Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What does your summer reading list look like?

I have a somewhat full docket, at first glance.

Nonfiction: Castles of Steel by Robert Massie
Re-read Dreadnought, also by Massie
Vinegar Joe Stilwell and the American Experience in China by Barbara Tuchman
Re-read A Distant Mirror(also by Barbara Tuchman)

Fiction is somewhat limited:
In at the Death by Harry Turtledove
WH40K Books:
Rebel Winter
Brothers of the Snake
Descent of Angels.

This is all tentative, of course. Odds are I'll see somethign I like at the bookstore more than once. In addition, I have a passle of Osprey books to work through.

What does your list look like?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Happy Memorial Day Geekend

Ladies and Gentlemen, 30 years ago this weekend(today, in fact) a little known but soon to be entirely awesome movie called "Star Wars" was released. Star Wars went on to reinvigorate the Space Opera genre, and become a visually stunning masterpiece.

Years later, after the end of the original trilogy, a science fiction author by the name of Timothy Zahn wrote a "sequel" trilogy, concerning the post-Endor SW galaxy. This breathed new life into the Star Wars franchise, and we have been reaping the benefits, and the bad since. Certainly, the prequel trilogy did not measure up or have the staying power of the original. The expanded universe novels have mostly degenerated into a series of hack writers writing hack stories, too afraid to comp template a "big Galaxy".

On the whole, I think, the quality of the Franchise has gotten worse, not better over these past few years. While there are some diamonds in the rough(ROTS, KOTOR, Clone Wars Cartoons) I am reminded of what my Dad used to say, "no matter how hard you polish a turd, it's still a turd." Unfortunately, that's where the franchise is now, and where I think it's gonna continue going.

Now if you excuse me, I have a 6 hour Star Wars marathon to watch.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Summer is here...

Which means that, shortly, all cookery will cease inside and only continue outside on the grill. Which isn't to say that this wasn't the way before(no mere hurricane force winds are going to stop me) but now it's more official.

Cooking on the grill is always preferable to cooking inside, unless you have $5.00 to last till next paycheck, and you have to go Ramen noodle out. In addition, all the relavent food groups are cookable on the grill. Beef, pork, chicken, lamb...even various seafood for you fish-mongers. If you want to get really wild, you can have peppers and make a shish kabob. Get your carbs by soaking some bratwursts in beer for several hours before grilling.

But what kind of sidedish? Well, obviously potatoes of some kind. Whether baked or otherwise. I prefer my baked potatoes to be fairly plain...just salt, pepper, and little bit of butter. But for the rest of you, knock yourselves out.

And fries? There is only one topping to go on fries...and that is Malt Vinegar. Anything else is an abomination.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

WH40KCraft2 announced.

Attention good citizens of the Imperium of Man! The most hated of foes, Blizzard Entertainment, has announced that they intend to once more pitch their "Starcraft" franchise as an original universe. Granted, few little "Sci-fi" can be considered original, but like the "Warcraft" franchise any reasonable person can see they quite a bit was ripped from Games Workshop.

And so, Good Citizens of the Imperium, I as thee to smite these foes! Go out and buy WH40K novels! Play Dawn of War/Dark Crusade! Do not anticipate Starcraft 2, we all know that Dawn of War 2 will come out long before it anyway, no matter what Blizzard's goal date is.

Thought for the Day: It is better to die for the Emperor, than live for yourself.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Be Professional, Damnit

Many moons ago in High School I was on the Debate team. Like most others, I had joined to beef up the 'ol college application, and hey I like to argue so why not do that as an extra curricular activity?

Of course, there was one thing I hated about the whole concept, and that was dressing up. Those damn collared shirts. Those damn jackets. Those ties tied with arcane means. Back then(and now) you'd be lucky to get me in anything other than a Tee-shirt and jeans, unless you made me. My after-school job was at a bowling alley, so obviously I wasn't dressed to kill there either. I only "dressed up" at debate meets, and I considered that a chore.

Graduating High School I went to Texas A&M,joined the Corps of Cadets, and for the first time in my life "look professional, damn it" was drilled into my head. Polish those shoes! Iron those pants! Shine that brass! Later, after I left TAMU I joined the Navy, and I spent 4 years concerned about keeping the uniform reasonably clean and wrinkle free.

After I got out, I went to Men's Warehouse to get the first suit I had bought in over 5 years. Need to look purty for job interviews, obviously. While I was getting measured and fitted, a father and son entered the store, and the son proceed to piss and moan about how he didn't need a suit and tie, and he would find a job where he wouldn't have to "dress up" to work. I was both amused and irritated, after all even McDonald's makes you wear a uniform.

Outside of work I still dress up to a maximum of a polo shirt and jeans, but wearing a suit and tie no longer bothers me as it once did. Impressions, whether in an IT enviroment or otherwise, are important. Dressing and acting in a professional manner instills confidence in others, and the only way you can get away looking like a hobo in today's world is if you have (1)proven over an extended time period to your employer that you're valuable enough to be given special dispensation and (2)you can be kept out of sight so as to not embaress the company/agency in front of customers/clients.

If you look and act professional, you may even feel proud about it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Fred Thompson replies to Michael Moore

Okay, this made me chuckle:
Fred Thompson Exclusive: The confrontation over Cuba continues. Michael Moore has challenged Fred Thompson to a health care debate. At issue -- Moore's trip to Cuba and Thompson's criticism of that trip. Moore noted Thompson's evident favor for Cuban cigars as a possible violation of the trade embargo. Now, Thompson responds. Cigar in hand.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Are MRAPs the wave of the future?

So, 4 years into Iraq and the decision seems to have finally been made to stop driving around in Humvees "outside the wire" and ride around solely in Mine Resistant Ambush Protected(MRAP) vehicles. With the possibility of us pulling out and leaving Iraq "as is"(as no politician has the cajones to institute a draft to get the numbers necessary to pacify the country) within the year increasing, it may not seem entirely logical to go out and buy 17,000 new vehicles.

Most modern MRAPs are derived(or heavily influenced by) from South African designs dating back several decades. Indeed, when the CF deployed to Canada they went out and bought several dozen vehicles from a South African firm. Today, users from subsaharan African countries to Blackwater Security utilize these vehicles.

But that doesn't answer the question of "If the odds are we won't be in Iraq much longer, why spend the money?". For one thing, we(that is, the Nation) would be derelict in making sure our servicemen and women have the protection they need, not matter how long we're going to be there. For another, the Humvee is slated for a replacement soon anyway, so we might as well use a safer vehicle for a replacement(I would prefer a safer vehicle that also has better gas mileage , personally). And thirdly, IEDs seem to be here to stay. Even if we were to leave Iraq tomorrow, we would still face IEDs in Afghanistan, and I suspect that were we to deploy on peacekeeping missions in other high-pace environments(such as Darfur) we would face them there as well.