Thursday, December 23, 2010

Have Fun!

Hey folks,

I'm out for the holidays (yay!) Just wanted to stop in and wish anyone who wanders by a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year! Enjoy being with the ones you love . . . remember: they may not be around always so make the most of it this year!

I'm out til the New Year!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Murderous Elves

So, the weekend was good . . . went to see TRON on Saturday morning (good, but not great) and to the company holiday party Saturday night. Party was nice but truly, the best part was when we were leaving and The Wife (who was driving cuz I had a few drinks) became very pissed off and yelled at me when I tried to give her directions on how to get home: "I'm driving, not you! I know where I'm going so just shut up!" Cool. I just turned on the radio and sat back, watching the pretty lights go by. Now, I had driven to the party and it took us 35 minutes to get there. After 45 minutes of driving along god forsaken back roads The Wife was finally at the point where she had no clue at all where we were and asked at an intersection: "Which way should I go?" to which I replied: "Oh? Are you speaking to me? I just want to be sure cuz, ya' know: YOU'RE driving and know where your going, so I don't want to offend by answering rhetorical questions or anything." (Yup, I'm that big of a dick!) Oh, you should have seen her face go through nine shades of red and purple, but she'd been wrong and she knew it. She had to bite her tongue and apologize and ask me for help getting home. The sad part is, she had gone in the completely wrong direction and was actually on the entire wrong side of the state! Luckily, I knew exactly where we were and I was able to get us on a road for home in two quick turns. So, what was a 35 minute ride in took us two full hours getting back cuz The Wife was feeling all "empowered" and shit. There's a lesson to be learned there folks . . . I'll let you decide what it is. :-)

Yesterday I got to watch my Giants take the most humiliating defeat in the history of football . . . no more need be said on that sad subject. :-(

We started watching Christmas cartoons last night (we have them ALL on dvd!) and I was very entertained watching "Rudolph". A guy on the radio last week had been talking about the thing in that show that bugged him most: that when Rudolph leaves Yukon and Hermie on the Island of Misfit Toys that he leaves the door to the house open . One would think that leaving the door wide open on such a tiny house at the North Pole would wake up the other occupants (yea, I know it's just a cartoon but the illogic bothers me too, k?) So The Boy and I were looking for other logic flaws in the show (much to The Wife's annoyance) We found quite a few but I won't bore you with them, except for the one that made me laugh hysterically. The Boy caught it while I was down the hall using the "facilities"; he bust out laughing and calling for me to come back to the living room.

I don't know if this was intentional on the part of the creators, or just an oversight, but when The Boy showed it to me my evil sense of humor burst into high gear. You know how on the Island of Misfit Toys, there's a bird who can't fly, he only swims? Well, if you watch the closing credits carefully, you'll see that the elf on the back of Santa's sleigh is giving each toy an umbrella to parachute safely down to their  new homes. At one point, the bird comes out of Santa's bag and the elf starts to give him an umbrella, then looks from the bird, to the umbrella, then back again and gives this big smile before pushing the bird out without an umbrella. Dude, it's the bird that can't fly!! That evil little elf kills one of the toys Santa just rescued! That was funny as shit to me! (yup, I'm evil that way.) Forty years of watching that show and I never noticed that before . . . awesome!

I'm out!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Writing . . . Sort Of.

Been doing some work on "First" . . . sort of. I've been experimenting with MS Office's OneNote program. It's basically a large electronic notebook with an unlimited number of tabbed sections in it and an unlimited number of pages in each tab. (Think: five subject notebook X infinity!) You can free-form notes, thoughts, sketches, images, etc. on each page and even insert links to external files/programs. What I like best is its ability to link any text on a page to any other text/section/object on any other page, under any tab. I have a text file of notes (back story & character questions, etc.) that I wrote for myself a while back and I inserted it into OneNote. I also created tabs for maps, unfinished plot, calendars & time lines, etc. I'm able to link the notes to the locations on the maps or the dates in the calendar, or even to character profile pages so that a single click while I'm reading through it jumps me to the linked info . . . very nice! The only thing I'm having a little trouble with is linking to specific locations on and image (world map). I know it can be done, just haven't pinned it down yet. What a great idea though - the ability to jump from reference text to the world map, then click on that location on the map to jump to an enlarged map or another page that details the area! Much potential here, just not sure if it's potential for: A) Organizing my work so I can write more concisely or B) A massive time suck.

We shall see!

Work has been crazy busy. I'm rolling out & training folks on Windows 7 & Office 2010 (hence why I started playing with OneNote!) It's nice to be back to training again. with the shitty economy I've been limited by senior management to mostly support calls and troubleshooting this year. Things are looking up enough so they're letting loose of the monetary reins and letting me get back to what I'm supposed to be doing. Should make for a very busy year here though - I have a LOT of stuff on backlog that I need to get geared up for.

Family is good . . . should be a nice weekend ahead. The Boy has his Naval Ball (aka Senior Prom) and The Wife and I are heading to my company's Holiday Party (can't say "Christmas"!) for the first time in . . . hell, at least six years! It just always fell on dates where I had conflicts but this year we're clear so I'm looking forward to it. Other than that, it should be a quiet weekend around the homestead. Nice lead in to the holidays, right? Hope all is good with everyone else . . .

I'm out!

Monday, December 13, 2010


. . .

Just not feeling it today. Wanna be home, relaxing, napping . . . the GOOD stuff! :-(

Weekend was very nice (hope y'all can say the same!) We did the decorating/trimming of the tree for Christmas and went to see the latest of the Harry Potter films. Movie was good, if a little slow at points (but I expected that, the book was verrryyy slow in the first half.) Overall, I was pleased with it. The Potter films have to cut a lot of info from the books out but I think they've done a good job of getting the story across with the time limitations of a feature film.

Ok, so here's a total geek item - I just heard about the new program slated for HBO this spring: "A Game of Thrones" based on the first book of George R.R. Martin "Song of Ice and Fire" series. Holy shit, batman! I LOVE these books and the trailers for the series look awesome (Dude: Sean Bean -aka Boromir- as Lord Eddard Stark!!) I'm getting me some HBO, folks . . . no way in hell I'm missing this show.

The meeting with The Boy's B&G Rep went well. I mostly sat on the side and listened while my son handled the interview (it is HIS life, after all!) and he did very well. The rep was highly impressed, particularly by his SAT scores (The Boy blew the doors off the damn thing!) and the way he handled himself in the interview. The Boy speaks well and is not the least bit rattled by authority figures or stress situations. He done good! :-)

No writing, just fixing up the house all weekend and teaching seminars today at work. Maybe some tonight, we'll see . . . like I said though, I just wanna go home and crash.

I'm out.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Just a Day . . .

And another day rolls along . . .

Not too bad a day, I guess. More along the "meh" side than anything. Getting prepped for a rollout of new software at work and already the people who will be receiving it (next week) are bitching that there are problems. Really? This is some serious software if it can fuck up your system before it's even installed! Oy. That's people though, they DO NOT like change. Except for me. Just one more instance where I'm out of step with the rest of the world (like we need more examples of that!) I love change. I really do; the idea of new challenges, new problems to solve, all new stuff to learn . . . excites me. I'm always one for leaping feet first into something I've never come across before (which explains the army thing, I guess!) hell even when I go to a restaurant I'm always looking for something on the menu I've never eaten before. This attitude always leads to conflict between The Wife and I (what doesn't?) She is of the firm opinion that what ain't broke should never be fixed. All things should stay within the safe, secure, reliable realms of the familiar and anything that forces us outside of said zone is unquestionably "bad". Seems to me most folks agree with her but I don't get it. Isn't life supposed to be an adventure? Not a whole lot of adventures show up at you door at a sensible hour, on a weekend, to ask if you would: "Perhaps care to come outside and play?" now do they? No risk = no possible gain is how I see it. Of course, the inverse correlative may also be true, wherein: No risk = no possible loss. Seems a depressing way to approach life though.

So, got a little bit of writing done on "First" (about 700 words or so) but I'm hoping to get some more done later tonight. We actually have a rep from the USNA coming to the house tonight to talk to my son about his application and the school in general. The boy is still very much interested in Annapolis, though he is really thrilled about the USMMA as well. if he gets an offer from the USNA he'll have one huge decision to make: both are outstanding schools and both offer him exactly the career path he wants. Really, he can't lose going either way.

Listening to Christmas music as I type this . . . only two more weeks till Christmas break! (WooHoo!) The Wife and I both took the week off this year because it will most likely be the last time The Boy will be home for the entire time (military schools and life are very time consuming!) As you can imagine, the thought of that is enough to set off the tear factory in The Wife (OK, so I get a little misty too. I'll miss the spud when he's gone but don't tell him I said so, k?) We're down to counting his time at home in months and that is a very odd thing indeed. We are a very close family and we spend a lot of time together, even though he's a teenager with a ton of friends, a license, and a car of his own. it's going to be a hard thing not having him around all the time. (Shit! Who's gonna laugh at my stupid jokes??? Certainly not The Wife, I promise you!) Ah well, in any event I am very much looking forward to the break. Christmas in my house is always much fun!

Thant's all I got for today, folks.

I'm out!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Awesome Kiddies

Hey, folks!

How was your weekend? Mine was pretty good, had a one-day drill on Saturday, had a small Holiday Lunch that our FRG (Family Readiness Group) put together for us and it was phenomenal. those ladies do some remarkable work: it's comforting to know we have people like that at our backs. BTW: just want to say thank you to the lady who saw four soldiers sitting at a booth in Chili's this weekend and stopped by to say "Thanks for your service!" and dropped $30.00 on the table before she ran out. Ma'am, that was totally not necessary! The "thank you" was far more than we even need, but both are truly appreciated. There are some really wonderful folks out there, ya' know?

Yesterday was good too, went up to NYC with the family and spent the day seeing all the Christmas-type sights. Good company and good fun - plus good candied nuts from the street vendors (nom nom nom!) I was just there with my niece a few weeks ago to see "West Side Story" (yup, still a musicals geek!) and we had a great time then too. Always fun to spend time with the kids (kids? Hell, she's almost 16 now!) away from their parents. They open up a lot more and you can have some really interesting conversations with young folks if you can get them to tell you what they really think. This particular niece is in a music/drama type HS where she lives and lovvveessss the musicals too, so we went together (cuz The Wife hates that shit!) The Boy likes 'em too, but he was busy that day doing something or other.

Having been away for a  bit (what's a year or so between friends, eh?) I didn't have a chance to brag on The Boy! He's a Senior this year and still determined to do the Naval thing, so he applied -and has been accepted- to the United State Merchant Marine Academy! How's that for cool? Not only that, but he got an "early acceptance" letter which means he was one of a small handful of applicants they put at the very top of their list. I'm so proud of him I can't even begin to explain it. We did good with that kid! :-)

No writing this weekend, too busy having fun, as you can see! I have been working a little on my novel "First" which I want to finish because I really like the way it ends and I want to see how it gets there. I have this really epic, semi-tragic, ending planned but there is a massive battle that takes place across 16 days and told from two alternating points of view that I have to finish up before I get there. Complex, but kinda fun to write. Right now, that's what I'm looking for - stuff that interests me. I want to write because I want to see the story form, ya' know? Not because I "have to" in order to be published, and I certainly don't want to write what I think will sell, either. I want to have fun again with my writing; to do it because it feels good to me. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

I'm out!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Focused On Being Un-Focused

So, like I said yesterday: I reread this entire blog from start to finish (took me three days - holy shit, I 'm long winded!). It was a very interesting experience to see the change from the fat, angry, depressed man who wanted to be a writer that I was to the in-shape, focused, soldier that I became. Reading through the daily progression of my own psyche (such as it is) was . . . therapeutic? Not sure what other word to use there. All I know is that it made me realize that I'm neither of those extremes anymore but there's still a good amount of both still mixed about inside me.

I have always been a character of extremes (as you no doubt know if you've read through any of my older posts!) I have always had a tendency to focus on a set goal and drive myself toward it to the exclusion of all else, using that goal to define "who" I was. I was a "writer" or a "soldier" or an "artist" or whatever other silly ass thing I was focused on at the moment said that I was. Problem with that of course is that it always left me pissed off when everything didn't go exactly as I wanted and I wasn't amazingly successful at what I wanted to do. In other words, it was all or nothing: if I wasn't a successful author, then fuck it! I'd be a super awesome soldier instead  and never write again! (Oy vey, the man's a dumb-ass!) Stupid, right? Yet I can't deny that was me. Like I said, it was kind of fun to sit back and watch the demise of that man in written form over the course of the last few years. that's kinda why I'm back here - I like the idea of keeping this blog as a sort of online journal: a way for me to look back in another few years and see what stupidity I'm spouting today that will make me shake my head in disbelief then!

So, who am I now you ask (OK, since I ask, cuz I'm the only one here!) and what am I doing with my life? Well, I'm all of the above plus a little more I guess. I'm still a medic in the National Guard (and I love it!) but I'm also back to writing (semi-regularly) and I'm loving that too. I'm back in school, finishing up my degree (Army training taught me that I actually enjoy school!) as well as working full time as a technical trainer (which I can't say I "love" but there are far worse jobs and it keeps a roof over my head!). What are my plans for the future? Honestly - I don't know. Oh, I have several paths available to me over the next few years but I'm not turning into "focused guy" again. I'm simply prepping myself for all of them and The Wife and I will make appropriate decisions when the time comes. I like this approach better, it's very calming for me. I don't spend each day in fear of failure and scrambling to try and make everything perfect. The Army taught me that I think. There is no better place to learn that all "plans" are futile and will fail upon first contact with the enemy. In the Army, we prepare for as many eventualities as we can and make only tentative plans, which can be changed and adapted on the fly when the shit hits the fan. I think I've taken this approach in my personal life as well and it seems to be working just fine. It certainly reduces the stress levels and the amount of fighting at home! I'm a lot more relaxed in my own skin now because I know that I can handle whatever comes next, whether I've planned for it or no. Surprises no longer scare the hell out of me: I've finally found a place inside my own mind where I feel like I'm a competent man who can handle whatever life throws at me (and let's face it, sometimes life throws like Mo Rivera on steroids!).

To sum up - I'll be back here and posting (don't know how often, but as regular as I can) with no specific agenda in mind other than getting my own ramblings down in semi-permanent state for my own future amusement. I imagine you'll get progress postings on what/how much I'm writing and some entertaining tales about a soldier's life as they come up. I'll also keep you in touch with the doings of The Wife, The Boy, and The Puppy (all of whom are in great health and quite happy at the moment, BTW!)

Enjoy your day folks, I is out!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Round Three?

Well, Here I am again!

Wow, can't believe it's been over a year since I posted here. Can't even begin to tell you where it's gone, or what I've been doing. Just been living life, I guess (shrugs the author, non-commitedly). I stopped by here the other day on a whim and started reading this blog from the beginning . . . amazing how much I've changed (and how much my life has changed!) over the last six years! We'll have to talk about that (ya' know: assuming anyone ever stops by here again).

In the meantime, yes, I changed the title here once more because the blog is neither about me as a writer (aka "A Novel Approach") nor is it about me as a Soldier Medic (aka "A Medic's Journey") this blog is about me, and that entails both and neither of the above, depending on which way the wind blows on any given day. :-)

Stick around . . . maybe I'll be interesting, enlightening, or entertaining!

(Don't count on any of the above though.)