Welcome to The WatchCat
Sunday, August 19 2018 @ 06:22 pm PDT

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Today's Score Card

General NewsAmtrak 4.5/5 Conductor with a hilarious sense of humor, on time arrival, but screwed up a few people's seat assignments.

SEATAC Airport 4/5 A couple great restaurants and bars, finicky wireless.

British Airways 3/5 Ok, so I'm spoiled by the old days. No hot towels, no Bailey's, small breakfast, arrived super late. But they're still better than most airlines. Free Drinks...

"London Heathrow Cars" 5/5 Picked us up in a Mercedes, professional driver (probably E. European) who probably could have gotten us safely through a war zone in time for tea... He got a 30% tip.

More later when I've finished with other companies...
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Veterans Day 2009

To all who have served or serve now... Thank you. We owe you our freedoms, our lives, our joys, our national honor.
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For the record....

Thanks for the thanks, but I haven't earned it. I'm not a vet; I'm just a civilian who understands better than most. (Although I'm told that I look damn good in a uniform...long story!)

Go thank a real hero. :) Plenty of them out there!
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Roll Call 2

I want to officially say WELCOME to all the new readers who have shown up in the last few months. It's great to have you here, and I'm always happy to hear from you.

In light of this, I'd like to resurrect the "roll call" that I did a number of months back. Participation is purely up to you. But I always like to know who the friendly faces are, and I have no interest in spamming or infringing on anyone's privacy. If willing, please comment with any or all of the following information:

Name (first, full or recognizable nickname)
Email address
How you found the blog
Anything else relevant
And if you're really bold, you can share a mailing address... rumour is that that I send holiday cards to readers occasionally! ;)

I won't publish roll call comments unless specifically asked to do so. This is all voluntary; currently I have no plans to restrict blog access in any way, and if you want to stay anonymous, that's ok too. But it would be very nice to get to know you! You can also email me at CAT at THEWATCHCAT dot NET if you're more comfortable doing it that way.

I look forward to saying hello!
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Ye Unholy Internet

I'm trying not to write anything I shouldn't. Forgive me if I do it anyway.

I've sometimes heard it said that the behaviors and attitudes that most drive us up the wall in others are the very things we'll find within ourselves.

Yep.

I growl when people I know disappear from the web, but I rejoice now that my real-name stuff has finally disappeared. Not entirely consistent, I know.

And I disappear as fast as I can when someone seems to be searching for me, yet I do web searches for friends who would really prefer not to be found online.

Some of it is the fragmentation of the soul which has not yet entirely healed. I'm the first to admit that I have some tremendous flaws. And some of it is experience that can only be updated, never unlearned.

If you've never seen your friends impersonated, your family dragged through public mud, or your email violated by someone who wishes you ill, be very thankful indeed. And if you have, stick with me here, because I have my own explanation to make:

I never want to see it happen to anyone else.

I haven't been perfect in this respect, and I'm no stranger to having past failures used against me. Spending a couple years thinking I was CIA-bound created some kinks in my ethics, and it takes a lot of time to adjust that kind of mindset. (Although my procurement abilities do make me a hit at church potlucks.) I still haven't shaken the "need to know", and sometimes that means I have a little more information at my fingertips than some people would like. Forgive me if you've ever gotten pulled into that.

But here's what you need to know: Acquaintances get my concern, enemies get my prayers, and if you have any reason at all to believe that I consider you a friend, then not only are you safe with me; I'll watch your back too. It's pretty simple.

Most people will tell you that I'm no good at the nuts and bolts of friendship. I forget birthdays, forget to call, and I'll stay behind rather than assume I'm wanted somewhere. But they'll also tell you that if you need a rabbit pulled out of a hat or your trembling body pulled away from a ledge, I'll do it without blinking. That's how I do friendship.

The internet is an odd forum for friendship. It's not the same as face-to-face by any stretch of the imagination, but we (perhaps unwisely) often reveal more of our souls here. And as such, it's dangerous. We need friends online for many of the same reasons we need face-to-face friends: to keep us real, to challenge us, to protect us and to help us survive the storms that come into our lives.

Trust is an odd thing, and I know people have a lot of different ways of gauging a person's trustworthiness. Don't trust me to be perfect. But be assured that if you harbor no ill will for me or my loved ones, you can trust me -online and offline- to treat you as a friend.

So, let's talk. Tell me about your day, demand an explanation from me, whatever's on your mind. Email's always open (CAT at THEWATCHCAT dot NET) and you can always ask me to not post a comment.

Good night (ok, probably good morning for most of you) and God bless you.

And Happy Birthday, to everyone I missed! ;)
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Roll Call

General NewsThis is one of those days when I remember why I don't do the work any more. Everything I want to talk about, I can't talk about. Vigilance remains a priority, both personally and nationally. And I'm sick, I'm tired, and I could really use a clear victory right about now. A couple are lurking just around the corner, so this is more a reflection of fatigue than despondence. I keep submitting work to one particular group, hoping for constructive criticism, and they consistently say, "Great work"and move on to critiquing someone else's ideas. Obviously it's not a bad thing, but it gets a little disconcerting after a while. Amidst all the fatigue and discouragement, I can't help but wonder if these responses are a sign that I should do more, not less.

In the midst of this, I have a request. It would be very helpful to know who my readers are. I have no interest in spamming or infringing on anyone's privacy, but I've had a lot of e-trouble recently and would like to know who the friendly faces are! If willing, please EMAIL with any or all of the following information:

Name (first, full or recognizable nickname)
Email address
How you found the blog
Anything else relevant!

Email to cat@thewatchcat.net All information stays between us.
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OPSEC/ FAMSEC PROMISE

Several days after first reading it, this blog post from Castle Argghhh! still twists my heart. The core question: when the children of the fallen warriors grow up and google their parent's name, what will they see?

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The Rule of Blog

Rules of Engagement for bloggers

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What We Are, What We Are Not

Do you remember the "special" bus, the "special" kids? I do. I was sometimes lumped in with them because I had problems with fine motor skills thanks to lack of oxygen when I was born. I hated it, and did my best to hide it. By the time I hit college, no one had a clue. I remember a close friend asking, "How is it that you can be so sneaky and so clumsy at the same time?" I had hidden my secret well. Most of us spend our child and young adult years trying to be like everyone else, and then somewhere in adulthood we try to stand out from the rest of the pack. But our failures in that line leave us ashamed.

The problem of "Fakers," "Poseurs" and (insert appropriate uncomplimentary names here) has been on my mind lately...
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Counting Down...

General NewsIt's always different when it's your family...

A family member will be deploying next year. It's still some time away, but I'm watching the ripple effect in the family. Tears... contingency plans... worries... they're all coming to the surface.

It surprises me, but it shouldn't. We've all been at this for a while, but circumstances change and danger levels change. When you know that someone in the same spot you're loved one will be in just died, the reality slams in and you start fleshing out the what-if's.

I wrote earlier about the idea of the "first day of your real life." To me, this is the bedrock of courage. You face what you have to face, not so much because heaven is your "safety net," though it is, but because your eyes are fixed on something bigger and better.

That's how I cope. Don't get me wrong; I'll probably have Landstuhl on speed dial from wheels-up, but I've learned to have a big-picture focus that isn't destroyed when all hell breaks loose. At least, I hope I've learned.