Brothers

Brothers
E Plurubus Unum, Rex Montis

Friday, December 06, 2013

Vertical




 
Hello fans!
    So, two posts ago was on my health and how I feel at times like my body is deteriorating. So what was my solution? Go on a rock climbing adventure with some guys in their late 40's and early 50's. Now THAT is the answer right!? Well, it sure was fun and my body held up just fine. (If you click on the last picture you can see me in my blue shirt scaling the cliff)

 I have never been rock climbing before. The closest I have ever come was repelling in the military and then your standard rock walls here and there at a college or mega gym.

Anyhow, in the past year I have started teaching basic survival classes to groups of 5-20 people. What better environment than rock climbing? I wasn't teaching a thing on this one. This expedition was a learning experience for me from some very experienced people.. I have so much yet to learn.

We went to a camp site and struck out for climbing. There was a bit of repelling and then a lot of scaling cliff faces. I was very thankful we could start out with a smaller cliff. I must admit, I was terrified right up until I got off the ground. Then it was just me and the cliff and trust that rope! What an exhilarating experience. Definitely going again in the spring.

The first picture I was trying out a new light, cheap, camping shelter. It is an 8' x 10' blue tarp with a glued on survival blanket to reflect the fire heat. I slept in this thing and it was raining all night and got down to 33 degrees! What a good testing ground. I DID have a sleeping bag that I slept on top of for a cushion. I didn't need to get inside of it until about 2am when I ran out of wood for the fire. We couldn't bring enough in to the campsite. But the end result is that my experiment worked and my new shelter will be in my camp pack from now on. No heavy tents. Add a mosquito net and it is a backpacker dream. No rope or string required. Uses tension of tent stakes to keep everything in place. If you care to look at the design in full, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pneD0wu8O3w which is where I learned to make this setup.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

NaNoWriMo

This is supposed to be a post for November, but I doubt I'll even look at this blog for the month. That is because I have been standing on the high dive of writing for a very long time, never tackling "The Novel."

I am now taking the leap, in exactly 12 hours and 23 minutes it will be November 1st. This is the start of an annual event called, NaNoWriMo which is short for "National Novel Writer's Month." It is a free competition based on a created account and the honor system, of writing 50,000 words in a month, the equivalent of roughly a 400 page  novel. I am psyched and terrified.

I have put my Iraq memoir on an extended postponement for the time-being. I am trying out a fantasy novel I have been thinking about for a while.

The main reason I am posting today, is that I recently purchased a book for $15.00 I am quite a miser and usually would never spend that much on a book. However, this is a work book to help you plan plot and write a book. It is titled, "Ready Set Novel." It is written by the creators of NaNoWriMo and has been the single biggest push in getting me writing.

Before this workbook I was lost, without a clue how to organize an entire novel. I have a much clearer picture now. If there are any people out there who have "always wanted to be an author or write a book," I highly recommend this one.

Good luck to any fellow writers out there. I will update you all when November concludes!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Toxic

I was just chatting with one of my old army buddies who just happens to work in the same county as me. I was commiserating the fact that when air pressure changes one or both of my knees will hurt.

I do not like to attribute this to old age as I only recently kissed my 20's goodbye and I am not so silly as to think that I am "old."

That said, my neck is frequently out, every muscle group in my body takes turns with spasms. My circulation is crap. I seem to throw my back at the drop of a hat and am sore sore sore.

To look at me, you would see a perfect bill of health. I work out three times a week (could use more cardio), I have a very balanced diet, I go to massage thereby, a homeopathic chiropractor and have made a modest transition to organic foods. We have been back for 6 years now and my body feels like it is falling apart at times.

I digress, my buddy said that even though he is a decade older than me, all of us (the old unit) are feeling the same way. We may never find out all the toxins, carcinogens and chemicals we were exposed to, but it sure would be nice, just to see if there is a way of detoxing this crap.

I am thinking of trying a body scan to see if that works. I have read good reviews and talked to several "no crap" soldiers who swear by it. I also like the idea that it is oils and herbs that treats whatever ails you instead of  some universal ungodly expensive cure-all pill.

You certainly never see this sort of thing in most movies. You just go to war, fight the good fight, kill the bad guys and come home the hero. That's Hollywood right?

We continue to make the transition into a life of simplicity, be it de-cluttering, trying a total vegan diet for two weeks or making time to do nothing...I am enjoying the journey and am very interested in how we will end up.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Just like that

...and just like that, summer was gone. It still feels a bit like summer, but the leaves have been kissed by Jack Frost and my favorite time of year is here!

Hard to believe summer was just beginning last time I wrote here.
Now I am learning how to rock-climb and simultaneously BBQ'd my first squirrels ever. I hate to say it, but it tastes just like chicken; the squirrels that is.

On a not so light note, tomorrow September 28th will mark another year that passes in loving memory of SSG Jesse N. Davis R.I.P.

You were a fantastic squad-mate and a better friend. Your life was cut far too short, and it is with fond memories that I think back to what once was, and wish it could be again.

Your life was short, but meaningful. You gave laughs to many and tears to a few. You said what you thought and did what needed doing. Everyone's life you came across was better for having met you.

I don't spend a lot of my time in pointless regret, I have made my peace with your passing. I have had my time of grieving. But there will always be an empty place inside that I hold in deep regard for the memory of yesteryear and what once was.

I miss you brother, and we will never forget.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Independance Means Less "Stuff"

Happy Independence day everybody! The cynic in me wonders how long before that phrase will become offensive and changed to something politically correct. But I refuse to go down THAT road today.

Summer is flying by and I did not even get a June post in! Camping, biking, swimming, boating, fishing, picnics, BBQ's, ice-cream, water fights, volleyball, canoeing, shooting, running, shopping, vacations, weddings...whoooooa!

It is zipping by and I am loving every minute of it. We tried to keep our calendar a little bit cleaner this year without scheduling it all away. We (with kudos to my wife) have kept up our striving-towards-minimalism-healthy-life-attitude.

We have given, bartered, traded and trashed our way to the goal of being minimalists. Someone commented the other day, "I can see your walls!" We didn't realize it, but we had so much stuff some of our walls were covered with boxes and totes.

What a liberating experience to be able to have empty space and clean counter-tops. It felt frustrating at first, like we weren't making progress. But, little by little, we are getting there. One corner, one box at a time, we are emptying the clutter from our lives.

After doing some in-depth research, we have come to the conclusion that there is so much toxin in the preserved food we eat, it's no wonder our healthcare system is in the toilet. We are making the switch to organic foods, local farmers, back-yard garden and are feeling the better for it. I am also back in the Gym as of 8am this morning after a 3 month break. I felt like absolute crap for 3 months...why do I do that to myself?

Independence truly means less stuff. I never thought I would see the day that I was so excited and rejuvenated by getting rid of so many things.

The way we want our lives to be....less is truly more.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day: Tolerating Tolerance



The inability of the mainstream media to call a spade a spade continues to amaze me. The riots in Sweden this month are a prime example. I have read many articles now and there seem to be two predominant items that stick out in my mind: 1. The media cannot seem to understand why the Socialist model is failing and 2. You really have to dig deep to translate what is actually MUSLIM from “immigrant” and “segregated residents.”

There are many sources, and I will not link them all, but suffice to say that most of what I am writing about comes from usatoday.com, guardian.co.uk and huffingtonpost.com

As I have always said, the only problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money. Some of the statements from the media are, “...Coalition leaders should resist the temptation of undoing decades of enlightened social policy...” My statement is “Why on earth would you resist getting rid of something that is historically proven to fail fail FAIL!?”

Another site, “Poverty and unemployment are the main causes of the riots.” Me- Right, because when I was unemployed I went out and threw bricks and burned cars... ;) The true cause, as I am reading, is that "We want our welfare and if you take it we'll get violent. USA today seems to support this, “Some blame the violence on the Swedish government: Administrations in the past two decades have been slowly dismantling the cradle-to-grave welfare benefit system known as the "Swedish model." As a result, rising income inequality is hitting young and immigrant populations hard.” Translation= “What!? I have to work? But I came to this country to get everything for free!?

Now we come to the crux of the matter. Statements like USA today, “Swedes have been increasingly worried about immigrants failing to integrate and the cost to the state in benefits.”

AND “Days of rioting have left Sweden searching for answers, wondering what went wrong in a nation welcoming of foreigners...”

AND “The groups that are involved are some of the most economically deprived groups within society.”

One tries to get to the bottom of why they won't say who is specifically responsible, but must pay attention, because you will only read things in the fine print like, “In the suburbs engulfed in the rioting, most of the residents are of non-Swedish origin, mainly from Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Somalia.”

OR "Sweden is going through something of a transition," Goodwin said. "It has seen the rise of explicitly anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim political movement....” STOP RIGHT THERE!! Did you catch those two last quotes? They won't come right out and say it, and THAT is what bothers me the most. The truth, the translation is simple, the group responsible for most of this are the Muslim immigrants. Yet they are trying to blame the political movement...? That of trying to STOP the violence and call it anti-Muslim!!!? But if you say that out loud you are IMMEDIATELY labeled a racist or intolerant or ignorant. The problem is, that telling the truth gets you these things. Why oh WHY won't the American media just report the facts. Instead they question why their perfect system is falling apart and blame everyone be the ones responsible? Sweden accepts immigrants with open arms, they are tolerant to pretty much everything, have the "perfect" welfare model...and yet the house of cards is tumbling down and we don't want to acknowledge that there has been an infestation, a demand for Sharia law, a demand for a Mosque on every corner. We have seen it in England, France, and a multitude of other countries...it is not going away and it is quickly coming to a town near you.

I could do many more posts on this topic and maybe I will. Often times when talking about this I immediately hear how Christians used to do what Muslims do in years past. The difference is that I am not talking about things that happened hundreds of years ago. I am talking about what is happening RIGHT NOW! The argument of “there are extremists in every religion” holds no water for me. No matter how bad the Westboro church is, they aren't beheading people and blowing themselves up en-masse.

I could go on and on about how Islam is NOT a religion of peace, that there can only be peace through 100% conformity to Islam and Jihad. I have seen this parasitic religion come in and declare peace, ask for tolerance and acceptance which turns to demands, riots and genocide...but I'll just stop, and post this link to a site that covers it well http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/pages/iran/muslims_plan_for_world_dominance.htm

and ask each of you to check out alternate news sources besides main stream USA media. Foreign reporters are not quite so afraid to say that there is a problem. But American media is so afraid to offend someone that they go out of their way to mask it in other words. One of my concerns is that people my age and younger have a complete and total inability to discern what is true. If they read it on the internet or see it on TV it must be true...or so it seems.

As I have said before, I believe it is too late for America, we have already passed the point where the masses can vote themselves free stuff, and the majority has. Now we are being overrun...we cannot sustain ourselves at this rate. Now government is attempting to regulate morality. They must have forgotten how the prohibition worked out...

I'm just frustrated people. It's like watching someone come to town and poison the water supply, then watch the same person do it to 25 more towns. You try to warn the 26th town but they just scoff at you and ask how the nice man in the white suit could possibly do something like that. You try to explain that you have seen it happen and know this man for what he is. You are dismissed as a prejudiced boggot and are forced to watch as more drink the cool aid. You can only watch the death throes and know that there is little you can do to convince any of the towns of what is happening. You can show proof; pictures, videos, testimony...you can show the man in his own words state exactly what he is doing and what he is planning on doing and what he will continue to do...but everyone would rather smile and shake hands with the nice peace-loving man instead of taking action to stop him in his tracks. This whole thing is playing out like a demented Stephen King novel.

Ironically I am writing this on the day where I am thinking about some friends of mine who's names I carry as a memorial on strips of metal around my wrists. I remember them on this, Memorial day. I would have rather written a post remembering them and their sacrifice, but all I can think of is how we are squandering their ultimate gift in the name of Tolerance.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Crawdad

I checked the news today, saw the story about the New York student that got shot in a hostage situation. The gist of it is that a home-invader was holding a student in a headlock when police arrived. He pointed his gun at the officer. The officer opened fire shooting seven shots. 6 of which struck the intruder. One shot fatally struck the hostage. Of course I was very saddened at the end result...shooting with a pistol in a high stress environment is no easy thing. There is a mere three inches from the target area to the hostage head. Yet THIS is one of the first comments on the media comment page,

"Another officer who needs firearms training.  It's bad decision making and bad shooting that leads a cop to (nearly?) empty a magazine.  Not to mention poor aiming.  Very sorry for the parents and remaining sister."

Not only was I shocked at the comment, I was immediately enraged. How dare an uninformed, over-opinionated douche-bag, armchair quarter back a life or death situation with the benefit of hind sight!? Some department budgets only allow an officer to qualify once or twice a year with no budget at all for practice in-between...

I quickly got over this when I remembered that it is almost impossible to hold anyone accountable on a web-based argument.

I relaxed further as I went to one of my first Crawdad feeds EVER! It was glorious...everything dripping in butter and Cajun seasoning...a whole table covered in cooked crustaceous delicacy...I can't remember any other point in time that I enjoyed such a succulent meal.

In COMPLETE subject change. I took a group of guys out into the woods on a 24 hour survival adventure. 15 guys total. I instructed on everything from water gathering and purification to snare making and fire starting. 45 degrees out and it rained. No tents, no sleeping bags, no blankets, only what you would take with you in the wood grouse hunting. I think it was an excellent learning experience. The end!

Monday, April 22, 2013

There's a train a comin' it's comin' round the bend...


As the nation reels from yet another attack on our soil in the Boston Bombings I sit and ponder what  the knee jerk reaction will be. As we saw mass shootings and chaos climb the best our countries' leaders could come up with was a plan to regulate the “problem” by punishing all the people that actually obey the laws through major attempts on gun control. With the bombings, will the response be to register your bombs? We have not seen the end of this sort of thing. I believe the next major targets will be gaming stadium's and hospitals. You cannot register evil intent or begin to understand it. But this was not the actual topic of my post today, just a mini-rant.
 
What I meant to ponder is the question as to whether there is any hope of waking up from this financial train wreck our country is headed for in time to jump off, for I believe the ultimate catastrophe is inevitable now.

I believe it IS possible to avert it, I just do not think Americans are capable of it anymore. Benjamin Franklin's prediction has come true, “When people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”

I believe that the beginning of our fall as a country began when our government, by bits and pieces, decided they could regulate morality. How they think this is possible when they can't even decide what “is” means (Clinton Scandal) blows me away.

Helping someone out used to be done by neighbors, the Red Cross and the Church. The government decided that they were doing such a great job with everything else, that they could regulate social security as well as all other social programs, but instead of good-hearted people as the back-bone, they decided to make it compulsory.


"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.
 Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage."
(attributed to Alexander Tytler and an unknown author)

Once again I will close by saying that I am generally a pretty positive, upbeat, funny-guy. All my frustrations just seem to come out on my website. So please good reader, don't think I hate the world ;)


Saturday, March 09, 2013

Spring Time

I started this year off with one of the best decisions I have ever made; I deleted my facebook account. I didn't even realize how much time I had spent on there and how much it was taking away from my quality of life. Throughout every day I was literally spending hours each day on absolutely nothing; checking bubbles, updating status, reading articles and playing angry birds.

Since I now have a lot more time I have undertaken several new hobbies that I have always thought about, but never actually done. My wife and I are striving towards minimalism for starters. We have gotten a head-start on spring cleaning and taken load after load to donate to thrift stores and have turned other items into cash. We had THIRTY Tupperware cups and 14 coffee cups just for an example. We now have four coffee cups that serve the same purpose as the 44 we used to have!

In addition to de-cluttering, we have begun learning simple time-honored skills of self-reliance. We have started canning (meat, beans, vegetables etc.) I am learning the difference between a pressure cooker and a "hot bath." I have always had fun with out-door survival-type hobbies but never the long-term stuff my grandparents and parents did.

I snowshoed 3-miles in virgin snow and realized in one breath how out of shape I am, and yet, I still managed to finish without doing too much damage! So I guess I'm not in too bad of shape...(round is a shape ;)

I am also organizing a 24 hour survival camp for our church to teach bow-drill and other alternative fire making methods as well as water purification, food from the land, primitive tools, weapons and navigation. Also, building a -30F rated shelter with nothing but forest material and your own two hands in 2-3 hours. Should be fun. Anyone can be miserable, cold, hungry and wet and live...but if you are in a survival situation, you might as well be upbeat, warm, full and dry.

I am also making a "to-do list before I die," so as to live life to it's fullest. Everyone dies eventually, and time is something you never get back. I don't want to look back on my life when I am older and have regrets. I don't think I'll ever look back and wish I would have spent more time watching TV or put in longer days at the office. I would like to reach the end of my days and look back on a long life lived and be satisfied.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Zombies and Chaos

If you look at the federal government website and/or the center for disease control and check out their zombie preparedness guide, you will notice that they cover almost everything. Except there is nothing about a weapon for self defense of any sort. This of course with the understanding that if you prepare for a fictional zombie attack you will be prepared for anything. Who ever heard of a zombie prep that didn't involve a shot-gun or machete or SOMETHING!!!? Here is an example http://www.fema.gov/blog/2011-05-19/cdc-preparedness-101-zombie-apocalypse

While you ponder that, I ponder what 2013 will bring. There is chaos around the world and so many tragedies and disasters it is nearly unbelievable. While I will always live a boy-scout-life of "Be Prepared," I will not succumb to living in fear and trepidation. I put on my seat belt when I get in the car, but I don't spend the day thinking about getting in a wreck.

I have adopted the mindset that, after my seatbelt is on, it's time to watch the countryside go by and enjoy every little bit of it as it passes....I can't believe how fast the years have started flying by the older I get...I hear it doesn't get any slower either.

I am very excited for this new year, I plan on enjoying every minute, where each day is not something to just get through, but to enjoy and experience as if it were my last.