Another Year Gone (2009 in Review)

NOTE - I started writing this, and then put it away. Well, I'm posting it after the fact. Oh well, better late then never, it has been past dated from 1/14/2009

Holidays are here, and you know what that means?

If I'm not posting about anything else (which, well, let's face it, right now I'm not posting about anything else) I post all about my year. I have never NOT posted my quisessential new year's post, so this year it really is no different. And so, here are a bunch of questions where I answer them.

01. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?
Saw a Broadway Play. Actually, saw Two. Wicked was most awesome! Also went to a Renn Faire, that was cool too.

02. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Of course, what would I do with my new year if I didn't make resolutions? As for keeping last years? Um, we'll see with the next post, which will go up January 1st.

03. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Sister gave birth. Also a good friend.

04. Did anyone close to you die?
I will feel like an idiot if I miss one but no.

05. What countries did you visit?
Canada. I hopped the border into Niagara Falls, which by the way, is the name of the city, NOT the water falls contrary to popular belief. I also saw a buttload of new states including all of New England. I am only missing nine states from my to visit list now.

06. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
Um, a full cycle? Ok, I actually have to be on the trail for that to happen, and that may or may not happen in 2010 so I can't count on it. Let me see. . . you know, how about MORE of a Social Life? But I really can't complain, I enjoyed this year for all it's quirks and downfalls, and lack of a social life is my own doing. It really hasn't been a bad year.

07. What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Doh, can't think of any. . . I guess no particular date is etched in my memory. October 31st was cool, I've never been to a water park on Halloween. It's usually quite cold on halloween. I was in Florida.

08. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Going on a thirty day road trip and putting 5000 miles on my truck seeing the country. And actually given the chance to do my job, wow, imagine that? I did alright, but I'm still a rookie.

09. What was your biggest failure?
An incident came up in Ft Lewis this summer. Let's say i don't see the point in talking about it. It wasn't to great, but it involved a Cadet. And no, before you ask, Sex was not involved. I learned from the mistake and moved on.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I stayed relatively healthy and sane this year.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My Truck. I Heart My Truck

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
I stare at this question and try to contemplate what it could possibly mean. I just realized that either a Canadian or a Brit wrote this survey initially.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
The plethera of privates I have to work with that just don't seem to *get* it. And Barack Obama. This guy is getting less and less hopey changey by the minute.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Where does money always go? I'm not really sure. I'll say my trip across country, my truck, and Bills. Or an invisible hole that I can't see.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Cross country Road Trip!

16. What songs will always remind you of 2008?
Anything by Lady Gaga

17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?
I'm doing pretty dang good right now.

ii. Thinner or fatter?
About the same. That's a good thing. Actually, I think I gained weight during the holidays. DOh!

iii. Richer or poorer?
I'm doing alright right now. Can somebody remind me there is a recession going on so when I come off mob without a job I don't spend all my money?

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Worked out more, and got out of the house.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Write. This is such an addictive time waster that is both creative and useless in that I don't let anybody read what I write.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
I opened presents at the parents, went to a friend's house and had christmas there, and then came back and had christmas dinner. The next day, we celebrated christmas with the whole Fam Damily. And we played Rockband

22. Did you fall in love in 2009?

23. How many one night stands?

24. What were your favourite TV programs?
Didn't watch any TV shows this year. Didn't have time too. But I did discover Arrested Development, which is an awesome show, but has a few plot holes. I've got Veronica Mars on my 'to watch list'.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I can't think of anybody that I can honestly hate right now. Some privates that annoyed me. But I didn't know them last year, and even people in the past that I got quite peterbed at I don't really feel I hate.

26. What was the best book you read?
I really liked 1984. Actually, I found Sarah Palin's book a pretty interesting read too, and Glenn Beck. I don't really read fiction that much anymore, I'm more interested in writing then reading.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
There was a few. Being on the road, I got quite experimental with music. For some reason, I'll admit to liking Lady Gaga. This chick is both bizarre and utterly fascinating. Am I weird for liking her? Usually i don't like this kind of gimmicky crap but I really like her. I don't get myself sometime

28. What did you want and get?
Trail Time. And Disney World Tickets.

29. What did you want and not get?
A Full Cycle. Day one to graduation. At this rate, it is never going to happen.

30. What was your favourite film of this year?
You know, I really liked Avatar (though predictable). I also really liked District 9. I didn't really watch many and right now can't think of too many. I always do a movie post so I'll get to that in a bit.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I sat in my house and 'chilled'. I had the day off, I believe it was a Saturday or a Sunday. That tells you how well it stuck with me because I don't really recall what I did. Hmm. I turned 29. That's just crazy.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Hmm, a full cycle? Seeing a trend? there's always a trend with me.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
The same basic fashion concept I've had for the last 28 years. Dress for comfort, tshirt and jeans. When working, Army Uniform, which has been my fashion concept for several years now. Next year, I think I might be adding extensions to the mix.

34. What kept you sane?
Chilling in the house. Writing. Though that might be making me insane.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I'm not really into the whole fancying of Celebrities / Public Figures thing. My nieces are all going "Ooh, Justin Beiber!" I think his hair looks retarded.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Tea Party Protests. I went to two, one in cincinatti (great time) and one in Louisville (er, kinda cheesy). Mostly for the fiscal conservative issues which were really frustrating me. I hope it maintains its momentum without losing its original purpose and getting hijacked by people not true to its cause.

37. Who did you miss?
Me Familia, it's been nice being home these last couple of weeks. Be home for good in about a month.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
I'll have to say Malichi was a pretty cool guy I met. Met a ton of new people through my unit. I tend to lose track of them though.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
Life's a journey. Enjoy the ride.
ALT - It's not the destination, it's the journey.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
You know, I'll come up with one later and think, 'dude, I should have posted THAT!' But alas, I'm horrible at these kinds of things on the spur of the moment.


Lighten the Mood

Email making the rounds right now, potential to go viral if it hasn't already, I don't forward emails but thought I would blog it if you haven't seen it yet. This is brilliant, unfortunately the outcome is to be expected.

"Good news is that I truly out did myself this year with my Christmas decorations. The bad news is that I had to take him down after 2 days. I had more people come screaming up to my house than ever.Great stories. But two things made me take it down.

First, the cops advised me that it would cause traffic accidents as they almost wrecked when they drove by.

Second, a 55 year old lady grabbed the 75 pound ladder almost killed herself putting it against my house and didn't realize it was fake until she climbed to the top (she was not happy). By the way, she was one of many people who attempted to do that. My yard couldn't take it either. I have more than a few tire tracks where people literally drove up my yard."

Scott Smith

Classic. . .


On Afghanistan

I'm not an expert on Afghanistan, I have never been there and I don't know what it's like from a personal point of view (though I nearly deployed there in 2001, a week later my orders were revoked, figures). I know things aren't going to well, Afghanistan has been notorious for being a nearly impossible theater to fight in ever since the Soviets waged war during the 80's.

Being in the military, I want to fight to win. If we engage in military actions, we don't go to war until the war becomes unpopular and then bail, we go in with every intention of winning.

However, with the issues going on in Afghanistan as of recently, things getting heated there, and with a Commander in Chief that seems to be steered by the anti-war wing of his base, my thoughts were this. Obama needs to make up his mind and do one of two things. Give GEN McChrystal the troops he requests with full backing that we are going to commit to this war until it is over, or get our people out of there. It was frustrating to me that President Obama seemed to take his time mulling over this decision for so long, and seemed to have his priorities elsewhere, like passing a health care plan that should probably wait for a better economy.

I feel right now the President should be focused on two things. Fixing our economy and making a decision on what to do with our troops overseas. Those should be the most paramount things in his administration, not Cap and Trade (which will kill our economy), not Health Care Reform (people are resisting, and it's more of Health Insurance Reform anyway, plus, it will kill the economy). The Economy (and by extention, that 'three letter word' JOBS) and the war on terror (ie - overseas contigency operation)

By 'dithering', in what he explained to troops was he wanted to make sure he was seeking out the best possible option to make sure he wasn't putting troops in harms way, meanwhile a delay in a decision was putting our troops in harms way, he wasted precious time focusing on other issues and apparently seeking the Olympics for Chicago and bowing to world leaders on a taxpayer funded world tour.

And so, Obama has made his decision and is sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. Good for him, it's about time. And as long as he commits us to win this war, and not playing 'well, we'll send the troops there and see how it goes' and maybe we'll get them out of there if it doesn't look to good, I will support President Obama's decision.

Mr President, the troops will be with you on this as long as you are behind us in providing full support. Now the next thing that needs to be looked at is reevaluating the Rules of Engagement currently in theater. If you are not willing to give us everything we got so we can win this thing, there is no point in sending more troops into Afghanistan. So please show us that you are actually committed and not playing politics with soldier's lives. War is never a PC event. It involves death, casualties and sometimes innocent people will suffer for it, but collateral damage is a part of war and always has been. War is a messy, dirty, ugly thing. Soldiers are willing to die for a cause they can believe in. Freedom and the destruction of the Taliban and Al queda are worthy goals in my mind. If it makes the world a little safe, sign me up.

So only time will tell with how committed our President is to Afghanistan. As of this moment, he has my full support on this issue. I just wish he had made it a little sooner then now.

NOTE - Check here for another great article at RWN about the right putting aside political differences and supporting the President on this matter.

EDIT - He set a timeline. *sighs*

Mr President, if you're going to set a timeline for withdrawal in Afghanistan as 18 months, 'taking into account conditions on the ground', why not get us out now? I hope that doesn't mean 'if things aren't going to well, we're getting out of there.' You never set a timeline in cases of war. Because whenever you make a plan, the first rule of war is the plan never goes as expected. that's why we have to either commit fully or withdraw now. The Cadets sensed your reluctance to commit. You can't have it both ways.

But that's just one staff sergeant's take on the whole issue, and who am I?

Coke vs Pepsi?

How about neither, I'm not a cola fan, never have, never will be.

Meanwhile, most of my family tend to be pepsi drinkers, unless they drink Diet. Then it's Diet Coke.

I go for root beer myself, Henry weinharts is the good stuff, A&W is also recommended. But lately, carbonated beverages and I don't mix. At least, not without food.


The Pros and Cons of Narcolepsy

So, I brought it on myself. I asked people to give me a topic to write about and when I wasn't satisfied with the answers of 'ah, post whatever you want to post about', I was put up to the task.

The topic? The pros and cons of Narcolepsy.

Now, I don't have Narcolepsy, though granted I have suffered through similar symptoms in the past. Actually, if anything I suffer at times of Insomnia. Being such, I didn't think I was one to post anything on the Pros and Cons, and then I got to thinking, you know, I could think long and hard enough about it, I could probably come up with a few.

So, from yours truly, a non-sufferer of Narcolepsy, I give you the Pros and Cons of this medical condition.

o you don't have to worry about that pesky Insomnia problem late at night.
o you have a valid excuse for falling asleep in a boring class
o forced to watch "An Inconvenient Truth"? Problem solved!
o easy to play pranks on your friends by 'faking' an episode
o great way to dodge the draft
o ready made excuse for afternoon power naps
o you can tell horror stories to kids about how you got your scars ala Joker in Batman(more interesting then 'I hit my head on a coffee table')
o your friends won't be asking you to be a designated driver
o make money shelling your sob story to pro Obamacare ads
o make a fashion statement with medical alert tags
o great conversation starter (hey, global transient amnesia is!)
o claim disability and get a free check from the government

o people might freak out that you were slipped a rufie at the club
o driving is considered hazardous
o the bruises you are suffering really are from 'falling down the stairs'
o sky diving not recommended, unless perhaps you go tandem
o some jobs are probably not available to you, so employment limitations
o you might get mistaken for being drunk
o probably best that you don't do any extreme sports
o health insurance is probably expensive due to 'pre existing condition'
o your date percieves that your bored with them when you fall asleep during what they think is an exciting story
o partner gets upset when you fall asleep during sex
o there is no cure for narcolepsy

If you have some to add, leave a note in the comments. And if you really have Narcolepsy, HAHA!!! (er, I mean, that's horrible. Honest. Give me some true pros and cons)

PS - No, in case you didn't know, I am NOT a PC person

PPS - Is this a funny post? Er, it sounded funnier in my head? Thanks T-man


How many freakin' stories can one person write???

I finished Nanowrimo last night. You can see the thing in the sidebar now telling me that I had many days of absolute crap followed by a few days where I just wrote until my fingers were a mess.

Actually, this is the best representation of how my writing went this month.

Meanwhile, my story remains incomplete. Wow, you know, one of these days, I would like to plan something out that is relatively short, like 100,000 words or something, and actually finish the damn thing. Furthermore, I would like the story to be readable. In fact, I have been reading some of those 'how to' books, like how to write a novel, and one of them that was actually very interesting and I would highly recommend is Novelist's Boot Camp. You can probably see why I liked it already.

Sometimes, when I write, I like to write merely for writing's sake. I almost always write for myself (unless I'm blogging or writing with others, which I haven't done in years). And what I really found helpful in actually writing for a purpose, like giving my characters a reason for existing, and why their story would be of any interest, is doing something of a foundation builder. And have I got a few!

It starts off with Genre (which I generally nix), Macro Setting, Character, Opposition. I'll save you the time, all of my stories are either Alternate Reality or Fantasy. Or sometimes Alternate Reality IN Fantasy. I guess being that writing is a bit of an escape for me, and often I think, 'gosh, the world really isn't half bad!' after reading some of the crap I put my characters through. But that's how I develop 'em, right?

Last Year's Nano, which I haven't finished and last checked is at 94,031 words (though I've got this sucker planned out where it should come in around 500,000), is as follows.

In a society based heavily on eugenics and the right to progress one's family line, a seemingly ideal product of the society's intent is mistakenly routed in the direction of the non-breeders and finds himself living as the lowest of the low, and eventually finding himself as the voice of the oppressed.

And one might wonder why I find books like 1984 so fascinating? Actually, though the background of the world isn't perfect, I've kind of taken the worst from different sides of society and created this alternate reality where my main character, Alex, basically goes through hell and is treated like an animal through most of his existence.

Why do I do this? I don't know. But what's important is this story does have an ending planned out, and I think if I can ever get there, I'll go back through, do a quick clean up, hold my breath and throw it on the internets for the whole world to see.

But not before.

This year's Nano was written in the same world (IE - alternate timeline) as last year's. I just followed a character that is related to a character that knows a character that knows Alex. Did you get that? that's probably part of my problem as to why I can't finish anything. I'll start following one guy, write background stories in my head of another guy that he meets, and feel like I have to flesh that out a bit so I get to writing and 265,000 words later I've got a story that takes place parallel to the regular storyline and kind of weaves in and out, except it follows four different characters. And that's not even the Nano.

This year's Nano goes as follows.
A young boy is forced to grow up a little to fast through various trials and obstacles as he tries to protect his family from his cruel and malicious step father.

Um, forgot the macro setting. I guess the setting is HIS LIFE, as it follows him from about 6 years old to about 38 years old. I stopped at about 13. It is entirely NOT readable. I made the step father as evil as I could think of and there is an ending where the villain gets his just reward, so there is a happy feeling inside of "Booyah, got what you deserved Bastard!", but what the main character (Rob)has to go through a lot of strife to get there.

What gets me are there are people like this out int he world who would be like this guy if they could get away with it. Unfortunately, in this reality, people are not treated very good unless they are what I dub 'master class'.

But I'm gettin away from myself. See, I tend to get sidetracked, which is why I haven't been able to finish all of my stories and tend to come back to them after a leave of absence. I have one from 2001 that I never finished. NONE of them are finished.

I find though, that my best stories are the ones where I tend to go for humor by getting the main character(s) out of their comfort zone, and usually way out of their comfort zone. The above story(ies) are nto funny, but I have one that sounds hilarious just by by reading the builder.

A spoiled, pampered celebrity socialite and a highly trained elite special ops soldier from two very different worlds somehow find themselves in each other's body, and are forced to live each other's lives until they figure out how to return to their original selves

Hijinx insues. And a lot of raised eyebrows. Actually, I'm surprised by how readable this story actually is. Unfortunately, some guy in the special forces or a ranger would read it and tear it a part while telling me 'that is NOT how we do things.' But seriously, how would you do things if Paris Hilton was controlling your body? (and no, she's fictional, but has the same mentality to begin with).

I hate a poorly done gender bending character swap story which has been done a lot, so I wrote one myself. And no, you can't read it. (It's not finished!)

One I was doing hot on that was based purely on a homework assignment where I built a character from ground up is called "Satyr", has some moments of extreme discomfort (I think I would have to rewrite parts of it to make it work) and yet, probably has the most chance of being something I would consider publishing. Because, well, it amuses me.

A popular jock finds himself 'awakened' to his true self as that of a mythithical beast known as a satyr and is forced to befriend the outcast coven of witches at his school who awakened him to reverse the spell.

For some reason, I like to write jocks. Mostly cocky and arrogant and full of themselves male characters. And then I throw a monkey wrench at them and see how they handle it. The Satyr is like this. Being a mythical beast who forgets how to do certain things gets in the way of his social life.

Of course, I think this story is hilarious, though weird in some parts, and one of these days I would like to post this story somewhere where people can read it and laugh at it with me. Though with my luck, half of the audience would read it, tells me it sucks and stare at me as if everything now makes sense and they finally get why I am so weird. But that will never happen. Why?

Because it isn't finished. And I would only post something on the internets that is finished. Until then, you can ask me, 'so Kami, why are you telling us about your stories when you won't let us read them?'

And I will respond 'because, writing takes up a good deal of my personal time, which is usually reserved for my social life, which explains why I have one, and now you can heed the warnings of why you shouldn't get into writing. It is addictive and it will eat your life.'

Yes, writing is usually a solo activity and not something done with a group of people. And this is the synopsis of Four of my stories. At last count I had about 25 of them. The shortest? Well, I didn't get to far in Nano '2004. I made it to 1,373 words and got bored with it. But the plan is still there to tell the story.

The longest? I'm guessing 555,000 words. Although, to be fair, that particular story is probably five seperate stories combined into one.

And you can't read it.

One of these days, I'm going to write a 'short' story, 'short' being the key word there, actually FINISH it, and publish it.

Maybe next year's Nano it will happen? Yeah, 50,000 words is a short story in my terms.


Have I commented on this before?

This summer I read the novel 1984 for the first time.

Some recent discoveries made me revisit it again, this time via Netflix (I tried to pick up the DVD but it is hard to find for any decent price!), as I watched the movie version. What can I say, this is a very faithful adaptation of the book. But mostly it got me thinking of current events.

Granted, 1984 marks the extreme in government manipulation, but with how the press is supposed to be free, and in an essence a check on the government, how the media is giving a pass on events that are happening right now. I don't know the full details to the global warming emails, showing that a lot of the data pertaining to global warming shows that it has been misrepresented to make it look worse then it is. Is this not manipulation of the facts by the government and otehr agencies in an effort to control the people? Cap and Trade comes to mind, the bill that's stalled in congress as of present.

Not to say that Republicans are exempt, the Patriot Act is a bit orwellian as well come to think of it, and I can see why some people are so opposed to it. Every government program may have good intentions behind it, but that program in time will become corrupt. Look at the Department of Homeland Security. It started as a very conservative idea, to secure our country against foreign threats, but now that Janet Napolitano is head of it, she's painted a broad stroke of possible terrorist suspects that falls under conservative ideals, and as far as I know, since that report we have had one guy shoot an abortionist? Meanwhile, we have extremists attacking our troops both on the inside and out.

Fortunately, i don't think things will ever be depicted as they are shown in 1984, at least, not in the US, we're to independant for that. But you can see in levels of the government that people in power are trying to get control over the people, and they start by taking away their freedoms and providing them with what they need. One of the reasons why I'm opposed to government providing me much of anything. There are only a certain things a government should do, but that's another blog post.

Back to 1984 itself, watching it I discovered a few things that it mentions from the book that I missed the first time I read it. If you haven't read it in a while, I would highly recommend checking this book out.

And remember, we've always been at war with Eastasia.


Things are Good, but Life is Uneventful

Black friday. Hmm. . .

I was debating on going shopping today for some deals, there are some things I was thinking of getting, but fortunately, I was able to talk myself right out of it, and got caught playing Zynga games on Facebook instead. Those things are evil, and time wasters of the Nth degree. But overall today was really relaxed and ho hum.

Tomorrow I'm cleaning. My place is a disaster. And then I might go shopping for some food, since I have nothing to eat right now.

complete randomness. Yes. This is my life right now.

So, here is the question. Yes, I am pretty up to date on current events, so answer this. If you come here and want to read about my thoughts and opinions on anything going on right now, leave a comment below. Unfortunately, certain things going on in my personal life I have to be mum on, mostly in regards to work. Over the next twelve hours, if I have one comment or three, or Six, who knows, I'll write about the topic I find most interesting, unless two or more people request my thoughts on the same topic, in which case I will write about the topic the most people have requested.

And no, I will not write about military life and being a drill sergeant.



Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is the time to be grateful and give thanks for everything you have.

You know, I think right now in my life I am perhaps the most content and satisfied I have ever been. Not to say that everything is perfect and gumdrops and lollypops, but things could be a whole lot worse then they are. I have a job where I make good money (though I need to have a back up plan in three months, but I'll be stable in the transition phase) and I have realize a lot about life and come to a lot of conclusions where I am not as angsty as I was before. I had some serious emotional roller coasters through my early twenties of just trying to figure things out. I'm still getting there, but I can look at life and things make a hell of a lot more sense now then they did five years ago.

I am very grateful for my family for being there for me through thick and thin, though I guess I have made it fairly easy for the most part, but I know some things I do does make my mom's hair turn grey.

I'm also still trying to figure me out. It's one of those trials, you think you know yourself, but how well do you really know yourself? When I had my bouts of depression in my late teens/early twenties of just figuring things out, I'll be honest, i didn't really like myself as a person. But then I didn't get me, and it transcended a lot of things, beyond politics and more to do with Identity, but as I've grown older and gotten more comfortable with myself, I've discovered that the person I am now is a person I can be happy being.

sure, I still got the crappy skin and pasty white complexion that refused to tan, I shed hair at a rate that i'm shocked I'm not bald yet and I say things completely off the wall that makes a lot of people turn and go 'huh?', but I think overall I've become comfortable being me, and I think it's important to be comfortable with who you are.

I don't stress out like I used too, sure Politics still causes me to get a little frustrated with how the world works, but there is still a lot to be thankful for. You just gotta keep your head above water and put things in perspective.

Just never tell me no matter how bad things get, they can always get worse. But for now, things are good.

Ramblings Off/


Hocking Hills

I went out to the Hocking Hills yesterday, which is a four hour drive and somewhat of a spur of the moment thing for me.

Mostly, I went because I wanted to go on the Zipline Tour. I had never heard of Hocking Hills really before this, but overall I'm glad I went, because Hocking Hills overall is a pretty cool place to visit.

Um, I don't know why I look somewhat psychotic in this picture, but I was having a good time!

The canopy tours has 10 ziplines and like five skybridges that has you zipping around in the trees about 30-80 feet high. The adrenaline is rushing and its a LOT of fun!

On a sky bridge, testing the restraints. Should have tested them a little farther.

The people there were awesome and they are really laid back, telling us the only rule was to have them hook us up and that we were to have a good time. That was easy, overall the trip took about two and a half hours from start to finish.

Yes, I look a little crazed from the adrenaline, but its only because I always make this crazed face when I'm goofing around

Riding on a zipline is a lot of fun. I want to do more research on other zipline tours but I was told this is one of the best ones in the Continental US. The longest zipline is about 600 feet long, riding up to 35 mph on the line. I don't think I ever got that fast thought.

Ok, fine, actually I am crazy. . . tour guides were awesome guys though!

This is the zipline tour from the line itself. You don't get the same affect as the actual tour from the video but it is a bit of a rush!

I have noticed it takes a lot for me to get a thrill anymore, I've gotten used to heights so I didn't really feel scared the entire time I was out there. Felt totally safe and just had a blast! If you are ever in the Hocking Hills, really recommend checking this place out.

And of course, there is more in the Hocking Hills then Zipline Tours.

This is a rockbridge that is a natural formation, the picture doesn't do it justice but you have to walk about a mile or so to get to it. There are a lot of cool natural formations like this in the Hocking Hills.

This is Old Man's Cave, which is in the middle of this huge gorge that is cut through the area, you wouldn't know it was there until you practically walked up on it, and there wasn't people all over the place.

Old Man's Cave has a couple of waterfalls, this is the upper falls, though I'm guessing it's a little more spectacular when you catch it in season. And I am advertising the fact that I went Zip Lining, yes.

Not every picture has to have me in it

Cedar Falls is down the road a couple miles, I hear this is another cool waterfall when you get it in season, but as you can see, this time of year it's a bit of a trickle.

The trails to the falls are just really cool, this area is awesome for hiking in. This is coming up the gorge out of Cedar Falls. I wanted to see more, but alas, it gets dark in November. There is plenty to see here that you can spend a couple days exploring. I only had one, and I had to be back in time to get some sleep, seeing as I worked today. And this was a four hour drive.

The last place I got to visit was Ash Cave. Playing with the lighting, I took some pictures with the low light setting, taking advantage of the affects. It was a beautiful day to explore the hills considering it is the middle of November.

There are a couple of other places that I didn't get around too, Cantwell Cliffs, the Rock House and Conkles Hollow were the ones I wanted to see that I didn't get too. Rock climbing, ATV rentals, Horse back riding, apparently this is a pretty big tourist destination.

Never knew this was here. As I've toured it, I have come to discover I really like the State of Ohio. Probably one of my top ten favorite states.

great, now I'll have to do a list.



So I come home from an awesome day all pumped and ready to blog about it and then. . .

my computer acts stupid and won't recognize either of my cameras so I can't download pictures.

Furthermore, a thumbdrive I bought for the pictures of what I did today doesn't include all the pictures like I was told it would. Considering that I went ahead and paid as much as I did for it THINKING I was getting all the pictures, I am frustrated. Hopefully the place noted my frustration in my irritated and strongly worded letter detailing my irritation. I'll probably call them tomorrow too, only as long as they send me the couple pictures I want.

I intend to blog tomorrow about my day, because my day was awesome. But I want to update with pictures.

And then I'll be ready to finally write about my Vacation across half the country.

EDIT - Figured out the issue with the Computer/Camera not talking. So here's a preview.


Re: Fort Hood Shootings

So now I've been following up on Fort Hood and what happened there and am in a little more understanding of what happened and this is what I'm going to say.

The Army, being the Army, needs to pull its head out of its ass and call this what it is. When Fort Hood, the location where this happened, is wrenching as to 'why' this happened when it is blatantly obvious that this is indeed, a lesson to what we call, sensitivity training.

People say that this guy was harrassed for being a muslim and that's why he snapped. Well, no shit he was harrassed, if indeed he was harrassed, because this guy advocated for Jihad to his peers and gave a power point presentation at walter reed talking about beheadings and why this was perfectly acceptable.

There are muslims in the army, I've worked with them, and they are by and large decent people who don't get harrassed because you know why? They aren't talking about how Jihad is ok and questioning the war on terror being a war against Islam. They are serving and as long as they serve and soldier up and not go talking jihad, people will respect them for who they are, soldiers who happen to also be muslims. Most soldiers don't see this as a war against islam. It's a war against terror, unfortunately, the perpetrators tend to be Muslim. When Terrorists stop killing Americans in the name of Islam, maybe we can start seperating the two a little easier.

This is a terrorist action. End of story, this guy needs to fry. Let's stop talking about how it's the army's fault this guy snapped because if this causes everyone to have to sit in on a briefing army wide about how we need to be sensitive to other people's feelings I'm going to snap. We're the Army! You know what we do for a living? We kill people and we protect this great nation from our enemies by killing them. Listen up all you kids out there that are thinking about joining the army so you can get your education paid for or because the economy stinks and you need a job, if you join the army you are going to learn how to fire a weapon with the intention of killing somebody with it. You are paid to learn how to kill people. If you are easily offended, you don't need to be joining the army. It is not for you.

If you disagree with the war on terror (oops, my bad, the overseas contigency operation) then you don't need to be joining the army. If you are a muslim who sympathizes with Osama Bin Laden and decide to join the army and get harrassed for calling your coworkers infedels, then don't start complaining because people don't like you. You don't belong.

Why in the hell is the military a gun free zone? You know what would have stopped this idiot from opening up fire on a bunch of unarmed people? People who could meet fire with fire, which ended up being a couple civilian police officers. Why are civilian police officers (God Bless 'em) coming in to put a stop to a crazed lunatic opening fire on soldiers anyway? These are SOLDIERS!!! You know what the definition of a soldier is? Somebody who knows how to use a gun! If anybody has the right to carry weapons, a uniformed soldier does. Because Gun Free Zone is just an open meat market to anybody who wants to go slaughter people. Take a gun into a gun free zone and open up. Now, if you want to open up fire in a place where everyone is armed, see how many shots you are able to release before somebody takes you out. It sure in hell won't be one hundred.

So, in conclusion, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan needs to be put down. He's a traitor to his country and last I heard, punishment for Treason is death. Just throw him under an electric chair and let him meet his just reward. Stop making excuses for this bastard and why this happened.

Furthermore, just because the military is short on Psychiatrists doesn't mean we have to keep them all in because that is the problem here. This guy should have been kicked out a long time ago. He should have never made Major but this is a problem with the medical corp unfortunately. We are under strength and when you are under strength, you hang onto the crap because they 'supposedly' can do the job. And now you wonder why Socialized Medicine is so great? Why was this idiot even a psychiatrist? That is where the army failed people, by allowing this guy to stay in instead of getting rid of him in the name of 'diversity'.

End of Rant


Ultra Realistic Military Video Game

Ultra-Realistic Modern Warfare Game Features Awaiting Orders, Repairing Trucks

All my battle buddies are hyping up Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 2 (yes, this is what we do when we don't have soldiers to train). Most of them have been to Iraq and are commenting on how intense it is.

But boy I love the Onion.


Fort Hood Shooting

Asking for my opinion on the Ft Hood shootings.

To be honest, I don't know a whole lot about the circumstances, but then, I don't think anybody can really understand why this guy decided to commit this horrendous act, especially considering that he was a Psychiatrist. People are asking why this man who apparently snapped could be allowed to stay in after it turns out that there was a record of this guy not being exactly stable.

So, why in the hell was he in the army still despite this?

Having some experience in the Medical Field, I can tell you for one thing that the military is hurting in some specialized fields such as psychiatry and psychology, and despite his less then glowing evaluations while stationed at Walter Reed he still made Major. Me, I'm not surprised by that one bit. But that's neither here nor there.

Was his religion a motivation for his acts? I would think it played a big part and we need to confront this issue of radical islam instead of being PC about it and tiptoeing around in case we offend somebody. Those that are muslim but not in agreement with the concept of Jihad against the United States and some guy opening fire in a crowd screaming "Allahu Akbar" should be condemning this act for what it is, an act on terror in the name of an ideaology.

People are trying to fit the pieces together, I've been kind of holed up from the world for the last few days trying to recoop from twenty six days on the road sleeping in hostels, friend's couches, hotel rooms and the back of my pick up (hey, whatever's cheap, right) I've been kind of mum on subjects like this. and I don't know all the facts. Do i think it's a heinous crime? indeed I do, and there is a reason why it was taken out at a military base, there are a lot of factors at play here, and a lot of innocent lives were lost.

To be honest, I don't know enough to really give an honest assessment of what happened without giving some knee jerk reaction. I'm actually more willing to give my opinion on this incident, which happened in September, because I worked with the guy involved, who was one of my battle buddies on the trail last year (yes, my disgruntled supply sergeant days). But I don't know all the facts there either and I don't feel its my place to rush to judgment.

It's easy to get passionate about something when you only have part of the story. But i don't believe PTSD was the issue, and his religion and political beliefs were definitely a factor. I'll leave it at that.

UPDATE - I think I'll default to THIS POST on Right Wing News. He's done more research on the topic then I have, and I'm in agreement with what he says.

Barack Obama's Accomplishments

Ok, I meant to post this on the fourth, or rather, maybe I should post it on January 20th after a little more research, because then it will really have been a year, but regardless, I tried to be open about an Obama presidency, which seemed more and more certain last year the closer we got to the election, and I wanted him to have a successful presidency, successful being that he didn't bring our nation into a chaos and bankruptcy for pushing a radical socialist agenda. In short, I was hoping he would govern as a moderate.

well, I could go on and on about why so far I think Obama's presidency has been an abject failure, but alas, with how McCain was running his presidential campaign, I can see why people wanted to vote for HopeNChange, but alas, we can't be negative all the time.

So I am going to highlight Obama's accomplishments in office that I approve of, things that I'm in agreement with.

o Obama Swats Fly - I'll give credit where credit is due. I'm actually impressed by the president's smooth fly swatting reflex here.

o Obama calls Kanye West a Jack Ass - Full agreement there.

o Obama gets his daughters a puppy - Ahh, isn't Bo cute?

Um, why did it take six months to do this?

o Signing of on the use of lethal force to off some pirates - And the snipers did one heck of a job too.

o sending 17,000 troops to afghanistan in February - We really need to finish the job there, and this initial surge was a good move. However, I can't be in agreement with Obama on the Afghanistan issue now. He says he won't make a decision that will put the lives of soldiers on the line, but, well, NOT doing anything is also costing our soldiers their lives. Make a decision, Obama, you're the one in charge now.

And, er, um, ok I admit, I'm a bit stumped. To be honest, being what I am, a fiscal conservative, when it comes to fiscal policies, I feel that everything Obama has inacted in his term as President has been a disaster. Did you hear about the 10.2% unemployment rate, when we were promised it wouldn't raise above 8.5% if we hurried and passed that stimulus bill back in February?

there are plenty of things he has done that I'm ho-hum about, meaning I could care less one way or another, or I just don't know enough about the issue to really have a firm opinion on it. But that said, in trying to be positive, what has Obama done in office that is actually a good thing? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?

NaNoWriMo is here again

So there are about a dozen and one topics I want to blog about, pictures I need to post, my facebook I need to update, and I need to clean my house (and my truck) from my trip.

Instead, I got caught up in the NaNoWriMo craze. Yep, November is National Novel Writer's Month and I am participating, though I got to a late start. I'm tracking pretty well so far, this time the story takes place in the same world my Nano from last year took place (alternate Earth timeline) and would probably cause most people to cringe uncomfortably if they were to read it. Yep, definitely my kind of story.

funny, I was hoping to make last year's novel readable but I still haven't finished it, I don't know what my deal is, I'll write about a character and introduce a new character and flesh them out and think 'hmm, they are more interesting to me then my previous character' and then I'll explore them for a bit. Not your typical model for a successful story, because I break every rule in the 'how to write a novel' rulebook.

I guess maybe that's why I write for me.

Now i can prepare to have absolutely no time to myself as I slave over 50,000 words this month. which actually shouldn't be to difficult for me to do come to think of it?


Back from Trip

So I made it back home, er, well, my home away from home at least. I left on the tenth and got back on the third, I still have until Saturday, but I think I'll just set in my house and relax for a few days and call this trip off a little early. Trying to blog it obviously came out as me posting two pointless and slightly incoherent blogs about my trip and then I just gave up because they weren't even that interesting for me to read.

But anyway, all in all, I've upped my total states visited number to 41.

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Fortunately, four seperate trips should knock out the remaining states. I'm thinking of getting Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota in one fail swoop on my way home and if I get selected for a certain job next year (yes, military related, hence my vagueness) I'll likely knock out the remaining southern states too. That just leaves Alaska and Hawaii, which will be my toughest states to get.

I'm thinking of doing a roadtrip to Alaska possibly next summer if the job doesn't go through, but that's a big maybe. I can catch Hawaii (and probably Alaska too) on a military hop, it's just a question of getting the motivation and time to go.

Well, my bank account is significantly lighter now, but I'll blog more about my trip in full later. In the meantime, well, I have learned that 30 days is to long to take a vacation, two weeks (and depending on where you go, three weeks works too) is just about right. I didn't think I would ever say this, but it feels good to be back in Knox.


Simple Update

Chilling in DC, been having a pretty awesome time on leave so far, but I think tonight I'm going to just take it easy and plan out what I'm going to do tomorrow and go from there.

And I guess catch up on the blog front.

Where was I? the last couple of days, I was in New York City, like I was last year.

today, I drove through Philadelphia. I wanted to stop, but then I learned that Philadelphia, if you don't get there early, is outragiously expensive to park, and they don't have the public transit system of New York and Washington. Some places it cost twelve bucks to park for thirty minutes! I wanted to go to the Franklin Institute Science Museum last year and decided to check it out this year, but the parking arrangement kept me from exploring further. That, and Philadelphia drivers are rude as hell. But I had a Philly Cheese Steak from a street vender, because I was in Philadelphia so that was a given.

so now I'm in DC.

What now? I did DC last year, saw a lot then. Well, I didn't see the Museum of US history (it was closed for renovation last year) and the zoo is free too. I got a nice camera and a new lens to check out. And I want to see the Spruce Goose which I've been told is somewhere in DC, I've just got to find out where (hmm, just googled, it's at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, in the Smithsonian true, but I'm on the wrong coast, nevermind).

I guess check out a couple more museums I missed last year too? There is a lot to do here, I'll be here through tomorrow for sure.

New York was awesome, it's always more fun to explore these places with somebody rather then by yourself as well.


Dude, I'm on TV!

Currently I'm in NYC, and when you're in New York, you have to do the morning shows, right? THat's a given.

They panned me and my cousin on the Today Show today, right before the fluff piece on the Pumpkins and interviewed Gordon Campbell from Canada. To bad they don't show that stuff online. They really should. I was looking for it but didn't see it.

We also showed up on Fox and Friends. Lynyrd Skynyrd was on and they did a final song (sweet home alabama) before they went back to the news and I think they had the camera on us for a second or two. So if you watched either of these shows this morning, you may have seen me!


On the Today Show???

If you are watching the Today Show tomorrow (Monday, October 19) keep an eye on the crowd, you might just see me. :P

Currently in NYC, maybe I'll update more of my blog in the next couple of days? But in the meantime, well, the Today show! Now we have to come up with a catchy slogan to write on our signs!


Recap on Vacation So Far

Still on the road. Been busy, enjoying stuff, and not blogging about it.


Right now I'm doing laundry. I made it to the eastern most point of my destination. Portland Maine. I was going to go to Bangor and Acadia National Park but it ended up getting the ax when I discovered that there wasn't a whole lot to see in Bangor really, and Acadia sounds awesome but to make it worth my while, I need to spend more then an afternoon there. I did the Adirondacks instead, which showed me that though spontanious is good, some planning is necessary. So steadily, I'm fine tuning this trip out. I've got a plan going as of now, though events keep throwing a monkey wrench into it every now and then. Or I just screw everything up by changing my mind last minute.

I visited a few historic sites from a religious perspective, not sure how much detail I want to go into that with my very secular blog but it was cool and I really enjoyed myself. Monday was primarily that, spent just outside of Cleveland OH, in a little town called Kirtland, and driving to get to Niagara Falls, which I saw at night, as well as Tuesday, which was spent almost entirely at Niagara Falls. I got on the road and spent Wednesday in Palmyra NY, another historic point in my journey. Thursday was the Adirondacks, a spur of the moment detour, where I got around to Lake Placid and the general area surrounding it.

Today was Vermont (and some of New Hampshire) where I went searching for Covered Bridges. That was my task for today, the covered bridge. I found about fifteen or so, I'll have to recount them, but going on the side roads looking for covered bridges was quite fun itself.

I had more then a couple people comment that I was a long way from home. I guess my Washington License plates stand out.

Niagara Falls needs a post all by itself. I've been dumping pictures on Facebook, but haven't really gotten to editing them down yet.

Tomorrow its going along the coast of Maine and I'm going to have Lobster damn it! That's a given.

Three states off my 'too see list' (I've been to Maine before, but it didn't really count seeing as it was only at the airport.)

Next post I'll try to make it more interesting.


My Inner Nerd Emerges

The trip continues. And I am about as spontanious as I've ever been.

Currently I'm on my way to New York, but I'm taking this trip fairly easy, steady as I go, part of the trip afterall is the trip itself. So if I see something that looks interesting, I'll stop and check it out.

Saturday, while driving between Cincinnati and Columbus, I see a sign on the road that says 'Renassaince Fair' and I think "hmm, sounds interesting" and I find myself at the Ohio Renaissance Festival. This was a complete fluke.

So I checked it out. And decided to come back the next day.

I meant to take more pictures (loved the jousting) learned that there is apparently a huge military subculture in the renassaince fair scene, and got dressed up in an outfit complete with flintlock pistol.

I need to post a picture, I spent more money then I meant too, but damn did I have a fun time!

That's what this trip is all about afterall. I just need to keep a tighter rein on the bank account.

I think I'll go to these more in the future. I've gone to things similar to it in the past but didn't get dressed up. That's half the fun in my opinion.

Halloween costume is a go and doesn't involve camouflage.


I'm Doomed to Disappoint

I made it to the machine gun shoot at Knob Creek. And learned my first lesson when dealing with the nation's largest machine gun shoot.

Arrive early.

Knob Creek is located in the sticks just south of Louisville Kentucky, on this little two lane highway. It's not really set up for a large quantity of traffic. As I drove up at about 9:30, I got stuck in the traffic leading about a quarter mile from the entrance.

It was stopped. Hmm. . .

I should have left earlier, but me being a procrastinator, I got my truck packed with the intent of only coming back home in case I bought a gun (I won't take a new gun on the road with me) so my truck loaded up for my roadtrip, I just kept trying to walk around the house and make sure I got everything (I didn't, I left my tripod)

so finally I got to knob creek and got a little disgruntled by one of my pet peeves. Traffic. I'm an impatient person in traffic, and decided I could walk it, so I parked my truck along the side of the road with all of the other impatient people, right next to a water point without actually blocking the water point. And then I walked it.

It turned out to be quicker to walk then to wait in the traffic, but as I got there, I was warned that if my truck wasn't parked within the white line, it would get towed. No problem there, except i was further warned about the very real possibility that my truck would get towed for being so close to the county water point.

Damn me and my impatience, but I was told I should be ok if I moved my truck before noon. I was half tempted to go back and get my truck at that point so I could park it and not worry about it until I was ready to leave, but I was really not looking forward to walking back.

I went into Knob Creek with my camera in hand (and didn't get any pictures of the arsenal of any type of fully automatic machine gun you can think of) and walked around looking for the gun, and I knew I would know my gun if I saw it (I didn't see it) and listened to the machine gun fire. I knew I could spend all day here, on top of that, renting a flame thrower or any available machine guns, and probably come back completely devoid of cash as well. However, I had a small problem.

My mind was on my stupid truck. I was walking around thinking "my truck is going to get towed, my truck is going to get towed" and decided that I needed to just go and get it, after I bought a 50 Cal Dummy Round and a holster for my Judge. There was some other things that caught my eye and all the guns I could take pictures of. Plus the burning cars and boats that they were firing machine guns at.

So I went to get my truck, to discover the line of vehicles trying to get IN had grown, and it appeared to not be moving. I walked, and walked, and walked, and the cars didn't move.

My truck, thankfully, had not been towed, however the line had extended quite a ways, and staring at that line, knowing I would be in line for an hour trying to get a place to park, well, killed all of my motivation.

I considered going back for a few minutes, and said screw it and drove off, heading toward Cincinatti.

Fortunately for me, if I ever want to fire a 50 Cal Machine Gun (the M2) I work in the right field, and it doesn't cost my $250 for a drum. In fact, I can shoot all of the machine guns I could want during US weapons week on the taxpayer's dime. Don't you like that?

But that means that I didn't get any pictures of the $45,000 machine guns that I saw. And I even laid eyes on a $999 M203 attached to a AR15 that I briefly considered, until I realized that I would have only bought it for the collector's benefit, seeing as I couldn't actually SHOOT the damn thing. And even if I did get some grenades for it, I can only imagine how much those things would run for.

So, I did the Machine Gun Shoot for about an hour, and I walked away with this lesson.

Arrive Early.

Yes, I was planning on going this year, and actually shooting some stuff. But alas, I am doomed to disappoint this time.

However, I was recognized by somebody who had seen my website. It came as a bit of a surprise when it happened and I had a goofy grin on my face for the next thirty minutes. But that goofy grin maybe because I was surrounded by machine guns that I could have mortgaged my brother's house to get.

Hmm, maybe the traffic has died down. Perhaps i should head back?



Exhaustive Roadtrip Much?

Machine Gun Shoot got rained out. Well, actually it didn't, but I delayed going there by a day. Instead, I spent the day getting things ready for the rest of my trip.

Which included getting my tickets for Orlando. I think I'll definitely be doing this trip, seeing as I've got Five Days at Disney World and Seven Days at Universal Studios. Plus I got a ticket to Kennedy Space Station.

For Free.

The hotel and food is what will cost me, and i'll likely spend the most money of my entire trip in Orlando (and nearby places) but whatever the case, looks like I'll be using all thirty days of my leave. I've got to be back by November 7.

So the trip is up into Ohio, through New York, Vermont and New Hampshire to Maine, go back down through Massachusetts into Rhode Island and Connecticut, through New York City, Philidelphia and DC, and then high tail it down to Florida from there.

I'm going to exhaust myself on this vacation, but damn am I not looking forward to it!


Leave Info

Yay for Leave! For those of you who don't know, Leave is basically paid vacation in militarese.

Every time I have had a bad experience on mobilizations, Leave has always been there right when I needed it most, to pull me out of the crapper and get me all rested and cheerful again. Or at least get my head straight.

Leave in 2005 led me to take a whirlwind trip across 5 countries in Europe, a trip I would love to repeat again if I ever get the chance (though granted, likely visiting different countries next time) and something I briefly considered this time around.

Last year, I did a Mid Antlantic State visit. I stopped updating after DC due to overwhelming number of pictures to edit, which meant I left out Philidelphia, NYC and Gettysburg, but I have pictures for my own record. In hindsight, I wish I blogged more on it. But hindsight is 20/20 and I was busy actually enjoying my leave instead of worrying about blogging about it.

And that is the point of Leave and all.

Actually, the trip home last year was interesting too, seeing as I did a detour in Illinois and down through Missouri and then there was that whole Prop8 thing in SLC.

Anywho, if you haven't gotten the news, I like to travel. A lot. I love to visit different parts of this beautiful world we live in and now I'm looking at different areas I have not been to yet.

Where haven't I been? Hmm, New England strikes me as some place I need to check out, so I'm heading up that way via Ohio and New York (brief stop at Niagara falls) and into Maine then go down through Rhode Island and Connecticutt through Massachussetts (Salem in October should be pretty cool) and back into New York and down into DC.

I have thirty days. I don't think I'll use the entire thirty days. Whether or not I continue from DC depends on how burnt out I am from being on the road though. I saw both NYC and DC last year, so I'll hit up some places at both I missed on the last trip (maybe Broadway this time?) and continue on. Depending on how much time I have left (my plan is not to stick to a rigid agenda of being at a specific location on a specific date and seeing museum such and such at this time and visiting historic location So and so at this date and time because then it ceases being a vacation) I'll head south from DC to Florida and go check out Disney World.

Why you might ask? Because for lack of any other reason, It's freakin' Free for me to go there. To bad I don't have any young children or significant others to go with, but if I play my hand nice, I can probably make a few friends on my trip and hang out with them there. Besides, I think everyone ought to visit Disney World at least once in their life.

My mother asked me why I don't go see disney world first. (Actually, my trip up north will probably take me about two weeks if I play it right). The reason, because I can get caught up in Florida for one thing. There is plenty to do there, and it will likely be pretty expensive to go to Disney World for free.

But who knows, I might reverse the itenerary and go see Florida first. I'm open. That's what I like about 1)traveling by my own set of wheels and 2)not having to worry about other people. As much as I love my family to death, we are quite large as families go (i've got five siblings, four of which are married, and at last count thirteen nieces and nephews) and trying to get us all in sync at family functions is akin to trying to catch a feral cat with nothing but a liquor license and a chain saw. If that analogy makes any sense whatsoever. Case in point, nothing ever goes as smoothly as planned when you try to get that many people on the same sheet of music.

Now, if my family would let me run things and put my current training into use, I would have any family function running like a well oiled machine except for infants are involved. But I digress, and I'm rambling off topic.

anyway, Leave should be interesting. I'll blog when I can. And at the very least, I'll TWEET it!

30 days of paid vacation. If you judge it by how many hours I have worked since February, its well deserved, seeing as I sometimes work 16+ hour days.

Totally Random

Haha! I need to bookmark this page.

One of my coworkers commented I'm an excellent worker, when I don't get distracted by the internet or my cell phone. I'm a slave to modern technology.

Money the Root of Most Disgruntlement

I am disgruntled.

Why you might ask? That's a good question. You know the whole postal worker analogy about how they go bat crazy insane because they do the same thing every day or some such nonsense? Well, I don't think I'm disgruntled because of that so much, as I'm more disgruntled due to, well, being repeatedly hosed by my employer.

As an alibi, the economy currently sucks and if I weren't here I would be unemployed or working a crappy dead end job somewhere. But I'm not, I'm here, and I'm employed, and the money ain't that bad. In fact, it's pretty good, though I work insane hours and often times I work my ass off to earn it.

That aside, there is a little thing about 'funds' and 'money' that is a rule of law with most people. See, most people don't like it when other people mess with their money. Fancy that, I wonder why? Myself, well, once you auto deposit that money in my bank account, I like to consider that money mine and I don't have to worry about paying it back. Like, say, that whole issue with the little trip back to Washington this summer. I got per Diem for there and my current location (somewhere in Kentucky for those of you who aren't tracking where I am residing) which I knew was going to bite me in the bank account later. I knew it. That's why I didn't even want to put in for a travel voucher, because I knew I would get screwed.

Well turns out they paid me for that trip. And I was double dipping. So guess what? I got to pay that back. Want to know more? I will be likely be paying back the HIGHER amount of $29.50 a day versus the paltry $13.50 a day. For 45 days.

That kind of money adds up. You know, its nice you paid me, but I would rather not get the extra money in the first place if you are going to make me pay it back later. But that's how Bureaucracies work, especially in the government with their thousands of various forms to fill out and desire to make things as painfully complicated as possible. But then again, that's the government for you. Their solution, if it ain't broke, fix it 'til it is.

And then there is that simple case of sticking me for an accident in a government vehicle that should have by all rights been insured, but that is just me ranting about something thats old news by now. It only hit my bank account by another grand or so, because somebody on top decided that it was more important to stick it to their lowly over worked staff while maintaining their budget instead of making sure that vehicles were properly insured when somebody (me) got into a minor fender bender a year ago. And they expected MY insurance to pay for it. That is another rant, I'm still furious over it and it is one of the reasons why my morale is pretty much at a stagnant 3 on a scale of one to ten.

Why isn't it at a one? Well, because I actually do enjoy my job and have fun, when I'm allowed to do it, or actually am doing it, and am not dealing with complete and utter retards. But that would be another rant. So please, take my money and tell me how to do my job when it appears people on the top or more interested in what looks good on paper versus say, actually training to quality and standard, and maybe if they would learn to back off and trust us to not abuse our authority that mayb we would actually be able to deliver a better product (using a generalized term for what I actually do). But again, that is another rant, for another day, and likely not something I should go into at this place and time. *sighs*

Meanwhile, I can say this. I'm glad that I was at least anticipating having my paycheck raped for the payback of that per Diem I will undoubtedly owe. So I'll just sit back and do mundane tasks for the next week until I go on Leave.

Ah yes, Leave. I think I will be back up to a six or maybe even a seven on the morale front when I get back from Leave.


On Secret Projects, Leave and Lot's of Automatic Weapons

We're about ready to graduate this latest crop of misfits, and it looks like we will not be picking up another cycle, so once they are good and gone, I'll probably be updating a lot more blogwise. Seeing as I will have time to do so.

I recently got this idea for a project that I think will be ready to go sometime next spring. To be honest, if I had the resources, I could do it right now but logistically I'm missing a few key pieces. I think it will be pretty cool when its all sad and done and will require myself recruiting some help (which is truthfully the hardest thing for me to do, asking people for help) and getting prepared for it. What is this project you ask? Well, it's secret. But to keep from annoying my few sparse readers, from now on whenever I refer to my project, I will call it Operation Zombie Plan.

Operation Zombie Plan is still in the planning phases.

In other news, with graduations comes time off, and in my world, that is called Leave. I have some wheels (though I'm worrying more and more that I may have gotten myself a lemon) and I need to come up with a plan. Namely, what do I want to do with myself?

I'm either going North (New York?) or South (Orlando?). Or maybe even overseas, (anyone know of any good deals to, well, anywhere on the planet?) This is quite spontanious of me, I know, but me being me, somebody mentioned Amsterdam and I just lit up at the notion.

Of course, with my luck, I'll be in DC when there is another major terrorist attack like the one that apparently was diverted recently in New York.

But regardless, before hand, there is one thing that happens in Kentucky but Twice a Year, and I might as well give you the heads up now because I will blog it. Yes, the Machine Gun Shoot.

For some reason, I was thinking it was the 3, 4, and 5th until I just checked their website and discovered it was the following weekend. Damn, that puts a little dent in my plans.

I'm still attending though.


Blogging and Tweeting

So apparently I can't stay away from Blogging. but don't get to excited, I don't really foresee this as a comeback persay, but more of a 'whenever I feel like I have something to say, I might as well out and say it.' Sometimes I really want to speak my mind on an issue, like the previous post, and this is the best forum for me to say it. I also made some slight modifications to my blog, including adding my twitter feed, which really is nothing special since I don't tweet that much, but every so often I feel like I need to say something, and it makes it doubly handy when I can tweet from my phone.

As for the header, you might be asking why I changed it. Well, because the pictures were old and I felt I need to update them, but I didn't want to stare at those forever and so I just came up with something quick to throw up there until I get a moment to really update my blog. It needs a face lift. In fact, the whole site could use a face lift.

Meanwhile, talk on the employment front will remain minimal. More likely then anything else, I'll talk about current events and figure out hwo to update my blog from my cell phone. I got a new Gphone through T-mobile, the Mytouch which is pretty sweet, but I'm still working out the fine tunings of it.

If anything, more often then not, I'll be tweeting.

Why does twitter use such an annoyingly cutesy phrase to describe updating to it? And why is it sickeningly cute how its set up anyway? I'm not sure, but I don't use it that much so whatever.

Obama to Address Youth on Tuesday

Yes, I've been quiet on the blogging front, I have my own qualms and issues with the current administration, but this issue has me a bit puzzled. I guess I can see some of the concern that parents may have with the President addressing their children, but there is quite a bit of paranoia involved.

On Tuesday, President Obama intends to give a short address to schoolchildren to stay in school and take responsibility for their education. There was some valid concern over the outline given to schools to accompany the speech from the Department of Education such as "writing letters to themselves about what they can do to help the President."

Help the President, huh? Specifically the President, as opposed, say, the Country. I'm thinking JFK and his infamous 'ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country' in regards to more appropriate terminology, but that has been rewritten to ask students how they can achieve their short term and longterm education goals instead. Well, that's more appropriate still, let's see if he can hold to that.

That point aside, if I had children attending school at this time, I would not object to them being addressed to by the President of the United States. He is, after all, the President and despite some policy objections, can offer up some areas of being a role model, especially to inner city at risk teens who can view Obama's success as something to emulate. There is a stigma within the black community especially that a youth who chooses to do well in school and get good grades is accused of acting 'white', and in this regard, Obama is a very positive role model to such a target demographic. As long as his speech remains apolitical and speaks directly to kids to remain in school and seek to further educate themselves, which is a positive message, I have no problem with it and in fact highly agree with that message.

I understand how the growing concern some people are having over Obama and his radicalized ways, especially with his growing number of questionable Czar's among other issues that are prevailent within this administration that make me question the President's intentions, however in this point, I think perhaps he might be seeking to do something positive to help clear up his image perhaps, and if he stays on message, I have no problem with him speaking to the youth. If he veers off message and starts talking about ways to specifically help him achieve his policy goals, then I would have a problem with this. But until then, well, if the intention of his speech is to encourage kids to take responsibility for their education, that is something I can agree with.

So let's wait to hear the speech on Tuesday. If it turns out to be anything other then what it has been advertised to be, then by all means cry foul. But if it is only a simple message telling kids to stay in school, the right will look like a lunatic fringe out to get the President kind of like the Left was out to get Bush. In this regard, I say let's take a step back and make sure we aren't jumping the gun here. Obama has made some fumbles, true, but perhaps this never was one of them?

Who knows, he may have something worth saying.

UPDATE: The transcript of the speech has been released in full, and of course it is pretty harmless. . . now. No way of really knowing if this was the original speech or if it was watered down after the outcry amongst parents to appear apolitical. Of course, a lot of people have commented about how much Obama seems to refer to himself, in this speech 56 TIMES!.

He makes it all about him. I don't think Obama can really resist.

Exit question: how many kids, especially kindergartners, will stay focused while he talks? That seems to be a pretty broad demographic to capture the attention of, speaking down to elementary school aged kids while trying not to insult the intelligence of high school teenagers.

I skimmed through the speech myself, didn't really notice anything jump out at me as dangerous and indoctrinating of young impressionable minds, hopefully it serves its purpose and encourages kids to take charge of their own educations.

Hmm, perhaps something I can agree with Obama on for once?


Blogs and Ranting

So I started blogging again thinking I could talk about whatever was going on, to discover that right now, I have very little to talk about that isn't involved with what I do for work right now. And even if I had complete freedom to blog about what I do for work, I have discovered that I really have lost the interest in blogging. It's something I have largely outgrown since I started way back in 2001ish, and yes, it's crazy to think I've been blogging off and on since then.

But the reasons I blog now are different then when I blogged when I first started. This was primarily a ranting form for me, that's how I got the load off my chest, and what was bothering me at the time, I knew I could post some details of what was going on and people in the world, strangers could freakin' read what I wrote. For some reason, that was very therapeutic at the time. The problem is, well, in my job and my position, ranting is very inappropriate for me. I am in no position to rant about day to day life. This is no longer an outlet like it had been.

Also, even if I talked opinions like politics and such, which is the direction I originally wanted to go when my blog started taking off, that is another topic that I largely have to avoid. Back before the current election, though I was critical of some of his policies, by and large I still supported President Bush. I have very little support for President Obama's policies, but due to his position, I need to respect his title and his stances on certain issues I disagree with, especially related to the military. I have a lot of frustrations to vent towards the government right now, however I need to remain mum on that front as well. Politics are somewhat of a dead issue for me right now. So even if I turned completely in that direction and my opinions on such things, and left my personal life completely alone, there is really nowhere I can go with the topic without going into a highly critical nature of the current administration.

So in respect to that position, and lack of time otherwise for even maintaining this thing, I'm going into a somewhat of a hiatus mode once more. I have downgraded the main page to one post because I hate seeing posts from three months ago just sitting there, and it keeps a neater appearance.

That is all. Ciao for now.


Yes, it has been a busy week in the scheme of things, to the point that I really don't have a lot to blog about aside from previous topics posted in the previous post.

Yes, training Joe.

From my experiences in this job, overall I enjoy it, but sometimes, yes, I wonder if I'm in over my head. I have a little work to do, I need to fine tune my style a bit more, and one of these days I will begin and end a full cycle. That is my goal. I guess last year counted somewhat, I started and ended the cycle with one company, but I was hanging out in the back room tending to Linen and being quite disgruntled (and vowed to never work that position again).

So, how is it going so far this cycle? For some reason, I always end up in Blue Phase. Although it is a very interesting experience training joe no matter where you get him at, it helps to start at the beginning, so you're tracking exactly what they have been taught and you're busy enforcing it.

But in many ways, it is a rewarding experience. I learn something new every day, and I think I'm actually developing quite a bit as a leader. Funny how you develop those skills when you are thrust out there in front of five dozen people and expected to keep them in line. Yeah, I still need work, but I'm getting there.


More on the Paranoia (none needed)

Well, I did a little more research on the event I was discussing, the thing that came back and bit me when i thought it was long taken care of.

Anyway, so far as i'm researching it, I think it was just sloppiness that is making it have a lot of errors in it. Because apparently when it was sent up originally, back in November, it was deemed to be going in my favor. Then in March, somebody in higher decided against it and kicked it back and they've been going forward with it against me since then, and just trying to get it back out. Of course, i only learned about it last week and have been looking over the paperwork. I think I have a good case and will be talking to a lawyer in June about it. I think it will eventually go in my favor.

Now I just want to know, who kicked it back?

Anyway, there is no malicious intent involved. It was basically Brigade saying that I need to be blamed when Battallion didn't think I should. I think in the long run, its a bottom line sort of thing. I'll know more later.

But it has been interesting to research and find out what happened. I think I should go into investigation or something because this actually somewhat fascinates me.



I took the cat back to the humane society today. They say there is no guarantee he'll be put out for an adoption, but I spent enough money on a cat I wasn't going to be able to keep that I didn't want to spend a few extra bucks to make sure he was put up for adoption.

So I may have sent the poor kitty to his death. *sighs* What else could I do though? I took a bunch of pictures of him before I did, because I love taking pictures and he is quite photogenic.

Yes, I need to take lessons in impulsiveness and reign those in a little more. I shouldn't have gotten a cat in the first place, but every now and then, I need a couple of expensive lessons in why I don't have certain items or why I don't do certain things. Like bring home an animal I am in no position to take care of.

But I have to admit, I have well thought out impulses. I get a bug in my head and I just want to carry through until i get something. If I can't get it and then am forced to sit on it, I usually talk myself out of it.

So I think I'm going to take that as a lesson. Next time I get an impulse that I feel needs to be accomplished that day, no matter how well thought out I think the impulse is (because I really think a lot about them, honest!) I'm going to sit on it for a day.

Unfortunately I get hit up a lot on those one day only things, where you feel you have to do it right then and there for it to get done.

Yeah, sure. Um, I'll work on that. Honest.

I Think I'm Paranoid

Something recently came up that smells a little fishy to me. It is in relation to an incident that happened last summer that I was under the impression had been taken care of and now it's back to bite me on the ass.

Lesson to everyone, get a copy of everything.

I cannot go into details on it at this time (it must be annoying to hear me talk of stuff and not tell you what I'm talking about) but if this doesn't get turned in my favor, you can bet that I will go a little more public on it. Because, well, it's fishy. Something is not right here.

It all starts with a certified letter I did not sign for.

When I look at all of the little things, stuff just doesn't add up. I think they were hoping I would just accept it and take the hit, or make it difficult for me to do so. But as i was looking over the paperwork yesterday in the wee hours of the morning (I was pulling a 24 hour duty and was awake for 34 hours straight last night and this morning) my lack of sleep likely cultivated the conspiracy theorist within me as seeing that there is more to this then what is going on here. Something's not right about it. And the more I investigate, the more I see of where somebody is, well, out to get me.

Ok, this incident happened last summer. I checked my archives to see if I wrote about it then and noticed I hadn't. Hmm. . . I know why I didn't really go into detail, it was an incident under investigation and I didn't want to really bring my blog into it. I've been trying to keep the blog out of the limelight while I'm here, hence one of the many reasons why I don't really talk about my job.

Anyway, I've got to write my case on this issue. If it resolves itself satisfactorily, I'll tell you a little more about it and leave it at that. But it is intriguing me on how many things are fishy about it. Either somebody got sloppy, or something is just not right.

I need to go talk to some people to find out more about it however. Because aside from training 'Joe', I have a feeling my rebuttal on this investigation is going to involve quite a bit of my time.


More On Kitty

Every now and then, I need to remind myself why I currently don't own any pets, though don't take me wrong, I want to get and keep a pet (I loved owning ferrets but they were not without their own issues), but my current position doesn't allow for it.

So last sunday I adopted a Cat. It is a very friendly kitty that I can tell if I keep for a long period of time I would become quite bonded too. The only problem is, well, I am renting a place at the moment from the government. The furniture is not mine. And the Cat will not stop scratching the furniture despite the fact that I have purchased several scratching surfaces to prevent the furniture from getting scratched. The kitty has his preferences, unfortunately I'm not here enough to enforce him in scratching the designated scratching surfaces instead.

*sighs* That's one beef.

The other is the fact that this cat is to damn social! As much fun as he is and how cute he is, this cat craves constant attention. He loves people, he is not remotely shy at all. He hates being locked up in the room upstairs. This isn't so much of a problem with him, except for he's alone a lot and being a social kitty, he probably needs more attention then somebody who works 12 to 18 hours a day can give. It's not fair to him.

And the other issue. I can't guarantee to myself that I can take this cat home with me. I'd love too, but seeing the other little issues, it doesn't look like its going to happen. It's not fair to the cat, and certainly not to me when I get really bonded to him, to keep him for nine months and then give him back. He is a very adoptable kitty, I'm pretty confident that he'll find a good home to somebody who can give him one, I just don't think I'm the person at this time.

I won't go into the hair or litter box problem, which I was anticipating but finding perhaps a little more of a problem then I thought it would be.

Well, already paid the pet deposit that I won't get back and bought a bunch of stuff that I think I've purchased for good. The local shelter on post does have a need for Foster Owners, for newborn kittens and their mommas, and cats that are in threat of going cage crazy. It's not a complete loss, I can probably still offer myself for that. Unfortunately, I think Joe the cat needs to go and find a better owner for him. I'm not in a position to own a cat. Maybe later, when I get my own place, I can manage an outdoor kitty like I did in my youth.

Sorry kitty, I did enjoy your companionship and little quirks while you were here.


Knob Creek

So my four day weekend is pretty much complete, I don't see myself really doing a whole lot more then I did. Tomorrow it's back to the grind once more.

However, one thing I did do (well, other then procure a cat) is go to Knob Creek and zero my AR15 (sort of) and plink with my 10/22.

The 10/22 is a fun little rifle btw. And its cheap as all hell to shoot because, well, a box of 500 rounds runs me about the same as a box of 50 for the AR15. I was doing the math. AR15 .556mm runs about .40 cents a round, while the .22 LR runs about .04, (the judge is more expensive yet, running close to a buck a round depending on the caliber I use, so that thing never gets plinked with) I think I will be plinking with the 10/22 a lot more then any other rifle or gun I got.

As I mentioned, somebody gave me a lot of crap for my 10/22 (I think I'm going to call it Pimp Daddy or something along those lines, quick, give me a Pimp'n name!) They stated, and I quote:
"Oh Lord.
I like the AR15, but what the hell happened to that 10-22? That's the most tragically pimped cheap rifle. . . The ridiculous scope, the "tactical" stock, the horrible bipod, this is the gun equivalent of a Honda with a coffee can exhaust and a giant spoiler."

I just love that quote. But to tell 'Mobile Al Glenfan', you don't like my rifle? Heh, I do! One, you're right, it's a cheap rifle! That's the point! Have you seen the cost of ammo these days? I got a rifle that's fun to shoot and also CHEAP to shoot! Plus, that 'ridiculous scope' saved my rear, otherwise zeroing the AR15 would have been a pain.

10/22? Full of WIN! Excessive accessorizing and All! But that's half the battle with a 10/22. They are MADE TO ACCESSORIZE!!!

I didn't get a shot with my AR 15, but common, it's an AR 15. I can throw up nearly any picture of me with an M16 and it will give you the same basic idea, except for it being, well, shorter and having a tactical stock (and a MAMBA sling!)

Like This, only shorter in stock and barrel, and fired by less privates

Meanwhile, Knob Creek is known for acquiring a lot of firearm enthusiasts, specifically during the Machine Gun Shoot they hold twice a year. However, you will come out and see a lot of guns that are pretty cool and most people will offer to let you shoot them.

Like this 50 Cal. It has the punch of a 12 gauge shot gun. I have fired the M2 50 Cal Machine Gun (now that is fun) and all, but there's something to be said about a gun that will leave a bruise. I fired one shot out of it, but I wasn't about to go try to take another shot, considering how expensive 50 Cal rounds are running these days. It was awesome he let me fire it the once! Pretty sweet, but I don't think I'll be saving up for one any time soon.

And of course, there's this baby.

This was an awesome gun to get obscure close ups of. It's so pretty! What is it?

It's a Vickers Machine Gun, a .303 Cal water cooled fully automatic butterfly trigger machine gun.

I'm not sure what I'm pointing at, but the owner was kind enough to let me fire a few rounds down range. This gun was pretty accurate too, it sent every round to the same exact location, which I can't say the same for the M2 fifty cal, though granted, we were sending the rounds a lot further down range, and there was this problem with the front leg of the tripod of the guns to sink further and further into the mud as we fired them. Fan-freakin'-tastic.

I just want to take pictures of components of these guns.

I will go back to Knob Creek again, take the 22 with me, maybe the AR15 as well, might leave the Judge (might take it too) and get some more plinking in.

One of my battle buddies, when I told him I went shooting this weekend, he specifically asked me if I had a lot of cats. Er, just one. He said that's how it gets started. Guns and Cats. I didn't realize the two were related?

The targets people use out there