Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I am that cool

I just spent thirty minutes trying to find the Army Fight Song and changing my ringtone from California (yeah, the one from the OC) to this. Yeah...I'm that cool.

Monday, November 27, 2006

This Guy is Awesome.

If I die, which I doubt I will...I want to be like this guy.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Crap Shoot...

That's what graduation is. It's becoming painfully clear...not clear, it was always clear, it's becoming more real now, that graduation is a lottery wherein one or more of us will die. I realize that's morbid and I should probably find a more tactful way of saying it, but it's true. I keep hearing of Old Grads who have died, and not from the class of 1997, but the class of '03, '04, '05...

It's a strange thing to know that, after graduation, it's not a matter of if, but when and who will die. And, while I pray and hope it's no one, I know that will not be the case. I read on my friend Vivian's blog that another of her classmates had died. She wrote the following:

To my most favorite redhead, I miss you already, Amos...


DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

1st Lt. Amos C. R. Bock, 24, of New Madrid, Mo., died on Oct. 23 in Baghdad, Iraq, from injuries suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. Bock was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.

For further information related to this release the media can contact the 101st Airborne Division public affairs office at (270) 798-9966.


1st Lt Amos Bock of 4th Battalion, 320th Field Artillery, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, stands guard in the stairway of an apartment building in east Baghdad early August 3, 2006. REUTERS/U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Keith W. DeVinney, Combat Camera/Handout (IRAQ)



The last time I saw you, you told me this, "As of tomorrow I won't see the first of one of the many great persons that I have met here, until sometime in the distant future. To that person take care and keep smiling."

I'll see you down the line, Amos.

I looked up 1LT Bock on Myspace and his page is still up. He died on OCT 23. On OCT 22, his friend and classmate wrote,
Only a few more weeks...Nash-Vegas.

I don't know why, but the fact he's on myspace just makes it even more real to me now. Only the day before, he and his friends were planning a vacation trip. I didn't know LT Bock, but only three years ago, he was sitting where I am, writing the same papers and worrying about the same's crazy.

Baby Eli...

Due in January, the first pictures of my future Godson:

I know he looks like he's giving you the finger in the first...and looks kind of tad-poleish, but he'll grow out of it, I promise. It's neat...I've never seen a baby before it's born that I'm gonna know as a real person too...crazy!


Power Curve

Here are some people and quotes from their blogs or just a note from me explaining what they are doing with their lives. I think I'm behind the power-curve.

I’ve been forced to re-think what I’m doing with myself and why and where I want to end up. This is something I usually only consider with enough seriousness to justify being happy with the status quo. But now, maybe because school kind of sucks and I’ve heard about all these amazing places my housemates have been, I really feel like I’ve been thinking ‘inside the box’ for a long time and need to break out of it. I’m just not sure how. I think a good start might be taking some kind of job outside of anything school related - I’m leaning towards being a bike mechanic at the UW bike shop. I also feel like I’d be more productive if I just scheduled more activities for myself so I won’t be able to waste time.

Living in Madison going to Grad School and writing papers about cows and fields.

I think I have found a way to get my thesis research done by following farmers around. Participant observation, it's called. God bless sociology.

She's an editor!
I just received my first press credential to attend the preview days at the LA Auto Show at the end of the month. This is only exciting because they’re called credentials and because I might get to spend a day seeing cool cars rather than writing about the fuel economy of the Ford Taurus. I might get to attend a press conference, even. However, it will mean spending a full day joined at the hip to my goofy boss. I like the guy, but he’s got this kind of fringey, frat-boy humor that just doesn’t fly. Plus, not to deride a stereotype, but he’s definitely an inch or two shorter than me, and I just can’t help …looking down on him. Har.

Anyway, it’s cool. I’m a member of the press. Not having gone to journalism school or anything, I still don’t feel like I can call myself a journalist. I’ve only worked as one for six months as of last week. But, I am an editor. That’s actually my title, and I feel proud of that.

paints (and sells) paintings like this:


He won a Rhodes it doesn't really matter he posts multiple times about video games.


San Diego's "It Girl"

The sad part is this test is only the first part of four that I need to pass in order to get my CPA. After I graduated from college, when my mind was still fresh with all the accounting knowledge from my degree, I should have buckled down and started studying to get this thing out of the way. But instead, I decided to run an active campaign for most social and popular girl at work and spent the last two years going to happy hours and dating co-workers.

But now I’m onboard with this whole serious career thing. I’m done casually dating co-workers, now I’m seriously dating one. (See how I’ve matured?) And I have been known to turn down a happy hour or two in the past weeks. (I know, my co-workers are as shocked as you are.) So now comes the time that I get serious. It’s a commitment to my career, as annoying-IT-auditor in my office always says.

Thanksgiving Shopping

I went shopping with my mom before leaving on Saturday as I had to buy some shoes. I didn't find the shoes, but I did find two collared shirts with no pockets (slim-fit!), two thermal undershirts, a pair of jeans and thermal hoodie. Winter, here I come.

While I was there, I went into the Gap, something I've avoided for years. Because of sweatshop labor, for years I didn't buy anything at the Gap, Banana Republic or Old Navy. Sure, there are other reasons not to shop there (most often over-priced and cheaply made clothing being two), but that was my reason. I'd looked into it before I went to the mall because I wanted a pair of Morrisson Jeans. Anyway, I found all this stuff about Gap being more socially responsible (see here and here) and made the command decision to buy stuff at the Gap if I so desired.

They have this new campaign called Red or something like that where half the proceeds of any of the red stuff you buy goes to fight Aids in Africa (I stress "fight" because when I went with Rhodes Scholar Tim to buy his new I-pod and he got the red one because ten bucks "went to Aids in Africa" I made fun of his imprecise English and said that I didn't support Aids in Africa and was, in fact, against Aids in Africa). I did notice most of the stuff was made in China and I thought of this article which pointed out China's crack down on Aids workers in Africa. I guess, if nothing else, it shows the dilema I've spoken of often...that basically we're screwed when we try and help anything in the world.

Monday, November 20, 2006

My Friend's Smart...

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present, my friend, Rhodes Scholar Tim.

Airports Rock!

OK, not so much. Last night, after our concert, we went to our sponsors houses in Indiana. I can say, this is the first time I've really been in "middle America." In one night, I ate a meal where everything came soaked in gravy, I was invited to their family bible study and everyone I met was rotund. I sat down to finish my project for Environmental Engineering on the formica table in the kitchen while the twins ran around the house trying to memorize thier bible verses for class tomorrow. Ten minutes later, I felt sick and couldn't concentrate, so I decided to shower. As I was showering, I got sick...not figuratively, literally. I jumped out of the shower and barely made it to the toilet in time to throw up my breakfast, lunch and dinner, which I could taste coming out in reverse chronological order.

I quit the project and tried to sleep off the sick, but instead woke up every fifty minutes to run to the bathroom and throw up again. It was the full body kind of heaves where your face gets red and pale at the same time, your eyes cry, you sweat and shiver at once and, for some reason, don't ever feel better.

We woke up at 0445 to go to the airport only to find out plane didn't work. We turned around and disembarked the plane that was supposed to leave at 0800 to board one that left at 1050 instead. We split between two planes and the second group was supposed to arrive at 1400...they are now delayed until 1650 and we have to wait here for them. Awesome. I love airports. I love being sick.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Notre Dame and Thanksgiving

I am at Notre Dame right now for a glee club concert. Here are some high and low decide which is which:
  • I'm missing three papers that are due the day I get back and have no internet to research.
  • We did a combined concert with their glee club, who are very good.
  • West Point changed the rules and you can't drink when you are on trips with the school regardless of how long the trip is, or to where.
  • Army is favored to lose by about a trillion points.
  • I hung out with cadets all night. (you haven't lived until you've seen USMA Cadets attempt to flirt with the civilian's amazingly sad)

Onto Thanksgiving. One of my favorite officers, COL Zupan, always hosts the liberal/athiest/jewish cadets at his house for the holidays. He did the "Godless Easter" last year, and this year is doing a celebration of "Those Who Saved the Pilgrims" on Sunday after Thanksgiving where his wife will cook Indian Tacos and venison steaks. I love that man. Can't wait to get back to school to have a drink with him.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Is This Serious???

I just stumbled upon the Senates "Majority Fact of the Day" from the committee on Environment and Public Works. Todays "fact" is a rebuttal of...a children's book! Yes, this is what our Senate is working on. To be fair, the book is poorly drawn, but still...

If you read their rebuttal, you'll notice that they quote themselves in another "Majority Fact of the Day" where they quote a French Socialist Scientist as capping a "year of vindication" for skeptics of global warming. Ha ha, well...those darn French were wrong when it came to Iraq, but they were sure as hell right when it comes to Global Warming. Or, so the Republicans will continue to believe. I can't wait until the Democrats are in charge again.


I read something in my homework that strikes a chord. Here is one of those quotes from my reading of Military Art:
Modern wars often begin with a wave of patriotic outpouring that temporarily drowns dissent. Sooner or later, however, the dissent resurfaces, and wartime government must master it or perish.

Monday, November 13, 2006


I have a decision to make soon that I could use some help on from those of you who know me well. The Army is making the following offer (which I will explain as simply as possible to avoid swaying the reaction one way or the other).
  • As it stands, I owe the army five years of Active Service. After those five, I owe three of either Active Duty, Reserves (one weekend a month, two weeks a year, with the chance of being called back to Active Duty again) or Inactive Ready Reserve (this basically means I'm out of the army, but they can call me back if they need me).
  • If I offer three years additional (making it eight active the day I graduate), the Army will guaruntee me fully funded Grad School wherever I can get in.
  • After 8 yrs. I choose if I want to get out, with no grad school, or stay in and go to grad school.
  • If I go to grad school, I would then owe another six years afterwards...making my total commitment, from the day of graduation 16 years. (basically, retirement, since I already have three years under my belt)

Now, the thing is basically this: If I choose to do it, I am really only committing myself to an additional 3 yrs for the option to go to grad school. So, for those of you who know me, what would you say? Feel free to email me (I'm pretty sure you all have my email address...if not, it's on the blogger profile I think) and let me know what you think. For those of you in Grad School and doing it on your difficult is it? Is it worth it to get it for free...or, at least, to have that option when the time comes? A lot of you know me well enough to know the gravity of what I'm actually weighing here, so let me know.

Late Addition:

I should also explain the other reason for staying in for three more years. After five years in the Army, I will not have had company command. I will have been in staff positions and, with any luck, may have commanded a platoon (which is about thirty people, give or take). Company Command, however, involves a lot more. You get four platoons and all the resources attached. It's when you first get to be a genuine "leader" in terms of what we've been studying here for four years (five if you count my year at prep). So, do I get out before I have that opportunity, or do I stay in?

When Food Rules...

This Sunday, I went to Brunch with Bonnie, a friend from High School. We went to a small Italian restaurant somewhere in south Manhattan. I couldn't find it again if I had a map. There were six of us around a small wooden table and we drank Mimosas by the pitcher. I had three "meals" including (but not limited to), truffle egg toast, prosciutto with fruit, and egg with thinly sliced pork (they said something about a sauce and random things about how the pig was raised, but I didn't know much about that). We stayed for about two hours talking and drinking and was amazing.

I also picked up two avocadoes when I was out. I ate one at breakfast in a breakfast sandwich and the other is currently added to my Turkey, Bacon and Swiss Cheese wrap. While I am no argricultural guro like Alex who can appreciate the variety in a lemon, I can tell you that I haven't had the unique taste of a ripe avocado in far too long. And, as I sit here listening to Neutral Milk Hotel and eating my wrap...I'm pretty damn happy.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Mexico City V. the US

I thought it interesting that, while Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin and Colorado all just passed laws banning "civil unions" for gays, Mexico City just passed a law allowing them. Add to the list South Africa which is legalizing gay marraige to the list of Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, and Spain who allow gay marraige altogether and you have a whole host of places more tolerant of the United States. How sad is that...just a decade after the end of apartheid and South Africans now lose rights to come to the US. Well, at least we know Britney and K-Fed's marraige is protected from the gays.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Engineering Majors Shouldn't Talk Politics...

When two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly halfway between them. It is possible for one side to be simply wrong.~ Richard Dawkins
I had a teacher today, a military science teacher, who wanted to talk about the law of war. He wanted to talk about the issues surrounding torture and the rules of war derived from common practice and the geneva conventions. It was one of those conversations we often have here where we weigh the moral and ethical implications of our actions in real word scenarios and ask "what would you do?" This time, however, the teacher didn't really seem to have as firm a grasp on some things as I'd like for him to.
You see, he seems to fall into that current category of false thinking that many "creation science" people believe in of "teach the controversy" wherein all one must do is show that there is another side to an argument, no matter how valid that side is, and then both must be considered as equals. He would continually say really outrageous things like, "Water boarding is no longer legal, but does that mean we shouldn't do it?" followed by "there's a lot of debate about that." I wanted to yell, or stand up and say something, but there's no convincing people like him. By virtue of the fact that there's "debate" (ie that some people, who the courts and the legislature and the geneva conventions have shot down, still want to do it, there is "debate") and, therefore, we must consider their side.
It's a complete and total misunderstanding and bastardization of an academic approach to things where you present both sides and weight the arguments on their merits. This is true and neccessary to gain an education, but, by dressing up demonstratably false positions as "one side" to an argument and then claiming that argument is equal to the opposing side (again, think "creation science") you miss the point completely.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Peace Train ~ Cat Stevens

This song came on and I thought it little bit of optomism:

Now I've been happy lately, thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be, something good has begun

Oh I've been smiling lately, dreaming about the world as one
And I believe it could be, some day it's going to come

Cause out on the edge of darkness, there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country, come take me home again

Now I've been smiling lately, thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be, something good has begun

Oh peace train sounding louderGlide on the peace train
Come on now peace trainYes, peace train holy roller

Everyone jump upon the peace train
Come on now peace train

Get your bags together, go bring your good friends too
Cause it's getting nearer, it soon will be with you

Now come and join the living, it's not so far from you
And it's getting nearer, soon it will all be true

Now I've been crying lately, thinking about the world as it is
Why must we go on hating, why can't we live in bliss

Cause out on the edge of darkness, there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country, come take me home again

Branch Night...

We got our branches on Sunday night. That means I know what job I'm going to have now...pretty sweet. Looks like I'll be going Military Intel again. We all got our envelopes with our branch insignia inside and then listened to some speeches while holding them unable to open them until instructed. When we were finally able to do so, there were tears and cheers, a lot of hugging, and a lot of beer. It's wierd...I'm one step closer to really being in the army again and actually being an Officer. Crazy. Here are some pictures:
Me and Ms. Mary waiting to open our envelopes...

Me, Tim and Liz excited about our branches. Tim's gonna be a pilot.

Me, Doobs and the General...The Commandant...the man who drowned a deer with his bare hands (no, I'm not kidding)

Me, Greg and Pat...Pilot, Infantry, Military Intel. This was right before the blood pinning began. Now I have holes in my chest and a slight throbbing when I lift my backpack...but it's well worth it.

Go Vote!

If you haven't voted yet, go do so...we still have a chance to save ourselves.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Affirmative Action

Over the last three days, I have had three interesting conversations about affirmative action. It seems I should explain with whom those conversations took place since where they come from really influences what they think (as well as myself, I guess...but you all already know me). Both are sons of graduates, one of who was a lawyer, the other a career military man. The son of a military man is one of my best friends and was raised in military communities, the other is planning on going to medical school after graduation.

The medical school kid is the first I had a conversation with. He brought up, and I don't remember how, that he did not feel confident going to a black female doctor because he saw the way that black females in particular were given preferential treatment getting into medical school, and thus, were not as qualified as other doctors. To him, this meant that it was rational to be wary of all black female doctors because they had not necessarily proven themselves the same way other medical school graduates had. I pointed out that preferential treatment to get into medical school had nothing to do with one still had to accomplish to graduate medical school, which is where the real proof of ones competence came from, but to little avail.

The second conversation was last night. Me and my friend (the son of a military man) were talking about politics and life in general (and, I should point out my arm still hurts from a nasty arm bar he put me in later...but that's a whole other story). He said that he didn't feel it was right to give one race preferential treatment over another simply because of past injustice done to a group, and that if the rules are applied equally, then everyone has an equal chance at success. I can see why it's easy for him to take this stand as he's grown up in military communities, which are as close to real meritocracy as one might get. So, due to his experience, hard work is rewarded across the board and color, gender etc. do not play into the decision making process. I used the interment of the Japanese to try and explain my position that if the government took active steps toward suppressing and adversely affecting a group of people, the government owed it to that same group to take active steps toward redressing their grievances. Back to the Japanese--according to his logic (I pointed out) after we interred the Japanese, took their property, education, land and rights, as soon as we freed them from the camps, they should have had an equal chance at success as anyone else and were owed nothing by the government. That seems, on its face, to be false.

This morning, I was at breakfast with the first kid again (the doctor-to-be). We were talking about his med school applications to Duke, UConn and Penn and what his chances were. He pointed out that his dad was friends with GEN Foley, who he knew from his lawyerly work in the military, and that the GEN would be writing him a letter of recommendation for Duke, where he now teaches (or something similar...I forget the details). He also said that his great uncle has some buildings named after him at UConn, which should help his chances there, and that his father sat on a board of directors with a guy who now sits on the admissions panel at Penn.

I kept my mouth shut and laughed silently to myself. The kid who had argued that he didn't want to go to a black female doctor because she didn't do it all on merit was now taking for granted that he would have easier access to the top medical schools in the country because of who his dad and great uncle had worked with thirty years before.

Level playing field indeed.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Last Week...

Last week was crazy. We hosted a conference here at USMA and there were about six of us who worked our collective ass off to pull it off. It started Sunday morning and went through Thursday morning, with little to no break in between. I think it was a decent learning experience for me though...particularly about delegation and follow through. Hopefully I remember all the crap I learned though, instead of flushing it like I normally do.

I was kind of the voice of the conference...the guy who made announcements and took care of little business like introductions or if people needed help, directing them to the right place...which made for a strange atmosphere. It seemed all the delegates knew me whereas I knew only a handful of them. On the last night, when we had our banquet, people I didn't know kept coming up to shake my hand..."Adam, you did a great job, thanks" and things like that. I guess it felt good to know my work had been appreciated, but it was still strange.

On Halloween, I went to the Superintendant's house. His basement is supposedly haunted, so he invites some cadets to spend the night in there. Me and Chris showed up in costume, as that was an option, dressed as new cadets. We had on short shorts, white t-shirts, low quarters and dress socks pulled up to our knees. Thinking everyone else would be in costume too, we both felt a little silly when we walked in and all the other cadets were in khaki's, polo's and loafers. The Supt. offered us each a beer, which we accepted, and joined the group...drinking beer in our costumes looking a little foolish.

The night got better and we watched scarey movies and went to sleep in the supposedly haunted basement. The basement reminded me of the haunted room in my Aunt's, if you want haunted, that one is for real. My imaginary friend Steven used to live in it and the playhouse in their backyard. Damn, I was a freaky little kid wasn't I?

Next week is looking similarly stellar as I have a meeting on Saturday, a trip section on Monday (along with two meetings...which I have to cancel) and a presentation on Tuesday...bleh. Until then, enjoy these pictures of me taken last night:
First, I poured Mary and I some beer...

Then Robbie and I sat drinking responsibly and looking debonair...

I saw some good old friends...

And then I started to do some really cool things, like this...

And, in the end, me and Kev-O showed how really cool I am...

I would like to point out, however, that despite this pictures, I didn't drink all that much as I'm learning to drink in moderation...I just take stupid looking pictures most of the time. Oh...and I guess that means my "quitting" drinking didn't last a week. Sorry Chuck.