Archive for the ‘Motivation’ Category

Sanity Break

Lately been struggling. Super fatigued. Long hours trying to keep all the balls in the air.

For Thanksgiving I got to sit in the local VA ER while they tried to figure out why I have been having consistent chest pains.

I say consistent because I want to make it clear I am not having heart attacks. Not unless you know of one that can last 6 weeks.

Anyway, I have been working 16 to 17 hour days for almost 4 months…toss in my school work on top of that…and I’m …tired. Last week is a good example. Washington DC on Monday, Cincinnati, OH by Wednesday, Charlotte NC by Thursday, Atlanta by Friday before getting home. The trip was originally supposed to be just DC and home by Wednesday. Turned in to a whirlwind of long hours and jet lag.

I have taken almost all of the end of the year off in vacation time. So I am trying to spend it away from work….and failing miserably.

I have managed to get it down to just one project that I am still working on, located over seas, so that helps. But woke up this morning looking for my work phone an feeling like someone was trying to crush my chest with a battering ram. Yeah not good.

Therefore this morning is homemade buttermilk waffles as kiddo and I embark upon our #12DaysofWaffles …though this year due to my travel schedule it’s been barely 7.


Trying to check out mentally for a few. Wish me luck.

The adventure begins….

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step – Lao Tzu


Still grinding

So as I mentioned earlier my classes for the semester are almost over. In fact this is the last week. I will get a week off, which frankly will be nice, and then I start my last college class I will take. From here on its all research and trying to write a thesis that meets APA and everyone else’s requirements.

So if updates are slow this week, that’s the reason why. I’m just  trying to get through my finals for the week while maintaining my sanity and keeping my job.

Finally getting to kick off my project in Indiana, so I am looking forward to seeing how it will develop. I am also still working with my management to develop a team of people who do what I do. Its nice being the guy in the box but for the last 5 years all I have done is trail blaze, and truth be told its tiring.

Having a team will help. Even then, it will be a year or more before they can get their feet under them well enough to manage on their own.

For now I just need to make it through the week, however.


USO goes Axis and Allies on Veteran Milblogger

It’s one of those headlines that, when you type it, you have to read it a second time to make sure you are not hallucinating.

The short version, from my perspective anyway, is that the wars are over. The general, 30 second attention span populace, can now shove their faux affection for veterans in to a broom closet and go back to being peace time advocates for not giving a damn about anything or saving the #2 pencils from rampant extinction.

If there isn’t a t-shirt sale involved then its not of their concern.

In this case an individual at the USO, whom apparently feels their position is one that does not require actual…you know…communication with others….is asking…no demanding that a MilBlogger shut down his entire website.

This isn’t anything new.  Folks and companies attack bloggers with semi regularity because of something we have written or published. Sometimes they succeed in getting their way…sometimes they don’t. I’d say its about 50/50 split in the legal world today regarding overall, but with the overall general public coming to understand that blogging is as much about free speech as it is journalism. We will write things that folks may not like…but that doesn’t make it any less true from our perspective or interpretation. And Court’s are not very big on slapping people around for interpretation of literary licensing, but I digress.

This particular representative of the USO has managed to not only inflame Stolen Valour advocate, and faux soldier investigator TSO over at This Ain’t Hell who has went on an all out offensive to get to the bottom of the mess, they have also stirred up one time Fox commentator, former embedded blogger and book author Laughing Wolf at Blackfive.

It’s been a long time since I have seen the MilBlogger wheels try to turn, and given so many bloggers and MilBloggers have walked away from their websites and gathered around the instant gratification system known as Facebook I can’t help but wonder…much as the old time websites I use to run and mIRC servers that were predominant in the past…has the blog worlds time passed?

For The Sniper’s sake (whom is the accused party in this muck) I hope not, and as such I’m lending my voice to the others by attempting to spread the word regarding this.  Such a request is unreasonable. The USO representative is not dealing with a 13 year old in his mothers basement who is trying to find old Sara Michelle Gellar pictures online. This is a military veteran, with tours in the recent conflicts under his belt, exercising his right to free speech that he damned well earned.

Agree, or disagree with his position, the fact of the matter is he has a right to say it. No more and no less that Jerry Springer and his ilk have their right to portray people as raving lunatics. No more and no less than CNN. No more and no less that someone with a T shirts stating their position on a particular topic. Offense is not a reason for submission…it’s a catalyst for discussion.

And if the USO has a brain in their head, instead of playing footsie with a couple of military vet bloggers and social media they’ll join a roundtable regarding this and deep dive the root of the problem.

Remembering: be safe this New Years Eve

As a veteran I have had a lot of friends go on to Fiddlers green before. It never gets easier. As a civilian its a bit different.

You don’t have the bond that you get from the military. Sure you have drinks at folks houses, you talk about the kids but the struggles and traumas aren’t the same.

Storm chasing is different. You are pushed right up against the envelope in some of the most dangerous scenarios that mother nature has to offer. Me? I rarely if ever go out running them down. I readily admit I sit my happy ass in my comfortable office running radar scans and pulling information from multiple chasers over several states.

Andy made it fun. He made it interesting. He showed that chasers are professionals not only to each other but others as well and willing to give the shirt off his back to folks no matter the situation.

We lost Andy at the beginning of 2012. Killed less than 2 hours from my home by a drunk driver. In life as in war sometimes its the stupid things that get you killed. In this case it was a stupid person. Its often the things that seem most inconceivable, most unlikely that also do you in. Its not an artillery round, or a bomb vest, its a moron who doesn’t know how to say “Someone drive me home.” because at heart they are a mindless, simpleton coward.

It’s New Years Eve. I beg you be safe, be smart and be humble.

And remember those who have went before us, save a empty chair for them aye?

Bliain úr faoi shéan is faoi mhaise duit



Operation: Hump

This is a re-post from our November, 2009 post regarding this week. Other Military bloggers covering today: Blackfive

On November 5th, 1965 the 173rd Airborne Brigade deployed on a Search & Destroy mission in to War Zone “D” north of Bien Hoa. Also involved was the 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment ; 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry; and the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Divisions . The name of the operation, ironically, signified the units halfway point in their tour of the Vietnam war.
Read the rest of this entry »

Memorial Weekend – A moment

I won’t be on line much this weekend (not that I’m here for any length of time to begin with lately). Frankly its my intent to avoid it as much as I can. I’m sure I won’t be able to resist sending some random inane update via my phone that no one will read. But here’s something that I hope you do read.

Although no sculptured marble should rise to their memory, nor engraved stone bear record of their deeds, yet will their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored.  ~Daniel Webster

Are they dead that yet speak louder than we can speak, and a more universal language?  Are they dead that yet act?  Are they dead that yet move upon society and inspire the people with nobler motives and more heroic patriotism?  ~Henry Ward Beecher

Decoration Day is the most beautiful of our national holidays…. The grim cannon have turned into palm branches, and the shell and shrapnel into peach blossoms.  ~Thomas Bailey Aldrich

I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day.  I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it.  We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did.  ~Benjamin Harrison

These heroes are dead.  They died for liberty – they died for us.  They are at rest.  They sleep in the land they made free, under the flag they rendered stainless, under the solemn pines, the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows, and the embracing vines.  They sleep beneath the shadows of the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or of storm, each in the windowless Place of Rest.  Earth may run red with other wars – they are at peace.  In the midst of battle, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death.  I have one sentiment for soldiers living and dead:  cheers for the living; tears for the dead.  ~Robert G. Ingersoll

Perform, then, this one act of remembrance before this Day passes – Remember there is an army of defense and advance that never dies and never surrenders, but is increasingly recruited from the eternal sources of the American spirit and from the generations of American youth.  ~W.J. Cameron


So when ya’ll pop that first beer, throw on the first burger. Before your family takes the first step out the door upon their weekend, take a moment….even if it is just a single  moment to remember that the freedom you are supposed to experience this weekend was bought, paid for in full, by another’s willingness to sacrifice his and or her self for a cause bigger than all of us: that of freedom for a nation.

Tears for our fallen. Cheers for the Living. From my house to my brothers and sisters in arms and my friends across the country…

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day.

We want to see you again come Tuesday.

Wikipedia: A room is any distinguishable space within a structure.

Tornado Shelter/Disaster Preparation

So I had been putting this off repeatedly but Homefront Six inadvertently reminded me that I needed to get my shit together and get this published, as the time frame is upon us.

Having worked the aftermath of the Joplin tornado, and doing storm tracking/chasing for the last few years I don’t consider myself anything close to an expert. However, between that and my military training I have a pretty good idea of what not to do (nothing!) and some direct experience in what may help you survive a very dangerous and deadly experience. I am no expert, I can not guarantee you or your families lives as there are just too many variables. I can say that it can’t hurt to be prepared, and I’d rather be prepared than left with absolutely nothing which is what many people found themselves with here in Missouri this time last year.

So I boned up on my research material, dug in to my old manuals and training notes from years gone by and here is what I consider probably the best (short term) program for tornado/disaster prepping.

Please take this seriously, this is not a doomsday-apocalypse-the-sky-is-falling-day-after-tommorow fantasy where you will appear on the other side in a Jerry Ahern novel (although I do like his books!). The point of this is to help you and your family possibly survive a very dangerous situation that can occur.

If you don’t want help, then find something else to read.

Lets Begin.

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Quote of the Day: TGIF & Irish Edition

It has been what seems like one of the longest weeks I have had in eons. I am beyond looking forward to this weekend.

The idea of coming home tonight with a splash of Bushmills on ice and a Guinness to back it up is simply put, a wonderful thought.

The end is in sight. Just gotta keep plodding. So how about a little motivation to get us through the day aye?

And both to put a smile on your face, and a little secret to keep in the back of your mind when you meet folks who trying to ruin this last day of the week for you…

Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how it’s done, they’ve seen it done every day, but they’re unable to do it themselves.
Brendan Behan

Now thats fine stuff indeed!
Have a good Friday!

Out for St. Patrick’s Day

V00d3w has the helm around here for today and tomorrow

As for Me? I’m out of here. Feel free to join me

See you cats on Monday!

Click the image for your own printable version!

Door hanger courtesy of Matty O’Blackfive

TGIF: February 17, 2012

Been too long since we posted one of these yes? Thank Gawd its Friday!

So lets get this party rolling!

It’s also helpful to realize that this very body that we have, that’s sitting right here right now… with its aches and it pleasures… is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive.

Pema Chodron

The Last Class: how I learned

I wrote this for my fellow students at University of Phoenix and placed it on our social site for Alumni and students. i thought I would share it here. Some of it may make no sense whatsoever to the casual reader, and I apologize. For those who are considering UofP or are starting UofP, or hell, any one trying to go back to school after many years separation: take notes. It may sound like an excerpt from Chicken Soup for the Soul, but this is what I used to get me through, and just maybe, it might help to keep you on track as well.-BS


Only my electives remain.

Which means that a journey I started in 1995, stopped in 1997, started again in ’98 halted in ’99 then started again in ’08 to finally finish this year is all but over.

After ten years in the Army, one tech school and two colleges counting this one, I’m finally completing my Bachelors degree. I achieved my Associates in 2009.

It’s been a mess, a struggle as it were. A long road.

However Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote “…to leave the world a better place…to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” I live by that quote as much as I can. Leave something behind.

As such here is what I can pass on to those starting their learning or those who may be struggling. As a lover of philosophy, I found many to assist me along my way.

  • “Begin–to begin is half the work, let half still remain; again begin this, and thou wilt have finished.” – Marcus Aurelius.

Don’t overwhelm yourself. If you have a paper that is large in assignment, or is challenging, or perhaps you’re just suffering from writers block that day. Do a little. Walk away. Come back. Do the rest, Like you would eat an elephant, one bite at a time.

  • “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step”-Confucius

Don’t put off your work until the last minute. Start on it. Even if your just getting the APA formatting started on Tuesday and you don’t write the paper until Thursday, start on it. When you have started something most folks will tend to want to finish it. Whereas if you never start it you will keep finding reasons to put it off.

  • “Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong as its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away”.- Marcus Aurelius.

Make time. Time can be your worse enemy. We have lives, jobs, friends, families. We have movies to watch, parties to attend, paying work that needs to be completed. It is easy to put off a visit to a simple website. What is not easier to do is to accomplish the goal of your degree. Make time. Even if it means sacrificing your lunch break at work, or putting off going to the lake party one more hour. Make time.

  • “We are more often treacherous through weakness than through calculation”. -Francois De La Rochefoucauld.

Don’t cheat. It’s not worth it. The integrity you violate is more than just your own. While you speak to the caliber of person you are, you also violate the trust your team mates are putting in you. Believe me that reputation will follow you to your other classes at some point. I have found there is no assignment that can not be completed or overcome by simply allowing yourself more time to work on it. Yes you may miss the opening of the latest Harry Potter film. But it will still be in the theater next week.

  • “If a man who cannot count finds a four-leaf clover, is he lucky?” ~Stanislaw J. Lec.

You have a team. Use them. My last two teams have been beyond phenomenal and we did not concentrate on only our team assignments but we helped study for our individual assignments as well. Use your teams strengths, ask questions. Be helpful. You may have an answer some one else does not. Your team is not limited to only your team work. There is no regulation that says you can not study or work together.

  • “It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.” -James Thurber.

Listen to your team. Read some of the DQ posts made by others. You may be surprised to learn that never everyone is a 6 year old disguised as a 33 year old high school graduate who can not comprehend basic English. Some of your classmates are highly intelligent and may offer you ideas. Admittedly, some won’t. However, some of my best papers came from ideas other people thought of in the DQ discussions, their answers intrigued me and I researched it. Don’t assume just because you have lived it, you know the answer. There is always another solution.

  • “Extreme remedies are very appropriate for extreme diseases.” -Hippocrates.

Your team Charter is your guide. Make it strong. Set deadlines. Set punishments. Outline actions you intend to take if your team mates do not pull their weight. That team charter is your defense against slacking, plagiarism, and anything else that may befall you. Failure to use your team charter really means you haven’t been paying attention in class.

  • “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness” -Dalai Lama.

Be kind. You may feel with all your being that you are right. You may know it. You may assert it. But remember your fellow students are your peers. Your co workers are your peers. You may not like them but you have to work with them, and if you want to succeed you need to overcome those differences. The easiest way to do that? Be kind. Be polite. Do your part. No reason to antagonize a already stressful situation. Breathe deep, do your best, be polite and let the chips fall where they may.

  • “If you fail to honor your people,They will fail to honor you; It is said of a good leader that When the work is done, the aim fulfilled, The people will say, “We did this ourselves”- Lao Tzu

Most of us have a back of the class mentality. We do not want to be a leader of men or women. We want to do our assignment, live our life, do our job and go home at night. Period. However sometimes if you want to succeed, you have to pick up the mantle. Do not be afraid. It is a little thing to organize the work. Do what needs to be done, succeed, and be proud of yourself later.

  • “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it”.-Aristotle

Agree to Disagree. Everyone here has different ideals, philosophies, religions, morals and views on life. If we all came from a Xerox copier lets face it, the world would be pretty boring. Respect the fact that someone may see something different than you do. You don’t have to agree with them, you don’t even have to like their view or the person themselves. But given the amount of apathy in the world respect the fact they have a position, and move on to something else.

  • “I will show you fear in a handful of dust” – T.S. Eliot.

In everything we do we have fear. Fear of crossing the street. Fear of driving at night. Fear for our children, our welfare and our futures. The key is to control that fear. Do not fear your education, do not fear your endeavor to better yourself. Find strength in your successes. Find a bit of wisdom or grace in the things you can not change. Learn lessons from your failures. Work harder. Study longer. You are in control of your own destiny, and the choices you make will determine your success. Do not fear this, instead wallow in it, bury yourself in your education and strive to do your best!

  • “Indeed in general I hold that there is nothing truer than happiness, and nothing happier and sweeter than truth”. – Gottfried Leibniz.

Your dedication will be rewarded. Your time here is fleeting in comparison to the world you can go forth and change. Your life may not be altered in anyway whatsoever…save for the knowledge that you rose above…you succeeded where others failed. You chose the higher road, to be something and do something. To undertake a challenge that others have decided they could not or some may have said you could not do. Do not let the challenges of the world, the lack of jobs, the economy, rob you of this victory.

You came, you saw, you conquered.

Be happy. For now we come full circle. Start at the top once again. For now you have your degree. you must rise above the world, your peers, you must aim for that goal of a better job, a better life. A new way to fly. Do not be discouraged. Time heals all things. Keep pace. Make time for yourself. make time for your dedications. But above all again, savor your victory.

I hope this helps some of you, in some way or another. If nothing else know that you are not alone. For after all you are but one student in the masses of students, all with the same goal. Look to each other. Let the other things fall to the way side. Work to your goals.

I hope to see you all at the finish line.

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Hardcore military grognards, sick twisted people with too much time on their hands, and raving military fanboys will figure out the string of “code” in the title.

In the meantime for the rest of us, here’s the motivator for today!

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