Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Well, Cthulhu month is over for another year (did you visit Illini6 to see our friend/fiend daily?). It's time to put the little guy to bed (he looks tired anyway).

Hey, I just realized that Cthulhu month (October) almost coinsides with Ramadan. I wonder if Cthulhu only eats souls after sundown during Ramadan?

Well, I'll have to ask him next year, it's fhtagn-bye time now.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

An Embarrassment of Riches

Well, more like an embarrassment of assistance. As is now tradition, I am going to have to have a major dental procedure (a tooth removed) before I deploy. 1997, I had a couple of molars go south just before leaving - two filings (not too bad). 2004, one of the same molars had to have a root canal - days before mobilization. Today, I had a root canal on another molar only to discover that there was a crack all the way down, and out she'll have to go.

Boo hoo for me, right? Nope.

I have ceased all complaint because of the treatment (no pun intended) I received from my dentist, and the specialists I was referred to... my dentist knows I am deploying very soon, so she called up the other docs and now they won't take more than what insurance will give them. That adds up, trust me on this. Oh, and they all rearranged their schedules on very, very short notice. And after all that they go and thank me for my service.

'Tis humbling it is...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Multiple Choice

I made it through Joint Guard/Joint Endeavor (1997) without a scratch - no big deal, it wasn't that dangerous. I made it through Operation Enduring Freedom (2004-2005) without getting hurt - despite efforts to do so by some bad people. So, how did I end up bleeding like a late dynasty Romanov prince?

a). Rugby

b). Military Training

c). Pumpkin carving

"C", naturally, is the correct answer. I'm not even sure how it happened (I remember telling the kids to watch out, and moving everything to a safer distance) but now I have to mend the left leg of a pair of pants, and go change the gauze on this cut...

Monday, October 22, 2007

No Book This Year

Looks like I will have to bow out of NaNoWriMo this year. My November is busy. Sunday I met with Major John's unit (my former unit) and their families.

I had told the unit that I would be willing to do anything to help out their family assistance (Family Readiness Group, FRG) and when I got there they said that I had volunteered to lead the FRG. Oh well, if MJ can go overseas for his country the least I can do is help out.

If it's as intense as they are making it out to be so far I will have gone a long way towards assuaging my guilt about not going myself, and I'm going to have to put my next novel on hold.

You can read excerpts from my first two NaNoWriMo novels at Illini6. I am going to go ahead and try to send Guya Principal to a publisher though.
I, or maybe WE (if I can get a volunteer) will be putting a website together for the deployment and if it is allowable I'll put a link on this blog.

BTW, I think Sine Qua Non means: Sine (a wave, like a sine wave), Qua (what? or more precisely, "Wha?") and Non (none, duh) or "What, no wave?" I add a silent "Dude" after that myself.

Monday, October 15, 2007

News of Afghnistan - Check it out

RTO has us covered - see what I mean here.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Thoughts on Mobilization

This is my third time through the process - 1997 as an Individual Ready Reservist, 2004 as a Guardsman going with my entire unit, and now as a Guardsman going with part of my unit.

I see some patterns that I would share:

The Federal end of the process works well. The State portion, not so much (there are soldiers at my unit that have to strive mightily to make up for this). Why is this? I suppose that the State is a split personality - they have State missions, readiness and such to worry about, while Uncle Sam's Green Machine just concentrates on one thing (i.e. the unit that is in charge of the area I will be training at before deploying has that one job, and everyone there full time). Part of it is fiscal (the State has to wait to tap into Federal money until after our orders get published) and part is experience (my State has sent some units to Noble Eagle, OEF and OIF - but situations have varied between them).

When Congress is slow in sending appropriations through, things get jammed up. Remember when the fiscal year starts.

I am going to spend my second time preparing for an extremely hot climate by training in the Upper Winter. I don't really have an answer to this one, except bum luck.

I am not really sure how my wife or my employer can put up with me right now (or did back when). Let us just hope they can for the next few days before I leave...

As they say, More to Come.

[note: anything italicized or after was part of an update]

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Cthulhu of the Day and and Apology

It's that time of year again. Over at Illini6 I'm having a Cthulhu of the Day. So, go on over and leave some comments.

I also want to appologize for not doing the News of Afghanistan last week. I will try to get it done this week.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Do these words still apply?

Still applicable?

Part of Michael Yon's "Gates of Fire" ["Kurilla, though down and unable to move, was fighting and firing, yelling at the two young soldiers to get in there; but they hesitated. BamBamBamBam! Kurilla was in the open, but his judo roll had left him slightly to the side of the shop. I screamed to the young soldiers, “Throw a grenade in there!” but they were not attacking. “Throw a grenade in there!” They did not attack. “Give me a grenade!” They didn’t have grenades.] came to mind while I read this observation from 1947*
"To clear up this point, it is necessary to take a somewhat closer look at the average, normal man who is fitted into the uniform of an American ground soldier.

He is what his home, his religion, his schooling, and the moral code and ideals of his society have made him. The Army cannot unmake him. It must be reckon with the fact that he comes from a civilization in which aggression, connected with the taking of life, is prohibited and unacceptable. The teaching and the ideals of that civilization are against killing, against taking disadvantage. The fear of aggression has been expressed to him so strongly and absorbed by him so deeply and pervadingly - practically with his mother's milk - that it is part of the normal man's emotional make-up. This is his great handicap when he enters combat. It stays his trigger finger even though he is hardly conscious that it is a restraint upon him. Because it is an emotional and not intellectual handicap, it is not removable by intellectual reasoning such as 'Kill or be killed.'"

I know not whether the above applies to what Yon saw, but it did make me wonder - do those words still apply today? Is American culture less restrictive on the prohibition of violence than what Marshall once saw (violence in movies, video games, and rap lyrics, abortion, assisted suicide, etc) or is it more restrictive (banning any form of aggressive play in grade school, restrictions that fall under the rubric of "PC")?

*S.L.A. Marshall, Men Against Fire, p. 74, 1947
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