September 30, 2007

Yikes

I was playing WoW this morning when the barracks shook quite vigorously for a few seconds. While it's the third earthquake I've been in, this was the first one that was energetic enough to make me glad I was sitting down for it. Here's the AP News story.

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September 29, 2007

Rats Everywhere

A nice office prank- cover the cubicle in rats. Dozens and dozens of rats.

Found via Neatorama.

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September 28, 2007

A Prank for When I'm a Civilian Again

The author of one of my new favorite webcomics (Dresden Codak) has proposed "Pretend To Be a Time Traveller Day". Hmmm... I'll still be in the military on the proposed date, which is too bad. Otherwise I'd love to take part.

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September 26, 2007

Alea Iacta Est

Well, I saw the monitor today, the guy that assigns us to our next duty stations. As I declined to avail myself of his services, I am now on my way out the door. In another eight months or so, that is.

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Death Comes Silently

The world's most famous mime, Marcel Marceau, died. Pity, that. Mimes get little respect, but he was very very good at what he did.

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September 25, 2007

I Feel Young Again

Today, it was as if the years rolled back, and suddenly I was half my real age. Well, just a little over half my real age. I felt 16 again, to be precise.

That's because I was in Driver's Ed, and then took my liscencing exam. I passed too, hooray! So now I am the proud possessor of a piece of laminated paper that allows me to operate a personally owned vehicle in Japan.

The class was supposed to be an all-day affair, but there were only a few students today, and the instructor was a Motor T corporal that clearly had better htings to do (not that he was a bad teacher, mind you.) So instead of being done at 1700 like the schedule said, we were done at 1330.

A good Marine would have gone back to work. But I said "Hey, I'm right by the commisary!" and I went grocery shopping. Which was all well and good, until I bumped into one of the unit's warrent officers in the pasta aisle. Whoops. Well, he probably has no idea where I'm supposed to be. Then, coming back to my barracks with arms loaded full of groceries, I bumped into LCpl S from my shop, who had to leave work to change clothes and was about to go back to work. Sadly, he knew perfectly well where I was supposed to be.

But I called into work and said "I'm back, should I come to the shop?" and was told not to bother. So that was good. Although I know that there was plenty of stuff that I'm responsible for that the Magic Elves didn't come and do for me, so tomorrow I'll be behind. Ah well.

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September 24, 2007

Financial Panic

According to lots of news stories, the Loonie has reached pairity with the Greenback.

In related news, dogs and cats are living together, and the members of rec.arts.written.sf have developed definitions of "science fiction" and "fantasy" that everyone can agree on.

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September 23, 2007

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

The Scarlet Pimpernel is perhaps the prototypical swashbuckling novel written in the English language. The writing is clearly from a different era, but I had no troubles with it. Characterization- eh. Everyone French is evil. Everyone English is good. Everyone female is cowardly. Everyone with a title is heroic.

Also, it started as a stage play, and the book has the particular tics of a play converted to a novel. A few locations, none of which is very interesting. Travel between locations is essentially instant. A small number of characters, that are very broadly drawn.

If your leader was famous as a master of disguise, how long would you really keep getting surprised when he turns up... in disguise? I mean, really. Sure, the disguise might fool you... but there's no excuse for being shocked at the very idea that he was wearing a disguise, when it's the third time it happened in a week.

Also, the heroine is frequently (and at great length) described as being the most beautiful woman in England, and the most clever and witty woman in Europe. *cough*Mary Sue*cough*. She's an total idiot. So apparently Europian women were once so stupid as to need frequent reminders to continue breathing.

Overall, the book gets a "Meh."

A particular brief exchange from the book did bring to mind some philosophy. At one point, Our Frequently Sniveling Heroine is with the Assistant Hero, and they know that across town is the Evil Bad Guy, who was written to provoke audiences to throw fruit. If he's not strangling puppies, it's only because he's too busy eating babies. The following exchange happens:

"Then Chauvelin is still in Dover?" [Chauvelin is the EBG.]

"Undoubtedly. Shall I go waylay him and run my sword through him? That were indeed the quickest way out of the dilemma."

"Nay! Sir Andrew, do not jest! Alas! I have often since last night caught myself wishing for that fiend's death. But what you suggest is impossible! The laws of this country do not permit of murder! It is only in our beautiful France that the wholesale slaughters is done lawfully, in the name of Liberty and of brotherly love."

The point being, I disagree with the sentiment given. The heros are already engaging in widespread violations of law, what with the whole sneaking around France and rescuing people that are standing trial for crimes. So it's not the law that concerns our frequently-idiotic heroine, it's the principle of killing. This is probably not a surprise to read coming from a member of the military, but I do belive that killing is the correct thing to do to some people. Most especially to people that intend to harm others, as the Evil Bad Guy has done and cheerfully admits that he will do again.

Interestingly, I don't support the death penalty, a position that some people think inconsistant with my professional responsibilities that include stabbing my fellow humans with a bayonet until they become ex-humans. But I have two problems with the death penalty at law.

First, it's no deterrent. People that commit crimes that are punished by execution, do not expect to get caught, so no level of punishment is a factor in their calculations.

Second, application of the criminal justice system in the US (and everywhere else I've ever head of) is quite haphazard. I do not wish to have the innocent killed and the guilty go free.

Wow, did this book review go off-track!

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September 19, 2007

Yearbook Skills return

A few days ago the SgtMaj sent an email to the senior staff NCOs looking for someone to voluteer to do our section of the Cruise Book, which is a lot like a yearbook for a MEU. I was off at chow, but my Gunny volunteered me anyway.

While I can probably do a good job at it, I'm not thrilled at having yet another responsibility tossed on me. I have plenty of work to do already. But c'est la guerre, I suppose.

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Do I Look Like a Tutor?

I need a new sign. The old one said "DANGER! Explosives work being done!"

That sign is fine, but I need a new one to tape to the bottom of it. That sign will say "So now is a bad time to ask me for help with your math class!"

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