Thank you for visiting!

You are invited to read Marcus of Abderus and the Inn at the Edge of the World, the first novel in my fantasy adventure series. Visit the Edge of the World! Come for the view, stay for the adventure!

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Soldier Serves His Country-

Some time back I was watching a program on the History Channel. The footage being displayed was of the taking of the Pacific Islands held by the Japanese, late in the war. U.S. forces were using flamethrowers, pouring flaming death down the throats of the caves which the Japanese soldiers were using as fortresses. These were some of the most hard fought battles of World War II in the Pacific.

I wept for those Japanese soldiers. They had answered the call of their country, and whatever my perspective on how justified or unjustified that call may have been, they served the nation of their origin. I wept for the horrible death that rained down upon them. It was a horrible spectacle.

I also wept for the soldiers manning those flamethrowers. A dangerous task, and a horrible thing to do to another human being. Yes, they were raining death down upon the enemy of the United States. They as soldiers had also answered the call of their nation, and found themselves far from home doing what was necessary, but still horrible. The memory of such acts cannot be easy to bear.

The soldier is the edge of the sword of his or her nation. A sword does not select its target. A sword does the will of the one who wields it. The task of the sword is to be a sword, as the task of the soldier is to be a soldier. The honor of the sword and the honor of the soldier is the same. Like the honor of a sword, the honor of the soldier is not defined by the one who wields the weapon. The honor is in faithful service.

War is glorified beyond reason. Though sometimes necessary, it is always regrettable. Fancy parades and uniforms and marching bands are grand and wonderful things, but it always comes down to raining flaming death down upon other human beings. Even those who survive are often scarred beyond any real healing.

On this Memorial Day we honor the sacrifice of those who have served this Great Nation. That is good, and right, and honorable. I suggest that those of us who can reach beyond that, and remember that those who stood against us were soldiers as well. Perhaps a degree of honor and respect is due them, as well. They answered the call, and served.

A friend of mine served in the taking of those islands in World War II. He was wounded in two separate assaults. In one assault the Americans fought all the way to the highest point on that particular island. The Japanese defended to the end. Few Japanese survived.

Many, many years later this friend visited that same island, and stood in a memorial park at that last defense. There, quite by accident, he met one of those few Japanese defenders. They shook hands and had pictures taken of their meeting. They honored one another.

A soldier serves his country. I honor those who serve.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Report from the Mobile Man Cave-

I have been playing with the Mobile Man Cave a bit as we prepare for our move from Felton, California to Medford, Oregon. My air mattress finally failed after sleeping on it for a week or so. These Northwest Territories air mattresses are cheap, but really don't last long. I used them in my truck tent over the course of a year, and got about six weeks total use out of each one. The only saving grace for these cheap items was the Kmart 90 day warranty. I just kept trading them in over the course of that year, and by virtue of that got good value.

In preparing to move we found ourselves with a surplus twin sized mattress. I managed to fit it into the sleeping area of the Man Cave, and it is working well. The right rear captains seat in the mid-section of the MMC (Mobile Man Cave, or van) is pushed all the way forward, and when sleeping I tilt it forward as well to clear foot space at the end of the bed.

The MMC has been serving truck duty during the day. We pack our stuff in boxes, I put the boxes Tetris-like into the MMC, and drive over to the storage area. We have a five foot by fifteen foot storage area to assist in getting things cleared out for selling the house. Once there I again play Tetris, trying to fit as much stuff into the space as I can.

At night I have been sleeping in the MMC, getting a feel for how to make it a suitable road home for travel. For a number of nights I have had neck pains and disrupted sleep. I finally determined that the vehicle being out of level was the problem. I looked for a solution on the Internet, and found several ideas. The one I adopted was making two ramps out of scrap wood.

By placing the ramps in front of the appropriate wheels and driving carefully forward, the van can be adjusted in angle. The present angle is still not really level, but has greatly improved sleep and general comfort. These first ramps are a bit bulky to carry on trips, but I think I can refine them and come up with a workable solution.

Our house is located in a wooded area, and my parking space was carved out of a portion of our property and not particularly level. This has provided a good camping simulation for testing and refining the MMC. Yes, it is a strange thing to do, camping in the yard like a kid. It has also been a lot of fun.

I considered a built in desk or table for my mid-section living space. Target had the best price on a table, so when opportunity arose to go there I went table hunting. Instead I found a TV tray sold as a single item, built firm enough for the task. I am using this folding "table" right now. It is just adequate for a netbook and mouse, though the surface is not laser-mouse friendly. I need to get a mouse pad.

During this period of reducing-storing-resurfacing in our house, preparing for a sale, I have grumbled about the number of items everyone was keeping for the sake of sentiment. I had been diligent to slash my library, my most prized treasures, even trying to sell my Centennial Dicken's collection. I got rid of a lot of stuff, and could not understand the reticence of other family members to do the same.

Then I sold my Warhammer miniatures. I met a fellow gamer and sold my toys. I experienced a terrible emotional wrenching. I thought at first it was from selling them cheaply to make a quick sale. No, that was not it. I realized then that I had a huge emotional investment in these toys. I had collected them, painted them, customized them, designed armies and played games with them.

I am now a bit more understanding regarding the emotional connection with "stuff." That being said, I did sell my toys and replaced them with a practical pocket hard drive for my netbook. A Toshiba 320 gig drive. Very practical. Light. Easy to move. Unlike my wife's crockery.

Oops! There I go again.

I still need a heat source for the MMC, other than running the engine. Several camp heaters seem well designed, with plenty of safety features to make them good choices. At present my blankets and warm clothing are sufficient. I don't plan any hard winter camping, but I still want to get this thing as complete and self-contained as possible.

My plans for travel adventures around our Central California area never came to pass, largely due to not having the MMC until recently and not having a lot of surplus money. The purpose of this move to Oregon is to liberate some of the equity in the house and reduce expenses so that our income goes further. Hopefully, this will provide some money for travel adventures.

So, my adventure target will change. I have been looking at maps of the Southern Oregon/Northern California areas. Plenty of adventure there, I must say. However, a new day is beginning in our Adventure In Moving, and I need to get to doing something constructive for making that move happen.

This has been another report from the Mobile Man Cave. Stay tuned for further adventures.