What's Happening

newest stuff is at the top

November 15th

The smartest man alive?  Yes, that I am.

I forecasted a gain of $5,000 playing the stock market game today.  In reality, it turned out to be $6,200.  That puts me $2,000 over where I started because I learned some hard lessons over the last few weeks, but I did my homework on this one and it paid off big time.  I discovered the Patron Saint of bankers, accountants, stock brokers, and investors today.  Saint Matthew is a good dude. 

The line on top is the stock price, the bars on the bottom are the volume.  Each square is one day.  I bought in when the price was at $2.90 on Friday for 2700 shares of SYBR and sold today just before it dropped off; I got out at $6.25.  Do the math on that one.  $3.35 gain per share multiplied by 2700 shares.  Me = smart.

 

Today we got a chance to listen to the Chief of Field Artillery, MG Valcourt, talk to us about where the branch is headed in the future.  With the Army restructuring itself to these new Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) the Field Artillery is going to have a larger role.  Instead of downsizing the FA like we've been hearing in all kinds of rumors, we're actually expanding.  As we expand the Army from 33 BCTs to 48 each one will have an FA Battalion (BN).  More BCTs means more BNs means more opportunities for us as 2LTs and means more units to command when they make me the Supreme Allied Commander of the World.  Seriously.  You just watch.

On an unrelated note, I hate yearlings.  I swear these kids are trying to make me hate them.  I was their Platoon Leader out at Cp Buckner this summer and busted my ass for those kids.  I go out of my way to help them any way I can.  I look out for them in the company and put in a good word here and there for them with the Chain of Command.  They come over all the time and hang out on the $50 couch and I listen to them complain about how much they think they hate their lives and we talk and they feel better.  I loan them my Trooper when I'm not using it because I know they probably won't get anyone else to loan them one.  I do anything I can for those kids.  The thanks I get?  The keys locked inside it and an empty gas tank.  Twice. 

Attention yearlings:  YOU'RE DEAD!!!

-Tom

 


 

November 14th

This one's gonna be short and sweet.

I did a 30 kilometer road march yesterday.  My feet hurt.  Alot.  I should go to the hospital, but I won't because I'm stubborn and I'm sure those stress fractures will heal on their own.

I saw the new movie Polar Express with my friend Erika Saturday night and then had dinner at the Macaroni Grill in the Palisades Mall.  Good times.  Great flick.  You're a communist if you didn't read that book as a kid and if you don't like the new movie.

I got 3 skydives in today, 2 of which were "two-ways" with Jason.  That means we left the door together in a floating exit.  Best jumps I've done so far and I landed right in the middle of the target area 2 of 3 times.  Get some.  8 more and I've got my Class A license.

Branch night tonight.  I got FIELD ARTILLERY.  Big guns, baby.  It was my second choice after Armored Cavalry, but I'm happy.  I was FA before I came to West Point and I'm actually really glad I'm going back.  One of my best friends, Ed, got it as well.  Les got Armor, Jason got Air Defense, and my roommate Colin chose Infantry.  Hooah and all that stuff.

Tomorrow I'm going to make alot of money in the stock market.  I could explain my reasoning, but I'm not going to.  Just know that I made $3,700 on Friday and I'm poised to make another $5,000+ tomorrow.  That's no BS. 

That is all.

-Tom

 


 

November 11th

Happy Veteran's Day y'all.  I got 2 jumps closer to my A license today.  The first jump of the day Karol and I did a "floating exit" from the plane, docked in freefall, and did fall rate control until 6,000' when I broke off, tracked away, and pulled around 4,000'.  A floating exit is when you climb out of the plane, but you're still standing in the door and hanging onto the bar on the inside.

That's not me in the picture, but now you know what I'm talking about.  It's just another way to exit the plane and it's pretty effin' cool standing out there looking over the top of the fuselage until you step off and watch the bird fly away as you pick up speed.  After we got stable from the exit I tracked toward her and we grabbed wrists.  I've been working on doing that and I finally got it right today.  After that we practiced fall rate control by changing body positions to fall faster and slower until we got to six grand.  I pulled the pilot chute, and once I was under canopy started heading toward the airfield.  I misjudged the winds just a bit and landed about 200 meters shy of where I had intended, but it was still well within the safe area to land even though it was in a friggin' mud puddle.  Sweet.

I packed my own chute when we got back to the holding area.  It wasn't text-book perfect, but it worked.  Actually, I'll rephrase for my mother's sake because that sounded a bit unsafe.  I packed it correctly, but it didn't look as "pretty" as it does when an experienced person packs it.  I jumped that chute the next time we went up and it opened with no problem.

 The second jump was just as great as the first.  Karol did a floating exit and I followed her out in a diving exit after I counted to three.  I had to wait because the objective of this one was to catch up to her in a headfirst dive, gain control, and dock with her.  After I grabbed her wrists we broke apart and it turned into "monkey see, monkey do."  She did a backflip, and I did one.  She did a front flip, and I did one.  My front flip didn't turn out quite right, but it's the first time I've ever tried one.  We did a few 720 degree turns left and right and then she showed me how to fall feet first.  You're actually standing up as you're falling.  Very cool.  This time I was much more accurate under canopy and landed about 10 meters away from the small pea-gravel pit we use as a target. 

My roommate Colin got his Class A license today after completing 25 jumps.  Rock n roll.  11 more and I'll have mine.

Me.  The future best skydiver in the world.  Fact.

Ok, now for other news.  Academics are going extremely well right now, but next week might be a bit of a kick in the arse. 

I've got a comparative book review due in my Generalship and the Art of Command class.  This is no third-grade book review, no.  I have to read one book that's (no kidding) 900 pages and another book with 300 pages and compare the two author's biases and writing styles in their biographies of George S. Patton.  That's just the first half of the paper.  The second half is my evaluation of Patton as a leader.  Bring it, COL Betros.  I've also got a paper due in MilArt on the Red River Campaign of Louisiana during the Civil War.  Oh, and a WPR in Civil Engineering.  Awesome. 

Let's see, oh yeah, one more thing.  Branch Night is Sunday.  Jeez...  If I don't get Armored Cavalry I don't know what I'll do.  I'd be cool with Infantry, but tanks are where I need to be.  Patton was a tanker, and he wasn't the most exemplary WP cadet either.  That's right.  I'm the next George "Blood n Guts" Patton.  He actually believed in reincarnation; maybe I'm really him.  It would explain quite a bit...

-Tom

 


 

November 7th

I met the coolest and toughest Cavalry Squadron commander known to man.  Friday night LTC Dolan came and spoke to us at our Company Dining-In.  It was a mostly informal dinner and afterward we had a chance to speak with "Tiger 6".  I think a great example that sums up LTC Dolan came from CPT Wooten, our Tac Officer.  CPT Wooten was a Troop commander under LTC Dolan during OIF/OEF and told us that one time they were attacking an Iraqi Armor unit using Patton's classic "hold em in the nose and kick em in the ass" tactic.  They had a small force which fixed the enemy in place while the rest of the squadron came around from the flank/rear and obliterated what was left.  LTC Dolan, as the commander, was a part of this flanking force.  As he led the attack, he was standing on top of his Bradley Fighting Vehicle, wearing the Cavalry Stetson and spurs, and brandishing his saber as he screamed AI-EE-YAH!!!  They won the fight with zero friendly casualties.  You can imagine the type of things he had to say to us Friday night.  The simple version of his message was that leadership is all about finesse.  It takes finesse to bring balance to all the requirements you have to handle, and if you can do that you're good.  I realize there's more to "it" than that, but that was his message.  Anyway, he was a great guy and I look forward to seeing him again in the Army. 

Saturday we played Air Force.  Here are some pictures from the pre-game BBQ and from inside the stadium.

Pete demonstrating how 6-pack rings can hurt baby seals, dolphins, and "Mother Earth."  Recycle, people. 

 

CPT Ramsey, our Tac from last year, came back for a visit.  He's out at Air Force this year as an exchange Tac Officer. 

 

Ski Ski, Meg, and some plebes BBQ'n for the Company.

 

POW exchange before the game.  12-15 cadets from each academy switch places for a semester and this is the "repatriation ceremony."

 

Bobby Ross going nuts on the ref for making a bad call.  Don't mess with this old man.  He may be 75 years old, but he'll tear you a new one.

 

A WWII era B-25 flew over during halftime.  You can also see the score at the half.  We were up 22-21. 

 

What's a home game without a C-2 stack?  That's me and Pete on the bottom, Scott on me, and Drew on him.  We had one more person up top with Drew a few seconds later. 

 

We lost the game.  Final score was 31-22, but one huge mistake cost it for us.  We had the ball on the AF 12 yard line and the touchdown pass was picked off by an AF defender and returned all the way back down the field.  That was a 14 point mistake.  Instead of us scoring, they did.  Not cool.

Today Jason and I went up to The Ranch to get a few jumps in, but high winds had us grounded all day.  We watched one load of jumpers come in just as we got there and the turbulence in the air coming off the trees almost caused one guy to get seriously hurt.  As he was on his final approach at around 100 feet he hit a pocket of turbulence and it caused the nose of the parachute to get tucked under the rest of the canopy.  This caused a ridiculously fast dive which he somehow managed to pull out of at the last second when the canopy reinflated itself.  All the people waiting to get on the next load saw this happen and they immediately walked off the airfield and back to where the rest of us were standing. 

Jason had to leave early, but I stayed and got one jump in just before dark.  The winds had died down considerably and I landed 10 meters from my target.  Rock.  Some others on our load weren't so fortunate.  2 of the 4 of us landed in different fields and one girl landed on the highway.  Everyone was ok, but that's what you get for not listening to your instructors. 

 

The view I enjoyed on the ride back to WP.

 

My teams did well this weekend overall.  NOTRE DAME beat 11th ranked Tennessee, the Bengals whooped up on Dallas, and ARMY RUGBY whooped up on Air Force.  Arkansas barely lost to South Carolina and we, what I consider barely, lost to Air Force, but Navy lost to Tulane in a bad way.  December 4th, the Army/Navy game, is ours.  In Coach Ross we trust.

Oh, one more thing.  To all the Eagles fans out there: BAH HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!   27-3 against the Steelers???  Jeez...  Yeah, my Bengals don't have the record you do, but I'm not a bandwagon fan either.  "I love the Eagles!!!  I've always been a Philly fan!!!"  Uh, right.  Last year you were screaming you loved the (insert random other NFL team).  You and most of the Red Sox fans are all the same.  You'll be taking your Donovan McNabb jerseys back to the store soon enough.

-Tom

 

 

 


 

November 4th

The plebes voted me the "Cool and Tough" Firstie of the company.  They said any guy that laughs in the face of a kid with a knife to his neck deserves an award like that.  Well, that, and I'm just awesome.  Fact.  If you're not familiar with the "incident" that occurred this summer, go down to the archive portion of this page and check out the June 14th entry.  Coolest and Toughest Firstie, rock n roll.

In other news, I'm glad I sold my Google stock when I did because the price has dropped considerably.  From it's highest point at $201.60 yesterday it has now fallen, as of 10:15 A.M., to $184.30.  I had 78 shares.  Do some quick math on how much potential profit I would have lost had I not sold it when I did yesterday.  "I are smart."

Last night at the Firstie club a bunch of people from other colleges and academies showed up after their conference on ethics was dismissed.  I was talking to a few of them when all of a sudden this dude with long greasy hair in a ponytail, a 6 inch beard, and wearing a black trench coat walks up.  I had been talking to a girl named Izzy (short for Elizabeth), but this dude decided it was time to discuss politics.  Wrong answer, bud.  Along with this flamer, there were some guys from the Citadel wearing their Full Dress uniform.  Funny how those Citadel uniforms look EXACTLY like ours except their red sashes hang down to their ankles.  These jerkoffs thought they were total studs who were going to impress all the girls with their fancy uniforms, but we got their attention with our laughter.  Nice try, punks. 

Other than that, it was great talking to people from outside the gates of WP.  For the most part, they were all good dudes and girls that liked talking about stuff other than WP, which was nice. 

That's all for now.

-Tom

 


 

November 3rd

"Nothing ever ends pleasantly.  That's why it ends."

Well, it's over.  I broke it off with Celine the night before last.  No need to divulge any details, but I don't regret any of the time spent with her and that's that. 

I went hunting with Les yesterday.  Kind of.  We went out in the training areas around Camp Buckner looking for geese, but none flew over so just before it got dark we cooked off a few shells at a dead tree and called it a day.  Good times.  I really miss hunting pheasant in South Dakota with my father.

Today at lunch formation I was awarded the title of "The Student of the Month" in my company.  Ok, stop laughing.  I'm serious about this!  It's true.  I went from nearly getting kicked out of here multiple times to getting an award like this.  Don't believe me?  Fine.

 

 

My Google stock is still doing well.  It broke $200/share today, but I didn't catch it in time and it dipped back down to $197 before I could sell it.  It's all good, I've still made close to $1400 since I first started trading it.  My next venture if I decide to get away from GOOG is a company called Travel Zoo (ticker symbol TZOO).  Their stock prices have been going waaay up over the last week or so and it doesn't look like it's going to slow down anytime soon. 

I gotta get back up to The Ranch and get a skydive or two really soon or I'll be incurrent and have to take a friggin 8 hour refresher class before they'll let me jump again.  You have to jump at least once every 30 days to stay current.

We've got Navy's goat!  For any of you not in the know, the Army/Navy game is coming up December 4th.  Each year both academies try to steal the other's mascot as a show of "spirit."  We got theirs last year AND this year.  The last time they took our mules was like... 3 or 4 years ago.  Here's the article in the NY Times from when we took it last year.

 

We got it again this year.  Here are the pictures.

 

 

 

BEAT NAVY.

That's all for now.

Oh, one more thing.  4 more years of George Bush.  Hell yeah.

-Tom

 


 

November 1st

FIRE OF AIR. Serious and intellectual, you live in the world of thoughts and ideas. You grasp things quicker than most and are a master debater. Your verbal skills are unparalleled; your conversations are stimulating. You are concerned with issues of justice. Your standards are high, so there is danger of becoming too moralistic. While truth is generally an honorable thing, chew on this: "Why Yes Herr Strudel, my neighbor IS hiding Jews in his basement!" You're Christopher Walken in Suicide Kings.
Quiz created by Polly Snodgrass.

There you have it.  I'd agree with that 100% except I have a tendency of letting anger cloud my thoughts when I'm "discussing" something with another person so the "discussions" get a bit heated if the issue at hand becomes personal in the slightest.  Maybe that explains the "exchange" that took place in my room last night between me and a close friend.  I dunno.  You all don't need to know the details, but it got really ugly and we both said some stuff we shouldn't have, but I got my point across that I felt he could have made a different decision about something.  Of course, we're both too proud to talk about it and we both think we're absolutely right so I guess that's that for now.  We'll see.

I think I'm going to do some homework now. 

-Tom

 


ARCHIVE

June-August 2004

September 2004

1-15 October 2004

16-31 October 2004

1-15 November 2004

16-30 November 2004

December 2004

1-15 January 2005