Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I'm a Reader, Not A Writer..

Or at least lately this seems to be the case. I've been gorging myself on media lately and it seems to have impacted my ability to write. Secretly I was hoping it would inspire me to write and influence my writing style. No such luck.

So as any good blogger would do, I'm going to write about my inability to write.

Kidding, that would be lame and I'm pretty sure I've done that before in college as part of a writing exercise. No instead, I'll give you a quick recap of some of the stuff I've been reading.

1. 'Super Freakonomics' - The sequel (not sure if that's entirely appropriate, maybe the follow up) of the popular and NY Time's Best Seller 'Freakonomics'. It's basically a bunch of odd stories about how people make decisions and how certain things we perceive to be obvious are neither obvious or correct. It had a really good write up on the futility of the fight against global warming. I had already blogged about this but 'Super Freakonomics' presented the all important facts.

2. 'Norwood' - A novel from 1966 written by Charles Portis. I stumbled upon Portis in a blog celebrating his obscurity as an author. Turns out he wrote 'True Grit' which I'm working on now. 'Norwood' is funny. It's a comical look at the culture of North Texas/Arkansas during the 1950's. It's a short fiction story about Norwood Pratt and his odd adventures. The sentences are short and to the point and it took me reading 'True Grit' to figure out that 'Norwood' was a comedy of sorts. The girl at Square Books had tried to explain it to me, but I didn't really understand. It's definitely worth a read though, it has midgets and an educated chicken.

3. 'The Bourne Identity' - Oh yes, Robert Ludlum's fast paced spy novel popularized by Matt Damon. 'The Bourne Identity' was written in 1980 and set in that time period or earlier. As a result, the novel is quite different from the movie, especially in terms of technology. It's a fun read, definitely as much fun as the movie, even if it's not high brow literature. I guess it would be a men's version of those vampire novels that are all popular with the ladies. Team something or another.

I'm in the process of reading 3 books. Why three? Because 2 are hard work and I have to alternate between something that doesn't make my brain melt a little.

1. 'Infinite Jest' - The hot indie, hipster bible. If you haven't heard of it, you're not cool. Don't worry, you're so uncool you don't realize you're not cool, so it's cool. David Foster Wallace. DFW. Ring any bells? Yeah, me neither. I kept hearing about this book and decided to pick it up. Imagine my surprise when I saw how difficult it was to pick up, literally (har, har, it's 1500 pages long). So I've started and stopped and started and stopped. It's good, in a 'Wes Anderson' sort of way, but it's still really long and daunting. I think that's part of the joke.

2. 'True Grit' - Quick, go get a copy so that when the Coen Brother's version comes out on Christmas? (really?) you can say you liked the book better. It's actually pretty good. I saw the John Wayne version a long time ago and liked the movie well enough. The book has the same short and to the point sentences as Norwood, but the subject matter is much more serious and dark. This is my breather book.

3. 'Afghanistan, A Cultural and Political History' - No kidding. I'm reading it because I figure I'm going so I may as well learn why. Maybe it'll save my life knowing why the villagers are so damn pissed off. Who knows. It has been really insightful so far and I'm definitely learning a lot, but I like to read for entertainment, not knowledge, so this gets swapped out with the other two.

That's all I've got for now folks, I half-heartedly promise to write more. I actually have some news to write about it, so it's all very likely.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Quick Randomness

I promise to start writing more, I'm sure both of you are excited. Anyways, a quick post with a little insight into my mind. I read the following headline "Buyer Interest in Toyota tanks" and imagined this:

Not this:

A small part of me was really excited Toyota was going to start producing tanks. OK, maybe a large part of me.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Back in Time for 2010

This post is about 4 weeks late, but I'm back from Basic and AIT. Most of you who read this blog are well aware of this fact, but I figured I had to blog about it to make it official.

I graduated and received my castle on December 4th, 2009. I am a combat engineer and damn proud of that fact.

Combat engineers perform a number of different jobs in the Army, but for the last few years the majority of them have focused on route clearance. This basically means finding and destroying IED's. Engineers are also used to breach doors or walls using explosives, shotguns and chainsaws. Engineers also set up security barriers/razor wire to protect operating bases.
AIT covered all of these things plus mine detection, personnel searches and a few other things.

Basic was difficult and I'm proud I completed it. It was harder than I anticipated and I definitely pushed a few of my limits. However, it was never impossible and with the support of my battle buddies, I always felt ready to take on the next challenge.

Now that I've completed Basic and AIT, I have my regular Guard duty of one weekend a month and two weeks a year. This month and February I will drill with my RSP unit at Tupelo. I will then be handed off to my new Engineer Unit in Houston, MS and will begin training with them.

I was lucky enough to have 2 battle buddies in my platoon who will also be in the Houston unit, so I'll at least know a few people when I start.

I'm unsure about deployment, but I think the Houston unit just got back in 2008 from Iraq, which means it should be 2012 before they are deployed again. Of course given today's environment, anything could happen.

I'm still working on adjusting a little to a weekend warrior lifestyle, but easing into being home with my family took no adjustment at all.

I plan on blogging about how incredible everyone has been towards me and my family, so for now I just want to say "thanks" to everyone for everything.