So, I'm kind of in this stage where I want to update my blog and make it easier to surf, because this blog is very much a journal of my life since late 2002.

It's still a work in progress, and I don't know how many people have an RSS feed on this thing (I doubt many do) so I'm hesitant of putting all of my archives up at once to flood somebody's feed.

I think it would seem like I was spamming the system or something. Although the feeds are from early 2004 and earlier, do they do them chronologically?

Anyway, I was reading some of these old blogs and they actually make me laugh, and at times cringe. When I first started this blog, I didn't really think of it as a place for other people to come read my thoughts so I would write a lot of cryptic things, saying something at random without explaining what I was talking about. Heck, there are a lot of posts about me mentioning something about the army, I know I'm talking about the army, but I don't know for the life what I'm talking about.

It's like I was torturing my very small (at the time) readership. I also look at my blogging while I was in Kosovo and some of that drove me nuts because I felt like I couldn't just out and say anything. Way to cryptic.

I'm hoping to eventually have my entire archive on here, but it was funny that a couple of times I actually forsaw the possibility of me gaining some fame and was worried about what people might think of me from my writings. I was pretty self conscious back then, even in 2003, but not really at all now.

A lot of my earlier postings are somewhat angsty and EMO. I swear, zero self confidence in myself. The name Incoherant Ramblings and things better left unsaid really feet the feel of this blog. It has morphed into something else as I've matured and gotten less self centered. I swore to myself that I would give up blogging several times and tried to quit, but it was an addiction, like heroin.

Some of my posts are actually pretty funny. Some of them make no sense, but probably made sense to me at the time.

I think I'll work on getting the archive up before the end of December. It has become my project. And will allow the few readers I have maintained into the twisted mind of a younger Risawn.



I went and saw Enchanted today, and laughed so freakin' hard my sides hurt. This was probably the best movie I had seen in a while (I haven't seen a whole lot so I guess that isn't saying much), it's just a cute clean comedy where Disney goes out to make fun of itself and its princess characters and their cluelessness as well as their undying quest to meet their Prince.

Yes, Susan Surandon is in it, but she plays a fitting part as the evil witch. In fact, the movie was pretty much perfectly cast. Definitely a great date movie, or one to take the kids to see (girls will love it). I'll be buying it when it comes out on DVD. For sure.

Go. See. Laugh and cringe at the same time! It's really not just for kids!

'Machine Gun' Lamp

I was at the mall today, surprised to see how barren it was for it being the holiday season and all, and walked into Spencer's and saw the coolest thing ever!

It's an M203 Lamp! I was so tempted!

Ironically enough, it is mentioned as a Machine Gun lamp on the box it came in. An automatic setting a Machine Gun doth not make. This is an M16 with a 203 attachment, not a machine gun with a rocket launcher like some websites mention.

I still want it. Hmm, I could probably find a different lampshade to go with it.

And then it will sit comfortably in my office when I get to Fort Knox. Privates would love it!

Hard Drive Recovery

I may have mentioned my hard drive failures, being in the business of failing to back up my information, I lost a portable hard drive October of last year and in March my laptop fizzled out on me and died, taking a lot of information with it (mostly in the way of stories I've written as well as a few pictures).

A couple of the stories I bucked up and counted them into my losses, when recently I realized there was another story in there that I had been working on that I didn't want to lose. Plus, well, all the notes to my comic that I haven't touched in probably six months were on there too. But there was no way I could see paying nearly two grand getting this information recovered.

So I did some research online and found a company that does the same thing for considerably less. Granted, it would be nice to not have to recover the information in the first place, *let this be a lesson to you kids, ALWAYS back up your information* but now it looks like they will have a lot of success recovering the information, or so they have told me.

If all goes well, I'll be sure to write up something snazzy in regards to them and their service. If it doesn't, well, I'm just hoping they can get my information.

I'm just going to try NOT to be let down in case it turns out to not be recoverable, but they told me thus far that my laptop drive has a 60% chance of recovery.

That's better then it sitting in a box in the bottom of my desk!


Decorating the Tree

I've gotten a little into the Christmas mood this year, I was noticing how unchristmasy it was feeling without the tree up so I decided that it was time to go decorating it.

We have a fake tree that we used last year, and I found a few cheap ornaments to put on it as well as some given by the parents so that our tree isn't completely barren, but I found that I kind of like collecting ornaments. So I went out and bought some today.

Our tree is far from anything fancy, in fact probably no presents will go under it (those will be under the parent's tree where we will most likely be spending Christmas morning with our sock and all) but because of the need to feel like it's that time, well, a tree is a given.

Unfortunately, ornaments get to be expensive, so I think I'm just going to spend some here and there each year until I get a nice little collection going. And yes, the dollar store is a great place to get some inexpensive ornaments (that can also go on the backside to help even out the weight and everything. I even got a couple little rocking horses for the tree that came from my trip in Innsbrook Austria.

No hallmark collector ornaments or anything like that for the time being.

Last year was the first time I decorated my own tree. This year is the first year I'm actively seeking to improve on it.

Collecting fancy little ornaments. Hmm, I see a tradition in the making!

I've got a snowboarding ornament, and now a bunch of fishing themed ones, as well as some fun reindeer playing Twister. I need to go get another pickle from the mall. I also think I want to get a military themed ornament, and maybe some art related ornaments (not crafty, I mean art related).

The angel at the top has special significance, she was made by my grandmother.


It's Snowing

2007/8 season was predicted to be spectacular with the October freeze spells in my neck of the woods. Unfortunately, November hit with a sudden heat spell (well, for winter conditions at least) that destroyed any hope of an early opening season for mountains in the area.

I have Wednesday off, I thought about finding an open mountain and getting a little time on the mountains.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that its been trying to snow for the last week, all mountains are at the moment closed.


I don't think I will get my little snow time in before BNCOC, as I leave in less then two weeks and I have a feeling I didn't request enough time off next week. Because I have drill on Saturday and Sunday, and I leave for BNCOC on Friday the following week, that leaves me with four days of non army obligations. It's the holiday season, I can tell you right now my precious time is going to be nabbed for working.

Oh, and I have completely reverted back to sleeping in til whenever I feel like getting up and staying up until the sun is about to rise. Which is the wrong answer, I know.


GI Jill

While surfing through my blog roll (and sadly, finding several dead links), I ran into this fascinating story about US Army SGT Jill Stevens, also Miss Utah and running in the Miss America Pageant in January 2008.

She even so much has her own official Military Webpage

Going through her flickr page and seeing her interact with some of the people during her deployment in Afghanistan reminded me of the Medcaps in Kosovo, mingling with kids and kicking a soccor ball while i have a weapon slung on my back.

I think I would get along with her. Good luck at the Miss America Pageant, though granted that's one thing I would be petrified to compete in.

Hat tip: Northshore Journal

An Inconvenient Book

Glenn Beck came out with a book this week that I so happened to buy. And actually read And I can whole heartily recommend as it is an amusing read that makes sense from a guy who just tries to make sense of what's going on in this country. And how to solve the problems the country is facing. Most of them being really basic answers that are politically incorrect, to include Political Correctness.

Of course, most of them the typical progressive minded thinker would probably not like, but the conservative thinker could only agree and thank Glenn for putting it into words that the average American can understand.

Of course, there's the chapter on Global Warming (an obvious jab at Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth) and what we can or can't do about it, and perhaps why some people are over reacting on the part of the end of the world thing, as well as Radical Islam and why perhaps there is a reason why we SHOULD be continuing the War on Terror, the problem with Media Bias, a chapter on parenting, and even one as so mundane as finding a movie to rent with your loved one (and the difference between a Laser Movie and a Bonnet Movie). I pretty much enjoyed it all the way through.

You may or may not agree with what Glenn Beck has to say, but its always good to have an open point of view and see what other people and their take on things are. Which is one of the reasons why I watched an Inconvenient Truth with an open mind.

And then I got Glenn's opposing viewpoint.

I have to say that by and large, I agree with Beck. Maybe that's one of the reasons why I like him so much.



So, today is Thanksgiving, and tomorrow is Black Friday.

I was thinking about my retail job and my army job and how different they are from each other. I was working last night and I had this customer who just wouldn't leave me alone. And I just had to smile and say 'it's alright, that's what I'm here for.'

When you work retail, you have to kiss the customer's behind.

I love being in the army, especially in my line of work, becuase I mainly deal with people of a lower rank then me and if I feel particularly annoyed by them or want to tell them off for whatever reason, I can just let my feelings fly. I don't have to act nice if I don't want to. I can be bluntly and plainly honest. It is a liberating feeling.

Anyway, onto the thankful thanksgiving post.

I'm thankful for a lot of things. I think I'm more thankful right now then I have ever really been in a long time. I can tell you that I have matured tremendously this year and have grown an appreciation for what really matters in life. I'm thankful I am a practical person, even though I still have my little expendatures on the side like my Guitar Hero III for the Wii that I just purchased on a whim. I'm thankful that I have the family that I do, and how I fit into my family, and the knowledge that no matter what I do, they will always be there to support me if I need it, even if they don't agree with my choices. I'm thankful I've survived for 27 years on this planet without any major catastrophies and without killing anyone. I'm thankful for Turkey, Cranberry Sauce and homemade Mashed potatoes. I'm thankful for the ability to laugh at myself and accept myself for who I am. I'm thankful for the simple things in life, a bed to sleep in and a roof over my head. I'm thankful that I do have a car, as I know how much it sucks not having one. I'm thankful to live in a place where it snows and there are mountains nearby. And an emergency room that is accessible in case I need one. I'm thankful for Chocolate covered raisins and banana chips. I'm thankful to be an American and to have experienced everything I have experienced in life thus far.

And I'm thankful for the option to sleep in until Noon. I know, I should have hung onto that morning person routine as I'm a more functional person that feels like I get much more done if I wake up before seven but dang, I'm a night owl by nature.

Besides, today was my birthday and I indulged myself by sleeping in and playing guitar hero III.

Which I suck (I haven't been practicing on my guitar like I should be) but it's still a lot of fun and makes for good old fashioned family entertainment!


Chuck Norris For President

Ok, I admit, I find the Chuck Norris Facts amusing, especially when put into a campaign video.

I don't know a lot about Mike Huckabee but I do like that he has a sense of humor!


Looking Back on this Blog

This week has been pretty low key, mostly because of the planning for the funeral and I went back to my civilian job which is pretty much a no-brainer.

I also set myself up to a task that I've been working on all week. Ripping my existing CDs. When I first got my job, it had an awesome discount on CDs and DVDs that isn't quite as awesome anymore. But I realized I don't listen to but a few CDs so I ripped every last one of them and plan to sell the ones I'm not as fond of back to my work and I can buy christmas with the proceeds this year.

When I went through my CDs, I found a couple mix CDs that had been made for me by complete and total strangers who just followed my blog and wrote me in a pen pal fashion.

I look back and I don't think I properly thanked people for what they did for me through this blog. One person sent me a box of Godiva Chocolates anonymously and I never even mentioned it on here, though I probably should have because there was no other way of thanking that person for sending them to me. But I didn't know if this was the apropriate place to say what I recieved from people, I thought I might be gloating. Not to mention the tons of stuff people sent me through my Amazon Wishlist.

And when my server crashed because of the discovery of my blog with over 40,000 hits in one day, just about three years ago, total strangers banded up and sent me over one thousand dollars to pay my server bills and keep my blog going. It was becuase of that I felt obligated to continue my blog through my deployment, people paid me to keep it going. I never mentioned the exact amount I had recieved becuase I didn't know if it was appropriate, it sounded kind of haughty to me to mention all of the goodwill people sent me through my blog.

I don't really recieve a whole lot through my blog these days, and I don't expect it either becuase I really don't need anything through it to be honest. But it was a needed source of encouragement and support during my deployment which wasn't always smooth sailing but should have been a lot easier then it was.

In fact, I don't thank a lot of the people that read it then still read my endless musings and the little mundane stories about my life, but none the less, to the mixed cds, the chocolates, all the movies and books through amazon, and the generous donations from complete and total strangers, Thank You.

This blog has kind of evolved into several things through the course of its lifetime, at one point it was strictly a ranting board from which I could vent my feelings and frustrations or muse about idiocracies I've faced and it's become more of a journal about my life with less ramblings and far less political content.

I'll probably maintain this blog until the day I die, and it will probably metamorphosis into something else completely in that time.


Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

Last spring my sister announced that she was expecting a baby. She was a little hesitant to announce her pregnancy because she has had problems concieving in the past and has suffered a number of miscarriages that have broken her heart every time. So when she got past the point that it appeared she would carry this baby to term we all celebrated with her.

Everyone was trying to guess the baby's gender, it seemed the mass consensus was that it was going to be a boy. I said a girl. I seem to have a sixth sense about the sex of babies before the parents find out and I hadn't been wrong yet.

However, this summer, my sister learned that the baby has a condition that makes it very unlikely that it will live outside the womb for very long. I didn't know what to say to her when we found out, and so I didn't say anything for a while. I know she was grieving, here she was, able to feel the baby kick inside of her and she had to plan a funeral because it was unlikely to survive.

She is a very strong person however, I don't know what I would do if I was faced with a similar situation. But she decided that she would carry the baby to full term and hope to share a few moments with it when it was born. My parents went so far as to build a casket for her, a true labor of love.

Little Olivia Kamille was born on veteran's day, just past midnight. I got the phone call shortly after she was born asking me if I wanted to see her as she was still alive. We drove to the hospital, and seemed to hit every red light and every distraction that could prohibit us from getting to the hospital right away.

She was so tiny, just about four pounds, and she was cradled by her mother who wanted to spend as much time as possible with her baby. They delivered her and gave her right to her mom, they had decided not to prolong her life any, knowing that she would pass.

I held her for a few moments, feeling how light and fragile she was, she was still alive, but her heart was only barely beating. Her little hands and feet were so soft, It was a blessing that she lived as long as she did. We left after about an hour, knowing that her little family wished to have some time to themselves. My sister and her husband have scheduled berievement photos through an amazing organization called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep to help remember little Olivia. We're holding the funeral some time this week.

I don't know how I would take the news of knowing I was carrying a baby to term that would not survive, and it has shown a great deal of the strength and character my sister has. She has her own blog about her pregnancy and her family and the feelings she has been going through during this time. I don't think she will mind me posting my thoughts and experiences of my neice's birth and death on my blog, or directing you to her own.


Privates are SubHuman too.

So, I posted about my drill sergeant experience, or part of it, on my milblog.

That Would be Here

I think I will be going through and updating a lot of the links on that website and just getting it updated so that its current with what is happening in basic training these days as I think Privates (and parents!) still access that website for information on what happens when somebody joins the army.

And I've got the unique perspective on seeing things the way the other half sees it.

Currently there is a mob going on sometime next summer that I'm linked too so I will likely be in Fort Knox Kentucky training privates next year. I'm looking forward to it, because it will be a very different perspective then how things go at Fort Jackson. for one, as far as I know, Fort Knox is still all male and will so far continue to be all male. Which will make things interesting for me as a female drill in an all male basic training company. I just need to buck it up, grit my teeth, and try to appear any age older then 21.

I know I can pull off the mad as hell look, becuase all I have to do is not smile and tilt my head slightly and people think I'm mad at the world and about to kill somebody. But as soon as the corners of my mouth turn upwards it all changes when people realize I'm actually somewhat tender hearted. Must not show weakness, must not smile for three weeks when I get to Fort Knox.

Eh, we'll see.

meanwhile, I learned a lot about myself and what I'm capable of when I need to be. Being a Drill Sergeant kind of comes to you, because school didn't prepare me, though there's still a lot I have to learn. I think things would have been different if I had fallen in earlier in the cycle then I did, but those privates taught me a lot and I learned a lot about myself. Most importantly, I learned that i can in fact do this job. And what's more, I really enjoyed myself while I was doing it. True, it got a bit irritating when I learned that there is the Fort Leonard Wood way of doing things and I had to adapt to the Fort Jackson way of doing things, but if I had been there the full nine weeks I can tell it would have been different.

But my privates insisted that they are going to miss me. (Privates will tell you anything and everything, btw). I don't think I smoked them enough. But knowing how basic training is, if I had smoked them more, they would have become that much more attached to me. I'm already threatened with stalking, and with the internet age, I know as soon as they find a computer it won't be hard at all for them to find me.

In fact, I can contact my own Drill Sergeants courtesy of Army Knowledge Online White pages. I think I'll shoot them an email to tell them how much I appreciate what they did and how my experiences have impacted my military career and how I perform as a drill sergeant.

And how I can appreciate how much hard work they had to go through for that hat! Drill Sergeants are no joke!

The Traditional Hair Cut after Army Training

Things were very interesting as a drill sergeant, especially considering truthfully I don't look like one. But whatever the case, I came home to the same issue I generally come home to after spending a certain amount of time in uniform.

I come home to my hair looking like crap. Keeping it up in a bun all of the time slicked back with ultra crisp hair goop so that it doesn't fall out with a little hair dingy that just pulls it out gives it that extra fried end look, and I have extremely thin hair to begin with so I knew that a hair cut was coming once I got back off the trail.

First, let's start at the beginning. So I've got ultra thin hair and its been a good seven or so months since I did any coloring so I'm just due for a refresher.

This is the longest my hair has been in a LONG time. But even with me loading it up with all sorts of hair products to see if I can resussitate some life into it, it's not happeneing. It looks limp and dead.

Although I'm looking the best I've probably looked in years, I like that drill sergeant weight control program. The privates don't eat crap, so you better not eat crap. The privates have to work out, so you work out with them. They run, and you are yelling at them while you run. I like that part of being a drill sergeant. Though as soon as I got home I found a bunch of uneaten halloween candy greeting me. Curses.

So back to the hair. I let my sister have at it, I was willing to let her chop it all off if she felt the need, but not the pre Kosovo length I had it when i mobilized back in 2005, but I needed it at a length where it was short enough to wear in uniform or long enough to pull back when I'm in uniform, because I still have that one weekend a month obligation.

So after highlighting it (which really brightens it up and makes me look a million times better then my sorry drab dishwater blonde color) she gave me a long A line bob. I can still throw it back into a pony tail and with some goop I can probably get it to cooperate while I'm in uniform.

I think it actually makes me look my age as well, instead of the 20 to 21 age range I was getting from freakin' privates. I should have told them I just graduated High School and see how they took it. That's probably what I will tell the privates next summer when they ask me how old I am.

In the meantime, I'll enjoy the fact that I look young and hopefully I can show enough discipline to keep working out and stay in shape. It's hard to get into the habit of working out to get into shape, I just have to maintain it, that shouldn't be so hard, should it be?

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Back Amidst the Real World

When you are on the trail, you're very busy!

I just got home yesterday after spending two weeks in Fort Jackson South Carolina training privates. I learned a lot about myself and about being a drill sergeant while I was there, for instance, that I can actually do this job which I was having some worries about doing when I left. But there is still a lot I have to get down.

Fort Knox is on the agenda for next summer. I'm looking forward to it.

Right now I'm busy trying to decompress from a rather hectic two weeks. I'll lay down more on what I did in a bit.