1 month ago
I'm really not so active on this site anymore, but I figured it was worth posting that I met with another RT user recently, Crazybitch13. This is significant, because I am from the United States of America, and she lives in Australia. I made a trip down to Australia to spend some time with her. I met her brother, mother, father, boyfriend, and a few of her friends. Unfortunately for me she didn't introduce me to any of her single female friends and attempt to set me up (as my coworkers were hoping) but that doesn't matter. I met her. It took 7 years, but I finally made it down to see her. It was worth the effort of getting there. She is an awesome woman and I was glad to see her. I got to do some rapier combat, the first bit of swordplay against a live opponent I've had in 6 years. I got to pet some of the native wildlife, and then ate kangaroo (ah the circle of life). I went bar hopping in a foreign city, and I closed out one of those bars.
I also got some time for personal reflection. I realized, as far as dating goes, I've been living my life in such a way to appeal to a respectable woman. It hasn't worked. Worse, it has made me unhappy. Actually, much of my life has been lived in a way to meet the standards of what is acceptable; acceptable to women, acceptable to make friends, acceptable to not rock the boat around me. And I'm quite unhappy about it. Really, I have to stop this. I just need to do me, and let everything else sort itself out. Yeah, I probably am not going to have a girlfriend and subsequently wife, but so far this hasn't worked out well anyway, so no great loss.
I'm so glad I went down there. I fought a battle go get down there, but it was totally worth it. I can honestly say of all the places I've visited since living in Michigan, Perth is the first of them where I'd actually want to live. California (both coast and desert) is not a place I'd like to live. The Philippines is a place I don't think I could live. Japan is not a place I'd like to live. I want to go back to visit again. I hope I can do so again in the future.
10 months ago
I just got back from three weeks in the Philippines. Military exercise, and such. I'm really drunk right now, so writing is difficult. I'm currently listening t o Falconer, which is an amazing band, which the two of you watching me should check out. One of the things I love about them is the vocals range, which as a baritone I love because I can sing along..I'm off to another exercise soon. I'm excited because I get to play infantry for the next two weeks, maybe fix radios for the next two weeks too. I did so while I was in the Philippines, so why not on on this op as well? Overall I'm unsatisfied, but I have only myself to blame. Maybe I'll be better this next time. I read 8 books on my kindle on the last training operation, so why not buy three more to read for this next one. I bought two books on Arabic language and another on Japanese language, I plan on learning another language while I'm out there. Hopefully I'll pass the fluency test after all is said and done. I wish I had been more active on the site. Did I mention that one of our corpsmen offered to pay me for a tattoo design when I was on the last op? Well he did. I hope to finish the artwork before long. So far her likes what I have done. I hope to share the finished product. Well, since I'm drunk I'll cut it short. I hope to be more coherent next time, you know, not drunk.
1 year ago
I'm alive, if you can't tell by the title. I'm now in Okinawa. The good thing is the food is awesome here. The bad thing is I hate the weather. This hot humid stuff isn't for me. Where I'm from we get weather like this for six weeks a year, and that's it. Here, we have hot and hotter. I miss winter. Oh, speaking of weather, we just had a typhoon hit us yesterday. I didn't have to work that day. I'll be going in this afternoon though. Still, a day off is a day off.
One very bright spot in my life is the new pathfinder campaign I'm a part of. Pathfinder is a tabletop RPG, much like Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 with a few modifications. I love pencil and paper RPGs. They're one of the few things I enjoy regardless of where I am and they instantly allow me to make connections with other people. Sgt Nevias is running it, her husband Tim, myself, my Corporal, and a two other junior Marines from my section are playing. I had to pull the cleric role, mostly because three of our guys are really new to tabletop RPGs (one has never played before and the other two lack experience so you can't trust them with the role that prevents TPK). I'm fine with that though, playing a dwarven cleric that reflects his lackluster charisma by being a pushy missionary (Jehovah's Witness style) and religious revivalist of the dwarven gods is fun in its own way. It inspires me to do a little drawing, which I'm sad I can't share because I have no scanner. Maybe when my computer shows up in the mail I'll be able to transition to some digital art. Maybe. I'm still not sure of myself on the digital front. This all makes me want to play Call of Cthulhu, because it is awesome.
One thing that did show up the other week was my electric violin. Apparently that is a crazy thing around here. I'm rather rusty, not having played for two years, but you have to work your way up to it. I've got time, I don't need to play a virtuoso solo next week in any event. Already I'm getting requests from people to learn things (LCpl Chandler wants me to learn the Devil Went Down to Georgia and perform it with the amplifier and Cpl JaurezCruz wants me to learn Radioactive just for the hell of it). This has brought about a few "my boot is better than your boot" statements. A few Marines were in my room last night and said to my roommate "he can do that, what can you do" to which he replied "this" and dropped trousers right there for all to see his naked package. The man clearly does not care, not even a little.
There hasn't been much to talk about recently. What with the move to Okinawa, I've been a little preoccupied. Sorry for all five of you who watch me.
1 year ago
So I got my orders two weeks ago. I'm headed to Okinawa. I have to report in May, so I'll have a few weeks of time between graduation and my arrival at the duty station to get my fill of America (or at least the parts I consider home) for the next two years. I'm pretty excited about it. Never having travelled much this will be my first time outside the United States, and it'll be for an extended period in a very different culture, so I'm going to get some cool exposure out there.
I'm going to the Midwest Media Expo in between the time I graduate and the time I have to report to my duty station. It is a combination of Steampunk, Science Fiction, Film, Comics, and Literature, all wrapped up in one celebration in downtown Detroit. If you live within 500 miles I would suggest going. Check out their website. Guests include Voltaire, G D Falksen, the prop designer Adam Smith (warehouse 13 is one of his projects), and Linkara. www.midwestmediaexpo.com/index.php
Sorry I've been so intermittent, my commitment to the internet is sketchy at best. I don't want to come off as a stick in the mud, so I only share when I have something worth sharing. Since I have more of my computer figured out I should be a bit more regular. I say that because I'm steadily learning more about the Linux environment, albeit slowly. I mean, I just figured out how to run a virtual windows environment to play StarCraft 2, and I still haven't got it to use pulseaudio so the sound still doesn't work in my case, but progress is progress.
1 year ago
This past weekend I went to Las Vegas with some members of my platoon. It was my first time in Las Vegas. I saw plenty of sights, went to several casinos, and was exposed to quite a few things I didn't know I would even see. I also had more than a few white russians and drank some beer (I'm of age to do so, so don't start with me). My roommate and liberty buddy, Lance Corporal Nicholas Armstrong, drove me there at night, so coming into the city was quite the sight. There is nothing but dark desert for so many miles around, then in the distance you can see a pillar of light rising from the Luxor casio about 25 miles out, then the city itself hits you as you drive into it. We met up with a few other liberty groups and from there we pretty much hung out all weekend.
Saturday was dedicated to casinos. I found out that I don't like them. I tried gambling, won and lost, ultimately leaving with $25 fewer than I had walked in. I played slots, roulette, and blackjack. I didn't like much of anything. It seems very silly to me. A friend of mine, Addison Parenteau, won a ton of money in roulette, at one point up over $280, and then lost it all in a few short bets. It seems pretty pointless to me. I actually wound up giving around $30 to beggars over the course of the trip and I feel it was far better money spent than the casinos. I tried something new, and I found I didn't like it. That night some of the guys from the group went out to a strip club. I didn't go, I was exhausted and fell asleep around 11PM. This apparently is looked down upon, because the night life is just getting into fulll swing around that hour. Who knew? I don't care
Sunday was spent sight seeing. The number of casinos and the themes they have are quite numerous. There is one that looks like a miniature Paris (complete with an Eifel Tower). New York New York looks like the city of New York (the resort looks like miniature versions of important New York buildings like the Empire State) and the inside looks like it is set up like a bunch of streets and business in Brooklyn or Queens). The Venetian has an amazing set up to look like a miniature Venice, complete with gondola rides and a painted cieling that looks like a sky overhead (and had lighting to complete the lillusion). The shopping in the Venetian was pricey, but it was cool how all the shops were set up inside the resort. The most impressive of all, though, was Caesar's Palace. It looked like a miniature version of 100AD Ancient Rome. It had the architecture, the statues, the public monuments, even coctail waitresses dressed up to look the part. I'd post pictures if anyone cared to see. Armstrong and I went to see the Blue Man Group perform at the Monte Carlo. The show was good, I'd suggest seeing it if you get the chance. It turned into something like a rave at the end, which is probably the closest thing i'd ever have to a rave anyway. As we were leaving we saw a stripper dancing on a walkway surrounded by around 10 or so poker tables. She was clothed, but it was clear what she was. Well that also ticks off another thing, I've now seen a stripper dance. I don't think I'm missing much by not going to strip clubs.
Over the weekend I got to cook in our hotel room. I was very pleased to cook for my platoon. I don't get to do that kind of thing often enough. Overall the trip was exhausting. I was mentally drained from the experience. I have no desire to return to Las Vegas, I'm just not a party person. Give me a concert, I can enjoy myself with music (classical and metal primarily, though punk and a cappella are probably occasionally wins as well, and I do enjoy the odd bit of folk music). Music is the way I prefer to connect with people. If only I could get out to see a good concert I enjoy with some of these Marines...
1 year ago
Hay yous guys!
You have no idea how much I've wanted to utter that since my soon to be brother in law has been around. Not that he's ignorant or anything, but he occasionally says that when stuffy smart people are around and he wants to mess with them. He's not stupid by any means, he's an engineer for Ford motor company, but he can act stupid very well. And he's not engaged to my sister yet, but I think it will happen soon.
Life is pretty nice right now. I am coming off my winter leave block. Visiting Michigan has been amazing. I got to speak with friends and see family. I spent three days up in Traverse City and couldn't be happier. I know some people hate the snowy cold Michigan winters, but I don't. I find it beautiful. As long as you can dress for it, no weather problems are too much. I saw my uncle's family while I was up there. He owns a piece of property in Lelanau county, worth about 1.3 million dollars. It is about 30 acres and has two barns on it, one of which has been restored so he and his wife and four children can live in it. It isn't what you'd think of when you see that kind of price tag, but that's because of the location. Land up there sells at an incredible premium. The barn itself is not large, but it works well for their needs. He works from home as a telecommuter consultant for a company in Houston, Texas. His wife I believe is a yoga instructor or will be soon. She's a short little (I'd be surprised if she weighed in over 110 pounds Imperial Standard) woman of Italian descent and they have wonderful children. His life is just about everything I want and also just about everything I cannot have. The next day I had some middle eastern food from a restaurant on Front Street in TC. It makes me sad I'm no good with middle eastern cuisine, because if I could cook like that I would. I suppose that means I need to find a wife of middle eastern descent who can do it. It's OK, we can trade off days cooking.
Look at me, going off about this when I don't have a hope of getting married in the next few years anyway. That's the thing about the Marine Corps, deployments are a killer on relationships and my future is so uncertain just because of the nature of what I do. I don't want to start something I know I don't have a hope of seeing through because of that uncertainty. Any woman seriously considering me is going to have enough issues to put up with, I think it only appropriate to offer her a somewhat stable relationship where I'm going to be around for a while. The reason I'm thinking of all this is because it is that time of year in America where we have family gatherings. Everyone in my family has someone except for me. I have a sister who is married, one in a serious relationship, and one who has had her hand in the pool for a while. All of my cousins are dating or married. I'm the only one who isn't and hasn't even been dating in years. I'm not lamenting this fact too much, this isn't a pity party I'm throwing for myself, but it kind of bothers me on some level when I take a look at it. That's one reason I hate family gatherings and this time of year. But hey, this time next year I could be in a combat zone, so I'll keep from complaining. Even with all the above mentioned I'm still glad I got to see my family. My dog was happy I came home too. youtu.be/0oBeRAOt-eU See, she's adorable. Forgive my voice, I was a bit tired from flying all day.
Oh, celebration because Michigan State, my home university where I got my chemistry degree, won the Rose Bowl. For those who don't know it is a fancy American football game which is hyped up on television. It is neat that I got to see it happen.
For anyone looking for a good turn based strategy game I'd suggest you check out Shadowrun Returns for the PC. Or Android or iPad if you roll that way. The game is rather simple, played isometrically like Diablo or Final Fantasy Tactics. Yeah, it is a lot like Final Fantasy Tactics, where you can improve your character by experience points and you manoeuvre around the environment in a cyberpunk Seattle. Once you're done with the main game you can create your own story and set up your own game in their editor, for which there is a ton of content available through steam. I've been playing it furiously between readings.
Speaking of reading I picked up an old copy of Werewolf the Apocalypse and I've been reading that. I'm a sucker for old RPGs and I couldn't put down the chance at a piece of nostalgia from White Wolf. I finished Earth Unaware in three days, so if you like science fiction I can easily recommend it.
Not much else to say. Back to the grind!
1 year ago
Yesterday I ran my first half marathon. I ran it as a part of a five man team. It was to raise money for the Marine Corps birthday ball fund, so I figured why not. Most of the rest of my platoon ran just the 5k race. Why not do the half marathon some of us thought, so we did it. We all finished at the same time, an hour and 53 minutes. We were pushing the one female with us (Hayes), she needed some encouragement to keep up, and we had to slow down, but she made it. We took second overall, but because we pushed Hayes she wound up taking first place female finisher. The team that beat us had one runner come in five minutes before us, one two minutes, one at one minute before us, one at the same time, and one three minutes later. Their overall time was lower, so they won, but we had a great team effort and it was more fun that way. Yes, we could have run and won had we just went at our own pace, but Hayes wouldn't have done as well and I'll admit neither would I have. We also went as team skeletor too, we painted our faces black and white in skeleton fashion. it was a lot of fun. I fried my brain doing it though, the whole rest of the day I was disoriented and forgetful.
Last week I borrowed a copy of Dark Heresy from the library. That game is so violent and brutal, combat is so highly lethal you WILL die if you don't use cover and body armor. I love that. The critical hit tables are awesome. I'll post two of them, well, an abridged version so I don't infringe too much on copyright, here so you can get an idea of what I mean (all two of you who are reading this).
Here is a summary of an energy, flame, or plasma weapon critical hit to the head.
1 grazing blow frazzles the target's senses, imposing a penalty to all tests
2 blast of energy dazzles the target leaving him blind
3 attack cooks off target's ear
4 energy attack burns away all of the hairs on the head
5 a blast of energy envelops target's head, burning face and hair, and causing him to scream.
6 attack cooks targets face, melting his features and damaging his eyes
7 In a gruesome display, the flesh is burned from the targets head, exposing charred bone and muscle underneath
8 target's head is destroyed in a convocation of fiery death. He does not survive.
9 Superheated by the attack, the target's brain explodes, tearing apart his skull and sending flaming chunks of meat flying at those nearby. The target is no more
10 As above, except the targets entire body catches fire and runs headless 2d10 meters in a random direction.
Here is a rending blow to the arm
1 the slashing attack tears anything free that was held in the arm
2 deep cuts cause the target to drop whatever was held
3 the shredding attack send the target screaming in pain
4 the attack flays the skin from the limb, filling the air with blood and the sounds of screaming. Target falls prone.
5 A bloody and very painful looking furrow is opened up in the target's arm.
6 The blow mangles flesh and muscles as it hacks into the targets hand, liberating 1d5 fingers in the process. Take a toughness test or lose the hand.
7 The attack rips apart skin, muscles, bone, and sinew with ease turning the target's arm into a dangling ruin.
8 With an assortment of unnatural, wet ripping sounds, the arm flies from of the body trailing blood behind it in a crimson arc.
9 The attack slices clean through the arm into the the torso, drenching the ground in blood and killing the target.
10 as above, however the arm fall to the the ground and its fingers spasm uncontrollably. If the target was carrying a ranged weapon there is a chance it will hit nearby targets.
If you need an aid for making up stories in which violent combat takes place this may be a great tool to check out.
2 years ago
No, I don't have a zombie computer, though how cool would that be? It has been a long time, but now I'm here.
For those of you who are caring, not many I'd venture, I'll explain myself.
At the end of the Crucible, the final event in Marine Corps recruit training, I was running a bayonet assault course at night and I injured myself. I tore my PCL, a ligament in my right knee. I finished the crucible, but when I went to Marine Combat Training I was unable to pick up with a training company because of the injury. I spent from November until May in rehab at the School of Infantry. In my time I did a bit of art, but I had no way to upload my sketches to the internet (they aren't that good anyway). I was on limited duty for a while there, got attached to a permanent working party where I was a clerk for the Headquarters and Services Company for the permanent personnel, and basically was a kickass admin Marine for a Captain, Company Gunnery Sgt, and First Sergeant (so much so they gave me an official letter of appreciation which looks really good on my record). Anyway I got off limited duty early in May, completed MCT and graduated with Kilo company, and now I'm in Twentynine Palms for my Military Occupation Specialty school.
Marine Combat Training was kind of cool. I learned basic infantry tactics for both offense and defense. I learned patrolling fundamentals and practiced them. I dug fighting holes. I used night vision goggles, and used them in conjunction with a laser mounted on my M16 I got to shoot at night (you shot where the laser was and that was your target point). I also learned to shoot while moving, something that is a LOT harder than most people think. I did some live fire and movement exercises, buddy rushing while your buddy provides suppression while you move (that is a lot of trust you have to have because they are LIVE rounds with real bullets going past you into targets downrange) and then you alternate. The weapons I got to use were the M203 grenade launcher, a M249 light machine gun, the M240 medium machine gun, and the M67 hand grenade.
Twentynine Palms is where I am now. It is a desert in the Morongo Basin of California, a very hot and dry place. It is also home to some of the most dangerous animals and plants in the United States. The climate is the most deadly, the animals are the most deadly, and it is on the most deadly road in the state of California. On top of that the town is sun baked and nearly half of the locals are addicted to either alcohol or methamphetamines. The school I'm attending is backed up, I don't even begin training until October. I sure lucked out. I now have my tablet, so I can do some art things digitally. That will help with the wait. And the base is not bad either. I don't want to go off base, considering the local conditions and the fact that anything else city wise is at least 2 hours away. I'll learn to love this place, or at least have a good go at it. The only real downside is the fact that I'm not likely to find myself in love out here, I kind of wish that would happen. Oh well, the Marine Corps didn't tell me I was going to fall in love anyway.
2 years ago
Sorry I've been so inactive, I really don't have the ability to get on the internet to contribute much at the present moment. I'll get back to it eventually, but it seems that eventually is further and further away. My orthopedic specialist gave me a choice. Either take a medical separation (discharge) or go for a six month limited duty after which I would be reevaluated and sent to training or discharge after that. It took me a few days to decide, but I eventually went with the limited duty option. The doctor said I am not a good candidate for surgery, he said PCL reconstruction surgery is only 50% effective under the best circumstances and I should get physical therapy for at least a year before attempting surgery. Limited duty means I'll probably be placed on a permanent working party somewhere in the 52 area of base, something clerical in all likelihood, for six months. It really sucks that I'm being put on hold for so long, but what else can I do? I could have taken the separation, been discharged, and picked back up with my civilian life, but I decided against it. I decided to put my best foot forward with the Marine Corps, I have to try to give it my best.My conscience will not be placated so easily and quitting now would probably haunt me for the rest of my life. I know there is a chance I will be deemed unfit to train after the limited duty is up, and there is also a chance I'll break again during training, but if that happens I'll be able to take a separation knowing I did my best. Plus this way I know I have six months physical therapy coming my way for free. I'm optimistic about my ability to recover and get back to training.
I did some inking this past week and I'm actually seeing some artistic improvement. I wish I could show it off. Maybe I will one day. On another note I bought the Steampunk Bible yesterday. I love it, it will be an excellent way to introduce those who question me when I say I'm into steampunk and other geeky things like that. Now time to rock out Rammstein!
2 years ago
I had hoped to write a journal about this time telling all of you who pay attention to me and my life that I am well on my way in the Marine Corps as far as building a career and my MOS. This is not the case. I'm in rehab, I'm broken.
During the Crucible, the three day field exercise (sort of a final exam if you will) at the end of basic training, I had to run a bayonet assault course. I did this at night, the only illumination came from simulated muzzle flashes, simulated grenades, and occasional flares. There was a trench I was supposed to pretend to clear, jump into, and then climb out of and rush the next position in the course. I didn't see the trench, I fell into it. When I fell I must have landed just wrong enough to tear a ligament in my right knee.
I went to the School of Infantry for Marine Combat Training after basic and I reported that my knee was injured. A medical exam and an MRI later and they've decided I have a torn PCL in my right knee. The physical examination reveals that it moves about 7mm, which suggests the tear wasn't a complete rupture. The MRI shows pretty much a total rupture though. I'm now in the process of finding out what I can and can't do, and I'll report this to the orthopedic specialist in the first week of January. We'll decide if this means I'll need surgery or if I'll be able to rehab with some physical therapy alone. I want to just get on with training, so I'd rather avoid the long recovery period associated with surgery. My physical therapist says I'm a good candidate for surgery (since I actually do my physical therapy exercises on my own he thinks I would recover well), but my health care provider (the doctor assigned to work with me) didn't sound too keen on surgery last time I spoke with her. Then again her job is to get me back to training as soon as possible and if I break down again soon after that it isn't her problem (yes, I have seen this kind of treatment for others around me in rehab platoon).
Rehab platoon is very boring. We don't do much, we just sit around, go to our assigned physical therapy and doctor appointments, eat, go to the gym for exercise, and wait. Oh, and we clean. We do a lot of cleaning. I'm very good with a mop and broom. The boredom isn't so bad for me, as I can productively occupy myself well enough. I'm quite the reader if you know me. I'm also doing art occasionally. Other people don't handle it well, and considering their immaturity they can be annoying and sometimes outright destructive with the lack of an output for their energy. Combining idleness and the inability to make good decisions is a recipe for disaster in many cases, rehab platoon is no exception.
I'm grateful that I have my sister around. My sister Janet married and moved out to California with her husband. Since then she's had no family nearby, and the fact that I'm at Camp Pendleton (now on a 96 hour liberty period) means she has someone to spend time with from the family. Sure, it isn't the same as going home to see grandparents, cousins, the other two sisters, and our parents, but it is nice to have someone out here.
I am an Eagle Scout, a geek, and a few other things. I am a proud believer in Jesus, though a very bad example of a good Christian. I can come off creepy and morbid, but generally a decent and upstanding man. I have three younger sisters. I play the violin. I like history, science, weaponry, bicycling, shooting, camping, tying knots and playing with rope. Politically I fall more in line with the libertarians. I often come off as cold or sometimes arrogant and aloof, but that is unintentional and mainly due to my lack of interpersonal skills. I only bite when threatened.