Passion and Time

jeff mugs for Gizmodo

Jeff and friends pose for Gizmodo

An Examined Life

A good friend of mine is in the process of re-engineering his life. He’s having to do it from a combat zone, which brings with it some expected complications like heat, angry camel spiders, grumpy field grade officers and random bouts of  poorly targeted high explosives.

Where his companions are more interested in filling their scarce free time with dog eared paperbacks, XBox 360s, and card games,  Jeff  is taking the time to rediscover something about himself. He’s trying to figure out where his Passion is.

Well that’s stupid – everyone knows what they’re passionate about.

Really? Now before you go and say something about how you’re passionate about “your wife” or “your family” or “Sam Adams Chocolate Bock” – you need to understand the kind of passion we’re talking about. We routinely tell people we’re passionate about art, or cinema, or NASCAR. But how many of us make our living doing the things we’re passionate about?

Real people don’t do that – we work for a living – passion is for hobbies.

That’s the answer I hear from almost everyone I talk to. As Americans we’ve all been raised to put away the childish things we love very early on and to get serious about making a living. We do it because it’s what our mothers and fathers have always done, we do it because we know it’s what’s expected of us. We do it because we grow up wanting STUFF and STUFF costs MONEY.

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Monday Morning Words with Zombies

words with zombies

A Dead Man Walks into a Saloon....

The man that walked into the saloon had been dead for three days. I know this because I’m the one that put him in the ground. I wasn’t altogether surprised to see him up and about again, not really. What did surprise me was that he’d clawed his way out of the grave just to show up here, in the saloon.

I watch as he pushes open the batwings, the late afternoon sun blazing orange and hot over his shoulder. Silhouetted there he looks almost normal, like just another tired cow hand coming in off the trail. But I know better, I recognize the shape of his head, the cut of his best jacket, the dirty socks full of holes.

I put my drink down real slow and look around at the other patrons. No one else has noticed the dead man come in. That’s probably a kindness, as his eyes have already been eaten out of their sockets and it’s not a pretty sight.

You’ve looked better, Lance. Sure as hell you have. Now how about you turn around and mosey back on out the door. 

He doesn’t. Lance Kellerson just stands there in his Sunday best, all dirty and blind and dead. I feel bad for him, feel bad about the whole damn situation. There’s nothing for it though, he takes a step toward the bar and I let my hand drop to the .44 holstered on my hip.

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A new writing exercise – Jorge Batres and I are collaborating on a work that combines two of the best elements of the Shakespearian tradition: i.e. Cowboys and Zombies. Jorge is working on more art and will share it as we progress. Feedback – even the negative kind – is appreciated.

St. Patrick’s Day Blowout! 30 Great Books by 26 Authors, All Reduced to 99c!

St Paddies Day Ebook Blow Out!

Get ready to fill up your Kindle! In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, David Gaughran has selected 30 great ebooks by 26 different authors, from bestsellers to undiscovered gems, across all genres – all reduced to 99c this weekend only. (March 16, 17, 18 – 2012)

Many of these ebooks have been cut from $3.99 or $4.99, so there are some real savings here. And as a final treat, at the very bottom of the page, you’ll find details of a competition where one lucky reader will win all these ebooks, just by sending a tweet.

30 free ebooks for sending 1 LUCKY tweet!

David Gaughran of Let's Get Digital Reblogged from Let’s Get Digital

 

Fifty Dollar Words

Defense Information School
Basic Public Affairs Writer Course
2002 or 2003 – Hell I can’t Remember 

“Specialist Rofkahr, this article makes my stank gland itch, you need to get your sorry ass over here and fix it.”

Crap – what did I do now?

“What’s wrong with it, sergeant?”

“Read it, troop. Read it and you tell me what’s wrong with it.”

I glance at the printed copy of my latest writing assignment and feel my emotional gag reflex kick in. The paper is awash in red ink. Horrified, I read through the copy editor’s notes, recognizing where  the AP Style Guide has made me its bitch (again) or where my grammar has gone horribly, horribly wrong. I wince my way through the bulk of simplest mistakes and look to where the red pen has slashed whole words from my work.

When I look at my writing instructor for guidance, he points to a particularly bloody section of text.  In the margin of the story, he’s scrawled the words “FIFTY DOLLARS” in big capped letters.

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Open For Business

Soldiers prepare for a long walk.

Early morning sun dapples the platoon as they prepare to move out. Squad leaders check their men, adjusting, advising, criticizing if necessary. Boots scuff and equipment clatters. Short, terse conversations filter through the morning air along with the scent of sweat and sun screen. They have a long way to go and so do I.

Welcome to [tomas.rofkahr]

Now tie your damn boots and catch up.

BOLC II Overview

Sorry folks – I interrupt our regularly scheduled WoW chat with some Army business.

Okay – according to my site stats – about 1/3 of the traffic I get to this site is coming from people looking for information about the Basic Officer Leadership II course or BOLC II. BOLC II is a relatively new course in officer professional development and in my *opinion* it’s probably one of the least understood. Because of this – and out of the desire to give a leg up to other LT’s headed to BOLC II I thought I’d put together some basic info on the course, what to expect, and what life is like while you’re there.

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No More Dungeon…no More Dragon….

Wow – what sucktastic news…

Apparently Wizards of The Coast have pulled the plug on Dragon Magazine and its sister publication Dungeon (read about it here)

I’ve been reading both of these magazines for a decade or more and have an impressive collection of their back issues jammed in every available storage place in my home.

I’m not certain whether WOTC pulled Paizo’s license for the two magazines or if Paizo just isn’t able to afford to continue keeping the titles afloat. Either way, WOTC believes that fans *prefer* to get their game news and supplements via the web. Since it was one of their corporate VP’s that professed that, I’m inclined to believe that the *real* deal is closers to:

“This printing shit is expensive – get folks to give us free material and we’ll push it on our website.”

Either way, I’m so underwhelmed by that particular decision that I went into a bit of a funk after learning about it. While I’m a *huge* proponent of web delivered content, I have to say that there are some things that *I* prefer the old fashioned way. I grew up playing pencil and paper role-playing games and the magic of hex-paper and random encounter tables are something that I discovered between the pages of books, in the margins of my own school notepads, and in the pages of both Dragon and Dungeon magazines.

For their own part, Paizo is going to be publishing PATHFINDER and I expect that it will be a quality mag. I’ll be looking for their first issues hopefully once I’m done with all of this *fun* Army stuff.

So long Dragon and Dungeon – you’ll be missed.

The Fix

One week down, just six more to go before I’m done with Basic Officer Leader II. Whew. What a full, full, six days it has been. The body-blow of going from civilian system administrator to full time Army guy, is always a bit of a shock to the system. The combination of leaving my wife, kids and regular routine behind and replacing them with 150 strangers living in close quarters, 4 A.M. wake-ups and intensive physical training is enough to leave me dazed even after 12 years of service.

That said – things are going pretty well. I’m home this weekend, taking advantage of the fact that I live 3-4 hours from my training base. I hope to be able to make it back most weekends, but know that fuel cost and time are going to conspire against that plan.

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0400 Isn’t *Really* Morning

No – 0400 or 4am to reasonable folks isn’t *morning* – it’s an evil trick played by cadre members to get to spend more time with their sleepy, grumpy, and increasingly smellier charges.

Hi folks – it’s me and it’s kinda early here in beautiful (cough) Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Things have been pretty busy and as expected I’ve not had a moments respite until now – at 0-Dark-Thirty in the morning. My room-mate and I were lucky enough (cough again!) to pick up the 0400-0500 charge of quarters shift. For those that know what I’m talking about – quit laughing – for those that don’t. Well – suffice it to say – we’re awake and making sure that the building we’re in doesn’t wander off unexpectedly.

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Not Dead Yet…

Well it looks like MASSIVE Magazine isn’t as dead as some of us had originally feared. On my way home from work today, I stopped by a local book store and spotted a copy of something called “MMO Games Magazine” lurking at the back of the computer gaming shelf. At first – I was thrown off a little by it’s European style larger than normal print format and thought that it might be some Euro knock-off of the old MASSIVE.

Instead, a quick glance at the cover tied things together for me pretty quickly:

“Formerly MASSIVE Magazine”

I did a quick peek at the inside and read through boss-man editor, Steve Bauman’s column. He touches on the magazine’s recent drama by talking about how everyone had loved the “MASSIVE” name, but that despite epic lawyerage and lots of health pots, the old title was ultimately backstabbed to death with a “+5 Sword of Cease and Desist.”

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