Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
So one looks at a photo like this of older days when men knew war was hell and it was practiced as it always has been.
I am pleased that Trooper need not deal with the nonsense that goes on now. I cannot fathom having to find words to soothe his irritation at an order to withhold his wind.
"...audible farting has been banned for some Marines downrange because it offends the Afghans."
Seriously - what the fuck are we still doing bleeding into their Godforsaken sands? And fuck that We shit, anyway. I'm not suffering a bit. I am no isolationist but...fight it like men (and women - you better fight like men, too) or come the hell home.
All this pussification of war has me fed up. It is supposed to offend the opponent! It is supposed to be so damned offensive that he gives up and walks away!
One can only reflect on the difference in the sentiment above and the lack of sentiment in this.
(Though, I thought I saw a Tactical Noogie at 1:38m.) Real men, real wounds, real blood. You know, all those things the boys of today are being deprived of...
What in the hell is this world coming to?
Sunday, August 28, 2011
"At first, in dim light, I thought is was a Navy unit band, like the one I played in. These kids are pretty good.
Okay, the solo work was mostly stilted, and I'd have turned the drummer loose for more rim shots, but the section work was very good. Give them to me for a month and they'll match the original!! This stuff was like mother's milk to me, but not to these kids. They have done a fantastic job on it. I loved the trumpet gal's mouse!!
Trivia: Glen Miller made the soloists play the exact same solo each engagement. Oh well. Matched the recordings....."
(The link is from a Japanese movie, Swing Girls.)
I suspect I inherited a bit of my father's musical appreciation - I have a deep love of that time in history and the music thereof. Any Miller gets me "in the mood". I love the uniforms, the dresses, the planes and the movies. And I have always harbored that feeling...I knew this, then, intimately.
I'd been watching Normandy: The Great Crusade much of the morning, thrust into those hellish days and helplessly linking them to our lives today. Such privation, risk, and sense of duty and a willingness to give a name to the enemy - even derogatory names - and a media that was honest enough to present it...
We will never see its like again, I think.
I worry a great deal about what might be. Easy to do so when the house is empty and quiet as it is today. I have no answers, no predictions, nothing I can point to and say, "There. There is your proof. Now, go and get ready." But it is a feeling - as if Chamberlain is again muttering, "I've got it!" and we are all blindly cheering with a sense of safety and comfort. Meanwhile, somewhere else the Declaration of Independence is being trundled off to storage with, "...the Führer replied, 'Oh, don't take it so seriously. That piece of paper is of no further significance whatever.' "
Meanwhile, a stage is being designed and set upon which to host a final play. And we shall all be made actors, willingly or no, based simply upon our Facebook preferences and friends. After all, they can shut down an entire factory for wont of a slip of paper. You think it isn't that simple to compile evidence enough to place you behind bars?
The Holocaust was ignored by thousands within eyesight and earshot. You (and I) would slip beneath those waves with hardly a ripple. And perhaps that is my awful, selfish confession. I do not wish to go gentle into that good night.
Friday, August 26, 2011
Reminds me of Trooper and his buddy. Being the only girl around them can be rough. Amusing - but rough.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
And even that will be edited soon...Trooper is taking the last of the training the state demands to get him on the road with the - what is it they call the person? - dignitary? I don't recall the euphimism. At any rate, once that paperwork is stamped and filed, it is up in the air. Literally and figuratively. Some are gone for two weeks, catching perhaps 6 hours of sleep/day. Odds are he will become a preferred traveler - he is very good at what he does and he has done this sort of elevated work before. So I try to remember how it was when he was in the academy and I was a thousand miles away, writing, calling and just waiting. It was when I started this place as a kind of silent associate that would agree with me and offer mute comfort.
I look at all the housework that needs done, I try to soothe Kota as her eye irritation (vet appt pending) drives her mad, I deal with other familial issues, and consider that after work, I have to also find time to get upstairs and workout. The I have to get the dogs exercised in a heat that makes those options very, very few. In short, I feel rather put upon lately.
I know that it isn't true and even voicing it makes me seem and feel small. So many are going through so much worse. But I suppose it is the unending "sacrifice" that is getting to me - this constant keeping of the home fires burning thing. I can recall the same feeling when he was away and the wondering at when it would be my turn to be supported and uplifted as I sought my dream. But there is no dream...
What would I do if I could wave a hand and have it? No dogs to care for? Well, then go the companions that are all I shall have for a time. No house to keep? Foolishness. So then what? What is to be done that I cannot do if I would just do it already? Not a damned thing. But there is no one to help me do it. And that - that - is the problem. So what? I try to wrestle the frustration to a halt with that refutation that I hear in my mother's voice - so what? From the age of 16 to this day, decades on, I have always taken care of everything. And I do not know why I think it will suddenly change.
I was made strong so that I could carry those heavy loads. I was made smart so that I could see what needs done and how best to do it. I was mated with a warrior so that he could be away and not worry that all he loved would be at risk of loss or leaving. These are the things that I try to tell myself as I put one foot in front of the other. It isn't easy - all I want to do is pout and spout Why Me's and shovel in some chocolate. I want some damned sympathy and someone to do the ironing. And it isn't going to happen.
Time to put on those big girl panties - when they are out of the dryer - and suck it up. The support structure is ME. I am the pillars, my feet on the threshold and my hands holding up our small world. With some thought and care, it won't come crashing down. But I don't think that ironing is gonna get done.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Bold is read...
1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
6. 1984, by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
25. The Stand, by Stephen King
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley (One of my treasured possessions is a letter from her in reply to my inquiry of a movie being made one day - she was doubtful it would be possible or well-done. She was half right.)
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury (One of the very best books ever for dropping you into a mind - you feel as one with the character...)
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire (Mr. Maguire makes my top 4.)
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle (If you never have, read it NOW. It's important.)
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis
This, too, had me yearning...Halloween...
Of course, it might be just the thing for you any day of the week and we here do not judge. But I think I'll have Trooper making a few for me.
If only the chill would come...
Friday, August 19, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
A few emails later and the set was on its way. Deliciously weighty, wonderfully adorned, and with etchings to help keep the value, it was a terrific kindness - frankly, I'd have been tempted to keep them for myself and find something else. But therein you see the difference in our characters, no? Trooper demanded a central slice of shelf and they deserve it. The first book remains at bedside and I suspect he has been reading late while I sleep. Wonderful bloggy pals I have...
Meanwhile, since we're all trying to be very good, I thought it would be nice to have some healthy (okay, healthier) bread than store-bought. So I knocked out a few loaves today, one in a boule since Trooper requested it a few weeks ago. It's wheat which means you have to add brown sugar or molasses (just the way of it, I dunno why). I tell myself that the utter lack of anything else in there makes up for that sin. No preservatives, no colors, just good nutty wheat flour. I like that my pan is smaller - you can put 1/3rd of a recipe and get a more petite loaf which also means less calories per slice.
Now, if I could only get Kota to stop scratching at her face and rubbing the fur off...sigh...allergies, maybe. So it's been sleepy treats and benadryl to see if it passes. But I think we'll have to make a vet visit. Poor thing.
Monday, August 15, 2011
I have been giving thought to the "cleaning up" of this place - though we all know the internet is forever - in order to avoid putting my darling man in any bad light. But I don't know that it's possible. What I have said under any guise is easily found. But it might require that I tone down a bit my own "policies" and present more dog & gun material which can hardly bother anyone.
Trooper is in a fitness mode - has been since taking on the new AO - which I aid via the daily cooler of healthy food. But he has upped things with a contest between he and my stepdaughter - most weight loss in 30 days wins. There were protests about how he could lose faster, etc. He just waved them off as he doffed the ceramic vest he'd been running in - outside. (Sweaty freak.) She surprised us both by trying on the vest and then turning out (after her own cardio workout) 8 very nice man-style push-ups with it on. I was proud, I'll admit, of them both. I'd performed (badly) an ab workout the day before and found that what I'd had has been severely compromised. I assumed it was merely missing. No, that shit up and left, people. So that's on my list of to-do's to-day.
He has his eye on some projects and plans. And he'll be on the road a lot, too, with the rest of the team for the next year or so. Which means I'll bitch a lot about having to do all the dog duty. I won't mind as much in the winter - I cannot wait for anything under 95 degrees - and perhaps by then I will be in great shape, too.
I have a goal, too. I intend to not be in the same shape at the LaRue day as I was last month. It is surprising what one sees in the mirror everyday vs. what a camera shows. I knew I was drifting a bit to "stout" but lied to myself that underneath the inches the muscles remained. Hmph. No, it's P90X for awhile along with whatever else I can manage. At least I can cook! I don't know how people do it without knowing how to make a good meal...
So...it's on. The pressure, the athletics, the dogs, and the culinary wizardry. It will be an interesting year. If I can make it...
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Sunday, August 07, 2011
I'd coached his mother on what he ought to bring and what to expect - particularly the two large dogs. His dad had recently purchased him a slick little Mossberg .22 (he already had a neat ISSC) in order to let him get the "feel" of a rifle with the inexpensive .22 ammunition. They essentially sent him on the plane with only a backpack of necessities and issued a very large box with everything else he might need under separate cover. It was a superb solution, allowing him to have a generous amount of gear, clothes, and fun stuff without the issues of baggage at the airport.We started off with an expert archery lesson (which gave him his first wound of the trip - a nice string slap bruise that he would display proudly), a trip to the main office of DPS, fully kitting him out in western attire (Wrangler's, pearl snap shirt, boots, Hereford Low Crown hat) and attending a special full-auto shooting event which, sadly, would not let minors shoot full auto. Sigh...
He was, however, able to visit the LaRue tent. I cannot say enough for the patience, kindness and good spirit in which his trepidation was received. He was very worried about recoil, you see. The gentleman shot one round without it shouldered, the PredatAR barely moving. We'd been challenging the young man the entire time to stretch his limits and not worry - that we would not ask something he could not do. He looked to me - "take a deep breath and give it one try...there are only a handful of kids your age who have had this experience..."
He sat with a sigh - I knew his eyes were moist with his fear but he sat at the bench and shouldered it. Five rounds per gun per person, the sales rep asked him to shoot just one. After, he sat back, looked over his shoulder and called out, "Five rounds, please!" And, yes, he contacted with at least one of his last. DING! went the metal silhouette and I know that bell rang inside his soul, expanding his confidence in ripples. Of course, I took my turn - the OBR was calling my name. It's an amazing weapon and nigh unto impossible to miss with it. Again, those people were the very kindest, most professional folks I've met. Smiles all around...
Of course, he had to meet and ride along with a Special Ranger from the Texas Cattle Raiser group. This was perhaps the most impactful portion of the trip as it was just the guys - real men just doing manly things. He seemed to come home from it with a bit more steel in his spine. And then a Krav Maga class with a wonderful instructor that allowed him to get a taste of it - we think he'll want to continue it at home.
We took him shooting at a private range, allowing us to do what we liked. He handled his ISSC with confidence, and we added a scope to the new Mossberg, getting it sighted in. We had a bowling pin duel which Trooper won, of course, shooting his beloved first .22 rifle. He's had it since he was 8 or so and can shoot anything with ease. Toward the end of the evening, the young man asked if he could do rapid fire shooting as that isn't allowed at their range. I laughed and told him that he could do whatever he liked. He loaded up his mags and set to. At the end of the first mag was a perma-grin. At the end of the second was an evil cackle.
The date I had feared arrived: SeaWorld. I'd acquired appropriate footwear a week prior to break them in only to find they needed no such help! They performed superbly and I cannot recommend them highly enough. The same goes for the amazing Neutrogena Sunblock Stick. It was over 8 hours in the intense sun and heat...perhaps 4 different applications throughout the day prevented any sunburn! I fully expected a light glow but it did a terrific job - it was particularly well-met by the boys who always hate to have lotion-y hands after application. (It also fit in my pocket and was easy to have in hand anytime for reapplication.) I will be putting sticks in every vehicle, go bag, and range bag.
The park was surprisingly neat, clean, and well-managed. We opted for both the premier parking - no long hikes at the end of the day - and the all-day meal passes. The latter paid for itself with one meal and we didn't have to cart in a lot of supplies. The godson and I had a couple firsts - first coaster and first water slide. We both declined the Steel Eel (which Trooper said chewed his tailbone up and did not ride again) and the Great White (which the others rode at least twice). But the wussified Atlantis flume was just right for the us and he was proud to have accomplished the goal.
Trooper was enthralled with the main show, watching the orcas cavort. It really was a very nice production. By the end of the day, we'd strolled all over the place and eaten far too much junk - precisely what one is supposed to do there. At the start of the day I'd given the young man one of our Ranger Up rubber bracelets. I told him to ignore the naughty word on it (RTFU in short) but to use it as a reminder when he got scared during the day. I knew the companion (we'd recruited another boy to join us often during his stay) was afraid of nothing and it might produce a bit of tension. He smiled at the bracelet and would finger it often during the day, noting that he might have to put a death grip on it once or twice.
At the end of the long day, his heels burning from wet shoes rubbing raw spots, he held to the black ring, stating that he was "Rangering Up!" Not a complaint, just a slowing gait as we made our way back to the car. He asked me if he'd earned the right to keep it and I had to smile and admit that he had. (What his parents will say I do not know.)
We took him to the airport the next morning, and he donned the full regalia in order to better surprise his father. He loved the hat and boots - word is he was hardly recognizable to his father. And that when his father tried on the hat daggers flew from his eyes. Yes, he has taken on that Texan trait already.
I guess all this is just to relate how wonderful it was to take a young man who never experiences these sorts of challenges and to push his comfort zone out a bit. I know it made Trooper melancholy for a son. But we both know they don't come that way naturally - the boy is a very good one because his parents work very hard at it. Still, I know it bothers him, deep down. And I feel something of a failure in not being able to give him one.
When we were home and packing all the small clothes away to ship back I wiped away tears at the miniature boxers, the tiny rolls of socks...all his treasures stuck inside with a secret gift included - a Maxpedition bag for him to carry all his manly things in...
I suppose there is a kind of satisfaction that if everything goes to hell he will at least know how weapons work and have a rudimentary concept of coping with stress. We wish we could do more. We wish they'd move here! Until then we'll just have to make do with annual summer camps. They were already making plans for 2012 as we drove to the airport, me sitting in the back, knitting, and grinning.
This is how I like to remember the trip...one of my favorite photos...he has his mother's hands and his father's wild hair. And, now, memories that we hope will stay with him a long time.
Friday, August 05, 2011
Thanks, you mad fools, for making a weapon that let me his 5 out of 5 without even TRYING. I'll be seeing you in November at the official Lust Day.
(Yes, there is video evidence, and no - you cannot see it because I look horrid and refuse to bring reality to this little fantasy land. Just know that it includes Trooper cackling as each shot brought out that divine PING! of success.)
Addendum: Go here for a recent article. I see I misspelled the product name. Fixed that for ya.