November 12, 2003

You Asked, Alan Answers

Alan has answered your questions!

What he really thinks of Maverick!

What it's like to eat an eyeball!

Where you can find pictures of him sweaty, sandy, and shirtless!

Click it!

I'm sure you get this all the time, but if I agree to be your bodyguard, will you be my long lost pal?

You know, it's not so much that I mind being called Al, it's just that I never solicited it. So when I registered the domain, I was really just hoping that Paul Simon would buy it from me. Or that I could one day launch a web-based catering business called "You Can Call Meal".

But, if you're a big enough boy, we could work out a bodyguard gig for you. Maybe in the Secret Service.

Please explain more about the Misery Compromise. Because I have many of the same issues.

We all do, sister. But I think that there's some value in allowing ourselves to occasionally stray over the enemy lines. You could think of it as spying. You might gain lots of knowledge that could help you if, say, you ever got in a debate about foreign affairs with Tim Robbins. He might say, "America is a totalitarian regime." To which you could reply, "You're widely credited as being an intellectual. What was it like working with Howard The Duck?"

What are your top 5 all-time deserted island recording artists?

Funny you should ask. I plan for this eventuality every time I fly. I have, as part of my emergency survival kit, a 5 CD case with discs by Dave Matthews, Johnny Cash, U2, Beethoven and a selection from the Time-Life Do-It-Yourself raft building collection.

Which movies are your favorites?

Sabrina. Yes, honey, of course the original one. You know I can't stand that Greg Kinnear.

Seriously, though? Top Gun, Tombstone, Memento, The Princess Bride (and by the way, the book is way funnier), Band of Brothers, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Shawshank Redemption, Dumb and Dumber...

(I know, I know, two of those movies have Tim Robbins. But Top Gun also has Michael Ironsides, so it's really a wash.)

Do any movies make you cry?

Sure... Patton, Band of Brothers, Saving Private Ryan. The Alamo. Really, anytime you set an image of people acting with courage and honor to stirring, patriotic music I will have to excuse myself.

Oh yeah, and Old Yeller (Just for you, Shannon).

What are the top 5 reasons to own a crossbow?

Who has crossbows anymore? Let me give you five reasons not to own one:

1. The Colt 1911 A1 .45 (Not to mention the Sig Sauer .45 ACP)
2. They're sooo 1461 A.D.
3. It was invented by the Chinese, perfected by the French.
4. It takes 165 pounds of draw weight on a crossbow to match a 60 pound draw on a compound or long bow, making them unwieldy for the disable hunter or marauder
5. I think, and I'll have to check on this, that we can fight wars with precision guided munitions from relatively safe distances now.

Why did you start your blog?

I worked for two years as a web designer before I joined the Air Force. So as I was getting ready to ship out, I thought that keeping a website would be a better way to keep in touch with folks back home than sending out those long pointless emails that you sometimes get from people you never see. Really, it's nothing more than that now, except that people I don't know sometimes read it and get heckled by my friends from home. Originally, it was meant to be a collection of travelogs and photo albums and the blog was just a "here's what's new" thing. The earliest versions of yccma were built before I had heard of a blogging. I only added the comment feature last June.

Strictly speaking, my site is probably more of a journal than a blog since I don't actively link to many other sites and I never post more than once a day. And I don't use any blogging services, eg. Blogger, Blog Spot, MT. That's why my site is sort of non-standard, and behind the RSS/CSS times.

Do any bloggers influence you?


I only read three blogs with any regularity, namely IMAO, Right We Are, and Jen's History and Stuff. The majority of the quality blogs out there are punditry and, even though, I'm very political, I don't want to spend time reading things I already agree with. Plus I have a stack of National Reviews in my bathroom.

Do you have mad volleyball skillz?

Hmm... let's see. I'm 5' 11", 180 pounds and white. I couldn't jump over a sheet of paper if it got in my way. But I can see that what you're really asking is if I have any pictures of myself sandy, sweaty and wearing only jeans. Well, I did some digging...This is about as close as I can get.

Can you please elaborate on the showers you took after playing sand volleyball during flight school?

Heh, heh. There really was a Saturday game in the sand pit at pilot training. But, come on, this is the Air Force, not the Navy. We shower alone.

But I do wear my dog tags.

Is Maverick as much an ass in person as he was in that movie?

What most people don't realize about Pete is that he's short. I mean, I'm no giant, but he really looks up to me. That and the thing with his dad has really put a couple of chips on his shoulder. He's a good dude, but he can be a little bit of a moody bear at times.

So...can I get a ride?

Questions like this make smart-ass double entendres too easy.

What is the most important thing you've ever done?

You mean for myself or for society? Actually it doesn't matter. My life is basically a mish-mash of interesting, though ultimately irrelevant incidents. But I am hoping I can do something significant later.

I did give blood once, though. Once...

Why did you join the Air Force? Do you plan to spend your career there?

When I was in college, I was an intern at Alcon Labs (they make contact lens stuff). Anyway, I was in a grocery store one night and happened to see a big display of Alcon stuff. At first I was like, "Wow. I helped put that there. I am part of the team." And then it hit me that I was part of a team that puts salt water on grocery store shelves. This wasn't the lasting contribution to society that my classmates were expecting when they voted me "most likely to be president". So I started looking at alternate career fields.

I've got nine and a half years left on my ten year commitment. So, I'll have 12 years by the first time I can get out. Really, I think my decision at that point will be mostly based on what my prospects look like for the next ten years. Will I make general if I stay in? Could I
go to a good law school if I got out? Email me in 9 years and ask me the same question.

What do you do in your free time?

Right now I am working on a rock opera adaptation of Beowulf, a script for a techno/political thriller about, what else, an Air Force pilot and a series of essays on citizenship. I also volunteer with the youth group at my church, do speaking engagements for the bases' public affairs staff, volunteer with the base's POW/MIA committee and sometimes, I like to fly airplanes. But that's when I haven't any movies to watch.

Ford or Chevy?

Gerald Ford or Chevy Chase? To play golf with? Chevy's got a funny way of addressing the ball ("Danny", I've heard) and nobody ever chose Ford as part of their foursome, but he always shows up halfway through.

For the record, I like Chevy trucks and SUVs, but my first love was my 1967 Mustang.

OU beat Texas A&M 77-0. Any thoughts?

I'm taking the Texas Flag-pumpkin down for a while. But I have faith in Franchione. Everything TCU has is because of him and Alabama owes him a thing or two as well. Most of his players are true freshmen and sophomores and they had the hardest schedule in the NCAA this year. With that kind of experience and coaching, they will be a force to be
reckoned with... the year after next.

Which is not to take anything away from OU. After all, 55% of their players are from Texas. What else would you expect?

What is the best thing about Texans that non-Texans don't appreciate?

Our utter sublimity.

On your site you wrote, "I've eaten pigeon, ants, duck tongue, rabbit eye and something that I think was pig brain." Did they all taste like chicken?

I don't know I've never eaten chicken. Actually, it's not the taste of weird foods that is disgusting (except for Durian which tastes like month old guacamole)... it's the texture. Duck tongue is extremely rubbery and has a corpuscle that pops out into your mouth when you bite down. The you have to scrape the meat off the tendon with your lower teeth. Eating an eye is like chewing on one of those Super Bounce Balls that suddenly oozes a warm liquid.

If you had to sum yourself up to a stranger in 5 words, what would they be?

Does it need to be a complete sentence? Honestly, I don't even know how to do this and I've tried several different options, all of which sounded needlessly self-congratulatory or excessively average. So I guess, like the other Al (from South Park), "I'm super, thanks for asking!"

Posted by Jennifer at November 12, 2003 04:48 AM


But I'm thinking that crossbows would be perfect for hand to hand streets of the ATL gang fighting.

Ahh... the '67 mustang... I'm salivating just thinking about it...

Posted by: Daniel at November 12, 2003 07:38 AM

The picture cracked me up! And Howard the Duck - priceless.


Posted by: hln at November 12, 2003 07:53 AM

The picture cracked you up???

Ugh, I'm going to the gym.

Posted by: Alan at November 12, 2003 01:39 PM

Alan - I just realized that I may be one of a handful of people that have actually seen you cry, as verified by your answer to the crying movie question. Wow, I feel special, priviledged, or maybe just darn lucky.

Posted by: Katie at November 12, 2003 02:59 PM

One thing he modestly didn't tell you....when he donated blood, it was to help save his sister's life. He did this in spite of a raging fear of needles. Now THAT makes one feel special.

Posted by: Ima at November 12, 2003 09:42 PM