This is War

I got an email about three weeks ago.

This Is War: Memories of Iraq
is the feature length documentary that has everyone talking. Bold, brash and a little sick, This Is War takes viewers inside Iraq and reveals the story that can only be told by the men and the women living the deployment. Although featuring members of the Oregon National Guard 2/162, This Is War is really the story of all of America's warriors that have been deployed.

Already the winner of numerous awards (Best Documentary; Idaho International Film Festival, Florida Media Market and Sweet Onion Film Festivals) and accolades, This Is War is not a movie for the Left or the Right, it is simply a movie that showcases the reality, hopefulness, hopelessness, fear and joy in Iraq through the video and photos of the soldiers themselves, as they survive intense combat and the hunt for IEDs that define their mission.

Priced at $19.95, all sales of This Is War: Memories of Iraq help to support the Wounded Warrior Project, the National Combat History Archive and the Iraq/Afghanistan Oregon Memorial Fund.

I was given a copy of this documentary with a request to review it and write about it on my blog. I took a little longer then I meant to do so.

First off, I can agree that this is a film that is neither for nor against war, it's just a film about war, and about the soldiers that find themselves in the middle of it. It really is their story, their experiences, about their buddies in combat and the sense of brotherhood that comes with being a part of the military.

It follows an Oregon National Guard unit throughout their deployment in 2004 through Baghdad, filmed by the soldiers themselves from their view point. And it shows the soldiers being soldiers, putting a human face to our troops overseas, how the grunt on the ground thinks and feels about what is going on around him. It is frank and honest, sometimes very candid, soldiers video journaling their experiences right after it has happened, or in the middle of a mission.

Indeed, this is not anti-war propaganda like I've heard of other similar documentaries such as Stop Loss. This is a film that simply is what it is. I often look for good videos that I can potentially show trainees once I hit the trail, and this is a film that tells it like it is, from the soldiers themselves in the middle of combat. This is about lessons learned, and what to expect. Which is something I can take for granted, as I have yet to experience it myself.

I do heartily recommend viewing it for yourself, especially if you are curious about the war from the viewpoint of the soldiers themselves.

All proceeds go to help the Wounded Warriors Project. Click here to learn more and order



So, with all this crap hitting the fan in Kosovo, I've been noticing a bit more spikeage in my blog readership, mostly from people who are apparently googling info about Kosovo and finding my blog. A lot of them seem to think that I don't know what I'm talking about, but then again they are looking at a blog post that is two and a half years old. Apparently some people over there don't think I know what I'm talking about.

Well, one, this post is two and a half years old, I'm not a journalist, I'm a freakin' blogger, and my blog is about my observations and what I think. Sometimes I tell it like it is but I don't have the full story. I certainly don't have the full story here. And I don't know much of anything now since I've been out of the country since January 2006. I left Kosovo two years ago.

Meanwhile, because I had a spammer, I had to go delete that comment out of my comment bar and ran into somebody who basically ripped me a new one for giving out sensitive information in regards to my job while I was over there. Er, hello? I'm a Preventive Medicine Specialist, other then releasing numbers and telling people there is a huge outbreak of Hepatitus C, there is nothing remotely classified about my job. When I was in Kosovo, on a day to day basis, I was bored out of my mind because everything ran smoothly and there was really nothing to do. My job was keeping our soldiers healthy, and if you look up PM on the internet, it will tell you the same thing. I took pictures, yes, but I didn't show anything in government buildings and never talked about upcoming missions, rather discussed them in retrospect after they had passed. And a lot of the missions, like the Medcaps and Vetcaps, were missions that were advertised to the people of Kosovo because it was a mission to go out and win the hearts and minds of people. They want you to talk about that stuff.

Besides, I'm not much of a milblogger if you haven't noticed. Now my job deals with Basic Combat Training and there is nothing classified about that. Not that I'll post much pictures anyway.

Want to hear my life? I'm going to Ft Knox this summer to train soldiers for the Summer Surge, because most people go to Basic Training in the Summer because that's when school get's out! Holy crap that's common sense! I'm not telling you WHEN I'm going, just that I'll be in Knox this summer. Yay for me.

Bloody hell!


Another TV Show?

I've been motivated to get things done around here. Seeing as I'm not currently working and have a lot of free time, and I'm only taking one class this quarter that doesn't really require me to put a lot of time and effort to my studies. Yeah.

So anyway, I threw a load of laundry in and was looking at the pile of laundry waiting for me in the laundry room. I live in my house with my brother, so it's just me and him. How do two people create so much freakin' laundry anyway? And it wasn't so much the laundry that had to get washed, no, it's the laundry waiting to get folded. I had five totes full of laundry just waiting to be folded, and I've been knowing this was coming because I've been running low on underwear (tmi, yes I know).

So we took on the task of folding the laundry, we brought it upstairs so we could watch TV while we were folding it to give us something to do, and my brother suggested we throw in the first disc of Battlestar Galactica. I've been avoiding this because I get hooked on TV shows and it's really annoying when you have other things more constructive to do and yet you want to watch TV. Let's see, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sliders, Heroes, Smallville, Lost, Avatar the Last Airbender, TMNT, Robot Chicken, how many other TV shows on DVD can I get hooked on? Really?

Well, guess what? We threw in the first disc, watched the miniseries, and now I'm hooked.

Damn you, Jared, why did you have to get me hooked on ANOTHER freakin' TV Show?

I've only watched the first two discs so far, but I'll be working through the first two seasons over the next week. Because, well, I've got nothing better going on in my life right now.

Well, other then running. And I just learned that the PT test next week is going to kick my butt.

Organizing the Downstairs is going to be on our agenda tomorrow. Which means we have to clear some room in the garage for the chairs that are taking up to much space.



Ok, I officially need to start looking for something *more* productive to do.

The snow is starting to melt and I've only taken advantage of the superb snow conditions twice this year. Call it me having a lack of income and wanting to conserve my money in anyway possible, which would be a good plan to live by even if I was working right now.

Overall I've just been taking advantage of my surplus of time by vedging around and getting projects that I've been meaning to do done. It has a lot of me drawing things and trying to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life.

In the productive side, I really need to start running more. The snow has been keeping me from doing this, but now that it is melted, I should really take advantage of the sun and go get some running in.

I have a PT test in a week and a half, I want to at least pass it in the 70's in each event if I can *hah!* Being a reservist sometimes sucks.


Kosovo a Country?

So, over the weekend Kosovo decided to declare independence from Serbia.

Some people might have just glanced over this news as if it was nothing worth noting, considering we've been in Kosovo since 1999 and everyone is just bored with it.

But Kosovo suddenly becoming its own country is pretty big news, especially considering what it could mean for the Balkans, as Serbia doesn't want to release its hold on Kosovo yet and Russia has been very vocally opposed to Kosovo declaring independence without official UN support.

I guess they have a point, as they don't want people to get ideas that they can just break off from a larger nation and create their own country, but I don't think this could happen very often. The only reason Kosovo can declare independence is because NATO forces are there to keep the peace. But unless they can come up with some agreement with Serbia to allow them to remain their own soveriegn nation, NATO is going to be there for a long time, because as soon as we pull out, Serbia is just going to go right back in and take what they think is theirs.

I've said this for some time, there really is no peaceful resolution to Kosovo. Good thing the Kosovar Albanians love Americans. Although it would be kind of interesting to be there right now.

Blog Updated!

Ok, so I took some time to revamp the blog. The rest of the website looks the same, but the blog is all nice and new looking, and completely different from before.

Oh, and I got my comments back. yay!

Please let me know if you experience any glitches with the sight, or if its just me.

Meanwhile, well, what do you think? Indeed, it's all about me.



Alright, so somebody mentioned a little problem to me in regards to my blog, so I moved to one of the default templates for the time being, until I can figure out what is wrong.

Anybody being attacked by spamware or sent to multiple websites when they visit the site? I just want to make sure that everything is working properly.

The blog needs to be revamped anyway. All my stuff will come back online sometime this week.

Edit - the comment bar from this page is temporary. if you want to comment on a post, click on the post preview bar on the side panel and the original page will come up.

With an exception to this post and posts following of course.


Election Worries

Why do I feel that no matter what happens, in November we're screwed?

For a while I was on the anybody but Hillary stump, but right now I'm feeling a bit of a chill from the whole Barack Obama camp, as though I still believe that Hillary is the worst thing that possibly could happen to this country, Obama ain't much better.

We'll be in a Socialist haven by January 2009. And Iraq will be in ruins by the middle of next year.

McCain won't be a whole lot better, but if he does get the Republican Nomination for President, I'll probably end up voting for him.

I'm worried where this country will be in four years.


More Arts

Other then the background, this is probably one of the most satisfying arts I've done in a while.

He actually originally had lightening wings, but they didn't come out right, so I took a file with them off.

Marines vs Berkeley

In other news that's taking up , is the whole Marines in Berkeley, CA. This gives you an inkling on the whole Looney Left, to kick out an officer recruiting station from their hippy town. Apparently one nutjob was quoted as saying something along the lines of the marines being close to the high school, and how they didn't feel that the high school located blocks away was safe.

Actually, from what I understand, the recruiting station is located near the university, because it's target is college graduates, seeing as its an Officer Recruiting station.

Man, if I wanted to become an officer in the Marine Corps, I would personally drive myself down to Berkeley just so I could be recruited from their office.

The Marines appear to be professionals in this whole debacle, stating it's business as Usual.

Code Pink, on the other hand, are proving more and more to be crazy and idiotic lunatics that apparently think defacing government property is not a crime when they do it, so long as the city has their back.

Well, Senator Jim DeMint has proposed taking the earmarked pork set aside for Berkeley so they can have their organic school catering federally funded by proposing the Semper Fi Act of 2008, which I honestly think should go through, even if it doesn't end up going to the Marines, I would just like to see money like this not being wasted on stupid crap.

I think that's one thing I liked about McCain is his anti-pork stance.

Berkeley California could fall off the face of the planet and I doubt many people will miss it.

What is with people who think that the right of Free Speech is the right to be free of consequences of what they say? I don't get it.

Anonymous and the War on CoS

There's been a lot going on in the world right now, some of which I'm not entirely sure I know much about.

Well, first there is the whole Anonymous war with the Church of Scientology, which they call Chanology, which is actually pretty fascinating as I never really understood what Scientology was all about. I have a couple of friends who are following this whole chanology thing and have been keeping me updated on the whole spiel, pretty interesting how an unorganized group with no obvious head has decided to take down an organization. I'm not a big fan of Scientology but the more I learn about it, the less I like the organization.

This video is about three weeks old, but its still pretty weird.

Not saying I'm a part of Anonymous or anything, I've got other things in my life, but I think I'm more on the side of Anonymous when you figure out some of the crap the CoS has done.

I should probably research this more.



This weekend was a drill weekend.

We have a program with the National Guard where we give the soldiers a taste of what to expect when they get into Basic Training, for all trainees that are in the split option program or are just waiting to head off to basic.

I did give them a little taste of what to expect, but they had me train them on the AT4 this weekend, which is a weapon I haven't seen since Basic training, and we just kind of played with it then. We didn't even go over it in DSS. But the AT4 is idiot proof, the instructions are written right on it, but of course, give me something idiot proof, and I'll give you a bigger idiot.

Of course, they didn't want us to go nuts and full scale drill sergeant on these soldiers, as they didn't want to scare them off, but I did smoke a couple of them for accountability reasons (one had a key fall out of their pocket during PT, another left their canteen somewhere) just to give them a taste. I discovered I can't smoke somebody with Little Man in the Woods without cracking a laugh, so I'll wait later in the cycle to do that one.

Drill Sergeants don't smile in front of Privates for the first three weeks.

But yeah, I need to get refreshened on my army knowledge, which can be difficult when you don't drill for two months (we didn't drill in January) and I haven't played drill sergeant since beginning of November.

But there is a PT test next month. Yikes, gotta run!

Mobilization is still on for May. Knox is a go!


Third Party Politics?

So. . .

I'm thinking this might be the year for a valid third party candidate to emerge from the wreckage of this primary season and become a viable candidate for President. I know a lot of people who are adamently opposed to Hillary, the GOP is on it's deathbed as a political party, they've burned too many bridges with the voters.

McCain is like 82 years old. If he wins the presidency to serve for two terms, he will be 91 or something. And he's too liberal in some of his politics, though I do like his stance on Pork Spending, but when you have conservatives like Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck saying they'll vote for Hillary over McCain, well, that's not promising. And I'd rather vote for a candidate that has no chance of winning the election rather then Hillary.

So, can a viable third party come out of the wood work to run for President? I hope so, if we want to get rid of this ridiculous two party system, this is the year to do it.

Otherwise, well, I was going to vote for Romney, but I guess I'll vote for Obama during the Primary, to get votes away from Hillary. I'd rather have Obama as President then Hillary, she's trying to come off as a moderate but anybody who does their research knows she's a socialist to her core, and a bit power hungry. And a closet lesbian.

No Hillary for me, thanks. I hate to think of what she'll do to my military if she gets in office. I shiver at the thought.

Projects and Hobbies Keep Time Occupied

I keep getting myself set up on little projects. This week it appears that I just want to focus on getting my info on my harddrives organized. Last week I was ripping a bunch of old VHS home videos to digital and of course in December I was transferring my CDs to MP3s so I can listen to them on my iPod and my Zune.

Don't ask me why I bought a Zune, other then it was a great deal and I liked a digital player that I could watch movies on. My iPod is old and doesn't have that option.

I've also got a few projects artwise going on as well. I signed up for a few art exchanges to play around with, just to give myself a feel for doing it again.

Of course, I ran into a lot of old pictuers I hadn't seen in forever, including looking at a few off my recovered hard drive that I initially thought I had lost. Like this pic of my nephew Cody with Blaine.

I really miss having Ferrets, but I have to get my own place before I can get them again, and I have to be able to maintain them a little better, so I have to have my house more organized.

Which means I'll probably never own Ferrets again :( My house is a mess.

I think I just need something fuzzy and cute, like a dog or something.

In March we're planning a road trip down to Utah to see friends and family. It's been long overdue.

Meanwhile, I'm feeling pretty confident on where I will be at the end of this year, and it will include me having a real job that I can focus on, and not a retail gig that doesn't like employees confronting shoplifters. Next week I'm probably going to go to a temp agency and look for temp work just to get by for now until I know more about my deployment or if it's even going to happen.



Well, apparently tomorrow is a big day in the political scheme of things. Across the country, people get to vote on who they want to run in the big race in November.

I'm backing Barack Obama for the Democrats and Mitt Romney for the Republicans.

I just realized I don't have any idea when the Washington State Primary is being held. Hmm. . .

Be sure to vote!


Well, Onto Other Things

I was moody yesterday. Then I discovered it was probably because I'm not feeling well.

Heck, I'm generally just a moody person, and I take opportunities to cultivate my moodiness for the purposes of jumping all over people when I hit the trail. One day.


Meanwhile, I drew a Mosquito.

I'm doing a homework assignment on Mosquitoes and took the opportunity of having to insert a picture into my assignment as an excuse to draw. I'm going to take all of the excuses I can get, because I need to draw more.


Artists are Finicky Peoples

Alright, so I think I need to explain my little rant more in depth, to give you an idea of the mind of an artist.

Most real artists like critiques. They see it as a way to make themselves better, as long as the critique is constructive. Nobody likes to hear that their work sucks without it being explained why.

If you look at my gallery and tell me i'm a sucky artist, I'll go right back in your face and tell you you're an idiot, unless you can give me a reasonable excuse as to why you think my art sucks. If I don't know what is wrong with it, I can't change it, and as an artist, I often get to close to the work to see the obvious faults in it, or on the flip side, I'll see everything that is wrong with it.

Most often then not, I can rip to shreds any artwork you throw at me. You want it critiqued constructively? I bet I can find something wrong with it.

But let me go into it a little further. To tell you the honest truth, I don't see myself as much of an illustrator, I never have been. I've been working on the illustrator side of my art for a few years now, but honestly, I consider myself an artist.

My illustrations always have something wrong with them. heck, my art does too but usually not to the degree.

So I had a bunch of illustrators tell me my art is 'wonky' (which is a word I am going to use to describe everythign I see wrong with a peice from now on) without going into detail and me, being, well, me, I blew a gasket on them. Because you don't tell an artist they suck without giving them reasons as to why. Especially somebody who considers themselves an artist.

My illustrations are always from my head, but this latest episode made me realize that I need to work more on my art and away from my illustrations (which has, in fact, been killing my art to tell you the truth). So I'm going to start sketching more. I just need to draw more. I need to find pictures and draw what I see. It doesn't matter that it doesn't look like the person I'm drawing, just so long as it is a drawing.

I need to focus on how I'm going to illustrate my project anyway.

I'm A Little Annoyed

Ok, I have to say something, because I'm a cranky person and I can't stand it when people tell me I suck at something without having a good reason as to state why.

See, when I draw anthropomorphic characters (basically anything non human with human qualities) I generally draw them a little cartoonish, and granted when it comes to art this is not my strong suit. At all. Even though its basically the only thing I draw anymore because I don't draw as much as I used too.

I am also usually very good at taking constructive criticism with my art, because I am an artist and sometimes when a person is too close to a piece, they don't see the problems with it. So as long as the criticism is constructive, I take it well.

So I joined this art exchange, thinking I'm bored and I want to draw more and I like drawing other people's characters because it gives me a fresh look on things as I tend to get caught up in little rifts where I draw the same thing over again. I gave them a link to my two galleries online, one on this website and one over at DeviantArt.

I got this email in the mail saying I had been declined for a sketch exchange. Here is their exact wording in fact.

Mods voted: You have some interesting stuff, but we feel you could use a bit more practice before you join us. Feel free to try again in the future though! :)

Comments were: Anatomy's a little wonky, such as this piece: The legs look dramatically different from each other. She needs a little more work on getting her anatomy to look natural as far as her anthros go.

This is the piece they critiqued.

So basically, because I use foreshortening in a lot of my art so the legs don't look exactly the same, I got dismissed. Is this on me as an artist? Or is this on them as art critiques? Because as far as I'm concerned, this is a perfect example of foreshortening. You are looking at two legs from different angles, of course they are not going to look the same. This looks like an example of a Digigrade Biped to me (digigrade meaning walking on toes, not flat footed, all of my anthros are digigrade unless stated otherwise.)

I replied with a comment that wasn't so nice that I won't link to because, well, it will most likely get deleted, but I mean, come on?

Because my reply will most likely get deleted, I'll post what I wrote to them here.
Um, do you guys know the definition of Foreshortening?

The freakin' right leg is at an angle facing the audience, if you were to actually look at the left leg, you might actually see that there is nothing wrong with this. But oh wait, that's right, this is a freakin' SKETCH exchange. This may not be a traditional anthro because it doesn't show as much human in it, but it doesn't mean its wrong.

Oh, and I know how to draw anatomy, thanks for the heads up on telling me that I don't know what the hell I'm doing.

PS - for a sketch exchange, I would probably complete my art a little more so that it doesn't need to be completed in Photoshop, because believe it or not I CAN draw.

Thanks for everything, but I think I'll pass and not bother with this stupid exchange in the future.

PPS - The rejected art piece is freakin' two years old. Since you said I apparently need to practice my anatomy, I'll let you know I've had plenty, thanks.

Ok, Yes, the annoyance is apparent, but really, come on!

Give me your opinion, do you think I have a decent argument or do I suck at anthros? Or are you just a non-artistic type that goes 'hehe, puppy!'

EDIT - So my rant got some attention, they didn't delete the post after all, but I calmed down considerably when I got a constructive critique back. Mind you, I don't delete this stuff, so if you want to see how this goes, please visit the LJ.

I just don't know what to get from 'wonky'.

Constructive Criticism is always game for me.


Gotta Have the Frosted Flakes!

A long time ago, way back in the 1970's, my dad and his friend Bob got together and filmed this little video for a College Thesis Project.

I've been ripping VHS tapes to the computer and thought I would YouTube it. Enjoy :)