Posted in Military/Politics

King of Battle (yes, it’s me)

Artillery is the king of battle and as of 1400 EST today I am officially a Field Artillery Cannon Crewmember. I never in a million years would have chosen this as my Army job but here I am and I’m slowly starting to adjust to it.

Now even though this opinion will likely change after a few drills and field exercises with my unit, it is only for a little bit over one year that I have left in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and then after that I’m not entirely sure. Later today I plan on reaching out to recruiters from reserves and Guard components from of 4 out of 5 branches (sorry Marines).

The school that switched me to an Artilleryman was very easy compared to any Army school I have been to before, but the live fire training at the end confirmed my hatred for the field, and as a result, a lot of what the Army does.

It’ll be an interesting 417 days, that’s for sure.

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Posted in Media/Pop Culture

Howard the Duck

So as I fall more and more behind as movies are being released to theaters I have decided to try and watch all of the Marvel movies from the beginning.

The first one takes us to Howard the Duck (1986). This movie was an absolute bomb in the box office, and for quite an obvious reason.

This movie focuses around an anthropomorphic talking duck who is transported from Duck World to Earth and then meets a younger singer. The majority of the movie is spend with him attempting to figure out how to get home and also rescuing his new Human girlfriend from space demons.

Now even though this movie did have its funny moments, most of the time you would feel awkward watching this movie; almost like a “geez I hope nobody walks in and sees me watching this”. There are a variety of scenes showing nude humanoid ducks and there’s even a scene where there was some borderline bestiality.

With all of the Marvel heros available by 1986 you have to ask yourself what was going through their heads when they decided their first movie should be of an obscure character that is inappropriate for children?

I have never read a Howard the Duck comic, because they never interested me (and now I doubt I ever will) however it seems as though Marvel is attempting to bring him back into the spotlight. Howard has been spotted in a post-credit scene in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie and he has a short cameo in the second GotG film. Interesting to say the least.

Now one would have to wonder firstly how Howard would be on these different planets (or how he became part of the Collectors collection), and if that means that he exists in a separate universe than that of the Avengers (even though many theories suggest that we will be seeing these universes merge in the near future).

Finally, I’m not sure if his cameos are hinting to a future reboot of his character or if it’s just a fun look back at some C list (or lower) characters, or maybe even just a look at where they’ve come from; one thing is for sure: I will not be excited for another Howard the Duck movie, if that is the case.

If you haven’t seen this movie, don’t fret. It doesn’t connect with anything else in the Marvel universe and would just be for if you were more interested in the origin of one of their forgotten characters.

We’re just all glad that Marvel movies have significantly improved since then.

Posted in Life/Other, Military/Politics

The Life-Defining Question: Do I Want to Stay in the Military?

If you’ve served, I’m sure that you’ve asked yourself this question at least once. Well I’ve been asking myself this question about once a month, probably more (it drives my girlfriend nuts).

I have honestly enjoyed the great majority of my time in the military, it has improved my life substantially whether through physical fitness, motivation to better myself, financially, etc. But there’s obviously big downfalls. I’ve been waiting on a promotion for close to two years now, there’s never any money to send me to schools that I want to go to, I very rarely get to do my job, drill weekends always come at the most inconvenient time, and, lastly, somehow the Good Idea Fairy comes down and manages to ruin whatever happens to be going on- all the time.

I have already decided to not stay in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard after this because I don’t plan on staying in Pennsylvania for much longer. However now I really need to decide if I want to stay in or not; and if I do, what branch? Army Reserves? Air Guard? Air Force Reserves? And if I get into law school or not, I have a degree so do I want to be an officer?

After many different mind changes and adjustments I have finally settled on a plan of action for the next few years of my civilian life;  but I just can’t seem to make up my mind when it comes to the military.

Posted in Language Learning/Travel, Media/Pop Culture

French TV Show Change- Again

Yes I know, it was only a few days ago that I posted that I had decided to switch the TV show I was watching in French, but I have decided to do it again.

I have changed it to Friends.

I don’t know why I didn’t originally chose Friends for this because I love that show and I’ve seen every episode (however it could be because it took me forever to finish it the first time that I watched all the way through it). This time around I’m watching it entirely in French with no subtitles.

This was actually a recommended TV show to watch from the Fluent in 3 Months program because it has been seen so many times so you don’t have to panic if you miss something or when you first start out and you don’t know what they are saying and you know it was supposed to be funny because there was the background laughter. (One thing that is really throwing me off).

Other than that the only other problem I’ve had so far is that I am expecting it to be in the original actors voices, but I’m sure that’s something I will get over soon.

Posted in Life/Other

The Problem With Being Interesting

Today on the Facebook page for my college marching band was something that I should’ve expected (but just not this early).

Introductions.

Now, normally this doesn’t seem like a big deal (especially for me, where everybody except for the incoming Freshman know me). However I never like to miss an opportunity to be as impressive as possible from the beginning.

The instructions were to tell everybody about your major, your marching band experience, and one fun fact about yourself.

There’s the limiting factor, one fun fact.

My fact was that I have been to 6 countries and 23 US states. However, minutes after posting that I realized omg, I could’ve posted about my journey to learn French, or the fact that I’m in the Army, or do martial arts, or that I’m trying to get into law school. The one fun fact is discriminatory against interesting people.

This does have its benefits though, this was people that do talk to me, will get to know more interesting things about me as they get to know me, and those that have no interest in knowing me, will never know how cool I really am.

Posted in Religion

Buddhism

Today I finished my book on Buddhism: In The Buddha’s Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon. This was not as straightforward of an introduction to Buddhism as I would have liked.

It seems to me that the basics to Buddhism are: Follow the Noble Eightfold Path to stop being reincarnated and then you will achieve Nirvana.

This is of course followed by many rules and parables about how one should live and what they should and should not do. The Buddhist holy texts also include messages written as they were spoken to the monks and often include repetition.

The Noble Eightfold Path is as follows: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.

I don’t know many Buddhists but when I went to Cambodia I did visit the famous ancient Buddhist temples at Angkor Wat and I would also see monks on the streets of all the cities that I visited. Buddhism is the religion of 8% of the world (as of 2010), but 98% of all Buddhists live in the Asia-Pacific or South Asia region of the world.

Buddhism never calls for violence and is more of a focus on your inner self and the way that you live your individual life, with no call to attempt to convert or recruit other members. It does tell you how you should treat family members, neighbors, and servants close to you however.

This may not be the religion for me, but I feel like all people, regardless of their beliefs, could take some ideas away from this religion.

Posted in Language Learning/Travel, Media/Pop Culture

Total Drama Island- en français

Part of immersing myself in the French language is to watch a TV show in that language. Netflix is amazing tool to help me do this- if I know what I’m doing. Thanks to my trip to Cambodia two years ago I know a trick or two.

Attempt number one at this was use standard US Netflix already logged into my Playstation (my usual device that I use to watch shows) and see what was available; not much was unless it was a Netflix original and I didn’t want to start with an adult show that would speak fast and use more difficult words, so I needed to select a children’s show. So I started watching VeggieTales in the House because I thought it would be similar to the VeggieTales videos I always watched as a kid. However it is very different from the variety of episodes that came out in the early 2000s and I quickly lost interest and was having to force myself to put it on and then I would catch myself not paying attention. So obviously this had to change.

Now, I log into French Netflix on my computer using the Hola! extension on Google Chrome. This extension allows me to surf the web but have my IP bounce into a country of my choice to view the site in that region or language. (I had to figure this out while in Cambodia because at the time Netflix was unavailable within that country so I needed to bounce my IP to the USA).

Now this allows me access to shows that are not on USA Netflix and it also allows me to see dubbed versions of American shows but in my target language. I chose to start watching Total Drama Island because I remember enjoying it when I would be able to watch cable TV at my grandparents houses into my teen years but I never got to really follow the show.

This show is somewhat difficult for me because they do talk fast and use slang that I am not used to yet but it keeps my attention so much better and I’m always striving to learn what they’re saying just so that I can gain another level to the developing plot lines.

Posted in Language Learning/Travel

Milestone Passed

For my language learning, one of the many tools that I use is Rosetta Stone. Now, some of the other programs that I use say that Rosetta Stone isn’t very good, and often I can see why. However, I enjoy using it (and had already paid for it) so every little bit helps.

The way that Rosetta Stone is set up is by levels, which are divided into 5 units, which have multiple lessons and a milestone at the end which somewhat resembles an actual conversation based on the vocabulary learned in that unit.

For all the units that I’ve passed so far I have struggled on almost every milestone and have had to take it at least twice, if not more. However, just earlier today I was able to pass my milestone not only in the first try but also with 100%.

Now that’s being able to see your progress.

Posted in Military/Politics

Paladin Review

During the second part of my military school, part of the training consists of learning about the basic functions of the three types of howitzers used by the U.S. Army. So far, I have spent two days on the Paladin, and tomorrow I will start to learn about the Triple 7.

Now the Triple 7 is the gun used by my unit and it’s a lot larger than the 119 that we used to use (and as I see the size of these new weapons I start to miss). I’ll be interested to see if I end up liking it or not.

The Paladin (see picture above) looks like a tank but it made strictly for artillery purposes and would not survive the heat of a direct battle like a tank would. On the first day I decided that I didn’t like the Paladin at all because it is very small inside and I always hit by head, everything weighs over 100lbs and there’s a million pinch points (and personally I like having all my fingers). However today we got to drive and dry fire the gun and I enjoyed being inside while firing and I always like driving, but it is made for a shorter person because when the hatches were shut I had to really crunch myself down to fit into the drivers section.

Overall I’m not entirely sure how I feel yet there are definitely some positives and negatives but once I compare it to the other guns and actually shoot real rounds out of it I think I’ll be able to decide if I like it or not.

Posted in Life/Other

Unexpected Friends

With the high use of social media now, do you ever have that friend (or friends) that you never talk to but seem to only ever post or comment on your stuff right when you need it?

Recently, while posting about the completion of Phase 1 of my Field Artillery school,  I had this happen to me. My Drill Sergeant commented on the post and asked why on Earth I wanted to become a gun bunny. (A name used to refer to Soldiers in the artillery) This led to a conversation about different things I was planning on doing within the next year or so and ended up with me telling him my plan to possibly become an officer in the Air Force. I expected some scathing reply about the Air Force being for (whatever derogatory term he chose), however that was not the case. Instead, my Drill Sergeant told me that if that was what I really wanted to do then I should, and, knowing the kind of person that I am that I would fit in better in the Air Force.

Completely unexpected, confirmed that my plans were kinda aligning with the kind of person I am, and, completely supported by a man who prided himself on being referred to as the Devil. You never know who’s paying attention to your life I guess.

Additionally, a friend that I only ever talk to maybe once every few months (for about five texts) and I had a conversation over the phone for almost two hours the other day. If you see a value in a friendship, or even if you just simply miss somebody, let them know, it might make their whole day.