Archive for the 'Administrative' Category

Two New Features: Fantasy and Reviews!

June 27, 2009

First of all, I will be posting even more Berlin photos. Having received 3 comments in emails and Facebook messages about my Berlin photos means I broke a personal record of feedback on anything. The previous record was 0. Technically, or mathematically, 3 is infinitely more feedback than 0, so I will post more. Thanks for the encouragement!

Second. I have been reading some websites and magazines about writing. In the past week, the Staff Judge Advocate I work for has given me an award and a farewell speech, and both times he mentioned I was a writer. Well, the last time I wrote a whole short story was almost four years ago, and the last time I wrote a complete poem, and not just a stanza or two, was three months ago. The advice I’ve received from the different sources can be summed up as thus: the more you write, the more you want to write. This is the definition of a catch-22 phrase (which is also a book I need to read, apparently) so I will try to write more on this blog in two ways.

A new feature for this blog will be reviews. From now on, regardless of whether I read a book, play a game, see a movie, or consume any other kind of media that I don’t create on my own, I will write a review of it here on this blog. Reviews are incredibly subjective, and except for facts like play control in a game, number of pages in a book, who acted in a movie, and what the track list on a CD is, there is no single objective criteria to base how relatively worthy a piece of media is. Everyone will have their own personal bias that either engenders them or precludes them from liking some aspect of a media based experience. If you follow me on this blog, I assume you know me well enough to understand what kind of tendencies I have when it comes to entertainment and education, so you should apply that filter to anything I write. You should probably already be doing this, in fact.

When you see a review for a video game, and you don’t play video games, it will be marked such so you don’t have to waste your time. The same goes with music, movies, books, TV shows, etc. I do not plan on replacing any of the websites like Gamespot.com, et.com, imdb.com, or any of the other media review conglomerations, but if you save yourself $25 by not buying that hardcover book, movie, or video game I recommended against, then this site will be worth it. And, inversely, if you decide to try something you normally wouldn’t because I did recommend it, and enjoy it, then I letting me know that fact would make me more pleased that getting paid to do this ever would (depending on the amount).

The second feature, besides the occasional life updates and the aforementioned reviews I put up on this blog, will be my starting of another blog where I will write a book. The best, and most inspirational, idea I read was several authors who wrote a book through blog posts, committing themselves to a certain number of words per day or week. I think this will be the avenue to go. I will let you know what the blog is when I finish setting it up, but here is a short synopsis: the story will be about a group of adventurers living in a fantastical world out to save the world from an unknown threat that comes from the lands below the ground they walk on. Basically, I will be writing out one of my Dungeons and Dragons campaigns of old, and hoping to have more than 10 people read it when I’m finished. Another piece of advice I read was as follows, “Even if it’s bad, write continually. Eventually you will have enough material to choose a somewhat good story from amongst all the crap.” That one was not quite as inspirational, but it was truthful.

Bear with me if you’ll read this stuff, and wade through the crap if you can. Provide feedback, help me polish and give me ideas as long as you know you will only get a passing thanks in the dedication if this book ever gets published. It’s the thought that counts, right? So then that will be thanks enough, instead of us having to split the non-existent royalties check 100 different ways.

And, as always, let me know if you have any other ideas. Thanks.

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Clearing Papers

June 20, 2009

Today I am proud to admit that I shammed a bit.  Of course, I only did so after I cleared it with my boss, but it felt good to not have to do everything the rest of the office is doing for a day.

I picked up my “clearing papers” yesterday, which means I am in the last 10 working days of my stay in the Army.  For the next two and a half weeks, I will be closing out old accounts at places, coming off duty rosters, wiping my name from systems, and handing out dozens of copies detailing that I am leaving the Army.

This might be exciting enough for just one post to my blog, but wait! There’s more!

Also, I posted most of the pictures I took from Berlin on my Flickr page, available here and over on the left side of my blog. Pay attention to the skies behind the buildings I was taking pictures of, they are simply amazing. I don’t know what I did to my camera, but it took some much better pictures than I am used to for the four days I was in Berlin. Perhaps Berlin knew I was coming, so they arranged for good meteorological conditions for me.

Possibly not. When I got there, I started taking pictures right out of the Hauptbahnhof, noting that there were dark skies coming. I started towards my hotel, about one and a half miles away, but got caught in the rain. I put on the hooded windbreaker I brought as the extent of my rain gear, and then ran all the way to the hotel. I was drenched, soaked, and sloshing when I turned the last corner to my hotel. Magically, the rain immediately stopped and I walked into the hotel looking like a drowned dufus. If I had just stood under an overhang for 15 minutes, the whole thing would have passed me by and I would have been much more dry.

It didn’t rain the rest of the time I was there, so if that’s what it took, then I’m ok with it. I dried off with the hair dryer attached to the wall in the room, and headed out to take some of those amazing pictures you’ll see in my Berlin album.

Terminal Leave Approved

June 5, 2009

This is not the plane back from Iraq, so I can discuss times that I will be travelling to come back to Texas.  If there is a terrorist out there dead set (suicide bomber pun?) on specifically coming after me, well, I feel more sorry for him having wasted all that effort since I am not that key of a player on the world stage… yet.  Perhaps this is like a Terminator thing, and Al-Qaeda is sending a bomber back in time to prevent my future self from bringing about world peace and an Utopian society.

I digress.  The important thing, today, is that July 7th, 2009 I will be taking my (hopefully) last government flight across the Atlantic ocean, and arrive in DFW International Airport to stay.  I won’t be visiting for just two weeks.  I will be staying to take up residence and work.

I know I sound excited, but the moment is somewhat bittersweet to me.  This means much more time spent with my son, which is, of course, the best thing; but I will be leaving a type of life where I excelled and agreed with me.  I can honestly say, if it wasn’t for familial concerns, I would have made a career out of the military, been successful, and, most importantly, enjoyed it.  Everyone is hesitant to leave a comfortable, rewarding life for the relatively unknown. 

Unfortunately, I do not have the time or resources to explore the vast realms of possibility, so I will take this good news and enjoy being able to stay in Texas for long enough to feel like a resident again.

March

March 5, 2009

I am trying to make this updating easier by integrating a few things. My facebook, this blog, Flickr for pictures, YouTube for videos, Twitter, Myspace (least updated), and email should all be tightly integrated now. If I update one of these sites, it should update the others. This might prevent another 3 month drought.

This made me type a very long rant and ramble about privacy, social networking, and other modern technological concerns, but it has been said better by other people.

So, at the risk of my privacy, here are links.

YouTube (will repost old videos of Luke eventually)

Twitter

Flickr

Guten Appetit!

Hallo, Deutschland!

December 9, 2008

I arrived in Germany and am doing well. I got my barracks room, but I don’t have internet hooked up right now. I am released each day around 10 or 11 in the morning after attending some briefings and doing some necessary paperwork. I already got stuck with a couple of needles too.
 
I and other people have already done the “Wait, how do you coordinate these civilian clothes” and “where’s my weapon” type moments. It was, and has been, in the mid 30’s temperature wise, and has been raining at nights. It is so very cold. No snow right now, although it already has snowed some before we got here. I have never been so happy to see wet, cloudy weather in all my life.
 
I already ate a cinnamon roll at Cinnabun, but have not taken a break from working out yet. I worked out yesterday, and will be working out today as well. My barracks room is right across the street from the battalion HQ, in the same building as the company HQ, across the street in the other direction from both the DFAC and brand new Gym, and the library and work is across post, which means less than a 5 minute walk. It is great to be on such a small post sometimes.
 
I feel good and will let you know when I get internet set up at my barracks room, but the way German customer service is, if it takes more than a couple days, I’ll just wait until I come back to Germany to get it set up right.  
 
I will write again soon. Let the others know who are not reading this knowhow I am doing. Thanks.

Oldie but Brokie

September 9, 2007

Well, apparently I broke my website. I don’t know how, really, but I’m pretty sure it’s my fault. It’s ok. I didn’t have anything up there that wasn’t reproducable since I use something else for the movies and the pctures. That is one benefit of the digital age: that a single fire will seldom wipe out a complete treasure trove of memories. Not that I started a fire either, but you know, metaphorically.

In the meantime, I will be using this to blog about things and then I will be trying to get the old blog up and running again. Keep your fingers crossed though, I might not be as capable as a website administrator than I think I am. I mean, I did break it once already.

I will be out of the loop for the internet for a couple of weeks just because I have to turn off the internet here at my apartment tomorrow. I have it at work, but I can’t abuse it since it’s the Government’s resources. If I want to preach the benefits of fiscal responsibility and limited government, then I need to be a good custodian of your tax dollars. I pay some too, but trust me… it’s not as much as you pay.

This is especially true since my entire 15 months of tax free income is set to begin soon. Of course, I can’t say anything specific since I’m part of the force going, but if you read the newspapers or google for about 30 seconds, you’ll know as well as I do when I will be going. I think National Security held up a little better before the internet, but that’s not really my problem to solve right now.

I will post the mailing address up here some time soon, that way you can all send me or my unit care packages. Anything I don’t use or eat I will pass on to the less fortunate soldiers who do not have as much of a fan club as I do.

In the meantime, please be good to each other and I look forward to reading your emails once I get some more access to the internet at an undisclosed location and at an undisclosed future time.

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