Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Normally, when I get a lunch off, I come home, eat something and take a nap. Other times, I dabble online and see what kinds of interesting things are out there. Today I chose the second route, but instead of the typical mindless nonsenese I find I found all sorts of interesting things to read, some good, some bad, some just interesting. I haven't had time to sort through all of them yet to really figure out what I think, but mostly, the articles sparked my mind to think and start to spin again after a mindless day of class. Anyway, here were the most interesting ones I scanned over the last hour or so (plus one that's not an article, but I still thought about...)
  1. Texas Teacher's Union pension fund invested in the Chinese coal industry. Interesting...kind of sucks if you are a teacher who doesn't really support the idea but just didn't read where your money was invested.
  2. Twenty men arrested in NY at a truck stop for soliciting sex (or various other similar charges). The interesting thing about this article is that all twenty but one are married men. The one? Oh, he's a Priest.
  3. Family. I talked to my mom, my little sister and my Grandma last night for quite a while. I had intended on going to sleep sometime around seven but the phone kept me up until half past ten. My little sister was doing well and sounded happy as always. My mom was feeling a bit down as yesterday was my Dad's birthday. I talked to her for quite a while and we cried as I reminisced about my dad. It always makes me feel good to get it out every once in a while. After that, I spend over an hour on the phone with my Grandmother. She's such an amazing woman. She spent the last month with my Aunt in Tenessee who has cancer. Apparently she has two brain tumors now which they say give her no loner than Dec. but, as my Grandmother said, Aunt Janet just isn't letting go that easily, so who knows how long she'll hold on. Anyway...I could go on and on about how talking to those three has just been on my mind lately, but don't have the words for it. Point is...I miss them all and love them.

There was a lot more I read, but I can't think of it all right now and I'm running out of time. I have to get back to class to learn how to use more windows based programs (who'd have known that if I need help I can click the "help" button? Amazing how thorough military schooling is isnt it?) Oh, also, my car is fixed...hooray!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Funny thing...

The funny thing about being a Lieutenant is that there are consequences and expectations now. You see, for the last five years, while I was in the West Point system, there were consequences, but, barring a real screw up like breaking the honor code, the punishment was always something that was miserable, like walking hours, but temporary. Now, however, if I mess up things like I may have at school, the punishment isn't as miserable, but it's not temporary.

Here's an example, the rule here is, if you recieve three negative counseling statements, you automatically get a mediocre rating on your first OER. For those who don't know what an OER is, it is an evaluation of your leadership basically that happens every six months or when you change jobs. They all get put into a file that goes with you wherever you go, so, before you get to your new job, your boss reads the OERs and has some idea of who you are and what you've done. Now, if you come to the school I'm at and,'re late to PT once, you turn in an assigment a day late and you forget you have your cell phone in your pocket and it goes off while you're in the school house, that's three negative counselings. At that point, you get a mediocre OER for your very first one and now, the first thing your new boss knows about you before you even get there is that you have trouble following small rules and meeting minimum standards.

This didn't happen to me, but it did to a friend of mine and it kind of served as a wake up call to me that...suddenly, I'm accountable. Kind of a crazy feeling, but I guess at 27 yrs old, it was about time.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

SASO and COIN...

We have started a new block of instruction: Stability and Support Ops and Counter-Insurgency Ops. The gentleman who is the main teacher is a prior service Special Ops Officer and he is backed by another prior officer and a former Scottish officer who has served...pretty much everywhere the British have served in the last twenty years (which is...everywhere).

The main instructor has annoyingly long hair that kind of looks like a flock of seagulls flashback and wears cargo pants and army boots all the time, but tops it all off with a counter-culture (well, counter military culture) bowling shirt or other a-typical button up. He likes to think of himself as being "edgy" and normally starts the day off with some news articles to push our buttons. This means, in general, the articles either make the US look bad, the military look bad, or the war in Iraq look un-winnable. I understand why he does it, and I even respect his efforts, but knowing my classmates, I doubt such articles would really surprise us much as most of us are fairly well read and well thought out individuals. Maybe if we were the mindless automatons most people expect of soldiers, he would garner a reaction, but that's simply not the case.

What he did say that sparked some though was on the first day, when he asked, "If a problem that has no possible solution is really a problem?" I thought about it for a minute and he elaborated--if a problem, as you understand it, has no solution, then why bother thinking about how to "solve" it. For example, there is no "solution" to global warming (no amount of me doing anything will stop the globe from heating), however, there are solutions to smaller problems that may contribute to global warming (I can do something to stop myself from contributing. So, the real "problem" there wasn't global warming, but my actions. Make sense? Anyway, he went on from there to pose the question to us, Is there a solution to Iraq, or are we looking at the wrong problem?

It's was definitely nice to be challenged in a way I haven't since I left West Point a few months ago...I was beginning to feel my brain atrophy and I have exercise again!

Sinead O'Connor

I just re-watched Sinead O'Connor sing War on SNL from '92. I can't say I agree with what she did, tearing up the picture of JPII, however, one cannot listen to her sing that song, with her feminine voice full at once of both anger and frailty and not be moved. I would link to it, but something makes it difficult. It's on youTube though, if you care to find it. It also makes me long for an artist of similar passion and care about the world. Even if you don't agree with her, you have to admit that she's a far cry from the musical celebrities of today.

reality check

I have had people over almost three or four times a week to eat, drink and enjoy one another's company. I even bought extra plates, forks and red and white wine glasses to make it more enjoyable. The World Series has given us a lot of good times and the last couple of nights have been no exception. We've made italian chicken, queso dip, fresh guacamole, grilled bread w/ prosciutto, mozarella, tomato basil and avocaado (a must) and drank more than our share.

Last night there were maybe ten people in my room. My old roomate, Bill, who just arrived at Fort Huachuca was one of the newest additions. As the game went on, we drank and laughed and enjoyed ourselves, so, by the end, we all had mantained a nice level of intoxication for watching baseball. Local news followed the game and, as we were laughing and enjoying ourselves, suddenly a lady was on the television talking about soldiers returning from Iraq. Tucson just had a large return of soldiers and the news was covering their reunions with family. As the room grew quiet at the sound of her voice, the lady on television said, "It's a bitter-sweet reunion because we lost some soldiers we love over there and the unit will never be the same."

My friend Jeff broke the silence saying simply, "I don't want to die."

It was one of those moments where the reality of what we're studying and why we're here together hit home...instead of being academic or hypothetical, we realized that not only were quite a few of us going to Iraq or Afghanistan in six or seven weeks, but that any of us who do, Military Intel or not, run the risk of dying. Strange how, even here, sometimes we can forget that the war is a real thing happening to real people...right now.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

fire update two

Here is the latest map I found...again, I can't verify it's accuracy, but it's what I have.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fire Update...

Updates are fairly hard to come by about Fallbrook and the Rice Canyon Fire with any detail. Here are some sights I found with some seemingly decent information: (this one is just a discussion string, but with a lot of people contributing some details) the Fallbrook Village News has done some pretty recent updating too

Here's a map I found, but don't know how acurate it is:

Monday, October 22, 2007

Wild Fires

The wildfires in San Diego have now caused the evacuation of Fallbrook. My mom is fine, up in LA now, but I wonder about how all the other Fallbrookians I know are doing. I hope everyone is away and that everyone returns to their homes soon. Here is a good map showing what burned in 2003, what has burned now (as of 1300 today) and what is evacuated for anyone who is wondering.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

things are good.

Last night was Kelsey's birthday. We (Jacob, Kelsey and I) went to a restaurant. I wore a tie and Jacob a sport coat. I had duck for the first time, which was delicious. We also drank a bottle of italian wine, ate scallop and mango ceviche tacos and then drove home with the windows and sun roof open. The stars are remarkably beautiful and bright in Arizona. We had a really interesting and civil talk about politics and the state of the nation. When I got home, I had my neighbor come over and we drank some more wine and talked about why we joined the army and where we see ourselves in the future. It was one of those nights that seems to last forever and makes you wish it would. The music was great, the wine was delicious and the company...well...I couldn't have asked for better.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The end...

My reign of power is coming to an end. That's right kids, as of next week, I am no longer MI-BOLC class 07-009's exaulted class leader. No longer will I pass along release times for lunch or the end of the longer will I tell people they will get "negative counseling" for being longer will I try to show up first for briefings and class while standing awkwardly in the front. Thank God!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Beta Fish...

I won a Beta Fish tonight. I am naming it Alpha because I don't know if it's a man or a woman fish and I think it's ironic. I am also calling its tank, which is in reality just a small glass painted cheaply and talentlessly painted with a flower, "the Octagon". I figure it's a fighting fish, so it's fitting. Does anyone know if I feed it and how often to clean the Octagon? It has a bamboo shoot growing out of it, so I don't know if it's one of those bio-sphere type things or not. Oh, and if someone wants to fish-sit Alpha while I go home this weekend, that'd be great.

Oddly, I've already grown attached to's only been about an hour or so, but uh...I think we're getting along well. I will post pictures when I find my damn camera.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Simply Driving...

I was driving home tonight listening to Radiohead and had the windows down. The weather is beautiful here and the air is just dry enough that it's comfortable. I pulled into the parking lot and just couldn't stop, so I didn't...I drove around post for a good hour, windows down, sunroof open, listening to Radiohead and enjoying the sky. I pulled over for a bit and just looked at the stars. Sometimes it's shocking how dark the sky is out here. I picked up my friend Kels and drove around with her for a while, playing her some of my favorite music and enjoying the night. It's the simple things that make me happy here.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Be thou at peace...

David Lodwick
Be Thou At Peace...
I did not know him, but I have heard nothing but good. The class of 2007 has lost its first classmate, not to war, but to an accident. Too soon and too short...he will be missed.

Kasporov v. Ventura...

OK, again I venture slightly into politics. I was reading this article about Russian politics, specifically about how the chess player, Kasparov, is running against Putin. While it was an interesting article in its own right, I tend to be a bit Ameri-centric and relate everything to what I know (which is American politics). While the obvious comparison would be to Thomspon who is also running for President, I think the more adequate comparison would be to Jesse "the Body" Ventura running for office back when I was just out of high school. I figure, chess in Russia is about as famous (actually, probably more so) as wrestling is here. So, it kind of sucks...Russia gets a super-smart chess champion, we get...this guy.

(The caption that came with this picture read, "Jesse Ventura believes that Ryan Iverson's youth would prevail in a WWF Steel Cage Match.")