Mission: Incomprehensible

In which Sig clarifies his purpose.

"Think sticky, distributed. Think turn-key. Think viral, plug-and-play. But don't think all three at the same time. If all of this seems estranging to you, that's because it is! Think 24/7. It comes off as misleading, but it's realistic!"

Goodbye to an old friend

In which upon Sig dawns the realization that one of his oldest, dearest friends is soon to depart this mortal coil.

Bud Light, a canoe, and helpful police officers

Canoe rental: $3/hour

18-pack of Bud Light: Free (the only way I'll drink it)

Police boat towing two wet soldiers, 14 empty beer cans, a frisbee, a cooler, and a half-submerged canoe back to shore: Also free.

Not spilling my beer before, during, or after rolling the canoe: Priceless.


"Roving engines of chaos"

In which Sig reaffirms that the knack for a vivid turn of phrase can occasionally be a liability.

Mother's Day Note Template

In which Sig demonstrates the proper way to write a last-minute Mother's Day e-mail.

A special kind of stupid

Here's an amusing anecdote that helps the outsider to gaze into the mystery that is the military mindset. Make sure to read the linked second part, particularly if you've ever read Lord of the Flies.



Geek is driving around Tempe, AZ, looking for a Jamba Juice and when one is unable to find one by wandering around, looking for a payphone phone book, and when that fails to appear, whipping out the laptop with 802.11g wireless and hitting during a long light near an open access point to find a store listing and map.

God bless people who don't know how to configure their network hardware securely.


The "Study" Video

This is what happens when Russian students drink. At least, when ours do.

drunk.avi (10 meg or so)

I was the camera man. The two morons on the roof of the shed about to swing from an outdoor extension cord are the two strongest speakers in my class. Go figure.



Babelfish is just about the funniest thing evar when you know a foreign language.

I use it primarily to spellcheck my russkie entries, since a grammatically unknown phrase will be transliterated rather than translated. It's a crude sort of error checking, I suppose.

Check out this translation of one of my favorite Lyube songs. Songs are hard to translate, anyway, but this one really misses the target by a few yards....


DLI Vocabulary Primer

Purpose: To aid the casual reader in understanding the occasionally cryptic terms sprinkled throughout this site.

Order: as I think of them.

Format: term (source or origin). meaning. "Usage example."

Other notes: Many of these terms are specific to DLI in particular. Military ranks are Army-specific unless otherwise noted.

  • DLI. Defense Language Institute. Sometimes Desperate Love Institute, a cynical comment on the intense romantic entanglements that can occur in a high-stress coed interservice environment.
  • jacked up. Messed up, not right, wrong. Can also refer to physical ailments (ref: broken). "Dude, that is a seriously jacked up situation." "Your leg is jacked up, man; it ends at the knee."
  • broken. Physically damaged or wounded. This can be literal or metaphorically speaking. Often as a result of hard physical activity. "Why wasn't he at PT? He's broken."
  • code. A diagnosed physical condition that prevents or hinders normal activity, usually PT. There are varying degrees. "They gave him a no run/jump/march code for six weeks. Lucky SOB." (See code rider)
  • code rider. Someone who is "on code" for extended periods of time, or who gets himself coded to get out of PT or training. Usually derogatory. "Hey code rider, got your ibuprofen?"
  • chopsticks or stilts or scissors. Someone on crutches. Only Drill Sergeants can get away with this.
  • PT. Physical training. 0515, bright and early every morning. "Platoon Sergeants: take charge of your platoons and conduct PT."
  • salute. Something you do to officers, flags, and occasionally kegs.
  • Sir. Something you call civilians, officers, warrant officers, and kegs--in ascending order of sincerity. "Absolutely, sir."
  • warrant officer. Holds the power of an officer, the wisdom and experience of a sergeant, and the bitterness of a boot private. They're called warrant officers because they have warrants out for their arrest because they're wicked crazy, but they're so damned cool/useful/dangerous that the Army makes them officers so the civvie courts will leave them alone. Actually, no one understands where they come from or why they're called this. If someone tells you that they do, they are lying to you.
  • Corporal. An underpaid Sergeant.
  • Specialist. An overpaid Private.
  • Microwave Specialist. As a reward for being dedicated enough to complete a bachelor's degree but dumb enough to enlist anyway, the Army allows BA/BS holders to enter the Army as E-4 Specialists, rather than Privates. They don't know anything more than any boot Private, but they get paid more. These are known as Microwave Specialists. Their degrees are usually in English, Psychology, or Political Science.
  • Basic or BCT or boot. Basic Combat Training. This is where hopeful young intentive soldiers go to have their souls crushed and to acquire physical ailments that will eventually cripple them and end their careers.
  • Ft. Leonard Wood or Ft. Lost-in-the-woods. One of the bases that does BCT. Mostly combat support and combat service support branches.
  • Leonard Wood Crud or URI. Upper Respiratory Infection, or "the crud." You don't usually die from it, but you wish you could. If you are waking yourself from sleep because you are coughing so hard you are inducing vomiting, you have "the crud." Often turns into acute bronchitis. Usually treated with cough drops.
  • ruck out. Fail out of class, either LOE or LOA, unless there are special circumstances. You can sometimes get a reroll. "Did you hear? He rucked out of Korean."
  • LOE. Lack of effort--you failed because you weren't hooah enough. Pack your sunglasses, because you're going to be a truck driver in Iraq.
  • LOA. Lack of aptitude. You're hooah as all hell--you just suck. Maybe Spanish is more your speed.
  • Intro to Spanish. Slang for Korean Basic Course and Arabic Basic Course. See LOA.
  • pop-tart. Slang for students of French, Spanish, and the other 6-month courses. You go in, get a little warm, and get kicked out. Don't bother unpacking.
  • reroll. If you ruck out of a class due to LOA, you can sometimes get enrolled into an easier language. "I've been rerolled into Arabic. Someone hates me."
  • hooah. If you gotta ask, you ain't. It's like grok, but an adjective with more militant overtones. Also an interjection, noun, adverb, and possibly several other parts of speech. Similar to "smurf" on the old cartoon. "I would do the Ranger school thing, but I am just not that hooah."

Additions: 11 DEC 2004

  • blue falcon. An alternate, sanitized version of a phrase starting with buddy and ending with another F word ending in -er. Anyone who does not do their part, slacks off, or generally makes things difficult by inaction, laziness, or weapons fire. Often this person is also being an Army of One.
  • Army of One. A cynical reference to the now infamous slogan, when someone (perhaps a blue falcon) is doing their own thing, they are being an Army of One. To put the proper level of acidic scorn in this phrase, you must be a Drill Sergeant. "Private Nelson is determined to be an Army of One. Maybe we\'ll just do low crawls across that muddy field until she decides to rejoin our Army. What's that? It's not a muddy field? Oh, it will be."
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