Alive and Kicking in Texas

Category: , By GotDesign
But just barely. So here's the story...

My wife and I board the plane in Louisville for the first leg of our trip to Lubbock, TX. I had an aisle seat. Across the aisle from me was a gentleman of generous proportions (I'm trying to be respectful but still reference his size). While putting personal items in the overhead compartment, this gentleman lost his balance and fell backwards. In falling, he thought he would break his fall by throwing his arm back and bracing himself against the seat behind him. The seat I was sitting in. He consequently slammed his elbow into my eye socket. I now have a new definition of pain. My head throbbed for the remainder of the day. I was quite certain that I would be sporting a shiner for the holidays. But it would seem that the rapid application of ice to the affected area kept me shiner-less.

To his credit. the gentleman who fell on me was continually offering his appologies. He even offered to give me his name and contact information should I wish to file a claim against his medical insurance. All in all, he was a nice guy.

And, as if that wasn't enough, halfway through our flight to Dallas, my wife inadvertantly knocked her coffee off of her tray table and on to my leg. Happily, it was not scalding, but only mildly warm. So I arrived in Dallas with a wrung bell and stained jeans.

The remainder of our trip was, thankfully, uneventful. We arrived a little late in Lubbock and were met by my In-Laws. And well met, at that.

Unemployment Sucks

By GotDesign
I just wanted to make that clear. Unambiguous, I mean. Leaving no doubt.

At the end of September on this year, I was cut loose from my wonderful job as a criminal intelligence analyst for the KY National Guard because they did not get the accustomed level of counter-drug funding that they had previously received. Since I was the junior man in the organization, I was cut loose.

Now, I have a B.A. in Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs from Miami University, an M.B.A. from the University of Louisville, over 15 years experience in graphic design, and more than 15 years of military experience as an intelligence analyst. I am not uneducated. I am highly skilled. However, no one seems to be looking for my skills. I have been looking online, I have been asking friends and colleagues. Nothing seems to be on the grapevine.

About six weeks ago I finally bit the bullet and filed for unemployment. I am not happy about it. While I am not a prideful man, I hesitated about taking unemployment for two reasons: 1) I had hoped to find another job rather quickly (the whole "mad skills" thing), and; 2) I don't think it is governments role to pay money out to the unemployed. While I understand that the government has been taking money out of my paychecks for years to provide these unemployment checks, it is the basic principle of unemployment that bothers me. I would prefer locally operated job programs that provided, for example, resume banks, placement assistance, and the like. I don't like that I am now, to some degree, dependent on the federal government for my own subsistence.

While I could go out and flip burgers for McBurger Bell, et al, then what would all of my education and experience be doing for me? In the meantime, I'm relying on unemployment until I can go away for training for the National Guard in February. Or find a job in the meantime.

The Lord WILL provide. He has always provided for me in the past. He is providing for me even now. Praise be to God, Lord over all creation... and Lord over my employment situation, too.

P.S. If anyone wants my resume, drop me a line.

The Ticker is Moving

Category: By GotDesign
Well, I just checked Google Analytics (which tracks my visitors, links, etc) and I have had 5 visitors since Friday. Jubilation!

But you're saying to yourself, "only 5 visits?" Well, I haven't blogged in so long that no one follows my blog any more. So 5 is a magic number. Hopefully, they are not the last 5 visitors I will have.

Tell a friend!

I'll Just Pass, Thank You

Category: , , By GotDesign

I am a devoted fan of Science Fiction. One of the classics of Science Fiction is the 1951 movie The Day the Earth Stood Still. A flying saucer lands on the mall of Washington, D.C. and out pops a alien being named Klaatu. Klaatu has come to delivers us a message from the grand brotherhood of outer space that we shouldn't be so cavalier with our development/use of nuclear weapons. Failing to keep ourselves under control will mean that the aforementioned "grand brotherhood" would take care of the problem for us. For a more detailed plot description, try Wikipedia.

On Friday, a "reimagining" of The Day The Earth Stood Still (DESS) will be released starring Keanu Reeves (sigh) and Jennifer Connelly (pitter patter). From all of the commercials I am seeing, they have ruined a classic of the genre. While I am sure that the visual effects are first rate, they have screwed up two other aspects of the film. First, they chose Keanu Reeves for the lead. Next time, choose someone who can act his way out of a paper bag. Better yet, don't let there be a next time -- leave excellence (1951) alone. Second, and the bigger gripe that I have, changing the plot of the film.

The new plot of the 2008 DESS is that Klaatu has come to destroy human kind because humans are on the verge of destroying the Earth environmentally. In the original, Klaatu came peacefully and had planned to discuss the development of nuclear technology peaceably. It is only after he is shot by a nervous soldier that Klaatu becomes (justifiably) aggravated. In the 1951 DESS, the plot driver is the very real concern about nuclear power and its military use. There is no denying that such concerns were indeed real. As the tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union (link provided for those too young to remember) escalated, the general public's concerns grew as well. After all, it was during the 1950s that school children were taught to get under their school desks after seeing an atomic blast. The anxieties were real, the threat was real. My problem with the new plot is that environmental extremists have NO evidence that there is any long-term or short-term effects of pollution or any other such atmospheric phenomena. We cannot reliably predict the next day's weather let alone try to predict the medium- to large-scale effects over any appreciable geographical range. I mean, REALLY, the level of pollution has been generally decreasing since the late 1970s -- since we have been conscious of atmospheric pollution. I could understand if we had seen any effects from pollution during the Industrial Revolution then maybe I would be willing to listen less antagonistically. The worst pollution I have heard of in my lifetime has been that which occurred in the former Warsaw Pact nations. In that case, the effects of said pollution were very noticeable, but localized. After the fall of the Warsaw Pact, and the reduction of pollution in those areas, the localized effects cleared up. And yet we still have environmentalists crying, "the sky is falling!"

So called "Global Warming" is silly to begin with, but now they're taking down a classic work of Science Fiction... with fictional science. Ironic. And sad.

I won't be going to see this travesty of a movie. Nor will I buy it on DVD... Blu Ray or otherwise. I hope you won't either.

Ich heiße Aaron

Category: , By GotDesign
AS mentioned previously, I have recently transferred to a new unit -- the 133d Mobile Public Affairs Detachment (MPAD). One of the cool opportunities I have with my new unit is to go to Germany for my annual training (AT).

It has been several years since I was anywhere near Germany. In 2000, I went to Ethiopia to do some missions and humanitarian assistance work. The flight over (and back) included a stopover in Frankfurt, Germany. But I was only able to spend about 2 hours in Frankfort before continuing my flights.

This time I'm going to spend the better part of a month in Germany. I'm hoping to be able to go see an Eintracht Frankfurt soccer match. Wouldn't that be great? Anyway...I'm taking some time before I go to learn German. The Army encourages learning in general, but it also especially smiles upon learning foreign languages. So much that they make available free access to online Rosetta Stone language training software.

I like Rosetta Stone, but it's a different style of language learning than I'm used to. I am a graduate of the Defense Language Institute (DLI) at the Presidio of Monterey, CA. At DLI they train you to a proficiency level of a well-educated native speaker. You walk away with a very good understanding of the grammar of your new language. Rosetta Stone, on the other hand, takes a different approach to language training. Rosetta Stone uses an intuitive style where the software shows you photos of an item or situation, then plays an audio description of the image in the target language. You have to associate the audio with the image to understand what you're being taught. But that's not my problem. My problem is that you don't really get an explanation of the grammar that you are learning. So I find myself looking on the web for German grammar and verb declination websites.

One of the really cool things about Rosetta Stone is that, if you have a microphone attached to your computer, the software will require you to speak in the target language and will challenge you to properly pronounce your word or phrase. It's pretty strict about its pronounciations. I highly recommend that, if you need to learn a language, you should give Rosetta Stone a try.

New Unit, New Opportunities

Category: By GotDesign
As of Friday afternoon, I am officially reassigned to the 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment (MPAD). I am really looking forward to this portion of my military career.

If you have followed my past blogging, you know that I truly enjoy photography. This past April I learned that I could indulge my love of photography in the National Guard. After showing some of my photography to members of the 133d MPAD, I was told they could use someone of my talents. So, I spent the next several months getting myself in shape to pass my Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) so I could transfer to the MPAD. This was a challenge in itself. I'm 40 years old and have not seriously exercised in several years. In 4 months time, I lost 20 pounds (and several inches off my waist) and finally passed my APFT. My transfer was initiated.

I am looking forward to putting my graphic design and photography skills to use for the Kentucky National Guard.

Returning from the (Blogging) Wilderness

Category: By GotDesign
I've decided that I'm going to start blogging regularly again. As I am currently unemployed, I have the spare time. Plus, I am miffed about the election results and what they say about our nation. If anyone is still watching this blog, please stay tuned.

I plan to blog on general topics with a few focuses. First, I intend to spend a good deal of time to blogging about post-Capitalist America (read "the Obama administration"). Second, my experiences job hunting.

I want to make a something clear. While I will be a fierce critic of the Obama administration, I will not attack the man. One of my greatest concerns about the past eight years has been the near-complete lack of true political criticism coming from the Left. I did not hear any criticism of the Bush administration -- I only heard ad hominem attacks against the person of George Bush and members of his administration. This bothers me for two reasons, 1) it is supremely disrespectful of both the person and the office of the President of the United States; 2) there is no intellectual content to such attacks -- it is shear meanness for the sake of spite.

Those of you who have followed my blog in the past will know that I am a Christian, a husband, a soldier, and a conservative -- in that order. I'll give it to you straight and packed with reason and intellect. I'm not afraid of being challenged, but I won't stand for disrespect or discourtesy.

Anyway, that's the story. I hope you'll tag along.

Russia Invades

Category: , , , , By GotDesign

It has been a while since I last blogged about anything. But I have recently been stirred back to life. With Russia's invasion of Georgia last week, I find myself roused from my blog-sleep.

Late last week, Russia invaded the independent nation of Georgia. No, you need not worry about any relatives in Atlanta or Macon. It's not that Georgia. The Georgia I'm talking about was an independent nation before it was gobbled up and included in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and following the USSR's dissolution it is once again independent. As you can see from the above map, Georgia is on the eastern banks of the Black Sea.

Here is the Russian view of things. Prior to the break-up of the Soviet Union there was an ethnically-defined region known as Ossetia. After the break-up, Ossetia was divided between Russia and Georgia as North (Russian) and South (Georgian) Ossetia. Both halves of Ossetia, as well as neighboring Abkhazia, have strong separatist movements that seek to establish separate nations of Abkhazia and Ossetia. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin claims that Russia has a vested interest in the welfare of the Ossetian people and has Russian troops in North Ossetia to maintain order in that region. So, when Georgia moved troops into South Ossetia (which is within the territorial borders of Georgia) to quell violence and restore order, Putin used this as a pretext on which to invade Georgia and help the Ossetian people there.

There are a couple of problems with Putin's reasoning (insert a small chuckle here). First, Russia has no real interest in the Ossetian people. Ever since the break-up of the Soviet Union, the Ossetian people have wanted to establish their own independent state and the Russian government has always opposed this (even before Putin). the Russians just don't like the idea of loosing terroitory regardless of how little it may effect Russia as a whole.

Second, Georgia's movement into Southern Ossetia was a relatively quick matter -- a matter of internal politics. Russia claims that it acted in the interests of the Ossetian peoples only after Georgia's actions. However, in order to move into the South Ossetian region of Georgia, Russia had to cross a major mountain range. This is no easy matter -- it requires a grea deal of advanced planning. It is very difficult to move an armored force over mountainous terrain. This was in no way an impromptu action.

The crux of the matter is that Russia's invasion is unvarnished aggression. The Russians haven't even restrained their actions to South Ossetia, but have moved within 30 miles of the Georgian capitol, Tblisi. All of Russia's excuses are transparent.

What should be the American reaction? What a question! It is generally considered that the American people have no stomach for any further military action. We're tired of war. But are we tired of justice? Are we tired to stand up for the rights of others? Last time I checked, America was the country of "the little guy."

America has a number of options available for its reactions. I would recommend the expulsion of Russia from the G8 economic forum. Dissolve the G8 and re-form it without Russia. Also, grant Georgia's request for membership in NATO. Membership should also be extended to Ukraine, which may follow Georgia as a target for Russian aggression. Military aid, as well as humantiarian assistance, should be sent to Georgia. At the very least, the U.S. should provide Georgia with intelligence support. All of these actions should accompany attempts to get European and United Nations political and economic sanctions in place.

Many people are comparing Russia's actions in Georgia to America's invasion of Iraq in 2003. Saying that America invaded Iraq on similar pretexts. But this couldn't be further from the truth. America invaded Iraq following attacks on the United States and Iraq's collaboration with the attackers.

But what do you think?

Industrial Sky

Category: By GotDesign
Canon EOS 10D, 1/250 second, F/9.5, 73 mm, ISO 100

Hindu Experience

Category: , By GotDesign
On Saturday, my wife and I toured a Hindu Temple here in Louisville. It was a truly interesting experience. Neither my wife nor I had much knowledge about Hinduism so it was an eye-opening experience.

The Reader's Digest condensed version of Hinduism is that Hindus are seeking the Divine (read "god") in the world around us. They believe that the Divine has visited earth in human form on several occasions -- Vishnu, Ganesh, Shiva, Rama, and even Jesus of Nazareth. These human incarnations -- called avatars (not to be confused with the cartoon on Nickelodeon) -- are "god's" way of reaching out to his creation. Families may choose to worship one or more deities, individuals choose their own personal deities (which may or may not be their family's deity).

The temple itself was a medium-sized building in which were housed shrines to various Hindu deities. Priests went about the business of performing rites and ceremonies for worshipers as well as maintaining the statues and temple facilities.

While I cannot of course agree with Hinduism, I do greatly admire their devotion to spiritual pursuits. Their search for the Divine reminds me very much of Dallas Willard's concept of "the Kingdom Among Us." I believe, as a Christian, that as we search for the spiritual presence of God we will become more and more in tune with His spiritual nature and, therefore, more able to submit ourselves to His Kingdom Will.

A good time was had by all.


Warning Thought

Category: , By GotDesign

I decided to walk around the campus of the University of Louisville yesterday. This is the pedestal of, you guessed it, the famous "The Thinker" statue. Not the original, obviously. It sits in front of a set of stairs leading into a building. Due to the recent snows, the university had Caution tape strung up preventing access to the stairs.

I took this shot for a couple reasons; 1) the fabulously rich colors, and 2) the unintended message -- The Thinker...Caution. In my opinion, the universities have become a place where diversity of thought is discouraged. Universities have become enclaves of liberal ideology. No longer are students taught how to think and reason, merely how to parrot what they are told by professors. As someone who considers himself somewhat of an intellectual, this trend bothers me. While I am philosophically conservative, I encourage people to seek a reason behind what they believe, not just spout whatever is currently en vogue.

Anyway, that's my opinion. What's yours?

Bing Crosby on Acid

Category: By GotDesign
It started snowing yesterday. Now, you should know that I'm a huge fan of snow. I have fond memories of the winters of my youth. Today's snows are paltry by comparison. So when it started snowing yesterday, I started singing the Crosby classic, "Let it Snow."

At the time I was at my church -- Southeast Christian Church. Then, at about 6 pm, I received a call telling me that the Bible Study I had planned to attend had been cancelled. As I had been at the church since about 10 am, the news just meant I could leave at 6 pm instead of at 8:30 pm. So, after brushing a little snow off the headlights, I hopped in my car.

On the highway I expected it to be a slow and steady trip home. Normally, this trip would take me about 20 minutes or so (depending on traffic). But it was neither slow nor steady. It was a crawl. At one point I did not move -- not an inch -- for 45 minutes. I left the church at 6:20 pm and arrived home at 10 pm. That's right -- it took me 3-1/2 hours to get home!

Up until about 9 pm, I was taking it all in stride. I was still in the joy of snow. "Oh, the weather outside is freightful...(humming along)." I even thought that I would get outside my car and throw snowballs at the traffic on the opposite side of the highway (just in fun, not in spite of the fact that they were moving almost unobstructed). I was even imagining, if I was getting so much joy from the snow, how much joy was God getting from it. By 9 pm, my rosy disposition was in the trash can covered in coffee grounds.

At almost exactly 10 pm, I pulled my VW Jetta into my garage (if you don't have a garage, I highly recommend them). I walked inside, shucked off my coat, and wrapped my arms around my loving wife. I then had to kill 12 suitors, shoot an arrow through the loop of 10 axe heads, and lift the living tree from which I had carved my bed. (If you still don't get the references, please read The Odyssey.) Let's just say that I was glad to be home.


Category: By GotDesign
I just don't know what to think. I just foudn out that Mitt Romney has dropped out of the hunt for the 2008 Republican Presidential nomination. I'm still trying to get my mind around it.
"I must now stand aside, for our party and our country," Romney told

Evidently, he made the announcement at the CPAC convention in Washington.

My problem with Romney's exit is that there is no longer any reason for McCain to pretend to be conservative. With Romney in the race, McCain had some external force driving him to be more conservative. Now, there is no conservative in the race.

My only hope now is to regain a Republican majority in Congress. At all costs, we HAVE TO WIN BACK CONGRESS!!!

Now, go make it happen!

Template Madness

Category: By GotDesign
I want to apologize for my apparent inability to choose a consistent template for my blog. The really nice, graphically dazzling template I have been using doesn't seem to want to work 100% of the time. There are times when I go to the site only to find text and no graphics. And, as a graphic designer, this frustrates me to no end.

Pleas pardon me as I work to create a unique template for my blog. I will be using this generic template from Blogger in the interim. Thanks for your understanding.

Super Bowl

Category: By GotDesign
Disclaimer: I am generally disinterested in most major league sports in the U.S. Baseball -- juiced, who cares. Basketball...uhhhh. Football... I'm sorry, what'd you say? Just don't care.

I loved last night's Super Bowl! That was an exciting football game! And on top of it all, I enjoyed watching the underdogs -- NY Giants -- when at the very end of the game. WOW! A touchdown pass with only 35 seconds remaining in game! WOW!

The Giants' defense was all over Tom Brady like a cheep suit. Tom Brady was covered in cheep , polyester plaid. And Eli Manning just did a great job on keeping focused. And that tackle he shook off in the 4th quarter! Great job!

And the commercials, which is the reason I usually watch the Super Bowl, were excellent. In particular, I enjoyed the Planters Cashews, the Coke parade balloons, the Will Ferrell Budweiser ad, the FedEx carrier pigeons, and the Bridgestone tires' ads were hilarious!

Just thought I'd chime in.

Send in the Marines

Category: , By GotDesign
I couldn't believe this story when I saw it on Fox News. It seems that the city of Berkeley, CA has decided that the U.S. Marine Corps recruiting office in Berkeley is considered an invasion.
The City Council has voted to tell the Marines their downtown recruiting station is not welcome and "if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome guests."
The city council also voted to give Code Pink -- a ultra-liberal anti-war protest group -- a permanent parking spot in front of the recruiting office. In addition, they've also authorized immunity from noise laws for the purpose of protesting.

Hopefully, we'll see what a federal district court thinks about the issue. But, knowing that portion of the country, the district will probably side with Berkeley. More justification for judicial reform.

Pout for Me

Category: By GotDesign
For Christmas, my lovely wife bought me a new digital camera -- a Canon EOS 10D (at left). For years I have been "jonesing" to do some serious photography. If you so desire, you can go check out my gallery to see my work. I have decided just today that I'm going to push myself to actually do more shooting.

In that vein, I'm going to make an offer. Anyone who lives in the greater Louisville, KY area can drop me a line and I will arrange to take your portrait for a minimal fee. As long as it doesn't require a great deal of travel, I would probably just ask to cover the cost of prints/CDs. Why so cheap? Because I want to enhance my portfolio and build experience. Just drop me a line.

Whazzzz Uppppppp

Category: By GotDesign
Just thought I'd take a moment to make a post. I used to be a more prolific blogger, but my job has gotten more interesting since then. Much more interesting. So, when I get home, I'm not quite so eager to spend time on the computer. Anyway, I'll try to get better (especially as the election progresses).

Speaking of the election, I'm following the Florida Primary rather closely at the moment. With more than 30% of the precincts reporting, it's still anybody's game (at 8:30pm EST). I'm a Romney supporter, so I'm pulling for Mitt.

I can't believe the vitriol that I'm hearing from McCain against Romney. He's made any number of rancorous attacks on Romney. I heard a automated phone message that McCain sent out in Florida that accused Romney of being for abortion on demand and supporting gay marriage. But we all know that Romney is against both these issues. Hopefully, McCain will stop this type of campaigning soon.

Just my opinion.


Category: By GotDesign
I'm thinking about switching back to my GotDesign blog. Smarter Than Celery is just a little too long and awkward. Probably coming back soon... if at all.