A Hectic New Year.

Everything is in flux, everything is changing.

By this time next week, my family and I will be enjoying the hospitality of our good friends and preparing the final push towards our journey back to the United States. This Friday, movers will come to our house, pack our belongings, and ship everything we own across the Pacific. After a short stay at the Lodge, where I spent three months when I first arrived, we will fly back to America. If everything goes according to plan we should arrive in California on the 1st of February.

Understandably life is rather hectic. Preparing for a move from Asia to America is a daunting endeavor, but in our case, the addition of a spirited seven-month-old adds an extra layer of complexity. Therefore I haven’t had a surplus of free time for writing or blogging.

I did manage to read a decent amount. Earlier today I finished Mercenaries and their Masters: Warfare in Renaissance Italy. A good book if you are interested in the subject but somewhat dry if you don’t have prior knowledge about the socio-political landscape of 15th century Italy. I love the idea of mercenary armies and when it comes to historical eras I tend to gravitate towards the pike and shot warfare of the European Wars of Religion. Sadly books focused on this subject tend to lean towards the academic instead of the amateur reader.

I’m still walking to work several times per week and enjoying the cold morning while listening to Lord of The Rings. I just started The Return of the King. I know I’ve said this before but the narration is fantastic. I’m surprised by how much depth and nuance I missed when I first read the trilogy over a decade ago. If you haven’t read TLotR at all or recently I highly recommend the audiobooks narrated by Rob Inglis.

MASSACRE IN THE PASSES: BRITAIN’S FIRST AFGHAN WAR DEBACLE

Outstanding history.

The Deadliest Blogger: Military History Page

1615359.jpg

Foolish political policies and dithering indecision lead to bloody disaster for the British in the First Afghan War!

In 1876, George Armstrong Custer and some 268 some members of the US Army’s 7th cavalry were “massacred” in battle against native Lakota and Cheyenne warriors in the valley of the Little Bighorn River. This signal, but ultimately meaningless, defeat of a “modern” military force by technologically inferior tribal warriors is very well-known in America thanks to countless books and not a few films that deal with the subject.

What is almost universally forgotten is the far greater and more politically significant destruction of a much larger British army just 34 years earlier, by Afghan tribesman in the snowbound passes of eastern Afghanistan.

1461069.jpg Afghanistan was a pawn in the “Great Game” for control of Central Asia and India. Seen here in a political cartoon of the day, Afghanistan is courted (and…

View original post 5,069 more words

J. R. R. Tolkien’s 127th Birthday

Today would have been J. R. R. Tolkiens 127th birthday.

Red Sun Magazine #4

My short story The Death of Giraurd de Vallays just got published in Red Sun Magazine Issue #4. Red Sun is one of the newer action oriented independent Fantasy and Science Fiction magazines that make up the exciting indy market. While I haven’t managed to read through back issues I like the blind reader philosophy and the fact that the editors are all military veterans.

The Death of Giraurd de Vallays is a story I care about because it’s actually the first short story I wrote when I decided I wanted to take up fiction. The only other place I submitted it to was the Writers of the Future contest where it got an Honorable Mention. I’m glad that if found a final home after sitting on my drive forgotten.

When I wrote it I was in a Red Sonja mood and also reading a book on the Cathar’s and the Albigensian Crusade.

Support indy magazines and my writing by buying the digital version, reading it, and leaving a review.

Get it Here.

Removing Television

I don’t consume a lot of television. Occasionally I will binge a show on Netflix. I liked the three seasons of Fargo and the first season of True Detective. I will put on some garden reality show or documentary in the background. Every now and then my wife and I stream a movie or watch some standup. But for the most part if I lived alone I would watch almost no television.

The truth is I just don’t enjoy movies or television. Compared to reading or listening to audiobooks I find the process tedious and unstimulating. I can’t thing of the last time I really enjoyed a new movie. I find streaming services like Netflix especially irritating because of the choice paralysis involved. Every time I sit down I spend forty-five minutes scrolling through the lackluster choices until I pick something I’m not really that excited to about but feel compelled to watch because I just spent forty-five minutes looking for it. I would rather spend the time reading, writing, talking, cooking, or just about anything including just sitting in silence napping.

Yesterday my wife and I were discussing children, our childhood, and parenting styles. Television screen time came up. I don’t exactly remember how the conversation developed but my wife asked me if I thought getting rid of the television would be a good idea. As in getting rid of it completely and making a living room without one as the centerpiece. The point being that we would raise Juniper free of television.

My initial reaction was immediate approval. The only one who watches it regularly is my wife so my life would remain mostly unchanged. It would be a improvement because it would force us to come up with some better activities on weekend nights and get rid of the dread of being stuck in an endless loop of deciding what to watch.

But we both have some misgiving. I grew up with unlimited screen time and no supervision over what movies and television I watched. I remember spending my afternoons watching Disney cartoons, I Love Lucy, Gilligan’s Island, The Beverly Hillbillies, and other reruns. Once I got a bit older I watched a lot of Star Trek the Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Hercules, Xena, The X-Files, and a bunch of other shows I can’t even remember. My younger brother and I spent a lot of time watching television, but we also played outside, played games, skateboarded, had a lot of friends, explored, got girlfriends when we got older, and grew up to be overall successful adults. Television did not rot our brains. Well maybe a little bit.

I’m afraid that if we get rid of the television we would be depriving Juniper of the fun I had growing up. I don’t want to be that crunchy granola or fundamentalist religious parent that forces my ascetic beliefs onto my children, but at the same time I feel that modern television is pure brain garbage and is just another excessive attention deficit inducing trash pile that sucks away happiness.

With our move coming up in the next few weeks it would be the perfect time to get rid of television and change the way we interact in our living room space. So I’m really thinking this over, weighing the pros and the cons. What do you guys think, should I dump the television? Do you think I would be depriving my daughter? Let me know in the comments, I’m really interested.