Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Liberal Soldier & Directing

Okay, so yesterday was a first for me. CSE (my company) and I met at a local library to do some casting for a documentary that we are producing and plan to put on youtube. Casting was too easy. There was a decent turn out, and we got the roles filled.

So, then, we started our first day of shooting. The script itself is based on the Rufus M. Rose ghost story, based on the Rufus M. Rose House in downtown Atlanta. So I was acting as writer and project director, while Ed passed as the casting director and unit director.

Our first shots were monochrome of the guy that we got to play Rufus M. Rose. Everything went well, and we are scheduled for two more days of filming this weekend. After that, there will be some minor post-production (which I will start this afternoon), and then we can release the project to the world.

Should be great!

Sometimes I wonder if I made the right choice by being Guard. Sometimes the bills can be a struggle, but I'd much rather be in the struggle, and have my freedom to do stuff like this. Not that Active guys don't but they have alot more stress daily, I think. Hats off to all my Active buds.

For more info on the project, check out my Ghost Blog on my profile!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Liberal Soldier, NCOs, & Christmas Musings

Well, I have a lot of differing opinions on this topic. Being lower enlisted, I certainly do get to see the work side of an NCO, and as I am now one of the Senior E4s in my state, my commander wants to send me to BNOC, I'm starting to see the other side to it as well.

Firstly, let me say that the labor relationship within the Army is unique. It can be demeaning at times, and better than anything else at others. I think that the degree wih which you work with thes people is so much more than the common 'workday' that it creates a totally different environment than a 'work' environment.

I've even heard it somewhere said that NCOs are supposed to regard their soldiers as if they were their kids or something, and I think alot of those family bonds do exist. Overseas I had my section sgt, who we titled Grandpa, he was a Harley Riding Native American. I had another Sgt, who was in my Platoon who looked after me alot, who I suppose could have been something like a Father figure. And my direct line leader was like an older brother, and he saved my ass on more times than I can count.

So is this sort of labor relationship good? At first, you would think for soldiers, that this might be natural, and so thus it is good. However, I think it makes the management-labor relationship more 'intense', not neccessarily better or worse. It all depends upon the person wearing the stripes, as a fellow blogger pointed out recently. However one thing though, is living with and being around my superiors 24/7, you come to know the ins and outs of who they were, which meant their boons and their faults. Everything really.

I certainly think only in the situation of the Militar could this sort of patronizing labor relationship exist. Otherwise it'd be demeaning in a way. But since I know all of my NCOs come from the same mindset as myself, and passed my training at the least, it does give me great confidence in their abilities. I may have felt I was smarter than an NCO, but I have never felt I was more experienced than any of them.

But yeah, thats that.


Yeah, that too. I went with my mom to Candlelight Service this year. It was a bit odd for me, because I've been an athiest (or at least agnostic) for a bit of time now. However, I just keep my mouth shut, and sometimes try to think about what they are saying. I am very contemplative, so I do think about whats being said, even if I don't neccessarily believe it.

This year, our Pastor was contrasting the differences between Christianity and Islam. Specifically, in how we view righteousness. He contrasted this mainly with an inter-faith program he had on the radio involving himself an Imam from a local Mosque.

He referenced that our righteousness, assuming I am Christian, is a gift of god. That as long as we accept it into our hearts, we never have to really do anything for it. He contrasted this by poining out that the Imam used the term 'Works of God' alot. In his mind, the Muslim has to work for his righteousness.

At first, this shows a view of Christian as lazy sinners, who always get what they want, and only have to ask to recieve the gift of righteousness. Of course, when you search to the core of it, God is perfect, and therefore of course our righteousness would be a gift.

When you take this into account, you might see the Muslim as a sinner who is trying to be better/more righteous than other sinners. Thus the Muslim never earns his righteousness, he just seems better in self than others. However, though, as a righteous creature, your attempt to do the works of good should be paramount in your life. Whether or not you expect to get into heaven.

I took a bit away from this. Both want to be next to god, that much is certain. I think you can learn from both schools of thought. You should seek out to do good in his world, for good's sake, but never doubt that God will recognize you.

Well, if you believe in God, thats something you should consider.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Liberal Soldier & Stop-Loss

Okay, so my experience with stop-loss is pretty simple, the unit that I went to Iraq with filled two of its positions with Stop-Lossers, one from Florida, one who was from Philadelphia or something. Im not quite sure how they were picked or anything, but they went along with us, and in all honesty, I didn't even think about them as Stop-Loss. I really didn't even know (because they were in a different platoon) until about four months into the deployment.

Firstly, lets get it out of the way. I don't neccessarily support the war, not to hard to tell from my blog title. But I did my job, and I feel I followed in the traditions of Jefferson and other Patriots of Liberal Persuasion. However, doing my duty, and agreeing with it, are two different things totally. Suffice it to say, though, I saw some sense in it, on some level.

Okay, as for Stop-Loss, yes I think it sucks. I mean your chilling on the couch one day, and the next thing you get a letter telling you that you've been re-activated with the sole intent of sending you into a combat zone. Or maybe, if your lucky, of filling in for a leaving unit on a post for a few months. That would actually be quite kosher. I wont lie, I saw that movie Stop-Loss and identified with it in some respects.

However, Stop-Loss, while it does suck, is apart of the contract. Maybe you weren't aware of it when you signed, but it shouldn't take long for you to learn about it in truth. Thats about as much as you can say about Stop-Loss, that it sucks.

A backdoor draft? No. At one point in time they had been of the mindset to agree to the contract, the contract stipulated stop loss policies, and was available to be read. So thus a person signs into stop-loss.

Do I believe that there is a bit of misinformation? Certainly. Im sure right now there is some young kid signing his contract without fully realizing anything about it. But it happens all to often, and the best you can hope, is that he learns his lesson, and learns from it.

Thats as much as I have to say for it. Yeah it sucks, and yeah if you ask me if I feel bad, I will say yes. Do I think its the same thing as a Draft, or Similiar to it? No. It has more to do with demographic recruiting than it does with the draft.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Liberal Soldier: The Author

Im sure you guys...okay, some of you guys...well, maybe one or two of you...wonder what I do with my time. As I in the Guard, I'm not active Army, therefore my income comes from other places. Well, I've got very little vocational training, and I'm currently in a hiatus from college, though I plan to return full time in Spring of 2010.

So what do I do? Before I went to Iraq, I worked at UPS for several months, and that went okay. It was tough work, but it paid my meagre bills, and gave me enough disposable income to go and see my girlfriend. Its funny though, I totally look back on the situation, and realize that it should've been much different, as even though I knew I wanted my own company, I wasn't saving for it, or building to it.

I heard about a unit going to Iraq, and there were plenty of rumors that new soldiers would have to go anyhow. I can remember one Platoon Sergeant who tricked his whole platoon into signing for it. I won't get too much into that, but I signed, not because I was tricked, but because I wanted to save money to start my own business when I returned. Well, I was on the wagon for the majority of the deployment until personal issues complicated things. I returned with less than 10k in the bank, and wondering if my business dream would ever come to fruition.

Well what am I doing now, other than school? I've become a freelance writer, with my own company by which I self-publish stuff. While the company is profitable, its content is limited, and it definately does not pay my bills, and Im only hoping that the business grows, well I know it will, because I can see it happening. On average, I manage five book sales per month, so 1.25 per week. I've definately noticed an increasing trend from this. But Im lucky because Adsense picks up the rest of the tab for my hosting and content fees. So I do appreciate your interest in my blog!

But in addition to that, I do alot of freelance work. Between that and whatever menial jobs I can pull (newspaper delivery, insurance photography, courier), I make my living between class, and hopefully until my catalog of publishing is built up. I definately came back at the wrong time in the economy, I think.

Anyhow, if you are interested in Sci-Fi and other cool stuff, check out my company:

Crimson Star Entertainment

And our new WebComic, which just came out:
Knight Spectre

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Liberal Soldier & The Grog Bowl

Hey everyone! Oh, boy do I ever have something new to discuss about the army this time around. I went to drill this weekend, where we drove down to Ft Stewart, and participated in my unit's Military Ball. A normal drill weekend wouldn't really entice me or make me think about the Military so much, but the ball definately did.

Firstly, let me start off by saying, today is the anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor. Some sixty-eight years to be exact. For those of us in the Military, I hope we keep in mind the sacrifices made in the past, to bring us where we are now. I will however, comment further on this, in a minute.

Alright. So Saturday Night, I was dressed in my Sunday Finest, in the lobby of a hotel which was much too rich for my blood. I will admit, though, I think I looked good.

Im the man in the center. To my right is a Specialist, quickly on his way to becoming a sergeant. To my left is or adorable supply specialist, and she got quite tanked that night. As you can see, black was the color of the night, and thats what I wear to any and all formal events.

The ball was fun, simply because I had good friends around me. Im always commenting to my fellow soldiers in the unit that I'm a short-timer...with only 25 months left to go! So you can see, Im overly optimistic (not to mention premature) about leaving the service! However, if there was one thing that the big Green Machine (err...Grey Machine? Pixilated Machine?) did give me respect for, it was my fellow Soldiers. Leaving them will be the only hard part about leaving, and know I will still follow up with many of them after we've gone our seperate ways.

I think for many soldiers of my ethical persuasion, it is much the same. I've done my duty, gone to a Combat Zone, opened up educational options, and served honorably. My only regret when I leave will be that I will leave my friends, but such is life.

Anyhow, the night started somewhat slow, with us watching the Florida//Alabama game (or should I say tragedy; oh well, the Gator streak couldn't have gone on forever). I saw many friends from the unit I deployed with, and it was great to say hey to everyone, as well as see current unit-members out of uniform for once (a rare thing in the Guard).

We ate steak, but only after the ceremonial creation of 'Military Police Punch' aka the Grog bowl. I can't remember all that was said about it, but I can definately remember what was put in it. It started with two bottles of Everclear, then two bottles of Champagne, two bottles of Jim Bean, two bottles of vodka, some punch, a sock, some 'Iraqi Sand' (I think it was brown sugar), and women's pantyhose. Either way, it was strong, and after refilling my glass twice, I was well on my way to a good evening. (Note: The Army doesn't condone drinking games, but does condone this!)

After the meal, my friends and I went out on the town. We strolled down River Street in Savannah, stopping by any local bars that were still open, including Wet Willies. WW is notorious for its frozen drinks that have an Everclear base (the Everclear is the slush in the slushi). Needless to say, by the end of the night, we were all hammered. However, I'm always the protective one in the group, and spent my time watcing out for muggers, and staying conscious on the cab drive home.

But finally we pulled back into Ft Stewart. Another funny part to the night, we woke up my friend Seth, and kept asking him for his ID. He kept handing us $20 bills, and told he driver he would tip him in Log 10. The two girls in the car were barely conscious. I was amazed, despite a long hiatus from drinking alcohol, that I was the on best able to handle my liquor. It had been three months since I had a drink. But in my defense, I drank heavily before, after, and during my deployment. But now, I will return to my policy of non-alcohol.

Either way, I had alot of fun, and won't soon forget this experience. It has probably been one of the few very good experiences in the Army I've had.

Also, back to Pearl Harbor. I had the...ummm...honor, of watching two Cadets make two other Cadets wash a bus in honor of Pearl Harbor Day. The working Cadets were, of course, Asian (though one was from India, not the 'Far East', which drew some laughs). It seemed kind of unfair, but I think it was a more of a peer-pressure type of thing.

I just thought maybe you would like to know the status of our future officer corp! Anyhow, I look forward to your comments!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Liberal Soldier & Irony

Hey everybody. Just checking back in.

My writing career is doing better. I've got a new deal for a vampire themed murder mystery game that Im writing with a company. Should be interesting. Click my Crimson Star Entertainment link to learn a bit more about me.

Okay, so now your thinking, okay, how is this ironic? Well that part isn't, its just a little self-promotion, for those curious. What is ironic? Literally, not a week after posting that blog post about my ex Fiance, she has emailed me. Reluctantly, I went to visit her the day after Thanksgiving, and later at her college.

At the end of the day, I still feel strongly about her. Im not saying I will let anything come of it, but she is incredibly hot. And despite alot of her selfish tendencies, I think deep down she is a good person. In so much that she is an innocent one.

So...that is irony...irony pie right back in my face. She seems to regret things. And I do have to admit, at this point in time, she is still so hot, and will make more money than men, unless my writing career takes off. Which of course I will be trying to make happen while I continue my schooling.

Somehow, at the back of my mind, I always wonder if there is an ulterior motive. Supposedly she learned my true value because of a string of bad relationships. Im dont know. However, Im not too attached to her at this point, so it wouldn't really bother me much.

Okay, lastly, I would like to put out a call for my other writers and bloggers. I would like to make an amatuer examination of the NCO model, as opposed to other work/management models. This can be from a personal point of view, social, or economic. I will pick four posts, and will include them in a blog about such. Included, of course, will be a backlink to your own blog.

So, email me your thoughts at I look forward to reading the entries!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Liberal Soldier and Thanksgiving

I will return with a good post after the Thanksgiving Holiday! Make sure to check out my video blog, and subscribe. Over the next few days, Im going to release at least two new videos for you guys to gawk at.

I really hope yall have a great Thanksgiving Holiday!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Liberal Solider & Community Service

Just a tiny blog today. I really dont have much to blog about. Im supposed to be working on my manuscript anyhow.

So I went to do community service yesterday. I went to this lady's house, and she had like forty dogs. I dont want to make her sound ecclectic or crazy or anything. She seemed like a normal person...just doing what she loved. Or maybe, what she was qualified to do.

Either way, alot of the dogs were older, certainly not in their primes. And it made me come to think. I'm only twenty-three years old, and I can't help but feel as if the best times in life have already gone by. I'm not quite sure.

Maybe it is mostly due to my Ex. My self-esteem crashed, nose-dived really, after she left me. And I swear she did her best to make me feel horrible about myself. We both said bad things while we were fighting, but after we were done, as my self-esteem plummeted, she never went out of her way to help me feel better. I remember saying something where I thought I was becoming less intelligent, less than two months after we broke up. All she had to say was that I said it, not her. So even in the aftermath of it all, she was more concerned with how she would seem, rather than what existed between us.

I dont know. You always seem to only remember the best of yourself. And Im sure I did plenty of bad things, stupid things. But I can remember in any situation where she needed help, I tried to help her, as much as I could.

Either way, I'm better off without her. I know this, though I will admit, I think of her more than I should. I think this will continue until I find the next love of my life, and she breaks my heart too. LOL

At least I wont be as stupid with the next one as with this one.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Liberal Soldier: Iraqi Heartbreakers

Okay, so my last post catching yall up. This is a bit old, as I came home about six months ago (a little more than that, really), but I suppose yall want to be caught up.

Well I did my service in Camp Bucca Iraq for about a year, after a very intensive train-up at Fort Dix, NJ. Fort Dix was actually a decent place to be stationed, but for the most of the time we were there, we were at the FOB, which is a training ground used to prepare us to go to Iraq. I can still remember vividly, the training that we underwent, and standing outside talking on the phone to my ex-fiance, despite frigid temperatures.

We ended our stay at Dix right before St Patrick's day, and we were given a chance to fly home for a four day liberty. I made my way home as quickly as I could and spent four wonderful days with my fiance, and saw my family before I would leave for Iraq. These are some of the fondest memories I so far have in my young life, and I'm disappointed to say, probably the best memories I will ever have, considering the way things are going right now.

I arrived back at Ft Dix and prepared to leave for Iraq. However, unlike the rest of my unit I was tasked to stay with some of the Unit's equipment for an extra two weeks, because it had to be guarded by someone. I will admit, I honestly think spending an extra two weeks in Ft Dix Garrison, I must've gained 10 pounds. I ate a bit more than I had during train-up, as I only had time really. We went to see movies, we tried to sneak into an air force DFac, in general, it wasn't a bad experience.

We flew to Kuwait, which gave me the awesome chance to stop-over in Spain, before heading all the way to Kuwait. We stayed in Camp Buehring for about a week, before we headed north, to Iraq. In Buehring, despite what other soldiers say, there is alot to do. They have a three MWR tents, a movie theator tent, a 24-hour dfac, and a big PX. So its pretty easy to get what you need to occupy yourself whether your goin for free, or on a budget.

Once in Iraq though, my days melted all into one long workday. Day after day went by, and all I did was count down untill leave arrived. I was actually doing quite well, I was saving money for a business I was going to open, I had started taking online classes and succeeded in passing them, and whatever was asked of me in terms of work, I did with no complaint and to standard, although I was struggling with Physical Training at that point. My friends and I had some great experiences, and we came up with some interesting ideas. There were some tough times, a few attacks at the begginning and a few other events, but things died down near the summer, and I was waiting for leave.

I had waited until near the end of the deployment to take my leave. I would rather come back to the deployment with as few months left as possible. And I was so excited to finally get home. However, this joy and elation lasted a grand total of four days. After having helped my ex-fiance with money every month so she wouldn't be so stressed, I even gave her money so she could go on two trips, and a grand to buy books and a laptop. When your together with someone, you think of it as a partnership, and you can't even imagine that they would betray you. So for me this was natural. I wasn't giving her money, I was investing money in our future together. Either way, four days into my leave, I'm not sure why, and still have no clue as to what led her to this, but she dumped me. Ironically, she did this approximately four days before I was going to propose to her at the Georgia Aquarium. Needless to say, the rest of my leave sucked.

I wasn't happy to return to Iraq, I wouldn't have been happy if I had stayed home either. I remember that she didn't even bother to call me the day I was going back. We kept communicating through til the end of the month, before a huge argument. I was just amazed at how callous she was, that she could go from loving me to not loving me in a day it seemed. And within the week, it seemed like she really didn't care whether I lived or died.

I continued to do my duty, as it was all that I had left for those final few months, but my spending habits got way out of control. I think this was a slight fore-shadowing of what was to come. But thanks to whatever grace may be watching out for me, I made it home safely. When I first got home, I did contact her. This lasted for about a month, before I finally severed all ties, nearly completely.

However, after coming home, I struggle with the motivation to do things. Im now in a bit of a state of depression, and I came home and associated with the wrong people. For the first two months, I drank, and drank...and drank. My spending recovered a tiny bit, but I certainly would've been better off had I not been an idiot in my last two months overseas. I continued in my little spiral of negativity, which finally came to an abrupt end, almost exactly six months after my fiance had broken it up with me. This end was an arrest, and a charge for possession of marijuana, misdemeanor. I'm not a big drug user, and the only reason I had it is because this gir I was going out with at the time smoked, and so I sorta got caught up in that. However, I made the conscious decision to clean up my act.

Since that time, my life has had its ups and downs. Over the summer I was back in School, however, this didn't last long as there was a processing error at the VA when I tried to return for this fall. However, I then took it upon myself to fill my court order, except for Community Service, which I'm hoping to fulfill in the next three weeks (forty hours in three weeks, not impossible, but certainly hard).

After I get my court order handled, I think I will finally be able to return to normalcy. While I do take responsibility for my own actions, it is very easy to point out that a more direct cause of my "wild behavior" was the breakup. And from it I've learned an incredible lesson that can't be reproduced. I will never again love or trust a female to the degree that I loved and trusted before this. There were so many different ways she could have handled the situation, but she didn't try any of them. I can now look back, and say, we both had our problems, but the selfish way with which she handled me...there is a special place for people like that. As of now, I don't communicate with her. I dont wish anything for her, good or ill. I wouldn't even want her to come back to me begging or anything. Given how badly she messed my life up, I can prevent that, but not letting it happen again.

Thanks for listening.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Liberal Soldier: Egyptian Attacks

As I mentioned in a previous post, I had been on mission in Egypt, before going to Iraq. I can't give you details about where or when, as in the Army, there is a set of regulations called OpSec, short for Operations Security. I cant tell you where we were, as this might give off operations details for the enemy. But I can tell you, that the enemy is real.

I wont try and use this post to examine what happened, or what happened. My goal here is to simply relate a bit of what happened, and how I reacted to it. Once again, this blog is partially meant as therapeutic outlet for myself, so that is the focus for this post.

Okay, we arrived on mission at the hotel that we were supposed stay at. Our forces were divided into two portions, the hotel guard and bus guard. I won't say where or even what uniform we were in, but I can say we were expected to blend it. I was apart of the bus guard, it was my job to check the busses for bombs and to watch out for scouts, and I did this at irregular intervals, plus every time the bus stopped. So I was very thorough.

My job gave me a great chance to see the city, including several historic landmarks that I never imagined in my life that I would get to see. For the most part, my job went smoothly. At most I had to deal with one person who I thought was a potential spotter, and a gang of thieves in one location. However, things went well.

But that was just while on duty. While I was off-duty, I mostly slept, as we worked in 12 hour shifts, day in and day out, and most of that time I was eating, conductin hygeine, or getting my sleep. I did bring a book with me, and watched a few minutes of television, but it was all in Arabic, so I didn't do well with it. However, the bus driver I worked with was taking his time to try to teach me Arabic, which I really appreciated, as now I take Arabic in a University context, and do well with it.

However, we did have one attack, that came close to injuring myself and a few other battle buddies. I still remember it, like it was yesterday. My room-mate was on the alternate shift as I was, and he worked inside the actual hotel. I had to get up in the morning, around 4 am, to get my shower, take a run, and get prepared for the first bus, which wold arrive around 630 AM.

I was in the middle of brushing my teeth, and it was around 515 AM. I heard what sounded like, to me, a clap of thunder. However, the whole time that I was there, I had yet to see a drop of rain, so this made litte sense to me. Less than a second later though, a larger boom sounded through the air, as something impacted right outside my room. Me and my room-mate ran outside, jumping over the barricade, to see a large tractor trailer which had been driven through two concrete barricades, and landed outside. Other soldiers emerged as well, and we proceeded to give the driver medical attention, assuming it was just an accident. He was quickly taken away by Egyptian Officials.

However, it was later known to be an attack as the vehicle was unregistered, and the back was loaded with bricks and a plastic explosive of some type.

I often look back and thank god that nothing more explosive happened. I also am left dumbfounded about the nature of my reaction. But given what happened, and given the fact that I know that not every Arab is a terrorist, I think my reaction is not only expected, but honorable on some level. Either way, it is what I did, and Im glad I reacted that way.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Liberal Soldier

Hello everyone. Im a soldier in the US Army Guard, so yes, I am a part-timer. Don't expect me to know about Active Duty life or anything of that regard. However, I was deployed overseas in Iraq for a year, and was on mission in Egypt for a few months. I am going to try to keep myself anonymous, but if you really want to find out info about me, it wouldn't be too hard.

And lastly, yes, I am a Liberal, with my political view on topics ranging from democratic to out-right socialist on a few. However, I don't advocate violent change, and would rather see a peaceful change.

Alot of this blog will be devoted to national issues, and sometimes a few personal issues. I certainly don't have PTSD, and I wont claim to be one of the heroes that was out of the wire everyday. My hat is off to those guys. Rather alot of my stress issues are personal, and I think writing about them is a good way for me to get over them, without draining the resources of stress programs that are needed by people with more serious issues.

Just dont call me a POG though. Ill admit, I got lucky with my job, but I've seen alot of shit inside and outside of uniform. I dont need to prove anything to anyone. However, I'd be more than willing to have guest posters who have their own things to get off their chests.

Lastly, I will have four doodads on this blog, one being a link to my own company (shameless marketing), a donate button, some adsense at the bottom, and a flag counter. I would appreciate any donation or adsense click I get, but I am much more interested in the feedback that I get. So thank you in advance for tuning in.