I was detained at the border…

…on my way into America… twice!

If you happened to read my DMV adventures and the issues I had considering my common name, you are going to love this one…

The entire family went up to Niagara Falls this past weekend for an Irish Dance competition for my daughter, and we stayed on the Canadian side. Getting into Canada was easy, a few questions, and we were on our way to the hotel. We had a nice meal and hit the hotel to rest up for the competition in New York, just over the border, the next day.

We planned ahead, got up early to allow time for traffic going south through the border crossing, and got there in a few minutes. We were relieved to see there was only one car ahead of us so we figured we would have lots of time to eat breakfast before the competition. We figured wrong.

I passed the passports to the officer and he began his review. Before I knew it, he asked me to turn off the car, hand him the keys, and then had my wife and I place our hands on the dashboard. Before I could really figure out what was going on, there were somewhere between 6 and 10 officers surrounding the vehicle, asking me to step out and follow them. I saw one of them read my retired Navy license plate and he had this kind of, ‘are we sure about this’ look on his face.

The officer who read the plate asked me questions about what I did in the Navy as we walked into the building. It reminded me of the ‘baseball questions’ they asked potential Communists back in the 50s and I was trying to figure out if I was being tested.

It was soon revealed to me that a Mike Ward from Oregon who is considered armed and dangerous is at large, and of course, they were not taking any chances. Having been through this kind of thing before, I tried to make the best of it. My family joined me in the room where we were surrounded by people from many other countries (not America), very few of which spoke any English. It was kind of a surreal event.

They cleared it up in about 20 minutes, apologized and said they were doing their job. I told them I understood, that it had happened before, at the DMV and one other time in a passport check, and then I told them that I was crossing again on Monday and asked what I could do to prevent the same thing from happening again. They said there was one thing they could do, but it probably wouldn’t be in effect by Monday, and that I should just tell them I was pulled aside on a false positive on an A&D (armed and dangerous) and see if it would help. It didn’t.

Monday came, and we repeated Saturdays schedule. This time two cars were ahead of us. We waited, pulled up, I passed him the passports, told the man what they told me to tell them, and within a minute, there were at least 6 officers headed towards my car. I heard the guy in the booth say, its OK to the approaching officers.

They had me pull over to another area, and go into a different building. The officer reviewed  the passports again and then said they would add me to the system to help prevent this from happening again. The weird thing is, I was fingerprinted, had pics taken, height, weight, and hair and eye color recorded, and had it all added to the system. It was odd that I was treated more like a criminal than an innocent civilian, and it bothered me a little that I needed to be treated that way to prove I am not the guy they were looking. And after all that, the officer could not guarantee it would not happen again. 45 minutes later, we were on our way again.

The thing is, we will probably go back again next year. They didn’t arrest me, Hannah did well in the competition, and the rest of the trip was pretty good. I guess I just have to get used to this ‘guilty until proven innocent’ world.

Editors Note: Today I got this email from an old Navy buddy who wanted to make sure the subject of the article was not me. And the headline read: “Navy Cmdr. Michael Ward II Faked Death to End Affair“. No JJ, it isn’t me, but thanks for checking in.  😉



NKR (not quite right) v.1.0

While I was mobilized I spent 3 weeks in Malaysia which a Navy colleague refered to as the ‘Land of NKR (not quite right)’. I actually thought it was fine but his title did inspire me start gathering my own NKR moments. Here is the first installment of things I noticed on my recent vacation to Florida over the Thanksgiving break:

Its just not the same…

Walking in a Winter Wonderland really looses its meaning when played on steel kettledrums at the beach.

Words on the butt…

We have all seen those bathing suits with words written on the bottoms like Cheer, Pink etc… When a toddler is wearing one that has been pulled up over an obviously full swim diaper, it takes on a whole new meaning when it says JUICY.

Can you hear her now?

I spotted an elderly Amish women in traditional Amish attire, with bonnet, riding an adult size tricycle while talking on a cell phone.

Have any NKR moments to share?

The Rise and Fall of a Modeling Career

A lot of people have asked about the avatar I use for my Twitter profile so I thought it would be easier just to point them here.

Back in 1994 I was working for Midwest Micro, a local company that was competing with Gateway. I worked in the advertising department where I was a manager.

We advertised in many of the Ziff Davis publications, Computer World, PC Computing and Computer Shopper and the creative director planned these elaborate multi page spreads that appeared in these publications. Most were 4 to 10 pages, full color, always with a theme.

Well October was drawing near and the boss wanted to advertise ‘monster savings’ so he planned this Halloween spread, he also asked if I wanted to be part of it. I said sure, even though it meant shaving off the moustache I had sported for years, I thought it would be fun.

The result is in the avatar. I spent a few hours in makeup and had a huge hose clamp around my neck that had Pentium computer chips attached to it. My picture took up most of the page on page two of the spread and appeared in a couple million magazines.

So, I joke, but yes, that was the extent of my modeling career. If you ever stop by the house, I still have the October 1994 PC Computing if you want to see. 🙂

American Idol predicts the future?

In case you haven’t noticed the similarities:

Archuleta = Obama
Mercado = Clinton
Cook = McCain

Mercado is defeated…. will it be an Archuleta/Mercado ticket up against Cook?

Is it prophecy?

You heard it here first!

1 week, 6 days, 17 hours, and 17 minutes

In case you were wondering, that is the amount of time it takes to accumulate 5000 SPAM email messages in your spam folder.

Well, thats how long it took me. Would love to hear how long it takes somebody else.

I am 3 Degrees of Kevin Bacon!

It goes like this:

Brian Cesak was in Fandango (1985) with Kevin Costner; Kevin Costner was in JFK (1991) with Kevin Bacon; therefore Brian Cesak has a Bacon number of 2.

Brian Cesak, after his moment in the Hollywood sun joined the Navy. I was mobilized with Brian to Seventh Fleet onboard the USS Blue Ridge in support of the Global War on Terror right after 9/11. So, although I wasn’t in a movie, I worked with Brian and I am 3 degrees of Kevin Bacon!

I know, it means nothing really, but if you know me, you are 4 degrees 😉

6000 hits in 2 weeks….

OK, just checked out the stats for my little home on the web and I realized I have had about 6000 hits in the past 2 weeks. Cool, but huh…? Read more

The devil IS in the drink….

For reasons I won’t go into now, I was cleaning up my desk at work. Over my desk I have your usual office paraphernalia, a couple Sponge Bob toys, Mr. & Mrs. Incredible action figures (the wife and I bear a remarkable resemblance), and a few plants. Read more

Exactly how big are English livers?

Stumbled across this Navy headline in The Mirror on Wednesday night;


which of course begs the question, exactly how big were English livers in WWII? I mean, the Germans built 7 foot long bombs to take them out.

Jan obviously meant ‘live bomb’ but to remove any further ambiguity the headline was changed a few hours later to read; WW2 BOMB GETS BLOWN TO BLITZ.