I sit down to write and Blogger is scheduled for an outage at the exact minute that I'm hopping on. Typical of my life, lately, but definitely not of my weekend.
Which can basically be summed up by the fact that the Steelers won the Super Bowl. First 6th seed wild-card team to ever do it, first to beat the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd ranked teams (not in that order). First 75 yard run for a touch. 2nd youngest quarterback to win the big game. Totally underrated defensive performance on the Steeler's part. Pretty crappy game overall. Great outcome, though. Had Dave and Dave and BJ and BJ's son over to watch the game, ate a ton.
Saturday evening was dodgeball at the Y, in celebration of Darin's soon-to-be-born first kid. Darin is the coach of the b-ball team I assistant coach - who hopefully got their second win this evening (I haven't heard yet - had MCM tonight in the city so I couldn't make it to the game). It was a good time, I dislocated the top joint on my pinky finger (twice), so its been hurting a bit since, but its not the first time.
I have a TON of email I need to plow through this week. My personal Gmail is hovering around 500, and that's after I killed 250 or so last week. I have a problem deleting email. I need like a support group for it. I don't even have any idea what my work email is at. Gotta be nearing 4-digits.
What else. Oh! Yeah...I hardly ever have dreams but I had a series of bad ones early this morning. One in particular was pretty stark...
Through some strange series of events not fleshed out in the dream itself, I had ended up a fighter pilot in the Bay area of California. Basically my dream job. But this was no good dream. This dream starts in mid-dog-fight over the city of San Francisco, where some nefarious nation's naval forces were seeking to clear the air for their impending nuclear strike (via bomber plane, don't ask me why) on the city. I had fought long and hard, but eventually there was only so much damage one F-16 could take. With fuel and munitions running low, and a mostly shredded tail-fin, I dropped down to the deck and pointed my bird towards the water, leaving the hot-zone over the hills of the city.
Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the sun-glint off the grey steel of the enemy ships pressing towards the Golden Gate, but my target was the Bay Bridge...seconds later I burned over the Embarcadero and ducked under the bridge, just past the first girder. I figured by flying low to the water, and using the bridge for cover between the girders, I might just duck out of view from the fighters above, and get my plane back to Travis in one piece. It was the right move, our forces were running thin over the city and none of my squadron were left anyway for me to support. I would be up in a new bird in just hours, back in the fray, I thought, and that's when I felt the hot sear of metal passing through my arm.
The first round passed across the cockpit from the upper left corner, angling down and slicing through the top of my right bicep, maybe only half an inch deep, but a fair 2 inches wide - cauterizing a huge gap in my arm even as it passed through and exited the fuselage on the other side of the cockpit. The thought hit my mind a second after the next round - but it had lodged in my seat, inches behind my lower back. Instinct took over and I jolted the plane in the direction of the fire to dodge the next girder and go above the bridge, and I only saw the shadow of the Mig that had found me from the side. He was behind me now, and knew where I was headed, and I had no choice but to stay near the bridge and use it for cover.
He had missile lock before I was back over dry land, but I was close. I wanted to put it down over water so I veered hard-right along the docks on the water and grabbed for the ejection, praying it would still fire as I pulled.
Next thing I'm floating in the water. I'm alive. Its cold, but its still a sunny summer afternoon in California, and I didn't have far to swim. I was kicking on my left side because my right arm was useless, like dead weight. I thought "shark" briefly but realized that I still wasn't bleeding much. (I have no idea if a wound can actually be cauterizied by an aircraft fighter round).
I pull myself up a rusty ladder on an old shipping dock and find people standing around staring at the flashes in the sky, miles across the bay. I don't look back to see what's going on, I know what's coming all too soon, and I start to run in the opposite direction, screaming at people to get as far away from the city as they can, but nobody's listening.
Warehouse district begins to turn into a sparsely populated commercial / residential, and I'm still running in my olive-colored flight suit, holding my arm to my side, starting to dry out a little. I finally come to stop and turn around.
White light. No blue sky. No brown shadow of city on the hills. Just white light, everywhere. I'm blind for at least 5 minutes before I begin blinking objects into view again. I realize I'm still running. Still screaming at people, but now they're actually running with me.
The dream passed on from here into a blurry survival mode of trying to find a truck, using my side-arm to hold up a mom-and-pop hardware / sporting goods store to get a 12 gauge that would serve to help me keep my truck on what would be the longest drive ever from Oakland to Travis. And at one point I end up a little further down the road looking for food in a Home Depot. They had one of those built-in McDonald's, like they do at Wal-Mart, and I was tired, and hungry.
The last thing I remember was screaming at some family that refused to leave their home, all the while pointing at the radioactive plume pushing its way across the bay towards us. And they wouldn't budge.
And then I woke up.
I'm glad I don't dream very often.