122 Rules by Deek Rhew

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Memorial Day 2019 - Here We Mark the Price of Freedom

Today we salute veterans and their families.

My father spent his adult life serving in the military, but he'd never been to our nation's capital. So Erin and I met him and my mom in DC. Not only is DC full of history, it seems like anyone that's served--as both my dad and Erin's dad did--they should visit the highest rank in the chain of command.

My father at the WWII Memorial

Deek and Erin next to the Arlington sign.
Deek and his dad

Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

If you never seen one, the Changing of Guard is a meaningful and honorable ceremony, rich in tradition. Those who apply to be guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, are made part of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment and, must not only have an exemplary record, but must adhere to a strict regimen.

Take the time to watch this video of the changing. The dedication of these men and women is simply amazing, and the ceremony itself is beautiful and precise.

Each element of tomb guarding--from the 21 footsteps (symbolizing the 21 Gun Salute) between mats, to him or her placing the rifle on the shoulder closest to the audience (meaning they stand between the audience and the soldier)--has meaning.

Within Arlington we also visited the grave of JFK. It's difficult to see because it was sunny out when I took the picture, but JFK's flame--known as the Eternal Flame--never goes out.
JFK's Eternal Flame

It's difficult to comprehend from a few pictures, but there are acres and acres of tombstones. Gazing out across the vast fields, my heart ached with gratitude as I thought of the hundreds of thousands of soldiers that sacrificed everything to protect our country. They believed so strongly in our nation that they paid the ultimate price to preserve our way of life.

Vast fields of tombstones

So many people. So many sacrifices.
The tombstones go on and on. It's simply breathtaking and beyond words.

The Memorial Stone outside of the WWII Memorial reads:





Pentagon Memorial

While WWII and Vietnam happened long before my time, 9/11 is still as fresh in my mind and heart as if it had happened yesterday. Erin and I have talked about how we always, ALWAYS, look up when we hear a jet flying low over the city.

9/11 is most poignantly associated with the destruction of the twin towers in New York, but a lot of brave men, women, and children lost their lives at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania.

Pentagon Memorial

Memorial to those brave souls who lost their lives on Flight 94 in Pennsylvania.

Deek and Erin in front of the Pentagon where the plane struck
Here's what this side of the Pentagon looked like on 9/11

New face of the Pentagon
Pentagon Memorial Benches

The 184 lives lost at the Pentagon are represented by "Memorial Unit" benches. Each bench includes the person's name and their date of birth. The direction of the bench indicates if the person was on the plane or in the building.

Here We Mark the Price of Freedom
Freedom Wall in Washington DC

While your eye is naturally drawn the inscription, Here We Mark the Price of Freedom, notice the Freedom Wall in the back. Each of those dots lining the wall are stars. Each stars represents 100 American lives lost during World Ward II.

There are 4048 stars on this wall.


So many have sacrificed so much.

I'm grateful beyond words to our soldiers who have and are still keeping our country safe. While there's no way to repay your generosity, we can say thank you. Thank you for dedicating your lives to freedom. Thank you for fighting for the United States.

Thank you.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Vacation Time: Washington DC

As readers of my blog may recall, I'm from the Pacific NW. On the west coast we have three states. That's it. So if you're traveling from say southern Washington to northern California, best buckle in for a haul, because that little trek is going to take 6-8 hours. Possibly longer because the interstate is part of the traffic hell corridor known as Portland. Going east, to say Idaho or Montana, the traffic is better, but you'll still need 8-10 hours.

But travel the same amount of time on the east coast and one could potentially journey through five or more states. I still have trouble wrapping my brain around that.

So, one of the things that Erin and I promised each other when we moved to the east coast, was that we would take advantage of these short travel times and explore. In our effort to continue making good on that promise, we went to Washington DC!

Welcome to Washington DC

Another difference between the two coasts is that if you live on the west coast and someone says "Washington" everyone assumes the state. On the east coast, same person same word, and everyone assumes DC. So, I've gotten into the habit of saying "Washington State" and "Washington DC" to help alleviate confusion.

First stop: The White House

In order to get tickets into the most secure fortress in the country, we had to write to our congressman and request tickets...SIX months in advance. But, ever since Erin and I started talking about the trip, I'd been making plans to get us a tour.

I'll be honest, I was ridiculously excited to get to see the White House. It was up there with meeting Weird Al. I kept waiting to see if something would happen and the tour would get canceled, but it never did!

Erin and I taking a few selfies as we scope the place out the day before.

Waiting in line at 7:30 in the morning. Early, but hey, we got to see the White House!

Inside the front door!

Hey, who's that on the other side of the Green Room? My folks causally walking the grounds.

Interestingly, there were several "color" rooms: Green Room, Blue Room, Red Room, Plaid Room. Oh, wait, the Plaid Room would be on Scotland, but you get my drift. Each one was decked out to the nines with 300 year old furniture, silk wallpaper, and about a million stories from our country's history.

The Green Room

The Blue Room

B&W of the Red Carpet
This is the red carpet that's laid out for dignitaries and others who come to visit.
Google Photos stylized it and the pic turned out so cool I used it instead of the original.

White House Library

White House Theatre

White House Dining Room

Deek - Happy to be through security!

I was not disappointed with our tour of the White House. Sure, we didn't get to see the Oval Office, but still I loved it. Not to mention there were "Secret" police, guard dogs, and black SUVs with tinted windows EVERYWHERE. That part was just like TV.

Checking out the Sites!

After the White House tour, we headed out to check out the sites. The cool thing is that you can see the Washington Monument from pretty much everywhere. Back in Oregon, if I could see Mt. Hood, I could pretty much figure out where I was. Here, the Monument did the same thing.

Washington Monument

If you're name is something like Bacon, may as well flaunt it!
Deek and Erin stopping for a quick selfie by the lake!
I HIGHLY recommend taking a trip like this with your best friend. It makes it so much more fun.

Gonna catch that pesky monument!

Erin got it!

State Capital Dome
We also got to visit the State Capital. Talk about history! If you've never been, the tickets are free (like most things you can visit in DC) and the walking tour includes a guide.

Erin and Deek at the Lincoln Memorial

On the steps in front of Lincoln is a stone inscribed "I have a Dream."
This is where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr delivered his I have a Dream speech.

Dr. King also has a monument near the Jefferson Memorial.
It's hard to see how big it is until you see the teeny person walking next to the statue.

Inside the American History museum is one of the Bat Mobiles.
I *think* it's the one from the 1989 version.

We made a stop to honor the Great Bard!
My beautiful bride poses next to the monument sign.
Shakespeare would most certainly approve!

Deek hanging with a bud from space in the Air and Space Museum.

Hubba Hubba! Man, there's some beautiful sights to see here in DC!

Deek and Erin hanging out at FBI HQ to help him get inspired for his books,
The Injector and for 122 Rules - Redemption

Deek and Erin doing The Matrix as we wait for the Metro.

Hello there, Mr. Lincoln!

The Rhews still goof off in even in the capital of the nation.

Of course there's ALWAYS time for a Starbucks date with my bride!

The train ride to DC was only a few hours and totally comfortable. We hung out, talked, napped, and even snuck in a little writing time. Almost everything except for the hotel and food is free, and there's SO much to see. My folks had never been there before (and my dad is lifetime military), so we were really happy that they got to see it all.

If you haven't see my post about Awesome Con and us meeting Weird Al and Val Kilmer, then check it outAwesome Con is, well, awesome!

Until next time, my friends, adventure on!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Vacation Time: Washington DC - Awesome Con

Geeks and nerds unite! Erin and I got to crash Awesome Con in Washington DC and, for the record, the name is perfect because it was AWESOME!

Usually when we con, Erin and I have a table for our books. It's a wonderful place to meet people, check out the amazing cosplayers, and geek out with readers. But this time around we took my folks and just enjoyed the con sans books.

We got to meet several celebrities (more on that later), one of whom greeted us as we entered.

Hello, R2D2! 

R2D2 is Your Awesome Con Host!

Deek hanging with Luke's bud!

Celebrity Time!

Ever since the movie Tombstone, my bride has had a Val crush. And no other role of his was as iconic as when he played Doc Holliday.

This con, Erin got to meet her Huckleberry!

Erin meets THE Val Kilmer!

While Erin has had a Val crush, Deek has had an Al crush. And nothing was cooler than getting to meet his object of affection and king of geeks. Ever since he was a kid, he's listened to Another One Rides the Bus, Eat It!, and Yoda. While, they've gotten to see Mr. Weird Al Yankovic in concert, at the con, Erin and Deek met him for real!

Yes, Deek has his arm around one of his favorite geek icons!

The Cosplayers

Nothing says "comic con" like the cosplayers. Some costumes are elaborate, some super creative, and every one of them is spirited as they portray their favs. Here are a few of the great costumes from Awesome-Con!
Yes! The shower costume from Karate Kid!

I have zero idea who they are, but their costumes rocked!

Harry Potter fans, this one is for you!
What really sells this is them dressing up their son as a Mandrake. OMG, SO cute!

Evil R2!

Every high school boy's fantasy: Princess Leia and Boba Fett!

Admiral Ackbar at your service!

What? Frigging amazing!

David! Man, we miss you!

Iconic Costumes
Val's Batman Costume

Mr. Freeeeeeze!

Erin meets the robot from Lost in Space!
By the way, if you haven't seen the reboot, do yourself a favor and watch it.

We even ran into an old friend!
S. Usher Evans was crushing it at her booth this year!

Erin and Deek with the Capital in the background

Erin and I rocked the con. My parents had fun, met some of the Star Trek cast, and got a taste for what it means to be nerdy.

I love love love getting to spend time with my family and making memories and what better place to do it than at a con!

Until next time, adventure on, my friends!