Satan.  Pure and simple.  This week is over now, but for awhile there... wow. 

I think maybe it's that whole "karma" thing.  I mean, I've been having some pretty sweet days lately and I guess I was due to get kicked in the teeth a few times.  On top of getting slammed by numerous HUGE graded events, little stuff started going wrong.  Case in point, today on my way to class I noticed quite a draft in the front of my pants because the slide on my zipper had broken in half and my fly was hanging wide open.  This came on top of the not-so-awesome grade I got on my MilArt paper, losing (only on paper because I haven't sold anything) a few thousand dollars when the price of my stock dropped a couple bucks a share, having to deal with a HUGE (the final submission had almost 20 subsections and was 3/4" thick) civil engineering project due today at 4 p.m., and having to run stairs and sprints and all kinds of fun stuff for Sandhurst. 

Anyway, enough of that.  Tonight was Christmas Dinner in the mess hall and it's truly one of the best nights of the year.  We had egg nog, lobster, steak, other fancy dinner stuff, and some excellent cherry cheese cake.  Ahh... so good.  The plebes really outdid themselves decorating the table and we all had a great time. 

They decorated the table with all kinds of wrapping paper, shiny Christmas stuff, and even a life-sized dancing Santa.  From the left is "Lloyd", Drew, "Linda", Santa, me, and "Mr. Goodness."  Like the plebes on my last table, we gave them special names and one has actually earned a promotion.  Goodness was one funny dude and a helluva kid to have at the table so he gained the title of Mister.

Yeah, uber-sweet picture of me and Drew, I know.  We were in the middle of singing "The 12 Days of Christmas."  It's a huge tradition that the entire Corps sings it together during Christmas Dinner, and while we're singing cadets try to stack tables and chairs to see who can get the highest.  In Old Corps days they would stack tables 6 and 7 high until they could reach the chandeliers, but the high-brass stopped us from doing that after awhile so now we just stand on them.

I'm standing on a chair taking this picture which should tell you how far up there these two were.  Drew was on Tracy who was standing on a chair which was on the table which was already 3+ feet off the floor.  Yeah, REAL safe, but they were the highest of anyone in our wing of the mess hall so it was worth it.

 

After dinner, like we always do, we went out on the apron (the huge concrete sidewalk which lines The Plain) in front of the mess hall and smoked cigars.  "Linda" got us some excellent cigars, Partagas Number 10's.  He did REAL good.  I'll add pics of this when I get more because my camera decided to stop working right, but here's what I've got so far...

We were trying to look hardcore and all that, but uh...

 

Don "Peaches" Irwin.  He's a plebe that used to sit at my table.

 

Some may consider this to be corruption of a female plebe.  We call it "professional leader development."

 

This would have been a REALLY sweet picture had my camera worked the right way, but you can still tell who we are.  That's Clay, Randal, me, and my roommate for next semester Josh.

Erika.

 

One of my old teammates from last year, Robert Small.  Good dude.

 

That's all for now.  I'll add more pictures when I get them from other folks.

-Tom

 


 

December 8th

I'll update this sometime in the next few days, but in the words of Billy Madison, "for now I gots ta study." 

Until then, laugh at this picture of "Joe."

 Have a good one.

-Tom

 

 


 

December 5th

(nervous laugh) Hehehe... uh... my mistake.

Ok, so we didn't beat Navy this year.  I was wrong, and it wasn't even close.  42-13.  Wow. 

It's all good. The weekend was still awesome.  I drove down from West Point on Friday and even though I somehow ended up in Maryland (don't ask) I made it to Philadelphia around 7:45.  I picked my parents up from their hotel and we went to dinner at a really fancy Italian place right by the DoubleTree hotel in downtown Philly. 

Oh, I should mention that downtown Philly is pretty awesome as far as city downtown's go.  Normally I HATE driving in big cities, and this one was no exception, but there was alot of cool stuff to see. 

City Hall.  AWESOME building.

So after we got done with dinner they headed back to their hotel and I got a call from my buddy Braden.  He had just gotten into town that night and needed a place to stay so it was a good thing for him I had a spare bed in my hotel room.  We hung out for awhile in the bar of my hotel (I was drinking straight Coke, you'll understand why in a few seconds) and around midnight I get a call from Erika who had just gotten into town.  Braden headed upstairs to rack out and I drove (see?  I'm responsible when it counts, fokkers) over to see her for a little while.  Before I could get out of the parking lot of my hotel to go see her, I noticed a huge Suburban with oversized muddin' tires parked with the engine running and 3 people sitting in it.  I realized it was my buddy Dave from the prep school so I decided to have a little fun.  I stopped the Trooper, snuck up and banged on his window really loud which, of course, scared the $#!% out of him.  The conversation afterward went like this:

Dave: (drunken Keanu Reeves voice) "Duuuuude....  You scaaaared me like whoaaa...."

Tom: "What's up Dave?!?!  Whatcha doing out here? It's 12:30 in the morning, stud."

D: "Duuuude...  We're staying at this hotel tonight..."

T: "Here in the parking lot???"

D: "Uhhh.... Yeah, I guesssss...."

T: "Ok, turn the engine off, take your drunk asses upstairs to room 908, and rack out on my floor."

I came back a few hours later to 2 guys laying flat on their back on the floor, snoring like none other, but warm.  I had to throw a few pillows to get em to stop snoring, but nothing too serious. 

The next morning we all got up, the now sober newly acquired roommates left, and after some breakfast downstairs with Braden I walked over to the stadium.   This is what I saw when I got there:

We all form up in a huge waiting area before we march into the stadium, and we're usually sitting there for a looooooong time.  After awhile you get tired of standing up so you do what these fokkers did.  After a few hours we finally got lined up and marched in.

This picture also shows the SWEET seats my parents had.  Upper deck almost on the 50 yard line.

That's me 2nd from the right. 

Navy marched on right after us and although their formations really did look horrible, they had fun with it.  A few kids were playing catch with a football and others were wearing signs and such bad-mouthing us.  Others spruced up their hats:

I had to blacken the letters in so you could see them, but their hats spell out "Go Navy Beat Army." 

After the march on I came up to where my parents were sitting along with my mom's cousin, Jim, and his wife, Lucy.  That's when I told my dad to take this picture because it would be the last time I ever put this long overcoat on.  173 days till graduation...

 

Until the beginning of the game not a whole lot went on except for spirit videos from each school playing on the jumbo-tron, but then the president showed up. 

  That's the squid Brigade Commander and Ryan Boeka, our 1st Captain, escorting Dubya onto the field for the coin toss.

The Army Parachute Team, The Golden Knights, along with the Navy jump team did a demonstration and then came the flyovers.

F-14 Tomcats which kicked on their afterburners right over us.  It was just a LITTLE loud, but awesome.

 

AH-64 Apaches.  Get some.

 

Uh... that's about all I've got to say about that.  The game came and went and the final score was 42-13.  You want to read about it?  Click Here. 

 

I think Lucy had a great quote which describes the game in general.  "I've never felt more American than I did today.  It's incredible to see such a display of patriotism."  Yeah, Army lost to Navy, but we're all brothers in arms.  Some of us get shot at and carry the work load more than others (yes, that was an intentional insult for any squids out there), but we're all brothers.

When I find a better picture of this I'll put it up.

After the game, my parents, Jim, Lucy, and I went out for dinner and then had a stroll around South Street.  After awhile they were all getting tired and I was just starting to bounce back from being tired (I had 4 huge mugs of coffee supercharged with 4 packets of sugar in each during dinner) so we all said g'night and went our separate ways. 

Erika picked me up a few minutes later and we went to an Irish pub somewhere in downtown Philly.  It was a pretty sweet place, but nothing beats Tir Na Nog in Manhattan.  It's right outside of Penn Station and on Saturday nights they have live Irish folk bands playing fiddles and drums and people who sound like they just got off the boat hanging out dancing and drinking and it's just friggin awesome.  Ahhh, what a great place.  I need to go back sometime soon.  Anyway, we stayed at this other pub for awhile and then around midnight headed back to the hotel.  There were some problems with her hotel reservation and she didn't have a place to stay Saturday night so she took the spare bed in my room.

I woke up this morning after sleeping in and eventually got on the road back to school (without going through Maryland this time).  I think I set a new record for shortest time between Philly and West Point, but I didn't get any speeding tickets so whatever.  No, mother, I wasn't being unsafe.  I was just going a bit faster than the speed limit.

Right now it's really late and I'm extremely tired so I'll close it out right here.  Hope everyone else had a great weekend. 

-Tom

 


 

December 2nd

Army/Navy week.  If you're not pumped up about the game this weekend, kill yourself.  Listen up people, we're gonna win.  Fact.

Tonight is a night of "spirited activities" including the annual bonfire and the Goat/Engineer football game.  They split up the teams based on your GPA and only cadets from the Cow (Junior) class can play in it.  Last year Clay and I played for the Goats because, at the time, our GPA's were the opposite of exemplary.  They made the cutoff at 2.8 so anyone below that was a goat and anyone above it an engineer.  The teams get together a few weeks before the game and go over a few plays and then go out there the night of the bonfire and give it all they've got.  No one really expects a Superbowl, but it's fun to watch.  Last year we were absolutely convinced we were going to run those smart kids into the ground, but um... we didn't.  I think the final score was 20-0.  Yeah, it was pretty bad, but we had fun. 

So what if only 5 of the people in this picture got their first choice of branch?

 

 Anyway, hopefully this year's team can avenge our embarrassing loss last year.  Speaking of football games...  This Saturday is the annual Army-Navy game.  Oh, and besides it being my last football game as a cadet, I finally got approved for a pass this weekend for the first time since I've been a cadet. 

Normally there are 3 options you can take concerning getting to and from the game.  You can take the "short boomerang" which is a bus that leaves at like 2 in the morning from West Point that takes you straight to the game and straight back.  Not the most enjoyable experience because you get virtually no sleep the night before and then you're on your feet the entire day and you don't get back until like 11 the next night.  Not cool.  Option 2 is to ride the bus down there and find your own way back.  Still not so great because you're exhausted from being up all night and you don't feel like partying it up in Philly after the game.  Option 3, the one I FINALLY got approved for, is to take a pass and find your own way down and back and gives you the entire weekend to yourself.

Plebe year I was in trouble so I had to ride the boomerang. 

Yuk year I was in trouble so I had to ride the boomerang. 

Cow year I was on academic restriction (and in trouble) so I had to ride the boomerang. 

This year, as of right this second, I'm sitting on a 2.95 GPA for the first time since I was a sophomore in high school and because I'm now the self-appointed "smartest man alive", CPT Wooten decided I could take pass.  Rock n roll. 

Tonight after dinner Erika and I are planning to go see Alexander.  I've heard mixed reviews about it, but it'll be fun.  I don't even know if we'll make it on time because we've got mandatory dinner at 7:30 and the show starts at 8, but whatever.  Everything always works out in the end. 

I got my first piece of "fan mail" last night.  Apparently my little website is going global because a random high school girl from Pennsylvania who is coming here next year has been checking it out and decided to write me an email and tell me she appreciated my stories about the academy and the things that go on here.

I got some pictures from various people this week from Branch Night a few weeks ago. 

  My future boss, Major General Valcourt.  He's the chief of ALL Field Artillery in the Army.  Someday I'll have his job.  Fact.

 

  Les and I at Matt King's house immediately after we got our branches.  He got Armored Cavalry.  Lucky bastard...

I'm up $4,500 in the market so once again to anyone and everyone who keeps doubting me, no you can't borrow any money.  Pray to Saint Matthew, the patron saint of accountants, bankers, and stock brokers and maybe he'll hook you up with some shares of Interchange Corporation (INCX) stock like me.

NOTRE DAME is going to fire their football head coach, Ty Willingham.  They lost pretty badly to the USC Trojans this weekend.  The final score was 41-10.  Eh... ungood. 

I thought he was doing a pretty decent job overall as head coach, but they finished 6-5 this season and 5-7 last year.  Here's an article about his dismissal:  http://www.southbendtribune.com/breakingnews/posts/2058.html

That's all for now. 

-Tom

 


 

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