22 Jun 2005 cTaylor   » (Journeyer)

I get to become a Combat Veteran

So, I found out recently that I'll be in Iraq conducting a real-world military mission, and just when you thought my blogging was already infrequent.

If any of you reading this have or will go to any of the currently mounted military operations in the AOR, I'd like to get some suggestions on stuff to purchase.

I've a lot of mixed feelings about this situation. I'm excited on one hand, concerned on another, a bit peevish on a foot, etc. Fear hasn't entered into the equation and to be frank, I've not time for it.

I've been 'in training' for 6 years. Not for this mission but, when you drill or when you've been through my military experience, you get that feeling. Looks like I'll be using that training for something.

I also figured that if I wasn't meant to go, then I would never go. Looks like it was merely meant to be. Despite how campy that sounds, it is about the most honest light I can place upon my thoughts.

I have all my 'kit', as they say, put together. I picked up a nice pair of Wiley X ballistic sun glasses, nomex gloves, compass, military map protractor, cushions for my kevelar, spare watch, watch compass, weapons cleaning kit, etc.

I started up another blog to track each 'phase' of my deployment, so here's a link to my future combat zone blog.

Back to the focus of this blog, OSS and FS

So, I did some optimizations for normalmapbaker. Surphaze is helping me wrap up the project before I deploy so, hopefully, we can have something posted to sourceforge soon. I say this so often it seems meaningless but, we do honestly believe the project can be completed before I head out.

I have more projects in the works, one more directly related to somethings Surphaze is working on so, we're excited about some of this stuff b/c it's crossing lanes. Again, probably won't make sense until I start focusing on those efforts but, believe me, it should be pretty cool.

I've been amazed with the progress of this project. In some ways it's been really easy, in others, it's been tough. I think the hardest part was getting the data structures organized. By that I mean getting them organized in such a fashion that they complimented each other nicely.

Oh, and it all builds and works on Windows too. Thanks Mingw!

The build system for all platforms was SCons. I really wish more people would use this class set to build applications. It's a really amazing system!

Semi-social stuff

Movies that have rocked:
  • Primer. Most fascinating sci-fi movie I have seen all year. It's what I call classic science fiction. The time travel isn't cheesey in a trekkie tradition. It's clean and it's merely a mechanism for moving the story forward. The story is really about people and relationships. I highly recommend it.
  • Batman Begins. I was very cynical and skeptical about this movie but, I don't care what you may say or think - this was *the* best Batman movie thus far. It was totally in line with how I always felt Batman should be portrayed on the big screen. Nolan's treatment really buys into the 'Dark Knight' concept. A man that uses the tactics of criminals against them. Burton's vision of the dark night suffered from a hollywood budget that emphasized big balloony props, etc. That's how Burton does business. Big Fish had that going on with it and the new Charlie + Chocolate Factory flick seems to hold similar content. Nolan masked the fight sequences nicely b/c with the rubber suit costume that the actor wears, the correographed fights traditonally made batman look like a limp-wristed child slapping people. Nolan chose to hide a lot of the fist fighting in favor of developing the Dark Knight mystique. So Batman comes across as more of a supernatural entity, a legend, than he does a rich dude with a costume. 2 thumbs up.
  • The Machinist. A great Psychological thriller. Had an art film tone to it and managed not to over do it to a point where I was getting sleepy or bored with the presentation. The ending is a bit predictable but fantastic none-the-less.
Beyond that, I've been buying video games and books like they're going out of style!

Next week I'll probably post some of the gear I'm buying to take with me to Iraq and I'll include some stuff about entertainment oriented things in another blog entry.

Final shot

I've seen a lot of text about this law suit that says OSS and FS developers are terrorists.

There is a quote explaining how our source ends up in terrorist hands.

Let me ask this question - if the same idea were to be reapplied, what does that say about people/organizations/governments who fund and distribute weapons and technology to said organizations?

Keep in mind, I spend *a lot* of time in the middle east. They use commercial, Microsoft products almost exclusively (FYI: I'm not saying Microsoft is a terrorist supporter). I have met only 1 person in my travels over the past year, that has even heard of GNU/Linux or even the Open/Free Softare 'movements'.

What could be said about the citizens who purchase oil or petrol that goes to middle eastern companies - companies that then funnel said monies into terrorist organizations? Or citizens that insist upon using vehicles that require extreme amounts of this resource? Or what would it say about citizens who pay taxes to governments that freely distribute weapons and technologies to said terrorist organizations?

Wouldn't that mean the companies that develop said weapons/techologies (distributed for free) be considered 'terrorist supporters'? I'd say, read this book first, before throwing stones.

Before reading this last piece, keep in mind that I'm a pretty level-headed individual. I believe both parties have failed the citizens and I'm a firm believer of the development of a good, solid, 3rd party option. I try not to dabble in political blabbings but, I find myself more willing to share my beliefs regarding the political climate because I will soon be in a war zone.

The 'terrorist problem' can be blamed evenly across the entire `western world`. And as for Iraq, it's broken. No amount of finger pointing or blame will fix it. The time has come for people to save the allegations for later. We now own this problem, as a people, and we now have a responsibility to do right by the situation. If we fail, then we have truely become that which we say we are in direct opposition to.

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