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Archive for the ‘TSIFL’ Category

This is a post about the death of Osama Bin Laden.

Before you read this be advised, I am going to piss people off. If you would prefer that one of those I anger not be you, you may just want to stop reading.

Here is a puppy picture as a consolation prize.

A tired puppy after a nice walk about the neighborhood.

 

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Still here? Well, I warned you.

In the remote event you have not yet heard, Osama Bin Laden was killed by US troops during a raid a few nights ago. Details are sketchy at this point, but I do believe that he was killed. (Though I am sure that Donald Trump is now going to start asking the President for Osama’s death certificate…)

In so much as he was a leader, planner, and financial backer of a terrorist organization that is actively at war with the United States I don’t have a problem with the attack.

There are some already stating that he should have been taken alive, brought back for trial, and then executed. There are those stating that because the man appeared to be unarmed that the mission was more of an assassination than anything else.

I was not there, I will not question the judgement of the men who were.

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No, the entire operation did not bother me in the least. In fact I feel a sense of relief that the man is no longer out there assisting in the murder of more people, whether from my country or some other.

What does bother me is the way in which some of my countrymen have celebrated his death. Dancing in the streets, jubilant as though their team just won the world cup.

I see these flag draped people chanting USA-USA-USA and celebrating. I expect to see things like that in Somalia as the locals are dragging helicopter parts (or worse) through the streets. I did not expect to see that here and it disturbs me deeply.

These people are celebrating the death of a human being.

A man who has done terrible things, it is true. Still, he was a human being.

A human being that was killed in front of his family for actions he undertook because he believed he was doing the right thing.

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Yes the man was a terrorist.

Then again, by the current definition so were my countries founding fathers.

I am not in any way trying to justify his actions, or to condemn those of my government. I am simply drawing a parallel.

In war there are always at least two sides, and every side thinks they are the good guys.

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Yes, he would have killed me and my family simply for the crime of being born in America.

Yes, had I been the one with boots on the ground in his compound I would have killed him as well.

It’s war, declared by both sides.

In wars people die, your objective it to make sure it’s always the other guy and not you.

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While I am glad he is gone, I refuse to celebrate death.

If that somehow makes me less of a patriot then so be it.

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I have been doing a lot of thinking lately.

Real thinking, beyond things like “what am I going to cook for dinner”.

I have more and more found myself thinking about what if.

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It all started innocently enough. I was working on ideas for my NaNoWriMo project, when the thought just occurred to me.

What if, one day, in one fell swoop, every oil well on the planet simply dried up.

No warning, no decades of preparation, just dry.

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In my story I was going to have science develop a bacteria that eats oil. You know, something to pour into the water the next time an oil rig blows up. Something that sounds like a good idea, right up until it turns out to be a bad idea.

In the case of my story, the bacteria had spread and multiplied beyond what it was designed to do and essentially ate the world’s oil supply.

The reasons that my mind was taking a walk down Apocalypse Lane are really not important though, at least not now.

More important by far is what I saw when I took that walk.

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I started with that first what if, and started thinking about what the effects would be. I opened up my mind’s eye and I could see things clicking together like the pieces of a puzzle. Actually it would be more accurate to call it a house of cards.

That was the day I realized just how much we depend on the energy we derive from fossil fuels.

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The first and most obvious thing that would happen is that within a week or two my cars would all become nothing but lawn ornaments, slowly rusting away as there would no longer be a way to get fuel for them. I would bet just about anything that within a week all remaining petroleum supplies would be federalized to keep the military and emergency services functioning as a more long term solution was found.

I suppose if I were driving a diesel I could try to use Bio-diesel, vegetable oils, or other alternative fuels, but likely those would be federalized pretty quickly as well to keep vital systems online.

Then I asked myself, what happens when the trucks and trains stop running?

What happens when no more supplies are reaching cities?

Thats where I think whatever bio-diesel we are able to produce would go. It would go to bringing food and other vital supplies to where it needed to be. There simply would not be enough left over for recreational use.

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As I continued with the world building for my tale I started thinking about what other ways the loss of oil would affect things. After all, I am a maintenance guy. I fix things both for a living and for fun.  Some people just see separate things, I see systems, interactions, everything is part of a puzzle, even you and I.

One of the primary things I do is look at interactions, cause and effect. I see the effects, and use that to tell me the cause. It’s what I have done my whole life, and I consider myself pretty damn good at it. 

This time I am looking at a cause and trying to predict the effects.

Let me tell you, it ain’t pretty.

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If the oil goes away what goes with it?

Gasoline.

Diesel fuel.

Natural gas.

Heating and lubricating oils.

Many plastics, and a lot of artificial rubber.

Add synthetic fibers like Nylon and Rayon into the mix.

Asphalt (though it won’t be needed near as much, since most cars will be obsolete)

It’s used in the pharmaceutical industry for some drugs, and in the crafting of damn near everything.

Whether it’s an actual part of the product or not, oil is used to make just about everything we touch. It’s so prevalent that attempting to live in such a way that you used none would be very difficult.

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Nearly impossible.

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What happens to the house of cards when someone comes along and pokes the base real hard with a big stick?

It all comes crashing down.

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Look at it from a local level, instead of globally. Focus on the small scale, you and your immediate family and friends.

How would you heat your house this winter?

Where would your food come from?

How would you get to work?

Would you even still have a job?

What would your community look like a year later? 

How about after five years?  

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The more I think about it the more I realise, 150 years ago the only oil we burned was to light lamps against the darkness. People survived, indeed they thrived, without oil.

People would go back to it, they would adapt and survive. As a race, we would go on.

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The world though, it would be a very very different place.

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What would you do if suddenly all the technology you use everyday without thinking about it suddenly just went away?

Yes, the world would be a different place. How would you fit into it?

Would you be able to adapt, or would you be one of the many that perished in the attempt?

Are you so addicted to technology that you would literally die of withdrawals if it you couldn’t get your fix?

Just something to think about.

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Happy Earth Day.

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Well, I stole the general Idea anyhow. Originally Pikestaff started doing this and it was dedicated to games. Video games in particular.For my purposes though I am changin it up.

You see, I only recently got into video games. For the most part I never really did.

Yes I had an Atari 2600 back when they were $200 new.

Yes I had a Commodore 64 and played around with the old Apple 2.

I did those things, but they were never really a focus. Now, as I am slowly losing interest in the only game to ever keep it for any real length of time. Writing about it for 30 day simply is not appealing to me.

On the other hand, I kinda fell off the writing wagon there for a while since I closed my Warcraft blog down.

In an effort to get back on track with putting words to page regularly I am going to attempt my own version of Pike’s 30 day post series. Mine however will revolve around books.

My plan for the month of April ended up looking like this.

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Day 1 – Very first book.
Day 2 – Your favorite character.
Day 3 – A book that is underrated.
Day 4 – Your guilty pleasure book.
Day 5 – The character you feel you are most like (or wish you were).
Day 6 – Most annoying character.
Day 7 – Favorite couple (romantically linked or otherwise).
Day 8 – Best foreshadowing.
Day 9 – Saddest scene.
Day 10 – Best overall plot.
Day 11 – Best multi book series.
Day 12 – A book everyone should read.
Day 13 – A book you have read more than five times.
Day 14 – Favorite book that left you wanting a sequel (that was never written).
Day 15 – Most interesting sidekick.
Day 16 – Most intricately woven plot.
Day 17 – Favorite antagonist.
Day 18 – Favorite protagonist.
Day 19 – A world or setting you wish you lived in.
Day 20 – Favorite genre.
Day 21 – Overall best story.
Day 22 – A sequel which disappointed you.
Day 23 – Book or graphic novel with the best graphics or art style.
Day 24 – Favorite classical story.
Day 25 – A story you plan on reading.
Day 26 – A story you plan to avoid reading.
Day 27 – Most epic scene ever.
Day 28 – A book you thought you would love, but ended up hating.
Day 29 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like, but ended up loving.
Day 30 – Your favorite story of all time. 

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Wednesday Weigh In

I know it’s been a really long time since I posted things about what this blog was started for, tracking my journey of weight loss.

It was easy to come on and say the right things when I was doing the right things. When my willpower flagged, my focus drifted, and I didn’t make any progress it was easier just to stay away.

Like my mom always told me, If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.

As good as that advice usually holds it won’t work here.

This is about accountability, not about sparing someones feelings.

Not even my own.

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Lets be frank. (actually i’ll be Brad and you be whomever you are, but you get the point)

I fell off the wagon… hard.

Like  flaming asteroid wiping out the dinosaurs hard.

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Well, I have gotten back on the wagon, so to speak.

At least I am holding onto the side trying to pull myself back in, we shall see.

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I have been going back to the Gym.

I have been eating at least a slight bit healthier.

I am getting back into the swing of things.

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Today I am 253 pounds even.

Thats going to change.

It has to, or I won’t be around to spoil my hypothetical future grandkids.

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 ps. I know it’s Thursday, but I didn’t want to put this off till next week. I need to get back into the swing of things now.

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Hiysa folks!

*blows dust off blog*

Some time ago I started this blog, mostly to track my adventures in weight loss.

Well, as you can probably tell, the adventure does not always go well.

I gave up.

I am starting over.

I will be posting again, at least once a week, with a new series I shall call the Wednesday Weigh-In.

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In other news, I wrote here over time about the loss of both of my dogs. One to complications from Diabetes and the other from Cancer, both in less than a year.

Soon, within the next few weeks, our family will be adopting a wonderful little puppy.

A gift to my family from the same family that gave us one of the others in years past.

I both dread it and look forward to it. We shall see how it goes.

In leiu of anything else today I will show you a puppy picture. The lighter tan one is coming to live with us, her sister in the same picture will be living with friends a few blocks away.

Hope you all had a great holiday season, and I look forward to spending more time here in the new year.

~Brad

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There are songs, vespers really, that are traditionally sung at the ending of a scouting campfire.

They are both sung thoughtfully, quietly, almost reverently, to the tune of  “O, Christmas Tree”

I am putting the lyrics here both to share with my friends who may not be a part of scouting and to ensure I always have a place to find them if I need them. There are two different versions, with individual groups choosing which they plan to use.

From my experience the most common is the traditional Boy Scout version, however only the first verse is sung. After that the second is hummed as the scouts file away towards their campsites.

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Traditional versions:

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Cub Scout Vespers

Softly falls the light of day,
While our campfire fades away,
Silently each Cub should ask,
Have I done my daily task?
For my country done my best?
Prayed to God before I rest?
Helped a friend along the way?
Have I done my best today?

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Boy Scout Vespers

Softly falls the light of day,
As our campfire fades away.
Silently each Scout should ask,
“Have I done my daily task?
Have I kept my honor bright?
Can I guiltless sleep tonight?
Have I done and have I dared,
Everything to Be Prepared?”

Listen Lord, oh listen Lord,
As I whisper soft and low.
Bless my mom and bless my dad,
These are things that they should know.
I will keep my honor bright,
The Oath and Law will be my guide.
And Mom and Dad this you should know,
Deep in my heart I love you so.

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Second Version:

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Cub Scout Vespers

As the night comes to this land,
On my promise I will stand.
I will help the pack to go,
As our pack helps me to grow.
Yes, I’ll always give goodwill,
I’ll follow my Akela still.
And before I stop to rest,
I will do my very best.

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Boy Scout Vespers

Quietly we join as one,
Thanking God for Scouting fun.
May we now go on our way,
Thankful for another day.
May we always love and share,
Living in peace beyond compare.
As Scouts may we find,
Friendships true with all mankind.
Quietly we now will part,
Pledging ever in our heart,
To strive to do our best each day,
As we travel down life’s way.
Happiness we’ll try to give,
Trying a better life to live.
‘Til all the world be joined in love,
Living in peace under skies above.

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I fell back on the wagon

It has been a long time since I addressed my weight and physical fitness issues in print. Mostly because, like many times before, I had fallen off the wagon.

I was eating too much, and of the wrong things.

I was failing to exercise, even when I had ample opportunity.

I would come up with excuse after excuse why I would put off getting back to what I knew needed to happen.

I even used hurting my knee running last year as an excuse to not go back to the gym, long after it no longer bothered me. Well, unless I actually tried to run. My jogging days are officially over.

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This weekend was at least a little bit different, there was a glimmer of hope.

I may have still hit up the BBQ a little too hard on Sunday, but I did make it back to the gym.

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To the shiny new aquatic center that the just opened to be exact.

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Two days running I grabbed up whichever of my kids was up to going and made my way to the pool. A bit of treading water and a few laps is nothing like I could have done once upon a time. It is not one upon a time, its today.

It may not be much, but it’s a start.

.Looks like I fell back on the wagon.

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I hope I can stay there.

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