Friday, December 14, 2007

My Triumphant Return... has been too long, my friends.

A lot has gone on over the past month...mostly me trying to buckle down on classes so I can graduate...which I'm going to be doing tomorrow! How exciting is that? Four and a half years are gone tomorrow.

A lot of Army stuff has gone down as well...I'm having some trouble with the University giving my proof of graduation by January 2nd...which would be awful...ruin all of the plans I've laid so far. So keep your fingers crossed for me on that issue.

ROTC stuff finished up wonderfully...didn't end up with a 300 on the last pt test, but I wasn't expecting too...we lost too many days of PT to special events and such. I actually haven't done much exercise at all over the past month...woops...oh well, it's all been about passing, heh.

I was worried about my databases class, but turns out there wasn't anything to worry about...ended up with a B, which is wonderful.

Ok, I've got to run and start packing for Sunday...I've got a lot of stuff.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Range Shooting

My military science class shot M16s today. I did surprisingly well. All those hours of Call of Duty and Battlefield 2 have payed off. Last year's class was an embarrassing disaster for it was nice to be at the front of the group.

Anyways, that's all. Felt like a badass today...nothing else going on outside of classes and tests. In fact, I'm off to one right now.


Monday, November 12, 2007

No Go

I will not be going on the field training exercise this weekend. A bit of a disappointment, but I'll use the time to get ahead on my homework so I won't be doing any over Thanksgiving Break.

It turns out that there are a bunch of us not going...we're going to have a get together on Saturday, so that should be fun.

For better or worse I still have to attend all of the prep-stuff this week...early-morning battle drills tomorrow, PT Wednesday, and something...can't remember what...probably more battle drills...on Thursday.

The good news is no PT Friday, no PT Monday, and Break starts Tuesday after classes.

I'm probably going to have to do some personal PT over the break though, seeing as how we really haven't even had PT in over a week prior to this morning...

That's all I've got...fairly easy week other wise, minus the Graphics test I have on Thursday.


Obama, Taxes, and Social Security

Presidential hopeful Barack Obama apparently thinks that the answer to our social security problem in this country is a tax increase. That's right, despite the fact that we're already giving an enormous chunk of our hard-earned green, the Senator believes that if we give up...nay, if he takes away even more of our money, the problem might just go away.

I can't believe anyone would ever buy into this...I don't understand it. I'm no economist, but I'm pretty sure that more money I have in my hands the better off I am. More money means more control...

Also, another thing that bothers me about this issue. You can't say that "it's for the aged and the shut-ins" because a good porition of them never see any of the social security money taken from them in their younger years anyway...and I almost certainly won't be seeing any of it. Privative it and let us handle our own damn money.

That felt good...haven't done one of those in a while.


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Hell Weeks

It's been a crazy couple of weeks here...

Two very significant programming assignments were due this week (in Computer Graphics and Database Management I respectively), pushed back from last week...I had a test in another CPS course (in Software Engineering) yesterday. And I've got fraternity ritual this Friday, family and friends visiting, my final marching band game was last weekend...just...crazy.

Fortunately, the last big school-related fiascos are due at least I'll be done with those for a few days.

We had swim PT this morning, which is always a nice change of pace, though now between the workout and a near-complete lack of consistent sleep for the past ten days I am completely exhausted.

We've got battle drills in the morning for our lead lab, which ought to be fun...unfortunately, I might not get the chance to use them with the battalion on STX. Because I'm not actually with ROTC, there are restrictions as to what I'm actually allowed to do...the plan was originally for me to participate in all field training events this semester...but I got news yesterday night that plans might have changed.

So,'s really no big deal. I've got plenty of field training coming up in a few months, heh.

That's all I've got. Arabic homework and more database project stuff to do.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

October APFT

It's been an awful week...

I've had two major programs due in two different classes between yesterday and this afternoon...they've been sucking up all of my free time...

To top it all off, I had an APFT this morning. I went to bed around midnight, crabby and ticked off because I was so frustrated with my program for today.

I woke up expecting the worst. As it turns out, I should take more APFTs pissed off...I ended up 1 pushup short of a 300...if I had only been two years younger, I would have had it...

Pushups : 74(gah!) up from 57.
Situps : 90(w00t!) up from 84.
2MileRun: 12:34 up from 12:28 (but my first lap/one mile time was under 6 minutes!)

I found that the key to kicking butt on pushups is just to not stop...your first full set is what matters the most. I did 30 on the first test, 40 this time, so I'll shoot for 50 on the next one.

Thanks to my APFT scores, I'm in a fairly good mood...despite the fact that in a little under 5 hours, I have to turn in a 100 point program that isn't going to completely work...

Anyways, I just wanted to post my good/frustrating friggin pushup...


Monday, October 29, 2007

Military Appreciation Day

This weekend, two of my favorite things (Army and the marching band...) came together in a big way. At the football game this past Saturday, in addition to the normal Parents' Weekend festivities, the University thought it would be appropriate to hold a military appreciation day. Our ROTC battalion was at the heart of the festivities. We wore our ACUs and marched onto the field with the band for pregame and the Star Spangled Banner.

The MS4s got us really into the game...we split up half-and-half in each endzone and did push-ups for points which the crowd seemed to really enjoy.

At halftime, a few of the cadets helped the dance/flag line hold open a giant flag in front of the band, which got a stading ovation...very cool.

Overall, it was a fantastic weekend...and unfortunately, the week itself is going to be atrocious...2 major programming projects due T/W respectively for Software Engineering and Database Management...Java and Perl...And I've got an SE test this Thursday in addition to the normal homework and whatnot.

So, I'm gunna head out...No political rants...I'm overdue for one of those...


Monday, October 22, 2007

Birthday Weekend

I just had one of the greatest weekends ever. Period.

Ever year the marching band takes a trip to one away game. This year, it fell to a University a stone's throw from Chicago. What made this trip even better was the fact that it fell on the weekend smack dab before my birthday...which is today!

The greatness really began on Friday morning. Because we weren't going to leave until 10:00am, I didn't have an excuse not to go to PT at 6:00, which if you know how much I love to run was actually ok with me. The route was the 6 mile trek that I screwed up the last time I led it, so I was a little nervous, but it really couldn't have gone better. We kept an 8 minute (or better) mile pace through almost the entire route, and by the end, I felt fantastic. After a quick breakfast, I through my weekend bag together, unplugged the video camera charger, and headed with my house mate over to the music building to wait for the buses.

The ride was great. My house mate is the band's CEO and one of only three fifth year seniors in the group (myself included); he had previously warned that those wishing to sleep and/or study en route to our first performance (4-5 hour trip) really needed to grab a ride on the second bus because of the loud, obnoxious songs we were going to sing and the fantastically crude stories we were planning to share with the newer members. We stood by our warning.

After checking into our hotel, we drove to a local high school to play with their band. This turned out to be the only truly disappointing part of the whole weekend. The students, both band and fan alike, were fairly rude to us and the atmosphere was fairly bland. In the end, it was the few who got into our cheers, jeers, and powerful half-time show made it worth while. The buses rolled into the hotel around 11:00pm or so after we left the game. I hit the pillow and was out.

The next morning, we grabbed some breakfast and drove to the college game. It was a tiny stadium, and we dwarfed the home team's band which was more of a pep squad then a marching band (they didn't take the field, but they were pretty cool people. A few of us met with them after half time and they were incredibly gracious hosts). The energy was great. A boat load of our fans showed up to the game. The tiny stadium made cheering so much more fun because it was possible to get shouted messages back and forth across the field without any real problems. Our team ended up winning by quite a bit.

After the game, the buses drove us into downtown Chicago. Our band announcer took all of the seniors to dinner as is tradition on the trip. We got authentic Chicago-style pizza and watched the Cleveland Indians get stomped in the sixth game of the ALCS. After dinner, most of us just walked around the city until the buses came back to get us.

Sunday, we went back to Chicago. We spent the day on the Magnificent Mile and Navy Pier, shopping and walking. Chicago's just a neat city to be in for a while. It was cool having been there before because I could help figure out where we needed to go and all that good stuff. We left around 4:00pm. A quick stop at a flustered, but friendly Arby's filled us up at the halfway point. The last few hours of the bus trip made the initial trip pale in comparrison. Song after whole back of the bus was glowing.

Got in bed around midnight just in time to get a few text messages from my friends wishing my a happy birthday. PT was great this morning, but I'm going to really be draggin' my feet and smacking my face to try and stay awake...

We're going to my favorite place to eat tonight...about as authentic as an Irish pub can get in middle America. Good times, good potato soup!


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fall Break

I'm going on Fall Break after classes today...but there's a football game on Saturday, so like any good marching band videographer, I've got to stick around campus. I'm actually very much looking forward to it. I was just very recently at home, and this will give me some much-needed, actual downtime (as much as I love being at home with my family, they, like me, hate to sit in one place for very long, so my breaks at home tend to fill up with activities very quickly).

PT was excellent this morning. We had a nice long run. I led this morning without any significant incident, which was nice. One of our lieutenants, a graduate of the program, ran with us and offered some really good suggestions on marching and handling road guards.

I've been spending more time on the Army Knowledge Online forums lately. It's a pretty cool place. Lots of interesting people talking about a whole lot of things...I've met some people who are supposed to be heading to Ft. Leonard Wood around the same time I do. It'd be great to at least know some names before I get there.

Work's almost over, so I'm out.


Monday, October 8, 2007


We got zonked at PT this morning...we showed up and went home. Excellent times...I've been sick for a few days, and a zonk is exactly what Dr. Spot ordered.

Working on Arabic homework right now...when I finish, I suppose I'll look at the news and post s'more.


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

An Inconvenient Bias

A judge in the UK has ruled that before secondary school students are shown Al Gore's Academy Award winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, they must first be informed of the film's "...inaccuracies, exaggerations and statements about global warming for which there is currently insufficient scientific evidence."

This ruling comes just a few short months after then Education Secretary Alan Johnson announced that copies of the film and other global warming paraphenalia would be distributed to every secondary school in England.

For those of you who would believe the debate on global climate change (and more importantly its cause) is over, here's evidence to the contrary.
And don't give me any of that, "This is a judiciary ruling, not science" garbage...Al Gore's no more of a scientist than this judge, and the judge looked at the same evidence as Mr. Gore, viewed the film, and came to an entirely different conclusion.


Civl War II: This Time We Mean It

Apparently there are still people who think their states would be better off if they seceeded from the US. A Vermont secessionist group has been conducting talks with the League of the South (mostly comprised of Civil War vets, I hear...heh) to see if they can't bring some plans to fruition.

I can't even begin to take this seriously.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Yes yes yes yes yes...

I'm not a terribly huge Radiohead fan, but this is exactly the direction the music industry needs to be turning...

The Kingdom

The Kingdom

One last post before I get back to work (awful awful week ahead).

I saw The Kingdom Saturday night with my youngest brother and a good friend. Fantastic movie. Anything you read about the movie's political stand point is irrelevant. I viewed it as more of a career advisement film, personally...

It's split half-and-half thriller and action and the majority of both sides is very believeable.

All the performances are spectacular, particularly those given by Jamie Foxx and Ashraf Barhorn the film's two male leads.

The Kingdom gives a very down-to-earth look at how the West and Middle-East interact on both friendly terms and unfriendly terms, specifically how the Islamic way of living greatly conflicts with the Western understanding of the world.

Brilliant film.

PT Test from Friday

I was very satisfied with my results from Friday:

52 pushups
85 situps
12 min 28 (I swear it was 24) seconds

Run was an improvement (eitherway), situps were consistent and maxed, and the pushups were down from the spring, but much higher than last winter, and I wasn't terribly beat after I had finished them, which means I'm capable of more.

Max by December 15th is the goal for the semester...Here's to hoping I make it!

Troubles in Running

So last Wednesday, I really screwed up a run...crossing streets as a leader with a group of like 20 people is a lot tougher than I would have thought...I felt pretty stupid, but fortunately the MS4s are a lot more forgiving than any drill seargent will ever be.

I was apprehensive about taking up the position again this morning, but I certainly wasn't going to turn it down. The route was much more manageable today, and in light of the situation last week, the cadet cadre opted for the use of road guards this morning, which was an enormous help. Other than a pacing problem, things went much much smoother, which made me very happy.

Learn all I can now, so I'll be less likely to screw up later...not a bad philosophy.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lying to Children

Read this article on a book that passes itself off as a guide to global warming for children...

When I was in kindergarten, my class took a trip to the health museum where, while getting instructions how to brush our teeth properly, the woman from the museum said, "And be sure to wave goodbye to the water as it goes down the sink boys and girls because no one will ever see that water ever again because the earth's water was disappearing."

I remember asking my father about that later in the evening; it's my earliest memory of the term "liberal nut" being used. He then explained to me how plumbing and water purification works, and how the level of water on the planet stays constant.

I also remember holding up class for a good half an hour while I tried to explain to my teacher why the health-museum-lady was wrong.

Needless to say, this story hit close to home. GET EDUCATED! FIGHT THE CHURCH OF GLOBAL WARMING!


PS: if you want to read a better blog then mine, head over to Chanman's blog, "Buckhorn Road," in my Friends section. I read about this book there.

Long Slow Run

I've got one of those in the morning...Last PT before our test on Friday.

I predict the following for my test:
1. Low 50s for pushups
2. High 60s to Mid 70s for situps
3. Low 12 minute two mile

Let's see if they hold up. It won't be a max, but it's certain to be a better start then last semester.

G'night all.

Climate Change Polls

Recently, a poll was conducted across a number of nations to try and determine what the average world citizen thought about global to cope? Should we change things? That kind of thing.

The results were fairly interesting.

Apparently the Russians have been left out in the cold about global warming, as only a mere 5% polled had any real knowledge of the debate and concern surrounding global warming. Those that understood it were fairly unconcerned, and some were even glad. The melting permafrost (what a stupid can it be permafrost if it's melting...heh) is opening up land to possibility of agricultural expansion.

The scary number for me was 73...According to this poll, 73% of the people polled (United States, Spain, France, Australia, Brazil, China, Russia, Nigeria, Turkey, and India) believe that developing nations "should limit their emissions in return for financial aid and technological transfer from developed nations."

I'm pretty sure that developing nations aren't going to be able to develop on expensive, inefficient alternative energy sources. The world already supports and nurtures developing nations, so I'm pretty sure the fact that the "in exchange for" stipulation above is meaningless.

To complicate things a tad further, current alternative energy sources don't work well enough or cheaply enough for the dirt-poor third world to live on, let alone thrive on. Solar panels and windwills will not work at their current capability, and I'd be willing to bet that the "curb your emissions now, and in 10 years, we'll get back to you on the solar power thing" argument won't work.

If you think America's a polluting, fossil-fuel-guzzling, hog, did you know that China "builds a coal-fired power station every five days to feed its booming economy..."

Who the hell are we to tell the third world that they can't make better lives for themselves? Yes, it is going to cause more pollution, but at a fraction of what the rest of us already put out there.

Bloody hypocrites...


Monday, September 24, 2007

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

So, a number of Conservatives including myself should unfortunately be eating their words today.

The President of Iran spoke at Columbia University to a surprisingly abrasive crowd. The President of the University, who had received a large amount of criticism for inviting the Iranian despot to speak on campus, actually began the talk with a series of brutal human rights questions for Ahmadinejad.

"'Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator,' Bollinger said, to loud applause."


Throughout the question and answer session, Ahmadinejad was presented with various queries related to Jewish/Palestinian relations and his claims that the Holocaust did not actually take place. By the end of the session, his demeanor had apparently changed from smiling and happy to stressed and slightly irked.

The most ridiculous claim made during the President's ramblings nearly made me fall out of my chair with laughter.

"He provoked derisive laughter by responding to a question about Iran's execution of homosexuals by saying: 'In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country ... I don't know who's told you that we have this.'"

That's downright scary stuff, my friends...scary.

I'm happy that this session finished up as well as it did in our favor. No riots, a few nutzy protesters on both sides, but nothing too serious...and Ahmadinejad got his butt handed to him! Fantastic.

Read the articles...they're laughable....scary, but laughable...

First morning of sleeping-in in a week-and-a-half...g'night all.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Streaming Television

So, I think this is a fantastic idea. It seems that major television stations are finally starting to embrace the Internet and all the possibilities it holds.

I am a huge fan of Lost, but my schedule doesn't always allow me to see it at the official time. Thank goodness ABC starting putting those episodes online for streaming and viewing. I also started watching Heroes recently online on CBS'website (correct me if I got the station wrong...).

Up to this point, the only way to "catch up" on these shows was to download them illegally (or grab selected shows from iTunes). Shows that eventually make it to DVD tend to be ridiculously overpriced (*cough* Star Trek: Voyager...), which is unfortunate.

I hope that someday, older programs like TMNT, Darkwing Duck, and Eureka's Castle get put up on a server somewhere for people to stream them so that someday my children can catch a glimpse at some of the greatest television ever made...or something like that.

G'night all.

This week...

Busy week ahead in school...I've got a fairly substantial project due, a few tests to take, and the first PT test of the semester on Friday. Wish me luck...I'm going to need it!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Where's Alllll?

If you haven't heard of the case of the Jena Six, take a look here before you read the rest of my post.

I've got problems with both sides here...I'll start with the prosecutos. Was this really attempted murder? The victim was beaten, bloodied, and left unconscious...but he attended a school function later in the evening after being manhandled. And the fact that he was left unconscious indicates to me that the six could have easily killed the boy if that had been their true intent, which is in fact required for attempted murder. I'm glad the court agreed with me. Whether this is a case of overzealous prosecuting attorneys or actual racism is not a question I'm capable of answering. Either way, it's wrong.

As for the prosecutors...the Jena Six did in fact assault a fellow human being. That is a against the law! How dare they trivialize the suffering of the victim and demand that the "Jena Six be freed." Al Sharpton is an idiot.

As far as the nooses hanging from the tree and prosecuting the other boys, if there isn't a law on the books, they can't get into trouble. It's a disgusting and horrific act, but no law means no trial, so to even consider using that as an example of a disparity in our system of justice is idiotic because it isn't covered by the justice system. Want a change? Start a petition, get it into the law, and then wait for it to happen again.

I'm off to get new glasses...these contacts are killing my eyes.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ruck it Up

We had a road march this morning. Those are always fun. 4 and a third of a mile or so. Not bad at all.

Our first APFT is next Friday. Gotta do some extra pushups to prep...

More to come later.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Nothing Short of Despicable

Hobbton High School in North Carolina prevented students from wearing American flags on their clothing yesterday.

Apparently the actual rule is that no national flags of any kind may be worn at any time.

What in God's name has gotten into their heads?

As if that pathetic attempt at an excuse makes everything it ok. Words cannot describe the anger and sorrow this makes me feel. So I'll just leave it at this...

I hope these bastards and the people that changed Superman's catchphrase rot.


September Day

I should have found the time to do this yesterday.
It's hard to believe it's been 6 years...

I was in AP American History when the first plane hit.

Where were you?

Run Leader

We were short on MS3s (and MS2s apparently) today, so I got to lead the fast-group on our run. That's a whole different world, but I'm certainly glad I got the chance.

4 miles nearly all uphill lost once right before we got back to UD, so it wasn't a big deal, heh.

No one complained too much, so I think I did ok, heh...The MS4s running with us suggested I memorize a few cadences and the marching commands (which I ought to know anyway...woops) so that if I get put into the position again, I can be a little better prepared.

Here's a few of the cadence I've started looking at:
The Baby Seals
Way up north where the air gets cold
We're running out of money and we're running out of gold
So now I earn my living
Killing the baby seals

You can hit `em with a bat you can hit `em with a brick
You can poke `em in th eye with your eye pokin stick
That's how I earn my living
Killing the baby seals

You can slash `em in the head you can slash `em in the throat
Then throw `em in the back of your fishing boat
That's how I earn my living
Killing the baby seals.

Yellow Bird
A yellow bird
with a yellow bill
sat up upon
my windowsill
i lured him in
with a piece of bread
and then i smashed
his yellow head

A little bird
with little feet
sat up upon
my toilet seat
i pushed him in
and flushed him down
and that little bird
went round and round

I grabbed these from here. Pretty cool stuff.

That's all I've got right now...gotta get back to work.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Fast Leadership Reaction Course

I think I got that right...

This past Saturday, our ROTC battalion had the opportunity to get on a big blue bus, drive out to our local Airforce base, and participate in a squad-based obstacle course-of-sorts.

The course consisted of four individual obstacles with an accompanying scenario (ie: A pilot is down in our area. We need to get him across this river with "these" supplies and "this" pole). Squad Leader and Team Leaders changed each time. The true objective is to judge how the squad leaders reacted physically, emotionally, etc. to the challenge and how they delegated movement and security to their two team leaders.

Our squad did exceptionally well, and all of the MS3s scored highly.

I got to be a team leader for one scenario. We didn't finish that particular objective in time, but the squad leader still scored well because of the solid plan he had developed and the effective way he communicated the plan to us (the team leaders).

Overall, a really effective exercise.

After the challenges came to an end, the MS4s performed a "lane" (one of the four individual objectives) as an example for us. They skirted a few corners here or there, but the point was to see how well these experienced cadets worked together; they finished the lane with time to spare, despite one or two time penalties.

After the demonstration, the battalion changed into civis and fell into line under one of the picnic pavillions for a cookout. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, cookies...the MS4s and cadre brought everything. The food was excellent, though that could have been because we were all so incredibly starving, heh.

We played volleyball, soccer, and football after the food for about an hour and a half or so and then came back to school.

Overall, it was a great learning experience and a really fun afternoon. Though it'll be entirely different, I'm now really looking forward to STYX in another month or so. Hopefully the rain stays away like it did this weekend.


Run Run as Fast as You Can!

Well PT has made me eat the words from a few posts ago about running.

The rest of this past week we've spent the great majority of our time running. 5.25 miles uphill Friday and 5 round-the-parking-lot-sprints/hill leg drills today. I love it. And we did the long run in ability groups, which was wonderful. We finished the long run in about 45 minutes, which I was very happy with.

We've also put a huge emphasis on upper and lower body workouts the past few days. Lots and lots of pushups and flutter kicks...*shudder*...painful, but necessary.

FLRC was this weekend as well, but I'm going to dedicate a whole second post for that.


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

President Bush

This is an interesting article. It outlines the new Bush biography written by Robert Draper, I believe.

It sounds as if the book paints Bush in a very human light. I like that because he always seemed very human to me...down to Earth and all that.


Inner Outer Monologue

This morning is the only time I've ever been really frustrated with anything army-related, outside of MEPS, heh...

We went on a 5 mile run this morning which would normally make me smile. Unfortunately, we were not set up in ability groups; squads were the choice this morning. I love my squad, but I am faster than most of them (and I don't mean anything written here in a "look how good I am" way...they can all bury me on pushups).

It took us nearly the entire time alloted for PT to finish the run, so by the time we returned home, we got to do one set of pushups and no situps. This was particularly disappointing for me because as I mentioned before, I could really use all the pushup practice I can get.

The idea was to keep a slow and steady pace...unfortunately for those runners in the groups, that meant a walking pace at some points along the route. Last year when there was an obvious difference in the abilities of certain runners in the group, they were allowed to break off into a separate group so that they could keep their own pace. That was not the case this morning.

I think the cadet cadre and the staff cadre are both doing wonderful jobs so far this semester...this was nothing more than a hiccup.

About halfway through the run, I realized that the exercise was more about the team as a whole; a "chain-is-only-as-strong-as-its-weakest-link" sort of thing...So rather than grumble in self-pity, I tried to encourage the rest of the squad to keep the pace up. Better to get these bouts of self-centeredness out now before BCT.


Friday, August 31, 2007

PT, hooah

I fell asleep at 1800 last night...11 hours of sleep is apparently exactly what the doctor ordered, heh.

We had our first LeadLab of the year yesterday...on proper uniform wear and hot/cold injuries and treatment. Very well done.

I got a set of ACUs from Supply on Wednesday...they're so much nicer than the BDUs, but unfortunately, I had to order my own nametapes, so I didn't get to wear them Thursday. Hopefully they'll be here by Tuesday when I get back from Labor Day weekend, so I can don them for the road march.

That's all I've got for today. Going to see my little brother play Varsity football tomorrow and an Air show on Sunday...good times.

Enjoy your long weekend, hooah.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Fossils recently uncovered in Ethiopia are casting doubt on current conceptions on exactly when men and apes split apart in the evolutionary time line. New estimates are placing the split at 20 million years or so (hear that creationists? 20 million with an 'm' not 10 thousand with a 'th').

Interesting article to be sure.


Simply fantastic

Recently a Japanese whaling ship killed a whale and dragged it on board right in front of a whale-watching boat.

Of course, a lot of the whale watchers were offended (the article specifically mentions a French woman which I personally took a lot of satisfaction in, heh), but the whaling ship stepped it up a knotch and filed a complaint against the whale-watcher company stating that "The passenger boat approached us, which was extremely dangerous. We think this could be considered dangerous sailing, and we want you to issue a warning."

Take a closer look here for the full article.

The War

I've been trying to get back into the politics of the war this week, now that I'm back at school and surrounded by my soldier friends...but, it's very hard to get any unbiased news at all on the subject, and I find that incredibly disheartening.

Stories like this make claims like the "body count has doubled" and are littered with pictures of bodies, hospitalized civilians, and the like. How about pictures of the hospitals themselves? They've been rebuilt? How about waterlines and some basic infrastructure rebuilding articles?

Seriously...Everyone's talking about how the morale of the troops isn't so hot right now...and I'm certainly not in Iraq right now...but it sure is disheartening to constantly hear about all the things we're doing wrong...maybe it would help to stop selling the news and just report it instead?


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Green Street Hooligans


If you haven't this this movie, do brother made me watch it over the weekend of the Fourth this summer, and I can't get enough of it now.

Elijah Wood, a kick-ass soundtrack, and rowdy, English football fans. Unbelievably good.

More PSP

**Shameless plug warning**

So, recently, a universal "unbricker/downgrader" was released by a psp-hacker-dream team via the internet.

If you're more-or-less up to date on my thoughts on the psp, you might be aware that I think the psp is an amazing piece of technology and own one. If you do not own one, I highly recommend you look into at the very least trying one out.

The universal downgrader makes it possible for any psp to be made homebrew-capable for free. Emulators (to be used legally), homebrewed applications and software, legally-ripped UMDs run from the memory card for increased loading speeds, Playstation 1 titles...the list of benefits goes on and on and on...

It's truly a miraculous work of ingenuity and reverse-engineering...check out the article here or the forum thread here for the whole story.


School Begins

A lot has happened over the past month or so...

The end of my summer break was really nice. I love that I had the opportunity to spend so much time with my family, especially my youngest brother. I'm going home over Labor Day so I can watch him play football (just made varsity), something I've not been able to do since he was in...6th grade, if I remember correctly (he's now a sophomore in high school).

Classes won't be too terrible this semester. Software Engineering, Computer Graphics, and Database Management...all three are semi-to-fully-project-based, which kind of blows, but I do have a lot of free time, so I've just got to be sure to maximize my time-efficiency.
I'm also taking MSL 101 with our new Master Sergeant, who is very cool, and Beginning Arabic which starts this Monday. I'll definitely be sure to keep updates on that here.

Speaking of new cadre, our new Lieutenant Colonel is really intense. He's a West Point-football player grad, combat ranger. Our first actual PT yesterday almost had me throwing up in post-formation. First time that's ever happened...too cool! I'm really looking forward to the rest of the semester; road marching every two weeks, four mile runs, hill runs...too cool.

Speaking of exercise, I'm also going to get a chance to "return" to the world of rock climbing this semester thanks to my quitting my job at the university rock gym, heh...once again, I'll be hitting the panels 3 times a week...I plan on bouldering myself sick this semester.

Videography for the marching band has been going...ok, heh. I really need to start putting more effort into the video or I'll never get it done before December...

Ok...more to come now that I'm back in school.

New school year...time for a new end-line...


Thursday, July 12, 2007

My Take on Miracles...

I had a very interesting conversation with my family while driving around Atlanta a few days ago, and I just remembered that I wanted to post about it.

My immediate family members are all practicing Catholics. My two younger brothers and I went to a convent-grade school/junior high, a Franciscan high school, and my middle brother and I are currently attending a Catholic college. I've studied my faith, its history and traditions, and the Bible fairly extensively. I'm certainly not the best Christian or Catholic ever to walk the face of the planet...but I know my stuff and I practice what I preach.

However, my family also raised me to use my brain...this sometimes can catch my mother off guard when it comes to matters of faith. She is a wonderful woman and easily one of the most truly Christian women I have ever or will ever know.

I have begun to label myself a Deist Catholic. Deism is a philosophical interpretation of God and faith applied to defines deism as such:

Deism is the recognition of a universal creative force greater than that demonstrated by mankind, supported by personal observation of laws and designs in nature and the universe, perpetuated and validated by the innate ability of human reason coupled with the rejection of claims made by individuals and organized religions of having received special divine revelation.

While I don't buy into the deist philosophy one hundred percent, I very much appreciate its emphasis on using one's own brain to figure things out.

With the background set up now, I can get to the conversation.

My mother is intrigued by miracle stories, both modern and Biblical. skeptical. The topic of conversation in the car on this particular day was the multiplying of loaves and fish (...the story would have first appeared in Mark, as it was the earliest Gospel written, so I'm going to refer to this particular version...Chapter 6 verses 34-44). Mark writes that Jesus went out to a deserted place; this means of course that he probably was out in the desert. Some 5,000 people followed him in the hopes that he would preach to them.

I don't even like to drive around for work each day without a bottle of water and an apple in the car...the idea that 5,000 people picked up and ran headfirst into the desert and then many hours later said to themselves, "CRAP! We didn't bring any food!" is one hundred percent ridiculous. The solution is somewhat less miraculous and awe-inspiring but just as important to Jesus' message.

When the people in the front of the crowd with food saw that Jesus was instructing his Apostles to share their food with those people who maybe hadn't realized how long they would be outside and hadn't brought enough sustenance, they acted in accordance with the instructions and began to pass around their own food. These acts of goodwill made their way among all the people present until all 5,000 people had enough to eat. I mean...they followed him to learn, right? The miracle story isn't about Jesus''s about his revealing man's capacity and willingness to help himself, which is a great message!

My mom did concede this particular argument to me, which is always nice.

I won't claim to have a realistic interpretation of every miracle story or a logical explanation for every religious phenomena. And I'm certainly not an authority on all things Christian...but I would implore all Christians to think for themselves once in a while. God gave you a brain so you could use it.

That's all I've got.
Peace out.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Cosmic Rays

A new study has been published that says the sun no longer causes warming...

Ok, that's not exactly a fair statement...but it is fishy-sounding

"This paper re-enforces the fact that the warming in the last 20 to 40 years can't have been caused by solar activity"
- Dr Piers Forster

You'll have to read it to get the full idea, but essentially, these scientists have taken measurements of the sun's activity over the past 30 years or so, and have concluded that the activity has no effects on modern warming...

If we can't predict the weather on a daily basis, how can we possibly figure this garbage out?

Bah...that's all I've got.
Peace out.

He's Alive

Hey everyone.

It has been too long. I hope you all had a magnificent Fourth of July.

I've been up to quite a bit lately. I spent the last week in Atlanta, GA for a wedding. I also wanted to spend some time with my mother's side of the family, as I will not get to see a lot of them for a significant amount of time. While in Atlanta, I was fortunate enough to see two very excellent movies, Live Free or Die Hard and Transformers.

Both are full of action and witty dialog. I've seen both three times trust me, they are worth the price of admission.

Die Hard focuses once again on Bruce Willis' character, Detective John McClane. Both Willis and McClane are starting to show their ages...but that's ok. It makes the action scenes, most of which are of course completely over the top, even more badass...The film is as full of hilarious dialog as it is is as good as the first movie, if not better.

Transfomers pays perfect homage to the television series. It is goofy, unbelievable, and chock full of ridiculous action. After seeing this film, my cousins and I got into our car and proceeded to look for the "turn into a giant robot button." I guarantee you'll want to do the same.

I've also been spending a lot of time with my psp lately. Final Fantasy: Dawn of Souls is a Gameboy Advance title (which I own legally for that particular system) that I have been playing on my psp. It's a remake of both FF1 and 2...tons of stuff to do, simple and enjoyable combat system...but way too many random battles. It's almost enough to detract from the game.

That's all I've got.
Peace out.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Results

I passed! I scored very well, and was exceptionally pleased with the results. I won't receive my language until just prior to BTC is over, but I can live with that. All four of us that took it on Friday passed, which was nice.

After the test, I spent some time going over my contract and the Delayed Enlistment Program rules with my recruiter. Apparently, there's going to be a class-of-sorts every couple of Saturdays once school starts up. That'll be nice...good refreshers for the material I've got to start studying...alphabet, marching, drill, rank structure...thanks to ROTC, I know a good chunk of it already, but practice will certainly make it more clear and in the forefront of my memory.

So the last hurdle, other than BCT and DLI of course, will be the security clearance check, which ought to be no problem...I'm a good kid with a clean record, heh.

That's all for tonight.
Peace out.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


I'm taking the Defense Language Aptitude Battery in the morning...this will determine what languages I qualify to learn out in Monterey...

I need to score a 95 out of 176...

According to not a whole lot of people who take it actually pass the DLAB...I won't lie and say I'm not nervous, but I am pretty confident I will do ok...I hope, heh.
The only part that really concerns me is the audio-rules part...the most difficult part.

When I return, I'll post a full update of the results. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow.

That's all I've got.
Peace out.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day

It's a scorcher here today...thank goodness for air conditioning and cool-basements.

This week, I was fortunate enough to be able to get to two baseball games in two days! I'm not an enormous sports fan, but who in their right mind would pass up opportunities to attend games of any kind? Certainly not this guy.

At yesterday's game, to celebrate the Army's anniversary, a group of young men and women received their oath of enlistment on the field before the game in front of the 30,000+ people in attendance. How cool is that? All I got was a tiny room with some flags, heh. Good for them.

Some unexpected news coming out of the BBC today. Apparently, the Iranian government has been cracking down on political activism among its university-level students and professors. According to the article, "29 have been arrested in the last two months for political activism and 207 were taken before disciplinary committees in the last 40 days alone." Under the previous regime, only four were taken per month on average.

The campaign to rid the schools of "liberal" ideas and practices all began in December when the students of Amirkabir University called President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a dictator to his face.

I will never understand why prominent liberal groups in America don't take a strong, vocal stance against radical Islam and oppressive regimes like Iran's current government. These people enforce laws based entirely on one interpretation of one religion...where's the ACLU when you actually need it? If these people truly stood by their principles, we'd have a lot more support for our current leaders' policies in the Middle East.

Maybe things are changing for the better in the media...the story did come out of the BBC afterall.

Enjoy the rest of your day!
That's all I've got.
Peace out.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Thank You for Smoking

A brilliant movie...

One of my room mates introduced me to the film over Spring Break while we were in Florida. A few friends and I came across it tonight in a local video store and decided to give it another watch. It was even more fun the second time around.

Thank You for Smoking follows Nick Naylor, a lobbyist for Big Tobacco, on his journey to further his industry's agenda while coming to grips with his role as a father. Aaron Eckhart is marvelous as the silver-tongued hero of the smoking industry. You will laugh until your sides split...and not once does it feel like an anti or pro-smoking one is safe! Rather than radically defending one side or the other, it presents the issues as they are in real life, and then stands by its message of free choice, allowing the viewer to make his or her own decisions.

I also saw Knocked Up last night. This movie is also wonderful. I went into the experience with fairly low expectations...a movie about an unwanted pregnancy has to be about abortion...well, much to my surprise and delight, the issue only arose twice for less than a minute each time.

Knocked Up addresses parental responsibility and facing the consequences of the choices we make, for better or worse. The chemistry among the cast members is marvelous, and it was fantastically written. Language and adult-content make it fairly un-kid-friendly, but for anyone old enough looking for a good way to spend an evening, go and see this one.

In other news, it's nice to see France's conservatives are doing so well in the elections, as it's been a fairly uphill battle for them to this point.

One more thing...This is older news, but if you haven't seen Global Warming: The Great Swindle, watch this series of videos:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8

I think the best part of this video comes in the form of the debates that spring up in the comments below...really...check it out. You can read about people like srfurchick88 who believe that (and I quote) "...whatever the FACTS are might be different or similar to my point of view, but no matter wat the facts are it still does not change my POINT OF VIEW.. I BELIEV WHAT I BELIEVE."

Debate needs to be reintroduced into mainstream education. Way too many people today confuse fact with opinion (or "POINT OF VIEW" as srfurchick88 might call it). The fact (pun intended) of the matter is that in the end, science is what it is...and politics, public opinion, and political agendas won't be able to change anything.

In other words, to reference yesterday's posting, no matter how many pretty pictures you paint of a velociraptor munching lettuce, given the chance, one would still eat your face.

That's all I've got.
Peace out.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Creationism Museum

A few weeks ago, a creationist-themed "natural" (I use the term loosely) museum opened in Kentucky. I could not be more disgusted.

Religion and science can indeed happily coexist...I am a Christian, and I believe that God sparked the start of the evolutionary process. There you go.

The problem is that religion cannot and should never be substituted for science (or vice-versa). To just throw existing, accepted science out the window and replace it with conjectured garbage based on religious texts is hogwash and irresponsible especially when the garbage is being force-fed to children without the wherewithal to know better.

Jonathan M. Gitlin of Ars Technica recently took a visit to the Creation Museum. I highly recommend reading the article.

Some of the pictures are laughable. Eve standing fully-clothed in a Victorian-era gown next to a velociraptor that is eating vegetation...yeah, the dinosaur with the razor-sharp-teeth was a vegetarian before the Adam's Fall...

That's all I've got for now.
Enjoy your evenings, everyone!
Peace out

American Soldier

After months of anticipation, I am now officially a sworn member of the United States military. Admittedly, I still have a long way to go, but I'm proud to have made it this far.

I'll give you the run down.

I arrived back at MEPS at 0800 Thursday morning. I waited for a few hours to get my eye sight waiver finalized with the doctors, and then headed to the career counselors. They were extremely helpful. I decided on the 35-W MOS (formerly 98-X) and will be attending language school in Monterey after BTC which will be at Ft. Leonard Wood.

The swear-in ceremony was brief and to-the-point. THe officer entered the room, we were called to attention, and she swore us into service. Very cool.

The only things left at this point for me to worry about are the security clearance check and the DLAB. I'm really hoping to take care of the later next fingers crossed for that one...I need a 95 or better to get Arabic, Korean, or Mandarin.

Ok, it's time for some political posts...
Peace out!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Waiver's signed

My recruiter called me today and informed me that the Army has given me a permanent waiver for my eyes! I'm going back to MEPS Thursday to talk to the career counselors, sign my contract, and get sworn into the Army!

Thank goodness it's finally going to get finished.

More to come!

Peace out.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend 2007

Happy Memorial Day!

It has been a very busy weekend. MEPs was interesting, and didn't go exactly as I had planned, but nothing ever does. Here's the run down:

Thursday around 1:00, I left for the capital. I arrived at MEPS around 3:45 or so, and after a few minutes of processing paperwork, I was pointed to the testing lab. The SSgt in charge set me up on an open computer. The ASVAB consists of 10 sections covering everything from science, english, and math to car parts and basic computer/electronic studies. Some parts of it were pretty rough, but fortunately, I pulled out a 98 on it. Needless to say, I was very pleased.

After the test, I drove to the hotel where all of the to-be military people stay. The accommodations were beyond everything I had expected, and the people were very nice.

My room mate for the night was an old pro, having already gone through with the process for the Navy before changing his mind at the last minute to go for the Army. Dinner was provided, and we spent the rest of the night (light's out at 2200) watching TV, playing PSP, and just talking.

The next morning, we got in line for breakfast around 5:00 and were served bacon, hashbrowns, and other continental-breakfast-type-foods. They were all great. When the shuttle call came, I headed to my car and followed the bus back to MEPS.

Everything you read about MEPS medical people is true. Their jobs are to disqualify people from getting into the military. It's nothing personal, but it's what they do. The second day at MEPS was long and full of hurry-up-and-wait scenarios. Blood-drawn, medical histories, hearing tests, orthopedics...I got through it all...and then came the eye exam.

I ended up with a PDQ because my left eye was at .75 below the lower limit for military allowance. They sent me home, but the recruiting Sergeant assured me that I would end up with a waiver. My recruiter from school told me the same when I called him. Regardless, it means another trip to Columbus (hopefully this week...) and 60 bucks more for gas.

So, as it stands right now, I am not yet a sworn member of the Armed Services. Once again, MEPS told me they would hear from Fort Knox on the waiver decision by Wednesday at the latest, so I expect to get an answer Tuesday or Wednesday.

Until then, that's all I've got. I hope you all had a magnificent Memorial Day and were able to keep those who have fallen defending our nation close at heart today.

Peace out.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

MEPS Today!

It has begun...

I'm headed to the capital today to start MEPS. ASVAB today, and exams/everything else tomorrow.

Wish me luck! I'll have a lengthy post about it when I get home tomorrow.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Thursday and Friday are the days...

That's all for now. Just wanted everyone to know I had finally reached the point of making a decision.

More news to come.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Air strikes in the Gaza Strip & Iraq: How the Cookie Might Crumble

Two Middle Eastern stories today...

Apparently, infighting between Palestinian factions in the Gaza strip has resulted in an a series of Israeli bombing raids in an effort to take out key leaders of one of the two factions currently fighting. Rocket were shot into Israel in an effort "to draw it into an internal Palestinian conflict." Interesting. Doesn't really have any immediate effects on the US, but interesting nonetheless.

Also, the Chatham House think tank in Britain apparently has postulated that do to the large number of localized civil wars currently taking place in Iraq (as opposed to one big one), the country is moving closer and closer to the breaking in, it will be broken up into smaller countries. I don't think I would be too opposed to this if it could really cool things down. When Iraq was originally formed, little-to-no attention was given to the local populations and how well (or poorly) that could coexist. Obviously, there have been some problems over the years. I think if we got a "do-over," so to speak, peace might be able to be found.

Of course, there would be nothing easy about this solution. It's just an interesting thought. Maybe the world should give it a closer look.

That's all I've got for now. Half-day at work, so I'm going to lift, run, and reinstall my operating system!

Peace out.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

Something really cool happened this Friday...

I was in the car with my younger brother (just got his temporary permit), and we were on our way a friend's house. We were getting close, and he looked into the mirror and said, "That Army car's been behind us for a while."

I looked behind us and sure enough, there was a car covered in US Army paraphernalia. Jokingly, I looked at my brother and said that it was probably my recruiter trying to get me to pick a day to go to MEPS.

Well, the Army car pulled onto the street where we were headed and after both of our cars had stopped, two fully-uniformed soldiers exited the vehicle and approached us.

"That's a great sticker you have on the back of your car there!" a Staff Sergeant told my brother. (The bumper he was referring to reads, "Kick their ass and take their gas!")

Sure enough, the two men were recruiters for the county we live in, but they live in the neighborhood in which my brother's friend lives...

So we chatted with them for a few minutes and then I went home.

In our few minutes together though, the soldiers told me something that just about made my stomach turn. Apparently, on a recent trip to the area high school to get permission to talk to students at lunch for recruiting purposes, the principle asked them the following question:

"What's the difference between you and the Neo-Nazis?"

I can't even begin to address the ignorance behind this statement...and it's a high school principle for crying out loud!

In some follow-up news, I got some homebrew apps working on my new PSP. Absolutely fantastic! I highly recommend purchasing one if you're at all into old-school gaming. The platform itself has some decent titles, but the WiFi internet, music player, and homebrew capacity really make the system great.

That's all I've got for now. I'm going to try to keep up with the news a little better from now on so I can make some comments about current events this week.

Enjoy your mother's day!
Peace out.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

MEPS Coming Up

The time to finalize a day for MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) is closely approaching...I'm thinking I'm gunna go late next week. The Army apparently works on a 15th to 15th monthly schedule, so my recruiter has encouraged me to avoid the middle of next week because a lot of other recruiters will be trying to jam people in to make the monthly deadline. I'll be sure to post as soon as a date is set.

My early-morning routine has been hampered slightly because I've started taking my younger brother to school on my way to work. I've been making up for it in the afternoons, but it's getting excruciatingly humid as of late so I'd really like to get back into a morning schedule to avoid late afternoons (plus, I come home exhausted from work...I work for a general contracting company...manual labor, construction, deliveries, and the like...Been doing it every summer for years. I really like it.)

That's all for now...bed time for this guy.

Peace out.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

End of the world

Good run...

This is something I've been meaning to post about since I got home.

Last Friday, I was watching the History Channel, and I saw the most wonderfully ridiculous program. The show talked about the signs of the "coming Apocalypse" centered around a strict, Christian interpretation of the Bible. Now, for those of you out of the loop, I wag my finger at strict-Christian-fanatics as much as I do for the Left-Wing-lunatics; needless to say, I had a good laugh.

"Experts on the Apocalypse" (I'm not sure exactly how that works...Biblical scholars probably, but that was the term the History Channel used...) say that "the signs are all around us." Death, natural disasters, plagues, starvation, and loose morals all point to the Second Coming and the end of the world.

Now, I'm no scholar or historian, but I'm fairly certain that all of those things have always existed (some in fact have actually decreased significantly since the time of Jesus...don't see too much leprosy today).

So, I watched for the hour it was on, and enjoyed a few chuckles. But the biggest laugh came just a few minutes before the end of the program.
After the Bible-thumping session ended, the narrator's voice became even more ominous. He said , "Maybe the end of the earth won't take a supernatural form. We humans in fact may be bringing about our own demise..."

You guessed it! Apocalypse-by-Global-Warming has made it all the way to the Right of the political spectrum...all the way.

This bizarre union of Right and Left made me start to think. Man as a species has been obsessed with Armageddon since well before the birth of Christianity; it's become a sort of expects the world to end, but only in the way he envisions it. Christians think the Second Coming will bring about man's true end...

(aside: I always wonder what will happen to the Earth when man's all dead...and the animals...will Earth just be a rock floating through space with some animals on it? ...maybe that's all it is now...oooo...deep)

So, this train of thought eventually brought me back to Global Warming. Weeks ago, one of my room mates put forth the idea that Global Warming was a religion for atheists...There are rituals (neurotic recycling), congregations (protests and rallies), and there is a system of beliefs (the world is getting warmer, SUVs are evil). There are even different sects (those that lump in anti-globalization and anti-corporatism) and hypocrites (celebrities who travel the world in private-jets preaching against SUVs)

And of course, Global Warming, just like the Second Coming, will bring about the end of the mankind's reign on this is very much like a religion in many ways, and mankind's need for a belief in the end of the world explains why it has spread like wildfire.

Food for thought...thanks to the Macrocosm's author for his thoughts...check his blog out in my "Friends" section...if he would ever update it.

That's all for post will probably be on censorship.

EDIT: It has been recently been pointed out to me that the idea of Global Warming as a religion was originally put forth by Rush Limbaugh. So, I thought I might give him some credit for it too. Thanks Rush.

He's back!

Finals are done, I'm on summer break, and work has started.

I've got lots of stuff on my mind to post, so I'm going to break them down into a couple of posts that should hit the site throughout this evening.

The first thought stems from the Sony PSP I bought a few days ago. It's wonderful. I do have one particular problem with it; it's not so much an issue with the system itself.

The rant should begin with an explanation. I have a problem with our country's current intellectual property laws. I don't like DRM (digital rights management) or the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. That being said (and all music, movie, and software related arguments aside), I would love to play old-school and homebrew games on my PSP.

The current laws are set up to allow anyone with a legitimate hard copy of a video game to own one soft copy for backup purposes. Reasonable...if it were easy to utilize or create those backups. There are ways to obtain emulators and get them to work with the PSP, but it is tedious and borderline illegal.

I understand holding the rights to older games that are being (or certainly warrant) remade (Final Fantasy series, Megaman series...etc). Those games, despite their age, are still making money for those companies. However, titles like Mickey Mania barely made money while they were out, but are still a blast to play. Why hold onto the rights for games like that?

That being said, I actually own copies of the games I would like to play on the I should be allowed to make/obtain soft copies...but changing my PSP to be able to do so could permanently damage the system and make it unusable. How in the world does Sony benefit from my not being able to modify this console as I see fit when I stay well within my legal rights?

Emulation is a wonderful way to preserve the classic games and keep "old school" gameplay alive. I wish the big game companies would wake up and think about whether or not older games are really making them that much money anymore...

On a more fun note, there is a website that keeps track of thousands of older games that are now in public domain for one reason or another. Check out The Underdogs for more info.

That's post one...not terribly well-written or thought-out, but it's something...more to come after I get back from my run...

Peace out.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Update on Finals week

Hello friends.

Well, the last week of the semester is upon me. I've got 6 finals plus a take-home exam and a final JAVA program, for a grand total of 8 end-of-semester-things...
3 are down, two more today, none tomorrow, 2 wednesday, and 1 friday.

Full load, to be sure

Last week the University gave us Thursday and Friday off and called them "study days," but they really became "sit-around-and-not-study" days. The last week of actual school was awful, so the two breathing days were welcome.

Not much has been going on in the way of PT since our battalion run to end the semester last wednesday...I've swam a couple of times, but my time has mostly consisted of finding my graduating friends to say goodbye and studying (after friday had passed, of course).

Haven't been paying much attention to politics, games, or books either...but it'll all be over soon.

3 more days!

Peace out.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


We had Dining-Out last night. That was fun. Good food, good friends, good ceremony. I felt a little out of place because the whole thing is geared to honoring the contracted cadets who are sooner or later going to become Officers...they all had Class-A's too...not me...I had a suit, heh.

I got a bunch of congratulations from my ROTC peers on my PT test results at the ceremony...that made me feel great, especially when one of the MS4s who got a 385 (yeah...that's 3-8-5) commented on how fast I was...good stuff.

I've got a Leadership analysis paper to do now...gotta read up on General George S. Patton. Have a good weekend, all.

Peace out.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Record APFT

Our last PT test for the semester was this morning...I improved on all accounts!

69 push-ups...personal best and just six away from a max. Up from 56 on the last test.
86 sit-ups...another personal best. That's up from 75.
12 min 31 sec two-mile time...also a personal best! That's down 7 seconds.

Overall score of 293...6 stupid push-ups and I could have maxed. Oh well. I can most assuredly get those in by the start of the fall. I've just really got to stay on top of fitness this summer.

Speaking of staying on top of things, the end of the school year is here...and that means mountains of work to be done...
Posting may be slight over the next 5 days...but have no fear...summer will be here soon.

Peace out.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Final PT / End of the school year

I was planning on posting about VT, gun-law ranters, and related topics...but I think enough has been said on these particular subjects lately. The families of the victims deserve time to heal, and who am I to judge the situation surrounding the University and its police one way or the other.

The MS4s took their record PT Test today. My housemates did fairly well by their own accounts, so congratulations to them. The rest of us take our final test on Friday. I think the swimming and extra workouts that I've been undertaking recently are going to go a long way...The test won't really matter for me no matter how well or poorly I do, but it's certainly a matter of pride. One of the MS3s I pace with tested with the MS4s my run group of 3 is down to 2...we should be able to keep a good pace regardless...I ate up the run route today, so I'm hoping the same thing will happen Friday.

As always, I'm concerned about push-ups...but today, I did 50 without-rest for the first time ever...that made me's to hoping I can repeat that performance Friday.

Ok...I'm done.
Peace out.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Quick Update

Computer's back up and running...thank you, Travis.

If you haven't heard, there were two shootings at Virginia Tech this morning. ABC estimates 25-29 people dead so far and another 20 or so wounded. I'll post more details and some thoughts about the tragedy tonight after class and work.

Keep the victims in your thoughts and prayers.
Peace out.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Man down!'s my computer that's down. Something must have recently gotten screwed up on the Linux half because I can't boot into either side...grub's giving me troubles.

Needless to say, posting might be limited until I can figure out what's wrong with it. I'm praying it doesn't come to a HD wipe. I like to do that every six months anyway, but I was sort've hoping I could make it all the way to summer break first...which is just over two weeks away...oh well, these things happen.

Wish me luck. I'm stuck in the school's computer labs until I figure something out.
Peace out.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Rutgers Controversy and Words from a Fellow Soldier

Ok, Im jumping on the band wagon. I'm going to write about Don Imus and the Rutgers basketball women...but something needs to be said.

Don Imus' comment, joke or not, was out of line. No questions. It really wasn't funny, and I'm not sure what he was trying to prove...ok, that's settled.

Do I really think the women of the team suffered physically because of being called "nappy-headed hoes?" Absolutely not. My room mates and I greet each other every morning with harsher insults than that, and I certainly don't get sick on a regular basis.

I understand the difference of course. Imus' joke was mean-spirited, our greetings are not...but my point is simply that you can't let things get to you. What does it matter what an old white-dude has to say about the black women on a Rutgers basketball team? doesn't matter. Should he have been fired? It's not my decision, and I really couldn't care less. All I know is that I'm sick of reading about how insult is making them suffer...bah.

Imus has handled the aftermath as best as he should...he's apologized again and again for his behavior...on Al Sharpton's show! (possibly a mistake to try that...) But no one will let it go...he deserves some punishment...but think about it: If soldiers had taken Kerry's slip-of-the-tongue as seriously as everyone is currently taking Imus', MA might be out of a senator.

I received this next piece in an email from my recruiter who received it from a friend of his. It's good...really good.

The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some poll
data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true given the source,

The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy
with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country
is unhappy with the performance of the president. In essence 2/3 of the
citizenry just ain't happy and want a change.

So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, ''What are we
so unhappy about?''

Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7
days a week? Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning
in the summer and heating in the winter? Could it be that 95.6 percent
of these unhappy folks have a job? Maybe it is the ability to walk into
a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has
seen in the last year?

Maybe it is the ability to drive from the Pacific Ocean to the
Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we
move through each state? Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe
motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter?
I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around
the world is just not good enough. Or could it be that when we wreck
our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all and
even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home.
You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a
group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch
equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family and your
belongings. Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen
TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes, an officer equipped with a gun and a
bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack
or loss. This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or
militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90
percent of teenagers own cell phones and computers.

How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we
enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world? Maybe that is what
has 67 percent of you folks unhappy.

Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the
world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S., yet has a
great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most
blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we
don't have, and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the
good Lord we live here.

I know, I know. What about the president who took us into war and
has no plan to get us out? The president who has a measly 31 percent
approval rating? Is this the same president who guided the nation in
the dark days after 9/11? The president that cut taxes to bring an
economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been
called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled
ungrateful brats safe from terrorist attacks? The commander in chief of
an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me? Did you
hear how bad the President is on the news or talk show? Did this news
affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't take a look around
for yourself and see all the good things and be glad?

Think about it.....are you upset at the President because he
actually caused you personal pain OR is it because the "Media" told you
he was failing to kiss your sorry ungrateful ass every day.

Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have
volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom.
There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go.
They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ''general''
discharge, an ''other than honorable'' discharge or, worst case
scenario, a ''dishonorable'' discharge after a few days in the brig.

So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent
of Americans? Say what you want but I blame it on the media. If it
bleeds, it leads and they specialize in bad news.

Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will
watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and
media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells, and
when criticized, try to defend their actions by "justifying" them in one
way or another. Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J.
Simpson to write a book about how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did
he would have done it this way..... Insane!

Stop buying the negativism you are fed every day by the media. Shut
off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of
your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as a country.
There is exponentially more good than bad.

Fantastic. That's all I've got. Back to work.
Peace out.

Swimming and PT

Pretty solid workout this morning. I'm finding that the swimming my two room mates and I have been doing since our return from break is already going a long way. I'm constantly tired and worn-out...but when I exercise, the feeling stays the same (as bad as it always is), and I'm doing more pushups more quickly, and I've stayed close to the head of the pack for run times. Pretty good stuff. I'm going to have to think about joining a pool or rec center this summer...only two weeks

Nothing political from me today; I just wanted to make this observation.

Enjoy your Friday-the-13s everyone.
Peace out.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Lead Lab and Duke Rape Case

We had a Lead Lab early this morning. The topic was Combat Medical Care. Lead Labs always make me feel useless because I don't have nearly the experience of any of the other cadets, including the freshmen. I was put on my platoon's secondary Aid & Litter team (taking care of fallen or wounded comrades). When one of my squad members took an imaginary wound to the leg via an injury-simulation-card, I didn't know how to deal with it because I had never seen a card like that before (because I was not allowed to participate in the Field Training Exercise a few weeks ago). In a real combat situation, my squad member and I would have been in serious trouble.

I'm certainly not upset or anything. The MS4s do a good job of explaining and are very patient with anyone (including myself) who's lost or confused. Lead Labs are supposed to be learning experiences, and I sure as heck know what to do for the next time. I always feel like I'm letting people down when I screw up though. I suppose it's better to do that now when it doesn't matter versus going to BTC and blowing it there.

In other news, Crystal Gail Mangum has dropped all charges against the three former members of the Duke lacrosse team. Apparently somebody missed the fact that of all four the DNA samples found in or on her clothes at the time of the initial investigation, not one match could be made to any of the lacrosse team members. This of course is coupled with the fact that her story changed on a regular basis, and the only member of the team she identified in each of the line ups presented to her had a solid alibi; he was not even at the University on the day of the party.

How can injustices like this happen? I certainly understand with making sure the victims get justice, but how about making sure that victims are what they claim to be in the first place? The severity of the screw ups in this case are astronomical. Crystal's allegations will follow those three boys for the rest of their lives, and they were completely baseless from the start! Testimonies from multiple people, a complete lack of DNA evidence, and numerous inconsistencies on the part of the accuser should have gotten the charges dismissed a year ago when this case first came to fruition.

That's all I've got. Peace out.

EDIT: Anyone who has a problem with the validity of using Wikipedia as a source for news and the like ought to take a look at the sources cited on the bottom of the "2006 Duke University lacrosse team scandal" article to which I link above. One-hundred-and-sixty-seven independent articles. Not bad...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

British Article on Global Warming Hypocrites

This is a well-written article. You must read it!

Film recommendations

Ok, if you've been under a rock for the past few weeks and haven't had a chance to see 300, do it.

The movie is fantastic. It's amazing how Frank Miller and Zach Snyder could take a fairly straight forward story and transform it into a cinematic masterpiece. While certainly a miraculous tale, the Battle of Themopylae was not exactly plot-central. For anyone familiar with the comic, the movie parallels it sufficiently to do justice to Frank Miller's original creation.

Do not expect one hundred percent historical accuracy, for you will be sorely disappointed. 300 is derived from a graphic novel which is based roughly on the Battle of Thermopylae. Of course King Leonidas, the Spartans, and the miraculous battle with the Persians are all central, but the story Miller weaves delves so much deeper. Speculation and fiction? Of course, but it sure makes for excellent cinema.

And the gratuitous violence, blood, and gore are all here...but it's an ancient world battle! Even movies like Braveheart, one of the greatest films of all time in my opinion, did not do old-world combat justice in the ways of sheer gore. There was nothing pretty about the pitched battles of the old world...and even they were an improvement on the ancient world. Spear + chest = blood. Fact.

A lot of people grilled Snyder and Miller about whether or not the movie was meant to mirror our current conflict in Middle East...and if it did, which side it supported. Both sides found evidence in their favor and tried to justify their opinions on such things...but when questioned, both director and writer laughed and simply said something to the effect of, "Make of it whatever you want. We're not going to say anything. Why on Earth would we alienate half our audience either way?" I whole-heartedly both respect and appreciate that.

The Prestige is also a fantastic movie. I rented it over Easter Break, and made an afternoon out of it. According to every other person I have talked to recently who has seen the movie, it was the most unpredictable film in history...I swear I had it pegged from very early in my viewing experience. That certainly did not stop me from enjoying it though. The entire film will probably keep you guessing. Give it a rent and then buy it!

My room mate and I have decided we're going to swim everyday to get in really good shape for the record APFT at the end of the month. So far so good...very sleepy. We'll see how PT goes in the morning, heh.

Ok, time to get to work. Peace out.

Friday, April 6, 2007


I had a very long and interesting conversation about torture, the death penalty, and radical Islamic terrorists the other night...I'm finally getting around the post about it; thank goodness for Easter Break.

I have a close friend with whom I argue for the sake of arguing on what amounts to a daily basis. On this particular occasion, one of my house mates and I were discussing the legitimacy of US "torture" on the terrorists they had captured when my friend chimed in and vehemently condemned any torture of any kind. He argued that as human beings, even the terrorists had inalienable rights (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? heh) that we have no right to take away from them. I did (and will continue to) put forth this argument: When men or women act inhumanely and without responsibility towards the rights of others, they give up their own rights as human beings.

No one will ever be able to convince me under any circumstances that Timothy McVeigh, Saddamn Hussein, or Osama bin-Laden had (or have?) a right to live. These men acted with the sole purpose of killing hundreds to thousands of innocent men, women, and children. They have forfeited their rights as human beings.

The torture we use to obtain information from terrorist detainees will not kill them. We do not shove bamboo into their finger nails. Waterboarding (which I do believe happens at Gitmo, despite what our fearless leaders say) can cause death, but hasn't resulted in any that we've heard of...and yes, I do think we'd hear about it eventually.

Many people, including my friend, say torture doesn't work because you can't rely on the information that comes from it...but I disagree...Don't you think that eventually if we got bad information again and again they would stop using torture as a means to obtain intelligence? The reason "torture" is used is because it does work.

And, just so that no legitimate comparisons can be drawn between US torture and the beheadings, etc. of the US and Allied Forces by the Islamic terrorists: There is a difference between us and them, and there's no denying it. We fight to make peace and prevent mass murder. They fight to kill us...all of us. When we harm or coerce others for information, we're doing it to save others. The terrorists capture civilians and gruesomely kill them in cold blood to maximize the body count in order to get civilians back on US soil riled up enough to fight against the war at home.

There has got to be some objectivity. You cannot just say, "We fight for freedom, and that's how they feel too, so everyone's right (...or no one is)." For better or worse, there are evil men and women on this planet who have to be kept in check or killed by any means necessary. And as long as we're not intentionally blowing up hospitals , Universities , and neighborhoods , I'm behind our government one hundred percent.

Monday, April 2, 2007

More trouble with Iran...PT Test

My PT test was sub-par this morning. 269/300...down from ~285 from the last test. I lost 7 pushups and 7 situps...bad form. Don't know where my head was this morning. I did drop a second off my run time, but I was already at 100 there, so it didn't exactly do me any good. Oh well, this summer is going to be dedicated to getting into the best shape I've ever been in with the help of my football-playing younger brother, so I've just got to look to the future I suppose.

So, apparently, the Iranians tried to pull the same garbage with American soldiers that they've done with the British. Late last week, a group of US troops was surrounded by a force of Iranians who went across the border into Iraq (these claims like those of the British are in fact supported by GPS data from the encounter) and told the US troops to hold their position and prepare for capture.

While the Americans began to respond, the Iranians opened fire on our boys. Fortunately, no American troops were lost, though I believe I read that some 10 Iraqis who were traveling alongside the Americans are now missing.

The larger Iranian force eventually broke off and went back across the border. Rules of Engagement prevented our guys from actually fighting back, but apparently they don't do anything to prevent the illegal capture (attempted or otherwise) of our guys and our allies.

I had to dig to find this one...and I can't currently find it online...why isn't this being actively reported on major news networks?

In addition to this infraction, Iranians are pointing more fingers at American forces, claiming they entered Iranian airspace . No data to support it...again...seeing the pattern here?

The Iranians are acting like children...They see trouble coming for them, so rather than try to resolve it like grown-ups, they're lashing out spitefully in an effort to attract attention...garbage...

Ok, I suppose I better start working on homework. Quick week because of Easter Break. Let's hope it's a good one.
Peace out.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Trouble in Iran

Before I give an update on the happenings in my life, I'd like to write a little about the current situation in Iran involving the detaining of 15 British Naval personnel.

There have now been two confessions released on Iranian TV, one by Nathan Summers, a crewman, and the other from the group's sole female member. I'm no expert on these sort of things, but my guess, and the speculation world-wide, is that they were scripted at the least, and forced by threat of bodily harm at the worst.

The real question is whether or not an international crime has even been committed. If in fact the British did not pass into Iranian waters, then no crime exists, and the Iranians have a lot of explaining to do. The global positioning satellite data is pretty conclusive; the boats never once strayed from Iraqi waters. Without an actual crime, the confessions are of course completely invalid.

If it turns out the Brits did steer into Iranian waters, yeah, there ought to be repercussions...but there has to be proof to support the confessions...

I'm really interested to see how this pans out...if Iran can't produce any real evidence, they could be in for some real trouble.

In personal news, field training apparently went well this weekend for the battalion. I'm bummed I miss out, but there'll be plenty of time for that sort of thing in BTC, heh. We've got a PT Test on Monday...I'm fairly confident I can bring my run time down a little more, though there wouldn't be any real gain in it. Always concerned about pushups of course, but I'm getting more and more confident in them as well...I can crank out 30+ now without any real slowdown, so that's certainly an improvement from the beginning of the semester when it took me nearly all two minutes to bust out 40...

I need to get a hold of my recruiter as well and see how my pre-application is panning/panned out. I've got to talk about bonuses too and get some hard numbers down.

The Dragonbone Chair keeps getting better and better...And I'm getting close to the rank of Sergeant in Battlefield 2. Once again, I really recommend both.

EDIT: Battlefield 2's price has dropped to $5.00 on can anyone possibly say no to a price like that?

That's all for now. Busy weekend ahead of me, but Easter Break starts next Wednesday, so at least there's a shortened week ahead.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Post-Spring Break Report

Last week was excellent...75+ degree weather in Jacksonville, no rain. Wonderful.

A couple of days on the beach, a couple days shopping...just what I needed. I picked up the four books in the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series by Tad Williams. I'm about halfway through the first book, The Dragonbone Chair, and so far, it is doing a marvelous job of keeping my attention. Some of the writing has been a tad (pun not necessarily intended) repetative; no reason to leave this intriguing story by the wayside though.

I also picked up Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, a turn-based strategy game for the Gameboy Advanced for $9.99 at Best Buy...excellent game. I've logged in some 5-hours into it so far (thank goodness for 14 hour car rides), and I've had a devil of a time ignoring it for the tests I've had this week.

One last plug. Battlefield 2 for the PC is possibly the best value game I've ever purchased. The game costs around $10.00 on The game is an excellent battlefield pits the USMC (not quite Army...but I'll survive) against the Chinese against the Middle-Eastern Coalition in the possible-not-so-distant-future. Every match you complete online earns you points based on your kills and flag-captures in addition to other things. These points allow you to unlock various weapons and specials as you increase in rank.

There are also medals, honors, and ribbons awarded for accomplishing in-game tasks. For instance, I recently earned an ariborne ribbon for jumping out of a helicoptor and successfully landing after 10+ seconds.

Everyone in my house has purchased Battlefield 2 within the past couple of weeks and we just can't get enough. I've even comtemplated purchasing the expansion packs...

So anyway, now we're back into the swing of things with school and the Army.

PT has been successful so far this week. My room mate and I have decided to start putting serious supplement time into our PT, so I've started lifting and running on off days. A little more hurt, but the results are going to be good.

The battalion is going on FTX this weekend (field training exercise). It's patrolling stuffs and whatnot. I unfortunately will not be attending because I am technically not a part of the program nor will I be training to be an officer which is of course the purpose of the ROTC program. I would have liked to have had the experience, but no big deal. I'm doing to try to catch the second one this semester or both next fall before basic.

Now for a rant. Apparently, a polar bear cub recently born in a German zoo is causing quite a fuss. Apparently, Knut's (the bear cub) mother and brother ignored him after he was born. So the zoo officials have decided to raise the cub themselves. According to animal rights activist Frank Albrecht via the Bild Daily "Feeding by hand is not species-appropriate but a gross violation of animal protection laws...The zoo must kill the bear."

Now, I could be wrong, but aren't animal protection laws in place to...I dunno save animals from death-by-humans? Apparently not.

Polar bears are near extinction according to all the environmentalist reports that I've heard as of late...something about carbon dioxide building in the atmosphere causing their habitats to melt away or some bogus science like that...

In all seriousness, this story did make me laugh. Albrecht's logic is that if the mother ignores the baby, the zoo ought to obey nature's laws and put the cub down, completely ignoring the fact that this is a great opportunity for breeding the cub can provide down the road.

"They cannot domesticate a wild animal," Ruediger Schmiedel, head of the Foundation for Bears, told Der Spiegel Weekly in its Monday edition.
Um, how about the fact that it was going to be raised in a zoo anyway? How do you think most zoos feed their bears (or any of the animals for that rate)? They toss them the food at feeding time! I've watched it happen...fact.

Ok, enough said. I hold you all have a great weekend.
Peace out.

EDIT: Read my good friend's posting on the economy over at the Common Virtue. The link to the site is over in "Friends."