warriorsavant: (Signpost Ft. Benning)

Camping out at home.  Moved 2 large mattresses together on the floor of the Blue Room (WS's bedroom), so we could also sleep together. Brought in HF's new nightlight (Sky from Paw Patrol), not to mention all the pillows, blankets, and of course, books. Normally, we put them to sleep separately, and this is way they usually settle down fairly quickly and easily. Unfortunately, putting the kids together, they stimulate each other: bouncing around, shrieking, running in circles, and generally behaving like maniacs (eg normal kid behavior). By the time we did get them calmed down, I was stimulated, and after everyone else eventually fell asleep, I repaired to the Red Room (master bedroom) and eventually managed to get to sleep myself.


Snow removal.  Oddly fascinating. During the snowfall, they hastily plow the streets (and sidewalks), but that just piles huge amounts of snow to the sides of the street, leaving them only marginally passable, plus there's a limit to how much can be piled throughout the winter. Eventually they have road construction machinery and plows move it into neat-ish lines, then another machine pulls it up and blows it into waiting dump trucks to be carted off to somewhere it can sit until it melts in late spring (eg: Canada Day).


Book review.  Jeeves and the King of Clubs by Ben Schott. I grew up adoring the Wooster and Jeeves stories by P.G. Wodehouse. This novel, approved by the estate, claims to be an homage to body of works, but could equally be a sequel, pastiche, parody, or all of the above. Overall, I liked it. Some of it went well outside what Bertie Wooster's world would have allowed, and some of it made too liberal use of the mannerism embedded in the stories, but overall well done. I hope he'll write another one, which P.G.W. can't, what with being dead. Such state being an handicap to writing, although not necessarily to being published, and certainly not to being read.


Skiing - not an unmitigated disaster

    We're not skiers. This is unfortunate, because (a) it's one of the national passtimes (besides fighting about languages), and (b) it would make winter more bareable. Nom never skied. I tried once or twice, but essentially never did. 

Read more... )
warriorsavant: (Signpost Ft. Benning)
Alone, I’m more into doing than relaxing. I used to spend the first day just walking the downtown of a new city. I might spend 8 hours just walking. Then I’d see all the “sights”. I’d only eat in the best, or at least best-known, places (eg either Michelin-rated or Varsity Hotdog). Big on traveling light. Once went to Europe for weeks? months? and only took 1 flight bag that I packed 15 minutes before leaving for the airport. Three sets of underwear and washed them out in the sink at night. Oddly enough, when I was in the military, often had much more stuff. If I deployed, the Army was big on "making sure you have whatever you need, whatever happens. That means, in additon to field gear and body armor, carried both hot and cold weather stuff. I knew at least one doc who was initially deployed to somewhere very hot (Kuwait?); then got sub-deployed for some weeks to somewhere very cold (mountains of Afghanistan?) Bottom line, a rucksack and 4 duffel bags to go anywhere. What was even weirder, was going somewhere on a long weekend with the Reserves. I'd often need: working (field) uniform with boots, dress uniform with dress shoes, civilian clothing with casual shoes, and PT (workout) uniform with sneakers. All this (including the 4 sets of footware) for 3-4 days. I've been been a fashionista (*understatement*), but this masses of clothing luggage gives me some understanding into that life. This from a man who does own 3 pairs of shoes: all black, slip-ons, not quite identical, but close. (Never used to wear slip-on shoes, but since currently live under Asian household rules, much easier than lace-ups.)
With small kids, travel is still not Relaxing (note capital R). Just much slower. Pick up stuff at a local market supermarket to eat in the room (microwavable). Eat off-hours anywhere decent. If manage one tourist sight before kids crash/meltdown, then we’re doing well. Walk a bit, pushing stroller until kids nap. Much chilling in the room, or maybe poolside. Rinsing shirt in sink. Not underwear. Traveling light... except for all the stuff for kids. At some point it has been 1small suitcase for Nom and I, 2 large ones for kids stuff. And that's not even counting the stroller. Airlines love us. (I tend to head straight for the priority check-in. Maybe they don't like it, but will like 2 hyperactive kids running around check-in even less. They can bill me an extra 25-cents.) This last trip, Hedgefund decided that the ideal mix was 1 large suitcase for her, and 1 for everyone else together. Did I mention fashionista? We convinced her otherwise.
warriorsavant: (Default)
One is a rank-conscious, hide-bound, tradition-encrusted institution, that rewards and otherwise encourages conformity, group-think, and clichéd-thinking. The other fights wars.

Okay, got that one off my chest. I'm not really that naïve about the Army. I'm just also not that naïve about universities.
warriorsavant: (Renovations)
Finally having driveway and yard done. (Mostly finished.) Are not redoing the garage this year (if ever) but did have them put down some concrete just at the entrance, where it was broken up to put in the new driveway. There were animal tracks on it. Nom said it was a cat (plus one Nom spoor). Looking at it, I said, "looks like cat and squirrel." In the back of my mind, a voice in a bad, fake, Russian accent, changed it to, "looks like Moose and Squirrel."

Some moons ago, when I was still a Commander in the Reserves, we were having a staff meeting, with the staff reporting on our getting ready an exercise. I was going down the list of things to check on:
"What about food?"
"What about communications?"
(and changing to bad, fake, Russian accent) "What about Moose and Squirrel?"
You could tell the age of the people in the room without looking at them by who was glancing out of the corner of their eyes trying to decide if they needed to call higher headquarters because I'd gone off the deep end, versus who was laughing hysterically.
warriorsavant: (Composite)
Dunno what brought this to mind, but about 12 years ago, I mobilized to back-fill Walter Reed, the Army's premier medical center.*

Some key background:

- "Patch testing" is used to test for allergic contact dermatitis (eg allergy to something that touches the skin, not food or animals, unless you are rubbing the kitty cat on your face). The antigens (test agents that you might be allergic to) are usually organized into "trays" by functional area. There is a Standard Tray that everyone gets tested to, then specialized trays such as Hair Dressers, Dental, etc.

- Dermatopathologists examine biopsy specimens from skin. Contrary to what you might have "learned" from TV, Pathologists spend very little time on autopsies, and very much time trying to diagnose disease from biopsy specimens. About 25-30% of biopsies are from skin (much easier to biopsy than, say, brain). In bigger hospitals, Pathologists are subspecialized by type of tissue/organ system. Some of these are officially-recognized subspecialties, some are de facto. Derm Path is the oldest such subspecialty, and in the US, you can come to it either from being a Dermatologist or a Pathologist, but you have to spend half your fellowship (eg subspecialty training) in whatever field you did notcome from (eg a Pathologist has to spend half his time on Dermatology, and half on Derm Path).

While I was there, the Derm Path trainee who was doing his rotations on Dermatology was someone I had known from being deployed to Iraqi Freedom 2-3 years earlier. He had already been a Pathologist, who was then deployed with the Theater Medical Lab (I forget the official bureaucratic Army-speak name). Very nice guy, very sharp.

It came up that his patient had to be patch tested for hand eczema. I told him to organize it, to use the Standard Tray, and also the Glove Tray.

- He gave me a "what the heck are you talking about?" look.

- I gave him the "why the heck are you giving me the what the heck am I talking about?" look.

- Then he asked in a puzzled tone, genuinely confused, "the LoveTray?"

After we sorted out the miscommunication, and got over laughing, we spent some time figuring out what should go on a hypothetical Love Tray: latex and lambskin, lubricants, spermicidal agents like nonoxynol-9, massage oils, leather and PVC, etc.

*Now combined with Bethesda, the Navy's premier medical center, to form the Walter Reed National Medical Center at Bethesda - no one wanted to give up any part of their names. The Air Force didn't play well with others so they're not there, but all military hospitals take care of all military as needed, with some political nonsense sometimes interferring.

warriorsavant: (Infantry haircut)
 (This post triggered by a conversation with ecospher https://ecosopher.dreamwidth.org/448762.html?nc=1&style=mine#comments) 

I never liked long hair on men. As a small boy, I had a crew cut, as we all did then. In my HS & university days, I had long-ish, rather 70's hair, but that was more a function of being too lazy to get it cut more often. Then I was in the military (active then reserve), and kept it regulation short: No. 2 clippers on top, No. 1 on the side. Once or twice I actually shaved my head, which was seriously ugly. Strong Soldiers & Marines blanched and begged me to grow back some hair when they saw that gleaming pasty white dome.  

When I got out of the military, I ran wild and let it grow... No. 3 on the top, and No. 1.5 on the side. Hey, don't laugh, that's a full 50% longer! It is not just a matter of putting a bowl over your head, some barbers know how to shape it properly with clippers and some don't. Even in the military, so barbers were better than others. Most were civilian employees, but shipboard, they were Sailors. Like many Sailors in Supply, they did certain service jobs when those needed doing, and did Deck Work or Damage Control Parties when the ship went to General Quarters (what most people call "Battle Stations"). They get a quickie course in hair cutting - military regulation only, which is basically how to properly put the bowl over your head. The best one I ever ran into had gone to civilian barber college before he'd joined the Navy. He liked cutting hair. His plan was to do one hitch in the Navy, do his military service and travel and see the world, then go back home and go into partnership with his uncle. Good planning on his part.

I had been letting it grow a little longer recently, but decided I don't like it. Back to maximum of No. 2. Turns out there is a barber on the main street at the end of my street, who truly understands how to get the most mileage out of such a limited amount of hair, using 4 different clippers: No. 2 on the top, No. 1.5 as it comes around to the sides, No. 1 on the sides, and finishing off with No. 1/2 at the very edges. Really does make a difference.

warriorsavant: (Composite)
I'm not at all religious, but back in my Army days, I often enjoyed talking to the chaplains. Neither of us are line officers ("line of command" or "line of battle", eg combat types). There are various staff corps as such is known, but medical, chaplain, and JAG are all off to one side as having having civilian equivalents. One of my prior (line) commanders referred to me and the chaplain collectively as "the healer and the holy man."

In general, they were intelligent, well-educated, articulate, with good insight into people, and being military, well-traveled with a more cosmopolitan world-view than one might expect. As a side note, the concept of the chaplaincy in US is Protestant-like (i.e. pastoral care), but in some ways Catholics fit in better to the hierarchal style, with a chaplain viewing/referring to his commander the way a priest viewed/referred to his bishop.

In order to be a military chaplain, at least in a religiously free, multi-cultural nation like the US (and I'd presume Canada also), requires the holding of two opposite concepts comfortably in mind at all times. On the one hand, they must firmly believe in their own religion; they are anointed clergy of a given confessional. On the other hand, they must support the religious needs of all the troops, regardless of what religion they practice. It's an interesting dynamic. Two conversations come to mind, both with chaplains who were Southern Baptists, usually regarded (at least by outsiders) as a narrow-minded group of Bible-thumpers. One was a senior chaplain in the National Guard of his state. He also taught at a seminary. He said lots of his best students wanted to join the military, partly to help bring the true word to all those benighted Soldiers. He would tell them point blank that unless they got over that attitude, he would not support their application. They had to accept and support whatever religious attitudes a give Soldier had. The other was the Brigade Chaplain on one of my deployments. His parishioners were worried that his pure faith might get corrupted. They weren't worried about his being in a Moslem country, it was would he be corrupted by rubbing shoulders with all those Soldiers in the US Army who mightn't be doctrinally-correct Southern Baptists. (People like his parishioners, of any religion, remind me of Mark Twain's story "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg.")

I imagine the chaplainate is different in more uni-cultural militaries. In the Afghan Army, the chaplain is not necessarily ordained clergy. Any officer could be assigned those duties. Part of the duties were to lead/arrange religious services, but more were involved in what we would think of as social welfare duties. Remember that the concept of "separation of church and state" is a modern one. In the French colonial system, the colony was lead by a triumvirate. The Royal Governor was the senior of the three, but his duties were more specifically security related: military and police (such as they had then) and courts. The Intendant was mostly responsible for what we would think of as public works. Lastly the Bishop (or Arch-Bishop or Cardinal) was in charge of what we would think of as social welfare: schools and hospitals. There weren't so many Catholic schools and hospitals because Catholics wanted their own, but because Catholics were all there (legally) were, and they were formally responsible for such things. A US Army Jewish chaplain once told me that chaplains in the Israeli Army were chiefly responsible for monitoring kosher dietary laws, less importantly running services (since in Judaism any adult male - or female in Reform congregations - could preside over the services) and not at all as an official moral authority.

Does it seem odd that a military man should talk about official moral authority? Not at all in Western militaries. "Ethicists" (whatever those actually are), sometimes complain about militaries not teaching ethics. (I'm going to avoid discussing the distinction between ethics and morals right here.) I'm always tempted ask if their Ethics Schools including training in strategy and tactics. (Spoiler alert: nope!) In fact, at least Western militaries do teach ethics at every level of instruction, and it is considered incumbent upon every Soldier to consider the moral dimension. In addition, certain persons are specifically with being moral watchdogs: commanders, the senior NCO of a command, all leaders, and specifically chaplains as well.
warriorsavant: (Time)
(A moderately serious, non-family-related post, for a change.)

For someone who is not at all religious, I usually enjoyed talking to the chaplains when I was in the Army. They tend to be educated, well-spoken, and open-minded. However that is a discussion perhaps for another post. Today is really about nomenclature.

In the US military, chaplains are addressed as "Chaplain," not by rank. (Doctors are usually addressed as "Doctor," until they hit a certain rank, or are in a leadership position.) Have seen a few patients from the Canadian Forces who are chaplains, who are addressed as "Padre." Even the female ones. I found that rather curious, and a bit of an anachronistic. (One of them did say she expected they would at some point start calling them Chaplain like the US does.) I had sometimes addressed chaplains as Padre in the US, but that was understood to be more of a friendly nickname than anything official. Had one commander who collectively referred to me and the chaplain as “the healer and the holy man.” I suspect Can Forces got calling them Padre from UK, and that does seem rather UK/High Church C of E to me.

I consulted my theological experts: michikatinski on DW and a recently retired Rabbi/Army Reserve Chaplain I know. I posed the following questions:
1. Is “Madre” ever used as a title in religious orders that you know of?
2. In olden days, did US military ever officially address chaplains as “Padre?”

Response 1: Rabbi:
1- Madre is not used anywhere I know of, certainly not in any military system.
2- Your second question is a bit more complicated and a difference between regulations, common usage, and cultural issues. So as you remember from MASH, Fr. Mulcahey is often addressed as Padre because Catholics use that term regularly and the same is true for those of Latino/Hispanic background. So yes it is high church, used mostly by Episcopalians and Catholics in our country and Church of England and Catholics in Commonwealth Countries. So regulations say that all Chaplains must be addressed as Chaplains and not by rank , however Rabbis, and Priests may be referred to as Rabbi, Father, or Padre as is the custom of those faiths. Protestants interestingly enough may not be referred to as Rev. according to regulation.

Response 2: DW buddy (who was CAP at one time):
1. Let's see. Ok. So... my question is, why is a Canadian chaplain addressed in any language other than English or French? That the masculine form of a foreign title would be used is doubly odd to me. I've never heard of "Madre" being used as a title in any religious order, and the only situations I could think of it being used would be in religious communities of females or "High-Church" religious communities in which women are ordained. Some Episcopal priests are called "Mother" So-and-so, just as male priests are called "Father" So-and-so.
2. I'm not aware of U.S. armed forces ever addressing chaplains as anything other than "Chaplain" So-and-so. There are quite a lot of chaplains who are evangelicals and would tsk-tsk the idea of being called any version of "father" thanks to Matthew 23:9, especially as a way of setting themselves apart from Catholics (which is a fond pastime of US Protestants by and large).
warriorsavant: (Infantry haircut)
Mort Walker, the author of the comic strip "Beetle Bailey," just passed away. He had been writing the comic strip since 1950, the longest tenure of any cartoonist. I won't say it was an accurate depiction of military life, but it had its moments. In 1954 the Stars and Stripes military newspaper stopped carrying the comic strip because "it would encourage disrespect for officers"...as a result of which 100 more newspapers started carrying it. Our hero's sister, Lois, then became a character in the "Hy and Lois" comic strip, and Beetle occasionally “visited" his sister and her family.

Stripes is not longer run by the military, and more recently (during my time) carried “Private Murphy’s Law,” which wasn’t all that much positive about military life, although maybe less negative than Beetle Bailey. The cartoon that I remember most of Pvt Murphy was when he gets his annual “compare what you are earning to your civilian counterparts” info sheet. He raises his hand, “Uh, Sarge, how much does a rifleman make in civilian life?”

They did send those out, saying that although you make xxx, also consider your free health care is worth yyy, and your PX privileges are worth zzz, etc. Actually a worthwhile exercise, because the benies added up (eg I didn’t contribute any cash to the pension I’m now drawing) but it also depended on if you used the PX/Commissary frequently, and how often you got sick. Not to mention it is a bit hard to calculate how much a rifleman makes on the outside.

Hmm, come to think of it, when we were deployed in 2002-2003 (start of Iraqi Freedom), the gate guards were civilian contractors. Another of then SecDef Rumsfeld’s brilliant ideas to downsize the military to save money - by paying someone 6-figures to do the work of an Army private.
warriorsavant: (Three Musketeers)
First, a confession. It doesn't actually exist any more than the Sword and Microscope Society (see Profile Intro), which is to say it exists in my mind and sparsely elsewhere. This is really the story of how I started wearing a kilt. If I blogged about it before, apologies to older (well, more established) Gentle Readers for being redundant.

The US Gov't celebrates to varying degrees of actually-caring-about-it (mostly not) various ethnicities and other identities. Of course once you have an XXX day, week, or month, then XXX1 wants one, as does XXX2, as does, well everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame (or as it might be day, week, or month). These "observances" get posted in gov't offices and institutions, including military ones.

In my 2nd-to-last Commnand, my CSM (Command Sergeant Major), who became a close friend, was part Scottish, and did play the bagpipes. (He has been mentionned in my blog initially as CSM, then when he retired, as Pipes-Major.) One day, several months before his retirement, we were at our HHQ (Higher Headquarters) for something, and noticed signs up about Israeli Day and Scottish Week (or maybe Israeli Week and Scottish Day, I forget). I laughed and said as a joke, "Hey, that could be for us, we can show up dressed in kilts and yalmulkes." He looked at me and said, serious, "I have an Army kilt. All the services have their tartans. They can be worn with the dress uniform in the Commander allows it."

That started the ball rolling. My fantastical side couldn't resist, especially looking towards his retirement ceremony. Another friend, recently retired from the Army, who is also part Scottish, got involved. (He doesn't play the bagpipes. He plays the bugle. His neighbors love that on Veterans Day and Memorial Day. At my retirement, the two of them played their respective instruments (or is that "instruments") which was a hoot and very satisfying.) The three of us basically egged each other on to get kilts (well, the 2 of us who didn't yet have one) and show up at CSM's retirement party so clad. (The icon is from that party.) Other than initially freaking out my general (who thought I'd taken up cross-dressing), it was a rousing success.

Since then, have worn the kilt only rarely, but do like to when occasion presents.
warriorsavant: (Composite)
To understand my use of the term "magpie," see 2nd paragraph of http://warriorsavant.livejournal.com/2008/08/15/ and for fuller discussion, see  http://warriorsavant.livejournal.com/2015/10/29/.

Was at BIL's over the weekend. He and SIL have 2 daughters (11 & 6). SIL's sister* and her family were visiting from France with their son & 3 daughters (various ages from child through late teen). Hedgefund adores visiting with her cousins, mostly because they dote on her, and now there were five girls doting on her. At one point, I was in the dining room holding Wallstreet, and all these young females were in the adjacent kitchen, talking at once. He looked at them, then looked at me with a bemused expression on his face. I just explained that women were like that, and he'd have to get used to it.  I might even have used the term magpie.

He's clearly the strong silent type. Actually, not all that silent, but relative to HF, very much so, and very calm. He sometimes gives me that same bemused look when she is carrying on about something, and I give him that same explanation. At one point while at BIL's, when HF was carrying on about something, I told 11-year-old neice that HF was rather a drama queen.
"But she's only two-and-a-half," she protested
"She was a drama queen when she was two-and-a-half weeks."

*Which would make her my sister-in-law-in-law-in-law?
warriorsavant: (Space-horsehead nebula)
I'm reading Chris Hadfield's An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth. COL Hadfield is the Canadian Astronaut who recently commanded the International Space Station. He is a totally impressive person by any count: Colonel in the RCAF, fighter pilot, test pilot, PhD in Engineering, plays the guitar… Actually, from what I've read, most astronauts are like that. They are the best of the best of the best that humanity has to offer. All the military pilots also have advanced science or engineering degrees, all the mission specialists have private pilot licenses, all are excellent in whatever hobbies they have, as well as being in great physical shape. In addition, as COL Hadfield points out, they have to have good personalities/people skills. Gone are the days of The Right Stuff where you could have the gruff, hard-bitten, hard-assed stereotypical fighter pilot. In those days, you went up solo, and stayed up for hours-to-days. Now you have to fit in for months with an international crew.

Perhaps the most interesting thing is his describing an astronaut's life, only a very small percent of which involves space flight, and that only if you're lucky. Basically they train and study non-stop. All sorts of things: orbital mechanics, geography, and mostly what to do when things go wrong. Despite that, he's an optimist. He's spent so much time wargaming "what could kill be next," that he's comfortable handling whatever it is. This is one of the parts of the book I can relate to. I don't claim to be astronaut caliber (although I have a few good points), but certain parts of the book do speak to me.

Part the 1st that speaks to me )
Part the 2nd that speaks to me )
Related point to part the 2nd that speaks to me )
warriorsavant: (Composite)
One of my greatest joys is watching Hedgefund learning new things. (An equally great joy is just watching her smile, laugh, and be happy, but that's not the subject of today's post.) It could be as simple as a new word, or learning how to open something (ignoring the scary part of her having figured out screw tops), or how to move a certain object. I always knew, even when I wasn't keen on having children, that I'd enjoy that part. I guess I thought of it more as actually teaching them things, but I take as much joy in watching them learn on their own, which in the long run, is more important for their development.

When I was a Commander in the Army, one of my biggest satisfactions was teaching Soldiers, or watching them learn on their own. It could either be individual Soldiers, or units as a whole. I recall one time, as a National Guard Company Commander, when the troops were qualifying on the rifle range. One Soldier's rifle jammed. She looked at me for what to do. I just said, "What's your mnemonic?" (There's an acronym for the steps to go thru if your weapon jams.) She repeated it back to me by rote, initially perplexed, then her face lit up. She suddenly realized that it wasn't just some Army nonsense we made them memorize, but it had an immediate, practical use. She went thru the steps, unjammed the weapon, and qualified. I get the same thrill teaching medical students and residents, but nothing compares to its being my own children learning and discovering.

In more mundane news, we went out to brunch today to Patrice. It's a place near us that we love for pastry, had always wanted to try their brunch, and decided to risk the havoc and chaos of bringing the kids. It actually worked. With Hedgefund being almost 2 years, she can sit still for a few minutes at a time, and Wallstreet mostly just sits or lies anyhow. I admit we weren't having deep, intellectual, sparkling conversation, but at least sorta got out like adults. At one point, I was feeding Wallstreet (with his bottle), and Nom was feeding Hedgefund, herself, and me (with a fork).

Since going out is rather hit-or-miss, have started watching pay-per-view movies. Unlike going out to the movies, can watch en famille without disturbing others, pause when needed, and much cheaper that way too. Not quite adult date night, but works as a compromise.
warriorsavant: (Composite)
There were some thought-provoking responses to my "credentials inflation" post http://warriorsavant.livejournal.com/556290.html#comments
As promised, here is a follow up post. Was hoping to make this much longer and well-reasoned, but don't have the time to make this more comprehensive or more polished than this.

First question is what needed, in this case by a developed nation, say Canada or the US.  I suppose "needed" is somewhat subjective, do we really "need" more people making lattes, but some is factual: if all the doctors disappeared tonight versus all the coal miners, who would be missed more. If all the doctors disappeared, likely millions of people would die in the next year. If all the coal miners disappeared, the US would lose 40% of its electrical power generation, the economy would collapse into ruins, and tens of millions of people would die. (That having been said, I'd prefer Hedgefund & Wallstreet go into medicine, not coal mining - it's safer and pays better, which shows that pay and usefulness don't always go hand-in-hand, as if there was any doubt.)

One way to determine at least what is wanted, or in demand, is to look at labor market statistics.  The most in-demand fall into a few groups: applied mathematical (finance, accounting, computer sciences, engineering - college degree needed, but only in specific, technical fields), trades (welders, plumbers, pipe fitters, electricians, service technicians - trade school needed), and supervisory in manufacturing & resource production (rather a mix). Administrative assistants are also in high demand (secretarial school rather than university). Hmm, that degree in Elizabethan English not so useful. Yes, as one Gentle Reader pointed out, a bachelor's or at least associate's degree means you can tolerate sitting still and reading and possibly writing something coherent, but in fact, those people are a dime-a-dozen. (Well, maybe the "writing something coherent" isn't all that easy to find, he snarked, cynically.) In short, what is in demand for the most part, are people with specific technical skills. Accounting school is longer than HVAC school, but both require a fair amount of book knowledge, following which you hope you get hired by someone who will actually mentor you and let you learn the practical hands-on. Medicine is unique among professional degrees (at least in N. America) in that the "getting mentored/practicing under supervision" is highly structured. That is, you are a Resident, not a Junior Associate. On the other hand, only in N. America does one generally need a Bachelor's Degree before Medical School, which largely goes back to how hideously bad most High Schools were a century ago (and many still are).

The military does require a college degree for commissioning, but frankly, I don't understand why. Well, I do. We're colored by 19th century thinking on that, wherein only a gentleman would get to go to college, and officers were drawn from the gentle classes. I suppose the ability to get through college does help in staff work, but teaches nothing about leadership, which is equally important. As for pilots, other than aircraft are highly technical, there is no logical reason to commission pilots. In WWII, but the British did fine with NCO-pilots. You need to be able to fly an airplane. Even for NCO's, we are more and more requiring college degrees, turning the NCO corps into a 2nd officer corps, rather than having a secondary leadership chain with complementary skills.

Anyhow, not saying post-secondary education is always worthless, just that it is highly over-rated. In many cases what is needed is trade school, or specific instruction in something (eg if your secretary needs to know Microsoft Word, you don’t need her to go to college, you can send her for a course just in that).  In some ways, professional schools are glorified trade schools - they take longer, they require more book learning, but they are geared to specific training. No, I partly take that back. Para-professional training is glorified trade school. (If you've been paying attention, you'd realize I don't regard that as an insult.) There is a lot of rote memorization, and learning that "if you see ABC, then do 1,2,&3; if you see DEF, then do 4,5,&6. Professional school requires that, but also should involve more problem-solving and figuring out what do if you see ABEFQ.
warriorsavant: (Sword & Microscope 1)
One never knows when some odd bit of education, facts, or training will come in handy. Back in my Army days, I learned all sorts of esoteric and interesting things. Of relevance recently was my training in NBC defense - that is Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Warfare. Never had to use that knowledge for real until now. One of the few things I clearly remember is how much activated charcoal, and household bleach can decontaminate most things chemical or biological.

So… was taking a bath with Hedgefund. Great parent child bonding. She loves playing in the water, and I make sure she (a) gets clean, and (b) doesn't drown. At some point, when we potty train her, we're going to have to make sure she understands the difference between the potty and the bathtub.

Yeah, household bleach. Good stuff.

Shortly after that, Wallstreet managed pee and overflow his diaper. While in my lap. Holding one's baby so gives one that warm (wet) feeling. That was a good day for pediatric effluvium chez savant.
warriorsavant: (Composite)
Note similarities in dress between me, in icon above, and Hedgefund, in photo below.
No pressure here, kid.

20150515 DrArmyBaby1
warriorsavant: (Composite)
Do I miss it? The Army, I mean. I get asked that a lot. Short answer is yes. Have no plans on going back; have found something better, but the one doesn't negate the other. When the next full-on war happens, I will cry for my brothers & sisters who go; and I will cry for myself for not going. Every time I read about things going on in the world, I keep thinking "that's where I belong." Maybe I do, maybe I don't, but it's someone else's job now. Mine is my family. We were Soldiers once, and young. Is changing diapers more fun than fighting a war? Well, either way, I'm cleaning up s***. :-)

"Soldier" will always be a big part of my identity, but now so will "Daddy."


Mar. 4th, 2015 10:56 am
warriorsavant: (Sword & Microscope 1)
In response to widespread popular demand*

20150303 3rd generation Soldier

Really need a shirt that says "If I'm wearing camo, then Daddy dressed me."

I confess the camo onesie was meant as a joke, but then I thought, 'why not?' Looks good on her (says the entirely objective doting, ex-military, Daddy).

Actually, I'm not the only one in the family who ever wore camo; Nom has been known to do so also**

*Well, anyhow, [livejournal.com profile] michikatinski asked.
**Okay, only last year, when she was very pregnant. Wasn't going to go out and buy an expensive winter coat for 2 months of her life when I had some toasty warm, and very large (on her) field jackets. Sorry, don't have any pix of that, but she really looked much cuter in it than I ever did.
warriorsavant: (Warriordaddy)
Armored vehicles are great, what with having armor between you and people trying to kill you, but they are top-heavy and prone to rolling over, say from an IED blast. Part of pre-deployment training is how to extract yourself from a rollover. The trainer is a vehicle cabin, mounted on a frame that can spin it. The windows are blacked out, since in a real situation it might be night, or the cabin might be filled with smoke. There are dozens of empty plastic soda bottles to rattle around and disorient you. In a real situation, anything not strapped down would be flung around the cabin: tools, personal weapons, gear, ammo cans - getting smacked in the face with a 50 lbs metal can is not fun. For the training, you strap into the seats, the cabin is rolled over several times, and you have to extract yourself from being sideways or upside down. If upside down, when you unstrap, you end up on your head, crunched between the dahsboard & windsheild, with 80 lbs of battle rattle (gear, weapons, body armor, etc) weighing you down. You have to wiggle yourself around, stand up (you'll now be standing on the inside of the roof), get the doors open, and get out.

Hedgefund has a little car she plays in. Like the rollover trainer, it doesn't have wheels, but there are various switches and buttons she can play with that make noise, sing tunes, etc. Last night she somehow managed to fall into it, ending up upside down under the "dashboard." I was a bit disappointed that she couldn't extract herself and I had to effect a rescue. On the other hand, maybe I'm pushing her too hard. She really likes her camouflage onesie, but perhaps even miniature body armor is too heavy at her age.


warriorsavant: (Default)

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