Like Tevye, I have a certain regard for tradition. One tradition is that of assessing the year to come and the goals to be addressed during that year. (Also, other people on my FList have already done it, which serves as a prompt.) So, here goes.
( Personal plans )
( Family plans )
( Military plans )
2013 will be significant year for me, for a number of different reasons. I have plans, and I have hopes. I don’t have certainties. I’ll do what I can, but some things will just be whatever they are. So, here’s to seeing what those things will be, and how I respond to them.
I went out for a run today (though ‘run’ applies only in that I wasn’t walking). My Army Reserve company is having a diagnostic APFT in our next drill, and I want to see if I can manage to qualify with the 2-mile run instead of the 2.5-mile walk I’m allowed on an age waiver. It took a while for me to realize that the dark spots dancing in front of my eyes were, in fact, gnats and not imminent blackout. My time? target plus 11:43. As in, I have to cut 11 minutes and 43 seconds before I have any hope of passing. But, hey, do it every day and I’ll start closing the gap. My goal today was simply to finish without ever stopping. (And, let me tell you: if it was my left arm — and wrist, and shoulder, and shoulder blade for awhile there — that kept having that throbbing pain, instead of the right, I’d worry a lot more.)
When speaking of Law & Order: SVU, my wife habitually calls it ‘SUV’.
Though we were both raised Methodist, I entered the Catholic Church in my adult life, and my younger brother became a Mormon. So now we’re both represented on the national ticket, and — with luck — in the next administration.
I love beer.
From the Weekly Standard article, “Obama Lies While Accusing the Romney Campaign of Lying” —
Quote from Obama: “… somebody was challenging one of their ads — they made it up — about work and welfare. And every outlet said this is just not true. And they were asked about it and they said — one of their campaign people said, ‘We won’t have the fact-checkers dictate our campaign. We will not let the truth get in the way.’”
What was actually said (by Neil Newhouse, a Romney campaign pollster): “These fact-checkers come to those ads with their own sets of thoughts and beliefs. We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.”
What Newhouse NEVER said: “We will not let the truth get in the way.”
Okay, maybe the President was just being careless with facts, rather than deliberately lying. But, damn, he’s careless with facts a lot.
I love women, too. But, alas, far more than they love me.
I thought this month would be my last with the Army Reserve. For a long time, documents have been quoting my ETS (expiration, term of service) as September 2012. Turns out? wrong. I did early re-enlistment in 2006, after returning from Afghanistan, adding six years to my obligation. Add six years to 2006, get 2012, makes sense. But no; because it was early re-enlistment, the six years was added to my term of service at the time, which ran through 2007, so another six years meant I get another year. Till September 2013.
(Yes, I meant that the way I said it: I get another year. I’m hanging in there every minute it’s legal to do so. The odds are still against me, but with the way the Middle East is falling apart, I might get another opportunity to serve my country overseas before I’m shown the door. Mind you, I’m not wishing for a crisis here; I see multiple crises on the horizon, and I’m just hoping that I have the opportunity to contribute to meeting ONE of them while I’m still eligible to serve at all.)
The thing is, the way things have worked out, I’ll essentially be eligible for a military pension the moment the Army turns me loose. But I don’t plan to retire at that point (though retiring from the Army? pretty much unavoidable by then). In fact, I’m in the process of starting an entirely new career, and I’m actually somewhat excited about it. I won’t be talking about it, though, till I’ve nailed it down.
I know I’m getting older. But I’m not old, not yet, and I’ll keep resisting it for as long as my body allows.
Used to be, I couldn’t stand to watch Psych, because Shawn was such a total jerk when it came to the way he treated his friend. In the last several seasons, though, as it comes on late-night TV when there’s nothing else available, I’ve come to recognize that Dulé Hill is the real star. His Gus is an unending comedy delight, and becoming an authentically weird character in his own right.
I’m currently reading lostboy_lj’s “Clocks of the Long Now”, unhurriedly, one chapter at a time. I have to wonder: how does such a fantastic story — and, apparently, a multiple award winner — have so few comments on it?
And, I guess, that’s enough for now.
As alluded to last week, I’m currently at Fort Bragg for a short class on a particular man-portable equipment set for field operations. I made the trip Monday … the account of which can be skipped over by non-masochists in that it’s unremarkable aside from the annoyance and inconvenience it visited upon ME.
On the bright side, the class itself is interesting and proves to be useful. At least there’s that.
So, it’s time to chart a course, setting new goals and assessing old ones for revision. Not a list of resolutions per se, though some resolutions will be included. And, of course, some items will sound very familiar, because I touched on the same points last year, if not before even then.
So, to begin.
( Under the cut )
First snow of the winter, in my current home of location. Not much of a snow, but enough to identify as such. Far as I’m concerned, that will do fine till spring.
I’m finding myself really liking Once Upon a Time. TV series based on fairy tales don’t have a particularly good track record, either in overall viewership or in my own preferences, but this one is working for me. Putting Rumpelstiltskin (“Mr Gold”) at the center of so much adds one of several unifying threads; watching the Evil Queen show the same characteristics in both her pre- and post-transfiguration personae makes an interesting contrast with the differences in the pre- and post-transfiguration Snow White. (Also, the outlaw years of the pre-marriage Snow White form a nice internal touch.) Picking out in-jokes is continuing fun — Ruby the waitress is my favorite — and I enjoy watching to see how the different plot-lines gradually come together.
There’s a video circulating on Facebook (from a news program, I think; in fact, it’s here, with the story here) regarding the oldest currently-serving U.S. soldier, who wants to deploy one last time before his mandatory retirement. That’s me, folks. Well, not literally me, they’re profiling someone else, but I’m in almost exactly the same position. I have feelers out in half a dozen different places, trying to squeeze in one more tour before I return permanently to civilian life. I may manage to pull it off, I may not. But I really do — genuinely, not just making noise in that direction — want to put my little remaining time to the most potent use.
Grammar/language peeve of the day: loathe/loath. These days, even published writers all too frequently lose the distinction between the two. “I loathe bad grammar, and find it loathsome; I am loath to perpetrate such an offense myelf.”
Also, I ran into a problem myself the other day that highlights the difficulty with one particular peeve. The use of “ ’s” to indicate a plural is horribly offensive to me … but sometimes, it’s almost possible to avoid. What’s the plural of M-16, for instance? If you say M-16s, it looks like the ‘s’ is just part of the overall designation. (My own difficulty was with the Class A uniform; you just about have to say Class A’s.) We really need an alphabet character specifically designated to indicate non-possessive plural. M-16ŝ? M-16š? M-16ș? M-16ṡ? We need something like that.
Enough for now.
After my last post, I managed to finish the two fic segments I was talking about in a day apiece, and they’re now where sroni can see them (and, hopefully, draw inspiration from them in doing her own segments). I’m fighting off a sinus infection, so it may be awhile before I start on the intervening fic I was talking about, but I have another two weeks here (at least), and I’m positive I can manage something during that time.
One of the men under whom I’m working here at the Joint Readiness Training Center outranks me by one grade, and tentative exploration shows that we appear to stand on precisely opposite ends of the political spectrum. As it happens, my own political views are so strong that I generally avoid discussing them except with people I know agree with me, as I dislike discord or uncivil behavior. This man, though is so soft-spoken, so cautious and inoffensive in making his points and asking his questions, that we’ve been engaging in long conversations regarding the areas in which we disagree, and why.
The thing is, I can tell his attitude is the same as mine: How can someone so clearly thoughtful, analytical, and rational study the same facts available to me, and come to completely opposite conclusions? We are both genuinely mystified. It is clear that he is earnest (and not strident) in his positions, courteous and low-key, which allows me to take the same approach … but from my position, he has uncritically drunk the liberal Kool-Aid, and of course he feels precisely the same about me and my ‘far right’ views.
I wish that everyone who disagreed with me was like him. We’ll never have a meeting of the minds, not unless something changes his (which is exactly as likely as me undergoing a wholesale revision of my political/social/moral worldview), but it would make disagreement a lot more tolerable.
I’m tired. I need rum and sleep.
I’m currently at the Joint Readiness Training Center, at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Another not-quite-a-month of duty for the Army Reserve, preparing my unit for the coming deployment that I almost certainly won’t be part of. (There’s been a scheduling change; unless it changes back, that’s enough to take it past the point where I could still participate. I am severely disappointed.)
Two days ago was the point at which I officially hit twenty years of military service. Took me awhile; I joined later than most, then took ten years off after the first Gulf War, returning at about the point where many men my age — or younger — were retiring. I mentioned it to someone, and the next thing I knew, everyone in the detachment here at JRTC was presenting me with a card congratulating me. Nice people.
I’m still working at getting a contractor position. The recent changes in official policy, pushed through by our exalted political leadership, necessitate a lot of realignment in plans, but I still have some hopes. If I can’t go back into theater as a soldier, maybe I can do it in a support position. Downside? same people trying to kill me, just as earnestly, but I don’t get to shoot back. (Unless the rules have changed since the last time I looked.) Upside? better money, and something I might be able to keep doing after the Army officially writes me an exit ticket.
sroni and I, now that we’ve finished the Circle of Friends Remix, have returned to a fanfic we were working on before we kicked off the remix idea (which we had to push to the fore because I knew this JRTC rotation was coming up). The fic requires thirteen discrete segments, with a framing background; weeks ago, I had the background finished, and I’d already done five of my seven assigned segments while sroni had completed one of her six. Even with severely limited e-mail access, I can work on my remaining two segments independent of her, and she can be addressing her five remaining, so that within a week or so of my returning home, we should have another fic posted for the pleasure and assessment of our friends.
Plus, I have another idea I want to get out of the way so I can get started on a big idea I’ve had in the background for a very long time: I was planning it in 2003, for instance, and actually intended to tackle it in 2005 before I got caught up in other stories. With 44 current Buffy stories and four otherfandom stories (plus a snippet I did also in partnership with sroni), I’ve managed to stay adequately busy, but I’ve been putting this one off for long enough. I am now committed to doing it sometime within the next six months.
My wife managed to put together a deal wherein one of the stars of Army Wives will be hosting an event in our area, some of the proceeds to benefit the Family Readiness Group for my Reserve unit. She’s very excited about the prospect of meeting him.
My son is still doing well in China. I hope China remains stable for as long as he’s there.
And that’s the current state of the world of Aadler.
My Army Reserve unit was on drill this weekend. This morning, we got up at 0530, and at 0630 we went out to do an all-inclusive physical fitness test. We got it out of the way early … and twice, at 0746 and at 0803 (Central Time; it would have been 0846 and 0903 Eastern), we stopped for a minute of silence and recognition.
Some of the men and women drilling with me now were 11 or 12 years old on September 11, 2001. All of them, of course, can remember precisely where they were and what they were doing when they heard. None of them are in the least concerned with tolerance or diversity. We have a different set of messages to deliver, we train extensively in effecting the delivery, and we’re preparing right now to make another trip (second to Afghanistan, fourth overall) to continue driving the point home.
In 2003, patrolling in the middle of the Sunni Triangle, I had an Arab vendor offer to sell me a cigarette lighter. It was cheap manufacture, but explicit in design: a bas-relief of Osama Bin Laden on one side, along with an engraving of the Twin Towers, with a little light inset into the side of one building that would blink red when you clicked the lighter. The man was smiling — grinning — as he showed it to me.
I didn’t shoot him. I didn’t do anything to him.
But don’t talk to me about tolerance. I’m not interested.
This morning, Susan (my wife) weighed in at 0.2 pounds less than my weight. In the past two years — particularly at times when I had trimmed down for upcoming Army physical fitness tests — she has outweighed me by as much as 120 pounds. Now, she is the lightest member of the family.
(This won’t last. My daughter is investigating the Army Reserve, and has lost 15 pounds in the past two weeks on her way to getting down to a qualifying weight; and, I’ll need to drop at least five pounds myself to keep myself in line with Army standards. But for now, she really is there, and she’s done it all herself.)
This past weekend, Susan and I attended a Yellow Ribbon event in San Diego. (Yellow Ribbon is a program instituted by the government to provide ‘reintegration counseling’ — mandatory — for military service members returning from deployment. It’s an annoyance, but it’s paid time and the hotel service has been nice so far.) A couple of weeks from now, I’ll be going to the next event in the series, this time in Anaheim, California, and we’re taking our daughter along as well. Something to anticipate, at any rate.
My daughter’s Irish boyfriend has now returned home. He did, however, leave behind 95% of a bottle of Jack Daniel’s for me to finish (of which maybe 80% currently remains). Man after my own heart.
I have over a year left before my next — and final — deployment. Does it mean I’m strange if I find myself wondering how I’ll ever pass the time till then?
Life goes on, and you adjust or you don’t. Right now, still up in the air.
Some of the most recent developments in my family’s life:
My son is now a full-fledged college graduate (double, actually: he already had an associate’s degree, and has completed his bachelor’s), and has been hired by a Canadian company to work in China. When did we turn into international people?
My daughter is talking with Army recruiters. She has to lose a considerable amount of weight, but her preliminary aptitude scores show that she could choose almost any of the various military occupational specialties. My hope, with which she appears to be in agreement, is that she can join my own Reserve unit and accompany me on what will almost certainly be my final deployment.
Once we finished with the Army recruiters, my daughter’s visiting friend from Ireland (and now sorta-semi-boyfriend), put in a preliminary inquiry with the Marine recruiters at the station next door. No immediate decisions, but definite possibilities.
And my wife, after three previous attempts (one of which bulked almost 83,000 words), has finished and posted an Army Wives fanfic, “A Turn on the Floor”. This is the first fic she’s ever put out for public viewing, and I strongly encourage all my LJfriends to visit, read, and comment.
And that’ll do it for now.
I got my car back from the shop. (But now the A/C isn’t working, so I’ll have to return it to them Monday.)
This was actually completed yesterday, but I forgot to mention it then: I did three days at my Reserve unit, getting ready for our duty at the National Training Center and making up in advance the drill days we’ll miss in May.
The temperature here at last got up out of the wet-and-miserable range. And about time.
Added a few thousand words to my current remix effort. More than that, I’m finally getting into the story. Before, I had an idea I kind of liked; now, at last, I’m beginning to find myself engaged.
I made a Facebook entry to the same effect as yesterday’s LJ post regarding my disappointment that I only have a few years’ eligibility left in the Army, after which I’ll no longer be able to serve. Response from both family and friends (but not, happily, from my wife or children) was the same: incredulity that I would want to return to a combat theater. Those who understand, do; those who don’t, well, I hope they can accept that I mean it and that I do have my reasons.
And that’s it for now.
( Find Marizela )
No major issues, just little items barely worth the effort to write them down.
- My car had to go into the shop again. Again, covered by warranty, but still that’s three days now (out of the last month) that it’s been unavailable to me.
- The latest edicts from the Army make it clear that I won’t be able to get anything resembling an age waiver. So, I have a bit over two years, and then I’m gone. Which means if I want to deploy again, I’ll have to find a unit that’s going out and volunteer to be attached.
- I’ve picked out the story I’ll be remixing, and I’m about 700 words into it. It will require quite a bit more than that, but I have nine days remaining to finish it, polish it, and get it posted.
Finally, this probably pertains only to people on the West Coast — or even in the Seattle area itself — but it’s worth noting:
( Find Marizela )