Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Just Call Me Scrooge!!

Okay, so I am a little peeved. No, strike that. I am A LOT peeved. "Why?" you may ask. I hate Christmas. And not because of Christmas itself, but for the stupidity that is inescapably revealed during the Christmas season.

So what is today? The 4th of December. 21 days until Christmas (or 21 "shopping" days per the Wal-martian calendar). But seriously, do we need 21 FULL days of Christmas shows and cartoons on TV, carols on the radio, aisles dedicated to nothing but ornaments and garland and the frowning life-hating bell-ringer in front of EVERY store in America?

But 21 days is actually being conservative. Did everyone have a nice Pre-Christmas (the holiday formerly known as Thanksgiving)? Why do I call it Pre-Christmas? Because this is when the insanity starts. In fact, it starts prior to Thanksgiving. I don't think I properly recovered from the thrills of Halloween before I was bombarded by Christmas aisles at Wal-mart and the Celebrity renditions of "Jingle Bells" on the radio.

So, really, do we need a month and a half of Christmas to get us in the Christmas spirit, just to have it whisked away in a morning of opening presents? Why is there no residual Christmas until January 1?

Now back to the first paragraph. Why am I peeved? I sat down tonight to watch NCIS, only to be disappointed by an airing of Frosty the Snowman! MY KIDS ARE IN BED!! (Or at least, they should be!) Which is logical, being a school night. If networks find it necessary to air EVERY Christmas movie ever made prior to Christmas, why not make it a movie marathon on a Saturday, when kids are actually around to watch it and doesn't interfere with the normal TV watching habits of adults. And make it the weekend before Christmas, I would even be okay with the 2-3 days before Christmas.

Radio stations should do the same. Why do I need to listen to every celebrity's rendition of "Jingle Bells" or any other classic Christmas song? I personally think there are only 20 different Christmas songs. But the radio stations rotate through all of them with a different artist singing each one. "Here is 'Jingle Bells' as sung by.....Garth Brooks.......the Beastie Boys.......Marilyn Manson.......the Rolling Stones........ Metallica..........Hootie and the Blowfish......" Get my point?

So you know what I was thankful for on Pre-Christmas day? THE BLACK FRIDAY ADS, of course. What better way to ring in the Christmas season than by compiling a greedy list of all the things that you want for Christmas. Things that will require your loved ones to deprive themselves of sleep, waking up at 0-dark:30, in order to beat all the other ungrateful, ignorant people, whose idiocy is running rampant, to the limited supply (purposely limited by retailers) of those particular things. All to get the "perfect gift" to show just how much they love you! Stupidity I tell you.

Well, I've ranted and raved long enough. See what a simple hour of NCIS would have saved you all from reading!! Ba-Humbug!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Interesting Nothing

So, when I started this BLOG, it was with the intent to express my view of what I saw and experienced in this world (preferably in a humorous way). Well, I think I am failing miserably at that. Mainly, because I am failing to find inspiration needed to post regularly. However, I continue to get hounded for new material....mainly by my wife. (Apparently, she can't get enough of me.)

Also it is a little hard to get motivated to post regularly when I know that only a handful of people are reading it. So, I emplore all of you that ARE reading this, to circulate this BLOG. Invite your friends and family to read. I have noticed that a few of you have added links to my BLOG from your own blogsites.......thank you. I appreciate the advertising. Oh, yeah, and comment regularly, so I know you are reading!!

SO, on to my title. "Interesting Nothing" I know ya'll are wondering, "What the crap does that mean?" Well, it is sort of what I have been attempting to do with this BLOG. I try to find things that really seem insignificant and meaningless (that would be the "Nothing") and try to make it interesting (hopefully humorously).

Today, I was watching the movie, You've Got Mail. If you haven't seen this movie, it is one to watch with a wife or a girlfriend. Yeah, it's a total chick flick!! Which, I was made fully aware of by a flight school colleague of mine by his remark, "Dude, you're gay!!" (Yep, you guessed it, more lost cool points.) So, yeah, Tom Hanks and Meg "Totally Hot!" Ryan star in this movie. Well, I only watched like the first half. During this first half, both Meg and Tom are writing emails back and forth. These emails are really about nothing.....nothing at all. Yet, they were interesting. (Not to me, of course, but to each other) So, yeah, "Interesting Nothing."

And then there is Seinfeld. Yep, "the show about nothing." Yet, it was incredibly interesting, and funny. Now, of course, I know I will probably never be as funny as Jerry Seinfeld, or as interesting. But it gives me something to shoot for, right?

So, there you have it folks. This post is to serve 3 purposes. One: to encourage ya'll to advertise my BLOGsite. Two: to attempt making a post about nothing....interesting. And three: TO GET MY WIFE OFF MY BACK ABOUT MAKING A NEW POST!!! ;-P

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Okay, so I apologize. I apologize for not posting in 4 days. I know my loyal readers have been refreshing this page non-stop for the last 3 days praying for a new posting. Again I apologize. But as you know from my last posting, I was on hiatus from my strenuous Army training to be with my family for the weekend. Now, I know that is not reason enough to neglect my fans, but for some reason my wife doesn't share my sense of reasoning. I paid $260 to go home, and if I would have spent 15-30 minutes writing a BLOG post, my wife would have thought that was $10 of wasted cash!! So, you can thank her for my neglect.

BUT, it was worth it. And I will spare you the gruesome details.

However, I did get to spend some of my time doing some improvements on our new house, "home improvements," if you will. Oh, the joys!! When we bought our house we decided to save some money by putting in our own blinds. Which for the 10 windows and one sliding-glass door, has turned into a 3 month project!! Granted, part of that is due to the fact that I haven't really been home to do it, but really. Now, I've stated before that I can be lazy at times, but, trust me, that has absolutely nothing to do with why this project has taken so long.

We started off by buying 6 blinds for 6 windows. (Funny how the numbers work out.) Anyway, we would have bought enough for all the windows, however, the style we bought was only carried in one of the handful of Lowe's stores in the Boise area. Unbeknownst to us, they were a clearance item that was not going to be restocked. For sake of time and interest, I am going to summarize the story up until this last weekend. 2 blinds--ALL DAY. Broken drill bit. Tight places. Wrong tools. Stripped threads. Cheap tools. 2 more blinds--ALL EVENING (the next weekend). Sawdust in eyes. Another broken drill bit. Sears run. Watching baby. Kids helping. Wife hovering. 2 more blinds--another ALL EVENING (a different weekend). Baby sleeping. Quiet installation. Baby waking. Baby crying. Daddy holding baby while mommy cooks dinner. More sawdust, more stripped threads, more cheap tools, luckily no broken bits. RESULTS: 6 of 10 blinds installed.

Okay, last weekend. We go to Lowe's (again) hoping to find the long lost shipment of clearance blinds (you know, the ones that were on clearance 3 months earlier). We spend all morning debating which blinds would be acceptable, and we decided to get the vertical blinds for our sliding-glass door. Oh, we also checked prices on a custom blind for my office. So, we get 3 blinds and one vertical blind. As I am loading these into my cart, I see a sign "Guaranteed Blind Installation: $70." No way am I going to pay $70 to do a job I can do myself.

We get home and I begin. Well, I at least opened the box and got the pieces out. I couldn't really start because the battery on my drill/screwdriver was dead and I had to wait for the charge. Once charged, I begin. So I pre-drill the holes, only to find that I need to use the anchors to mount the brackets, which, according to the de-structions, requires pre-drilled holes with a 7/32" drill bit. THE ONLY SIZE BIT I DIDN'T HAVE. Back to Lowe's. I buy the bit and head back to the house. I drill the holes and insert the anchors, which were pieces of crap and just stripped the holes making them even bigger and didn't "anchor" anything!! So, it was back to Lowe's to buy higher quality anchors to fit in the now bigger holes. At this point, $70 seemed to be a fairly reasonable price. The 3 hours of wasted time driving back and forth, the gas it cost to go back and forth, the additional money spent in tools and pieces, well worth $70 in my opinion.

Fortunately, things went a little smoother after that. However, because of the day full of setbacks, my accomplishments were limited to the one set of vertical blinds and 1 set of blinds in the kitchen. Still, "OPERATION: Blinds" is still unaccomplished. 3 blinds left.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Phoenix -- Sky Harbor International Airport

Greetings! Today's post is brought to you live from the inside of Phoenix's own, Sky Harbor International Airport. The time......3:00 a.m.!! "Why," you ask, "are you in the airport at such an hour?" Well, excitement and stupidity. I am here, because I am so excited to get home. I am going home from my Army training in Tuscon, AZ to spend the weekend with my family before coming back here after Veteran's Day. However, my stupid a$$, decided driving from Tucson to Phoenix in the middle of the night (immediately after a training flight) to arrive at the airport at 1:00 a.m. was a splendid idea. So, here I am, spending the night in the airport in Phoenix........yep, just me and the cleaning ladies (whom I don't think speak a lick of English). They are probably thinking to themselves, "Stupido gringo!!" And frankly at this point, I am likely to agree with them.

Oh, I forget, the security dudes are here too. And I didn't really think I looked that suspicious, but they sure do look at me like I am, EVERY time they walk by. I just give them a cheesy grin and wave. Oh, did I mention my eyes are REALLY bloodshot right now, so they probably think I'm some drugged-out loser (with a laptop) with no other place to go. I guess I should just feel lucky they haven't kicked me out on the street yet.

So, what contributing factors led me to think that it was a good idea to arrive at the airport so early?? Well, my flight isn't until 11:20 or so. But I'm hoping to get on stand-by on an earlier flight which leaves at 7:15. So, obviously, I had to be here 2 hours prior to that. And since I got here at 1:00 that would give me 4 hours to catch up on my BLOG, watch the episode of Grey's Anatomy that I missed on Thursday and maybe the episode of Stargate: Atlantis that I missed tonite.

Okay, so we can see that I am accomplishing my first task by evidence of this post. However, my other goals have seem to be a little more elusive. I tried to watch Grey's Anatomy off of ABC's website. However, the free wi-fi connection here at the airport is just a little slow and the streaming of the episode kept skipping and pausing, which just doesn't make for fun TV watching. So, my next plan of attack was to download the episode (and the Stargate episode) off of iTunes, because my wife assured me that iTunes was installed on this computer. Well, when I went to download the episodes......yep, you guessed it......NO iTunes. Grrrrrr. So, I went to download iTunes. Yeah, thanks to the wonderful "high-speed" connection here at the airport that would have taken one and a half hours to complete.....then on top of that the time to download the episodes. Not that I don't have the time to do all that, and who knows, I still might. But, I'm not really excited about sitting here for a couple of hours while TV shows download.

Oh, yeah. So when I first got here, I scoped out the airport. In search of the perfect seat. You know, not too hard, not to soft, close to an outlet, out in the open (just in case a transient decided to molest me). And I found the perfect seat (yippee!!). That is until my computer shut down from running out of battery power, because the outlet DIDN'T WORK!! So I went searching again.......and I found a seat. It's a wonderfully HARD bench, in a corner, next to the janitors closet, where me and Maria have become really good friends. (I just hope she doesn't molest me)

Ouch! The lower half of my body is asleep. (At least, some of me is getting some rest.)

Well, to be perfectly honest. This overnighter is a lot better than the last time I spent the nite in an airport. NO, this isn't my first time. The first time was almost 11 years ago. I was in basic training in the Army and was on my way home for Christmas. And of course, as is usually my luck, my flights got cancelled and/or postponed and/or rerouted. My trip from Ft. Jackson, SC to Idaho Falls, ID had a rather unexpected layover in Denver. My flight got there at about 1:00 a.m. and my flight going to Salt Lake didn't leave until 8:00. So, I got to hang with the cleaning people there in Denver. I was a little overdressed for that sleepover though. I was in my dress uniform (which, at the time, we were required to wear when traveling). I was smart enough to bring with me my CD player, but there is only so much Lynyrd Skynyrd one can take.

So, at least now, I have the internets (and Maria) to keep me company.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Losing Cool Points

In the few postings that I have written, I have undoubtedly racked up quite a number of cool points. I mean, I have a beautiful wife. Cool. I have 4 wonderful kids. Cool. I listen to cool music. Cool. I used a word (chil-laxin') that most of you have probably never even heard. Cool. Stewie Griffin is on my BLOG page. Way cool. Oh, yeah and probably the coolest of all is the fact that I am an Army helicopter pilot. COOL!!

So, why is the title of my post "Losing Cool Points?" Well, I have a confession to make. I have a hobby. A hobby that is considered by most type-A personalities to be on the lower end of the "Cool" spectrum. What is a type-A personality? Well, it is one that enjoys rather exciting activities. You know, activities like skydiving, scuba-diving, downhill skiing, motorcycle riding, etc. By their very nature, helicopter pilots are type-A personalities.

My hobby? Scrapbooking. OUCH! I can feel the cool points being stripped from me. Okay, well let me clarify. I don't get out the papers and glue and pics that I just picked up from the photo lab at Wal-mart. No, I do it all on the computer, digitally. Armed with my digital camera and my sweet computer skills, I enhance my ordinary family photos into a story or emotion that can't really be told or felt by just looking at the photo.

So what got me into digital scrapbooking? Well, actually, the pre-cursor was another one of my hobbies, (ready for this?) genealogy. I know......I am losing cool points left and right. Okay, so I am a history major and the history of my family intrigued me. So when I started researching my family history, I started collecting all these photos of ancestors and such. Now, if you just look at a photo, especially an old one, it really means nothing without a story. So, that's what I desired to do, put a story with these photos.

Well, my mother-in-law suggested scrapbooking. Well, I tried it. First doing a wedding page for my wife for our anniversary. It was alright. But I wasn't too thrilled about all the paper and glue and embellishments and photos......in general, I wasn't thrilled with the mess that was made and needed to be cleaned up every time.

Then my mother-in-law suggested scrapbooking on the computer. She demonstrated some of what she had done and then she helped me do some of my own. And I was hooked. Since then I have done some 30 pages or so. Some of them genealogy related, most focused on my kids. In fact, the pics of my kids on this blog are some pages I recently did. Above is one I recently did and I think is among one of my favorites.

So I purposely mentioned my un-cool hobby early in my BLOGing so that ya'll will forget it early and I may recover my cool points quicker. However, I will continue to post my pages, both old and new, as time and topics permit.

Take care. I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


New word? I think so. However, I can't take credit for its creation. Now, I don't know what the exact definition is or should be. But I will give you my definition. It means behaving in a state that is neither "chillin'" nor "relaxing" but a combination of both. Now, you are probably saying to yourself, "They basically mean the same thing." And I would say, "You are absolutely right." So "Chil-laxin'," it is what you do when regular chillin' or relaxin' just isn't enough. Usually, it takes place after a successful completion of a rather stressful event.

So, my friends, today is my day to CHIL-LAX.

"Why?" you ask. Well, today was the completion of the most stressful 4 weeks of my life. (Well, actually there have been 3 other weeks that have been more stressful, and some of you may know what I'm talking about. And for those of you who don't, I'm sorry I can't tell you. If I did, I would have to kill you.)

Now, let me paint you a picture. Imagine driving down the interstate. Now imagine that you have a periscope attached to one of your eyes, the other end extending outside of the car. Now, imagine that all the windows in your car are blacked out, so that you can't see outside, except thru the periscope. Oh, and that crystal-clear, color image that you are seeing, well, replace that image with one similar to a TV program image seen thru a bunch of static because your antenna isn't positioned correctly. And in black and white. Got that picture in your head? Now, imagine you are doing this about 1/2 way thru your time in driver's education, you know when you don't have much experience driving. Oh, did I mention you are driving a bus, and not a car?

Feeling stressed yet?? OF COURSE YOU'RE NOT!! Because you're not doing it. However, that is exactly what I have been doing for the past 4 weeks. Only my car was a helicopter. And I wasn't on the interstate, I was up to 800 feet off the ground, where one wrong move could send me falling out of the sky to my death. Stressful? Ummmm, YEAH!! But today was my evaluation (which I passed, thank you very much). So do you think that is reason enough to be CHIL-LAXIN'?

So how does Eric spend his time chil-laxin'? Well, I spent my time writing this and watching TV. Generally, I have been avoiding anything and everything having to do with flying. That way I can be refreshed and ready to go at it again tomorrow. And telling ya'll what I have been going thru for the past 4 weeks is really helping me "avoid." I'm such an idiot.

Well, I guess I better get back to my chil-laxin' and my avoidance of everything aviation related.

Monday, November 5, 2007

That's How I Roll

Okay, so what is the deal with this whole BLOG frenzy?? I really don't see the attraction. But here I am, being a conformist. Doing what everyone else is doing, in the hopes that someone will find some enjoyment/entertainment/happiness/fulfillment/(insert your own word) from reading what it is that I feel is important enough to post on the "internets" for the whole world to see. I hope it was well worth the wait.

So here I am, sitting on my bed, in a room provided to me by the US Government, on a computer, hand-receipted to me by the US Government, wasting my time writing a BLOG, instead of studying for a course that is considered to be one of the hardest courses offered by the US Army. So, "Why," you ask, "are you sitting there?" Well, you know what, I have asked myself the same exact question numerous times as I've sat here writing this post. And yet I am still writing.......weird. It's not because I feel that I have learned all there is to know, nor that I am lazy (at least not all the time). The honest truth is, I don't really know why I sit here while there is a wealth of knowledge to be learned at the expense of the US Government.

But, hey, I'm sure you aren't reading this because you are interested in how lazy or conforming I am. You're interested to know about me.....about "How I Roll."

Directly, you are a friend or a family member to whom I have sent the link to this BLOG. And I thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to read about me. Truly, I know you are searching for that deep, dark secret that I have been hiding for years and now, suddenly, have decided to unveil to the world for all to see by means of a BLOG. Well, (caution: spoiler follows) there is no such secret. So, if that is what you are reading for, then you should just stop now and quit wasting your time.

Indirectly, you are a friend of a friend or family member who happened to send you this link, or you are someone who came across this BLOG by happenstance........well, I'm both honored and sorry. Honored that my friend or family member found this BLOG to be quaint enough to share with others with whom I have no connection. Sorry that you have to read it and diligently search for that which is relevant to your existence.

Anyway, I digress. Back to "How I Roll."

I am 29 years old going on........ 29. (I will never be 30.) I am married to a very beautiful, older woman (She is 30). A very beautiful, older woman who puts up with me and thinks that I put up with her. When in all actuality, she's easier to deal with than most girls/women that I've known. She has brought to my life a beautiful, bright daughter, whom I love dearly. AND she has given me 3 wonderful sons, whom I would not trade (although tempting at times) for anything in the world. 3 sons that will carry on the Kraus legacy (what that legacy is.....well, that is yet to be determined).

I'm from the beautiful state of Idaho. "Beautiful?" Hmmm, I spent 27 years of my life trying to get away from the place and have spent the last 2 years trying to get back there. Weird.

I'm a college graduate.....the first in my family, I might add. And when I grow up, my plans are to be an Army helicopter pilot. Oh, wait.......I am an Army helicopter pilot. I have been in the US Army for almost 11 years now, the last 3 as an officer and an aspiring pilot. Which, if you haven't caught the connection yet, is why I have been away from Idaho.....learning to do the flying-of-the-helicopters thing. So, now I am an Apachawk pilot. And if you can figure out what that means....good on ya, mate.

More about me? Well, I thought you would never ask. I, one day, aspire to do many things. Just one day though. Remember, I'm lazy. The rest of my days, I am going to spread everything else out. You know, pace myself. Of the "everything else" I aspire to do, I guess the most noteworthy is my desire to write a book. "What about?" That too, is yet to be determined. But believe me, like my BLOG, it will be well worth the wait.

Well, I think I have wasted enough time, yours and mine (two for one special today). But, hey, THAT'S HOW I ROLL!